Monday, January 31, 2011

Stop Waiting for Clients. Start Buying Them

How much do you pay for new clients now?

To find the answer, divide your monthly or annual marketing costs by the number of new clients you get.

Example: If your only advertising is a $500/month Yellow Pages ad, and you get 10 new clients every month, you are buying clients for $50.

Now ...

How much do you pay for new clients via referrals?

Do you pay nothing at all? Or do you pay less than what you spend to buy clients via the Yellow Pages, etc.

If so ... WHY???

Are you afraid it might seem crass to pay for referrals that turn into clients? Nonsense. If your service is any good, you're doing people a favor by working with them as clients.

Plus, it's not anybody else's job to remember to refer your business to others.

People are more likely to remember to refer you when they stand to gain a reward. This does not mean people are greedy or stupid -- it just means they're busy and selfish, just like you.

The only valid reason not to offer to "buy" clients by paying for referrals is if your clients aren't comfortable profiting by their referral.

So here's the answer, one I learned over 10+ years of paying for referrals: Give them a choice.

Specifically, give people a choice of these three incentives for referring new clients to you:

1. Cash

This incentive appeals to about 40-60% of people, in my experience. It's simple: Offer the highest cash reward you can afford to "buy" a new client -- $20, $50, $1,000. I've happily paid up to $250 for a new client and still come out way ahead in terms of profit.

2. Discount

This appeals to about 30-40% of people, who are not comfortable getting cash back for referrals. Offer to discount their friend's order by the highest amount you can afford, whether it's 20% or even 100% -- a free first order. That can work for you, if your service consistently produces repeat orders from delighted clients.

3. Gift card

After much trial and error, I found about 10% of people don't want cash for themselves and don't want to offer a discount to their friends. But they were very happy to get an Amazon gift card for $25-50 from me. Go figure. But I'm not a psychoanalyst, I'm a businessman. And I had no problem offering this third option.

So: How do you explain this "client buying" referral program to others?

Say this: "I really prefer to help people just like you, so if you found my business helpful and are willing to recommend me to others, I'd like to reward you! For every person you send my way who becomes a client, I'll send you a check for $50, or discount their order by $50, or send you an Amazon gift card for $50 -- your choice!"

This "client buying" budget should have NO limit, by the way.

Because you’re paying only for results. Unlike ads that may or may not work, when you reward someone for sending you a new client, you have a 100% success rate -- a GUARANTEED ROI.

Where else can you find an investment like that?

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Double Sales for Your Service Business

If you operate a service business, pay attention ...

You can double your sales simply by following up systematically with your prospects and clients. I've seen it happen over and over.

For a good perspective on this, here's an excerpt from an article by

Keep Efforts Organized

Sales can be a daunting task when you do not keep all of your contacts, leads, and activities in a central place. To make your sacred selling time most effective, use a CRM tool to keep track of your sales conversations. I use and recommend, though there are many other tools out there that you can use.

Take good notes, and at the end of each conversation, set a solid next step for yourself and record this in your CRM. This will help you stay organized as well as prioritize your follow-up and sales efforts.

Stop stressing out about your long to-do list. Follow these tips, and your days could look something like this:

It’s Friday morning, and you have blocked off three hours for uninterrupted sales time. You sit down at your computer, and an alarm goes off instructing you to call back Jessica Smith of Smith & Jones Manufacturing, whom you met at an industry event two weeks ago.

You open up your contact management system, peruse your notes, and see that Jessica is a Boston Celtics fan. You pick up the phone and call her, making a point to congratulate her on her team’s recent win over San Antonio.

The conversation continues, and you mention how you read a Harvard Business Review article that relates to the manufacturing industry. When the conversation ends you set a task in your calendar to follow up with Jessica next month. There is no immediate need, but you realize you can help Jessica’s business be more successful in the long term. Using your CRM tool, you add her to your enewsletter list and send a quick email to one of your associates, asking him to retrieve the article from HBR and send it to Jessica.

You move on to the next person on your list. By the time noon rolls around, you have moved four leads forward and left messages for five others.

This afternoon, you are off to deliver that big consulting project you’ve been working on all month.

