Today, we’re going to talk about how I’ve used the principle of “we want most what we can’t have” to 10X my consulting/copywriting income — and how you can enjoy similar success…
This is Part II to yesterday’s essay. Click here and read that first, if you haven’t already.
A quick reminder of the points we covered yesterday…
— An inescapable dynamic of human relationships is best described as Pursuer versus Pursued.
— This has been most investigated, evaluated, and prognosticated upon in the context of romance and seduction — but it exists in all kinds of relationships, including business.
— The pursuer is the one trying to close the deal, and they must keep up the chase until they catch the pursued.
— The role of the pursued is to keep the chase going long enough to keep it interesting, and then if they are so compelled, to let the pursuer catch them.
— Yesterday I went into detail into how this plays out in the classical approach to selling. Namely, that the salesperson plays the role of the pursuer, and the prospect plays the role of the pursued.
— But then I revealed that once you understand the dynamic, you can play with it. And in playing with the dynamic and even acting contrary to expectations, you can achieve even better results!
Today, as promised, we’ll go even deeper.
First, a quick sidebar…
After yesterday’s article, Steve left a comment on my site explaining how he had also used this principle in one-to-one selling of a product that might sometimes be considered a commodity.
I’ll let Steve tell it…
Great explanation of the pursuer versus pursued dynamic in marketing, especially the part about flipping roles. Although I didn’t recognize it in these terms, flipping was a tactic I used with great success while selling high-end handbags (of all things) at swap meets.
A haggler would closely examine a bag, then announce there was another vendor there that would sell for less. I’d encourage them to go to the other vendor, and closely examine the bag to make sure it was genuine and not a knock-off. I’d show them how to tell the difference. They were warned that I could not hold their chosen bag while they did this, but I was sure they’d see the difference. Sure enough, about 80%-90% of the time, they simply bought on the spot.
That reminded me of one of my favorite marketing videos ever, from a company whose Story Selling (and products) I love — Saddleback Leather Company.
Saddleback makes ultra-high-quality leather products. They are expensive. Not designer handbag expensive. But expensive compared to the average products in their category.
However, they’re also really cheap for the quality you get.
When Dave, the guy behind Saddleback, realized that his products were getting knocked off and sold on the cheap in various nefarious corners of the internet, he wasn’t too excited about it.
But then he had an ingenious idea. He’d create a video showing exactly where you’d have to compromise on quality to be able to pull off a low-cost knock-off of a genuine Saddleback Leather product.
The result is a 12-minute, 13-second video that only reinforces the care, craftsmanship, and dedication to quality that go into every Saddleback product.
What makes this especially relevant to the Pursued versus Pursuer narrative is the tone that Dave took in making this video. Rather than trying to tell you, the buyer, that you should buy the genuine article, he positioned the message as instructions for how to make the real thing. This made the authentic Saddleback products worth pursuing, which moves us, the viewer, into the role of pursuer, and Saddleback into the role of pursued.
Here’s how I did the same thing to boost my per-project copywriting fee from $2,000 to $20,000…
The last point I made is very important. This is not necessarily something you can do overnight — unless you’re already in a position where you should have done it already.
However, you can copy my path, and make it your intention to make this kind of leap in short order.
I made the point that in that one video, Dave’s explanation made Saddleback’s products worth pursuing.
If you want to flip the Pursuer versus Pursued dynamic in selling, you can’t be selling crap. You have to have a high-quality offer.
In the case of my copywriting, I made it a point to learn from the best in the industry, so I could at least get consistently good results for my clients. (I have an ever-increasing expectation for myself, so I don’t even think I get consistently GREAT results for clients, yet. Although they are consistently happy!)
By becoming a pretty dang good copywriter, I was able to consistently deliver value well beyond the fee I charge.
That’s step one — make sure your product is worth pursuing.
Then, you have to develop a reputation.
Now, there’s a lot of ways to think about reputation. Most people’s automatic assumption is that you have to develop a reputation in the broader market. And that’s valuable, for sure.
But it’s not required.
Ultimately, you need to develop your reputation one person at a time.
Which means you need to think about what you want to be known for and known as, and to whom.
Early on in my copywriting career, I came up with a short list of financial publishing companies I thought would make great clients.
There are millions of companies in the world. I don’t care if the vast majority of them have any clue who I am. I don’t even care if all the companies who use long copy direct marketing know who I am. I just need a pool of clients that’s big enough to more than fill my schedule.
Among those companies, I worked to build their awareness of me as a successful copywriter, who could write copy that would make them a lot of money.
So, if the first step was to have something worth pursuing, the second step is to let those who would be your pursuers know about it…
Then, you have to tell your best prospects that they can’t have you!
I was heavily influenced in this approach by Dan Kennedy. He talks about it as Takeaway Selling in his No B.S. Sales Success book (required reading).
Once you’ve established yourself as worthy of pursuit and flipped the Pursuer versus Pursued dynamic, you have to play the role of the pursued!
That is, for your potential client to really want you, you have to let them chase you!
That means, you don’t answer emails right away. You don’t pick up every phone call. You aren’t readily available, whenever they want. You stay in touch, but you don’t make yourself too available.
Even if you want to get started on a project immediately and you have the time on your calendar, you never start a project right away. Instead, tell them you’re not available for a few weeks, and they have to put down a deposit to reserve the time on your calendar.
Even better, start booking your time out months in advance.
The less available you are, the more they’ll want you — and the more value they’ll place on your services!
Even during slow seasons, I don’t think I’ve taken on a client for immediate work since 2010.
I ask clients to schedule calls, even when I could pick up the phone immediately and give ‘em a ring, and I’m doing nothing besides procrastinating.
Whenever I’ve slipped up on this, and allowed myself to pursue, it’s damaged the relationship.
As long as I remain the pursued, the clients value me more. And that translates into all kinds of upside. Not just higher fees, but more compliance with my recommendations on projects. I get clients who are happy to do what I say, and pay a premium for it!
Here’s how to apply this to any service you sell…
If you’re selling a service, especially if you want to charge a premium, the first thing you should do is control your schedule.
Never let meetings happen randomly. Always schedule, and preferably for at least a couple days into the future.
Don’t take random phone calls. I barely got paid more than minimum wage when I picked up the phone for incoming calls. The less available I make myself, the more people will pay to get to me.
Make sure you’re delivering value. Remember, you have to make yourself worthy of pursuit.
Mind your reputation. It’s one thing to be worthy of pursuit. It’s another entirely to have people wishing to pursue you. This requires you to get the attention and interest of those who would be worthy pursuers.
Take on the stance of the pursued. This is a mindset, above all else. Once you’ve flipped the dynamic and established it in your favor, make sure you continue to play the game to expectations, so you can get the result you most want.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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