Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

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The most powerful triggers are covert triggers…triggers that you don’t think of when you see them…as being triggers….and yet, they turn out to be wired right into the drivers that run your behavior and brain.

Kevin Hogan on Marketing and Selling TriggersAfter playing at the Mirage Hotel (blackjack)… I thought about this for you…

When a player risks enough money per hand that the casino really wants them at the table, time spent in line for dinner is costly to the casino. Therefore, the casino will give you a “Line Pass”. A “line pass” lets you go to the front of the line. So I slid in front of about 150 or 200 people waiting to be seated.

At some casinos, if you consistently play more money at tables, you will get a special room key or VIP club card when you check in that will have a gold edge on it where you simply show the key and you go to the front of the line without having to ask for a line pass. You are a V.I.P. You are part of the exclusive “club”. Every casino that is run well takes care of their VIP’s.

Kevin Hogan on Marketing and Selling TriggersA VIP is someone the business anticipates will be profitable for them to have visit often. This is true whether the company is an airline, or a casino.

Every business has their VIP’s. Most businesses don’t treat them like VIP’s; and that is a huge mistake. All people have VIP’s in their life….but most don’t treat them like VIP’s.

At the Mirage I had flowers in the room with a greeting card on the bar when I walked into the Penthouse Suite. I thought they might be from elsewhere, but they were from the manager. That’s a nice touch. It’s part of “being” a V.I.P.

Here’s the thing:

EVERYONE wants to be a V.I.P.

You have a Facebook account. It lets you note who your best friends are. All the rest of your non-VIP friends are on the other list.

When we used to use MySpace as our place to connect, it was a daily occurrence that one person would write another and say, “Hey, how come I’m not in your ‘top friend’s’ list?”

Then the person, in the MySpace era, was stuck with a dilemma. There were like 8 or 16 slots for “best friends.” Let’s look at that picture for a minute. Say they had 8 best friends in their front page and they decide to add the one. Now there are nine and you have 7 other people that you COULD put on the front page as your TOP FRIENDS. Everyone sees that, of course, and realizes that you would rather have NO ONE than them…

Kevin Hogan on Marketing and Selling TriggersExclusivity.

And the message to the public that these other people aren’t…best…friends…

There was a wireless service that let you call your FIVE, for free. I’m not sure if they still do this, but I LOVED the commercials. In the commercial, a guy has another guy’s girlfriend in HIS top FIVE. (This will often cause short life expectancies in reality!)

So, the betrayed friend hears his girlfriend’s ring on his buddy’s phone and the guy says, “I really should get that” …and he walks away.

Talk about a POWERFUL commercial. You remember it.

And you get to talk to those five people as much as you want for no charge.

Those FIVE people belong to the guy’s EXCLUSIVE FIVE FRIENDS.

You want to be in those FIVE, so do I, so does everyone.

Have you ever walked into one of those trendy, high-end fashion boutiques? You know…the ones that have just three or four dresses on display in an enormous space that could easily house a car showroom?

Ever wonder why the stock is so limited? It’s not because there’s no room for it, or because the buyer couldn’t find more appealing products. It’s not because the store didn’t have enough money to stock up. The reason is exclusivity at work!

Here’s What YOU CAN DO:

Things YOU Can Do:

Kevin Hogan on Marketing and Selling TriggersLadies’ clothing is mass-produced, so displaying only one dress at a time gives it an air of exclusivity. (Think of how that same dress would look in a store on a rack with a hundred dresses just like it in all the different sizes.)

In a world where mass-production is the name of the game, an offer of exclusivity is especially appealing. Ms. Shopper thinks to herself, “There’s no other person in the world like me and no other dress in the world like this one. I must have it.”

When your marketing says, “This product/service is a limited edition,” consumers hear this:

“I’ll have something that other people won’t and they’ll envy me.”

So, Ms. Shopper and her equally exclusive-minded companion Mr. Shopper are easily won over with marketing phrases like these:

  • “Limited Edition”
  • “Limited Production”
  • “Limited Number Available”

Essentially, exclusivity puts a buyer in a “one up” position from everyone else, providing a big boost to the ego along with “bragging rights.” It can be used to market all kinds of products and services, from fine art to french fries.

