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Are You Counting The Concealed Costs Of Sunken Money In Your Business?

Posted On August 5th, 2020

In many categories of marketing and sales, as well as in your business, there are not-so-obvious costs that get overlooked because they aren’t recorded on the balance sheet or accounting ledger. If Walmart is eliminating their greeters, I hope they are evaluating the total cost of NOT having that person there, not just the obvious cost savings of the lowered payroll.

Recently, a colleague of mine ran his first virtual conference and was very happy with the results. He shared with me that he was considering cutting out ALL in-person events, given the ease of the virtual event and the cost, complexity and headache of doing an in-person one. I told him that was a very dangerous “cost savings” that would be the death of his business. Read full article and comment →

Problem, Agitate, Solve

Posted On July 28th, 2020
The above is the oldest and still one of the most effective formulas for lead generation. More specifically, identify a highly irritating problem, anxiety, worry or frustration your clients have. Next, AGITATE it. Make them FEEL even more annoyed, frustrated and worried about it – and THEN offer the solution to the problem.

As I’ve long taught, effective marketing copy is about “bringing latent dissatisfaction to a boil.” But to do that, you have to know how your prospect thinks and feels. You also must know the specific problems they are dealing with on a day-to-day basis AND be able to articulate those problems to such a degree that they feel you’ve been following them around all day, reading their mind. Only then can you be effective at writing a marketing communication that gets and holds their attention, triggering a “That’s right” response (a nod to my Chris Voss students).

After you’ve effectively stirred up the emotional beehive and whipped them into a lather, you need to move them to action – but selling the solution outright is not the right idea. What WE want to do, particularly in selling advice and services, is to generate a lead. More specifically, to get a call or scheduled appointment with the prospect. To that end, you DON’T want to reveal too much of what the end solution truly is or you’ll risk them hastily dismissing your solution, thinking they either don’t LIKE the solution or triggering a knee-jerk response of “I tried that before and it didn’t work,” or “That solution is too expensive/not a right fit for us/etc.” Read full article and comment →

Your Sales Playbook: NOW Is The Time To Hire

Posted On July 16th, 2020

Difficulty in finding and hiring good people, along with the rising cost of talent, IS a dark side of a good economy, particularly when you’re looking for TOP talent, not the low-paying entry-level positions that are always in flux and relatively easy to find a body to fill.

But now, ONE good outcome of the corona cray-cray is that millions are unemployed, furloughed and having their incomes shattered, which means it’s a hell of a lot easier to find great people.

The last sales help-wanted ad I ran generated hundreds of applicants in days. Good people too. So, if you’ve been putting off hiring salespeople, NOW is the time to get looking – and yes, if you want to grow your business, you cannot do it by ONLY building a herd of techs. You NEED salespeople. But let me give you a few things to think about as you start your search.

1. The best salespeople are all employed and well-paid.

They are hesitant to move because they’ve often built a good, solid book of business over the years and will be very hesitant to walk away and start over. But now that they may be seeing a decline in sales, maybe even prevented from selling or making a commission, you’ve got a much better shot at luring them away – BUT YOU HAVE TO ACT NOW.

The economy will resume and business will get back to normal. If you wait, you’ll miss the window. Read full article and comment →

Are You Wimping Out When It Gets To The CLOSE?

Posted On July 8th, 2020

Are You Wimping Out When It Gets To The CLOSE?

In the book The Lost Art Of Closing, author Anthony Iannarino dares to list the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales, which are NOT commitments the salesperson makes to themselves to be a better salesperson, as you might think, but demands a salesperson should make to the prospect they are selling. *Gasp!* How unprofessional. I hear the outcry of many a “how dare you try to sell me” business owner as their underwear tightens at the very thought. I, for one, applaud and have my sales team reading his book in our weekly book club. I believe the sales profession needs a giant injection of chutzpah and passion for SELLING and, most important, CLOSING. So many have drifted too far and have forgotten that a salesperson’s job is to SELL SOMETHING. Not to greet people, answer questions, make friends and build relationships. That’s a job for a Walmart greeter, not a professional salesperson.

Of course, the first thing sales-prevention biz owners start crying about is how “unprofessional” selling and attempting to close is. Nuts to them. Their knee-jerk, limited understanding of selling makes them think I’m suggesting you act like a Neanderthal, prematurely closing, using hard-sell tactics and pressure and idiotic leading questions. I’m talking about designing your sales process in such a manner that you are asking questions and saying things that persuade the prospect to buy. Of course you should walk away if you cannot help give the customer what they want. Of course you should address their concerns, answer their questions honestly and candidly. Of course you should be respectful and professional. Further, I maintain that if you have to close hard, you screwed up somewhere along the line. The old line of “ABCs – always be closing” has some merit in that you should be doing things throughout the engagement with a prospect to move them toward a natural, painless close, not pulling some stupid jack-in-the-box close at the end. Here, as a reminder, are a few of them: Read full article and comment →

10 Marketing MUSTS For Every Campaign

Posted On June 16th, 2020

check list

The other day, as we were talking, a client shared with me an e-mail campaign sent out to close to 400 prospects WITH phone follow-up that generated a big fat ZERO. To be clear, not one of MY campaigns, but one they received from a vendor.

