Category

Sales

DIYMarketers with Ivana Taylor| Read It and Reap | Building Your Booming Business

DIYMarketers: Read It and Reap

By | Building Your Booming Business, Contact Manager - CRM, David Bryant Mitchell, Finance, Leadership, management, Marketing, Motivation, Operations, Sales, Strategic Planning, Systems | No Comments

I had a lot of fun on this interview…..caution, I had technical difficulties on my end at about 17:12, but check out how I worked around it and was able to get back on the call by 18:34….

Here is what Ivana Taylor says about the book:

“For years, David Mitchell has been coaching businesses and business leaders to success by helping them build the tools and processes they need to make a business successful.

He knows the secrets for why businesses succeed, why customers stay loyal or leave, and how to be an effective business leader.

Unfortunately, it would be impossible for him to coach every business, so now he has written Building Your Booming Business to share the main strategies businesses need if they want to get ahead and stay there in a competitive marketplace. And surprisingly, it’s not all about profit or even having a better product.”

Read More

How are you getting out in front?

Position?

By | Building Your Booming Business, Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning | No Comments

If you ask almost any business to describe how they are different from their competition, most say something like, “We provide the best quality with great service at an incredible price.” They don’t have any other way to explain it.

If that is what every business is telling its customer, then the only way a customer has to define the difference is price—and when your business is defined only by price, you become a commodity and are now involved in the “Price Limbo”—how low can you go?

To really connect with your customers, you need to clearly position yourself. Position is simply developing the message to communicate the value you have established in developing product and price.

The good news is if you have spent the necessary time in developing your product, it is extremely easy to develop your position.

Positioning is the set-up to developing your promotions and consists of two parts:

  1. Define your target market. Determine who needs to hear your message. The more specific the market, the more successful you will be. (We’ll dive into this next week)
  2. Define your message. Define the motivations of your target market. Then describe how your business solves a problem or fulfills a desire. This is where a copywriter comes in handy. Copywriters are professionals who are experts in writing to sell. They can help you sculpt this message and avoid most of the marketing trial and error it would otherwise require. With a clear message, the design can then be sculpted around it with logos, pictures, and graphic design. (More on this to come as well.

For now, stop using the “Quality, Service, Price” trifecta when talking to your customers. Start describing how it will impact their daily life.

Read More

Ask for what you're worth.

Get What You Deserve

By | Finance, Marketing, Sales | No Comments

My wife and her boss once had a discussion about a bid to clean and repair his gutters. He had shown her three bids and then asked her which she would choose. Not knowing anything else about the bids other than the price, she said she would go with the lowest one. She assumed that the bids were all for the exact same level of service. Her boss, however, said he was leaning more toward the highest bid because he had more confidence that company would do a good job. The difference was only in perception. He assumed a higher price included a higher quality service.

If you are not pricing yourself correctly, you are not communicating to your clients the message that you are better than the competition.

Even better—you are more likely to give better service if you feel you are being paid well for it. On the other-hand, if you are constantly dickering on price, you are more likely to cut corners so you can get to the next low-paying job, where you will be tempted to cut more corners.

How to Determine Your Price

Even if you are in a retail store, you usually have the option of setting your own price somewhere above Manufactured Suggested Retail Price, often referred to as the MSRP (unless you have a contractual agreement otherwise).

If you are already in business, take whatever you are charging and increase it by 10 percent tomorrow for any new clients. Measure the reaction you get from your customers. You’ll be surprised by how little it effects them. What’s more, many businesses can increase their price by 10 percent, lose 25 percent of their customers, and still bring home close to the same amount. Variable costs come down (usually the biggest expense for most businesses) and the stress level decreases. In fact, one client I worked with increased his price by 20% and improved his Net Revenue by 146%.

If you have not started your business yet, ask your market what it would be willing to pay. Do not ask your friends or family—they won’t give you an honest answer and are probably not your market anyway. Once you know what your market is willing to pay, increase it by 20 percent. Your customers are interested in getting a deal, but you are interested in making a profit. In addition, it’s easier to negotiate a new, lower price or provide discounts than it is to raise prices.

Remember: Your price reflects your value and is more than an exchange of goods for cash. It communicates to your market that you are the better choice.

Money is more than a piece of paper or a set of numbers on a check. It’s a thank you note. The more grateful customers are for what you did for them, the bigger the message on the note.

A word of caution: You cannot charge a premium price if your product/service is just like the competition’s.

 

Read More

Get Clear About Your Product

By | Marketing, Operations, Sales, Strategic Planning | No Comments

Get Clear About Your Product Marketing

Often we get so caught up in the technical aspects of our service or product, that we forget what problem it solves for our customer.

In order for you to communicate clearly with your customers through your marketing and sales, you have to become clear about three aspects of your product:

  1. What is the problem that you solve and what are the benefits your customer receives?
  2. What is the experience that your customer can expect?and
  3. How can you consistently deliver that benefit and experience?

