Marketing Library

Should You Guarantee What You Sell?

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

For the squeamish in the crowd who send me the occasional e-mail asking if they REALLY need to offer a guarantee on their services, here is my final position on the matter:

#1. If you cannot unconditionally guarantee what you sell, you need to go to work on improving your services or find something else to sell. Most of the fear of offering a guarantee has more to do with your own insecurity rather than substantiated fact.

If you are providing a good product or service that actually delivers the results you promise, then you should have no negative repercussions from offering a guarantee; as a matter of fact, it should make it infinitely easier to acquire new clients. However, the only way to know for sure whether or not a guarantee will help or hurt your business is to test it. Will you get the occasional unfair and unsubstantiated request from a customer who wants their money back? Of course, but it should not be the majority, and it should only be viewed as a cost of doing business, just like uncollected debts from the occasional deadbeat client.

#2. If you discover that a large percentage of the people you sell to abuse your guarantee, you need to do a better job in screening them out early, or you need to find a different crowd to sell to. And for the record, if you offer a guarantee, you better be prepared to fulfill on it.

If your products and services are everything you say they are, you should not have a problem; however, you have to realize there will be people who take you up on it that may be completely unjustified in their request. If you cannot take the unemotional viewpoint that this is simply a cost of doing business, then don’t offer a guarantee.

#3. NEVER guarantee something you cannot or will not deliver on. That’s not to say you have to go above and beyond your guarantee. If you guarantee a product or service for a year, you are not obligated to refund a client that comes back two years later. However, it may be worth re-reading #1 again and asking yourself, what do I need to do to be able to offer a big, bold, unbelievable guarantee?

Awhile back I did some consulting for an IT test prep company. My advice was simple: guarantee your customers will pass their exam on the first try or you’ll refund their money. The CEO almost passed out when I suggested that. He was positive that there would be massive refunds causing them to go out of business in a few short months; he wouldn’t even test the idea to see what would happen.

Long story short, his biggest competitor DID test the concept and then made it their standard offering. What guarantee did my client cling to? Buy our test prep software; if you fail the exam twice within 30 days, and send us the original receipt and proof of your failure, we’ll refund your money. This is NOT a good guarantee; there are too many hoops to jump through and conditions surrounding it.

Think about it from a customer’s perspective; if you needed to get certified, which company would you rather buy test preparation software from: Company A that requires you to take and fail an exam within 30 days to get your money back or Company B that unconditionally guarantees you will pass your exam on the first attempt or you’ll get your money back?

There are a few instances where it does not make sense to offer a guarantee; yet as I write that, I can’t help but refer back to item #1 and #2. I have always found that offering a guarantee on a GOOD product or service increases sales dramatically more than refunds. As with all marketing initiatives, you can always test small before setting it in stone.

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.

Can You Answer The “One Good Reason” Question?

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

There is an old cartoon loved by many sales people that shows a machine gun salesman calling on a General right before he’s going to lead an army to war equipped only with pitch forks and swords. The caption on the cartoon shows the general saying, “Tell him (the sales guy) I don’t have time to talk right now; I’m about to go to war.”

This cartoon is favored among sales people because they feel like that smug salesman in the cartoon trying to sell to dumb prospects who won’t even take a look at what they are selling. What they don’t realize is that the SALESMAN is the idiot for not being able to effectively communicate the incredible value he has to offer.

I laugh at this cartoon but for an entirely different reason than everyone else…it is a perfect demonstration of just how bad most companies are at effectively communicating the value of what they have to offer.

Marketing communications in every written and spoken form is more important in the world of selling computer consulting services than many people think. Physical products sell themselves. You can see them, touch them, smell them, use them, and experience what you are buying before you commit. It’s also obvious and easy to tell when a product is broken or is not performing.

Services are far more elusive. Prospects worry that you are going to provide inadequate or wrong advice. They worry you are going to overcharge them or sell them something they don’t need. They worry that you are going to fall short on your promises and deliver less than satisfactory results. To make matters worse, customers don’t always know how to tell good service from bad service and fear they are in a position to make a very expensive mistake.

Because of this, marketing communications for service carry a much larger burden than marketing communications for products. They have to paint a picture of results that cannot be shown with a sample or tangible product. They have to convey trust. They have to make the service more real and must alleviate the natural skepticism prospects feel before hiring you. They have to make your promises believable.

That is why you have to talk RESULTS in your marketing. You cannot just talk about you company and what you do. You have to promise your prospects salvation from their problems. You have to demonstrate how you are going to save them money, make them rich, increase customer loyalty, give them a competitive edge, and make their life easier. Your communications have to assure them that buying from you is the smart decision to make, and that waiting, choosing another vendor, or choosing to do nothing is going to COST them dearly.

Your customers are interested in themselves, their life, their problems, their wants, and their worries. They ONLY pay attention when you focus your communication on THEM. They want to know the answer to the age-old question, “give me one good reason why I should buy from you now.”

