Monday, October 31, 2011

Get Old Fashioned Referrals

Franklin Lyle (Frank) Bettger (1888 – 1981) was a salesman and self-help author. He was the father of longtime actor Lyle Bettger. He played Major League baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1910 under the name Frank Betcher. He was demoted from playing time. Very disappointed, he went to the manager and asked why he was demoted.

The manager told him "You have no enthusiasm"
Bettger told the manager: "I'm just trying to hide my nervousness."
The manager replied: "Try something else. That's not working."

Frank Bettger was an interesting fellow. In 1947, after some prompting from mentor Dale Carnegie, Frank Bettger wrote How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.  An old fashioned book that is in concept as fresh today ever it was. 

He got right to the bottom of selling. 

He said:
You can’t collect a commission until you make a sale. 
You can’t make a sale until you write the order. 
You can’t write the order until you have an interview. 
You can’t have an interview until you make the call. 

The call is the whole foundation of the business of selling. 
 Frank Bettger's  13 Secrets To Success In Sales:

1  Enthusiasm
If you don’t FEEL enthusiastic, ACT enthusiastic. Soon, you’ll BE enthusiastic. Double your enthusiasm and you’ll probably double your income. 

2  Order (self-organization)
Set aside time to plan how you will spend your time. Think about what’s most important. Then do those things first.

3  Think in terms of others’ interests
Find out what your prospect wants. Show him or her how to get it.  

4  Questions
Questions get you further than comments. Let your prospect talk while you discover his or her wants. 

5 Key issue
Find the prospect’s basic need or main interest. Then focus solely on it! Ask “why” and “in addition to that” to discover the key issue. 

6  Silence (listen)
Good listening works magic in selling. Listen intently intentionally!

7 Sincerity (deserve confidence)If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, neither will your prospect. Give your prospect the service you would want.

8  Knowledge of my business
Keep your mind young by continuing to learn about your business. 

9  Appreciation and praise
Show people you believe in them and expect great things. Don’t go overboard – just give them your honest appraisal.

10  Smile (happiness)
Smile your best smile at everyone you see. Think about all the things you have to be thankful for … and smile. The world will smile with you. 

11  Remember names and faces
Take a mental photograph of the person’s name. Repeat it immediately in the conversation and then silently to yourself. Associate his or her name and profession. 

12  Service and prospecting
Take care of them and they will take care of you. Follow-up on all leads immediately.
Set up for your next contact on this contact. 

13 – Closing the sale (action) In modern language this is really helping the customer to get their solution.
Proceed through the sales process – Attention, Interest, Desire, Close. Conclude your presentation with the magical question, “How do you like it?” Welcome objections. Don’t be afraid to ask for the money. 

Why Don't People Give Referrals Easily?
Most people don't hold back from referring business to you because they are mean spirited. Mostly people just don't think about it. To be frank, most people really don't think of your business at all in any way beyond thinking do you have something they want to buy or access. 

Nobody cares about your business. If you want referrals you will have to make it part of your process to make it easy for customers to refer you. As an old wise insurance salesman that worked with me once shared - to get referrals you must be referrable. Indeed, as I recall it was this same gentleman who first introduced me to Frank Bettger's work.

Ask For Referrals
If you want referrals to someone you should know that people don't refer 'up'. They will only refer to someone on their level or below. So if you want quality referrals you need to ask people who are the kinds of customers you want. 

Of course if you want A Grade customers you have to be A Grade at what you do!
If you are working with a good client then you want to let them know you appreciate their success and a good way to open the discussion for referrals is to ask them:  "Of the people you know in business, who do you admire most and why?"  Then after you learn who that person is, ask to meet them. Have lunch with them both and learn more about the person and do not attempt to sell them anything! If you find you develop some rapport with them, then you can feel out if there is any way that you can be of service. Never pull out the desperate high pressure sales pitch on someone you meet this way!  After the lunch you can follow up with an appropriate card in the mail to say thanks. And another to your client for the opportunity. 

For general referrals you may want to talk to the client about work you' ve just done and ask them "Who do you know (like you) who needs this kind of work too?" 
But back to  Frank. Frank Bettger not only asked for referrals. He also followed up and if the referral was slow coming he had a strategy for that too.

He Who Hesitates ... Needs A Hand

If the customer hesitated to give a name, he'd help them this way.  "That's all right, Mr. Wright. I think I understand how you feel. Give me the name of someone you know, under fifty, who is making money. I promise you I'll never mention your name." 

"Mr. Wright, my name is Bettger. I'm in the life insurance business. A mutual friend gave me your name with the understanding that I wouldn't mention his name. He told me that you have been very successful, and that you would be a good man for me to talk to. Could you spare five minutes now, or would you rather I stop by some other time?"

