Category Archives: Sales

The Number 1 Valentine Business Mistake

Valentine Business 2013 Ross Kingsland

“What can you do to make people love your business a bit more?

This was the beginning of a terrible blog written by a “business consultant” who I will not embarass by naming them. The blog entry proceeded to describe many different ways and tactics for making people fall in love with their business.

I HAD to reply.

If nothing else, incase any poor guided person actually believed what had be written as sound business advice.

“If you are serious, it helps to change your perspective.

Fall in love with your clients first.

When was the last time you met someone special in your life and said to yourself – how am I going to make them love me?

If you use that approach the results will be the same in your personal life as in business – short lived and unfulfilling.

If you want to be loved – give first. Unconditionally. Do not expect anything in return. Do not do it to receive something in return.

That by definition is a transaction and will always be measured. If you do not meet that measurement the “relationship” is over.”

Make someone love you?

You can’t “make” someone do anything! Let alone fall in love with you.

Sadly many marketers and business owners are too quick to fall in love with their product, their business or brand.

Client don’t care about that. Why would they?

Instead be curous, Be interested in them, Love them

……and they will love you back.

Why Is Your Content Marketing Not Working?

Content is King Bill Gates Ross Kingsland

Content Marketing is consistently poor.

There are many discussions over what good content actually is, however most of it is unfocused, psychologically unsound and poorly executed.

So where is successful content marketing implemented and demonstrated? Rarely is it in large organisations. And they are not to blame for this. It is endemic. Content Marketing in the digital age has only just begun to be exploited. And most senior marketing managers have no experience of it.

But there are those of us out there who not only understand psychology and internet behaviour patterns but use them to our advantage to make content meaningful.

If you take one thing away from my post please let it be this.

All content marketing starts with this mindset: “You can have everything you want, if you help everyone else get everything they want

…….and I dont mean discounts for your “loyal” subscribers.

For a quick start on content marketing – get someone who is an expert on psychology. And I don’t just mean that they have read a book or two. Or partner up with someone who is.

The Content Marketing train is already pulling out of the station – don’t be left behind

How Are You Growing Your Business During A Recession With Limited Budget?

Grow Your Business With Limited Budget

One of the questions that I have received a lot in my inbox since 1st Jan 2013 is this:

“How can I grow my business significantly with little investment?”

I spoke with one of my clients only this morning who was facing this dilemma. He runs a small coaching consultancy, is in the process of writing his first book and wants to launch a seminar to his local community of businesses.

He recognises that his spend on marketing and advertising is limited and wants a good return. I should point out that he is highly intelligent and keen to make a positive impact on the world through sharing his message.

Here are his 2 biggest problems:

  1. His budget for the seminar and it’s marketing is limited
  2. He acknowledges that most companies and individuals are reducing expenditure

Do these problems sound similar to the issues facing your business today?

Let’s tackle these problems in reverse.

Companies and individuals are reducing expenditure

Every time there is a recession two things happen. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s an interesting statistic that there are more millionaires created during recessions than at any other time of an economic cycle.

And this isn’t even the domain of the millionaires. High income families always maintain their lifestyle during recessions.

This may sound implausible, so understand the car market which reflects the buying power of our demographics.

Sales of luxury cars are up (and increasing) sales of middle value hatchbacks are continuing to fall (by the way, the car market is the litmus of the confidence of the economy which is why it is always featured so heavily on the news).

The second consideration for “reducing expenditure” is this. The psychology behind companies and individuals reducing expenditure belies a hidden opportunity.

Those companies and individuals are in pain as a result of their perception of the recession. If you are intelligent you can develop a solution to their pain that will help them, not only survive, but thrive during the recession.

If your business is struggling I urge you to seek out someone who is successful during a recession. Anyone can make money during a boom, intelligent growth specialists succeed no matter what.

My budget is limited

Most people fall into this common mindset and are then limited in their thinking of what a solution may be.

I have been sought out for my innovative approaches to business models that leverage relationships so that everyone benefits.

How can you do this?

Strategic Partnerships

Going back to my client he was hoping to land a celebrity keynote speaker with no payment by saying that a percentage of the profits would be donated to his chosen charity.

As you can imagine being on the television he gets many requests like this and when asked, he politely refused.

