Troy Moore – marketingwithtroy.com
Hello, Troy Moore here from marketingwithtroy.com, and today I’m going to share with you the red herring technique. This is a way to help increase your conversions for your main offer by making the price seem insignificant by a relative comparison. This is a really cool technique. It’s an advanced persuasion strategy, but if you can figure out a way to harness this and use this, you will see your conversions go through the roof.
So this is what it’s all about. The premise for the red herring technique is that people can only make relative comparisons. Let me give you some examples.
The Relative Comparison
So a very simple one to start off with. When I was writing copy, I was showing how you could do something in two minutes. So I can say “two minutes” or I can say “in the time of a commercial break.” Most people have the relative experience of saying, “Oh, a commercial break. Wow, that ain’t that long.” And in fact, in their mind I’ve implanted the idea of, “I can watch TV and during a commercial break I can do this and get results with it.” So what’s better to get them to understand the benefits of the product in that case? Would it mean just saying you can do this in two minutes or you can do this in the time of a commercial break? Here I’ve given them a relative comparison of what two minutes actually is. The relative comparison is in the time of a commercial break.
So people think in relative comparisons. If you say two minutes in their mind, what’s going to pop up? Is it a clock with two minutes? Can you actually signify two minutes with a picture? Not very easy, but everybody can come up with a picture of them sitting in front of a TV waiting through a commercial break bored out of their mind.
So another example, if I say there was a forest fire in California that spanned 200 acres, are you going to be able to really quantify that in your mind and understand the parameters of how big that area is? Well, an acre is almost equivalent to a football field. So if I say to you 200 football fields – the area of 200 football fields, if you laid them end to end this is how big this forest fire would be. Then you’d say, “Whoa, that’s huge!” 200 acres isn’t something you can very easily create in your mind, but when I give you the relative comparison of area compared to something you’re familiar with, like a football field, then it becomes very easy for you to understand the significance. And that’s what you want when you want to have communication that persuades people is you want them to understand the significance of your points as dramatically as possible and also help them understand the benefits and the comparisons of what you’re giving them compared to what they’re going to get anywhere else to make you look as favorably as possible.
The Better Deal
For example, here’s something that they studied in psychology when I was a psychology student is they’d ask people what’s a better deal. Let’s say you wanted to buy a $12 item like a pizza or something like that, and you had a $10 off coupon if you drove across town. So you would actually only end up paying $2 for the pizza; you would save $10. So they’d ask people, “What’s a better deal – doing something like that or let’s say you wanted to buy a big screen TV for $1000. And you could go get it; you could order it online for the same price or you could drive across town and get $10 off.” And actually the technical way they did this is you could drive down the street or you could drive across town and get $10 off, and the gas would only cost you $2. So you would come up with a net savings of $8 if you drove all the way over across town. And the fact of the matter is time wasn’t a consideration here. It was just a matter of what’s the best deal.
So a lot of people said they would drive across town to get $10 off a $12 item, but that they would not drive across town to get $10 off a $1000 item like a big screen TV that they were going to purchase anyway. And it begs the question – why are people doing this? Because technically they’re saving the same amount of money. $10 is $10. And so if they’re willing to drive across town to get $10 off one item and not another, it’s only because of a faulty understanding in their mind of the deal they’re getting.
So people think that they’re getting such a great deal because the relative comparison here is they’re getting 98 percent off practically – or they’re getting over 90 percent off. So $10 off a $12 item’s like, “Oh, I’m saving 90 percent. Whoa!” That’s a huge relative comparison of savings where $10 off a $1000 item is a 1 percent savings. It’s not big. So in their case it’s like, “I’m only getting a 1 percent savings; that sucks,” when technically they’re saving the same amount of money – $10. But it’s because of the relative comparison that they will go and do the latter, but not the former. They will drive across down to get that $10 savings off the $12 item, but they will not drive across town to get the $10 savings off the $1000 item just because of the glitch in their mind of relative comparison. So you have to use that to your advantage when you’re selling stuff to make it look like they’re getting 98 percent off instead of 1 percent off even though technically they’re getting the same actual value. The perception of value is different.
