Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 3

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

And now…the final 5…reasons your Marketing Isn’t Soaring with the Eagles.

You don’t make it easy enough for people to do business with you

The easier it is for people to do business with you – the less complicated, embarrassing, time wasting, expensive, etc., etc. – the more business you’ll do.

I can’t tell you how many beautifully-sculptured, clever ads I’ve seen and read, with wonderful, compelling sales messages … and no proper call to action, and/or specific directions as to how I should go about buying the damn thing.

Oh, it’s there all right but, by the time you get the pen, the commercial is over, or you have to navigate your way through the ad TO FIND THE PERSON WHO’LL TAKE YOUR ORDER!

I repeat: The simpler you make it for people to buy from you, the more you’ll sell.

Your marketing efforts are dead-set BORING!

No need to labor this point, I’m sure. You’ve all seen so much stultifying, uninspiring rubbish yourself, and wondered:

“Who do these people think they’re going to impress with this load of bs?”

Then you toss it where you toss your orange peel.

Of course, nobody says this about your marketing material, do they? Yet, there’s a strong possibility that this IS the case.

You have to work continuously to ensure not only that you’re not boring people, but that you’re actually inspiring, exciting, captivating, or seducing a significant number of your target audience. That said, make sure that you assess the market’s perception of your marketing efforts, and don’t judge things on how you feel. Many a business has “pulled” a successful marketing effort because they were tired and bored with it, when, in fact, the market audience was not.

One of the most famous, and successful, newspaper advertising headlines ran for 30-plus years. It was, They Laughed When I Said I Could Play The Piano – But They’re Not Laughing Now!

You fail to test – test – test

Not every marketing effort will work. In fact, most will fail! The real savvy marketers test and test until they find two things: what works … and then, what works better. Along the way, they document and evaluate their results. They have absolutely no intention of repeating their mistakes.

So, before committing yourself to that big advertisement or mail-out, test your propositions, test your headlines, test whether your ultimate benefits are compelling enough.

Put another way, you have an obligation to conservatively test and let the market tell you what it wants.

You’re a small-town thinker

There’s a huge difference between having enough confidence in yourself, your products, or your services to think nationally, or even globally, and being too big for your boots.

Have you got a great product or service that would be appreciated by a wider market than you’re addressing now? But, you don’t have the budget to capitalize on the situation? OK. That’s understandable. But, at least you can start working toward a bigger audience. It’s the old power-of-positive-thinking thing.

Send your literature to a few selected people interstate and overseas. We’re truly entering the doorway to the global marketplace, so start adopting a mindset that will have you right at the front of the queue.

Maybe there is no market!
Let’s look at an example … one that is played out every day – unfortunately.

Frank and Francine have lived in Smalltown all their lives. Smalltown is a remote township of some 10,000 people. Frank, for many years, worked as the manager of the largest hardware store in town. He knew his industry well and, for that reason, he could hardly wait to open his own hardware business.

That day did arrive (courtesy of an inheritance left to Francine) and so, the Double D Hardware store opened amid a blaze of “Opening Sales.” The first two weeks of sales looked promising.

But then things started to go flat… despite Frank’s attention to marketing and advertising. You see, apart from the large franchise hardware shop, there were four other competitors … and the “Double D” made it six hardware shops in all. Six months after the opening, Frank held his last sale – regrettably, it was a closing-the-doors sale.

Ok, let’s take a “helicopter view” of what happened here.

If Frank had done a bit of homework before the event, Francine would still have her inheritance, her health and her marriage, because these, too, were the casualties of the “Double D” disaster.

Yes, Frank should have realized that the Smalltown market for hardware is finite. True, it can be ramped up slightly by good selling and marketing … but essentially it does have a defined size.

Stuart Street-Smarts, owner of the “Yards 10” franchise hardware store, knows this. He knows that the Smalltown market for hardware products is around $2,000,000 – and he owns 60% of the market. Plus, he also knows that old Sam Davies, the proprietor of Sam’s Hardware, has around 20% – leaving only 20% or ($400,000) for the other three competitors… and the “Double D.”

