And yet most download pages suck. You have to cut vines and fight off marauding text before you get your download. Which is why I was so excited to see this download page from my friend, Wayne Logue. It’s cool. It’s simple. And it does the job of making you consume.
Wayno’s download page. Funny. Easy. Edible.
Um, if you think you can’t draw cartoons, then here is someone who can teach you to draw cartoons in under 16 seconds—if you can write your alphabet, you can draw cartoons. To get Wayne’s book, have a look at his website at www.wordtoons.com
You wouldn’t think a simple quiz would make you feel unsafe, would you?
And if it were a topic that you were quite comfortable with, there’s even less reason to feel concern. You’d think so, but that’s not how our brains work. Our brains don’t like to be surprised.
And my brain got surprised at a little past 4:55am this morning
I checked my email, saw a link to the blog at FutureNowInc, and hey, it’s a quiz. I started to answer the quiz, and within minutes I was feeling very disconcerted. And there were several reasons for me feeling a little jittery (and no, it wasn’t the early morning—I work fine at this time of the morning). It was the fact that the quiz was somehow ‘tricking’ me.
Now I know that the quiz wasn’t set up to trick anyone
Jeff and Bryan Eisenberg (who I know personally, and very well too) wouldn’t have set up the quiz to create a fear of ‘unsafety’. They’d have specifically set it up to test the knowledge, and to empower the readers. But when I started getting tricky questions, I bailed out of the quiz.
So what are tricky questions?
1) You’re asked to choose two answers out of four (always tricky). What should you do?: Always get the client to choose just one answer.
2) You then expect to choose one (or two answers) out of four. But instead, the right answer is all ‘four’. What should you do?: Avoid ambushing the client. If you’re going to have tricky questions, I need to know at the start.
This post isn’t meant to do a deep analysis on the quiz. Instead what I’m trying to get across to you is that even a simple quiz that contains no real reward (except the thrill of getting things right) can be very confusing. A person who feels rattled by the quiz, may then create a memory of quizzes on your site being tricky. And hence avoiding them.
None of us set out to trick the customer.
None of us set out to make the customer feel uncomfortable.
And yet, in tiny ways, we create a discomfort factor.
And not only does it hinder consumption (I didn’t get past question 3), but it also hinders attraction and conversion the next time around.
Imagine we go to a buffet that contains about 80 different dishes And I start a countdown clock.
From 12:15 pm to 12:56 pm you have to taste all the dishes in the buffet.
Does a gulp come to mind?
And yet most of us will force clients to gobble our buffet.
Go to any workshop. Go to any presentation. Go to any client meeting.
They’re overstuffing their clients and it’s not a good thing.
But what do you do as a consultant?
What do you do as a trainer?
Surely your client wants access to the entire buffet.
Surely your client wants to sample whatever catches their fancy—and have a good time.
What should you do to make the client’s lunch more enjoyable?
Do you steer the client away from the buffet completely?
Or can we still go to the buffet?
Of course we can go to the buffet.
But what you now have to do differently, is you have to do is point the client towards a few good dishes. And make sure the client tries those specific dishes first.
This is a dilemma if you’re the buffet-creator.
Because you created the buffet.
And you want the client to eat the buffet.
And you the client to eat as much as possible, because you need to close the buffet at 1pm.
And yet you’re doing the client a disfavour by overstuffing him/her.
However, when you point the client to a few dishes, you’re now creating an à la carte factor.
And yet, the concept of à la carte is a problem for your little brain cells.
You want the client to have everything.
The client wants access to everything.
So how do we solve this problem?
But here’s how I resolved it in my own brain over the past few weeks:
1) You paid for the buffet.
2) You get the buffet (all the materials and downloads)
3) My job is to give you access to the entire buffet of information.
4) Then I get you to focus on the dishes that I think are the best for you.
5) I point you in the direction of those dishes.
6) It becomes an à la carte meal (even though you think you’re at the buffet).
7) We enjoy as much as we can of that a la carte and you’re happy (instead of being overstuffed).
8) You’re happy because you have control over what you’ve eaten (control over what you’ve learned and can help implement).
9) You now have access to the buffet at any time (*you have all the materials and downloads).
As a teacher/consultant I felt I had to give everything…
I felt I was giving less by not covering everything in the syllabus.
But I’ve found that less is more.
