Saturday, September 20, 2014

How Less Work Equals More Money

Ever read a book, watch a video, or attend a seminar ... come away with a long, exciting list of things to do ... and end up doing NONE of it?

You're not alone.

But here's how one insurance agency in Texas found a simple solution to that problem -- a solution worth millions. And it can work for you, too, no matter what your business is ...

Here's the story: I'm at the BGI Marketing Systems Super Conference, in Dallas. It's the event where the best insurance agency owners in America go to get better.

Louis, a top producing sales rep for 2 Allstate offices in Texas, told me that his team came to their first BGI event a few years ago, took a long list of money-making ideas back to the office, tried to do all of them ... and did none of them.

Their to-do list was too long and intimidating to start work on.

Sound familiar?

So they did something different. After their next event, they took another long-list of great ideas back to the office. But this time, they implemented just one item. After putting one idea to work, they went on to the next one. And the next one. One by one, step by step.

The results?

Louis and his team went from worrying about how to pay their bills to being on track to do $3 million (a huge amount) in premium this year. With a ton of profits left over, and non-stop growth on the horizon.

Your Takeaway: Ideas mean nothing without implementation. But you won't implement if your to-do list is a mile long. It's like trying to climb a mountain in one step -- impossible and demoralizing.

So take a look at your notes from that last seminar you attended or video you watched. Pick just one idea, and do that one thing. After that, do the next thing. You'll get more done and make more money, with less stress and apparent effort.

You can't do everything, but you can always do one thing. And that can change everything.

Note: If you're in the Twin Cities, I'll be giving a 2-hour seminar on these ideas in Edina, on Tuesday, September 30. If we're not yet sold out, you can learn more here.

Meanwhile, if you want more clients, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. It's not some cheapo download -- this is a real business-building kit you can hold in your hands. Grab yours now, while you can.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Screw Price Quotes and Proposals Part 3: The Delivery

In the last two posts, I've explained why you should never send another price quote or proposal.

I've showed you how to give your Un-Proposal a unique name and how to fill it with compelling content.

Now for the final, often-overlooked piece of the puzzle: The Delivery.

Fact: The most persuasive selling message in the world won’t mean anything if it’s not read with interest by the person you’re selling to. And, yet, if you send your Un-Proposal by email, it likely won’t get read or read with any interest.

Prove this for yourself. How many unread messages are clogging up your email in-box this very second? What’s that little number in red say on your smart phone -- 10 emails? 25? 50? How many emails do you actually print and read carefully? How many do you just download and ... forget?

Now, flip the script. If your prospects get your carefully written Un-Proposals by email, they almost certainly WON'T read and respond as much you want. There's simply too much competition for time and attention in their email in-box.

Fortunately, there’s a solution: Get real. Print and send a hard copy of your Un-Proposal.

Think: Is it fair to expect anyone to write you a check for thousands of dollars based on an email? Even if you’ve met or spoken to them at length, do you want to trust your next sale to email only?

A printed Un-Proposal creates a lasting impact that's not possible with email. Research by The UK's Royal Mail and Bangor University found that physical materials, like documents you can hold, "triggered greater emotional processing."

The study, Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail, found that "tangible materials actually leave a deeper footprint in the brain."

To quote the study at length:
This research strongly suggests that greater emotional processing is facilitated by the physical material than by the virtual. The “real” experience that the physical media provides means it’s better at becoming part of memory.

It generates more emotion, which should help to develop more positive brand associations. The real experience is also internalized, which means the materials have a more personal effect, and therefore should aid motivation.
Get that? A printed Un-Proposal that your prospects can hold generates more emotion, has a more personal effect, and aids motivation. Bing, bang, boom. Try that with email.

Okay, you should print your Un-Proposal, but how to deliver it? 

FedEx.

Sure, you could deliver it by U.S. Mail, but it might get lumped in with all the other bills, solicitations, and junk. It might even get tossed in the trash by an over-zealous gatekeeper.