The result: Your sales efforts are consistent and organized. You are developing relationships and moving prospects to the next stage of the pipeline. And it’s all because you made the time and added selling to your priority list.
It's baffling how many service business owners don't track their conversations with prospects or clients, or follow up with them systematically.

Bad news: You will never improve if you don't know what you're doing. And, when it comes to sales, most service business owners really don't know what they're doing.

Good news: You can double your sales if you do nothing more than follow up with all qualified prospects at least 3 times.


Get a good CRM like SalesForce or GoldMine. Then use it to organize your communications with prospects and clients. It can pay you back in about 2-3 days ... but only if you use it.

I have never seen this fail since 1996. Heck, I quickly doubled sales twice for my first business by doing nothing more than using GoldMine to literally mine the gold from inbound emails and phone calls.

For more information, check out the little ebook I wrote on the followup marketing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to Make Your Offer Irresistible

Back when I wrote resumes for a living in the 1990s, I used to have a very easy time selling to people. 

Here's why: I made them an offer they couldn't resist.

That's because every one of my competitors were all saying variations of this: "We guarantee results, or we'll rewrite your resume." Which is like saying: "We'll make you happy or ... we'll keep trying to make you happy."

Meanwhile, I used to say this: "Your resume will get results. Or it's FREE."

That was saying something. It was an offer most people could not resist. Which is how I sold to more people than my competitors (and ended up hiring two of them to work for me, part-time).

So. If you want to sell more of your services to more people, faster and easier, you can do it by making them an offer they can't resist.

To illustrate, here's an offer I recently got in the mail, which I found irresistible:

Background: I own a Saturn. Back when Saturn went out of business, a local Chevrolet firm took over the service contracts from the former Saturn dealer. So I got several letters in the mail, asking me to come in and give the Chevy guys a try.

I ignored every letter.

Because none was half as compelling as the offer above, which has what I call "The 4 Rs of Irresistible Offers." The offer is:
  1. Riveting
  2. Relevant
  3. Realistic
  4. Risk-free
1) Riveting. You can't beat 4 free maintenance visits with a stick.

Application: Your offer should be so riveting that clients and prospects will feel like they're ripping you off. I almost feel that way about this offer. Almost.

Because, even though I know there's a cost to them of offering 4 free service visits, once they get me into their building, they can find lots of things wrong with my car to fix above and beyond the free service -- after they win my trust. They will no doubt make money on this long-term ... IF they earn my trust.

2) Relevant. They address me by name and know that I still own the car. Plus, they're a 10-minute drive from my house. So they've demonstrated knowledge of me and my life. This offer is relevant.

Application: How relevant are your offers to your prospects and clients? Are you speaking directly to them and their needs?

3) Realistic. They aren't promising anything incredible -- just a free oil change, tire rotation, and vehicle inspection.

Application: How realistic are your offers? You can actually repel buyers with outlandish offers, like $500 in free gasoline or a free iPad. When in doubt, ask 3-5 clients whose judgment you trust. If they don't roll their eyes, your offer is likely realistic enough to roll out to a bigger audience.

4) Risk-free. Very important. This offer costs me nothing. Sure, I fully expect them to charge me a couple of bucks for tax, etc., but I will still come out ahead.

Making offers risk-free by offering a money-back guarantee is one thing I counsel all of my copywriting clients to do.

Sure, you may refund 2-3% of buyers. But if your sales double as a result of your guarantee, do you really care? In other words, would you rather have 100% of $100,000 ... or 95% of $200,000? A risk-free offer can get you that larger figure.

Make your next offer Riveting, Relevant, Realistic, and Risk-free. When you do, you will be making an irresistible offer.

And you will realize this great truth: The whole point of your marketing is to make selling superfluous.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

80/20 Client Service: The Secret to More Profits and Fewer Headaches

There's a limited number of hours in every day -- 24, to be exact.

That means there isn't time to do everything. There are some things you can't do ... and shouldn't do.

Especially when it comes to the people your business serves -- your clients.

The less time you waste serving the wrong clients -- people who complain about price, are slow to pay, don't appreciate what you do, etc. -- the more time you can invest serving the right clients -- those people who cheerfully pay your fees, appreciate what you do, and refer others like them.

So, stop talking to the wrong clients and start talking to more right clients.

