Marketing and Sales All in One

30-Second Marketing for Consultants Part 3

Henry, a guest at the lunch time gathering, asked, “If you’re a one man band like most beginning consultants what is the difference between marketing and sales. Isn’t it all one?” The problem is the crossover from marketing to sales

“In a way it is,” said Kate. ”That was hard for me to understand early on when I was setting up my sales consultancy. When you’re out there on the front lines it’s not easy to see how marketing can do anything to help you.  Let’s face it, most sales people keep telling whoever is doing their marketing to just get them some qualified leads to close. When you’re the one doing the marketing and the selling it tends to give you a different viewpoint.”

The problem is the crossover.

“The problem is the crossover,” Henry said. “I don’t know when I’m selling and when I’m marketing.”

Our writer/editor Gail said, “The difference is pretty simple. Marketing is in mass. Sales is one on one.”

“Okay, I can see that,” said Henry, “but the words required seem to be different while they are the same.”

Gail asked, “What do you mean?”

“Everybody says that you need to talk about delivering a benefit. That’s the way to get them to come to you,” Henry replied.

Media, Message and Magnetism

I’d brought Henry to this meeting with the marketing lunch bunch so I figured I’d better wade in. “Henry,” I said, “don’t confuse trying to write copy for an ad versus a brochure or a web site with developing a sales pitch.

Media—If the information you are presenting is paid for by you it is marketing and needs to be treated as such. That is true whether it is an ad, brochure, website or skywriting. Yes, benefits should be stated.

MessageIf you are not meeting someone in person, it is marketing and needs copy that positions the product or service in words and pictures. You need to convince and/or persuade by using text and graphics that are easily understood by the suspect, prospect or client.

Magnetism—comes as you learn how to speak in the language of your suspect, prospect or ideal client. Speak to them in person. Listen. Hear and use their words to describe what you do. Listen as they tell you the problem they have and describe it in their terms. Pay close attention to what they say about how a solution to their problem would look, taste and feel to them.

Here’s an example of the difference:

Positioning Line: Clock Thermostat

Ad headline: Live warm, sleep cool and wake up saving money.

30-Second Marketing:

Hook: I help you save money while you’re sleeping

Hold: You know how some people set the thermostat back when they go to bed to save money but have to get up to a cold house in the morning?

Pitch:  What we do is hook the thermostat to a clock so you set it once and it automatically cools things down at night then automatically starts heating the house in the morning so it is warm when you get up.

Close: It’s available in a battery operated version with all the instructions you need to hook it up yourself in minutes.

Henry said, “Thanks. That helps.”

The Takeaway:

The concepts that convince for any product or service must be expressed in both print and conversation. Only conversation is interactive and can be modified on the fly.

The words that persuade can (and should) be pulled from the ideal client’s lexicon.

How and when they are used are dictated by whether you are marketing or selling.


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, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other 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

Mission, Position and the Customer Journey

30-Second Marketing for Consultants Part 2

Chris said, “So 30-Second Marketing has four parts: Hook ’em, Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close ‘em.

Y’all can take that to the bank, youngster,” drawled Rob. “And when a Georgia Boy lays that on you it is certain true, no doubt.”

Pathway to purchase“The problem,” said Chris is I’m not really clear on how it is different from a Mission or a Position.”

“Foah starters it’s got more movin parts. It’s like the difference ‘tween flinging a beastie into the briar patch and roundin’ up the hounds to go huntin come sunset.”

Rick asked, “Fletch, since you originated 30-Second Marketing (See Part 1) would you please translate what the southern fried branding Buddha just scrambled?”

Mission versus Position versus 30-second Marketing

“Sure,” I replied. “A Mission is for all the folks that need to trust a firm, product or service. A Position is a way to quickly tell suspects, prospects, customers and clients why they should put you first. Usually those will be words in print and there is no opportunity for interaction.

30-Second marketing is about a conversation rather than one of those brief summaries intended to make you memorable in as few words as possible. It encourages interaction.”

Gail, the copywriter and editor in our midst, piped up, “30-Second Marketing is a conversation, not a commercial. You need to invest significantly more time and imagination in crafting your answers than you might think.”