What’s your answer?

The typical answer I hear is, “our guys are technically much better than the other consultants in our area” or “we do a better job.”

If that’s your own answer to that question (or some variation of it) be honest; is that a compelling, believable answer? Don’t you think that every other computer consultant in your area is saying exactly the same thing? Do you really think that gives the prospect absolute confidence to hire you? Does that statement position you to command a higher rate and instill confidence in the prospect?

I agree there definitely is a difference between a good technician and an incompetent one. There is no doubt that a good technician can save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation. But if your marketing communication looks, sounds, and reads like everyone else in your area, how can you possibly expect your prospect to know if you are the good one or the incompetent one, and how can you possibly hope to get a measurable response from your marketing communications?

My advice: Invest time into learning how to be a great wordsmith and communicator so you convey the honesty, trust, service, and integrity of your products and services; the benefits go far beyond the financial and competitive advantage it will offer you.

Plus, learning how to do this is not as difficult as you might think. Study and practice on the topic of copywriting for about 30 minutes a day will dramatically improve your communications skills in no time at all. But if you simply are not willing to do this, at least learn enough to know the difference between great copy and bad; then, hire a copywriter or marketing consultant who understands your business and customers to help write your marketing communications for you.

The Little Known Secret To Getting Things Done

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

The other evening I was listening to Matt Furey’s Magnetic Mind Power for Peak Athletic Performance and I was again reminded that success – whether it’s in business, financially, with your family, or physically – is an “inside job” based on correct thinking and consistently making the right choices.

Unfortunately, most people choose to fail because they choose to wait instead of taking the actions they know they must.

What are they waiting for?

They are waiting for extra hours in a day to magically show up. They are waiting to hire that new technician/sales person/administrative person who is going to gloriously unburden them. They are waiting for that project/client/installation to finish up. They are waiting until things “slow down.”

Whatever the reason, they choose to wait…and waiting around never gets anything done.

The extra hours never show up. A new project/client/installation lands on your desk. The employee you hired didn’t solve the problems you’d hoped they would. And when have you ever had things truly “slow down” so you could work ON your business? This is entrepreneurial reality. Everything costs twice as much and takes three times as long. There is never a “perfect” time to do anything and there is always a reason to wait.

Since doing nothing and waiting seems to be the easier, less painful path, that is what most business owners do. They choose to wait, forget, ignore, procrastinate…

Problem is, they get to the end of a month, a quarter, or a year and they realize that they are still working their butts off and they still need more…more money, more time off, more help, more success. Then they sling-shot back to focusing on the things they know they should be doing (marketing, goal setting and strategic planning, working smarter, not harder) but where are they going to find the time?

It’s a vicious cycle.

So how do you fix this? I don’t have all the answers but I do have one key secret…

First, you must realize that success and achievement in any form is not free. Yet when most people think about achieving something, they think only in terms of “more.”

I want to make more money. I want to take more time off. I want to attract more clients. I want to sell more managed services contracts. The question that should follow this statement (but rarely does) is what they are they willing to give up in order to get what they really want? In other words, how are they going to pay for it?

If you think about the hours in your day, you know they are full. You are always doing something. If you aren’t working, you’re driving, reading, eating, talking, surfing the web, posting, sleeping or doing something. Every minute of every day is taken up by some activity. Some of these activities are necessary. Some are things you simply enjoy doing. But most are variable activities that you choose to engage in. And it is those day-to-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute choices that ultimately decide our fate.

Take marketing your business for example. Most people would agree that marketing is a critical and essential part of running a lucrative and successful business. Yet they choose not to do it. Why is that?

The number one reason I hear is, “I don’t have the time to work on it,” when the actual truth is, “I choose not to find or make the time to work on it.” The first lays the blame on some external factor that is outside of their control. The latter puts the responsibility where it should be: on their shoulders.

In order for ANY of us to improve, change, or acquire something we want, we must be willing to give up to get. This requires you to take a hard look at where you are spending your time in order to trade that activity for marketing.

If you want to lose weight, you are going to have to give up eating bad foods and sitting in front of the TV every night for one hour or more.

If you want to attract higher-paying clients, you’ll have to give up the small, annoying clients who don’t appreciate your services and change your marketing to appeal to higher-end clients.

If you want to increase your income, you’ll have to give up your unorganized way of running your business, shift priorities, and invest quality time into building a better client attraction system.

You must learn to make better choices.

You must figure out what to ignore and give up and what to focus on and pursue. Not all activities are created equal. Not all projects are equally important, and not all clients are worth pursuing.

The problem is, most people are so busy doing the wrong things that they never have time to work on the right things.

So here’s my advice…

First, get clear. What do you REALLY want out of your life, your business? What is truly important to you?

