MSP Marketing Blog

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

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We targeted chiropractors with the following headline:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dedicated to your success,

Robin

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

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here’s a suggestion…

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

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

Go here and register NOW: www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com/event

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

Dedicated to your success,

Robin

Your Daring Escape From The Prison You Call Your Business

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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

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

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

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

It Was Devastating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 4th!

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

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

You’ll learn:

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

    Click here to register now

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

    Click here to register now

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

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

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

Click here to register now

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

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

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Success in business is just like that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll learn:

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

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

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

Click here to register now

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

 

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

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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!

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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.

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

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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?

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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

Posted by joanna On February 4th, 2016

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.