Marketing Library

The Secret To Charging (And Getting) Premium Prices

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

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.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

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.

A Simple Marketing Strategy That Is Making This Computer Consultant Look Like A Marketing Genius!

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

Did you know there is one single, simple marketing tool that will do it ALL for you: prospecting, lead generation, follow up, referrals, cross selling, and repeat business…

It’s the ONE ingredient to your marketing mix that will positively differentiate you from every other IT consultant, MSP, or service provider in your market or industry…

It will automatically generate referrals, word of mouth advertising, and repeat business like clockwork…

It will put you into the top 10% of all IT companies who secure 80% of ALL the business to be had in their market, city, or industry…

It is a surefire way to become the go-to expert in your city and gain “guru” status…

It’s the ONE ingredient that gets you face-to-face with new prospects FIRST before anyone else has a chance to pitch them and practically forces people to think of YOUR COMPANY when they think “IT Services”…

It’s the ONE thing that will simplify business development and finally deliver the steady consistent stream of new clients, new projects, and profits to your business…

And finally, it should deliver $5 to $6 in sales for every dollar you invest into sending it out.

What is it? A monthly printed newsletter.

Oh I’m not talking about just ANY newsletter. I’m talking about a fun, informative, “can’t wait to see what he’s going to say or do next” SALES LETTER in newsletter clothing.

If you are looking for the “holy grail” of marketing IT services, then get this: a monthly printed newsletter is one of THE most effective, reliable, and proven ways to generate a steady flow of new business, referrals, and repeat business for a technology business.

All too often, IT business owners get completely focused on generating new clients or uncovering new prospects while completely ignoring the overlooked acres of diamonds in their own back yard.

I have had a handful of clients start sending monthly newsletters to their house list and ALL of them have reported back an increase in sales, new clients, more referrals, and a higher conversion of prospects to customers. So far, the average return is $5.50 for every $1 invested. You simply cannot ignore the results.

Read on to see how a newsletter is helping this current Platinum Master Mind Member of mine, David Wolf, revolutionize the way he attracts clients and increases sales…

“Hi Robin, I just wanted to give you some feedback on how well the newsletter template you provide us every month is working. We have beenimage_articles_david_wolf told that it looks professional and clients think I’m a marketing genius! Thanks!

Here’s a sample comment from one of my clients who is a CPA that refers lots of business our way: “Very timely newsletter article onmyspace.com with the recent events! Good job and good insight.”

The last newsletter had the Spring Tune-Up Special offer you suggested on it and we’ve already scheduled 3 so far. That’s paid for the mailing! I must admit I thought newsletters were outdated due to the rise of e-mail and the Internet, but you have changed my perspective. Instead of getting lost in the spam, it arrives on their desk and they are reading it. Think about it, aren’t we all getting less snail mail today? Everyone is sending out electronic stuff so “real” mail does have an impact. One last comment — we print our newsletter in FULL color on a Xerox Phaser printer. Not only do we save money, BUT we use it as a selling point. People think we had it professionally printed. We have sold 2 printers just on the print “sample” they see every month — our newsletter!

Again, thanks for your help. You’re worth every penny!”

David Wolf, President, Just Solutions

Now, I have some news that may be good or bad depending on who you are…

If you are the type of person that takes action…that doesn’t cry and moan about how “unfair” life is…that is serious about growing your business into a real money-making machine…if you aren’t satisfied with a mediocre income…and if you are correctly focusing your energy, goals, and resources on working ON your business, this will be GREAT news.

If you are the type of person that allows your business to limp along year after year barely making enough money to pay the bills…if you are constantly giving yourself “get off easy” excuses like I don’t have the time to work on my business…or if you think that rich people are evil and that having money corrupts, then this will be some very BAD news.

The news is this: I can give you THE formula for implementing a newsletter marketing system in your business that will drive sales, repeat business, and referrals through the roof. It’s just one small part of the Technology Marketing Tool Kit system I offer.

If you are the first type of person I described – a true “do-er”, this is great news and you should click here now to get a copy of the Technology Marketing Tool Kit and start claiming the rewards that are yours simply for the asking.

If you are the latter, this is BAD news because I can virtually guarantee that there is at least ONE person in your market area that is a do-er. And if THEY get their hands on this information, you will end up extinct or at very least living off the scraps they don’t want.

