Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

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Are You Really An Entrepreneur Or Just A Business Owner?

“The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It” – Peter Drucker When I started my first business way back when I was 17 I had no idea what an entrepreneur was. In fact I doubt I’d even heard of the term. When I graduated from college with a marketing and business degree I still had no idea what one was. All I knew is that from the time I was about 8 years old I had a burning desire to own my own business.

As I later discovered owning a business and being an entrepreneur are two very different things.

Here’s the best explanation I’ve found: business owners create jobs for themselves. Entrepreneurs create systems to replace themselves and are continually looking to expand and leverage their business in a multitude of different ways.

Let me better explain the difference by taking a step into the world of Fine Art.

Back in the 17th Century an artist called Peter Paul Rubens became widely known as Europe’s most famous painter. He developed a distinct and highly influential style depicting “robust” women with perfect complexions and apple red cheeks. And he used the power of story to add drama to his paintings by carefully arranging his figures with telling gestures and expressions.

Most artists – back then and today – stop there. They develop “a thing” that they become known for, they become very good at it – they might do some private commissions, a few gallery exhibitions, and in today’s world have sweatshirts or notecards with their images on it. They might have assistants or staff to help them run their business. But that’s where it stops. They’re business owners.

Not Rubens. He was all entrepreneur. He took very active steps to stay in demand – marketing himself to the European Elite – royalty, church leaders, nobles and rich merchants, all the while building demand for his services. Then to meet that demand he established a large studio with apprentices. He also had engravers copy his more important works to spread his reputation even further. Rubens was certainly a man before his time because he clearly realized that he was really in the marketing business. But as an entrepreneur he didn’t stop there. He started to involve himself in architecture and designing tapestries. For some clients he created suites of paintings, notable portraits and altar pieces. European Rulers then started seeking his advice for their art collections and sometimes even used him in political negotiations!

In my private copywriting and consulting business I work with entrepreneurs – not business owners. Businesses are expanded not just vertically, but horizontally and often times into separate but related industries. When working with new clients it’s not uncommon for them to emerge from our initial consulting session, blinking in the bright light and giddy with the realization that the business they’re really in is not the one they thought, and that the new opportunities before them are enormous beyond belief.

Being a true entrepreneur all begins with having the right mind set. As Donald Trump once said “As long as you’re going to be thinking, you may as well be thinking big!”

Why Watching NBC’s “The Voice” is a Great Lesson in Marketing

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve likely heard of NBC’s surprise hit show “The Voice.” Starting back in the fall of 2011, The Voice is like American Idol – except it's not. It’s a talent contest but based on actual talent rather than looks or age. Also, it’s an extraordinary music mentoring and coaching program. Each of the 4 coaches from 4 different music genres (mega superstars in their own right) pick their team, then take their contestants under their wing to grow and develop them at lightning speed, hoping America will vote them as the winner. Each week the two lowest ranking contestants get sent packing. The winner gets a $100,000 recording deal with Universal Records and life-long bragging rights. So, how exactly does a contestant win The Voice (and their winning Coach beat out the other three?) It all comes down to marketing.

Here are the five key marketing lessons:

1) If you’re competing, yes you need talent, but you’d better have a darn good story to help America really fall in love with you. The same goes for your business. Having your origin story is one of the critical selling points that can help you sit apart from the competition.

2) You need to be able to quickly identify what kind of singer you are and who your audience is. Are you a cute little country singer with great pitch and a dose of attitude? That’s also likely going to be your fan base so make sure you stay true to them in the songs you choose. That’s just like you selecting your target market and making sure there’s a good match with the services and products you offer.

3) When you get onstage, live on national television – you’d better look, sound and act every part of the mega super star you’re wanting to become. It doesn’t matter if you were cleaning out horse stalls the week before you arrived. “You’d better walk your talk.”

4) The Voice contestants leverage multiple forms of media to get support. Yes they’re on live national television but votes get collected via phone, texts, iTunes downloads and the Internet. And contestants and their coaches are tweeting and posting all week long. Similarly in your business its very smart NOT to rely on 1 or 2 forms of media to get your message out. Your marketing should be happening all the time (not sporadically like a series of random one hit wonders).

5) Never underestimate the power of a great mentor. Blake Shelton, the 6' ft 3" soft spoken country superstar has coached two of his team members to win the Voice so far – obliterating Christina Aguilera and putting Ceelo Green to shame. He makes the competition all about his team, not all about himself. The same with your customers. Your business needs to be all about them, them, them, not you, you, you. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

So, if you haven’t watched The Voice yet, tune in live on Monday and Tuesday evenings on NBC – and you can justify your seat on the sofa because watching it can help YOU get more customers!

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The Voice is an American reality television singing competition broadcast on NBC. Based on the original The Voice of Holland, the concept of the series is to find new singing talent (solo or duets) contested by aspiring singers, aged 15 or over,[1] drawn from public auditions. The winner is determined by viewers by voting through telephone, Internet, SMS text, and iTunes Store purchases of contestants' performances; they receive US$100,000 and a record deal with Universal Music Group. There have been three winners of the show to date: Javier Colon, Jermaine Paul,[2][3] and Cassadee Pope.

The Voice began airing on April 26, 2011 as a spring TV season program. The show proved to be a hit for NBC and was subsequently expanded into the fall cycle when the third season premiered on September 10, 2012. The series employs a panel of four judges who critique the contestants' performances. Each judge also serves as a coach, guiding their teams of selected contestants through the remainder of the season. They also compete to ensure that their act wins the competition, thus making them the winning coach. The original judging panel consisted of Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. The lineup for the fourth season included Levine, Shelton, Shakira, and Usher. The former panel will serve for the fifth season, while the latter lineup will be featured for the sixth season.[4] The series is hosted by Carson Daly, with Christina Milian serving as a social media correspondent.

3 Easy Ways To Become The Tall Poppy In An Over Crowded Marketplace

Have you noticed that eating out isn’t what it used to be? The wait staff barely knows what’s on the menu, service is lousy, and the food rarely measures up to the hype? I don’t mean to pick on the restaurant industry but it’s a great example of a business epidemic that’s wreaking havoc and running rampant across every single industry. When I buy something now, I almost expect to be disappointed. The hiking shoes that were meant to have a 5 year sole on them, cracked and in the trash after two. The plumber who says he’ll be there between 9 and 11 - shows up at 3 p.m. with no explanation.

The bottom line – service has gone out the window in a hand basket and becoming a new customer doesn’t mean anything any more. At least not the majority of businesses who are too short sighted to see that the objective of getting a new customer is NOT to make a sale – it’s to build a relationship.

All of this is excellent news for you and your business. It means it's never been easier to make your business look amazing and attract the hordes of unhappy customers away from your competition.

Here are 3 easy ways to become the tall poppy in your marketplace

1) Keep your promises. Sound ridiculously simple, because it is. Do what you say you’re going to do. And then do more. In my consulting and copywriting business I have a client retention rate that’s more than double the industry average. Why? Because we offer exceptional service to our clients. One time that meant hopping in the car and driving 300 miles to hand deliver a box of printed marketing collateral to a client event because the printer had messed up the delivery. Another time it meant working on a last minute campaign for 3 solid days to help a client take advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime. Whatever you do in your business, do it so well that people can’t help telling others about you.

2) Make a big deal of people becoming a new customer. It takes courage and faith for someone to do business with you – especially in this day and age. Don’t take them for granted. Send them a Welcome to the Family package. Help confirm their decision that they have made an excellent choice in selecting you (and prevent buyers remorse at the same time). Not too long ago I created a new client welcome kit for a cosmetic surgeon as part of an overall strategy to increase not just the retention rate but to hike up the average spend per patient. Average annual spend leaped from $2370 to $7560.