The Path to Purchase (Customer Journey)

Rob’s honey-warm voice slid in. He said, “My friend Gail is tryin’ to sugar coat the fact that it will take a good bit o’ skull sweat to get it right. Moah importantly, you need to get to know your prospect real well. You need to know where he or she is on the Path to Purchase and what is important to ‘em at that point. Don’t matter if it is one person, a couple or a committee, you got to get inside their heads.”

Gail said, “I like that description Bubba. Usually it’s what people call the Customer Journey but Path to Purchase is a lot more direct way to put it. And from my experience I believe that would be easier for folks that aren’t communications pros to understand.”

“I agree,” I said. It took me quite a bit of time to explain the customer journey to some clients the other day. And even when they got it there was difficulty in getting to the level of detail that can influence buying decisions. Something as simple as knowing that a new company was formed by execs from the leading company in the field can make  huge difference. Sometimes, the simple revelation of how you access one of the features of a product can close the sale.

The Takeaways:

Mission and Position are print reminders to make you, your product or service memorable.

The Path to Purchase is the steps your customer/client goes through in order to make the decision to buy.

The more intimately you understand the Path to Purchase the more compelling you can be in every phase of the sale…including 30-Second Marketing.


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, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other 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

 

The Right Answer to the Most Common Question

30 Second Marketing Part 1

“It never fails. You walk into a place, say hello and within minutes you get the question,” I said. “It happens to every consultant, coach and professional, daily.”

Chris, our digital marketing director and the youngest member of the lunch bunch Singular most often asked questionblinked and asked, “What Question?”

Kate rolled her eyes, took a sip of iced tea and said, “It is THE Question. It is the simple request from someone to help identify you by the career path you are on. It is stock-in-trade for sales folks like me whenever we meet someone new.”

It is the single most asked question in the USA,” I said. “And most people trip all over themselves trying to answer it.”

Chris asked again, “So what is the question?”

Gail, our resident writer, put him out of his misery saying, “The question is: What do you do?”

Bubba, the branding Buddha, drawled with his usual southern charm, “Theahs just no way you can avoid it. Seems like folks kindly want to put you in a little box in their brain with a label stuck on it that fits their piddly memory.”

“You got that right,” I responded. “People always try to categorize new information and that means if you want to be remembered you need to do whatever you can to avoid what Bubba called, that piddly brain box.

An elevator speech is not the answer. That approach has come and gone.”

“But everybody says that you have to have an elevator speech if you’re going to be any good at networking,” said Chris.

“Everybody?” Asked Rick. “I don’t think so. The uninformed…maybe. The slow to understand the difference between how to market and how to sell…probably. Those that don’t understand the primary lessons of direct marketing, where I make a living…for sure. There are way too many people out there that just don’t get it.”

“A conversation instead of a commercial is the right answer,” Kate said. Most people will take interest in you and your profession if it is presented in an interesting way. But if you fall into the trap of describing yourself in common terms you lose. For instance, which would you rather talk to, a guy who says I’m a cpa” or one that tells you, “They call me Captain Crunch.’ That’s what Fletch calls a hook.”

Chris turned to me and asked, “What’s a hook?”

I told him, “A hook is the opening gambit of 30 Second Marketing which is a formula that helps you get to that conversation you want to have to make yourself memorable and give the person you’re chatting with ways to explain your difference to your ideal prospects.

The 30-Second Marketing formula:

Hook ‘em     (Get their interest)

Hold ‘em      (Tell them the problem you solve for most clients)

Pitch ‘em     (Tell them how you solve it)

Close ‘em    (Persuade them to take the next step)

The problem most consultants have is that they know way too much about their area of expertise so they have difficulty sorting out simple terms that people understand which relate to the reason they are looking for a consultant or professional to help them.

For example:

I’m a mechanic                  versus          I make cars go

I’m an IT expert                 versus          I make computers do it your way

I’m a website developer     versus          I build web sites that make rain

The Takeaways:

Make your answer memorable by simplifying it and putting the parts of the formula in language just about everyone can understand.