Now don’t kid yourself — the Shoppers aren’t idiots. They’re aware of the difference between ready-to-wear and custom-designed apparel.

Intellectually, they know that the few pieces on display represent dozens of other garments in the back room. But despite what the Shoppers know intellectually…it’s how the exclusive ambience of the store makes them feel emotionally — that will drive their purchases.

We already know that positive emotions are the “big dogs” when it comes to motivating people to make a purchase. An exclusive offer gives buyers a tremendous jolt of “feel good” by making them part of the circle of five or whatever.

The concept of exclusivity is also extremely concrete. There’s no interpretation required, no need to figure out what it means. “Only 10 available” means exactly what it says,…except when it’s bogus and it all backfires.

You probably see the stuff advertised like, “20 seats left” or 18 “spaces remain so hurry” (what the hell is a space, anyway?) …or “only 31 copies of tthis EBOOK” remain. (huh?)

It’s pretty obvious it’s a ploy, and consumers HATE to be manipulated. Influence should cause a person to feel special or good or “saved” when they make a purchase. Not to feel like they have been conned.

Generally, the people and businesses who stick to their “limited to X…” do the best long-term. Short-term, people will believe anything. But LONG-TERM, consumers remembered. Make sure they remember that the price really DID go up after the early bird registration. Then they trust you forever.

“God Within…” The Enthusiasm Selling Trigger

Someone once said…

Money buys, but enthusiasm sells.

(I also like the one that says “Jesus Saves, But Moses Invests”.)

ANYWAY…ENTHUSIASM is rooted from the greek en-thus (in zeus)….god within.

That’s a pretty cool concept.

I don’t get fired up about a lot of stuff. When I do get fired up…seeing Paul McCartney at the Garden Arena at the MGM or Elton John at Caesar’s…then it runs through my body and I become…electric…and it’s something that is evident.

My 11-year old son was talking about McCartney with two of his friends here the other day. I was watching the concert tour on DVD while writing Coffee. They asked who I was watching.

He said to them, “You don’t KNOW who Paul McCartney is? Are you stupid? God…Dad, they…”

“It’s OK, son – their parents probably…” (and then I trail off realizing that my son is just like me and my mouth will have a foot in it shortly if I continue.)

The kid sees the concert on TV and he’s STILL disappointed that they didn’t put him on the DVD because he WAS on the screen in Minneapolis when he was standing on the chair next to me. You should have SEEN that face. You can’t BS that kind of enthusiasm. Thrill…

Enthusiasm SELLS.

Kevin Hogan on Marketing and Selling TriggersEnthusiasm is the process of transferring your excitement for your services to your prospects and clients. It’s that simple. That kid could sell a Nine Inch Nails or Marilyn Manson fan on McCartney.

If you can get your prospects as enthusiastic as you are, they’ll be eager to buy. And enthusiasm IS contagious…even for me.

In ancient Greece, smart people thought enthusiasm was a gift from the gods. And in today’s world, the same thing is true — people with enthusiasm have the special power to convince, motivate, and sell.

“One of the most distinctive features of a high producing club vs. a low producing club is the level of enthusiasm that the staff emits.” — Michael Fahey, Fitness Business Pro Magazine

Need more convincing about the power of enthusiasm?…

Dale Carnegie tells the story of a speaker who was promoting an idea that was absolutely and utterly ridiculous. Yet, at the end of the presentation, people were eager to “buy in” to what the speaker was selling. If the idea was absurd, what convinced the audience?

According to Carnegie: enthusiasm. The speaker was passionate and enthusiastic about his subject. As a result, more than half the audience never questioned his authority…they just bought his product.

Remember: Enthusiasm is Contagious.

If you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re selling, why should anyone else be? To the consumer, your enthusiasm reflects on your credibility.

Your enthusiasm is also a reflection of your real passion for your product or service. When you’re genuinely excited about something, it comes across naturally because…well, because it IS natural — honest, authentic enthusiasm that comes from the heart.