However, nobody ignores a FedEx Letter. There’s a 100% chance it will get delivered, opened, and read. Yes, you pay more for FedEx, but when you do, you’re buying 100% of your prospect’s attention and ensuring they will read your Un-Proposal -- with interest. That's a bargain. And you simply cannot do that with email.

But, nearly all of your competitors will send their ordinary price quotes or proposals by email. And compared to you, they will look ... ordinary. Good news for you, no?

That wraps up this 3-part series on naming, writing, and delivering an Un-Proposal that helps you sell more of your product or service. Let me know what you think!

Meanwhile, if you want more clients, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. It's not some cheapo download -- this is a real business-building kit you can hold in your hands. Grab yours now, while you can.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Screw Price Quotes and Proposals Part 2: The Contents

Last time, I explained why you should never send another price quote or sales proposal. I talked about giving your Un-Proposal a name that's unique to you.

Today, let's talk about the second piece of the puzzle: The contents of your Un-Proposal.

Back in the 1990s, I used to write resumes and cover letters for friends, family, and later clients. And I set off an accidental revolution in job hunting by asking a “silly” question: What would happen if cover letters were written like sales letters?

A lot, as it turned out.

Most cover letters are like pornography: You’ll know it when you see it -- fast. But, unlike pornography, most cover letters are incredibly dull. Stilted language, few/no benefits, and a weak closing. In a word, BORING.

And, because you can’t bore people into hiring you, most cover letters are ineffective.

So I did something different. I wrote cover letters that were really sales letters: a strong opening, compelling benefits, a clear call to action, testimonials -- even a P.S. at the end.

As you can imagine, a lot of people found jobs very, very fast with my cover letters.

Now. What does this mean for you and your Un-Proposal?

This: Most price quotes and sales proposals are like most cover letters: Stilted language, few/no benefits, and a weak closing.


So, the contents of your Un-Proposal should resemble a sales letter, with all or most of these elements: strong opening, compelling benefits, a clear call to action, testimonials -- even a P.S. at the end.

Here’s an example of a strong opening, taken from one of my own Un-Proposals, that will get the attention of any prospect (and which got an order for me within days):

Frank,

Thanks again for chatting by phone today about your goals! Looking at all you’ve done already, I can help you sell more of your services from www.ABC.com.

Based on my notes from our conversation, here’s what I think you said:
  • You’ve been in business for 15 years and do great work for clients, yet new business development remains a challenge for you
  • You have a mailing list of about 8,000 names and physical addresses, and an email list of about 3,000 names -- both of which are valuable assets
  • The busy prospects you are trying to reach are inundated with sales messages every day, so you need something powerful to cut through that clutter
  • At between $150.00/month and $250.00/month, each new client brings you $1,800.00 to $3,000.00 a year, and they stay with you indefinitely
Please let me know if I missed anything!

Now, here’s an outline of my recommended project option, the timeline, the investment, and your guarantee ...

There’s a lot going on in those opening paragraphs, but here’s what’s key: By including the prospect’s own words, taken from my notes of our phone call, I prove that I was listening. This is huge. He’s nodding his head in agreement at every bullet point. He’s starting to trust me. He’s now more likely to buy from me. And he did.

This is copywriting 101, by the way.

It’s the kind of psychology that goes into every sales letter I write for clients. But this kind of “salesmanship in print” is missing from nearly every price quote or sales proposal I’ve ever seen. By including compelling sales copy in your Un-Proposal, however, you’ll instantly separate yourself from the competition and close more sales.

Next time, in the final installment, I’ll tell you how to boost response to your Un-Proposal into the stratosphere by delivering it differently to prospects.

Meanwhile, if you want more clients, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. It's not some cheapo download -- this is a real business-building kit you can hold in your hands. Grab yours now, while you can.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Screw Price Quotes. Screw Proposals. Send This

You may sign up new clients and customers face-to-face or by phone. If so, terrific.

But, more likely, your prospects will ask you for a written proposal or price quote, to compare to other vendors.’ Understand this: When anyone asks for a proposal, they’re asking you to help them comparison shop you. They’re asking you to commoditize yourself.