 

Get clear on these, and you’ll begin to see how much better you attract your ideal customers.

What's the real difference between Marketing and Sales?

Marketing Vs. Sales

By | Marketing, Sales | No Comments

I often hear people getting Marketing and Sales confused. They are very different. Here’s how I define them:

Marketing gets them interested and in contact with you – they raise their hand to show their interest.

Your Sales has three components:

1) Deepen the Relationship
2) Close the Sale
3) Follow-Through

 

 

Read More

Don’t Lose Customers in the Final Stretch

By | Marketing, Operations, Sales | No Comments

This week I thought I would share with you a lack-luster customer experience that could have easily been several times better!

Good morning, I hope you have a great Monday morning.
So I’m here in Portland for conference and I’m staying at a hotel – which will remain nameless. It’ been a good hotel but there’s a few small problems that I thought I’d use as situational or great examples for you to help you win your own business.

As you walk in it’s a nice clean room (except for my junk sitting on the bed) Nice, clean room. Not a whole lot, a standard hotel. They’ve added a big screen TV very nice, very flat brand-new but here’s the problem: It doesn’t move. They’ve got a little disclaimer right her. It says that it doesn’t move around and if you break it you’ll pay for it. So, if I wanted to sit on the couch, watching TV might pose a problem. A minor inconvenience, but one that can damper your experience and make it that much less enjoyable.

Also, I like a lot of work in the evening so I have a nice desk here (even though it’s a little crowded with the coffee pot.) If I want to set up my laptop and get some work done maybe I could just move the coffee pot but . . . there’s no Internet to plug into. There’s no cord for me to get some high-speed Internet. This is a phone jack but it is not a high-speed Internet jack. I don’t usually make the habit of bringing an Internet cord with me.

That was just a couple of things. But this is the one that really got to me. I got up this morning ready to use the fitness room that was so avidly advertised. However my key didn’t work. I just thought it was a problem with my key. I go to the front desk and first of all the guy at the front desk wasn’t at the front desk, he was sitting on the sofa in the lobby watching TV. Just saying. But when he did finally recognize that I was standing there, his comment was that the fitness room doesn’t open until 10 o’clock because it might wake up the other guests. That kind of defeats the purpose. Most travelers, (I’m not going to say most because they’re some that do it in the evening) but many are going to want to do it in the morning . And they’re not going to want to do it after breakfast and they’re not going to want to do it an hour before checkout at 11 o’clock. Just some observations.

These are all good examples of ideas and marketing thoughts that they had. Things that they do to enhance the customer experience but they didn’t follow it all the way through, they didn’t think it all the way through.

That’s what I want to challenge you for this week:
What amenities, what little tweaks, what additions are you giving your customers that perhaps aren’t giving them what they asked for? It’s a nice thought, but because it’s not all the way thought through, they’re more angry than they are thrilled. Just think about that this week and implement and follow through on what you’re doing. We’ll see you on the other side.

Read More

Get your cash under control

Cash Flow Management

By | Accounting, Cost Controls, Finance, Sales | No Comments
Get your cash under control

photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc

The number one reason why banks fail? Cash. Reason why the mortgage and housing business went belly-up? Cash. The real difference between the rich and the poor? Cash.

Let me qualify this. There are assets that create wealth over time. Usually when you think of assets you think of houses, investments, etc. However, you still have to manage the cash that these assets produce.

It’s not enough to take home a profit. Cash in the business will give you flexibility to overcome down-turns and take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

I think it’s a good idea to look at a few strategies that will help you keep a bigger cash reserve and not run so close to the margins.

Collect revenue quickly.

This may sound simple, but I’ll bet you’ve had this problem. A big part of collecting starts before the project does.

You have to develop a discipline of billing and create systems to support it. Most A/R problems happen because of miscommunication or false expectations between the client, the contractor, and the billing office. So set your system and your processes to eliminate both.

Determine your payment policies.

If you are providing large-ticket items that may require you to finance or spread out payments for your clients, how you receive payment should be part of the proposal, explained from the beginning, and carefully laid out in all of your agreements. Deposits and expected payments depend on the size of the job or deliverable. The bigger the job, the lower the overall percent you will need to get the first few weeks of work started. Some jobs you may be able to collect only the material costs up-front and spread out payments as you need them. In many instances you should get half the agreed price up-front.

Regular and prompt invoices.

Again, this depends on the size of the job. For smaller products, invoices need to be delivered and collected the day of completion. On larger projects make sure you are billing monthly or every 15 days. Billing this way eliminates lags in your cash and also prevents sticker-shock for the customer. A side benefit is how much more closely you watch your material and supply costs associated with each job.

Price appropriately.

This is not just to help you win large proposals – this includes the services, materials, and supplies that you provide. A 2% change in your net revenue can mean a 30% change in your profits.
Here is a profit and loss that I analyzed for a small contractor and how I suggested he make changes.

