bouncerI’ve been working on a top-secret project.

This goes above and beyond my normal client work.  It’s also separate from Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, and from the upcoming Story Selling Master Class.

It’s something I’ve decided to do, that will be immensely valuable to a certain kind of business owner.

An offer I’m going to make.  One that leverages my unique abilities.  That will allow me to provide them a TON of custom-tailored, actionable recommendations to grow their business in a very short period of time.

In fact, it could lead to as much as 10X growth in the right businesses.  Businesses that have the right factors in place before I work with them.  And that have the right approach to implementation, to make the most of what I give them.

And as I was weighing a very important part of the selling process, I realized I had a great topic for Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.

Here’s what I was running up against…

What to do when only a certain kind of client or customer will benefit…

Without giving away too much — this is a “top-secret project, of course — I really NEED a specific kind of customer for this offer.

It needs to be businesses that have established momentum.  Businesses who already have a customer base.  Who are already up, running, and profitable.  Businesses that are spending money on advertising and marketing, too.

In other words, this ain’t for startups.

As much as I admire the zest and zeal and ambition of most startups, I’ve discovered I’m not a very good fit.

For me to create maximum profits in minimum time, it relies on assets already in place inside a business, that I can help to leverage.

And yet, when I reach out into the marketplace and try to make an offer…

There are all kinds of business people who may stumble onto my marketing materials.  Even with the best targeting online (where I plan to start), it can be hard to target something as specific as just the owners of businesses with revenue of $XXX amount and above.

So what is likely to happen is that I’m going to put out a message that’s going to appeal to my narrowly-defined ideal customer…  PLUS a whole bunch of others who — even if they’re interested — aren’t that good of a fit.

That’s fine.  Maybe they’ll get some good tips out of my education-based marketing materials.

And yet…

Somewhere along the line, I need to narrow the funnel…

I need to separate out the good prospects from the bad.

The offer I want to make will involve me spending my time with each client.

There’s a lot of ways that can turn into wasted time.  Bad prospects making it to a point in the sales cycle where you’re talking to them, even though they’re bad prospects.  Or who feign interest because they don’t value their time or yours, so you end up wasting time touching base even though they’ll never buy.  Or clients who were never a fit giving you their money, only to end up dissatisfied because you could never serve them well.

None of those are good for your business.  Nor are they good for the prospects and clients who shouldn’t really be doing business for you.  Nor the clients who you could be helping, if you weren’t wasting your time with these other folks.

And so, at some point, you want to start disqualifying prospects.

Even better if you do it BEFORE you ever have to spend a minute giving them personal attention.

My solution: make them APPLY to do business with me…

Now, there’s a lot of ways to do this.  In the beginning, I’m not going to charge for the application.  I’m going to make it free, once they’ve gone through the marketing materials I provide.

I’m also not going to tell them the cost of the program.  It’s expensive to the average person, but it’s a very reasonable charge for someone who is highly-qualified for this offer.

Instead, I’m going to build my client qualifiers into an application they can fill out online.

This includes approximate revenue information, but that’s barely scratching the surface.

There are other more important qualifiers (and disqualifiers) that I’ve built into the questions.

By the time I’m done looking through a completed application, I’ll have a good sense as to whether or not this person is someone I could work with.

Then, I can hop on the phone, confirm the details covered in the application, and close the deal.

Others actually charge for this process.  My friend and colleague Perry Marshall often charges $500 or more to apply for some of his high-end programs.  It’s a refundable deposit.  If your application is denied, you get it back.  But it shows commitment — and it’s used to measure whether or not someone is actually a qualified prospect (including the all-important qualifier of being ready, willing, and able to spend money on your solution).

The secret power in forcing clients to apply…

In a moment, I’ll address the common concern of, “But my customers would NEVER apply to do business with me!”

But first, I need to make a really important point.

Building an application into your selling process — paid or unpaid — and especially before they ever get to talk to you — plays a really important role in selling.

In traditional selling, it’s YOU, the person doing the selling, who has to try to convince the prospect to do business with you.

It’s inherently combative — and the deck is stacked against your success.

Your prospect’s defenses are on full-alert, and you have to batter them down with your sales process in order to get them to do business with you.

Am I dramatizing?  A bit.  But let’s let it fly, because it’s a relevant image to hold in your head.

Putting in an application turns that traditional selling role on its head.

You put what you have out there — usually, through some kind of education-based marketing piece.

If they’re interested, they’re going to want to reach out to you.

But then, they’re hit with something that totally interrupts their normal buying pattern.

They can’t just show up and push you around to get you to try to sell them.

Instead, THEY have to do the convincing.  They have to convince YOU that they’re qualified and worthy of doing business with you.

It’s a complete 180.

Suddenly they have to sell you — even though you’re the one with something to sell.

While you may still have to answer some questions and overcome some objections, the big focus becomes on them trying to get you to let them give you money.

This is even more important in high-touch or high-value transactions.  Because you’re typically positioned — for these sales — as an expert, they want to get to you.  Making it a little hard helps you maintain that positioning.

About that objection…

You think your clients won’t be willing to submit an application to buy from you?

Well, maybe.  Maybe not.

You’d think, for example, that you probably couldn’t do this in a retail store.  And yet, in order to shop at Sam’s Club or Costco you’re going to have to apply first, and pay about $50 for the privilege of shopping there.

Or maybe you’re just starting out and don’t have the reputation yet?  Doesn’t matter.  Just make sure you have the education-based marketing down to make it clear that you can provide value, and then find a way to work it in.

Not enough deal flow?  Fix that (again, with education-based marketing, and maybe buying some online or offline advertising) and once you have enough volume in your funnel you’ll discover a certain number of applications will come out the other side.

Nearly every situation where you could imagine this couldn’t work, there will be an exception showing how it does.

Nearly every objection you could raise about how it won’t work for you is simply a challenge in need of a solution.

If you’re committed to doing this, I think you’ll find it has tremendous power.  It makes selling easier.  It gives you better positioning.  And, it will almost definitely lead to you being able to charge higher prices, and enjoy bigger profits.

It’s a breakthrough if I’ve ever seen one.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr