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Wayne Ens

Oh, No! Not Another "Secret"


I received no less than 11 emails this past Monday offering to reveal "secrets" to me. Im well aware that there are words like "free" or "new" or perhaps "secrets" that are proven to capture attention.

Heres my big "secret." The words you choose have to be the truth if your claims are to be believed and sustainable.

So I looked up "secret":

Se-cret (se'krit)
adjective  Kept hidden from knowledge or view; something kept, or to be kept, hidden
noun  Something kept hidden from others or only known by one's self or a few individuals

One of the emails I received was from a "business coach" who claimed his "secret" has helped thousands of upstart businesses to succeed. Is it really a secret if thousands know about it?

Another email claimed This secret is so big it wont be revealed until after you join my webinar. Wow! Its not just a secret, its a BIG secret.

In sales and in advertising, building trust is paramount, and making false claims or exaggerated claims, simply compounds the skepticism for your message.

I know of one station that changed its format two years ago and still promotes itself as "the new 103." Dont you think listeners whove been tuned to that station for 730 days know its no longer "new"? And doesnt this claim cast doubt on the validity of other claims made by that station or its reps?

In a world of hype and exaggeration, maybe the secret magic words used to capture attention should be replaced with honesty and integrity. Being real is so unusual that just telling the truth stands out amidst all the hype today.

Exaggerated claims are one of the biggest causes of I tried radio and it didnt work. Over-zealous salespeople who make inflated claims make it impossible for the station to live up to the advertisers expectations.

For advertisers to renew their commitments to you, they have to perceive that you have delivered value. And the Value Equation by which they measure your performance is simple:

Value = the customers expectations  + or the customers experience.

Using this equation, "breaking even" is not good enough. Your customers must have an experience that exceeds their expectations, to perceive value.

The good news is that you can control both ends of the Value Equation. You can establish the customers expectations, and you certainly control the customers after-sale experience.

In a recent SoundADvice radio-e-marketing letter, we told this story to demonstrate how the customers expectations can be managed.

The owner of a local candy store couldnt help but notice the difference in the sales levels between  the two identical twin sisters who worked for him. Both girls looked the same, had the same hours, same location, same product and same price, but one always had a line at her cash register, while the other seldom served any customers.

When he asked the more successful twin the secret to her success, she said Its easy. When you go to my sisters counter and order a pound of candy, she piles a great big scoop of candy on the scale in front of you and keeps taking candies away until she gets down to a pound.

When you come to my counter, she went on, Ill put a little wee scoop on the scale and watch the customers grin grow as I keep adding until I get up to a pound.

Do you see the difference? In both cases the customer gets exactly sixteen ounces of candy for exactly the same price. But you know which customers are delighted versus those who are disappointed. Contrary to what you might think, your customers do not receive value when they buy from you; they perceive value. Its up to you to enhance that value perception.

So now you know my "secret" which, by virtue of this article, really is no longer a secret. Creating realistic expectations up front will not only help your presentation stand out amidst all of your competitors hype, it will actually make it possible for you to delight your clients at the experience end of the value equation.

Wayne Ens is president of ENS Media Inc, a pro-active media consulting and training company that specializes in increasing local-direct radio revenues. You can reach Wayne at

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