Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

March 8, 2010

Do You Need More Clients F*A*S*T ?


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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

June 12, 2009

Online vs Offline?

Philip Rosenthal sent Vanessa an email asking:

‘How much effort should a consultant put into their online presence versus offline face to face networking?

It may be different for different consultants, but how do you decide how much time to put in or what mix of time to put into different areas? I am concerned that online marketing is a potentially endless sink of time and am not sure what the returns will be compared with traditional marketing.

Also, I have been on [a particular online networking facility] for less than a month and have about 30 connections – some of whom are people I don’t really know but are members of professional societies of which I am also a member and live in the same city as me – I hope to get to know them better this way. Any suggestions?’

Hello Philip,

Great question, and one which I’m sure many other Marketing Edge readers are wondering about. You raise three separate points, which I’ll address one by one:

Online vs offline networking

How much time you decide to spend in one area versus the other depends entirely on where your prospects are and you may have to do some research of your own to find out where that is. As a business owner with many commitments you simply cannot afford to waste your time, money and effort in activities that have minimal impact.

Are your prospects researching and making buying decisions from behind their PCs? If so, are they building relationships with potential suppliers through social networking, or are they using search engines to find information on specific services? (Two distinctly different approaches!) Or are they making those decisions on the golf course? Do they read specific trade journals or attend business to business shows and exhibitions? Find that out, then find a way to regularly get in front of them.

The returns compared with traditional marketing

Any marketing you do – whether online or otherwise must fit in with an overall strategy. They cannot be adhoc events or activities that get done on a whim and without proper forethought and planning. Remember too, that not all methods work for everyone. You have to test it and measure it. If it works, do more of the same. If it doesn’t work, or doesn’t work well enough, change tactics.

For example: Just because you’ve always had an advert in the Yellow Pages doesn’t mean you should just keep on renewing it. Do you know how much business you actually get because of that advert?

The same principle applies to your weekly networking breakfast; your brochures; your website; etc. Don’t blindly keep doing something just because you think you should, or because you think that ‘doing something is better than doing nothing.’

Getting to know your contacts better

Well done for creating an online profile and getting active in making connections! (For some top tips on creating and maintaining your profile, see my article Revamp Your Online Presence in Four Easy Steps.) It is important that your connections have substance and that you can add value to each others’ networks.

What is the point of hundreds of connections that are just there to boost your numbers, but you know nothing about each other and never interact? It would be just as ludicrous to collect hundreds of business cards at face-to-face events and stuff them into an overflowing business card folder that never gets opened again, other than to add more cards!

Your approach to connecting with fellow members of professional societies you belong to and people who live in the same town as you is a good place to start. May I suggest you take the initiative in arranging a meet-up to build those connections into REAL relationships. Perhaps something like meeting for a drink after work – invite all thirty connections and see who turns up. Not only will you benefit from getting to know them better, but they will benefit from meeting each other too. (By the way: This suggestion works equally well if applied to that over-stuffed business card holder too!)

Thank you for your question,

 

Other readers with questions are invited to submit them here and we’ll do our best to answer them in an upcoming issue.

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January 19, 2009

Could You Make More Profitable Sales by Doing LESS Networking?

networkingIs it possible to stop doing so much networking and yet make more sales with higher profits?

 

Sound crazy?

 

Read the feature article in the week’s Marketing Edge eZine due out first thing on Wednesday morning.

 

Not a subscriber yet?

 

Sign up at: www.zee2a.com and grab a host of free marketing resources at the same time.

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December 19, 2008

Do You Inspire Action?

How to get Great Response to Your Marketing Efforts?
Have a Great Call-to-Action!

The current election race in the USA has given rise to a lot of comparisons between the public-speaking styles of the various candidates in either party – not that deep analysis of potential presidential candidates is anything new! Perhaps one of the most powerful sound bites of any election race was a self-effacing comparison made by Adlai Stevenson between himself and John F Kennedy during the election campaign in 1960. Stevenson invoked the memories of two great orators of the Greek and Roman eras when he said: “When Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke’, but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, ‘Let us march’.”

