Friday, July 27, 2012

The Power of Written Goals: How I Built a House with Words

You already know about persistence. It's more than just important. Persistence is a requirement for success.

And persistence starts with motivation.

If you're not motivated to start the hard work involved in every successful business, you won't persist until it's done. You'll be like most people who talk and think and plan ... but don't execute.

And you will fail.

So, to motivate yourself, write down the BIG GOAL that your work will help you achieve.

Better yet, cut out a picture from a magazine that clearly shows what you're after, whether it be a new home, a car, a vacation or whatever. Put this picture on your desk or next to your computer.

The next time the going gets tough refer to your written goal or the picture of what you're really after. This will force you to focus on the outcome of what you're doing, and take your mind off the arduous task at hand.

Here's an example from my own life ...

While engaged to my fiancée in 1994, I wrote down this simple goal on a 3x5 card: "By June 24, 1995, I will build my wife a house with words."

I wasn't sure how I would do that exactly, but it sounded good at the time -- especially because I was doing it for my wife. There's extra motivation that comes from doing work to benefit others.

I kept that 3x5 card in my wallet and read it out loud at least once a day. Then, things began to happen ...

Within a year, I got a great job as an Associate Editor for a marketing communications firm in Minneapolis.

And on September 1, 1995 (only about 60 days late!), my wife and I moved from our cramped apartment to a nice little house in the city, a block from a park, two blocks from a dozen restaurants, and just down the road from gorgeous Lake Calhoun.

I didn't plan how to do any this in detail. I simply knew that I would be living in a nice house as a result of my writing. I was right. But it happened only because I had a written goal that motivated to persist through the many, many long hours of work necessary to reach that goal.

So ... what motivates you? What is the BIG GOAL that your work will help you achieve? Write it down. There's real power in having a written goal, with a deadline, that you carry around with you and read out loud often.

Sure, you may have heard about the power of written goals before. But ... what are you doing about it?

Resource: If you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. Grab your copy here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to Build Your Business With Social Media

Dave Meyer, President of Bizzyweb
Here's a second transcript from my interviews with Twin Cities marketing experts. This week, I’m talking to social media marketing expert, Dave Meyer.

Read it and reap big benefits for your business ...

Kevin Donlin:  Welcome, Dave Meyer, President of BizzyWeb. We’re going to talk about how to use social media to deliver new leads for your business. Social media is something that a lot of people are chasing after, trying to get smart on, and Dave’s going to make us very smart, very quickly.

Let’s start by describing BizzyWeb for people who may not know the name of your company.

Dave Meyer: BizzyWeb is a web design and social media company that helps our customers and clients generate buzz without getting stung. And what we mean by that is we help people get out the messaging that they need and the marketing that they need using online tools and the not getting stung part means that we do that in order to help you get as much bang for your buck as possible by posting to your website, and having that cross post over to all of the social media networks. So one click, all of the benefits and none of the pain.

Kevin: All right. So let’s dive in here. What are some typical mistakes maybe two let’s say, two typical mistakes you see business owners make when they’re using social media?

Dave: The first thing people make a mistake on is they dive all in and post everywhere they can think of. They set up their Facebook account and then they go into their LinkedIn account and then they start Google Plus-ing and do Twitter, and they burn out. So they’ll publish something and post things everywhere and then they won’t go back to it for another month. When you do that, you get people excited right away, you start getting a following, but then the key on social media is you have to be consistent. So it’s better to start small and do something every week, than it is to go crazy and flood the market and flood your sales channel with information and messaging, and then let it die on the vine.

Kevin: Yeah, you know we’ve all seen those blogs that stop posting like three years ago and they’re still on the website. And that’s like not mowing your lawn for three years or it’s like a ghost town. No one wants to hang out in a ghost town. So consistency is a big problem. What would you say would be a second mistake that people make in social media?

