Archive for the ‘Business Development’ category

What Do Three Failed Ads Say About Small Business?

February 25th, 2014

'theguardian small business network qr code' photo (c) 2013, fsse8info - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Small Businesses (under 100 employees) in the US account for almost 98% of all businesses according to the US Census.  They employ about 50% of all private sector employees in US according to the Small Business Administration. So, why do they keep shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to print advertising effectiveness? Because they do not know how to make advertising effective!

Consider these examples that all appeared in a Weekly newspaper:

An ad that said” Log on Constant Contact…..for sale info.”

Many of us use Constant Contact for email marketing. This is the first time I have ever saw or heard of someone being directed to” Constant Contact” for information.

What is wrong with this approach?

  • Log on to Constant Contact with what URL?
  • What is the password and user ID?

Conclusion: A big waste of money and time

An ad titled “Fall & Spring Cleanups”.

It went on to list services that cannot be performed in the snowy northeast during the Winter.

What is wrong with this approach?

  • It is Winter, not Fall or Spring.
  • 6 of the 7 services offered cannot be performed in the Winter.
  • The one relevant service, “Snow Blowing/Snow Plowing” was the third item listed. It is pretty unlikely I would ever get that far into the ad when reading irrelevant information.

Conclusion:  A big waste of money and time.

 An ad where the headline was “Save this Ad!”.

What is wrong with this approach?

  • I do not know what the ad is about, so why would I save it?
  • The lead was buried “Young man with van looking for work!!!” was the next line.

Conclusion: A big waste of money and time.

The Takeaway

Small businesses can and should project an image of professionalism and attention to detail.

Over to you. Those are my thoughts. Please comment below.

1. Would you contact, much less conduct, business with one of these firms?

2. How do you employ print media in your business development efforts?

3. What advice would you give these small businesses?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

 

Expanding the Geographic Scope of Your Business

October 15th, 2013

'Metro Route 48 Strip Map' photo (c) 2008, Oran Viriyincy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Most businesses operate in a fairly small concentric circle around their business address. In that trading area they try to maximize their opportunities. How do they do that? By taking prospects through the sales funnel.

Often, the traditional sales funnel can be shortened by making it easy and obvious to do business with you. Even if it is easy, the prospects must find you first.

Make sure you are listed in appropriate directories.

Google Local http://www.google.com/local/add

Yahoo! Local http://www.listings.local.yahoo.com

Bing Local https://www.bingplaces.com

InfoUSA http://dbupdate.infousa.com/dbupdate/index.html

Yellow Pages http://listings.yellowpages.com/Services/ServiceClaimSearch.aspx

Yelp https://biz.yelp.com/signup

In addition, the old standbys like direct mail, coupon packs, ads in local papers and flyers in mailboxes still work when properly executed.

Let me share two examples that were not well done.

  • Century Buffet: The coupon insert says, “Chinese, American & Japanese Restaurant”. Then on the side they start talking about Mongolian Grill BBQ.  So, what kind of food are they specializing in?  Do I have to wait for the “cook” to prepare my food or can I pick it up at the buffet table?  Even funnier is how they cannot tell time. I remember working with my kids when they were first graders about telling time with the big and little hands. The ad says lunch is served “11 AM till 3:15 PM”. Then, dinner starts at 3:20pm. Where did the 5 minutes go—to the twilight zone?
  • Snow removal et aI: I received a ½ sheet of paper in my mailbox. The firm seemed to have typed up a short ad. However, with all the snow we receive in New England, they expanded the ad. They poorly handwrote some other services. Mixed in were runs to the dump and cleanouts.

The additional info was taped onto the original ad and photocopied.  How do I know? I can see the lines where it was copied.  Why would I do business with what looks like a fly-by-night company? What if they fell off of my roof while raking snow off of it?

The Takeaway

Many of us would like to support our local businesses. Make it easy to be found and look and act professional when we find you

 Over to you. Those are the ideas. Please comment below.

  1. How do you make sure you are found by potential customers?
  2. Would you eat at the restaurant or use the services of the roof raking company?
  3. How do you like to find local companies?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

6 More Techniques to Repurpose Customer Success Stories

September 24th, 2013

'Customers are the key to everything' photo (c) 2011, Dave Gray - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ Prospective clients want to conduct business with successful companies. How do you prove your worth? CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORIES.

