Every Contact is an Audience of One

Business begins and ends with a contact.

A prospect reaches out to you for help, describes a need you
can fulfill and says they have the wherewithal to pay for your product or

You connect. Your offering matches his or her need, the
terms are right and the deal is done.

Is that all there is? Not if you understand that the true
value of a customer is not derived from a single sale. You want that
client/customer to return to you for more of the same or variations on the
theme or additional products/services and refer additional customers/clients to

You want repeat business.

The secret to repeat business lies in seeing each customer
contact as a performance for an  audience
of one.
Here’s how you can be sure that your unique difference is communicated
and remembered each time you make contact with a customer or client:

Reduce your unique difference to a short
that everyone familiar with your operation can be aware of,
memorize and interpret.  By everyone, I
mean you, your staff, your referral sources, your customers…anyone who can
refer business to you. A “hook” like “They call me Captain Crunch” for a CPA can make the difference between an average and a six figure income.

Use graphics that connect to strengthen the
. Symbols, illustrations and photos can all make a contact count
more. Use visuals that people understand. A unique color alone can make you stand out.  

Use the distinct sounds of your company,
product or service to enhance your position.
Case in point: One of the best
remembered television commercials for Coke was simply the sound of a bottle
being opened and the pour of the product into a glass filled with ice.

Is there a sound effect that
will  bring the curtain up on a “memory
play” for your business?

Build in tactile differences. Use heavy or textured paper. Put a special fold into your business cards to get involvement and generate tangible recall. Make your presentation brochure just slightly bigger or smaller than others.

Chevy’s restaurant puts crunch into a salad with pieces of taco shells. A package tied with string seems so much more valuable than the one with the “automatic locking box.” Tantalize the sensation of touch to help you stand out from the crowd.

Capture the aroma of your establishment if it’s positive. Override it if it causes distress or discomfort. Paddy, a remarkable dentist in Australia found that when he filled his waiting room with the smell of fresh baked muffins it reduced patient anxiety significantly…and increased his practice.

Every time a batch is cooked at that Cinnabon in your local shopping mall it’s show time.

Use tastes to capture share of mind. Every candy store that stays in business learns this trick. See’s each day have a specific item to give away.

Sampling, like a previews of coming attractions, is a great way to get people to consider your business and one of the easiest ways to turn prospects into customers and customers into fans. In a lot of cases, people need to try something to be sure they’ll like it. A free trial or sample with no obligation is the easiest way to overcome the difficulty of getting people to take action.

Make sure every contact your make is a prize-winning performance… touching as many senses as possible…for each audience of one.

Get a better sense of this Marketing Strategist at: www.JerryFletcher.com

Book Jerry to speak to or group at: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Is Your Business on the Roller Coaster?

You’ve taken that
long hard ratcheting ride up the first hill to start your business. The plunge as
that first healthy contract came in sped you along. But it changed or was reduced
or lost completely. Now you find your momentum carrying you forward.

Word of mouth
propelled you up the next hill of projects, orders and income.

You swept onward
pushed by referrals.

But each crest got
a little lower than the last. The surges moved you along but none catapulted you
to a new level. 

To break the roller
coaster pattern you have to get on a different track.

Doing a
good job is not enough. It must be memorable.

the highest quality won’t guarantee you the contract.  Knowing the prospect will.

won’t get you the case. Credibility will.

is a matter of opinion. Theirs.

matter what field you’re in, you are on your way out of business if you don’t
manage your contacts. Each contact with customers, prospects and anyone who
might influence someone to buy your product or service is the greatest
opportunity you can have.

How can
you be more memorable?
Start by remembering the contact. Get the name, address,
the phone number…anything that you believe will help. Meet at their site.
Demonstrate your expertise. Do something out of the ordinary.

How do you get to trust
with a prospect or client?
Take the time. Ask the questions that will make it easier for you to
provide what they need. Listen. Prove to them you’re listening by clarifying.
Ask for the order and the referral at the same time. Explain that referrals to
“customers like you” make it possible for your operation to stay in business
and provide the quality they need.

referred. Ask for it. Prime it.
Make sure every customer, prospect and person
who can influence a sale for you knows precisely what kind of client/customer
you are looking for and what kind of projects. Don’t be afraid to tell them
your “perfect prospect specs” more than once and each time ask for direct

How do
you get credibility?
Have someone else recommend you. Use a third party to
establish your capabilities whenever possible. If someone has lauded your
handling of a project, don’t be afraid to ask them for a letter with their kind
words in it. Or, have them step in and do the presentation about you to a
prospect. Words from a satisfied customer go a long way toward convincing if
not completely captivating a prospect.

