"How to Market The Daylights Out of Just About Anything Using the Dollars for Dimes Principle"
Article by Marlon Sanders
Marketing is either the easiest thing you'll ever do in your life, or
it's the hardest.
If you're doing it the old, staid, traditional way, it can be pretty
grueling. You offer the same product or service (more or less) with
the same features at about the same price as everyone else. It's a
tough way to make a living.
Fortunately, there's another way. I call it selling dollars for
dimes. And once you understand this method, you'll find that selling
becomes at least ten times easier.
Most people never think about it, but all business boils to value
creation. In exchange for "X" sum of money, your customers purchase a
package of benefits normally referred to as a product or service.
The formula is simple . . . Sell a dollar of value for a dime.
In this series, I'm going to share 4 techniques for dramatically
altering the perception of value . . .
Dollars For Dimes Technique #1:
Denominate a specific end result your product or service produces.
Most companies and salespeople don't articulate their benefits as
clearly and powerfully and as they could. (Remember, a benefit is a
package or unit of value.)
And because of that, their customers don't have a clear picture of
the value they're receiving in exchange for their money.
How many times have you heard the saying, a picture is worth a
thousand words? Yet we often don't paint vivid mental pictures of the
benefits we offer our customers.
Look at it this way: Value is a picture in the mind, and through
words we can alter the perception of value. Therefore, our ability to
create value for our customers and prospects is virtually unlimited.
In spite of this, most companies throw out meaningless phrases like
"best quality," "professional," or "good service." Can you picture
quality or service? No you can't because these words are
abstractions. Quality, service and professional are NOT benefits
since they refer to what is being sold, not to the end result
achieved for the customer.
And that means these words are not creating value in the mind of the
Let me give a practical example you can relate to. In one of my
seminars, a real estate agent explained how he offered better service
than his competitors. I asked, "What specifically do you do better
and how does that benefit your clients." After several rounds of
questions, it boiled down to speed: he helps clients buy or sell
homes faster than other real estate agents.
Here's where technique number one comes in. To turn an abstraction
into a meaningful word picture, denominate the benefit or put a
figure to it. In the above example, I'd want to know how much time on
average the agent saves his clients. If I remember correctly, he said
he moves his clients through the process 3 months faster than the
average real estate agent.
Now, if you were looking to sell your home and you ran across ads in
the newspaper with the following 2 headlines, which agent would you
be more likely to call?
Real estate agent provides fantastic service! b. Real estate agent
gets your home sold 3 months faster!
Now, this agent may or may not be able to make that exact statement,
depending on the rules governing real estate advertising. However, I
think you see the power of translating vague terms such as quality or
service into meaningful specifics.
In my seminars, when I have the audience practice writing benefits, I
notice that most people write statements without enough impact.
For example, one guy was selling a kit that allows you to make wine
at home. He wrote a headline for an ad that read, "How to save money
on wine." That's okay, but it isn't particularly compelling.
After asking a few questions, we boiled down his benefit statement
down to this: "How to get a $100 bottle of wine for $5." Can you see
how this articulation tangibilizes the benefit of saving money?
What makes the difference is the word picture you paint of the end
result. Just one simple change like this in the headline of an ad or
sales letter can increase response by up to 21 times. So it's
important that you grasp this technique.
Let me give you another example from a client who sells candles to
churches around the world. The company has developed liquid candles
that lasts 50% longer than wax products. For many churches, the
savings translate into significant numbers.
I could write a headline that says, "How to slash your candle costs
by 50%, save time and avoid the hassle of cleaning up wax drippings."
But would that sentence evoke a sizzling picture that makes pastors,
ministers and priests burn with desire for my client's products? You
never know for sure until you test the headline.
My instincts tell me this headline could be stronger. Here's why: Can
you see what 50% savings looks like or the benefits you'll receive as
Do the words "save time" ignite pictures of excitement in your brain?
Do these words spell out the benefits you'll receive from saving
How can you change this scenario? (And this is exactly what you
should do when you're writing your own advertising or sales
presentations.) Ask yourself this question, "How can I turn this
information into a word picture that arouses feelings and emotion in
my prospects' brains.
As an illustrative example, here's another way to write the headline.
At the top of the letter is a picture of a priest or minister with a
beaming smile. The headline reads:
How using X candles pays for our summer Bible school every year . . .
and frees up an additional week and a half of time annually. (Time I
spend meeting the needs of our congregation and taking a
Best of all, I never, ever, again have to hassle with cleaning up
messy wax droppings!
