Archive for the ‘Business consulting’ Tag

Reaching decision makers…how to find them, how to sell them…

 

Got a question recently regarding how to get to the decision makers.

One is, just ask for them. When asked what it’s in regards to, answer! Its not always that easy though; sometime you have to plan it out a bit…here’s some thoughts on how to start finding then getting to, then selling them.

Who are my biggest targets that I want first? Who has the best reputation that will help me tell the rest of the marketplace, “I have earned XYZ, Inc.’s business and have already helped them increase their business by XX% or they made X amount of dollars recently by using my service to increase their sales or lead gen.”

Once you’ve gotten that list it’s time to do your research on who runs the show and how they do it. Are they Methodical? Spontaneous? Humanistic? or Competitive? These traits will let you in on how to get their attention. It will also tell you how toaddress them when it comes time to sit with them and present your product or service.

Whether it’s doing a simple connections program to start sending a news letter about mobile media and what it does for businesses, or if you choose to give good marketing and sales info that a decision maker can really sink their teeth into. (be aware that doesn’t mean email the heck out of them or send them huge sales emails) Simple short relevant to their industry stuff will suffice. You will begin to earn their trust. Then you can begin to reach out to them. If there’s a Gate Keeper, sell them on the benefits of why the decision maker needs to get back with you.

Gate Keepers have a job, and it’s not just keeping the gate. Many operators and receptionists are regarded as trusted advisors to what is good and what’s not to invest time into. They won’t allow anything they view as ‘salesy’ through the gate as it does nothing really for the company. You could have the best thing for that company but if the GK sees it as ‘just another sales call’ it ain’t happenin. Make it relelvant to the company’s needs, you may wish to look in the news to see what trends or challenges the industry is facing and offer that up as a means to present your solution. ‘You know I just read that normal radio and magazine ads just aren’t driving as much traffic as it used to…have you heard of mobile marketing and what it’s been doing for many of these kinds of businesses now?’ Get the pic?

Your best bet to reach the decision makers is using a targeted approach. Buying a lead list may not be in your best interest. You may have to go work out at the gym to find out who the decision maker or decision makers are. If it becomes a maze make sure you get to as many of them as you can and see who has the most interest and invite them out to coffee or lunch. Explain to them the trends of their industry and what you know about them. This gives you credibility as a ‘solution bringer’ not just a salesman. Then begin to bring together what your solution offers and make your case from there. Teams are now more trusted than in days of old. Make sure you get them on board if there is one, if you’re dealing with small businesses you should be able to just call and get the appointment.

It can be hard when everyone is away, sometimes it takes a lower level to sell you first. I’ve done it on many occassions to get to the main person I sold the receptionist on it. I didn’t always get the sale, but I got the appointment. That’s your goal for now. Make that list, begin to reach out, and then get the appointment. Once you’re in there demonstrate expertise on their industry, then yours.

I have a friend that has a motto for Sales people…”Sum Tertius”. It means, “Me Third” First the great one above, then you (my prospect) and then me third.

Work it like that and you’ll have a recipe for success.

 

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New way to outsource…here at home

Virtual Receptionist

Domestic Outsourcing just makes sense

Small and medium sized business owners are starting to hit a wall with the way the economy is going. It’s not easy to hire employees at the drop of a hat that can be specialists, or even non specialists and bring value to the business for wages that make sense.

In comes the thought of outsourcing; send what you can overseas…or should you? The Big guys do it, why not us? Isn’t that how to keep costs down? Isn’t that the way to control my business without having to pay out of my profits so heavily?

I know of a couple people that have Virtual Assistants overseas and love it, and I’ve heard a few horror stories about how inefficient they are, comprehension issues, etc.

So where budgets no longer allow for the hiring of new employees there’s an age old challenge that allows businesses to holds its owners down; make them work in the business until they really make it big or they finally fail simply because they are overwhelmed with the work, become too busy to deal with the daily operations and can’t get out to make the cash register ring, or they just give up.

So what about outsourcing…Domestic?

As many small businesses are opening there are just as many business owners that are trying to figure out if it’s still worth the stress and the strain of having to build it from scratch only to get held up because they can’t afford to hire that employee they need, or just shut it down.

Numbers alone already show that even with 25% profitability that someone would have to gross thousands to employ one employee

What's my profit margin?

for 8 hours. (Essentially 10K+ gross to justify a $2100-$2500/mo employee at or around minimum wage)

So what to do then? Outsource? As far back as 2004 Inc.com already had an article that said States were rewarding companies that DIDN’T outsource offshore.

