Getting off your backside and "doing stuff"...
An interesting thing happened in our office last week.
We were discussing clients who were doing really well, and who had done well up to and over Christmas, and into the New Year.
And who continue to go from strength-to-strength despite the general doom and gloom that seems to be the prevailing mood at the moment.
We quickly concluded that as much as we like to think that they are doing well because of our brilliant advice, the powerful information that we had given them and our incisive feedback on their marketing strategies - there was actually one other MAJOR factor at work.
That is - that had all got off their backsides and "done stuff".
They had created and implemented new marketing strategies, run new tests, set up and run events and campaigns - taken our material and advice, and adapted and adopted it to their business.
One, a home improvements company, had organised and run a January special event - so many people turned up on the first day that they had to think on their feet, create a list and schedule a time for customers to return to speak to a sales assistant.
Another, a health and fitness client, dusted off and rolled out a successful flyer campaign that they had run last year, result - a flood of new clients signing up.
The contrast is even sharper when we look at businesses that have failed to achieve - generally, they have one thing in common, they just don't do (or do enough) stuff.
The reasons vary...
- Some say they have been "too busy"
- Some say "they tried that before and it didn't work"
- Other says "we are already doing it" (they're not, they just think they are - they may have done it once or twice, but they're not really hard at it testing, refining, tweaking, developing - they are just playing with it)
- Some say "I don't think it would work for us/our market/ our business/ in this climate".
But whatever the reason - real, perceived or imagined - the end result is that nothing gets done, or done at the right rate.
And the results are consistent - those that do stuff get results, those that don't - don't!
Sure, those that go for it have their failures, have their frustrations, miss a few deadlines and make some silly mistakes - but they get better results.
Especially when they are sharp enough to spot and hone the winners, and astute enough to identify and change or delete the failures.
And it is important to point out that they don't do stupid things like signing up to expensive advertising campaigns, or spending a lot of time on social media.
They follow the same advice that we give you through these Results Report newsletters and implement well thougt through high probability, measurable, direct response marketing campaigns.
So, enough of the harangue, what should you do?
Here are 9 "do stuff" things that you could commit to for 2012...
1. I will map out my strategies and drive my plan proactively, instead of reacting
Before you look at anything else for your business in 2012, step back and take a look at the big picture. What do you want to achieve? Where are the areas of growth for your business?
Then map out the journey a prospect will go through (Creating a Marketing Machine), from first contact to conversion to repeat purchase.
Make sure all the elements of your marketing fit together cohesively, and look to increase the conversion rate at EVERY stage of the sales process.
2.) I will track ALL my marketing, from lead to conversion to future sales
There is nothing more true in marketing than the old adage: "If you do not measure, you cannot manage."
The problem is, everyone pays lip service to this truism, but the importance of measuring and testing your marketing is often overlooked.
The biggest excuse business owners use is that they are too busy to measure. However, if that's YOU ... think of it this way. You may be "busy" with procedures that are "gifting" business to your competitors, or at the very least, not achieving the profit margins you deserve.
The bottom line is - if you constantly test the effectiveness of everything you do, while at the same time constantly trying to improve performance, you will ultimately succeed in optimising your profits.
3.) When I am selling, I will do more "ASKING" than I do "telling"
Unquestionably THE most powerful approach in selling is to ask questions - questions about your prospect, their situation, their needs, and what they're looking for.
Again, this seems SO patently OBVIOUS!
But listen to yourself. Listen to your sales people. Are enough of the right questions being asked to truly diagnose the problem or need? There's a real temptation, especially with a salesperson with lots of product knowledge, to revert to TELL MODE.
Be like an investigative doctor, probing deeply about the symptoms in order to diagnose the problem before prescribing the treatment. Doing it any other way would be professional malpractice. The great thing about asking questions and listening to the prospect's answers is that you can then 'prescribe' the solution exactly for their needs, using their language.
Getting to know what your prospects are looking for is the quickest way of increasing your conversion rates, the effectiveness of your ads, and ultimately, your bottom line.
4.) I will follow-up my old leads and my "no's"
Many years ago, a switched on client of ours purchased another tree surgeon business. He came across their old 'quote book', but was told all those leads were dead.
Not daunted, he got his team to follow up every 'dead' lead, until they told him not to. He simply DIDN'T give up.
Result? He converted 32% of the old leads on the first follow up! And a further 10% in subsequent approaches. He estimated that one idea was worth around £60,000 in additional sales to him, and more than funded the purchase of the business he'd taken over!
So what should you do? Ensure you squeeze every possible sale, (as long as you do it nurturously and ethically) with a Multiple Contact Strategy.
5.) I will only create 'educative' marketing material
Businesses the world over pour money down the drain with 'branding' ads. Ads with catchy slogans and lots of white space. Ads that quite simply do not work.
Sure, a punchy headline and a compelling offer are important, but if you do not educate as to the REASONS WHY a prospect should act (whether that is contacting you, requesting a free report, or buying from you), they won't.
You wouldn't expect gimmicky, punchy lines from a salesperson, and selling in the written word is no different.
Make a point this coming year to only create brochures, advertisements, sales letters, etc., that EDUCATE.
6.) I will create a Packaged Information white paper (or another white paper)
One of the best ways to increase the number of prospects who contact you is by creating a white paper, buyers guide or special report.
It is a great way to find prospects at all stages of the buyer cycle, from the ready-to-buy to those who are interested but perhaps months or years off buying.
But more than that, having a 'white paper' also positions you as the 'expert' in the industry, and gives you an opportunity to pre-educate your prospects before selling to them.
So it has a two-fold effect: it increases leads, and it increases conversions.
7). I will test Google AdWords (properly)
Like it or loathe it, Google is the gateway to online success for most businesses. And with organic results so elusive, hard and expensive to achieve, Google AdWords (properly set up, tested and refined) could deliver up to 50% of your total sales revenue this year.
If you are starting from scratch, that could double your sales.
We have seen this happen, more than once. If you haven't tested Goole AdWords, or tested it properly, can you really afford to let another year pass and leave it to your competitors to scoop up this business?
8). I will check that my Website incorporates "call to action" elements
A salesperson who does sales meetings without asking for the order would have a very short career in your business.
But what about your website, and more specifically, your key website pages. Do a quick check now - do each of your important pages ask for the order? Do they request an action, or ideally multiple actions? For example - complete the form and download our buyers guide, request an appointment, sign up to our newsletter, call us now - and more.
If not, your website will be underperforming, just like the salesperson who doesn't ask for the order. You can (and should) change that now.
9). I will regularly communicate with my prospects and customers with email broadcasting
Winning a customer is the hard (and expensive) bit. Turning a customer into a client - who goes on to place multiple orders, refer new clients and who stays with you for years to come - is where your profit comes from, and where the value of your business will be built.
But how often are you communicating with your prospects and customers? Do they hear from you enough? Do they hear from you about new products, new services, special events? Do they get your case studies and great articles?
This year commit to doubling your current rate of communication - if you sent 8 emails last year, send 16 this year. If you sent none last year - send 8 this year!
The results could transform your business. When you talk to your contacts, good things happen.
Just do stuff!
So go on then, what's the hold up? Just do stuff!
Make 2012 great, regardless of what the economy brings.