Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

March 15, 2010

Anyone for a game of ‘telephone-tag’?

Our colleague and associate Merlyn Sanchez of SMART Business Owners wrote these excellent tips for leaving an effective voicemail.  The article can also be read directly on her blog.

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In this over-connected, cell phone to the ear, Web 2.0 world, it would seem inconceivable that it can be near impossible to reach someone. However, it’s more likely that your phone call will go to voice mail rather than to a human being!
So, what do you do when you encounter someone’s voice mail?  Many business owners and sales people tell me there’s no point in leaving a message because they’ll never get return call.  What they really mean is, “I can’t sell them anything via voice mail”.
Well, they probably weren’t going to buy anything even if you did reach them!  Without an objective and a plan, you’re just one more person vying for attention.  And since you haven’t developed a relationship, you’re very easy to ignore.
Here are some tips on how to leave an effective voice mail message:
1. Define the objective of your call. Is it a follow up to a networking event? Or are you returning the prospect’s call or email requesting information on your product or service?  Is it a “keep in touch” call where the purpose is to keep the relationship moving forward?
2. Prepare a script. You want to make sure that you make it clear why you’re calling, how you can be reached, and let them know when you’ll be following up if you don’t hear from them. This will help prevent stuttering or losing your train of thought.  There’s nothing worse than those rambling messages that you wish you could erase!
3. Make sure that you’re easy to reach. Leave them your office number and cell phone number.  And make sure to check your voice mail messages (it could be embarrassing if you don’t!)
4. Repeat your key information. Introduce yourself at the beginning and the end of your message and include your phone numbers.  Speak clearly and slowly enough for someone to be able to take down your information without having to replay your message several times.
5. Don’t give up! It may take several tries and a few rounds of telephone tag to finally reach your client or prospect.  So don’t be discouraged.

By the same token, learn when you’re being avoided and leave a message that lets the other person “bow out gracefully”.  Just ask them to respond if they’re no longer interested in hearing from you. This usually works best if you use email since there’s no fear that they may actually reach you if they call.  Inject a little humor and make it clear that there are no hard feelings.  It’ll go a long way to demonstrate that you are both persistent and considerate.
Every contact you have with someone is a potential to create or further a relationship.  Don’t miss an opportunity to get your message across in an effective and powerful way.

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.

May 20, 2008

Two Keys to Building Strong Business Relationships

Man has walked on the moon, can communicate with someone the other side of the world while strolling along a busy road and many more technological marvels. Less than a hundred years ago these things would have been considered inconceivable if not impossible. Yet despite all this progress we have not yet learned that basic and most important skill, (more…)

May 6, 2008

Two Essential Components of Achievable Goals

Last month we talked about the importance of clear, specific, time-linked goals to your professional service business. I hope that many of our readers have taken some time to develop goals for their business following the guidelines in that article. However, we finished by acknowledging that some have become ‘scarred’ by previous experiences of setting goals and then being disappointed at not achieving them. The question we posed then was: Are the goals to blame?

I’m sure most of you didn’t need to wait for me to tell you that the answer is NO! Goals may be a key foundations step to achieving business success, but they are by no means the ONLY thing your business needs! Having goals is no guarantee of success, as those scarred ones found to their cost. Why is that?

Have you noticed that goals are somewhat similar in essence to dreams? My eldest brother puts it this way: “There’s a fine line between having a vision and hallucinating”. Now if there’s one thing that characterises dreams and hallucinations, it’s that they most often do NOT become reality! (We’re glad of that when Pink Elephants come past on Unicycles!) If our goals are indistinguishable from our dreams, can it be any surprise that we don’t achieve them?

So how do we ensure that our goals become reality? There are two key requirements to which we must give attention:

Have a Roadmap to Your Goals

You will come across a school of thought in self-help literature that suggests you need do nothing to foster your goals. ‘Just dream it’ goes the logic, ‘and your marvelous brain will go to work to move you closer to what you dream of’. Now, if your financial advisor told you that he was taking that type of approach to growing your investments, how happy would you be? Me either! And it won’t work for your business – taking my word for it will save you a ton of heartache.

