7 Key concepts to improve your Marketing and Grow your Business

  1. You are in the education business. Regardless of the business you are in, remember that you are also in the ‘information marketing’ business. Develop and offer information of profound interest to your clients and prospects. Position yourself as an expert advisor.
  2. Market and sell with a better story. Even if you sell a mundane product or service or market to a sophisticated audience, always remember that you must sell on emotion and not logic.
  3. Do direct-response marketing. Results are all that matter. Never do anything but direct-response. If you cannot measure your marketing and ruthlessly hold it to account, then don’t waste money on it. Don’t believe the advertising media consultant or agency account manager that says: “It’ll build the brand.”
  4. Create a powerful Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The foundation of a good marketing message is an effective USP. It answers the most important question in business “Why should I, your prospect, choose to business with you versus any and every other option available to me?”
  5. Copy is everything. Contrary to all you’ve been told by ad agency staff and media reps, that short, brief copy is better than longer copy, I disagree. Effective longer copy outperforms brief copy. Short copy often leads to consumer confusion. White space is wasted space.
  6. What business are you in? You are in the marketing business. Stop seeing yourself as a retailer of a particular merchandise or a provider of a certain service. See yourself as a marketer of a business that sells your particular merchandise or service. The real money is in the marketing, not in actually doing all the tasks within the business.
  7. Improve the frequency of contact with current clients. Your current clients are your easiest source of growing your business. Simply increase and improve the contact with your existing clients and I guarantee that there is always untapped income potential within this group. Most people obsess more on trying to win new clients, many times ignoring their current clients.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

What is the secret to unstoppable sales confidence?

Most sales professionals know that prospecting is the key to success in their profession. Many sales people know and understand this, but still fail to make the prospecting calls that can virtually guarantee their success. I believe that most sales people don’t call on enough new prospects because they lack the confidence. Prospecting isn’t the key to success, confidence is. A lack of success for sales people doesn’t just come from a lack of confidence in the product, it stems from a lack of confidence in themselves.

Increase your confidence and you will increase your sales. Increase your confidence and you will never have a shortage of new prospects to call on again. A confident person is a magnet for attraction. A sales superstar is confident and values this confidence above all things. Confidence is your greatest asset.

Protect it like it’s your fortune – it is – because if you’re not confident, nothing else matters.

Now I’ve shared with you that confidence, or a lack of it, is the biggest challenge facing sales people. Diagnosing the problem is easy; but let me provide you with one powerful tool to overcome it.

Questions = Confidence

Why is it important to ask questions during your client meetings? The quality of your questions determines the quality of the relationship. The wisdom of your questions actually shows the depth of your understanding of a clients’ situation or problem. How much confidence do you think you acquire in recommending the best possible solution when you fully understand your clients’ challenges and needs? Your clients appreciate and understand how perceptive and conscientious you are. This builds trust and shows that you care. Increase your confidence, increase your sales.

My advice to sales students is to make a big paradigm shift that immediately improves your power to influence – shift from selling to questioning. But, what has this got to do with confidence I hear you saying? It’s quite simple – the person who asks the questions is in control of the meeting. The person who asks the questions subtly manages the agenda. The sales person who asks the questions guides the client in the definite direction that the client’s answers are leading them. How stress-free is that?
The point is that when you ask the right questions you give your client the opportunity to buy rather than be sold. A massive difference!

There are many other ways to build and improve confidence in sales, but I find that the ultimate key to building success is linked to your ability to ask relevant questions that guide you to the client’s precise needs, desires and outcomes. You immediately rise above the role of mere sales person; you become the trusted and expert advisor.

This is a position of influence, strength and trust. This is a position of confidence.

“High expectations are the key to everything.” Sam Walton

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

The 100% blueprint for your ultimate sales success

There are 3 essential steps to massively succeed in the competitive game of selling. Adopt and develop these steps as your guiding blueprint to sales success and I guarantee that you will achieve world class performance. You will be the best in your category. You will be the ultimate sales machine.

These 3 steps are:

Step 1 is CONNECT. Sales winners have a different way to link clients, products, and solutions.
Step 2 is CONVINCE. Sales winners do a better job of differentiating, demonstrating a clear return on investment and preemptively removing the clients’ perceived risks.
Step 3 is COLLABORATE. Sales winners educate with new ideas and perspectives and set shared goals. They invest in their clients’ total success, and create a customer perception of working as their trusted advisor and as a committed partner.

Here are 10 actions guaranteed for you to totally dominate your marketplace (practice these actions and you will be in the Top 2% of your market – period!):

You focus on EDUCATING your clients and prospects with new ideas or perspectives. You focus on education, not on selling.

