The Marketing Offer

The number one item on your sales promotion check list should be creating an irresistible offer.  That being defined as when your prospects see it, or hear it, they would say, “I would have to be an idiot not to do that”.

You see examples of irresistible offers all the time.  Some are in plain site, some are not. Here are a some common actual offers, that can be highly effective.

A waiting list for your service or product.

Buy one get one free.

Buy now pay later

Try if free for a limited time

Here are some that are over used, and not as effective.

Free assessments

Free analysis

Let’s face it, how do you react when you see these.  In many cases we know they are just trying to sell us something.

Spend some time thinking through your offer. Make it as irresistible as possible.  And then…

Add an iron clad guarantee
Make sure you have ton’s of customer testimonials.

Have fun and let me know what you come up with.

Contact me here http://www.salesjumpstart.net

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Traits of a successful business.

Colorado Based M&E Painting is a highly successful company, growing and prospering during difficult economic times. Founded in 2004 with $100.00 dollars and an abundance of energy, Matt Shoup the Owner has grown his Painting company to over *20* employees and will paint more than 1000 houses this year. In the process M & E has won numerous business awards.

I have had the opportunity to work with Matt as a sales coach, and currently we work on his Internet visibility program. I wanted to share with other business owners just a few of the reasons I think his company is thriving.

1.) Leadership: Matt is exceptionally passionate about his company, service and employees. He is very talented and is a relentless promoter of the company and it’s values.

M and E
M and E

2.) Message: M & E has a well defined marketing message that is consistently delivered to his prospects, employees and community through a multifarious communication process.

3.) M and E is operational well run with good systems and  processes in place and a strong management team.

4.) Matt understands the importance of/ visibility/. Visibility is the big picture that combines promotion, advertising, marketing, public relations, and sales. Leaders of growing companies just seem to “get it” when it comes to this. They understand that any opportunity to be “visible to their target market is worth a try, and they give each opportunity a chance to work or fail.

5.) Matt doesn’t over manage or under manage. This is another consistent trait in growth company leaders, they know how much they need to know, and let their employees and vendors take responsibility for the area’s they have been assigned.

So if your company isn’t growing as much as you would like, grade yourself on the above points 1-10. In the areas you feel you fall short make a commitment to improve.

You can see M&E at http://www.mandepainting.com

P.S. Matt is doing business coaching as well, so feel free to contact him on that if you are in Fort Collins or Northern Colorado.

If you know of a company I should profile in this blog send me an email. I will be posting other examples from time to time!

Join my facebook page for more Marketing stories and information. Facebook.com/myonecall

Why Your Sites Ranking Changes in Google

I recently had an email from a client asking about his Google site rankings  and what causes then to move from one position to another over a short period of time. It's a good question, and one we get asked often so I thought I would blog the answer.The things that impact your organic listings are:

  • The content of your web site
  • Your sites Back links
  • Other web site content you compete against
  • Other web site Back links and improvements to competitors sites
  • Google making changes to their methods of ranking sites by keyword.

With organic listings you will see your site move  from time to time.  As we only control 2 of the factors, we can only respond to the others. I never get to alarmed with a ranking moving down for a week or two. We need to let things “settle” a bit before we assume what’s happening.

Our monthly web managed services program will help and, over time, continue to both stabilize your rankings as well as move them up

.
Google Local has a tendency to be more stable once you’re established (at least so far). We think that’s based on the current ranking methods which are not SEO based, but specific to Local. Many SEO firms don’t even consider the LOCAL box and therefore fewer changes seem to be made to those listings.

This of course is changing every day as more firms realize how important that piece is. Google also has a test going on in CA. giving Local companies the ability to buy a simplified version of PPC and placing it above the Local Box.  Seems to be little doubt this will get rolled out in one form or another nation wide over the next few months or quarters.  How that effects site traffic will remain to be seen.

In general, Google would like SEO tactics to disappear, and allow what ever systems they employee to completely dictate rankings. So, they continue to make moves to discount traditional SEO tactics, and encourage better Web site structure instead.  They continue to move to content being king and simple tactics like Meta tags, Keyword stuffed domain names, individual page name changes, and unrelated links becoming less important.
That’s why our monthly maintenance program makes sense. The first priority for us is to make sure we understand what’s changing every month, and then apply that knowledge to your Internet Visibility program. It’s also the reason we spend so much time on research and reporting.