In summary, the first technique in selling dollars for dimes is to
increase the perceived value of your product or service by
translating vague benefits into specific, meaningful word pictures
your customers can relate to.
Dollars for Dimes Technique #2:
Add extra value to your products and services by packaging in low
cost, high-perceived value information products. I love products such
as audio tapes, videos, CD ROM's, software, special reports,
newsletters and books. Why? Because the hard cost is low but the
perceived value soars according to the content.
For example, the hard cost of a video tape is 2 or 3 bucks (including
duplication, label, and box). The value, though, depends on the
information on the tape. If it contains the phone numbers of 3 people
who sell plutonium (or whatever that stuff is you make neutron bombs
with) and you're customer is a third world country, it might be worth
The point is, you can multiply the value of what you're selling. The
way to multiply the value of what you're selling is by packaging in
(or including) information products of high value to your customers.
Let me restate this point to make certain it's crystal clear: Since
people buy the perception of value, you can make selling very easy by
multiplying the value people perceive in your product or service. And
the easiest way to do that is by tying in some form of information
1) They're inexpensive to produce.
2) Their perceived value can be way out of proportion to hard costs.
3) They're infinitely flexible.
Nearly any product can have an information tie-in.
Use extra bonuses to add value:
For example, I work out at a health club several times a week. What I
know about health clubs is that most people join and then do what?
They drop out, right? And that makes people afraid to join because
they don't believe they have the discipline to go to the club.
So, if I were selling memberships in a health club, I might put
together a 6-tape audio series called: Super Motivation: How to Stick
With Your Workout Program and Get Incredible Results -- Faster Than
Then, I might have the tapes transcribed. Each tape would translate
into 25-30 written pages for a total of 150-180 pages. So now I have
6 tapes and 150-page manual. The program would have a dollar value of
$197.00 to $297.00 Yet the hard cost to produce it would be under
$20.00. I'd give it as a FREE BONUS for joining immediately.
In addition, I could call audio tape duplicators and find out who
they know that produced health and fitness albums once upon a time -
but never reordered. In other words, I'd look for someone who
produced an audio tape album but couldn't sell it.
Do you see the point? Increase the perceived value of your product or
service by packaging in free bonuses in the form of information
products. To come up with your own ideas, do some brainstorming. What
are the problems your customers and prospects have? What annoys them?
Causes them trouble? Costs them money or time? Which of these
problems can you provide the solution to through some form of
information product - video, audio, service, special report or
Another way to look at it is this: What result do your customers and
prospects want to obtain as a result of buying your product? Can you
produce an information product that will help them get that result
faster, simpler, easier? If you can, then you have a free bonus you
can use to boost the perceived value of your product. This method has
stood the test of time across a number of industries.
For example... Newsletter publishers apply this strategy to
perfection. In exchange for subscribing right away, you receive 5 or
10 free reports on topics so tantalizing, you simply must send in
They use multiple reports to increase the chances of hitting one of
your hot buttons dead center.
One of my clients sells $2,000 marketing seminars to entrepreneurs.
In order to sell dollars for dimes, I packaged in an information
Here's how . . .
The client had recently conducted (and audio taped) a $2,000.00
seminar for CEO's. It was the last time that particular seminar would
be presented without major changes. So I recommended the client
transcribe the audio tapes into a manuscript that could be used as a
It represents $2,000.00 of value to the consumer. Yet the hard cost
is only $30.00 or so. If the prospective customers register for the
marketing seminar within 10 days of receiving the mailing piece, they
will receive the $2,000.00 bonus -- free! In short, they pay
$2,000.00 and receive a seminar valued at $2,000.00 -- PLUS the
transcript of another $2,000 seminar. Stated differently, for
$2,000.00 they grab $4,000.00 of value.
It's an irresistible proposition. At worst, the customers ask for a
refund and end up with a $2,000.00 bonus for their trouble. At best,
they gain the marketing education of a lifetime. That's the power of
the Dollars for Dimes method. By now, you're probably saying, "That
sounds great Marlon, but how am I going to come up with information
products I can use in my business without spending a fortune?"
Let's take a look and seeÖ
How to Get Audio or Video Seminars as Bonuses:
Approach people who are conducting seminars but not recording them.
Offer to professionally record the seminar and exchange a master copy
for the rights to duplicate and use the tapes anyway you desire. If
you need to sweeten the pot, you can barter your customer list,
personal services, or products for the right to record and duplicate
Of course, if you conduct seminars or workshops, you should record
one on a hot topic and use it as a bonus. The higher the price of
attendance, the better.