  1. You COLLABORATE with every client. You are their trusted advisor.
  2. You persuade your clients that they will achieve RESULTS.
  3. You actively LISTEN to your clients.
  4. You clearly display that you UNDERSTAND the client’s needs.
  5. You help your clients avoid POTENTIAL DIFFICULTIES.
  6. You craft COMPELLING SOLUTIONS for every client.
  7. You accurately and clearly illustrate the PURCHASING PROCESS.
  8. You connect with the client in a PERSONAL way.
  9. You demonstrate that the overall VALUE offered by your company is superior to other options.

Sales winners sell radically different than second-place finishers. These actions and behaviours describe the strategy of preeminence, the ultimate way to succeed at selling and marketing.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

How to beat this economic slowdown

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

If you’ve read a newspaper or watched the TV news recently, it’s all doom and gloom about the economy. And it’s causing most business owners to do just the opposite of what they should be doing right now. I hope you’re not one of them.

Companies large and small are canceling plans to introduce new products or services and are cutting back on marketing. Cost-cutting seems to be the management order of the day. This is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Now is the time to be bold and take action to grow your sales and business.

Think about it. When are your prospects more likely to see and respond to your marketing – in boom times when they’re being bombarded with advertising and promotions, or in lean times when your competitors stop contacting them?

NOW is the best time to grow your business. Your competitors have slowed down. They won’t be contacting your prospects or even their own clients as often. Now more than ever, it’s easier for you to get attention with direct response advertising, direct mail, education-based marketing, PR, seminars, innovative promotions and online marketing, especially e-mails. Now is the time to sharpen your marketing and sales skills and the tools that you use. Commit to becoming good at marketing.

If you paid attention to everything you saw in the news about the economy it could send you into a spiral of depression. But before you give up on your future, remember that the majority of people still need products and services to survive.

That’s the good news, and it gets even better. In a negative and uncertain economy, many, if not most people, have more disposable income (Yes! You’ve read correctly). They get a kind of buying apathy and put off major big ticket purchases, like a second home, a new car or an expensive overseas holiday. That means they have more money in the bank for everything else.

You’ve got a choice. Like most people, you can develop a passive marketing mindset with your business and try to simply survive this downturn. If you choose this approach, there is a very good chance that you’ll be making less revenue or profits in 2009.

Or you can take this slowdown as a challenge. You can use it to transform your mindset, your marketing, your business and come out on top. Are you aiming to just survive or thrive during this slowdown? The choice is yours.

Dedicate yourself to improving your business. Work on every aspect of it with meticulous thought and passion. Be devoted to achieving one small improvement every single week without fail. In just 52 weeks from now, you’ll be a profoundly improved company.

“A focus on cost-cutting and efficiency has helped many organizations weather the downturn, but this approach will ultimately render them obsolete. Only the constant pursuit of innovation can ensure long-term success.” – Daniel Muzyka, Dean, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

 

The flipside of failure

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

It was famed vacuum cleaner designer James Dyson who said, “Enjoy failure and learn from it, you can never learn from success”  who taught me the valuable lesson about the upside of failure.

The African impala has the ability to jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a three-foot wall. The animals will never jump if they cannot see where their feet will land.

A lot of humans are similar. They are sometimes afraid to take their own leap of faith. They are afraid of risk.

Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM said:  “Failure is a teacher – a harsh one, perhaps, but the best… That’s what I have to do when an idea backfires or a sales program fails. You’ve got to put failure to work for you… you can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because that’s where you will find success. On the far side of failure.”

Embrace failure as a learning part of your life! Think about it carefully, doesn’t it make sense that in order to triple your success ratio, you might have to triple your failure rate.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Don’t be a stranger to your customers

The smart and successful business realises that marketing to and cultivating relationships with existing customers is essential to your business success.

It is a big mistake to be overly focused on getting new customers while neglecting your existing customers. In our acquisition focused world, we make considerable efforts to win over new prospects, yet we tend to ignore the very people who essentially fund our acquisition efforts in the first place.

Don’t be a stranger to your client base. Why?

  1. It’s becoming more and more expensive to acquire new customers. It used to be that when acquiring a new customer, you could immediately make a profit or at least break even. Today, attracting a new customer is more difficult and costs seven times as much as keeping an existing one.
  2. There are a finite number of new customers available. If you only focus on acquisition, eventually you will run out of new customers. Plus, your business is in trouble if you are losing existing clients faster than you acquire new ones.
  3. Fact! Most clients leave businesses because of neglect. Customers migrate when they feel unappreciated, unimportant, or taken for granted. Research shows that seventy percent switch because of what they perceive and describe as indifference from the business or from an individual inside the business.

