(Aka the key to understanding why people say yes)
We make invitations in our business all the time. Today we’ll have a deep look at invitations to become clients, patients, students, coaches. So it’s perhaps useful to dive into what makes an invitation irresistible.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”. - Peter Drucker
The more you know and understand your audience, the better invitations you’ll be able to make. It is pretty obvious and we still forget from time to time. In the resource section there is more about understanding your audience.
One particular thing to observe is what they are actually saying yes to right now. One thing that changed my business for ever was to realize that people buy what they want, not what they say they “need”.
“People buy what they want, not what they say they need”. - Ana Rosenberg
The reason I like to talk about invitations is because it has an energy of fun, excitement and anticipation for both the person extending the invitation and the person receiving it. Think about an invitation to a party or an event like a concert.
In the work that we as modern professionals, experts and entrepreneurs do, the excitement of the invitation is in the possibility to transform something people want different in their life, whether it is in their business, their career, their relationships, their health.
And it all starts with us getting excited about those possibilities first.
Another reason why the attitude of inviting is useful: we do our part and craft invitations and people have the freedom to say yes or no. All we need to do is to give people who want to transform everything they need to make a decision and join us.
The word “positioning” is tossed around quite a lot so let’s start from a basic understanding. Positioning happens in the mind of your audience. It simply means that the human mind needs to assign you a place, so they can position you as a “friend” (provider of resources), as an “enemy“ or as “someone to be ignored”. If your audience consider you a useful resource provider, a relevant resource provider and a credible, trusted Leading Authority, it will be much easier that they pay attention to your invitations. That is one of the reasons why the right positioning is so important and the wrong positioning is costing business.
A big part of the structure of an irresistible invitation is to show people where they are and the possibilities of where they can be. Working with you is like a bridge that closes that gap. And your invitation gives them the opportunity to realize that “wow, it’s time for me to close this gap in my career, business, relationship, health”.
Remember how we said that we, people, buy what we want and not what we say we need. Taking it a step further, it is much more powerful if your invitation allows your audience to come to the realization on their own that it is time and that they are ready to do this than if you “persuade” them. It is much more powerful if you let them uncover what it is costing them to stay where they are and make a decision.
When we start thinking about our own business, it’s easy that we make this mistake: getting caught in the “logistics” of the invitation. Now you’ll start to notice how business owners talk about the number of pages of a report, the number of days of a training course, the number of sessions, whether the sessions are on Skype or live, etc. Those are logistics and people don’t say yes to the logistics. People don’t say yes to a dinner party invitation because of the number of courses.
The heart of an Irresistible Invitation in your business is the transformation people will experience, the outcomes they want.
Another big mistake when making invitations is to talk about your method, process or technology. You have built a bridge that takes people from where they are to where they want to be. Don’t talk about the construction technology of the bridge. That is not enticing.
Going back to the dinner party invitation, knowing the exact cooking techniques used to prepare dinner is not what entices us to say yes.
When you plan how to communicate your Irresistible Invitation, stay most of the time in the outcome and the transformation your audience want. Yes, you have to clearly communicate the logistics, too but don’t make it all about the logistics.
What about your process, methodology, technology? That is one of the tricky parts. There is no need to spend time educating people about that. What I mean is that there is no need to go on and on about the method/technology/process we use. It is fascinating to us how we cook the vegetables. It is not to the people we are inviting to a dinner party.
Pro Tip – Use the language of outcomes and transformation, specifically use the language your audience use to talk about those outcomes.
One key ingredient in an Irresistible Invitation is confidence. There are several ways to build that trust, confidence and credibility in your invitation. A powerful one is to show people that you have a system.
You see, when we have a problem that we have been trying to solve for some time, we have already started to lose confidence and faith in ourselves. On top of that, we all think that our problem is unique. When we see that you have a system to solve that problem and that it has worked for others, we get a ray of hope that maybe there is something that can help us, too.
Knowing that there is a “system” rather than just a number of sessions helps us stay concentrated on the outcome and not have to question before every session whether we should cancel. We value the investment we have made because we value the outcome we want to achieve.
Pro Tip – The more unique your work is, the more your business will benefit from discovering your own system, especially if it is difficult to understand what you do and how you can help. Start to notice successful businesses around that have successful systems to bring outcomes. One example is Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
Bonus Tip – Uncovering your system and structuring your work around outcomes help you position yourself as a Leading Authority in your field.
When you are proud of what you are inviting people to, everything shifts. We’re not talking about bragging or pushing for people to buy. We’re talking about understanding that it is the highest level of service to invite people to step up and go where they want to go. Going back to the dinner party invitation, we’re talking about organizing a great party and feeling proud of inviting people.
One of my favorite analogies is the bridge analogy. Let’s say that your audience is “here” and they want to be “there” and you’ve built a bridge to take them “there” where they couldn’t have got on their own. You can proudly invite them to use your bridge to cross.
Even if some people say “no” to your invitation, they have to go through that process of deciding that they are going to stay where they are, even if they have been complaining about it for year. It makes the whole responsibility and priorities clear.
"Action expresses priorities". Mahatma Gandhi
Tip – Inspire a decision from your audience coming from a place of believing that decisiveness is a good thing. If you come from a place where you think that the only way to decide is to agonize over the decision for a long time, you’ll see your belief reflected in the way you present your invitations and the way people delay to decide.
When designing Irresistible Invitations, you’ll need:
a. clarity on the outcomes for your audience;
b. clarity on the logistics;
c. rewards and limits.
I find that the most beautiful systems reward the people who make a decision and take action. Some people call them bonuses. The limits can also inspire action by using numbers or time. You can limit a special reward to the first 10 people who join or to the people who join before x time.
Pro Tip – Share with your audience why there is a limit. If you don’t, people will assume it is a “sales tactics”. My favorite limits tend to be naturally true ones (and they are pretty obvious ones). For example, the limit is tomorrow because we are starting on Monday. The limit is 10 because I can only work with 10.
Part of the clarity piece is keeping options as simple as possible, if you are going to have multiple options. You want people to understand and not to be confused. If you are presenting multiple options, it has to be crystal clear what differentiates each package or option. A good starting point for differentiation can be the different names of the different options.
The most powerful next step you can take is to make sure that your invitations focus on the outcomes your people want and not so much on the logistics. Once you have that part right, the biggest leap for your business is the communication of the value of your contribution. It is through words that we people understand (or not) the value of something to us. It is that communication of value that inspires us to invest in doing your work.
Till next time… remember your awesomeness is portable. You can take it with you anywhere.