Marketing Library

How Can You Possibly Expect To Sell Anything When You Don’t Know THIS…

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

There is an old saying that says you can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. This is a great saying to live by, especially if you are a business owner or sales person whose bank account, lifestyle, and financial security is dependant on your ability to sell something. As sales people, we know we’re supposed to listen to our customers and ask questions so we can fully understand their wants and needs. Nothing new there; BUT, how many people actually do?

As a marketing consultant and sales copywriter, one of the most important things I have to do before writing any type of promotion is truly understand the target customer. In order to effectively persuade someone to take action, I have to know what they want most, what they hate, what they think about, what motivates them, and what their priorities are. This is the art of true listening; the ability to understand the way your customer thinks without filtering or altering it with your own beliefs, agenda, or opinions.

This is not difficult, but it takes practice. Hearing what someone said and truly understanding what they meant or where their opinion came from is as different as night and day. But if you want to become a great salesperson or marketer, this is a skill you must master. Let me give you an example, and give you a set of powerful questions that will revolutionize the way you “listen” to your customers and prospects…

IT managers have a much different agenda than a business owner. The IT manager wants to protect his turf. In most cases, he is very ego driven and doesn’t want to look bad to the boss or anyone else for that matter. He is a bit of a control freak (which, in truth, is not a bad trait for someone responsible for protecting a company’s data and operations). He needs to feel assured that you aren’t going to make him obsolete. This may be completely illogical from your point of view, but he’s the one writing the check.

You may think it’s obvious that you are there to make their job easier and to make them more productive. However, people don’t think logically, they think emotionally. Plus, the IT manager who feels this way is NOT going to verbalize this to you or anyone else. They’ll shoot a million holes in your proposal before they’ll admit they feel threatened by you. That being the case, you have to communicate in advance (through your marketing) how you are going to make them a hero in their organization, and then you have to be able to prove that through testimonials, guarantees, and other proof positive to your claim.

On the other hand, the business owner doesn’t have a clue about all the options, acronyms, and technical terms you are spouting off. As a matter of fact, it makes him a fearful buyer because he doesn’t know enough to determine whether or not you are giving him a good recommendation or not. Just the opposite of the IT manager–they want you to take control so they don’t have to concern themselves with anything technical. He doesn’t want to know the technical details. He simply is trying to figure out if he can trust you to do a good job, alleviate his problems, simplify his life, improve his business, and not overcharge him. His biggest concerns are making money, cash flow, customers, and avoiding business disasters.

Can you see how you would need a different marketing message to both of these individuals, even if they are in the same company? Most business owners don’t spend enough time truly looking at the world through their customers’ eyes and end up paying the price of this ignorance: starvation.

Years ago I did some work for an MRI imaging center. They wanted to find out how they could persuade more people to choose their state-of-the-art open MRI center over some of the older, better established facilities. They told me how new the facility was, how caring the staff was, how accurate the reports were, and how they would even come and pick up the patients at their home. They had tried running several full-page, very expensive ads in local magazines in an effort to get the word out about their new facility and the various benefits I just mentioned.

However, these ads were full of the reasons why they thought someone should be interested in their facility. Plus, they didn’t facilitate the natural buying process of their customers. After studying and understanding how patients choose MRI centers, I quickly discovered two things; first, most patients do not even realize they have a choice of MRI centers (they typically go where the doctor tells them to), and two, the second biggest concern was the fear of being in a very small, closed space. This is why their ads had zero pulling power…they didn’t educate the end buyer (the patient) that they had a choice of imaging centers, and they didn’t drive home hard enough the fact that they had an open MRI, which meant no more small, scary, claustrophobic tunnels to crawl in. But it doesn’t end there…

Upon even further study of where they were getting their BEST patients, I discovered that chiropractors treating accident victims were their best source of new business. After talking with several of their chiropractor customers (make a note of this; I actually picked up the phone and interviewed several chiropractors about why they were using this particular imaging center), I came to discover that they used this MRI imaging center because the reads (meaning the actual images and diagnosis) were more detailed than the ones they received from other MRI imaging centers, and therefore gave them a much better chance of getting their patients’ insurance company to pay for the treatment. Apparently, many insurance companies deny payment for chiropractic care unless it is deemed necessary based on the reads from the imaging center. One of the biggest frustrations for a chiropractor is not being able to deliver a full treatment plan to their patient because some insurance adjuster in a cubical with no medical experience is making the decision that chiropractic care is not necessary for their patient.

Now, without knowing the rest of the story, can you guess who I recommended they target and what the core message should be? For the slow group, here it is:

We targeted chiropractors with the following headline:

“Finally, A Proven Way to Stop IMEs from Interfering With Your Practice and Denying Payment for the Complete Treatment Plans Your Patients Need”

We built an entire campaign around a premise that included partnering with personal injury attorneys and using seminars and free reports to educate the doctors as to how they can best help their patients by sending them to this particular imaging center. Instant success. One of the first seminars they conducted brought in over 20 chiropractors–all good, viable customers for their center. Can you see that once you truly understand the customer, the message, and the benefits, the USP (unique selling proposition) becomes obvious?

So now, here’s your homework. Below are 12 questions you need the answers to about your target market BEFORE you start marketing to them. These questions will vary with the individual (business owners, IT manager, office managers, etc.) and the vertical market. Without the answers to these questions, you’re flying blind and will only get customers by chance or luck.

  1. What are your customers’ biggest frustrations, pains, and aggravations?
  2. What are they afraid of?
  3. Who (or what) are they currently using or buying from now?
  4. What do they like about this situation? What don’t they like?
  5. What do they secretly want?
  6. Who (or what) are they mad at?
  7. What trends are happening in their industry?
  8. What’s most important to them when looking for your product or service? In other words, what are the buying criteria for your product or service?
  9. What problems or frustrations have they had with other companies in your industry? Hint: they are going to expect you to be the same unless you can prove otherwise in your marketing.
  10. What events, situations, regulations, or dilemmas occur to prompt them to seek out your services? (Example: most companies installing a practice management or new accounting software package need to upgrade their network).
  11. What other companies are selling similar products and services to them successfully, and how are they doing it?

