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Preview: Marketing Advisor Update

Marketing Advisor Update

Sales and marketing tips, insights and advice for service businesses amd companies selling complex or technical products.

Updated: 2014-10-03T17:30:22.960+10:00


Eliminating Objections [Free Online Training]


One of the most challenging areas of sales for small businesses is handling objections from clients. What do you say when your client says the price is too high? Or if they resist your offer by saying "I'm not sure if I need that right now"?

The trouble is most sellers create objections. They don't take the care to manage the sales conversation in a way that can minimise objections - or even completely remove them!

But it is possible.

In my free 3-part online sales training you can get practical tips on how to minimise client objections.

The training is available immediately at my sales and marketing club... (Look in the right hand column for "How to Eliminate Client Objections".)

Put the tips into action and see the results for yourself.

Can You Recognise the Time to Start Selling?


One of the maxims I have developed is:
Marketing Creates Leads; Sales Creates Clients
In practice, for companies that sell services or technical products, there can be a significant overlap between the Marketing and Sales zones. Let me explain.

Professionals and service providers that work on a project, or ongoing engagement basis, usually find themsleves in frequent contact with clients (and other providers or vendors) while they are delivering their services.

There are project update meetings, discussions with client personnel, vendor meetings, formal reviews and casual conversations over coffee or lunch.

Customer Service and Service Delivery

This type of client contact often falls into the category of ‘customer service’ or ‘service delivery’. That is, you are providing the services that have been previously scoped and agreed to.

However, in many circumstances these points of contact with the client (or vendor) can also be seen as marketing opportunities. These occasions can be treated in a proactive manner. For example you will be reinforcing the knowledge or expertise held by your firm. Or you will relate client success stories to demonstrate points during your discussions. This giving of information (demonstrating knowledge or expertise) is a marketing activity.

Recognise Sales 'Triggers'

During those conversations with clients you could hear comments that may indicate they have a need for additional services or products. I call these comments ‘triggers’ because they can trigger a sales-oriented conversation whereby you can explore their requirements and determine if in fact a sales opportunity exists.

It’s at this point – the ‘trigger’ point – that you need to switch from service delivery mode into sales mode.

The idea of switching into ‘sales mode’ can sound scary to many professionals and technically oriented staff. They don’t want to be perceived as a pushy money-hungry sales person. The good news is, you don’t need to act like the stereotypical sales person.

Sales Mode

Switching into ‘sales mode’ means that you need to do two things
1) Ask intelligent questions
2) Slow down and listen

Pretty simple really.

But to do this well, you need to have a strategy. You need to know what to ask, and how to respond to possible answers. Importantly you also need to know what to do next. In other words, if you discover a potential need what will be your next steps?

Have you assessed your client interactions so you can recognise the time to start selling?

Creative Boost workshop in Brisbane Oct 7


I'm very pleased that my friend and expert from Belgium on applying creativity in business, Cyriel Kortleven, will be back in Brisbane for a special workshop on Friday October 7.

Get details and register now for Early Bird rate. Limited seats.

Marketing vs. Gardening - is there a difference?


Here's a picture of our latest garden bed... ready for a fresh crop of vegies. But what's this got to do with marketing.

You see, when I put in the first set of garden beds (you can see them behind the new one) I learned a few lessons.

What I Learned...

I learned about how to keep the frame level. Especially about cutting the sleepers to match the sloping ground so there are no gaps for soil to leak out of. And how to use nail plates on the inside to keep the sleepers tight and create a good-looking finish.

I learned about how long it takes to actually finish the job. In fact this one new bed took about 8 hours in total. This takes into account measuring out the bed, taking up the grass, digging up the earth (hard work with a mattock), measuring, cutting and assembling the frame, shifting the soil from the pile into the bed (more hard work) etc etc.

In many ways this is similar to creating marketing activities for your business.

What You Can Do...

You need to understand the tasks involved so you can allow enough time to get it done properly.

Plus, there is always a learning curve. And always the opportunity to improve what you have done before. Never expect to get something 100% right the first time.

Too many businesses start marketing activities without full knowledge of what is required to complete the job. Then, when it all becomes more difficult and time consuming than they expected the activity gets dropped. Result: wasted time, effort, and money.

