Many business owners make the mistake of thinking they can be a better boss than their idiot boss.
If they’re a technician, a worker, just because you’re good at what you do doesn’t mean you’re a good business owner.
So you’ve got to make the change to be a good business person.
And don’t blame the industry for your lack of success. Don’t play the blame game. What about the other guys who are lining their pockets with cash? They’re doing something different.
One thing differentiates the wealthy from the poor business owners. Struggling business owners spend time to save money. Successful business owners spend money to save time.
You can always get more money, but you never can get more time. This is called leverage.
This means investing in the 80/20 rule and doing the things that save time.
For example, if you get 10% better at marketing you can get exponential success. Why? Because that’s where the money is.
Marketing defined: the STRATEGY you use for getting your ideal target to know you, like you and trust you enough to become a customer.
Understand that marketing has changed: yellow pages versus Google ads, blogs, social media, and websites.
Don’t get caught up in tactics. Think strategy.
“If you build it, they will come.” Superior products have always existed that didn’t catch on (Betamax, Laserdisc). “Nothing happens until a sale is made.”
A good product or service is a customer retention tool, not marketing.
Marketing is customer acquisition.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking you as a small business can replicate the same strategy as big co – they have a different and a way bigger budget.
Small businesses can’t “brand” to the level of Nike and Coca Cola, because it requires massive volumes of ads across several platforms.
Direct response marketing is most effective for your small business. Why?
- It’s trackable (you know where the response came from)
- It’s measurable
- It uses compelling headlines and sales copy
- It targets a specific audience or niche
- It makes a specific offer
- It demands a response
- It includes multi-step, short-term followup
- It incorporates maintenance follow-up of unconverted leads
The 1-page marketing plan (1PMP) canvas walls you through this.
Go to 1pmp.com
Prospects are in the “Before” phase.
SELECTING YOUR TARGET MARKET
Your market is not everyone. Pick a niche. Why? You have a limited amount of money and you need to be relevant to a select group/subcategory. Inch wide, mile deep.
Niching makes price irrelevant – it’s why you’d be willing to pay more to a heart surgeon than a general practitioner. You’re paying for the specialty.
Dominate one niche at a time, then move to the next niche and dominate that.
To find your niche, do a PVP score. Personal fulfillment + Value to the marketplace + Profits.
Get in the minds of your target market and ideal customer. Create an avatar.
CRAFTING YOUR MESSAGE
Rather than trying to make a sale in your ads, simply invite your prospects to show interest. Give them a clear “what to do next” call-to-action.
Don’t say vague things like “don’t hesitate to call.”
Give potential customers multiple ways of reaching out. And don’t be the ad that just says “look at me!”
Instead, develop a “unique selling proposition” that makes you stand out from the crowd. “Why should I buy from rather than your nearest competitor?”
Don’t say “we have the best quality and great service” – these are expectations. A good USP is designed to attract prospects before they made a decision.
If you don’t have a USP, you’re competing on price which is a race to the bottom. Make it an apples to oranges comparison instead.
Answer these two questions:
- Why should they buy?
- Why should they buy from you?
When you confuse them, you lose them. Your message should have few options and little complexity.
Develop an elevator pitch, one that is customer and solution-focused. Not a job title.
For example, You know [problem]? Well, what we do is [solution]. In fact, [proof].
People purchase with emotions, they justify with logic after the fact.
The best way to do market research is by analyzing what people are actually buying (search trending categories on eBay or Amazon, Keyword Planner, and trending on social media) and not by polling them or doing focus groups.
Create an Irresistible Offer.
Value: what’s the most valuable thing you can do for your customer?
Language: speak in their jargon.
The reason why: when you have a great offer, you need to justify why you’re doing this.
Value stacking: pack in bonuses to make your offer seem like a no-brainer.
Upsells: add on a complementary product or service. Adds value and profit.
Payment plan: divide up the payments to make it easy.
Guarantee: outrageous guarantee. One that totally reversed the risk of doing business with you. No “satisfaction guaranteed.”
