Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

March 7, 2010

Have you met the ‘Goop Guy’?

Every now and then we run an article from a guest author, and today we are delighted to re-print ‘The Goop Guy’ written by Robert Middleton, one of our colleagues and associates.  As you read it, have a think about the principles involved and how they relate to your business and the way you do your marketing – then please add your comments at the end!

*

Imagine sitting in the middle of a swanky shopping center, a male

cosmetologist hovering over you, with goop slathered all over your

face. Not a pretty picture. But that was me on Friday.

How in the world did I get into such a situation?

Well, it started innocently enough. I was in San Francisco for Mac-

World and stopped by the upscale downtown mall to pick up a few

shirts at Nordstrom’s and find a Valentine’s day gift for my wife.

As I was wandering aimlessly through the mall, I noticed a number

of young girls handing out a sample drink of some sort. I was

thirsty, so I grabbed a dixie cup of the elixer and gulped it down.

Before I could blink he was talking to me. I say “he” because I

don’t think I ever got his name. He was totally focused on me for

the next half hour.

Have you heard of the goji berry? he asked innocently enough.

Well, no I hadn’t. Oh yes, it’s one of the world’s most powerful

antioxidants, and the company he worked for, “The Secret of the

Himalayas,” was the purveyor of all things goji berry.

Before I could blink he was was looking at my hands and

commenting on how dry they were and asking what I used to

moisturize them. Me, I’m a guy. We don’t think about that kind of

stuff. But before I knew it, I was rubbing my hands with an exotic

product called Hunza Apricot Treatment.

It felt kind of like wet sand. I rubbed it in and then he rinsed my

hands ever-so-delicately with a spray bottle. Next was Body Butter,

a light moisturizer that smelled like coconut and apricot.

How did my hands feel now? he implored seductively.

Well, by this time I thought this was pretty nice stuff and would

make a nice Valentine’s gift for my wife. I was sold. OK, now let

me outta here.

Not so quick!!

The Body Better was followed by by the exotic Goji Peel, then

another moisturizer and toner which he proceeded to rub into my

wrist as he regaled me with the superior qualities of these

sublimely divine body products.

OK, OK, enough already! I’l take the Apricot Treatment, the Body

Butter and the Goji Peel. My wife would be happy and I could get

back to MacWorld.

But wait, he was willing to give me the dispenser of special

moisturizer for only $50 and throw in the toner for free. How could

I possibly say no to that? I pulled out my credit card and $240 of

my new-found products were wrapped up and ready to go.

But just one more little thing.

He looked soulfully into my eyes and asked me what I was doing

for those bags so strategically placed beneath them. Bags? I have

bags under my eyes? Apparently so.

And before I knew it I was sitting on a stool being slathered with

eye goop. By now I was having fun. This guy was such a

consummate salesman I couldn’t believe the path he was taking

me down.

Here I am, a guy, considering goop to put under my eyes every

day! When would it all end? Then I realized it. It would never end.

As long as he had my attention he would continue to sell.

Then he showed me the prices. $175 for the eye rejuvenator and

$275 for the collagen cream. Yeah, how on earth did we live before

collagen? And don’t forget the mask that was now spread over the

right side of my face.

He gently wiped off everything with delicately moisturized cotton

puffs and then had me look in the mirror. Did I notice the

difference? Well, actually I did. My right eye was now definitely less

baggier than my right one. Wow, this stuff works!

But at that price? You gotta be kidding me!

But suddenly I learned that, for a very limited time, and just for

me, he could give me the first two products for a greatly reduced

price and throw in the third for free.

Well, I finally got ahold of my senses and thought… There is no

friggin’ way I’ll use this eye stuff for more than a few days, feel like

an idiot and regret my purchase. My sanity took the upper hand

and I told him firmly, thank you, but no.

An average salesperson would have moved on. But not Goop Guy. I

think he used about five more closes (don’t you care about your

eyes? was the most heart-rending) before I took off.

