Crossing the Divide.

Rick asked, “Have you been across the new bridge, yet?”

“No,” I said, “but I hear it is beautifully lit at night.”

New bridge in Portland

“I’ve seen pictures.” said Gail, “but knowing you, I doubt you will ever cross on it as it is limited to walking, bicycles and light rail and since you don’t do any of those…”

“Pardon me for being a child of the automotive age, I sneered. What they’ve done is used modern bridge technology in support of old time transportation. That’s just what is going on with sales and marketing. Suddenly sales and marketing are being forced to cross the divide that has separated them since forever.”

“Step back from the technology Mr. Marketing,” said Kate. What do you mean ‘cross the divide?’ There is a difference between sales and marketing. Like you say, marketing is one to many but sales is one to one. That is a chasm. How is technology changing that?”

“You’ve heard about big data, right?”

“Slow down theah, Fletch,” said Rob our Georgia-born brand guru. Y’all are fixin’ to pounce like duck on a june bug. I know that tone in your voice.”

“Okay, Bubba, I replied. “The thing that is so nifty about this is that the enterprise level folks are just starting to figure out what consultants and professionals, at least the smart ones, have known for years. There’s a Forrester Report that just came out on the CMOs new role in sales enablement. What it boils down to is that:

  • Marketing automation forces more communication between marketing and sales
  • Better understanding of the customer life cycle creates better customer engagement.
  • Marketing’s ability to probe customer concerns and interests via projections of big data analysis on individual accounts give sales deeper insights into how to more quickly build targeted trust-based relationships.

Kate jumped in, “so you’re saying that the age-old problem of Marketing not being able to figure out what a good lead is has been resolved. Is that right?”

“Only for a few companies at the enterprise level,” I said. “But as you well know from your own consulting business the divide between marketing and sales is, most of the time, not a big one. It is kind of hard for it to be when it is the same person. The only time it comes up is when a consultancy starts to grow and they add a sales person to the staff.

A consultant connects with a prospect, builds trust, reaches agreement, provides the service and maintains the relationship. There is no disconnect. Engagement flows freely from marketing activity into sales, delivery and, in the best operations, into a long term relationship.

Engagement is the key word. I believe mid-level companies can profit by building a closer relationship between marketing and sales particularly in the development of sales support materials that build trust and demonstrate real understanding of customer problems.

The Takeaway

Technology is paving the way for big companies to gather and analyze data to bridge the divide between marketing and sales. Consultants already routinely do this. Mid-level companies can move toward this new level of integration by giving sales people a starring role in helping develop communications that nurture the sale.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Get all his publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Behavioral Marketing Spurs [Book List]

I asked, “Was anyone else listening to Public Radio on the way over?”

“Let me guess, Rick said, “the piece about behavioral marketing rang your chimes. The thing that got me was the breathless description of the ‘new discovery’ that a P.S. on a letter or e-mail improved response rates from a person who had obviously never won her spurs in the direct marketing arena!”

Winning Spurs in Direct Marketing

“Right. The person being interviewed was talking about basic stuff as if it was discovered yesterday. She and the interviewer were both completely oblivious to the entire history of marketing, direct or otherwise.”

Chris said, “Everyone knows that a P.S. can increase response.”

“Apparently not,” Kate remarked. ” Time and again I run into this phenomenon. It happens in sales all the time. I have to teach people new to the profession how to shake hands and take notes and basic techniques. The other side of that is when they start trying to emulate the flavor of the day from the latest book published without knowing the stuff the new approach is on top of.”

“Chris,” Rick said, “You’re one of the few youngsters I know that has done his homework and tried to learn from some of the masters. Off the top of your head what three or four books would you recommend to anyone trying to understand direct marketing?”

Chris replied:

  • Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins (originally published in the 1930’s I think, but reprinted in the last couple of years)
  • Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy (a classic about print advertising)
  • Convergence Marketing by Richard Rosen (for a quantitative look at brand vs. direct)
  • Give ‘em one white sock by Rapp & Collins (a bunch of ideas for ways to get a message opened)
  • Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson (Contemporary take that applies the classics to on line marketing)

You’ll find that most of them talk about their mentors, colleagues and competitors as well as what they had to do to earn their spurs. They became successful by doing what the behavioral marketing crowd thinks they are discovering,

The Takeaway
A little reading can take years off your learning curve. Direct marketing that works follows a pattern: It convinces, persuades and moves prospects closer to the sale by trying something, measuring it, establishing a control, testing details and new concepts against it. Successful direct marketers keep using the control until it is beaten. Then they start the entire process over.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Subscribe to the blog at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

Put Your Mouth Where The Money Is [Free Takeaway]

The temperature was in the 90’s again so we decided to dine alfresco. We trooped outside, pushed a couple of tables together and became observers of the passing scene until Chris dropped a verbal hand grenade in the middle of things.