Second, pay attention to what you are doing moment by moment. What are your daily habits? Most of us run on autopilot through our days and never stop to consider that there may be a better way of doing things. Think back over this past year. Were all of your days pretty much the same? Did you make any dramatic changes in the way you worked or approached problems? If you had a breakthrough, chances are you did. If you had an “okay” year or made very little progress, chances are that you are clinging to and repeating bad habits.

Ask yourself…

Do you REALLY have to do a particular activity? Can you outsource it, delegate it, or just plain ignore it? Do you REALLY have to take on that new project or clients? Does it move you closer to what you want, or does it stall, distract, or hinder you in some way? Are you constantly improving or are you just going through the motions?

And finally, WHY are you not taking action on an activity that you know you should? In most cases, it’s an emotional reason. Do you REALLY have no time or are you simply not finding time? I cannot believe that every single moment of every day, every activity, or every project you are focusing on right now is equally or more important with the activity of revenue generation (marketing).

Of course, you are free to choose to do nothing.

You can choose to keep on spending your time, energy, and focus on doing the same activities in the same way you’ve always done. You can choose to ignore the marketing of your business. You can choose to settle for an average income and an average business.

 

And maybe you are completely satisfied with your life and have no need to improve or grow. But if you aren’t, I would suggest you take a sober look at what you are doing day-in and day-out and make a choice to stop doing one or more things and choose to replace those activities or bad habits with ones that empower you.

Getting Noticed: How To Get Your Prospects To Pay Attention To Your Marketing Message

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

Ask 100 computer consultants what they want to accomplish with their marketing and better than 90% will say they want to generate more “awareness”.

While this is a worthy goal, many do not realize how difficult it can be. The average American is bombarded with over 3,000 marketing messages a day. With so much advertising barreling down on us, most people have developed “marketing calluses” that make them completely immune to the messages these ads are sending.

But it doesn’t end there. Add to that a demanding job, a family, bills, and a home to take care of and you can see why getting someone to pay attention to your marketing message and generate awareness is so difficult. You’re not only battling your direct competition, but you’re fighting a battle for your prospect’s attention against a mounting pile of distractions.

So how can you cut through the clutter and get noticed?

For one, make sure your marketing is not boring. In his book Marketing Outrageously, Jon Spoelstra says that outrageous marketing is the opposite of “professional” marketing; it may get you laughed at, and it might be politically incorrect, but it may truly be the only safe way to spend money on marketing. I couldn’t agree with him more.

That is not to say that you should set out to offend people with your marketing; but if your marketing looks like every other ad floating around, it’s going to slip by unnoticed by the masses.

Here are 3 things you can do to make your marketing more memorable:

  1. Send your message in a hard to ignore format. One of the most successful mailers I’ve ever sent was a “message in a bottle”. I purchased large, amber cough medicine bottles and inserted a rolled up message (I played up the “doctor for bad marketing” angle). A label on the outside of the bottle with $.60 postage and the responses poured in. The Nashville Predators had couriers dressed in full hockey gear deliver hockey sticks to their corporate accounts. They sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in box office seats. A restaurant owner friend of mine mailed out aluminum takeout trays to local event planners with a sales letter inside offering a free lunch delivered to their office to taste his incredible bar-b-q. He sold well over $100,000 in catering services. Another colleague of mine mailed out a crumpled letter in a mini trash can to sell tickets to an event. The message was, “Since you will probably throw this letter out anyway, I thought I’d do it for you. Now, since I’ve got your attention…” Before you send out a bland postcard or sales letter on your company letterhead, stop and think about how you could send your message in a way that cannot be easily, casually, or guiltlessly discarded by the recipient.
  2. Make an incredibly juicy offer. Gevalia coffee will send you a free coffee maker just for trying 2 lbs of coffee. A local plumbing company here in Nashville offers to pay you $100 cash if they are late for an appointment. The offer of a free lunch delivered to your office, as in the case of my restaurant friend mentioned above, is a big, juicy offer. Trying to get a prospect to take their valuable time to meet with you or spend time on the phone is a big deal. It is completely unreasonable to expect someone to take time out of their busy day just because you want to sell them something. If you are not willing to make an offer in your marketing campaign – much less an irresistible one – don’t waste your time or money on it.
  3. Make an outrageous claim and then back it up. Dare a competitor to offer a better guarantee or service. Guarantee to respond to any computer emergency within 60 minutes or less or you’ll pay $100 to a legitimate charity. Give a service away free to prospective clients. I’ve had clients give away 2 free hours of computer support very successfully. I’ve seen carpet cleaners give away a free room of carpet cleaning with a $20 donation to the Make a Wish Foundation.Many businesses will not try outrageous marketing for fear of looking “unprofessional”. They believe their clients are too sophisticated for this type of marketing. Phewy. Professional, corporate marketing is boring and blends in with every single competitor. If you don’t stretch your imagination and look for new ways to stand out more, command attention, and present your ideas in a more dynamic way, you are fighting a battle for your life with a dull sword.

