Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Marketing You: The key to building a great business!

It has never been easier to locate people or suppliers in your industry, who are capable. Search engines and social networks allow us to find capable people and check them out, without even picking up a phone.

Your capabilities

you uniqueSo, if you are relying on being capable, as a way to build your business, you are going to find yourself consistently fighting to get noticed. You will find yourself consistently having to justify your fees. You will find yourself consistently having to compete against all those other capable people and businesses. You will find yourself unable to look to the future with confidence.

Of course, it is essential for you to be capable. However, that’s not even the baseline any more, now that prospective clients can find 10 capable alternatives on Google, in seconds.

Being more than capable

Fortunately, although there are thousands of people, perhaps millions, who are capable in your area of expertise, there is only one YOU.

  • You are unique.
  • You have a unique set of life experiences.
  • You have a unique personality.
  • You have a unique mind.
  • You have a unique way of solving problems.
  • You have a unique set of contacts and resources.

Focusing on what makes you uniquely valuable, is what allows you to rise above your competitors and grow a successful business. Learn how to provide a great service, then learn how to do it your own, unique way. The only place someone can get your unique service… is from you.

No more competition. No more fee sensitive clients. No more poorly suited clients.

Just clients and customers who ‘get’ your unique way of doing things and value you!

Do you have a marketing challenge, which you would like me to help you with? If so, this is exactly what you need!

How stand up comedy can help you give great business presentations

If you want better results from your presentations, I know you will find this post useful.

It’s about the direct link between a great presentation and a stand-up comedy routine.

A funny fact

Better presentations, comedyAny good comedian will confirm that you start a stand-up routine with your 2nd best joke and finish with your best joke. That’s because you need a good joke to earn the crowd’s attention at the start and you save your best joke for the end, as that’s the part of the routine people will most remember after the show.

A successful business presentation is very similar.

Getting your message across

When you are giving a presentation to a prospective client or customer, you need to start strong. You need to begin with something that will capture their attention and engage their interest. Stating one of the biggest benefits of your product or service right off the bat, is usually the best way to achieve this.

Once you have captured their attention and interest, you have earned some time. This is where you get into rapport with them and explain (whatever your presentation is about) in more detail and gain their feedback.

Finally, when you’re ready to finish the presentation, you need something extremely powerful to end with. Whatever you say at the close of your presentation will form a huge part of the way people think and feel about your product or service. Just as a comedian finishes with their best joke for maximum impact, you can finish with the most valuable benefit of whatever your presentation is about.

A simple framework

  • Start strong.
  • Build rapport.
  • Provide the key details.
  • Encourage feedback.
  • Finish even stronger than you started.

If your current business presentations ignore the importance of a strong start and stronger finish, it’s almost certainly losing you money. Of course, you can use this idea to improve the effectiveness of any type of presentation, from a sales presentation to a presentation to a local interest group or business group.

One word of caution

Don’t let the simplicity of this approach fool you into discarding it! I’ve used it to sell millions of pounds (and dollars) worth of products and services for my clients over the years.

Closing The Sale?

closed

Some business owners misunderstand the idea of closing the sale and it’s hurting their business.

Business is all about people and the relationships you have with them. With that in mind, how effective do you think it would be, for someone to attract a new client or customer, then close on them – get their money or their signature and consider the situation closed?

Closing the sale or opening a relationship?

That approach is hardly the stuff that exceptional business relationships are made of. However, because the term closing the sale appears, without context, in so many sales manuals and sales programs, many small business owners get the wrong idea.

They see it as an end objective. It isn’t.

Far from it, in fact.

Closing the sale is just the beginning

Closing the sale refers to closing the initial sales interaction… and opening the NEW, deeper relationship, which all great providers have with their customers.

Ongoing business success is not about closing on people. When someone agrees to hire your services or buy from you, it’s a beginning, not the end.

Do you have a marketing question or business problem? Then Pick My Brain for the answers and ideas you need.

What do you do with your resources?

I have a question for you: What do you do, with the resources you have?

I was prompted to write this post, after receiving an email from a reader, which contained an interesting statement. The guy was explaining that his business hadn’t grown for 3 years, despite him working 12 hours most days, when he made the following point:

If I had more clients I’d invest in professional marketing, but with so little money coming into the business, it’s hard to justify.

Less rare than you imagine

PrioritiesWhilst you may think that statement is extreme in its lack of business acumen, it’s based around a belief that many small business owners have, regarding investing in expertise.

For example:

  • Web designers get inquiries from small business owners, who claim they can’t afford a great website, when their current, poorly designed site is costing them a fortune in lost business.
  • Accountants talk to prospective clients, who are needlessly wasting thousands a year because their accounts are being poorly handled – yet these prospective clients claim they can’t afford a better accountant.
  • Garage owners often speak with people, who refuse to invest in inexpensive car maintenance – only to see the same people return with expensive problems, which could have been avoided.

It isn’t that these business owners can’t afford the expert help they need, it’s that they consider it less important than the other things they spend their money on.

