So many emails are simply pitches, don’t you think? Buy this, buy that… BUY MY STUFF. Here’s a coupon, a discount, a special offer… blah, blah, blah. Let’s face it: if you’re not in the mood to BUY RIGHT NOW, you pass right over those emails, don’t you? So do I.

A family member asked me recently what I do, and I explained that I help people do great marketing so their businesses will sell more. He asked for an example, and, since he’s in the automotive detailing business, I used that to share some ideas with him, which I would like to now share with you.

“How often do people get their cars detailed?” I asked him. “I dunno – once or twice a year, I guess,” was his response. “So how do you make sure that your customers remember you in between detailing appointments? “Well, I don’t know. I guess they just remember where they went last time and make another appointment.”

Do they? Or do they go with the company that they recently heard about? The company that recently sent them a coupon, or the company that a friend or neighbor recommended?

“The real question,” I explained, “is how do you create customer loyalty? So they ALWAYS come back to you?”

The answer isn’t coupons or discounts or special offers. In fact, if you provide VALUE to your customers, they might not even care about saving a few bucks with a coupon. And even more importantly, THEY’LL be the ones recommending YOU to their friends and neighbors.

Even for a business as transactional as automotive detailing, there are ways to provide value beyond dollars.

The Formula

Before I go any further, I want to share the formula with you. Send your customers, clients, and prospects VALUE-based emails 3 times in between pitch-based emails. Yes, provide value three times, without asking for anything, before you ask them to buy. If they’re ready to buy, they will buy anyway. But if they’re NOT ready to buy, it’s important that you keep them warm, keep earning their trust, and keep demonstrating the value that you can add to their lives.

In the case of the detailing business, think about what people need in between appointments. Do they need tips for how to get pet hair off the seats? The best way to keep a windshield clean? Spot clean a coffee spill? Remove gum? Recommendations for nifty tools to dust the car? (Seriously, I saw a fellow wielding a dustmop-looking thing in a parking lot once.)

But this isn’t a post about value – we’ve already discussed that in prior posts, like Increasing the ROI of Your Content and What is Valuable to the People on Your List?

This is about the formula – the value-to-pitch formula. 3 value-based emails to 1 pitch email.

When you add value to people’s lives, based on what you do, you are selling without selling. You are selling your expertise, your knowledge, and your understanding of the world that your perfect potential customers live in – and your ability to impact that world. When you do it consistently, it creates engagement and relationships – and engagement and relationships create sales.

The Ask-for-Nothing Bonus

When you provide value without asking for anything in return, there’s a principle that comes into play – the principle of reciprocity. You give value, give value, and give value (3 times), then suggest that your reader might like to take the next step. There’s where the reciprocity comes in. Some people will feel like they *should* take the next step with you because you have been so generous.

Hold on – I can hear you thinking… “Wait just a minute – if we give away great content, won’t people be able to use that and not need us?”

Nope. There is NOTHING you can give away – no checklist, no cheat sheet, no quick start guide, no white paper, no webinar, no video – that will replace the expertise that you have or your company has. If you’re a leadership coach, can you really give someone 5 Tips to be a Better Leader and have them just BECOME the kind of leader your coaching would lead them to be? Of course not. If you’re a car detailer, can you really give “Best Ways to Get Pet Hair off Your Back Seat” and have someone magically become an expert car detailer? Nooo. (And in that example, that’s a service that most people don’t even WANT to do themselves, right?)

There’s a terrific book that’s been out there for a while: The Go-Giver by Bob Burg (Amazon non-affiliate link). The main point of the book is that the key to success is giving, not getting (hence the play on words of the name). It’s a good read.

Give Value Freely – and Reap the Rewards

When you use the formula of 3 value-based emails to 1 pitch-based email, you are, as I said above, creating engagement and building relationships, earning trust and building authority. You’ll create loyalty with your current customers and provide compelling reasons for prospects to become your customers. You’ll become the recommended, go-to resource for solving the problem you solve, providing the service you provide, or creating the opportunities you create.

And you will stand out in a world that is pitch-pitch-pitch, deal-deal-deal, buy now-buy now-buy now.

It’s worth doing.