How Well Do You Know Your Competition? Part 2

We’ve done the research on our keyword, and opened up the competition’s sites to compare their offers. These sites have a wealth of information that we can use to test and tweak our own offer.

When you find something on a competitor’s page that you don’t have, test it against your offer. If it increases response, keep it. If not, discard it. You are using the current market place offers to create a test battery of these elements:

  • images
  • offers
  • price scenarios
  • calls to action
  • bonuses
  • lay out
  • emotional appeal
  • headlines
  • storylines
  • deliverability options
  • service options
  • upsell
  • downsells
  • shipping options
  • site searchability
  • usability
  • color schemes
  • navigation
  • e-mail capture mechanisms
  • free report offerings
  • form layout
  • communication formats
  • telephone display
  • product layout
  • descriptions of product
  • buttons
  • button size

 

If you can see an element on the page, it is something for you to evaluate and possibly test.

There is no reason to ever run out of things to test if you are in a market that has at least a fair amount of competition. By using this thinking and methodology, you will know more about your customer, the competiton and the market.

To learn more on conversion, testing and tracking, visit SEO Rainmaker.

How Well Do You Know Your Competition? Part 1

Did you know that you are competing against McDonald’s every day? McDonald’s is a process-driven organization. Their goal is to give you the same experience each and every time you visit a McDonald’s, no matter where it is. The hamburger, fries and the experience will be exactly the same as it was the last time you were in the store.

That sets up an expectation in the customer’s mind that your business will be like a McDonald’s, meaning your service and delivery will be process-oriented and consistently meet expectations the first time. If they are a new customer, they have no experience with you; however, they do have experience with the rest of the world and the offers that they are providing. You need to know what offers they are exposed to and what their expectation for service and deliverability.

What can you do to make sure that you offer is not only competitive in the marketplace but superior to the current marketplace offerings? You just have to look.

You can see all of your competitors’ offers. There is no hiding. You can see and do all your competitive analysis within a few minutes of research online.

Here are the steps:

Create your PPC campaign and find the keywords that convert consistently.

Type a keyword into the search engine that you’re advertising on. The top ten websites are your informational and offer competitors, and your SEO competitors.

Next, open all of the pay-per-click ads that are related to that keyword and print out the associated landing pages. These are your lead capture and conversion-to-sale offers.

Now compare and find the common offers that the visitor will see as he or she moves in the marketplace looking for the products and services related to that keyword conversation.

To learn more on conversion, testing and tracking, visit SEO Rainmaker.

Trust in the SEO Market

While I have not verified any of this information (as I never used the product that is referenced here), the point isn’t that the story is true or not, but that trust must be deep and you must be sharp.

While attending Webmaster World in Las Vegas in 2006 I finally got to speak uninterrupted to a top affiliate that I had chasing down the last few years. He shared something that he did, that while extremely unethical, it is a strong reminder that trust goes beyond your words. It is verifying the information you are given.

He is an affiliate, a good one. He markets a product that is highly competitive. He wouldn’t tell me which product but that it was on the same level as viagra in terms of payout and competition. 

There was a software application which I will refer to as "PRODUCT A". Now, "PRODUCT A" was real good at generating a massive number of pages, including AdSense code, and getting the pages spidered by Google. The result? Lots of five figure AdSense checks for nearly any webmaster who used the software correctly.

Google’s response?

They systematically banned any site using the system (due to a "footprint" code left by PRODUCT A on every page it generated). Because of this sweeping ban, the affiliate and his partners had an idea.

They set up multiple "dummy" SEO companies around the country. Ordered cell phones in the local area and put up web sites. They then contacted their main competitors and posed as "SEOs" and offered to do SEO on the unsuspecting owner’s site without a setup cost, just a piece of the increase in sales. They shared their research of the market, dazzled them with analysis, and gained trust by showing areas in the market that had not been exploited. Each major competitor signed on, and gave them full FTP access.

No background check. No verification on how long they had been in business. No reference check. Nothing.

