Saturday, April 28, 2012

How to be Remarkable: Phone Call from Seth Godin

Books have been written by better writers than I about how to deliver a remarkable experience that your clients tell others about.

One of those writers is Seth Godin.

In his book, Purple Cow, and in his blog, Seth's message is pretty simple: To be remarkable, do something worth making a remark about.

Want an example?

Listen to a remarkable voice mail I received on Friday, April 18, 2008 ...

If your speakers aren't turned up, here's a transcript:

"Kevin, it's Seth Godin. Thanks for your super-nice note. Just wanted to let you know I got it. Have a great weekend." 

That was Seth, calling to thank me for a letter I mailed him, in which I thanked him for a remarkable presentation he made at an event I attended.

Here's what I wrote to him:

Dear Seth,

I want to thank you for your presentation last Wed. at Jay Abraham's Reunion Reunion.

Your ideas were both inspirational and practical -- an ultra-rare combination.

I especially liked what you said about curiosity -- how it is essential to success and how a fundamentalist looks at the world to see how it fits what they believe, while a curious person looks and changes what they believe, as needed.

I am now paying a little more attention to how I look at the world.

Thanks again and kind regards,

Kevin Donlin

P.S. -- I'm sending you this "paper email" to make absolutely, positively sure of getting through your spam filter :-)

Turns out, my writing and mailing an out-of-the-ordinary note was remarkable enough to Seth that he called to say, "Thank you" in return.

Now, I'm remarking about Seth's remarkable action here on my blog.

See how this works?

Best part: You can start your own remarkable virtuous circle by doing something for a client today that's worth making a remark about.

Why not start by writing or saying, "Thank 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.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Which Clients Should You Clone?

This blog is called "Inside Marketing" because it's faster, easier, and more profitable to grow a business from the inside. Examples:
  • Referrals from current clients will buy from you faster, easier, and more profitably than total strangers.
  • Up-selling ("Want to supersize that?") and cross-selling ("Want fries with that?") to people already buying are faster, easier, and more profitable than selling to cold prospects.
But, with power comes responsibility. Inside marketing works so well that you must pick your targets carefully.

Specifically, to build a business that's fun and profitable, you should clone only clients who are fun and profitable. Your criteria for "cloneable clients" might include the following:
  • Clients who spend a lot with you over two or more years
  • Loyal fans who refer lots of other new clients
  • Recent buyers who are likely to respond to seasonal or new product offers
  • Clients with a profitable buying pattern, such as those who have purchased 3 times in the last 3 months
However you decide which clients to clone, the important thing is to decide.

Once you form a clear picture of your ideal clients, fun things happen. Building your business becomes faster, easier, and more profitable.

But don't take my word for it ...

This week, ask 3 successful entrepreneurs to describe their ideal client in detail. You will likely get a lot of detail.

Then, ask 3 unsuccessful entrepreneurs to describe their ideal client in detail. You will likely get a lot of blank stares.

Meanwhile, know this: You can't get more clients like your best clients until you know who your best clients are.  

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.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Slow and Focused Marketing Wins

Ever use one of these Dyson Airblade hand dryers?

Even more striking than the design is the process.

Instead of "Rub hands vigorously under warm air," the process for traditional hand dryers (followed by the unwritten "Wipe hands on pants"), here's the process for a Dyson Airblade:

1. Insert hands
2. Draw out slowly

And how well does a Dyson work? Fantastically. By focusing warm air into a tiny sliver, the Dyson completely dries each part of your hand that passes through it.

Slow and focused beats vigorous and unfocused.

Now. What about your marketing? Could the same rules apply?

Think about what happens when a prospect comes into your business ...

Do you ask them qualifying questions, to gauge their interest and needs? Do you follow a script in the words you say or write to get the sale? And, most importantly, do you have a follow-up process to "touch" prospects at least 5-10 times after their initial contact with you?

In other words, is your marketing a slow and focused process?

Or ... do you wing it from start to finish -- sending emails and tweets, making phone calls, and following up whenever you have the time?

In other words, is your marketing a vigorous and unfocused mess?

Just like using a Dyson Airblade for the first time, it feels strange to put your prospects through a slow and focused process: qualifying questions, scripted presentations, disciplined/automated follow-up, etc.