You will be better off having 10 people attend a $1,000 workshop than
50 people at a $150 one. Why? Because you create a lot more perceived
value when you tell people they'll receive the audio tapes of a
$1,000 workshop versus a $150 one. Is that clear?
By the way, even if you don't normally conduct seminars, you should
consider hosting one just so you can use it as bonus. If you don't
like public speaking, you can bring in other experts in your field to
put on the event. Just be certain to have them sign a release.
How to Create A $1,000 to $2,000 Bonus Without Even Hosting A
Seminar! You probably have several friends or acquaintances in your
field who are highly regarded by their peers. Conduct telephone or
in-person interviews with one or more of these individuals and
package the recordings as a bonus. For a twist, you can turn the
phone interview into a conference call where customers interact with
Suppose your expert charges $500.00 an hour for consulting with a
minimum fee of $2,000.00. Can you see how this makes the perceived
value of 2 hours of their interview time worth $1,000 to $2,000?
That's what makes this technique sizzle . . . and almost no one
understands how to do it.
How to Access 12,000 Videos You Can Use As Bonuses, Upsells Or Added
Value -- At Dirt Cheap Prices
Here's a hot trick on how to acquire videos to use as bonuses.
There's a guide to videos called: Spencer's Complete Guide to Special
More Than 12,000 Videos You've Never Seen by James R. Spencer
In it you will find videos on virtually every subject imaginable --
more than 9,000 in all! At bookstores, similar directories of audio
cassettes and CD ROM's are available.
This guide is incredible. I found one video in it for $30 that a
major catalog house sells to corporations for $600! And it's the same
Here's a sample of the topics you'll find. Say you're selling
advertising to businesses. Do you think that any of the following
topics might hit a hot button with your prospects? (Next to the title
I've listed the suggested retail price. But again, you're the one who
determines the value of the product for your particular market.)
ē Pricing and Sales Strategy -- $29.95
ē Advertising and Promotion -- $29.95
ē Accounting -- $29.95
ē How to Find New Customers -- $39.95
ē Starting and Running Retail Stores -- $89.95
Remember, you can get 40% off the retail prices by becoming a dealer
for a nominal fee.
Can you see the value of these videos? As an example, let's take the
one on advertising and promotion at $29.95. With your 40% discount,
you only pay $18. That's a steal for a quality 45 minute product! The
possibilities are endless.
I think this book may have changed its title recently. But you can
search for it on
Amazon.com. I've also seen similar dealer programs advertised in
business opportunity magazines. As a final resort, you can contact
the companies that produce the videos you want to market directly.
How to Turn A $20 Book Into A $675 Bonus -- Without Breaking A Sweat!
Did you know you can purchase the reprint rights to out-of-print
books for as little as $500 to $1,000?
It's true. And once you have the rights, you can reprint each chapter
as a special report and put a value on each of $15 to $45, depending
on the rarity and quality of the information. A book with 15 chapters
could create perceived value from a low of $225.00 to as much as
So what you've done is transformed a $15 or $20 book into incredible
value. Conversely, you could record the book onto audio tapes and
have a 20 to 30 cassette album with tremendous perceived value. And,
of course, you could also do the same on video.
One Last Secret Gold Mine Of Knock-Your-Socks-Off Bonuses!
Finally, I have one last secret for creating bonuses... Call up
newsletter publishers in your field and strike a deal to obtain the
rights to their past bonuses. Almost every newsletter publisher uses
reports to entice new subscribers.
Since these inactive bonuses are generating no revenue, you may be
able to obtain reprint rights for a song and dance!
Dollars for Dimes Technique #3:
Create extra value by solving problems that go beyond the immediate
scope of your product or service.
How can you help your potential customers get what they really want?
That simple question will open more doors for you than you can
imagine. I can best explain through an illustration . . .
A friend of mine is publisher for an entertainment weekly paper. She
knows all the inside scoop on which advertisers are succeeding with
what type of ads, promotions and special events.
Therefore, she's a pipeline of knowledge her clients need -- how to
make advertising, marketing and promotion produce more results for
each dollar expended.
The question becomes, what range of resources and activities could
she provide to her clients that would help them become more
Let's brainstorm the possibilities...
Could she bring in an expert on window displays to conduct a seminar?
Could she record or video tape the seminar and give it as a bonus to
new advertisers? Or give it as an incentive or premium for a larger
Could she hire local college journalism students to do free PR for
Could she orchestrate a conference call for free (or a nominal fee)
with a well- known and respected public relations or marketing
Could she record the call and give it free to new prospects as an
extra incentive to meet with a sales rep?
