Warning: This is an excerpt from my book “Ethical Bribes.” To get a free copy of the book, write a comment below. You can simply say “Yes, I want the book.”
How do you convince someone to do what you want them to do? How do you get people to raise their hands and tell you they are interested in your service? How do you drive people to give you their contact details and permission to reach them?
The answer to these three questions?
Using Ethical Bribes.
Whether you work alone or you have a team, whether you’ve had your business for years or you’re just starting out, service-based businesses have never been more competitive.
On the flip side, there are thousands of businesses that are thriving no matter the season. They are immune to the “feast or famine” phenomenon. The owners of such businesses are enjoying the fruits of their achievement. They are also enjoying their six or even seven-figure income. How is it that they are so successful while others are struggling?
They have a steady flow of clients.
Clients are the lifeblood of any business. Without clients you don’t even have a business, you have a hobby.
Yet, struggling business owners leave their success to chance. They hope that someday they’d get the clients they deserve, they wish for their ideal clients to fall into their lap, and they dream of future business success. But, they don’t take any action towards that goal.
You are different.
You are reading this because you know there are better ways to attract clients. You don’t want to rely on ‘luck’. You are taking charge of your destiny.
“Ethical Bribes” will show you how to create a bribe that’s 100% ethical which will help you attract clients who are eager to work with you. Not just any clients, but those who have already witnessed your expertise, they know your rates, and they want you to solve their problems because they know you can.
The methods and techniques that you will learn in this book are all free to implement. They will just cost you a few hours of your time, but the results will be priceless.
If you read and implement everything from this book, I promise that you will have a valuable asset that will help you consistently get clients. That’s my promise, but you must do the work. That’s on you.
To make things easier for you, I divided this guide in two parts. The first deals with the theory and thinking behind Ethical Bribes. You will need to understand these to create a bribe that will be truly effective for your business.
If you don’t get the fundamentals right, and you try to skip this step, I can’t guarantee your results. In the second part, I will guide you step by step so that you can create your first bribe in less than 24 hours.
Don’t be like those people who start a book but never finish it. Don’t be like those people who are always looking for the next shiny object but never take the time to implement proven methods. Don’t be like I was a few years ago.
Instead, be like the successful entrepreneurs who take time to learn and implement. You’ll amaze yourself to how much you can accomplish with the right people to guide you.
Let me that guide through your journey. Let’s start our adventure by first understanding what is an Ethical Bribe, and what it’s not.
What’s an Ethical Bribe?
To get a better understanding of this whole concept, let’s go back about a few decades ago. Let’s go to the times of the second world war.
Oskar Schindler was a member of the Nazi Party, but unlike the other member of the party, he was against the killing of people. He owned a factory, where he had many Jewish employees. During those times, millions of Jews died in the Nazi death camps. But Schindler’s Jews had survived. He protected more than 1,200 people and kept them well-fed, but most importantly, alive. He was the only person that stood between them and certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Today, there are more than 7,000 people who are descendants of “Schindler’s Jews”. Oskar Schindler was a remarkable man, an extraordinary man, a saviour.
But how did he manage to do that? How was he able to protect those people? How is it that he was able to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other during the war?
He did so by using bribes. He bribed the guards to keep his secret, and to allow him to smuggle food into his factory. He bribed Nazi officials to alter documents. He used his connections and power of persuasion to influence his contacts, he bribed, fought, begged…
He rose to the highest level of humanity, he used bribes, and he became a hero.
So let me ask you, are all bribes unethical? Can anyone say that what he did was wrong?
Even according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a bribe is defined as:
1. money or favour given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
2. something that serves to induce or influence
There is nothing immoral to bribes itself. The immorality comes from the intent of the bribe. When you use bribes to corrupt or to persuade someone to act dishonestly or against social norms, that’s when bribing becomes wrong (and illegal).
But, hold on!
From the perspective of the Nazis, what he did was still illegal, right?
Well, yes… However, the type of Ethical Bribes that you will use are neither illegal nor does it depend on having corrupt guards to do your bidding.
The type of ethical bribing that we’ll learn about is more like a parent bribing his kid with video games after he completes his homework. Nothing wrong with that. Do something positive, get a reward. Take an action, get a reward. Don’t be stupid, get a reward.
So, in our business context, an Ethical Bribe is something that you give as an incentive for someone to take action. And, we’re typically going to use them capture details of any anyone who’s interested in what you have to offer. These are our potential clients, by making them take an action and give us their details, we convert them into a lead. If you’re not yet familiar with those terms, a lead is a contact who has shown an interest in what you have to offer and has taken some kind of action towards the offer. For example, if you’re selling candy, a potential client is anyone who enters your store. A lead is someone who asks you questions about the candies, maybe the price, or the ingredients. They have taken action.
Remember, as the name suggests, it needs to be highly ethical. We don’t want to get in trouble with the authorities or do anything that’s morally twisted.
In a lot of ways, you’re using the bribe to incentivise your first “sale”. Think about it, you’re actually selling someone on doing something, even though there is no cash or money involved. You’re still making a kind of sale. Because a sale is a process of persuading someone to do something that you want. You’re asking the prospect to trust you with their personal details. That could be their email address, their name or even their whole address.
So, that’s what an ethical bribe is. But why do you need one? Let’s find out.
Why Ethical Bribes?
A photographer is giving a presentation on photography at a local school. There are dozens of parents attending and the talk is about How to take better family portraits. So at the end of that talk, the photographer tries to sell his professional services. Because he’s a photographer, he’s going to sell photography, and he asks how many parents want to have their professional family photos taken. A measly 1% raises their hand.
But here’s the question: Does it mean that the other 99% will never want his services?
What if hypothetically, he could meet the same group of people after a couple of months? Do you think that the same 1% would raise their hands, or would it be other parents?
Situations change. Desires change. Needs change.
It can be that one family was expecting a baby, and they thought that they’d have a professional family photo after the baby arrives. It can be that money is tight right now, but a month later one of the parents gets a big promotion. Or it can simply be that some people in the room don’t care much about having a really great-looking professional photo, but later they see a family portrait at their neighbour’s and now they want one.
It’s the same no matter what you’re selling. Let’s say you’re in a room with a thousand car owners and you’re selling tires. You ask the group if they need a tire change, only a handful of people would say yes. But if you were to ask them a month later, you can be certain that it’s another segment of the crowd who’d raise their hands.
The old way of doing business would be to give out your business card to everybody in the audience. Unfortunately, that no longer works.
People will take your business card, then they’ll just throw it away, or they’ll keep it somewhere and completely forget about you. I’ve done it. I’m sure you’ve done it as well.
What if instead of giving out his contact details, he could get permission to contact the parents directly? What if the parents themselves willingly gave him their contact details?
But here’s the problem, people are reluctant to give out their information, especially their contact info. And, their email addresses are part of that. Some people will guard their email address with their lives. Others, not so much. So, what do you do?
The solution: give them a crazy-valuable incentive to do so.
Remember, the contact details could be just their email address or it could be their physical address. The latter is much harder to get, but it’s still possible with the right incentives. For example, in the old days, colleges and universities did not have digital brochures. So, if you wanted their prospectus with pricing and all the info, you’d typically have to fill in a long-form with all your personal details and your physical address. People did that. I did it myself and got university brochures delivered to my door.
Back to our photographer, what if he asked: “How many of you would like to have a free guide on how to take amazing family photos with props? The guide includes 15 simple but effective poses and 9 things you should never do before a family photoshoot.”
He just did a talk on that topic, now he’s giving more. The parents just have to fill a form with their contact details, and the guide will be mailed directly to them.
What percentage do you think will take up this offer now?
