Book Cover_.jpg

A Review of "The Perfect Plan"…

We heard author, Don Barden, speak at The Tower Leadership Financial Workshop in June 2018 and were given a copy of his book, The Perfect Plan.  I spent our 3-hour plane ride home reading the book which was based on his years of research and was the basis for his talk.

Basically,   Barden spent over 10-years studying the top 1% of sales and marketing executives in the world - in all cultures - to learn what made them "different."  He labels these people "The Elite One Percent." Why are they consistently in that top 1%?

What he discovered and put together is what he calls, "The Perfect Plan" or "The Unfair Advantage" - the secret formula of the world's most elite leaders and sales and marketing professionals.  Barden claims that anyone can learn this secret formula and follow it. The plan works for anyone selling something - from self-esteem to relationships to products or services. 

During his talk, Barden recommended watching a 4-minute training video used by Chick- fil-A and two TV shows. Every Person Has a Story shows that you can't always tell what is going on in a person's life by just looking. Billions, according to Barden, gives the most accurate view of Wall Street he has seen and Madmen can give you an MBA in advertising.

A quote from Madmen's Don Draper gives you something to think about. "The day you win a client is the day you begin to lose them."  

As you think about your new clients, think about what you can do to serve them better. What would it take for you to keep them three years or four years or longer? 

"The Elite One Percent" have the ability to look at someone and know the buying decisions they are going to make based on something Barden labels "the social pyramid." There is no judgment in this, but an objective look at why people buy what they do.

At the base of this pyramid are the majority of customers. These are the people who always buy according to low price.  Wal-Mart has made this group their 'target market.' All of their marketing is about low prices.

The middle group of this social pyramid are people described as the middle class or the managers.  To this group, 'brand perception' is important. When they buy they want others to recognize what they bought.  Think about Polo by Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Tommy Bahama, vineyard vines, etc. The logo and the brand are important.

The smaller group at the top of the social pyramid is made up of people who have more money than time. These people are the ones who buy custom made clothes because they don't want to spend time shopping, hire nannies and lawn care services because they don't have time to drive their kids to day care or do their own yards. They make service appointments where they can get the most amount of service in the fewest number of appointments. 

Your marketing will be most effective if you target one of the specific groups.  That doesn't mean you will not be able to sell to all groups. You will just need to get good at deciding where your prospective customers  fall on the social pyramid. Then you will gear your presentation towards the price, the perception or the time value.

Once you decide how to steer your presentation, you will then follow The Perfect PlanThe Perfect Plan is a process that must be followed in order. You use this plan in every phone call, every meeting and every e-mail.

1.) Gratification - This is a sincere form of gratitude as you let your prospective customer know that you are so glad they contacted you. A mutual gratification creates a bond forever unless there is broken trust.

2.) Education - Here is where you describe your services.  However, you can only talk about three things.  If you go for four or five, you will lose them. Your prospective customer will only remember about 6% of the facts you tell them, but they will remember how they felt while you were talking to them.

People want to outsource their success to you and they want to know that you are the expert, that you are confident, and that you are sincere.

3.) Ease of Business - This is where you let them know the ease of doing business with you. You will be able to describe how they can do business with you in a simplified way making sure there is no indication of chaos.

The next phase of The Perfect Plan make up the beliefs of "The Elite One Percenters." There are three core beliefs which they all share.

1.) Create, Don't Compete - People are drawn to creative persons. Much like gratification, creativity is a magnetizing emotion.  Today's culture seems to embrace competition and being competitive seems to indicate that you are like everyone else. People don't pay for boring. They want something special. They want to be around people who are creating.

2.) Exceed Expectations at All Times - "The Elite One Percent" believe the value of what they are offering is always greater than the cost. This is accomplished by exceeding expectations at all times. From delivery to mindset, their focus is on the "wow" factor of their work.

An important point here is to never use a number in a speech, an e-mail, a request or a conversation. If you tell them how much something costs, you are establishing the value through the numbers and you will lose those who automatically fear the cost is greater than the value.

What people really want and need is a trusted advisor to help them understand that the value is not in the number but in the result. They also need help feeling the outcome really is greater than the price. This is why it is so important that they trust you.

3.) Give Forward without any Expectation of Anything in Return - No matter who "The Elite One Percenters" were leading or what they were trying to sell, in the end they were all the same - they never gave back, they only gave forward.

A societal norm used to drive much of today's charitable giving creates a premeditated guilt based on the tagline, we all need to give back.  "The Elite One Percenters" know that charity is not an elaborate guilt offering designed to cleanse you from the sin of your good fortune. To give back indicates giving because of a sense of obligation or expectation or even a sense of guilt. The term 'giving back' implies that something was 'taken,' and this is where the guilty feeling can come in.

When you give forward, you are giving strictly for pleasure or joy.  You are giving unconditionally and you don't expect anything in return. Additionally, those who give forward don't mind sharing their work or telling the world what they are doing for others. They have no problem saying, "Here's what we are doing for the community and for you. We want you to have it."

Giving comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be in the form of time, talent or treasure. It can be physical, a presence that is there when needed, and it can be labor on behalf of another.  

The decision you need to make is not about 'if' you want to impact their lives, but 'how' you are going to do it. How do you want to affect the quality of their lives?

A series of three perfectly aligned Promises (gratification, education and ease of business) that form a bond of gratitude meet with a perfect Belief system (create, exceed expectations, always give forward) of whom the presenter is.

When they are done, the prospective client or decision-maker will consciously ask him/herself three questions:

1.) Is this right for me personally?

2.) Is this right for me professionally?

3.) Is this right for me spiritually (in my conscience)?

If the answer is "yes" for all three, then a harmony exists and they know the decision is good and perfect.

When "The Elite One Percent" were asked, "What do you do?" They each answered without hesitation, "I serve other people" rather than answering, "I'm a dairy farmer," or "I'm a doctor." They wake up every day to serve.

Servants anticipate the needs of those they serve. So if you, as their servant, know something is good for them personally, professionally and spiritually, then you will offer it because it benefits them.

This is what servants do. 

This is why the Perfect Plan is so perfect.

"The Elite One Percent" already knows the answer to these questions before they ever present the deal.  The presentation from that point on is to make sure the client sees the truth and does not get distracted or confused.

Their presentation is always based on the thinking of, "How can I best serve those we seek to lead?"

"They will need to know how grateful and thankful you are."

"You will educate them clearly on the subject."

"You will make it easy to work with you."

"You will weave in who you really are, because you want them to trust you."

Because they want to work with someone with a similar value system, you will demonstrate how creative you are and show them the full value of what you are presenting is much more than the cost.

Then they will know that you have already given forward on their behalf without the thought of return because you value their relationship more than the product or sale.

Service can only be delivered by a servant.