Screw that.

Never send another proposal or price quote again.

Instead, send an Un-Proposal. I’ve done it for years. The Un-Proposal lets you can bypass the tyranny of commoditization and sets your business apart. In a bag full of apples, you’re a pineapple.

The Un-Proposal has 3 key elements:

1. Name
2. Contents
3. Delivery

Today, let’s look at 1: the Name of your Un-Proposal.

What’s in a name? In sales and marketing, a lot ...

Like first impressions, for example.

If a prospect asks for a proposal and you send one, you’re instantly lumped in with the other vendors they're considering. You’ve made it easy for your prospect to compare and hard for you to stand out, other than by having the lowest price. Not good.

However, if a prospect asks for a proposal and you send a Project Blueprint, Game Plan, or Opportunity Outline, well, you can’t be lumped in with anyone. You’ve made it hard for your prospect to compare and easy for you to stand out in a way that has nothing to do with price. That’s good.

So, just as you should give your free consultation a unique name, give one to your (former) proposal or price quote, too.

Here are a few examples to get you started:
  • Project Blueprint
  • Opportunity Outline
  • Profit Game Plan
  • Benefit Snapshot
  • Savings Summary
Now, which of these statements would you feel more powerful saying to a prospect?

  • "I sent you a proposal. What do you think?"
  • "I sent you a Profit Game Plan. What do you think?"

Do you think you might feel more confident and less like a commodity if you sent a Profit Game Plan?

I think you need to some brainstorming to create a name for your own Un-Proposal, that's what I think.

Next time, I'll show you how to create the contents for your Un-Proposal -- and close more sales, faster.

Meanwhile, if you want more clients, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. It's not some cheapo download -- this is a real business-building kit you can hold in your hands. Grab yours now, while you can.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Speak Your Own Language, Write Your Own Check

What's the easiest way to stand out in any market?

Be known.

You can be known as the biggest, fastest, or best at what you do. That’s a great way to stand out.

But here’s another way to avoid comparisons and sidestep the competition: Speak your own language.

Examples:
  • Countless restaurants sell hamburgers, but only one sells a Big Mac. McDonald’s speaks their own language, which also includes Happy Meals, Quarter Pounders, etc.
  • There are countless colas on earth, but only one Uncola. 7-Up speaks its own language.
  • There are countless motivational speakers, but only one irritational speaker, Larry Winget. He speaks his own language.
So, if you find yourself one of countless businesses, consultants, or service professionals -- and you want to stand out -- speak your own language.

Start small, but powerfully, with just one phrase: a new name for the free sample you offer to prospective clients. Because “Free Consultation” is about as powerful as hamburger, cola, or motivational speaker -- not much.

To create a new name and speak your own language, you could offer a:
  • Free Skull Session
  • Complimentary Brainstorm
  • Free Game Plan
  • No-Cost Cash Flow Conversation
Call it what you will, just call it anything but a free consultation. Otherwise, you’re saying what everybody else is saying, which makes it look like you’re selling what everybody else is selling. There’s a word for that sort of thing: commodity.

If your product or service is seen as a commodity, prospective buyers will compare you to other commodities. You will have to compete on price. And your life will suck.

Life is too short to suck.

Spend the time and effort to create a unique name for your free sample. Speaking your own language is one of the easiest ways to differentiate your business. And write your own check.

Meanwhile, if you want more clients, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. It's not some cheapo download -- this is a real business-building kit you can hold in your hands. Grab yours now, while you can.




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Time: The Priceless Ingredient

"Your time is the one finite resource you have as an entrepreneur," says Strategic Coach founder, Dan Sullivan. "Get control of it, and you can use it as a tool to produce all the results you want in every area of your life."

The opposite is true: If you can't control your time, you can't produce the results you want in life.

You already know that email is a tremendous time suck. And that you can get a lot more done when you do all your email in only 45 minutes a day or hide the email icon on your smart phone.

But what about the web? It sucks, too. Time, that is.

