“Please Stop Writing Copy!”
“I’ve rung up almost a billion dollars in sales for clients from the Fortune 500 to fast-growing small businesses to direct response giants like Boardroom and Agora.
“Fresh Hot Pizza Delivered in 30 Minutes or Less, Guaranteed” was a fantastic USP in 1975.
In 2020, going to market with that is like pedaling a broken bicycle across 6 lanes of traffic on the Los Angeles 405 expressway.
If Last Year’s Hot Double Espresso is this year’s Sleeping Pill for Your Customers,
YOU need to Wake Up.
A new Sea Change in marketing has come.
Dear Marketing Professional:
2003-2010 was the Golden Age of Google. If you could attain a solid edge against everybody else on the Big G (which was not always terribly difficult for some time, especially in AdWords), you enjoyed buckets of traffic.
The world ate out of your hand. Everyone was playing on YOUR turf. Plug in your killer offer and here comes the dinero, spilling hundred dollar bills on your living room floor like a hacked ATM machine.
2011-2015 was the Golden Age of Social Media. If you could get better engagements, better targeting, more viral action especially on Facebook, you were King For The Day. Twist your offer around to get extra Social love, and you were picking up customers left and right.
2016-2019 is the age of the Killer Offer. And the death of what used to be “good enough” or even great.
Traffic is not enough. Likes and Shares are not enough. And few can afford large quantities of traffic anyway.
What will be shall not be what came before.
The earth is rapidly shifting under your feet, Part 1: Uber has reached critical mass and they are expanding RAPIDLY. Billions of dollars in their coffers. And while media attention focuses on battles with City Hall, good ol’ boys clubs and cab companies, the real story is: They’ve slashed prices so low, drivers are down to minimum wage and EVERYONE is taking Uber EVERYWHERE. It’s so cheap and so seductive, no sane person could NOT try it.
That is a KILLER offer.
The earth is rapidly shifting under your feet, Part 2: Jet.com, buttressed by over two hundred million dollars of Venture Capital (!!!) is clashing violently with Amazon, aiming to be the Costco of the Internet. For bulk purchases their prices will be HALF of Amazon’s. Like a sumptuously provisioned army, they can afford to journey years through dry desert without making a profit.
That, my friend, is a KILLER offer. Lethal.
NOTICE THAT WHILE FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, SOCIAL ETC. CERTAINLY PLAY A ROLE WITH UBER AND JET, Google and FB are not the tipping points. The real deal is Uber’s killer, utterly irresistible offer; Jet’s USP of suicidally low prices. If they need to tape twenty dollar bills to every order until 2019, that’s what they’ll do.
If it costs even less to Uber than to own a car (it often does), then why not hire a minimum wage chauffeur every day of the week? Plus the supply of Uber drivers is endless. If one wrecks his vehicle, he foots the bill to fix it and another Uber driver stands waiting in line.
If Jet is half Amazon’s price, Jet WILL get you to try it out. Especially if you’re a church, school or business.
It’s all in the OFFER.
“I’m a small business,” you say. “Uber and Jet are NOT relevant to me. You’re wasting my time telling me this stuff.”
WRONGO. This DOES affect you, down to your marrow. It affects you the same way FedEx overnight affected mail order catalogs 30 years ago. It instantly made it impossible for anyone to get away with “Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.” Just like McDonald’s made it unacceptable for bacon and eggs to take 35 minutes. Same as the web made Bulletin Boards obsolete.
Old-school “Dominos Pizza” USPs are as useless as soggy pizza boxes. 2016 is the age of the LETHAL USP. Uber and Jet and Amazon possess lethal USPs and they don’t give a flying rip if they put YOU out of business.
Most people don’t know why sales are down. They don’t know why finely-tuned sales messages are drowning in the deafening, inane, tribal music of social media.
You ask: “Why is selling to my customers like trying to revive a drunk with black coffee and a cold shower?” You puzzle. “Why are customers slouching with MORE apathy and indifference and boredom?”
You wonder: “Why am I hemorrhaging MORE and more cash on Google Ads, Facebook ads…and getting LESS traction? Why am I spinning my wheels?”
“Why am I pressing SEND on more emails and getting less clicks?”
“I sent TEN emails about that new promotion – including blaringly obvious deadline subject lines – and I just got off the phone with a guy who had no idea whatsoever that we even sell that!”
“Why does it seem like EVERYTHING is getting harder?”
You reason to yourself: “Hey wait a minute! I AM unique! Nobody else does quite what I do. I have a rock-solid guarantee. I have good copy on my website. I write decent ads. I split test. We engage with our customers on Social Media. We send out emails twice every week. We have good autoresponder sequences. We employ Perry’s ‘maze’ concept.”
You reassure yourself: “I have USP. My team went over that again four months ago.”