The FREE BONUS of Enthusiasm

At the end of the day, you’ll feel better selling something you believe in. So try to focus your work on products, services, and ideas you truly feel positive about. I STRONGLY encourage you to represent products that are filling a need, meeting a want, are “the best” or “very good” at the least. You’ll sleep at night and you will never have to fake it… (and guys hate it when it’s faked…)

And obviously, only sell to people who are very likely to get real benefit from what you sell, too. That way everyone is enthusiastic!

The Precision Selling Trigger

Kevin Hogan on Marketing and Selling TriggersI’ve written for over a decade about just how important precision is in the process of persuasion and selling.

“Double your sales,” sucks.

“Increase your sales by 17% or more,” is a LOT BETTER

PROBLEM: Like the exclusivity trigger, this trigger is being used by a lot of people to scam people. I saw an Internet ad that said, “I’ll show you how to make $489,724.44 in an hour.”

My response is, “String the guy up.”

Yes, there ARE people who will believe that especially when a photoshopped’ canceled check for a half million bucks is imaged below the claim.

They’ve taken a powerful tool for influence and persuasion and tainted it with false advertising (read lying…and lying bad.)

The courts have said that “puffery” is essentially fine. (Exaggerating a little about your product – but fraud isn’t.)

OK. I had to get that out…

A mental picture can stimulate the strong emotions that are the fertile soil for planting the “seeds” of buying.

However, while a picture in a museum or art gallery can be impressionistic, expressionistic, or cubist, the picture you “paint” with your marketing copy must be realistic…and, even more importantly, it must be specific.

“The surest way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is by being specific, definite and concrete.” — William Strunk and E.B. White

Being specific is the difference between creating a vague image with copy like……

“Joe’s Tomato-Field-in-a-Bucket”
Helps You Grow Lots of Tasty Tomatoes at Home”

…and the clear, emotionally compelling statement…

“Joe’s Tomato-Field-in-a-Bucket
With soil, easy-to-use support sticks, and tomato seedlings
that will produce pounds of ripe red fruit ready for the picking”

Specifics are more believable, compelling, and more likely to “close the deal”.

The Numbers Game

Studies have shown that people rated copy as more believable when the numbers used were “non-round.” (You know what it means to round up and round down, right? 17 rounds up to 20, 42 rounds down to 40, etc.)

For example, if you listed “14 Super-Tricks for Losing 20 lbs,” it gives the impression that someone actually studied the process and identified the fourteen best ways to drop pounds. In contrast, “10 Super-Tricks…,” sounds boring and somewhat pre-fab.

Kevin Hogan on Marketing and Selling TriggersKind of like, “A dozen doughnuts” or “a six-pack of soda”.

In a study done by the Wall Street Journal, the number seven (7) has been found to be the number that most people respond to. Talk about lucky! So, try to end your prices with a seven.

Winners and Losers

During a study for a hypothetical new brand of imported beer, it was noted that benefit statements such as these were unable to grab attention or interest:

“Our lager is a popular Bavarian beer”

“Our beer has great taste”

“This lager is affordable”

But, when the test marketers changed their statements from the general ones above to the specific ones below, they also changed consumers from extremely disinterested to positively captivated:

“Bavaria’s #1 selling beer since 1995”

“Consumers preferred our lager 5-to-1 over American beers and leading imports”

“Our Lager is affordably priced at $1.79 per six-pack of 12-oz. bottles”

Make A Date…And Make It Specific

Don’t say “Ending Soon”. Instead, say, “Ending on Monday, June 19th at 5PM” when you have a sale or special offer. You’ll see that just about every major opportunity I offer the public has a specific deadline and that there simply are no exceptions beyond that time. People know I’m serious and respond appropriately.

Afraid that people will stop buying after June 19th when the ‘deal’ has ended? There’s an easy solution to that…

The key to an expiration date is that it can (and should) continue to be changed as long as your marketing outreach is working. BUT the offer MUST be different in each case.

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Author of The Psychology of Persuasion, Irresistible Attraction, and The Science of Influence, Dr. Kevin Hogan is trusted by organizations, both large and small, to help them help their people reach their personal peak performance and maximize influence in selling and marketing. Kevin is an internationally admired keynote speaker and corporate thought leader. In Coffee with Kevin Hogan, he shares his research, observations, and how you can apply them in your life – both in business and at home.

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