Dave: Another mistake that people make is they don’t go into it enough. So they see that Twitter is out there or they see that Facebook is out there, and they think that it’s really not for them. In general there are a lot of people, there are more than 800 million people on Facebook. So they discount that and say that their customers don’t do that or they’re not interested in that message. This is a big mistake. They need to at least dip their toe in the water and see if it is working. A lot of our clients that have been quite surprised in the results they’ve received off of publishing small and relatively innocuous things. There is a big difference between publishing sales messages all the time and being helpful. One of the things that I always say is you need to help people more than sell people when you’re in social media. It’s just like a conversation.

Kevin: Oh, okay.

Dave: People forget that a lot.

Kevin: Yes, definitely different rules for the road in social media. So we’ll get to that I think next perhaps because we talked about some of the typical mistakes. Now how do you help people overcome those mistakes? The example of the first one, you know, posting everywhere at once, burning out, not being consistent. What is your recipe for overcoming that error or problem?

Dave: One thing we like to do and one thing that I am actually going to walk folks through in our next event is how to build a social media strategy. So when you know exactly who you’re customer is, who you are for that customer, and what that customer really needs from you, it makes it really easy to generate regular content that hits that sweet spot for folks. So we’ll walk folks through how to make this an easy, repeatable and consistent plan. Because once you know that you’re going in the right direction, it makes it easy to course correct and stay on task.

Kevin: Okay. So when you know who your ideal customer is and maybe what your sweet spots are in terms of what kind of content you deliver, then you’re saying it kind of all falls into place?

Dave: It does. Depending on who your customer is, you’re naturally going to see one social media or network over the other kind of bubble to the top. So if what you’re trying to do is connect with professionals, LinkedIn is going to be one of your naturals. If you’re trying to reach “Stay At Home Moms”, Facebook or Pinterest would probably be a great tool. If you’re trying to reach technically oriented folks that are really comfortable with online networking that are always sharing, Google Plus is a perfect tool for you. So knowing that really makes it easy to focus your efforts. And it’s easy to get overwhelmed unless you know that you’re getting results and unless you know that you’re actually moving in the right direction.

Kevin: Yeah, and you help people get clear on which particular media are going to best suit them. But as you said, you’ve got to let the results determine which way you’re going to go. You got to kind of run with your winners and you won’t know which media are pulling for you until you’ve tried them all I suppose.

Dave: Correct.

Kevin: Okay. So that’s some good shortcuts. What about the second problem we have, which is contempt prior to investigation? That’s one way to put it. Discounting social media without giving it a try. How do you overcome that problem for people?

Dave: The best thing that I counsel my clients on is to get their hands dirty a little bit. You have to approach social media from a conversational perspective. If people get overwhelmed they think that it’s all about doing the right things at first or getting involved and making this massive splash. It’s really easy to get overwhelmed and not want to start. Taking the first step by just setting up your accounts, following, listening first, is a great way to get very, very excited about social media and then you’ll start seeing some results, because the more you can interact with people, the more you can connect, the more you can help people do things, the better the result you’re going to see. People get this mixed up when they think it’s bad, it’s sales, it’s trying to pitch somebody something when they don’t want it. You don’t want to focus on selling, you want to focus on helping people. Everyone’s an expert in what they’ve chosen to do with their lives. Sharing that expertise is a great way to get involved, to see some real results right away, and to really start having fun with social media. It wouldn’t have gotten to be as big as it has if social media wasn’t fun. And if you do it right, and if you repeat the right processes, it’s very easy to have a lot of fun and get involved.

Kevin: Well, fun is good. But you’ve got to make it pay off in order to do it for business, and it sounds like you’re able to do that for people. So if people do need a chance, why should they come see you present these ideas live in person? I know you and I speak together occasionally, and some people listening to this have a chance to see us speak live in the very near future. Why should people come to see you present these ideas live in person?

Dave: Probably the best reason to come and experience or hear me live on this is it’s really easy to ask questions and to get right to the heart of what your particular challenges are. So we like to have an interactive portion of every talk that I give and we’ve pushed that back and forth. We say, well who are you really trying to reach? What does that mean for you? And then we can spin off a couple of really good opportunities and first steps live and in that talk. So that’s what I’m most excited about and that’s what people usually get the most benefit out of. The key on social media isn’t that you need to be a professional at it, or that you’re going to see massive results the very first second you do it. It has to be something that you’re willing to play with, that you’re willing to enjoy and experience, and that you’re willing to tinker with in order to get real results. You have to measure and then you have to see if you are moving the needle in the right direction. And if you’re not, then you just take a different tack. But unless you do it the right way and unless you spend a little bit of time just thinking about how you’re going to go about it in the first place, there’s a great opportunity for wasting time. We get folks with all of the right tools to help them avoid those common pitfalls right off the bat.