Scarcity: a reason why people need to respond immediately. Limited supply, limited time, limited resources.
Target the Pain
People are more willing to pay for a cure than for prevention.
Look for pain points in your industry and become the relief.
Copywriting is salesmanship in print. You need to write your sales copy as though you were talking directly to a single person.
Voice your personality, opinion, and authenticity. It’s why people tune into talking heads. And why YouTube and FB are so popular – we want to know what others think.
Don’t let your copy be “professional” and boring. Most businesses are too afraid to send a copy that will get them noticed. People are craving something new, something entertaining, something different.
Push emotions in your headlines:
Visit 1pmp.com for successful headlines to use.
Enter the conversation already going on in the customer’s mind. Address the elephant in room – address the risks associated with buying from you.
Also, address who the product or service is NOT for.
Find the “enemy in common” you have with your customer: ie Tax Man, the Fed, lack of time, etc.
Name your product or service to require absolutely no explanation. Always choose clarity over cleverness.
Reaching Prospects with Advertising Media
What gets measured, gets managed.
Hire experts that specialize in whatever media you decide is right for your campaign – they know the idiosyncrasies and technicalities of each platform. What you don’t WILL hurt you.
Rather than “getting your name out there” you’ll fare much better by concentrating on getting the name of your prospects here.
Return on investment is the measurement of success.
We have to find the front end, back end, and the lifetime value of a customer.
You need to hit all three of these to marketing right:
- Media (this does not have to be just social media – social a form of media, much like TV or radio.
Social media – it’s a social gathering, better for building relationships than advertising. And ownership; spend more time building up your own marketing assets (email lists, websites, blogs) and drive people there rather than Facebook.
Email Marketing is good because it’s your list.
- Don’t spam
- Be human
- Use commercial email systems (Mailchimp)
- Email regularly (once per week, at least once a month)
- Give value (three value emails for every one sales pitch)
- Automate (send welcome emails and campaigns to new subs)
- Getting it delivered
- Getting it opened (use compelling subject lines)
- Get the email read (crest compelling content)
It’s not dead, it complements your emails.
Have an unlimited budget for marketing that works. If I were selling $100 bills for $80, how many would you buy? And, If you’re worried about demand, raise your prices!!
Make sure you build your business (and source of leads) on brick, not sand. Make sure you have not one source of leads, but five; three of them paid media. Paid media forces you to measure ROI.
In direct response marketing, you get people who are interested in your service, not making an immediate sale.
Farm, don’t hunt. (Plant seeds and sow what you reap)
Weed out the leads, sift through the good with an “ethical bribe.” Use any one of your marketing assets to get good prospects to identify themselves.
Then, get their name, address, and email – add them to your CRM and viola’
If you try to sell from your ad, you’re only targeting 3%. And you sound desperate for business right now.
When you educate and teach, you’re sowing seeds. You’re seen as an expert and authority.
Examples might be “free reports” or “video education series on how to hire a private investigator.”
Instead of doing “random acts of marketing” put together an infrastructure that constantly brings in new leads.
The best salesman in the world sent snail mail to every person he had sold to, letters, handwritten, and hand-stamped in varying sizes and colors EVERY month. (Valentine’s day, St. Patty’s Day, etc)
In marketing, the money is in the followup.
Send them snail mail and email, and you become the top of mind product/service when they’re ready. Give value, never try to sell immediately. You’re a guest rather than a pest.
3 steps to achieve this:
- Advertise to find people who are interested with a lead magnet
- Add them to your database
- Nurture them by providing value
Your job is to market to them until they buy or die.
Tutorials, articles, case studies, monthly newsletters, book notes, etc.
Lead capture marketing assets:
- Lead capture websites
- Free recorded message lines
- Free reports
- Direct mail sequences
- Email sequences
- Social media
- Online videos and DVDs
- Podcasts and audio CDs
- Print ads
- Handwritten notes
- Email auto-responders
- SMS auto responders
- Shock and awe packages
“Lumpy mail” has something in the piece of snail mail that people tend to open.
