5 Marketing Moves For Business Success

5 Marketing Moves For Business Success[EXTRACT]
Marketing has traditionally been broken down to a formula known as “the 5P’s” – the five factors that make up an organization’s marketing strategy. If these are done consistently, well, and for a long enough period of time, these 5 factors also become part of their brand.So far, so good. But the problem is that no one can seem to agree on exactly which 5 P’s are important, so the list typically includes: people, product, place, process, price, promotion, paradigm, perspective, persuasion, passion, positioning, packaging, and performance.Wow. Sounds complicated, huh? I’m going to try and simplify effective marketing into five moves – five concrete actions – that you can implement immediately. Your challenge: try one or more of these NOW.Move 1: Move UpWant to try something different? The next time you’re speaking with a prospect, when the question of price comes up, DOUBLE your normal price and see what happens.Am I crazy?Maybe, maybe not. The other side of the coin is that maybe YOU’RE crazy for not charging for VALUE, but instead competing on PRICE. Businesses that compete on price lose. Period.The easiest thing your competition can do is undercut your price. In fact, the first thing they will copy is your price. It takes no imagination, no creativity, no innovation, no market leadership, and no vision to lower the cost of something. And it hurts all parties involved. Lower prices always mean lower profits. Studies have shown that a 1% drop in price leads to an 8% drop in profit.What happens when you double your usual price?Several things. Prospects perceive:* An increase in the value of your product/service* An increased level of prestige in owning/using your product/service* An increased level of trust in you – and all your other offerings (the halo effect)* An increased level of confidence that your product/service really worksA marketing consultant that I respect once gave me a very valuable piece of advice. She said, “Be expensive or… be free.” Being one of the most expensive providers of a service is remarkable – people talk about their $200,000 Italian sports car or $21,000 platinum-plated cell phone. Nobody talks about their $19,000 GM sedan.I’ve seen some companies double their prices, with great success, and some independent consultants double [and triple] their fees. In each case, they got more clients, not fewer. Details on how to do this in Move 3. And perhaps this means you’ll lose a few unprofitable clients along the way. If you don’t lose some unprofitable clients, you won’t have room to serve the more profitable ones when they come along. It’s professional suicide to continue focusing on serving a market sector “that can afford” to pay your old (low) prices. Price doesn’t find clients. VALUE finds clients. And those clients that value your work should – and will – pay according to that value.Free is also a powerful price point. And, of course, free is remarkable. Which is another facet to moving up – you move up when you give VALUE first. For free. Got a great idea for a prospect? Great! SEND IT TO THEM. Even better, got a business lead for them? Hand it over! Did you come across an article, a profile, or a piece of research that directly impacts their business? Clip it and mail it to the top person with a brief note. That prospect’s door is now open.