Get to
know the professionals that regularly meet with and advise the folks you
consider prospects. Sell them and they will sell you in turn.

Be an expert. You never will know as much about
the prospect’s business as they do. But they will never know as much about
yours. Together you are greater than each of you might be separately.

The two
of you are in this together.

realization, if nothing else, will take you to a higher level than your

Learn more at: www.JerryFletcher.com

Book Jerry to speak: www.NetworkingNinja.com


How Do You Get To The Perfect Pitch?

Mike leaned across the table and said, “Until somebody makes a sale there’s no bottom line.”

Steve took a sip from his draft and asked, “So you believe the most important person in a company is whoever pitches the product or service…What about the folks that handle the advertising and the Public Relations…the ones that develop the image of the company?”

Jeannie and Nan who run a communications training operation jumped in.

“Image…as long as you mean that it’s not what you say,” Jeannie started. “But how you say it” finished Nan.

I kept my mouth shut. They’ve each been arguing the same views as long as I’ve known them. Trouble was, this was a Friday night and my wife Susan was out of town so I couldn’t claim that I had to get home for dinner. I was stuck for the duration.

So I tried a little change in direction saying, “Guys, you’re all right as usual, but I need help with a little problem.” I’m trying to come up with basic ways for a client to more quickly develop their business, any suggestions?

Mike started, “I’ve heard you say that businesses are built one contact at a time. And you’re right. But a contact is just the beginning. You need to pitch ‘em and close ‘em to get the sale. That takes presentation skills. If you want to persuade someone to buy you have to get in front of them, connect with them. Show them how much you care and earn their trust. People won’t buy from someone they don’t trust.

Getting to trust isn’t easy. But I’ll guarantee that if you follow my rules you’ll get more sales:

  1. Tell the prospect what you have in mind right up front.
  2. Shut up and listen to their needs first (the more you listen, the easier the sale)
  3. Show how much you care… about their problem and your product or service.”

“The sale is the thing,” agreed Steve, “but what about the pre-conditioning of the prospect? Seems to me you’ve overlooked how much easier it is to get in the door if they know about the company or product. I can guarantee that if we’ve done our homework and prepared the materials and the web site properly we’ll have expert information and opinions, statistical data and facts as well as solid examples of how to use the product or service. If you can‘t get to them, we’ll do it with direct mail or phone. And on top of that we’ll add an emotional hook to make it memorable. We can make it easier for you, or make the sale or both.”

Nan piped up, “There’s an awful lot of guaranteeing going on around here! But you guys are overlooking the basics. You gotta be believable. You’ll get nowhere if you aren’t. Whether it‘s an ad or a brochure or sales letter or a sales call you have to be believed. There are two techniques that will make you more believable every time.

Jeannie picked it up there saying, “Try the first-hand story. Stories, told with lots of detail will be more easily remembered by the prospect. We know from psychological research that stories are stored differently in the mind…like events that we were involved in and that makes them more credible…so you’re more likely to get the sale.”

“No matter what you do,” Nan said, “you have to understand that getting someone to buy requires a change in their behavior…and that only happens for three reasons:

            To avoid pain.

            To gain pleasure.

            To respond to their emotional condition at the moment

The question is, which can you honestly, believably use? The better you know your audience and the more enthusiastic about your product you are the easier it will be to choose.”

I ordered a round and said, “You did it! You’ve given me a raft of ideas I can use but something each one of you said was on the same wavelength.  Mike said show how much you care, Steve talked about an emotional hook and Jeannie & Nan hit on enthusiasm and emotional states.

It all comes down to one word…passion. Passion is what is missing from the presentations we’ve developed. And passion is what we need to get to the Perfect Pitch. Thanks!”

Get passionate about building your business. Call Jerry Fletcher direct toll-free at 800 533-2893 or visit www.JerryFletcher.com

To schedule the Networking Ninja to speak visit: www.NetworkingNinja.com

What CRM Software is Right For You?

 It never fails.

The caller or e-mailer identifies himself/herself, notes how the referral came about and gets right to the heart of the matter, “which CRM software should I use?”

I don’t know.

I can’t answer the question because I don’t have enough particulars. Here’s what you need to consider when you begin rubbing up against this decision:

Why are you considering CRM software?

You don’t need CRM software to survive and even thrive. You could use a paper system. The current software is based on paper systems that were developed over the last century by the best sales forces.