The Coming Up Short
So one more really good way for you to understand really what the importance of this so you can use the red herring technique, which I’ll get into in a second, is in the Olympics. They polled silver medalists, and they asked them how happy they were with their performance. And what they found were silver medalists were more unhappy than bronze medalists. Even though a silver medal is better than a bronze medal technically speaking, what happened was the relative comparison. In this
case, silver medalists were comparing themselves to gold. So they were thinking, “Man, I didn’t get gold. I came up short of gold.” So in their case it was pain; whereas bronze medalists were comparing themselves to everyone else who didn’t place. This is the average, at least. They would say, “Wow, I was the last person to get a medal. Everybody else didn’t get a medal,” so in this case they’re thinking gain. Silver medalists are thinking loss; bronze medalists are thinking gain. Even though a silver medal is technically better than a bronze, more bronze medalists were happy. So the idea is if you don’t get gold in the Olympics, you should get bronze because you’re probably going to be happier statistically speaking.
And why? Again, because people can only make relative comparisons. In general, people can only make relative comparisons. So it’s your job as a marketer to make your price, to make your offer, a relative comparison to something that has a lot, lot, lot, lot more value so that way yours looks like a super damn good deal for the price.
So let me get into this a little bit more. Make price relative by comparison. Why? You make your prospects compare it in a fixed environment instead of they’re on their own. If you leave them to do it on their own, they can’t make the comparison as adequately as you can if you showed them. And if you can control the environment, you can control the outcome. So that’s why. And also, this can make whatever price you present seem so much more insignificant if you have the proper relative comparison. Bottom line is you’re going to get more sales; you’re going to get higher conversions; and you’re going to get them at higher prices. So you’re going to extend everything. You’re going to extend the transaction value, and you’re going to extend the amount of customers coming into your funnel. Make price relative.
So I’m going to get into now three ways that you can do this technique. Some of these I’ve used personally; some of these I’ve observed and reconstructed, and I’m going to use in my business and that I’ve seen others use very successfully. And I don’t think a lot of people understand why these were so successful until they know this.
The 1 of 3 Proposition
So this is how I first stumbled on this technique, the red herring technique. I use what I call the power of three close. So I was a ghostwriter, and it worked like this: People would ask me, “Hey Jason, how much do you charge for an e-book?” And instead of just giving them a yes or no like, “I charge this much; is that good?” I changed it to an either, either, or either proposition or 1 of 3 proposition. And this is how this works:
What you want to do is you want to create a good, better, best option. And really all you care about getting is the better option. Maybe you’re lucky once in a while and get the best option, and very occasionally you get the good option, but you engineer it in a way so the good option actually makes you a lot of money. So in any case, if they pick any of these three, you’re going to get more than you typically get. And you can get more than you typically get not because you deliver more value, but it’s just because you make the relative comparison of your value more easily
understandable to your prospect. And the better you can do that, the more you can charge.
So this is how you do this: First, you start with your good option. This is your barest option. Make this good option the price you would normally get. So let’s say I’m writing an e-book, and I normally charge $10 a page. So this is going to be my good option, my entry-level option; $10 a page for an e-book. Make the better option a price you’d be absolutely happy to get. So normally you would get the good price, but make your better middle thing something that you would just love to get because it’s more than you normally get, but it’s something that you think you could charge and get away with.
Finally, make the best option a price you don’t think anybody will pay. And this is why this is called the red herring technique. This is a dummy option that you don’t think anybody in their right mind would pay, but it’s going to make your better option look really good.
So this is how you do this: You present the best option as a few clients who are fortunate enough to be able to do whatever it takes to get it done and get the results typically choose this option. So in this case – and then the only difference really is the best and better option is a simply premium such as a quicker turnaround time, personal coaching, or personal service.
So this is how I would use this in ghostwriting. I would say, “A few lucky clients are fortunate enough to be able to invest the adequate resources to get the most out of my value for e-books.” So for them what I do is I charge $35 a page. And what happens is I get it to them within the next two days, so I put them on the top priority list; so they’re the first person I work on in the morning. And the second thing is I allow them to e-mail me four times a week for feedback and for personal guidance that I also am going to give to them after I create the product. So you get four emails from me after the product’s created so I can help you market it. So that’s the premium option, $35 a page. That’s extremely insanely high.
