Dave Valentine, Serial Entrepreneur and business owner of companies mostly in the marketing space joins our host, Camela Thompson, in this episode of the Revenue Marketing Report. Dave shares his insights on how buyer behavior has evolved, a framework that people should use to think through their outrageous offer, and the online resources people should check out.
Let’s discuss how buyer behavior has evolved as different generations have been moving through the workforce.
Dave is a serial entrepreneur and maverick business owner. He owns a piece or an entirety of eight different companies and many of them are in the marketing space. He lives in the mountains on a river in the woods. As to how he manages to keep a tight grip over his business affairs, Dave says he has really good operators. He focuses on developing all the individual leaders of those companies. Dave always asks himself, how can I help the operators generate the revenue, balance the budgets, and lead their teams in a way that’s actually going to be helpful? That is what he devotes most of his time doing. Also, from time to time, Dave has to put on his firefighter hat to put out business fires.
Today, we are discussing why every marketer needs an outrageous offer. It’s actually very clickbait, but yet very true.There is a HubSpot survey that comes out each year and surveys 100,000 B2B marketers, 100,000 B2B sellers, and 100,000 buyers. When they talk to buyers, 88% of them say they prefer to be contacted via email, which is fascinating to me. I hear a lot of people complaining they always get hit up on email and it’s so annoying.
However, the reality is people are much more amiable. They’re much more open to being hit up by email than on the telephone, LinkedIn, or anywhere else. It’s really interesting because it feels like a light touch. So one of the things that we have really honed in on is, hey, where are the people’s eyeballs? At the start of this chat, Dave talked about how buyer behavior is evolving and how that’s tied to how generations are moving through the workforce, and what used to work doesn’t always work today.
“I was having this conversation with a VP of Sales a few months ago. He asked, why don’t you do any LinkedIn outreach for your SDR firm? I said, well, how many times do you check your LinkedIn each day? He answered, oh, I don’t check it every day. I check like once a week. I said, great! How many times do you check your email each day? He answered like 30 times. I said, bingo! Your eyeballs are in your inbox! That was like a mind shift for him.
“Part of the reason why the outrageous offer is so compelling is that we’re looking for some sort of certainty, especially if you are a millennial. All of our lives have been uncertain. We’ve had more major events happen in our generation that have really changed the landscape of the world than a generation has experienced for a hundred years. So for us, we actually want a guarantee. It’s one of the cornerstones of creating an outrageous offer. Can you give me some kind of certainty that this is actually going to work? Can you do something in return for generating results? If you can, I’m down to paying you handsomely for that. Therefore, a lot of times, people hear outrageous offers and they think, oh, I am going to just decrease my price. Actually, it is the opposite. Increase the price. Increase the value above that price. Then you’ve got a winning offer.”
My first foray into marketing was publishing a fiction book and discovering that only the most famous authors get any advertising dollars or help. But along those lines, I had to do a lot of research on what’s the right price point, and find that the lower the price a lot of the times, the lower the perceived value, whether that’s true or not. You really have to dial into what you’re giving people to justify the higher price point. But once you do that, they will be much more willing to participate and adopt that since that’s all of those $0 Kindle books or 99 cents books that sit on Kindle unread. It’s amazing.
One of the interesting things I’ve noticed and seen popping up more and more often and we even ran into this ourselves. I moved the sales team to a different domain but what I am seeing is plenty of these sales engagement tools, people don’t understand that email providers have gotten wiser to that loophole and they’re starting to penalize email senders who are sending very large volumes from their inboxes. So if you’re not going into the backend of that tool and really restricting the volume your domain deliverability is probably through the floor, which isn’t what we want. We want it through the roof, right?
Another thing I see causing problems is not verifying the emails are valid before you send them. You get a high bounce rate. Not creating the outrageous offer and sending them things that aren’t relevant and getting reported as spam. Dave talked about how he has seen this happening in the market and the other things that people should really think about before they set their salespeople loose.
“This is the thing that no one talks about, right? They’re saying I am going to do this in-house or I’m going to hire an outsourced SSTR firm. The game really changed when Russia invaded Ukraine. That tipped the scales for what happened. The reason why that occurred was as soon as that happened, every major corporation decided, we need to lock some stuff down. Cybersecurity needs to be elevated because Russia’s cyber attacks were happening in droves. And in addition to that, email service providers were concerned about this, that there were going to be all sorts of cyber attacks perpetrated on their email platforms to send bogus emails.”
I’m glad Dave brought that up since I wasn’t even thinking from that angle. It just makes so much sense because many of the effective attacks, I’m thinking things like ransomware, phishing, and all those things tend to happen on email. I was thinking more from the perspective of privacy laws and they’re finally figuring out that they need to catch up on the sales site. Interesting. Dave agrees.