3) Never be boring with your marketing Every marketing piece your company puts out either brings clients and prospects one step closer to do business with you – or it makes them take a step back. If your marketing is dull, lifeless, boring and looks just the same as everyone else you’re confusing your prospects. How are they supposed to tell that your business is the one they should pick? Be bold. Push the envelope and stop hiding behind a personality-less corporate brand. People love being entertained and they love receiving the unexpected. A funny animated video with a poignant sales message. A sales letter delivered in a mini trash can. A surprise “thank you gift” for purchasing.

Try any or all of these strategies in your business and you will be AMAZED at the results you get. I guarantee it.

Pricing Strategy Inspiration: How a Little Retail Store Can Charge High Prices and Thrive Against the Big Guys

Recently I was at a business breakfast meeting and heard a very interesting “insider’s perspective” on pricing that I thought I’d share with you. The speaker at the breakfast was a successful entrepreneur who’s owned a small landmark store in Ann Arbor for over 20 years.

The store itself sells gardening/ home wares and has developed a kind of multi-generational cult-following over the years. Most notable, however has been its ability to thrive and grow despite being surrounded by all the big box stores offering very similar things at far lower prices.

I first stumbled across the store not long after moving here. I was late for a hair appointment and hurriedly squeezed my SUV into the last remaining parking spot. As I got out of my car the store’s huge windows and meticulously designed outdoor displays caught my eye.

It was winter – a time when most garden nurseries close or wind back on their operations.

Not this store.

Huge handmade wreaths. Ornately decorated Christmas trees. An old wooden sled hanging off the rafters (the kind you could just imagine your grandpa taking your grandma for a hair raising ride in when they were kids).

When I stepped inside it felt almost like stepping into the 1950s.

Hand crafted Christmas ornaments hung alongside radio flyer bikes with red tassels dangling from the handlebars. The latest kitchen gadgetry was expertly positioned against brightly colored hand painted dishware. Over on the right, a coat rack displayed an array of trapper fur hats and hand knitted scarves. The smell of freshly brewed espresso wafted through the aisles. Their tabby cat prowled the aisles like he owned the joint, allowing a lucky few to pet him (if he felt like it).

And the place was buzzing with customers.

Back at the breakfast meeting, the owner took to the podium.

“We’re not trying to compete with the big box stores, because we realized we can’t. What we’ve done instead is establish a sense of community with our store – parents bring their children, grandparents bring their grandkids. It’s become a kind of ‘locals hang out’ and that’s a strategy that has served us very well over the years.”

He is, of course, being humble.

What he didn’t tell us is that his staff knows practically every customer by name (and if you’re a first-timer expect to be asked at least 3 times). He’s also taken great pains to train his team on every product they carry.

In other words, their marketing message is never “we’re the cheapest so come buy from us.” If it were, this store would have been out of business years ago.

Instead it’s all about the “experience” of shopping there.

They make it easy to buy – not hard. They don’t overwhelm you with choices.

And their marketing “looks and feels different” from any other garden store – setting the tone for the experience right from the get-go.

The ability to charge high prices – perhaps the highest prices in your market, is the holy grail of marketing.

When consulting with a new client, I often find that raising prices and repositioning a business are the biggest opportunities for them to make more money.

I’m quite certain it is in yours too.

Flying KFC & How To Get More Clients

KFC
KFC

Where I grew up in New Zealand, there’s a pretty large population of Samoans.  In fact, I think there are more Samoans living in New Zealand than on the actual island of Samoa itself.  In case you’re not familiar with its whereabouts, Samoa is a gorgeous Pacific Island nestled almost halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.  Think pristine white beaches, glistening azure waters and people so friendly their smiles could light up the whole island. But here’s the thing.  Samoan people are, as far as national averages go, known to be very much on the large side.  In fact, Samoans share the highest heart disease and diabetes rates in the world.  They love their food.  As an example, let me tell you about Samoans and KFC.  They especially love their KFC.  The only problem is… there’s no KFC in Samoa (at least there wasn’t the last time I checked).  So it’s very common, almost mandatory in fact, for a native Samoan to board their flight from New Zealand to head back home armed with the biggest bucket of chicken Colonel Sanders sells and to have pots of mashed potatoes and coleslaw tucked into their coat pockets.  In fact, if you’re planning your winter escape from New Zealand to Samoa, then also plan on the smell of fried chicken wafting through the cabin for the solid 3.5 of your journey.

For the last 15 or so years the airlines flying to Samoa have turned a bit of a blind eye to all this KFC trafficking.  It has helped filled their planes, their customers are (mostly) happy and everyone wins.  Until now that is.  With tightening airline margins and fierce competition, practically every airline today is duking it out for survival.

When I worked for an airline that flew in the area, we used to get a steady stream of complaints in the legal department, but it wasn’t about the smell of KFC saturating the air on the Samoan flights, as one might think.  It was instead from passengers mashed into a corner, forced to sit next to someone who was so big their fat rolls took up their own seat and two others.  That’s not fun for anyone – the poor person who has to fit their frame into those seats, or their neighbor who can’t even squeeze by to use the rest room.

Well, Samoan Airlines has decided they’re going to fix the problem once and for all.  They are not outlawing KFC on board, but they are charging passengers based on their weight.  That’s right.  If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, or a few hundred extra, you pay more.  A LOT more.  If you miss a few dinners and go on a water diet you just might be able to swing a flight to paradise for mere pennies on the dollar.

As you can imagine, people are in a complete uproar over this.

“It’s discriminatory, it’s racist and it’s a breach of civil liberties,” says one side.  On the other side of the fence, those who run the business and are trying to keep a struggling airline alive say it’s the ultimate “user pays model” and the only way to ensure a “level playing field.”

Apr MD for ezine
Apr MD for ezine

Hmmm.  What do you think?  I think it’s a bold move that makes great sense from a pure business perspective, but makes terrible sense from a customer service perspective.  The majority of Samoan Airline customers are… Samoans.  I suspect they will vote with their feet and take their dollars (and their KFC) elsewhere.  In which case, the top brass might want to take a read of my article from last month’s edition of my paper and ink private client newsletter, Marketing Dynamite:21 Utterly Ingenious Ways To Get More Clients.”  I got so many positive comments about it I thought I would share it again.