Instead of just sending something via email with a PDF, blow them away! Send a physical box of something:
- DVD or CDs
- Testimonials in audio or written form
- Clippings from media
- Brochures, sales letters, or other material
- Independent reports or white papers
- Sample of your product, coupon or gift card,
- Handwritten notes saying thanks
You’ll need to hire these types of systems:
- The entrepreneur (visionary)
- The specialist (gets it done)
- The manager (makes it RECUR)
Outsourcing the recurring part is crucial! You can’t do all this and be the owner. Things will slip through the cracks. Hire a marketing admin and get a marketing calendar going. (Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis)
Daily: check social media and respond
Weekly: write a blog post and email to subs
Monthly: mail printed newsletter or postcard
Quarterly: send reactivation letter
Annually: send a gift basket and thanks
Setup event triggers. When someone sends you something, what happens.
Money is a renewable resource, but time is not. Have someone “manage the factory.”
Hire someone to develop your webinar, email sequence, write copy, and then hire an admin to keep these task recurring. Hire virtually and use global arbitrage.
Many customers have been bitten too many times. So not only are you not on even ground, you’re in the negative ground.
By now you’ve already pre-framed, pre-interested, and pre-motivate stour prospects using trust, authority, and credibility.
Position yourself as a professional, and, not a “busker” and you’ve entered a different market. You’ll be taken at your own appraisal.
Educate, educate, educate. With education, you build trust and go from pest to welcome guest. It also shows your willingness to be patient and not pushy.
“Better (to deal with) the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
- Email address (no Hotmail, Gmail)
- Phone number (get a national toll free or vanity #)
- Customer support or ticketing system
Set a result-oriented guarantee that blows away “satisfaction guaranteed.”
Offering too many choices deters buying, so limit your services or products.
Help customers avoid risk by offering an unlimited pricing strategy. Basically, a fee per month for unlimited service.
Offer “best in class” high price ticket items.
Resist the urge to discount.
Try before you buy “puppy dog close.”
Make it Easy for Customers to Buy From You
Avoid lengthy and useless forms, applications, and not taking credit cards. Take their preferred method, not yours.
Stop sales roadblocks.
Delivering a World-Class Experience
Build a tribe of raving fans. Stop transactional sales and convert customers into your evangelists.
Sell them what they want but give them what they need.
The mark of a winning business is going to be turn-key solutions that help customers through implementation to the desired result.
You may need to cut the process up into manageable, bite-sized pieces so that it doesn’t seem so daunting.
Helping your customers achieve roadblocks all the way through is leadership.
Create theater around your product or service.
Add some sexy-ness to your biz.
Use technology to reduce friction
The purpose of any new technology in your business is to eliminate friction.
Become a Voice of Value to your Tribe
Entrepreneurs are prolific creators of content. Want-trepreneurs are not.
Content creation fulfills the goal of becoming an expert in your niche. You’re also building relationships in a world that’s less high-pressure sales and more trust and education-based.
Tell Them All the Trouble You Go To
“It takes 119.5 seconds to pour a perfect pint of Guinness.” In your copy, tell your clients all the painstaking problems you go to do your service.
*OpenEye is a background investigation on steroids. It takes our experts several hours to complete these.
Products Make You Money, Systems Make You A Fortune
Systems allow mere mortals to run a successful business.
Once it’s replicable, you’ll get noticed by franchisers, other businesses wanting to buy you out, licensing agreements, customers who want consistent results, etc.
Scalable and replicable:
- Marketing system (consistent flow of leads)
- Sales system (lead nurture, follow up, conversion)
- Fulfillment system (the actual thing you do in exchange for money)
- Admin (HR, accounting, legal)
Most people get bogged down with fulfillment and administration want to neglect marketing and sales. The problem is customers don’t find out how good your products or services or until they have bought from you.
Smart business is going to great lengths to perfect their marketing and sales systems. This is where you develop an operations manual, in the form of checklists and video or audio training.