“What is true though is if you’re using any sort of automation, email service provider platforms, they can all visibly see that. So if you are not doing one-to-one emails, if you aren’t a real person, they’re aware and you can’t hide anymore. Best practices, you got to slow down your senses. I highly recommend some platforms that give you visibility into your domain score. It’s vital. You’ve to set up the domains effectively. They’re setting up BIME on the backend. Setting up your D mark. All these little things that if you don’t know what these are, you can google that. They’re all little tasks that actually improve your deliverability and help you.
“However, one thing that we’ve seen in our software is we will be running, let’s say, 10 email aliases for a client every single month. Two of those will start to have a drastically reduced domain health. So we will put them back into an oven and then run them that way. One of the things that’s going to happen in March is Google isn’t going to allow you to do auto-warming of your inboxes anymore. It’s a game-changer. That’s a big deal. So whatever happens, it just means you have to innovate. One of the things that we’ve started to do is high-domain authority newsletters. CNN, NNS, PN, MSN, BBC, right? Any sort of news outlet. You can actually sign up for their newsletters. What do they do? They send you emails every single day to your inbox, showing that it’s real and you’re a real person. And it’s labor-intensive, but that’s the way you are going to have to do to get around it”
Fascinating! That’s really good to know since one of the strategies I deployed in my case is I didn’t have a lot of buy-in. Some people have the mentality that at-bats and equal chances equals more sales. And sometimes the opposite is very true and a more surgical approach can have far better results for the amount of effort you’re putting in. But if you don’t have buy-in into that, one of my strategies was warming up an additional domain or two and moving your sales teams over to that domain so your CEO can get an email in an inbox, a primary inbox, and your accounting team and customer success, etc. to show that actual humans are using those domains. That’s so interesting. Instead of mass warming maybe five domains at a time, we’re assigning a different domain to the sales team and encouraging them to subscribe to some different newsletters and then have a WOW! Dave concurs.
“Yeah. The whole game is changing so fast and I was actually surprised because right now, Google usually rolls out things they’re going to do and don’t give you three months. They’re saying we are going to roll this out on January 15th. The fact that they gave everyone so much time and so much of a heads-up means they’re keenly aware. They’re being used like this and for a long time what they did was make people abide by a year-long agreement to have their premium email subscription. Now they’re not doing that, they’re seeing a rise in this. The thing that’s fascinating to me is it’s going to separate the professionals from the amateurs because landing in inboxes is the game, right? If you can land in an inbox and you have a well-worded email and are straight to the point and you have got an outrageous offer, guess what? Everything is going to be fine. However, if you’re landing in spam, it doesn’t matter how good your marketing message is. It just doesn’t matter.”
We get so many emails every single day. And if they’re off base; I get emails every day, would you like to buy a list of people who are customers of X software? No, it’s not related to anything I did. That’s not a good approach, but we were talking about how buyer behavior has changed and we’re talking about the things we need to adjust to appeal to the current generation. The outrageous offer is part of that. But also how you structure your website, and how you think about writing your emails. All of these things are getting impacted. Dave went on to mention other ways he’s seeing the current buying process has changed.
“Harvard and Oxford did a study in 2007. They wanted to know how many touches it took for someone to have an experience with your brand that then allowed them to recall generally who you are and what you do. So in 2004, it had four touches. They did the same study in 2018 and it was then seventeen touches.
“So answering your question; most marketing sucks. When I say that, I mean it is not clear how much it is. We put pricing for all our services on all of our websites. You say, hey, I think I need what you guys are doing. Oh, fill out the form and we’ll have somebody to contact you. Just tell me the price upfront. If you are gating it, if you’re doing something like a French high-end restaurant where the price isn’t on the menu, you just assume what I have is seasonal. Come on guys, give me a ballpark. At least am I going to pay $10,000 for this solution or am I going to pay $100,000 for this?
“So give me something. I think that clarity and transparency are what we want, right? Therefore, if you can create simple messages, they will stick better. It’s one of the reasons why when we work with clients, we will take a case study that’s not an exaggeration. We got a 22-page case study reduced to a single sentence and put it in an email, and the client said there was no way that would work. And we booked them four meetings in the first two weeks of their campaign running and they asked, how the hell did you make that work? And it’s really interesting.
“My Chief Product Officer was recounting this story about a client that she was talking with recently and she said, we need to have an outrageous offer for you guys. And the client said I don’t want to do something that is going to cheapen our value. And she said, okay, what do you do? Do you offer any sort of money-back guarantee? We offer a money-back guarantee if we don’t hit these markers. And she said that’s an outrageous offer! You already have it.
“Therefore, what’s funny is a lot of these people already have this baked into their culture. They just aren’t using the language that it is an offer and they aren’t marketing that. They’re not putting that in their headline. Talk about how you’re awesome in your headline. And a lot of people aren’t doing that in multiple spots.