If you are serious about your sales improvement initiatives you will:
  • Plan ahead so you aren't in a reactive mind-set - being reactive usually limits your thinking.
  • Assess what you have done before - see what you can learn from that.
  • Plan your tactics so they are in the correct sequence - for example understand your market before jumping at the latest promotional idea.
  • Pay attention to the details - examples: make sure you follow up all leads that are generated; accurately track budget expenditure; update your website or other material to reflect current marketing activities, offers and promotional messages.
  • Be sure you have the skills to do the job - for example if you're not good at working with words and writing, outsource that part of the process to someone who is. And if you're not good with technology, use someone who can do it for you.
Marketing vs. Gardening... actually there are quite a few similarities.

Reacting to Clients Will Cost You Sales... this is why


Recently I was preparing for an inhouse training program by interviewing a number of senior managers and business development staff within the client organisation - the Australian division of a multi-national engineering company.

The company has a great team of experienced staff, and is well positioned for future growth within the industry sectors they serve.

But they have a problem. A major problem that is threatening to block future sales.

And this is the same problem I have seen in other organisations – both large and small.

The problem is… being reactive to sales opportunities.

Many professionals and technical staff think they just need to communicate the skills and experience of their team to win new business. But it’s never that simple!

Especially when your clients are large companies that have multiple stakeholders who have varying degrees of influence over the final decision, and where the decision making process is extended.

In most cases, your potential clients are seeking a reliable relationship – but not necessarily a warm, fuzzy relationship. What they do want is a professional business relationship that makes them feel secure and confident.

The most important thing to understand is…they want this relationship ‘before’ they engage your services. They don’t want to wait until the project is underway. They want to feel comfortable and reduce their perceived risk from the start.

So it's rare that a prospect will select a provider they don’t feel good about.

And feeling ‘good’ involves more than just reading the CV’s of senior consultants, or reviewing case studies of other projects, or watching snazzy PowerPoint presentations, or receiving glossy promotional material.

Prospects feel good when they believe they have established a relationship with you.

Back to the problem of being reactive…

It is very difficult to establish a relationship when you are being reactive and are focused on developing a written proposal, tender, or quotation… reacting to a specific request the client has already formulated.

The client is now looking for an answer, not a relationship.

Once you are working at that tactical level – and responding to a specific request – it is hard to break out of that cycle because the client has already made certain decisions and has certain preconceptions about what they are looking for and who might be suitable providers.

In essence, they have asked you to compare yourself to their requirements.

And truth be told – in most situations, at this stage, the client is probably looking to achieve due diligence (cover their backside) by “getting three quotes” or will use your proposal to check against their preferred provider. They’re not really looking for an alternative.

The bottom line is you don’t have much chance of success because you are being reactive.

A Better Approach

A much better approach is to work with the client in advance – to be proactive – helping them identify what they need.

But this isn’t always easy. To plant the seeds from which you can grow a relationship you need to:
  • Think strategically.
  • Make plans for major accounts.
  • Spot opportunities to start making contact.
  • Be bold in meeting new prospects.
  • Follow up in a timely manner, even when there is no immediate project.
  • Look for ways to involve other members of your team, spreading the relationship.

New Ideas to Win More Business in 2011 - Get in Quick


ALERT: Book your place now on Australia's only sales training course that is specifically designed for people who sell services or technical products. Early Bird rates apply - saving you $250.

Due to my heavy schedule of inhouse training programs for progressive companies around Australia I don't often have the opportunity to present public workshops. In fact I haven't presented the Selling With Confidence public program since early 2010.

I have seen participants make immediate progress and win more business as a direct result of using what they have learned at this program.

No Kidding! One delegate arrived on the second day to report he had won new business the previous night (after the first training day) by using the technqiues at an industry event he attended. Wow!

Dates have now been set for the 2-day Selling With Confidence sales training course in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne over March and April 2011. Limted seats - max 12 people per program.

Get details on this sales training course now...

How to Win More Sales From Your Quotes (and Proposals).


You’ve discussed the situation with your prospect. You have the information you need. Now it’s time to prepare your quote or proposal.

You spend time writing-up and reviewing your quote, being sure to address the key requirements discussed with your prospect. You’ve invested time, effort and money in getting to this point.

