The Secret to Selling to Someone Who’s Not (Yet) Ready to Buy

25 01 2013

There was once a man named Charlie who sold insurance for a living. Charlie was a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy who enjoyed what he did. Charlie had a friend named Steve. Steve was in his late thirties and happily married, with a wife and two kids.

Charlie and Steve would play the occasional round of golf with some friends. Charlie would tell Steve about the importance of having life insurance for someone in his situation, but without being pushy.

Steve had his reasons for not buying at the time and would always put it off. Charlie, being the good, persistent salesman that he was, would bring up the topic regularly without being annoying.

One morning while Steve was at work, a colleague who was about the same age, with two kids and in seemingly good health, had a sudden, unexpected heart attack and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Guess who Steve called that very afternoon to get the paperwork started for the life insurance policy he had been putting off for years?

What’s the moral of our story as it pertains to your business? You can have the greatest product, the best service, and a great price, yet some of your prospects will still not buy. The reasons are many, and some are a mystery that you won’t be able to solve right away.

While you’re scratching your head trying to find those answers, your real job is to continually market your services by educating your target audience about what you can do to help them achieve their objectives. Why? Because one day soon, your prospect will be ready to buy, and she will remember the persistent, but pleasant person who has been looking out for her best interest all along.

Charlie knew that secret, and now you do, too.





Lessons From the Greatest Direct Mailer of All Time

22 01 2013

Direct mail has been a proven money maker for many years and continues to prove its worth to this day. In this age of all things digital, it’s ironic to note that many who have tired of wasting valuable time and resources with unproven tactics are once again turning to direct mail.

If you’re one of the wise ones who have penciled this powerful strategy onto your marketing calendar this year, it would be smart to learn from one of the best direct mail sales letters ever written.

In 1974, Martin Conroy wrote a simple, two-page sales letter which was continuously mailed out with very minor changes between 1975 and 2003. Not only did it have amazing longevity, but it was responsible for raking in over a billion dollars in new sales.

This letter was a simple story. The best salesmen, teachers, CEOs, and communicators know that stories told well sell! Whether you’re selling something or trying to get others to take action, simple but powerful stories can do much of the heavy lifting for you.

There are many reasons this piece proved to be so successful. The classic formula of attention, interest, desire, and action are beautifully articulated in the piece. Here are a few other lessons to learn:

  1. It pulls you in with a story and emotional hook which makes you want to read more.
  2. It’s simple and clear, so you can follow to the end without getting lost.
  3. Emotions and hot buttons are weaved throughout the copy so your interest remains high.
  4. The benefits are crystal clear.
  5. There’s a clear call to action.
  6. It offers a risk-reversal and guarantee for those on the fence.
  7. It makes a promise and restates that promise at the end.
  8. It provides three options: Good, Better, and Best.

These simple 781 words proved to be a key circulation builder for subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal for over 30 years. There are seminars and courses which have been taught using this letter as a prime example. Studying the letter and learning the techniques and power can make your next direct mailer a big success as well.

Here’s a link to the letter’s text, along with some information about its amazing success.





Start Spreading the Word!

18 01 2013

When it comes to making introductions, first impressions are very important. Whether you’re introducing a new business location, new employees, or even a new product or service, introductory marketing pieces are a great way to make a lasting impact.

A professionally printed introductory piece can establish credibility, build report, and pique interest. However, it’s important to remember that this is simply an introduction. Give readers adequate details, but don’t overwhelm them. Instead, develop it as a lead-in piece that entices readers to learn more.

The creative options for direct mail introductions are endless and can include letters, postcards, self-mailers, statement stuffers, personalized note cards, brochures, or even a simple folded flyer. In addition to direct mail, you can distribute introductory materials at trade shows and other events, include them with purchases, or deliver them door-to-door with eye-catching door hangers. To increase staying power, consider including an elite offer, coupon, exclusive invitation, or tear-away business card that recipients can use to keep your information at their fingertips.

If you need ideas or want help getting started, give us a call today. Our creative team would love to help you start spreading the word!





The Right Mindset

15 01 2013

Many people start off the new year with high hopes and aspirations for a successful future. They dutifully set goals, make plans, state their objectives, and promise themselves that this time they’ll really stick with it.

But sometimes life gets in the way and throws a curve ball (or two or three!), diverting our eyes from our path just long enough to derail the whole plan.

If you have plans this year to ramp up your business and want to really see it all the way through, there’s one thing that can help you stick with the agenda even when things seem to be going sideways.

Solve their pain.

