Posts Tagged ‘Technology Marketing Toolkit’

Top 8 New Years Resolutions for IT Marketers, Part II

Posted On January 6th, 2010

This is part 2 out of a 4 part series this month, highlighting my Top 8 New Years Resolutions for IT Marketers.

New Years Resolution #3:  Leverage MORE of your EXISTING assets.

To do this I suppose you need to recognize what your current assets are. That would be your current customers and (hopefully) the relationship you have with them. I would also include any unconverted leads you have (you ARE keeping those people in your database and marketing to them, right?)  Could be a marketing process or campaign that has worked in the past. Could be relationships you have with influencers in your market area, JV partners, your reputation, your location, etc.  Below is a forum posting I wanted to include here because 1) it will help me make the above point, and 2) it will help me make a point about the NEXT New Year’s Marketing Resolution.

First, here’s the post, modified slightly for space and readability:  My AT&T Yellow Page ads are up for renewal and I wanted to get some suggestions from you all! I ran the Warning ad last year under the heading “Computer Service and Repair” in one of the local books where we are located and got very few calls from it.  I was thinking about running the same ad again in the same book, but this time under two headings: Computer Service and Repair and Computers Networking. I’m also considering adding it in two other books to saturate the surrounding areas. One would be in the capital city area (much larger book and distribution) and the other book would be targeting South of us. The pricing for this is very expensive even after all of their “discounts” and was wondering how much of your budget you all dedicate to this type of advertising? Our existing ad costs $213 per month for ONE heading.

 Option 1: Renew our existing ad in the same book under TWO headings for the same cost ($213 per month). They’ll give me this deal if I commit to the advertising in the other books. I could also add the same ad to another small book for an additional $101 per month.

 Option 2: Total for the two small books = $315 per month.

 Option 3: I could also run the Warning ad in a new larger book under TWO headings for a cost of $741 for each heading, PER MONTH!

 Option 4: Try their NEW program for $33 PER CALL for each heading.

 Option 5: Run the ad in all 3 phone books for $315 per month plus $33 PER CALL for the large book.

 Option 6: Pay $315 per month for the two small books + $741 for one heading for a total of $1,056 per month.

 Option 7: Pay $315 per month for the two small books + $741×2 for one heading for a total of $1,797 per month.

Money is limited and we have just begun the following:

1. Mailed a newsletter to our existing clients.

2. Hired a telemarketing firm to scrub our list, qualify the leads and set up appointments for us.

3. Mail postcards to prospects.

4. Budgeted $1,000 for Google and Online PPC.

5. Implemented Call and Online tracking to see which of our ad campaigns are working best.

Money is limited, and I know we need to be listed in the phone books, but just didn’t know how much of our budget should consist of the books (in percentage). In the past, we have found that we get the best quality leads from our Google PPC ads…Thanks!

Okay, a few things. First… Read full article and comment →

Top 8 New Year’s Resolutions for IT Marketers, Part I

Posted On January 4th, 2010
This month, I’m going to give you my top 8 New Years Resolutions for IT Marketers in bite sized chunks.  For today, we tackle resolutions #1 and #2…

New Year’s Resolution #1: Do A Better Job At Positioning Rather Than Prospecting.

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?  Better question: If Robin constantly tells you the cornerstone to your marketing strategy should be positioning and attracting prospects to you rather than prospecting and chasing them down, but you don’t do it, does it mean it doesn’t work?  Below is the cover of a book designed and authored by Genius League Member Chris Wiser, President of TechSquad. This is just one element that goes into Chris’s Shock-N-Awe box sent to new prospects BEFORE he meets with them. Genius League Member Jeff Johnson, President of CMIT Solutions in Sacramento has commented that since sending his book in a Shock-N-Awe box, the number of appointments that have been moved or cancelled have gone down dramatically.

Fellow Genius League Member Kishor Solanki, Triohm Solutions is picking up approximately 6-7 new clients a month for his EMR solution, a $20,000 sale. How’s he doing it? Speaking engagements and JVs with pharmaceutical companies that position him as the expert in the new government regulations and benefits surrounding electronic medical records. I could go on. Bottom line is this: the better a job you do at positioning yourself as the expert in a certain area, the easier it is for you to acquire clients who willingly pay top dollar for your expertise.

