Don't fight for customers, let them fight over you! Have you ever queued for a restaurant? Pre-ordered somethingmonths in advance? Fought for tickets that sell out in a day? Had ahairdresser with a six-month waiting list? There are people whodon't chase clients, clients chase them. In a world of endlesschoices, why does this happen? Why do people queue up? Why do theypay more? Why will they book months in advance? Why are thesepeople and products in such high demand? And how can you get aslice of that action? In Oversubscribed, entrepreneur and bestselling authorDaniel Priestley explains why...and, most importantly, how.This book is a recipe for ensuring demand outstrips supply for yourproduct or service, and you have scores of customers lining up togive you money. Oversubscribed: * Shows leaders, marketers, and entrepreneurs how they can getcustomers queuing up to use their services and products whilecompetitors are forced to fight for business * Explains how to become Oversubscribed, even in a crowdedmarketplace * Is full of practical tips alongside inspiring examples to alterour mindsets and get us bursting with ideas * Is written by a successful entrepreneur who's used these ideasto excel in the ventures he has launched
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“For the last 30 years I've worked on some of the world's largest events from mass participation running and cycling events to the Olympics. It's always a challenge to get a big event to engage with a large audience – this is one of the few books I've ever seen that distills powerful ideas and strategies that I know have an impact.”
Chris Robb, CEO and Founder of Spectrum Worldwide and CycleAsia
“This book contains powerful ingredients and delicious recipes for succeeding in your business. Savour it!”
Pete Evans, Chef, Health Coach, Entrepreneur
“After building an international retail business in three countries with over 1,000 locations I understand the pressure businesses are under to grow and scale. This book is perfect for an entrepreneur, leader or marketing manager to perform at their best.”
Julia Langkraehr, Founder of Retail Profile Europe Ltd, Bold Clarity Ltd and international speaker
“I've launched and sold over $5 billion worth of products and I know that successful product sales requires a unique approach. This book shares ideas that will increase your sales and scale your business.”
Kevin Harrington, Celebrity Entrepreneur (Original Shark on Shark Tank)
“I read Oversubscribed and found myself nodding and reflecting upon success stories that I know or have been a part of. Principles that would take a decade to learn through trial and error are spelled out clearly in this book. Daniel Priestley continues to cement his position as one of the most perceptive, influential, and also, entrepreneurial commentators on the planet.”
Andrew Griffiths, Australia's #1 business author, Inc.com featured columnist, CBS Entrepreneurial Advisor
This edition first published 2015
© 2015 Daniel Priestley
John Wiley and Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, United Kingdom
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Oversubscribed : how to get people lining up to do business with you/Daniel Priestley.
ISBN 978-0-857-08617-4 (hardback)—ISBN 978-0-857-08619-8 (paper)
1. Marketing. 2. Customer relations. 3. Small business—Growth. I. Title.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN 978-0-857-08617-4 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-857-08619-8 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-857-08623-5 (ebk) ISBN 978-0-857-08618-1 (ebk)
Cartoons: Andrew Priestley
Cover image: ©iStock.com/denis_pc
Cover design: Wiley
For Aléna and Alexander
Part I: Principles for Becoming Oversubscribed
Principle 1: Demand and Supply Set the Price
The Story of the two Bidders
Some People Miss Out
Profits, Losses or Wages?
Principle 2: Separate Yourself from
How to Create Your Own Market
You Don't Need Everyone
Famous for a Few
Principle 3: The Four Drivers for a Market Imbalance: Innovation, Relationships, Convenience and Price
Driver # 1 – Innovation
Driver # 2 – Relationship
Driver # 3 – Convenience
Driver # 4 – Price
Principle 4: Buying Environments Create Buyers
People Don't Buy What Others Want to Sell. They Buy What Others Want to Buy.
Turn Your Clients Into Celebrities
People Don't Buy What They Need – They Buy What They Want
Principle 5: It’s OK to be Different
The Power of Philosophy
It's Ok to Fail
It's Ok to say “No”
It's Ok to Make People Wait
It's Ok to Buck the Trend
Principle 6: Value is Created in the Ecosystem
Give Away Ideas – Charge for Implementation
It's Easier to Climb Small Stairs Than to Jump Big Walls
Innovate – But Don't Mess with a Winning Formula
Principle 7: Nothing Beats Being Positively Remarkable
Replace Your Marketing Budget with a Remarkable Budget
Build a Remarkably Trusted Personal Brand
Part II: The Campaign Driven Enterprise Method: Turning Principles into Strategy
Phase 1: Campaign Planning: Know Your Capacity, who It's for and When you can Deliver It
It Begins with a Happy Customer
Who's Your Market?