Now remember, I’m happy getting $10 a page. So then you present the better option next as this: You say, “Some clients don’t need that much personalization or they simply don’t need to invest that many resources. They just need something that is going to get the job done and get it done well and on time. And for those that are interested in just getting good results quickly without all that extra personalization, for them I typically charge $15 per page.” And we get it done in the standard turnaround time, and I give them the turnaround time. So the turnaround time’s slightly longer than this, and they get no personalization. And that’s the only difference between $35 a page and $15 a page.
And then finally you present this last option as, “And for a few clients I understand that budget is the primary issue, and they don’t have a lot to work with. So for them we give them the bare basics so that they can get at least some good results with our services.” Then you offer your $10 version, and you make the turnaround time twice as long. And you say that it’s typically – you throw in something that the pages aren’t as big or something like that, so you have to do a little less work.
Enter The Middle
And so the end result is $10 for the good option, $15 for the better option, $35 for the best option. Almost everybody picks the middle option. There’s a couple reasons why. First is just we’ve been programmed to pick between high, low, and medium. Most people pick medium. For example, when most people make pricing strategies in business, they look at what everybody else is charging. And they pick something that’s average, in the middle. People have that tendency to do what other people do; it’s social proof. And so most people pick the average thing; they pick the better because a lot of people don’t want to admit, “Yeah, I’m broke, and I just need something…anything.” And most people don’t have the money or the inclination to go with the best option; so you make your better option look super good. And now you can charge more for the same service because it’s $15 now instead of 10 just by the way you made the presentation of your offer.
And I actually have an example of this where somebody asked me, who was a ghostwriting client of mine, they said this very specific thing to me. He goes, “Jason, any suggestions on how to price this?” So he sends me an e-mail of a customer sent to him. He said, “Hi, do you do e-book writing? I have a pretty short e-book about finding untapped small, new niches and dominating. I’m looking for someone to add more specific research content for micro-niche marketing business selling info products on ClickBank. How much do you charge for adding content to e-books?”
And so this is what I told Chris, “Here’s the close you want to use. Don’t give them a yes/no proposition, but an either/or.” Here’s what I say, “Some clients I work with are lucky enough to have adequate resources to invest in a project like this to make it really top-notch and of the highest quality. So for them I give them all my resources and return the finished product in (insert faster than normal turnaround time here), and this service is (insert really high price that you doubt you’d ever get.)” That’s the red herring price. That’s the best deal.
Then this is the better option, “Others still are looking for something that does a really good job, but doesn’t have to be the best of the best. For them we give them a really good finished product for only (insert a higher price than you’d normally charge and would be really happy to get with average turnaround time).
Then there are a few who face some tough budget concerns and are more interested in getting a really good bargain than anything else. For these clients we deliver a respectable product for only (and put in the price you would regularly charge.)” So that way no matter what you get something that you’re happy with, but then more likely than not you’re going to get more than what you get out of this. So product for only (now put in the price you would regularly charge), and the turnaround time is usually a bit longer.
Which category do you fall under? That’s very important. Which category do you fall under? First of all, you’ve changed from yes or no to whether they should take your service or not to, “Hmm, what category do I fall under?” And then they simply
pick the middle one in 90 percent of the cases. And then 3 percent of the cases they pick the lower one, and in 2 percent of the cases you actually get the higher one. So any way you win. So this is the red herring technique how I used it.
The Super Workshop
Now here’s another advanced technique that I am going to start using, and in fact I’ve geared my whole business around using in the future. The premise, though, is you need a list to make this work. You need a community. It doesn’t have to be your own list. It just has to be a list, and I’m going to show you an actual example of how this works.
