"Jump Start Your Business Brain is focused on helping you discover, develop and identify ideas – ideas for new products, services, and businesses as well as ideas for advertising and marketing communication in support of your existing businesses."
Doug Hall enjoyed a tremendous amount of success with Proctor and Gamble as Marketing Master Inventor before starting his own business, the Canadian based Eureka! Ranch. He invented Merwyn, his computer model for processing scientific data to improve business development decisions. Hall and his team have been extremely successful helping large and small businesses succeed. The average American household uses an impressive 18 products or services they helped develop. In Jump Start Your Business Brain, he shares his formula for success to help small business owners and those who dream of owning a business. As he points out, the average start-up has a 10% to 25% chance of success. The average entrepreneur is extremely hardworking and might work 60 to 100 hours a week. The way to succeed is not to work harder but to work smarter. Following the well laid out plan in this book will increase your chance of success to about 50%. He backs that claim with lots of scientific data.
I decided to focus this summary on Real Reason to Believe, Hall’s Second Law of Marketing Physics. Its importance has increased with consumers and according to Hall; it will double your chances of closing a sale.
Real Reason to Believe is Key to Success
"Unfortunately, analysis also finds that only 20% of concepts offer a significant reason to believe. That leaves 80% that don’t. Is it a coincidence that about 80% of all new products and services fail?"
Hall explains business development as a synergy of concepts. The Target Audience (who) needs the Overt Benefit (what) they are convinced of the benefit by the Real Reason to Believe (how) and they evaluate their decision to buy on the Dramatic Difference (why) of the Overt Benefit and the Real Reason to Believe. What he is talking about in this quote is the failure of new businesses to convince potential customers they can deliver what they promise.
Customers are naturally skeptical. When you claim a benefit, they may want the reward but they may not believe it is worth the risk. We earn their trust when we convince them we can deliver the promise. Hall emphasizes the word “real” in Real Reason to Believe because it conveys honesty. Dishonesty in an offer can be perceived in a split second or even before you make an offer. Hall uses the example of a street vendor selling watches. They may look good and be priced low, but something tells you as you walk by that the offer is too good to be true.
So, how do we earn a customer’s trust? Read on to the GEM’s.
Clarify Your Promise and Deliver
"Real Reason to Believe is about credibility and trust. It’s built through clear, direct communication. It’s enhanced by a multitude of small acts that add or subtract from customers’ perceptions of your trustworthiness."
Hall explains that some of the ways a company communicates trustworthiness is through demonstrations, testimonials, explanations of how it works, and the credentials of the creator. Also, customers have more confidence in your company when they have an overall pleasant impression. Courteous service and clean buildings build credibility. Sometimes the small things are your greatest opportunity for building loyalty.
Hall compares credibility to a bank balance. “Every time you do what you say you’ll do, you add to your trust balance. Every time you overhype, overpromise or don’t do what you promise, your account decreases.” To a new customer, you start with a negative balance.
I have a membership to a gym. I workout just about every day even if I do not go to a gym and I joined because I was tired of my routine. The gym offered me an introductory package with training sessions. I had injured my shoulder a few weeks prior to joining, and I thought a couple of sessions might help. The benefit I was seeking was variety and instruction to prevent another injury. I was skeptical, but the salesperson gave me a clear, courteous explanation and offered a short-term commitment. This was an Overt Benefit and a Real Reason to Believe, but I was only half sold—they have to make good on the promise. What I got was more than I expected. My trainer taught me the right way to exercise, gave me variety, and continued to challenge me. He demonstrated a high degree of competency and trustworthiness by showing his knowledge but maintaining genuine humility. No one knows everything and overconfidence will diminish trust. Now over 75 weeks later I am still happy, and competitor’s lower prices or bigger promises do not tempt me because this gym has earned my trust.
Create Internet Credibility
"I advise clients that if they are offering your goods or services via the Internet, they need to triple their levels of credibility communications to achieve the same impact as classic physical retailers."
It is difficult to establish consumer confidence when the customer cannot see you in person. Hall says, “…the customer has to trust someone or something on the end of a phone line. With the Internet, it’s a phone line carrying a web page.” Ninety percent of Americans mistrust internet advertising, and television advertising did not score much better. Much of the problem is overstating benefits, which leaves consumers disappointed and even more skeptical of new products and companies. There are also all the well-publicized frauds and financial failures. Credibility is hard to establish.
The key to success here is to ensure all the communication with the customer supports the credibility of the Overt Benefit and the Real Reason to Believe. Throughout the book, Hall talks about matching benefits messages in all areas of your business and simplifying it so it’s very clear to the customer. Internet-based businesses need to be extra vigilant in this area. It can be difficult for customers to navigate and understand the information presented online. If they need to contact a customer service rep by phone that experience should be consistent, clear and simple or the customer’s confidence may be lost.
Hall suggests watching infomercials. As you watch write down the Overt Benefit and Real Reason to Believe. Then, list the elements, words, and visuals that communicate and support reasons to believe the benefit promised will be delivered. Try turning off the sound and observe how you can still see the benefits and the reason to believe. Compare that to a 30-second commercial. Ask yourself which product you are more likely to buy. As you practice conscious observation of advertising, you will gain a better understanding of how to communicate clearly using pictures and words that are focused, simple and direct. Be sure your message is not just consistent but also the straight truth.
I enjoyed this book. I was skeptical at first because the ideas come from data analysis. The companies I have worked for often collected and analyzed irrelevant information, focused on meaningless issues, and ignored the big problems. A large corporation can become locked in inefficiency. This is where a nimble entrepreneur has the advantage. An entrepreneur can try new ideas and quickly change plans that do not work. You will not find any meaningless data analysis or ineffective solutions in this book. This book helps you focus on exactly what is meaningful and relevant to your success.
Ask yourself the question I ask myself, “Do I have the time, money and energy not to optimize my plans?”