Kevin: Well, Dave, this has been really helpful. I appreciate your taking some time to share these ideas. You’re a great guy that people should get to know and I want to thank you for joining me today.

Resource: If you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, the free Client Cloning Kit can help. Grab your copy here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Generate a Flood of Leads with Referrals

Jim Bear, Referral Expert
Here's a transcript of a fantastic phone interview I did with referral expert, Jim Bear.

Read it and reap big benefits for your business ...

Kevin Donlin: I am on the phone with a good friend, Mr. Jim Bear. Jim and I are going to spend a few minutes talking about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s how to develop referral partnerships that deliver streams of ongoing, dependable revenue for your business.

We all like referrals. We want to get more referrals, but we stumble over how to get referrals. I have Jim Bear on the phone to come to our rescue.

So, Jim, welcome and tell folks why you are qualified to speak on the topic of referrals today? What’s your background and experience?

Jim Bear: I think I start off by saying I’m an expert in this area knowing that I don’t know everything about this topic, but I have learned a tremendous amount. I have seen the successes of what I’ve learned. I think I started this out of frustration because I always wanted to be in that wonderful place where you’re getting referrals on a regular basis.

I never knew how to get referrals. It was my quest. It was my longing to do it. It was probably I’d say 17 years in the making of wanting to figure this out. Finally, I stumbled across this system. I find that it’s pretty easy once you understand the language, the approach, and how to do it.

You can get people calling you up going, “Hey, I have another referral for you. Hey, I have another referral for you.” It’s obviously a wonderful spot to be.

Kevin: Excellent. Let’s talk about how to get there. With all of your experience, you’ve seen a lot. What are some typical mistakes you see business owners making when they’re trying to go after referrals using what they’ve learned or what they think is going to work?

Jim: I think the biggest mistake I see out there right now is people have commission breath.

Kevin: Explain that, if you could!

Jim: Maybe you have a picture of someone in your mind right now. We get in front of our clients, and we turn our hands out and go, “Do you have a referral for me?” You get in their body space. It’s almost like, “You owe me a referral.” People go, “Get away, ooh, I’m smelling the commission breath on you.”

Understanding how to set the stage and build the relationship before you ask for that referral is so important.

Kevin: Excellent. I think I get commission breath any time I go to most networking mixers. I’ve been a member of several chambers of commerce. They’re good in many respects but whether it’s an event sponsored by them or other places, I dread going because you run into those people, the commission breath.

Jim: They’re usually the ones that hand cards out really quick.

Kevin: It’s like they’re carpet bombing the room with business cards. Not helpful. Anything else on top of commission breath that people make mistakes?

Jim: They don’t know what they want. A lot of people will go in there and say, “I’ll take anything. I’m looking for anybody or somebody.” If I’m at an event trying to help people network or I’m in a networking group, I listen to these people when they say they want a referral. I ask them, “What does a good referral look like for you?” They go, “Anybody.” What I do is look in my database under A. I’m looking for “anybody.” They’re missing, absolutely every time.

Understanding what it is that you’re looking for, and that’s what we teach when I go out and speak a lot. That’s usually my first step with people is to ask, "What is it that you want?" Let’s identify that first so we can now enter a room with confidence, knowing what you want and understand what profession is going to be able to find that client for you on a regular basis.

Kevin: Wouldn’t you agree most people don’t get to that stage in their thinking when they can define who they want? A, they just don’t want to think. B, they don’t want to say no to any segment of the population. It seems that those are two barriers.

Jim: I think you’re right because if they say no to that, they’re really saying no to revenue.

Kevin: Potentially in their mind.

