Four Steps To Close Your Next Sale

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How many times have you heard, “Oh he’s a born salesman,” or, “Her dad was in sales. She’s a natural?” My father is the greatest salesperson I’ve had the privilege to see in action and to learn from. When he was a young man he was so shy it was painful. I guarantee you that when he was born the doctor didn’t slap him on the rear and say, “Now here’s a born salesman.” It just doesn’t work that way.

We learn how to be great doctors. We learn how to be great architects. Ultimately, we learn how to be great sales professionals.

There are four steps critical in every successful sales endeavor. If you master these four steps you will close more sales more often.

1. Build rapport

One October morning I was waiting outside a store for the owner to arrive and open up. There was a newspaper by the front door. I picked up the newspaper and waited patiently. Within a few minutes the owner arrived, looked at me inquisitively, and asked, “Who are you?” I replied, “I’m from the collections department at the newspaper. Your bill hasn’t been paid, so I brought today’s issue down and thought I’d pick up a check at the same time.” She paused, thought for a second, and then broke into laughter. “Who are you really?” she asked. She was laughing, I was laughing, and that was the start of a wonderful relationship.

Do your clients trust you and like you? This is a critical first step to closing any sale. We do business with people we like. A client is much more likely to buy from you if they want you to succeed. The first thing you must do is to build a solid rapport with your clients. Of course time can help this along.

Look for ways to show your clients you care. Find opportunities to reveal your human side. Make sure your clients feel like you are there for more then just the sale. As you “become friends” and build rapport you will find it easier to close the sale, and your clients will want to provide you with referrals as well.

2. Solve your client’s problems

Ultimately the reason your clients invest in your products and services is because they have problems or needs that the benefits of owning your products will solve or fill. Some times prospective clients know what their needs are. Many times they do not know their real needs.

Become an expert at understanding your client’s specific situations and uncovering their pressing needs. Then, show them how your product or service will make their life easier, grow their business, or provide peace of mind. If your clients have enough “pain” associated with their needs then they will do almost anything to take care of that pain. Make sure you have illustrated their needs with gusto!

3. Effectively transfer enthusiasm

Selling is based on time proven tactics and skills. Buying is an emotional experience. If you have a great attitude and are filled with enthusiasm, your clients will pick up on that energy. Even if you fail to show all the need necessary to normally close the sale, an infectious amount of enthusiasm will put you over the top.

Clients detect your sincerity and how much you believe in what you do and sell. If you waver, they know it. If you are excited and thrilled to be able to solve their problems, they love it. Let your clients know you sincerely believe what you offer is best for their needs. As they feel your enthusiasm they will want to invest in your products so they can feel even more of that positive energy.

4. Ask for the order

This sounds so simple, and it really is, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the field with a salesperson and watched as they butchered a fantastic process by either not asking for the order or not acting appropriately when they did ask for the order.

Asking for the order doesn’t mean necessarily asking, “Do you want to buy?” You can use many creative closing questions such as:

“This home would be perfect for your family. Would you like to put together an offer right here or should we step outside and enjoy the fresh air as we pencil in the details?”

“As you can see Ajax Insurance offers the lowest investment of the four companies we researched for your policy. If I can get the paperwork to them today, they will be able to schedule your physical by Friday. What is your birthday?”

“Did you want a belt to go with your new suit?”

There are so many creative ways to ask for the order. Many times I like to use some form of assumptive question. When they answer the question they are saying that they will buy.

Here is the key: when you ask your closing question, be sure and not say anything or ask any questions until the prospective client responds. This is critical! If you speak even a word, you will probably not close the sale and all will be in vain. Your job is to close the sale. Ask the question, and then let the client respond. Period!

Use these four steps, and I know I’ll be receiving emails filled with your success stories, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz.

Your Happiness Hierarchy

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Creating a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace requires you to focus on what’s happening today that can be improved. But you should also take time to look into the future. Many times people look back on their professional and personal lives and think, “I wish I had done this,” or, “If only I had implemented that idea sooner.” In fact, making good decisions is easy when you look back on the situation and have all the facts. But you can apply that same philosophy to the decisions you make now and in the future. You can project into the future of your business so that when you arrive there you won’t have to look back with regret or wish you’d made better decisions. In other words, mentally position yourself in the successful future of your business.