Test it. Try it on people you don’t know including prospects and pay attention to what they say and do. Then revise based on remarks, reactions and responses.  

Avoid lip service—the kind of responses that friends and family give you that aren’t realistic but rather are intended to make you feel good.


 

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, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other 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

 

Consultant Trust Floats

“Any of y’all have somebody contact you several years after you pitched ‘em and they turned you down?” asked Bubba, Georgia’s answer to branding’s high court.
Trust floats on the stream of time

Rob, even though we call him Bubba is sharp. When he asks a question like that in this group you know there’s something he is really curious about.

As the rest of our crew settled in I responded, “Why do you ask?”

It takes time to get to trust.

“I had lunch the other day with someone I knew had worked with other marketing and sales consultants.” Said Rob with only a hint of drawl. “I listened when he told me why he wanted to talk to me now after this many years. I pointed out that he had hired someone after we last talked and that fellow had exited stage left a few months later and that I knew at least two other consultants that he was familiar with that could and had given him good advice.”

Kate, took a sip of water and said, “So you asked him why me?”

“Precisely, Madam Sales,” said Rob. “George’s ansuh threw me. He started back when we’d met before.”

George, the prospect said, “Back then I couldn’t see any reason to have a branding consultant. I figured that a marketing consultant would handle that as part of his or her job. I assumed that branding was sort of an automatic thing…get the right logo and tag line and you’re done! I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

Our direct marketing expert Rick observed, “This George sounds like a really bright guy and one that leaves his ego at the door. Seems like he’d be a good client.”

Prospect knowledge in your area of expertise leads to trust.

Thas probably true said Bubba but what I learned by listening to his whole story is why I brought it up today. The more I thought about it the more I kept comin’ back to how Fletch is always goin’ on about Trust being the be all and end all ‘specially for consultants. It ‘minded me of that Yankee fella Thoreau who said that “Time is the stream that I go a fishing in’ The way George described how he came back ‘round to me is just the same. It was a matter of time and his knowledge about marketing and communications growing.”

George said, “I quickly found out that my perceptions about branding were way out of line. I figured out that branding was a real problem for us but I still kept going to general  consultants to help me solve the problem. It didn’t work. One wanted to make me the spokesperson/hero of the organization. Another couldn’t comprehend that even though each of our divisions had to stand on its own sales results it is still one company.”

Rick pointed out, “So your prospect moved from someone that didn’t know what he didn’t know to figuring out what his company’s problem was and then started bangin’ around trying to find the expertise he needed to solve the problem.”

“Right,” said Bubba.

So how did he come to pick you?” asked Kate.

Prospects need time to understand why they should trust you.

“It‘s that fishin’ thing. I just keep my bobber in the water waitin’ for a tug on it. Meanwhile down there just like a fish risin” to the bait George was slowly but surely headin’ back my way. He started asking some of the folks he had confidence in who he should talk to ‘bout his problem. A number of them mentioned me. And then he saw me doing a presentation that he said showed him I was an expert. So he called me.”

Kate said, “And now all you have to do is help him get to know and like you.”

“I musta done that,” said Rob. “He asked me for a proposal.”

The Marketing Takeaway

Getting clients is all about trust. To get them to come to you, you must:

  • Stay consistent

  • Establish your expertise

  • Assure that others refer you

  • Be willing to educate if they want to learn

  • Get to know them

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, The Consultant’s Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other 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

Kick-ass Case History

“For starters,” I said to Nina, “don’t call it that.”

Kick-ass Case Histories in Video and Prin

Gail, the wordsmith in our midst agreed. She said, “I like your term Success Story a lot better.” (Video: How to get the data you need for a Kick-ass Case History https://youtu.be/UcvpMkBynYk)

“But, sometimes things aren’t successful,” said Chris. “In my digital retail marketing operation we often try things that just don’t work at all.”