Right. And you know what?
You’re still sliding backwards.
Why? Because of OFFER inflation.
A farmer has a field full of tall ripe corn plants, but look close and you see the leaves are full of holes from locusts. Corn is sickly, dry and shriveled.
Heartbreak at harvest time. Hard winter ahead.
Great traffic cannot save a typical, ordinary ‘good enough’ USP. You MUST create a DEFINITIVE Selling Proposition. The locusts quietly chomp away at your USP and your identity, 24/7/365. There’s less left than you thought.
THAT is why sales are soft.
But that’s not all.
You also need to consider the 90/10 X-Factor.
Every marketer should read my book 80/20 Sales and Marketing. Some folks should memorize entire chapters. Yet for those who already embrace 80/20… more bad news.
2016 to 2019 is not 80/20. It’s 90/10.
(This can also be good news… VERY good news… depending on which side of the coin you’re on.)
TEN PERCENT of the marketers will get NINETY PERCENT of the money and traffic. It’s no longer 20% who get 80% of the traffic. It’s more unequal than that.
That means if you’re #4 or #5 in your market, you’re not even on the radar. You’re not even Yahoo or Bing. You’re Dogpile. Soup kitchen.
It means unless you’re at least #2 or #3, you might as well not even exist.
And it means if you’re #1, you’re going to crush everyone.
Remember that ABBA song “The Winner Takes It All”? That’s the song of this decade, baby. Welcome to 2016-2019. The winner most definitely is going to take it all.
There’s a chance it’s going to be you.
You do have a chance.
If you own a DEFINITIVE Selling Proposition, you stand a RESPECTABLE FIGHTING chance, a new lease on life. Because once again that “Unique” Selling Proposition is no longer enough.
In the old days, all you had to do was answer these four questions:
Why should I read or listen to you?
Why should I believe what you have to say?
Why should I do anything about what you’re offering?
Why should I act now?
Now you need to answer THESE questions:
Why should I relinquish my cell phone in the coatroom before entering, then devote my attention exclusively to you?
Do you have the street cred of a Hollywood demigod?
Why should I wake up tomorrow at 4:30am to stand in line and beg for what you’ve got?
Why should I pay double to get it right now instead of waiting until tomorrow morning?
That’s a DSP. Definitive Selling Proposition.
Current example of USP inflation:
The #1 elite marketing event of 2005 was Gary Bencivenga’s Bencivenga 100 event in Manhattan. A mile from Times Square. The USP: “Come hear the world’s best living copywriter for 3 days. This guy pulled down $500,000 from ONE direct mail piece.”
Gary got 100 people at $5000 list price to show up.
The #1 elite marketing event of 2014 was my Star Principle event with Richard Koch. The USP: “Come hear the fractional billionaire who made $100 million from ONE investment. Oh, and he’s worked 1-2 hours a day for the last 25 years.”
I got 80 people at $7500 list price to show up.
Gary and I reaped similar results from our efforts. Both audiences raved about the experience. But do you see the triple espresso demands on the USP in less than a decade’s time?
I don’t make up the rules. I just inform you what they are. And the rules are:
If you don’t transform your USP into a LETHAL USP, a Definitive Badass Diamond-Tipped Sawblade, then the grim reaper is heading your way.
Did I mention the economic turmoil which exacerbates any and all of these problems?
Will Greece and the Euro bite us all in the ass? Will they be the Balrog in Lord of the Rings, whose whip snaps up and drags Gandalf into the abyss, right after Gandalf thinks he took the beast completely out? How about the shuddering price of gold and the Chinese Stock Market? Is any of this gonna give us United States whiplash?
Joe Sugarman, founder of BluBlockers, was running his gadget outlet JS&A in the 1970’s. He said every time Jimmy Carter said something stupid, sales went down. So…will you be armed to weather the malaise and hopelessness that your customers may experience? You’ll need a superior USP to overcome that.
None of us can say what will happen. But what I can say is, you betta not stick your head in the sand. If there was ever a time to be wide awake and vigilant, the time is NOW.
Planet Perry members ARE gaining ground with Definitive, 2021-Proof Selling Propositions.
Charles started a nutrition business in the UK which uniquely blends both online and offline delivery, such that even in an impossibly, ferociously competitive market (choked with inane government regs), he’s growing at high double digits. His Star Principle scorecard is 165 (max is 200). He’s pulled this off without taking on a single investor. Goal: Sell his firm for nine figures.
Jeff has a tiny B2B software niche by the balls. He’s far and away the best choice and controls that market. Jeff says, “When you’re a human you can’t afford to lose one leg. When you’re a centipede, losing one leg is no big deal.” His feature set dramatically outstrips his closest competitor. That momentum started in late 2008 when he came to a 4-Man Intensive. It was right after the stock market crash and his market was drenched in blood.