What if she retained an attorney or CPA her clients could gain access
to, assuming they placed a certain amount of advertising?
While most of her advertisers wouldn't use the services, just by
extending the offer, she raises the perception ovalue her paper
delivers far above the competition.
What I'm saying is this:
You can create perceived value for your clients many ways. Earlier I
talked about using information products to create value. But that's
only one way.
Start finding really creative ways to bring value
Another way is simply to dig, scratch and claw to find ways to solve
problems for your prospects and customers.
What I've found is that ultra-high performing salespeople and
marketers do this instinctively. And it's often the single greatest
factor responsible for their success. In other words, they aren't a
better salesperson than anyone else in terms of raw persuasive
What they are is a superb "bringer" of value to the table. They find
ways to bring value to the table that other salespeople don't. And
THAT'S why they're super successful.
So if you don't feel you're a born salesperson, STOP beating yourself
up for it and START finding really creative ways to bring more value
to the table.
How to get more information on this technique
If you'd like to study this technique further, I have a fabulous book
to recommend to you. It's called Networking With The Affluent And
Their Advisors by Dr. Thomas Stanley.
Regardless of what you sell or who you sell to, you'll find a zillion
ideas in this book to help you.
In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb. I'm going to tell you that if
you're in sales or marketing or you own a business, you're insane if
you don't read this book!
Thomas Stanley PROVES the point I've just made. He interviews
salespeople who are in the top 5% of their profession and reveals for
the first time in print anywhere exactly how they bring extra value
to the table.
The methods and secrets are all laid out in the book:
All you have to do is tap into your creativity and apply the key
ideas in the book to your field.
Which, coincidentally, brings us to the next Dimes for Dollars
Dollars for Dimes Technique #4:
Borrow Dollars for Dimes ideas from other businesses and industries.
Now for the last strategy I'll leave you with in this chapter. I
borrowed it from my client, Planned Marketing, where head Walter
Hailey and Steve Anderson have a saying I like, "why create
mediocrity when you can copy genius?" In other words, study and
emulate from the successful efforts of others.
In the context of our discussion, that means you would investigate
how other competitive and non-competitive businesses create unique
packages of value to sell to their customers.
Look in the yellow pages for ideas. Read books by highly successful
people in or outside of your industry. Browse the bookstore and make
random associations. Interview other business owners you know and
find out if they offer unique value to their customers and if they
(Don't be disappointed if they're clueless!)
When you do these activities, think laterally.
In other words, ask yourself what the technique is, then what
principle underlies the technique, and finally how you can apply the
same principle in your business.
What a chance meeting on a place taught meÖ
How A Chance Meeting On A Plane Taught Me The Secret Of Using Donuts
To Build A Business And Gain A Competitive Advantage
Let me demonstrate by walking you through an offbeat example. When I
was flying home the other day from a seminar in Seattle, I sat next
to the owner of a funeral home. He explained to me how he incurred
tremendous favor by delivering donuts to the home of the deceased
early in the morning if a death occurred in the middle of the night.
He described how the families usually stayed up all night and seldom
had time to eat, prepare or buy food. Why did he deliver the donuts
early in the morning? Because by 10 a.m. a huge surge of food
generally arrives from neighbors and friends. He wants to be the
first to stand out in the mind of the customer.
People remember the donuts and almost always thank him later for his
thoughtfulness. How can you apply this same principle to your
business? Not by hunting down hearses in the middle of the night! No.
What's the method? Bringing donuts to someone when they're
desperately needed. And bringing them before other people meet the
What's the principle?
Find something universally appreciated you can deliver to your
clients when they will truly appreciate it.
My Favorite Method for Creating Free Bonuses
My favorite method for creating free bonuses is to do it myself using
the system I teach in How to Create Your Own Products In Two Hours.
To read more about "Create Your Own Products in a Flash!" just follow
the link provided at the end of this article.
You can create your own information products even if your mind is a
vast empty space! Iíll show you how in this product. Whatís more, it
doesnít have to take a lot of time.
How This Works On The Internet!
The way I most often use the dollars for dimes principle is this: I
create bonuses with perceived value much greater than the main
product Iím selling. I offer these bonuses free if the prospect buys
before a certain time limit. I typically use 10 days (or 72 hours
online). For example, if Iím marketing a product for $30, I might
offer $100 or $200 of free bonuses. Adding free bonuses to an offer
can increase your response dramatically! But you have to find the
right bonuses Ė ones that have very high-perceived value to your
prospects. This comes from knowing and understanding your target
market. You have to know what makes them tick. You have to know what
information they would crawl over broken glass a mile to get!
