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Marketing Mondays: The Value Bait

By Michael Zipursky

Sam told me a story the other day about one of his students that lives right on the waterfront.

To catch crab and prawns they go to their dock each day, find some mussels that have attached themselves to the rocks and dock.

They don’t eat the mussels…they crush them up, put them into a sock and then put that into their crab or prawn trap.

The crabs and prawns love it. And each time they do it they pull in a bounty of seafood.

That story made me think of a similar situation in marketing that is just as effective.

I’ve come to call it the Value Bait (Jay Abraham may have coined that term?).

The Value Bait is when you offer your clients or prospective clients something of huge value.

Maybe it’s a $500 1 on 1 consultation for only $99.

Let’s say that consultation costs you $250 in lost time (time you could spend with another client). You’d be crazy to offer that deal then, wouldn’t you?

Not exactly…

You offer this great value because you know that 75% of the time you do these consultations the client requests an additional service from you that is highly profitable for your business.

The Value Bait is your way of getting attention.

Generating leads. Opening clients’ minds to trying a new product or service that you offer.

Think about the landscaping company that offers to come and fertilize your lawn for $25. There’s no money to be made for them at that price.

However, they’re no fool. They have a list of additional services that they can perform for you to keep your lawn looking beautiful year round.

And now that they’ve got your attention and you’ve given their service a try, you’ve become more comfortable with them…and as a result are much more likely to purchase additional services from them.

Ca-ching! Ca-ching!

My friend, what’s your bait?


9 thoughts on “Marketing Mondays: The Value Bait

  1. Excellent post, Michael

    A few more thoughts if I may …

    Lead baiting is a bit of a science in its own right. Not rocket science but a science nevertheless.

    Consider your example of a $500 consultation for just $99. What if you charged $199 instead? Presumably you have fewer takers. Going the other way, what if you charged $49? You could probably expect a few more responses.

    But what if you offered the consultation for free? Intuitively, you’d expect even higher response, but it doesn’t always work that way. When it’s free, it is sometimes devalued by the audience who may see it only as a sales pitch.

    My point is that “lead baits” (I call them “offers”) can and should be tested.

    • Bob – that is correct and thanks for the comment! As with all marketing offers it’s always best to test and track them so you can optimize. Free offers are fine in some situations but you also need to be careful with the kind of prospect they attract (and that will be different for each market).

      Consultants need to develop a wide range of offers from free to high-end in order to truly develop a highly profitable revenue generating business.

  2. Dário Viegas says:

    Dear Miche

  3. Dário Viegas says:

    Dear Michael,

    I am a Civil Engineering Consultant. In Mozambique, the market is booming with lot’s of great opportunities for doing business. Unfortunately in the Market there are very large companies that started 20 years ago and only now other smaller consultants, like myself, are coming out.

    Most business are done with the Government for major contracts, Private work is almost monopolized by the larger companies which have gained trust and name in the Market for many years not leaving much space for small companies.

    I’ve tried many market strategies for gaining more clients but the Market is very small. People prefer to do things themselves instead of hiring consultants.

    How can i lay a bait, if the fish has already been caught??

    • Dario – that’s a great question and one I’ve heard before (so you’re not alone). Consider fishing in another pond or going after a different kind of fish altogether 😉

      If you’re competing against well-established company’s you must find a way to different your services and provide a stronger value proposition than your competitors. If you’re after Govt contracts and the Govt only buys from larger companies you may well have trouble gaining a foothold in that market. Which means you’ll need to align yourself with an already established player by adding value to their offerings, or focus on a different market or a different part of the industry.

  4. Jenna says:

    This is such great advise! I will put this together right away!!

  5. Steve says:

    Another way to compete with the bigger companies is to specialize. You can likely find a niche that isn’t big enough for the larger firms but that is plenty big for you. You might even be able to sub-contract through the bigger firms and take some of there more specialized work off their hands while they still get some revue form the job as well.

    • Definitely Steve. There are often such opportunities. Just make sure the market is going to be large enough for you to make a great income from and allow you to develop your brand as the go-to person.

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