“But that, young pup, is just findin’ out that you’re barkin’ up the wrong tree,” said Rob our southern fried Brand Guru. “Indeed,” he went on, “in my book that is a success.”(Get the PDF of the Kick-ass Case History form)

Rick raised his voice to be heard over a crash of dishes from the kitchen and said, “Most people think that a case history has to be only about what works but I’ve always found the most valuable experiences are the ones that teach you what doesn’t. Selling direct, like I do, has always been a laboratory. That’s why we test before putting up big bucks. What I’m trying to say is that keeping good solid info every time out of the chute is the only way to really know.”

“If you’re selling, like I do every day, the marketing and sales train wrecks are sometimes the best to convince a buyer,” said Kate. “Being able to give somebody hard data on an approach that didn’t work makes it a lot easier to get them to sign off on one that does. The other thing it does is it gives you a reason to walk away from a prospect if you know they are going to fail or to suggest a test that could make both you and them look good.”

Nina, our luncheon guest, looked around the table wide-eyed and said, “All I really wanted was to put some information on my website that tells people what I’ve been able to accomplish with my clients. It seems like there is a whole lot more to this than I thought. “

“You betcha, sweet pea,” drawled Rob. Most of us have been advising professionals and particularly consultants long enough to know that you need to look at keepin’ track of every engagement and assignment in a way that allows you to use all the information later.” (Video: How to present a Kick-ass Success Story in print) https://youtu.be/KM_lH2Eqrqo )

Kick-ass case history in print

All assignments and engagements,” I emphasized. Here’s a rough list of the ones I think you should keep track of:

  • Client Prospecting
  • Referral Approaches
  • Proposal based engagements
  • Assignments based on a retainer agreement
  • Projects awarded for previous experience
  • Engagements that require training or retraining of client staff
  • Situations that require you, the client or both to stretch

“So you’re saying to keep track of it whether it is business development, business as usual or business with a twist,” said Kate.

“Well put,” I responded. “Early on having a simple form that you fill out helps get you organized to do it. Later, you may pick and choose which of the jobs you take on to do a full write up on but it never hurts to have the information.” Kick Ass Case History Capture Form

Nina asked, “So what is on the form?” (PDF of form)

“All the usual client ID stuff, the kind of project, start and end date, situation, objective, starting data, ending data,” I said.

Rob said, “I like to keep a file with the form. You don’t want to forget any branding data that you might want when you report on it. That could be things like a logo or photos of the client and the client’s business or products. And if graphics are important it is a good idea to have before and after stuff.”

“Words, too,” added Gail. “When you change Mission or Position or Value Proposition it is a good idea to have both the before and after. Other word oriented items I like to include are testimonials. If I’m working with multiple levels than I try to get them from each. And I always like to get them to include the numeric changes in their statements.”

“Don’t overlook video,” said Chris. “If you can get a video that demonstrates what you do or just the client talking about what you’ve done for them you have a winner. What our studies show is that video seems to be the most convincing way to get a point across these days. “Video: One way to do a Kick-ass Video Success Story https://youtu.be/KPCU79FgXvE) Kick-ass video case history still

Kate looked over her glasses at Nina and said, “All that hard data is good. But remember we’re dealing with human beings here. There is a great deal of emotion wrapped up in what we do. Change isn’t easy. Transformation is what we are really doing. People are scared of it. They shy away from it. And then when the work we do kicks in they become proud of it. Don’t forget to capture that emotional content and the newfound strength you help provide. “

“You keep a file like that and you’ll be able to build a powerful Success Story  to publish on the ones that work. You keep the data on the ones that don’t and make that into a Case History by adding one thing: your investigations in to why the anticipated results didn’t happen.”

The Takeaway

To build a Kick-ass Success Story you need to capture the information on every major project or engagement or assignment. Keep a file that doesn’t rely on memory to help you gather the data and materials you need. Then express it in a way that lets people “get it” in whatever medium you are using to present it .

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. Sign up for the blog and other 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

Selling Consulting: 5 Questions Rainmakers Listen For

Ken contacted me through Linked In and arranged a phone call. Selling Consulting 5 questions rainmakers listen for

It started out with him pitching me his publishing services and ended with two questions:

  1. Would I have time for him in my schedule?
  2. What would it cost?

Kate, our sales doyen said, “Like I always say—Never Stop Selling!”