The reasons to do outsource are many. Ease of focusing on core functions, lower operational cost, (huge one) Access to global knowledge base for creative and strategic planning, possibly freeing up resources for projects that need capital infusion etc.

However, when your local and state government are giving you reasons to NOT do it, even with incentives to not outsource, how can you bear having to do all the work yourself? How do you justify the cost of having an employee? I’ve known family businesses with families that have this false sense of pride in having a “family business” when they are actually drowning in it losing time together, losing time to themselves, losing their own identities and becoming the business in a way that is just not fulfilling.

So what’s the solution? Outsourcing…domestic, on shore, at home.

But that’s insane! No company that is a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) will work with a small or medium sized business right? Wrong.

New Niche, new way for the little guys to get out there and compete with the big guys.

Keeping in touch with your customers Live is what keeps your business growing

The secret is using a “Shared” model where numerous companies can share in the talents of one seat rather than having to buy a dedicated agent. (or five to ten as most BPOs would require) Being able to participate in the marketplace with a means to cut costs on virtual reception, Live Chat interaction, Email interaction, Text SMS services, etc can really help to increase revenue by having the menial tasks cared for while you concentrate on what’s important…making the cash register ring.

You don’t have to sacrifice your business’ identity, and you get to keep control over your company’s brand identity and brand affinity. There is a new breed of outsourcing that will help you keep things local, efficient, accurate, and definitely out there available for your market. You just need to search them out and make sure they will do it according to your parameters or that there can be a viable work around to get the job done.

The obvious benefit to the economy here at home is that more jobs are created and more people can work for a living that makes sense to them and their families.

Top Five Reasons to Outsource…Domestic

There’s talk of how outsourcing would make sense. It’s not huge, but it’s out there and it’s gaining a bit of steam.

So what would the top five reasons to outsource domestic be? The same as doing it offshore, it’s just that now you can afford it.

Here’s a short list as to what the benefits are to using an on shore solution.

BPO

BPOs are big honkin call centers meant for the big boys

1. Lower cost for operations – Face it, hiring an employee will cost you thousands even if they are minimum wage. The load pushes it up even higher and that just doesn’t cut it for 8 hours. Especially if you need the coverage for more than that. Having someone sit around that is only 8 hours and not necessarily producing that whole time is just not justified.

2. Able to focus on core functions – Virtual Assistants are great for one person operations, virtual reception, Live Chat and email interactions are great for small businesses that want to continue to focus on doing what they do best. (Doctors, Lawyers, Service providers, I even know a guy that uses outsourcing to sell his cigarette alternatives) Think about this if you’re tied to your phones right now, this is a way to get away from them and not be tied to our business, but it can be tied to you. You deal with the intel at your discretion, not the prospect or suspect.

3. Freeing up internal resources – Instead of having the receptionist tied to a desk and hiring another office person, why not have a virtual receptionist take care of the appointment setting and other non-core functions of the office (things that can be handled outside the immediate office) while the receptionist focuses on customer care, and assisting with other office functions. (Filing, follow up, proactive response rather than reactive)

4. Some companies can realize the benefit of re-engineering their processes while having a service like this in place; Even the little guys need breathing space to really see what’s going on. So, why not have an outsourcing company do some of the work for you, when the time comes to take that particular process back there will be other processes still needing to be covered.

5. Convenience – Do you really like having to answer your phone 24/7? Do you like missing your chat and missing a sale? Is it worth the lack of customer service when you’re sick that no one ever gets to them and interacts with them live? Why would you sacrifice that? I know a lot of people that have already told me that their customers know sometimes if the phone isn’t answered they’re busy…really? You will settle for that when there are opportunities to have someone else that you teach how to answer for you, how to work as if your actual employee, and can give that personalized service that normally only you can provide? You will settle for that?

If you have, you’ve given up your life for a business that owns you. Reminder: The American Dream isn’t to be owned by your business, (or anyone or anything else for that matter) but to own a business and succeed it. Find an onshore solution that can help you with some of your processes and get them off your shoulders. There are more benefits to doing this than I’ve outlined, but these five should get you thinking about doing something different, or we live out the definition of our friend Albert Einstein when he spoke on the subject of insanity.

PP what?

So I have been having a conversation with a new friend on facebook that related to how PPC and online marketing works. With how fast everything is moving and how much innovators are getting ahead, there are a lot that are being left behind.