Jeff was about to retreat, to batten down the hatches and try to ride out the recession. But I advised him: Jeff, put your six staff members on a plane and WOO every single potential customer with their in-person presence at every sales call (your competitor will try to save money by selling via Skype) and prove to them that without your software they’ll go bankrupt. He did, and pretty soon bankrupt CEOs were offering to sell him their companies.
His main market is not growing, but Jeff’s primary software company is the cash cow that is funding four other spinoffs. In the last decade Jeff has spent stretches living in his office… but at least once every three months now he’s hobnobbing with billionaires. He invests an insane amount of money in personal education, and it shows.
Roundtable member Rick made $900,000 in a single deal this year. Multiple deals on the table. He’s the ONLY guy in California who does what he does and people are literally dying to make their relatives Rick’s next client.
Roundtable member Nancy Slessenger was a struggling, wobbly HR consultant just a few years ago. Now she runs a staffing and hiring machine that sports the best guarantee in the business. While others could attempt to copy her marketing message, I’m not sure any can copy her process. Accelerating like a rocket.
Private Client Group member Jeffrey E. dominates the educational space for part of an entire profession. He routinely has suitors offering millions to buy his company. Not enough millions yet though. Solidly profitable and bridging the gap to the next chasm that competitors will find impossible to cross.
Private Client Group member David in Australia has harnessed the Network Effect. That’s when you generate a confluence of buyers and sellers, all operating within YOUR ecosystem, effectively giving you a monopoly. His is in Australia. He is parlaying this same monopoly into the United States as we speak.
Roundtable Member Patrick in Western Europe has three businesses, none of which occupy more than ten hours a week. Two mostly occupy one hour per week. He’s about to buy a million dollar home. His biggest complaint at our meetings is there’s not enough to do. I told him to find a cause that sets his pants on fire.
Roundtable Member Megan Macedo turned a major corner last fall and went from running a rather unexciting website development and consulting business, to being the #1 Queen of Be Yourself Marketing. She achieved that magical transition of creating a niche where none existed before, yet in the midst of pent-up demand. Her rates have tripled in the last 12 months. Her empire grows even as we speak. No one can imitate her.
All of these individuals share one thing in common: A Definitive, “90/10 Market Domination” Selling Proposition. A DSP that causes all others to sit up and take notice – and competitors to fear.
INTRODUCING: Definitive Sales Proposition (DSP)
The USP for the Age of Lethal Offers
What Uber, Jet, Apple, and the Planet Perry members mentioned above now possess can no longer be accurately described as a “USP” anymore.
We need new terminology.
That’s why I’m call this the “Definitive Sales Proposition” or “DSP”
What’s a DSP?
- A DSP is a multi-dimensional USP.
- A DSP is a USP uncovered using a 9-layered matrix.
- A DSP is USP with a “magic ingredient” that adds a defensibility component to your USP that cannot be constructed using fill-in-the-blank USP templates.
- A DSP is USP revealed through turning over every stone in your business to find competitive advantages that you didn’t know you had…or could have…before.
- A DSP is a thorough, systematic expansion of your USP, with tentacles that grow into deep roots…it requires work, but it’s the most vital work you’ll do this year…probably even this decade.
- A DSP not only TELLS your story but REDEFINES it to its core.
- A DSP makes your product fundamentally more alluring.
- A DSP never elicits a “SO WHAT?” response from your marketplace. No one can be indifferent to a true DSP. They either love you or hate you. (I got hate mail when I created my event with Richard Koch. Millionaires who were NOT fractional billionaires accused me of lying. Good. I dragged egos through the mud until I garnered their attention.)
- A DSP sharpens your message to a point of SPECIFICITY and SIMPLICITY that it pierces right through noise.
- A DSP is the ONLY thing your customer will rave about.
Do You Need a DSP?
You need a DSP if you’ve gone through the traditional USP steps and…
You’ve still got a USP that’s based solely on slight competitive advantages like your ability to haul in cheap traffic, your evangelistic ability to convert prospects, or your profitable pricing model.
Those advantages are awesome… but they are not long-term defensible…
The Story of the “Mattress Man, God of Traffic”
Years ago a guy used to come on my coaching calls. Was way back before everybody and his skunkworks had a Google AdWords account.
This guy knew AdWords better than anybody selling his product. He knew his SEO too.
He was a tiny traffic god of the early 21st Century.
And he did really well.
He bought them wholesale, bought traffic cheaper than anybody, and sold them for a decent profit.
Rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat.
Nothing differentiated him from anybody else in his market except a slight price and traffic advantage.
He was just a traffic Zeus.
And that was enough.
He killed it.
For a while.
Then, of course, everybody else figured out Google AdWords and SEO. His only advantage went poof. And he had to scrap his mattress business and go looking for another gig.
