Many businesses can start out and plod along for years without making any serious inroads in their marketing. But those who want to grow more quickly, need to take a different approach. For years, I’ve been training my clients on a strategy I’d like to share with you today. It’s about moving from stealth mode to intimidation mode.
David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. Today, cohost Chris Templeton and I will be talking about moving from stealth mode to intimidation mode. Welcome Chris.
Chris: Hi David. You know, this sounds like two drastically different things. So what do you mean by stealth mode? And what do you mean by intimidation mode?
David: I hope this topic isn’t too intimidating for people, Chris.
Chris: I’m intimidated, but in a good way, David.
David: OK, good. One of the things that I’ve noticed that most of my businesses had in common, is that when I started them, I was essentially operating in stealth mode. It was very quiet. It was very low key. It was a lot of planning. Trying to decide, who are we going to go after? Who are we going to target? How are we going to approach them? What are we going to say? How are we going to say it? So all of that stuff is happening behind the scenes. So that’s what I refer to as stealth mode. Stealth mode is when people are not even really aware that you’re there, the market, doesn’t know yet, prospects and clients don’t know yet. In stealth mode, you’re still figuring it out. Now in the early stages of stealth mode, you’re reaching out, sort of behind the scenes. You’re getting to people in the market who could potentially buy from you, and you’re communicating with them. You’re getting them qualified, as we talked about in previous episodes. You’re finding out who’s ready to buy now? Who has specific dates in mind? Who’s generally receptive? Who’s disqualified? Who’s unresponsive? You can do that very quietly. And your competitors don’t even really know, necessarily, that you’re there. And in several businesses that I had, I was able to operate in a market, very quietly, for a very long time before people actually had an idea (particularly competitors) had an idea that I was there. And the way that they found out that I was there is that they would approach a prospect or client. and that person would say, “no, I’m doing business with this company.” And they were like, “Hmm, that’s weird. I’ve never heard of it.”
Chris: Who? What? Who?
David: Yeah, exactly. And then there get to be more and more people who are aware. And then eventually what happens is you switch to intimidation mode. And when I say that, I’m not trying to be obnoxious here. And the goal isn’t actually to intimidate people in a harmful sense of the word. It’s to create an environment in the market where your competitors are going to be looking at you and going, “wow, it’s going to be hard to compete with that. I don’t even know how to compete with that.” That’s what tends to intimidate competitors is when they just have absolutely no idea how they can compete with what you’re doing. And so moving from stealth mode to intimidation mode is about finding out, in stealth mode, all the things that work, which aspects of the market you want to approach, fine tuning, honing the right things to say so that you can bring prospects and clients through the door like clockwork. Once you’ve got that nailed down, then you can start promoting aggressively, and you can bring more clients in. And other people look at that, and they’re like, “I don’t know how this person is doing it.” That’s essentially the nutshell version.
Chris: And you know, the thing that just occurs to me is, the word that keeps coming into my head is listening. All right? Like I have, in stealth mode, I have done a whole lot of hopefully active listening with prospects and clients to be able to get to that place where at some point my competition is intimidated by the way that I’m doing things. And I can’t imagine that there’s really any other way than solid listening, and as a friend of mine used to say, monitoring and adjusting.
David: Yeah, exactly. In the early stages, you have to do that. Because if you don’t, if you’re not paying attention to what the market wants, you have absolutely no way to deliver it to them.
Chris: Yeah, exactly. What do you think the biggest advantages are to operating in stealth mode, David?
David: Well, the fact that nobody even really knows that you’re there. They don’t know what you’re doing. They don’t know how you’re doing it. I mean, obviously, I have a brand called Top Secrets. So this is something that I like. I mean, I like the idea of being able to operate in a sales environment where people just don’t know what it is that you’re doing. They don’t know what the secret sauce is. They don’t know how you’re able to do what it is that you do. And that’s really what I work with my clients on, is to help them to create that environment so they can make that sort of thing happen in the market, behind the scenes, get everything all lined up. And once they know it’s working, and once they know they can do it profitably, then they can roll it out. They can scale it a lot more quickly because they know that every step of the process has been tested and proven and works.
Chris: When you think about this, is this more of an offensive play or defensive play?
David: Well, in some cases it’s both. But I would say it’s primarily about operating. I don’t even like the word offensively because you’re not trying to offend people. But we are playing offense in the sense that you’re getting a message out there that resonates with people that gets your prospects and clients to respond to it. So it’s playing offense more than defense, but what ends up happening, is that when you do this correctly, when you’re able to transition from stealth mode to intimidation mode, the defense kind of takes care of itself. Because people look at it and they don’t know how to deal with it. They don’t even know how to defend against it. Because they’re looking at this and they’re saying, “I don’t know how to compete with that.”
Chris: So when you look at operating in stealth mode, and also moving to intimidation mode, what’s the best way to make that transition?
David: Well, you have to recognize when you’re ready for it. I think in determining when to make the transition, you just have to know when you’re ready for it. And it doesn’t really happen until you have all the necessary pieces in place to be able to go out with a marketing message that you know resonates, that you know is going to attract the type of customers that you want to have. So much of what’s missing in marketing today with most businesses is a really solid, clear, coherent marketing message, sales message. They’re not clear enough on what it is they do and how they do it. They can’t nutshell it for a person. They can’t bullet point it for a person. Therefore, it’s too hard to understand. So when you’re at the point where you’ve tested it, and you’ve been able to bring customers through the door, like clockwork, as a result of the things that you’re saying and the process you have in place — when you know that works, that’s when you want to throw the switch. Because at that point, you want to get as many people in front of your marketing message as possible. You want to get them qualified and or qualified out as quickly as possible. You want to focus on closing the ones who are qualified in. You want to focus on eliminating the ones who are qualified out, so that you can just streamline the entire process and grow as quickly as possible.