If you don’t want that to happen, click here now to get a copy of the Technology Marketing Tool Kit and save your business from extinction.

The Biggest Myths Of Marketing IT Services

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

When it comes to marketing, everyone has an opinion – right or wrong. Ask any business owner in this industry about what is the best way to market your business and everyone will have a different answer. Problem is, many of those opinions are just that – opinions. They are NOT based on extensive research or testing. Instead, they are founded on very limited personal experience. That’s why you’ll hear people swearing that “direct mail doesn’t work,” or that “Yellow Pages aren’t worth the money.”

It’s not that these mediums are good or bad. I know for a fact that they all work to some degree, and naturally, some work better than others. Just because you haven’t figured out how to make direct mail work doesn’t mean it doesn’t work period. It just means YOU haven’t figured it out yet. Right now, some of my clients are making thousands of dollars using direct mail, Google Adwords, newsletters, and yes, even Yellow Pages ads.

That’s because they realize that there are two important parts to any marketing campaign:

  1. The medium in which it’s delivered (postal mail, e-mail, in person, radio, newspaper, etc.), and
  2. What you actually say in the communication.

Many IT business owners become jaded toward some forms of advertising because it hasn’t worked for them in the past. When this happens they almost ALWAYS blame the medium without any regard for how good or bad their campaign was. And in most cases, the communication was boring, off-target, and completely lacking a compelling offer, testimonials, headlines, and other critical elements that are required for any direct marketing campaign to work.

As a newbie marketer, be VERY careful who you take advice from. Make sure you only take advice from someone who has a proven track record and a very successful business…don’t ask someone who is barely more successful than you. Here’s why…

Mark Twain said, “We should be careful not to be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove. She will never sit down on a hot stove again and that is well; but she will also never sit down on a cold one either.”

If you aren’t careful, you could end up like the cat that sits on a hot stove. If you try something once (like direct mail) and get poor results, don’t let that one experience stop you from capitalizing on that medium. In essence what you are doing is shutting off a VERY effective medium for attaining new clients! If you took that approach with everything you did, you would quickly run out of ways to get clients.

In addition to the above myth, here are 3 more I frequently see…

  1. Selling is about slick answers and fast-talking. WRONG – selling is about listening, even studying, your clients. I can usually stump a business owner about his or her clients within 5 minutes of consulting with them. If you don’t know your clients’ beliefs, fears, frustrations, and daily work habits, you will fail. Marketing is not just about fancy brochures and funny slogans – it’s about delivering a message so compelling and so ON TARGET that your customer instantly says, “this is for ME.” If your clients don’t have that reaction to your current campaigns, it’s probably because they are boring, off-target, and completely lack any demonstration that you understand their situation and their business.
  2. Sales ability is something you are born with. WRONG! I’m insulted by people who say to me, “Of course selling comes natural to you, Robin…you’re a born speaker/salesperson/marketer.” That’s like saying Tiger Woods is “lucky” to be born with such natural talent. No one gets to be great at anything without hours, days, weeks, and YEARS of careful study and practice. Everyone has to learn – the only difference is how much you apply yourself to the process that matters.
  3. Selling and marketing is only something you do when you don’t have enough referrals. WRONG! Every business needs to market themselves and acquire new clients. Businesses fail when the owner sits on their butt waiting for business to float their way. And taking a little action, like mailing out one or two flyers, is only barely better than doing nothing. Plus, marketing is not only about getting new clients, but also communicating and serving your existing ones to EARN repeat business, loyalty, and referrals. It’s also about creating a steady flow of new clients so you don’t have to cling to bad clients, slow-payers, and whiners.

Know what I think most of these myths are founded in? Excuses.

It’s a lot easier to believe these myths because it takes the responsibility off of the owner. After all, if direct mail doesn’t work, now you don’t have to go through the effort of learning HOW to make it work for YOU. If sales ability is something you have to be born with, then it takes the responsibility off of you to actually study great salesmanship. And if you think selling and marketing is something you need to “put on hold” until all the lights are green, you’ll never have to do anything because there is never a perfect time. The only good news? You’ll make your competition ecstatic that you aren’t cluttering up the marketplace.

Dedicated to your success,

Robin

Are You Wasting Your Time On These Response-Killing Marketing Mistakes?