Some of the best ways to position yourself are:

  1. Write a book. Enough said.  If you need help, search www.guru.com for a ghost writer or simply take one of the free reports in the Toolkit and use it as a soup starter.  You can still hire a “book shepherd” to help you — that is a professional who will help you get your book written, formatted, printed and published.  If you need help with the design & printing, go to my MasterMind website to look for our recommended vendors on self publishing and graphic design.  The self publishers can provide you with recommendations for writers and editors as well as graphic design.  Remember, it’s all in your head that this is difficult; it just takes a little thought on what to include and who you are going to sent it to — the free reports in the Toolkit have done the bulk of the work for you.
  2. Publish a weekly article in the newspaper or your own blog/newsletter. If you can’t get a writing gig for your local paper, you can certainly publish a weekly blog or a monthly newsletter. Just make sure it’s both interesting and valuable, not just a bunch of geek speak and techie articles you cut and paste just to fill space.
  3. Create an audio business card or get someone to interview you as an expert on a particular topic. I recently interviewed Genius League Member Nathan Viveiros on what to look for when outsourcing your IT support; an interview he’s now using to build credibility with new prospects. This is FAR more powerful than a flimsy business card and it properly positions him as the expert while simultaneously delivering value. This is underscored by the fact that Nate operates his business remotely and has recently figured out how to close BIG managed services deals over the phone without ever meeting the prospect— something many of his peers swore couldn’t be done.
  4. Public Speaking.  I highly recommend you secure as many speaking engagements as possible, even if you have to create them on your own by conducting your own events and seminars. Seek out associations, non-profit groups and the Chamber. Many associations look for subject matter experts to add value to various meetings and programs they offer.
  5. Become “active” in your local community.  Join various boards and committees and volunteer your time. This will lift your awareness and open doors to meet key decision makers and key influencers in your market area. If you target a niche like I do, partner with other key vendors and influencers in that niche, whether it be speaking at their events, offering support to their members, attending their events, etc.

New Year’s Resolution #2: Use More “Creative And Honest Theft.”

I recently received a letter sent to me by Master Mind Member Leah Hazenfield, Customer Account Manager at ProfessionalTelecommunications Services, Inc. who wrote:

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Wow, Another Year Over…

Posted On December 27th, 2009

..and a fresh, new exciting one about to begin. Although I think it’s a bad idea to only ―check in on how you are doing once a year in January, I can’t help but be a bit more reflective at the end of the year looking back over the events that have happened and asking myself three things:

  • What did we do RIGHT and want to do more of?
  • Where do we need to improve?
  • What mistakes did we make, what did we learn, and how are we going to use this information to improve next year?

This is a helpful exercise to conduct after every major event, client project, sales call, etc. As a team we do this as a practice after every event, and it’s incredibly valuable. And, as the owner of a business, I think we ought to do a deep dive every year to reflect back on these things. So, what do I think we did right? Several things–as reflected by our 30+% growth rate in a tough economy. For me, here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned:

1. Being willing to do what’s right instead of what’s easy. There aren’t many things in life that will put you in a ―damned if you do, damned if you don’t‖ situation more than running a business.  As entrepreneurs we’re pulled in many different directions and often have goals that conflict or compete with one another. Do you work late every day to turn around a sales slump and sacrifice some of the time you would have invested in your family and health or do you put more focus on your family and health, and run the risk of not being able to make payroll, ending up with heaps of stress and anxiety over financial troubles? Tough call, and a good argument could be made for either side.

But you have to choose what’s right and best for the long haul and then follow through on your decision. This is why having a vision for your life and your business is so important; you need vision to be able to make the tough decisions. I firmly believe that trying to ride both camps gets you killed. Like the indecisive squirrel in the middle of the road – you get hit by traffic going both ways. Better to pick a side, stick with your decision and focus on muddling through the temporary problems and setbacks that will arise. Although I’m very much an ―and person rather than an ―or person, the reality is that running a business requires sacrifice. Sometimes short term, sometimes long term; but thinking you can do it ALL, all the time is just not realistic.

Over this year I’ve had to make several tough calls that I knew weren’t going to put me on the ―most popular list. Looking back, perhaps you’ve been in the same boat. But I also knew that letting things continue on their current course of action would end up causing even more strife and problems, and would not be in line with our ultimate vision and core values. Yes, there were risks and costs tied to the actions and decisions made, and some short-term losses. But looking back, my only regret is that I didn’t make those decisions sooner. My procrastination only made things worse and now more than ever I believe that long-term damage from comfortable inaction is far worse than decisive action.

2. The ability to hire, retain and grow true “A” players is crucial. While this has always been a no-brainer, I can honestly say that I understand it more than ever today and I will be putting a huge focus on this area in 2010 as we continue to grow at a fast clip and continue to strive towards our BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals). Nothing is more painful, more exhausting and more damaging than having the wrong people on your team. In meetings with clients, the one topic that is a constant area of problems, gripes, disappointments and trouble are those around employees. And while Michael Gerber’s E-Myth is the utopian dream for any entrepreneur (that is, having a business so well documented and systematized that any half-whit can run it), the reality is that one bad employee can quickly undo any system or process no matter how well documented.