What do you do next?

How do you communicate your quote to maximise sales?

Practices you should avoid:

* Sending the quote by email, because you don’t have time to talk with the prospect.
* Not calling to see if the prospect has received or reviewed the quote.
* Believing the prospect will read (and fully understand) the quote.

Let’s face it… in many cases the prospect will have additional questions about the quote, or may need to have some aspects explained to them so they can clearly understand how you will provide your product or service. But they are busy too and may say they don't want any further contact.

Prospects will skip to the price.

However if you don’t explain your recommendation to the client they will usually go straight to the price and skip the main contents.

Plus, most times once the prospect has your quote they will be reluctant to meet with you again because they will feel as though they now have all the information they need. It is extra difficult to get them to schedule time with you.

The danger here is that you are the expert in what you provide. If you don’t explain your quote you cannot expect your prospect to have the same degree of insight as you do about how you will deliver the outcome.

Tips for success:

So here are some tips to ensure your prospect fully appreciates how you are proposing to help them.

(1) In your quote include a section on “Our Understanding of Your Requirements”. In this section you re-state the key points identified during your discussion with the prospect. Be sure to include details so they prospect knows you understand exactly what they need.

(2) Position the section on your price within the quote after you have explained the benefits or outcomes. Do not place the price as the very last item or section (typically pricing is on the last page and people flick over to the last page looking for it.)

(3) During your sales discussion let your prospect know you will require a separate time to discuss the recommendations included in the quote. If possible set an appointment for the quote discussion before you prepare the quote. Your objective is to get a commitment from the client to discuss the quote.

(4) Take the quote to your prospect and deliver it in person at the agreed meeting. At this meeting take your prospect through the quote section by section. Don’t just hand over the quote and wait for questions.

Your objectives in using approach your objective are to:
(A) Remain in control of the information flow;
(B) Ensure your prospect does fully understand what you propose; and
(C) Establish yourself as a true professional by helping the prospect with their decision.

Emailing the quote and not following up because you are “too busy” is a wasted opportunity. Instead, be proactive and win more sales.

Should You Leave Your Sales Presentation With the Client?


Recently in a training session a participant asked the question: “Should I leave my presentation with the prospect after the meeting is finished?”As you might expect there is no simple, clear-cut answer. There are a number of factors you need to consider.Presentations are a vital part of your marketing and sales strategy, as people only retain about 25% of what they are told (via verbal communication). So you cannot rely simply on ‘telling’ clients, you must also try to ‘show’ them. Therefore using a visual presentation is a valuable tool to enhance understanding and retention.Types of PresentationsFirst, consider what will actually be in your presentation. What is the purpose of your presentation? There are a few different types of presentations.General Corporate Overview – this presentation gives a ‘big picture’ story of what your company does. It is often used when meeting clients for the first time. Sometimes this is a separate section within a larger presentation. It contains background information not related to a specific decision.Specific Product/Service Presentation – this information is usually created to communicate definite information, specifications, or usage details to potential clients. Typically the content of the presentation will include details that focus on the product/service, not the client. Due to the product focus, this type of presentation may alienate the client if the information is not directly relevant for them.Benefit Driven Presentation – this type of presentation is focused on opportunities for the client (or prospect). It is not focused on the product/service but may mention the product/service as a means to achieving the outcome. Using examples and success stories the information in this presentation is written to address client specific opportunities and motivate clients to want more. Information presented is often aspirational in nature, designed to stimulate and create desire for the outcomes/benefits.Management Report Presentation – this type of presentation is often used internally, such as senior managers reporting to their superiors/Board members. It can also be used for high-level meetings with clients when the audience expects to see factual, business-case data on which they can base decisions. The information presented in this presentation is designed to empower the audience/client to make their own decisions.To Keep, or Not to KeepNext, think about if the audience will want to keep a copy of the presentation. Does it contain reference material or special information they will want to refer to at a later date?If your presentation does contain special data your client will probably want to keep a copy. And it would usually be in your interest for them to have the copy, because you want them to know/remember the information (or at least have easy access to it).If your presentation only contains general information such as in the Corporate Overview or the Benefit Driven type of presentation, then maybe there is not much use in the client keeping a copy, as the information, once explained, is not detailed enough or relevant to keep in a presentation format. On the other hand it wouldn’t harm your interests to leave a copy… but it may not serve any specific purpose to do so.There are some occasions when your presentation may contain confidential or exclusive proprietary data – information unique to you that you don’t want available to the public. In this case you probably don’t want the client to have a copy, unless you can trust them not to share or lose the material. As an alternative, you could show them a separate document created for this purpose that contains the special information, but retain it as being ‘confidential’.Send in Advance or NotWhether you should send the presentation in advance depends upon the setting of the meeting. Many executives [...]

