Do you know this quote by Warren Buffett?
“Observe the masses and do the opposite”
It’s a cute little sound bite, right?
How do you apply it to your business? How do you use that wisdom from the “Sage of Omaha” (Warren Buffet’s nickname)?
That’s what this blog will show you!
So, if you’d like to observe the masses (your competitors) and do the opposite… so you can make growth easy… then you’ll love this post.
Let’s get started…
I first heard the term “Non-Customers” in the book Blue Ocean Shift. This book gives lots of examples of companies that have enjoyed fast, easy growth by focusing on “non-customers”.
Companies that have changed the market landscape and our understanding of it, by making small changes to their product or service, and their customer communication.
Companies like Ford Motor Company, Comic Relief, and Penguin Books.
So, what are non-customers?
They are people that have a problem that you can solve… who do not think your product or service is right for them because of price, location, or a lack of knowledge.
Stop for a minute, and think about the problem that your product or service solves. Think about the full spectrum of customers that you could help.
Look at your current customers. Are they from one small niche? Are they the same customers that your competitors are chasing?
You see, the masses are all chasing the customers in your market. So, if you’re a restaurant in Huntingdon, they are chasing people that live in Huntingdon or an hour’s drive away.
If you're a charity, then you are chasing donors with guilt messages through door to door salesmen, email marketing or TV advertising. You hunt donors throughout the year… just like your competition.
If you chase the same customers as your competition, then you are all in a fist-fight trying to be the last man standing. But… can you punch harder than your competition? Do you have a bigger budget, a bigger team, or something else to force your way through?
When you compete over the same customers, growth is hard, and your only real differentiation is the story that you tell… something most businesses don't do!
So, your differentiation becomes who can close the hardest. Or who has the deepest pockets.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
When you attract the customers that your competitors ignore… the customers that are not yet in the market, (which is why they are called non-customers)… then you have a smooth road to fast growth.
Comic Relief changed the charity industry by observing the masses and doing the opposite.
The masses (their competitors) were trying to attract middle class and wealthy donors all year round with guilt messages.
In contrast, Comic Relief attracts all donors, from kids all the way through to the CEO of big companies, by having a day of fun once a year.
So, Comic Relief is different because it doesn’t use guilt messages. It doesn’t try to raise money all year. It doesn’t focus on the same customers as it’s competitors.
Comic Relief puts on an event one day year, and it appeals to non-customers by making the day fun.
What’s the bottom line?
In 1985, the year Comic Relief started, they raised more money than all their competitors combined.
In 2015, the 30thanniversary of the charity they raised, £99,418,83.
That’s what observing the masses and doing the opposite could do for your business.
Penguin Books was founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and his brothers Richard and John. Penguin revolutionized the publishing industry by selling high quality and cheap paperbacks.
Penguin sold paperbacks for 50% LESS than the price of a hardback. A move which attracted a lot of criticism, most notably from George Orwell who wrote…
“The Penguin Books are splendid value for sixpence, so splendid that if the other publishers had any sense they would combine against them and suppress them. It is, of course, a great mistake to imagine that cheap books are good for the book trade. Actually it is just the other way around. If you have, for instance, five shillings to spend and the normal price of a book is half-a-crown, you are quite likely to spend your whole five shillings on two books. But if books are sixpence each you are not going to buy ten of them, because you don’t want as many as ten; your saturation-point will have been reached long before that. Probably you will buy three sixpenny books and spend the rest of your five shillings on seats at the ‘movies’. Hence the cheaper the books become, the less money is spent on books. This is an advantage from the reader’s point of view and doesn’t hurt trade as a whole, but for the publisher, the compositor, the author and the bookseller it is a disaster.”
Orwell went on to write.
“In my capacity as reader I applaud the Penguin Books; in my capacity as writer I pronounce them anathema.”
George Orwell was terrified that Penguin’s move would leave him destitute as an author. What actually happened was the complete opposite!
You see, Penguin expanded the book market by reducing the price to the point where everyone could afford to buy books. 10 months after the company was launched, they had sold one million books!
Penguin attracted non-customers by reducing the price of a book by 50%. This made books affordable to the masses, and the masses happily bought them.
There are 2 examples from the past of big companies.
Where are the non-customer today that will pave the way for fast growth?
Let’s look at 2 examples…
The number one question that I have for every property investor is what made you think you could invest in property?
You see, virtually everyone that I know wants to invest in property… virtually everyone that I know believes that property is a proven path to wealth… and… virtually everyone that I know believes that property investment is the exclusive playground of the super-rich.
I believed that property investment was the exclusive playground of the rich until I met some investors.