And finally, question 12 is a question you should already know the answer to, but probably don’t: What originally prompted your current customers to buy from you?

Once you know what your customer desires most (or wants to avoid most) your job is to make a good argument in your marketing materials as to how your product or service will help them get exactly that.

The Real Underlying Reason Why You Continue to Struggle to Attract New Clients, Make More Money, and Grow Your Business

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

We like to think that the facts can convince people to change… We like to think that people are essentially ‘rational’ — that is, they’ll act in their self-interest if they have accurate information. We believe that ‘knowledge is power’ and that the ‘truth will set you free.’

But nine out of ten heart patients didn’t change even when their doctors informed them about what they had to do to prolong their lives. Ex-convicts knew how hard their time could be if they were arrested again, but it didn’t make a difference.

That’s because we take the facts and fit them into the frames we already have.  If the facts don’t fit, we’re likely to challenge whether they’re really facts or to dismiss the information and persist somehow in believing what we want to believe.” – Excerpt from the book “Change or Die” by Alan Deutschman

Just recently, I read one of the most fascinating books on belief systems and change: Change or Die. If there is anything in your life that you are struggling to change, I highly recommend it.

Alan Deutschman is a senior writer at Fast Company magazine and has interviewed some of the most successful business icons of our time. He created this book to reveal how  some people can change in even the most hopeless situations while others—who have the knowledge and information to change—don’t. Whether it’s heart patients who know they will die very soon if they don’t change or business owners trapped in unsuccessful businesses that keep them in a cycle of failure, the way to change is the same — and it starts and ends with belief systems.

Take my consulting business as an example. Most people buy my program looking for a “fix” to their marketing problem. What they don’t realize is that, in order for my clients to be truly successful, they have to change their well-entrenched negative habits and beliefs that got them to where they are in the first place. A better sales letter or web site won’t fix that.

Unless I can get them to embrace true change in their daily habits, what they believe, and how they use their time, the results won’t follow, or they will be slow and miniscule. That is why my selling starts after I make the sale—I have to sell them on the fact that success will come. I have to use client success stories to constantly reinforce that the methods and strategies work.

Otherwise, the average person will do exactly what Deutschman outlines in his book:

“We take the facts and fit them into the frames we already have. If the facts don’t fit, we’re likely to challenge whether they’re really facts or to dismiss the information and persist somehow in believing what we want to believe.”

If someone doesn’t believe direct mail can possibly work—they will find a way to prove it doesn’t. Or, if they completely lack the discipline to control their time, their ability to focus on a project, lean something new, or to develop the habit of steadfastness that is required to build a marketing system in their business, they will fail. It doesn’t matter what marketing “guru” they subscribe to.

And like it (or believe it) or not, that really is the true key to someone having success with my program. A better web site or postcard won’t change the belief that “selling is evil” or “asking for money is wrong” OR “I couldn’t send THAT letter to my clients.”  It won’t fix someone who can’t or won’t invest some time into researching and understanding their clients. And my program doesn’t automatically alter your schedule and free up buckets of time and space to get the strategies implemented.

I can give a client a surefire, guaranteed formula for selling managed services, but if they don’t truly believe in what they are selling or fear the sale in some way, they won’t use the formula, or worse yet—they’ll cherry pick what they feel comfortable with, leave out or change what they don’t like, and then blame the formula for not working.

Just like the 9 out of 10 heart patients who fail to get healthier, they would rather stay in denial than actually do what it takes to get better.

And it’s not because they don’t know what to do…it’s because their beliefs, fears, and bad habits are so entrenched that more information—no matter how proven or powerful it is—won’t alter the patterns they’ve anchored themselves to.

Dedicated to your success,


How to Use Seminars and Events to Drive Sales and Attract New Clients

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

According to the Book of Lists, public speaking produces more fear and anxiety than death. However, for the business owners and sales professionals who overcome this fear, they quickly discover that standing up in front of a room to deliver a seminar is one of the fastest, least expensive ways to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and generate considerable increases in revenue, profits, and new clients.

3 BIG Reasons Why Seminars are Such a Powerful Way to Promote Your Services to New Clients

When done right, a seminar can land you a number of big-ticket sales in a very short period of time. On multiple occasions, I have used a 90-minute presentation to secure well over $100,000 in signed contracts.

Compared to other methods of marketing like cold calling, direct mail, and trade shows, delivering a seminar will pay off far greater and in a much faster time frame. There are 3 big reasons for this…

First, a person who takes the podium is automatically considered an expert that has something worth saying. This gives them a little bit of a celebrity status in the eyes of the audience, which automatically translates into some level of respect and recognition. Positioned this way, attracting qualified clients becomes infinitely easier than even the best cold prospecting campaign.

Second, having heard you speak, people feel as though they know you personally, and are more confident about hiring you. This trust cannot be established as quickly or effectively through traditional marketing or cold calls.

Third, you have a captive, attentive audience who wants to hear what you have to say – the ideal target market. The average person receives over 3,000 marketing messages a day. With so much noise, prospects have become very good at shutting out marketing messages; however, when someone signs up to hear you speak at an event or for a seminar you are delivering, they are not only demonstrating a serious interest in what you are talking about, but they are also actively paying attention to you during your entire presentation. This makes for the perfect selling situation.

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

The first hurdle to overcome is your fear of speaking in front of groups. Fortunately, the more you speak the easier it becomes, but this is a chicken and egg situation; if you are too afraid to speak, how do you get the practice you need to become a fearless force in front of a room? Your self confidence and presentation style GREATLY impacts your ability to influence an audience, so this is a necessary skill to develop if you are going to deliver seminars.

If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend starting out by speaking to small groups of people you know (clients, associates) or by joining Toastmasters ( This will help to get you comfortable in front of a room full of people.

