Apple Computers and I Have a Relationship
apple imageI’m a big fan(atic) of Apple computers.  I bought my first Mac — a little 128K model while working on a project as a consultant at LIMRA — in 1984.  I finished the project so far ahead of schedule that I got a ‘bonus’ check.  That check paid for my new ‘personal’ computer.  I was hooked on Apple.  Our ‘relationship’ has stood the test of some 30 years.  Apple computers and I are a ‘thing’.

Recently, Apple rolled out it’s latest operating system version called ‘Yosemite’.  It reflected a number of changes from prior O/S offerings.  Some were very substantial.  Many were, as expected, pretty cool.

One of the applications that comes with an Apple iOS is called, ‘Keynote’.  This is Apple’s answer to PowerPoint.  And, while both are good.  I prefer to use Keynote.  It’s elegance (and, my skill at using it) makes it my presentation software of choice.

Keynote . . . is a ‘Consequential Damage’ of Yosemite
Unfortunately, the new Keynote / Yosemite pairing has resulted in a major problem.  For me.

Keynote’s got a bug that Apple created with the launch of its Yosemite operating system.  Even worse, Apple seems unable and/or insouciant to address this problem.

I used to create Keynote ‘slideshows’, added audio (voice narration) and mixed both into an MP4 (movie) file I could upload, distribute, etc.  NO MORE!  Now, audio / voice-over recordings are mysteriously ‘dropped’ from an MP4 after about 45 seconds.  WTH?

“Apple . . . We Have a Problem”
I called Apple’s tech people.  They’re pretty top-notch in my experience.  Unfortunately, I was told by the tech person I spoke with that the “dropped audio in Keynote” is a problem that Apple knew would happen, knows is happening and . . . is (currently) doing nothing to correct it.  Seriously?

This is a big issue as it means a lot of time and effort will be required to produce a similar result — using non-Apple software I might add!  This cuts into my profit-ability and adds a ‘hassle’ factor that’s growing by the moment.

I don’t know which is worse.  Apple’s knowingly making changes that compromise what loyal fans have come to count on from their relationship with Apple, or . . . Apple’s apparent dismissal of client concerns once they’re voiced.  Either way, it’s not going to build trust between Apple and it’s community of fans.  Quite the opposite.

Without the ability to do what has been done for many years, life is changing.  And, not for the better.  Thank you, Apple, Inc.  I wonder what Steve Jobs would have to say about this egregious insult to the long-standing expectations of loyal fans . . . like me?

What’s Important to Learn From All This
Any relationship of value . . . and I believe a ‘client’ relationship qualifies for this . . . must be regarded as a fiduciary relationship.  If you’re holding yourself out as a ‘trusted’ advisor, it means you’re worthy of your client’s trust, right?

The problem is, ‘trust’ is a fragile thing.  It’s a challenge to establish it with a new relationship.  It’s also a challenge to maintain it once you have it with an existing relationship.  Trust . . . is the ‘glue’ that binds a client to you and you to a client.  But like any bond, it can be broken.  To the detriment of all parties involved.

POINT:
Trust . . . is hard to earn, and so easy to lose.  Work hard to get it.  Even harder to keep it!

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Once you know the OBSTACLE  to acting on your service and the BENEFIT gained once they did, you want to get specific.  You want to FOCUS on one aspect of the service or program or product you provided that really ‘stood out’ to your client.

Here then, is your third question.  “Was there ONE thing about my services that was really significant . . . that caused you to enjoy the benefit you just mentioned?”

By asking your client to focus on just one thing, you make it easier for them to provide you with a testimonial.

Too often we ask, “Why did you like . . . ?” and they don’t know where to begin!  It’s so easy to overwhelm someone.  Instead, ask your client to focus on ONE thing . . . ONE aspect or ONE feature of your service that they feel might be the basis for their getting the benefit they just mentioned to you in response to question #2.

KEY POINT:
Focus . . . is powerful.  Focus is also the key to discovering the basis for the benefit they’ve enjoyed from your services.

Once you know WHY someone might hesitate to use your services, you can address it. This is the real ‘acid test’ of any testimonial worth it’s salt — “Does it address (and thereby defuse / overcome) an obstacle that could prevent a prospective client from taking action . . . with you?”

So here’s the next question you want to ask a client who’s been happy with your services. “Tell me, what did you actually gain as a result of using my services?”

LISTEN!  You’ll learn what your services did that, in the end, addressed your client’s concern (the obstacle to action). Knowing the benefit of your service that addressed the obstacle clients had to overcome to use your services will make it easier for you to provide ‘Obstacle-specific and relevant’ testimonials to future prospective clients for your services.

Now, when you hear or sense why someone is hesitant to move forward with you, you can provide a relevant testimonial that will (of course) address, defuse and overcome the specific basis for their hesitancy. That’s powerful!

KEY POINT:
Testimonials that address the concerns your prospects have with specificity and relevance are most effective.

Testimonials must come, of necessity, from clients who are actually benefitting from your problem-solving expertise.  That said, there are six (6) questions you can use to generate effective testimonials.  Here’s your first one . . .

Think back to when you were first thinking about hiring me / buying my / etc. . . . there must have been some reason or reasons why you thought, “I dunno. Maybe this ISN’T such a good idea”.  Tell me, what what was arguing AGAINST your hiring / buying / using my services?”

The answer you hear will be an obstacle to buying what you offer.  And, since testimonials are used to address, defuse and overcome obstacles, you need to know what you must address, defuse and overcome to help other people become your client in the future.

You’ll hear a number of factors cited by your clients.  Each one reveals an obstacle and suggests an issue that a testimonial must address, defuse and overcome.  The more frequently a given obstacle is cited, the more important it is for you to be ready for it . . . with (what else?) an appropriate testimonial!

KEY POINT:
Learning WHY people hesitate to buy reveals WHAT a testimonial must address.

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