Impact of power words in bracketsHe asked, “have you guys heard the latest research on headlines and click Through Rate (CTR)?”

Gail, our writer/editor snorted, “now what!”

Rick just covered his face with his hands, moaned and said, “In direct marketing there is only one measure of what works and what doesn’t and it is not based on Click Through Rate!”

“That’s why I brought it up,” said Chris. “All of us are going to catch flack on this so we need to be ready when clients and managers start trying to push us around.”

“Anyone who has ever written a headline that got people to make a buy is going to love some of these findings,” Chris began. “The report says the words easy, how to, credit, cure, magic and free decrease CTR. But wait, there’s more” he continued. Using You or your or you are also reduces the CTR. And don’t try giving me tips or tricks or telling me it’s simple or amazing. I don’t want to know the secret. And don’t think you can get me to take action quickly I’m not about to act Now.”

“I may be a country boy.” said Rob our branding Guru that hails from Georgia, “but I can tell you somebody’s been sippin’ grannie’s hard cider when she ain’t lookin’ if y’all believe that nonsense. I been getting paid to write for a lotta years and click throughs don’t hold a candle to conversions. Y’all don’t need to go preachin to all them folks outside the tent. The ones that are inside is where the action is. And that is what works across all the media I know.”

Kate snorted and said, “Hear, hear. Bubba. It’s the same in sales. We do a little cold calling but most of the time we are talking to people that want to be talking to us. I figure a prospect is someone that has a problem I can solve, can pay me to do it and is willing to talk to me. I don’t need to convince them to talk to me. I just need to understand their problem so I can help solve it. I’d rather work with folks that want to see me any day!”

“That’s the thing about this report,” Chris said. It’s 28 pages and it took 17 before they started talking about conversions.”

“Then, what did they say?” I asked.

“Suddenly, all those low CTR performers became more important. Being new and meeting a need Now paid off. Suddenly Amazing had power to open wallets. And funny thing, FREE managed to get more orders when used in headlines directed to real prospects and especially when it became part of the close.

The one thing that came out of this study that appears to work across the board is putting brackets in the headline. What helps close the sale in brackets? Here are their top five examples: Template, Quick Tip, Free Download, Infographic, FAQ.”

The Takeaway:

Add a bracketed item to your headline while using the words that have proven useful since promotion began to convince, persuade and generate sales. Conversions are always more important than Click Throughs.


 

 Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Look at the blog at: www.JerryFletcher.net

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

The Expert Content Formula

“I’ve been thinking about last week’s guest, “I said.

Chris, our Digital Marketing expert, asked, “Why’s that? Jennifer was delighted with our help.”

“All of us gave her good advice I think,” said Gail. “Each time we have a guest it seems like all of us learn as well. It makes the session a little more focused and each of us tries to be more concise. I try to concentrate on writing and editing advice and each of you dive into your individual expertise.”

“Thas true,” said Rob with a dollop of southern syrup. “Y’all expect me to concentrate on Brand at those times so that’s what I do.”

Rick, Mr. Direct Marketing, as usual, direct in every way said, “So why were you thinking about Jennifer and content?

I responded, “She’s an expert, right?”

There were nod’s and sounds of agreement around the table.

The Complex simplified“So if you’re an expert, my research suggests that the way you market depends on the phase your business is in: Startup, Growth or Established. We didn’t take the time to figure that out.   Early on the critical elements are Networking and Direct Contacts. When consultants get to the Growth Phase there’s more of a balance. Referrals become dominant but are closely followed by Direct Sales, Prior Experience and Networking. In the established firm Referrals and prior experience account for about 65% of the business.”