So when we started working together I approached it in a slightly different way.

I asked my client to approach the celebrity and the charity at the same time, including the individuals on the same email. We worked on the tone and language of the email so that it eloquently put forward a proposition that was beneficial to the objectives of the charity and the celebrity.

As my dad always used to say “what’s in it for the other fella?”

We formed a partnership between us, the celebrity and the charity that would meet their needs ahead of our own.

Outcome

As you can imagine all three partners gained significant local press coverage and we were able to leverage the brand of the celebrity and the charity through a joint marketing.

This didn’t fill the seminar.

What did fill it was the 12 strategic partnerships that we were able to form with other suppliers using this same model.

I hope you use this model and have at least 10% of the success that my client.

Ross

ross@inceptionbusinesssolutions.com

3 Step Formula For Selling Anything Online

So, let’s imagine that you have developed a trusted relationship with your clients. You have led them through a process of demonstrating trust in your services or products but they don’t know what to do next.

All modern marketers live by the philosophy that you can always improve the effectiveness of your marketing through split testing.

And this is because the market changes so rapidly that we have to keep testing to find what works.

The biggest problem in online selling

Business owners and marketers have struggled with how to “pitch” online with variable results.

Worse case scenario: they have no strategy how to write an offer.

This is dangerous. You usually only have one chance and you can never go back and take the client through the process again. You are losing money at the final hurdle, the last step and it could be easily avoided.

This formula works consistently and across every industry because it is based on psychology. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. It works.

  • Here’s what I got – state what your product or service will do for them
  • Here’s what it will do for you – benefits on a superficial, psychological level and at a deep meta message level
  • Here’s what you need to do next – specific instructions coupled with psychological influencing strategies.

I have mentioned psychology several times during this because the formula without psychology will work. Add psychological influencing principles and your conversion rate increases considerably.

But do not read this idly. Test it against your current page. Only through split testing your web pages can you develop the most converting page for your website.

Halloween Special: How Groupon Kills Most Small Businesses

 

Groupon can make or break a small business.

As well as every testimonial on Groupon there are thousands of horror stories of small businesses losing significant amounts of money and in some instances, bankruptcy.

So, what is it that separates businesses who are successful and those who are less so?

Client Lifetime Value

In many Groupon horror stories a company will approach Groupon who will develop an advert for their email list and mail it to them. The business will then sit back and wait for the new “customers”. The business will fulfill their obligation to the Groupon voucher and the “customer” will consume the offer and leave.

And while this may work for a handful of businesses, very few actually capitalise fully with the Groupon offer.

A business philosophy of mine is this:

Customers are valuable, Clients are invaluable

The difference between a Groupon customer and a Groupon client is their lifetime value to your business.

A Groupon customer will be a one-off purchase and consumption of your service or product.

A Groupon client will be introduced to your business and will be led through a process where they can achieve the outcome they want.

To illustrate this with an example:

A hairdressing studio offers a cut and blow dry at a discounted rate through Groupon at £47.

A Groupon customer will come in for the cut and blow dry, use the voucher and leave having spent £47.  They are not contacted or marketed to again by the hairdressing studio.

A Groupon client will come in for the cut and blow dry. Their experience is increased through time spent discussing the cut, colouring, styling, products etc. The client is given an outstanding experience and their contact details are taken for further consultations. The client pays £47 and an additional £19 for hair products. THEN the Groupon client relationship is developed. They receive a follow-up email from the stylist with some suggestions on how to keep the style looking professional for longer. Over the course of several weeks they receive useful information on their hair, styling and colouring to maintain the professional look for longer. Then once trust has been developed a follow-up appointment is recommended to the client and agreed upon.

It is then possible to understand what the full lifetime value of your Groupon Client is rather than just thinking of them as customers who purchase once.

 

What Is The First Word You Think Of When I Say “Sales Person”?

“Greasy”, “deceptive”, “liar”, “slimy”, “manipulative”, “sleazy” one person shouted out “great guy”

So I asked “how many of you in this room are sales people, raise your hands?”

About 50% of the room raised their hands.

However, not all of them were aware that they were sales people.

“If you’re an owner of a business you had better be raising your hand” a further 30% raised their hand, and my last question had 99% with their hands in the air….

