This is a continuation from Part 1:Why Clients Don’t Buy (Understanding The Elements of Risk): Episode 81
Part 2: Why The Risk Factor Changes With Every Version Of Your Product/Service
Adele—yes, the one and only Adele—the superstar singer/writer did something naughty.
In November 2015, a small group of Adele impersonators gathered backstage to take a stab at being picked as an Adele impersonator. What they didn’t know was that the real Adele was right in their midst. Armed with a fake nose, a fake chin job, exaggerated pouty lips, the real Adele even had a name—Jenny. As she mingled with the rest of the group, they seemed to have no idea that Jenny was the real deal, speaking to her as if she were Jennny—and not Adele.
Jenny gets nervous.
Jenny flubs her lines.
Jenny wants to sit down.
But then Jenny sings—and the small group of impersonators sit with eyes popping and mouths wide open in wonder. They’ve figured out that Jenny is indeed Adele.
What we’re experiencing is the power of the brand, right?
They all love Adele—they’re Adele impersonators after all—and no matter what album Adele put out, they’d be first to download every song. But what about the rest of us? Would we do the same? I bought and downloaded “21”, the last Adele album. But I haven’t bought this one yet, and it’s not like I’m thinking about it all day. I’ve probably bought almost every Sting album, almost every Jack Johnson and almost every John Mayer.
But why almost?
It’s the concept of risk. Just because a client buys one of your products or services, will they buy the next and the next? The chances are high if you do an excellent job. At Psychotactics, most clients who do one course end up doing as many as five—and our courses are expensive. More than 50% of those that attend a workshop show up to consecutive workshops. That’s the power of the brand—yet every workshop, every course, every service that we offer has its risk factor. Every product or service has to stand on its own.
How do we know this to be true?
Let’s say you use a product like Photoshop. In today’s world, Photoshop runs a subscription model, which means that if they upgrade the software from one version to another, you get the new version as part of the package. That wasn’t the case back in the late 1990s or early 2000s. When a new version of Photoshop came out, they had to go through the entire hoopla of selling the new version to the public. I’ve been using Photoshop since around 1993—I was a cartoonist, remember?—and every time a new version of Photoshop was released, I had to go through the whole gamut of risk. Should I buy the product or not? The version I already have seems to do the job fine, so why spend more?
This is the risk factor that clients run into all the time—the risk of dealing with your product or service
You may upgrade your product or service and think “Hey, it’s the same product, it’s the same service—with a few add-ons, but the client sees it differently. This new factor signals additional resources. The client has to spend time, money and brain power to figure out your new offering. Which is why every product or service—even with the slightest change, needs to be considered as a new product or service—with a whole new bunch of risks. Sure, everyone loves your brand, but that’s not enough. You have to make sure you deal with a whole new series of objections, testimonials, possibly risk-reversal—but the uniqueness is the most important factor of all.
Take for instance the re-launch of a software called TextExpander
The upgrade didn’t cost a lot as they went from one version to another. But in today’s world where software is horribly underpriced, software developers struggle to justify a price tag of $10. The problem with TextExpander is that it works perfectly on my Mac, but was clunky on my iPhone and iPad. All the upgrades in the world weren’t nudging me to look at the iPhone version. After all, I’d bought the product, and it didn’t work so it went into my app graveyard. In such a situation, what causes someone to buy an upgrade—in essence a whole new product—and pay for the upgrade? It’s the uniqueness. The new version of the iOS Text Expander (um iOS is what’s used on the iPhone) had a special keyboard. When I switched on that keyboard, I could get all the shortcuts from the Mac to my iPhone.
One feature—that uniqueness—it’s what distracts you from risk
As designers of a product or service, we think it’s important to get a whole bunch of ideas across. We make sure we have a ton of new features or additional bits and pieces to our service. And that’s all fine and good, but not necessarily significant. What’s important is ONE. ONE factor—the new keyboard on TextExpander allowed me to become more productive on my phone—more than I’ve ever been. Does it make a difference if there are other features? Sure it does, but I’d happily pay for that ONE factor.
It's what Apple did when they wanted you to downgrade to MacBook Air
MacBook Air wasn’t really an “upgrade”, but in a funny way it was a bit of a downgrade. For those of us crazy people that use Macs, we already had our desktop iMacs, and we probably had a laptop. Lugging the laptop around was a bit of a pain, but hey, we’d manage. Then one fine day, ex-CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs stands on the stage at a Mac convention. In his hand, he has a yellow Manila envelope.
What’s in the envelope?
Who knows? A bunch of notes, a manual—but no, it’s a computer. At the time, the world’s lightest computer. And it fit inside a Manila envelope. What else could that computer do? Were there other risk factors in place? Sure there were. The moment you make a computer so thin and light, you have to end up sacrificing something or the other. But did the world care? No, they didn’t’—and the reason is clear. The uniqueness becomes the vital tool when you’re introducing a new product. It’s a potent form of distraction—away from the other elements of risk. After all, there are no testimonials in place, and while objections and risk-reversal could be part of the sale, it’s still the uniqueness that carries the day.
We pay far too much attention to a company brand
We assume—wrongly—that a client who loves your brand will buy almost anything if they’re a big fan of your product or services. In reality, every small tweak that’s made to a product or service turns it into a whole new offering. An offering that brings up risk all over again. Which is why we need to make sure we are clear what is unique about the product or service. The moment you can clearly state—and drive home your uniqueness in detail, the client is ready to make the leap and head for the upgrade.
Uniqueness. It’s what counts.
It reduces risk like nothing else!
Summary: So far we have covered
Let's move to: Part 3: How Pre-sell Dramatically Ramps Down Risk