The Power of Take-Away Selling

Posted On September 17th, 2009

I’ve heard it said that Harvard didn’t become the prestigious school they are today based on who they admitted; they become Harvard based on who they kept OUT.

One of the most powerful sales and marketing techniques you can employ is take away selling. That is basically where you position yourself as “THE” go-to-expert in your city or industry and turn the tables by making clients qualify to do business with you instead of you chasing them down, groveling at their feet, and bending your rules to suit them.

A good example of this is the entry page to his web site:

I would urge you to spend some time on this web site. Side note: the reverse copy on his web site is awful but the content and the entry qualification process is sheer brilliance. This is one of the best examples of take away selling I have ever seen. Another great attorney’s web site I found is Read full article and comment →

Trick or Treat: Naysayer, Realist, or Fool?

Posted On September 13th, 2009

The other day I received an article from eChannelLine where an IDC author wrote, “Buyer optimism is at its lowest point this year…” and that “buyer optimism is clearly on the wane with August marking the fifth consecutive month of flat or falling buyer intent.” Notice they didn’t say sales – just “buyer intent,” whatever the heck that is. This is a prime example of someone searching for doom and gloom to sell papers; although I don’t agree with spreading bad karma, I can’t blame them. Sunshine and rose petals don’t sell. Dirty laundry, finger-pointing, bad news, and gossip does; it’s a sad reality of the human experience. As a business owner, be smart enough to use this reality to your advantage without actually believing that money is scarce, customers aren’t buying, or this great economy is going to burst at any minute. If you can’t make money now, something is broken and it ‘aint the economy. My clients are reporting amazing growth in all areas, some of them are doing two and even three times the sales they did last year in the same period. There is opportunity everywhere. If you let the naysayers convince you that your “bad luck” is due to some outside factor, you’ve just resigned yourself to being broke forever. Read full article and comment →

Scariest New Trend: Give Me, Give ME, GIVE ME!!!

Posted On September 12th, 2009

Have you seen the latest product called P.B. Slices? It’s peanut butter formed into pre-packaged slices like cheese so you don’t have to spread it onto bread. I think it was P.T. Barnum who said that no man will go broke banking on the laziness of the average man. This is just a micro example of a trend in America for easier, do-it-for- me products and services. Are we all becoming so lazy that we can’t spread peanut butter onto a slice of bread? Unfortunately, yes. However, there is a money-making lesson in this trend: people are willing to pay handsomely for done-for-them services like never before. Dry cleaning picked-up and dropped-off at your door. Groceries ordered online, delivered, and stocked in your refrigerator. Pre- decorated Christmas trees. Then there’s the proliferation of “instant” magic pills that promise to grow your hair, make you thin, cure your bad mood, stop your bad habits, and er, a few other things with little or no effort on your behalf. I believe this trend is working in your favor when it comes to selling managed services. It is a convenience sale: pay one, fixed, monthly rate and we take care of it all.

Sales Follow-Up As Transparent As A Ghost

Posted On September 11th, 2009

I’m always amazed at how non- existent follow-up is with companies that obviously want to generate more sales. Over the last month, I’ve been shopping online to purchase a new sofa. From the number of sites available and amount being spent on ad words, I can safely assume that the furniture industry is a very competitive business. Yet, these very same advertisers that are spending thousands of dollars to get people to their site are doing absolutely NOTHING to engage them or to follow-up with them. In 99% of the sites I’ve visited, there were zero opt-in forms offering anything — not even so much as a crummy newsletter, free brochure, or even a “contact us” section. I e-mailed 4 sites to inquire about purchasing a specific item and only heard back from one, and they didn’t even bother to call…just sent me an e-mail directing me back to the site that,by the way, wasn’t even working.

Now, if you have all the customers you can handle, then feel free to ignore the leads that come in, but at least be smart enough to stop paying to generate them. Read full article and comment →

If you are going to break into the bank and steal the blueprints, use ’em!.

Posted On September 8th, 2009

A typical, but unfortunately not uncommon example: I get a call from a member who used one of the letters I have on the site and is perplexed because it didn’t pull one response. He’s using the methods I teach EXCEPT he cut the letter down to two pages because “no one reads long letters”, EXCEPT that he modified the headline because he thought it was “too unprofessional”, EXCEPT that he modified the offer because he thought that the 2 free hours of support would attract the “wrong” type of customer.

Other than THAT, he’s doing everything I’m telling him to do and wants to know why the heck he’s not getting customers lined up at the door.