Jim: Yeah, in their mind. I had to overcome this myself. For many years, I was an investment advisor. I was licensed to do so many things. I wanted it all. I tried to hog all those categories. Yeah, I could do it all but what I realized was I was never really an expert in all of it.

I was good maybe at one, maybe two segments but the rest of it, if someone said, “Hey, I’d like you to pull a quote together for some long term care insurance,” I’d have to go, “Let’s get back together in four weeks,” because it would take me time to get back up to speed and make sure I was making the right recommendations.

After awhile, I realized that’s just a liability. I needed to hone in on what I was doing. When I finally did that, my business exploded because I was an expert. As they say, people will come for miles to watch you burn when you’re on fire.

I also look at the Mayo Clinic, which is a big clinic in Minnesota. People travel from all over the world to come to Mayo Clinic. It’s not an easy spot to get to. You got to fly into Minneapolis. You have to get some ground transportation down there. But they are the experts at what they do. People will travel to do that. I’m sure they do very well financially because they are the expert. That’s what I want to teach people to be is the expert. Really, what is it that you do 70% of the time? Focus on that and grow that to 100% of what you do, and you will make more money doing that.

Kevin: Terrific. Two ideas here, we have the commission breath problem and people don’t know what they want. Let’s talk about how you help people overcome these mistakes. Let’s start with commission breath. How do you help people overcome that major faux pas in networking?

Jim: I help people get over that faux pas by shifting their focus from a hunter to a farmer. A hunter has usually their bow and arrow or their gun in their hands, and they’re looking for anything that’s going to move, they’re going to shoot it, and probably eat it.

Whereas the farmer starts the process, “Well, I’m going to harvest something in the fall so I better start in the spring getting my seeds in the ground, and probably even start sooner than that,” I’m not a farmer. They probably get their seeds in the ground.

They’ll water it, weed it, make sure they get enough moisture, and all that they do for that. It’s a lengthy process until they get the harvest. When they harvest the food, they’re never going to eat all the harvest. In fact, they’re growing food for people that they don’t even know and probably will never ever meet.

In networking, if we have that same picture in our mind, I’m planting seeds today, I’m building relationships because I might be able to introduce this relationship to someone along the path. It will come back to help me and only bless me later on, when I’m a giver and looking for ways to help other people.

When you start to develop that lifestyle, I believe people come to you. They recognize what a giver you are and they want to help you. They want to do business with you because they see that. That’s not as predominate as it probably should be out there in the business community.

That giving piece of it, learning to be a farmer instead of a hunter will help tremendously get more referrals.

Kevin: That’s terrific. I think that’s a major mind shift for most people who just stampede and want to leave every networking event or every one-on-one meeting with a purchase order. Not going to happen. So your idea is outstanding -- changing the mentality to becoming a farmer from being a hunter.

What about for people who don’t know what they want when they’re looking for referrals? What do you say to those people to help them?

Jim: Sometimes, that outside perspective can pull it out of people. That’s what I do when I present is we spend a portion of our time talking about who is your ideal client. You usually get, “Well, I have many ideal clients.” “That’s great, I appreciate that. Let’s just for fun zero in on the one client, that if you had the ability to clone them and every time you got a referral from someone, it was that situation all over again, just a different name.”

Get them thinking just a little more focused on that and expand off of that. That’s where we start. Maybe we’ll do that two, maybe three times to get a couple examples of what those clients are. Then we have some traction.

Maybe we’ve never slowed down enough to articulate what a good client looks like. Maybe when we did it one time, maybe we look at it now, it could be different. I remember the first time I did this exercise on myself. It was Ken. Ken was my ideal client. I loved, loved, loved the whole experience with Ken.

After awhile, I realized I met Larry and Sue. That was even a better experience so I changed my focus there. I bet if you were to ask me in six months, I might even change that name again because I’ve had better experiences and I know what I want.

Sometimes, we don’t know what we want but when we get into this and realize, “This is really want I want,” as I hear myself talk, “This is really what I want.”

Kevin: That’s important because people can change their profile of their ideal client. It’s not a lifetime commitment.