It stands to reason that if you strategically plan your business to retain, nurture and grow the value of your existing customers, you will grow your business and ultimately profits.

How do you achieve this?

  • Don’t wait for your existing customers to return to you, go to them.
  • Make your customer feel important, appreciated and respected.
  • How often you make contact with a customer depends largely on your product or service. If you sell cars you would probably send a letter once or twice a year. If you sell a product or service that requires more frequent purchase, make your customer contacts more frequent.
  • View client retention as a marketing function and a profit center. Don’t view money spent on existing clients as an expense, view it as an investment.
  • Whenever a customer makes a purchase, make a follow-up phone call to them. Let them know how you appreciate their business.
  • Have a lost client plan in place. Track your customer’s buying activity. When a client stops buying, send that customer a letter with a great offer or pick up the phone to find out why the customer is no longer purchasing from you. And don’t give up in your efforts to win them back.
  • Offer preferential treatment to existing customers. Ensure that your existing customer base receives the best prices, deals and guarantees you can afford to give.

Your existing customers are your most important asset; they are your business goldmine. If you want to grow your business and profits, neglecting them is one marketing mistake that you never want to make.

Business growth strategy #1 – Stay in touch with your customers.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Inch by Inch – How to claw your way to success

One of the most inspirational speeches that I’ve ever seen is Al Pacino’s “Inch By Inch” speech from the movie Any Given Sunday (see it on YouTube). I use it in many of my sales and marketing seminars.

Allow me to share with you a few of the powerful phrases from his speech. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in both games, life or football, the margin for error is so small. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. Because we know that when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the f#%*ing (censored) difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.”

Why are these words so powerful, because Pacino could easily have been talking about sales? Selling is also a game of inches. Sales people win or lose by the narrowest of margins on opportunities each and everyday. The winner gets the spoils, the loser nothing, except an opportunity to learn, reassess and practice resilience. These lessons aside, winning is so much better.

The upside is that in the competitive sales world of complex sales opportunities, the inches we need are everywhere around us. Most people quit when they are inches from the proverbial try line of success. How many sales people:

  • Give up after they are rejected the first time? Practice resilience, believe that NO means NOT NOW! It takes seven NO’s before you should feel that a customer is probably not going to buy from you.
  • Effectively articulate and demonstrate the true benefits and value of their product or service offering? Are you educating prospects with new ideas and initiatives? This could be the inch that you are missing between failure and success.
  • Clearly demonstrate a potential return on investment? Your ability to quantify the impact and paint a clear, persuasive, and believable picture of the results you can achieve for buyers is the foundation to all your sales success. When you achieve this, then the decision maker is in no doubt that they must buy from you.
  • Listen to prospects. Do you actively listen to buyers by asking engaging questions and following up with documents that demonstrate your understanding? This is probably the number one differentiator that separates winners from second-place finishers.

I can attribute so much of my personal success in selling, negotiating and persuasion to the above four factors. These factors show me where the vital inches are and what I need to do to ensure that they fall into my hands. “Because we know that when we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the f#%*ing difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING and between SELLING and BEING OUTSOLD.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

11 Words that make a big difference

The words you use to communicate with your clients are very important, whether in your advertising, presentations, brochures, letters, on websites or even in telephone or face to face conversations.

Below are 11 words that you should consider incorporating into all of your communications.

Easy – Everyone wants stuff that’s easy. We want things to be easy to use, we want results that are easier to achieve, and we want everything easy. If your product or service makes peoples’ lives easier, make sure you tell them.

Now – There comes a point when you need to direct, lead or tell your customer what to do. They need to call you, or order from you or “click here”. But you don’t want them doing it tomorrow or next week. You want them to do it now – so tell them.

Fast – We all want things to happen faster. If you can do it fast – tell them. Remember, it’s no longer the big that beat the small; it’s the fast that beat the slow.

Free – This is very powerful. People love anything that’s Free. This word is definitely useful in generating new sales leads and prospects.

Limited – If there is a genuine limit to what you are offering or the number of people who can have it; it’s worth making a big deal about that. Scarcity is a very important marketing tool.

New – Everyone wants the “new” thing. Always try and offer something “new” as that is guaranteed to grab their interest.

No Risk – Anything you can do to reduce the risk for your customers will increase your sales. Your customers may not be consciously thinking about it, but subconsciously they might be concerned about risking money and possibly time by doing business with you. Risk elimination, or even better, risk reversal, is one of the most effective marketing strategies available to you.

Guaranteed – The ultimate risk elimination or reversal is the guarantee. Just adding a guarantee to your advertising or offer can often dramatically increase sales.