Pull out a clean sheet of paper or your personal journal and consider what must happen in the future for you to be happy with the results you’re achieving. In the next year, what has to happen in your business? What will excite you about your organization? What about the next three years, and the next ten years? For each interval of time what will have to transpire? What actions will you have to take? Write these things, whatever they are, in your journal and consider them on a regular basis.

Next, take it a step further. Break your organization down into manageable parts and consider each one individually. For example, you could break your business into sales and marketing, products and services you deliver, the reputation you have in your industry, personnel, and administration. What has to happen over the next year for you to be happy with each of these areas? Think about each part of your business for the next three years and ten years as well. By looking at your business in this way, you will discover specific ideas and actions to work into your strategic plan.

The events and actions you identify for this exercise will tell you where you need to focus your time and your energy to maintain a competitive advantage in the future. This list can serve as your motivator. In other words, if this is what it will take for you to be happy, then you better take action and make it happen.

Spend time on this exercise, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!

Strategic Thinking

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Many times someone goes into business so they can “control their own life.” In reality, unless you understand how to build a strategic business, you usually end up with less control than you started with. Instead of having all of the headaches of ownership on top of getting your “job” done you might as well stay and work for someone else. At least then you can go home at the end of the day with a paycheck in hand and not have to worry about clients, getting new business, paperwork, paying the taxes and filling out the city, state, and federal forms that pile up. If you are going to be in business for yourself you might as well do it right and build an organization that allows you to achieve what you want and live life the way you desire. Building a strategic business will allow you to create the value you desire for your clients and for you and your family as well.

Being successful means balancing short-term projects with a long-term strategy. In the short-term you need to make sales, deliver results, and earn the money necessary to keep your doors open. At the same time you must put on your strategic thinking hat and think long term about your business, the true value of what you deliver, who you really want and should be marketing to, and how to go about building your organization.

The strategic business is based on a thought process that is more concerned with looking ahead, looking at where you are going, and how to get there. Even if you already know what services you are taking to which markets, you will still need a strategy to get there. Many times when the effort is put forth people discover that in fact they do not know the right services and products and they may be off on the best fit of possible markets. Only through a comprehensive strategic effort can you prove that what you are doing is right or make the course corrections that you may need to make.

Strategic thinking is based on three distinct disciplines: analysis, planning, and implementation. It is critical to devote time and energy to both analysis and planning so that you can maintain positive momentum in the implementation phase.

It is common to want to jump right into implementation. We see someone do something successfully and so we decide to adopt the same strategy and “go to it.” If you jump right in without the proper analysis and planning, you are probably in for a few surprises. What works for someone else may not work for you. Based on your value system, likes and dislikes, and long-term goals you may be better served with a different approach to business then your competitor or friend.

A sound strategic business does not take shortcuts. Rely on the fact that you must do the proper analysis and spend time planning if you are going to successfully implement your strategic mission.

Building a strategic business is a process. It is not an event. It happens over time. It is a journey to build a strategic business–your strategic business. You will need to decide that you’re tired of the old way and that you want to make changes. If you put forth the energy and work at it, you will be able to build your business and have the type of successful organization you’ve always desired. And, somewhere along the way you will gain control over your personal time as well.

Exercise:

Take a blank sheet of paper and on it list three people whom you admire. They can be alive or deceased. They can be real of fictional. For instance three people whom I really admire are my grandfather, President Lincoln, and the original astronauts.

Once you have your three people, list after each person all of their personal traits that you admire. For example, for the original astronauts I have listed that they were brave, mentally tough, creative, smart, visionary, adventurous, and motivated by challenges.

Now here is the tough part. Next to each of these characteristics I want you to put a number from one to ten with ten being the highest. This number should represent how you see yourself with regards to this trait.

All buildings are built on a foundation. The stronger the foundation, the better the building is equipped to last a long time. Your personal and business foundation is based on your values. This exercise will help you think about what you admire, seek, and desire. Once you have this information you will be ready to look at issues we’ll be discussing in future issues of this ezine.

The Strategic Business balances the necessities of the present with the vision of the future and creates a roadmap of how to close the gap between the two. Now you’re on the road to Building A Better Biz!