Clients versus Customers
Getting a Grip on Reality
The Real Number
Your Schedule for Becoming Oversubscribed
Create a Campaign Theme
Create a Campaign Timeline
Phase 2: Build Up to Being Oversubscribed
The Power of Signalling
Naming Your Terms
Don't Ask for the Sale – Ask for the Signal
There's One of Me and Lots of You
Think Mobile and Media First
Educate and Entertain
The 7-Hour Rule
Brains Don't Know it's Digital
Phase 3: Release When Oversubscribed
Oversubscribe Your Capacity
Price Rises and Time Limits
Sales Conversations vs. Chit-Chats
Set Your Targets and Stay Firm
Phase 4: Remarkable Delivery
Positively Remarkable Delivery
The Remarkable Audit
Energy Up, Down or Sideways
From Now On, You're Also an IT Business
Phase 5: Celebrate and Innovate
Stories, Numbers and Insights
Tell Your Stories
So Many Great Hidden Stories
The Truth is in the Results
Time to Party and Rest
Part III: You, Your Team and the Crazy Times We Live In
It's Time to Paddle
Struggle, Lifestyle or Performance?
Lifestyle First Then Performance
The CDE Team
When to Recruit Your Team
Creating Culture from the Beginning
The Roles of a Core CDE Team
You're Ready. Let's Go!
One Last Thing: The Chapter I Wrestled With
About the Author
The Oversubscribed Workshop
The Campaign scorecard
Chapter 1: The Entrepreneur Revolution is Happening
Table of Contents
There are restaurants that people line up for. There are products that you must pre-order months in advance. There are tickets that sell out on the day they are released. There are stocks that go roaring up in value right after they float. There are cars that were bought before they were built and properties that sell off the plan when they are nothing more than a set of drawings. There are consultants who are booked six months in advance and hair stylists who charge ten times more than others. There's furniture you can't buy, only pre-order, and bottles of wine that are purchased while their grapes are still hanging on the vine.
There are people who don't chase clients. Clients chase them.
In a world of endless choices, why does this happen? Why do people line up, pay more, and book so far in advance when other options are easily available? Why are these people and products in such high demand?
This book explains why. It's caused by a phenomenon known as being “oversubscribed”.
A product or brand reaches a level of being oversubscribed when there are far more buyers than sellers. It's when demand massively outstrips supply. It's when many more people want something than capacity allows for. This book is designed to give you a recipe for becoming oversubscribed, and introduce the underlying ideas that drive this phenomenon.
But before we delve into these concepts and suggestions, it would probably be a good idea to give some background on why you should listen to me. Let me start by telling you a story.
My company runs large business and leadership events around the world. We don't use typical conference rooms in typical hotels; we host our events in theatres and auditoriums that are normally used for popular musicals and shows. What's more, our events are premium priced and oversubscribed – despite the fact that most companies struggle to get 50–100 people to turn up to a free business event.
For example, in January 2013, I issued an email to clients in Sydney, Australia that said: “We have sold too many tickets to the event that you've booked in for. The venue holds 700 people and we've now sold more than that and we have a waiting list forming. If you'd like to sell your ticket back to us – or for any reason you can no longer attend the event – please email us, and we will buy back your ticket today for DOUBLE what you paid for it.”
As I mentioned, most business events in Sydney are free, don't get more than 100 attendees and are run by people who live in Sydney and have access to local contacts and networks. Our event was brand new, priced at the top end – and we didn't have a single staff member on the ground in Sydney at that time.
The email wasn't a joke, a gimmick or a ploy. It was genuine. We had sold too many tickets to our event. We had a similar problem in Melbourne two weeks later, then in London, then in Florida.
This wasn't happening by accident. It was orchestrated to be like this. And this book will show you how it's done.
My business often books clients three months in advance. We don't do it to be difficult; it's just the amount of time people need if they want to work with us. If someone says they aren't sure about working with us, we don't argue or try to hard sell them. We smile politely and say that it's OK not to. We don't need to convince people – there are others lined up, waiting.
I launched my first company in 2002 at age 21 with a $7,000 credit card. It was a boutique marketing company specializing in event promotions in the financial services industry. Within 12 months I'd made over $1 million in revenue and had over $300,000 cash in the bank. By age 25, I'd used the same insights to make over $10m in sales and had made myself an enviable amount of money for a young man. Along the way, I discovered some very valuable ideas on how to make a product or service oversubscribed.