Jim: You’re absolutely right. You can change. It’s okay, we give you permission to change.

Kevin: I think a lot of people resist finding it’s called an avatar or an ideal client profile, defining who their ideal client is. They think they’re going to get roped in, boxed in, or what have you but you’re saying that you can have multiple ideal client profiles and you can change those profiles over time. Both of those are okay?

Jim: Absolutely, it is okay. You need to understand what the group of your clients look like. Focus on that. Know what you’re going after. Become an expert to that group and people will come from miles to come talk to you because you’re the expert.

Kevin: This is terrific stuff. Final question for you, if people get a chance, why should they come see you present these ideas live in person?

Jim: I think if they could come in and hear me speak live on this topic, I think you’re going to walk away with a clearer understanding of what it is you want. You’re going to come away with a clearer understanding of what profession would be a great profession to network with and will have a whole database of your ideal clients.

I do believe you will walk away with a referral because in our workshop, what I do is I make sure we pair up into groups of maybe two or three. We do some brainstorming. Usually what comes out of that is a referral or a meeting with this person to have a one-to-one to maybe get into their database a little more or maybe a really good referral partner that can send clients to them on a regular basis.

We usually get jump starting on this process of getting to the end result, a room full of your ideal clients.

Kevin: Also depending on the venue, I’ve seen you do this, you’ll brainstorm and draw up an actual referral partnership map for people. I don’t know if that’s the right term. It’s literally a road map.

Jim: It is. The person who might be listening to this right now, if they attend, they might be lucky enough to be picked for this exercise. We call it mapping as you described, referral partner mapping where we have you stand up in front of a room full of your peers.

We ask three very strategic questions and elicit some suggestions from the audience on what they think might be good referral partners for you. I’ll let you in on a little secret. We’ll ask them, “Do you have any names to go with those referral partner suggestions?”

They most likely thought of the name first. Then they may go, “Yeah, I know that.” Then I’ll ask, “Would you have any objections to introducing that name to this person?” Usually, they’ll go, “I’ll be fine with that.”

Then I say, if I see you have a little resistance or reluctance, “That just tells me you don’t know this person. Would you give this person an opportunity to get to know you and vise versa? Maybe something good will come out of that.”

Usually, they do. Usually, they meet. We jump start that relationship and get some referrals and/or referral partners starting to flow back and forth.

Kevin: That’s a big part of the value of seeing you talk about  this live is you have so many other minds in the room. You can’t imagine how many ideas you’re going to hear. You can’t fathom it because you’re going to have unlimited number of viewpoints yourself.

I’ve seen this over and over with you. You have 15, 20 people in the room. People get dozens of referral partnership ideas out of this because it’s that good.

The other thing, I don’t want to forget this, is that people need to ask themselves, “What’s one new client worth to you over their buying lifetime?”

If you sit down and do the math, just one client who stays with you for three years or five years, it’s typically thousands of dollars, depending on your business. Then, alright, what is one new client a week extra?

Jim: I was visiting with one the attendees of a workshop I was at. He was in the insurance industry working for Northwestern Mutual. We started to brainstorm a little bit on what I had just taught about.

He said, “I’m getting a little stuck on what a good referral partner is.” “You work in the arena of life insurance. That’s your ideal client, life insurance?” “Yeah.” “Do you do anything with the charitable giving?”
“Yeah, I have a few nonprofits that are near and dear to my heart.” “A great referral partner for you would be the planned giving department of that nonprofit because they’re going to receive life insurance policies as gifts and they have no idea if these policies are going to be enforced for a year, 20 years.

“You can audit these policies and tell them how long it’s going to be enforced so they can plan accordingly. Do you have any nonprofits that are near and dear to your heart that you’ve thought of?” He said, “Yeah.” He pulled out his phone and goes, “Yeah, I have this person right here. I better call them right now.”

I said, “You better call them right now.” Sure enough, he called them and set up for lunch. I have to check in with him to hear the other piece of that story but he was like, “It’s clear to me now. Now I see where you’re going with this.”