What did they do with their new found trust? They went into each site and uploaded the "footprint" code from PRODUCT A into the main pages. It took about a month or so, and one by one, each competitor’s entire site was deindexed and banned by Google. As soon as the first site dropped, they shut down their fictitious websites, cancelled the cell phones and just disappeared.

The result? Even a year after this was done, the competitor’s sites are still banned and the "offenders" are enjoying top listings for their major keyword phrases. The competitor’s are regulated to using AdWords, and spending thousands per day to keep their businesses running.

His reaction? No remorse. And lots of gloating.

Don’t let this happen to you or your client.

Right now, sit down and make a list of everyone who has FTP access to your servers. Who inside your company and who outside? Write them down. All of them. If there are individuals that you question their trust, you might be best served restricting their access. State there has been an "elevated threat level" on the server … hey, it works at the airport. If you are the owner of your business, your first responsibility is to the data to ensure it is safe. If your business counts on Google for the bulk of your traffic, you better have full trust with all the people who have access to your server. You don’t want to suffer the fate of those companies mentioned above.

If you do SEO work for clients, call them one by one, and ask them the same. This would also be a good time to remind them of the business relationship that you have together, the trust, the bond, etc. Thank them for their business and their trust and reemphasize that you will never violate that sacred trust because you value their business. Make an appointment to discuss with them their goals for the next six months so you can make sure the SEO strategy that was put into place months or years ago can fulfill those goals.

Here are other areas you can hit to ensure you are meeting your client’s expectations. If you don’t take clients, look to see if you are meeting these areas too.

Do you prefer to work with Organic Search or Paid Search?
With the massive changes in the way that the SERPs are displayed, if you are an "organic only" shop and you service clients, you could be out of business in the near future. With more paid search results displaying at the top of the results, local results and Google Desktop results, is forcing the organic listings further down the page. Because of this, the demand for top organic listings is dropping quickly based on survey results.

So, ensure that you are offering both services, as doing paid search is really an extension of organic search. Remember, if you have a #1 ranking in the organic listings, it is still a smart plan to also have a listing in the paid results area. Even if the client resists, the test results that I have show that a top listing in the organic area as well as the paid area increases the click through rate AND the conversion rate. The reason is that the "recognizability" of the domain is heightened and trust is built before they even getting to your site. The thought is, "Wow, this company is here multiple times, they must be good." Bam. Click and conversion.

Both Google and Yahoo! offer services to "certify" you in their Paid Search programs, which will greatly enhance your trust with your current clients and prospects. Get them.

How extensively do you sharpen your skills as a keyword researcher?
Many SEOs have lost their ability to focus on the RIGHT keyword phrases for their client’s campaigns. Do you first test your keywords in PPC to ensure they will convert before starting that big organic campaign? If you don’t, you could end up with a #1 ranking for a keyword that doesn’t convert. The happiness your client has will be short-lived with a worthless #1 listing when they ask why no one is buying their product.

Focus on the keywords that will drive buyers, not just traffic. You can ask your client what they would prefer: a ton of traffic with a few sales, or average traffic and a lot of sales. It is clear what they want. Make that cash register ring and you will be the "Rainmaker" for your client.

The best way to do this is to spend time each week expanding your skills as a keyword researcher. Scrape the keywords from competitors, analyze them, use new tools, use old tools in new ways, etc. Shake things up and expand your knowledge. Do you see a trend here? Most "seasoned" SEOs are "stuck in a rut" when it comes to keyword research and they miss the best keywords because of it. Don’t let this happen to you.

Do you track conversions at the keyword level?
It is said that 50% of all advertising is wasted. The trouble is, you don’t know which 50% it was. That is until now. With PPC, you can know that information, you just have to track at the keyword level. All that means is inserting a tracking code on the order page, so you know exactly which keywords are driving sales. Knowing this allows you to make key changes to the PPC / organic campaigns or to the landing pages themselves.