Stay Connected to Those You Serve

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I drove into the Budget car rental lot at 8:35 a.m. last Sunday. A very pleasant young lady scanned the barcode on the rented car, entered the mileage and told me that I could get my receipt inside the office. I pulled my suitcase along with me into the office where there were five other people who were waiting with their suitcases for the van to take them over to the airport. I knew the van would be arriving at any moment, and I too, wanted to be on that van. I was running short on time and I didn’t want to miss my flight.

There was a long “L” shaped counter with several workstations in the rental car office. The only problem was that no one was working behind the counter. I assumed that someone had stepped into the back office or maybe they had gone to use the restroom.. I waited several minutes. I knew that if I didn’t get help soon, I would surely miss the next shuttle to the airport.

Finally I asked someone else who was waiting in the lobby for the shuttle if there was a bell or buzzer or if they had seen any workers. He pointed back at the counter and said, “They’re back there sleeping.”

“In the back office sleeping?” I thought. Then I looked over the counter and there were three women with their heads down on their desk fast asleep. Only when I said “Hello” did one of them raise their head. She looked like a mess, like I had woken her up from a deep sleep. And, I felt like my presence was an imposition.

Gee, I wonder if the manager ever came in on a Sunday morning to see how things were running? Oh, that’s right… The manager doesn’t have to work the bad hours or shifts. The manager is the manger and has risen above everyone else. The manager is King!

The fact that these three women were sound asleep behind the counter was ridiculous. But I blame management for the problem. Ultimately, it’s management’s responsibility to make sure things run properly. If they don’t come by from time to time to see what is actually going on, they will never be able to insure a high level of quality customer service.

Management is the front line and not the back office! They must be in the trenches. They must live through what level of service their customers are exposed to in order to determine if the way they treat people is really the best level of service that they can effectively deliver.

So often someone rises up through an organization and then feels they are now “above” having to do certain tasks. If you lose your contact with your clients and what they are experiencing, then you will ultimately be passed up by another person or organization that is hungrier than you are, and wants desperately to serve and deliver great customer service.

Stay connected to those people you serve both inside and outside your organization — you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz.

Tell It And You Will Sell It

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A few months back my brother and his wife went to look at a house that was for sale. It was just what they wanted; the perfect size, the right number of rooms, and in a subdivision that they loved.

They recently completed some major remodeling on their home and had no plans to move. When they saw this particular house that was for sale, they just didn’t know what to do! The realtor told them they shouldn’t wait long as this house would sell fast.

They next afternoon my brother made an offer to buy the home at the asking price. It was too late. Someone else had made an offer that morning, and it was accepted. Not only did my brother not get the house he wanted, but his real estate agent also missed out on a hefty commission.

What should have happened? The real estate agent should have painted a clearer picture of the situation. He should have told a story that my brother and his wife could relate to. It would be a story that would have helped them to make a better decision, and faster.

Imagine if the realtor had told them this story instead:

This house is just what you said you were looking for with all of the amenities that you wanted; a great subdivision, a perfect back yard for your girls, a little more space for a great playroom, and a larger master bedroom. It’s really your dream house then, isn’t it?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about another client of mine. A few of months ago a couple with two children were looking at a home. The house was just the right size, with the exact number of bedrooms they wanted. The lot was perfect for playing in, and the school district was wonderful. The couple wanted to think it over.

They knew what they were looking for, and the home was within their budget. They had trouble however, making a decision. It is an important decision, and all of us deliberate about that sometimes.

The next day when the couple decided to put an offer on the house it had already sold. They missed out. Sure, they eventually found another house, but it took another two months, plus a lot of time and mental anguish was needlessly spent.

They missed their perfect house, but you don’t have to. Take a few minutes to think about what you really want in a home, and if this house has that, then let’s put an offer together before someone else does.

If my brother and his wife had heard that version of the story and had been given that advice, they would have been better able to make a quick decision and would have had the house. Don’t just state the facts in a selling situation. People like stories. We learn by listening to stories and relating to them. It starts
when we are children, and is carried with us throughout our lives.

So, when is a story called for? Anytime you are trying to make a point, get a message across, help someone make a decision, or provide advice.

Here are the steps to creating great stories.