Another way to overcome your fear and deliver a great presentation is to thoroughly prepare. Most speakers’ fear comes from a feeling of looking foolish or unprepared; therefore it makes sense that the more prepared and practiced you are, the less nervous you will be. This is a die-hard rule that all really good presenters live by. Unfortunately, most people won’t invest any time in preparing and practicing their presentation – and that is why MOST speakers are lackluster, boring, and ineffective at selling anything from the front of the room.

How should you prepare? I recommend scripting your entire presentation, practicing on your own or in front of staff, friends, or colleagues, and memorizing your presentation. This IS a lot of work, but it will dramatically improve your effectiveness in front of a room and it will ease your nerves. Most people wait until the last minute to plan their presentation, then slap together a few PowerPoint slides and wing it. This is a huge mistake. In a lot of ways, speaking is like acting. Actors do not wing their performances. They memorize their lines and practice – in character – over and over again until it is perfected.

Delivering a speech when you are unprepared can have the opposite effect that you want and can damage your reputation by appearing disorganized, nervous, and uninformed. Once you become a professional, polished speaker, you will be able to command attention and respect from large groups of people, and the financial benefits will certainly follow.

Clarifying Your Agenda to Absolutely Guarantee Sales

Once you’ve made the decision to add seminars and events to your marketing plan, the next step of clarifying your agenda is absolutely critical to your success. Specifically, what is the outcome or result you want to produce from delivering this presentation? Or, how are you going to measure the success of your presentation? The more you crystallize your goal(s) for the presentation the better your chances of making it happen.

As a business owner or sales person, your primary goal should be to produce sales, not to make people laugh or write good evaluations. To that end, your presentation must sell. As obvious as this seems, many people don’t prepare their presentations to sell because they either don’t know how, or they are too afraid to ask for the order and compel the audience to take action on what they are offering.

All too often I’m approached by clients who want me to help them create a marketing plan or letter to follow up with people who recently saw them speak at a seminar. The problem is, creating a sales letter to follow up with people who recently saw you speak and didn’t buy is like closing and locking the gate after the horse got out. Your absolute BEST chance of making a sale or getting the prospect to at least commit to taking the first step forward is at the event. That is why you have to clarify your agenda and make your presentation sell the attendees on taking action (buying).

Let’s suppose you want to sell your audience managed services. With that goal clearly focused in your mind, you want to craft your entire presentation to sell your audience on the value of managed services.

You would have to establish WHY a business needs regular maintenance and monitoring for their network. You would want to provide case studies and testimonials of other businesses you have helped that demonstrate tangible business results. You would need to establish credibility for your company. You would want to clearly demonstrate why the services you are selling are superior to other managed services plans being offered by other consultants. You would want to bring up and overcome common sales objections. You have to clearly define the measurable and tangible results this system is going to deliver, and ideally, guarantee them. And then finally, you would close your presentation with an offer for a free network audit or some other valuable service that would only be made available to those in attendance who take action that day. Obviously you aren’t going to get them to sign a contract right there on the spot, but you have to at least close them on the next step.

Once your prospects get back to their respective offices, they’re out of the buying mode. They’ve already forgotten half of what you said during your presentation.

They’ve also had a cooling off period where many of them will change their mind about being interested in the first place – classic buyers’ remorse. If you wait to try to sell them on taking the next step at this stage, you’re right back to making a cold call where you have to battle through voice mail and secretaries to get them to take your call. Then you have to get them warmed up and interested (again), and then sell them on the meeting or whatever you determine the next step to be.

That is why it’s absolutely critical to have a strong close at the end of ANY presentation. If you don’t get them to take action while you’ve got their full attention, you’ve lost the opportunity.

Why “Consultative” Sales Presentations Don’t Work

Most presenters put on a very plain vanilla, educational seminar with lots of product facts and features. At the end, they have one slide that contains their phone number, e-mail, and web address with the non-offer of calling them if you are interested. Using this wimpy close they should feel lucky if they get anyone interested, much less buying.

I have been delivering presentations for the purpose of marketing myself for over 15 years to various audiences. Before I changed my presentation to contain a strong close at the end, I was generating a big fat zero in revenue. My nice “consultative” sales pitch was not ruffling any feathers, but it was not generating any sales or new clients either.

Since changing my presentation to contain a strong close, I’ve generated millions of dollars in sales for my products and services WITHOUT having to make follow up calls and presentations. These sales are already made and in my hand by the time the seminar is over. That is a vast difference from getting a handful of business cards to follow up on and spending weeks or months chasing them down, trying to get them to buy.

I also want to point out that my Toolkit is NOT the only product or service I’ve sold from the front of the room, so don’t think for a moment that “my business is different” and that you can’t use the exact same strategies to sell managed services, network upgrades, CRM systems or any other IT service or product you want to sell.

The Silent Killer of Sales Presentations

One of the biggest stumbling blocks you are inevitably going to have to overcome is hidden, negative beliefs or feelings about asking for the order and compelling your audience to buy. This is not as easy as it sounds and it will take practice to overcome. Even seasoned, professional speakers have to deal with this.

If you have internal conflicts about asking people to buy from you, using a strong close, promoting yourself, or if you feel uncomfortable when asking a prospect to write you a check, you better get over it quick or you’ll waste your time delivering seminars or any other marketing for that matter. These beliefs will negatively impact your ability to attract new clients and persuade them to buy.

If you know you have issues around selling and asking people to buy, I recommend that you get and read the book Zero Resistance Selling by Maxwell Maltz. Justifying these negative feelings by telling yourself, “that’s just not me,” or “that’s just not the way we do things,” or “we haven’t had to use this in the past and aren’t going to start now,” are excuses that prevent you from addressing the real, underlying problem of a negative attitude towards selling and asking people to buy from you.

After all, if you truly believed in the value you bring — if you wholeheartedly believed that a client would be better off buying your services than not buying your services and you know you will deliver on your promises — then why the heck wouldn’t you do everything possible to get them to buy?

With that said, you CAN certainly deliver a presentation that provides great information, happy attendees, and sales at the same time; but until your bank starts accepting good evaluation forms as a form of currency, I would recommend that you work on closing sales as your main agenda.