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

Almost every day I receive marketing campaigns submitted to me 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 tell they have spent hours, possibly even days, trying to come up with some cute slogan or picture to capture the reader’s attention and get a response. This is a big, HUGE waste of time. Cute slogans with “hidden” meanings or inside jokes do NOT sell, and slogans should NOT take the place of a solid USP (unique selling proposition) or meaningful benefits. Some slogans can 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? Simply put, a USP is a reason or set of reasons why a prospective customer should choose to do business with you over any and every other option available to them. In other words, 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? You have a lot riding on the answer to this question.

Another way of asking this same question is, what quantifiable thing do you do better than any of your competitors, and whatspecific, measurable benefit(s) does that offer to your customers? For most technology companies, this is a hard question to answer. In most cases the business owner replies “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 unique product is incredibly rare. Even if you happen to have a truly 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. I believe that one of the best examples of a service-based USP was developed by a company that we are all familiar with, selling a product that is not only extremely low in margins, but also incredibly difficult to differentiate. Maybe you are familiar with the story…

A small town kid trying to pay his way through college decides to buy a little business on the edge of campus to come up with the money he needs to graduate. The owner is all to happy to dump the business on him for no money down. Full of enthusiasm and bright ideas, he recruits one of his buddy’s to help him. They come to the agreement that one of them will take day classes, one of them will take night classes, and they’ll alternate running the business. The plan is to do all the work themselves, sleep on cots in the back room, and pocket all of the profits that come in.

However, after a few months of working like dogs they discover they haven’t made a dime. As a matter of fact, they are losing money and going further into debt. Finally, his partner decides that he has had enough and bails on him and the business. This forces him to drop out of school to try and make this crummy little business pay off. Fortunately, he somehow comes up with a service-based unique selling proposition that turns this little sink hole of a business into a profitable, thriving operation. In very little time he dominates his city, his state, and then his country. According to Fortune Magazine, he becomes one of the 1,000 wealthiest people in the US in less than 10 years.

What was the USP he discovered? Fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed. On the strength of that service-based unique selling proposition, Tom Manahan dominated his industry. Now if you analyze and study that unique selling proposition (and you should) you’ll notice a number of lessons. One of the most important ones is that Tom Manahan exploited what is known as an “opportunity gap” in his industry. He identified the one thing that annoyed his target audience about pizza delivery that all of his competitors did badly. He then fixed it and made it the center focus of his business. You’ll notice that he never mentioned quality ingredients, special sauce, discounts, coupons, or even good pizza in his unique selling proposition. You’ll also notice he is very specific about the deliverable: fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less. He doesn’t say “fast”, “speedy”, “soon”, “faster than the other guy”, or “faster than a speeding bullet”. He said set your watch; it will be there in 30 minutes or less. Then he actually has the brass cohunes to guarantee it.

I have personally 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 over 200 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.
  2. Lack of communication.
  3. Lack of 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 solving 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. A dentist colleague of mine recently asked this question to all of his patients, “What would you like to get from your dentist that you currently don’t get?”

Here’s the interesting part: very few of the answers had anything to do with the actual dental services being performed. Most of the answers were based on the overall office experience and included the type of music being played in the office, how they were greeted upon entering the office, cleanliness of the surroundings, having their appointments taken on time, and so on.

This exercise proved a very valuable point: there are thousands of little things that make up “customer service” that matter greatly to your customers that have nothing to do with the quality of the work you are doing. They also may be things that you would never guess as being important. 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. By the way, the question this dentist came up with is a GREAT research question that you should ask strangers, prospects, people you meet at networking events, neighbors, and vendors about your business:

“What would you like to get from your computer support guy that you currently don’t get?”

A plumber based here in Nashville uses a great service-based unique selling proposition: he guarantees that his plumber technicians won’t smoke, cuss, stink up your house, smell like a goat, or leave a mess. He also guarantees that they will show up on time or he will pay you cash, and he promotes this heavily in his yellow page ads. His entire marketing message is geared towards reasons why you should hire Hiller Plumbing over all of the other plumbers listed.

Finally, you can always use marketing – the hard-hitting, outrageous 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. Through one or more of the five items I’ve listed, you can cultivate a solid unique selling proposition or at least the perception of one.