Nevertheless, as I gathered my bags and walked away and down

the escalator to freedom, I looked back and still saw him enticing

me back to his parlor of lotions and potions, never really giving up

until I was completely out of sight.

My only regret was that I hadn’t pulled out my Flip Video and

recorded him in action. It was in my pocket, but as I contemplated

returning, I knew I probably wouldn’t get away without buying

that damn eye goop.

*

The Bottom Line:  If most Independent Professionals

had one tenth of the focus, persistence and charm of this guy,

they’d be making ten times the income. No, you really don’t have

to manipulate, but certainly you’d know exactly what to say to

make your services compelling and valuable. You’d have a great

answer to every single question your prospects asked, and always

have another way to move the sale forward, no matter what.

*

© Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit
Robert’s web site at www.actionplan.com for additional
marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional
service businesses
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June 26, 2009

How’s your game?

Today’s feature article has been guest authored by fellow Sales Coach and contact of Vanessa’s, Adrian Miller. In it she tackles the issue of dropping the ball while networking. Our clients and seminar delegates will know that here at Zee2A we use the analogy of a relay race and talk of ‘dropping the baton.’ The principles are exactly the same.

For more top tips on getting the most from your networking why not take a look at our best selling Performance Tuned Networking ‘Seminar-in-a-Box’. It contains over three hours of powerful instruction you can work through at your own pace, and really start ramping up your results in this area!

 

Don’t Drop the Networking Ball!

(Guest authored by Adrian Miller)

Dropping the ball in the game of networking is akin to not catching a fly ball in baseball. Others are counting on you to successfully execute the play and keep the game going. Let the ball drop too many times, and you’ll be booted off of the team.

Networking is entirely about follow through. Just like in baseball, a networking introduction is like a spectacular ball that is heading right for you. You need to keep your eye on it and reach out if you’re going to make the most of the opportunity.

Too often, individuals get busy and forget to make contact with leads that were given to them or don’t follow up with the individuals who facilitated the introductions. Both slip ups are grievous errors in the realm of networking and can really tick off those who have put time and energy into helping you. If you’re guilty of lack of networking follow up and follow through, don’t be surprised if you’re given the “three strikes and you’re out” treatment from your colleagues and acquaintances. No one is going to continue to help someone who isn’t appreciative.

Don’t let yourself be demoted to the minor leagues of networking. Follow these tips and stay in the game:

Say Thank You

As soon as you obtain a lead from someone who has facilitated an introduction, thank them! Don’t wait for a week to go by, and don’t blow it off as something of little importance. A networking lead is a gift, so be gracious even if you don’t think it’s going to amount to a new business opportunity. Write a hand-written note or offer to take them to lunch. Don’t just send a lame, half-hearted thank you email. Remember, no one is going to go out of their way for you if you’re not enthusiastic in your response!

Keep Organized

Use a system for keeping track of your leads and who has provided them to you. Don’t let the information get buried in your email or on your desk.

Follow Up Promptly with the Lead

Develop a rule for yourself for the maximum amount of time you will take to contact a new lead. Ideally, it shouldn’t take you longer than 24 hours to make that first contact.

Follow Up Promptly with the Facilitator

Your work is not done once you’ve had that initial conversation. Now, you need to contact the person who facilitated the lead and give them an update. This step is frequently forgotten but vitally important to maintaining good networking relationships.

Reciprocate

Networking is not just about you receiving new contacts. It’s also about you reciprocating the favors bestowed upon you. Be generous about helping others, making introductions, and offering assistance whenever you have the chance.

Adrian Miller©Adrian Miller. Adrian Miller is a sales trainer, consultant, speaker and author. She launched her firm Adrian Miller Sales Training 21 years ago and works in a vast diversity of industries providing real world solutions for real world situations, on-site and through webinars and teleclasses. She recently started Adrian’s Network, a virtual business networking community that is gaining new members every day. Adrian can be reached here.

June 5, 2009

Stop losing leads and opportunities!