But here's the good news: The "slow" method of drawing prospects through a focused marketing process will convert more of them into paying clients than a similar amount of vigorous, unfocused activity.

And you won't have to wipe your hands on your pants.

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.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to Turn Relationships into Sales

If you know the 80/20 Rule (aka the Pareto principle), you know that a minority of causes usually leads to a majority of results.

In other words, only a few things matter. Most things don't.

The 80/20 Rule is a spooky natural law that doesn’t make any logical sense:
  • about 20% of clouds produce about 80% of rain ...
  • 20% of U.S. states produce 80% of home foreclosures, and ...
  • you wear 20% of your shirts 80% of the time (especially if you're a man!) ...
  • and on and on it goes.

My corollary on that idea, 80/20 Marketing, holds that only a few things matter in your marketing. Most things don't.

In any business, including yours, about:
  • 80% of sales come from 20% of products or services
  • 80% of complaints come from 20% of clients
  • 80% of profits come from 20% of marketing activities

That last figure is important.

Because, if 20% of your marketing produces 80% of your profits, then 80% of your marketing is largely a waste of time and money.

Most of your marketing doesn't matter.

Want to know one area that DOES matter? A "20% area" of high leverage and high profit?

That vital area of your marketing is conversion.

Conversion is everything you do to convert browsers into buyers and relationships into sales.

If you've taken the time and money to initiate a relationship with someone who can either become a client or refer a client, you need to take that relationship as far as you can, as fast as you can.

In other words, do everything possible to turn leads into customers.

And, one of the easiest and most effective ways to convert more leads is to mail them thank-you notes.

It's so effective, it can make your business entirely referral-driven in a matter of months.

That's according to Tom Hopkins in the book, Mastering the World of Selling. He writes:

Because I understood that building relationships is what selling is all about, I began early in my career to send thank you notes to people. I set a goal to send ten thank you notes every day. That goal meant that I had to meet and get the names of at least ten people every day. I sent thank you notes to people I met briefly, people I showed properties to, people I talked with on the telephone, and people I actually helped to own new homes. I became a thank you note fool. And guess what happened? By the end of my third year in sales, my business was 100% referrals! The people I had expressed gratitude to were happy to send me new clients as a reward for making them feel appreciated and important.

Even better, Hopkins gives you 10 pre-written examples of thank-you notes to send. If you can't use at least 5 of the examples below today, you need to rethink your business:

1. Telephone contact
Thank you for talking with me on the telephone. In today's business world, time is precious. You can rest assured that I will always be respectful of the time you invest as we discuss the possibility of a mutually beneficial business relationship.

2. In Person Contact
Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you, and my thank you is for the time we shared. We have been fortunate to serve many happy clients, and it is my wish to some day be able to serve you. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call.

3. After Demonstration or Presentation
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss with you our association for the mutual benefit of our firms. We believe that quality, blended with excellent service, is the foundation for a successful business.

4. After Purchase
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to offer you our finest service. We are confident that you will be happy with this investment towards future growth. My goal is now to offer excellent follow-up service so you will have no reservations about referring others to me who have similar needs as yours.

5. For a Referral
Thank you for your kind referral. You may rest assured that anyone you refer to me will receive the highest degree of professional service possible.

6. After Final Refusal
Thank you for taking your time to consider letting me serve you. It is with sincere regrets that your immediate plans do not include making the investment at this time. However, if you need further information or have any questions, please feel free to call. I will keep you posted on new developments and changes that may benefit you.

7. After They Buy From Someone Else
Thank you for taking your time to analyze my services. I regret being unable, at this time, to prove to you the benefits we have to offer. We keep constantly informed of new developments and changes, so I will keep in touch with the hope that in the years ahead we will be able to do business.

8. After They Buy From Someone Else, But Offer to Give You Referrals
Thank you for your gracious offer of giving me referrals. As we discussed, I am enclosing three of my business cards. I thank you in advance for placing them in the hands of three of your friends, acquaintances, or relatives that I might serve. I will keep in touch and be willing to render my services as needed.

9. To Anyone Who Gives You Service
Thank you. It is gratifying to meet someone dedicated to doing a good job. Your efforts are sincerely appreciated. If my company or I can serve you in any way, please don't hesitate to call.

10. Anniversary Thank You
Thank you. It is with warm regards that I send this note to say hello and again, thanks for your past patronage. We are continually changing and improving our products and services. If you would like an update on our latest advancements, please give me a call.
There you have it.

Instead of struggling to forge relationships with new prospects every day, why not make the most of the relationships you already have?

There's nothing to download, no new skills to master, and it takes about 20 minutes a day.

"The power of expressed gratitude is immense," according to Tom Hopkins. And he's right.

Why not put the power of this simple sales tool -- thank-you notes -- to work for you? It's a proven way to build your business by converting more relationships into sales, using high-value, 80/20 Marketing.

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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Perfect Enemies: Why a Little Better is a Lot Better Than Not Better

You've heard it said that the perfect is the enemy of the good.

But it's worse than that ...

The perfect is the enemy of the better, and it's also the enemy of improvement.


Because, when we fret and fume over why something isn't yet perfect -- and probably never will be -- it's depressing as hell.

And depressed people don't take action to make things better. Depressed people watch TV, check Facebook, or drink coffee/beer/martinis.

So, just for the rest of today, screw perfection.

It may be the most productive thing you do all week.

Here's why: A little better is a lot better than not better.

Let's unpack that idea ...

1) "A little better is ..." making one small improvement to whatever you're doing. One small change for the better. One. Small. Improvement.

The fun part is, you may not stop at one. You may find that improving your marketing emails, customer support, blog, web site, or prospect follow-up is so enjoyable that you keep going until you create a wholesale makeover.

But you can't finish what you don't start. And starting is the hard part. So make your start small, with the goal of simply trying for a little better.

2) "... a lot better than not better" is the other side of that equation.

If the daunting goal of perfection has kept you from starting, guess what? You won't start. You won't improve.

That article you need to write, PowerPoint you have to create, or proposal you must submit won't happen by itself. Taking no action can NOT make anything better.

That's how the perfect really is the enemy of the better.

And that's why a little better is a lot better than not better.

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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Best Buy CEO Resigns. If You Sell a Commodity, You Face a Future Like His

Kevin Donlin on Fox News

Click my goofy-looking face to watch my interview on Fox 9 News.

Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn resigned today, and the future of his company is cloudy.

Best Buy can survive, but they have to morph into a stronger combination of online and retail stores, selling products and services. They're in a very tough industry with a lot of problems. But they’re also a very rich company, with a lot of assets.

One of those assets could turn out to be the key to their future: it’s the Geek Squad. The Geek Squad is the world's largest tech-support operation, and by most accounts, it produces a very big part of Best Buy profits.

The founder of the Geek Squad, Robert Stephens, always maintained that he acquired Best Buy 10 years ago, and not the other way around. And he might have been right.

He also recognized something very important: Service cannot be commoditized. You cannot price shop on service the way you can price shop on TVs and washing machines.

If Best Buy can find a way to deliver more services, whether it’s to consumers, or businesses, or both, that could go a long way toward turning them around.

Besides Wal-Mart offline and Amazon online, Best Buy has to worry about Apple.

There are Apple products, like the iPad, which is threatening to replace laptops, DVD players, and TVs for a lot of people and that really hurts Best Buy, which sells all those devices.

On top of that, visiting an Apple Store is a wonderful experience, while visiting a Best Buy store is ... not.

If Best Buy wants more shoppers buying more products and services in their retail stores, they need create a shopping experience that's more memorable -- for all the right reasons.

And that’s going to be a big challenge for Best Buy.

Bottom line: If you want more revenues, more profits, and less competition, you want to de-commoditize the products you sell and create an experience for your clients.

Update: Check out this July 5 story in The Wall Street Journal to see how Best Buy is trying to deliver the high-profit shopping experience of Apple, which I suggested above.

Do Best Buy executives read my blog? Hell no. But a good idea is a good idea.

Will it work? Time will tell ...

One more thing: I just created a new Cheat Sheet that reveals 4 ways to "force" Amazon to build your business, at NO cost. Click To Download Now