“You’re right,” I agreed. “And I usually just sort of stumble into it.”

“That,” she said, “can be fixed. Think back on the conversation. When did it switch from him pitching you to the other way around? Was there a question that either of you asked that caused things to put you in the seller’s seat? If you’re listening you’ll hear one of these which will make it easy for you to shift the conversation:

  • How do you work? This one is sometimes a general interest question but if it comes after you’ve mentioned some accomplishment for a client means they want a taste of that for themselves.
  • Why do you consult? At a cocktail party it can be an opening gambit but if it comes after you’ve revealed your years in practice or how you acquired your expertise to someone you’ve identified as a prospect… Remember, a prospect is someone that has a problem you can solve, is willing to talk to you and can sign the check to pay you.
  • How many clients do you work with at a time? The clue phone should be ringing if you hear this. Always answer truthfully noting that although you are busy, you have room for another now depending on the time commitment required.
  • What is your hourly rate? They are looking for a way to figure out what it would cost to put you to work for them. Do not answer directly. Yes, a lot of consultants and professionals work on an hourly fee basis and that is what the world expects. My recommendation is to work on a value based or retainer basis with all your clients. Value based means you agree to put together a plan just for the prospect based on the value they assign to solving the problem they have. Normally you will want to give them three options and let them choose. Option 1 solves their problem for an amount that is 10% to 20% of the value they assigned to solving the problem. Option 2 includes option 1 and adds a desirable add-on that will make the solution more effective. Option 3 includes options 1 and 2 and provides additional access to you for more complex and longer term fixes. Frequently, option 3 generates long term retainer agreements that allow you to provide your expertise on an on-call basis. That eliminates the requirement of developing huge proposals and all the time that entails. You still may have to map out how you’re going to handle something but it less of a pitch and more of jointly determined approach.
  • Have you ever worked in my industry? Again, tell the truth. If you have, give them information on successes. Never get into industry politics. Always speak of former clients positively—even if you fired them or vice-versa. The real reason they are asking is their belief that their industry is different. People believe that their industry, state, profession etc. can’t be understood if you don’t work in it. Don’t argue. Instead tell them how you were a total newbie in some industry you have had success in. Explain how part of your approach is to first understand how the industry works and then solve the problem by bringing to bear all the people knowledge and processes you have come to understand working in a spectrum of industries. Or, if you are truly knowledgeable in a specialized area, give them facts, figures and success stories.

All those questions just start the conversation. It’s up to you to take it to a profitable conclusion.

  • If it is in a networking situation either personal or business get agreement to meet at their office.
  • If someone is pitching you, Then decide when you want to schedule a follow-up based on the interest they show. Always follow up. Top sales professionals estimate that beginning and even experienced sales people miss out on 20% to 30% of potential sales just through not following up. Plan to meet with them face to face if possible.
  • If a referral source is asking questions, carefully determine if they will tell you who they are asking for. If they will, orient your answers and questions to that prospect. If not, answer and question and suggest that it might be wise to introduce you to the prospect over lunch, on you, of course. Then, try to get that face to face meeting in their office.

The Takeaway:

Never stop selling! Listen for the questions that suggest more than casual interest in your consulting capabilities. Pay attention to indications that there is real interest in what you do.


 

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. Sign up for the blog and other 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

 

The Gift of Memory

Welcome back! It is good to see all of you again. How were the holidays?

Memory helpers for Consultants

Gail said, “We had a wonderful time. My son managed to get back for a few days and his kids connected at our place so it was quiet but filled with warm memories.”

Chris jumped in saying, “I finally had some time to work on my house and I’m now ready for the new year.”

Rob said, I ‘member how the holidays were such a big thing at home when I was growing up and how y’all just kicked back and got into Granny’s pies and the gatherings with cousins and aunts and uncles and everybody. Wasn’t so much that way this year. Getting everybody to fly back home gets harder and harder.”

“I know what you mean,” I said. “My daughter and her husband came for Thanksgiving but for Christmas they took their annual sunshine vacation and went diving in Central America.”

“We went to Phoenix’” said Kate, “and I only made two sales calls.”