The World is Owned by People Who Follow Up

(Guest authored by Colleen Francis)

Two months ago, a freelance photographer was at an event I attended and took some photos of me giving a presentation. I gave the photographer my card and asked him to please call me when he had prints available to sell, as I needed some updated action shots. After I saw the prints on line for sale as hard copies I emailed him inquiring about buying the electronic copies. You could say that basically, I begged to be a customer But, did he follow up?… NO. I have still not been able to buy photos from him.

Then, shortly after, by the luck of the draw, I had a phone conversation with a prospect at a technology call center in Ottawa, from whom I learned that “call center” work was a fill-in job for her. She is a struggling young fashion and portrait photographer with a small studio downtown. So, I asked her to please email me info about how to make an appointment for a photo shoot… and, you guessed it, I haven’t heard a peep from her either! She’s struggling and I’m begging to be a customer… and no follow up.

Last year I wanted to rent a cottage for six weekends during the off season and the cottage owner never returned one of my four emails.

You probably have endless stories in your own life, just like these… and I bet it drives you nuts too. There are a few businesses that do “get it”. Last week I received two E-reminders from my personal trainer – that I have not been to the gym in a while and bathing suit season is close. Bless him! – I went for my first personal training session in five months last week. Ouch.

The million dollar question is…

Who’s following up with your clients? Who’s following up on sales leads and opportunities? You or the competition? Who’s immediately following up on customer complaints to create a positive outcome… or are complaints just left to fester?

If you are a manager, are you following up on your team’s commitments to increase sales, reduce expenses, meet sign and submit deadlines, eliminate cancellations, and ensure prompt follow up with pending clients? And who’s following up with your CRM vendors, printers, marketing departments and other internal partners to make sure that they don’t let you down? Are you following up on your own promises to customers, staff and family?

What will you do?

So, what will you do to improve your track record in the “follow-up department” in every part of your business… and your life? This week, make a commitment to follow up with everyone who bought last month. Send them a thank you note – if you didn’t do that the day after the sale, and call them to ensure they are happy with your product!

Colleen-Francis©Colleen Francis is the Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions, which delivers sales solutions that realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise the client’s bottom line. Reach her at Engage Selling Solutions

December 12, 2008

Use a Burning Platform to Overcome Recession Fears and Close More Profitable Business!

Use a Burning Platform to
Overcome Recession Fears and
Close More Profitable Business

 

 

 

Most of our clients, and many others that we talk to lately, report that prospects are taking longer to make decisions than before the credit crunch began. Are you finding that? There are many reasons for it, but we’re going to focus on just one right now – the phenomenon of inertia. The principle of inertia states that a body will resist efforts to change it’s ‘state’ (whether a state of rest or of uniform motion).

 

 

How does this apply to our prospects? Well, they are no more immune from the laws of nature than anything else, so they will tend to resist a change (especially a change which involves their time, their money or both)! This manifests itself in the ubiquitous ‘Let me think about it’ and other delaying tactics, even if you’re sure that they realise they should be doing business with you. Yes, they may be convinced that agreeing to work with you will significantly benefit their business or their life, but that darned inertia will cause them to procrastinate and delay – sometimes indefinitely.

 

 

Of course, if that’s true at all times, it is especially true now, as we stare a recession in the face.  (As a side note: you might be ignoring the recession talk and getting on with your business – as you should be – but please be aware that your prospects may not be as successful at positive thinking as you are.)  So a prospect has even more reason now to remain inert, perhaps thinking that ‘now is not the time to be committing to new expenditure’, or ‘it would be wise to wait and see how the economy pulls through the first quarter of next year before deciding’.

 

 

So what can we do about it? How can we overcome prospect inertia and get them moving toward that aspirational outcome we will help them achieve if they only get off the fence and commit to working with us?

 

 

Create a ‘Burning Platform’

 

 

 

I heard a fascinating anecdote once. There is a brave bunch of people who choose to make a living by working on oilrigs – platforms floating way out in the North Sea off Northern Europe. Now, you may not be aware that sea temperatures in the North Sea rarely get more than a few degrees above freezing, so a person falling off one of those platforms into the sea has a life expectancy measured in seconds or minutes if they are not rescued. It would be safe to say that, under normal circumstances, nobody would choose to jump off the rig platform!