Kate, our sales doyen who knows how to listen asked, “So are you saying we somehow let Jennifer down? I think there’s another way we could have been more cogent for her. There’s research from Hinge that shows the impact of most of the content techniques used by experts are separated by less than two percentage points. She pulled a whitepaper from her oversize bag and read:

  • Books 8.1%
  • Speaking (non-keynotes) 7.3%
  • Keynote 7.2%
  • Company Website 7.1%
  • Blogs 8%
  • Articles 6.4%
  • E-mail Marketing 6.3%
  • SEO 6.3%
  • Regular Column 6.1%
  • Personal Website 6.0%

There all pretty much the same. And notice there is no social media in that list.”

“True,” Rick said, “In addition, I can guarantee you that speaking is the most powerful if you can do it well.”

“I think you’re right,” I said. “In both my personal and consulting experience speaking is the single most powerful way to reach a large audience with a personal touch. If you do it well it is the one activity that creates Referrals and Word of Mouth for you in a way none of the other possibilities can.

Kate nodded and added, “there’s one more thing I read in the research that Jennifer should know:

When buyers were asked what convinced them someone was an expert over a third of them answered,

The ability to make complex topics simple.”

The Takeaway

To stand out as an expert make complex topics simple and do it in front of large numbers of people via speaking, a book and regularly released materials.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Look at the blog at: www.JerryFletcher.net

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

 

Content Schemes

Chris our digital director type announced, “I need some help with a content problem.”

Gail, the writer/editor that joined in our luncheons asked, “What seems to be the difficulty?” Content Schemes

“Maybe you better introduce your guest and explain what you mean by content first,” I suggested.

“This is Jennifer, he said. “She’s a consultant who works with companies to bring them into the digital age and understand the benefits of business intelligence.

Jen, this is the lunch bunch: Jerry Fletcher is the one that got us all together and he does the blogs you’ve seen. Next to him on his left is Kate. She’s the most knowledgeable sales consultant I’ve ever met. Next to her is Rob. Do not be fooled by his syrupy southern drawl which is why we call him Bubba. He is the Buddha of branding in this group. Next to me here is Gail. She’s run ad agencies, radio stations and is our resident writer and editor. That empty seat next to you is usually filled by Rick who runs a world class direct marketing firm. There are some less frequent attendees but that is the usual group that comes together here each Friday.”

“So what do you mean by content?” I asked.

Jennifer said, “Like I told Chris, I believe I can be more successful if I do Content Marketing instead of the old fashioned pitching of products and services. The problem is I have to generate all this stuff and I’m not sure what will work and how to find the time to do it. I figure I have to do it well or not at all. Is there some sort of template or basic scheme that will work for me?”

Rick, who had arrived as she was explaining, said, “There’s a Roper Poll that says 80 percent of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. About 60 percent say that information they get from companies helps them make better decisions.”

“That may be true,” I said but let’s do a round robin for Jennifer and each come at it from our area of expertise. I’ll start. I think you need to a have a strategy that is written down, followed religiously and that you need to measure the results regularly”

Kate said, “You also need to be darn sure of who your customer is and how what you do can be differentiated. I mean in benefit terms but more importantly the outcome the buyer gets from you.”

“It is a pleasha to have such radiance at the table with us, Bubba drawled. Y’all need to remember that theahs a Brand piece of this pie to be considered, too. You might could change your brand if you’re not careful. Make sure your brand is in sync with the differentiation that Kate was talkin’ about. Think your way through possible problems and make sure all your content is aligned with the singular brand your customers and prospects are lookin’ to buy into.

Gail, shaking her head said, “Radiance at the table…you have no shame!”

Jennifer blushed.

Gail continued, “I was looking at this another way. In order to provide information in a form or multiple forms that communicates you have to define the targets in depth. Demographics. Psychographics, Anecdotes. You have to understand where, when, how and most importantly why they want to engage with you. And knowing those things never do anything once. If you write an article think about how to turn it into an audio presentation, a video, a slide show, an infographic…whatever way your target might like to get it.

“I guess it’s my turn,” said Rick. “Two things. First, I think you have to consider the channels you’re going to use to get the word out. I understand that time is a concern so do you have to minimize some social marketing or change your emphasis from say a blog to a newsletter or vice-versa? Second, even though you’re trying to get the prospect to move through the Know/ Like/ Trust cycle you still have to ask for the order. Include a direct call to action in everything you do.