The truth is that most people that invest in property have a lump sum of money handed to them either in the form of inheritance, a bonus, or redundancy. If they are smart, they get educated before they invest because they know that a fool and their money are easily parted.
Once they are in the property world, they realise that gravity doesn't exist. They realise that you can buy a house for free and you don't need your own money to invest in property. You need passion, drive, and education. With those 3 things, you can succeed beyond your wildest imagination.
You see, a professional property investor (in my opinion, this is not the dictionary definition) is not someone that invests their own money in property. A professional property investor is someone that invests with other people's money, so their success is limited only by the scale of their ambition.
Who are the customers?
Who are the non-customers?
The customers are those people that have a lump sum of cash to invest, and they would like to learn how to do it properly. And the people that already have a property portfolio that they want to grow.
These are the people that most property education companies are fighting over because these are the easiest to find, and the people that are most likely to buy. They are most likely to buy because they have a conscious need and the money to invest.
The non-customers are the millions of people that would like to invest in property but don’t believe they can!
The HUGE opportunity lies in attracting the crowd of non-believers and showing them that they can invest in property without their own money. That’s how you can grow the market and enjoy fast growth.
How do you do that? That’s what I’m going to show you in just a minute…
But first, I’d like to give you another example.
Every year, over 600,000 new business start in the UK!
That’s a huge number, right?
If you’re anything like me, your jaw just dropped to the floor. I couldn’t believe it when I first read it.
Unfortunately, between 60% to 90% of them fail in the first year!
Another jaw-dropping statistic, right?
Why do so many new businesses fail?
Because they don’t know how to find their ideal customer and make them feel good about buying.
The truth is that the entrepreneurial graveyard is filled with business owners that made superior products and were clueless about making the sale.
No one goes into business to become a salesman. They go into business because they have a passion to help people.
If you don’t know how to find your ideal customer and make them feel good about buying, then your days as a business owner will be short-lived.
That means there's a huge opportunity for someone like me, right? Yes, I can help 600,000 new customers every year.
This is how I can live my mission to prevent other business owners from suffering the same pain as I did when I lost my first business.
Who are the customers?
Who are the non-customers?
The customers are those business owners that know that marketing is key to growth and want to get better at it. These are the customers that have used Facebook Ads and Google AdWords in the past and want to hone their skills.
The non-customers are those business owners that were just like me in 2005. They are passionate, ambitious and chasing their tail trying to make the cash register ring. They are making calls, attending networking events and doing 10 other things that your friends (who are not entrepreneurs), tell you are a good idea.
The non-customers don’t really know what marketing is and they certainly haven’t heard about copywriting.
The HUGE opportunity lies in proving to these business owners that marketing does make the cash register ring and that when they get good at marketing, they will love their business because it gives them the income and lifestyle that they want.
To grab the attention of non-customers and to make them believe that this new opportunity is right for them, you must write a message that is specific to their level of awareness.
Gene Schwartz wrote about the 5 levels of customer awareness in his book Breakthrough Advertising.
The 5 levels of awareness are:
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
These are the people that are part of your community. They know who you are and how you can help them and they are just waiting for a deal or the right time and they will happily buy.
They are already in your community, so your job is to make them feel loved and heard, before they are ready to buy. Your job is to tell inspirational stories and demonstrate your expertise through free value content like blogs and videos.
These are people that are considering their options before making a choice. They know that they want a solution and aren’t sure if they want to buy your solution.
Imagine when it's time to upgrade your mobile phone. Do you buy the newest iPhone because you are an Apple fan? Or do you compare the price and features of many manufacturers?
What will tip the scales in your favour? Trust! If the customer believes that you can deliver on your promise, then they will buy. So use testimonials to prove that you can deliver.
These are people that know the result that they want. This could be to lose weight.
They don’t know the best way to achieve their result. Do they eat less? Do they change their diet? Do they join a gym? Do they do all three?
This is the first level of non-customers. To make them feel good about buying you first need to convince them that your solution will work better for them than anything else. Then you have to show them why they should trust you. How do you do that simply and elegantly? By telling your inspirational personal story!
These are people that know they have a problem and don’t know that a solution exists.
This could be someone that’s just inherited some money and wants to invest in property and doesn’t know that there are a number of education companies that can show him how to buy multiple properties with one deposit.
They know they have a problem because something has changed in their life (such as receiving an inheritance) and they don’t know what to do next.
This is a big source of non-customers.
You’ve got more persuading to do if you want to work with them because you have to sell 3 things.
These are people that don’t know they have a problem so aren’t looking for a solution.
These are the people that would like to invest in property if they had the money. These people do not know a solution exists and are not looking for one because they don’t believe they can invest in property without their own money.
This is the biggest source of non-customers!
It’s also the hardest to attract.