“If you are a parent you had better be raising your hand”

And I used the example because are kids great sales people. You don’t have to teach them with how to deal with rejection, they let it pass on by and keep coming. “You can’t have an ice cream” 10 minutes later they’re licking a cornetto with a smile on their face. No one taught them any scripts, nothing

What I want you to understand is that the single most important skill in life come down to one thing. We hate the word selling and all the negative conetations that come with that, but it’s the word that all leaders have.

So I’ll give you the word that it really is – influence.

What changes companies? Leaders. The only way to change a company is leadership.

Leaders solve problems and maximise resources.

If you could solve the problems then it would already be solved. You have to get others to help you do it, and that requires influence. If you can get people to maximise thier resources that requires influence.

If you’re going to get people to partner with you, provide resources or capital you need influence, develop supplier relationships. If you’re going to have an impact on your kids, on your community on the world then it requires influence

And yet most of us think of it as selling as so we don’t master it

If you can’t influence, you can’t lead

But if you can influence powerfully, intelligently and with integrity there is no limit to what you can envision and make real.

And if your influence becomes more than you just you and you are able to influence systems, people, companies, cultures,

If you can turn other people into influencers, now what ever you envision about can be made into reality.

So the question becomes, how do you influence? And how effective is your current strategy?

Profit Builders: Do You Have Customers Or Clients?

It’s interesting how we position our selves, products and services often without realising the impact of what is happening and the subsequent effect to our business.

To use one example:

Around your office or business, do you use the word customer or client?

Although this sounds like a very small difference the effect on your relationship with them is dictated by this.

To understand this we can use the Webster Dictionary

Definition of “Customer“: one that purchases a commodity

Definition of “Client“: one that is under the protection of another, a person who engages the professional advice or services of another

Consider what the impact of this really is.

If you have customers, the position that you are adopting is that they are purchasing commodities. Commodities are abundant, replicable and replaceable. If your business perspective is based on this, how do those customers then view you offerings?

It becomes very difficult to differentiate yourself, charge a premium, develop loyalty to you if that is also their perception of you – a commodity provider.

Conversely, by using the word client in its place your whole perspective changes. You are now a trusted advisor to them. You have their best interest at heart – above your own.

And what happens to you in the eyes of the client? You become trusted, they show you loyalty, you are irreplaceable, you are needed.  Your purpose is to give your clients the best short term and long term results and benefits.

That may not sound like much of a strategy for increasing profit but look at it from the other side.

You will never let they buy less than they should, or at least you won’t be shy about offering and recommending, if appropriate, that they buy more because you have their best interests at heart.

Imagine that you were a doctor. You have a duty of care to your clients (patients). If someone who was sick came to see you and at the end of the consultation they ask which medicine of the two you recommend. It is your duty to recommend the medicine that you believe will give the most benefits and fewest side effects. Or would you let them take the “cheaper” that may have more side effects with fewer benefits?

Customers will see you as a commodity provider.

Clients will see you as trusted advisors.

Is Your Business Marketing Tactically Or Strategically?

Many clients and business professionals I speak with often confuse the two and regard nearly everything they do as strategic – well it sounds more professional for a start. But dig a little deeper and businesses rarely utilise a strategic marketing approach.

There is a considerable risk in the tactical approach.

Running a business from a tactical perspective always means that you are chasing one marketing campaign and launching straight into the next one. When I was launching a service provider into the health sector I came into the role of Marketing Director and found that their marketing department was very busy being tactical with no overarching strategy. There was no reason for many of the tools that were being employed other than to “be seen by our customers and maybe we’ll get a few sales”.

So the company had gone from one conference or trade show to the next trying to showcase their service. Short term the tactical marketing strategy had a limited success. A handful of leads were generated and of that a small percentage converted.

The strategic approach

Now I’m not saying that what I did was brilliant or even clever, as someone who has always got to the route of a problem quickly we discovered that by the nature of the tactical approach the customer leads that were being generated were next to useless. Here’s why.

In the National Health Service staff change roles and responsibilities frequently. The single biggest problem with the marketing tactics that were being employed was that it targeted individuals that were only usually in their role for one year. This was significant because it meant that each year the sales team had to go out and start the sales process all over again with brand new prospects who had never heard of our organisation before.