This is where I got the first idea, and then I seen it later and nobody made the connection, I don’t think, except for me. “Ah, he just used that technique,” and he called it something fancy instead like he’s known to do. So I give him that, but you need a list to make this work. Here’s what you do:
First, you create a super high-end workshop seminar; way, way, way pricey, and your goal is really to only get 3-5 people to attend. So let’s say you have a list of like 5,000 buyers or 3,000 buyers or 3,000 people on your prospect list. It doesn’t really matter. And let’s say you’re doing a writing workshop. This is the advice I gave to a consulting client of mine. I said, “How big do you want to really get with this? I know this market of people how to write and get published.” That was the niche. I said, “I know people in this market that pay up to $10,000 to attend a workshop.”
So I’m like, “Would you be willing to put on those workshops in six months if we positioned you to be able to get the deal flow in? Do you have any qualms about actually getting on stage and teaching this stuff?” He’s like, “No, let’s do it.” I go, “So here’s what you want to do.” Right now he had a list of a certain size. I said, “You’re going to want to take this and make a super insanely high-priced option that you don’t think hardly anybody will pick. So out of 5,000 people you only get five people in.” So what’s the conversion rate of 5 divided by 5,000? It’s tiny. It’s like .1 percent, so 1 out of 1,000 people. That’s it. That’s all you care about, so you only have to shoot .1 percent. Your goal is only to get five people to attend, and you could even position it to, “We have to interview you first. You have to qualify to get in here.” And what happens is everybody else is like, “Oh my God, it’s so secretive. Only so few people can attend, and it’s super high price. He must be giving away the farm. There must be something super awesome in this workshop that he’s only limiting it and charging so much for it.”
And actually, your goal is not even to make money from the workshop, which you will if you sell five people at $5,000. You can make $25,000; if you sell it at $10,000 you can make $50,000. But honestly, what you really want to do is invest in the marketing. So you want to pay people as guest speakers or pay something like that so you have your budget to work with. You don’t care about the money you make. Any money you make from the workshop is just a bonus.
Stacking The Value
What you really want is to make everyone on your list anxious to find out what the hell you could reveal at such a pricey seminar and to get them thinking that the value of that information is $5,000. Because if you sold it for $5,000, they have the relative comparison that it is $5,000.
Then you record the seminar, and you make the recordings available to your list. So you basically got paid to create the product. Now your seminar was priced super duper high, like 5K, but you sell your recordings for $500. So your list is going to make the relative comparison $500 sounds like a freaking great deal when to pay to get there in person was $5,000. And that’s the only difference was your personal attention; the rest is the same. So they got this huge freaking deal for $500. They’re comparing now 500 to 5K. If you normally sell stuff for 97 and you release a $500 home study course with the same information, even though it is the same information people are now comparing $97 to $500, and it doesn’t look like a good deal at all. So it’s the same product pretty much, but just the way you compare it; the red herring example. The 5K is your red herring, is something that you don’t even really want a lot of people to get; you only just need one or two to get it to make it valid, and then you actually want to sell the $500 product. And in reality you could then splinter the $500 product up into several front-end products.
So Frank Kern did this. He did this with Neil Strauss. So he was working with Neil Strauss to do a product launch for Neil Strauss, and they’re acting like this is a big, mass control technique. It’s not; the technique is the red herring technique. So they said, “Well, the first thing we need is a product because we can’t sell the same book.” Neil Strauss had a best-selling book that you can buy for like 10 bucks. “So we need to position something that has a lot of value.” So they did this exact thing. They went to the community of the people on how to pick up women, because that was what Neil Strauss was in. And they said, “We’re only selling five people on this. It’s a 5K event or a 10K event. You have to be interviewed by us to even get in.” So that way only the richest people on their lists are even going to be able to get in on this, people where price isn’t a concern. And out of 1,000 people, usually 1 out of 1,000 statistically speaking is about a millionaire, so for them price is not a concern.
You have a couple people where price isn’t a concern; that’s what he did. He got five people in, and he taught basically the same thing that they’ve taught for years, but everyone started talking about this in the community. They’re like, “Oh my God, what’s Neil Strauss going to reveal about how to pick up women? If it’s 5,000 he’s only letting five people attend.” And then they went back and they did a product launch for the $500 product that they recorded, and it sold like hotcakes. In fact, Frank Kern made a gazillion jillion dollars in ten minutes or something like that. I tried to get the sales letter, but the damn bastard takes them down so I can’t show you. But he actually explained the whole thing in the sales letter at masscontrol.com, which is now down. But it’s called the Mafia Report. If you can hunt it down and send it to me I’d be very happy, and I could include it in this.
