Two Sword-in-the-Stone Secrets

My newest book, No B.S. Wealth Attraction in the New Economy, is all about making yourself magnetic to money, in part via different approaches to marketing. Here’s some insight into that process…

Last year, I bought a 1972 AMC Javelin. Not as an investment. Just to drive around during the summer. I already owned a ’63 Lincoln Town Car convertible. And I certainly didn’t need two summer cars. In fact, I had to rent a garage for the second one. Then this year, I bought Dean Martin’s 1986 Rolls-Royce, which has only 19,000 miles on it and is nearly showroom new.

It’s not that I haven’t been affected by the recession. There are some things I might have bought that I stopped myself from buying precisely because of that reality. But I bought those cars because I wanted them.

What does this have to do with you?

Plenty. Because it reveals two sword-in-the-stone secrets of marketing and selling that are especially important in tough times.

I call them “sword-in-the-stone” secrets because they bring to mind the Arthurian legend (or at least the Disney version of it). As you may recall, mighty knights, using muscle and brawn, could not pull Excalibur from the stone. Success required something different — and that came in the form of one young boy, pure of heart and strong of mind. Likewise, marketers who prospered during the boom by “pushing” products and services on anybody breathing now find that muscle doesn’t work. Something different is required to attract prospects, customers, and clients.

I’ll get to the two secrets in a minute. But first, a few words about money…

Whatever money is in circulation is always in motion, moving constantly from one person to another, attracted not by happenstance but for definitive reasons that can be managed. At the moment, some money is, admittedly, sitting on the sidelines — private capital on strike… money hiding in what one of my clients calls “coffee can portfolios.” Middle class spending has been reduced by restricted access to credit. Affluent spending has been reined in.

So, yes, there is a little less money in motion right now. But there is also a lot less competition for it.

Tens of thousands of retail stores closed in ’09, and that trend continued this year. Thousands if not tens of thousands of real estate agents, insurance salespeople, etc. have gone into hibernation. An even bigger number — in every business category — just aren’t trying. They believe it’s futile to invest in advertising their products and services because they deny the reality of money in motion. And the few times they’ve tried, they haven’t been able to budge the sword in the stone.

As a result, there is actually more money in motion for you right now than at any time in over a decade. And here are the two secrets you need to know to take advantage of that fact:

#1. No matter what, each and every individual will buy when what is offered is perfectly, precisely aligned with his greatest, highest, burning-brightest personal interest, desire, or need. He will buy without price resistance or hesitation.

#2. To prosper, you need only (a) align whatever you sell with your ideal prospects’ greatest, highest, burning-brightest personal interest and (b) invest in presenting your business only to those targeted individuals.

And a bonus secret. There are lots of people whose highest personal interest can match what you sell.

Important note: If you don’t have clarity about the “who” you want as a prospect or customer, you are playing “blind archery,” a fool’s game.

In order to be a good prospect, by my definition, a person must have a need or desire that he is urgently interested in and, preferably, seeking an answer to. He must also have the ability to buy my answer to it, at my price. I have other criteria specific to my businesses, and you should have other criteria specific to yours. But this one is universal and foundational.

That is why I bought the $30,000 Javelin and $70,000 Rolls-Royce but talked myself out of an $8,000 closet remodeling project we actually needed in one of our homes. The closet would have been bought had a salesman at any of the remodeling companies I checked into stopped yakking about their design awards, quality wood, guarantees, and deals, and discovered that I had a very important wedding anniversary coming up. Had that astute salesman then suggested that I surprise my wife with something unexpected inside a box wrapped to look like another piece of jewelry, I wouldn’t have thought twice before whipping out my checkbook.

If I were running a remodeling company, I’d get lists of affluent neighborhood residents and busy professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.). Most of these people have spouses and, thus, important birthdays or anniversaries that they would like to celebrate in a special way. So I would then send them persuasive sales letters saying something like “The gift she’ll appreciate every day. Flowers perish. Fine jewelry is worn occasionally, hidden away most of the time. But this gift…” (Yes, such lists are available.)

Taking advantage of these sword-in-the-stone secrets requires you to make yourself a much more sophisticated marketer. A choice. But know this: For the foreseeable future, you’re not going to be able to dislodge that sword with brute force. I’m all for working hard, but the cliche is true now more than ever: You have to work smarter.

Working smarter means repositioning and more creatively presenting what you sell in order to align it perfectly with the passionate, urgent interest of a group of reachable prospects, to the exclusion of all others. In other words, to be about something really meaningful to somebody.

[Ed. Note: Dan Kennedy is a multimillionaire serial entrepreneur, marketing strategist, strategic advisor, direct-response copywriter, and author of 14 business books, including his popular “No B.S.” series.]