It’s what we do with what we have

Whilst some people, like Seth Godin and Sir Richard Branson, start off in business with a wealthy family behind them and world-class connections, most of us start with very little. It’s what we choose to do, with the little we have, which makes all the difference.

You can tell a great deal about a person’s chances of building a successful business, when you look at their priorities.

For example:

  • When we place the desire to have lots of expensive holidays, above the need to invest in our business, we will eventually find there are no more expensive holidays.
  • When we ‘invest’ £5 a day visiting a coffee shop, yet claim we can’t afford a new company website, we will soon find we can’t afford to spend £100 a month on frothy coffee.

These small, daily decisions are extremely important. They are what set the sail of our business and ultimately direct us – either to success or to the recurring frustration that comes from a lack of progress.

Cheap can be expensive

I was talking to a friend recently, about his Apple MacBook. It looks really scruffy. The lid has scuff marks all over it. It’s old and he admits that it hasn’t been very well looked after.

I asked him why he was still using it. He replied, ‘I use it because it has worked perfectly for almost 6 years’. He was right. It still does everything he needs it to and the screen is easier on the eye than some of today’s notebooks.

apples and oranges

Comparing apples and oranges

When he bought that MacBook, he could have bought 2 or 3 cheap laptops for the same price. However, they would not have offered him the same ‘fit and finish’ or quality. To suggest that the cost of his machine was three times as high as those cheaper alternatives, would be to confuse the price with the cost. It would be like comparing apples with oranges.

The price was 300% higher, but all these years later, the cost wasn’t.

For instance:

  • You have to factor in the value of owning the same laptop for almost 6 years and enjoying a 100% hassle free experience.
  • You have to factor in the value of using high quality components for almost 6 years, like a great keyboard and screen – rather than the kind of keyboards and screens that ship with cheap laptops.
  • You have to factor in the time saved, and frustration avoided, by not having to configure each of the new machines and transfer data between them.

Of course, this isn’t a Mac / PC thing. I am a PC user myself and buying a similarly priced top end PC notebook, could have led to just as sound an investment.

The point here, is to look beyond the base price of any business investment.

What this means to you

As a business owner, you need to explain the value of what you provide, compared to YOUR cheaper competitors. Prospective clients and customers will happily pay more, so long as the value is clear to them.

Do you have any examples or experiences of great value for money, which seemed expensive at the time? Share your thoughts with a comment.

Do you have a marketing question or business problem? Then Pick My Brain for the answers and ideas you need.

6 ways to become healthier, wiser and wealthier

Here are 6 professional development tips, to help you become healthier, wiser and wealthier.

Healthy wealthy wise

  1. You can use your past as a school or a prison. Learn from the past and become better, not bitter.
  2. Stop trying to be perfect. Nothing is perfect. Perfectionists are stalling, hiding from criticism or both.
  3. Your time is more valuable than money. When a day of your life has passed, it is gone forever. Money can be replaced.
  4. The best plan in the world can’t work, unless you do. Plan – then move.
  5. Hope is not a business strategy. However, hope is essential. Never lose hope. Never.
  6. You can choose the correct route or the easy route. Only choose the easy route, if it’s also the correct route.

I hope you find this list useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with at least one of these points.

A sign of success

Some of the most powerful tools in marketing are also the simplest and least expensive. I was just thinking about this, as I observed the effectiveness of a 3 word sign, placed by a stairway in a coffee shop.

a sign

Additional seating upstairs

The sign simply said ‘Additional seating upstairs.’ In the space of 30 minutes, I saw at least a dozen people spot that sign, as they looked for a seat in an extremely busy coffee shop.

I can only imagine how many people see that sign each day and walk upstairs, rather than walk off to a competitor’s coffee shop.

Yes, this applies to your business too

Never underestimate the value of a well placed, brief, powerful message. By the way, if you think this point isn’t relevant to you, because you don’t run a high street business, think again.

That same concept can work equally well, to signpost people around your website and ensure they reach the most valuable pages.

I can help you build a massively successful business. To find out more click here!

How to earn the trust and attention of your marketplace

Today, I want to share a simple idea with you, to help you earn the trust and attention of your marketplace.

I’d like to start by asking you a question: Where are you going to find your trust opportunities today?

opportunity trust

Trust opportunities

Trust opportunities are those situations, where you can earn the trust of someone or an entire marketplace, by demonstrating trustworthiness.

For example:

  • When you tell a client or prospective client, what they need to hear (with compassion), rather than what they want to hear.
  • When you admit that you don’t know the answer, but will find it.
  • When you show up yet again on your blog with useful ideas, demonstrating your reliability and eventually your longevity too.
  • When you show people what you are capable of, rather than just telling them.

Trust and getting noticed

One of the finest ways to inspire your marketplace to listen to you, is to embrace your limitless trust opportunities.

Why? Because your actions speak louder than your words.

Your actions also speak louder than the unsubstantiated claims of your competitors.

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