You Aren’t Microsoft, Dell, or IBM – So Why Are You Marketing Your Business The Same Way?

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

I was flipping through a copy of CRN the other day and was, yet again, disappointed by the unbelievably bad marketing and monumental waste of money. I think it is this incredible void of good marketing examples that makes this industry rife with marketing that just plain sucks.

Not one great offer. Not one compelling headline. Not one specific, targeted, or meaningful benefit to buy. No case studies or testimonials. Guarantee? Are you kidding?

What was there? Cute and clever. Ads designed by a graphic artist with absolutely no salesmanship and an agenda that does not include selling something. All that space wasted with meaningless fluff, clever photography, and vague generalities – absolutely NO sales pitch was present.

I’ve often wondered if any of these advertisers will ever wake up and actually hold their marketing dollars accountable for a measurable result instead of pumping millions of dollars into terrible marketing under the umbrella of “brand building” and “awareness.”

Listen – as a small business owner, you can’t afford to make dumb mistakes like this. If you spend $1 today, you need $2 back tomorrow. Your marketing has to be held accountable just as a salesperson would be—if they don’t produce, they get fired. Plain and simple. After all, how long would you keep a salesperson on staff who wasn’t producing sales? Would it be worth their salary and your time and effort to know that they are “at least getting your name out there?” Absolutely not – and your marketing should be held to the same level of accountability.

The great marketing and advertising icon David Ogilvy explained why these big companies continue on their self-destructive, non-accountable marketing path when he said, “There have always been noisy lunatics on the fringes of the advertising business. Their stock-in-trade includes ethnic humor, eccentric art direction, contempt for research, and their own self-proclaimed genius. They are seldom found out because they gravitate to the kind of clients who, bamboozled by their rhetoric, do not hold them responsible for sales results.”

In other words, bad advertising exists because the clients are more impressed with a clever idea and a sizzling graphic than they are with an ad that might not be sexy to look at, but that actually sells something. So they continue to hire big, expensive agencies that come up with these clueless ads and make hefty fees doing it. If their clients actually held them accountable for results, they wouldn’t be able to survive – but since the clients are just as clueless, they continue to exist.

But big companies like Microsoft and Dell can afford big marketing budgets and big mistakes. And, they can afford to conduct multi-million dollar brand campaigns that take years of repetition to take hold. You don’t have that luxury.

When it comes to marketing your services, you need to not only get the attention of your prospect, but also to build trust and confidence and get them to respond so that they are moving in the direction of buying from you. That’s what I teach in the articles I write on this page, in the various programs I sell, and at the live events I conduct around the U.S. Your marketing needs to generate a result, whether that result is a sale, or an appointment that leads to a sale. Awareness and brand-building is a nice by-product of the type of direct response marketing I teach.

Unfortunately, many of the clients who come to me have to unlearn everything they’ve been taught to do by these big companies. They’ve been “sold” that marketing has to be short and punchy or – worse yet – funny to sell something. They think it has to be “professional” (a.k.a. “boring”) or recipients will be put off by their campaign. They see so few examples of great marketing that they don’t know where to start or what to do.

I change all that.

And if you want to unlearn the bad habits you’ve acquired about marketing and selling and learn exactly what you need to do to generate a boost in new clients, sales, and profits whenever you want or need it, then get your butt to one of the final half-day Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint seminars I’m holding in Seattle, San Francisco, and Orlando.

Right now, Seattle is almost SOLD OUT (we are very close to 100 attendees), and the ones after that are going to sell out too.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Do NOT miss this opportunity or you will be very sorry you did. The need to market your business, generate sales, and attract new clients will never go away – so why would you let anything stand in your way of attending?

Click here now for a full overview of the event and to enroll now.

Dedicated to your success,

Robin

A Surefire Way To Avoid Big, Expensive Marketing Mistakes

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

Warning: The information you are about to read contains real work. It is not a magic pill. It is not easy or fast and cannot be delegated. It also may take several months to complete.

HOWEVER…

The secret process I’m about to reveal is only known and understood by top marketing copywriters and strategists, and I can practically guarantee that your competition either doesn’t know how to do this, or is too lazy to see it through.

I can also practically guarantee that if you do what I’m about to reveal, you’ll never have to worry about making money, securing top-dollar accounts, or wasting your time and money on bad marketing again.