For example, if a keyword phrase gets 500 clicks a day, but is only producing 2 sales, that is a keyword that should be dropped. Conversely, a keyword that gets 70 clicks a day and also produces 2 sales is one that should have its campaign aggressively increased. By getting rid of the under performers and pushing hard on the converting keywords, your overall spend may be the same, but your conversions could go up as much as 50%. And that is something your client will smile over.

If your client tells you that their current eCommerce solution does not have the ability to track at the keyword level, tell them they need a new solution or get on the phone with their provider and tell them what they need and why. There is no reason that you can’t track at the keyword level. By not doing this your marketing campaign is just guess work, and that isn’t a smart way to do business.

How are you measuring results?
If you are measuring results based on ranking, you are living in the dark ages. Results are unique visits, returning visits, page views, and sales. Period. These are the results that your client wants to see. Change your approach to one that they can understand, and they will thank you for it. Here is an example:

"Anna, let me go over the figures for your site last month. Your unique visits increased 13% over the previous month due to better overall rankings that we achieved for you in Google thanks to those links I suggested that you buy. Your returning visits increased 27% in part to the autoresponder we helped you install … and your sales increased by 12% over last month based on our marketing plan and the great job of your staff. Keep it up and we expect more of the same next month."

Each section you discuss the increase or decrease and the reason for it. If it increases, usually the plan is "stick with what we are doing" whereas if it goes down, state what you propose, and make it clear and easy to understand with any additional costs discussed and agreed to. If there are two options, have them printed on paper – one per page with large type and an action plan for each and let them choose. Honestly, they will love this approach over the "keyword rank report" (which you can still supply if you wish), but you review the real numbers. The numbers that matter to them which is usually the difference between profit and loss. And they will smile each month when they write you your maintenance check.

Do you offer copy writing services?
Good PPC campaigns need good copy writing. I bet there is an english major waiting tables in some local coffee shop that would love to have a job as a writer. Not everyone is a good copywriter, but you never know where you will find the next great writer. A good copywriter is invaluable and your client will love it if you offer this service, but don’t try and do it on your own. Your other parts of your business will greatly suffer.

How much are you focused on link building that matters?
Are you after quantity or quality? Are the links you are getting driving traffic? Are you not focused on paid links because you are nervous about the "Wrath of Google"? Be smart and be focused. Look at the recent article back in January on the new linking strategy and make it a point to focus traffic to your client’s site with links and take PageRank increases as "frosting" on the cake.

Seriously, here is a wake up call. SEO has become a game of adding content and getting links. Master the rate, quality and quantity in your industry and your job will be a breeze. 

In this rapidly changing industry of Search Engine Optimization, it is the shops that offer full-service to their clients that seem to be growing, while the "specialized" shops are shrinking. Focus on Trust. Focus on the Relationship. Fire the clients who don’t measure up. Raise the bar for clients you will take. And watch your revenues climb while your stress plummets.

Trust Yourself. Trust Your Judgment. But Change Your Passwords. :-)

"Lather, Rinse, Repeat"

"The flower which is single need not envy the thorns that are numerous."
- Rabindranath Tagore

Be mindful of the "noise" that surrounds you. Traffic. Stress. Responsibilities. Remember what you do well and keep doing it despite the "noise".

Businesses which lose their focus and their goals chasing after other options often lose significant market share or go out of business. Affiliates and Merchants that get distracted by sideline "noise" often suffer the same fate.

Once you find success online, look at the back of your shampoo bottle for inspiration: Lather, Rinse and Repeat. By blocking out the "noise" and concentrating on what works for you and do it over and over and over you will find your business growing, your stress decreased, and a better life.

And soon you will see just the flower, and not the thorns.

The Influence of Women in the Market

Most marketers and especially those online, make the fatal mistake of not considering the power that women have in the buying process. Let’s talk about the powers of women:

  • They control or share in the control of more than 60% of all the wealth and influence in the U.S.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 25% of working women are paid more than their spouses (a 17% increase from a decade ago).
  • Women control or influence 80% of all new vehicle purchases.
  • 46% of all menswear purchases are influenced or made by women.
  • 66% of home computer buys.
  • 82% of supermarket purchases.
  • 53% of investment decisions.
  • 72% of home appliance choices.

