Agriculture | Marketing | Innovation

Category: Marketing (Page 2 of 4)


The customer doesn’t care about you, your product, what it can do, or how its betterGodin marketing quote

The customer only cares about themselves

Marketing is simply thinking about what you do from the customers perspective

Emotionally connecting what you do with the beliefs and wants of your customer is key

Be generous, take risks, connect with people

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Its not what you ask, its how you ask it

Its not what you ask, its how you ask it

What drives adoption of a new practice?

Most answer with the following:

  • Cost savings
  • Increase in revenue
  • Improved efficiency

These are outcomes of a new practice, they are not the cause.  What would cause the adoption of a new practice? How do you persuade a farmer to make a change?

In Robert Cialdini’s first book Influence, he lays out the 6 principles of persuasion:

  • Reciprocation
  • Social proof
  • Consistency
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

You’re a savvy marketer (you must be if you’re reading this) so you know the power of these principles. Sometimes, though, even the best messaging and implementation of these persuasion principles leads to mixed results.

Now after 30 years of studying social psychology, Cialdini’s new book Pre-Suasion  shows that the moment leading up to an important message is more important than the message itself. The highest sales achievers spent more time crafting what they do and say in the moments before the request than the actual request. In essence they work to make a customer receptive to their message.

Many marketers spend hours creating the perfect sales message. However what happens right before the message has a bigger impact. Would you consider that a scary movie would impact the receptiveness of a message?

Imagine the classic farm inputs commercial of a farmer standing in a field, saying “Brawndo sets me apart from the average farmer”. According to Cialdini’s research, if your customer was watching a scary movie when they saw this commercial, they would be unlikely to adopt your solution. This is because the “set yourself apart” message is in conflict with the fear induced need to seek safety. The scary movie primed the grower to seek comfort in a crowd. The messaging that would have worked in this case would have been, Like most successful farmers I use Brawndo“.

Would you believe that the background image on your website could be sabotaging your sales? That those cheesy “Success” motivational posters actually do lead to increased sales? Or that the things that really shape our decisions are often below our conscious radar.

In Pre-Suasion, Cialdini slays sacred sales cows with an army of research. Proof that pulling up your sales boots and kicking in doors will only get you tuned out. Instead, slip on kid gloves, choose your words, your timing and the context of your pitch. Prepare your customer for the message. Then watch your close rate climb.

The first step to being more influential is reading both these books.


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Venn Marketing

No I am not talking about Zen, the Buddhist act of mediation. Though a little more reflection and considered thoughts on a subject would help a lot of marketers out.

I am talking about Venn, or specially, Venn diagrams. A Venn diagram is a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of different sets. Typically overlapping shapes, usually circles, are used.

venn marketing

Venn Marketing is then only talking about the logical relations between what you do and what your customer cares about. Everything else is a distraction.

Your customer is self-absorbed with their own set of problems.  They don’t want to, need to or deserve to know everything you know.

Until you have built trust, found out what their problems are, only talk about what you can do to solve those problems. If you can’t help them, tell them. Then refer them to someone who can.

Too many rookie marketing and sales people verbally vomit the whole load all over a prospect at the first meeting. DO NOT DO THIS.

Working with a client is just like meeting a new friend. Take it slow, find commonality, decide if you like each other, find out what they care about. Only talk about that.

Once you have proven you have their best interest in mind, they will ask you what else you can do for them. They will solicit you to know how else you can improve their business. It so much easier to sell somebody when they are compelled to know more about you.


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Stop knee-jerking after targets

What is your purpose as a business?knee-jerking after targets like you are a professional stank-leg dancer

To make money? No, that is an outcome. An important one for sure. You won’t be in business long without profit.

But that is not why your business exists.

You started your business to solve a problem, to fill a need. In solving that problem, you made money.

At some point, the money got better, you focused more on the money then solving the problem. Caring more about hitting the next financial target than helping your customers.

Now you knee-jerk after targets like a professional “Stanky-leg” dancer, chasing after the money. Which is always elusive since you are trying to solve a problem that you can’t remember.

This money chasing, knee-jerking mentality is borne from a fear of loss. This fear is keeping you from a relationship with your customer. It’s only through a trusting relationship with the customer that they believe you can solve their problem and happily give you their money.

Without this trust, your business success (or lack of) is based on a purely transactional basis. The customer isn’t sure if you are the right solution, you just happen to show up at the right time. Have a price that isn’t too risky if your solution doesn’t work. The problem is, someone will always be faster or cheaper, or both. So you scurry around trying to be “Mister Right Now” while doing the financial “Stanky-Leg” to close the deal and hit your numbers.

Why is this easier than building trust and working to compel customers to work with you?

To get back on track, remember what your purpose was and work with that in mind. Work to develop a relationship of trust with your customer. Be very clear with your customers about why you are in business and what problems you help with.

If it is a big enough problem to solve and you are clear enough on how to solve it, the money will flow.

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Trust is Reciprocal

I have talked about the importance for developing trust. From Jeff Beals’ 5 steps  to Margie Warrell’s 3 core domains of Trust .


In one of those article I mentioned that trust is reciprocal. What I mean by that is, you have to trust others first for them to trust you.

Or another way of looking at it is, if you don’t trust me, I won’t trust you.

We have all met at least one person that says “I never trust anyone”. Maybe they are risk averse or maybe they have been really burned trusting the wrong person. People are selfish, they don’t care about your reasons, what they think is, “this person really just wants the best deal for themselves and wouldn’t think twice about taking advantage of me”.

So If you don’t trust me, I defiantly wont trust you. Since there is no trust, everything we both say will be misinterpreted. Once that starts, then everything we both say is guarded to reduce what is used against us. Every word is hedged to make sure we don’t get caught. We can’t be open.  With lots of unclear communication, we don’t really know what each other wants. And that’s what we each end up with, something we don’t really want.

By trusting someone from the start, you are saying, I approve of you, I like you. People love approval, to know they are ok, to know they are understood, to be liked. When people know you like them, they like you in return. This reciprocal approval is the foundation for all successful relationships. You cannot build trust without a relationship. You cannot do good deals without trust.

Robert Chen shares the benefits of trust:

  • More influential
  • Clients share more valuable information
  • You avoid big problems, people will share problems earlier
  • You are more effective at solving problems with good information
  • More effective in negotiations.

I have found these to be spot on. In that article, Robert also gives 101 practical ways to build trust these which I highly recommend. I see some on the list I need to work on.

But Craig, it’s risky to trust others. I might get burned!

Yes you might.  And if the first impression you give someone is, “I don’t trust people”, then they won’t trust you and you have just increased the likelihood that you will get burned.

Trust is so hard to establish, why wouldn’t you start there? Why hold people at arm’s length? Why make things harder on yourself? Why make it harder to do business, to reach your goals?

Trust is essential for social and economic transactions. You need people to trust you if you want to sell your products or service. Building that trust starts by first trusting others. You can’t harvest without first planting. Sow trust with every interaction.


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