 

A 20% increase in your price can create a 146% increase in your net sales

By increasing what he charged for labor and materials by 20% we were able to more than double his gross profits.

He was concerned that this would lose him bids – it didn’t. Instead he found that he was no longer in a bidding war. His customers were less likely to nickel-and-dime him on every little thing because they could see that he did not cut corners.
What profits are you missing out on by not pricing appropriately?

Review your overhead regularly.

I was sitting with a client not long ago and had suggested to him that he needed to raise his hourly rate. Over the months that we worked on his leadership and organization, he continued to resist raising his price. One day he had an epiphany. He wasn’t making enough money to cover his overhead and was not including his overhead costs in his bids. He decided he needed to raise his prices.

You would be surprised how a 2% change in an overhead cost like insurance can drastically impact the bottom line. Take your P&L and your cash flow statement and take it line-by-line and create a strategy on how to trim 1% from each expense.

While this is not an all-inclusive list, these are some of the easiest areas to review and keep in line.

  1. Labor – Do you have a staffing model that ties labor hours to production/revenue? How often is your staff going into over-time? Are you leveraging your own efforts by delegating properly?
  2. COGS – Do you know exactly how much of your raw materials go into your product? For restaurants this means portion control and strict recipes. For a contractor this means knowing how much material will be scrapped and how much of it you can “up-cycle” (or use in creative new ways?).
  3. Taxes – When was the last time you had a CPA check your taxes and not just prepare them? If your CPA or tax preparer is only preparing your reports and returns and not suggesting tax savings, it’s time to find one who does.
  4. Insurance – Whether it’s your liability, worker’s compensation, or employee benefits, having this reviewed and bid out to several providers every year can drastically reduce how much you pay.
  5. Facilities/Equipment – How much you pay in up-keep and repairs might be more than what it would cost to get new equipment.

By regularly reviewing your overhead as you look at your budget, you can increase your profit by tens of thousands of dollars every year.

A word of caution: Cutting expenses is good stewardship of your business and can really help you focus on what is most important for your continued success. The danger here is that a short-term gain in profitability by cutting expenses can hurt your long-term growth potential if you aren’t careful. Do your research to make sure you aren’t cutting yourself off at the knees.

If you are going to have a successful business, control your money. Don’t be ashamed to get paid what you’re worth. collect it quickly, and then be fastidious about how spend it. Cash is the fuel to your business. Don’t starve it to death.

Read More

Most businesses never ask for the business. A good call to action can make all the difference.

Call To Action

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Sales | No Comments

Most businesses never ask for the business. A good call to action can make all the difference.My youth pastor once shared a story with me about a high school pal he had run into on a business trip. As they discussed where their life paths had taken them, my pastor was surprised to find that not only had his friend become a faithful church-goer, but his friend was now serving as pastor of a congregation.

The high school pal had accompanied my pastor as teenagers to many activities, camps, and services; but had never taken the next step to join – always a visitor. When my pastor asked his friend why he had not joined in high school, the response was simple: “No one ever asked.”

Often we assume the customer will buy when they are ready, but in reality they have never been asked. Just putting your phone number on an ad or letting them know you are available is not a strong call to action. Even if your marketing method is a follow up phone call, letting them know you can help is not enough. Give them something specific to act on. A free estimate only takes you so far.

A strong call to action is based on your customer getting something very specific for taking only one small step. If they call you, what do they get for their phone call besides a sales pitch? If you are calling on them, what advantage do they have in meeting with you?

Take a look at the last credit card offer you got in the mail. They are pointing you to one action. “Guaranteed Acceptance,” “Lowest Interest Rates,” “Bonus Air Miles,” and “No-Fee Balance Transfers” are strong incentives intended to get you to fill out that form at the bottom.

Anther common mistake is asking someone to take too many steps at one time. Remember that sales – especially large dollar sales – are a process. Your initial intention is not to get their money. Your initial intention is to get them to contact you and voice an interest.

Selling is teaching. If you take the student too fast down the path, you will not only create confusion and disinterest, but also resentment. Think of a child who may not be as fast as others in the class to pick up on math. If she has someone to help her along at her own pace, she is much more likely to succeed and even start to enjoy the challenge. However, pushing her to keep up when she is not ready for it will only cause her to decide that “math is not her thing.”

Most importantly: just ask the question. What’s the worst that could happen? Don’t allow someone to opt out of enjoying your product only because you never asked.

 

So here is my ask:

 

I am looking for one business that has a solid track record and good potential for growth. I would like to enter into a form of partnership with you to help you grow your business and your profits.

I have a proven system to help grow your sales and profits.

I am so confident that my system will work with any company that I am willing to provide a money back guarantee if you agree to participate in my growth program.

To find out more, let me know here:

 

 

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.