This is like stealing an award- winning chocolate cake recipe but leaving out one of the eggs, substituting the baking soda for salt, and baking it half the time and wondering why it didn’t come out right.

The truth is, we all need to work on this. Getting a marketing formula exactly right is no easy task because there are a million moving parts. At times, even I make mistakes and overlook a tiny, yet critical piece of the puzzle and pay for it.

Recently I ran a marketing campaign for my Tool Kit and failed to put a time-sensitive offer on it for urgency. Only after I received zero orders did I realize my mistake.

This is why I give away 2 marketing piece makeovers to my Master Mind members; it is always a good idea to have someone unrelated to your company or your services to review your marketing campaigns before you send them. It’s very difficult to see the holes when you are the author.

Important Note: don’t let just anyone review and critique your marketing campaigns. You’ll inevitably hear things like, no one would read a letter that long, it is too ‘unprofessional’, or it needs to be in full, glossy, color, or whatever. The world is full of people who want to give you marketing advice that couldn’t sell their way out of a wet paper bag. Smile, nod, and go on your merry way.

Final Thought: All too often I hear people say to me, I KNOW that I need a unique selling proposition, or I KNOW that
I need to have testimonials, or I KNOW that I need to market my business better.

My argument back is that they DON’T know. To know something and not do it is to not know it at all. The only REAL way you can come to know something is by doing it. Read full article and comment →

Get Control of Where You Are Spending Your Time

Posted On September 7th, 2009

New Year’s Resolution #6: GET CONTROL OF WHERE YOU ARE SPENDING YOUR TIME. The last Master Mind Call was on the topic of planning and prioritizing where you spend your time for maximum productivity. If you were on this call (and all of you should have either been on the call or listened to the recording by now), you should have, AT A MINIMUM, done two things:

1. Identified what your time is really worth and what percentage of your day is actually devoted to true productive work.

2. Created a definition of what productive (or high leverage) time is for you.

After all, how the heck can you possibly know if you are being productive if you don’t have a definition for what productive time IS?

Many of the members wrote to me after that call to say that it had really struck a nerve with them, and requested that I keep the pressure on you to stay focused and improve your time management skills. Consider this the first reminder. We all know there are more things to do in life than there is time to do it and that is why you have to be tough about where you spend your focus and your time.

You already have ALL of the time that there is—you don’t get any more hours in a day or weeks in a year. The only thing you have is your freedom to chose. Read full article and comment →

Using Testimonials in Your Marketing

Posted On September 7th, 2009

The single biggest marketing mistake I see on a regular basis is lack of testimonials or other proof.

Get this straight: none of the prospects you market to have any reason to believe a word of what you are saying. As far as they are concerned, you are just like all of the other average businesses out there that screw up, disappoint, and fall down on promises the minute they get your check in hand. That is why testimonials are so critical to the success of your marketing campaigns. Besides, there are some things that you just can’t elegantly say about yourself without looking like an ego-maniac. However, a customer can not only say it, but embellish on it and make you look like a hero.

Last month I gave out a client feedback form in my newsletter with specific instructions on how to use it to capture client testimonials. So far, I only know of two members who have used it, and only one has really seen it through. Kenny Lance (yep, the same Kenny who is doing the newsletter. Is it any surprise that his profits are up 120% this year?) used this form and captured over 27 testimonials. He also discovered a few minor customer service issues that needed to be addressed, which he has already resolved. Read full article and comment →

How To Get Your Competition Fired Without Slandering Them Or Cutting Your Prices

Posted On September 6th, 2009

Since I’ve started taking about objections, I want to spend some time talking about a big, common, objection that you most certainly trip over on a daily basis: “I’ve already got someone just like you supporting my network.”

Good marketing is not just about selling the benefits of outsourcing IT support. If you are correctly targeting the right types of prospects (see earlier commentary on this) many of the companies you market to will already have someone who is supporting their network or supplying them with the products and services you offer. To secure that prospect’s business, you have to knock their current provider off their perch – and you can’t do it by slandering them. Instead, you have to ATTRACT the buyer away from their current provider by offering to solve problems or frustrations they have with their current vendor, or by offering a level of service they want but aren’t getting. Note: this is the whole premise of the “Bad Date” letter I’ve included as Marketing Example #3.

That is why your marketing needs to communicate exactly why a prospect would want to hire you over their current provider; this is also known as a USP or unique selling proposition, and if you’ve been a client of mine for any time, you know that I constantly talk about the importance of it when marketing your company. But before you can market a USP, you have to HAVE one. Read full article and comment →