But in addition to this, the BIGGEST lesson for me has been this: if you are trying to directly manage more than 3 or 4 people, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Earlier this year, I discovered I was a genius with helpers – and I think all small businesses start that way. But at some point you will need to start developing leaders within your organization; people who understand the company’s mission, vision and goals, and who can get results, make good decisions and solve problems on their own. I have those people in place now and it is making a world of difference. Perhaps you are in the same place right now. If so, my advice to you is this: make finding, hiring, and growing the right people a major focus in your company, and never settle for good enough simply to fill an open seat, no matter how desperate the situation. Also, constantly look for great people–always be hiring. The worse time to look for a new employee is when you desperately need someone.

3. Develop immunity to criticism. It’s been said that the higher you climb in life, the more your butt hangs out (I forget who originally said that, so sorry I can’t give credit where credit is due). And if you read the books of highly successful people, one of the common themes is this: develop thick skin. But how do you determine the difference between fair criticism and unfair attacks?

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Wanted: High-Performance VP of Marketing

Posted On December 23rd, 2009

Are you a results-focused, high-performance marketing genius who knows how to generate sales without excuses? Does hitting big goals, making big money and working with other “A” players excite you? Do you enjoy working in an environment where exceptionally high standards are expected? Do you have a high-level of confidence in your ability to develop and implement marketing plans, campaigns and strategies that secure big returns? Is your leadership style firm and goal-oriented yet able to motivate, train and engage your team to rally behind a clear and powerful mission?

For the versatile, experienced leader who answered “yes” to all of these questions, this is the opportunity for you. We are a small, fast-growing entrepreneurial marketing consulting firm that is in need of a “right hand” VP of Marketing who can help us capitalize on the enormous opportunities available to us. The best person for this position is someone who is high-energy, detail oriented and is never happy with anything less than outstanding results and incredible accomplishments. Those looking for an easy “9-5” job that are intimidated by big goals should NOT apply.

In this position you will work directly with me (Robin Robins, President) and the VP of Operations in developing and implementing strategic plans and marketing systems to achieve our company’s short and long term revenue objectives. We are one of the most unusual and successful niche marketers in our space and have an excellent reputation and well-established client base. A true “marketing rockstar” will find our marketing savvy, sharp and fast execution on ideas, and huge market potential to be a thrilling opportunity and a wonderful place to call “home.”

Success in this position will be measured in the following areas: Read full article and comment →

My Brainstorm Lunch with a Billionaire

Posted On December 21st, 2009

Me & Sir Richard

As many of you know, back in October I flew out to LA to attend a private, 1-hour brainstorm session with Richard Branson, the 261st richest person on the planet (according to Fortune Magazine). This meeting was organized by Joe Polish who runs the Master Mind group I belong to. In attendance was yours truly along with 16 other very successful entrepreneurs including Yanik Silver, Eban Pagen, Brad Fallon, and Joe Sugarman to name a few. The meeting was tied to Branson‟s “Rock the Kasbah” charity event to raise money for Virgin Unite, a non-profit that uses business as a force for good in helping build entrepreneurs in impoverished countries, helping the homeless, improving healthcare and dealing with environmental issues.

What impressed me the most about Branson was how polite, considerate and downright charming he is. You would imagine most of the mega-rich to be arrogant, but he was incredibly gracious in answering our questions and showing an interest in each of our businesses. When one of the people in the room handed him a book they wrote, he pushed it back across the table insisting that they sign it. Small thing, but a perfect example of his character. There were a few things he said that struck me, but nothing that really surprised me. I had taken the time to read his books in advance of the meeting so I already knew a lot about his personal philosophy on business, people and success; and as you might imagine, it’s fairly close to the same success principles you’ll read in many other multi-millionaire’s “how I did it” books. The more I study success and the wealthy, the more I’ve come to the conclusion: there’s no secret to getting rich, successful or achieving any other worthy goal in life. The examples and lessons are all well documented in piles of books on the subject, with nothing held back. I believe it’s simply a matter of your determination to achieve more and ability to carry goals and projects through to their successful completion without excuses. That’s it.