After reviewing it, I saw that it violated almost every one of the “10 Commandments” of good IT services marketing. Unfortunately, I see this a lot; campaigns hastily slapped together without any strategy or understanding of what it takes to get a response.

Time and money wasted. Therefore, I thought it would be beneficial to provide a slightly revised list of “MUSTS” for every campaign. Here are my 10 Marketing MUSTS for MSPs to use in all their campaigns.

  1. There MUST be absolute crystal clarity on WHO we want to attract as a client.
  2. The list MUST be validated, segmented and cleaned to avoid waste and to ensure the message is tightly matched to the market (prospect) receiving it.
  3. There MUST be an offer that the prospect will see high value in receiving. (i.e. Get a FREE 1-on-1 Marketing Consultation And Receive A Custom Marketing Roadmap…CLICK HERE)
  4. There MUST be strong sales copy that SELLS the offer or next step, NOT the ultimate product or service.
  5. The communication MUST be written to enter “the conversation going on” in the prospect’s or client’s mind.
  6. There MUST be testimonials and/or other trust- and credibility-building facts. (Click here for examples of GREAT testimonials.)
  7. There MUST be clear, specific instructions on how to respond, and more than one way to respond, ideally OFFLINE and ONLINE.
  8. There MUST be multiple communications/touches, ideally using more than one media.
  9. There MUST be accurate tracking and measurement.
  10. There MUST be a plan in place to quickly follow up on leads generated. (If you’re looking for a CRM specifically designed for MSPs who get marketing check out the Marketing Automation Platform)

Getting “Into” The Customer

Posted On June 10th, 2020

There’s an old sales joke about a hotshot sales guy sitting down with a little old lady to sell her a new heater. He tells her all about how the heater is made in America and has the highest-quality ratings for efficiency and safety, about the BTUs, construction, warranties and other features. When he finally shuts up, she says, “I only have one question – will this heater of yours keep a little old lady warm?”

I see this mistake a LOT in marketing. Salespeople get really hung up on all the FEATURES and start selling those instead of selling the end results the prospect actually wants.

This mistake is even easier to make in marketing when you don’t have the opportunity to ask the person questions and course-correct based on their answers. Therefore, you have to know enough about a prospect population (in general) to hit on common hot buttons, needs, wants and personal agendas and tap into those drivers.

To that end, a constant question I get is: “How do I find out what my clients want so I can sell it to them?” It’s a great question, but the answer is not one many like because it involves TALKING to your clients and prospects, and many shy, introverted “geeks” out there don’t like this critical aspect of marketing research. As Claude Hopkins once said (paraphrased), a casual conversation with half a dozen housewives will teach you more about how to sell laundry detergent than the most expensive and extensive market research and studies. Read full article and comment →

How To Avoid Confusing Activity With Accomplishment

Posted On June 3rd, 2020

How To Avoid Confusing Activity With AccomplishmentFrom AdWeek: 62% of small businesses see NO return on their investment in Facebook. From Forbes: 44% of businesses can’t even measure social media ROI. Despite this, according to a survey from the Manifest, 63% of small businesses plan on increasing their spend on social media (!). One social media “expert” commenting on this said that “not all social media traffic generates revenue” (Really? Who’da thunk) and went on to suggest that “you might measure conversations that originated with a social media visit and use that as a gauge of success.” He went on to say that it was especially important for start-ups to get followers because an initial “audience” was more important than an initial customer base. Count me unconvinced.

I’m not against using social media – what I AM against is wasting time, focus, energy and money on marketing activities that don’t directly lead to a paying client.

I’m often asked by members if it’s “worth” posting articles and other content on social media sites. They want to know if it’s a good idea. When I ask, “What are you hoping to accomplish with these activities? What does success look like?” I’ve never had anyone give me a precise answer. Not once. As in NEVER. They almost always go on to tell me why they are doing it – which is not the question I asked – and that response is almost always based in some feeling that they should be doing it. What they don’t say, but I’m sure is also driving their actions, is that this is something relatively easy to do, which makes them feel like they’re doing something (activity). But if activity was the only thing necessary to get results, you could hold a sign up and run around a business-park parking lot and reach as many (or more?) prospects. At least you’d get some exercise. Read full article and comment →

To Prospect Or NOT…That Is The Question

Posted On May 28th, 2020

Recently a number of questions have come in about how to go about prospecting right now. Some (most) feel it’s a very, very bad idea. I’m not so sure. Yes, I do think you have to be more strategTo prospect or notic and careful…but stop? Hell no.

At the time I’m writing this, we’ve booked 41 appointments for my sponsors sales team in the last eight days, all driven by sending e-mails and making phone calls. What makes this even more tricky is that we’re selling sponsorships to events. Remember those? Where we all got together in person and ignored social distancing, actually shook someone’s hand, broke bread, gave hugs?
Are we using some secret stealth script? Bribes? No…we’re just calling and asking, “Are you still looking to recruit MSP partners?” I know…sophisticated, right?

So, here are a few thoughts regarding COLD CALLS right now, and selling in GENERAL:

Read full article and comment →