He chooses attraction marketing for his online business and I have to admit it has its merits to a certain degree. I have had that conversation with a few marketers. The conventional ones like the new stuff and want to figure out the latest and greatest. Seemingly though the rest of the world is slowly catching up and certain “outdated” methods are just now beginning to take effect. (it boggles me that it takes so long for many to realize and accept what marketing is bringing to the table and then to respond to it taking even longer…oh well, human kind)

Here’s an excerpt from that conversation:

Media buying in the “Google” realm can be a bit daunting to some. I am certified with my company in PPC, and it works well provided you take the time to learn the intricacies of it and then use it creatively. It’s truly the only way you can get ahead, and if you do it right, it can turn out a real profit.

SEM / SEO is a different beast even though they are keyword driven as well. They can prove to do some real justice to a business owners bottom line, but can get really pricey. Together they work hand in hand to create relevancy and freshness in Google’s realm and it can really help drive traffic…again, IF you take the time to learn it right.

There are some good tricks that you can use that the attraction and affiliate marketers use to get into the right spots on the content networks that have proven on more than one occasion that Google is still the way to go.(this is a given by most that Google is the only way to go, heck they created this whole PPC thing right?)

Attraction marketing is the “long funnel” marketing model that can be really effective when done with diligence and persistence. As you have found, it can be a great help in generating the kind of traffic you may be looking for. As for the honesty of pics, be assured you will run into a few that are not so open about who they really are, even business owners sometimes are a bit shy to let out their identities on facebook, linkedIn, etc.

Don’t want to get into a long drawn out blah blah about online marketing, but this is where everything has headed, and will continue to head until someone comes up with something else.

What do you think?

The three “R”s…

Recently Cory Treffiletti, president and managing partner for Catalyst SF, wrote a quick article on the three “R”s of marketing, and got things back to basics.

To go over them real quick they are; recency, resonance and relevance.

Recency is the amount of time that passed since the last time your particular target market saw or heard from you. Resonance is how you rang in their ear…did you make an impressino? Did you get their attention?

And then relevance…were you what they were looking for? If not at that time, now? Do you still have relevance in their mind?

A lot of times we think everyone should have what we’ve got to offer, and forget that a return on customer is a constant changing or adapting to what your customer or client needs at that time.

I was asked once what my definition of Quality was, after a bit of thought, I answered, “The best possible product or service given to the customer at that moment in time.” It could have been by most terms described as a cowardly answer as it seems to take no solid stance or no real posture to relevancy. I beg to differ though, if you have a mind set to adapt to what your customer wants when they want it, your competitor however strong a brand they may be, may lose that customer or client to you simply because you resonated in their ears a lot more than the familiar brand they are used to and with a product or service that is the one niche they are loking for, Can this be a curse too? yes, let’s be honest you have to have something that everyone will associate you with as far as a brand they can recognize or identify with.

An advantage to being that type of “quality” though, is the ability to adapt to your suctomers needs through constant metrics and testing to see what your market is looking for and giving it to them at that moment in time, There are some Business Intelligence tools that can help with that, and then sometimes it will take a bit more of just watching and listening to the marketplace to see what everyone wants or needs. Get in front of them and make your offering.

All in all though making sure your three “R”s are in order and continual, your business stands to profit the most when everyone knows you have what they want. Driving behavior is the key. If you can effect mass re-programming, you stand to profit well!

Find yours and Keep it Rolling!

Business Development…what is it?

Ok. So ‘ve had this presentation for a bit and felt it was time to put it out there both as a refresher course and a “newbie” course for those that don’t quite get what Biz Dev is.

Here isa link to a presentation that is fairly simple to understand, once I get audio put to it we will do more to get it out to everyone in the business world.

Many think this is elementary stuff, but I’ve been running into too many people that just don’t understand that when times are slow that is when you make your best investments in your marketing, and TRACK THEM! Then you follow your sales through and make sure your conversion ratios make sense, then you do it again. (you know; wash, rinse, repeat as necessary)

Here’s the link: Click here

Once you’ve gotten here,  comment and give me your thoughts on what you think are necessary steps to making business deveelopment really work in our now economy…and be careful, there are a lot of emotions running right now, be critical in your thinking, find facts not feelings.

Where’s the money flowing…

Seth Godin makes a real interesting point on his latest blog; where the money is there you’ll find the people working.

Interesting to me that it starts as an end still and then the means justifies it. (almost sounds like the torture debate going on right now)

Here’s a tag to Mr. Godin’s point; if there is money to be made you can well believe that someone is going to be searching for it.

He wrote that things change around once there’s money to be made in any particluar field. He related it to writers becoming publishers which is the reverse of what was. (When the Writer Becomes the Publisher / Seth Godin – 05/2009)

It would seem pretty logical that once the public wants something, they are willing to pay for it, so what is it that you have that they are willing to pay for? What message can you get across to them to tell them what you have is what they need? Many times I see “the best blah blah” or “Number 1 blah blah in the state” C’mon, do you really think that is going to attract attention? If it does, I’d be pretty surprised. Nowadays it’s just not enough. Mr. Godin back in 2003 made refernece to being remarkable(the purple cow). If you have a pizz,a shop fine, so does almost every other coner strip mall, what makes yours so different?