At age 25, I moved to London with my best friends and business partners. We launched a new business with a small amount of start-up capital and once again made millions in sales within 12 months. At age 29 I wrote my first book and used the ideas set out in this book to send it to the #1 spot for business books on Amazon. I've raised millions of investment capital for my businesses and helped charities to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short space of time by using the ideas that I will share with you in the pages to come.
As you'll discover as you continue to read through this book, there's no scarcity in the world for people who share abundantly. One of the ways I keep myself oversubscribed today is by the very process of sharing big ideas. I've come to discover that the more I share, the more people demand.
I also believe that the principles in this book lead to better businesses for everyone involved – for the customers who get a higher level of service, for the business owners who stop chasing and for the employees who enjoy working for a company that's in demand.
My vision and hope is for millions of entrepreneurs and leaders to become more empowered to tackle bigger problems. This book is part of that vision. The ideas in this book are designed for quality businesses that care about what they do and want to be able to take their products to market more effectively. They are not for people who want to run a gimmick, make a fast sale or pull a swift win over their unsuspecting buyers.
Before you even begin, you must feel confident that your offering is something that genuinely serves people. You must be passionate about it and the value it presents to the world. You must love what you do, care about your customers and want to be in your business for the long haul. For the rest of this book, I will assume that's a given.
Being oversubscribed is the way for you to do your best work and spend more time with your current clients rather than chasing new ones. It gives you more downtime to innovate your products rather than running around selling them – and it allows you to build your brand rather than blending in with the crowd.
I've also written this book because I understand the struggle most entrepreneurs and leaders undergo.
We live in remarkable, changing times. Many ideas that worked five years ago aren't working anymore. Everyone is under pressure to innovate and put results on the board. The decade ahead is going to be both challenging and inspiring. The pace of change is speeding up and the way the world of business and society works won't look the same in ten years from now.
Many people will see this as a great wave of change that sweeps them out to sea, while others view it as one they can surf and enjoy. If you're like me, you'll be paddling hard.
By the end of this book, you'll have a method for becoming oversubscribed. I'm going to unpack a process for getting yourself in the enviable position of being in demand. Of course, it will be up to you to apply the process to your business – and it'll take trial and error before you get it right. Ideas are easy; it's the implementation that's hard. Stick with it though, because the payoff is extraordinary. Once you are oversubscribed you'll earn more money, have more fun and attract more opportunities.
You won't have to chase opportunities; you'll curate those that show up. Your inbox will become a garden of prospects rather than an endless stream of tasks to follow up on.
This book isn't just about marketing principles and business methods. I will begin by addressing some problems that most businesses suffer from and sharing some of the stories and principles that drive the deeper philosophy behind the book. My goal is for you to understand these concepts on a deep enough level that you'll make better decisions intuitively and you'll be approaching your business with a different outlook.
You might need to read this book several times and let the ideas sink in for that to happen. Some of the ideas are subtly woven into the stories. There's a rich tapestry out there and you're part of it. But as with any tapestry, you can't see it if you don't have the right perspective. When you take a few steps back you can see the bigger picture.
I'm hoping this book gives you a look at the bigger picture for you and your business. Let's begin a journey together that starts where you are right now and leads you to where you want to be.
You likely learned long ago that the market forces of demand and supply determine the price and the profit you'll make. But what you didn't learn is that you can make your own market forces.
I was in a room with 400 people who had come to see renowned entrepreneur and author, Gary Vaynerchuk, share his ideas on social media marketing. He announced at the end of his presentation that he'd be auctioning off a 1-hour one-on-one business consultation with him and the proceeds would go to charity.
He explained that the last time he did a consultation like this he had made several introductions to his network and the person had made an additional $50,000 in less than 30 days. “It's not just a consultation”, he explained. “It's potentially access to my network – and I know some of the world's most powerful people.”
This had put the audience into a state of frenzy. I opened the auction with a bid of £500 and immediately another person took it to £600. Within a flash the price hit £1,000 and the hands kept popping up.
Bids were coming in thick and fast. £2,000, £2,200, £2,400, £2,600, £2,800.
As the bidding passed the £3,000 mark, it came down to two men who clearly both wanted this prize. Everyone else was out of the race, but these two guys kept matching each other and taking the price up another £100 each time.
They were the only two people still bidding in a room with 400 individuals. The rest were sitting patiently or enjoying the spectacle.
The price got up to £3,900 with no signs of slowing down. Gary could tell the audience members were getting restless – so he asked the two bidders, “Will you both pay £4,000 each and I will provide a consultation for both of you?”
They agreed, and the hammer went down. Gary had raised £8,000 by auctioning off two hours of his time.