1. Think about different areas of interests or concerns for the people you interact with.

2. Look for similar situations in your life, the life of a relative, someone of notoriety, or a friend.

3. Construct a story about what happened. Be sure to include the emotions of the people involved.

4. Include these important issues:

* What was lost?
* What wasn’t gained?
* What opportunity was missed?
* What was the pain of the situation?
* How could the pain have been avoided?
* How will your client benefit by not making the same choice?

5. Make the story concise and to the point.

All of us have many real life situations that we face. It’s just a matter of thinking about and recalling them.

Think through all of the sales situations you encounter. Make a list of the objections you receive. You should have a story that deals with these situations.

Work with others in your industry or in your Mastermind Group. If you don’t have a Mastermind Group, then check out my eBook: “Monday’s At Nine: Creating A Powerful Mastermind Group.” It will get you started today!

If you don’t have a story for each situation, then get one from a friend. It’s okay to share them. When you tell someone else’s story (with their permission of course), you start by saying, “A friend of mine had an interesting thing happen to their client.”

When you are faced with a selling situation, and you want to make a powerful point, don’t just give them the facts. Tell a story and watch your customers as they grasp the idea that you are creating for them. This will help your customers make better decisions by telling them a story that they can easily relate to.

You will become an even more compelling sales professional by being a story-teller. Remember, we’re always making a sale. Whether or not it is to a client, a co-worker, a spouse, or a child, we are always selling products, services, ideas, beliefs, and desires. Stories will attract others to you. They will want to listen to what you have to say. Your customers will find you much more interesting and engaging in your beliefs.

Go tell a story, and you’ll be on the road to Building a Better Biz!

The Four Secret Characteristics of Successful People

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Why do some people succeed and others fail? Are there genetic differences between those who fail and those who succeed? Is success a result of luck or traits that are learned and developed?

These are just some of the questions we continually ask ourselves as we seek our own success. Does the grass eternally look greener on the other side of the fence? Well, here are the four secret characteristics of all successful people.

1. Vision

All successful people have vision. They see what they want. They have a picture in their mind’s eye of what life or business will be like when they achieve what it is they are seeking. This vision provides energy and direction that will impact your daily thoughts and actions. And, since your daily actions determine where you end up tomorrow, it is critical that you have a vivid vision to strive for.

But a strong vision will do more than inspire and drive your actions. If your vision is powerful enough it will draw others in. If the umbrella of your vision is wide enough, other people will want to be a part of what it is that you are seeking.

Apple computer has legions of loyal customers that advocate for them and help drive their brand. Causes are formed that people are drawn to because they want to be a part of those historical changes and their impact on society.

What is your vision? Do you have a vision of how you want your life to be in one, three, or ten years? What about your business? Do you have a vision of how your business will look in one, three, or ten years? If not, get to work creating that vision. Spread the word, and others will want to be a part of what you are doing as well.

2. Charisma

Do you attract or repel people? That may be a rough question, but the truth is that some people naturally attract others. These “other” people will be the solution to the problems and challenges that you will naturally face as you work toward achieving your vision.

I always felt that the key to the lock of my next challenge was on someone else’s key ring. It is so important to build relationships, to have friends in and out of business, and to have others that want to see you succeed as much as you want to succeed.

One great way to build these relationships and help others at the same time is participating in a Master Mind Group. A Master Mind Group is a formal group of five to seven people that meet on a regular basis to share experiences and help to solve each other’s challenges.

Being a part of professional associations is a great way to meet others that face your same issues. Building relationships within an association will be a great asset for you.

3. Quality Work

If a job is worth doing it is worth doing well. It’s that simple. Do great work. Give great service. Be ultra reliable. Anyone can just show up. You must stand out in your level of performance. Don’t settle for anything less than your best. Don’t make or accept excuses for a level of performance that doesn’t meet the high standard set by your vision.

Have others you trust give you feedback on your performance. Then, make the necessary adjustments so that you are always improving and always exceeding the expectations of your clients, friends, and relatives.

4. Time

Be patient. We tend to look at others and wonder, “How did they become an overnight success?” The truth is, they didn’t. Most overnight successes were 10 years in the making. Some make it sooner. Others take longer.

It takes time to sow the seeds. It takes time to gain the knowledge. It takes time to build the relationships. It takes time to have enough opportunities come your way that you can leverage into the results you desire.

Greed kills patience. Don’t fall prey to it. Don’t settle for less then you can achieve, but at the same time have the patience to consistently do the right thing and make progress on your vision. Continually learn and expand your tool kit. Know that in the long run you will achieve your vision and more!