People many times come out of there with a plan of attack. They start getting on the phone and making appointments and getting business. That’s the fun part of what I do. I know it’s fun for you too when you’re up there speaking, to see the light bulb turn on and go, “Excuse me, I have work to do here. I got to do it quickly.”

Kevin: Jim, I think you’ve clarified a lot of things for a lot of people and there is going to be a lot of value. Anyone who gets a chance to come see you speak, I highly recommend it.

Resource: If you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, the free Client Cloning Kit can help. Grab your copy here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Free is Good (Still)

"Free" is still a compelling word in advertising.

Here's an example ...

I know this advertisement is working for ADT because I've seen it for months in Val-Pak and free-standing inserts (FSIs) in the newspaper.

Here's how ADT makes a free offer very smartly:

1) FREE is the headline of the ad

2) They assign an $850 value to the Home Security System, to increase interest

3) They offer 3 (count 'em) extra bonuses if you Act Now

How does ADT make money on this?

The same way a phone company makes money by offering free cell phones with a 2-year plan -- if you can give something away to create a customer who buys from you long-term, you win. 

This model can be applied to any business, in any industry, including yours.

Questions for you to ponder:

1) What can you give away to create a customer?

2) What incentives can you offer to make people act NOW?

3) What's your strategy for locking in customers who buy long-term?

Meanwhile, if you own a business, there's a box of 11 Marketing Multipliers waiting to be shipped to you. You can try it Free. Click here now

Friday, July 6, 2012

How to Turn Features into Benefits: The Strange Case of Ace

Have you heard the "Get Your Weekend Back" radio ads for Ace Hardware?

They're an outstanding primer in the fine art of turning features into benefits.

Remember the old advertising saw (pun intended): Nobody goes to a hardware store to buy a drill bit. They go to buy the hole the drill bit makes.

In other words, nobody give a rat's behind if you have a huge selection or great service. Those are features.

Your job, as a business owner or marketer, is to tell buyers how what you do will improve their lives. In other words, you must translate features into benefits. Or you will starve.

The following examples, taken straight from the Ace Hardware radio ads, show exactly how it's done:

  • "Rockstar Parking — Our storefront parking helps you get in and out faster."
This is a nice benefit for anyone who dreads those huge parking lots at big box stores.

  • "In-store Wingman — From the second you walk in, you'll get help from people who really know their stuff."
The faster I can get my questions answered and find what I need, the happier I'll be in almost any store.

  • "Primo brands — Only we have the best brand names without having to leave the neighborhood."
The benefit here is that I can find the top brands without driving too far to get them.

  • "Speedy-sized stores — Our shopper-friendly stores allow you to zip in, find what you need and zip out."
Lots of good selling here. Any store that I can zip in and out of, I like!

  • "Local know-how — We live where you live, so we know exactly what you need"
It's almost like you're stepping back in time, when the local hardware store was a center for conversation and news. If the people at Ace stores really do know what's going on in their neighborhood, I'm even more likely to shop there.

All in all, this radio ad is a near-perfect example of how to turn dull features into saleable benefits. Study it.

Resource: Want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business? My Client Cloning Kit can do that for you. Grab your copy here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Direct Mail or Die?

Here's another reason why you MUST include direct mail in your marketing mix ...

I just got a call from a prospect who downloaded my Free Client Cloning Kit about 4 weeks ago.

But my records show that he never opened ANY of the emails that I sent him to follow up.

So, why did he call me back?

Because I also sent him a printed letter by MAIL.

Not a tweet or a chirp or a DM or a text or an update or anything virtual ...

No. I printed and mailed him an actual letter, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. On paper. With a stamp.

As a result, he called this morning and was very excited to talk to me. He said, and I quote: "The letter you sent was so interesting that my wife called me while I was out of town to tell me about it."

Can your email do that? Can any email do that?

Meanwhile, we had a very nice talk by phone. He's sold on my abilities as a copywriter. And none of this would have ever happened if I hadn't used direct mail to augment my email marketing.

Something to think about in your business, eh? Especially if you've come to depend heavily (too heavily?) on email or social media to find, get, and keep clients.

Resource: Want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business? My Client Cloning Kit can do that for you. Grab your copy here.