What Would You Do If You Found Out Your Sales Guy Did This?

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

I had a very interesting call with a new client the other day. I won’t name names and you’ll see why in a minute…

His senior sales rep, who had been working for him for years, went off the deep end, broke into the office after hours to have a party with a couple of strippers–liquor everywhere–and then stole a company van for his getaway car until the cops showed up. (My client was awoken in the middle of the night when the security company called to say someone had broken into the office. He had no idea who it was at that point.)

When the sales guy was arrested, his boss (my client) found out that this sales guy was bi-polar and had stopped taking his medication. His condition was completely unknown to my client and came as a complete shock.

Obviously this is a pretty misfortunate scenario and one that most IT business owners wouldn’t have to deal with — BUT, it proves a very important point I’ve been driving home for years about automating your sales and marketing system so that it is not 100% reliant on a PERSON to get it done.

This client had a situation that is similar to 99% of the IT business owners I work with – the operations of the business (particularly the sales and marketing part) has absolutely no systems, processes, or metrics in place and only gets done if there is a particular person doing it. No one else knows anyone else’s job, how they do it, the processes and communications they use, and so on.

To make matters even worse, this owner didn’t even have a central database of his customers. Each sales rep (including the one who recently had a meltdown) is their own independent island responsible for managing their own database, their own activities, sales pitch, marketing materials, and daily activities.

This is an incredibly dangerous place for you as the business owner because each sales person holds all the power in marketing and selling YOUR services to YOUR customers. If they leave, everything they’ve created and developed on YOUR DIME walks out the door with them. Had this owner taken time to enforce documentation and development of universal systems with the sales force, this disaster would not have been as bad.

Naturally you are going to have to find top people to run your organization. I’m not suggesting that systems will erase the need for that. But when there is no formal sales process, training, or marketing system in place, you are really starting from anunnecessary disadvantage when hiring new people or replacing those in the current position. If this client had his sales system documented, it would not only be easier to replace this person, but it would also make any replacement’s ramp-up to success much faster because they are simply plugging into an already proven system instead of having to figure it all out from scratch.

Here’s another reason why this is dangerous…it makes you, the owner, incredibly dependant on your sales staff’s ability and willingness to do a good job. If they suddenly lose their motivation, what do you do? What if all your new business flow is dependent on that person networking and making cold calls…when they become ineffective, the flow slows down or stops; whereas if you had a SYSTEM in place for building loyalty with existing customers and cultivating new opportunities, their dip in effectiveness would be minimized.

Can you imagine Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s franchise, depending on the employees he hired to do a good job? Never would have happened. But because he systematized everything, he was able to build one of the most successful and profitable businesses in our history; all run by teenage kids.

So here’s a suggestion…

Get your butt to one of my final, half-day Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint seminars so I can SHOW you what an auto-pilot marketing system looks like in YOUR exact IT services business.

I’ll give you precise case studies and examples that are specific to your business – not theoretical, “pie-in-the-sky” fluff that is just too vague. I’ll take the mystery out of marketing your business and show you how to “can” and “clone” your sales and marketing process so it requires very little effort to attract pre-sold, pre-qualified clients on a regular basis.

Go here and register NOW:

You’ll see, firsthand, why so many computer consultants have eagerly sent me all those raving-fan testimonials.

Dedicated to your success,


The 5 Dumbest Things Computer Consultants Consistently Do To Sabotage Their Success

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

One of my favorite talk show personalities Bill Handle, Handle On The Law, often asks his listeners,Have you ever heard the phrase life is hard, but it’s harder when you’re stupid?”

I know that is true because in my early days of selling, I earned the highest degree in D.U.M.B and discovered that cold prospecting and marketing without a plan is NOT fun and certainly NOT productive.

Today, as I coach hundreds of small computer consultants on selling, marketing, and making money, I have definitely seen a distinct difference between those who literally attract success and those who can’t seem to make anything positive happen, and it has nothing to do with circumstance, client type, market area, finances, or any other external factor. Instead, it has everything to do with their everyday thoughts, habits and behaviors.

Below are the top 5 dumbest things I see computer consultants doing that consistently sabotages their success in marketing, attracting clients, and making money.

  1. They don’t consider marketing and selling a TOP business priority. The computer consultants that struggle to get ahead or simply tick over year after year making only mediocre headway always seem too busy to do any marketing.

    Sure, they give it a lot of lip service–they know it’s important and they admit they should be getting it done, but that’s where it ends. Truth be told, they view marketing as an annoying, necessary evil of running a business, and they constantly choose to put other less important activities and projects above it. And because they never spend time on truly mastering the marketing of their business or developing consistency in the delivery and implementation of their marketing plans, they’re always starting over, making it a much more difficult and drawn-out process than it has to be.

  2. They are terrible at time management and, therefore, waste countless hours on low-level, unimportant, trivial matters that get them nowhere fast. This goes hand-in-hand with #1 from above; if they eliminated even 50% of the time-wasting activities they indulge in on a daily basis, they would have plenty of time to work on the marketing of their business.

    You cannot manage time. Time is an intangible thing that cannot be touched or felt, much less managed. You can only manage YOURSELF. You get to choose where you spend every minute of your day, and most people consistently make bad choices. In most cases, this is because they are not clear on their personal, financial, and business goals, and therefore have no clear plan or way of knowing what they should be spending their time on.

  3. They aren’t absolutely crystal clear on what they want to get out of their business, or what they want their business to do. Most computer consultants operate their business today the exact same way they did the year before, and the year before that. Sure there are always going to be some changes, but no REAL progress is made because they are wandering through the growth of their business without a clear set of objectives.

    They don’t have written financial goals. They have no idea what they want their business to produce in terms of revenue, profits, and clients. They’ve never thought about how they can extract themselves from the business to enjoy more time off by developing systems or hiring people. Naturally they also lack a marketing plan since they don’t know what the end goal is anyway.