 

 

There is, however, one circumstance under which the normal pattern of behaviour is reversed – fire on the rig! Oil fires are fantastically hot and virtually impossible to extinguish, so if one breaks out on the rig it becomes a very unhealthy place to be – so unhealthy, in fact, that the few minutes of life to be found in the freezing waters below could make the difference between rescue and death.

 

 

Do you see how this might apply to your prospect’s buying decision? If you can create a ‘burning platform’ in the mind of the prospect they will have little alternative but to take the plunge and commit to your proposal. Now, let me hasten to add that I’m not talking about bullying or high-pressure sales tactics here – I’m talking about sound principles of marketing. Let’s explore them together, shall we?

 

 

If you’ve been following Zee2A’s marketing methodology for a while, you’ll understand that when we go prospecting we make a powerful promise to our prospects based on our ability to overcome their key challenges and create an aspirational outcome for them. We sincerely believe that we will be able to create that outcome, don’t we? We honestly believe that our prospect’s life and business will be the better for having worked with us, not so? And we base this conviction on our experiences with others we have worked with, for whom we have created aspirational outcomes, agreed? So we are not selling snake-oil – we really believe that our prospects are on a burning platform! All we need to do is help them to see that too.

 

 

The Cost of Inertia

 

 

 

What is the best way to accomplish that? Not by bullying of applying undue pressure! Rather, while exploring the prospect’s challenges and ‘matching’ your service offerings to those challenges, take some time to help the prospect understand the cost of inertia to them. Remember, if they delay a buying decision they are in effect delaying the achievement of that aspirational outcome you promise.

 

 

For example, if a prospect wants to grow their business but are having a hard time getting above a revenue ‘ceiling’, and we can help them to break through that ceiling and get on the way to their goals, the cost of inertia can be measured in lost revenues. You could (for example) demonstrate that if they delay by three months they will lose up to £250,000 in revenue growth over the next financial year. Quantifiable costs are always more powerful than nebulous risks, so take the time to work back to reasonable, measurable, agreed projections.

 

 

Does the prospect clearly see and understand that quantifiable ‘cost of inertia’? If so, they will begin to appreciate that they are on a burning platform and haste is needed! If not – why take the risk? That sea looks even colder than usual!

 

 

©David Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008. Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph: David Deakin, CEO of Zee2A, is a marketing mentor who works with Professional services Executives yearning to take their business to the next level. Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes he helps them to create sustainable marketing strategies that attract more clients at profitable rates. To learn more, sign up for his e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit www.zee2a.com.

 

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November 7, 2008

How to Ensure Your Business Can Weather These Storms

Two Processes That Will Help You
Sleep Through These Stormy Nights

Did the credit-crunch (closely followed by this recession) catch you by surprise? Many of us felt as though it came out a clear blue sky, leaving us suddenly coping with something that hadn’t been any part of our business plans. Like a yacht caught in a sudden squall some of us might be thinking that, had we known it was going to happen, we would have stayed safely in the harbour!

I heard a good story recently, which I think illustrates this event rather well. It concerns a farmer and his wife who need to hire a farmhand. As they are dependent on the farm for their livelihood, they want to make a good decision and hire the right applicant. So they are painstaking with their interview process.

One day they interview a young man who seems to be perfect for the role. They ask him: “What do you think qualifies you as the best person for the job?”

His reply is unhesitating but puzzling. “I can sleep on a stormy night.”

Mystified, the couple decide to offer him the job based on their instinct. And what a good hire he turns out to be! As the farmer rises and prepares for the day, he sees the young man already out in the fields busy with his tasks. And as the farmer and his wife sit on their patio in the evening dusk, they see him returning after a hard day’s work.

However, one night the farmer and his wife are wakened by the booming of thunder and the howl of rising winds. A storm is coming! Quickly the farmer sends his wife to rouse the farmhand from slumber while he begins to deal with the emergency.