Now. How can you tell who is who? By doing "80/20 Thinking."

As described in the life-changing book by Richard Koch, The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less:
To engage in 80/20 Thinking, we must constantly ask ourselves: what is the 20 percent that is leading to 80 percent? What are the vital few inputs or causes, as opposed to the trivial many? Where is the haunting melody being drowned out by the background noise?
Here's what happens when you engage in 80/20 Thinking: You find that a large percentage of your revenue comes from a small percentage of your clients. Implication? These are the right people to be spending more time with!

  • 85% of your revenue comes from clients within 20 miles of your business.
  • 62% of your revenue comes from 3 client segments: appliance repair shops, bookkeepers, and professional speakers.
  • 78% of your revenue comes from clients who belong to the Chamber of Commerce.

Important: The actual amount will almost never be exactly 80%, but it will be disproportinately large. Look for any big output coming from a small input.

When I applied 80/20 Thinking to my resume writing service back in 1999, I found that about 70% of revenue came from four kinds of clients: sales, marketing, IT, and management professionals.

And I liked doing business with these clients -- they were smart, didn't complain about price, and they got good results from my service, which led them to refer others.

So guess what? I added a tagline to my business to attract more clients like them. It read as follows: "Specializing in resumes for sales, marketing, IT, and management professionals."

A little thing, right? But it had a big impact. I started getting calls from more of my idea clients -- sales, marketing, IT, and management professionals.

You can, too. But not until you first identify which clients you want to spend more time with.

Now, don't forget -- there's a flip side to clients you love. This would be clients you ... don't love.

Example: If you find 72% of your revenue comes from orthodontists and bookkeepers, but you HATE working with orthodontists and bookkeepers, then STOP working with them and START looking for clients elsewhere.

When I identified the 20% of clients who gave me 80% of my problems, I created an “undesirable” status in my Goldmine database for these unpleasant clients and prospects who were unpleasant to deal with. Those people (from certain industries that shall remain nameless) never heard from me again.

Does this sound cold? Consider: No matter how well you serve clients, about 1-5% will never be happy, no matter what you do.

Then consider: Time isn’t money. Time is everything. Time is all we have each day. So don’t waste yours on people you don't enjoy serving.

80/20 Thinking helped eliminate nearly all my client service headaches in a few weeks, while attracting more ideal clients. My business grew and I had more fun.

80/20 Thinking can work wonders for your client service and your business, too.

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fixing Complaints: The 95% ROI and Quick Way to Get New Clients

Fact: Clients who complain are more interested in working with you than clients who say nothing.

Think about it: If you get awful service from a vendor you have no intention of ever using again, you likely won't complain. Instead, you will silently take your business elsewhere.

So do whatever it takes to "save" complaining clients. Because these people secretly want to keep working with you. And because the payoffs can be huge ...

I remember Sharon, a client of my resume service back in 1998. Upon seeing the first draft of my work for her, she said, "Oh, this has problems. I don't like this."

My reply: "Thanks for letting me know that now. The sooner we fix this the better. Please tell me everything that's bothering you and why."

We then went through her resume, line by line. In the end, she was delighted with the result. And she later referred more than 8 new clients and several thousand dollars in revenue to my business.

That's just one example.

According to

Fixing problems turns angry customers into loyal advocates. Jake Poore, who looked after “service recovery” for Disney says “everyone makes mistakes, that’s human.

But how do you solicit those mistakes and rectify them so that the story is now possibly better than if there were no mistake at all?”

He makes the point that customers who go home mad tell their story, whereas those who go home happy tell your story. Often a bad experience that was turned around makes for a happier customer and a better story than a customer who had a good experience in the first place.

According to "Manage Complaints to Enhance Loyalty," an article by John Goodman published in the Feb. 2006 issue of "Quality Progress," solving customer complaints pays you back with a 95% profit for the time and effort invested:

The following are cost-benefit calculations for getting customers to complain and satisfying them. The assumptions are:

• A customer is worth at least $30 in profit over a year’s time.
• The cost of handling a complaint is about $5.
• At least 75% of callers are satisfied.
• To quantify the payoff of soliciting and handling complaints, it’s critical to know the rate of the prevalence of noncomplainants and their loyalty as well as the loyalty of those who complain and are not satisfied.