First thing I did was identify the target decision makers in each area of the country and started to build a marketing campaign around the existing relationships that we had and leveraging that for strategic referrals and relationship building. Recognising that resources were limited I approached a company who was in a similar space with a complimentary service and formed a joint venture. This meant that they were also marketing our product in front of the customer even when we weren’t there. I called it a pincer movement.

By embedding our service into the heart of the appropriate NHS service at a strategic level the company saw a rise in profits from £48k in year one (at which point I was brought in) to £3.4million by year 3.

I’m pleased to say that we were able to do this at a time when the NHS was being completely reorganised with a reduction in spend of up to 50% in the areas that the company was working with.

My advice would be that by focusing on tactics you will only ever achieve the level of success that tactics will bring.

A strategic perspective in your approach will bring the rewards you really are aspiring for.

There Are Only 3 Ways To Increase Revenue

I was working with my personal trainer the other day who came to me with a problem:

“How can I grow my client base?”

One of the principles I learnt very early on in my career was that the first question that someone asks you is rarely the real question they want answered. What he really wanted to know was “how can I make more money?”.

While this question obviously has a lot more depth behind it, for the purpose of this blog I will tell what I told him.

“There are only 3 ways that you can increase your revenue.

1. Increase the number of clients you work with

2. Increase the revenue per transaction per client

3. Increase the frequency that they purchase”

That’s it. Now, the secret to this answer is this. Each principle can be ranked according to how easy it is to achieve.

Increase revenue per transaction per client.

This is by far the easiest principle to implement. You set out an up front “contract” of the service that you will deliver against how much it will cost the client to achieve that result. Once you have a client in your system they develop loyalty to you (if you are genuinely providing an outstanding service) and will stay with you even if your fees increase.

Increase the frequency that they purchase

If clients working with you they are predisposed to give you money for your services. Why not – they are already doing it so there is already implicit trust established and bonding the two of you. As their trusted advisor, coach, mentor, trainer if you recommend something they are much more likely to purchase this based on the trust that they already have in you.

Increase the number of new clients that you work with

By far the “hardest” of the three as you are going out into the marketplace to attract new clients to you. This is where most marketers spend most of their time looking at new ways to reach a niche with the latest technologies. When marketed exceptionally the results are very high, executed good to average the results are average at best. Competition is too intense to be anything less than exceptional – long gone are the days when just about any form of marketing and advertising worked.

Assess what principle you are currently using. Assess what principle the best in your industry are using. I guarantee this. Most of the top names in most industries communicate more to their own customers than they do trying to attract new customers.

Why? Because they recognise the power of word of mouth and viral information in our world which is more powerful than any marketing message that they can craft that might meet some of the wants and needs of new customers.

How Do You Develop A Relationship With Clients On Email?

 

When I ask business leaders, CEOs and Managing Directors where does most of their business come from the reply, 99% of the time, is the same.

From our existing customer base.

Yet very few businesses have a strategy on how to continutally engage, upsell, cross sell or sell more to our existing customers. Instead 80% of budgets and usually more, will be spent on attracting new customers.

So let’s turn that on it’s head.

How do we leverage our customer base so it is generating revenue at an optimal level.

The psychology behind increasing sales from within our existing customer base is that they have already bought from you, or at the very least are on your mailing list. You have a dialogue, and from that you can start to build trust.

You will, of course be segmenting your lists of customers to establish at what stage of the customer cycle they are at and how you want to move them along.

No? Well let’s leave that for another day. In the meantime let’s focus on developing a relationship with a client.

Newsletters are dead

Just because it is news to you doesnt mean that anyone else cares. In the 3 second world we live in today, unless your communication instantly speaks to your client they will ignore – or worse – unsubscribe.

The Trust Bank Balance

Trust in you is very low. First you need to start increasing that trust through thought through, deliberate trust building communication. As you repeat this their level of trust in you will slowly increase. Then when you are at a stage where they trust in your AND see the results then ask them for the money.

If you do it before this you are likely to wind up the same as every other company out there – shouting at the customer to try and get them to part with their hard earned money.

There are several ways to do this which I will share with you in a later blog.