For those of you interested in more information on our web visibility programs, or web managed services you can find more information on our site.  www.salesjumpstart.net

Company Reputation Enhancement

Several new success stories through My One Call clients this week based completely on their company reputation enhancement programs.  (A reputation enhancement program combines solid Internet visibility, with great 3rd party endorsements.  It’s the one two punch of on line marketing.)

Look at our SEO listing on Google. We are number 3.  But the one BIG difference between all the listings is, we have 9 reviews. Searchers like reviews, and it draws the eye to our listing and promotes a click on the reviews.


Over the last week I have had three calls from clients saying they had a new prospect that had found them on line, and had contacted them because they liked the reviews.

Here is a client example

3 R Services is number 3 under Basement Finishing Denver. The President called me today to say they had several calls this week alone, and two had said they found him and called because of the reviews.


The Owner of an Action Coach franchise in  Colorado Springs called me today and said she had a meeting set up with a new prospect based on her on line number one position on Google under business coach Colorado Springs, and she has worked very hard on adding video and written  testimonials  to her on line presence. You can see it at www.actioncoachcoloradosprings.com

The owner of Blue Sky Remodeling left me a message thanking us for the web visibility, as he continues to receive calls. He has more reviews than any other company on the first page.

When clients ask me what is the best marketing, I always say it’s doing great work and letting your clients do your marketing, and the best part is it is also very cost effective.    Ask your clients to review your services on Google, Bing and other high visibility sites.

Quick Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do ask your clients for reviews!
  • Do NOT write your own reviews. ( the FCC has implemented some very strong regulations about this)
  • DO NOT have employees or friends write reviews. (see above)
  • Do NOT respond on line in any negative manner to a bad review. If you get a bad review,  ask the reviewer to call you so you can fix it, and apologize, and then get a bunch of good reviews.)
  • Do mix the sites that you ask your clients to post a review on. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, City search, on and on.  Google picks up reviews from other sites, and likes them better than their own.

If you would like more information on our company reputation enhancement programs call me at: 303 543 3906.  Or visit us at www.salesjumpstart.net

Advertising tips. How to decide to advertise or not

I get a call a week about new or different advertising opportunities a client wants our opinion on. This is how we approach any advertising program.

When deciding on where to advertise for new customers –

__________________________________________________

Three Good References: Do not advertise or utilize any source until you have spoken with and received three good references from current or recent advertisers with services similar to yours.  If a company can not provide you with  references (again from services or products like yours) DO NOT USE. Sounds so simple. Very few companies do it.

_______________________________________________________________

Long Term Customers: Does the advertising you’re considering have long term customers who utilize it over and over? Companies don’t stop using good advertising methods. Ask them for the last year’s worth of their product (if a magazine, direct mail piece, or other print) and see what the turn over of advertisers is. If it’s a non print opportunity, ask for references that have used the method for at least a year.

We research new advertising opportunities for clients every year. 90% get a thumbs-down just based on the above.

______________________________________________________________

New Advertising Opportunities: DO NOT USE new advertising companies.

They have no history and some of the largest money wasters are new companies with great stories. If it works they will be around when it’s proven and safe for you to spend money with them.

________________________________________________________________

Don’t Get Sold! The word sales means to persuade. Don’t let a good sales person make your decision. The sales person is there to provide information to you so you can persuade yourself. Think of sales reps as information givers, and you be the judge based on facts.
________________________________________________________________

Image: Only advertise with companies that attracts your type customer. Coupons attract price buyers. If you’re not a price seller why would you waste your money advertising to the wrong type prospect?
________________________________________________________________

Design Image – Have a professional design your advertising if you’re not a marketing pro.

A well thought out and designed advertising piece (Direct mail, Yellow Page, magazine, TV buy, Radio, Web and other) will generate three or four times the response as the generic owner or non marketing pro produced advertising. For a few hundred dollars you will see a huge impact on the response. And it’s a one time investment.