  4. They don’t hold themselves accountable. Do you know why most people never achieve their New Year’s resolutions? Because once they’ve made them, they stop there. They don’t create plans, they don’t think through the steps to achieving them, and they don’t measure their progress until the next year!

    Top performers hold themselves accountable. They plan and organize every month, every week, every day, and every hour, and then they stick to those plans. If you talk to people who have achieved success in marketing their business – or anything else for that matter – you’ll discover that they are consistent. They don’t start-stop, start-stop, start-stop. They get going and see their plans through to the end. They are constantly building and refining their systems.

  5. They don’t become a serious student of marketing, developing opportunities, and attracting money. If you want to be great at anything, you have to study it. Not once in awhile, but ALWAYS. Vince Lombardi started every football training season by holding up a football and saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Mastering the basics of marketing and selling requires constant learning and constant practice. Not once in awhile when things get desperate or when you feel like it – consistency is key.

How To Stop The Stupidity

If these 5 bad habits seemed all too familiar, then I urge you to join me at a live Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint Seminar.

In 3 short hours, I will show you how other small computer consultants with very little sales and marketing experience are doubling their income and profits on a small marketing budget:

Let’s face it…

You don’t have a lot of time and money to spend on marketing, and chances are you aren’t very good at it either. Yet you know how critical it is to the success of your business and your personal income.

Less than 5% of Americans retire financially self-sufficient — that means 95% of all Americans retire without the financial means to support themselves.

If you don’t want to be part of the broke majority, then take this small step in the right direction by clicking here now to register for my Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint Seminar.

It’s 100% guaranteed to show you how to make more money, attract a better quality of client, and finally get a solid, reliable marketing plan in place.

You’ll see actual case studies and examples of marketing systems used by other VARs, MSPs, and System Integrators to dramatically increase sales. You’ll learn exactly what type of marketing works best for attracting new clients, and the type of marketing that will leave you frustrated and broke.

Click here now for the seminar agenda, dates, locations, and registration information.

How To Get Your Customers To Sell For You: Secrets To Fueling Referrals

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

I don’t care what type of business you are in, there is no better sales lead than a referral from an extremely happy customer. Most businesses take referrals for granted. They are grateful for the ones they get, but very few have a proactive plan for generating them.

Like any other sales or marketing you are doing, having a systematic way of asking for and working referrals is essential. If you are already getting them now, think of how quickly you will be able to ramp up sales with a more aggressive approach!

The #1 Secret To Generating A Flood Of Referrals

This may surprise you, but the #1 secret to generating referrals is not a clever sales letter or some magical phrase you utter to your clients that causes them to whip out their Rolodex and give you every name contained in it. The secret is simply providing services and products so excellent that your customers are in complete awe. Take the Disney theme parks for example. Millions of people flock to Disney to gleefully empty their wallets. Why? Because Disney knows how to deliver a “WOW” experience.

Satisfied customers who get what they deserve and expect, do not refer in abundance. Customers that are delightfully surprised that they got more than they paid for…fast and friendly service…personal attention by someone who cares, do far more than tell everyone about their experience—they turn into raving fan customers.

  • Raving fan customers are happy to write you checks over and over again.
  • Raving fan customers wouldn’t think of doing business with anyone else.
  • Raving fan customers tell everyone they know about you.

Now here’s the million dollar question: Are your customers just satisfied or are they a raving fan of your business?

Setting Up Your Referral System

Now that you have gone to work in providing the type of service or product worthy of referrals, start asking for them! Here are some times when it would be appropriate to ask for referrals:

  • At the point of closing a sale. I recently met with an alignment specialist to help me correct a chronic knee problem. After paying him $250 for the initial consultation, he gave me the “rules” of being a client. One of them was that I had a responsibility to refer at least 11 people to his practice. After saying this, he said, “How many of my business cards do you want?” To date, I’ve happily referred several friends of mine and will continue to refer people to him because he was able to get me out of pain when the doctors and physical therapists told me the next step was surgery. Was I offended that he told me one of the responsibilities of being a client was to refer people? Not at all! Because he delivered a WOW! experience to me, I was more than happy to do it. Everyone can incorporate this into closing a sale, but very few actually will because they don’t have the confidence in themselves.
  • When you are billing them for work done. Gevalia Coffee fuels word of mouth advertising by including a “refer a friend certificate” with every shipment you receive. If you refer a new customer to them, you get 2 free ceramic coffee mugs and your friend (the person you referred) gets a free coffee maker. In your invoices, include a fax back form requesting referrals. Tell your customer that if they refer at least 2 people, they can take 5% or 10% off the invoice as a reward.
  • After they have bought and consumed your product or service. Send a letter or have a sales person call. Start by asking if they were happy with their purchase. If they say yes, then ask if they would be willing to refer you to a few friends or colleagues.

Other Ways To Generate Referrals

  • Give your customers discount coupons or gift certificates they can pass on to friends and colleagues. Simply mail them out, e-mail them, or send them in your invoice statement.
  • Conduct referral events. One client of mine throws a huge barbecue every summer and gets the local radio station to broadcast live from the event. VIP invitations are sent to customers who are encouraged to bring friends. It’s so successful that they hold it every year and try to make each one bigger and more elaborate than the last one. If a barbecue is too much work, a simple after-hours customer appreciation event can work wonders. Ask your customers to bring a colleague.
  • Have referral contests. The person providing the largest number of referrals in a given time-frame wins a prize. One of my clients held a referral contest for a flat screen monitor and picked up 8 new clients, many of whom turned into managed service contracts.

The Most Important Thing To Do
AFTER You Get A Referral

When someone refers you to a new customer, make sure you recognize and reward them generously. This will make them feel good about referring people to you and will encourage more of the same. If it’s not in the budget to send a gift, then a handwritten thank-you note and a phone call will go a long way.

Your Daring Escape From The Prison You Call Your Business

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

When a client purchases a Toolkit, I send them the “escape from prison” letter to congratulate them on the smart decision they have just made and to encourage them to actually use it.