21 Utterly Ingenious Ways to Get More Leads

Rightey ho, here goes: 21 of my best ideas to get you more customers:

  1. Tag clients on Facebook and give them appreciation.  Then reach out to their local friends who “like” or comment and invite them to a free special event you’re holding, a webinar, class, fundraiser, open house or other special event.
    1. Run “entry level” workshops on your chosen area of expertise.  Advertise these extensively on the radio, in your local papers, and on Facebook.
    2. Write a book.  Seriously.  Or at least pay for placement in a book by a prominent business author who knows how to market the book, will make it an Amazon best seller, and give you unlimited rights to use it in your marketing (like we do). Nothing will establish your credibility faster in your marketplace.
    3. Completely redesign your customer experience and turn it on its head.  Set out to create the most extraordinary customer experience that will spread like wildfire.  Throw out all the sacred cows. A great example of this is the dentist who sends a limo to pick up his clients and treats them to a hand and foot massage while they wait for their “treatment,” or the plastic surgeon who themes his office like a sexy French boudoir.  Then set about on a PR blitz and get word to spread.
    4. Make a list of everyone you’ve ever done business with but haven’t worked with in the last 12 months.  Send them a “We want you back” lost customer direct mail campaign.  Make it multi-step for best results.
    5. Create a real “snail mail, paper and ink newsletter” for your clients.  Kind of like this one.  Make it fun and interesting and jam pack it full of useful content that demonstrates your expertise.  If it’s even remotely good, your newsletter will stand head and shoulders above anything else in the mailbox and your clients will look forward to receiving it.  Dollar for dollar, pound for pound it’s still an über-powerful lead generation and client retention tool.
    6. Get some SEO CPR done on your website (Geek speak for saying “Get expert work done on your website so it ranks for the top key words your target market is searching for on Google.”).
    7. Set up lead conversion webinars and market these webinars to your email list.
    8. Craft and distribute Search Engine Optimized (i.e.: Google friendly) press releases that tie your business in with human interest stories or news.
    9. Over deliver on results, service, recognition and appreciation.
    10. Host really fun, themed, client appreciation events and invite past clients, prospects and other business owners to attend.  Make it an annual or bi-annual event.  Have fun, network and get referrals.
    11. Make giving referrals a condition of doing business with you.
    12. Craft phone and email scripts that convert for use when you get phone and email inquiries.  These scripts become systems your business operates on as well as saving you time and increasing sales.  Phone and email scripts also help project a more consistent image – a great tool for building trust.
    13. Deliver killer content to your house list on a regular and very consistent basis – articles, market updates, case studies etc., so that your list will get to know, like and TRUST you.
    14. Buy traffic from Google (using AdWords) and point people to your landing page or website (hint: before you go spend thousands on your AdWords campaign, make sure you’ve done enough testing to ensure the pages convert well).
    15. Create 4-6 minute “how-to” videos and post them on YouTube with a list of your keywords and a link to your landing page in the description.
    16. Network with other local business owners or those who might not be your geographic market but who also service your target prospects.  Create a strategic alliance and promote each other’s businesses.  I’ve written extensively about this over the years and call it “piggy back marketing.”  It’s one of the best and fastest ways to generate high quality leads for your business.
    17. Buy ad space in a magazine read prolifically by your target market.  Run an “advertorial” (which is an ad that looks, smells and reads exactly like an article, except that it’s your dream article written about your company).  Order plenty of additional copies and send them to your high value prospects as part of a multi-media ad campaign.
    18. Buy ads on Facebook that will send people to a fan page with an awesome offer (free book, class, video series, white paper), in exchange for their email address.
    19. Create a sales and promotion video about your business and write to your best clients asking if you can feature them in it (of course they will say “yes” and you’ll be able to get glowing testimonials from them).  Then, hand them a done-for-them campaign they can use to make the video go viral by sending to their own clients, friends, and centers of influence.  The viral campaign to their peeps makes them look terrific.
    20. Send a direct mail campaign to targeted homes or businesses that fit your ideal client profile.  Make it a multi-step campaign (to improve your response rate). Make a low barrier, irresistible offer with a deadline to respond.

Are you using all of these strategies to generate leads for your business?  If not, which ones do you think you should be getting onto, pronto…?

Why Most Marketing Misses The Mark (And How You Can Hit The Bullseye)

Why Most Marketing Misses The Mark (And How You Can Hit The Bullseye) Here is perhaps one of the most ancient rules of human nature (which most people conveniently forget when it comes to marketing their business).  If you truly understand it, it will forever transform the way you communicate with your prospects and clients, end your marketing headaches, and save you thousands of dollars:

Ready to learn this earth shattering truth?  Here it is:

The people you’re selling to are selfish. 

We all are.

They don’t care about why you’re in business; they don’t care about how pretty your brand is, how clever your tagline is, or how long you’ve been around.  They don’t even care what school you went to or what your credentials are.

All they care about is themselves.  How can they put an end to the pain they’re feeling – whether that’s a backache, feeling fat, a pain-in-the-neck ex-wife who just won’t sign those divorce papers, or sagging jowls?

That’s all they care about.

If you ignore this one simple fact - which most people do – you’re making a very expensive marketing mistake.

Here’s what most ads say: “Buy my brand!”  “We’re the best!”  “We’re the greatest!”  “We’ve been doing this the longest!” “Give me money and I’ll solve your problems!”

Where’s the appeal in that?

The best ads don’t ask you to buy anything.

They offer wanted information.

They’re rich with advantages to the users, and they make an offer of little or no risk, so the customer can find out for themselves if what the company is saying is really true.

“An ad where no one is asked to buy?  How could this possibly be successful?” you’re likely wondering.

It’s simple and these are not brand ads either.  They’re ads that are truly successful because they’re based on knowledge of human nature and how people’s behavior is predictableThat’s our job as copywriters – to know the triggers that make people want to buy – even when you’re not asking them to buy.  Some people call this Jedi mind tricks.  I call this true salesmanship and a deep understanding of buyer psychology. 

For example, imagine a man knocks on your front door with a pound of coffee and says, “We’ve got a new brand of coffee we’re launching.  Please accept this package and try it with our compliments.  I’ll come back in a few days and see how you liked it.”

“Great!” You think to yourself…”free coffee!”

The man returns in a couple of days, asks you how you liked the coffee but still doesn’t ask for the order.  He explains that he’d like to send you a state-of-the-art new coffee machine.  Unfortunately it isn’t free, but if you like the coffee he’ll credit every dollar you spend on the coffee towards the purchase of the new coffee maker.

Now you’re buying coffee and you get a free coffee machine for your money.  You’re thrilled!  Take that Starbucks!

Here’s another example.

A sewing machine maker was struggling with his marketing, and on good advice, finally stopped trying to chase the sale.  Instead, he offered to send his brand of sewing machine to any home (through a dealer), for a one-week trial.

Sounds good so far.  The difference was that these machines were accompanied by a person specially trained to show clients step-by-step how to operate them.  The ad simply said “Let us help you with your sewing projects for a week – no cost or obligation.”  It resulted in sales nine out of ten times.

You see your marketing has to be all about the customer.  Not all about you.

How to Beat the Blank Page Blues

Staring at that horrid white page when you’ve got a deadline to meet or a campaign to run is about as much fun as a trip to the vet to get your temperature checked. So here’s a handy, dandy summary of a few shortcuts to keep your creative copywriting juices flowing and that sales letter written:

  1. Use a swipe file. Start collecting copies of any ads you love or great marketing you receive. Go do some research on the internet and print out copies of old ads (there’s gold in those old things I’m telling ya). The easiest way to write a new ad is to rewrite an existing one. Even if it’s just a starting point. My Mom’s swipe file is 3 filing cabinets full already. Start swiping (but swipe responsibly). Never plagiarize or the boogey man will get you. Never copy someone else’s stuff – get inspiration from it, yes. But steal? No.
    1. Read forums and trade magazines. This is a good way to find out what your customers are thinking about (and it will help you get out of your own head too). A copywriting tip – it’s not what you think that matters, it only matters what your customers think!
    2. Devour great copy. Fill your head with the best stuff you can find. Certainly anything that I’ve written makes the grade, oh and what my Mom writes, of course. But go back to the old masters like Robert Collier, David Ogilvy, Gary Halbert and start studying the old dudes.
    3. Avoid reading bad marketing like the plague. Garbage in, garbage out. That’s all I’m gonna say on this one.
    4. Don’t look at what your competitors are doing for inspiration. This only results in you creating more of the same boring marketing that everyone else is doing.
    5. Subscribe to a great marketing newsletter. This is a no brainer. You’re never going to get better at marketing unless you start investing in a real marketing education. Being a Gold Stampede member would be a darn good start and would get you a copy of our full color, 10-page plus marketing newsletter that rocks da house (plus a bunch of other cool stuff every month). Find out more about Gold Stampede!