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Move 2: Move InMoving in means moving closer to the customer. Live in their world, think about their problems, and think about their clients and prospects. What’s the first step? Research. Preparation. Homework. Industry, regional, business, and company news is now at every salesperson’s fingertips on the Internet. If you’re not intelligently researching your prospect’s issues, challenges, and pressures, how can you possibly come in with a credible solution?Don’t like sitting at the computer all day? An even better idea is to hit the street. Visit businesses, talk to your contacts in the fields you serve, get some firsthand information about what’s going on in their world – what are their challenges, perspectives, obstacles, priorities; what are their dreams, their “only-ifs,” and their biggest aspirations?Is this a lot of work? You bet. Do the majority of salespeople put in this kind of effort? No way. Which is exactly why YOU should. That brings us to Move 3.Move 3: Move AheadMoving ahead means going above and beyond what most salespeople are doing. It means putting in the work – yes, the real, hard work – that makes the difference between being a peddler and being a partner.Want to move ahead? Start by avoiding doing things your prospects dislike.Here are the top 10 things salespeople do that buyers dislike according to a Purchasing magazine survey. See if you (or your sales team) might be guilty of any of the following professional no-no’s:10.Failure to keep promises9. Lack of creativity8. Failure to make and keep appointments7. Lack of awareness of the customer’s operation (“What do you guys do here?”)6. Taking the customer for granted5. Lack of follow-through4. Lack of product knowledge3. Overaggressiveness and failure to listen2. Lack of interest or purpose (“Just checking in”)… and the Number 1 dislike: Lack of preparation.You can also move ahead by charging more (remember Move 1?) and DEMONSTRATING the VALUE of your product service with hard numbers.In his insightful book, How to Become a Rainmaker, author Jeffrey Fox calls this process dollarizing. Dollarizing is one of the most powerful sales techniques because once you show (with real numbers that your prospect will provide you with) the return on investment – how THIS much spent will generate THIS much savings, or profits, or sales, or new clients, or hours, etc. – you basically shift the conversation from selling what you’re selling to SELLING MONEY.I often lead clients through an exercise called “The Money Machine” that helps you spell this out in hard dollars, very clearly.The Money Machine goes one step further because you can use it monetize against:* competing products/services* the prospect doing nothing* the prospect doing it themselves* other things the prospect is already comfortable spending money onSuddenly, your product/service becomes a real “investment”: meaning, you can show people the math behind “this much IN” for “this much OUT.” There’s nothing much easier than selling money at a discount!Here’s another way to move ahead: stop the ridiculous game of “closing the sale.” Closing is not a technique; closing is not a trick; closing is not about magic phrases and looks and power games. Closing should be a natural extension of your conversation, and the two most effective questions you should ask your prospect as you near the end of your value-based discussion are:1. Does what we’ve talked about so far make sense?2. What would you like me to do next?Answer to Question 1: If you’ve prepared for the meeting, discussed the prospect’s key issues, and monetized the value of your solution, of course it makes sense!Answer to Question 2: “Let’s go ahead” or “Let’s do the paperwork.” Or if your prospect answers this with “Get Out” or “Drop Dead,” you have a pretty good idea that the sale is not ready to close. Seriously, carefully listening to the answer to this question will allow you to address any hidden concerns, hesitations, or issues – right then and there before the prospect would otherwise blurt out an abrupt “No!” to any other traditional “ask for the sale” verbiage that so many sales trainers recommend. Remember, you’re not there to sell – you’re there to HELP THE PROSPECT BUY. If you need to tattoo that on your forehead, be my guest.Move 4: Move AsideHere’s another thing that most sales and marketing people have a hard time with: you can’t be all things to all people. Move Aside is about finding your niche, and claiming your expertise in a narrow area of specialty. In plain English, this means you want to become the “Go-To Guy” for your specific product or service – the exact opposite of a “jack-of-all-trades and master of none.”The people you speak with will have a very different reaction to these two mental images of your product/service:* “I think we can make this fit.”* “This is exactly what we’ve been looking for.”Let me give you an example. There’s a real company that lists among its services “Carpet removal, house cleaning, odd jobs, catering.” Now, I don’t know about you, but when I want a caterer, I’m looking for someone who does catering 24/7. I don’t want to have to worry about “Did they wash their hands after the carpet removal job and before serving my guests?” In fact, if I’m looking for a caterer for a wedding, I might even be drawn to “Wedding Bells Catering” much more so than “Sam’s Catering” or “Good Eats Catering.”Here’s another example. There are lots of graphic design companies that do all sorts of work – websites, logo design, brochures, collateral material, wine labels, book packaging, etc. You name it, they do it. And business is generally OK. (But let’s face it, if they were going like gangbusters, they probably wouldn’t have sought out my help!) Some of them had a hard time differentiating themselves from the competition and others found it challenging to develop a strong client base and referral network. We’ve had some good success developing their current business, but when we delve into the possibilities of “Moving Aside” and carving out a real niche, or developing one thing that is their flagship specialty, most of my clients get cold feet.One company (not my client – too bad for me!) that has done this with fabulous results is MaxEffect. They made a tough call. They moved aside. They could obviously do a wide variety of things with their graphic design and advertising skills, but they do ONE THING: they work exclusively on yellow pages ads. That’s it. If you want a killer yellow pages ad with bold graphics, custom or stock photography, clean layout, and a strong, compelling message, these are your go-to people. They’ve designed hundreds and hundreds of yellow pages ads and they’ve built a fanatical client base, and they get a steady stream of referrals – not to mention the steady and growing flow of client work.

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Move 5: Move AloneRight now, you are lost in a sea of gray. Me-too rules the day. Everywhere you look, there is more and more and MORE of the SAME OLD THING sold by the SAME OLD PEOPLE in the SAME OLD WAY. Boring. And deadly.The problem is that people don’t buy gray. If you and your company and your offerings blend into the background, you might as well close up shop right now. Let me put it another way: all companies go bankrupt. It’s just a matter of time. Want proof? Out of the 100 largest companies of 50 years ago, 17 survive today. And none of those 17 are the market leaders they used to be.Why? Shift happens. If you’re not separating yourself from the crowd, you’re blending in – and nobody will even notice you, much less seek you out and tell their friends about you.Here’s an example of a company that really hasn’t been doing a bad job – but they’re also not the standouts they used to be.On a recent call to American Express, an executive was straightening out a billing problem. At the end of the call, the operator asked her, “Have I exceeded your expectations for this call?” and the exec flatly answered, “No.” She had a billing problem, and the rep fixed it. That’s the expectation.Now, if the rep had offered the executive a $50 American Express gift check to be used at any of American Express’ online retail partners, THAT would have exceeded expectations, right? That story would be worth repeating to 10-20 people. Can you imagine the executive telling anyone, “Hey, I called AmEx to fix my billing error. Guess what? They did it!” That’s not moving alone.Here’s a good test to see if your marketing and sales strategies are in the category of “moving alone” – they are if you’re doing something that:* is “simply not done” in your industry* customers will make a remark about (remarkable!)* goes against conventional wisdom (I call this “uncommon sense”)* others (including your competition) think is “crazy”* others (including your competition) will actually be AFRAID to copyGet silly. Get crazy. Get an attitude. Get noticed.Author Seth Godin perhaps put this most succinctly when he said, “Safe is risky. And risky is safe.”Let me conclude with a recap of the 5 Marketing Moves:1. Move Up = Get more valuable2. Move In = Get closer3. Move Ahead = Get smarter4. Move Aside = Get specialized5. Move Alone = Get noticedTaken together, these will also help you make the Ultimate Move = Get insanely great.And remember the immortal words of Jerry Garcia:”You don’t want to be considered the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”