In doing the ops manual, you’ve built a:
- a valuable asset that can be sold
- Leverage and scalability
- Lower labor costs
- You can fire yourself, take 6-month vacations, unshackle yourself
Eliminate the bottleneck – YOU
your job as an entrepreneur is to be an innovator and a builder of systems.
One of the best tools you can use in building business systems is checklists.
It’s a three-step process:
- Identify all the roles in your business
- Define what tasks each role performs
- Create checklists for properly completing these tasks
*First-class training (checklists, video training)
Your Ultimate Customer
Think about if you’re wanting to exit and to sell your business for $50 million. Your buyer is the ultimate customer.
If YOU are the business, then you don’t HAVE a business. HAVING a business that gets bought is the biggest payout.
You need to think with the end in mind,
Increasing Customer Lifetime Value
Dig first on your own property when seeking treasure.
How to do this:
- Raise prices
- Ascension (moving to higher-priced, higher margined products or services) Have a “standard” or “premium” option.
- Frequency (vouchers, reminders, subscription)
- Reactivation (pull a name out of a database, give them a strong offer to come back like a gift card), ask what I’m you did wrong
Numbers tell us the whole story
- Conversion Rate
- Average Transaction Value
- Break-even point
If you change the numbers a small percentage, you could have a massive impact. Small hinges swing big doors.
Polluted Revenue and the Unequal Dollar
Not all revenue is good and not all growth is good. A dollar from suboptimal or toxic customers isn’t equal to a dollar from a raving fan customer. You cannot have:
- The Tribe****
- The Churners**
- The Vampires*
- The Snow Leopard***
Fire bad customers. A business should be fun and you want a group of cheerleaders that is your tribe.
Orchestrating and Stimulating Referrals
Don’t just hope and wait for “word of mouth” referrals to come your way.
The Law of 250 = everyone has about 250 people they would invite to a wedding or would attend their funeral. That means there are 250 potential customers for every person. Meaning, it’s about relationships, not transactions.
One of the best strategies in life is simply to ask for what you want. Ask for the referral.
“Don’t ask, don’t get.” Entrepreneurs make things happen – they don’t wait around for them to happen.
Script: “Mr. Customer, it’s been such a pleasure working with you. If you know anyone who’s in a similar situation to yourself, we’d love to give you one of these gift cards which entitles them to $100 off their first investigation with us. One of the reasons we’re able to keep our costs down is because we get a lot of our business from referrals from customers like you.
Another great strategy is to have your customers expect to give referrals during the onboarding phase:
Script: “Mr. Customer, I’m going to do an awesome job for you, but I need your help also. Most of our new business comes through referrals. This means that rather than paying for advertising to get new clients, we pass the cost savings directly to you. We typically get about three referrals from each new customer. When we’re finished working together and you’re 100% satisfied with the work we’ve done, I’d really appreciate it if you could keep in mind three or more other people who we could also help.”
Avoid the Bystander Effect
Instead of saying “if you know someone who needs a PI” specifically point to a person. Layout the exact demographic and job title of the people you work with and then provide a lead magnet (PDF or video for example).
Figure Out Who Has Your Customers Before You
- Sell the leads
- Exchange the leads
- Resell complementary products or services
- Become an affiliate referral partner
The best form of brand building is selling. After all, which came first? The brand Coca Cola or the sale.
Failure happens because
- Analysis Paralysis. Remember, 80% of out the door is better than 100% in the drawer. Entrepreneurs favor action:
- Inability to delegate. Pay people (especially experts) for their time and learn to “herd cats.”
- Thinking “my business is different.”
Entrepreneurs work in the results economy. Employees work in the time and effort for the money economy.
We take the risk. If we lose, we lose. If we win, we win big.
Avoid “playing business” and do business. Focus on marketing. Avoid procrastination.
Don’t be a turkey and run your business as if you’ll never be fed for the slaughter (disrupted).
Avoid random acts of marketing. Go from being a business owner to an expert marketer. The best marketer wins.