Of course, JFK was an outstanding orator, but then so was Stevenson (by reputation, at least – I have never heard a recording of him). So what made the difference between the two in terms of their ability to inspire action? One commentator, in discussing Stevenson, put it this way: “His speeches were isolated works of art rather than stations on a line along which he wished to travel.” So, in my own words I’d say that when Stevenson spoke he enjoyed the moment, but when JFK spoke he never forgot that he was trying to get people to vote for him!

What on earth does all of this have to do with marketing? It’s quite simple really: We must never forget while marketing that we are trying to get people to do business with us! If we do, we might leave a room full of people thinking: ‘How well he spoke’ and then turning to other things. Has that ever happened to you? It certainly has to me! I’m going to take this opportunity to share a story with you that was related by a friend and colleague, and I choose his experience rather than my own for two reasons: Firstly, he is a consummate professional whom I would never have imagined capable of such a blunder (where my own are depressingly regular) and secondly, because the circumstances make it all the more painful and therefore memorable. So, to the story!

My colleague is a Life-Coach who specialises in working with actors and the like, and is good enough to have been invited to address a group of three hundred recent and past graduates at Giulliard (the premier school of acting in the world, in case you haven’t heard of it). By his own accounting, my colleague gave a ‘kick-ass’ presentation extolling the virtues of working with a coach and the resultant benefits for the career and life of the coachee. When he had finished, he wrapped up by saying something like: ‘There are a pile of my business cards on the table by the door. If you’re interested, take one and call me.’ Guess how many calls he got? Yup – zero! Now I’ve seen this person speak – and he has a rare gift – so it wasn’t because he didn’t speak well. It was because for a crucial moment he lost sight of the fact that he was trying to get people to do business with him.

So what should he have done? What should you and I be doing each and every time we talk to a prospect, either one-on-one or as a group? Simply this: Take them by the hand and lead them to the next station on the line which leads to a sale.

Let’s illustrate: You’ve met a potential client at a networking event and in a few minutes of conversation you’ve determined that there is a potential fit for your services. You may try giving the prospect your card and suggesting they call you, but what is your likelihood of receiving that call? As an alternative, why not ask for their card and call them? That’s better because you’re in control of the next action, but there is still room for improvement.

Why not try this next time you’re in that situation? ‘Sally, I sense that there is some opportunity for synergy in what we’ve discussed, don’t you agree?’ If they do, then you say: ‘May I have your business card? I’m going to send you an article that I wrote on that very subject. It will be in your Inbox by midday tomorrow.’ You now have a clear path for this prospect to the next step in your marketing process. (You DO have a marketing process, Right?!)

Of course, if this is a prospect you’re already familiar with and who you believe already has a level of trust in your credibility, you may feel that sending an article is insufficient progress. So you could carry on with: ‘Do you have your diary handy? I’d like to buy you a coffee and explore this area of opportunity further. How does 10 o’clock Thursday work for you?’ Wow! An appointment for a sales call! That was too easy!

You may be saying: ‘I couldn’t do that! It would be an imposition!’ Would it really? Why do you think that prospect came to that event? Why did they share their situation with you and then give you their card, if it wasn’t because they were looking for help addressing their issue? Another colleague put it this way (he’s Australian and doesn’t mince words!): ‘Most people are walking around with their umbilical cord in their hand, looking for a place to plug it in.’ A graphic image – but ultimately an accurate one. So you would be doing both yourself and your prospect a disservice if you didn’t make sure they got plugged-in to your value-adding services as soon as possible!

But it won’t happen unless you take them by the hand and say: ‘Let us march!

©David Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008.

This article was first published in The Marketing Edge on 1 December 2007

 

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.

Read more articles like this one!  Sign up for a free subscription to The Marketing Edge

December 1, 2008

Free Sales Tele-Class Next Week!

virtual-seminar1Would You Like to Attend A Free Sales Tele-Class on 9 December?

Would you like to attend a FREE one-hour tele-seminar that will explore the four key elements of a successful sale, providing practical advice and examples to help you perfect each step?
The call is taking place on Tuesday 9th December at 7pm UK time (2pm Eastern), and pre-registration is essential. (We have UK and USA dial in numbers for the call.)