It is clear, the influence of women in the economy continues with explosive growth. It is said that over 80% of the purchases online are either made or influenced by women. That is power, and power you must market to. Let’s review some comment myths regarding marketing to women. This is taken from Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerilla Marketing. I have also included my commentary to help "fill in the blanks."

Myth One: You can market to women on product differentiation alone. This isn’t true because most women want a relationship. They’d rather buy dishwashing liquid from a company that sponsors after-school programs or donates to a charity that they believe in. Relationship innovation is more important to them than product innovation.

Commentary: This is why I love to do "points of difference" on my sites. Show the visitor why doing business with you is a smart decision. Who is mostly influenced by "points of difference? You got it, women.

Myth Two:
Products are finite and self-contained. Another myth. Marketing needs to create a dialog. Each communication needs to become two-way.

Commentary: When you read this, it may not make sense, so let me give you the straight talk. This is referring to making your sales copy personal. We have discussed in the past of changing your copy from using the terms "I" or "We" to "you". Make your copy personal, almost like a dialog you are having with the prospect. According to surveys, women are greatly influenced in a positive manner with dialog copy and copy that is directed to them and how it can help them.

Myth Three:
Women like to shop. A report by the Wall Street Journal reveals that 60% of women feel that shopping is a negative experience.

Commentary: Don’t think that just because women like to shop that your navigational process can be shoddy. Reduce the number of clicks to buy, streamline the buying process, and most of all, tell them your opinion and why they should buy. In other words, leave out the "corporate speak" and get on the person’s level. They will respect you more.

Myth Four:
Single exposure advertising research is a useful guide to women’s preferences. It isn’t possible to gauge an ad’s ability to build a long-term relationship with just one isolated viewing.

Commentary: Advertising is an investment, not an exercise in "get rich quick thinking." I will post more about this point in a future Gumbo, but remember, your ad has to be seen numerous times to convince most people to buy, and that is especially true with women. They are not easily influenced.


Myth Five:
Corporation policies are unimportant. A company’s values are inseparable from their marketing activities.

Commentary: Women tend to look at corporate policies more than men. If your policies are strict, customer unfriendly, etc. you will lose interest quickly from the female prospect.

Myth Six:
Women aren’t entrepreneurial. Women start companies at twice the rate of men and employ more people than the Fortune 500 combined.

Commentary: Women understand business and understand economics. If you fail to market to women, your business has a strong possibility of failing as well.

Look at your site’s content. Are you effectively marketing to women? Do some tests. Redo your landing pages. See if marketing to women brings in a stronger conversion and higher ROI. Always test and test again.

A Business Case for Conversion

By David Bullock

Let’s look at the mystery of conversion, better known as online salemanship.

With direct mail or any other offline media, it is very difficult to track what is happening with the sales cycle. You don’t know if the letter was delivered or opened. You don’t know anything until the person picks up the phone and makes an order. On the other hand, if you are using the internet as a communication media you can know a great deal about the visitor as it relates to your sales cycle:

Read the rest of this entry »

How's Your Linking Campaign?

A couple of months ago there was discussion of anchor text being "fitted too tight" and a penalty being slapped on offenders by Google. In other words, if the text of the incoming links looked too targeted, your ranking would drop. Now, while Matt Cutts from Google would state the problem was not a penalty but a bug in a filter, a few eyebrows were raised.

I ran tests on my testing servers – all eight of them and carefully selected domains from the 500+ I have available. Filter or bug, my conclusions laid out a method which is just good webmastering in my view.

Problem: Through link building or through paid links, the targeted keyword phrase has a very high percentage of the overall incoming anchor text, often in the 50-60% range.

This, of course, looks highly unnatural. Here is what I am recommending in order for your link campaigns to look more natural.

Step One: Run a report for your most profitable keyword phrases over the last 60 days.