Your Clients Want to be Led


You may not believe it, but my view is that your clients want to be led.

That’s right… they want to follow you.

Of course they don’t want to follow you blindly. They want to follow you because they believe you can help them.

When it comes to conducting sales conversations I find that many professionals, technical staff and business owners think, “I don’t want to be like a sales person”. So they stay quiet. They don’t probe. And they wait for the client to make a move.

That one negative thought has the potential to prevent professionals and technical people everywhere from being successful in their sales activities. And usually that negative thought is based on their perception of selling as being where you ‘push’ a product or service at your client whether they want it or not.

That’s an old-fashioned and outdated view of what selling should be. And can be.

In reality the opposite is true – professionals need to be conducting proactive sales conversations to truly help their clients.

Remember this:
The only reason your client will want to talk to you is that they believe you can help them.

If they already knew what to do, and had all the information they needed, and were confident about making a buying decision, they wouldn’t bother talking to you.

They are relying on you to understand what they need and lead them through the process of making the right decision for them.

It may be that your client has already checked out your website; read one of your articles; seen a testimonial; heard about you from a friend… but they still need you to take the lead.

So instead of thinking “I don’t want to be like a sales person” and shying away from the sales conversation, you should ask yourself “How can I best help this client?”

In reframing your activity – from ‘selling’ to ‘exploring’ – you will set yourself free of the presumption of having to be pushy.

When you start exploring you will find out what your client really wants. You will gain confidence from having a clear understanding of their needs. You will find new ways of helping your clients, and you won’t be scared of making inappropriate recommendations (because you will understand what they want).

How do you explore? By asking questions.

The art of asking the right questions the right way is a learned skill. In fact that is one of the main learning outcomes from our sales training courses.

It is a good idea to start by asking relatively general questions, and then move on to questions that become more specific. The best questions probe deeply (but with sensitivity) to reveal where the value lies for the client.

Every sales conversation should be run according to your strategy.

Unfortunately many sellers undertake sales conversations and rely on ‘going with the flow’. However the flow often doesn’t go your way unless you plan it to. Having a strategy for your sales conversations is essential.

Your clients want to be led. To do that properly you need to have a philosophy of exploring the clients requirements using a planned question-based conversation strategy.

3 Tips for Writing Reader-Friendly Marketing Messages


I've borrowed these 3 tips directly from Harvard Business Review that recommended them as 3 Tips for Writing Reader-Friendly Memos. The exact same advice works excellently for marketing messages.

1. Avoid complex phrasing. Writing elegantly is not important; delivering smart content is. Let the message stand out more than your language. (perfectly said)

2. Be concise. Many memo (marketing) writers get hung up on "flow." But flowing sentences tend to be long and dense. You don't need choppy sentences, just hardworking ones that deliver content concisely.

3. Skip the jargon. Jargon can be a useful way to communicate among experts, but you should never use jargon if it's meaningless, if you don't understand it, or when your audience isn't familiar with it. (Hint: be sure you understand your audience.)

My advice: Too many people think for marketing you need to write to impress people. Really you should be aiming to write in a way that persuades people. Keep it simple enough for your audience to easily understand - and be sure to include a clear call to action. Let them know what they should do next if they want to move forward.

Great Example of Temporary Web Page


It is one of the worst marketing sins these days - to promote a new website and have a lazy 'under construction' message displayed. But I've just seen a great example of how to do it properly. Even if your complete website is not written, make sure you project a suitable image, and at least have basic contact details.

Kombi Love is a specialist car hire website that was mentioned in this article on Sydney Morning Herald website.

