Posts Tagged ‘Business Development’

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.

Innovation: Where Can I Find It?

March 15th, 2011

Business Model Trianglephoto © 2006 Alexander Osterwalder | more info (via: Wylio)

Innovation needs to be part of a company’s culture or DNA.  Some industries seem to have more innovation than others whether it is a process or other reasons.  To learn more about industry variations I spoke with Jatin DeSai.  He is the CEO of The DeSai Group.

1. What are the most innovative industries?

High-Technology, Biomedical, Energy, Software and Consumer Products.  A student going to college today should study science and engineering or engineering and business to take advantage of the convergences in the next 20 years.

As an example, the raw science and engineering know how will help to eliminate infectious diseases in the future.  What is missing are the systems and processes.  India and China add tremendous uncertainty and large scale new business models in every industry. They have their own problems, but both are trying to cash in on this unprecedented opportunity to dominate the West. Youth and young adults should capture this opportunity before they get left behind.

2. What industries are ripe for innovations?

The least innovative are the most  ripe.  They will be hurting so badly that they will need to get out of the chaos.  Some industries such as Healthcare, Financial Services (insurance and banking), Pharma, Oil/Coal/mining, Aerospace (especially defense contractors) and alcohol & beverages are where we are focusing.

We predict, that water will the next oil by 2040.  There are serious water shortages.  More desalination plants are coming on line.  Think about the heavy cost of distribution in beverages.  Companies are taking gray water and turning it into clean water at their own plants. Due to climate changes to our planet, water will become a very precious commodity. The lower on the pyramid will suffer greatly. Humans cannot survive without water for more than 48 hours. There is a huge opportunity for innovation here.

3. The media often portrays Silicon Valley as the center of innovation in the US.  Is that true?  If not, where are the centers of innovation?

The largest three centers of innovation it the US: Silicon Valley, Boston/Route 128 Corridor and Research Triangle. Overseas, India has centers in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai, with upcoming places like Noida near New Delhi.  China has Shanghai, Beijing, and Xi’an for the aerospace industry.

4. What is the next big thing in innovation?

Innovating is bigger than a program.  The sexiness will die in 3-5 years because markets will get back into the growth mode and create real jobs.

The next big thing is in the Social Business Model. Our recent article about 20 big insights about the future called “What will Happen in 2011?”  details some ideas.  Cloud Computing is accelerating trends.  We will see much deeper relationship driven models instead of just running on numbers.

Generation Y is very smart and connected, but have not found a way to have personal relationships since many of their interactions are online, not in person. The connectedness will allow companies to have more contractors or free agents versus employees on the payroll.

The Takeaway:

Industries can be more or less innovative depending upon their mindset, geography , technology and culture.

That is where to find innovation.  Where do you find it?  Please comment below.

1.      Do you agree or disagree with the list of the most innovative industries?

2.      Do you think Silicon Valley is the center of innovation in the US?

3.      What other industries would you add to the “ripe for innovation” or “most innovative” lists?

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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