Stuart said that Frank wouldn’t last any longer than six months, and he was right. When Stuart did his sums he figured that even if Frank could get 10% of the market – that’s only a turnover of $200,000 – he would make less than $20,000 profit after expenses. Well, Stuart used to pay Frank a salary of $40,000.

Simple example, but the moral of the story: Make sure that a genuine market exists before you dive into the business.

So, what do you do if you are faced with a “Frank” situation? Sell! Get the heck out before it’s too late. Take the money and invest in something more profitable.

Simple message: Your business is a money-making-machine. If it isn’t, your job is to fix it. If, after considerable effort, you don’t believe it’s fixable, sell it!

There is one more mistake … and it’s a biggie, so please note it well. It is: Failing to monitor the results of your marketing campaigns.

Most business leaders and owners have absolutely no idea of the success or otherwise of their advertisements and other marketing efforts. They just go on “gut feeling.” This is absolute lunacy. As a business leader, you should never, ever run a marketing campaign unless you have a way of monitoring the results.

It’s interesting to note the elaborate systems people put in to monitor their cash, their stock and their other valuables – yet, nothing to monitor their investment in marketing.

For those who say or think, “Just keep your name out there and you’ll get results”… take it from me, you’re dreaming! At best you’ll get deferred results of which you’ll never, ever know. And, just perhaps, you could have got much, much better results if you knew what worked and what didn’t.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler

 

 

13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 2

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Continued from last time – 5 more reasons – Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working…

You’re not persistent enough

Very rarely does any single marketing effort – one ad, one mailing, one promotion – produce a dramatic result. If you’ve got your two feet on the ground, you’ll look for long-term, solid, predictable returns.

Plan your marketing to produce realistic results, and rejoice when something works better than you expected.

Test your propositions (As a matter of fact, test everything).

And keep at it. Marketing is not a function that should be performed by the weak-at-heart, the impatient, or the imprudent.

You forget about the people who have bought from you before

It’s much cheaper, and often a lot easier, to sell to someone who has bought from you in the past – at least so long as it was a pleasant experience for the buyer – than it is to try to attract new customers.

So, why, oh why, do most businesses concentrate almost all their energies on trying to drum up new business?

Have you got something against the people who have bought from you, or used your services, before? Were they rude to you?

Then, why are you neglecting them?

Here’s the order in which you should be directing your marketing:
• Getting existing customers to buy more, and/or more often.
• Going back to people who have bought from you in the past and reactivating them.
• Enticing new customers.

You don’t get back to your customers often enough

See above, then consider this:

People need to be constantly reminded what you can do for them … how you can help them – at least every 90 days.
• Do you believe that it annoys your customers when you do this?
• Are you embarrassed about doing it?
• Don’t think it’s worth the effort? Think again.
You have to create a regular program for communicating with prospects and existing customers (don’t give them a chance to turn into “past” customers), and you have to keep it up until;

… they buy from you, or
… you have no option but to give them up as a lost cause.

You don’t move your customers up the loyalty ladder

Once someone has bought from you, and you have followed them up to make sure that everything involved with the sale went smoothly, then it’s time to move that person up the loyalty ladder.

If he or she has other problems to solve, and the money to solve them, you’re the man! (or woman, of course).

Every time you successfully conclude a deal with a customer, that customer grows a little closer to you, and becomes increasingly easy to sell things to. So, you keep moving him or her up the loyalty ladder:
• From a prospect to a customer,
• From a customer to a regular customer,
• From a regular customer to an advocate of your business…
• and from an advocate to a raving fan!

You don’t get to the point
The best marketing is simple, precise … and straight to the point. No beating around the bush. … no cutesy-cutesy pandering. You find out what the prospect’s problem is and, in the simplest, most direct terms, you tell the prospect how you’re going to solve that problem.

Marketing isn’t about art … it isn’t about winning literary or design awards.

Ultimately, it’s about selling – successfully, efficiently, and economically. Get to the point. Tell them why it’s in their best interests to pick up the phone right now and buy whatever you’re offering … before it’s too late. And the only way to do this is to tell them what’s in it for them.

And an extension of this issue is this:

Answer the “why” question.

If your product is higher priced than your competitors’, tell them why. If your product is better, tell them why. The more factual, credible and believable the reasons you give, the more likely they are to give you the business.