What Almost All Computer Consultants Don’t Know and Will Never Understand About E-mail Marketing

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

As a computer consultant, you should be more than aware of the growing difficulty in getting e-mail messages delivered. If one of several spam filters doesn’t snag your message, then there is a good chance it will get overlooked and deleted by the end users because of all the “junk” they get these days.

Yet I know that all of my computer consulting clients want to use e-mail in their marketing mix because it’s incredibly easy to do and downright cheap. And they are not entirely wrong in their strategy; BUT there certainly are drawbacks and limitations to e-mail, and there are certain best practices and “secrets” to maximizing the response, and that is what I’m going to share with you this month.

What To Expect From E-mail Marketing

In my experience, leads generated from e-mail campaigns and search engines tend to be less qualified than leads generated from direct mail or other offline marketing.  You can expect a higher percentage of “tire-kickers” when generating leads online. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but know in advance you’ll have to sift and sort through a lot of rubble to find the diamond.

E-mail is also highly regulated, and the laws governing this medium are only getting more restrictive. You have to be very careful about how you send your messages and who you send them to. Make sure you ONLY send e-mail to people who have joined your mailing list or otherwise given you permission to send them e-mail. Using spam to win over a new prospect is NOT a good strategy.

That is why I recommend that you use e-mail marketing to supplement your current marketing efforts instead of using it toreplace direct mail advertising. Send an e-mail newsletter AFTER you’ve sent it out via snail mail, not in lieu of.

Here’s another critical point about making e-mail work…

E-mail is simply another means of getting your message in front of prospects and customers, and it follows the same rules as any other marketing campaign. You must have a good, responsive list AND an offer or message that will entice them to buy or respond. If you don’t have a good grasp of the fundamentals of marketing, you won’t be able to save yourself with e-mail. A bad marketing campaign with an ill-conceived message, lackluster offer, and poor market to message match won’t magically work just because you are posting it online or in an e-mail.

The Truth About Renting E-mail Lists

Simply forget renting e-mail lists. If you were selling low-cost consumer items that could be sold around the world, rented e-mail lists might be a viable option; but when you are selling high-end, professional services in a limited geographic territory, it just won’t work. In my experience, rented lists of e-mail names are terribly off-target and of poor quality. Plus, most have rental minimums (meaning you cannot rent fewer than 5,000 names) and cannot be segmented by area. There MAY be a few exceptions to this that I’m not aware of, but generally speaking, don’t waste your time or money on rented e-mail lists.

The absolute BEST list to use is the one you’ve home-grown through direct response marketing and opt-in forms on your web site. Offer a free report, a free audio recording or CD, a free gift, or some other free resource and require the visitor to “opt-in” by filling in a form to provide their name, company, address, and e-mail.

If the visitor willingly gives you their email address, you now have permission to e-mail them until they say “stop.” NOTE: Make sure you include removal instructions at the end of every e-mail explaining how someone can remove themselves from your list. If you use a removal link, make sure it works.

To drive traffic and build your house e-mail list, I recommend using offline direct mail, pay-per-performance search engines like Google and Yahoo, and links from affiliates. The “build it and they will come” theory just doesn’t cut it online. You have to constantly promote your web site to get people to go to your web site and join your mailing list.

Keep in mind your click through rate may only be 1% to .5% on the search engines (click through is the percentage of people who actually click on your ad after seeing it), and your web site conversion may only be 5% (web site conversion if the percentage of new visitors who actually opt in. If you drive 100 people to your web site but only 5 join the mailing list, then you have a 5% conversion rate). You need to know this or you will be disappointed with the results. It takes a LOT of traffic to generate a handful of qualified leads. Is it worth it? You better believe it! The ROI (return on investment) can be enormous AND it’s a great auto-pilot way to acquire new customers.

3 Critical Questions To Answer
Before Creating Your E-mail Campaign

  1. What Do You Want To Accomplish? Do you want to generate leads? Get customers to sign up for a new service? Purchase a product? Sounds obvious, but I wish I had a nickel for every person who didn’t think this through before sending out their e-mail. To maximize your success, choose ONE SINGLE OBJECTIVE for your campaign. Too many offers confuse the recipient and will lower your response rate.
  2. What Action Do You Want People To Take? Do you want them to fill in a form? Call you? Download software? Every e-mail should contain a single call to action and offer a direct, ONE CLICK path to completing that action. My experience has shown that your response will drop by 50% or more for every click or step the visitor has to take to respond to your offer.

    If you want them to fill in a form to receive a free report, you should direct them to a web page that reiterates the free report offer and has the form in plain sight. Do not make them click through multiple pages OR take them to a site where the response form is competing with 10 other offers and headlines. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same frustration after clicking on a sponsored ad in Google for a particular product or piece of information only to discover the page you go to does NOT contain what the ad promised.