What is it?

Market research. I know, I know. It doesn’t sound sexy. And quite honestly, your definition and understanding of market research is probably some textbook definition that is WAY off. But before you can develop a sizzling marketing campaign that draws clients in like bees to honey on a warm day, you gotta do it.

This is why I’m more effective at selling computer consulting services than most computer consultants who’ve been in the business for years; I’ve invested (and continue to invest) hours upon hours researching what motivates most business owners to outsource their IT support. I am willing to do the work required to thoroughly research a buying group so I can effectively sell to them. I suppose that’s why I’m dumbfounded at how little knowledge most computer consultants have about their customers’ buying motives, business habits, belief systems, and buying patterns. From my standpoint, they are swimming in the deep end without a raft.

So what should “market research” consist of? First, there is customer research. You need to know:

  • Demographic information such as size of company, industry sector, years in business, annual revenue, number of employees, company structure (privately owned, publicly traded, branch office), location, number of PCs, technology/software installed, and so on.
  • Psychographic information such as what is most important to them when looking for a computer consultant? What makes them really frustrated and angry? What are their beliefs about computer support or technology in general? Also, what memberships, clubs, or associations do they belong to? What seminars and trade shows do they frequent, if any? Who do they truly respect and honor in their industry, and why?
  • Situations or events that prompt them to buy your services. In other words, what is typically going on in your customers’ companies that make them call you? What are the most common problems that cause them to seek out a solution? Is there an event that causes them to start looking?
  • What do they fear and hate? What do they secretly desire, whether it’s rational thinking or not? What do they really want? What beliefs do they devoutly believe about their business, their industry, their employees, their technology?

You also need to know:

  • Their industry lingo and slang.
  • Who else is selling similar services to them, and how are they selling it?
  • Trends in their business or industry.
  • Who have they used in the past? Who are they using now?

To gather this research, you will need to attend events and seminars where your prospects hang out. You’ll need to read the publications they read. You’ll need to do one-on-one research and interviews with willing members of the target market you are trying to sell to. You’ll need to review commercially available research on your customers or market area. You’ll need to study the marketing from comparable services and products, and those of your direct competition. You’ll need to ask (and record) a lot of questions. It’s also necessary to test concepts and messages through Google Adwords or other online venues to see if your messaging is correct.

In essence, you need to know your customers as well as they know themselves, if not better. Without this knowledge, you have absolutely no base to start from when it comes to marketing. That is why so many people think marketing is “hard;” they are trying to guess at what their customers want and what they will respond to. More often than not they’re wrong and end up paying for this lack of information throughout their business lives in lost sales, missed opportunities, and failed marketing.

But there is one more step. Once you have conducted that research, you need to find a good sales copywriter to help you put it together into a compelling and succinct message. A GREAT copywriter will insist on doing this research before writing a single word.

Would You Like Me to Give You the Research I’ve Already Conducted with Hundreds of Businesses?

While I STILL recommend doing the work I’ve outlined above, I have already done all of it and translated what I’ve discovered into highly-effective marketing campaigns for small computer consultants.

I know several proven formulas for getting new clients to seek YOU out as a trusted guru. I know completely ethical ways to steal high-paying clients from your competition. I also know how to present managed services to make it a “one-call-close.”

It’s like having all the answers to a test before you start – BUT, to get it, you have to join me at one of my Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint Seminars.

You will 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.

Are You Neglecting This Critical Success Factor In Your Managed Services Marketing Campaigns?

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

If you are struggling to sell more managed services contracts – or if you want to get in the game and start promoting managed services to your clients – listen up.

I’m consistently seeing one big mistake being made over and over again by computer consultants trying to sell managed services that is killing any chance they have of successfully convincing new (and existing!) customers to sign on the dotted line.

Plus, it’s not a mistake that is obvious to most like the omission of a headline, offer, urgency, or testimonials. I suppose that is why so many people are omitting it from their managed services marketing campaigns.

What is it? Emotional logic. Let me explain…

First off, the only reason people buy anything is purely for self-serving reasons. They don’t buy stuff because they should, because it’s the right thing to do, the smart thing to do, or because they really need it. If that were the case, we’d all buy (and eat) healthy food, take our vitamins, adequately invest our money for retirement, and kick a very long list of bad habits that keep us sick, broke, and fat.