Consider this: I am the customer and I want to know … FAST!

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler

 

 

13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 1

Monday, July 11th, 2016

I’ll take it for granted that your product offering, price, and customer service, etc. are all at a standard which ensures your customers will be delighted with their purchases. However, before you can become an Elite Marketer dispensing Marketing Magic, there are two things you MUST do:

A) Resign yourself to the commercial reality that business is 90% marketing. As a business owner or manager, you must concentrate your efforts on getting your marketing tactics and implementation 100% right.

B) Know the basics of marketing. This is one area where rank amateurs abound, wallowing in blissful ignorance of the money they are needlessly squandering and the opportunities they are “burning.” Oh yes, the most dangerous animal in business is the amateur marketer.

Now to those 13 Reasons Why Your Marketing May Not Be Soaring With The Eagles – the first 3:

You don’t have a marketing plan

You must have a clear and very precise sales and profit objective – over any given period of time, but usually a year – for every one of your products and/or services.   Then you have to address the three specifics:

  • What are all the means available to you to reach your dollar objectives?
  • What marketing alternatives can you use, how can you use them, and how often should you use them?
  • How can you convert prospects to customers, and convince your existing customers to buy more, and/or more often?

You don’t know your customer

Hey, this violates the most fundamental rule of marketing: “Know Thy Customer”. You have to be customer-oriented.   Elite Marketers can give you chapter and verse on what their customer looks like. They have a mental image of the customers’ business, their age, sex, educational status, income levels, and other pertinent demographic information. They know their buying patterns, and they understand what makes them tick.   For now, ponder these two questions:

  • How does the successful marketer gather all this information about his/her customer?
  • Who is your customer? (If you can give an accurate answer to this question, congratulations… there are very few of your kind around.)

You don’t know what compels your customers to buy something

People don’t buy things because you want them to. They need their own reasons – very good reasons – to buy.   And you and your staff have to understand fully what these reasons and their motivations are, and then cater to them – as many of them as possible – in every marketing and selling situation… in every customer or potential customer contact … in everything you do.   People don’t buy products or services:

  • They buy benefits … benefits … benefits!
  • They buy solutions to their problems
  • They buy other people’s opinions of you, your business and your products
  • They buy credibility and believability
  • They buy your promises and guarantees (don’t ever let them down)
  • They buy your business and product “reliability”
  • They buy “value”… and, please, don’t confuse value with price
  • They buy certainty, honesty, convenience, and timeliness
  • They buy hope, comfort, success, wealth, security, love, and acceptance
  • They buy expectations of being pleased
  • They buy product selection options
  • They buy freedom from making a wrong buying decision
  • How many from this list can you line up against your product or service?

Let me ask you this simple question:   Why should I buy your product or service?   Come on … can you tell me right here and now why I should buy from you? (More on this next time)

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler

Times are Changing – Are You?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Nature has trained us to accept the changing of the seasons, and you don’t hear too many people exclaiming, “Oh no! What’s gone wrong? Another Winter!” And yet, while every market, including yours, is a broader part of Nature and so breathes in and out with a rhythm resembling the seasons, you’ll still hear plenty of people exclaiming, at the next contraction, “Oh no! What’s gone wrong? Another Recession!”

Surprise, surprise! Did they expect that unlike anything else in their experience, markets in general would just continue to breathe in – and expand forever? Come on! If it did that, the logical result is pretty obvious, isn’t it?

So, if and when the market, like the seasons, has contracted, how do we go about being smart – adjust our behavior to harmonize with it – or wear the consequences.

Change is Hard

From the outset, it’s smart to accept that changing behavior is hard for most people, and even harder for most groups of people – and most businesses are a “group of people”.

So just how hard is Change?

On a scale ranging from one (easy) to 100 (impossible), I see a strong case that Change is perhaps an 89 in difficulty.

Why?

Because for every 100 people diagnosed with heart disease and scheduled for bypass surgery, only 11 will make the changes to their diet, exercise and weight loss recommended to extend their chances of survival. The other 89, while clearly appreciating their need to change to avoid a significantly increased risk of death, fail to do so – because Change is hard!

