Your big deal is no big deal

An ad come on the radio the other day and I was struck by how often they emphasized that they offered a free consultation.  Yes, absolutely free.  No strings attached.   Yours for the asking.  You know what I thought to myself?  Duh.

Lonely_1 Who doesn’t offer that?  We can call it a free initial consultation, obligation free quote or a no risk trial but it all boils down to the same thing.  And since everyone does it, it seems silly and self-serving to make such a big deal about it. 

If that’s the only thing you have to offer or spotlight, you need to go back to the drawing board.    That’s not an offer that is significant enough to make someone raise their hand and say they want to buy.  That’s just the price of admission.

Pull out your brochures, web copy, radio scripts or whatever communication tools you use to sell.  Circle any of these phrases that you find:

* Free consultation
* Free initial visit
* No risk trial
* Obligation free quote/meeting
* Money back guarantee
* Convenient hours
* Guaranteed 100% satisfaction

Are these important elements of your offering?  Sure.  Should they be bolded, highlighted and put in the center?  No.  They are givens.  It’s the bare minimum of what people expect.  Does including some of this language reassure your audience?  Maybe but if they need that reassurance, you’ve still got a lot of work ahead of you.

If you can’t find it within yourself to stop including this language, be sure it’s in the background, not front and center.  In the meantime, start to figure out all the reasons why someone should be tripping over themselves to get to you, not all the ways they can weasel out if they’re unhappy.

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6 comments on “Your big deal is no big deal

  1. Lewis Green says:

    Drew,

    Thank you for the reminder. None of the phrases you mentioned make us special or differentiate our businesses. Good post!

  2. This is an excellent point Drew. Things that were once considered to be a good deal or a bonus are now expected. If you don’t assume that your potential customers expect it, you’re in a very backwards and lost place.

    The rules have changed – cliché yes, but true. Value is no longer dictated by the marketer, it’s dictated by the customer. The key is to highlight and build off that authentic value.

    Well that’s my $0.02, anyway 🙂

  3. Lewis,

    I sort of think of these phrases as lazy copywriting. They’re so familiar that people just gravitate to them without taking the time to actually think from the consumer’s point of view.

    Glad you stopped by!

    Drew

  4. Hey Tony,

    You are so right — the world of marketing has changed as the “power” has shifted.

    Consumers don’t want to be snowed or over hyped. They want authentic. Which means cliches aren’t going to cut it any more.

    Your 2 cents is worth a few bucks!

    Drew

  5. I’ll play devil’s advocate here anf tell you why those cliches are still important.

    #1 – You’d be surprised, especially in the B2B world where I ply for trade how many clients DON’T offer the consumer-modeled offer sweeteners. I spend a lot of time trying to convince clients to try it, you’ll like it.

    #2 – As I said in #1, these are offer sweeteners, not the offer itself. They’re designed to get the fence sitter off the fence – they’ll never convince the prospect who had me at “No way.”

    I tell my clients and copywriting students. You don’t have to get them to “yes”, just get them to “maybe” or “sure, why not?”

    #3 – Use them as the offer itself and that’s flabby marketing and copywriting at its finest. The best offers reflect the promotion’s promise.

  6. Roberta,

    I’m not so sure we disagree. I’m not saying you shouldn’t spotlight the offer. But if the offer is a free estimate — come on. If we can’t come up with a better reason for them to pick up the phone — we’ve got trouble.

    Using the tired old cliches simply means, in my opinion, that you sound a little like Charlie Brown’s teacher to the consumer. They’ve heard it so many times, they don’t even hear it any more.

    I think people are so immune to hype — we become invisible when we over use it.

    Most of our work is in the B2B world too…so I know from wence you speak. It’s an adventure, eh?

    Drew

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