Adopt these four success characteristics, and you will be on the road to Building A Better Biz!

Wine, Oatmeal and Other Variables

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I went in for my annual check up recently. Everything looked good, except my doctor was a little concerned that my cholesterol level had risen. “I know you exercise like a demon,” he said, “But have you thought about having a glass of wine with dinner each evening?”

There are only a few variables that impact your cholesterol levels, and diet, exercise, hereditary issues and some specific “good” foods just about cover it. As a marathon competitor, exercise was never a problem, and I usually eat very healthy. Now I eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and have a glass of wine with dinner.

When you look at your business, what are the variables that have the greatest impact? If you can isolate those variables and then focus your efforts on high performance in those areas, you will be able to see dramatic improvements in your business.

Is your business driven by challenges such as new accounts, sales to existing accounts, manufacturing cost reduction, product design or sales price? If so, then what can you change, that if done successfully, will show an immediate improvement on your bottom line?

I encourage business professionals to look at their businesses this way if they want to accelerate the growth of their company. But you can take this further.

Separate your company into its basic components. For instance, sales, manufacturing, service, back office, etc. (you get the idea). Now look at each area and determine what your critical variables are. Each month go through this exercise and then implement changes that will allow you to maximize your efforts in this particular part of your business.

In a matter of months you will have reshaped your business, and put yourself on the fast track. Then, maybe you’ll sit back and have a glass of wine with dinner — you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz.

Strategic Marketing™ – Part III

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In part one of this article we discussed the seven organizational
resources that are critical to optimize, and three questions you
must answer in any prospects mind if you are to successfully
market and sell your product or service.

In part two we talked about the four groups you should consider
marketing to. Now we need to look at The Four Phases To
Marketing Success.

There are four specific phases that you can incorporate in your
marketing program.

1. Generate, identify and acquire prospects

If you are to fill your pipeline with possible prospects and
potential sales, you will need to gain as many qualified
prospects as possible, and that you can realistically work with.
This is considered the starting point of marketing programs for
new companies, or companies that need to grow their client base.

Advertising is a common way to gather prospects. Many companies
fall in to the trap of institutional advertising. Institutional
advertising has no immediate proposition, no call to action, and
does not deliver measurable results. This type of advertising
may work for a bank or for McDonalds, but it is expensive and
does not usually yield anywhere near acceptable returns for the
businesses I work with.

Direct response advertising does offer a specific proposition
that causes the audience to respond now and ultimately generates
profits that justify that form of advertising. It is measurable
and you get immediate results. Direct response advertising is
profitable (at least it should be), and you should be able to
justify your advertising based on the profits you generate.

I teach clients four or five excellent ways of generating
prospects. You should have several in your arsenal as well,.
Then you will have a consistent flow of new prospects to work
with.

2. Convert Prospects into Clients

Some organizations are great at generating prospects. They have
hundreds or even thousands of new prospects a week. But, they
are relatively weak at converting those prospects in to clients.

It is a waste of money to just create prospects. If you are not
converting your prospects at an acceptable rate, then you are
wasting advertising dollars.

One of the best ways to convert a prospect is with “Risk
Removal.” Clients have to feel comfortable parting with their
money. They must feel at least as comfortable with your product
or service as they do with their hard earned dollars in their
pockets.

You can remove risk one of two ways. The first is that you can
reverse the risk through a great warranty. Maybe you offer a
money back guarantee or you guarantee that your price is the
lowest. You could guarantee a specific level of service. All of
these types of guarantees gives your prospects a sense of
comfort, and increases their willingness to invest in you.

Secondly, you can also share the risk. One on my clients has
thousands of letters from his clients saying how great his
company is and how the price and service is superior to everyone
else they considered before making the purchase.

When prospective clients see and read these letters, they are put
at ease and the sale is much easier to make.

3. Make Every Sale More Profitable.

Why make a $500.00 sale when you could turn it into a $750.00
sale? “Up selling” is a very important part of growing your
business. McDonalds does this with their “Super Size” package.
They used to ask you if you wanted an apple pie with your order.
If you sell cellular phones, you could add on a leather case, an
extra charger, or extended warranty. Get the idea?