Step Two: Use SpyFu, or look at your PPC account and assign each of the keywords a dollar value per click. It doesn’t matter if you only target organic traffic. We must have dollar figures assigned. Start with your most profitable keyword phrase. Any phrase with a value of $.94 or above, write it down. Continue until you have five keyword phrases. Why 94 cents and above? That was the range of keywords which suffered the penalty.

Step Three: Analyze your incoming anchor text. I use SEO Elite to make the job easy. Analyze the links for your target page and choose all the search engines. I like to check the "Show Unique Results" so I don’t get a lot of garbage. Once the analysis on the page is complete, enter your targeted keyword phrases in the Keyword area (bottom left on the Report Tab screen). Any phrase which is 56% or higher is a potential problem. This is the range where problems were seen most often. This is NOT an absolute number as we are only analyzing unique data and not considering possible multiple links and also Run of Site (ROS) links which would, of course, put the percentages a lot higher or lower depending on the anchor text being analyzed.

Step Four: "Dilute" your incoming link text with additional links. You will do this by using non-keyword anchor text which will help stabilize the anchor text scale.

  • Use the full URL for the link text: http://www.domain.com/webpage.html.
  • Use the actual company name, product name, owner’s name, etc. (as long as it isn’t a focused keyword phrase).
  • Use Google Sets to come up with additional terms to use.
  • Look at the other anchor text used in the SEO Elite report and also in your Google Webmaster Central account.
  • Run SEO Elite on the #1 result for your targeted phrase and look to see which phrases or text they are targeting besides the terms you are. This can allow you to expand your reach and have a better understanding of how they are doing their linking campaign.

Step Five: Analyze pages where you will place these new links. Before you invest in a directory submission, link exchange, or even post a request for your link to appear, make sure the page is getting spidered by Google. You can do this simply with the "cache command":

cache:domain.com/webpage.html

If the cache date is older than 30 days, the page is most likely in the Supplemental Index (yes, it still exists) and won’t be beneficial to you regardless of what the PageRank says on the Toolbar (you should know that the PageRank on the Google Toolbar isn’t accurate).

Step Six: Double or triple the links you estimate you need. Why? We all know not all links are scored and used by Google. By doubling the number, you ensure you will achieve your goal.

Example: I’ll use my site, webmarketingnow.com … and I will just use the home page and the keyword phrase "web marketing".

Here are the steps I would take in SEO Elite:

1) Choose Option 1 "Analyze backlinks using a specified search engine".
2) Enter your domain name.
3) The slider should be moved to the far right, set to "1000".
4) Choose all the search engines (this will ensure you get a really good capture of your external links).
5) Only mark "Show Unique Results" and "Skip All Onpage Links".

The incoming anchor text is 68.9% which is too high.

1) After the report finishes, click the REPORTS tab.
2) Sort by Anchor text to see the groupings.
3) To check the percentages of the different anchor text, click "Add Keywords…"

So, what anchor text should be injected in order to dilute this figure? I want to be able to do this quickly and test the results, so I’m going to say I need 25 additional links, so we’ll target a total of 50. Running the numbers, this isn’t enough to get the percentage down to 56%, but since we’re doing five keyword phrases, that is a total of 250 links, which is more than enough to keep us busy. Let’s look to see what is being used on the page right now:

http://www.webmarketingnow.com/
8.9%[/quote][/quote]
Jerry West
2.3%[/quote][/quote]
web marketing now
61.6%[/quote][/quote]
seo research
4.1%[/quote][/quote]
seo testing
5.7%[/quote][/quote]
search engine specialists
7.6%[/quote][/quote]

Let’s look at the data in Webmaster Central. Which keyword phrases are most used as incoming anchor text site wide? You find this under Statistics | What Googlebot sees:

What do we take from this?

#1 – web marketing now
#4 – http://www.webmarketingnow.com/
#5 – webmarketingnow
#6 – jerry west
#9 – web marketing
#10 – www.webmarketingnow.com
#11 – webmarketingnow.com

Okay, this is good data. The new links we’ll target with the URL as anchor text, I’ll use #4, #10 and #11, and I also think it is important to also add #5 in there too. Why? It already ranks #5, so it is a good idea to keep the percentages similar. There is an old saying, "If you want to look natural it is best to, well, look natural." So, look at how the breakdown of the incoming anchor text is currently and acquire your links in a similar fashion, but don’t just go down the list … do what I did, I picked 7 of the top 11. Be smart about it.