You've done it, I've done it, we've all done it. You sit down at the computer, you swear you're going to work ...

... next thing you know, it's time for dinner.

You've posted "work-related" updates on Facebook, browsed "work-related" trends on Twitter, read those "work-related" blogs, ego-surfed your name on Google (work-related, natch), and looked up at all your high-school crushes on LinkedIn.

What you haven't done is actual work.

There's a limitless number of web sites that can suck the time (and life) out of your working day: YouTube, ESPN, Facebook, Twitter ... news sites, political blogs ... etc.

Do this: Block those web sites. Otherwise, they will block your progress and erode your paycheck by burning your time -- the priceless ingredient in success.

Four months ago, I blocked Facebook on my work computer. Also blocked dozens of time-wasting web sites that used to eat up 2-3 hours of time every day. Since then, my productivity has soared. I get more done in less time, and I can always check Facebook on my iPad (after dinner).

As my marketing mentor, Dan Kennedy, says: "Your time must be your own. You dictate who, when and how and how much of it others get. Anything less is either slavery or anarchy."

For a list of handy productivity and web-site blocking tools, click here.

FYI, I use and recommend (and don't get paid by) OpenDNS.

Meanwhile, if you want more clients, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. It's not some cheapo download -- this is a real business-building kit you can hold in your hands. Grab yours now, while you can.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Strategic Happiness

Why do you work and market and sell so hard?

One reason, I'm sure: To earn the money it takes to live the life you want.

And why do you want to live that life?

To be happy, I'm sure. You work hard now to be happy later.

Well, why wait?

Not only can you be happy now, before you grow your business, but being happy now can help grow your business. It's a virtuous, money-making, happiness-inducing circle.

"Whatever goal you want to reach, you can reach it 10 times faster if you are happy," writes success coach Steve Chandler in, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself. "In my sales training and consulting, I notice that happy sales people sell at least twice as much as unhappy sales people. Most people think that the successful sales people are happy because they are selling more and making more money. Not true. They are selling more and making more money because they are happy."

In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Harvard researcher Shawn Achor analyzes research conducted over 10 years and finds that happy people increase their sales by 37 percent and productivity by 31 percent.

Get that?

Sales-making, productive people are happy FIRST; more profitable and productive SECOND.

Again, why wait for the money to make you happy? Happiness can make you money.

There are many ways to get happy. But the more I study the subject, the more one word keeps popping up: gratitude. Gratitude can prime the pump of happiness and get it flowing in your life. Research backs this up. Grateful people tend to be happier, according to Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California-Davis.

And gratitude can be created on demand, according to Emmons. "In a series of studies, my colleagues and I have helped people systematically cultivate gratitude, usually by keeping a gratitude journal in which they regularly record the things for which they’re grateful," writes Emmons.

Let's modify that idea for our purposes and create a marketing gratitude journal. Write down 5 recent "wins" in your marketing for which you're grateful.

Examples of marketing gratitude:
  • "I'm grateful that A.B. bought a product after getting my sales letter last week."
  • "I'm grateful that G.R. called after getting my new business card. I'll meet him Thursday to pitch a project."
  • "I'm grateful that J.L. retained me after responding to my advertorial."
  • "I'm grateful that H.H. hired me after a referral from my wife!"
  • "I'm grateful that D.S. hired me after getting my sales letter."

Writing out 5 marketing "wins" gives you two big benefits:

1) It makes you grateful, which can make you happier, more productive, and more profitable. We've seen that.

2) By reliving past success, you're visualizing success. You're mentally "practicing" behavior that made you money before, which makes it easier to make money again.

Win-win.

Why not try it? Jot down 5 things about your marketing that you're grateful for, in your Google Calendar, on a Post-It Note, wherever. If it feels good today, do it again tomorrow.

Proactively creating happiness NOW can make you more productive and profitable LATER. Call it Strategic Happiness. Call it anything you want. Just try it and see for yourself.

Meanwhile, if you want more clients, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. It's not some cheapo download -- this is a real business-building kit you can hold in your hands. Grab yours now, while you can.