Don’t have the company providing the advertising do the advertisement or your ad will look and sound just like all the others.

As an example, I see companies use Pay per click advertising on the Internet attached to a cheap and poorly put together web site all the time. They’re getting 25% of the response my clients get for the same money because they only spent a few dollars on a web site. For an extra $2000, they could sell four times as much!

________________________________________________________________

Don’t Advertise Until You’re Ready to Provide
Great Service:
I had a friend that spent a lot of money on hosting a live remote radio program at one of his restaurants. The turn out was excellent. So good in fact that people had to wait a long time and the staff was completely swamped. The service was poor, and they ran out of many items.


All they accomplished was spending money and sending hundreds of potential customers away never to return.

________________________________________________________________

Free Advertising and Marketing: Any advertising and marketing that works is in essence free. It’s throwing away money if it dose not. Do your homework.

________________________________________________________________

The “It Takes Repetition for Advertising to Work” Line:  Yes, you need to continually reach your target in new and different ways. No, sending the same direct mail piece and getting a bad response time after time does not qualify as a good plan. If it’s not working after the first one or two times -stop it, and figure out what’s wrong.  Is it the message?
Is it the offer? Is it the demographics? Is it the timing?

________________________________________________________________

Change Your Message: Sending the same post card, letter, direct mail piece, or saying the same thing over and over in advertising is another waste. Plan on changing your offer, or message every chance you get.

Learn from the big guys. McDonald’s is always offering new incentives, or products. You know what? They do it not to sell you a new sandwich; they do it to keep you listening.

________________________________________________________________

To Everything There is a Season – Time Your Advertising:  Buyers purchase your service or product at predictable and logical times.
Know your customers buying cycle and advertise in these periods.

Timing can apply to a  season, certain key days during the month (1st and 15th) certain days of the week. Friday Advertising is a waste of money for several type businesses. You need to understand when your prospects look for your service, and where.

Did you know for instance that a direct mail piece or flier that arrives at a home on Monday will get two or more times the response than one delivered on Friday for a home improvement company? You may save .05 with a company that delivers whenever they want, but you’re losing response and a lot of dollars. Are you advertising to save money or sell
more customers?

________________________________________________________________

Happy Customers: Referrals from happy customers are hands down, no question asked, flat out, absolutely, bar none, I am not joking – your best advertising. Yet, referrals are a lot like the old saying about weather. Every one knows about it but no one does any thing about it.

Have a referral program in place for every customer. Make it the foundation of your advertising program. I have purchased several referral program guides and developed and implemented referral programs for many clients and every one of the companies that I was a partner or owner of. Nothing beats referrals. If you do nothing else, start a good referral program. Track it, promote it constantly, and focus on it.

The first sign for me of a company that needs our services is they have no defined referral program. (Our company does 90% of our business through referrals.)

________________________________________________________________

Be a Sharp Shooter, target and reach.

It can save you a lot of money. If you don’t know who your ideal prospects are down to their shoe sizes, you’re spending way too much money reaching them.

In today’s database world, you might be surprised how targeted you can become with your advertising. Once you have your market truly identified, your cost to reach them will go way down and your response will go way up.

________________________________________________________________

Spend Every Dollar You Have: If a specific advertising method is working, spend everything you can on it as long as you can support the new sales. Why companies have some methods that work, and then continue to use others that don’t will always amaze me. Spend your time and money on the stuff that works. Find more of it, spend more on it, until you
maximize its return.

________________________________________________________________

Margin and Volume Define Where You Advertise: The margins you have in your service or product and the volume of available new prospects will define your method and budget for advertising.

A large volume of potential customers brings down your cost of reach.

A large margin allows you to spend more to reach your target.

If you have a large volume of potential customers with a large margin of profit (or gross margin) – you can advertise a lot. If you have a small volume of potential customers (a service or product for a specific small category of customer) and a small margin – you’re going to be limited to the methods you employ.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Those are the top tips. If you utilize them consistently, I am confident that you will save money (which goes right into your profit) and produce more revenue for the dollars you spend, which produces more profit!