The calculation for moving a customer with a problem from noncomplainant to satisfied complainant follows:

• Payoff due to improved loyalty. Typically, moving a customer with a problem from noncomplainant to complainant to a satisfied caller raises loyalty by about 30%, meaning, conservatively, handling a customer at a cost of $5 will give you a payoff of (.30 increase in loyalty) x (.75 satisfied) x $30 value = $6.75.

After covering the $5 cost of handling the complaint, your are left with $1.75 profit and or an ROI of 35% ($1.75/$5 cost to handle)

The article goes on to detail the total return-on-investment of 95% from the increased word-of-mouth referrals that result from fixing customer complaints:

If, conservatively, one out of 10 satisfied customers produces a word-of-mouth referral and one new customer worth $30 is won for every 40 who hear good things, then satisfying 10 customers adds $30 in word-of-mouth benefits, or $3 for each customer satisfied (10 customers satisfied times four positive referrals per satisfied customer times one new customer for each 40 hearing positive referrals).

That adds an additional $3 payoff for each customer satisfied, raising the ROI to 95% ($1.75 + $3.00)/$5.00. The preceding calculation is a simple estimate of the impact of positive word of mouth produced by good service on loyalty and profits.

Finally, Southwest Airlines went so far as to hire a Chief Apology Officer, a guy who "spends his 12-hour work days finding out how Southwest disappointed its customers and then firing off homespun letters of apology." Which may explain why Southwest Airlines is the only airline in America with actual fans.

Bottom Line: Do whatever it takes to satisfy complaining clients. See every service problem as a chance for you to triumph. When you do, your happy clients will tell their friends.

A customer service "recovery" can be as valuable as delivering good service the first time. Not that you should cause complaints in order to recover from them -- that's like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because it feels so good when you stop.

But you never run from complaints. Instead, rush to solve them, then encourage your clients to share their new-found happiness with others.

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.) 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Free Marketing Seminar - 11 Quick Ways to Get More Clients in 2011 - Minneapolis, St. Paul, Twin Cities

(Note: seminar registration has closed. But you can download free business-building information here.)

How's business?

Want to make 2011 better than 2010 was?

Your product or service may be the best, but if you don't market your business better this year, the competition could eat your lunch.

Get the advantage you need in this new seminar, "11 Quick Ways to Get More Clients in 2011," presented by Kevin M. Donlin, from Client Cloning Systems, Friday, January 28, 2011 in Plymouth, MN.

Sign up at no charge here.

When you attend this Free 60-minute event, you will discover:

  • The Quickest Way to Get More Clients
  • Three (legal) ways to eavesdrop on your prospects and find their hot buttons
  • How to "force" Google to help create your next advertisement
  • The $193-Billion "Kaizen Marketing" Secret ... hiding in plain sight
  • And much more -- you get 11 proven business-building tactics in all

Kevin M. Donlin:
  • has been marketing online since 1994, when he sold one of the first ebooks ever;
  • was Webmaster for from 1995 to 1998, when he worked with the pioneers of Internet marketing;
  • has been an entrepreneur since 1998;
  • was among the first to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in 1999;
  • is author of the forthcoming book, 21 Quick Ways to Get More Clients, and
  • has been interviewed on marketing topics by KARE-11 TV, WCCO Radio, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, and many others.

Kevin is a copywriter and marketing strategist who writes sales letters, web pages, and print ads for small business clients in the Twin Cities and across America.

Note: seminar registration has closed, but you can download free business-building information here

File under: small business marketing, marketing seminar, marketing class, business training, marketing Twin Cities, b2c marketing, b2b marketing, marketing a service business, sales and marketing, marketing a service business, free marketing seminar, marketing seminar

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to Get More Revenue from Clients and Serve Them Better, Today

Want to make more money in your service business, starting today?

Do this: Offer an upsell.

Simply create a deluxe version of whatever you sell -- raise the price 20-50% and add a higher level of service. When you do, about 20% or more of your clients will choose the higher-price option.