Do you know why most people go to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned? The primary motivator is not to be healthy or to prevent tooth decay. Those are the logical reasons. People are primarily motivated to go to the dentist for a cleaning because they’re afraid of having a nasty, stinky mouth. Toothpaste marketers figured this out years ago. If you market toothpaste as a way of preventing cavities, you’ll sell a bit; but if you market toothpaste as a cosmetic that will whiten your teeth and freshen your breath, you’ll sell the product like hotcakes.

So what does this have to do with selling managed services?

First, you have to ask yourself, what would motivate someone to buy managed services? Obviously if someone is experiencing constant problems with their network, they are more likely to buy because they are in pain. For this type of client, you have to demonstrate why they should trust you to solve their pain over all the other options they have available. By the way, this is why I strongly recommend a stay-in-touch marketing system for all unconverted leads. Since you don’t know when their network is finally going to break, you want to constantly stay in touch with them so they think of you when it eventually does OR when their current IT person has finally committed the “last straw” and they are fed up with the lousy service they are getting.

But what about the client who is NOT experiencing problems? Why would they buy managed services? What would motivate them to “fix” something that ain’t broke?

In a sense, they need to be “scared straight.” They need to be educated about the devastating problems that can crop up when a network is not maintained, secured, and monitored. They must feel uneasy about the security of their data and the health of their network and actually “see” how a fatal crash would affect their business. Next, they have to be convinced that YOU are the one who can actually help them avoid all of this.

Yet the managed services marketing I see is all about what managed services is and what it does. That is not going to convince anyone to do anything. Heck, most won’t take 3 seconds to read your flyer. If you want them to read your marketing and actually act on it, you’ll need to take the time in your marketing – either through seminars, teleseminars, audio recordings, long sales letters, or free reports – to educate the client in a powerful, convincing, and interesting way.

If you do that and constantly hammer your message home over a period of time, they will (eventually) reach the tipping point when they will buy. I don’t know when that is and some will take much longer than others, but the key is to consistently do the right things, in the right way, long enough to have impact.

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 platform 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.

We provide you all of the necessary training and teach you the managed services business model that works, which you can implement in your company to increase the monthly recurring revenue of your business. From a managed service business plan, to a proposal, and even managed services contracts, we have it all. Sign up today and let Technology Marketing Toolkit help your managed services business succeed!

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.

6 Easy Ways To Make More Money On The Services You Already Provide

By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

#1: Simply raise your rates. Pretty ingenious, huh?  That’s why I get paid the big bucks. Just type up a simple letter explaining that on X date, your rates are going up. You don’t need to apologize or get a note from your mother. Just do it. The world will not come to an end and your clients will not picket your business. In most cases, you will only get a mild response and you won’t lose any clients. It is only you that believes your clients won’t pay more. To date, not one client of mine lost a client over this – and in the RARE occasion this happens, it has always been a bad customer they should have fired a long time ago anyway.

#2:  Price increase alert with up-sell to managed services. In a letter or e-mail, alert your clients that your rates are going up; however, offer to lock in their current on-site rate if they sign up on a managed service agreement. Here’s another way of doing this: announce a price increase for on-site rates, but offer remote support at the same rate they are used to paying. This would enable you to charge the same rate for remote repairs that you are charging for on-site services now, while increasing your on-site rates a few points.

#3: Create a new product or service category and charge more for it.  At my suggestion, Luke Walling of Walling Data Systems recently implemented an emergency “while you wait” service that is about 30% more than his standard rate. He didn’t think anyone would buy it. He’s since discovered that not only are people buying it, but the people that do are far more grateful for the service! You could create a VIP Client rate that guarantees a priority response. The travel industry has been doing this for years with first class upgrades and VIP rooms with a view. When you think about it, most upgrades do not give you all that much, yet people gladly pay 20% – 50% more for them.

Bottom line is that EVERY product or service can have a “deluxe” or “first class” version. You could also create a VIP Client Club of business owners or IT professionals who view technology as a strategic advantage, and who want to network with other like-minded professionals. You then become the hub for all networking and communications and charge a membership rate. Quick Note: Whenever you create a proposal for a client, start by talking about the “Cadillac” version of the solution for two reasons. First, some clients may actually go for it giving you a nice boost in revenue and profit for that particular project. Second, it will act as a contrast to the “normal” price for the service. ALWAYS START BY GIVING THE HIGHEST PRICE FIRST.