  3. What’s Your Irresistible Offer? The offer is what makes your response rate soar or fall flat on its face. Don’t get complicated or sell too hard in the e-mail message. Use it as a teaser to move them to take the next step. In most cases, that should be a web page that has a response form or sales letter.

But most importantly, remember that the ultimate marketing sin is being off-target and boring. Don’t send e-mail just because it’s a cheap way of marketing. There are busy people on the receiving end who want to be entertained, enlightened, and engaged. If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t waste their time (or yours) adding to the spam problem.

How To Get Done-For-You E-mail Messages
That Are Certain To Generate New Client Demand

If you are like most computer consultants, WRITING marketing messages is the hardest part of creating a marketing campaign. What do you say? How should you say it? What offer should you make? How do you get the reader’s attention and then KEEP it long enough to sell something?

To get answers to the above questions AND proven marketing messages handed to you on a silver platter, make sure you sign up for one of the remaining 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.

Benefits Of Managed Services: How to Instantly Make a Prospect Eager to Buy Managed Services

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

People are stubborn creatures. You can present them with a perfectly good product or service that will, without a doubt, help improve their businesses, income, or life in some way and they’ll still ignore you.

Take managed services for example. If you are the owner of a small business without the luxury of having a competent, full-time IT person monitoring and maintaining the security and health of your network, it’s a no-brainer. Besides, the #1 complaint you’ll hear from most business owners is, “I don’t have enough time in the day.” That being the case, why would ANY business owner spend one minute of their time dealing with or tolerating computer problems when they can hire you to take that monkey off their back? It just doesn’t make sense. Time is money, right?

Plus, there isn’t a person alive today that hasn’t felt like smashing their computer with a hammer at some point. Possibly even on a weekly or daily basis. Psychologists have even come up with a term to describe the incredible levels of frustration people feel with their PCs: “computer rage.” What business owner likes to have more worries, more stress, or more problems to deal with? No one! That’s why they pay people to do their taxes, clean their office, process payroll, design their web sites, and so on.

  So why isn’t anyone responding to your web site or other marketing campaigns about managed services?
I bet I know…

Chances are you’re NOT communicating the benefits of managed services in a clear, SPECIFIC, or deliberate way. Specificity is not only one of the fastest ways to grab and hold a prospect’s attention in advertising, but also to differentiate yourself from the competition. That’s because 99.9% of the advertisers and marketers in the world are very unclear and vague about what they can actually deliver to a prospect. And truth be told, many of them really can’t be specific as to why a prospect should buy from them because they aren’t delivering a product or service that is all that good in the first place.

Telling a prospect that you fix and support computers for small businesses is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Who cares? What’s so compelling about that? Imagine your reaction to an accountant sending you a letter that simply started out with, “Dear Sir, I would like the opportunity to introduce our company to you. We do bookkeeping for small business owners in the city. We’ve been in business for 5 years and do our best to provide quality services to our clients…” Who cares?

Now if they started out the letter with, “It’s a documented fact that one in four small business owners will be audited or in financial trouble with the IRS leading to $43,700 in penalties and interest. It’s also a documented fact that 94% of the small business owners who get nailed by the IRS invited the audit by making one of four common mistakes on their tax forms and reporting. Had they not made one of these tiny oversights, they would be practically “invisible” to the IRS auditors. What makes this even worse is that almost 100% of the mistakes are made by the CPAs and tax preparers these business owners hired to avoid IRS trouble in the first place! That’s why I’m writing you today. Since you are the IRS’s #1 target, I want to offer you a surefire way to avoid the most common tax and accounting mistakes that trigger IRS audits, penalties, and fines. My name is…”

Yes, it WAS a lot longer, but you can see how being specific AND focusing on the reader would instantly suck the prospect into your message and get them flat out excited to call your office. The prospect needs to understand the benefit of managed services to their company. As my marketing mentor Dan Kennedy always says, a marketing message can never be too long, but it can be too boring.

So here’s what you need to remember when developing your marketing message: Most business owners have more references to bad customer service, disappointments, and shoddy work from vendors than they have good experiences. Therefore, most buyers tend to expect the worst. That’s why so many people rely on referrals; they don’t trust the marketing and advertising that most people send out. But it’s not because they don’t trust marketing at all – it’s that the message is so vague, so general, and so NOT full of promises, guarantees, or benefits, they have no other choice but to assume you (or any other vendor for that matter) are just like “all the rest.”