Feel free to pass this on to any other business owners or managers that you think would find it of value.

You can find this piece on our web site at www.salesjumpstart.net lionked to our “sales” page.

Want to Sell More? Then Please Stop Selling!

So, your sales force is struggling and it seems like nothing is closing from the pipeline.  Sound familiar? Or you may be hearing these reasons for slow sales:

“It’s the economy, no one is buying – or spending.”

“We are priced too high.”

“They went with a cheaper service.”

The general strategy I suggest is: stop selling and start building relationships. Companies buy from people they trust, especially in this economy.

Here is what I suggest to my clients to jump start sales in the next quarter and year.

  1. Look in the mirror. Is your service easy to sell, even for a plumber? (See my earlier blog on sales tips.)
  2. Recognize that sales and business are about the relationship, not the close.
  3. Develop a good marketing and sales plan, including strategies and tactics for the company and every sales rep based on the information below (building relationships).
  4. Focus on the plan as a manager or owner by paying attention to the progress and supporting the efforts; and meet with every sales person every week.  If the meetings are not productive and seem to go over the same information each week, fire the sales rep, or give him/her a new position in customer service. (I don’t care how big the pipeline is.)

You need to understand the cycle of trust. It’s simple:

They don’t know you. They know you. They trust you. They buy from you.

Before you start building relationships it’s important you plan to build relationships with companies that will buy from you!

So you must – no questions asked, no excuses – develop a great target list of prospects. In my experience this is the number one mistake we all make with sales. We don’t know who is most likely to buy from us, and therefore we waste 70% of our time selling and marketing to companies who will never buy. Kind of dumb, huh? I speak to company owners who spend the majority of their “networking” energy at Chamber events.  Are you kidding me?  How many people at a Chamber event are your prospects? And most of them are there to sell to you, not buy from you. Let’s take an intelligent approach to prospecting.  Build a great targeted list. If you don’t know how, please call me or watch for my upcoming blog on targeting your best prospects.

With this targeted list you can start building relationships.

Step One – They Don’t Know You
Is your sales force asking prospects to marry them on the first date? Your top prospect list does not know you.

I love those emails I get from businesses that ask me to call them for a free quote on insurance, or SEO, or (_________) <—- fill in the blank, when I have never heard of them or requested any information from them. It’s like walking up to someone you have never met at a social function, introducing yourself, and asking them to marry you. What are the chances?  And if they say yes, do you really think you want to go through with it?

Selling is about trust-building over whatever time that takes. You need to take time and care to introduce your services to them.  Decide on a contact methodology, because it’s going to take more than one attempt. You should use one or all of the following: a letter of introduction, an email, a phone call, a drop by, or an event invitation (webinar?).

After each communication, your sales rep needs to call or stop by.  More than 70% of local companies buy from someone they have met in person!

Make sure your first communication contains a compelling reason for the prospect to read it. If it’s all about you, you had better have a huge budget because you will lose their interest fast!  A “tips or information” piece is always good. Ask yourself: what would be helpful to this prospect? – and then write about that.  Invite them to contact you of course. Not a writer? Use this company: www.localcontentnow.com.

Keep the communication flowing to every prospect no matter how long it takes to get their attention. The goal is to move them into step two.

Step Two – They Know You

Now they know about you, but they have no experience to build any trust on. It’s important that you continue to communicate and in those communications start building trust. Trust is built by doing what you said you were going to do, and using actual examples of success others have seen by utilizing your company.  You need to continue to give good information that will help them during this get-to-know-you period.

Step Three – They Trust You!

They are confident you have a good service or product, and that you have been of benefit to them by supplying good information or even prospects to them.  Now if you have picked the right prospect, they should be ready to buy.

Part of trust is that they are sharing information with you.  If communication continues to be only from your company, trust is not built yet.

Step Four – They Buy or Refer You to a New Customer!

This happens after they trust you and when they have a need for your service or product, or know someone that does, and not until.  Companies don’t buy when you want them to; they buy when they are ready. So continue to communicate so they have your information on the day they need to buy.