Visualizing Starting New Businesses – Research Your Business Ideas and Put Them Into Action

Visualizing Starting New Businesses – Research Your Business Ideas and Put Them Into Action[EXTRACT]
Starting a business is no small venture and if you choose the wrong type of business, you may find yourself in a financial crisis trying to get rid of it, or you may go on for years running a business that you do not enjoy. Think of a business as a marriage, for your business is your partner. You would not marry the first person that comes along, nor do you want to jump into a business without getting to know it first.ResearchingAs you narrow down types of businesses, research and interview those businesses like you were going to marry them. Sounds weird, but it is true. Talk to people who run these types of businesses, talk to the people that work there, visit businesses in the same competitive niche. Beware that some business owners may not want to talk to you, because they will be fearful that you are a competitor. Knowing this, it is more effective to talk to people from different locations from where you will be conducting your business. Use the internet to study different business websites, join a business networking forum, and contact your local government business resource agencies.

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ActionBeing successful in business involves certain practices that you need to implement both personally and professionally.
Know your strengths and the strengths of others involved in your business
Lead by example
Have a plan, revisit that plan and revise as needed
Know what is happening in your marketplace and be proactive

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Watch your cash flow and stick to a budget
Put your plans into action, be a ‘Go To Can Do’ type of person
Do not let the negative attitudes of others hold you back
Write down your goals, and your vision for yourself and your company. Read it often.
Take time to rest and keep balance in your lifeCongratulations for researching your business ideas and I wish you all the best in starting a business. You have probably heard the saying, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” My advice to you is… keep doing it!

Married to Your Business Partner – Tips to a Healthy Balance With Intimacy and Business

Married to Your Business Partner – Tips to a Healthy Balance With Intimacy and Business[EXTRACT]
Separating work and home can be simple for most people. They go to work, handle stressful situations, manage their frustrations, interact with co-workers, and then leave the stress at the job site. Home is like a venting place; complain to the partner, share daily stories, talk about annoying coworkers, or even use home as place to relax and forget about the job.People who are married to their business partner have added difficulty in separating work from home. Business talk and personal talk can blend; both occurring at all hours of the day. For many couples, the main question is when does work stop and the relationship start?The blend in the marriage can have ups and downs. I work with a great deal of couples that co-own or co-operate businesses. The relationships with problems often have a common thread….an unbalanced relationship. Work can be consuming and in high demand, thus creating no time for the relationship. Couples often report that the relationship suffers and “finds it’s way in…when there is time.”

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Why not have your cake and eat it too? You can find a healthy balance where your career and relationship are both successful.1. Make your relationship a priority. Keeping your relationship and business successful is quite simplistic. Put a time frame on work. Set up a few times when you two are “off the clock.” This is the time you will no longer discuss work. Set aside time for the two of you to enjoy one another, to relax and connect. You get to now focus on the relationship and it can be a priority.2. Create strong boundaries. When you are working, find respectful ways to discuss stressful situations. Because you are in a relationship, you might react or respond differently than speaking to a co-worker. Set up boundaries in the relationship. If you are working, make it work. Don’t take your partner’s stress personal.3. Talk, Talk, Talk. As a relationship therapist intern, I can’t emphasize enough about the importance of communication. Work requires one type of communication, and relationships require another type of communication. Communicate with your partner how you feel and what might bother you. Let him in and teach him what you need.

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4. Couples Time. Set up a consistent date time once a week…where work isn’t allowed to come in to the conversation. No matter how bad you want to talk about work, put it aside until you two are “on the clock.”5. Use your resources. Many couples share their work day with their partner. But you don’t have this leisure. He already knows. You can’t vent about your co-worker to your partner. Go to a respected friend to talk about your stress and to vent. Or get couples counseling to help you two handle the stress.6. Watch for Team Work. Notice how you two work as a team and support one another throughout the day. Provide feedback to your partner and tell him how much you appreciate his hard work. Pay attention to how you two make the business successful.