After all, what do “fast” response times mean? What do “qualified” technicians mean? Words like honest, reliable, best, professional, and quality are weak adjectives that EVERYONE uses in their marketing; and they do it for one of two reasons:

  1. They have absolutely nothing unique or special about their products and services so they use completely unspecific, unquantifiable terms to avoid having to reveal that fact. Here’s a tip: If you are struggling to write specific, quantifiable reasons as to why you are better than the competition, you probably aren’t and you need to work on your product or service first.
  2. They are simply ignorant about what it takes to write great marketing communications or too lazy to figure it out. Either way, they deserve the fate reserved for those business owners who stubbornly or stupidly refuse to become great marketers: starvation.

Advertisers hide – even flat out lie — with generalities. Take Papa John’s tag line for example: “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza.” That is simply not a quantifiable or truthful statement. I know of at least two other pizza restaurants in my town alone that provide a far better product. As a national chain, how can they truthfully make that statement?

I cannot tell you what your specific message needs to be. That has to be based on what your customers want, what your competition is failing to deliver on, and your own capabilities. BUT, I would strongly suggest that you invest some time into figuring this out if you have any hopes of developing a marketing message that actually works.

How to Instantly Make a Prospect Eager to Buy Managed Services

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.
  • How to properly explain managed services benefits to a prospect or client so that they are intrigued and actually listen to what you have to say.

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.

Discover What a Small One-Man-Band from California is Doing To Grow His Company FAST and Guarantee His Future Success

“I Doubled Last Year’s Revenue…But The Biggest Change Has Been How My Revenues Have Shifted…”

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

I think Jim Rohn said, “Most people prefer a good excuse to a great opportunity.” Based on the number of excuses I hear from most small technology consultants on why they can’t get a marketing plan implemented, I would agree.

But there is the occasional shining star that proves that determination, a little discipline, and a focus on marketing can move mountains.

Josh Jacoby started out as a small, one-man-band computer consulting firm. Like most other start up computer consultants, Josh didn’t have extra techs, a sales team, or a big marketing budget to use to his advantage. He didn’t have a secretary or a work-from-home wife to help him in the business. And, he only had so many hours in the day to work on marketing and growing his business.

But instead of crying in his soup for what he didn’t have and settling for referrals only, he stepped up and implemented a number of marketing systems in his business. Here is his story on how he was able to double his annual revenue and switch to more reliable revenue streams to guarantee future growth and stability…

“Before working with Robin, I was very frustrated and not making much money. My company generated enough to pay my bills, but I never really felt successful, and I wasn’t fulfilling my goals to grow as a business owner, provide employment, and generate the income I wanted. I had taken many classes and courses on marketing and business management, so I had a lot of knowledge about the basics of marketing. I also knew that I lacked the motivation and mental focus to go through the entire process of developing marketing campaigns, so I started looking for outside help.

I learned about Robin through the ASCII group, bought the Tool Kit, and instantly knew I had found the Promised Land. It was precisely what I wanted – full campaigns geared specifically to my industry.

To date, I’ve used a number of the campaigns and strategies Robin provides in her Tool Kit. I have done newsletters, teleseminars, direct mail, web site makeovers, Google adwords, yellow page ads, van advertising, and lots and lots of networking in the local community.

So far, the results have been excellent! As of writing this I have doubled last year’s revenue, but the biggest change has been how my revenues have shifted. It is almost evenly split between recurring revenue (hosting and managed services), project work, and in product and equipment sales. Now that I’ve switched from hourly work to recurring revenue and managed services, the revenues are much steadier.

I’ve been so overwhelmed with new clients and projects that I stopped mailing the prospecting campaigns Robin gave me for quite a while, but we keep getting new customers from it anyhow. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!

If everything comes to fruition I’m expecting to add another $40K per year in managed services revenue signed by the end of February. And that’s without even trying!”

—Josh Jacoby, President, InnovaCrew

Want to Get Your Hands on the Same
Marketing Systems and Tools Josh Used?

Then click here now to join me at an upcoming Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint seminar. If you desperate need – or want – to increase your personal income, this will be the most valuable and important 3 hours you invest all year.

Here’s a small sample of the topics that will be covered:

  • Hear how other SMB computer consultants are doubling the number of qualified leads and new clients they get using a no-sales person marketing system that doesn’t require a sales team or large marketing budget to work.
  • Discover little-known auto-pilot marketing systems that will cut the time and effort of selling in half. Finally, a way to get clients calling YOU, even if you have an extremely tight marketing budget.
  • Learn the marketing methods that are absolutely 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.
  • See actual case studies and campaigns other small SMB computer consultants have used to attract profitable new clients, sell managed services, fuel referrals, and substantially increase profit margins.

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.

Discover What a Small One-Man-Band from California is Doing To Grow His Company FAST and Guarantee His Future Success

I Doubled Last Year’s Revenue…But The Biggest Change Has Been How My Revenues Have Shifted…

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

I think Jim Rohn said, “Most people prefer a good excuse to a great opportunity.” Based on the number of excuses I hear from most small technology consultants on why they can’t get a marketing plan implemented, I would agree.