“New York for us,” put in Rick our Direct marketing master.

“I got back to work with a bang. A client who will remain nameless was having a heck of a time uploading some videos we had put together for her blog and other purposes. I was so frustrated by trying to solve the problem via telephone that I made a house call. She’s a Mac user and does everything from her desktop, doesn’t use the filing system on the computer and doesn’t know how to access it.”

I suggested to her that she should learn how to access the filing system and keep everything there. She told me she wouldn’t be able to find it if she did. The simple answer I gave her was to date every file to take advantage of how the computer reads file names. It reads from left to right, numbers first then alphabetical. So to be able to find a file I date it with 2 digits for the year, 2 for the month and two for the day. So the file for this blog will be 160109 Gift of Memory. The visual will be 160109 Gift of Memory Visual. I can always find a file if I know when I was working on it.”

Rick, our Digital Director said, “You know that the computer puts a date and time stamp on each time you open a file, right?”

“Yup, but it doesn’t keep the original date just the most recent time the file was modified, I replied.

Kate said, “Knowing that saved me a bundle of time in organizing my files. For years I kept them based on the kind of program like Power Point and Word with no client information except in the titles. Had to hire an intern to sort everything out by client. That made one heck of a difference. Now I can find stuff. I’m still figuring out how to find my desk.”

Laughing, Rick said, One of the most difficult lessons I learned early on was that you need to not only put dates on things but you also need to organize by client and project. When we opened we had no idea of how to keep track of things so we just had one list of project numbers. Client A Project 1 would get a number and then Client B’s project would get the next number and so on. Imagine what it was like trying to find anything in the real world much less on a computer. The way we solved it was to designate each client with a three letter code, each project with a number that was assigned serially that included the year and a letter for each version. You wind up with a file name like ABC 16-001 A. Works like a charm.

“You just made my day,” said Chris. “We’re at the point where we have so many projects we’re having difficulty keeping track of them. We can put that in place right now and I can put the new intern to work sorting out last year’s stuff that we may want to access for this year.”

Gail cleared her throat and said, I’m old fashioned. I like paper. I used to have a tough time finding my desk, too. Then I discovered colored file folders. You can get them in a bunch of colors. The key is to designate a color for each major part of your business. Like you guys I speak and consult so I color code this way:

Outreach      Purple

Speaking      Green

Travel           Blue

Business
Development Yellow

Prospect       Orange

Client            Red

Personal       Blue Green

Use your own code to make it work for you.”

Kate said, “Now I have to stop at Office Depot!”

“And don’t forget to put a CRM system in place in your business,” I said. That will save you more time than you can imagine. You simply can’t maintain good files without it…there is a reasonably priced system that will work for you. As you know, I recommend integrated systems so you have the capability to use digital marketing.”

Rick injected, “And it is good idea to make sure you can sync all your devices. That, and the security it provides is a good reason to look into Office 365 from Microsoft even if you use Apple products.”

I replied, “Good addition. That will also get you more cloud storage than you can imagine for a small consultancy and new capabilities to connect with others on your team and clients.

Bubba, our Buddha of Brand clapped his chubby hands drawing everyone’s attention. He said, “Y’all are talkin’ about all this inside stuff. H.G. Wells understood that is only part of your business. What he said was:

We all have our Time Machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.

Don’t forget about branding. Build on the memory of your brand. Make your dream memorable in 2016.

The Takeaway: The better organized you are the easier it is going to be to serve clients with imagination and innovation to make your brand memorable. Always find a way to be able to recover documents, graphics, presentations, etc. a year or two from now.

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. Sign up for the blog and other 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

Pick A Card, Any Card

“I just finished my beginning test of a software program that can digitally capture a full variety of brainstorming, planning and project tracking approaches with both words and pictures” I said to the assembled crew.

Ultimate Consultant Marketing Formula

Chris, the Digital Director in our midst said, “You must have liked it or hated it or we wouldn’t be hearing about it!”

I agreed saying, “I liked it. It is not as fast as sticky notes and white boards but it has the advantage of being saved in a form that a group can work with even if they are geographically and time separated.”