I had to learn this in workshops way back in 2003.
Then I had to apply it in online learning and courses.
And then in live presentations.
Each time I felt the need to fill up the buffet table.
And even now, I’m finding I have to step back and stop overstuffing my clients.
I now apply this a la carte concept for my ebooks.
For my courses.
For my online courses.
But something will trip me up. I’ll end up being the buffet master.
And I’ll have to re-learn that I’m actually the buffet provider, but the a la carte master
That learning is hard to remember.
And I have to keep reminding myself.
Because otherwise all we have is shock and awe.
Shock and awe, but no real results in implementation.
The worst kind of class is the method that’s being used by 99.9% of all trainers today.
Where the first time the participants reads/hears the information is about two seconds before the class (or worse, after the class has begun). Then the trainer or coach makes this great presentation. Or gives instructions. And this creates great shock and awe, but has limited learning power.
This is because the brain can’t process information quickly enough.
The brain can only process so many facts before it gets tired. And when it gets tired the brain is easily amused, but not a whole lot of information sinks in. For successful implementation not only does the information have to sink in, but the information has to be understood in the way the trainer understands it.
And of course, most trainers aren’t even aware that they have to change their methods. But what if they did change their methods?
What’s a coach or trainer to do?
1) Understand the three points below: Read the resources I’ve provided.
2) Give all the information.
3) Get the participants to focus on page numbers (in advance).
It doesn’t matter if you’re a school teacher.
Or writing a book chapter by chapter.
Or a business conducting a workshop or one-on-one consulting.
Or even a rowing coach or a yoga trainer.
The concept of understanding and assimilation are the same across the board. And if you don’t prepare your client/student, then you’re not a true teacher. You’re just into shock and awe. And adulation.
And that’s really a pity!
Coming next: How to give instructions to improve consumption
Seminars are just information dumps Yes, I don’t mind going to a seminar, but it’s just a newsreel.
You then have to go out and do all the hard work.
In fact, everything that’s being taught at that seminar could have been downloaded on a PDF file and an audio (if not video).
But let’s just assume people who conduct seminars don’t know what they’re doing.
Let’s assume you’re a workshop kind of person Do you know what you’re doing? Because as soon as you start doing a workshop, you invariably end up doing something that’s connected to the business of the participant. And that’s when you’ve made your first mistake.
And it’s a big mistake
People rarely learn anything if they start applying the concept to their own business.
They get too tangled in their own business.
Of course they haven’t even understood the concept yet.
So when we have live workshops (they’re not seminars) in California, we’ll ask the audience: Do you get this concept? They say yes. We send them on an assignment, and they get it wrong. And part of the problem is that when they’re sitting in a group doing that assignment, their buddies are rarely conversant or interested in the other person’s business. And almost within minutes their buddies will either misunderstand the concept or tune off.
The trick to getting everyone on the same page is to give them an assignment that doesn’t involve their business. Something they can all partially relate to like sushi, or yoga, or a restaurant.
So let’s say you take the concepts and apply it to a yoga school
Then what we have is a situation that’s very easy to imagine, even if you’ve never been to yoga (and usually at least 30-50% of them have already been to yoga). And they have to apply the concept to the yoga school. Of course they still get it wrong, but now there’s group effort, and everyone’s interested (there’s no tuning off).
They go back. And it’s fix, fix, fixity fix.
And yes, at some point I let them work on their own business if they choose to, but they always find it harder to work on their own business. That’s because whatever you’ve been teaching is usually extremely hard to comprehend. The information is too new, and they’re bound to make mistakes. Unless they start owning and understanding the concept, they don’t get implementation right.
The yoga school concept helps them focus on:
1) Understanding the concept.
2) Getting everyone on the same page.
3) Keeping everyone alert and vibrant.
4) Making mistakes without fear of ‘oh, it will affect my business, so I need to get this right.’
5) And learning the concept so that it’s easy to implement.
This is where the crossover begins
It’s only when the participants have gone through the process of hearing, understanding, talking, fixing, breaking, discussing the concept—that implementation is possible with few mistakes. And that’s when they can apply the concept to their own business.
And that’s why you need to have a third-party business they can work on.
If you’re really interested in teaching, that is.
Dollars work a lot better than FREE when you want a customer to consume a product/service
You’ve been told that FREE works really well.