It’s a true story and it goes like this…

Years ago a friend of mine was sentenced to serve 1 month in prison for knocking a guy out in a bar fight. Fortunately he was sent home after 12 days, and the “prison” he was kept in was minimum security and more like a county lock-up than a real hard-core prison. However, the fact that his freedom was taken away from him was a devastating experience.

It Was Devastating

My friend’s freedom was taken away from him without his consent. I am convinced he was innocent and simply defending himself against a stupid bully who (rightfully) got his teeth knocked in for picking the wrong guy to mess with. But the results were the same–he was forced to serve time. It was a tremendous blow to his self esteem and one of the most emotionally scarring events of his life.

However, millions of people hold themselves captive for YEARS in self-made mental prisons created entirely by their own self-imposed limitations and fears.

These prisons are not made of steel and concrete. They are made of excuses, procrastination, complaining, self-pity, and negative thinking. Many people willfully sentence themselves to “hard times” behind the bars of these prisons by not taking responsibility for their lot in life. Instead, they blame others, the economy, their customers, their education, their market, and choices they “had” to make in their life (or any other outside factor) for their lack of success.

Here’s A Letter From YOUR Competition…
And You’re Worried?

The other day we received an order from a new client accompanied by a LONG letter stating that they are highly skeptical of my system, feel it is VERY expensive, and clearly asserting that they will happily take me up on my money-back offer if it doesn’t make them rich. Well guess what–I can already tell you it won’t, and I might as well just refund him now.

He may feel like he’s paid a lot of money for it, but what he doesn’t realize is that his comments (which were about 2 pages long explaining why his business is stagnant, why he’s not growing, and subsequently, broke) say more about his limitations in making a lot of money than anything about my program. How is he ever going to sell his services at a premium rate if he thinks $1,500 is a LOT of money? Truth is, he needs to spend more, not less, on coaching, books, seminars, and other educational material to deal with the crippling negative beliefs he has about money and success.

Additionally, the Toolkit doesn’t work through osmosis–you don’t put it under your pillow at night and wake up the next morning rich. You have to actually do some work. It is a shared responsibility to make your business more successful. Amazingly, some people are actually put off by the fact that my system requires some effort on their behalf and actually tell me that is why they don’t buy it. Apparently they are holding out for the marketing fairy to show up and do it all for them.

Whether they realize this or not, it’s nothing short of a miracle that the average computer consultant can buy my program, send out a few letters and see results. For all I know, this guy has done a poor job supporting his clients, has done nothing to establish his presence or authority, has no accolades or accomplishments to verify his expertise, no USP, and I can almost guarantee that he doesn’t have any client testimonials worth the paper they are printed on. Heck, he might even be ugly, smell bad, and dress like a homeless person sleeping in his van–yet, he’s laying the entire responsibility of his success on the Toolkit.

This is why those who get the best results from my program are already successful–as the biblical saying goes, “To those who have, more will be given.” BUT, I still believe it is MY responsibility to help this person to the best of my ability. That is my life’s calling. However, I will say that unlike George Bush, I don’t think it’s possible to have “no child left behind.” Truth is, some of ‘em aren’t coming no matter what you do.

So, to celebrate freedom this month in ALL aspects of our lives, businesses, and, of course, in our country, here is a list of things that will most certainly keep you locked into a self-made prison of poverty, scarcity, difficulty, and bad luck. We’ve all indulged in these behaviors at some point…but you don’t drown by falling into water, you drown by staying there:

  • Indulging in destructive, negative thoughts and limiting beliefs.
  • Failure to clearly define what you want (financially or otherwise).
  • Failure to create a definite set of plans to acquire what you want.
  • Failure to frequently review and re-evaluate your plans.
  • Procrastination, with or without cause.
  • The habit of blaming circumstances or outside factors for your failure, lack of progress, or unfavorable circumstances.
  • The habit of accepting and believing that your unfavorable circumstances, failure, or lack of progress are out of your control and cannot be changed.
  • Lack of interest and action in controlling your time.
  • Weakness of desire in sticking to your plan of action.
  • “Softening” situations (it’s not that bad, it can wait until tomorrow, I can’t handle more clients anyway).
  • Allowing interruptions.
  • Tolerating bad behavior from clients, vendors, employees.
  • Wasting time on low-leverage activities (secretarial work, running errands, constantly checking e-mail).
  • Lack of interest in disciplining yourself to focus.
  • Willingness–even eagerness–to quit at the first sign of defeat, problems, or difficulty.

Happy 4th!

Want to See How Other Small Computer Consultants are Commanding Higher than Average Rates
While Attracting More Clients?

Then it’s critical for you to join me at an upcoming Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint Seminar.

You’ll learn:

  • How other SMB consultants are doubling the number of qualified leads and new clients they have using an “auto-pilot” client attraction marketing system that doesn’t require a sales team or large marketing budget to work.

    Click here to register now

  • How to avoid wasting thousands of dollars and your precious time on marketing campaigns that don’t work. I’ll reveal the exact marketing media that has been proven time and time again to work best when marketing IT services.
  • How to position yourself as the most “in demand” consultant in your area with the highest fees and still get more business than cheaper competitors.
  • The 3 critical characteristics you must develop to unlock a flood of new sales and business opportunities; these have nothing to do with your marketing, the type of clients you serve, the way you price your services, or your competition.

    Click here to register now

  • Auto-pilot marketing systems that will cut the time and effort of selling in half while virtually eliminating cheap clients. This is price-shopper pest control for your business!
  • How to get every ad, sales letter, brochure marketing campaign, website – and even your business card – to generate two to three times as many leads and sales as it currently is.
  • What type of marketing media is hands down the BEST for promoting your computer consulting services, and which ones will waste your time, drain your bank account, and leave you disappointed and frustrated.

This seminar is unconditionally guaranteed to give you specific, usable marketing strategies you can implement into your business and see results in your bank account within 6 weeks or less.

You will see actual campaigns and strategies that other small computer consultants used to double or triple their annual revenue, launch a profitable managed services practice, and transform the way they do business.

