This is one of those powerful, simple and ever-reliable sales techniques there is that I’ve only rarely heard marketers talk about.
Maybe it’s TOO simple. Maybe it’s too obvious.
On the other hand, in this day and age when selling has never been harder and the battle to get people’s attention has never been fiercer, it pays to use every edge you can.
It’s all about attention
To sell anybody anything, there’s one thing you absolutely must do. Every time. No exceptions.
You must capture – and hold – their attention.
What is attention?
It’s nothing more – or less – than focus now. In other words, you want your prospect to stop whatever else they’re doing and thinking about and focus on your message to the exclusion of everything else.
Now that I’ve described it this way, you’re probably beginning to get a sense of what a massive challenge this is.
How the heck do you do this?
Grabbing attention is what headlines are for and that’s why the ability to write powerful headlines is such an important and lucrative art. And headline writing is an art that can’t be taught or learned from a blog post.
But what can be learned quickly and easily – and applied fast – is how to use the power of the calendar.
Life is about TIME.
“A time to be born, a time to die. A time to reap, a time to sow…”
There’s a time you get up. A time you go to work. A time for your favorite show on TV.
Then there are days: The days you do work (“the work week”) and the days you don’t work (“the weekend”.)
Then there are special days: holidays and birthdays (yay!) and tax deadlines (boo!)
Everybody on earth, you included, pays close attention to the marks of the ongoing passing of time.
It’s so rooted in normal behavior that one of the diagnostic questions doctors ask when someone appears disoriented is “Do you know what day this is?” And if they can’t answer that: “Do you know what year it is?”
Obvious Adams and the calendar
Yesterday was an utterly unique day in human history.
One that never came before and will never be repeated.
On the western calendar, it was October 11, 2012. Or 10-11-12.
So what? you say. Who cares?
Well, if you have something to sell, you do…and it was a missed opportunity..and the purpose of this article is to make sure that you never miss an opportunity like this again.
Dates are gates…to attention
Soon, it’s going to be Halloween. The stores are already full of Halloween stuff which they’ll be able to sell for a premium…until November 1 at which point – thanks to the double-edge power of time – it all turns into overstock.
Then after Halloween, we’ll have Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, followed by New Years, followed by Valentines Day, followed by…well, you get the idea.
Every one of these days is an opportunity to catch your prospects’ attention by taking advantage of the “conversation already going on” in their heads.
For example, during Halloween time, everyone is already paying attention to everything Halloween. It’s a conversation that’s already going on. You don’t have to create it. You just have to harness it.
“But I’m not in the Halloween business…” I can hear some people whine.
True, but you are in the attention business. And anything you can use to link your message, your offer, your product, your company’s mission to the conversation of the day is fair game.
The Re-Activation principle
The Re-Activation principle deserves an article (maybe even a book) all to itself, but here it is in essence.
If you want to keep a customer, you must always be selling to your customer.
People get bored. They get distracted. They get led away and astray.
Your customers are no different and the best way to lose them is to ignore them and since your relationship is based on bringing them value, the best way to ignore them is to stop offering them new things. Do that and you’ll see your business fall off a cliff. (Maybe you already have.)
The best way to not suffer this fate is to take out the calendar and plan.
I’m not saying you have to hit every single holiday in the book (though department stores do this and they do just fine with it), but next time you’re stuck for a “reason why” to contact your customers and offer them something new and different, break out the calendar.
How to use your calendar to sell
The simplest way to sell by calendar is the “Sale Day.”
Halloween Sale, Thanksgiving Sale, Valentines Day Sale…you get the idea. Nothing original there, but again…Sears, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and countless retail stores have banked money on this idea year and year out for over 100 years.
Holidays are also a great day to give your customers something free – ideally something designed to lead to a sale but something inherently valuable in its own right.
Another smart use of the calendar is to know the individual birthdays of all your customers and acknowledge them in some way. (How do you find out their birthdays? You ask!)
Once you start thinking about it and studying all the businesses around you that are already using the calendar – sometimes brilliantly – the idea floodgates will open.
The principles are simple:
1. If you want to keep customers, you must re-activiate them continuously by offering them new things in new ways.
2. If you need a quick reason to contact your customers with an offer, a freebie or just a “hi, how ‘ya doing?”, the calendar will give you all the reasons why you could ever need.
OK, you can harness the existing days on the calendar, but how about owning your own day?
Some companies do this by marking their anniversaries, especially when a big one comes up (like ten or twenty fives years in business.)
But there’s nothing that says you can’t create a day out of whole cloth and declare it your own.
Do you have a Customer Appreciation Day? If not, it’s a very good idea to have one.
An even better idea is to make it an institution. Something that comes up on a specific date every year. One that rewards your customers with lots of goodies. One that they look forward to every year.
A powerful day and time you can own
Here’s another way to literally own a powerful day…a day that everyone will pay attention to…but one you don’t have to share with other businesses.
I’m a little shocked and amazed that no one has talked about this yet. Even Google searches on the topic seem to come up blank.
In just 60 days from today, we’re going to have one of the most remarkable days that can appear on a calendar and it will be a long, long time before we’ll have another one like it. So long that no one you is reading this now will be alive when it comes around again.
What am I talking about?
December 12, 2012
Also known as 12-12-12
Once we hit 2013, we can’t have another day like this until the next century. Think about it. There are only 12 months in a year so dates like 13-13-13 or 18-18-18 are out.
Since no one else appears to have woken up to this calendar oddity, chances are very good that you can own this date for your niche.
Not only that, why not go all the way? Open the doors on whatever you’re doing at 12:12 PM.
That would mean your event (a sale, a tele-seminar, whatever) would go off on 12-12-12 at 12:12 PM.
Maybe. Maybe not.
But two things for sure:
1. You’ll definitely catch people’s attention and
2. No one would forget the date and time you’re advertising
Now this trick alone is not enough to overcome a weak or vacuous offer, but if you do have something ready to come out of the box soon, you’ve got time enough to use this date and time.
How am I using it?
I thought you’d never ask 🙂
P.S. Seriously, use the calendar.
Here’s how I’m using it:
– Ken McCarthy
P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.
If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.