|The bikini concept or bikini principle works on a simple idea. That by giving away 90% of the concept, and keeping 10%, the attraction factor is just as strong, if not twice as strong.
And yes, what the bikini didn't reveal, was the part the audience most want, and was the part they were willing to pay for. The same applies to your information products, webinars, workshops and yes, presentations.
This is Sean D'Souza from Psychotactics.com.
It's hard to think of a bikini when you are in a classroom and you're giving a speech and then someone asks you a question, but that's exactly what happened and how we came upon what we call the bikini principle. This bikini principle became one of the most read, most ever. The reason why it became so popular is probably because of the bikini, but also because it underlines a concept that's so obvious, and we probably are too scared to admit that it works.
Part 1: What is the Bikini Principle
What is this bikini principle? To understand the bikini principle I have to go back in time. I have to go back all the way the Pittsburgh. Now Pittsburgh is a city in the United States; it's on the east coast. I had been invited to speak at an event. As it happened, we had just started Psychotactics.com a couple of years before that and I had written this book called The Brain Audit. The way I'd go about my speeches is I would cover only three things. I still do that; I still cover only three elements even in this podcast.
The point was that in The Brain Audit the book consists of seven bags or seven elements. When I covered those three elements, of course everyone would be very interested in the elements and then they would ask the inevitable question. The question was: If you've told us about the three red bags, and there are seven red bags in The Brain Audit, what are the remaining red bags about?
I was always uneager, as it were, to answer this question. I was very reluctant because somehow I felt I was giving away the plot. I was giving away everything and then there would be no reason for the customers to buy anything. I was giving away all the seven red bags now, but if I gave away just three then maybe, just maybe, they would buy the book because that way they would have to find out what the rest of the red bags were.
Now one of the people at this event was quite adamant. He was like “But surely you can tell us what the four red bags are about.” Very reluctantly, I did. I put it up on the board and I explained what they were. I told them the seven red bags are the problem, the solution, the target profile, the objections, the risk reversal, the testimonials, and uniqueness. I laid it out for them and I thought that's it. I'm going back; I'm not going to sell anything; I've told them everything I know.
Incredibly, we had the best sales ever. Of course we've gone on to sell a lot more since then but back then we were just starting out. It stunned me how many products we sold on that day. When I got back to New Zealand I wrote about it. I called it the bikini principle. It's not very hard to understand where that idea comes from. The bikini hides just a few parts, but what it reveals is enormous, and yet it's just the few hidden parts that make it so sexy. In effect, revealing a lot more wasn't causing customers to buy less. Instead, they were buying more. That totally took me by surprise. I just didn't expect it.
Part 2: More Information
Over the years I've realized that the people who end up buying stuff from us are people who get more information about a product or a service – and this is not just on the sales page, but when you look at, say, Amazon.com and you read the first chapter, what that does is it reveals a lot of the stuff in that first chapter or second chapter and then you get locked in.
Earlier this year we sold the pre-sale course and then we took it off the shelves. In that short period we gave away one-fourth of the course. Now I know what you're thinking: One-fourth is not a bikini, but you get the idea. The idea is once you give away a substantial amount of your information, instead of the customer leaving and going elsewhere saying “Oh, I got all the information I need,” they come back. This went to a completely different level when I did the first Brain Audit workshop.
Now imagine this. Supposing you have a book and you wrote the book and everyone's read the book. Would they come to a workshop? Well, you're going to say yes, right? That's what we do. We buy a book, then we go to the workshop. But as a creator, as the writer, as the person who's running the business, that's not how we think. We think that if they've got everything, why would they bother to come to the workshop. There I am in Washington D.C. looking around the room, and guess what? Everyone in the room has already brought The Brain Audit, has not just bought The Brain Audit, but because we have it in version we've sold a version of it, version 1.1, 2, version 3, and then finally it was version 3.2. everyone in the room has not just read The Brain Audit but some of them have read various versions.
It then struck me how powerful this concept of revealing stuff is. It's like an epiphany. It's almost too hard to believe that people would continue to buy from you once they've already read your stuff. Now just for the the record this is not for you to go and give away all your stuff hoping that people will come back and read all of it. There is a limit to how much you can give. That's why it's called the bikini principle. You can give away a lot of the stuff. Whether you choose to give away 90% or 80% or 70% or 30%, that's totally up to you. The point is that customers come back once they are completely hooked with your information. I would like to say that the more information you give the more hooked they are but that's not entirely true. The more information you give that allows them to make changes in their lives, that empowers them, that's the kind of information that they will come back for. That's the information where you can give away 90%, hold back just 10%, and they will keep coming back.
Part 3: Other Formats
You don't have to give away everything, and even if you decide to be very generous, remember that customers will come back for other formats. What do I mean by other formats? If you happen to give away something absolutely free, and maybe you give away 90%, 95%, maybe even 100%, and then you change the format or the packaging, then customers will come back for that very same something. Let's say this podcast, this podcast is absolutely free, and yet if I were to just put all of the pricing podcasts together, all of the storytelling podcasts together, and then sell it as a separate product, customers would buy. They would pay a price for something that was absolutely free simply because of the way it was packaged.
Or let's say I took it and I put it in a PDF or an epub, and you had an epub just of storytelling articles or an epub just of pricing articles. Then customers would be willing to pay for that as well. Just giving away stuff free is not going to ruin you completely. I'm not suggesting that you go around giving stuff free all the time. However, when you change the packaging, when you change the format, when you clob things together that seem to be all over the place, then customers are willing to pay for it.
That is what the bikini principle is all about. You can give away stuff, and a lot of stuff, and customers will still want more. The second thing is that the very customers who buy your product or consume all of your product will then come back for workshops and consulting and training and all kinds of things like that. Finally, when you change the packaging, when you change the format, when you clob things together, then customers come back to consume those other formats. That's why the bikini principle is so powerful and that's why so many people wanted to read it, because that's not our natural instinct. Our natural instinct is we should not give it away. We should not share. We should not be so open, so overexposed. Yet time and again the bikini principle just proves us wrong. It proves that we can indeed create attraction with that bikini principle.
That brings us to the end of this podcast. If you enjoyed it, please leave a review on iTunes. If you've already done that, well, thank you very much. Also, you want to go back and listen to the podcast on the three-prong system. That's podcast number two and it helps you understand how you can structure your three-month vacation. Before we go, let's look at an action plan for today's show. What are we going to do? Even if you're just a little bit shy about giving away all your stuff, at least give away some bit of it. Maybe a chapter or a free one hour session, which is a live session, a workshop or a seminar. You will find that it's very powerful. If you're not in a position to do that, take some of the free stuff that you've given away and convert it into audio or into some other format, and that will get you going because people will want that other format even if they've got free stuff from you in the past. That's your action plan for today, and it's time for me to go now. This podcast has been brought to you by Psychotactics, Psychotactics.com, and The Three Month Vacation. Bye for now.