Gotta scoot!

Bear

How To Tell If You’re An Entrepreneur (Or Not)

If you thought (like I used to), – that being an entrepreneur was just another word for being a small business owner, then listen up. To paraphrase Mark Twain, they’re about as similar as lightning and lightning bugs.

A small business owner opens a jewelry store. He works hard. He makes money. But 10 years down the line, his business pretty much looks exactly the same as it did in those first few years. He’s grown, sure. But it’s still the same jewelry business.

Now, take that same store and have it run by an entrepreneur. In 10 years time you likely won’t even recognize the original business because of all the different revenue steams he’ll have spun off, new businesses he’ll have begun, and markets he’ll have expanded into.

For starters, he’s probably bought the building his store is located in. He has leveraged that investment to cherry pick the best commercial real estate in town and is now leasing to other business owners (real estate).

Then he developed an exclusive line of jewelry which caters to boomer women. That line is now being sold at exclusive cocktail parties and has spawned a business of selling jewelry franchises to other boomer women who like to throw parties. Now he’s just getting warmed up.

He also built a huge cult-like following online for his personal line of jewelry, started his own internet version of the QVC channel, and launched a complimentary anti-aging makeup product line that is now being sold at the jewelry parties.

Meantime, he’s busy cooking up deals to sell exclusive golf apparel to active women and is looking at expanding and offering adventure trips of a lifetime to far flung bucket list places for the same demographic. But that’s not all. This dynamo entrepreneur also runs a highly successful information marketing company – he’s coach to multiple high paying mastermind groups and has created products teaching other jewelers to do just what he’s done…

Make your head spin? Think it’s impossible? I’ve had multiple clients who have accomplished all this and more in just two short years.

So how do you tell whether you’re an entrepreneur or not? Well, everyone had to start somewhere.

Here’s how to know if you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur (…and yes, being an entrepreneur is a learned skill, so if you’re not there yet start taking notes):

  1. An entrepreneur is not married to any one type of business. If you ask the typical small business owner what he or she does, you’ll likely hear “I’m an attorney,” “I’m a dentist” or “I own a restaurant.” Entrepreneurs think expansively and don’t put themselves inside any one box. Their strength is their ability to see an opportunity and make it a reality. Our world is changing faster than ever, so flexibility and agility in business is critical. As one of my mentors once said, “If you’re trying to be in the same business 5 years from now, you’ll likely be out of business.”
  2. Entrepreneurs create and make money from their ideas. They’re typically lousy managers, or manage people at their own extreme discomfort. That’s why they often start, develop, and sell businesses, and then move on. The skill set to start and build a highly successful business is a very different skill set than managing a highly successful business. That’s also why you’ll see lots of entrepreneurs hire CEOs – so the CEO can take over and run the business for them while they’re busy exploring the next big opportunity.
  3. Entrepreneurs understand that the real business they’re in is the sales and marketing business. No matter the widget sold, or service peddled – entrepreneurs understand their business success thrives or dies on the strength of their marketing and sales. That’s their real business.
  4. Entrepreneurs are systems driven. They understand the secret to success is in implementing systems to leverage time, increase efficiencies, reduce costs and automate processes. At the top of this list is investment in a marketing system that automatically delivers an endless supply of high quality prospects through the door, converts them to paying customers, and keeps them as raving fans for life.
  5. Entrepreneurs are never out of school. They are insatiable learners, heavily investing in their own education, attending seminars, boot camps, business coaching programs, and mastermind groups. Adventurers of life, entrepreneurs are endlessly curious, can pack more into a week than most people get done a year and are always looking for mentors, guides and teachers to show them the short cuts…

What To Do When People Aren’t Buying

The huge sea change of marketing a business is well and truly upon us.  What used to make people buy in a frenzy, today has people yawning, reaching for the delete button, “unfriending,” and changing channels. Simply put, people aren’t buying the same way they used to.  I’ve noticed a big difference in even the last few years, which is just another reason it’s essential you stay on top of your marketing with fresh ad copy, fresh offers, fresh content.  There’s no such thing as set and forget!

Today’s emerging new economy consumer is far pickier, far more suspicious and far more nervous to part with their hard earned cash. Understandably so.  We’re in the trust damaged and post recession world.

If you’re struggling with getting more clients, then here are 5 valuable marketing tips to help you get things cranking again.

  1. Is your message getting lost in translation?  You might be surprised to discover that a large number of your prospects are simply not buying from you because they don’t fully understand what you do or, most importantly, how it benefits them.  A rewrite of your value proposition and companies core messaging (to answer questions like “Why should I do business with you versus any and every other business out there?”) – will do wonders for your business.  Clarity is everything.  But a clear message worded in such a way that deeply resonates with your target market is magnetic.  If your business hasn’t got your messaging perfected then it doesn’t matter what media you use and what market you choose – people aren’t going to buy like they should.
  2.  Are you following up?  C’mon now, really? Out of all the hundreds of companies I’ve written copy for, coached or consulted with, I can count on four fingers the number of businesses that had a robust follow up process for those people who said no.  Remember that old adage that people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care?  Couldn’t be more true in the new economy.  The more steps, and the more media your follow up encompasses, the more effective it’ll be.
  3. Make ‘em an offer they can’t refuse.  Most times people decide NOT to buy not because something is too expensive, but because they’re scared they’ll be stuck with a lemon. One of the secrets to getting people to buy is to make it easier for them to say yes than no.
  4. Hold a focus group of your top clients and find out if what you think is important to them really still is.  Get your finger on the pulse of the people you’re marketing to.  Dive into the trenches with them.  Go hang out at their offices for a day.  Read what they read.  Join the groups they join.When writing copy or marketing a business, I spend at least 50% of my time digging around the target market, researching it in depth and getting my thinking in line with theirs.
  5. Write a great sales letter.  If people aren’t buying, maybe it’s because your sales pitch hasn’t hit the right note, or maybe your message isn’t reaching enough people.  The great, late copywriter Gary Halbert said that there’s no problem that can’t be fixed by a great sales letter.  It’s very true.  A well-written sales letter has been the tipping point for many businesses (just ask the Wall St Journal who used the same sales letter for 28 years and earned more than a billion dollars with it).

The bottom line is ­– if your prospects aren’t buying, it’s your marketing that needs work.  Sometimes just a fine tune is all that’s needed.  Other times it’s a complete overhaul.  Remember – your prospects are going to buy from someone so make sure it’s you!

Dread marketing your business? 5 Ingenious Strategies To Make Marketing Painless (and Profitable)

Are you a reluctant rainmaker?  You’re great at what you do and would rather much spend your days doing that… than having to beat your own drum, and rattle neighboring trees to make new business fall into your lap. If you view marketing as a pesky, annoying activity you have to get done rather than something that makes you leap out of bed every morning as you live and breathe (like me), then my friend, this article is for you.

Chances are if you groan when you think about marketing, it might be because at some level you think sales and marketing is about pushing, coercing or manipulating people into buying your services.

Ugh.

I don’t blame you if you feel less than thrilled if that’s what you think.  Fact is that’s still the way most people teach marketing but to me that’s annoying, sneaky, and very outdated.

And, in case you needed any more reason to abandon that train of thought, in this new economy, that kind of approach just doesn’t fly.