So, before we get into the “What change do we need to make to meet our changing market?” a better question might be, “What will I have to do so that I and those I work with, can change?”

I’m going to leave the answer to that one – the $64,000 question if you like – to the end, and begin with what changes are indicated.

What Changes Are Needed?

Space dictates one take a narrow approach here, so we’ll address the question of, “What changes to the selling processes would be wise in a softening market?”
1. Don’t do knee jerk cuts. Don’t cut sales budgets or staff without first analyzing the likely effect of doing so. A 10% cut in sales staff or resources projected to result in an 8% drop in sales might sound tolerable, but if the bottom line effect is 12% less profit, it’s illogical to cut.
2. Think counter-intuitively. If your competition is cutting staff, then their market coverage, contact frequency and standards of services must generally suffer. That may also mean that some good sales people who were previously inaccessible to you are now on the market, enabling you to top-grade your own team and to step up coverage, contact frequency and service levels to clients who are still out there needing to buy. Don’t underestimate the power of the positive message you generate into your marketplace with this move, and be aware that a nervous market will gravitate towards strength and certainty in uncertain times.
3. Look for Savings, Then Spend. If the market is softening, and you have managed your cash flow well in the past so as to provide a capital reserve, you are going to get more bang for your buck on any purchases in a soft market as people compete keenly for your business. This could be an excellent time to embark on a project that could cost a lot more in a stronger market. The “strength message” applies again.
4. Be flexible. You could just cut 10% of your sales staff. Or, you could ask all of your sales team to take a 10% cut so that you can keep them all. The actual financial cost to them will be less than 10% due to the effect of marginal tax, and the effect on morale and esprit de corps is likely to be huge. If things tighten further, consider asking your sales team to take one day in ten off (say, every second Friday) – that saves another 10%, is likely to add positively to their work/life balance and keeps the team together so that you are at full strength if the market surges momentarily, or recovers fully.

Notice, thinking differently from the herd, can be the best route – even when it’s not obvious.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Has Your Strategy Become – Too Predictable?

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Business Strategy can take two forms: (1) the direct approach and (2) the indirect approach. The former consists of a direct advance to the competition, culminating in a powerful marketing frontal attack designed to overpower them. The indirect approach involves coming at the opponent from a round-about direction that he is not totally prepared to resist. Business history also reveals the advantages of the indirect approach. Marketing failures have often resulted from head-on attacks against the entrenched positions of stronger marketing rivals. Even brute force and having sheer resources are often not enough to insure the right outcome.

Throughout history, most great generals have consistently chosen the indirect approach, risking almost anything to catch the enemy with his guard down. Hannibal led an army of 50,000 Carthaginian infantry and 9,000 cavalry on his famous march across the Pyrenees and Alps. He emerged in Northern Italy to defeat the great Roman commander Saipio’s troops on the bank of the river Ticinus. In a snowstorm, he crushed two Roman armies along the river Trebia. Two more armies under Roman consuls Flaminius and Geminus were raised to block Hannibal’s path to Rome.

Hannibal followed a shorter, but more dangerous route through treacherous marshes to come out on Flaminius’s unprotected flank. Hannibal chose to face the most hazardous conditions, rather than the certainty of meeting his opponents in a position of their choosing. He followed this by hiding his light and heavy infantry and cavalry in gulleys near the road, so they could not be seen, and then taunted Flamininus into a foolish attack by making camp a short distance down the road from his army. As the unsuspecting Romans marched into battle, the Carthaginians poured out of their hiding places and attacked from all sides, decimating them.

Surprise has been called “any commander’s greatest tactical weapon.” Confederate General Stonewall Jackson’s maxim: “Mystify, mislead, surprise your enemy.” Clausewitz, the Prussian General maintained that to one degree or another, surprise is, without exception, the foundation of all military undertakings.

Surprise follows the course of least resistance. The most stunning surprises are the result of a novel, creative idea. Creativity many times consists of merely connecting two or more heretofore unrelated ideas or things. Napoleon gained a decisive surprise by connecting cannon and manure. He ordered a rocky mountain road covered with horse droppings to muffle the sound of the wheels of his artillery carriages. This allowed him to move under the cover of night and to surprise his opponent by being in a completely new position in the morning.