The Takeaway:

Successful content strategies are documented. You need to decide:

  • How it fits into your business plan
  • Who you’re talking to and what they want to know
  • What impact it has on your brand and how to cope with that
  • Which channels you’re going to use to connect
  • When to tell them how you’re different and ask for the order

 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Bubba’s Newfangled Branding

Bubba, who still looks like the Gerber baby, said, as he was taking his seat, “All this newfangled digital stuff makes it harder and easier to build a brand.” Bubba as a baby

Kate, who could sell just about anything said, “There’s lot of things about branding I might agree about with you but I’m not buying this. You can’t have it both ways!”

He responded, “Mamma always said you cain’t never do sumpin like that but let’s see if we might could get that knot outa your tail. It makes it harder as y’all are bein’ measured way quicker than before so sometimes folks don’t give the strategy time enough to work. On the other hand some of the things you can do today are quicker than stirrin’ up a wasp nest under the eaves.”

“Rob, Take off that beret and put that drawl away for minute or two and tell us what you’re talking about!” I said. “I know you do that on purpose some times. I’ve seen you present and sound like a Midwest announcer. So just tell us would you?”

Sorry,” our branding guru mumbled, “I figured with friends I could be natural.”

Rick and Gail each patted him on a shoulder and said. “That’s okay. What were you saying?”

“I’ve got a bunch of ‘em but I’ll start with one you couldn’t do a few years back:

  1. Blog your brains out… as a guest for other blogs. Start small and work your way up to the big guys. If you do that enough you wind up being seen and repeated all over the place especially if someone actively tweets quotes from your guest blog. I saw this a week or two ago with one of the articles Fletch does for Small Today.
  1. Build a community. This can be done old style. Think baseball cards and Barbies. The new way is to put the trading and comparing and talking about on line. For the latest entries there is no physical item involved. But it still works. Thing is, it takes time. Yelp added reviewer profiles and now has accumulated over 47 million reviews but it took them 5 years.
  1. Share the experience with thought leaders. One of my clients calls this the Johnny Appleseed approach. He’s not looking to get known by everybody in a hurry. His preference is to have one perfect customer tell the next until his product is the most desired in the category. It’s working at the enterprise level.
  1. Create an infographic. Subway posters in the old days were the prototypes of this approach but they were nowhere as heavily packed with information. We know that over 80% of the American public is visually oriented so this is an obviously powerful way into their hearts and minds. The newfangled flip on this is that you can send them to a landing page and sign them up to get more!
  1. Partner with another brand. Borrow that brand’s awareness to kick yours up the driveway. If you’re design-oriented get a deal with the local art museum to let your customers or prospects attend one evening a week or at a special time for a special showing with tickets or vouchers you provide on line. You can go to a broader audience with a coupon for ice-cream or pizza. Just make sure you pick a brand that people think highly of.”

Kate asked, “So what’s the takeaway?”

The Takeaway:

Brands are still built one customer at a time but you can now build a personal relationship with them faster than ever before.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

AutoMagic Marketing

“Yes, I have something up my sleeve” I said. The others sat stunned because I’d shown up in a suit.

Golden Triangles of MarketingRick asked, “Is there a time warp? I haven’t seen you in a suit since somewhere south of 1990.”

“Y’all just haven’t seen him speak then,” said Rob, the southland’s branding poobah we lovingly call Bubba. “When he steps on the platform he looks like he’s been livin’ in tall cotton and sounds like he’s plumb tickled to be there and to preach the gospel of digital marketing to the heathens.”

Gail our writer/editor who always strives for clarity said, “I believe you mean to say that he dresses up nicely and talks about CRM and Automated Marketing enthusiastically, right?”

“Yes Ma’am,” said Bubba.

“And that is what I have up my sleeve” I said. “I started working with Contact Management systems, which have morphed into CRM systems, somewhere around 1990. It took over 20 years for folks to even recognize the term CRM. Most still haven’t figured out what it is. Everybody pretty much knows what SEO means but they mistake things like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact for CRM systems. Those e-mail marketing systems aren’t even close to a full bore Integrated CRM system.”

Kate, our resident sales consultant asked, “So what is up your sleeve?”

“I just came from speaking to group of small business owners at a convention. I offered them a copy of The Golden Triangles of Marketing which shows the absolutely essential data you need for Contact Management plus the basics of a fully integrated automated marketing system plus the seven things anyone can do to give it a personal touch. I have a copy here for each of you.” (Get your copy here)

Chris, our corporate digital guy looked up from scanning the piece and said, “I like the way you showed what is absolutely essential instead of gilding the lily.”