As I coach IT business owners and take calls from members who are struggling, I see a consistent theme in all of them: they’re dabbling. They’ve “tried” to do a little networking, “tried” JVs, “tried” sending out newsletters, etc., etc. Tried being the operative word. They’ve skimmed and skipped over the research with clients, gathering testimonials and case studies, researching their competition and don’t measure or track their performance on a regular basis. They’ve not really committed to the work involved by clearly defining their value proposition. In fact, I can usually stump clients with one or two easy questions regarding how many active clients they have or revenue and profits to date. Worst of all, they KNOW they aren’t giving it the effort it deserves, but still seek an easy way out, some magic pill to fix what’s wrong. This conversation often leads to the second most common request I hear from struggling clients, which is the desire to have someone to hold them accountable or someone to “do it all for them.”

That’s a scapegoats excuse. No one is going to make you successful — only YOU can do that for yourself; and wishing for someone to be your “Mommy” and make you do what you already know you should be doing is not the answer. Personal trainers can’t make you thin if you cancel appointments, constantly complain about them working you too hard, give it only a 70% effort and then hit Burger King on your way home. Sure they can encourage and guide you, but they can’t MAKE you successful at losing weight.

Richard Branson didn’t look for someone to hold him accountable or to do his marketing for him when he was starting up, nor did any other highly successful business owner. And no one did it for them…THEY made the phone calls, connections and marketing early on before they were able to hire people to help them execute. THEY designed their vision and plan to get there, and they executed on it. Not a marketing agency, not a coach. I‟ve never heard of any truly successful entrepreneur who completely delegated the responsibility of revenue generation or marketing strategy of their organization.

I do realize this is not a popular answer with clients and they would rather work for someone who would “do it all for them.” But where those companies, services and people already EXIST— what they are looking to delegate is the STRATEGY and MANAGEMENT part, which is NOT something they should be delegating. Successful entrepreneurs aren’t upset or frustrated by this; they know it’s still up to them to set the direction and vision of their company, then formulate strategic plans to achieve their goals.

My Mastermind Group with Richard Branson

I know, here I go back to the difficult… Read full article and comment →

You submit a proposal to a client, but then you can’t get the prospect to call you back, much less buy.

Posted On October 10th, 2009

Root Cause: Chances are you didn’t qualify the prospect well enough, AND you made the mistake of using the proposal to close the sale instead of using it ONLY as a way to solidify on paper what you’ve already discussed and agreed to in person.

A lot of people request proposals as a nice way of saying, “I’m not interested.” They feel guilty saying that to your face, so they ask for a proposal instead. Once you’ve submitted it, they tell you the price was too high, they changed their minds, it’s not the right time, or they never return your calls. You should NEVER use a proposal to close a sale (the only exception is when selling to government agencies, which have a slightly different system for choosing vendors). A proposal should simply be a written agreement of the terms, pricing, and procedures you’ve already agreed to in person. It should be a small step towards you starting a project for a client. If you are struggling with this symptom, I suggest you re-listen to and start using the 10 questions I’ve created in the Speed Selling CD and workbook included in the Tool Kit. I can guarantee you will feel uncomfortable asking them at first, but once you overcome your fear, you’ll find it stops the tire kickers from wasting your time. Read full article and comment →

5 Ways To Raise Prices And Get More Money For The Services You Already Provide

Posted On October 1st, 2009

Here are 5 ways you can raise your prices and get paid MORE for the services you are already performing.

#1: Just raise ‘em. Pretty ingenious, huh? That’s why I get paid the big bucks. Just type up a simple letter explaining that on X date, your rates are going up. You don’t need to apologize or get a note from your mother. Just do it. The world will not come to an end and your clients will not gnash their teeth, scream, and cut themselves with rocks. In most cases, you will only get a mild response.

#2: Price increase alert with up-sell. In a letter or e-mail, you alert your clients that your rates are going up, but that they can save some money or lock in the current on-site rates if they sign up on a managed service agreement. Keep in mind there are several ways to announce a price increase while up-selling clients on to another service; this is only one example. You could also announce a price increase for on-site rates, but thanks to this new remote monitoring and support software, you can fix most problems remotely for the same rate they are used to paying. This would enable you to charge the same rate for remote repairs that you are charging for on-site services now, while increasing your on-site rates a few points.

Instead of locking in their current on site rates as the letter suggests, you could also offer to waive the set up fee for the managed services (yes, you have to have a set up fee in order to waive it. Creating a set up fee is a smart sales tactic that you should implement regardless of whether or not you increase your rates. It gives you bargaining power when selling managed services because you can “waive” it if they make a decision within a certain time frame). Read full article and comment →

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: www.snyderwins.com.

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 www.benglasslaw.com Read full article and comment →