In warfare, a preliminary bombardment might weaken the enemy’s lines, but also eliminates any advantage you might have gained by surprise. The use of intensive market surveys and market tests practically give away any hope of sneaking up on the competition. Choosing the element of surprise, a company may quickly enter a market, with the intent of a decisive victory. The idea is to strike quickly and adjust the marketing strategy and tactics as you learn from your encounter.

Guerilla warfare advocates a sudden assault, ferocious fighting, and then an instantaneous break of contact before the larger opponent can exploit his strength – substantial resources, technology and power – and bring the weight of his material and numbers to bear. It builds upon the element of surprise.

All corporations, are trying to fight wars of quick decision – get to the marketplace first and avoid costly, protracted warfare with competitors. Small guerilla firms, more so than their larger competitors, need to make certain they win quickly. They cannot afford not to.

The element of surprise helps one to achieve a quick and favorable decision. Meticulous preplanning and preparation is the first condition of a quick win as Israel exhibited in its successful, lightning-quick six-day war.

Five guidelines for a quick guerilla attack:

• Seize the opportune moment

• Concentrate superior forces in a segment or area of expertise where you are the leader – act with your entire army

• Outflank the competition

• Operate on favorable terrain – ground of your own choosing where a relatively few determined people can stall an army (remember the 300 Spartans)

• Attack the competition where it has not established its position

The element of surprise has worked successfully throughout history, regardless of the field of play. As the mighty Goliath, in his battle array, lay on his back after being hit between the eyes by a small smooth stone launched in a sling by a shepherd boy named David, he no doubt wondered what hit him. By then it was all over, he had lost the battle and the war.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Start here to gain that competitive edge: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Customer Satisfaction – Tips to Turn Unhappy to Loyal Customers

Monday, June 9th, 2014

The unhappy customer. We’ve all had them. Believe it or not, an unhappy customer gives you the opportunity to regain their trust and even turn them into one of your most loyal.

Customers understand, and sometimes may even expect problems to occur. The critical thing is to handle it well.   Customers are much more likely to work with you through the resolution process if you handle the mistake recovery process properly and work in their best interest.

When that next unhappy customer storms into your office or calls you on the phone, stay calm and follow these simple steps.

1)   Apologize Immediately
Even if you aren’t at fault, the apology is crucial. Everyone who has ever felt wronged really wants to hear a genuine apology.  When you or someone in your company has made a mistake, it goes without saying that you need to accept responsibility and apologize. In the case when it is not your fault, or even the customer’s fault, and they’ve contacted you to vent or to resolve the issue, here is a suggested wording…

“Mr. Jones, I’m so sorry that this situation is happening.”

Notice that you are not saying that the situation is out of your control, or placing blame wherever may be appropriate.  You are expressing true apologies for the situation and that is exactly what the customer needs to hear.

2)  Use Empathy
Empathy is the golden piece of this equation. The customer appreciates the apology, but they really want to know that you feel their pain.  Keep in mind that the customer is usually more irritated by the need and time necessary to resolve the situation than the issue itself.

“I know it is really frustrating when your product is delayed due to paperwork and logistics. You wanted to get it on time and now you are forced to wait.  I’m sorry.”

Throwing in an additional apology at the end is always a good choice. The most important thing is that you are letting the customer know that you understand what they are most frustrated about and that you identify with what they were trying to accomplish.

3)  Make it Better
This is crucial.  Not only fix the problem, do it in a way that not only makes up for the initial problem, but also makes the customer feel good about it.  Offer the customer no more than three possible solutions, all of which you are confident will work in their best interest. If challenged to come up with an acceptable fix, simply ask the customer what they would like to see happen. Often times, they’ll ask for far less than you were prepared to have to offer.

Bonus Tip – Follow Up on the Resolution
Go the extra mile and call them within a few days to again apologize for the situation happening and to find out how they are doing with the resolution.  This is when they will thank you for the follow up, your help in resolving the issue, and really give you some honest feedback that you can apply.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Customer Satisfaction – Key to Profitability and Success

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Most people don’t seem to understand that when they go into business that they have given over the power and their ability to be successful to their customer.

