2013-11-18-givingtuesday3-300x194Wanna create cash flow windfalls?

Rainmaker, it’s one of the most coveted skills in business.  In fact, is part of the assumption that comes with the rainmaker name.

If you can create cash flow on demand, you’ve got the keys to the kingdom.

I used to not care too much about selling.

Even though I had an ever-moving parade of jobs where I was responsible for sales, in one context or another.  Sure, I tried.  I was earning commissions, so I tried to make sales.  But I did it because it was my job — not because I realized what a valuable skill it was.

Then, in 2005, something changed.

At the time, I was working a dead-end job at the local utility customer service call center.  It was miserable.

It was a union job — and the worst kind of union job.  I value unions’ historical contribution to making lives better for workers…  But that was no longer the job of THIS union, at least not for the people working in the call center (it actually covered both call center workers and the technicians across the state — the technicians seemed to like it).  This union’s main role was to reward people who’d been at the job for a long time.  Seniority over skill or even competence.

So, there were small commissions you could make at the job by selling appliance repair insurance plans…  But mostly the only way to get ahead in that job was to not quit, and not die.  The longer you were there, the better you’d be paid.

It was totally de-motivating.  I did a good job, but I really didn’t care.  I saw that job as a placeholder to fill the gap between graduating college and moving across the country the next year with my new wife, so she could start her Ph.D. program in Oregon.

I mostly kept to myself, and whenever a customer wasn’t calling me to yell at me because we shut off the gas for the bills they’d never paid, I was reading.

And that’s where I discovered copywriting.

Sales, multiplied through media.

And not only that, but…

Proven principles of selling in media, that can be repeated for predictable results!

Suddenly I cared about sales.  Not a little, but a lot.

Give me a good product to sell, one that benefits its customers, and I can write something to convince them to buy it?  Sign me up!

Oh, and I can get paid based on the results I generate, so the better I am at my job, the more I earn?  What a relief that someone finally thinks rationally and positively about value creation!

Along the way, I learned a lot of things about selling.

Not just selling to customers based on what they value…  But selling to clients, based on what they value.

And one thing that I discovered nearly every business owner LOVES is big paydays.

It’s totally irrational, but if we could pick between a promotion that would generate $1 million total, predictably over the next 10 years…  Versus another promotion that would generate $250,000 next week…  Probably 95% of business owners would go with the quarter mil next week.

Cash flow windfalls.

They’re a total emotional hot button for business owners.

Not just business owners, either.  How many lottery winners take the lump sum because it’s cash now, even if it’s not the best financial decision?  You can bet it’s a lot!

It’s built into our psychology, and rare to find a culture that teaches its young otherwise…

“A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.”

So…  We know everybody loves a cash flow windfall…  What does that have to do with #GivingTuesday…  And YOU?!

Well, in 2012, the nonprofit world woke up to the fact that the holiday shopping hubbub was leaving them out.

Sure, they have December 31st, which — due to the tax deadline — is the biggest giving day of the year.

But retailers have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday…  Lined up over the course of one weekend, to drive one-day sales (and total consumer madness).

Cash flow windfall!

In anticipation of Christmas shopping, American retailers save their best deals of the year for this one day (now three plus Thanksgiving night!), to bring shoppers out in droves, running up debt on their credit cards.

In 2012, 92nd Street Y — a cultural center in New York City — launched #GivingTuesday as a way to make generosity, giving, and philanthropy a part of this weekend.

It’s a one-day event that much of the nonprofit world now participates in.  Some use it to do a single-day campaign.  Others launch their holiday and year-end giving programs through it.

Since 2012, online giving has increased 470% on the Tuesday after thanksgiving.  This year, it’s likely to take yet another big jump.

And for nonprofits who already see 30% of their total giving in December (again — tax deadline!), it’s a nice cash flow windfall to start the month…

Not only is it a cash flow windfall for the charity, it’s a lesson in how to create one for you.

Here’s how to copy the #GivingTuesday effect in your marketing…

The secret of #GivingTuesday is that it’s event-based marketing.  (And this is actually no different than any of the retail days this past weekend.)

Event-based marketing is really the single-most powerful type of marketing there is.

The Product Launch Formula is a great example of how event-based marketing is created around the launch of a product.

But you don’t have to be launching a product.

Maybe you’re making a special offer.  A sale.  An exclusive bonus.  Something.

And make an event out of it!

Events have a time and place.  (Sometimes, a digital place.)  It’s something that has to happen by a deadline, because after the deadline it’s over.

People participate — and even if they’re online, there’s a feeling of togetherness.

The key is that it has to feel — forget feel, it has to BE — real.

Which is really easy to do if you are simply borrowing something like Black Friday or #GivingTuesday that everybody else in your industry is doing…

But you can make up and make real pretty much any kind of “event” to build your marketing around.

The cliche is the “fire sale” — which actually works really well if you’ve had a fire.  But you don’t have to commit arson to make an event happen.

There’s practically a holiday every day of the year — find one that’s relevant to you, and make a marketing event out of it.  Minor ones can be even better than majors, because you’ll stand out more and have less people competing for your customer’s attention.

The end of the month, and the end of the quarter are always good.

Put on some kind of live event — on the phone, online, in person — and make a sale event around that.

The key is to make some kind of a campaign — and especially, to establish some kind of deadline!

Deadlines are magic…

We’re hard-wired to respond to deadlines.

We will either act, or not act.  But we have to make that decision.

And the same prospect, presented with two equally compelling campaigns where the only difference is the presence of a deadline, is much more likely to respond when there’s a deadline versus not.

Deadlines spur action.

And not only that, they spur action on the kind of limited timeline that will lead to that all-coveted…

Cash flow windfall!

If you were to ask me, since those days way back at the gas company, in the customer service call center, when I first discovered direct response copywriting and marketing…

What is the single-most powerful selling and marketing breakthrough I’ve ever discovered?

It’s definitely the deadline — with a big event-driven marketing campaign built around it.

Speaking of deadlines…

It’s #GivingTuesday, and I’d love it if you could watch this video before midnight tonight.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets