Brett Welch | BC

Your Business and The Broccoli Problem (II)

Last week I wrote about how you can grow your business by identifying the "Broccoli Problems" in your business. To quickly recap, a "Broccoli Problem" comes about when you're selling your product - the product has an obvious benefit that the prospect accepts. But the prospect also has an objection, which you need to overcome. So for my aunt and her son, the Broccoli Problem is:

Broccoli may be good for you, BUT it tastes terrible.

Now, onto the second strategy for dealing with a Broccoli Problem...

Removing the Negative.

Sometimes you can entirely remove the objection after the "however". This is impossible with Broccoli -my aunt couldn't exactly genetically engineer a broccoli plant to taste like french fries. Generally, you should always consider removing the negativer first, before any other strategy.

Think about this Broccoli Problem:

ABC software will help you grow your business HOWEVER it's difficult to use.

The best way to tackle this one is to remove the "However" factor altogether; fix your software so it's not difficult to use. This requires effort and is difficult and costly, but it's the honest-to-god best solution as well. There is a caveat here however. What about this Broccoli Problem:

ABC software will help you grow your business BUT it's too expensive.

"Ah ha!" one might say, "I can remove that one!" 

Whoa. Slow down Tiger.

Pricing is part of a larger picture, with positioning implications and cashflow impact. Maybe you SHOULD make it cheaper, but be careful - perhaps Repackaging the Negative is more suitable.

Overall, Removing the Negative factor should be considered. These factors (the removable ones) are often the hardest to fix and the hardest to even identify, but they also carry the most rewards.

Next week, I'll move on to the third strategy: Embracing It.

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Brett Welch | BC

Your Business and The Broccoli Problem

My Aunt Susan, being a good mother, wants her son to eat Broccoli because it's healthy.

My cousin Ben, being a typical boy, doesn't want to eat Broccoli because it tastes bad. 

This gave me an idea, which I'm going to call "The Broccoli Problem". My aunt has very valid reasons to give her son broccoli - it's for his health. But her son resists - also for valid reasons that are relevant to him. The son will say:

Broccoli may be  good for you BUT it tastes terrible. 

Now Broccoli problems are everywhere, always contain a 'However' or a 'But' and are nearly always subjective (you complete the sentences) :

Lower taxes may stimulate a stagnant economy, HOWEVER ...

Your girlfriend may have a wonderful personality, BUT ...

George W. Bush may be a great leader, HOWEVER ...

I'll remain silent on how I'd complete those sentences, but here's where I'm going with this: The Broccoli Problem is a marketing problem that you probably need to think about. Complete this sentence:

Your product/service may be of great benefit to the market, HOWEVER ...

That's why I'm writing this post. Every business has, or once had, a Broccoli Problem that they have to solve. So, how did my Aunt solve hers?

Easy: she diced the broccoli up and baked it into a tasty Lasagne. To this very day, her son still doesn't realize he's eating a plateful of Broccoli Lasagne. 

This is one strategy of dealing with a Broccoli Problem - repackaging the broccoli to counteract the negative after the HOWEVER. I can think of two more strategies and I'm sure there's more:
  1. Repackaging the Negative.
  2. Removing the Negative.
  3. Embracing the Negative.

Repackaging The Negative

This is what my Aunt did - she put the broccoli in a tasty Lasagne, which negated the broccoli's taste while still passing on the health benefit. That's repackaging the negative. In business, a classic case of a repackaging the negative is the age-old payment plan. Think about this Broccoli problem:

The Prius is an eco-friendly, stylish car, BUT I can't afford it right now.

Imagine you're on the car lot saying this to the saleswoman. She'll shoot back "Ah, but have you heard of our payment plans?" By doing this, she's effectively negated your 'however' factor by repackaging the car in an easy to digest payment plan. 

When you repackage something, you're not changing the product itself. You're not changing the broccoli - you're changing the way it's presented, the nature of the deal or how the product is sold. Repackaging strategies nearly always revolve around ideas like:
  • Cost amortization (payment plans)
  • Bundling (selling X + Y + Z together)
  • Splitting (Selling X + Y separately instead of as one)
So you can see we're not changing the product. We're changing the way it's sold. That's repackaging. 

Repackaging a Broccoli problem isn't always the best solution, but sometimes it's the only solution you can feasibly implement. That's where the other two strategies, Removing the Negative and Embracing the Negative, come in.

I'll cover the other two strategies in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

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Brett Welch | BC

The Anti-Sherlock Rule

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective was often tasked with solving baffling mysteries. Armed with nothing but his wits and some sketchy clues Sherlock Holmes would face up to the challenge. He needed patience, cunning and an open mind. Lateral thinking was a must. What a hero.

Sherlock, however, does not belong in any discussion around web design or online businesses -  and so the Anti-Sherlock rule comes about. The Anti Sherlock rule simply requires that you accept two things as true:

1. Websites are NOT mysteries. Your Online Business and Online Shop should be easily understood by the visitor. You know who your audience is, and you can pretty much guess what they'd be looking for on your site. So give it to them without fuss - serve their most common needs as quickly as possible.

2. Your customers are NOT Sherlock Holmes. While I'm sure a bunch of them would leave Sherlock in their Mensa sweatshirt wearing dust, they're too busy to apply that intellect to work out your website. Don't make them jump through hoops.

This may seem obvious. But why, dear god WHY, do so many businesses have mysterious web sites and expect you to work out what to do next?

If it's a game, I don't want to play.

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