How can you offer a higher level of service to justify a higher price?
  • Deliver faster -- offer "emergency" rates for same-day or priority service; ship FedEx Priority Overnight instead of U.S. Mail
  • Deliver more -- add 20-50% of whatever it is you deliver, like super-sizing a restaurant portion
  • Deliver better -- offer 2-3 Special Reports to help clients get even faster results with your service
I have never, ever, failed to see an upsell add more money to a bottom line. And, almost always, it's 20% of your clients who will choose the higher-price option.

The only real obstacle to this profit-building tactic is in your head: You probably think your business is "different" and your clients won't have any use for a deluxe version.

News Flash: You are not your clients.

And the surest way to under-serve your market and leave money on the table is to have contempt for a new marketing idea like this prior to investigating it for yourself.

Don't be contemptuous of new ideas. Try them. Starting with this one: Offer an upsell.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One More Way to Eavesdrop on Your Prospects and Find Hot Buttons

I've written about how to "eavesdrop" on your prospects and learn to uncover the "hot buttons" that make them buy more from you, here and here.

Today, I'll give you one more way to do it: Read their book reviews on Amazon.

Just like blogs, most of your prospects read books. And many book readers also post reviews on Amazon. Start reading these reviews. Now! Because they are another goldmine of hot buttons for you to exploit.

Below is an example book review, for the book Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0 ...

See those parts highlighted in red?

“A Swiss Army Knife for the Job Seeker” is a potentially brilliant headline for an ad, one I never would have that of. What ideas are your prospects posting in their Amazon reviews?

And the underlined sentence about LinkedIn could easily be turned into a bullet point for a sales letter, like this:
  • Are you on LinkedIn? You may think you’re using all the tools available, but are you? If recruiters and headhunters aren’t calling, you’re probably making this simple mistake (see page 87).
Get the idea? You can make the cash register ring like a Salvation Army bell when you find and push the right hot buttons.

But you’ll never uncover them until you start reading your prospects’ email, the comments they post on blogs, and the book reviews they post on Amazon.

Best part: Those hot buttons are out there, right now, waiting for you to find them. You or any good copywriter can do it.

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.) 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to Improve Your Marketing with the "Colonoscopy" Point of View

Did you know that serving your clients is just like giving them a colonoscopy?

Let me explain ...

At a seminar I attended in August 2010, marketing author and thinker Seth Godin said something profound, which I wrote down (lucky you!). He said this: “People judge their entire colonoscopy experience based on what they remember from the last 30 seconds.”

In other words, last impressions make lasting impressions.

And here’s what it means for your service business ...

The last time I took my car for a tune-up to one auto dealer, he did a good job that was fairly priced. But I never went back.


Because he spilled a full bottle of STP gas treatment on the front seat, cleaned it up poorly, then apologized half-heartedly -- and only after I confronted him about it. That’s the part of the experience I remembered.

Action Step: Take a long look at the final “30 seconds” of whatever you do for your clients.

Are you leaving the best lasting impression? If not, fix it. Fast. If you don’t, your clients’ last contact with you may be their … last contact with you.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2 New Ways to Read Books

More vidiocy ...

Want more ideas to build your business?

Here are two. And they're free:

1) read front covers and
2) read back covers of books on Amazon.

What can you find when you do? Headline templates and sales letter ingredients.

No purchase necessary.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Social Media: It's Worth Doing Badly

Here's a video blog entry, shot during a practice session for my speech today to the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce ...

Watch to learn how using social media to build your business is as easy as falling off a bike -- and as important as getting right back on.

Also: child labor, demystified.

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Way to Eavesdrop on Your Prospects and Find their Hot Buttons

Yesterday I wrote that you can eavesdrop on your prospects and uncover their hot buttons, by reading their email.

Today, here's another "sneaky" (and legal!) way to do the same thing ...

It's simple: Read their comments on blogs.

Every prospect for every service or product probably reads at least one blog. Many folks read dozens of them. And each of these blogs has something you should know about, something that can uncover just as many hot buttons as reading your prospects’ email.

The comments section.

Forget the blog postings themselves. The comments that your prospects leave on the blogs they read are a goldmine of information, providing plenty of hot buttons for you to push in the marketing materials you write.

Here’s an example. The blog Six Minutes is devoted to helping readers become a better public speaker

And here’s a screen capture showing some of the many hundreds of reader comments on this blog. See any potential hot buttons?