Click here to register now

Seating is limited! The last 2 events SOLD OUT. If you want to make sure you don’t miss out, click here now to register.

What President Garfield’s Story of “Margins” Can Teach You About Making More Money and Enjoying More Success in Your Computer Consulting Business

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

Are you familiar with the late, U.S. President Garfield’s story on margins?

James Garfield was born in a log cabin to poor, uneducated parents, yet he went on to become a scholar, a Civil War hero, a U.S. congressman for 18 years and, eventually, the 20th President of the United States.

When he was a young boy, Garfield had a rival student at school who consistently received higher marks than he. This puzzled and frustrated him because he knew that the other boy was no more talented, educated, or smarter than himself. Then one night he discovered the boy’s secret.

Garfield had put out his lamp and was getting ready for bed when he looked out his window across campus and noticed that his rival student was still up studying. He watched him every night after that and noticed that this process continued; his rival was putting in several additional minutes of study every night.

Garfield decided that it was by this small margin that his rival was beating him and decided to not only match his rival’s extra study time, but to make sure he added an extra 15 minutes more every night. At the end of the school year, Garfield found himself ahead by a small margin.

As in all things in life, the margin between success and failure is often exceedingly small. It’s not uncommon for the average athlete or the average entertainer to win by a very small margin. That’s because it’s not just a matter of having natural talents and abilities, but rather what you do to develop those abilities and how you put them to use.

Success in business is just like that

How is it that one small computer consulting firm can double or triple its revenue when others in the same area, marketing to the same customers, using the same vendors, remain stagnant or even decline?

Go to any event in the IT industry two years in a row and talk to the same business owners you spoke to at the previous year’s event. Why do most report only a tiny increase in growth, clients, profits, and success year after year and continue to complain about the same problems, while only a small few report exponential gains?

Why do so many computer consultants settle – even resign themselves – to owning a “job” that commands them to work 60+ hours a week without breaks, significant rewards, or the promise of a big payout?

That’s because success in business – which is the ability to get things done, to persuade others, and to develop a master plan and execute that plan – is in direct proportion to the owner’s ability to invest that little extra marginal time and effort into mastering the key skills every business owner must learn to be a success.

Obviously one of those skills is selling and marketing. Truth be told, it’s the “Achilles heel” of most smart, hard-working, small business owners in the IT industry. It seems that no other aspect of running a profitable, thriving business stumps them more.

And if you are reading this, you would probably agree that your lack of expertise in marketing IS significantly harming your income, profitability, and overall success in business to some degree.

But I’ve got some great news that is actually a “secret” most don’t know about marketing…

You don’t actually have to be a marketing master to generate significant gains in your business; you only have to bemarginally better than your competition.

Do you know the old joke about two men walking through the woods who stumble upon a bear? Realizing the immediate danger they are in, the one man starts to run only to notice his friend is bent over tying his shoes. He yells to the other man, “What are you doing? Why are you tying your shoes instead of running?” The other man replies, “I’m tying my shoes because I don’t have to outrun the bear – I only have to outrun YOU.”

The same is true in marketing your business. You don’t have to be a Zen master at marketing to win – you only have to be marginally better than the competition.

Just imagine being able to be only 5% or 10% better than your competition at attracting new customers and closing sales. Imagine being only marginally better at marketing online and creating web sites that really sell. Imagine knowing only a handful of “tricks” for attracting new clients with direct mail, networking, and partnering that your competition wasn’t even aware of.

Just think about what that would do to your income! The effect would be astounding.

Quite honestly, I don’t like to tell my clients this little “secret” because I truly want them to master marketing. I want them to know what I know and invest serious time into studying the “art” of persuasion. But truth be told, they only need to make a few changes to see results; that’s because most of their competitors are so severely lacking when it comes to marketing.

So, if you would like to learn a few valuable tricks and key “secrets” to marketing, then you must join me at an upcomingClient Attraction and Marketing Blueprint Seminar.

During this event I’m not going to be able to turn you into a marketing master – BUT, I will teach you a handful of proven, field-tested strategies that are easy to use and incredibly cheap to implement. Some won’t cost you anything.

You’ll learn:

  • How other SMB consultants are doubling the number of qualified leads and new clients they have using an “auto-pilot” client attraction marketing system that doesn’t require a sales team or large marketing budget to work.Click here to register now
  • How to avoid wasting thousands of dollars and your precious time on marketing campaigns that don’t work. I’ll reveal the exact marketing media that has been proven time and time again to work best when marketing IT services.
  • How to position yourself as the most “in demand” consultant in your area with the highest fees and still get more business than cheaper competitors.
  • The 3 critical characteristics you must develop to unlock a flood of new sales and business opportunities; these have nothing to do with your marketing, the type of clients you serve, the way you price your services, or your competition.Click here to register now
  • Auto-pilot marketing systems that will cut the time and effort of selling in half while virtually eliminating cheap clients. This is price-shopper pest control for your business!
  • How to get every ad, sales letter, brochure marketing campaign, website – and even your business card – to generate two to three times as many leads and sales as it currently is.
  • What type of marketing media is hands down the BEST for promoting your computer consulting services, and which ones will waste your time, drain your bank account, and leave you disappointed and frustrated.

This seminar is unconditionally guaranteed to give you specific, usable marketing strategies you can implement into your business and see results in your bank account within 6 weeks or less.

You will see actual campaigns and strategies that other small computer consultants used to double or triple their annual revenue, launch a profitable managed services practice, and transform the way they do business.

Click here to register now

Seating is limited! The last 2 events SOLD OUT. If you want to make sure you don’t miss out, click here now to register.


The Secret To Charging (And Getting) Premium Prices

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

Are you getting paid what you’re worth? If not, why?

One of the biggest reasons computer consultants don’t raise their rates and charge premium prices, is their erroneous fear that doing so will cause them to lose clients and reduce the number of people who will buy from them in a competitive situation. Nothing could be further from the truth. In every industry, there are companies that charge premium prices for their goods and services, and I have had a number of clients raise their rates 10%, 20%, even 40% and never lose a client. If you aren’t good with math, that’s an instant boost to bottom-line profits at zero cost or effort. In every case, if any clients were lost, they were the bottom feeders we wanted to lose anyway – an added bonus.