It looks good, includes the main details, a contact enquiry form and phone number all easily displayed. It aslo shows the future pages in the navigation bar - encouraging for people to know what else could be available from the business.

There is Science Behind This Fundamental Selling Mistake


This article on Fast Company mentions a phenomenon I think is very common in sales. It's when we are doing the selling and assume the client has a particular attitude based on a certain behaviour we observe (or a response we receive from them).

Fundamental Attribution Error:

The judgment (that we make) is what’s called, in psychology, the Fundamental Attribution Error. Meaning that we tend to attribute people’s behavior to their core character rather than to their situation.

The take-away: When selling, don't jump to conclusions about what the client is thinking based on a certain behaviour, or response, from them. Look for other clues as to what might be driving the behaviour. You should attempt to discover if it is the situation that is causing them to react in the way you observe. Maybe they don't act/think/talk like that all the time.

Maybe you can even ask them about it.

Example: "Mary, I notice you don't seem very interested in (mention a certain feature or benefit). Is that right? Can you tell me why?"

Remember your motto when selling: Seek first to understand.

Study shows Aussies Prefer UK Accent in Video Voice Over Test


(image) An interesting result - and one that shows Australians have a much higher preference than people from other countries for UK accents versus American.

Results come from Which Test Won, a website that reviews website and email marketing split tests.

If we broaden the implication it is useful to keep this in mind for any communication - especially online - that may have American origins.

This preference against US-origin is something I have seen many times in relation to sales training. The American style is often perceived as too 'aggressive' and fast-paced for the typical Australia audience.

What do you think? Your comments are welcome.

The Importance of Sticking to Your Area of Expertise


Quite a few years ago I worked in the Retail Division of Mobil Oil in Brisbane. I travelled around the state; stayed in luxury hotels; quizzed site owners about their operations; wielded power in allocating funds and appointing franchisees.

The Retail Division was seen as the flashy cousin to the dull and boring refinery operations. Everyone in Retail worked hard (more like we were driven hard!) and occasionally also got some play time as a group.

It was the '90's and the idea of combining petrol sales with convenience stores was still a novel idea in Australia. I was also heavily involved in the fast food sites located on major highways - another new concept.

Time moves on...

Over a few years the Retail Division was wound down, and slowly but surely became inactive.


Because it wasn't a good fit with the overall operation of Mobil. Essentially Mobil couldn't compete in the retail market place against the faster moving compettors of BP and Shell. It is a high investment, high risk industry.

And today it is reported that 7-Eleven buys Mobil petrol stations.

Behind the scenes it can be assumed that Mobil has struggled for many years to 'keep up with the Jones'. It is obvious that BP and Shell secured lucrative retail sites on major roads, and invested heavily in upgrading their sites.

Mobil stood still because they weren't committed to retail operations. They couldn't see a return.

The lesson here is that you need to define your market place, and your area of expertise, and make sure you stick to it. Mobil wandered into retail operations for decades without making a success of it.

Don't make the same mistake.

Does lateness of your sales people cost you money?


This interesting article about options for handling staff who continually arrive ate for work on Sydney Morning Herald small business pages made me think about how do you monitor and manage your sales team when they are late.

I'm not just talking about being late on arrival at work in the morning. For many people in a sales role they don't have to check in at their desk at the same time every day like other people in the office might.

Latness can easily go unnoticed.

Lateness for sales people can be:

* Late for meetings
* Late with submitting reports
* Late for returning phone calls
* Late for responding to client requests
* Late with submitting expenses
* Late with providing input or ideas when requested
* As well as being late to start in the morning (but this may go unnoticed if they are in the field)

The SMH article talked about lateness as a sign of lack of commitment and possible attitudinal or behavoural problems. Or maybe even problems in their personal life.

This raises the importance of staying tuned-in to your sales team and understanding their individual motivations. When signs of lateness (or lack of commitment) appear you can start to ask... Why?

Twitter Success: Presentation + Adapting to the market


Watch this video by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and pay attention to what he describes over a few minutes starting at the 10:55 mark. He explains how the common features of Twitter actually came from users - not the company.


Message: Pay attention to what your customers are doing with your product/service.

Also, his presentation style shows how you can be quite reserved, yet still engaging as long as your audience is connecting with you. (Know your audience). Only a handful of PowerPoint slides used, mainly to show things he cannot put into words.