 Times have changed in so many ways since 1947 when Frank Bettger wrote his book. But some things that have changed have been unfortunate. Like the tendency for people in business to forget about listening to what customers want. About taking an interest in the client and coming to the sales process with an attitude of serving the needs of the customer and developing rapport and relationship.

Work through a reliable process.

If what you are doing isn't working remember Frank's manager's words...

"Try something else. That's not working."

And get enthusiastic about it!

 Need help developing a referral strategy? Let's talk.

Remember to build your mailing list
What to do next when you feel like giving up
Send cards for marketing and friends automatically using this Cloud app
Step up in your business - Here's how to improve performance

How to get your business found online

Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Business Writing Not Just On The Wall

A quick look around local websites in Anytown will show you that there is a problem with how businesses are presenting online and wasting the opportunity to be of service to customers seeking what they provide.
As ths article from Entrepreneur outlines  there are many reasons that combine which stop business from selling more (online and back in the store) than they could.

Web content is one of the critical factors in a business being found in search but it goes much further than that.  First people have to find you. Then they want to find what they are seeking and for your website to serve them well it needs to have good information that addresses their interest. They need to be able to find your location easily, your contact details and the extent of the services you provide. All of these are just the beginning and the more you can add in layers of well targeted written articles and pieces of information, the more it will help the site be found online and answer the questions the customer is seeking. So your content helps in two ways 1) Getting found online and 2) Showing customers good useful and helpful information.

So what is content? Content is really the professional know-how that you have as a business about your product, how your products can be used and what's good about those products and services. A recent study by Focus found that "Ninety percent of B2B buyers prefer to consume information online." The challenge is to make your content valuable and easy to find.

But your website is just one place for you to be providing good content. You can be adding good content to your profile on social business networking sites and the many free directory sites that are available now, which also allows you to add a link back to your website (this is valuable to help your search placement on the search engines) (Ask me if you are not sure what these are).

Content can also be made available for offline too, and one of the common written pieces that businesses don't have is a Business or Corporate Profile. You don't need to be a large organisation to need one of these for your business. You could be a small accountancy firm or a supplier to industry and this gives an outline your story and your professional bona fides.

When the act of writing for your business is given some importance you fill find that you can do things you could not do before. You can easily let people know about your business, you can include testimonials, and position yourself as the expert in your field and professional in your way of relating to customers, potential business partners and investors. Your quotes can be sent with supporting material to reinforce your professional approach and give customers confidence in your expertise.

Ultimately your business needs to be able to show its best face to the world. Online or offline, it is the same. Good quality information, great tips and well presented material shows that you know your industry, you know what customers value and you are thinking of their needs, not just your own. Your content should reflect that you are there to serve their needs and this should be the focus behind all your communication pieces.

What Content Do I Need?

Content for your website and brochures should show:

  • Who you are (We like to know there is a person around)
  • What you do and sell
  • How to contact you
  • Where you are (even if sales are made online it gives some certainty that you will be available if something goes wrong)
  • Quality photographs of your business, your people and your service (well tagged for online to help enhance search)
Adding More Value
Extra content that you can include:
  • How-to articles
  • Product reviews
  • What to use where
  • Things to know about using products or services
  • Specialty insight into common problems you see and how to fix them
  • Good service stories
  • Happy customer stories

The list is endless and once you begin to think of Content being a high value part of your inventory then you will never be short of topics to write about.

Remember - you not only need content online - it needs to be kept 'fresh' so added to regularly. Search engines put a high value on good quality content and freshness.

Gettng started can be the hard part. Email me if you would like me to review your content.
Did you know? Ask about my blog and content writing service to get you on track.

To your success!

Like to discuss your business?

Lindy Asimus
Business Coach

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Website Is Part Of Your Social Marketing

An Apple Is Not An Orange...And They Are Both Fruit

Okay so I've been putting off writing on this topic but recent posts and comments that have been put to me make now as good a time to dispell some myths that are percolating around which on the face of it sound plausible but are built on very shakey foundations and show more a lack of understanding than they do insight into online marketing and especially what social media is all about.

Let's take this headline for example "Ignore the Social Media Hype. Your Business Will Always Need a Great Website"

No kidding.

Let's break this down.

Social media and the use of it for promoting a business does not and never has meant that your website is not necessary.  And there may be people who will want to sell you a Facebook page that will tell you it is all you need but they are not people who deserve your attention.

Your website is as important as ever - and social media is the spark that can help drive more traffic to your site. All the reason you could need for ensuring that your website is up to scratch ( and most are not) and that your links from social media are leading to your website.

Scratch that. Your website is more important than ever.

Your Business Will Always Need A Good Website.


And this is often not what businesses have.

Many companies have websites look good and have cost a lot of money and say virtually nothing of interest to people who will probably never see it anyway because it doesn't have any effective search engine optimisation.  Google can't find it and neither can customers. Or worse - if they do there is nothing useful for them to read.

Here are some more mistaken beliefs that have caught my attention lately.

Social media is not for every business.