If I were marketing a product to speakers, I might say,

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve visualized your speech. You’ve practiced every word. You’re ready to go. But you arrive at the seminar location and -- disaster! Your computer won’t boot up. And the event planner thought that YOU would bring the flip chart. You’re scheduled to go on in only 30 minutes. What do you do?

That’s just a made-up example, but it took me less than 3 minutes to write. I just picked one set of hot buttons – missing or malfunctioning equipment – from one set of blog comments to create a powerful opening to a sales letter.

You can do this, too, when you read the comments on the blogs your prospects read. They will tell you, in their own words, what's really bothering them.

When you know what these "hot buttons" are, you can sell more stuff to people, more easily -- because you'll be using their own words to sell them. Powerful stuff.

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to Eavesdrop on Prospects and Uncover Their Hot Buttons

First, what are hot buttons and why do you want to uncover them?

Definition: A hot button is the reason that causes people to buy whatever you’re trying to sell them. It’s the itch they want to scratch. The craving they want to fulfill.

In golf, for example, men may say they want to shave 5 strokes off their game, or hit more fairways in regulation. But if you try to sell golf clubs or lessons that appeal to those motives, you likely won’t meet with huge success.


Because the unspoken hot button for most male golfers is this: They want to slam their tee shots 350 yards straight down the fairway, causing the other three guys in their foursome to doubt their own masculinity, while turning 9 shades of green with envy.

Is this rational? Logical? Who cares. It’s reality.

That’s why you see so many ads for golf clubs that claim to deliver the goods in terms of yards off the tee. The advertisers of “Big Betsy” or “Biggest Bertha” drivers are almost comical in the way they try to outdo each other’s claims for distance. Yet, they sell. Like hotcakes.

Now. Back to your prospect.

Usually, your prospect will never tell you what their hot buttons are. And why should they? When you uncover them, you can push them at will – and your prospects to open their wallets, almost unconsciously.

So hot buttons are important.

Would you like to know three ways to uncover them? Without your prospects’ knowledge or cooperation?

First, promise that you’re selling a service or product that is 100% legal and ethical. Because I can’t let this information fall into the wrong hands.

Promise? Pinky swear? Good.

Here’s how to eavesdrop on prospects and uncover hot buttons: Read their email!

No, no -- not like that.

This is easier than hacking into somebody’s computer and reading their Outlook emails. Also more ethical.

First, look at this opening of a very successful web page sales letter I wrote last year ...

See those bullet points?

Each one addresses a different problem my readers want fixed. These are hot buttons.

Every prospect reading this sales letter has one or more of those problems. When they see their problem in the first three lines of the letter, they nod their head in agreement. They think I am talking to them, because I am talking to them! I have pushed a hot button -- I have reminded them of an itch they want to scratch.

Here’s the key: I learned about each of these hot buttons simply by reading the emails my prospects had sent me during the months before I wrote this sales letter.

Yes, it took a few hours of research to read, organize, collate, and prioritize the problems my prospects wrote about in their emails. But after I did the research by doing the reading, I had a very valuable set of hot buttons, written in the language of my prospects.

You can do this, too.

Today, from this moment on, start saving and organizing every email you get from a prospect or client. Any questions about your service or product, any questions about what problems people have, what you do, how you do it.

Those emails contain nuggets of gold, in the form of hot buttons.

You can use then to improve every sales letter, web page, or print ad you write. But you have to be on the lookout for them -- and make sure you address them squarely in all your written marketing materials.

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.) 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Garbage Marketing Secrets and Jeffrey Gitomer

Jeffrey Gitomer once said: "I don't want to talk about business until I first see the other person smile."

Now. When was the last time a garbage truck made you smile?

I rushed outside in my jammies yesterday to snap a picture of this truck -- check out Sponge Bob and the other rescued dolls.

If a garbage hauler can create smiles and goodwill for his company using nothing more than, well, garbage ...

... what can you do to make your prospects and clients smile?

Start by examining the basics, like voicemail, business cards, and your email signature.


Does your voicemail make people smile? Or is it name, rank, and serial number? "I am away from my desk. At the tone, leave your name and I will return your call as soon as possible." Garbage!