Rick asked, “What is it called?”

Cardsmith,” I replied to our direct marketing expert. I told my friend Ron about it. He speaks on planning and project management all over the country. His e-mail said:

I love my sticky notes and this adds to the usefulness.

One thing it does better is making the sticky-note planning accessible to remote locations… and thus the one thing it does worse is removing the in-room collaborative MESSY brainstorming benefits. I think it might limit what people are willing to “post” as a “good-enough-to-see-daylight” idea.  

But it has a solid use and I think it offers some great opportunities for delivering and controlling shared work items.

Thanks for calling my attention to it. I’m going to play with it a little.

Kate our resident sales doyen asked, “So how does it work?”

“The best analogy I can give you is if you had a deck of 3 x 5 cards and you were trying to figure out how to organize something whether it’s a sales meeting, a book, a team building a product or even how to structure a complex web site. You’d jot something on a card and put it on the table, do the same for the next major step and put that on the table in relation to the first.”

Gail, our writer and editor said, “this sounds like a piece of software that was part of an offering to Mac users that were writers I once looked at. I was set up so you could structure a story arc for a book or a TV show and add cards to fill in plot data and character sketches. The whole system was based on a manual system that used 3 x 5 cards!”

“Exactly,” I said. “But this product is more flexible even in its fresh-baked version. For instance, you can put the cards in relation to one another side by side or above and below one another or even arrange them in a spiral if that floats your boat. The best part, as Ron said is the ability to keep everyone in a team on the same page. One consultant I know claims it has improved his productivity by several orders of magnitude!”

The Takeaway:

Cardsmith is worth a look if you ever get involved in planning or process management of any kind that requires keeping track of lots of connecting information. It adds productivity at low cost with a minimal learning curve.


 

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. Sign up for the blog and other 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

 

 

 

 

 

With Two You Get Trust

“Our clients forget too quickly that they can’t do it alone,” I said as Gail and Rick pulled up chairs.

“Do what?” asked Rick.

Trust is a partnership

Success is built on trust and you must dance to the same music as the customer. Learn more at www.jerryFletcher.com

“Get to Trust,” I responded. “Just like It takes two to Tango or Salsa or whatever dance the stars are doing it takes two to get to Trust.”

Gail coaxed, “And this is important because….”

I’ve said it before, “Who you know is important and what you know makes a difference but the single most important thing to be successful in business is who trusts you.”

“So what you’re saying is that to sell anything you have to get to trust, and if you don’t, you won’t,” said Rick.

“Right, “I replied. I’m a little frustrated by a business to business client that is bouncing all over the place, full of piling up lists of features and benefits and unwilling to let me talk to some prospects to understand their wants and needs and desires or let me get a handle on their objections.

“Is he afraid they might not like his product or service?” asked Gail.

Rick suggested, “He could be so in love with this thing he’s developed that he can’t see the forest for the trees. I’ve seen that happen so many times in high tech that I expect it now.”

“So,” I said, “How do you guys get around it?

“Some times you have to do it the hard way,” Gail said. “I’ve warned clients that the path they are following will not, in my opinion, work and that they should change but if they are hard over on doing it I will give them the best copy I can based on that direction. Sometimes it gets them to change but very infrequently.”

“I tried that,” Rick agreed. But I try to make it the last resort because it can get very expensive in Direct Marketing. One thing I’ve found is that I can push them pretty hard in list selection. Because of the expansion of selects we can go deeper into prospects habits and media usage and a host of other factors. What I find is that they really don’t know their prospects all that well so we push them into doing some simple testing that reveals where the best product fit is.

“Brilliant,” Gail burst out, “That is sort of what I did once. I got them to have the prospect respond by phone and had the client and I actually take some of the calls. Talk about change an opinion in a heartbeat!”

“So what you’re saying is the first step is to get the client into a conversation with the prospect or customer so they are talking with them rather than at them.

They agreed, saying it was only the first step but perhaps the most important.

The Takeaway:

In today’s world to get to trust you need to listen to your customers. That means in person and on line. After all, that is what your prospects are doing.


 

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. Sign up for the blog and other 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

 

 

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