“I would say it is really hard to read the label of a wine bottle when you’re inside of it. And that’s how it is for many businesses, right? One of my favorite things to do is to compel the people that are leading our businesses to go sit in on sales calls. What do people ask for? If they can listen to those recordings, that’s fine too. When they ask for things, that should be a cue in your mind of something we should talk about. So one of the biggest questions that people have for SDR work from us is what happens if you don’t book any meetings? I say I’d give you your money back. Oh, yeah, we have got a minimum number of guaranteed meetings. We will work for free for 90 days. If someone misses it, we will give your money back prorated. They say, oh, well that just took away all fear and anxiety out of my body. I now feel like I can move forward with you! Awesome! Because that’s what people were asking for. So just figure out what you need in there to help get the results. It’s fascinating to me that people make business so hard and I also made business really hard for a long time.”
What is a framework people should use to think through their outrageous offer?
Dave discussed the framework people ought to use to think about how they develop an outrageous offer.
“It’s so interesting since people get so hung up on creating outrageous offers. You try to say, hey, listen, people do respond to offers. Let’s create one and the instinctive response is, we cannot do that! It’s going to lower the value of our brand! And I say, where did you get that idea from?
“Therefore, the framework is pretty easy. One, what’s the main thing? What do we need to ensure that we’re selling people a result and not a process upfront? We can talk about the process in the sales call. But upfront, we just want to talk about what’s the result, right? It’s not even necessarily the thing you’re selling. I have an SDR firm and am I actually selling meetings? No. I’m selling business growth. I own a flight school with my brother. Am I actually selling the instructor pilots and planes? No. I’m selling them a new career. I’m selling them a new hobby. Something they can do for fun, right? So you have to understand what the main thing is beforehand.
“Then the second thing is what sort of guarantees could you offer? Now this is where people pull away and get really upset. I can’t guarantee a thing. The client has so much to do with the success that we cannot guarantee anything. Exactly! You’re spot on. So what would you need in order to guarantee some sort of result? I’ll tell you what we do. We say, hey listen, for SDR firm, you need to have at least three case studies and be willing to have an outrageous offer at the start of your campaign. Then, every month after that, we need at least one new case study and another outrageous offer that we can pitch. If you give that to us, we’ll give you a minimum number of guaranteed meetings. And so it’s just being upfront with people about what you need for a conditional guarantee. Most of the people listening are going to need to create conditional guarantees. Unless you’re selling a tangible product or software, you’re probably not going to be able to give an unconditional guarantee.
“The third thing I do is ask, what are the objections that I always hear when you’re in sales calls? What are the objections you always get for saying no? What’s the reason why people aren’t saying yes? If you see the objections as opportunities, as a moment to say, hey, what could we do to make that work? One of the things we do with our PR firm is we hear all the time, what’s the return on PR? And so we say, listen, we’re going to guarantee it. Oh, okay, well now I don’t have to wonder what the ROI is, right?
“The other thing I always look for is asking myself, how can we reduce the time to get results? I’m always looking for, at the flight school, how fast can we get somebody a private pilot’s license? Because that’s where everyone starts, right? Therefore, could we get that done in 30 days so they feel like they’re getting a gold star really quickly? And the answer is yes. So if you can reduce the time to get the results, that’s going to help. I always answer, hey, we got to make getting started simple. Don’t make it complicated. I love Proposify for proposals for a number of reasons. We used them at my first company. One of the reasons why we use them is it’s a click and it signs it is done.
“Then we can have automation that goes out and then we also do physical, touch stuff. One of the things we’ve started doing when we get a new client is my Chief Product officer or I will shoot a video on our phone the same day saying, hey, we’re glad that you decided to become a client. We’re super excited to work with you. I took a look at your website and caught an idea of what you said. Happy holidays! I’m looking forward to meeting you next week! It’s totally changed the game for each client because they think, wow! The CPO, and the CEO, took time out of their day to show me some love! That’s kind of the way I go through creating these. And I will say I don’t always get it right the first time. I’ll create offers and they crush it. Therefore, that sort of depends. Sometimes, you have got to do a little experimentation.”
“Most companies already have a great offer and they’re just not thinking about that. That’s a selling point. that is the point we should lead with.”
Are there any online resources we can link in the show notes?
Dave shared some of the resources he would like people to check out.
“I teach people how to create these outrageous offers since sometimes, we can just get stuck. Therefore, I typically charge $5,000 to do a 60-minute session on this. However, for listeners to this podcast, I created an e-course and I’m giving it away for free. So you can go check it out at www.davevalentine.co for outrageous offers. It is like 40 minutes worth of content where I take you through each and every piece of the structure and help you create your own outrageous offers. It’s super helpful. Six out of my eight companies are doing seven figures. I acquired four companies this year. We got two out of four across the seven-figure mark this year. And I acquired one in April and launched the flight school in March. So it’s totally possible to use these to really get where you want to go.”
That’s reassuring to hear since so many people are struggling right now with the economy and how you can still have success. You just need to know how to become something people need to have instead of a nice to have. Therefore, bingo! I think the outrageous offer is part of that.
For more expert interviews and advice, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.