For all of your major products and services you should have
pre-created products and services that you can add on after the
client makes the purchasing decision. The initial choice to buy
is the toughest for your client. Once they make this choice it
will be relatively easy to decide to add additional value to
their purchase with one of your add-on items.

Other ways to increase the size of your order are with unique
services and exclusive products. Create three ways that you can
increase the size of your sale and start using them right away!

4. Make Every Client More Valuable Over Time

Since selling to existing clients is the easiest and fastest way
to increase your business, this is the first phase that an
established business should look at if they are to strategically
grow their business.

Know your clients needs. If they invest in one product, are they
likely to need another similar product or service? Can you make
a special offer to existing clients to see an immediate boost in
sales? Maybe you could form a joint venture with another
business that could sell your clients services. Inserts and
coupons to existing clients work wonders in many industries.

Manage your relationships with your current clients and look for
ways to deliver more value to them. This will lead to a growth
in business and profits.

Look over all four of these areas. Where are you the strongest?
Which area might you be weak in? As you look to build your
business, you may choose to focus on one or two areas. If you
are a new organization you will be looking to create more
prospects. If you have been in business for a while, then making
every customer more valuable over time is critical.

Ultimately you should excel in all four phases as you look to
Build a Better Biz.

Strategic Marketing™ – Part II

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In part one of this article we discussed the seven organizational
resources that are critical to optimize and three questions you
must answer in any prospects mind if you are to successfully
market and sell your product or service.

With that information in hand, it is not time to look at whom you
should be marketing to.

There are four groups to consider marketing to.

– The Universe
– Target Market
– Prospects
– Clients

The “Universe” is everyone outside of your immediate presence.
If you sold life insurance then the “Universe” would literally be
all the people in your country, state, or city.

“Target Market” is those people who meet a specific set of
criteria. They are the best fit for your offer. You can define
your target market in terms of demographics, needs, experience
based on your current customers, or an industry segment that you
wish to penetrate.

“Prospects” are those people out of your target market that have
responded to one or more of your marketing efforts and have shown
some interest.

“Clients” are those people who have used your products or
services in the past.

It is very common for business professionals to see the greater
numbers in “The Universe” and try and market to them. The
reality is that it is much easier, more cost effective, and you
will get better results if you try to be a big fish in a small
pond then a small fish in a big ocean.

Most companies do not have unlimited marketing budgets. Since it
takes nine marketing impressions to move someone to buy, and the
average person misses two out of every three marketing attempts,
you need twenty-seven marketing attempts to get those nine
impressions. That is a very costly proposition in a large pool
of people.

I have worked with companies that have been “land locked” by
franchise agreements. They operated in a small town of 24,000
people and could not market in other towns only 40 minutes away.
At first this concerned them, but they realized that now they
could focus on the “pond” instead of the “ocean.” In their
industry no one made a buying decision in their city without
giving them a chance at the business. Over the course of a few
years they had built up a very enviable marketing position.

First and foremost, market to your clients. They already have
shown that they trust and like you. It is always easier to go
back and sell an additional product or service to an existing
client. These sales will be the greatest in size and the highest
profit. You will spend less time generating more dollars then in
any other market segment.

After you exhaust your marketing efforts with your clients then
look to your prospects. They make the next most logical and
effective market segment to penetrate.

After you exhaust your prospects you will need to think about
working your target market. The better defined your target
market is, the more productive your efforts here will be. Look
at your existing clients. What do they have in common? Can you
categorize them by any common characteristics? Do they have
similar incomes, marital status, or family size?

Once you specifically know what your target market is, or your
“best fit” client, you can then begin to communicate with that
market in order to generate prospects.

You should probably never even think about marketing to the
universe. If you are a bank or McDonalds Hamburgers, then maybe
the universe is a viable market. But for the rest of us we just
do not have the resources to justify that kind of decision.

The next step in marketing is to look at “The Four Phases To
Marketing Success.” We will do that in our next issue. In the
meantime look at your business history. Spend some time today
carefully defining your target market. You will need that
information as we move forward.

Great marketing can help you achieve great results. Work with
these principles, and you will be on the road to Building a
Better Biz!