If you can remember that one phrase and make it a theme for your entire year, you’ll be much closer to achieving all of your goals than you have ever been.

Your customers, prospects, and even your friends and family have some kind of pain. They’re all either actively or unknowingly searching for someone to help them cure their problems. Your task should be to find out what these ills are and then help provide solutions. You’ll become the one they always look forward to hearing from because you care about them.

The late Zig Ziglar once said: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” It’s somewhat ironic that achieving goals in your life and business requires a mind shift change from “me first” to thinking about what’s in the best interest of other people.

So as you set your sights on having the best year of your life, remember to always strive to be the one that presents answers to problems and puts the best interests of others before your own. If you can master these skills, you’ll never be without a friend and will achieve more goals than you ever have before.





Local Marketing Tips

11 01 2013

When people buy locally, the money spent in the community stays in the community to sustain local jobs, pay local tax dollars, and support local schools and organizations. It also promotes a family and community atmosphere. Here are a few creative ways to promote your business locally:

  • Introduce yourself and spread the word about your business throughout your community. For example, you could strike up a conversation with someone while waiting in line at a post office or attending a community event. Break the ice with something like this: “I’m Bob, the owner of Bob’s Bagels down the street. If you haven’t tried us out yet, here’s a freebie!” Then pass them a business card and/or coupon.
  • Distribute promotional pieces to spread the word. Consider mailing postcards to recipients in a particular zip code, distributing door hangers in local neighborhoods, posting flyers or posters at local businesses, and so on. Offer an enticing discount or coupon to encourage people to visit your location.
  • Focus on networking with other area businesses, schools, churches, and civic organizations. Consider cross promotions to increase local traffic, such as distributing coupons or brochures for each others’ businesses or causes.
  • Create a loyalty program to reward customers and encourage repeat business. Use punch cards or stamp cards, recognize customer birthdays, provide exclusive coupons or upgrades, and consider a customer review panel that receives free products or services in exchange for their valuable feedback and input on how to improve your business.
  • Support local fundraisers. For example, a restaurant could donate 50% of profits for guests who have a voucher for John Doe’s Cancer Benefit on April 5th. This would not only increase restaurant traffic, but also support a good cause.
  • When marketing locally, always use your full street address, rather than a PO box, which doesn’t indicate your physical location. Also provide a local phone number in addition to a toll-free option.
  • Ensure your business is listed on major local search platforms, including Google Maps, Google+ Local, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, and similar websites.
  • Promote the advantages of purchasing locally, including personalized attention, convenience, and the ability to stop by anytime to see products, ask questions, or get ideas.
  • Promote ways your business gives back to your community and supports area organizations. Be an example and make sure you’re supporting other local businesses as well.





Be a Real Partner

8 01 2013

Business used to be much simpler. The formula for success was to provide value, convenience, and great customer service, which in turn led to referrals that became new clients. This tried and true cycle kept the business world moving forward.

Somewhere along the way, however, the rules seem to have changed, and the apple cart has been upset.

To win business today, you must provide more than value and customer service.

Change is an inevitable part of life and must be dealt with. Change can lead to transformations in which we are active and willing participants, or change can occur despite our best efforts to stop it. In these cases, the outcomes are not necessarily in our power.

An important part of transformation and evolution is to learn from the past. This is a great time to review the past year and make decisions about changes that need to be made for a successful new year.

Reflections On the Past Year

Was 2012 a success for you? If not, where did things go wrong?





Spice Up How You Answer Your Phone

4 01 2013

If you’re looking for a creative way to spread the word about new products or services or to announce an exciting special or upcoming event, it may be time to reconsider how your business answers the phone.

You or your receptionist can add marketing value by simply changing what is said when answering the phone. For example, pizza delivery companies get straight to the point when you call. “Thanks for calling Pizza Palace, this is Joe. Would you like to hear our specials?” As a customer, the thought of saving money is very intriguing and can often entice callers to learn more, even if they already had something in mind before calling.

A captivating introduction can include any type of announcement you’d like to make. For example, you might say, “Thanks for calling XYZ! Did you know that our X products are 30 percent off this week?”

You might also consider tooting your own horn or thanking customers, with a greeting like this: “XYZ is celebrating 50 years of business, and we couldn’t do it without customers like you! What can I help you with today?” Even just a simple statement can add excitement. Here’s one of our favorites: “It’s a great day at XYZ! What can I help you with?”

By adding a creative twist to your phone greeting, you can not only increase awareness and boost sales, but also expand your marketing reach without touching your budget.