I'm not sure how high it would have gone but I do know that it only takes two people to push up the price at an auction. Most of the people in the room didn't bid at all and very few people bid beyond £1,500. But that doesn't matter. When the supply is “one” and there are “two” who want it, then that price keeps going up. Two people who desire something is enough to oversubscribe the one person who has it. The price keeps going up until one entity gives in.
When Facebook purchased cross-platform mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion, the number seemed ridiculous to almost everyone on the planet – except one other bidder. Google was the other company who wanted to buy WhatsApp and the two rival companies bid the price into the stratosphere. Had the price been set by a wider market, the general consensus would have been a much lower number.
Too many business owners focus on the entire market place. They are deeply concerned by what the majority will pay rather than finding the small group of people who really value what they offer. But if you focus on the wider market price, you'll always be average.
If Gary Vaynerchuk wanted to try and sell everyone an hour of his time during the auction, he would have probably needed to lower his prices to £200 per hour. And after delivering a month of solid consultations to all 400 people he also would have needed a holiday – and would have had zero energy to write more books or give more talks.
As it turns out, Gary knew that his real value wasn't even the consultation. It was his ability to make a high level introduction that would be taken seriously because it came from him.
Your value is much higher than you think to a small number of people. You don't need everyone on the planet to see you as in demand; you only need enough people who can drive your price up. Separating from the economy and from your industry requires that you turn your attention to those people who find you highly valuable – and then serve them better than anyone else can.
If two people want your time and only one can get it, your price rises until one of them gives in. Your job isn't to please everyone. Your job is to find those people who can't live without you. So . . . who are those people? What is it they want? And where do you find them? These questions matter more than the questions that relate to the overall market.
Your price isn't fixed, or set by the overall market. It's a result of being oversubscribed or not.
Let's begin with some basics that I was taught by one of the world's top market traders.
“Why do markets go up?”
I was sitting in the home office of one of Australia's most successful stock market traders – a man who had traded billions of dollars and who'd been consistently successful trading markets for 20+ years. He was a man for whom people travelled internationally to hear him speak about markets for an hour or two.
I was 22 years old at the time, and I answered him with my best guess: “Positive news, a good economy, monetary policy, a good CEO; probably they all have an impact, I think.”
“Nice try – but no” he said with a smile, “Markets go up because there are more buyers than sellers . . . and that's it!”
I had forgotten the fundamental truth of economics: the basics of “demand and supply” that you learn on day one of any economics class. A strong market, a good business plan or a compelling story all help but ultimately your price is set by the balance of supply and demand.
What's more, the market abhors a profit. A profit is only tolerated if demand is higher than supply. No one wants your business to be highly profitable other than its stakeholders. If you tell consumers they can have a cheaper price but the company will lose money and might go out of business, they probably won't even think twice about buying as much as they can. They aren't worried about your profit margins; they are concerned about their own budgets.
This is why you'll only make a profit if you are oversubscribed on your capacity to deliver, and why demand for your stuff must always be greater than your ability to supply it.
People forget the basics. They get caught up in tactics for marketing and lead generation, and they fuss over management styles and team-building techniques, forgetting that all of these activities don't mean much if the business isn't oversubscribed.
The principles set out in this book can be useful across many aspects of your business. For example, if you want to hire top talent, you need to be oversubscribed for top talent. That means that some people need to miss out on the job. If you want impactful publicity you need to be oversubscribed for people who want the story you have to share, so some news outlets won't get the story. If you want to sell products, those products need more buyers than supply can allow for – so again, some people will miss out.
Being oversubscribed requires nothing more than a situation whereby some people who really wanted something had to miss out on having it. Of course, it's a difficult situation because you and your company don't want people to miss out. Naturally, you want to sell to everyone who's willing to buy, yet that very mindset prevents you from becoming oversubscribed.
Lots of people want a Ferrari – but the people at Ferrari aren't losing sleep over it. They know that the fact that some people have to miss out is what makes their automobile so coveted. Every product that is oversubscribed has people who didn't get it, even though they were willing to buy.
If you can get the balance right and keep yourself oversubscribed – disappointing those people who missed out without them losing interest in you entirely, while still delivering remarkable value to those who got through – you'll have no problems being profitable. If supply is too great and everyone who wants what you have can get what you have, the prices will fall and so will the margins. Eventually your business will make losses.
If you want to be oversubscribed you'll need to get comfortable with some people missing out on what you have to offer. That's how the market works – and that's how it determines your rewards.
There are three ways the demand and supply equation can play out for your business:
– Demand is outstripping supply, resulting in profit being tolerated on top of normal wages.
– Demand and Supply are relatively even resulting in normal wages being tolerated but not profit.
– Excess supply is available above demand, resulting in losses.
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