Well it does.
But only when attracting a customer.
If you really want a customer to benefit, you have to stop the free dole out.
Because the moment something continues to be free, the consumption of those products/services plummets like a rock.
You don’t have to believe me, but you might as well.
Because we’ve tried this concept several times over.
So let’s take a real case study
We used to have free marketing courses at a cafe and we called it ‘BizBrew.’ Each of the Biz Brew courses were complete in every detail. It was the kind of course that you’d readily pay $75-$100 for, without the coffee. I say, without the coffee, because the coffee brewed up a latte, a frappe, or just about any coffee you wanted. And yes, it was free.
Think about it: A free course. Free coffee. And a pretty decent presenter. Would you miss sessions? You’re shaking your head thinking there’s no way you’d miss it, but the converse is true. When given a free option, people turn up sporadically, and then not at all. In fact, we were so sure we were wrong about this concept, that we started a new course series called the ‘Learning Rock’. While every session of the ‘Learning Rock’ was full, they were filled with 60% of new customers. Only 40% of the customers were repeat customers.*
Then we had paid courses. And 95% turned up for every course. Without fail. Come rain or shine.
So what does this teach you about consumption?
That the concept of FREE is wonderful for attracting customers. That FREE forms a beautiful attraction factor. But it’s only the first step in the sequence of attraction, conversion and consumption. Once a customer has gone through the attversumption steps; once they’ve opted in for the FREE whatever, and consumed the FREE product/service, the next step should be paid.
And that if you truly want to help your customers, you must make them pay.
* Note: We’ve tried this FREE model both online and offline. We’ve tried it both for products and services. We’ve tried it once, twice, thrice, hoping somehow we were wrong in our assessment. And no matter what options, media or method we tried, FREE always failed at consumption stage. It’s not like a paid product/service works 100% of the time. Even when a customer pays, they are not always consuming the product/service. However, the consumption factor is far, far greater when the product/service is paid for—and especially if paid for in advance.
Do you remember what you’ve learned? Or are you a Sponge Bob?
Soak a sponge with water.
It will absorb all the water willingly.
And as you pick it up, the soaked sponge will drip.
A good chunk of the water will drippity-drip all over you if you’re not careful.
But let’s say you are indeed careful.
Let’s say you then go on to squeeze the sponge.
Let’s give it a good squeeze, shall we?
And here’s what happens…
Most of the water, gets squeezed out of the sponge. Yet the sponge is still wet.
That means the sponge retains a minuscule part of the moisture.
Kind like your brain does when going through a new learning experience.
You know the feeling of being in a workshop.
You learn one fact, then another, then another.
If you start learning a new concept by 9am, your brain is pretty tired by 11am.
Of course you don’t realise this if you look around you.
After all, everyone’s happy, smiling. And everyone’s keen to get new information.
But here’s what’s happening in your brain.
Your brain can’t process a whole bunch of facts without rocking back and forth between understanding and application. So even as you get new information, the brain is trying to work out the overview, as well as the details required to implement the information. And at the very same time, it’s trying to find the relationship between what you already know, and how this new information relates to the old information.
Hah, you had trouble processing that last paragraph, didn’t you?
Now imagine what happens when you go to a seminar or workshop, and there’s speaker after speaker. Your brain keeps getting new information, and it absorbs the information like a sponge. Most of this information doesn’t sink in at all. In fact, most of the information can’t be recalled by you, even if you tried.
Which is why as a trainer/coach/teacher you need to understand the importance of time.
- The brain needs to learn a concept.
- Then play with it.
- Discuss it.
- Make mistakes.
- And see the connections between the existing concepts and new concepts.
Most seminars have no such review process.
Most books swing wildly from one chapter to another.
Most training courses (and we’ve had quite a few at Psychotactics in the past) have so much information, that the concept of time is ignored.
And when the concept time is ignored, real learning fails to happen.
To learn, the brain literally needs to boot down.
Take a nap.
What’s weird is that this time isn’t just required for educational purposes. It’s also critical for sport, or learning a new language. In fact all learning requires downtime.
If you don’t have downtime, you have sponge learning.
Most of the information drippity-drips away.
Which is a shame, really
So what should you do to understand this concept of consumption better?