Our clients are savvier than they’ve ever been in the history of marketing.  They’re far more demanding, And they’re far more skeptical.  Real marketing is about building relationship and establishing value first.  If you’ve done a great job doing that – they’ll be the ones coming to you asking “how do I get more?”  No magic tricks, hypnosis or voodoo involved.  Just plain old-fashioned value combined with a dash of integrity and a good dose of creativity.

Here are 5 easy strategies to climb back in the saddle and make promoting your business a breeze:

  1. Give up chasing the sale (that’s the old school, old economy method).  Most companies are so busy focusing on lead generation and finding new customers, they completely ignore the ones they have, and those customers wind up never buying from them again. That’s backwards, especially when you remember it costs five times as much money to sell to a new customer than it does to get an existing customer to buy again.  Invest at least as much time and money into developing relationships with your existing customers as you do trying to find new ones.
  2. Get very clear about who you’re selling to.  Don’t think of your target market as a target market.  Think about them as a single individual – your ideal client.  Give them a name, create a profile for them so that they’re a living breathing person.  Now write all your marketing as if you’re writing just to that person.  This will prevent your marketing from sounding like a boring mass marketing.
  3. No more marketing one night stands!  Forget firing off just one marketing piece and expecting the poor little guy to do all the heavy lifting for you.  At the bare minimum your marketing should be a 3-step campaign.  Some of the most biggest (and most successful) campaigns I’ve ever done have involved as many as 49 different steps – in a range of different media.  Repetition is key.  You have to be like Waldo in your target market – popping up everywhere your prospects are looking.
  4. Create a marketing calendar for your business. This is a monthly and then weekly breakdown of all your marketing activities that you need to be doing in order to be filling your marketing funnel with qualified leads.  Marketing is a process, not an event. It’s highly likely that if your marketing isn’t scheduled to happen in advance, then it doesn’t happen (unless you’ve got a cash flow crisis).
  5. Learn how to market your business but if it’s not your true love, then, outsource it fast and get out of your own way. Some of my best private clients are themselves very good marketers, so why do they hire me to help them?  Because while they might be good at marketing, they’re not great at it – and it’s not their one supreme skill.  Their time is far better spent doing what their supreme talent is – that might be face-to-face relationship building with giant accounts, beavering away in the back room creating new products, or implementing processes and systems to make their businesses run like a well oiled machine.  Whatever your supreme talent is, that’s where you add the most value to your clients, and to your business.  If marketing isn’t what you live and breathe – that’s ok.  You don’t have to.  There are plenty of great copywriters you can outsource it to (ahem!).

But what you do need to know is what great marketing looks like, and how to tell a great marketer from just a good one.

And one final word of advice, no matter who you use to help you with your marketing, never, ever hand over the reins to them entirely.  This is YOUR business and as business owner you always need to keep a watchful eye on your marketing.  It’s the lifeblood of your business.

173 Ways To Get More Clients

One of the questions I get asked all the time is, "What is the one thing I can do to get more clients?" Actually, I can do a lot better than that…here’s 173 marketing tips you can do right away. But here’s an important thing to remember…when a client of mine was asked by his colleagues the secret of his success and how they could add 30 or 40 more patients a month to their practices he replied:“I don’t know one way to get 40 new patients, but I know 40 ways to get a new patient and I use all 40 of them!”

1. Get very clear about your marketing message 2. Write out your unique selling proposition 3. Define who your ideal clients are 4. Follow up with prospects within 24-48 hours 5. Deliver more than expected 6. Deliver it before it's expected 7. Implement a referral campaign 8. Use Personality Infused Marketing™ to write a warm letter to family and friends 9. Join a networking group 10. Hold your own focus groups 11. Build a mailing list 12. Offer a bold guarantee 13. Keep your promises (do what you say you’ll do, when you do it) 14. Keep an abundance mindset (not a fear based scarcity one) 15. Call up everyone you didn’t close last month and make a special offer 16. Carve out a niche for your business 17. Be clear about your own unique ability and how this helps others 18. Start a coffee group for prospects 19. Send your clients gifts (birthday, holiday or just random “I was thinking of you” gifts). 20. Start doing presentations 21. Revamp your website so that it’s “Client Stampede compliant,” and is easy to navigate, value filled and builds instant rapport 22. Create a Client Stampede business card so that it actually brings you business 23. Do a co-marketing campaign with another business 24. Hold your own workshops 25. Hold a webinar 26. Hold a teleseminar 27. Do a neighborhood direct mail campaign in areas where you have other clients 28. Time block your time 29. Stop checking email and Facebook throughout the day 30. Raise your prices (really) 31. Start your own blog 32. Write articles 33. Create an auto responder sequence for your website 34. Create a consumer awareness guide 35. Automate your marketing – get your marketing system in place so you can get clients while you sleep 36. Call up your competitors and work collaboratively on a special campaign 37. Start a paper and ink newsletter 38. Write an ezine 39. Create a brochure that clearly articulates what you do 40. Create a one page flyer 41. Create a Welcome to the Family customer kit 42. Create a shock n’ awe box 43. Record an audio program and give it away for free (in return for email addresses) 44. Use sales scripts – don’t wing it 45. Practice your close in front of the mirror 46. Practice asking for triple your current rates in the mirror and keeping a straight face 47. Find out where your best clients have come from 48. Take your “centers of influence” out for  lunch 49. Don’t chase clients for work (but follow up professionally) 50. Remember "no" doesn’t really mean no (except in dating) – keep anyone who says "no" in your follow up file 51. Write a letter to your Chamber of Commerce introducing yourself and offering your services to them to use for free (gain credibility) 52. Ask for testimonials 53. Use your testimonials 54. Provide incentives for referrals 55. Tell everyone what you do – even at family bbqs 56. Ask your clients what success looks like for them 57. Write a sales letter 58. Send a lumpy 3 step direct mail campaign 59. Use your on hold message as a way to educate about the value you provide 60. Get a personal assistant to farm out all the jobs you don’t like doing 61. Write your WHY on a piece of paper and keep it pinned to your desk (the WHY you’re in business for yourself and what you REALLY do for your clients) 62. Keep your best testimonials pinned to your wall so you can see it often 63. Enroll in a copywriting class 64. Realize that all writing in business is copywriting (writing to persuade), and become determined to be great at it 65. Use a bold, curiosity arousing headline 66. Never, never, never give up. The race is won by perseverance, not the person who runs the fastest 67. Memorize your selling scripts 68. Don’t take rejection personally 69. Research your target market and understand what makes them tick 70. Volunteer your time in the community and be visible 71. Write a book or eBook 72. Surround yourself with people who support your dreams and goals (not people who tell you it can’t be done) 73. Stop brand advertising and start REAL Marketing (Rewarding, Easy, Authentic and Loved) 74. Create a tear sheet and send it to your prospects 75. Do a podcast 76. Keep an ideas book for all the big ideas you have for your business 77. Drink your own Kool Aid – make sure you use your own product or service 78. Get a marketing coach who can hold you accountable and help you create your own marketing materials for a fraction of the price it would cost to hire a copywriter 79. Hire a copywriter to create your marketing materials 80. Have a price sheet 81. Offer packages and call them cool, memorable names 82. Protect your confidence by only working with people you like who respect you and your time 83. Don’t be afraid to fire problem clients 84. Invest in your marketing education by attending classes, reading newsletters, reading books 85. Ask for suggestions and feedback from your top clients 86. Implement a lost customer campaign 87. Use a vanity 800 number 88. Become an expert in your marketplace 89. Become a celebrity people are fascinated and intrigued by 90. Use a local celebrity in your marketing 91. Write a guest blog 92. Write a newspaper column 93. Start your own association 94. Spend extra time with your best clients 95. Use a professional photo for your marketing 96. Get a tag line 97. Implement a marketing plan 98. Use a marketing calendar to plan out each of your marketing activities 99. Do fun holiday marketing promotions 100. Become religiously fanatical about direct response marketing 101. Study marketing greats like David Ogilvy, Gary Halbert, Gary Benzivenga, Joe Karbo 102. Write out the copy of one of the best performing ads in long hand – 3 times to get the flow and rhythm of how to write great copy 103. Read Ogilvy on Advertising 104. Use Paypal to accept payments 105. Write newsletters for associations where you’re a member 106. Target and study other great networkers 107. Study the advertising your competition is using (and don’t copy it) 108. Use your email signature to communicate your value proposition and get opt-ins 109. Hold a client appreciation party 110. Get a professionally designed logo 111. Brainstorm different offers 112. Use direct mail to build relationships 113. Realize that email marketing is not free at all 114. Implement a marketing plan 115. Keep your language simple – avoid trying to sound fancy 116. Use take away selling 117. Use positive affirmations daily 118. Create scarcity with your services 119. Be known for one thing 120. Brainstorm all the ways you can quickly and inexpensively connect with prospective clients 121. Ask all your friends for referrals 122. Have a list of topics you can speak on at your fingertips 123. Dress better 124. Respect your clients' time and never take an incoming call when speaking/meeting with them 125. Use call to actions in all your marketing 126. Brainstorm a list of irresistible offers 127. Offer discounts for fast action or full payment 128. Use vision boards for the lifestyle you want 129. Create a team of peers to hold you accountable 130. Start your own mastermind group 131. Check local newspaper for groups that meet on regular basis (city business journal) 132. Create systems for your marketing so you know exactly what needs to happen and when 133. Follow up, Follow up, Follow up! 134. Speak slowly and clearly – don’t try and explain your value at break neck speed 135. Use hand written thank you cards 136. Brainstorm time each week for how you can add more value to your clients 137. Make an apples to artichokes comparison when it comes to your prices 138. Create packages and products out of what you already know 139. Focus on building relationships, not making the sale 140. Write in plain English as if you were having a friendly conversation with someone 141. Brainstorm a list of the 50 best headlines you could use 142. Be passionate about what you do 143. Give back – tithe a percentage of your earnings 144. Slay procrastination by having an action plan each day and sticking to it 145. Do the job you dread the most, the first thing in the day and get it over with 146. Be authentic – don’t ever sell out. 147. Care about the results your clients get 148. Create a survey and find out what your target market really wants, then give it to them 149. Mystery shop your competitors' businesses 150. Become clients of your competitors 151. Start becoming very aware of how other businesses (not in your industry) market themselves – this is where your best marketing ideas will come from 152. Use live stamps to send your direct mail (not bulk rate) 153. Create a memorable experience for your customers they’ll want to tell all their friends about 154. Choreograph everything about your business so nothing is left to chance. 155. Think positively but take immediate action. 156. Behave as if you are already the successful person you want to become 157. Use the “Theatre of the Mind” to practice your selling situations 158. Write a press release announcing new products, services, partnerships or awards 159. Create a video and send out to your list 160. Start tracking the numbers in your business – ruthlessly 161. Know how much a client is worth to you over 3 years 162. Know how much it costs you on average to get a client 163. Give awards to your clients 164. Use attention grabbing signs outside your place of business 165. Make it easy for people to find you – provide clear instructions and maps 166. Follow up with people who don’t show 167. Have a late and no show policy 168. Hold a contest 169. Buy the phone numbers of your competitors who have gone out of business 170. Use a vehicle wrap for your car 171. Sell to groups 172. Don’t advertise like your competition – you have to look and feel different to be different 173. Expect wonderful things to happen. Take massive simultaneous action.