#4. Reduce the current services you are providing. This is NOT my preferred way of getting more money for your services, but it is one way of going about it. For example, you could alert your clients that free phone support is no longer offered UNLESS you are on a support agreement (see #2). Newer clients will be less affected by this than old clients that already have expectations set.

#5: Tier your consultants’ fees and charge more for a client to see YOU instead of one of your techs. Attorneys have been successfully doing this for years. You’ll pay MORE to have the senior partners in the firm work on your case over the junior attorneys or paralegals. If you don’t have any technicians working for you, tier the cost of your services depending on the expertise needed. General network support gets billed at $125 per hour while custom development work gets billed at $150 per hour.

#6: Sell “bundled” services for a flat rate instead of time and materials. Bundling your services makes a lot of sense for several reasons. First, it focuses the client on the value of the result you are producing and not your hourly rate. Second, it makes it a lot more difficult to shop you on price. Third, if you have your act together, you should be able to get a higher rate per hour. For example, if you know how to upgrade a network faster than most IT consultants, charging by the hour would lower your profitability and gross revenue. If you learn to sell on value (not price), you’ll actually make more money on every project. However, only a few of my clients have truly embraced this concept because most have a lot of emotional baggage about charging top dollar for their services. They believe that the clients in their area are somehow “different”, too cheap, unwilling to invest in technology, etc., when the truth is, they are not selling it properly. They aren’t building value and giving the client a feeling of supreme confidence in choosing them – and THAT is why they aren’t charging more.

Dedicated to your success,

Robin

The Importance Of Constantly Keeping Your Sales Funnel Full

By: Robin Robins,
Author and Founder of the Technology Marketing Toolkit System

I recently received an e-mail from a client who is teetering on the brink of closing the doors of his IT consulting business and getting a day job. His savings have dried up and he’s maxed out every credit card he has. Now, he’s desperate and calling us for help.

Of course we’ll do everything possible to help him, but now that he’s let it go so far in the red before doing something, it’s going to take a herculean effort on his part (and sheer magic on ours) to start the heart pumping again…which begs the question, why did he wait until now to get serious about keeping the funnel full?

Look…success or failure is not an overnight thing. If you are paying attention, you know if you are moving forward, backward or stagnating. The key is to do something the minute you notice the decline in sales or opportunities before you get so far behind the 8 ball that your only option is to file for bankruptcy and take a job working at Circuit City.

Marketing (and selling) is a numbers game. If you get X number of leads in the door, X number will become clients, and out of those, X% will end up being really good ‘sweet spot’ clients that are worth anything. It’s nothing to get emotional about – it’s just a fact of life. If you want to know how your sales are going to be 3 to 6 months from now, look at what’s coming into the funnel TODAY. There’s no marketing quick fix that can make up for months (or years) of marketing neglect; that’s why it’s so important to watch the numbers.

If you’re really good, your ‘numbers’ may be better than most; meaning your marketing efforts bring in a good quality and quantity of leads and you close a large percentage of the leads you get. But if you stink at marketing and lead generation, have no follow up system, and you’re weak at closing sales, you need to make up for it with more volume of leads (opportunities) coming into the funnel.

Simple, yes. Yet I see so many IT firms sitting back and watching the slow decline in their business. Instead of getting serious about doing everything possible to keep the funnel full, they stick their head in the sand and hope that the economy will get better, that their clients will refer more, or that some lucky turn of events is going to save them. A few month’s later, we get the desperate cry for help.

In the upcoming months, I think we are going to see more IT businesses disappearing and failing than succeeding. In most cases, it’s 100% their own fault so I find it difficult to feel empathy for the vast majority of them, especially when there are so many tools, seminars and other resources that can teach them HOW to be better at marketing. Yet they CHOOSE to stay “busy” doing other lesser-important activities, thereby manifesting their own demise. As Nido Qubein once said in a seminar I attended, “An empty bank account is a sign of a lifetime of poor decisions.”

So the question you have to ask yourself now is, what are you deciding to do to make sure YOUR funnel stays full?

Dedicated to your success,

Robin