Profitability no longer lies in your hands, it lies in the hands of customers.

Earl Nightengale stated that all of the money you’re ever going to have is currently in the hands of someone else.

In business, that someone else is the customer.  They’ve got the money. And the best way to get it from them is to serve them well.  It’s not that complicated a process. It just comes down to figuring out what they want. Then again, why not ask people what they want and then give it to them?

One could adopt a fairly simple philosophy of selling and serving: Find out what people want and give them a whole lot of it.  Find out what they don’t’ want and don’t give them any of that.  They don’t want you to be late.  They don’t want you to lie.  They don’t’ want you to hem-haw around when you say what your product does.  They want your product to do what you said it would do.

Seems simple enough, but we’ve complicated it by not bothering to teach our employees, the people who actually deliver the customer service, that it’s all in the hands of the customer.

We don’t teach employees that the real boss is the customer.  And then we don’t enforce that whole feeling that the customer is in charge and that they are the boss.  And so they end up treating the customer like an inconvenience instead of “the boss.”

Is the Customer the Boss of your company?  The customer ultimately signs the paycheck and pays the bills for everything you do within your organization. Sounds like he just might be.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Customer Satisfaction – the New CXO

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Everything starts with intention…. we intend to carry through on our projects, plans, and goals. Otherwise, we wouldn’t set them, right?

But how many of us actually put our intentions into practice? This is where knowing exactly what to do really matters. It’s like anything else… losing weight, assembling a product, learning a new skill. You have to know what you are doing in order to save time, money, and frustration.

As a Business Owner or Executive your time is valuable. When you are spending time with your customers and discovering what it is that they want you to deliver, you are hopefully tracking and making plans to deliver these. If you don’t follow through, everyone’s time is wasted… yours, the customer’s, your team’s.

However, you need to take the next step moving from from intention toward implementation.

The ultimate Customer Experience doesn’t just happen. It takes some planning to design service into your processes. So who is responsible within your organization to ensure that the plans and ideas you have don’t languish without implementation? When there is a leader for who is responsible and accountable for these plans, the likelihood of success increases all around.

Your Customer Satisfaction Officer should be the one to help keep your operations focused on the customer and to ensure that all customer centric projects are kept on track. This person will also ideally have the authority to assist in any way possible and/or obtain the resources necessary to accomplish your goals.

They would also be the one to address the area of customer centricity during your team meetings. Customer issues, service, satisfaction and training need to be an integral part of your team meetings. This can best achieved by beginning your meetings spending 10-15 minutes on the Customer Experience.

Customer satisfaction, often overlooked, can be an integral element to maximizing your profitability and success. More thoughts to come on giving it the attention it deserves.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Attracting Your Ideal Customer

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

You’ve probably already determined that the “wrong” customers can make you broke. They are the ones that want top quality at the lowest price. These people are not interested in working with you for your mutual benefit; they’d probably be happier if slavery were re-introduced and if you were their first body.

So how do you find a sufficient number of good customers to build yourself a strong and profitable business in which it’s a joy to work?

The first step in the process may sound a bit simple, but it is as easy as drawing up a list of the characteristics that your present (and past) best customers have in common.

Here’s a simple step-by-step process for winning great customers whenever you want them:

1. Define the essential common attributes of the very best customers in your industry. Those may include:

* Annual sales value

* Number of employees

* Corporate structure (private or public company, Government body, etc.

* Management mindset (progressive, oriented towards investing in their people, etc)

* Location

* Market sector

2. Where do they gather:

* Do they frequent certain associations, events, conventions or clubs?

* Do your ideal clients tend to locate their businesses in certain locations?

* Where might your advertising or promotions be more likely to be seen by your ideal client base?

3. What do they read or watch:

* Magazines, newspapers, blogs, eNewsletters

* Certain TV or video channels or sites

4. Survey candidates to discover what they are looking for in an ideal supplier:

* Once you have identified your ideal client, select the cream of the crop, put together the 10 most important questions you could ever ask them, and survey a sample of them. You’ll probably get some “bites” in the process, as well as some invaluable data on what type of information, products or service you should be promoting to these folks.

* Resolve to advertise in the media that your ideal client is most likely to use – and nowhere else!

