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September 12th, 2011

 

 
September 12, 2011 | When it comes to running their businesses, many business owners get in their own way.

For example, they hire an assistant but don’t give the assistant anything to do. Or, the assistant suggests changes, which the business owner swore were welcome, only to be completely ignored.

It’s difficult to let go. Change is the single most threatening thing to the human being. “What if my new assistant makes a mistake?” The irony here is that we all make mistakes; somehow, however, we tolerate our own better than others’.

What could be improved in your business? Your quoting system? Returning phone calls and emails? Attending to the finishing touches on a job? Marketing more consistently? Pricing more profitably? Hiring the right people? All of the above?

I have a client who just hired a couple to organize him. They are fantastic. He’s thrilled to have them. Yet, at a meeting earlier this week, he kept saying, “I this” and “I that.” With the two others sitting there, it was “I, I, I.”

After a few minutes of this, I asked him, “What are these two doing sitting here, if you’re still taking every single thing on your own shoulders? You alone can’t get it all done; what are you doing to yourself? When are you going to include them in what you’re doing? It’s about ‘we,’ not ‘I’.” At that point he wrote ‘WE” on the page with his notes.

Control freaks bring stress upon themselves. With so many truly competent people out there, give yourself a break! By trying to save money or hoarding all the tasks for yourself, you’re giving your business no chance to grow.

It isn’t just the economy, after all.

July 25th, 2011

 

 
July 20, 2011 | A few days ago I was consulting by phone with a BroadsOnBusiness.com member.

A husband and wife run a roofing business. After the last “meeting,” they had sent me examples of their direct mail pieces. It was left to me to tell them gently that these pieces screamed. Fortunately, they took it very well. The husband told me that the reason they sent me their materials to critique in the first place was that they suspected they weren’t nearly so professional as they could be.

One of my observations was that they said every single thing they did on every single mailing, which I stated was telling too much at one time (in one place) and creating confusion. If someone sees how many services you provide, what’s to stop them from worrying about where you’re more or less expert?

Certainly it’s important for your clients to know everything you do, but that’s over a period of time, not shouted out during first or early encounters. In this case it was rather obvious why the mailings were missing the mark.

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July 12th, 2011

 

 
July 12, 2011 | All too often I hear people say they don’t have the money to market. That’s because there’s an overwhelming marketplace perception that marketing and media advertising are the same thing.

Not so. Advertising can be a part of your Marketing Plan, but marketing isn’t just advertising.

In marketing it’s not what you spend, it’s how you spend it. Unfortunately, most people don’t spend their marketing budgets of money, people and time wisely.

For example, here in Fort Collins, CO (pop. approx. 135,000), an average breakfast for two costs $25.00; an average lunch, $35.00. Do two of each per month, and you’ll spend $120.00, for which you probably can’t purchase an ad (and who wants to buy just one ad, anyway?).

In busy season, you might wish to limit yourself to early breakfasts before the workday begins. That will drive the cost lower. So will coffees instead of meals. It’s all about establishing the priority for one-on-one face-to-face encounters.

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July 5th, 2011

 

 
July 5, 2011 | If people buy from us based on the emotional considerations of confidence, comfort level and trust, why are we so eager to say things that will erode those qualities and our chances of ongoing relationships?

Let’s start with your new hire. The first thing to teach him or her is not to reveal how short a time they’ve been with you.

Someone calls with a question and gets the answer, “I don’t know; I just started working here last week.” Now what in blazes does that do to get the question answered and provide good customer service?

Better answer, “That’s a good question, and I don’t know the answer. If you’ll give me until tomorrow, though, I’ll find out and call you back.”

Undelivered promises like this are so prevalent that, when your new employee does call back on schedule with the answer, he/she gets a “Wow!” What a marketing opportunity! What did this cost in money and time to do what you said you would?