My prior post on this subject 6 Techniques to Repurpose Customer Success Stories generated requests for more techniques. Here are another half-dozen for you.

  1. Direct Marketing: Highlight a customer’s success in a mailer to prospects and customers.
  2. Webinars: Feature a successful customer on a webinar for prospects or customers.
  3. Live events: Invite customers to tell their stories at industry conferences or other events.
  4. Training sales reps: Integrate customer successes into sales training to educate reps. That way you are demonstrating the value that your company’s products and services deliver for customers.
  5. Sales conversations: Engage prospects with a relevant example of a successful customer.
  6. New-employee orientation:  Educate new employees about the organization’s value to its customers.

Bonus Techniques

I have written 4 other posts on Customer Success Stories. Click below to read them.

The Takeaway

Your best advocates are satisfied customers. Utilize their excellent results to obtain new clients.

Over to you.  What are your thoughts? Please comment below

  1. Have you successfully utilized any of these techniques?
  2. What other techniques would you add to the list?
  3. Are your customers interested in success stories as part of your sales process?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Grandpop I Am Not Done Talking!

August 13th, 2013

'[PARENTS MAGAZINE, GIRL WITH CAT]' photo (c) 2008, George Eastman House - license: http://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/My daughter once told my father, “Grandpop I am not done talking.”  I had one of those how cute is that moments.  Then, I thought what an apt metaphor for listening to our customers.

Sales reps and account executives should be trained and know about how to interact with customers and prospects.  Here are some reminders.

  1. We have two ears and one mouth.  We should use them in that proportion.
  2. Listen and watch for cues for when the other person is pausing to gather a thought and when they have completed the thought.
  3. There is no “I” in team.  It is about hearing, understanding and meeting customer needs.  It is not about what you want to sell.
  4. He who speaks first loses.  Not always, but interesting advice.  Don’t speak to fill dead air.  Let the other person articulate their objections or perhaps their acceptance to the sale.
  5. If one customer touch is good, then 10 must be great.  It is so easy to e-mail or text these days.  Don’t use that as a crutch to “be in your customer’s face.”
  6. Check in with me later.  Is it really later or never?  Time in fungible.  We do not get it back.  Is that person a real prospect, a suspect or a waste of time?

The Takeaway

Listening is one our five senses.  When interacting with customers or prospects it is the most important one.

That’s it for me.  Over to you.

  1. What tips do you have for listening to customers?
  2. How do you “read between the lines” about what the prospect is really saying?
  3. What percent of the time is your customer speaking during your conversations?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Why Should I Bother with a Press Release?

August 5th, 2013

'WebRTC Announcements Week' photo (c) 2012, Tsahi Levent-Levi - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Press Releases must work or else there would not be millions of them each year.  I am reminded of the old saying attributed to John Wannamaker.  “I know advertising works half the time, I just don’t know which half.”

If you are not swayed by my general point about Press Releases working, then consider these benefits of Press Releases.

 

 

1.    Search Engine Optimization

Build links back to your site to bring new visitors.  Links help with your credibility as a website.  Thus, the more credibility the higher you arrear in search results.

2.    Provide News on Social Media Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook

We are constantly looking for status updates.  A Press Release is a perfect opportunity to briefly describe the situation and provide a link.

3.    New Content for Your Website

Spiders on search engines like Google and Bing are always looking for new content.  Oblige them by adding the press release to your website.

4.    A Quick Way to Touch a Customer

Send the press release to a customer to keep them current on your firm’s activities.

5.    Send it to Top Prospects

Similar to the idea of keeping customers in the loop it may be even more important to let prospects know your good news.  Prospects are still forming opinions about your firm and whether they should take a leap and partner with you to meet their needs.

6.    Create and Reinforce the Habit of Writing Press Releases

The Takeaway

Press Releases are beneficial.  They have many uses which might just land you a coveted interview or press exposure.

Over to you.  What are your thoughts on these questions?

  1. What other ways to you use Press Releases?
  2. What has been your experience with Press Releases?
  3. What advice would you provide to someone just getting started with Press Releases?Why Should I Bother with a Press Release?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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