In various situations I have spent money on consultancy, marketing, advertising etc. Sometimes it worked out well and sometimes less so. Mea culpa. I am a grown up and I stand or fall on the decisions I make in life and in business. Same for you no doubt.
But in the myriad of offers, cold calls and sales pitches here is one thing that always kind of bugged me – no matter the solution – or medium, the thrust of the conversation was this…
“We will help your company grow because we will make your business leaner/better/faster/stronger” Or “If you spend your advertising budget with us, money will rain in from the heavens – you will need to beat customers off with a big stick – women will want to be with you and men will want to be you “
OK maybe I am overstating it – but broadly “give me your money and you will get a result” was the general idea and consequent commercial terms.
So whether the solution or marketing idea worked here was one thing that was certain – they were getting paid. I never met the advertising sales guy who said “Listen Barry, if you commit all your spend to us and you don’t see a return on your money, then you don’t pay us a penny” Or the consultant who told me “I’ll come in and put this stuff in place – once you see the benefit then you can pay me” Where were those guys?
I know taken to extremes this would mean that your local car dealer would let you take a new car off the forecourt free and then only ask for payment when you decided that it was absolutely right for you. But for most businesses there is a way they can do this risk reversal – it’s why when I have my consultancy hat on or broker a joint venture deal I do cut an invoice until my client has cash in the bank – with my web business www.outbox4.com – we stopped charging companies for new sites. Instead we said – let’s do it for free and then work together to get the site ranking and visible to your target audience. Once this is achieved we can talk future path.
How do you think this is perceived? The uptake rate is about 90% (there will always be a few who think something is too good to be true). This approach means that we can turn our new business flow on like a tap. Obviously we need to be measured about what we take on in order to ensure we deliver what we say we will to those we have committed to, but I can’t think of anything else that makes it so easy to open up new conversation with people.
You know your own business better than I ever will – but if you absolutely had to, is there a way you could introduce risk reversal to your customers or at least some kind of joint venture where you both had some skin in the game? If you can it could have a profound effect on how clients perceive you. This trust and instant credibility will mark you out from everyone else.