On the rare chance that someone will ask your employee how long he’s been with your company, educate him/her to say, “A while.” A while can be as little as three seconds, but the person asking won’t know that!

For subs: when they’re working for you, they’re working for you. Your company shirt, your business card with their name. For that project, they agree to be representing your company. None of this, “Well, you see, I don’t really work for him; he just brought me in to . . .” Huh-uh. You want to appear as if you have more people whom you train and supervise, not someone you brought in to help out because your staff is bare-boned and you were slammed. Quality control doubts suddenly appear.

Someone once said, “The devil is in the details.” I say, “Marketing is the little things.” Tend to them to create and maintain your best image and impressions in the marketplace.

June 30th, 2011

 

 
June 29, 2011 | If someone were to ask you about your company’s marketing, how would you answer?

     ”It works great!”
     ”I’m totally frustrated about the money we’ve wasted on marketing.”
     ”I know I need to market, but I don’t know where to begin!”

Regardless of how you’d answer, we can help you make your marketing dollars absolutely sing! Adrienne Zoble, whom many of you have heard at Deck Expos, will give you ideas that you can implement immediately.

Little time, next to no dollars.

Stay tuned. Details to follow.

June 30th, 2011

 

 
June 29, 2011 | How much do you know about your clients? Their hobbies? The organizations they belong to? Their favorite sports or vacation spots?

Over the years I’ve observed that business owners learn very little about their clients/customers. Oh sure, they know a bit about what they do, their names and addresses, how to reach them by phone or email, maybe even their websites.

That information is simply the tip of the iceberg, however. Each of your clients is a potential advocate (someone who’s referred you more than once and/or says terrific things about you at the drop of a hat). Each of your clients can save you significant marketing dollars, by leading business your way. And I’m not just talking about referrals.

I’m talking about exposure.

Who can you meet through your clients, because you’ve learned the circles they move in?

Can you be their guest at a professional society (organizations for those in private practice) or trade meeting? Or a vendor at a fundraiser where they’re actively involved? How about a few rounds of golf at their country club? Tennis, anyone? Sporting events?

Business owners covet generating business from doctors, for example, because of their affluence. Knowing this, doctors have become less and less accessible. If your client trusts you, however, and introduces you to medical colleagues, who knows what might happen?

It’s not always what you know, but whom you know; and it’s quite likely that you know many important people. What are you doing about it?

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June 21st, 2011

 

 
June 20, 2011 | As a deck builder or supplier, you probably receive a fair amount of calls asking for the name of a good roofer, plumber or someone else in some aspect of construction.

You may take these calls in one of two ways:

  1. as pains in the neck or
  2. as opportunities for referrals

It depends upon whether your glass is half empty or half full.

First of all, these calls are compliments. You’re being recognized as a go-to person, whose advice is trustworthy. You can’t earn a better reputation than that. Next, once you refer an expert in the requested field, you have a chance to close the loop.

Close the loop? Sure. Let’s say you recommend roofer Charles Smith. Do you simply give his name and number; or do you do that with one more step, which is calling Charles Smith to say you just referred him? “Hey, Charlie, just got a call from a Ms. Jones, who wanted the name of a good roofer; and I gave her your name. If you don’t hear from her in a week, let me know; and I’ll give you her phone number.”

All you did was refer someone you believe in. By letting him (or her) know, however, or closing the loop, you communicated to Charlie that you’re actively referring him.

Which means, at the first opportunity, he’ll probably return the favor. Easy, huh? What did it cost you in money and time? Nothing and perhaps two minutes, right? But you just engaged in some of the best marketing there is, by putting out a marker that will be repaid. Perhaps over and over again.

Adrienne Zoble Associates, Inc.
Helping Business Owners and Executives Sell More In Less Time
Visit www.broadsonbusiness.com to learn how to market consistently, yet inexpensively.
azoble@azobleassoc.com
(ph) 970-282-1150 (or toll-free at 1-866-282-1150)
(f) 970-282-1152