Not sure whatever became of him.
Hope he found a business in which he could develop a real USP.
- Traffic ain’t USP. No matter how good you are at attracting it.
- Conversion ain’t a USP. No matter how good you are at sweet-talking or even hypnotizing buyers.
- Economics ain’t a USP. No matter how attractive your pricing structures are.
All are subject to the winds of change.
All can flee like wild horses over the hills.
And leave you holding a warehouse full of mattresses you can’t sell.
Leave you wondering, “What happened? Why do I suddenly have to spend twice as much to halve my results?”
“Why are my customers no longer paying any attention to me?”
“Why is my advertising drowned out by a sea of mindless distractions?”
But a DSP?
Well, that transforms your cap-gun advantages in traffic, conversion, or economics into AK-47s.
In fact, a DSP unlocks hidden advantages in traffic, conversion and economics you didn’t even realize you had…and unleashes them on your unsuspecting competition.
You Need a DSP if…
Your product or service can be copycatted, duplicated or reverse engineered.
The mark of a true USP or DSP is DEFENSIBILITY.
Is your USP a defensible formula, method, experience, personality, or advantage?
You Need a DSP if…
Your current USP is based on your product or service.
(Experience-based USPs are much harder to crack.)
You Need a DSP if…
Your current USP is not based on radical simplicity.
You Need a DSP if…
- Your current USP based solely on tangible, “logical” advantages.
- You sell a complex, mature, complete solution.
- You sell in a space where competition is frenzy-level thick.
- You need a decisive way to cut through the clutter.
- Your customers still ask “What makes you guys different from the other guys?
- You’re getting your ass handed to you.
Bryan Todd and I have been helping marketers craft USPs for over 10 years.
Every single Planet Perry member who has been through our Bobsled Run has had hands-on help from me and Bryan.
USP is the starting point for everything we teach in that course.
You don’t move to step 2 until you bang out a solid USP.
I estimate, through Bobsled Run and his popular USP Breakthrough course, Bryan has helped over 500 entrepreneurs hammer out a daisho-sharp USP.
And now, we’re adding a deeper layer.
The DSP Layer.
This program is going to start with a major X-Factor that you must put in place before you even start wordsmithing and doing ‘normal USP stuff’.
In three coaching sessions, Bryan Todd and his team of USP experts take you through the 9-layer DSP Matrix.
Every single student will get hands-on help from a Professional Copywriter. You will leave with your USP clearly defined, outlined, positioned, and you’ll have supporting stories and evidence READY-TO-GO so you can either easily bang out a sales page or else hand it off to even a “B-Level” copywriter and get outstanding results.
In The Age of the Killer Offer, THIS is your #1 Job.
If You Slack Off and Leave it to Someone Else…You’re a Burnt Biscuit in a Smoking Oven.
Have you ever paid a lot of money to hire a professional copywriter? Ever waited breathlessly to get the copy? And when you got it was it…less than you expected?
Ever throw up that copy on your site and get back less than bank-breaking revenues?
Did you get a few vulturous opt-ins when you were expecting a flock of hungry buyers?
A few minnows swimming into your lead pool…but no whales?
Do you know why that happened?
(OK, sure, maybe the writer sucked. That’s always a possibility.)
But, more likely, you trusted the copywriter with THE job you should have done yourself.
A job only you can do well.
What were you asking the copywriter to do?
Hammer out your unique selling proposition.
Most people want someone to hand it to them on a silver platter. It’s not totally your fault (but it will be after you read this letter) because we all used to do it.
We used to do it because we used to be able to get away with it.
Back in ye olden days, before the Yelps and the Facebooks and the Twitters and the Amazons made it super easy to review products and services…
Well, back then, a slick word jockey had the chops to weave your USP-less sow’s ear into an order-sucking silk purse.
Not today, dear reader.
No million-dollar wordsmith can outsell 627 one-star reviews on Amazon.
Ain’t happening. Crumbling dry biscuits in an oven that’s been left unattended for six hours.
Here’s a copywriting secret for the Age of the Killer Offer: If you have a bionic, bullet-proof DSP, the copy writes itself.
You make your copywriter’s job about 100 times easier.
And your copy does pull like you want it to pull.
And you do boat the whales you hoped to harpoon.
So, you can keep paying all those genius copywriters, consultants, PPC experts, and all the other gurus out there more and more money for fewer and fewer results…
Or you can get a real DSP and drive your tentacles deep into the ground, deep into your customers’ psyche… where you really can answer those four wicked DSP questions with pride.
The age of the Domino’s Pizza USP is over. You can’t survive by scraping cheese off the box lid. Help yourself to some real Chicago deep-dish pizza… together with that Diamond Tipped Sawblade.
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