But there is the occasional shining star that proves that determination, a little discipline, and a focus on marketing can move mountains.

Josh Jacoby started out as a small, one-man-band computer consulting firm. Like most other start up computer consultants, Josh didn’t have extra techs, a sales team, or a big marketing budget to use to his advantage. He didn’t have a secretary or a work-from-home wife to help him in the business. And, he only had so many hours in the day to work on marketing and growing his business.

But instead of crying in his soup for what he didn’t have and settling for referrals only, he stepped up and implemented a number of marketing systems in his business. Here is his story on how he was able to double his annual revenue and switch to more reliable revenue streams to guarantee future growth and stability…

“Before working with Robin, I was very frustrated and not making much money. My company generated enough to pay my bills, but I never really felt successful, and I wasn’t fulfilling my goals to grow as a business owner, provide employment, and generate the income I wanted. I had taken many classes and courses on marketing and business management, so I had a lot of knowledge about the basics of marketing. I also knew that I lacked the motivation and mental focus to go through the entire process of developing marketing campaigns, so I started looking for outside help.”

Josh Jacoby
– Josh Jacoby, President, InnovaCrew

I learned about Robin through the ASCII group, bought the Tool Kit, and instantly knew I had found the Promised Land. It was precisely what I wanted – full campaigns geared specifically to my industry.

To date, I’ve used a number of the campaigns and strategies Robin provides in her Tool Kit. I have done newsletters, teleseminars, direct mail, web site makeovers, Google adwords, yellow page ads, van advertising, and lots and lots of networking in the local community.

So far, the results have been excellent! As of writing this I have doubled last year’s revenue, but the biggest change has been how my revenues have shifted. It is almost evenly split between recurring revenue (hosting and managed services), project work, and in product and equipment sales. Now that I’ve switched from hourly work to recurring revenue and managed services, the revenues are much steadier.

I’ve been so overwhelmed with new clients and projects that I stopped mailing the prospecting campaigns Robin gave me for quite a while, but we keep getting new customers from it anyhow. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!

If everything comes to fruition I’m expecting to add another $40K per year in managed services revenue signed by the end of February. And that’s without even trying!”

—Josh Jacoby, President, InnovaCrew

Want to Get Your Hands on the Same
Marketing Systems and Tools Josh Used?

Then click here now to join me at an upcoming Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint seminar. If you desperate need – or want – to increase your personal income, this will be the most valuable and important 3 hours you invest all year.

Here’s a small sample of the topics that will be covered:

  • Hear how other SMB computer consultants are doubling the number of qualified leads and new clients they get using a no-sales person marketing system that doesn’t require a sales team or large marketing budget to work.
  • Discover little-known auto-pilot marketing systems that will cut the time and effort of selling in half. Finally, a way to get clients calling YOU, even if you have an extremely tight marketing budget.
  • Learn the marketing methods that are absolutely 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.
  • See actual case studies and campaigns other small SMB computer consultants have used to attract profitable new clients, sell managed services, fuel referrals, and substantially increase profit margins.

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.

10 Surefire Ways To Supercharge Your Direct Mail and Attract More Clients

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

  1. Your list (or who you are sending your message to) is the single most important element to any marketing campaign; take extreme care in choosing and verifying the source and accuracy of your list. Most people do not spend nearly enough time on this activity, and simply rent a list based on geography and company size. This is a surefire way to LOSE money on your direct mail campaign.
  1. The offer is the second most important element to your direct mail campaign. If you don’t accurately match your message and offer to your target market your campaign will fail. Are the people you are mailing going to care about what you have to say? Are they going to think your offer is valuable and worth responding to? Most direct mail is off-target, boring, and doesn’t contain any offer, much less a good one. If you want direct mail to work for your business, you must make an incredibly irresistible offer that your target market will eagerly want.P.S. Just offering something for free doesn’t always guarantee a response. If you offer a “free consultation,” your offer is going in the trash. To ensure a good response, you have to sell the free offer as though it has value.
  2. Always, always, always have a deadline on your offer, or add urgency with scarcity (example: only 20 free gifts will be given away). Including urgency to respond is a critical part of making a direct mail offer work.
  3. When marketing to a new list of prospects, promote your strongest, most in-demand product or service first; once you get them to buy, cross-sell all your other products and services. Do not lead with products and services that appeal only to a few unless the list you are sending the offer to is very likely to want the product or service you are promoting (niche marketing).
  4. Never try to promote more than one product or service in a mailing. Focus on a single, “hot” product or service and use every inch of space to sell the merits of it. You can sell them other products and services once they become a client.
  5. Successful direct marketing is the process of making a commodity look like a specialty. If what you are selling is a commodity, you have to use your marketing copy, style, and personality to make it seem special or unique. The best way to learn how to do this is to watch infomercials or QVC selling kitchen appliances. They are able to turn ordinary appliances that could be purchased from any store into super, whiz-bang gadgets that sell at higher prices and usually with memberships to lock in recurring revenue.
  6. Whenever possible, put a personality or character into your mailings. An easy way to do this is to add your photo to the letter. People like to do business with people, not logos or buildings. The most successful direct mail appears to be a personal, one-on-one letter. Also, folksy, conversational copy outperforms stiff, corporate copy every time.
  7. Always try to make your mail look like a personal letter rather than a promotional piece. America sorts its mail over the trash can. If it looks like junk mail, it will get throw out before it’s even opened. Make sure you take extra time creating the envelope and how it looks. This means NO LABELS. It instantly says, “junk mail.”
  8. Homemade-looking marketing often outperforms slick, professionally designed marketing communications.
  9. It is often a mistake to cheapen a marketing campaign just to save money. In almost every case, your response will drop when you remove copy, response forms, or other communication pieces inside a mailing. For example, I recently increased the response to one of my own mailings by 6% simply by adding a “Frequently Asked Questions” flyer on bright yellow paper. Postcards are inexpensive and easy to send, but the response to them is often very low when mailing to cold prospects. If you simply do not have the time or money to send out a larger, more involved mailing campaign, a postcard is better than sending nothing; however, you will get less of a response. Look for ways to add more meaningful communication pieces to your mailing package rather than take away to save time or money. Cheapening your marketing will end up costing you more in lost sales than it will save you in marketing costs.