“Thanks Chris,” I replied. I really had to work at finding a way to make it understandable. Remember, this is for small and medium sized companies. Enterprise level organizations have the time, money and resources to throw at marketing but the small business owners just don’t. The point is, most small businesses can take advantage of integrated CRM now because there are products and services out there that are reasonably priced and have some of the sophistication the big guys are employing.”

Kate asked, “What was your speech about?”

“I wrote about this not long ago and I’m continuing to research it. The speech was called The Shortcut to Trust. (See part of it here) What it comes down to is that there is an interesting shift going on in marketing. It may be generational but that is what makes what I’m finding so much more powerful. Younger people seem to not like direct contact, sometimes even from a friend. I’ve watched them make every argument you can imagine to avoid having to respond to a phone call. They literally will send an e-mail to someone that sits 5 feet away. Worse still, they text and don’t check their e-mail. But entrepreneurs quickly learn that people don’t do business with you until they trust you. First they have to get to know you and then like you.

With that younger customer and that younger employee you need what I call AutoMagic Marketing.

You need to use all the capability you can muster to open the dialogue, begin a relationship and get to know each other via automated digital marketing. Then, when you engage with a personal touch, the sales possibilities will be much better.”

The Takeaway:

Digital Marketing integrated with Contact Management is AutoMagic Marketing, the first step on a shortcut to Trust. Add a personal touch and your sales will increase Auto Magically!

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Form With A Personal Touch

“It all comes down to your form, “I said.

“Are we talking golf or Tennis? “ Chris asked as he sat down.

Getting Subscribers

“Neither” said Rick, our direct marketing expert. “We’re talking forms for web sites and landing pages and other uses on line. One of Fletch’s clients was unhappy that he recommended that a form to capture visitor e-mail addresses be included on every page of the website. The client argued that it wasn’t classy and interfered with his branding.”

Chris, our digital director in residence, turned expectantly to Rob the Branding authority in our midst and said, “So the branding viewpoint is….”

Bubba didn’t disappoint him. “Son,” he said, “That feller’s got his knickers in a knot for the wrong reason. Heah’s the thing. You got folks comin’ to a website and the reason they are there is to find out some more about you or your product or service. They may be looking to meet you. If you were dealin’ with them in person what would you do? You’d make it as easy as possible. You’d answer their questions. You would try to connect with them. You’d invite them to keep in touch. That means the form has got to be there but:

  • The form needs to fit in with the personality of the site
  • The design should emulate the rest of the site
  • The language should fit in with the rest of the site

Kate, our sales veteran took over. She said, ”If you think of the form that way you treat it less like a form and more like an invitation. You tell people what they are going to get and you treat them with respect. You make your approach more personal. For instance, instead of having a button that says Submit you use language like ‘Sign Me Up’ or ‘Connect Me.” (Here’s an example)

“Limiting the amount of information they have to supply is important in that situation,” said Rick. “The other thing you have to tell them is that you won’t sell or give away their information to anybody. Of course, there are other kinds of forms. Those need to include Bubba’s rules but forms that are designed to detect digital body language or for gathering more information such as an application need to assume a couple things:

  • The fewer the queries the better. (Try to keep it under 7)
  • Make it as simple as possible for the visitor
  • Consider gathering information sequentially to build up a prospect profile for multiple interaction situations
  • Put your labels above the fill-ins
  • Use Drop down menus to conserve the visual space of the form
  • Use checkboxes to allow selection of multiple values at the same time
  • Use radio buttons where applicable to allow for faster viewer scanning.

“If I bring my client to lunch will you guys repeat yourselves?” I asked.

Gail, our writer/editor quietly spoke for the group saying, “You’re big boy. You can convey what was said here today. “What I hear you saying is that you’re not sure you can convince your client. Try telling him what you learned.”

The Takeaway:

Forms on web sites, landing pages and sales sites are all better when they are built with a personal touch in mind– like an invitation. That means designing the form to fit in seamlessly while making it as easy for the user as possible.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Testimonials Need A Touch Of Fear

It bothered me that Janet’s new testimonial was as ho hum as they come, at least to me. So I showed it to Rick.

Conderned ManRick read it through and said, “I can’t fault the way the author spells out the facts that changed due to Janet’s coaching skills but even with all that it seems like every testimonial I’ve ever seen for a management consultant. It says she walks on water but that is hard to believe.”

