Conversation


In Dallas, Texas you will find a department store called Neiman Marcus. Neiman Marcus is a very smart department store, very good at marketing.

Let me ask you – Have you ever gone into a store and someone came up and said, “Can I help you?”

I’ll bet you have had that experience.

And what is the answer everyone gives to “Can I help you?”

No, Thanks

“No Thanks,” is the answer to “Can I help you?” nearly every time. So if you want to start a conversation, do you wish to go up to your customer and say, “Can I help you?”?

Not really, because the answer is no and that’s the end of the conversation.

The Neiman-Marcus Conversation System

Here’s what Neiman-Marcus taught Donny to do …

The customer is walking around looking at stuff. That’s what they do in department stores. As soon as they look at some object for more than a moment, you go up and say, “That’s an interesting thing. Would that look good in your home?”

If they say yes, are you in a conversation?

If they say no, are you still in a conversation?

Either way, you have engaged the customer into a conversation.

And that’s a conversation system.

Now that other phrase – “Can I help you?” – if that’s a system, it’s a real bad one.

Let’s Make Up a Conversation System

Let’s pretend we’re running the Neckties R Us store on Main Street in Des Moines. Not much business, so I’m standing in the doorway. There goes a woman. There goes a guy. Someone comes in. I ask them: “Can I help you?” They leave. No conversation system.

Oops.

So let’s make up a conversation system for Neckties R Us on Main Street in Des Moines. A guy walks by. I say: “Hello mister. That’s a really ugly necktie you got. I can help you.”

You’re going to start a conversation. You’re better off than if he just walks by and you don’t say anything, right? Wouldn’t insulting him and maybe hooking his interest be a better system than just letting him walk away?

Or for the woman walking by, perhaps I’ll say: “Madam, I bet someone in your family is having a birthday soon. Maybe they would like a necktie.”

Those are probably not very good conversation systems, and you can probably find some better ones.

But with something just that simple … you’re in a conversation.

A Conversation in the Online Universe

There’s more than one way to build a conversation system online. But I’ll describe a very common one …

Let’s imagine we got a guy and he has heard for the first time – I’m just going to pick a random subject: Tantra yoga – he just heard of this for the first time.

“Tantra yoga, oh that sounds kind of good,” he says, “I don’t know. It sounds kind of metaphysical, maybe something about sex maybe, I don’t know. I like the sound of it, but I don’t know. I’ll see if there’s any around here.”

So he looks up “tantra yoga Des Moines.” And he finds two websites.

  1. The first one is from Dakini Amrita Stringbeany.
  2. The second one is not an actual tantra practitioner at all but a masseuse of questionable authenticity, and her site is called Maya Smith’s Tantric Massage. She actually has nothing whatsoever to do with tantra yoga, but she uses the phrase all over her site to give her site credibility, and she operates in Des Moines, so she shows up in the search page on Google because Google doesn’t know any better.

Now he goes to Dakini Stringbeany’s site. And right there it says, “Would you like to have a book that reveals the seven secrets of tantra to attain bliss and greater intimacy with those you love?”

He says, “Well, yes. I would. How do I get it? Hmm. Just put my email address here. OK!”

He clicks submit.

The next thing he knows, he gets an email. It’s about the book. It says, “Hi. Thank you so much for signing up. I’m going to send your book in a minute but, you know, I hate spam as much as you do. I want to make sure it’s really you that asked for this. So just click this link so I know you really want it and I’ll send it right to you.”

He says, “She’s kind of like me. She hates spam!”

How Many Touches Have Occurred?

Three? That’s right. One is that he visited the website. Two is his interaction with the form, and three is the email he received.

Also, he already knows more about this woman. She hates spam. And she responds. He knows these two new things about her.

And the point is – that it’s now more than one contact. He hasn’t gone away. That’s what most people do who go to a website. They visit once and then go away, forever. Never come back.

Another Example: Amazon

Now on Amazon, you would go back. Why?

One reason is that when you deal with Amazon, they deliver what they said they would, when they said they would, and they even come back to you later and suggest new things for you to buy and these suggestions are often right on.

That’s why you don’t go to Amazon once and leave forever.

They engage you in a conversation because they have a conversation system.

Other Kinds of Conversation Systems

You can use Facebook for a conversation system. My friend Lisa, a Tantra Yoga practitioner in Reno, Nevada, first told me about how she gets most of her business by using a conversation system on Facebook.

What other kinds of conversation systems have you seen used online?

  • One is a bulletin board, a system where people can interact, or online forum.
  • Other social network sites, like Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, and others.
  • Meetup, which is sometimes online and sometimes physical meetings.
  • A blog which elicits comments and conversation with visitors.

Drip email systems are not the only workable system – it’s just the most popular one.

And, for a local business, you can get very powerful results by combining real-world promotions with online methods. (Ask us about QR Codes, Text-Message Marketing, Surveys and Contests, and Smartphone Mobile Marketing.)

Now that you’ve considered how to engage a website visitor in a conversation, let’s take a look at how we can create some TRAFFIC to our website (click here)

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