Now let’s look at the #1 site to see how the incoming anchor text differs (run the same report above in SEO Elite):

web marketing
27.4%[/quote][/quote]
wilson internet
17.1%[/quote][/quote]
URL
17.0%[/quote][/quote]
web marketing today
15.4%[/quote][/quote]
internet marketing
10.6%[/quote][/quote]

Check out those numbers. Only one-fourth of the incoming anchor text targets "web marketing". I would run this same report on positions 2-5 to get a collective number … and this should be my aim. So, let’s just say the 27.4% was the collective number, it would tell me my "incoming link density" is 40% higher than the collective number. This could, emphasis on could, be the reason the page is not in the Top Ten. I think I should also add "internet marketing" to the mix too, just for good measure.

But wait, we aren’t done yet. Let’s check out Google Sets so see if there is other anchor text I could use. I typed in: web marketing, online marketing, internet marketing, seo testing, seo research.

I chose "Large Set" and I get the following results:

From the results, the following would be good to add to my list of targeted anchor text:

  • search engine optimization services
  • search engine placement
  • search engine positioning
  • affiliate marketing

Okay, with the target of 50 links, here is my game plan:

Anchor Text
Links[/quote][/quote]
http://www.webmarketingnow.com/
9[/quote][/quote]
www.webmarketingnow.com
8[/quote][/quote]
webmarketingnow.com
4[/quote][/quote]
webmarketingnow
5[/quote][/quote]
jerry west
8[/quote][/quote]
seo research & testing
3[/quote][/quote]
internet marketing
5[/quote][/quote]
affiliate marketing
3[/quote][/quote]
search engine positioning tips
3[/quote][/quote]
click here
2[/quote][/quote]

Don’t laugh at the last one. We have to do at least one or two "stupid links"  to make this a real "natural" method, don’t we? :-)

There you go. That is a complete rundown on how to make sure your most important pages aren’t "top heavy" with your anchor text. Doing the above will help you avoid this new penalty and should improve your rankings as well.

Regardless of how long you have been an SEO, Webmaster or Online Marketer, I can safely assume you have never used the tools in the manner I outlined above. This is exactly what the SEO Rainmaker conference is all about. Using the tools you have right now in ways you didn’t consider. The result is a positive impact on your business.

Join David Bullock and I in Orlando Memorial Day Weekend (May 24-25) and learn How to Become an SEO Rainmaker.

First Step in a Five Figure Business

In my ten years in this business, I have observed that one of the biggest reasons that most Internet marketers fail is not because of having the wrong information, it is because they fail to map out their goals. A goal, when not specifically detailed, is half-attained.

Increase your chances of getting what you want. Define this week’s goals as precisely as possible. Weekly goals? Yes. By mapping out what you want each week, and how you will get there, you will be shocked at how much more you accomplish. After all, this business is all about accomplishment, not about hard work. Anyone can work hard … but not everyone can achieve consistent five-figure monthly draws from their business. Now, I don’t mean gross sales/income, I am referring to what you take home to spend. The first step towards it is goal setting.

Our Challenge: Pick up Pen — Write Out Details.

  • Be Explicit – Have you defined your goal clearly enough? A goal that is vague is just words written on paper, there is no passion behind it, thus the chances of attaining it are slim to none.
  • Be Focused – Is your goal specific and measurable? How will you know when you’ve accomplished it?
  • Be Detailed – Are all your goals stated in the positive, with a specific time when they will be accomplished?

Writing down exactly what you want, and by when, is the first step to success. If you won’t commit to writing them down, you’ll never do what it takes to reach your goals. Review the welcome PDF (available in the back office) and pay attention to the goal setting and business journal sections.

