Another government ripoff… another great marketing idea.
I was reading an unusual book recently, about the lottery business (Money For Nothing by Edward Ugel), and it’s quite an unusual business. Make no mistake — the state governments that sponsor these lotteries are thinking about everything BUT increasing educational funding.
In fact, as a side note, did you know that lot-tery revenues don’t add even one thin dime to educational funding? It’s true! In fact, what happens in reality is, let’s say your state budgets $250 Million for education — and lets say the lottery kicks out $50 Million towards education in any particular year, then the state just contributes $200 Million that year. Sickening, isn’t it? The contributions don’t INCREASE educational funding, they just REPLACE educational funding.
Meanwhile, every Tom, Dick and Harry is running around thinking their tickets are going to send a few more needy kids to school — nope, fooled again.
Hard to believe, but it’s true, and you can check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me.
Anyway, there are a few industries that have developed through lot-teries, and one of them is the industry that will buy out someone’s future winnings, for a discount today. So say for instance, instead of a winner getting $50,000 a year for 20 years, someone may come in and offer to buy that future stream of income from you, for a present value in today’s dollars, of let’s say $375,000. I don’t know the exact number, but you get what I mean, right?
O.K., so here’s where the good marketing comes in. At one point, the states were ONLY paying these future streams of income, and so it was easy for these lottery settlement companies to come in and say, “Hey, no one else is going to give you this kind of money today, right?”
But not too many years ago, many of the states started offering a “full pay today” option as well. So… what did these settlement companies do?
Did they go out of business?
Did they change their strategy?
Did they have to pay more money than the state?
No, not at all. Instead, they did what ANY smart marketer would do: they positioned a potential weakness, as a strength. What they did was, since the states were now doing the same thing and offering a similar service, they simply used that fact to now legitimatize their industry, and make what they were doing, more valid and more important.
See, for most people, your USP (your Unique Selling Proposition) isn’t in your product or service — it’s in the thing that makes you different — and often that difference, to the untrained marketer… is the very weakness you feel you have. But in reality, with a little creativity, 99.9% of the time, you can turn this “weakness” into the biggest thing you have going for you.
So why don’t you spend a few minutes today, doing this very thing.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
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