However his reserved presentation style may seem slow (possibly painful) to some people, as witnessed by comments on the video page.

He starts off a bit nervous (note a slight hesitation and few umms) but then settles in for a relaxed 'conversation' with the audience.

Download Biz Development ebook for Professional Services


(image) Nearly a year ago I released my e-book for technical sales people called The Assassin Analogy. Since then I have received many positive comments and more importantly... continue to see people make immediate improvements to their sales results from using the practical concepts explained in the e-book.

Now I have updated and written a version especially for professional services, consultants, advisors, and coaches - in fact it is suitable for anyone who is an independent adviser.

Download The Assassin Analogy for Professional Services

Of course the e-book is free. Why? It's my gift to those of you who are serious about making long-lasting improvements and who want to build your confidence in managing sales conversations.

Let me know what you think of it!

You can enjoy selling when you have the skills for success.

Creating Effective Local Promotions (part 1 of 2)


This is Part 1 of an article I wrote for 'The Science of Beauty', a national magazine for the salon industry. However the message applies to all businesses that promote locally.= = = =Creating Effective Local PromotionsThe first thing you need to consider when planning a promotion in your local area is… Who is in your local area?You need to have a clear image of whom you will be speaking to through your promotion. What type of person do you expect to attract?Most salons service a distinct local area – usually within about a 5km to 7km radius from the salon. Have you actually mapped where your market is? The best way to do this is to review your client data and create a list of all clients by postcode. Then you can sort the postcodes (using a spreadsheet) and determine the actual geographic spread of clients.Understand Who You Are Talking ToYou might be surprised at the results. I have seen salons that have 80% of clients within a 5km radius. This has a huge impact on which marketing communication tactics you should use. There is no point promoting to people who live 10 or 15km away if they aren’t going to travel to your salon.Once you know the geographic coverage of your local market area consider the demographic and socio-economic profile of the people living there.Demographics means the age, lifestyle, family size etc of the local residents.Socio-economic means the financial status of residents including what type of jobs they do and average household income.If you’re new to your market area, or simply not sure about the different areas, why not hop in the car and take a drive around and see for yourself. You can also access census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics if you want even more detail (visit of your assessment of the local area should also include a competitor analysis. Who are your competitors? How do they compare to you for presentation of the business, services offered, pricing etc? Know your enemy!One of the main reasons you need to have an understanding of the demographics and socio-economic factors is that it can help you decide what you should be promoting - which services and products, and at which price-point.What to Offer?I’ve written before about not offering a discount. Why is it bad? Because discounts undermine the perceived value in your services and products. It also makes it harder to get new clients to re-book at full price.The best thing to do is to think about the purpose of the promotion. Then you can decide what to offer.* Is it to attract more first-time clients?* Is it to promote a specific service/product?* Is it to fill a gap in your booking schedule?For example if your aim is to attract more clients for any/all of your services, then you would want to promote the most popular services. Give people something they want.Create a Package – Promote ValueThen think about how you can create a package combining a number of these services and/or products. Don’t simply reduce the price on your popular services. That’s business suicide!The idea of offering a package is two-fold. Firstly, it creates a high perceived value. In reality you may have more margin to play with on services than on products. So by making smart decisions about your package you can still make your offer profitable for you.Secondly, offering a package makes it difficult, if not impossible, for your prospects to easily compare you to competitors. This way you don’t need to offer the lowest prices to get attention.Keep the focus of your offer on ‘value’, not on ‘price’. And be sure to include a reason to respond[...]

Sydney Workshops Now Only $67 each, May 18.


Sales and Presentation Skills Mini-Workshops, Sydney May 18.

Due to changing circumstances I have scheduled the Sydney mini-workshops for Tuesday May 18. And the price is now even lower, at only $67 per workshop, or a low $125 for the full day experience of two workshops.

Click here to get all the details and register at Early Bird rates

Selling Skills - 9.00am to 12.00pm

Presentation Skills - 1.30pm to 4.30pm

Never Stop Marketing Your Business - Or You Will Get Eaten Alive


A stark reminder of what happens when you don't market your business. From this news story of today... the key part is this:

When the economy is genuinely humming, the growth rates of retail chains and small retailers tend to be roughly in sync.