Strategic Marketing™ – Part I

Sam Articles 0 Comments

Sales are often referred to as the lifeblood of an organization. But, it is impossible to have an effective sales program without a corresponding and effective marketing initiative. Most organizations just start trying things in the hopes that one will generate some leads and resulting sales. Like all facets of your business, you should take a strategic approach. You should have an elaborate and systematic plan of action.

I begin by defining marketing as everything that happens before and after the sale to identify, acquire, magnify, and keep customers. In other words, any activity your company is involved in outside of the moment that the sale is made can be linked to your marketing efforts.

How your receptionist answers the phone will impact your clients, and also affect your marketing program. If the janitor does a good job, your place of business will look great and have a positive impact on your marketing efforts. The manner in which you bill your clients will resonate with them and contribute to your marketing efforts.

If all of these activities are involved in marketing then what does that say about all of the people in your organization? Right! They are all part of the marketing effort. They should be aware of this. They should also be consulted as to how they can best interact your prospects and clients.

Strategic Marketing involves the creative application or organizational resources designed to produce dynamic marketing results. Your organizational resources are valuable assets that when leveraged properly help you reach your goals. The resources you should focus on are:

– Money
– People
– Information
– Fixed Assets
– Technology
– Clients

“Money” is the funds you have in the bank. These are dollars that you can invest to work for you. Anyone can spend more money in an effort to generate a greater marketing impact. A great Strategic Marketer works to use their money wisely.

“People” refers to your team. The people you work with can have a tremendous impact on your success. Most highly successful business people I know attribute their success to the outstanding people they work with.

“Information” refers to product and industry knowledge that you have. I have a marketing philosophy that says, “It’s not what you know that counts, it’s what you help your prospects and clients know that will determine your marketing success.” We will discuss this in more detail later in this article.

“Fixed Assets” are your phone system, your fax machine, your computers, and anything else that you have invested in that is at your disposal. Many companies let their fixed assets only be used for one thing or let them sit idle much of the day. There are some great ideas for leveraging your fixed assets that we will discuss.

“Technology” refers to the technology that is available to you. Some of this technology you may already be taking advantage of, some may be available but you have not taken the time to learn or invested the money to own.

“Clients” are simply those people or organizations who have bought from you before. This includes those currently using your services and those who have in the past but for one reason or another have stopped.

The goal of strategic marketing is to produce greater results from your current resources.

To market any product or service you must be able to answer these three questions for your prospect:

1. Why should I buy?
2. Why should I buy from you?
3. Why should I buy now?

People buy to satisfy a need. It is that straight forward. Look at all of your clients and ask yourself why they bought and the answer is because they had a need. Maybe they needed to be more secure. Maybe they needed to be more comfortable. Maybe they needed to be better equipped. Any way you slice it it always comes down to need fulfillment.

It is important to understand that the need can be real or it can be imagined. Think of a football quarterback going into his local Mercedes Benz car dealer. The sales person walks over and asks which model the quarterback is interested in. The quarterback is looking at the E320. “Very nice automobile,” says the sales associate. “You’re the quarterback of the football team aren’t you?” she confirms. “You know,” she continues, “Last week two of your teammates were in and they invested in new automobiles. They each bought a shinny silver E320. You’re the quarterback. They block for you don’t they? They’re the ones down in the mud? You are the leader of the team. You really deserve the SL600.”

The quarterback could drive to work in a Hyundai. The need for a Mercedes may be real or it may be imagined. It really doesn’t matter as long as you help illustrate the need and make the sale.

It is your job to make sure that your clients all realize they have needs. If you do this then the only logical next step is to fill that need, or sell your products and services!

Clients buy from you for several good reasons. Below is a list of these reasons:

-Expertise
-Bonding
-Price
-Security
-Quality
-Solution
-Service
-Uniqueness
-Value

One of them, price, can be misleading. Some people buy from the lowest price supplier. Some people buy from the highest price supplier. And, some people like to do business with someone in the middle. You have to decide where you fit in.

Your goal is to give your clients as many reasons as possible to do business with you.

Clients should be encouraged to buy now. Your time is valuable, and so is theirs. If they do not buy from you now they could end up buying from someone else or their needs could change or disappear. The proper use of sales and incentives will help you make the sale now.

In Part II of Strategic marketing we will look at who do you market to and the four phases to marketing success. Understanding the importance of your Memorable Marketing Message will be important as we move forward. Work on developing as many reasons as possible for someone to do business with you, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!