But paper systems that can handle a thousand contacts, their data and all the records will take up a very large corner of your office. You can handle ten times that on your low-cost laptop, and easily up to a hundred times that on a server based system.

The system difference between Contact and Customer is in the data you keep. Essential contact information is the same for both. But with customers you also need to know the things that drive your transactions but more importantly the drivers of your relationship.

What do you expect to get out of the symbiotic relationship you’re thinking of entering?

Is there some feature of one of the programs that you’ve heard about that you’d like to have? You get all those marvelous capabilities that a computer brings: sorting by groups, automatic addressing, form letters that look one-off, instant access, alarms to call your attention to required activities, the ability to print out personalized calendars, direct linkage to fax and e-mail, simplicity of duplication, ease of sharing files with others in your organization, multi-level networked scheduling and on and on.

Most importantly you can increase your productivity.

But the secret of doubling your effectiveness is really pretty simple:

  1. When you finish with an action on a client, customer or prospect, decide what you next action will be and when you will take it,
  2. Note that in your system.
  3. Do it when the time comes. Simply do it.

On paper or computer, that’s all it takes to double your business.

How are you going to convert from your current approach/system?

Most people dread this more than anything else. They’re so used to that card file or album or their paper list that all they can see is a massive typing job. And then they’re not quite sure how to take the daily calendar they use and make it work with the new computerized capabilities.

There is a way. The secret is to keep what works for you, experiment with the new capabilities and then go with what works over time.

Entering the names and addresses and phone numbers of the people you maintain contact with is easier than you might think. Converting your current database (an excel file?) to a CSV file allows you to easily map the fields you use directly to the new software. If you’re like most folks you’ll find when you begin reviewing your contacts that those you are really in touch with (and have current data on) are fewer than 25%.

I strongly recommend that you pare down your current contact list to those you really reach out to on a regular basis. You’ll have a better fix on all those people and required actions than ever before. And you will be able to take advantage of the capabilities of the software to generate more business more quickly and keep those customers longer.

CRM Software can help you take your business, your career and, yes, even your life to the next level. Here’s the best integrated solution I’ve found for solopreneurs and small businesses.

How you use your CRM Software is critical to your success. Get advice from a strategic marketing expert: www.JerryFletcher.com

To book Jerry to speak for your group: www.NetworkingNinja.com





Checklist for Networking to New Business

You meet someone.

They become a contact.

They are no longer a suspect. You now know something about them.

What you know dictates how you identify them. The information you gather allows you to classify them and to determine how you will engage with them over time.

You now have a contact, a connection or a prospect. What you know will allow you to get their business.

And if there is no business you can make a connection that may reward you in other ways.

BUT You have to follow up.

Follow up is one part of what sets you apart from the vast majority of others in your industry.

Follow up is what you have to do to win business and sustain it.

Here’s a checklist for the follow up you need to Network to New Business

Get the person’s contact data. At a minimum you need the name and e-mail.
Online Contact Tip:
Stick with that minimal data until you have to gather data for a transaction.

Enter the data in your Contact Management database. If it was a personal meeting and you have a card put as much as there is in your system. Note where you met them and/or who introduced you or referred you.
Online Contact Tip: include the offer they responded to or how the connection occurred.

Send them a handwritten note card. Tell them you will be calling to set a meeting over coffee to learn more abut their business.
Online Contact Tip:
Have an auto responder set up to thank them for their interest and to give them your direct contact info if they would like a personal conversation.

Plan your next step. Decide what your next action is going to be and when it is going to happen. Put a reminder on your calendar in your Contact Management system.

Phone Call: have a script for a live call and if you get voice mail. Basic information to be included is: your name, where you met, why you are calling and options for a meeting time and place. Use essentially the same script if you get voice mail.

E-mail is to be used only if you have no phone number. Provide the same data as the phone call.

Continue to contact them regularly. Here are some time frames to consider: Contact–once a month decreasing to quarterly after year one. Connection—Once a month at a minimum. Prospect—weekly until you know what their schedule to take action is then monthly until three weeks before when you shift back to a weekly schedule.

Get a PDF of the checklist with a copy of The People Out There. Visit the resources page at: www.Jerry Fletcher.com

Need a CRM System? Here’s the best integrated small business CRM I’ve found.