However, during downturns it is common for their performances to diverge, with the chains using their greater pricing flexibility and marketing muscle to keep the top line ticking along.

For example, in financial year 2008, even as interest rates rose because of Reserve Bank fears about an overheating economy, the growth rate differential between the chains and the independents - excluding businesses in food away from home - was just half a percentage point. Since then the difference has blown out to almost 9 percentage points.

My work is mainly within the B-to-B sector, but the comparison to how larger franchise and company-owned groups (the chains) maintain their position in tough times by using their 'pricing' and 'marketing muscle' is a strong reminder of why you always need to market your business - no matter what industry you are in.

  1. Define your niche (or specialty).
  2. Identify the value you provide (in the eyes of your client).
  3. Develop an effective marketing program.
  4. Keep doing it - all the time.

The 24-7-30 follow-up approach


Here's a great tip on how to stay in touch with people you meet at networking events. From Andy Lopata in the UK...

I'm often asked about how to follow up contacts you meet at a networking event.

One of the most popular processes I share was outlined by a delegate on one of my workshops a few years ago. The 24-7-30 approach is based on the principle that interacting with someone three times in the month after meeting them cements your relationships.

The approach dictates that you follow up with someone 24 hours after an event, 7 days later and again after 30 days.

Although I don't practice this as a matter of course, if I look back at the people who have become an integral part of my network after meeting at events, this pattern definitely applies. It may be an email, phone call and meeting. Or email, meeting and follow up. But those three touches in a month are certainly present.

Marketing is about being real, not about being glossy


(image) I’ve been working as a marketing practitioner for 20 years. Over that time I’ve heard heaps of people say (or imply) that marketing is fake. That it is about tricking people into buying or doing something they don’t really want or need. That marketing is insincere.

Have you ever thought that?

The scary thing is I meet plenty of business owners – from small operators to partners in large firms – that are still thinking that way. Even though the only way they can grow their business is to undertake some form of marketing, promotion, or selling.

They look down their nose at ‘marketing’ seeing it as something they would rather not do.

And this recent article from website usability guru Gerry McGovern includes this statement…

“This is a really difficult message for marketers and communicators to hear, but we need to hear it and really, really listen. Those of us who think the essence of our jobs is to make our websites exciting don't have much of a future in the web industry.”

Gerry is implying that marketing people focus on the fluffy stuff. The glossy side. Looking to change things just for the sake of it.

OK… I admit some marketers do do that. They are shallow. They look for the excitement in doing something new. Not necessarily something that is needed.

And old-style marketers often focus on telling prospects what they should do – the pushy advertising model – rather than attracting clients by helping them make a decision.

However, if you want to be successful in your business – no matter what your industry or how many customers you have – you must look at marketing as an integral cog in your business machine (wow, it just struck me how 19th century that common cog-in-the-wheel analogy sounds).

Your marketing program should be driven by a sound strategic approach based on achieving your business objectives. It should consist of a series of related events that are:

* Timed for maximum impact on your prospects.
* Add value for your clients-to-be.
* Easily managed within the constraints of your resources (time and money).

Your marketing must address issues important for your prospects - from their perspective.

Get over your feelings of marketing – and use it as the business development tool it really is. Make it work for you.

The Real Entreprenuer Test


I get to meet lots of business owners. Some are quite savvy and switched on to what it takes to make decisions, take risks, and run a business.

Others seem to be waiting for the magical wand to be waved over them and for their business to take off.

If you're wondering if you have what it takes to be a business owner (call yourself an entreprenuer if you want)... take this 10 question test by business consultant and serial entreprenuer Barry Moltz.

The only entreprenuer test you need to take



(image) In this brief video interview Dan Martin from Business Zone (UK) talks with Tony Wheeler, the founder of the Lonely Planet travel guides.

Tony mentions some helpful points about the serendipitous start soe businesses make; the advice he received from his MBA mates; and how to perservere.

Interview with Richard Branson - the man behind the stunts


Richard Branson is an enigma. He appears to be outlandish, with his wild business stunts. But when you see him in normal conversation he really is much quieter - and even suffers from dislexia. Watch this Richard Branson interview for some business inspiration.