Let’s go back to the scenario we used in the last article – we were driving on the M3 hoping to get to Heathrow Airport to catch a flight. Did we have to give some thought to how we would achieve that goal? Of course we did! If we had never made the journey before would we leave the route to chance? Or would we make sure that we had the map-book dog-eared at the right page and the route penciled-in? (Okay, okay – I’m showing my age! We’d have printed out the AA-recommended route and made sure that we understood it.) Then as we approached each intersection, wouldn’t we refer back to that map to check that we were about to make the correct turn?

Revenue and sales targets form your business roadmap. Do you have a revenue target for this quarter? Equally important, do you understand how many sales you need to close in order to achieve that revenue target? Any longer than three months, and your ‘map’ doesn’t show the key intersections. I don’t need to tell you how dangerous a map that doesn’t show the route in sufficient detail is, I’m sure!

To force our analogy just a little further, your ‘driving the route’ is accomplished by implementing marketing strategies which lead to sales, and each quarter the number of sales closed will be compared to your ‘business roadmap’ to measure progress. Not enough sales and you run the risk of reaching the airport late for your flight. If you realise that early enough you can decide to drive the next leg of the route a little faster to make up time, but if you’re not monitoring progress how would you know?

Your goals would be slowly, imperceptibly fading into dreams – leaving behind nothing but scars.

Have the Tools You Need

So let’s assume that we have the route to our goals mapped out. Is that it? Well, would a roadmap be much good to us if we had an empty fuel-tank? Or perhaps didn’t have a car? What if we didn’t know how to drive? Nope, the roadmap’s not the end of the story.

In broad terms we could say that the next step is to understand what resources we need to accomplish our purpose. Here’s where we entrepreneurs realise how different running a business is from working for someone! Suddenly we come face-to-face with how little we know about things like marketing, customer service, brand-building, business management and so on. How can we close the gap?

There are essentially three options when it comes to resourcing our business plans: Ignore it, outsource it or learn it.

Ignoring it is not usually recommended, but don’t forget that it is an option! Sometimes I come across well-meaning entrepreneurs who follow every trend in management slavishly, burning time and effort in pointless pursuits. If only they realised that they could just have ignored the trend! Focus on what is necessary to progress your business, and ignore the rest.

Outsourcing is vital, because each of us has only two hands. Remember, though, that outsourcing is not an excuse for abdication. You are responsible for the success of your business – and that can never be outsourced! We’ll explore the appropriateness and the value of outsourcing in a future article.

How sad that in a world awash with education, learning seems to be a sadly neglected skill. Entrepreneurs have (in my humble opinion) an obligation to be lifelong learners, and it’s made so easy for us! Each of us can get what I like to call a ‘Weekend MBA’ simply by reading a carefully-selected book written by an expert in the field – every weekend! Similarly, coaching and mentoring under the care of acknowledged industry leaders can unleash more power than a nuclear reactor – right in our own backyard!

In summary, take the time and effort to give your goals wings. Plan the route to success, then make sure you have what it takes to complete the journey. And don’t forget to have fun!

©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

 

 

May 5, 2008

3 ‘A-ha’ Success Principles That Have Reshaped My Business

Ali Brown is a fellow marketing mentor, whose work and philosophies fit in really well with ours here at Zee2A.  The following article appeared in her “Highlights on Marketing and Success” E-zine last week, and we’d like to share it with you:   

 

 “3 ‘A-Ha’ Success Principles That Have Reshaped My Business”
by Alexandria K. Brown

Over the past several years I’ve immersed myself in learning. Because my business is marketing, I have mostly attended and spoken at marketing seminars. But I also make plenty of time to read books, attend seminars, and listen to audio programs on personal development as well.

Why? (more…)

December 21, 2007

Free Training, Reading (UK) Feb ’08. Post updated on 13 Feb

Professional Services Marketing – Free Training Session – Reading (UK) Feb’08Some of the delegates concentrating on what they’re learning!

Pictured above are a few Established Service Professionals who came to learn how to attract more profitable clients to their practices. (more…)