If this system looks different than your current “Make a Cold Call and Ask Them to Marry You” technique, you may see huge rewards in revamping the way you “sell” to a system based on building relationships and not trying to close before they trust you.  I suggest your sales group tracks their pipeline in this way, with these categories:

Don’t Know Us

Know Us – They have acknowledged we exist and agree to further communication.

Trust Us – We have ongoing communication with them, and understand their buying needs.

They Will Buy – They have asked for a proposal or meeting. This is what I call a HOT prospect.  (Note: a prospect that trusts you is not a HOT prospect yet.)

At the end of the day it’s all about the trust.  In some cases you can accomplish all of the 4 stages in one sales call. For most companies it is a process of months.

Remember….  most of what you do today in your business will show results in a month or a quarter, not tomorrow.

 

Visit our site here Salesjumpstart.net

SEO, Web Visibilty,  Internet Marketing, Sales and marketing

S.E.O., Internet Marketing, and Traditional Marketing Tips

S.E.O., Internet Marketing, and Traditional Marketing Tips for My One Call Clients and Associates.

A couple of unusual lead generation and conversion programs we’ve been testing over the last month deserve some space here.

Maybe you should add them to your marketing.

Tactic: Live Chat on your Site.
Cost: Free

I used live chat years ago, and dropped it after a month or so after getting no results. Recently I noticed a tweet from 720 Media in Colorado Springs about the number of live chats they were getting, and noted recent research that sites with live chat convert 70% more than without.  That’s a BIG number.  So I used Meebo, the service they recommended (and and use on their own site http://www.720media.com) and installed chat on most of my pages. Easy.  Now I can see when someone is on my site, and they can ask us a question if they like.

Results: In a couple of weeks, we have had three live chats.  One was a competitor with several helpful comments about our Local Google listing. That’s what happens when you show up number four on Google under SEO – you get noticed.  On the other two, one appears to be a prospective new client in Ft. Collins. They wanted pricing information on Internet Optimization.  I called them, and what they really need is Sales Coaching. They intend to sign up next week.

My gut feeling is, without the live chat they may have just moved on to the next site looking for pricing and info.  No way to tell, but I am giving live chat the credit on this conversion.

Should your company use Live Chat? If someone is sitting in front of a computer most of the business day, and they have the knowledge to answer questions, why not?

Let me know if you try it, and what kind of results you get. Call me if you have any questions.  We may be putting together a co-op chat group, where one person can handle the chat function for 10 or 20 companies.

Tactic: Pay per Click Advertising on Google
Cost: I am spending around $1175. per week

I wanted to jump-start some of my Internet marketing programs, so I started a Pay per Click campaign on Google AdWords.  AdWords has become pickier about your landing pages and your keywords, so it takes a little while to figure out and organize your campaigns. I won’t go into detail here except to mention if you’re using Google AdWords, make sure you match your keywords to the landing page.

Results: After about six weeks we are seeing an 11-1 return on spending including the reoccurring revenue from sold accounts, which has been more than 50% of our new Internet marketing sales for this period. I will take an 11-1 ratio any day!  Because S.E.O. keywords are expensive per click (over $15.00 a click on the top words and positions), it’s a little nerve-racking. But so far so good.

Should your company use Pay Per Click? Maybe. There are a lot of pros and cons.  Even with a highly ranked site organically (we are number four) you still miss a significant number of screen views with the different keyword and area combinations your prospects can use. So, it’s a good catch-all tactic.  There is also recent research that shows companies with high rankings and utilizing Pay Per Click get better results from both because of the branding effect. Maybe.  But, if you can get a 10-1 return, or as some clients do, a 30-1 return, it’s a good investment.

Warning! In most cases don’t go it alone!  Lots of companies jump in, make uneducated decisions, lose a bunch of money and never go back. Get some help from a professional firm, or at least some early consulting. (Hint).

A couple of plugs here for cool companies:
www.720media.com does really great Web design and social media work in the Springs and Denver.
For the do it yourself website crowd: www.localcontentnow.com can write great content for you, or do your editing.
And another really professional Web firm based in Florida,   www.digitaleel.com

And of course our company: www.salesjumpstart.net