Here in Las Vegas, NV , a local pizza chain by the name of Metro pizza decided to become the “purple cow” of the valley by holding pizza making classes. Their pizza is great, but now they are the teachers of pizza making, and it’s doing very well. People are paying for classes and more are hearing by word of mouth how great their pizzas are. Do you think they can charge a bit more because of that?

Here’s the bottom line: You have to find the flow of money where it is moving and get in front of it. It’s the one time you want to get run over by the flood. Even if you can’t handle it you’ll have known what is was like and can most likey prepare for it better next time. Pizza makers to pizza making teachers,writers becoming publishers, what else can you think of that would set you apart and find you more income for your business through the right marketing message?

Keep it rolling!

Open mic..speak up!

Hey gang! So much has been goin on lately that I’ve kinda fallen behind. I apologize for that, and promise to keep up a bit better.

In fact, I’m going to have some guest writers posting about sales and marketing.

They will be young in some cases, some will be veterans…just keep an eye out. Every bit can be of benefit to you whether from  the seasoned vet or from the college intern. (Yeeeess I’ve learned some stuff from them too)

Today though, I wanted to do an ‘open mic’ talk about sales and marketing.

I’d like to know:

What do you do when you approach  a new concept? Where do you take it from there?

How do you formulate a ‘position’ on a new product? Once formulated, how long does it take to get it to market? Does your marketing plan introduce the product as it is ready or do you ‘pre-launch’?

What experiencecs have you had? Successes? Failures?

How did you recover from the hard ones?

Did the good ones last? How long?

This is really a means for you to ‘discuss’ what you found as good and not so good in your experience. I’m not asking for company names or product specifics. You can be vague and general to protect the innocent…lol

I would like some honest input though and perhaps I can take one or two of the examples and stretch them for everyone to see how those experiences can benefit their profession or business.

Keep it rollin!

What is this SEO thing anyway?

So what is this SEO thing anyway?

What wonderful news! I got a call from a young Entrepreneur that is CEO of an SEO company called, “Addoptimization”. She wanted to meet with me at the RIO before she left town to talk about some business development venture. Why not? Any “biz dev” stuff is worth checking out right? Not to mention she invited me because of our e-Book, “Power Marketing on A Budget Guide”, and wanted to talk about how to get that further out into the marketplace where it belongs.

So I said, “Sure I’ll see you at the RIO.” This after two invitations to go to the Consumer Electronics Show on Friday and Saturday, an invitation to a private industry party that I couldn’t make it to because of other meetings already arranged on Saturday night, and then finally fitting a time in to sit down and talk with her and figure out what she wanted to propose on Sunday Evening. (by the way the Affiliate Marketing Summit was starting this week…the place was a zoo! It took a few text messages to even find each other.)

Whew! What I got was a great schooling, in such a simple way, that I had to write about it.

What a concept! SEO! WOOHOOO! What the hell is SEO anyway? As I chuckle to myself, I have to think, “When we, the professionals sit there and talk to the “deer in the headlight syndrome” clients, about e-Marketing in general, do they really know what the heck we’re talking about”?

Alright, so, for you veterans, sit down, shove a piece of coffee cake in your mouth from the break room, grab a cup of coffee, and let me get this out for our clients, the business owners, that don’t speak Greek like we do.

SEO as an acronym means nothing to the average Joe. Even when spelled out most think, “huh?” Spelled out it means, “Search Engine Optimization”. Again, “HUH?”

Let me speak in a language you can understand…in fact everyone understands this language; Money. It translates “Lead generation” into “conversion” in other words money, mullah, dolleros, denari….get it? Not necessarily directly into conversion, but definitely greater rates of conversion. I’ll explain.

When someone goes online to find something they used to use what are called “keywords” as a means to find what they were looking for on the internet. In the old days that was easy since there were not so many providers of services and products. That’s of course no longer true nowadays as everyone has a website now. So how does someone find you? In the mess of everyone else that is in your industry, it’s a needle in a haystack search right? Wrong. This is where SEO comes in.

The search engines use certain rules of engagement to sort out who gets to be found. Those rules are applied to the net via their “search engine”. You type in keywords and the engine finds what you’re looking for…about 45,234,635 results to sort through… WHOA!

