“These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.”

-Brian Clark

Permission Marketing by Example 

As we begin our review of Seth Godin’s greatest hits, we will begin with Permission Marketing.Permission Marketingwas Godin’s first book that that really captured the imagination of his readers and launched him on his current trajectory.  
This week, I am not going to tell you how permission marketing works. I am just going to relate a story that Godin includes in his book. Next week we will talk about the principles that explain the story.
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

Image source: Amazon

The Story of Zygi

Zygi is an immigrant from Poland. He set up a painting and drywall business and he does an excellent job. Most of his work comes from referrals from happy customers who are more than pleased to tell their friends about the awesome contractor that they found. Why?
Finding a good contractor always feels like a crapshoot. Are they honest? Will they charge a fair price? Will they do quality work? It is enough to raise your blood pressure. Last week my brother asked me to search for a contractor online. Our parents recently moved to a retirement community and he is overseeing the renovations on our childhood home in New Jersey. Forget the internet. Reviews are good, but relationships are much better. I called my closest childhood friend, Ken, to see if he had any recommendations. Since I am not there, I wanted a recommendation from a friend I could trust. Ken gave me Brian’s number and assured me of the quality of his work. I passed that information on to my brother.
Back to Zygi. Rather than try to bilk his clients for all that he could in a one-time transaction, Zygi did the opposite. He would do his first job at a very reasonable cost. Unlike most contractors who cut corners, his work was excellent. This earned him a right to take his business to the next level. He finished on time, on budget, and on to the next job. But rather than say goodbye quickly so he could spend hours prospecting for a new job, Zygi,leverages the permission he has earned to go on a tour of the house with the owner, together identifying projects the homeowner would like to tackle next. Based on his past overdelivery, he earns the right to take on other projects in the house, each bigger than the first, each more profitable as well. Having overcome the fear that goes with hiring a new contractor, he becomes the safe choice and can thus build more profit into each ensuing job.
Over time, he leverages his first job into four or five or ten projects, each more elaborate and profitable than the last. However, he always offers high value and quality.[i]
How did Godin know about Zygi? Godin hired Zygi to complete, “more than a dozen jobs for me”[ii]and he found another ten clients in Godin’s neighborhood using this method.

The Method

At this point, you might be thinking that this is great for Zygi, but my business is quite different than Zygi’s. Just wait. The process is the same even if the context changes.
I told you that I would give you the process of permission marketing next week, but here is a preview. Godin explained it like this: Permission marketing is a process where strangers become friends, friends become customers, and customers become loyal customers.[iii]

What about you?

How well do you follow Godin’s (or Zygi’s) process? What can you do in your business to use the principles of permission marketing?
[i]Godin, S. (1999). Permission marketing: Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers.New York: Simon & Schuster. (p. 188)
[ii]Godin, S. (1999). Permission marketing: Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers.New York: Simon & Schuster. (p. 189)
[iii]Godin, S. (1999). Permission marketing: Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers.New York: Simon & Schuster. (p. 63).