Here are two resources. Print them out. Read them again. And then read them tomorrow. And the day after. And then next week. And experience for yourself how the concepts seem to change and evolve with each reading. And of course, each boot down and bootup
Let’s say you run a workshop.
Or you run a forum.
The single biggest problem that most of us have is the factor of participation.
So how does participation increase?
It’s called the common understanding
For example at Psychotactics.com we have a book called The Brain Audit.
The Brain Audit has certain parameters.
Which means when a client reads the Brain Audit, they become qualified.
No one is an expert on anything
But at least they’re no unsure any more. They’re now more qualified to give answers based on a common understanding. What this means, is that you’re creating a common language or knowledge. This is a language or knowledge that’s part of the common pool that you’ve created. Those inside the pool, can splash around and enjoy the nice, warm water. Those outside the pool look into the pool, and think jumping in may be a very good idea indeed.
So what you’ve got to do is create a common knowledge pool.
This can be a book. ( The Brain Audit)
It can be a class (e.g. The Article Writing Course)
It could be a separate part of the forum that’s available only to Premium Members.
What’s going to happen as a result of this common knowledge?
The members improve their understanding of that knowledge and therefore are able to now comment on websites/articles etc, that go outside that common knowledge pool. So someone who’s done the article writing course will be able to give specific advice, but someone who’s done another course (e.g. the attversumption course) is still able to give advice.
But how do they get used to giving advice?
I encourage them. While many people are not exactly comfortable in forums (or discussions0, they’re more likely to pitch in if they feel safe—and if they’re referring to a common knowledge pool.
When it comes to courses or presentations, it may be a great idea to send in information in advance.
These pages of information should be about what you’re going to cover. It may be an excerpt. It may be a chapter. It may be a section. Whatever it is, let it not be blah-blah about you, and more about the information you’re going to cover.
This gets the participants prepared, and already locked in to that common knowledge pool.
When they walk through that door, they’re not walking into an unsafe zone. They already have a common knowledge base. This encourages them to relax. And participate. Of course, it would make immense sense to reference parts of the information you’ve sent in advance. It would make sense to ask early questions based on the information you’ve sent in advance. That way, you build early trust. And create a safe zone. Yes, even with existing clients.
You’d think existing clients would feel safe, but they don’t.
Even if the clients know you, and know the information, they’re in a different zone. The room is different. The information is new. The structure of learning is new. These unknown factors create a lack of safety. So the more you do to create the safety zone, the more relaxed the clients will be. And more likely to participate.
So create the safety zone.
And one of the starting points for the safety zone is to provide the common knowledge pool.
Then provide the margaritas.
And we’ll all jump in
Haven’t you had the experience of sending an email out, only to get half the questions unanswered?
So here’s what happens. You send out an email with a whole bunch of questions.
You expect a response to all the questions.
But a good chunk of questions go unanswered.
Why is this the case?
The reason why questions go unanswered is because:
1) Too many questions are asked at one go–in an unstructured way.
2) The person receiving the questions, isn’t sure if it’s a question or just a comment.
3) The questions aren’t stacked up like this
These are my questions:
So how do you get your questions answered? 1) Ask ONE question in ONE email.
2) If you need to ask several questions, list the questions. And tell the person you’re emailing that you’d like the answers to all the questions listed.
At the end of the day, you’ll probably have better success by asking one question at a time. It’s a factor of consumption. Five questions becomes a buffet. I might put it off till later. One question, I can handle right now. So now, you’re not only increasing consumption, but also getting a speedy response because you’re not dumping dozens of questions and comments on me at one go.
I see one question. I answer it.
I see ten questions. I put it off.
I see random questions and comments. I answer half.
So you’re doing a workshop. And you explain a concept.
Then you ask the audience if they get it.
And the answer is usually in the affirmative.
Audience members get it—if you’ve done a good job of explaining the concept.
But they’ve only got it intellectually.
Because all you have to do is get them to do an exercise.
Get them to implement what you’ve just taught them.
And all hell will break loose.
They’ll make mistakes. They’ll do silly things that you just don’t expect.
And you’ll wonder…
Did they really get it?
No they didn’t.
Because one of the element of consumption is not just getting it, but implementing the concept.
And the best way to get someone to implement a concept is to isolate some of the components and then highlight them.
So the old becomes the new.
As this video below aptly (and very accurately) demonstrates.
Let the irony of this video not be lost on you.