Understanding Why Prospects Buy...

We humans are a highly complex and mysterious bunch.  Have you ever made a decision and were left scratching your head 10 minutes later wondering how did that happen?  Take this dive into some basic buyer behavior and psychology and dramatically increase the effectiveness of your sales copy... 1.    We make decisions based on emotion but we justify with logic. Contrary to what you might have been lead to believe, humans are first and foremost an emotional bunch.  We decide whether we’re buying based on a feeling, or an emotion. That’s why using intangible benefits are the keys to persuasion. When you’re writing, you should ask yourself, “What is the emotional hot button here?” Then our rational selves kicks in and our mind rushes to justify the purchase with logic.  For example a man sees an advertisement for a sports car and instantly falls in love.  However he can’t bring himself to buy the car based on that feeling, so he devours the copy for technical details about the powerful engine, the safety features, and low maintenance. He wants the car because it makes him feel good. But he’ll buy it only when he can justify the purchase rationally.

2.    We love to buy. While no one likes a pushy sales person, people love to buy. They love to discover wonderful new products and experiences. They love having a new shiny object to show off or carry around.  While no one likes to feel like they’re being “sold to,” conversely we love to buy.  That’s why it’s so critical that you write your sales copy based on their needs (and not your own).

3.    We’re a naturally suspicious bunch. This has never been more true than in this new economy.   Money is being spent much more judiciously by a more cautious consumer who’s striving to be sensible and responsible.  Risk avoidance is at an all time high which is why using copy that overcomes a person’s objections and includes proof is now a basic requirement of your copy.

4.    We love being shown an advantage: the thing people want to know above everything else is: what will your product do for me? Show people, in words or pictures – what they can save, gain, or accomplish with your product..how it will increase their mental, physical, financial, social, social or emotional satisfaction, well being, or security.  Show people in words or pictures (or both) what risks, losses, worries, mistakes, doubts your product will help them avoid, lessen or eliminate.

Most people don’t bother to understand what makes their prospects and customers tick.  They’re all about “pushing” out their products and services to the market in the hopes that someone will want to buy.  This is a very hard (and a very lazy) way to market your business.  The secret to getting your prospects and customers to eagerly anticipate your marketing (yes it’s possible, and easy), is to read their minds..and then give them exactly what they want!

How To Make Selling To Your Prospects Effortless (Without Feeling Like An Icky Used Car Salesman)

Do you love owning your own business but when it comes time to actually getting people to buy from you – you feel about as comfortable as a Rich Arab Sheikh riding the subway? Maybe you have lots of people who “like” you.

You’ve got stacks of business cards from people you’ve met at networking events.

You’ve even got a pretty large number of people who’ve told you they’re interested in what you’ve got to offer.

But here’s where you come a bit unplugged.

You hate selling.

You don’t want to be seen as someone pushy.

You think to yourself…”well, I don’t need to sell to them because they’ll buy when they’re good and ready to…

Actually they won’t.

Most people won’t buy from you if you leave them to their own timeframes, no matter how much they like you.

Why?  Because we all procrastinate.

I agree that selling the traditional way is icky, sticky work.

In fact it’s revolting.

Who wants to feel like they’re pushing products on people, who likely are backing away just as fast as we’re moving towards them. If any part of my work involved this kind of selling I would likely be off living on a ranch somewhere shoveling horse poop for a living.

The good news is that with this new economy we’re in – the old way of selling is OUT, OUT, OUT (though many are still teaching it).

And the new way of selling?  It isn’t actually “selling” at all.  It’s SERVING and it’s got a whole different emphasis and a brand new set of rules to follow which are essential for survival in these unprecedented times.