So that was a Frank Kern example, but he just really got that from Gary Halbert because Gary Halbert talked about this years ago, like 15 years ago. And I’ll show you what Gary Halbert said. It’s the same red herring example.
Renting a List
One Gary Halbert letter called “Scared Shitless” – very, very tactfully titled. He talks about going into this market here. OK, this is very important. So what you do first is you get – in this case he uses an SRDS mailing list which you could still get. You could rent a list and do this, so you don’t even need your own list. You could actually rent a list.
So what you do first is you get the SRDS mailing list and read all those mailing list descriptions, and you find yourself a moneyed group of people who are nutso enough about something to spend irrational amounts of money on whatever it is. What’s next you find or create a very expensive product for these people. And then he says, “Listen, since I can already hear you bitching about, ‘But gee, Gary, I don’t know how to do that,’ I’m going to figure it out for you.” He goes, “Let’s do golfers. Even if you know nothing about golf, you can get a couple personal golf pros. And then you advertise it like this: Florida pro gives most expensive seminar in the history of golf.” So in this case it’s a positioning tactic. Would you be willing to pay $15,000 to improve your golf game? It’s like you’re bragging about the price because typically you don’t brag about the price. In this case you’re bragging because supposedly it’s so good, and that’s what people are going to think in their mind.
And then you talk about the once in a lifetime opportunity, and you send them out a recorded message, which then drives them to copy. He says you only have to get one sale for every 12,000 letters mailed. He’s showing you how you can get this to make your price. And you can read all about this at the site.
So a neat formula. Actually, it’s a great formula, but now I’m going to give you a magic secret that’s going to skyrocket the profits of this formula. Look, when you hear Jeff Paul talking about golf clubs he sells, you hear him telling about how golf clubs really are the best in the world. You know what? I bet they are, and that’s important. So it’s good to have quality, of course, because listen…I know it’s hard to believe that tapes of a golf seminar could be worth 7,500. So how can I convince you of this? I thought about this a lot, and this is what I came up with. I’m only going to accept payment for these videos, audios, and transcripts of the seminar by check. So he talks about post-dating it, but the fact of the matter is since these are $15,000 to get in on the seminar itself, you can actually sell a tape for $7,500. And you could even sell it for a lot less. You don’t have to go that high-end as Gary did.
The Post Dating
The point of the matter was you sell the super high, and you even advertise it as being extremely pricey because you only want a couple people in. And then you turn around and you sell the tapes back to everybody else, and it has that relative
comparison or the red herring; that “oh my god.” And I call that the luxury launch, because only people that are luxurious can afford that, but everybody else now has the relative comparison in their mind of, “I’m getting a $5,000 product for $500.” So they kind of pause logic, buy on emotion, and you make a lot of money.
The last example is the Economist magazine. They would run an ad – I call this the decoy – where you create an offer for your product on your sales copy that you absolutely don’t even intend on ever selling. So in this case they made an offer on an online magazine space ad that says, “For $59 you can get a 1-year online subscription. For $125 you can get the print subscription, or for $125 you can get both the print and the online subscription.” So what the hell was the difference? Why would anybody pay 125 for just the print? It sounds ridiculous, but the fact of the matter is the relative comparison here is a lot more people bumped up from $59 online to $125 for print and online because they thought they were getting such a good deal. Now they’re getting online for free, where here they’re getting online for $59. That’s the comparison here. So the decoy is great. If you want to create a little dummy offer that you don’t even expect anybody to buy, but it makes a relative comparison between three things, this is great to use in your sales letters.
The final takeaway on this, the red herring technique, to put it to use for you is this: Find ways to create insanely high but somewhat believable offers that you don’t expect to get, but make your actual price seem insignificant by comparison. If you had to drill it down to one sentence, one concept sentence like I talk about in my info product creation, that’s it. So think about this and try to use this in your copy to make your price relatively insignificant compared to the value that you’re offering.
Thanks for reading.