“Why not?” asked Chris.

“Age, experience and one of the lessons I learned when I was earning my spurs.”

“Spurs?” Chris said.

 Rick replied, “It’s a figure of speech in the Direct Marketing space. What I learned when I was a little younger than Chris is that testimonials can really help close a sale but only if they are human and the testimonial can help get a prospect over what is keeping them from making a decision to do what you want them to do.”

I asked, “Can you give me an example?”

“Fletch,” he said, I’ll give you one from your own web site.”

You could have seen the lump in my throat as I said, “Okay, fire away.”

Rick said, “On the 30-Second Marketing page of the consulting section of your website there’s a testimonial from Jim Grew. It says:

“When he proposed that I answer the question, ‘What do you do?’ with:
I’m the Business Defogger & Accelerator.
I thought he was nuts. 

And then I tried it.
Everybody gets it.
Nobody forgets it.
Colleagues want to know how I came up with it.
I tell them to talk to Jerry.”

Notice how it goes from ‘I thought he was nuts to nobody forgets it.’ And then on top of that adds the last bit about colleagues?

The essence of the testimonial could have been ‘Colleagues want to know how I came up with my tagline.’

But he added his concern. See the difference?”

Gail said, “So you’re advocating that a concern or problem the testifier has with the person or the process they are lauding should be part of the testimonial, right?”

“Exactly,” said Rick. “A testimonial is more than icing on the cake. It can overcome an objection as well as help convince or persuade the prospect to take a step or two further in making a purchase. It’s why every diet product you’ve ever seen uses before and after photos and when it is on video the former Mr. Obesity says something like ‘I tried all kinds of things but this simple solution is the one that finally worked for me.’

The Takeaway: Put a concern or objection on the front end of a testimonial. Overcoming it makes the testimonial more powerful.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

Speak to Me!

Jean asked, “Should I hire a receptionist or a phone answering service?”

“What did you tell her?” said Gail.

“It depends.” Speak to Me!

“Hold on theah, Slippery, thas your answer to just about anything it seems to me,” said Rob, our loveable branding behemoth from the peach state. “Just what does it depend on if you please?”

Kate jumped in before I could say word. She said, “I can tell you what he’s going to say, Bubba, because I’ve had this discussion with him a couple years ago. I can’t swear to the statistics but he made a pretty good case for having a human on the phone, particularly for a small business like mine. As I recall

  • Somewhere north of 75% of all callers that get an answering machine hang up.
  • Nine out of ten customers that get a machine in business hours think you are too small to do business with.
  • About two thirds of people will immediately call a competitor if a human doesn’t answer.

I said, “You didn’t tell them the most important reason to have someone answering the phone…you can’t afford to miss a call, especially if you look at the average value of your proposals.”

Chris pointed out, “You didn’t really answer Jean’s question: Should she hire a receptionist or an answering service?”

“True,” I responded. “A start-up should definitely look at hiring an answering service. Later, when they can hire a receptionist, assuming there are other clerical activities that person can perform you should look at keeping the answering service on.”

“Wait a minute,” Chris said. “Did you say keep them on?”

“Yes,” I said. “the fact is that if you operate like Kate and a number of consultants I’ve worked with, you will have people calling in anywhere up to three hours ahead or behind the local time zone you operate in because you work with clients or prospects across the USA. In addition, if you are connected on multiple continents you need to worry about what day it is as well as what time.

Over 85% of the times someone might call are outside the time a receptionist is in the office! The beauty of an answering service, a good one, is that you can get coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On top of that, if you need to gather data for a form or other information a good service can handle it. There are even services that can set telephone appointments for you when someone calls in.

I did a little on-line research to be sure I gave Jean today’s facts. The numbers Kate quoted are still true. Here are a couple others I found that make it a good idea to work with a telephone answering service that is human:

  • 80% of callers that get a machine will not call back (and that percentage is increasing).
  • 73% of callers answered by a human will not call a competitor (but you have less than two minutes to have someone knowledgeable on the line to handle their questions or arrange for someone to call them back).
  • A study from the UK indicated that a human answering every call could increase sales by 25%.

So I believe that it is a worthwhile experiment to try using a human based answering service and carefully monitoring the change in acquisition of new business and retention of current business. The probabilities are: up to a 25% increase in acquisition and assuring between 60 and 70% retention.”


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

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