Schedule Jerry to Speak to your group: www.NetworkingNinja.com 

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Actions Speak Louder–What You Get is What’s Not Said

Lip Service
was what I called it in my first book. Ever notice how when you are starting a
business that everyone you meet thinks it’s a good idea? Your friends encourage
you. People you’ve never met before say nice things. You are thrilled with the

My advice to budding
entrepreneurs was to ask those folks, “Would you like to buy one?” Suddenly,
they found out whether there really was a market for their products. Action

I need a little help. Ever notice how you respond to that phrase? Very
few people say no. The technique led to a story included in my forthcoming Kindle
Book Trade Secrets Of A Networking Ninja about
a Certified Financial Planner who had sent out a draft copy of her new brochure
to six or seven CPA’s she had worked with to get their opinion on what she had
to say.

She never did get written
opinions from them. They acted instead and just sent her business.

Put it in writing. “Jot down,” I said to an audience, “the reason you are in this business
and why you want to be in it next year. Tell the absolute truth…the words in
your heart of hearts. If you are not sure, that’s okay. Write that down.”

The room fell silent save
for the faint noise of ball points gliding. Each of them finished, their heads
came up and their eyes locked on mine with an expectant look.

“How many,” I asked, “are
sure you’ll be in the business next year?”

Only about 20% of those in
the room raised their hands.

“How many of you would be
willing to share that reason with us,” I asked. Only two people volunteered.
Both noted that they had wanted to do this for as long as they wanted to build
a business and they couldn’t imagine doing anything else because they
absolutely loved what they were doing and they were clearly on a track. 

I’ll bet that
those two people not only will be in business for more than a few years, but
they’ll be leaders in it.

The action of writing
something down
does two things, it
makes it easier to remember because it forces us to think about it in multiple
ways  and it makes it attainable because
we see ourselves taking one step toward it.

What you get is what’s not said. Multiple surveys in the last few years have
indicated that the real differentiating factors for businesses today are
service-based rather than product-based.

Think about the last time
someone recommended a product or service to you…unsolicited. I’ll bet it was
because of incredible service. Someone made the purchase an event to be
celebrated or went that a little further or gave just that little bit extra to
make a difference. They didn’t talk about it or hang puffed up statements of
intent on a wall, they simply took action.

Actions do speak louder
than words

Jerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja speaks and writes on building businesses from the ground up. Learn more. Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com or visit his Consulting Web site: www.JerryFletcher.com

Three Tricks to Take Face Time From Awkward to Zoftique.

About mid afternoon, my brother in law pulled out his cell
phone and then his pad computer and announced, “It’s time for some face time.”

I thought, “Do I have to?”

Today there are a myriad of ways to use technology to see
who we’re having a conversation with. The results run the gamut from awkward to

You can use:

  • An app on your Smart Phone
  • An app on your Pad Computer
  • Your Laptop or Desktop computer via Skype or meeting

But you have to have a camera and microphone on the device.

Consider these things before you opt to call or
receive a  “Face Time”
call. No matter what device you are reading this on,
I want you to just turn around and look at what is behind you. Go ahead, I’ll

  1. Would you be comfortable with an unannounced visitor
    seeing that?
  2. Does the view of you and your surroundings convince
    people of your expertise?
  3. Will the prospect have a better impression of you?
  4. Will they remember you or your background images?
  5. Most importantly, does the background meet their
    expectations about you?

Face Time used to
mean an in-person meeting.
You knew it was going to happen. You dressed for
it. You got ready for it, reviewing information and honing your observations
and questions.

Today, you could be
face to face in a heartbeat. Here’s how to be ready:

  1. Plan for these calls. If you know
    it is going to happen you can be ready. If you plan for it you can better
    control what is going on around you. You won’t wind up talking from the
    back of cab on our way to a costume party which is where we connected with
    my nephew.
  2. Be aware of the background. In
    your office take the look suggested above. In the field, try to find a
    quiet place with a neutral background and a low probability of people
    wandering through it.
  3. Look at yourself before you answer
    and make sure to disconnect.
    Too often people that work from home simply forget where they are and the
    fact they are in their pajamas (or less). Then, too you can stay online
    with some technologies and not know it. Just disconnect if someone forgets
    to do so. You probably don’t want to know what you might see or overhear.

As Humphrey Bogart
would say, “Here’s lookin’ at you kid.”

Jerry Fletcher

Learn more about his
Marketing viewpoint

Promotion is Just One of the Seven Ps to Marketing Survival.

Suzie reported, “They didn’t change their marketing. This client came back from the fiscal edge by putting credit card operated vending machines in orthodontists offices.”