This may be true if your idea of social media (marketing) is only about directly selling goods.

For perhaps most businesses this is not going to be the result of using social media. But for some businesses social media can deliver sales directly.

This is not necessarily even the most useful means of using social media.

So what can social media be useful for in addition to direct sales?

For many in business, "Having a chat with a stranger" is not high on their list of priorities. Some issues that are though, and if they are not already, should be high on the list of priorities, include:

  • Researching your marketplace
  • Being on top of trends
  • Meeting people of influence in your chosen area of interest
  • Meeting future customers
  • Meeting future business partners
  • Learning ahead of the curve
  • Understanding customer sentiment
  • Learning
  • Teaching
  • Building your profile
  • Becoming a credible expert
  • Meeting new people in your community
  • Gaining new skills
  • Being on top of changes that are coming
  • Keeping current
  • Managing your company's online reputation
  • Being accessible to customers
  • Showing transparency and approachability
  • Developing wider competencies
  • Engaging in ways that are not available offline
  • Observing different ways of thinking
  • Seeing new ways of doing things that can work in your business
  • Increase exponentially the number of people who know your business
That's a few things to start with.

And no it isn't a spectator sport. Neither is it a broadcast medium.
Oh and no... These benefits don't all come from having a Facebook page.

First you need to start with a better framework for what you imagine social media to be.
And get your website in order. 

 How many other benefits can you think of?

Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website
  Quick And Dirty Business Review

Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Business Intelligence: For Small Business Too!

In one of the not-so-rare synchronous events a blog  by Thom Singer arrived in my inbox on the topic of business analysis. He makes some good points about business analysis being the realm of larger companies with big budgets and not so much that of small and medium businesses.

It's a drum that I seem to bang a lot with clients and that is the issue of understanding the critical dynamics within a business, knowing where customers come from, what they do and why they deal with you - or why they don't.  For small business there are ways to streamline the process of collecting this information but much of it can be done with old fashioned methods.

Simply, if you know that Action A leads to Result X - if you get a good result then you can do it again. You can do it more often and predict your results over time. If you don't know what results or lack of results come from certain actions (or inactions) you can't. Simple as that.

Marketing Not Gambling

If you don't have that business intelligence for your business then you don't know a whole lot of things that you need to know. You don't know what's working. You don't know what will improve your results and you don't know what it is costing you aside from the money you spend, when you pay for that marketing initiative, in lost opportunity and sales not made.

Just like paying for that Yellow Pages ad and never tracking sales.  That's not marketing or even advertising. That's gambling.

Just like hiring employees you want to perform well... but you never instruct fully as to their role and what you expect from them, never manage effectively, have no useful reporting process to monitor their progress and never bother to review their need for training or resources. What is that?

Moving to online presence that a company generates, from the website to use of social media platforms to promote the business it is clear that the same kind of Business Intelligence (BI) is not understood and so not being captured.

Not All Websites Are Created Equal

A cursory investigation of a local chamber shows websites that are poorly constructed, not functioning in any way to generate interest and not likely to be found in a search. Oh some of them look good! Most of them don't and to Google they may as well be a blank page with nothing showing on the site.

Who is to blame? Ultimately it comes down to the business owner to make sure they know at least enough to know when they are getting quality information and not bragging from someone who talks a big game but produces nothing of substance.

Commonly I ask business owners "How do you access your website traffic analytics to check?" All too often the response is a blank expression.  This is the first question I ask when assessing a current strategy because it is clear - that if they don't know the answer to this question ... there is no point asking them anything more technical about the site because they don't know.

How then, do you make a reasonable judgement about the value of the work done so far on the website and how do you reasonably then commit to good actions going forward?

This lack of understanding results and Cause and Effect in business is not confined to poor results. It could be that the results are good - but the numbers are not suffiently understood to allow the owner to recognise that hey - this advertising we just did has not only been good - it has given a result 3x better than anything else we have ever done! And suddenly the cost has a context by which we can measure performance objectively and track against future advertising.

You cannot get good business intelligence by guessing!

Of course the response from some business owners to questions of this nature can be "Oh I'm too busy for that!"

Too busy to know if the money you are spending is being wasted.

Too busy to know if you're not spending the money that could be increasing your profit three-fold. 

Measuring is important. Too often, people go mad measuring metrics that don't matter. And neglect those that do.

Here are some simple business intelligence items that you should know now:
Where do I find the traffic statistics for my website?
Where is traffic to my website coming from?
Where is it not coming from that it should be?
Where are my customers finding my business?
Who are my top 50 customers who have spent the most with me over the past 3 years?
How much have they spent with us over the past three years?
How did they come to be our customers in the first place?
How many other customers have they referred to our business?

That's some that I like to start with. These are simple questions to which you should already have the answers. If you don't then you need to fix that... that's the first step.

The second step is to learn what to do with it.

Quick And Dirty Business Review
Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website

Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog