What if there was a recession but you didn’t attend? (Part Three)

This blog post is part three of an interview I recently had with Dan Kennedy. You can read the first two parts here – Part One and Part Two.

ROB:  Seems hard to argue with all that. You make a convincing case. But people are still thinking: sounds great, but deliberately marketing to the affluent must be different and difficult. So, just how different is it, marketing to the affluent?

DAN: It IS different. First of all, there are profound – and in most ways, beneficial – psychological differences. These people think differently. That’s why they are affluent. So you have to be in sync, you have to connect with the way they think, with what appeals to them emotionally. You also have to acknowledge different hurdles; they are more thoughtful, critical, and in some ways, skeptical buyers, more demanding customers. Fair, because they are a lot more valuable. So you have to be customer focused not product focused to an even greater degree. I devote about half the book, about 200 of its 400+ pages to just who are these people? – where did they come from? – how do they buy, why do they buy? – even specific behaviors in different buying categories – such as health, investments, for grandkids, for pets, even B2B.  Second, there are process differences. While direct marketing fundamentals, systems and system structures don’t change, application does. In the book I diagram and describe a complete marketing system as a template, from lead generation through to the sale and post-sale relationship, and it will be familiar to most of your real estate agents. But within the familiar structure, there are significant modifications unique to the buying behavior of the affluent.  There are certain known pre-requisites before an affluent buyer will act, that must be understood and met. In the book, I support these with considerable research data and actual case histories.  I would quickly point out that ANY and EVERY business can be “tweaked” or, if need be, reinvented to successfully meet these pre-requisites so as to appeal to and attract affluent clientele. Third, and last that I’ll mention now, is the issue of finding them, knowing where they are, so you can directly and efficiently reach out to them. The information about that in the book affects both offline and online marketing and media choices. In short, Rob, your Less Clients More Money students can cross-breed everything you provide them with my Marketing To The Affluent strategies and systems and they’ll find it all completely compatible. Further, it will open new doors for them, to better and less price (fee) sensitive clients, a better business, even a better business life almost immediately.  This is a way to take all of your most effective tools and techniques and apply them more profitably, something akin to taking superior farming practices and genetically improved seeds and applying them to more fertile ground. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? Now, not later or someday?

ROB: Okay, way back when, in this discussion, you said you were working with your clients on two big areas – this one, attracting more affluent customers and clients, but also a second, managing for profit. And in that book title, you use the word ‘ruthless’, which has to rattle some people right off the bat. So, what’s that all about?

DAN: It connects two ways. First, affluent clients are less tolerant of unsatisfactory, even unimpressive sales and service practices. Second, the recently generous, forgiving economy tolerant, even indulgent of sloppy sales and service practices has turned grumpy, irritable, intolerant and punishing.  Maybe as it should. And very frankly, a lot of business owners have been making their way across the lake everyday satisfactorily in very leaky boats. Those days are over. There are going to be a lot of fatalities, large and small, of poorly run businesses. There’s also going to be a golden-age for those businesses that provide start-to-finish and continuing exceptional experiences. As to the word ‘ruthless’, that’s to telegraph that this is NOT a warm ‘n fuzzy book with happy stories about such customer experiences, the equal of a smiley-face sticker. The shelves are full of those books. Fun to read. Maybe inspiring. But now what?  Ruthless management is mandated by ruthless times. This is about setting and enforcing standards that yield the best client experiences and the best attainable profits, by micro-managing the profit impact of every job, every employee and every step in the marketing, sales, delivery and service aspects of the business. It is about creating a winning Program and that having everybody get with The Program – or get gone. I call this book, first of all, the permission slip business owners have been waiting for, to manage their people and their businesses for maximum profit – without anxiety, guilt or squeamishness. It’s a liberating and empowering book.  Then it has very specific, in-depth how-to strategies.  I’m told people laugh out loud reading it, because of its unbelievably blunt and candid, and to some, outrageous and radical revelations. I’m glad people have fun with it. I put some very pointed, original cartoons in it for that very reason. But make no mistake, this is a very serious manifesto for serious business owners in serious times.

You can purchase Dan’s new books "No B.S. Guide to Marketing to the Affluent" and "No B.S. Guide to Ruthless Management of People and Profits" at any major book store or online.

This interview will be continued in one last and final part later this week! If you would like to have this next blog post emailed to you automatically, simply add your email address in the box on the top right hand side of this page!

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