Writing your goals in exquisite detail helps define them in your mind — and provides the exact specifications for what you want to accomplish. Writing your goals down with a pen and paper instead of an electronic version provides more of a tie with your brain. I have said it before, and I will say it again, something magical happens with the mind when you have a pen in your hand instead of a keyboard. Try it, you may have the same results.

Remember, the more desirable qualities you add to the goal, the greater will be your satisfaction when you attain it. Be sure to write SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible — and don’t forget a target date. (Because the difference between a dream and a goal is a date!)

‘Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.’ ~ Laertius Diogenes 

A lack of commitment suggests you need to take more time to better define your goals — and write them into your calendar and daily To-Do list. Lacking the commitment to be more precise, your goals are really nothing more than ambiguous possibilities. With no specific targets in sight, it’s impossible to determine what you need to do next. When you fail to commit to a deadline in your calendar, some goals inevitably get cast aside for other things. And given that life in general — and everyone you work with in particular — always has some kind of time-critical deadlines, your ‘non-urgent,’ ‘non-defined’ goals tend to get pushed off your schedule forever.

There is no way you can achieve your goals if they are not clear. Negatives like ‘Vague, Uncertain and Uncommitted’ start to take their toll on your performance — quickly moving you away from the success you want.

Success is within you. Setting goals gets you into the habit of thinking "accomplishment based" in your business, instead of "work based." Accomplishing your most important tasks each day leads you to success. Accomplishing "non critical" tasks with no goals, leads you in circles and invites frustration.

End your frustration. Set your goals. Concentrate on accomplishing what is most vital. Relish in your new success!

How Aware Are You?

Watch this one-minute video to see how "aware" you are.

Scientists call this "inattentive blindness." It happens because we have a limited ability to absorb and remember detail when our brains are overloaded with information. This commonly happens with any owner of a business, large or small.

What are you not seeing in your business? Find out at the SEO Rainmaker event Memorial Day Weekend.

Do You Accept a "First Offer"?

Usually I am quite a fan of Jeffrey Fox’s writing. Yeah, there is about 15-20% of his stuff is questionable, but this advice is so dead wrong I actually threw out the book, it is that bad.

His advice?

"Don’t Immediately Take the First Offer."

Here’s a quote from his book, "How to Get to the Top" and I’ll tell you what is wrong with it.

"If you are selling a building for $200,000, and the buyer offers $180,000, make a counter at, say, $192,000, even if you would jump at the original offer. If you accept the $180,000 and don’t counter, the buyer will think that he or she should have offered $170,000."

There are just so many things wrong with this advice, allow me to break them down in simple terms.

1) If you want to sell something and an offer comes in within the "range’ that you want to sell it you do. No need to counter, because countering can cause issues with the transaction, stress, and a fallen through deal.

2) If the seller thinks they could have acquired the building for $170,000 who cares? They are commited to buying the property for the amount agreed. This is a "non-issue" in my book.

3) My grandfather, Golden K. Driggs, thought countering is often childish, and if countering is needed, neither party is really worth dealing with.

Here is my issue with countering. It is often done in a very childish manner. The person countering is basically trying to do one thing and one thing only, to "win". And what often times happens is, they lose.

I’ll give you an example. When we made an offer on the house in North Carolina where we presently live, we offered MORE than what the sellers wanted. Our real estate agents thought we were crazy, "No, you don’t know how this works, you should offer at least $30,000 less."

My response?

It was pretty simple. This was the 42nd house we had seen. Our flight was leaving tomorrow. I didn’t want to look at another house, this was the one we wanted – hands down. I didn’t want the stress of flying back home wondering if they were going to accept the offer. I hate stress.

The result?

The offer was accepted immediately and the sellers were so happy how easy the transaction was they ended up leaving a lot of furniture in the house which helped the "move in" that much easier and stress free.

Bonus Gossip

I learned several months later that a couple had seen the house a few days before and was getting ready to put an offer on the house for $10,000 below the asking price. Had we come in lower, the sellers may have countered themselves, or they may have rejected it outright due to the new offer.

If you know what you want – get it. Be a Rainmaker.