Solve – One of the simplest copy writing formulas is to state the customer’s problem, tell them you can solve it and then tell them precisely how you’re going to solve it. Check all of your copy both online and offline and look for where you can add these profit generating words. It’s even worth testing your current response rates against different copy using these words.

You – The magic word in all good copy. Using the word “you” forces you to have a personal conversation with the person reading it. Don’t you agree?

Person’s Name – In most contexts, the most important word you that you can use is the customer’s name. The more personalised your letters and emails are, the higher the response.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

How to become a trusted advisor to all the clients you serve

The number one goal in business today is to set yourself apart in the eyes of your marketplace as their most trusted advisor. You must position yourself as the preeminent authority and expert of the niche that you dominate and own.

Your clients want to be led by you. Never allow somebody to buy less than they should, less quantity than they should, less quality than they should, with less commitment than they should or in less combination because they will be the loser, they will not be served by doing it. You must see them as your “client” not your “customer”.

What is the difference between a customer and a client? Webster’s dictionary states that a customer is “someone who buys a product or service from another”.  A client on the other hand is “someone who is placed under the protection of another”. These are only words, but they make a huge difference. Imagine if your top twenty customers not only viewed you as their “trusted advisor”, but that they also felt safe under your “total protection”. Your business would never fail.

I recommend the following business and personality traits to become the preeminent trusted advisor in your marketplace:

  1. Be the trusted advisor for life. This is the personality trait of the expert who wants to help you for a lifetime.
  2. Be honest. The trusted advisor tells them what they’re not being told. “Here’s the truth as I see it and what action I think you should take because of that.”
  3. Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Display flaws to prove that you’re human too. When you’re more human, people find it easier to relate to you.
  4. Build relationships for life. Treat the relationship you’re building as a long-term investment you’re making in the marketplace.
  5. Be confident. Celebrate your skills, distinctions and uniqueness. Create your proprietary phraseology. Take certain words and make them your own.
  6. Offer risk reversal. Eliminate their risk by pointing out the overlooked risks and dangers.
  7. Always challenge status quo thinking. Always be looking for a better way. Establish your distinctive perspective. See yourself as an agent of change.
  8. You are a brand. Revere your own brand equity and continually add to it and use it as a vehicle to reassure clients and prospects.
  9. You become who you hang around with. Associate yourself with people who have incredible trust and respect. Business in the future will primarily be based on partnerships, joint ventures and strategic alliances. Leverage the right mentors and advisors.
  10. Hire the best. But pay them strictly on performance and results.

Most people fall in love with their product instead of their prospect. Never let this happen to you!

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

The difference between successful and unsuccessful people

“Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more.” Lou Vickery

I have spent the past fifteen years reading and studying what makes people successful.

Successful people take full responsibility for their life and actions. They are committed to achieving success and happiness. They don’t blame others and seldom complain. This person is powerfully driven by optimism and gets great satisfaction from inspiring others. They see most things as possible and because of these positive thoughts, attract and magnify success and happiness, therefore they have an extraordinary quality of life. They ooze positive vibes and energy.

What is the difference between successful and unsuccessful people?

Unsuccessful People tend to:

  1. Easily criticise others
  2. Have a sense of entitlement
  3. Take all the credit for their victories
  4. Read very little
  5. Fear change
  6. Fly by the seat of their pants
  7. Gossip about people
  8. Exude anger
  9. Never set goals
  10. Blame others for their failures
  11. Don’t know what they want to be
  12. Secretly hope others fail
  13. Operate from a transactional perspective
  14. They think they know it all
  15. Hold grudges
  16. Have relationship challenges
  17. Don’t focus
  18. Tend to be ungrateful 

Whereas Successful People:

  1. Embrace change
  2. Give others credit for their victories
  3. Read everyday
  4. Talk about Ideas
  5. Share information and data
  6. Exude joy
  7. Keep a ‘to-do project’ list
  8. Keep a journal
  9. Compliment others 
  10. Invest in their health and energy
  11. Have a sense of gratitude and appreciation
  12. They continuously learn
  13. Forgive others
  14. Accept responsibility for their failures
  15. Want others to succeed
  16. Set goals and develop life and career plans
  17. Develop high-trust relationships
  18. Have good rapport skills

The most encouraging thing that I have found as a coach is that anyone can make an instant decision to improve their personal circumstances by identifying and slowly eliminating the sticking points or obstacles that are holding back their career, health and relationships. The first step is to make the commitment to improve. You have to make this choice.

And because you have the power to choose, you have the power to change. The freedom to choose may be the most powerful attribute and potentially the most precious resource that you have in your life.

To your success!

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” – Joseph Campbell