The farmer’s wife runs to the young man’s quarters and bangs on his door, shouting his name. But there is no answer! He is fast asleep.

Meanwhile the farmer dashes to the barn to secure the cows and lock the barn door – only to find when he arrives that all is peaceful. The cows are bedded down in the barn and the door is firmly locked. Then he remembers that the tractor must be put under cover, so he runs to the yard – only to see the tractor already parked in the shed! Finally, he realises that the farm implements cannot be left out in the rain to rust, so he makes haste to collect them – only to discover that all of the implements have already been cleaned and placed in their proper places in the toolroom.

Only then do the young man’s words make sense to the farmer and his wife: “I can sleep on a stormy night.”

The lesson for us? We should not neglect activities that are essential preparation for the future of our business. Let’s look at just two of those activities and see how neglecting them in the run-up to this recession may well have left us scrambling around in our pyjamas in the middle of the night!

Lead Generation

I have yet to meet a professional services executive who does not feel competent to close a sale with a high proportion of those prospects who have approached the practice for advice. But – and it’s a very big but – I meet very few who feel competent to go out and find prospects when nobody comes knocking. Like our farmer, they can rest easy when the sun shines and the weather stays dry, but when word-of-mouth referral starts dropping off they find themselves in deep trouble.

Even as the credit-crunch bites and the recession gathers pace, I speak to professionals who say “We don’t do marketing. Our practice grows by word-of-mouth.” Sadly, many have already found the taps turned off, and others will find the flood of referrals slowing to a trickle as a record number of small businesses go to the wall.

Those who have a cost-effective lead generation process in place and are regularly reaching out to their target market inviting dialogue have also found the level of response dropping in the current market. But they are able to simply increase the volume of their efforts – relying on proven, tested lead generation processes – in order to ensure that their business is provided with sufficient good-quality leads to sustain profitable growth. Like the farmhand, they have no need to panic or rush around in all directions despite the severity of the crisis!

Establishing Trust

One significant difference between word-of-mouth referrals and prospects arising from other forms of lead generation is that there is a vastly different level of trust. Word-of-mouth referrals have often come from a referee who trusts us implicitly (to deliver on our service promises) and has communicated that to the prospect. The prospect therefore has a high level of referred trust and is ready to be ‘sold’. (Incidentally, that accounts for the confidence most execs have in converting this type of prospect to a customer – it’s generally not a huge challenge!)

Prospects who have not been referred in such a manner are a different story. They like what they’ve heard – or else they wouldn’t be prospects – but they are skeptical. Why should they trust you that you are worth your price? Why should they believe you are so different from your competitors?

Professionals who do not have a marketing and sales focus find that their conversion rates for such prospects are dismally low – and will get lower during the recession, because trust (that your services are a wise investment) becomes even more critical when times are tight and money is short.

Those who understand that trust must be established before a sales conversation can take place (and have processes in place to do this quickly and effectively with each prospect), on the other hand, will find that their conversion rates will be much higher, and will remain unaffected by the recession.

So which are you? The farmer – scrambling to secure what you can before the recession takes away your farm? Or the farmhand – secure in the knowledge that your business will remain intact whatever ‘huff and puff’ the economic conditions give rise to? More importantly, which do you want to become in future? The choice is yours.

©David Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008. Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph: David Deakin, CEO of Zee2A, is a marketing mentor who works with Professional services Executives yearning to take their business to the next level. Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes he helps them to create sustainable marketing strategies that attract more clients at profitable rates. To learn more, sign up for his e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit www.zee2a.com.

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November 5, 2008

The Key to Getting Through The Recession With Your Business Intact

Keeping with current blogging themes of getting through this recession with our businesses intact, I read something very eye-opening recently on a colleague’s blog.  Merlyn Sanchez is the guru behind Smart Business Owners, and is also a key player in the Mastermind Group that keeps Vanessa and I on the road to success.