For full information on the tele-seminar, and how to register, please visit:
http://www.zee2a.com/teleseminar/

November 18, 2008

Free Tele-Seminar: Four Steps to More Effective Sales

Free Tele-Seminar:
Four Steps to More Effective Sales

Tuesday 9 December
7pm UK time

 

For most Independent Professionals and Small Service Businesses it’s hard to get excited about sales and marketing. Somewhat like a visit to the dentist, we know we have to do it but we really don’t look forward to it. Part of the problem is that we aren’t as skilled in Sales and Marketing as we are in our profession, so we don’t really have the clarity of purpose we need to be successful.

This free one-hour tele-seminar will explore the four key elements of a successful sale, providing practical advice and examples to help you perfect each step. Each of the following will be covered:

1. The Right Mind for Sales and Marketing: Before we even begin to tell others about what we do, we need to be very clear on what our goals are for business and life. If we are truly to get excited about sales and marketing, it must draw on what excites us about our chosen profession. We also need to address and root out all of the negative attitudes we carry around about sales and marketing, as these simply drain our enthusiasm and sabotage our efforts. Two powerful tools will be presented to help you put on the right mind for growing your business successfully.

2. Powerful Marketing Messages: We live in a world in which we are deluged by advertising and marketing. To cut through the din and grab the attention of our target audience we need to have a powerful way of presenting our services. We will run through a simple formula for developing a marketing message that not only gets attention of the right people more often, but also allows us to qualify prospects with little time and effort.

3. Sales and Marketing Strategies that Work: Many small businesses spend significant amounts of money on marketing initiatives, then suffer disappointment when the return on their investment falls far short of expectations. A process will be outlined whereby the return on each and every marketing initiative can be maximized – simply by understanding the journey a prospect takes from when they first meet you as a stranger until they are ready to commit to working with you at a premium rate, then by tailoring marketing and sales efforts to seamlessly lead prospects through this journey.

4. Turning Strategies into Paying Clients: Unless we implement a strategy effectively we derive no benefit from it. As busy professionals focused on delivering to paying clients, how can we fit the actual delivery of marketing strategies into our day? A tool will be demonstrated which allows entrepreneurs to ensure that, instead of ‘boom and bust’ marketing, they market their practice every day, every week and every month.

Registration Details

 

Date: Tuesday 9th December 2008
Time: 19h00 – 20h00 (UK Time)
Venue: Your Telephone or Skype’d Computer

(you can even attend in your PJ’s!)
Even if you can’t attend the live call,
register free to receive the audio recording!

 

Once you have registered you will receive
full instructions via email,
including the conference call numbers.

 

Please click here to register.

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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October 30, 2008

Dragon’s Den without the embarrassment

Executive A&E is happening is less than 3 weeks time.  Will you be there?

http://www.zee2a.com/Seminars/ExecAE.html

 

You get an entire morning of coaching and mentoring by four respective experts in their fields:

A sales and marketing guru

A financial wizard

The ‘head honcho’ of a top virtual assistant agency

And one of the UK’s most sought after image consultants

 

Plus ample networking opportunities with a room full of local business people; and a delicious hotel buffet lunch….. and you only pay for the lunch! (how cool is that?!)

 

There aren’t many seats left so please avoid disappointment by booking your place today http://www.zee2a.com/Seminars/ExecAE.html#Booking

 

Plus, look at some of the freebies that have been thrown in:

                                 

 

                            

October 22, 2008

It’s less than a month away!!

We are so excited about our upcoming Executive A&E event (that we’ve been telling our readers, subscribers, and clients about) because it is going to be so much fun!  Have you booked a seat there yet?  It’s less than a month away now!

 

As you know, we’ve invited a panel of experts to participate in this “Dragon’s Den” style event where we will be helping attendees to completely overhaul their Marketing and Sales; Administration; Finances; and Professional Image. 

 

If you love watching Dragon’s Den on TV then you will get such a thrill from being at a similar event live and in person….. But here’s a little nudge:  This event is proving to be incredibly popular and seats are selling F*A*S*T so if you haven’t booked one yet, please don’t delay any further. We really don’t want you to be disappointed that you missed out!  (And we promise that if you do miss it – you will be disappointed!)

 

The price has also been so heavily subsidised by sponsors, (booking an hour personal consultation with only one of the experts would cost as much as £200) but all it will cost you is the price of lunch. Can you afford not to come?

Get all the juicy details, and book your place at:

 

http://www.zee2a.com/Seminars/ExecAE.html

 

 

 

 

 

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