If you’ve guessed that it would be much higher than the initial 1% you’d be right. He’s giving this away for free, and his audience is obviously interested since they are attending his talk. I’d personally request my free guide. What would you do?
But wait, there are still a couple of issues with this strategy.
1. It will actually cost him money to print and ship each guide.
2. Many parents won’t be comfortable to give their home address to this stranger.
Is there an even better way?
I believe there is.
Email to the rescue! He can send a digital version of the guide. Emails are free, and the digital version of the guide can be copied an unlimited number of times without any additional cost. That’s basically what I’d call a WIN-WIN situation.
That situation illustrates the main need for Ethical Bribes.
As we’ve seen, the primary reason is to build a database of potential clients, since not everybody is ready to buy your services right now. But many will need your services at some point. Once you’ve got your database, you can then educate, build trust and convert these leads into customers.
If you don’t capture the details of a potential client, it would probably mean that you’ve lost that client forever.
Here are a couple of nifty statistics for you. According to Sales Leakage Consulting, 45% of all business-to-business leads turn into a sale for someone within a year. Gleanster Research says that 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy.
Is that a Sales Funnel?
What we described above is typically known as a sales funnel. Well at least, it’s very similar. You capture details of potential clients, thereby converting them to leads, then convert them to clients, and finally to a brand advocate.
It’s a step-by-step process that takes a complete stranger to a client and fan. The ethical bribe is just one key element of the sales funnel. We are using the bribe to convert people into leads. You will have to hold their hands and help them to become your clients.
We’ll look at a few tips on how to convert leads into clients throughout this book. But for now, you need to create your Ethical Bribe and that’s exactly what the remaining chapters will teach you. Each chapter builds on the previous one to illustrate a core aspect of your Ethical Bribe.
But what makes Ethical Bribes so powerful? I think it has to do with the Power of Free. In the next section, we’ll talk more about this concept of FREE, and why it’s so important for your business.
The Power of Free
In his book, “Predictably Irrational”, Dan Ariely describes a series of experiments to show that people actually overvalue free stuff. There was one case where they were selling two types of chocolate. In one trial study, they offered students a choice. The student could get a Lindt Truffle for 26 cents or a Hershey’s Kiss for just one cent. They then observed the behaviour of the students, and the results were somewhat surprising: 40% went with the Lindt and another 40% went with Hershey’s.
They then reduced the price of both chocolates by 1 cent. So now, the Hershey’s Kiss was free and the Lindt Truffle was priced at $0.25. Suddenly, 90% of students went for the Hershey’s Kiss. Both types of chocolate have been reduced by the exact dollar value, but the change in the buying behaviour was drastic. Ariely’s conclusion is that free is indeed a very powerful force. The team has conducted a lot of other experiments on the effect of having a free offer, these are detailed in his book “Predictably Irrational”, so if you want to go in more depth, I’d recommend you get it.
But in the meantime, let’s go on.
A free item carries absolutely no risk for the user. So, he’s more comfortable to try new things that he would never have paid to try.
In the music industry, bands such as Radiohead, or artists such as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails captured their initial audience by giving away their music for free on sites like MySpace.
In the gaming industry, we have seen the incredible growth of ad-supported games and free-to-try massively multiplayer games. Some games are completely free, but they then sell you in-app purchase. So in a way, they bribed you with their free game, and now if you want the premium experience you can give them money.
So, FREE is not quite as simple as it sounds. Just because products are free does not mean that someone, somewhere isn’t making tones of money from it.
If you really think about it, you’ll see that in each of these cases, giving away something for free is part of a bigger system. It’s the same for you, your ethical bribe needs to be part of a bigger system. You need a way to monetise giving away all this value.
For example, TV, Radio and social media are all free to consume and use. They make their money by selling ads. Without these ads, they would not be able to sustain the operation. And, if it was not free, they would not have anybody watching, listening or browsing.