If you need more help with target marketing or you want to understand
the nuances of the dollars-for-dimes principle, I suggest you read my
course, The 69 Laws of Twister Marketing: How to Suck Up Cash With A
Hereís what I want you to understand: Marketing is the ultimate mind
game. And it deals not with flesh and blood products but with
Just adding free bonuses could make a big difference for you.
Here are some ways to use free bonuses:
ē Offer a freebie in exchange for filling out an "opinion sheet"
ē Offer a freebie for filling out a form at your web site.
ē Offer a freebie for ordering immediately.
ē Offer an unannounced free bonus one-week before sending
a marketing letter to customers.
This has been known to increase response greatly.
If you put your mind to it, Iím sure you can think of a lot of other
ways to use freebies and bonuses in your business. Another idea I
want to cement in your mind and make certain you walk away with is
this: Anytime you need someone to do ANYTHING for you, ask yourself,
what do THEY need that you can supply?
As simple and stupid as that may sound, itís extremely profound. When
you read Marketing to the Affluent by Thomas Stanley, youíll see how
this is the exact method the top 5% of salespeople in the U.S. use.
It helped a client of mine to sell a BILLION dollars of insurance in
8 years. Let me just give you an example from the online world. Say
you want someone to give you a link from their web site. You first
have to offer them something THEY want. You know they want more
So what if you could offer them something to increase their traffic?
More on my favorite methods:
For example, if they give you a link, youíll submit one of their
pages to 600 search engines or whatever. Use your creativity. By the
way, you can find cgi scripts that will submit your info to the
search engines for you. You donít need to pay for this. Youíll have
to pay someone $30 or $40 for an hour or two of cgi programming to
set it up for you.
Check out:www.cgi-world.com and www.cgi-resources.com for cgi
scripts. Or just search in any engine for"free cgi scripts"
Or let me give you another example. Say you spend a little time and
figure out how to install a clock or a counter on a web site. You
could offer to put one on a site in exchange for a link. Do you see
what Iím saying? Be creative.
Hereís another. You could buy Xara3D, which is a program that makes
creating dazzling 3d headlines a piece of cake. Go to: www.xara.com
to download a free demo. The program is very inexpensive. You can
learn to do this in under 5 minutes! But most people donít know that.
Xara3D even lets you save your headline designs in a format optimized
for web pages to load very quickly.
What you do, then, is offer to create a killer headline in exchange
for a link.
Once you learn to use the program, itíll take you a whole 60 seconds
to make the graphic for them.
Youíre going to love working with Xara3d. I promise youíll be
creating mouth-watering headlines and graphics you can use on your
own site in no time flat. Itís one of the easiest programs to use and
inexpensive as well.
Study how other businesses create perceived value!
A lot of sites donít have banner ads. But there are actually a number
of designers who create banners FREE or dirt cheap ($5-$30). If you
find a really hot site you want to be linked to, offer to make a
rockiní banner for them! But you donít do it yourself. Farm it out to
one of these low-cost sources.
Listen: Iím just scratching the surface. Iím trying to jump start
your brain. If you surf the net and keep your eyes open, youíll find
so many possibilities, itíll blow your mind!
Here are a few steps to help you put these ideas into action. Begin
denominating a specific end result to your customers. You should be
able to state this in 15 seconds or less.
Acquire, create or locate at least one information product you can
use as a bonus to increase the perceived value of your product or
service. Find one problem you can solve for your customers that goes
beyond the immediate scope of your product or service.
Study how other businesses create perceived value for their customers
and see if you can apply the same method in your business. Spend time
every day asking yourself this question, "How can I increase the
perceived value Iím offering my customers and prospects without
substantially increasing my costs?"
Review your ads, brochures and sales letters for vague words and
phrases like quality, service, and professional.
Turn these abstractions into specific word pictures that explain how
these features benefit your customers.
Buy and read the book Networking With The Affluent And Their Advisors
by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley. You can find the book at
http://www.amazon.com or check your local bookstore.
People do not buy value. They buy the perception of value.
- Marlon Sanders
Marlon Sanders is the author of The Amazing Formula That Sells Like Crazy,
The Push Button Letters Software, How to Create Your Own Products in a
Flash, Gimme My Money Now, the Marlon Sanders' Marketing Dashboard 15
For an in-depth look at the formula presented in this report, visit Marlon's