Suzie helps companies raise capital in tough times. She doesn’t pretend to be a marketing specialist.

I’ll come back to that company in a paragraph or two.  Pardon me while I dust off some basics and add a little from my approach.

Marketing consists of more than the four Ps you probably learned in your business courses in college. I prefer a passel of them.

From beginning to end they are:

  • Prospect Viewpoint What potential customers think, feel and believe about you
  • Profitable Niche A focused, targetable portion of a growing market.

  • Positioning A way to become unique and memorable in customer’s minds.

  • Persona  A Core of Trust wrapped ‘round by Product, Price and Passage (or distribution) encased in your Name.

  • Promotion All the ways you can influence, convince and persuade people to look at your product or service on line and off line.

  • Performance  How you build trust, ongoing relationships as well as repeat and referral business.

  • Perception Your reputation will be what the customer and the public decide it will be. This is your true “Brand.

“Suzie,” I said, “I have to meet the genius that came up with putting vending machines with all the parts required in orthdontist’s offices. That is brilliant. In one stroke he reduced his warehouse inventory, shortened patient waiting time and with the use of credit card payment eliminated aging problems on his receivables. And talk about competitive! That is one of the best ways to lock out competitors I‘ve ever heard about. It is absolutely great marketing.”

“Marketing?” she asked.

“Yes, marketing. It impacts three of the four components of Persona. The product is still orthodontic parts but now they don’t have to be individually ordered. The unit Price can be the same or lower (while maintaining or increasing margins) because there is less handling at all levels of the Passage. This change makes it easier to match inventory to the market requirements and allows manufacturing to build on demand for known requirements to restock the vending machines.”

“Well,” she groused, “When you put it that way maybe it is marketing but they were just trying to survive!”

I replied, “And that is a new definition of Marketing. It is rethinking how you go to market so you can survive.”

Jerry Fletcher is a marketing strategist thoroughly conversant with that passel of Ps. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Jerry Speaks professionally on all the components of business survival See and hear about his presentations at www.NetworkingNInja.com

Refer this blog to a friend or colleague that you think will find it helpful. Thanks for your help.



What Single Change Will Make Your Business More Profitable This Year?

 I told Mark, “I can’t make it to the meeting, I’m already scheduled.”

“So,” he said, “What suggestions would you like me to pass along? We’ll have a couple management consultants, an accountant and a CFO as well as a computer consultant at the table. We need your input as the resident marketing guy.”

Here’s what I told him:

Network. Do it on and offline. That means using what works for you. If you are on Twitter or Facebook and you have real, dollars in the pocket results, use them. For most Business to Business companies Linked In has proven to provide more and better contacts. But the single most powerful way to network is still face to face. Learn how to do it well. Remember, you want to have a conversation not deliver a commercial.

Speak. You can tell your story in person to more people that might buy your product or service by speaking to a group than any other way. Want to extend that? Make an audio or video of the speech and put the best parts on your web site.

Write. Do a story for the local paper. Put together an article or a column for an industry magazine. Blog about your expertise. Become the go to guy or gal in a forum that is mostly folks you would identify as ‘Perfect Clients’ or ‘Perfect Referral Sources.’ Author a book. (I have one coming out on Kindle called Website Words. It is part of a series of Quick &Clear guides).

Teach: The best way I’ve ever found to really understand any subject is to prepare to teach it. That includes your specialty, your expertise and the basis of your career. When we teach, we learn. We come to understand how others think about what we do. We see other viewpoints and  more ways to get to clarity. Both you and your students reap rewards.

Use Contact Management: This is the ’no-brainer’ that everyone overlooks. We all know that our memories are less than perfect. We all have great intentions but we overlook the sticky note we put on the desk or in the calendar or wherever and a perfectly good prospect gets lost in the shuffle.  There are free ones on line but for under 35 bucks a month you can have a system in the cloud that will keep you on track and will still be there even if your computer crashes.

Ask for the Order:  If you don’t ask the prospect to buy either directly or by putting him/her in a position to ask you to provide your product or service you will probably not get the order. Failure to close is the number one reason new business fold. Yes, accounts say it is cash flow but there is no flow if you don’t make a sale. Learn how people in your industry. Then determine if there is a way they would prefer to buy. Either way, you have to ask for the order.”

Jerry Fletcher is a strategic marketing consultant www.JerryFletcher.com

He speaks professionally as well www.NetworkingNinja.com

Please pass his blog along to a friend or colleague you feel would appreciate the advice.