Here are 3 easy steps to doing it:

1.    Start off by asking yourself?  Is the world a better place because of the work that you do?  If the answer is yes (as it must be or you need to do something else), then you’re making people’s lives better.  So it follows that if you don’t offer your products and services to people you’re actually doing them a disservice.  They NEED YOU.  Great businesses are hard to find.  People need to know about what you do and how you can help them solve their problem.  This isn’t selling, it’s serving.  Make the mindset shift on this one and you’ll never ever “sell” another day in your life. 2.    Always begin a new relationship by offering VALUE first.  Educate your prospects about your services.  Develop a rapport with them and give them such an incredible experience that the next logical step will be for them to ask YOU “what’s next?  How do I buy from you?” 3.    Listen first, then speak.  The old way of selling is about speaking first – pushing your products to prospects.  There’s no two way conversation.  There’s no listening to  what their needs are and then offering a solution.  Always start with their needs first – not yours.

Follow these 3 easy steps the next time you find yourself in a “sales” situation and you’ll be amazed at how effortless and easy the whole process becomes!

Improve Your Marketing Message - 6 Easy Steps

Do you sometimes struggle to explain to people exactly what it is you do?  Maybe you offer a service that takes a little explaining. Or perhaps you get that awful tongue-tied feeling at a networking event when the room is hushed and all eyes are on you? Sometimes it’s not always obvious to people what the benefits of working with you are, or even who your target market is.  We’re crystal clear on the value we bring to the relationship– but often times our prospects are not.

To fix this problem, sometimes all that’s needed is a refinement of your marketing message.

Try these six easy ways to improve your marketing message and help networkers and prospects grasp your value more quickly.

1. No one cares about the labor pains or the process – just show them the baby!  What I mean by this is no one is interested in your methodology – they only care about the outcome.  Always keep in mind that as people are listening to you speak, they’re secretly thinking in the backs of their minds, “What’s in all this for me, and exactly how are you going to help me?”

2. Walk a mile in your prospect’s shoes and think about what the BIG problem is that’s making them lose sleep at night. What are their top 3 worries when they get out of bed in the morning? If they had a magic wand that would fix anything, what would it be?  What would they pay anything to get access to?

3. Make a list of the top 5 objections your prospects would likely have for NOT doing business with you.  You likely know this list off the top of your head without having to think very hard.  Now write down an answer to each of these objections, and work that into your marketing message.

4. Select a handful of great client testimonials and then sprinkle liberally in your marketing materials.  What someone else says about you is at least 5 times more compelling and persuasive as what you say about yourself. You can also casually drop these “examples” into conversations when talking with people to add more persuasive power.

5 .What would make YOU leap out of your chair and shout “YES!” Think how apprehensive you feel before you decide to invest your money in the services of a person who you’ve never worked with before.  We’ve all had bad experiences… but we’ve also had some amazing experiences too.  Think about a message you can deliver that would relieve any nervousness and get them feeling excited and confident in working with you?

6. Make your marketing materials stand out and grab readers by the eyeballs by using snappy headlines that demand to be read.  Think of your headline as the ad for your ad.  Use phrases that arouse curiosity or speak directly to the reader like “Discover how to…” or “Never before revealed secrets of….” Your headline has to immediately answer that same old question we talked about above - “What’s in it for me?”

As you begin to talk with colleagues and prospects, watch how they react to what you say. Do they ask similar questions?  Are they still confused about anything?  Get feedback from people you trust about what your marketing messages (ideally someone who is in your target market and not your beloved Mom, spouse or great Aunty Sue). Then apply what you learn as you create a new elevator speech, new marketing materials and new service offerings.  Remember, as your business grows, you’re going to keep refining your marketing message – this is perfectly normal and to be expected as you keep getting better and better at what you do!

Be Sure to Include a Slippery Slide!

This week I’d like to help ya understand the importance of using great flow when you write your copy by introducing you to one of my favs - the slippery slide. There is a great copywriter – guy by the name of Joe Sugarman – who my Mom says was the brains behind the Blu Blockers infomercials that were so darn successful.  Anyway – he talks about your copy needing to be a “slippery slide.”  I agree.  Now, what he means by slippery slide is that every word you use, every sentence you write, has just ONE job: to get your prospect to read the next sentence.  And the job of that sentence is to get ‘em to read the next one.  And so on.

Before you know it, your prospect’s eyeballs are glued to the page and they can’t put your sales letter down – even if someone happened to put a big roast chicken right under their nose and (like me) they were the chicken eating type! Well, maybe then they’d multi-task and read and chow down at the same time.

The lesson is this – when writing your copy, make sure it passes the slippery slide test, ‘cuz remember – there’s no sin worse than b-o-r-i-n-g copy!

Woof! Talk to ya later!

Prospect Follow Up Equals Great Customer Service

Do you have a list of prospects sitting on your desk who you need to follow up with… but keep putting it off? In my experience, it’s usually due to fear – you don’t want to be rejected or be told no, or get that sinking feeling when someone says they don’t want to work with you. Getting rejected is about as much fun as having a double root canal without anesthetic, and I completely understand why you’d feel this way.

But here’s what I want you think about to help you bust through this fear.

First of all, what’s the reason you do what you do? You’re a warrior – a successful entrepreneur who’s triumphed when others would have given up, time and time again. When the going got tough you could have easily thrown in the towel long ago and gone to work for someone else. There’s a reason that you’re doing what you’re doing for a living. What is that reason?

Chances are you love to help a certain type of person solve a specific problem.

Right?

And I’d bet that it’s your ability to help others that drives you to do the work you do. But, for some reason, in that moment where you decide whether to do your follow up calls with prospects or not – you’re FORGETTING the call is not actually about you. It’s not about being liked or being rejected.  Actually, the follow up call has nothing to do with you at all.

It has to do with helping people make the right decision for themselves.

Your prospects NEED your services.  You make their lives better and easier if they work with you.  You help them solve a problem they’ve been grappling with that has likely been causing them some level of misery.  If you look at your job in this light – then by NOT following up you’re actually hurting your prospects, because you’re depriving them the use of your services.  For example, if there's someone struggling with their marketing or suffering from the stress of wild swings in income – I'm there to help them, to explain how the kind of marketing I teach is so much easier to grab ahold of, more fun to implement and much more effective.  I can't bear the thought of someone suffering that gut wrenching fear and not knowing when the next paycheck will arrive.

Do you see how this is completely different?

Try visualizing some of those prospects who need follow up as lying awake night after night worrying at 1am about their problem and how you can help them solve it.

Remember, the reason you want to make those follow up calls is because they are another way for you to serve others.  It’s your job to help move your clients to the next level.  One of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar: “You can have everything you want in life, if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”

Taking this approach to your follow up calls removes all the anxiety.  Now it’s about you providing great customer service, which will help you do your calls from a place of problem solving – instead of selling.

Andwhen you care so deeply about your prospects, you’ll also find that you love to be on the phone with them; whether they choose to work with you or not – that decision is all about them, not you.  It’s about the difference you make. Don’t go into the false notion that it’s about you and closing the sale. It has nothing to do with that. This is all about customer service and helping people get what they want.

The next time you notice yourself shrinking to make those follow up calls, remember that your job is all about being of service.  They need you.  You make their lives so much better.  You can help them get what they truly want. Then, pick up that phone and dial!