This is what you do, you hire someone that knows how to tweak your website enough that you get into the top ten, top three, or top spot. If you didn’t know after page one, unless someone else is totally dominating the first page, that most people stop searching, you are most uninformed and at the mercy of your competitors business. So it pays to get on page one ok?

How you get on page one, is through coding, and tweaking, and other tricks of that trade that I can’t even explain, nor do I care to.

This is the bottom line; if you don’t have SEO, you don’t have leads. You remember, leads? You know the thing that brings you sales? The thing that gets your business money? It’s the reason you got a website in the first place remember? To get more leads and get more business?

What you weren’t told by the guys that built your website is that you have to be submitted to the search engine(s), (so they know you’re there) and then you have to get SEO and be monitored so you keep on the top ten at least. If not, you get bumped down continually until NO ONE SEES YOU!

Gosh that’s harsh huh? But here’s the good news; although it does cost to do this, there is a greater substantial return on investment as you are now picking up 80% average of traffic looking for your product or service. If you have the right company doing it for you, you will get the ranking you need, and the right response rate to your site, and if your site is designed correctly, it will get you leads or sales whichever your site is designed to do.

This is a two part series and next round I’m going give you some tips on how to make sure you get the best “guy” for the job.

Keep it Rolling!

Lesson in e-Marketing

Wanted to share a recent experience with you as I think it’s real important e-Marketing stuff. I recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting with one of the e-Marketing Gurus of our time; Jim Lillig. By the way that was today at the RIO Hotel. He’s in town for the Affiliate Marketing Summit to be held next week.

It was an interesting meeting as I had pictured meeting with someone that was a younger guy with a lot of interesting fresh ideas about e-Marketing and perhaps some insight as to how to promote our e-Book, “Power Marketing on a Budget Guide”. What I got was a good education on performance marketing!

First off, Jim was a great guy that is a veteran of the e-Marketing genre. (no he’s not old, just quite experienced, in fact he looks really young for his age…and no I’m not telling) He’s been around since the days when people like Yanick Silver and others were taking the e-Marketing courses in Boulder. In fact, Yanick was in the seat in front of him, along with many others If you go to his blog at www.jimlillig.com you’ll see what awesome info he offers his readers!

His latest invention is Offeratti, a CPA network dedicated to helping many gain more out of their ideas and monetize biz opps much easier. He is in the mix with this right now doing business development.

When Jim got a hold of our e-Book, he immediately wanted to meet with us to discuss what we need to do to present this as a B2C product, versus a B2B product.We thought it a good idea to inivestigate and see what he was thinking.

As I sat and listened to him explain what is needed (which is quite a bit let me tell you) to make something like this be worth while to a consumer that is looking to make money NOW not later (which is business thinking) I began to rack up the hours necessary to make this work…hmmm this is going to take about 3-5 weeks once we get concept in place and then programming which is the real pain in the rear.

He agreed. It is an undertaking that can prove to be really profitable, as it follows my favorite business financial model, ROC (Return On Customer).You begin with something that you’re most likely not going to make anything on. (this follows affiliate style marketing at first) then you work on “conditioning” your new customer on buying continually from you. It begins a step by step process of products you provide to a consumer. It eventually ends up having them buy much larger ticket items from you.

With what Jim saw happening, I could see a great implication of growing a business community from a consumer community and even greater still a whole new database of clients that would need our help in getting trained on how to market both on and off line. (gee idn’t it convenient that we happen to be marketing consultants?)

The point I’m getting so far from Performance marketing is that it’s a killer way to monetize an idea much further into an elongated process of marketing continually to a database that you can monetize over and over. Without having to create a new marketing campaign to re-enliven your database!

Think of it this way; if you have an idea that can be developed into a step by step process, or a stage by stage implemented idea, that flows with ease, and can make money well within minutes, performance marketing can help you do the list build, (database) the continual marketing, (This means e newsletters or auto responders) and then the next thing in line to continue making the consumer money, you have then a formula for success!

Add this to Offeratti.com, and you now have a portal to place that idea into, have it watched over by a company that has the M.O.N.K.S (Monetizing, Optimizing, New idea, Keepers) working for you to make sure your idea gets the attention and distribution it needs to their internal network and a whole bunch more. This means your deal gets out to a whole bunch of publishing marketers online that will definitely get your product or service out there so you can get the money flowing! They’re doing it to make money anyway, If your idea rocks, so will your bank account!

I was very thankful to meet Jim, and am very much looking forward to creating this first step to get our e-Book out to a whole new bunch of home based entrepreneurs. The point is, there are many ways to market your idea, product or service. Question is which is right, and are you willing to develop it enough to make it worth while to your customers? Stuff to think about.

oh yeah

Keep it rolling!