Today, the BUYER has the power, and the seller is at their mercy.

Posted by Brian Maphosa

For the avoidance of doubt, by seller in the topic above, I am referring to the company, your firm as an SME and not to the salesperson who is simply your representative. As businesses today we are at the mercy of the buyer and we have to recognise this if we are to dominate in the marketplace.

As Jayne Reardon, the executive director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism says, “Over the years, the tone has changed. Ads have become more sensationalized, and….”

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been discussing the fundamentals of marketing…
• have something good to say
• say it well
• say it often

I told you that most businesses load up their marketing with “platitudes”… such as largest selection, #1 Specialist, lowest prices, highest quality, faster service.

These simply take up your valuable (and expensive) ad space, and they do NOTHING to help sell your product or service.

But I did say there is a “magic formula” that will enable you to write powerhouse marketing, and I promised I would reveal it to you this week.
The magic formula is called the “Conversion Equation,” and here it is…
Interrupt, Engage, Educate and Offer.

The Interrupt refers to an attention-grabbing headline – EVERY ad and website MUST have one.
It MUST be problem-based and focused on a major hot button for the prospects you’re targeting.

The Engage is a subheadline that promises a solution to the problem referenced in the headline.
Note that it only PROMISES a solution… it does not GIVE the solution.

That’s the job of the Educate – it provides the solution and backs it up with evidence and proof.
Think of Educate as an attorney standing in front of a jury.

And finally, the Offer – this must be compelling and provide VALUE to the prospects you target.


A compelling offer is NOT your phone number.
Remember, it must offer your prospects value.
Example, let’s assume you’re thinking about remodeling your bathroom or kitchen.

Do you even know what’s available these days in the way of new, innovative designs for baths and kitchens?

Do you think most prospects thinking about re-modeling might like to see what types of designs are in style these days… to see new ideas, suggestions and various models that they can use to begin to select what they themselves would most like to have?

So, what do most bathroom and kitchen re-modelers put in their ads as their offer?
Their phone number – but prospects aren’t ready to call anyone yet. They typically only call when they’re ready to buy.

Here’s why – prior to 1980, the sellers had all the power in the buying relationship.
For example, in the 70’s, if you wanted to buy a new car, you had to go see the dealer and speak with a salesperson.

You HAD to… you had NO other way to get information on the car you were interested in buying.
So back then, the only offer sellers had to put in their ad was their phone number, since calling them was the prospects ONLY option.

In short, the SELLER had all the power back then!
Nowadays, we have the internet. In fact, over 90% of automobile buyers today have already performed extensive research and due diligence on the car or truck of their choice, and even know the exact amount of money they will pay for it.
They don’t need the salesperson whatsoever, and actually prefer NOT to deal with them.

Perhaps for Law firms, it would help revisiting a 2012 article by Doug Jasinski who in his article, ‘5 Reasons Law Firm Advertising Fails’, quotes Jordan Furlong who noted the lack of client focus in most legal advertising, and suggested that marketing is one area where they have to watch the coming wave of competition. In this article Jasonski notes among the 5 reasons why advertising fails as, ‘It’s made by lawyers, It’s made for lawyers, It’s About Lawyers, and It tells me instead of showing me.’
Today, the BUYER has the power, and the seller is at their mercy. In the same article, he quotes William Bernbachand ‘…they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

It’s absolutely critical that you know and understand how to use this “Conversion Equation” of Interrupt, Engage, Educate and Offer… so till next time,

See you then.

Brian Maphosa

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