Because they are not looking for your solution. And most messages are likely to scare them away.
How do you attract non-customers? With…
The way to attract non-customers is by understanding their needs and wants and then writing stories that lead through to get what they want as the conclusion or happy ending.
How does the character in the story achieve that happy ending? With your product or service.
If you’ve been in your non-customer’s shoes, then you can tell true inspirational stories. My story is not so great because I lost my business, something the reader wants to avoid. And the moral of the story is that I’ve found the secret to make the cash register ring in any market for any product… and I’d like to give this to them so they can avoid the pain that went through.
So, what does my story really show?
There are all sorts of stories that I can tell about the thrill of watching a business grow and the pain of watching it slowly die, and being powerless to do anything about it. These are the stories that will attract the business owners that want to grow their business.
What do you do if your story does not match that of your non-customer?
You tell the story of someone you’ve helped!
If someone you have helped has gone through the same journey as your non-customer. If they have jumped through the fire hoop of their own skepticism and doubt, then you must tell that story because that will inspire your non-customer to change their life. That’s the story that leads to fast and easy growth.
Don’t believe me?
Then let me tell you about…
Martin Conroy wrote a sales letter for The Wall Street Journal. This sales letter ran for 25 years and pulled in 2 billion dollars!
Yes! That’s a B for billion!
Here’s how the letter starts:
On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both – as young college graduates are – were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.
Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25threunion.
They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.
But there was a difference. One of the men was a manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.
Notice that there is no mention of the product at all at this stage. There is just a story to pull the reader in. The story is to make the reader see that he’s just like these characters.
How is the reader like the characters in the story? A graduate. A parent. Happily married. Managerial job.
These are all Egoic Labels – badges that your ideal customer gives himself and wears with pride. Badges that he would fight over if you tried to take them away.
I'm a proud father, and I would fight tooth and nail if you told me that I wasn't.
The use of Egoic Labels pulls in the perfect customer in the same way that their name does. You obviously don't know their name, and you want to pull in multiple John and Mary's which is why you must use Egoic Labels.
The 2 billion dollar sales letter goes on to ask and answer the question on the reader’s mind.
What made the difference?
This is what leads into why they should read The Wall Street Journal if they want to get ahead in life.
If you want to grow your business with ease because you aren’t fighting a bloody battle with your competitors, then you must focus on the non-customers in your market. The customers that want your solution but don’t know or believe it is right for them.
To attract these customers, you've got to pull them into your message with an inspiring story that makes them believe that they can change their life.
You will need to educate your non-customer over time because changing their believes so dramatically is unlikely to happen after they watch one video or read one blog post.
The story you tell pulls them into your world. The education that you give them keeps them there until they are ready to work with you further.
When you aren’t fighting a bloody battle with your competitors, you can attract non-customers for a lot less because there is no competition. You can also build a community of non-customers quickly because there is so many of them.
So if you’d like to grow your business quickly and easily with zero risk… then you must look to attract the huge market of non-customers. You can still battle it out with your competitors fighting over the same customers until you have proven that you can grow the market and your business with non-customers.
To build a community of non-customers, you must first identify them. Think of the badges that these people have given themselves, such as proud father.
Then get clear on the reason why they are not customers. Is it because of a false belief as it is with people that want to invest in property?
If the reason why these non-customers cannot buy is because they are priced out of the market then can you sell a cheaper version of your product that will attract these non-customers and expand the market in the same way that Penguin Books did?
Once you can identify your non-customers and you know the reason why they aren't buyers, look for the stories you can tell that will pull them into your world. The stories can be yours, or they can be success stories from the people you have helped. The important thing is that the reader can see himself in the hero of the story.
If this has given you an aha and showed you how you can grow your business with ease, then please leave a comment below.
If this can help someone you know, then please email this to them.
Until next time…
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Roland Eva is a copywriter and marketing trainer, mentor and consultant.
For the last 5 years, Roland has helped authors, coaches, mentors, and trainers in the property, technology, finance, personal development, and business opportunity markets to fill seminars and sell high-end programs ranging from £1,000 to £6,000 by telling true stories that inspire people to change their lives. Many campaigns have made over £500,000 in just 9 days.
Roland’s marketing journey began when he lost his first business, a photography and graphic design studio. The pain of watching his business slowly die, motivated him to discover a proven system to find your ideal customer, earn their trust and make them feel good about buying.
Today Roland’s mission is to prevent every business owner from suffering through the same pain as he did. Roland wants to take entrepreneurs on the ecstatic ride that comes with having a proven system to turn leads into happy paying customers. Roland helps entrepreneurs in 3 different ways:
To contact Roland, please email him on: Roland.Eva@RolandEva.co.uk