Another great example of being part of a bigger system can be found in retail. Sometimes you will see a store offering a huge discount on a hit product. So much so that they are actually losing money on the product. But they are doing so in order to lure you into the store, where they will try to sell you their other products with high margins.
But wait, if free is so powerful, why is it that most businesses don’t do it? In the next chapter will talk about this, and you’ll see why you now have an advantage over everybody else.
Why Most Businesses Don’t Do It
I believe that it comes down to three main reasons. It could be that the business is fully booked, or they don’t know about this strategy, or most often because of paralysis by analysis. Let’s start with the first one.
Businesses that are fully booked.
Some businesses get regular clients from other channels. These other channels could be television ads, radio ads, or ads in newspapers and magazines. It could be that they have a big team of salespeople proactively going out to find clients, or it could be that they have an amazing reputation and everyone wants to work with them. For example, if they are the leader in their industry. Sometimes, it can simply be that they are fully booked due to their size.
For my case, when I was freelancing as a web developer, I was always booked in advance. It was just me and I did not have a team at the time. I basically had to refuse clients because I could not fit them in my schedule. You might be thinking that it’s a great place to be, but trust me, it was not.
See, the reason that I was overbooked was because my rates were really low compared to other developers. Of course, I did not know that at the time. And what ended up happening was that I was working a lot for little money. Don’t get me wrong that money was enough for a long time, but when I found out how much other developers were making for the same type of work, it was no longer enough. I felt that this whole situation was unfair. Anyway, more about this story later.
Businesses that don’t know about this technique
I’ve been lucky to have fallen into this whole marketing and business development world. Unfortunately, most service providers are great at their craft, but they are clueless about business strategy or marketing. They never got the chance to learn. It can simply be that no one showed them the importance of a good business education when you’re providing a service.
Now, ignorance is not an excuse.
When you don’t know something, you do need to take some time to learn about it. And, depending on who you choose to learn from, your guide may have a very different opinion of giving away free stuff. If you learn from the old-school marketers, they will probably tell you never to give anything away for free. They have their arguments for this, they say that you’ll be building a list of freeloaders who will resent you when you try to sell them something.
And they’re right, partially.
You will have these types of people on your list, but they are just a small percentage. What amuses me the most is that often these same guys will have a freebie offer on their own websites. Talk about the irony!
Business owners who suffer from Paralysis by Analysis
From my experience, this is the most common reason for businesses not to use this powerful technique.
These people know that they need to create a free gift for their business. They know the importance, but they can never get around to do it. It’s often because they cannot decide on what to create. So, they do some research, they look around, and then they do nothing.
It’s not because they are lazy. It’s simply a well-known case of paralysis by analysis.
Sometimes, they get over the decision phase, and finally pick a type of bribe, a topic and an angle. But then, they never actually create the bribe. Why is that? I think it’s because of perfectionism. You want to create the perfect document. You want to create something that’s guaranteed to work. And you want to create something that people will truly value.
Here’s the truth, you can’t be a perfectionist in marketing. Everything is a test. I learned this from my mentor, Eben Pagan. Instead what you have to do is to equip yourself with the best possible information, and you go out and create your bribe. It only needs to be good enough at first. Remember that’s your version one.
Later, you’ll get feedback from people, and you’ll improve. Just like any type of software. It starts with a beta version and a few features, then users share their issues and want. Savvy developers and software professionals use this user feedback and improve their programs. That’s how you get version 2, 2.5, 10.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve personally suffered from all three. I’ve waited years before starting to market my business. I waited until I was almost bankrupt. I waited until I did not have enough cash in the bank to pay my employees, to pay the taxes, and to pay myself. Don’t make the same mistake. Take action and take action today.
As soon as you put this book down, go and start working on your Ethical Bribe. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t be a perfectionist.
This was an excerpt from my book Ethical Bribes. To get a free copy of the book, write a comment below. You can simply say “Yes, I want the book.”