How about adding just a pinch of creativity to your voicemail, like this: "Hi, this is John. It's very likely that I am in the office, because I am a workaholic. But I'm probably helping somebody else grow their business. I'd like to help you, too, so please leave your callback details in 3, 2, 1 --- BEEP."

Does your business card make people smile? Name, rank, and serial number, most likely. Garbage!

For ideas on how to make people smile with admiration, check out these examples of creative business cards.

Does your email sig file make people smile? Again, name, rank, and serial number, right? Garbage!

While I don't claim to be a creative genius, the following email sig file has served my copywriting business well:

Kevin Donlin
Copywriter/Marketing Strategist

Get your free ROI Plan on the "silent cash machine" I can create for you -- a sales letter, web page, or print ad that pays you back 300% in 90 days. Or else.

Reply to this email or call today to learn more ...
Phone: 612-567-6642

The difference between garbage and smile-inducing goodwill is creativity.

Creativity is free, but it doesn't come easy. It will cost you time and a few headaches. But the payoff can be enormous.

And what's the alternative to creative marketing? Garbage marketing.

For more ideas like these, download Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Quickest Way to Get More Sales

Three Girl Scouts want to sell me some cookies.

Which one will make the quickest sale?

The third one, of course.


Because the easiest person to sell to is someone who knows you, trusts you, and wants you to do well.

That's why all Girl Scouts selling cookies (or any kids selling anything), always start with their own family, then hit the next-door neighbors, before venturing out to sell to strangers.

In your business, you probably can't make a living selling to family.

But you can make a very good living selling to people who know you, trust you, and want you to do well.

Who are these incredibly valuable people?

Your current clients. The people who have purchased from you before, already know and trust your business, and want you to do well (so you can stay in business and keep making their life better.)

When you have happy clients, you have a receptive audience to everything you may want to sell in the future.

Finding new and better ways to serve your clients, so that they favor you with repeat sales, may not be as easy as selling cookies to your daddy. But it beats the heck out of cold calling or prospecting, which we all dread anyway. Why put yourself through it?

So ... the quickest way to get more sales is to sell new things to old clients.
(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

3 Quick Ways to Get More Referrals

I like referrals. Do you?

When one happy client brings another into your service business, it's like "found" money. Or manna from heaven. Or money from heaven. Whatever.

Here are 3 quick ways to simulate your personal economy by stimulating more referrals ...

1. Listen for referral signals in your dealings with clients (and non-clients)
Phrases like: “I have a friend who’s looking for something like this” or “I’m so glad I found you!” are an easy tip-off that somebody wants to tell others about you.

When you hear those signals, start a conversation: “Thanks for saying that! Who else do you know who might want an outcome like this?” Then, ask for permission to contact that person.

If you really believe in your service, you won’t be pestering people, you’ll be helping them. 

(And if you do think you’re pestering, it means you don’t think highly enough of what you do to deserve referrals. Change how you feel, change what you do, or change how you do it -- fast.)

2. Observe the 80/20 Rule 

If 80% of your referrals come from 20% of your clients -- and they will -- segment this group of very important persons in your database.

Cater to this vital 20%. Pamper them, make them feel special. They’ll return the favor with continued referrals.

In my first business writing resumes years ago, all clients who referred 3 or more people gained instant membership in my VIP Club. They got something extra -- a magazine subscription -- in addition to the $10 checks I mailed them for each new client. My VIP clients were reminded of my business every month for a year ... which produced more referrals, which produced more clients like my best clients. Win-win.

3. Under-promise and over-deliver

Exceptional service is rare. Companies like Zappos get many millions of dollars in “found” revenue because their customers refer friends and family. Ask yourself, “Would I enjoy doing business with me?” If the honest answer is anything other than a loud YES, you have work to do.

An easy way to exceed expectations is to under-promise and over-deliver. Examples: 
  • Offer free shipping upgrades (like Zappos).
  • Give customers a deadline of Friday, then do it by Thursday (I did this for years, to great effect).
  • Email clients a bonus report that helps them use your product or service (I did this, too).
Anything you do to surprise and delight clients can lead to referrals.

(More ideas like these in the Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)