From my perspective, there are two big detriments to charging what you are worth and commanding premium fees: 1. Your lack of effectively marketing the value of your services, and 2. Your own negative attitude and beliefs about money and what you are worth.

First, let’s look at the marketing part of this equation. If you want to successfully secure higher than average fees for your services, you will have to structure everything you do in your marketing and client communications – including your web site, advertising, Yellow Pages, direct mail, and client presentations – to position yourself above every other computer consultant in your area.

The only reason a client chooses a cheaper competitor is because they have not been convinced that the additional money you are asking for is justified in value. In other words, your marketing and presentation has not sufficiently differentiated you and positioned you as the clear choice. Most computer consultants and sales people “wing” their client presentations. Most give the price first and then justify the quote instead of carefully and systematically building value and increasing the client’s want of the service before giving the price. Do you have a process to do this? Can you articulate the steps involved, point by point? Do you have a well-thought out presentation that builds value, handles objections, and provides unquestionable proof in testimonials and guarantees that you can deliver on your promises better than your competition? If you don’t, you’ll have a very hard time selling your services at premium prices.

Then there is the issue of your own negative belief systems about what you are worth, asking for money, and charging premium rates. Most computer consultants squirm when they give a price to their clients. Not only do they feel uncomfortable giving the price, but also when asking the client to buy. You’ll never charge premium rates with these beliefs.

Many feel it is somehow “unfair” to charge more than everyone else. I don’t know where that comes from, but again, if you feel that way, you are going to have to learn to be content with earning less than you could. Who gives Ferrari the right to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for a car? Who gives Rolex the right to charge thousands of dollars for a watch? What gives Trump the right to sell and rent his properties at rates that are well above the “norm?” In all cases, the affluent clients they appeal to give them the right every time they stand in line to buy. No one is holding a gun to their head forcing them to buy a Rolex or a Ferrari, and they certainly aren’t the only options for time keeping and transportation.

If you have negative beliefs about what is and isn’t fair when it comes to charging premium prices, no one is going to hand them over to you. You get premium prices by asking for them with 100% congruency and confidence, and darn good marketing to back it up.

Why Prospects are Ignoring Your Sales Letters, Web Site, and Ads and What You Can Do to Turn Things Around FAST

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.

Although I’ve harped on this before, I continually get marketing campaigns submitted to me from computer consulting firms for critique that contain zero benefits or reasons why a customer should pay attention, let alone respond or buy something.

In most cases, I can clearly tell that they spent hours, possibly even days, trying to come up with some cute slogan or picture to capture the readers attention and get a response. Big, HUGE waste of time. Cute slogans with “hidden” meanings or inside jokes do NOT sell, and slogans should NOT be confused with a USP (unique selling proposition) or benefits. Some slogans can represent or be congruent with a USP and convey benefits (like Wal-Mart’s Always Low Prices. Always), but the vast majority simply do not.

So what exactly is a unique selling proposition and how do you get one?

Great question. First, your USP needs to answer the question, what is so special, advantageous, or beneficial about your products and services that makes you the obvious choice above all of your competitors? If you were face to face with a prospective customer and they asked you why they should give you their business over all of the other consultants and vendors offering the same products and services, what would you say?

If you have half a brain you are not going to try to be cute or clever in your answer. So why do that in a marketing campaign? If you HAVE a better service, then communicate specifically how or why and prove it with testimonials, case studies, and guarantees.

For most technology companies, clearly defining what they do better than their competitors is a hard thing to do. In most cases, they simply say “better service”. Ok, but who else can (and does) promote that to their customers? If anybody and everybody can use your USP, it ain’t a USP because one of the obvious factors is uniqueness. In order for it to have any power, your USP has to favorably separate you from the competition.

There are only 5 ways you can do this:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Process
  4. Service
  5. Marketing

Having a truly unique product is incredibly rare. Even if you happen to have a unique product, chances are it won’t be long before someone invents a faster/cheaper/newer/bigger/low carb version of it.

Differentiating yourself by lowest price is, in my opinion, the worst USP to have especially when you are in a small service business. Aside from the obvious fact that it prevents you from making healthy margins on your services, it attracts a lower-end client that is far more likely to complain, pay slow, shop you on price, and not appreciate your services. However, many small business owners are too lazy to go to work on finding, developing, and communicating a USP and are forced to compete on price without strategically choosing that as their USP.

Process and service offer far more opportunity for you to differentiate. Being able to deliver a better customer experience not only creates an environment for customer loyalty and referrals, but it also allows you to command higher rates.

Many of you know that I’ve conducted an extensive amount of research with small business owners and IT managers to find out what the “opportunity gap” is in selling technology services. To date, I’ve conducted hundreds of live telephone interviews to find out what annoys business owners and IT managers when buying technology products and services. Over and over again, the top 3 biggest complaints were:

  1. Slow response time or lack of responsiveness.
  2. They don’t fix their problems right or in a timely manner.
  3. Lack of follow through or service after the sale.

If I were building a unique selling proposition for a technology services business, you can bet that I would base it entirely on guaranteeing to solve these three problems or complaints. I would also make sure that I was engineering my business in such a way to make sure I could deliver.

This would explain why so many “technically” better consultants lose sales to their lesser qualified competition. So many business owners focus so much on the technical aspect of the services they are providing and overlook these other factors that determine the level of satisfaction their clients’ experience. For example, billing on time, accurately reporting in detail what you are billing your clients for, the friendliness of the technician, returning calls promptly, being able to be reached, following up, and even the manner in which you communicate with your clients all add up to an overall experience.

Finally, you can always use marketing – the type I teach – as a way of differentiating yourself from the competition. When everyone else’s advertising looks the same, you’ll stand out from the crowd simply by communicating differently to your prospects. Chances are your competition is not using testimonials, guarantees, proof, or other benefit-laden promises in their marketing.