5. Create a contact system that is low effort, easy to maintain:

* In this age of information overload you don’t gain “mindshare” for your brand or product until you have had at least 7 varied contacts with an individual person. You also need to establish a process whereby your best prospects will be contacted by you on a regular and varied basis, so that when they are actually ready to buy (or consider buying), you are there in their field of attention?

* If you find your target is not ready to buy, a follow-up frequency or sequence should be established and not exceed every 10-12 weeks.

6. Create a fast response system:

* No point in creating a great contact system if you the blow the opportunity when someone responds.

* Define what to do and say before you get your first response then make sure that anyone else in the business that is likely to take an incoming response, knows what this is to heighten the likelihood of success for both you and your new client.

7. Keep your promises!

* Last but not least: Make sure that whatever experience, service, outcome or feeling you promised during your marketing and promotional phase, is delivered intact, perfectly and completely. You might read this and say to yourself, “Yep, that sounds right, but who’s got the time to do all of this?” The answer is simple: Those business owners or executives who have realized that working for the wrong customers just keeps you busy and broke, and have decided to do something differently will make the time to create the type of process I’ve outlined here; and then make the resolution to apply it.

If you choose to become one of those, stand by for a whole different customer experience!

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Winning Your Customer’s Heart – and Mind

Monday, March 24th, 2014

There a number of statistics in the field of selling. One of the most interesting has to do with the time it takes to gain customer awareness.

The Rule of 7 says:

A prospective client needs to see, hear, or otherwise be exposed to your message at least seven times before they respond in some way, shape or form.

If you don’t have a Client Contact strategy with at least 7 steps, you significantly reduce your odds of sales success.

The reason for this is simple: Most of us have learned that the average sales person is not interested in a relationship, but rather in a quick and easy (“quick and sleazy”?) transaction. Most of us want a relationship with our service or product providers, but few sales people seem willing to invest the time it takes to establish a relationship, and so we tend to stick with our suppliers-of-habit, not necessarily because they are particularly good or effective, but rather because it is “better the devil you know.”

The Rule of 7 is based on building familiarity for the sales person, their company and their products, or what is called “mindshare” (the portion of the person’s “buying awareness” that you occupy). After a couple of contacts you might achieve 1% mindshare, but at this point your prospective Client barely knows you, and the odds of a sale are proportional, but if you increase the mindshare to say, 60%, you significantly increase your odds of success.

It is common sense: Familiarity breeds trust and trust breeds sales. So here are …

4 Steps to Building Mindshare:

1. Define who is worthy of Contact. Your criteria might be prospects with size, prestige, influence or, if you are just establishing a market, it could be “everyone.” The main point here is to think this through before acting.

2. Create a Positive Contact System. This might include resources that positively impress your Client (brochures, uniforms, website, signage, service level at first contact, newsletters, information, education, advice), and a schedule or system for passing those to a prospective Client in a planned manner. For example, a small handwritten “Thank you” card sent after a sales call, is an old fashioned yet still very powerful way to create a positive impression and set yourself apart from the crowd competing for attention.

3. Vary the Contact. Use e-mail, fax, direct mail, courier service, the telephone and, if appropriate, a visit. Mix them up and orchestrate them (that means “planning” again!) Sending seven e-mails or leaving seven voice mails won’t build a relationship. In fact, they look a lot like stalking! Varying the medium creates the need for your prospect to interact with you at different levels.

4. Schedule the Contact. Accept the reality that it may take 4-6 months to have a prospective Client accept that you are interested in a “real relationship”, at which point you still may not sell something, but at least you have become a “serious contender”. What gets scheduled tends to get done, so develop a “contact calendar” for every new prospect (this is why step 1. is in here, by the way), and stick to it, while taking care to avoid “overwhelming” or “inundating” your contact. A good rule of thumb is to never let more than two weeks go by without a contact. Using a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool will make this task much easier, and there are many options to choose from.

We forget that it is more than your company’s market reputation, your technology and your marketing prowess. People buy when they are comfortable at the point of contact and when they trust you to perform. The best relationships take time and a solid strategy to bring it to fruition.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

© Rich Kohler 2014. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.