Merlyn recently blogged about some research which came out of the three previous recessions (74-75, 81-82 and 90-91 in the USA) and the results, though predictable, are still amazing: businesses that stick to their marketing and advertising guns during a recession not only make more money during the recession, but critically also for the two years following the recession!

If that isn’t incentive enough to get out there and market, market, market then I don’t know what is!

Read the full article here.

September 21, 2008

Are You Making the Economy Your Excuse?

A few days ago I attended a conference call with a Mastermind group I belong to, where Brian Tracy was talking about productivity and goals. He shared some very strong, positive words of advice with us that I would like to share with you.

All too many business owners are hyperventilating over the economic downturn, and are using all the sensationalism and media hype about a recession as ‘crutches’ for their inactivity.

Brian reminded us that ‘… a recession is two continuous quarters of negative growth. We have not even had one… don’t be in despair over what people say out there. 95% of people who are working are working. Businesses are growing. The financial sector is in trouble. The other 90% are reporting record profits.’ Then he told us: ‘Your job is to work a little harder, get a little smarter, try something new or different…’

So really you have a choice: you can curl up into a ball, stop marketing, close shop, and cry about how the recession ruined your business. OR you can get out there and find customers while your competitors make excuses.

On that note – would you like to learn exactly how to recession-proof your business? Please come along to our morning  Seminar on Wednesday 15th October 2008.

September 11, 2008

Make Your Business Thrive!

Are you anxious about the state of the economy?  What can you do to build a business that is truly recession-proof, reaching your revenue and profit goals in good times or bad?

When the economy turns southward many of us start losing sleep. Will we shed customers, either because we are too expensive or simply because they go out of business? Will we be able to close new business in sufficient volumes to meet growth targets, especially when prospects are cautious of new financial commitments? How will our marketing budgets be affected as cost-cutting measures are implemented?

Would you sleep easier knowing that your business had:

·         Powerful strategies to attract and develop the trust of prospects;

·         Highly effective low- or no-cost marketing initiatives;

·         Clear, actionable strategic plans for the business; and

·         A focused self-development programme?

The ‘Recession-Proof Your Business’ Seminar on 15 October 2008 is three action-packed hours of exactly what you need – for just pennies from your piggy-bank!

David and Vanessa Deakin of Zee2A have teamed up with Steve Lewis of the Baker Tilly Growth Programme for this seminar, focused on helping professional service businesses not only to survive but also to thrive, whatever the economic backdrop.

To find out more and register to attend, please go to http://www.zee2a.com/seminars/RProof081015.html.

September 10, 2008

LinkedIn Bloggers

 

Zee2A are proudly participating in a Blog Carnival for LinkedIn users, hosted by our colleague Merlyn Sanchez of Smart Business Owners.

 

What is a blog carnival?  It’s an event where different bloggers come together and collaborate on a particular topic.   In this instance: marketing a professional service business with great articles on relationship marketing, social networking and online marketing, blogs and blogging, to name just a few.

 

Please follow this link to read on

January 24, 2008

NEVER COLD-CALL AGAIN!

And Get More Clients
Into the Bargain …

Okay, so that title sounds like a load of phoo-ey, right? (And yes, phoo-ey IS a technical term we marketing gurus use!) Everybody knows that the only way to get new clients is to cold-call, or cold-mail – how else do you find prospects that you might end up doing business with? That is at least how the accepted wisdom goes – and judging by the number of organisations in the UK currently selling lists of prospects carefully segmented by any number of weird and wonderful demographics, the accepted wisdom is still very much accepted. So how can I tell you that you’ll get more clients by NOT cold-calling?

Here’s something you might not have thought of before: Did you know that organisations like Sainsburys and Barclays Bank cannot cold-call? Now I’m not saying that there’s some kind of law that prevents them. Rather, I’m pointing out that it’s impossible for them to do so. How’s that? Because pretty much anyone who might appear on one of their marketing lists (and that includes virtually everyone over the age of sixteen in the British Isles) has not only heard of them, but also quite likely knows where their nearest branch or store is. The point is that we’re not cold prospects – we know them, we’re familiar with their logo and their place of business, and we have possibly even had some experience of them. We’ve already been warmed to them by our previous dealings with them, to the extent that we likely view them as part of our community. And that can make the world of difference to our reception when being marketed to.

