Three Elements of a Successful Business
by Jerry Fletcher:
Automagic Marketing and You
There are three elements every business must possess to be successful:
- Networking skills
- A memorable brand
- Effective Contact Relationship Management
Every business starts with networking.
If you open a coaching or consulting business, any professional service business you will have to network to get buy-in from your family, to get funding in some cases, but most of all to obtain your first customers.
If you are going to sell a product the need for funding will quickly become your focus. You will begin asking everyone you know where you can go to get the funding you need. Family doesn’t respond well to e-mail requests. You need to do it in person. Same for investor angels who, if you are lucky, will introduce you folks that might back a second round. Venture capitalists will become known to you over time, but don’t accept on-line approaches.
To stay afloat, you will have to introduce yourself and your company.
Imagine that any meeting you attend is like snorkeling in the brilliant blue waters of a tropical reef. You’ll find all types of personalities as you drift, those that seek to blend into the background, groups that flit to and fro in sync, small groups intent on learning more about each other and the one with a fin that shows above the surface as you note from the fast closing distance. That one hurtles toward you, spits out a slew of self-promotion, puts some literature in your hand and leaves you feeling like you’re bleeding in the water.
The best networkers have conversations not commercials.
Sharks are a good way to think of the transactional kind of networker. With them it is all quid pro quo. They could care less about you. Networking for them is doing a commercial.
It’s better to be a relational networker. Relate to the other person. Find out what is driving them. Listen. Help them if you can. Caring about their situation puts both of you at ease. Relax. Have a conversation.
Have an answer for the question, “What do you do?”
That is the most commonly asked question in North America. Because of that I developed a networking approach called 30-Second Marketing TM It consists of four parts which you can develop in advance to replace the awful “Elevator Pitch.”
Those four parts in crass but memorable terms are:
- Hook ‘em
- Hold ‘em
- Pitch ‘em
- Close ‘em
Your Hook is a unique way of describing your product/ service to cause the listener to want to hear more.
Done right, it will make you unforgettable.
It can be an instant brand communicated in less than 3 seconds!
Your Hold describes what you deliver in terms of the problem you solve for most people.
Thing is, somewhere between 60 and 80% of your ideal clients describe their problem the same way. Using that language shows them you understand.
Your hold begins with the words, “You know how…”
Your Pitch explains how you solve that problem.
Again, it is best to state it in their words. To make it easy to remember I use “Well what we do is…”
Your Close provides results data. These are examples that tell people you can
You can Overcome the pain
You can Solve the problem
You can Follow in the footsteps of clients like…
You can Have success like
You can Put this process to work for you
Remember, I said this is a conversation, not a commercial, right?
A memorable brand is automatic.
When you work through 30-Second Marketing TM you find the memorability of your product or service in customer terms automagically. For example, here are some Hooks from my client files:
The Defogger and Accelerator was developed for a management and leadership consultant whose business has tripled since he adopted that descriptor.
Networking Ninja the sobriquet I’ve used as a professional speaker to book keynotes on three continents. (It is still working after 25 years but I recently changed it to Brand Poobah see video)
The Untangler positions a money coach who untangles the money knots in client’s minds. She reports that her practice has held steady over the last five years without a great deal of marketing outside speaking and blogging.
Adding verbal magic to brand development
Often people get wrapped around an axle trying to get a logotype that stands out from the crowd mistakenly believing it is a brand.
In today’s world
You gotta be memorable
You gotta connect.
You gotta get to Trust
The magic is that every business is unique.
There is something about you or what you do that makes you stand out from the crowd.
It may be a small thing but more often it is a combination of factors that sets you apart.
You can quickly showcase your difference in a memorable way verbally with words that paint a picture for your ideal client..
Understanding your ideal clients concerns, problems, expectations and the additions they would like takes you far beyond many.
Thinking through how you approach them in advance puts you into a very small percentage of the population.
Make your brand stand out from the crowd
1.Use an analogy
Here’s a recent example from my client files:
Larry Briggs is Leadership consultant. His response to “What do you do?” is
Sticky Leadership. He described it in his speaker one-sheet like this:
Sticky Leadership is what comes after vision.
Sticky Leadership is what it takes to get to the next level.
Sticky Leadership is how you take the business you built one step higher.
Sticky Leadership is how successful entrepreneurs get their leadership to stick in the heads, hearts and actions of others.
2. Be specific
Contact Relationship Magician—One I’ve used when pursuing engagements in “Automagic Marketing.”
3. Keep it under 7 words
Imagineering—from the Disney organization. Short for imaginative engineering I’m told.
When you can’t afford to lose—For a Negotiation Consultant ranked in the top ten in the USA.
I take the fear out of Queer—developed by a transgender speaker in a 30-Second Marketing Workshop. Think how powerful that is when directed to a meeting planner planning an “inclusive” event
Building Brand based on why
Whether you sell BtoB or BtoC you will be more successful if you understand why your customer needs your help. More importantly you’ll connect with more prospects if you voice their problem or concern that you solve in their language. Use their words and know what makes them consider your option.
The only way to get that knowledge is to go talk to potential clients/patients/customers and listen. I’m constantly amazed when an entrepreneur builds a product or develops a service without ever talking to the people that might buy it!
