No Secret Potion, Magic Beans or Fairy Dust

There is no secret potion, magic beans or fairy dust required to meet your 2014 goals.

Yes, it is getting close to that time of the year again – the dreaded fourth quarter. A time when many business owners review their financials and breathe a sigh of relief, or go into full-blown panic mode because the results are not there.

So, how is the end-of-year stacking up for your business? Are you feeling good about all you and your team have accomplished so far this year, or are you scrambling for a quick fix to try and salvage the final quarter?

If you are searching for a secret potion, magic beans or fairy dust to supernaturally improve things, then please stop! Review the May 13th and May 28th blog articles I posted titled, It’s Time to “Ante Up”! and Who Wants Customers For Life? You will find some great tips to help improve your top- and bottom-line results.

Magic Potion2

Next, if you are truly committed to building a profitable, scalable and sustainable business for the long haul, then invest more time, energy and resources into the following areas: Continue reading…

Building Your Sales Message

What would you say to a prospective buyer if you only had 30 seconds to make an interest creating remark to get that all important first meeting?

Well guess what … this is about all the time you have to make a positive first impression that will hopefully lead to future sales. In most networking and social interactions, 30 seconds or less is the standard to grab their attention. You see, we humans have rather short attention spans and are easily distracted.

Building Your Sales Message

So, what’s the secret to capturing a prospective buyer’s attention in a crowded room or a crowded marketplace bombarded by literally thousands of daily sales messages? Continue reading…

Customer Experience: It’s a Journey

The customer experience truly is a journey. If your goal is to build customer relationships for life, then there are some logical steps to take to move those relationships forward in a positive way.

In the previous two articles we addressed ways to dramatically improve financial performance without major investments, and the importance of retaining profitable customers for life. Now let’s discuss how to establish those lifetime customer relationships.

Customer Experience

The life-cycle of any great business relationship begins with the initial contact and progresses forward from that point. However, the experience doesn’t have to be overly complex. At the end of the day we all want the same thing when it comes to the customer experience. Each of us wants to feel important.

How do we enrich the customer experience, and begin to establish those lifetime business relationships?

Continue reading…

Who Wants Customers For Life?

Más ventas y beneficios. Mehr Umsatz und Gewinn. Plures venditiones et expletia. Yes, in any language “more sales and profits” are the magic elixirs for a business. However, one of the most overlooked and misunderstood benchmarks for business success is the Lifetime Value (LTV) of a Customer.

In the May 13th blog article I provided a number of ways to help business owners improve their revenue and profit projections with minimal additional cash outlay. In this article, we will focus on the importance of retaining profitable customers for life.

Who wants customers for life?

The short answer is … every business owner who wants to remain in business for the long haul. The chart below illustrates why retaining 100% of those profitable customers should be a top priority for any growth business.

Profitable Customers

Profitable Customers

When you look at the landscape of the majority of businesses, a limited number of key customers often dominate the profits achieved. In a typical business situation 20% of the customers’ can account for as much as 75% – 80% of the profits. This principle is called Pareto’s Law. Continue reading…

It’s Time to “Up the Ante”!

Yes, it is almost that time again. Mid-year is just around the corner and you know what that means. The halfway point of the 2nd quarter is generally when muscles begin to tighten (you know which ones I’m talking about) for many business owners as they reflect on their year-to-date financial performance.

BIG QUESTION: How are you going to overcome the current budget shortfall with only 2.5 quarters remaining in the calendar year?

Time to Up the AnteIf you’re behind in your financial projections, it’s time to “up the ante”! No, I’m not suggesting that you just open up the check book and toss money at the problem. In fact, here are some recommended ways to dramatically increase revenues and profits with only minimal investments.

There are three basic ways to grow a business – increase prices, sell more to existing customers and sell to new customers. The primary goal for any business owner should be to get more customers to buy more, and more often. So, start with the basics and go from there to determine what actions are necessary to improve results. Continue reading…

Competitive Advantage: A Fleeting Fancy

Competitive advantage is the favorable position an organization seeks in order to be more profitable than its competitors. It involves communicating a greater perceived value to a selected market(s) than the competition currently provides.

In effect, competitive advantage occurs when a company acquires or develops an attribute or attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors. Notice the words perceived value and currently have been underscored above to make a point. A competitive advantage can be short-lived because of three critical factors – market perception, innovation and time.

Competitive Advantage

Now, there are a plethora of ways to differentiate your product/service or company from competitors in order to gain a perceived competitive advantage. Some of the more common ways include: Continue reading…

Entrepreneurship: The Path to Prosperity

It is a path well-traveled, but not without peril. Being an entrepreneur is risky business and the odds are stacked against you. You’ve seen the statistics, 50% to 75% of all new business starts fail within the first 3-5 years.

So, why do so many people choose entrepreneurship as the path to prosperity?

The reasons ‘why’ are numerous and whether entrepreneurship was thrust upon you due to a job loss, or born out of a desire for change, we all share a common goal. All of us are seeking a better life and to build something special that we can take pride in.

Prosperity

Although the path to prosperity can’t be assured, here are some things to keep in front of you that will help you reach your destination. Continue reading…

Is Social Media the Next ISDN?

“The stench of vaporware hung heavily in the air.”

This past year the Telco’s unceremoniously laid the Integrated Services Data Network (ISDN) to rest after more than 25 years of failed promises and lackluster performance. Will social media for business suffer a similar fate in the not too distant future?

Social Media

The comments above will no doubt raise a few eyebrows from my friends in the social media community, but it is a question worth considering further. Continue reading…

Preparing for Success in 2014

Preparing for success in 2014. What does success look like and what should we do different in the new year to reach our goals? When we start the planning cycle for a new calendar year that is generally how the conversation starts, isn’t it?

In reaching our lofty goals, we generally begin by identifying what we need to do differently in order to achieve success. But is this really the optimal starting point? Let me offer another approach to help you successfully reach your goals and financial targets.

Success

Rather than focusing on what to do ‘different’, focus on what to do ‘better’ as a first step. Continue reading…

What Does a ‘No’ Response Really Mean?

What does a ‘no’ response really mean? The previous article addressed some of the common language, communication and media challenges we encounter when attempting to connect with the market. Now let’s shift gears and discuss what a no response really means and more importantly, what to do about it to improve response rates and sales results.

No Response

Regardless of the method of communication – i.e. direct mail, email, social media, text, etc. your goal should always be twofold. First, to grab the prospective buyer’s attention and second, to move them to an eventual sale.

In doing so, it helps to work the industry averages in your favor. For example, the typical open rates for email campaigns vary from 15% to 30%, and the response (click) rates from 2.5% to 3.5%, based on factors such as industry and company size. For direct mail, the response rates average between 1.5% and 4.5%. And improving on the industry averages should translate to better close rates, if you have a compelling value proposition and offer.

So, what are some of the steps you should take to improve response rates? Continue reading…