Now, if you’re looking, for a way to take the struggle out of your marketing, attract “stampedes” of new clients in a way that is authentic, fun and easy to implement, then the Client Stampede Ultimate Marketing Toolkit™ is just what you’ve been looking for.  It’s a total turn key marketing system that gives you the most important things to do to build your business; set up as simple, solid systems, so that you consistently fill your pipeline and continually get new clients. This is a step-by-step turn key marketing system, not a big jumble of things flung together. You do Step One of the system, and when you’re done with that, you move on to Step Two, and so on. Included are the tools, scripts, templates, and step-by-step examples - handed to you on a silver platter ready to implement.

Does Length Really Matter?

Alright fellow marketers, this week’s topic is all about length – of copy that is.  How many words should your email be?  How long should a sales letter be?  My Mom routinely writes sales letters for her clients that are 16+ pages long – oooh I can see you wincing and asking “Isn’t that too long, does anyone bother to read that much nowadays?” Let me clear up some confusion, and perhaps remove a little mystery, from this whole copywriting process. In fact, lemme ask you a question: have you ever been glued to a book that you couldn’t put down?  Maybe dinner was on the table, or (in my case), you had a giant bone waiting for you, calling your name… but you still couldn’t put the book down because you were glued to the pages?

You did? Great!

And did it matter whether the book was 10 pages or 500 pages long?

No?

I didn’t think so.

When you’re glued to reading something – you’re really glued.  Transfixed I call it.  You could have one of those darn squirrels come and tap on the window and dance a little Irish jig in a tutu but you’d still be oblivious to it.

The same goes for writing great copy.  It’s a compelling read.  Your prospects just can’t put it down.

So then does it matter whether you’ve written just a few short paragraphs or a 30 page special report?

Heck no.  As long as it grabs them by the eyeballs and doesn’t let them go ‘til the end.

So here’s the bulletproof copywriting formula my Mom was talking about to decide how long your copy should be:

It should be just as long as you need to tell your story, build momentum and desire, and ask for the sale.  No longer, no shorter.  Sometimes that might take a lotta pages.  Sometimes just a few.  It’s not the length that matters – it’s the quality of what you’ve written. Your prospects will read it – no matter how long it is – providing it’s interesting and relevant to them.

Ruff! I think I’ve doubled my word quota for this week.

Talk to ya next week.

Your Marketing Message - It Ain't About You!

Your marketing message is one leg of a three-legged stool that also includes the right market and media, and it’s the fundamental building block to building a successful marketing system.  It’s also the secret sauce that quite literally could make or break your business.  Domino’s Pizza built a multi-million dollar empire on the strength of their marketing message – it was just 7 words long. What’s your marketing message?

In my work as a copywriter and coach, I critique hundreds of ads and sales letters every year.  One of the most common mistakes I find is that… most businesses focus the message on themselves.

Having a marketing message that’s all about you - your accomplishments and your success comes off as hollow bragging.  It doesn’t create a compelling marketing message to make your prospects want to leap out of their La-Z-Boy and go flying to the phone to call you. It doesn’t build rapport. And it doesn’t answer that age-old marketing acid test: what’s in it for me?  Newsflash: to get your marketing noticed by the right people and connect with your prospects, you have to make your marketing all about them, not you.

Now don’t worry.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your success and accomplishments.

It’s all in the way you do it. Good copywriting repositions your experience and success in a way that servestheprospect and makes them feel so connected to you that it’s like you’re reading their mind.  That couldn’t be more opposite to the way most people market their businesses – which is usually about pushing a message out to the market that’s all about them.

Also, never give prospects or customers a reason to say, “So what?” Sentences like “I’ve been in business for 20 years,” or “We care about our customers,” can lead to the “So what?” response.  You have to link the dots and tell your customers why that’s important to them.

I recently got a card from a Gold Stampede Member who, after purchasing my Ultimate Marketing Homestudy Toolkit, changed his marketing message from the “we’ve got” to the “you get” approach. He also rephrased all of those harsh sounding sales words in his sales letter (he now uses “agreement” instead of “contract,” and “invest” instead of “buy.” These words can be found on my list of 23 Most Persuasive Word Subs). He told me his leads increased and his closing ratio jumped from 35 percent to 56 percent with those changes.

By taking a client centered approach to your marketing, you’ll also stand out from your competition, who most likely don’t do much else in their marketing other than talk about themselves. Don’t believe me? Dust off a copy of the Yellow Pages and see for yourself (doctors, attorneys, nutritionists, real estate agents, plumbers, life coaches… you name it – ME based marketing is everywhere!)

5 Easy Steps to Turn a Bad Yelp Review into a Marketing Tool

Online Review sites like Yelp are great to help consumers make informed decisions about who they give their money to. And they’re also an amazing marketing tool, giving small local businesses a chance to gain word-of-mouth momentum no ad money can buy. But because this review service is a wide open platform for expression by anyone, it also also means any grumpy customer can slam your business, affecting your reputation and damaging your sales. The good news is you’re not powerless.  You can do something about getting a negative review... and, for reasons I'll reveal in a second, getting a negative review can actually be a big blessing in disguise – BOOSTING your sales – provided you handle it the right way. So, if you’ve had a cranky customer slam you on Yelp, here are 5 steps to get them back on your side and win over even more customers in the process…

1) Get Active About Regularly Reviewing Your Profile Don’t just wait for a friend to give you a heads up or stumble upon a nasty Yelp review. Schedule time regularly to look at not just your Yelp profile, but also those of your competitors, to get a general idea of what your customers’ experience is. Some disgruntled customers might give an unnecessarily bad review that is hurtful or unhelpful, and those can be addressed. But one oft-overlooked advantage of patrolling your profile is that you can use it as (mostly) unbiased and free market research. If you have consistent compliments or complaints about one aspect of your business, you can identify areas you need improvement in or get an idea of what it is that your customers are really enjoying. Plus, your presence will show that you are genuinely interested in your customers’ feedback, which helps strengthen your relationship.

2) Dig Underneath The Complaint When you come upon a negative review, take a moment to consider what is really prompting it — there is often a seed of truth in  complaints. Yelp is defintiely plagued by anonymous trolls venting about things out of your control, and you can look at the reviewer’s profile history to determine whether or not you should attempt to remedy their grievance, but do take the time to weigh each complaint equally and look for an opportunity to resolve the issue. No matter whether you think a negative review is justified or not, I recommend you post a response to it. If you don’t – it’s also sending a message to your future customers that perhaps you don’t take client care so seriously.

3) Send a Private Message If the complaint looks like it has legs (ie: there’s a genuine grievance here and not a Yelp troll just moaning about things outside your control), direct message the reviewer first. Apologize and acknowledge their complaint (don’t try to make excuses), let them know you value their feedback and business, and offer a specific way to make it up to them. Also provide a direct contact number and let them know you’d be happy to help them personally, now and in the future. This personal gesture creates accountability that they may have not felt earlier. Even if they don’t respond, you can know you put forth the effort.

4) Always Post a Public Response If the reviewer was unresponsive to your personal message, leave a public response — not a rebuttal — letting them know you appreciate their feedback, are sorry for their experience, and that you sent them a message with your contact details and would be glad to talk to them to resolve the issue. Even if the customer doesn’t change their mind, this lets everyone know you value their feedback. But don’t ever request a reviewer to change their review (in a public or private message). Happy customers who are active Yelpers will often amend their reviews for you.

5) Go Get More Reviews To Help “Bury” The Bad One The best way to up your rating (and combat those negative customers) is to get more reviews. Let all your customers know you encourage and welcome their feedback. You can advertise in-store and on your website that you offer special discounts or incentives for customers who can show proof of a review — though, again, do not request positive reviews. This shows you are actively interested in two-way communication with your customers — and that’s customer service gold.