Listen to them. Write your value proposition based on what they have to say. Name your product or service in terms they might use particularly if you are cash strapped. Pay a professional to develop a logo that connects with your potential purchaser. Be sure it does by asking potential clients. Put your key benefit attribute out front so it is easily seen and understood. Stick with it across all the ways you can deliver a message on and off-line.
In the Q&A portion of a webinar I was attending the other night someone asked the folks assembled what CRM they used.
I could tell by the answers that there were several different understandings of Contact Relationship Management.
I’ve spoken on the subject on three continents and what I heard caused me to chime in.
Confusion is natural
Not long ago and not so far away business people kept track of their contacts with a rolodex. More sophisticated operations had card files on clients that could be accessed by the sales staff. A friend that was in the jewelry trade told me how they used color coding of the cards to visually differentiate the gentlemen’s purchases for wives and “lady friends.”
Direct marketing operations used master files to have data on purchases, recency and frequency.
Even back then the difficulty was in the multiplicity of processes in use. It is the same today. With the advent of the computer, accounting programs were drafted into use to keep files. Today, it is not uncommon for businesses to keep their customer records in Excel.
Software for salespeople
The granddaddy of software built specifically for the purpose of managing all the contact data a salesperson or a company could muster is ACT!. Initially it was a flat file rather than a relational database and offered limited capability for sending letters. (The internet and e-mail were in the future!)
Over time the product came to offer 15 special fields to enter data that was not “standard.” It became more and more robust and is still in use in a relational database form today.
The man that introduced ACT! is responsible for the top selling CRM product in the world today, Sales Force.com a cloud-based product.
Contacts vs Prospects vs Customers
Products originally built to track customers or clients started to get used to follow the actions of prospects who were people that had been contacted and established as a “sales lead.” Of course, none of this could work without input from each of the salespeople. Therein is a huge problem. Sales folks don’t like doing that detailed kind of data entry. I developed a 3 step mantra that they could apply after each sales call:
The Sales Magic Mantra
- Note what happened in the prospect or client file after each call.
- Decide your next action
- Put a follow up date on that action and when it comes up just do it.
(Incidentally you can use this process in a paper-based CRM, any software CRM and it works in Outlook as well.)
I start where the software stops
I honed my expertise in the CRM arena when it was pretty much like the wild west. It was difficult enough to get salespeople to use the systems let alone purchase lists of suspects, do the mailings and phone calls necessary to assure that it was really a lead worth pursuing and then maintain the contact over time. I showed companies how to go beyond CRM software to what I termed Automagic Marketing kludging automated e-mailings, data capture and timely automated sales follow-up as well as prospect qualification.
E-mail became a universal cure but if you didn’t automate it the costs were too much to bear. Solutions like Constant Contact appeared on the scene providing the ability to use graphic e-mail rather than text alone. Organizations started using these products for Newsletters and on-line magazines. Mail Chimp is a good option these days. These programs operate from lists loaded into them, require proof that the folks on the lists opted in and have no CRM capabilities. For that you need to connect them to your CRM system.
Autoresponders The first were part of e-mail transfer agents. They created bounce messages such as “your e-mail could not be delivered because…” Today’s autoresponders can handle if-then branching sequences as well as time delayed responses and even action-based triggering. Responses can be automatically entered into your CRM system with the right hookup. The best available at the moment in my view is Active Campaign. Visit their web site to see how this sophisticated kind of product works. (Note that Active Campaign is introducing a CRM linked to their Autoresponder capability.)
The first “complete solution” software that became a market dominator was Infusionsoft. It included a store, upsells, downsells purchase tracking and the ability to accept payment (with a link). More importantly it was a fully functioning CRM with individual and bulk, text or graphic e-mail capability, autoresponder with linkage to telephone as well as snail mail. Today there are a host of systems available. Here are some to consider if you intend to sell from your website:
- Click Funnels
- Active Campaign (with a store integration)
Pricing for these ranges from under $20 to $300/month
Before you leap be sure of what your real objectives are.
You can build an automated system that seen from the customer’s point of view is “like magic.” Be sure you have an expert guide to build your approach. It looks easy but it isn’t.
And, so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.
More about Jerry Fletcher:
Jerry Fletcher has been speaking professionally since 1993.
His pragmatic knowledge of how to combine Networking with referral-based sales and marketing techniques on and off-line has been gleaned from over 40 years as a Marketing Rainmaker and client satisfaction specialist.
He founded Z-axis Marketing, Inc.in 1990. The marketing consulting practice is dedicated to building trust-based marketing strategies that make rain for small and medium companies that want to take it up a notch…on and off line.
This former Advertising and PR agency CEO is an expert at business development and practice marketing management who has:
- Doubled the revenues of the top management consultant in one year. He says his prospects now “get him”
- Doubled the income of a financial planner in one year by overhauling practice marketing from core to customer.
- Generated direct inquiries from C-suite executives for an IT Management Consultant leading to a 67% increase in revenues.
- Raised over $500,000 in funding for a start-up (Digimarc) in just 17 days.
- Increased the first quarter sales of a Training Division by over $1.2 Million with a single marketing suggestion.
- Pumped up software sales by $100,000 a month for a client by “tweaking” their CRM–contact relationship management system.
Stopped counting successful product and service introductions at 207
Has introduced over 137 new brands based on his 30-Second Marketing TM approach.