How Avoid Losing Sales To Competitors Offering Cheaper Prices

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

Do you lose sales to your competitors simply because they undercut your rates?

Are you tired of lowering your margins to compete?

Do new clients readily accept your fees or do they look pained when you deliver a proposal?

If you struggle with these problems when quoting your fees to new clients, take heart. Most customers are not shopping on price alone, but they are looking for the best deal and a vendor they can trust. Unless you are selling a commodity or average (or below average) services, then I have a solution to your problem.

But first, let me explain why you are getting fee resistance.

Why You Are Getting Shopped On Price

Before I can tell you how to avoid getting shopped on price, we need to look at why you are getting fee resistance in the first place. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Most of the prospects you encounter are just like you.

They understand that you get what you pay for and that all vendors are not created equal.

In almost all cases, they are looking for an honest, trustworthy vendor that will deliver on their promises, provide reliable service after the sale, and not take advantage of them by selling them the wrong solution or more than they need.

Ok, you provide all of that. So why are you still getting shopped on price?

Because you are doing a lousy job of convincing the prospect through your marketing, web site, and sale presentation that you will actually deliver better than all of your competitors.

A new prospect cannot validate any of your claims until after they work with you; until they actually hire you, they are completely and solely judging you on your marketing alone.

Since your marketing is weak and lacks a compelling and believable argument as to why the prospect should hire you, they naturally use price as the primary means of choosing between you and your competition.

Your Marketing Is Actually Inviting Prospects
To Shop You On Price

Take a fresh look at your ads, web site, and other marketing materials. Do these marketing communications clearly definehow you can service the customer better than your competitors?

Do they provide proof with guarantees, client testimonials, case studies, or other supporting evidence that you will actually deliver on your promises and provide excellent service after the sale?

Do you clearly define why a prospect should buy from you instead of other vendors providing the same or similar services?

If your marketing materials look exactly the same as all of your competitors, then a prospect is naturally inclined to believe that you are “just like” all the rest and will shop on price.

After all, if you appear to provide services and solutions that are just the same as everyone else, why should they pay more? If you thought you could get the exact same service, quality, and value from vendor A for less money than vendor B, why wouldn’t you choose vendor A as well?

That is why you are getting shopped on price. Either you are delivering average quality and service and don’t deserve higher rates, or you are not effectively communicating why it is more advantageous to buy from you over your competition through your marketing. Either way, you are going to lose sales to cheaper competitors.

Remember, quality, service, and dependability are expected. If you didn’t deliver that at a minimum, you wouldn’t be in business in the first place. Your message has to be far more convincing than that.

How To Develop A Powerful, Convincing
Marketing Message

If you want to learn how to create your own USP (unique selling proposition) and what words, offers, and promises are proven to get profitable new prospects seeking you out for your expertise, then click here now to join me at an upcoming Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint seminar.

Here’s a small sample of the topics that will be covered:

  • Hear how other SMB computer consultants are doubling the number of qualified leads and new clients they get using a no-sales person marketing system that doesn’t require a sales team or large marketing budget to work.
  • Discover little-known auto-pilot marketing systems that will cut the time and effort of selling in half. Finally, a way to get clients calling YOU, even if you have an extremely tight marketing budget.
  • Learn the marketing methods that are absolutely 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.
  • See actual case studies and campaigns other small SMB computer consultants have used to attract profitable new clients, sell managed services, fuel referrals, and substantially increase profit margins.

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.