Chris: So when you’re in intimidation mode, what does it look like? And how do you know when you’ve reached it?
David: You’ll know. You’ll know you’ve reached it because you’re able to bring customers through the door — if not essentially at will, you’ll be able to bring them through the door systematically. I say like clockwork, because you want to have that sort of regularity. You want to make sure that when you’ve got things firing on all thrusters, you’ve got a constant supply of new leads coming in, that you can get qualified in or out as quickly as possible, that you can put through your sales process, and close and sell the ones who are qualified for what you offer. So it’s easy to know when it’s happening, because it’s working. It’s also easy to know when it’s not in place because it’s not working. If you’re struggling with how to bring your next client through the door, if your pipeline seems inadequate, if you feel like you’re talking to a lot of people and not closing a lot of sales, that means that you need to really dive back into stealth mode a little more and figure out the components that are missing to be able to get you there.
David: So these two things look very different and something else I want to say, Chris is when we talk about intimidation mode, some people might hear that and say, “I don’t like the sound of that at all. That sounds really obnoxious. This is a terrible conversation to have.” And so if you don’t like the word intimidation, you probably won’t like the idea of market domination any better, because domination sounds too controlling or whatever. But ultimately what I’m talking about here is that in every market, there are leaders and followers, and you’re either going to be the leader in the market or you’re going to be the follower. So if the idea of being a leader in your market is acceptable to you. And if the idea of leading to the point where people are like, “I don’t know how to compete with this person. I don’t know how to compete with this company,” if you’re okay with that idea, then that’s really what I’m talking about here.
David: So please don’t get hung up on the terms. It’s not about the terms, it’s about getting a result. And that result, Chris, is all about being able to create results for your customer. Okay? It’s not about being a bully. It’s not about being obnoxious. It’s about being in a position where you’re so good at what you do, that you’re able to create results so well, for so many people, that you become the only logical, natural choice. And when that happens, you are going to dominate your market. In a good way. In a healthy way. And the reason it becomes intimidating to people, is that they just don’t know how to compete with that. When you’re that good at what you do, and you’re that good at calling attention to what you do, so that people become aware of it and end up wanting to buy it from you. That is something that a very small percentage of any market ever figures out.
Chris: And I think the other thing to just comment on this is, I know that there are people listening to this, who’ve been in business for 10, 15 years, looking at this and saying, Oh my gosh, I’m barely even in stealth mode. How do you help somebody who’s been in business for a long time and doesn’t feel like they’re there to develop a better stealth mode and be able to move to intimidation mode?
David: Well, I think they need to want to do it. They definitely need to want to do it, also just having this conversation that we’re having and recognizing that, yes, this is the kind of thing that can and should happen. That’s going to be helpful. But if somebody has been in business for a long time, and if they’ve been sort of stagnating then what I would encourage them to do is schedule a strategy session with us. If we can help, we’ll tell you that if we can’t help, we’ll tell you that too. But what it means, is if you’ve been doing it for a long time, and if you haven’t gotten to the point where you can generate customers as quickly as you need, as you need them, then that’s an indication of a broken funnel, a broken pipeline, a broken system. That needs to be fixed first. And normally, that’s done in stealth mode. Once you start getting those pieces lined up, and that can happen very quickly, then you can start getting some results. You can start increasing your sales, increasing your profit margins, and then you can utilize the revenue that you’re making from that, to pump into various campaigns that will allow you to become more visible, become more obvious, bring more new customers through the door more quickly and become far more intimidating to competitors who don’t know how to do that.
Chris: So just to be clear, and I commend you for saying what you said a little bit earlier, if you don’t like intimidation mode, the thought of intimidating your competitors, not your clients, but your competitors or domination find the words that work for you. But here is what the bottom line is. This is about having a well oiled funnel, and then being able to create the amount of business that I want. And I think, you know, when we talked a little bit earlier about how do I know when I’m in an intimidation mode, it’s that things are running on all cylinders in a really solid way that I feel good about the business that I’m generating, the people that I’m selling to, that sort of thing. And that’s intimidating for businesses that haven’t been able to do it. And so, find the words that work for you in terms of what intimidation mode is. But the bottom line is the characteristics are the same. Good solid business coming through the door that I feel good about, and I’m happy to be doing. Don’t you think?
David: Yeah. And I think if you want to consider it in terms of leadership mode, in terms of awareness mode, in terms of acceptance mode, that more people in the market are accepting and understanding what you do, all of those are fine. So yes, please don’t get hung up on the idea of intimidation. Again, it’s not something that’s designed to be weird or mean or funky. It’s just the idea that you are operating in a way where your competitors just don’t know how to respond,
Chris: Right. You can move into intimidation mode at any point in your business. If you’ve been stuck, I know a great way to solve that problem. And that is to call David and his team go to TopSecrets.com/call, set up a strategy session with David and his team to find out how they can help you. Maybe to develop into stealth mode a little bit more and move toward intimidation mode or whatever you choose to call it. So that’s all we have time for today, but in the meantime, feel free to go to TopSecrets.com/call and set up a meeting with David and his team.
David: Thanks for listening to the podcast. Right now, I’m working with a small group of private clients to get things going in their businesses again. So if you’re no longer willing to settle for unqualified prospects and unpredictable clients, and you’re ready to start this week, then head over to TopSecrets.com/call. We’ll get on the phone with you and make sure you’re crystal clear on 3 things: 1.) The market or markets you need to start dominating right now to accelerate your results, 2). What’s kept you from doing it so far and 3.) What’s broken or missing? Remember, in this business environment, sitting around, waiting for things to get better is NOT the answer. And if you knew what to do, wouldn’t you have done it by now? To see if we’re a good fit to work together, go to TopSecrets.com/call.