Of course, part of the reason for that is the immense marketing and operating budgets at the disposal of these commercial giants. They buy this exposure by running TV commercials and radio slots ad nauseum (or at least it can feel like it!) and by having a physical presence on nearly every High Street in the country. Very few of the professional service organisations we work with have anything more than a fraction of a percent of that financial muscle – but there is still a vital lesson we can learn from their success. The lesson is this: Never market to strangers!

You may notice that the lesson sounds very like our title, and with good reason – cold-calling and cold-mailing are first-rate examples of marketing to strangers. Why not market to strangers? Three reasons (well, four if you count the conclusion): They don’t know you, they don’t like you, they don’t trust you – so they are not going to buy from you! You may want to remember this as the ‘know, like and trust threshold’ and test every marketing initiative against it. If a marketing initiative hasn’t already scaled the ‘know, like and trust threshold’, keep your money in your pocket.

You’re probably thinking ‘I’ve worked every lead I already know, so without marketing to strangers I’m not going to get even one more customer!’ We might debate just how effectively you’ve worked every lead you already know, but let’s agree for the purposes of this article that what you say is true. Really, if you want to grow your business you have no alternative but to market to strangers, right?

Ah well, having told you what not to do perhaps I should now share with you what you must do to turn strangers into profitable customers. The answer lies in identifying connections which link you with the strangers you wish to market to. What’s a connection? Think of it as an affiliation, a commonality you share with the individual you wish to engage in a marketing conversation. It really doesn’t matter that much what the nature of the connection is – are you part of the same church-group? Do you share a hobby? Did you grow up in the same town or attend the same school? Are you subscribed to the same Chamber of Commerce? A connection may even be established by subscribing to the same periodical!

It’s a fact that the single greatest human need is acceptance – a need to belong, to feel connected. In this twenty-first century world where the community values of our grandparents no longer have any kind of currency, we fulfil our need for acceptance through a bewildering range of virtual communities – some of them so virtual that they only exist in cyberspace! You would be making a dangerous mistake concluding that the connections we hold have little value – they are actually the most powerful marketing tools we have.

Don’t believe me? Then consider this – if you can identify a connection to your prospects, they are no longer strangers! If you’re still struggling to see this, perhaps you might want to tell me which of the following is a more persuasive marketing pitch:

  • 20% Discount on our services during December!
  • Produce a Basingstoke and Deane Council Tax bill to receive a 20% ‘community’ discount during December!

Of course if you’re thinking ‘Who wants to live in a dump like Basingstoke?’ you’ve just proved my point! We Basingstokers suspect how others feel about us (especially since that ‘Crap Towns’ book hit the shelves) but we know that we are part of a wonderful warm community and we look after each other. Which may or may not be true – but it’s our perception, so nothing could be truer for us. We’re connected, see? And we can’t be connected to strangers – that’s another impossibility.

I strongly urge you to do something right now that will have an immediate impact on your marketing success rates. Take a few minutes to consider where you might find communities with a high percentage of your prospects. Then consider how you might connect with those communities on the basis of joint participation, and frame a marketing campaign that emphasizes your connection.

Before long you’ll have added another connection to some of those community members – they’ll be profitable clients.

Are you a Professional Services Executive yearning to grow your business without sacrificing your quality of life, but not sure how to take the next step? You may be ready for The Marketing Edge programme. Contact us now at info@zee2a.com to discuss how the programme can help you to fill up your fee-book with profitable clients.

©David Deakin and Zee2A Limited

Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph:  David Deakin, CEO of Zee2A, is a marketing guru who works with Professional services Executives yearning to take their business to the next level of profitability and success.  Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes he helps them to create sustainable marketing strategies that attract more clients at profitable rates. To learn more, sign up for his e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit http://www.zee2a.com