The DIFM Kid

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The DIFM Kid

I gave up.   January 1st was the day that I was done.

I gotta just focus on what I do well and maybe do that better.

Now I pay a 14 year old whiz kid (a friend of my son),  to just do technology stuff for me now.  “The DIFM Kid” (Do It For Me) is what I call him. (He is pictured here as rendered by my wife)  I don’t pay him a lot.  But the ROI is unbelievable.

Let him set up the Netflix on the Wii, let him set up my wife’s new Facebook Business Page, let him figure out how to connect the piano keyboard to the PC so we can record some of my son’s music.  Let him figure out why the wifi sync doesn’t work or why we need two Routers now because of all the stuff using whatever it is they use.

I’m not stupid.  Some people (and this is hilarious) think I might be a little on the  “techie” side of the ledger.   ( LOL- that’s called Acting man) but it is getting harder out there.  I don’t have the time,  but I have the need.

I just realized no matter how many manuals and instructions I read, or how many tutorials or videos I watch, I’m not going to get it.  Or I am not going to get it done fast enough.   Or sometimes I am going to make it even worse.   And maybe I need to focus on what I do well already and quit wasting time on stuff I don’t.

And now word has spread about “The DIFM Kid” and me using him.  Now everybody in the extended family is asking for him.  He disappears on Sundays 3 towns over at brother in-law’s house to go set up a new TV or to fix a slow laptop or to connect a transmitter to an outside thermometer.    There’s a darn waiting list for him and texts asking “When is “The DIFM Kid” gonna be around? ”  Things are looking great for him.

There are a lot of us out there feeling that way, consumers and small businesses alike.

You don’t have to look that far to see that Do It For Me services are going to explode not just in my family but in the marketplace too.  I see them every day grow stronger and stronger where I work.    They’ve been around forever,  but now the speed in which new becomes old, or good becomes just OK or keeping up becomes “What the hell just happened?”  is accelerating at a pace where DIY ( Do It Yourself) might soon feel so yesterday

That smacks of opportunity.  Be ready- The next DIFM Kid could ( or maybe should) be you. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Your Favorites & Mine

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Your Favorites & Mine

Happy Friday and New Year,

Here’s a quick look back at 2011. 

The votes are in (ok the views).  Here are the top 5 (listed 1-5) most viewed blog posts at this site in 2011; presumably your favorites.  Good taste I’d say and thank you for your readership. I’ve added 5 others I’d add as my favorites.

Look around a bit.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Steal something shamelessly and grow the business?  

 

Top 5 Most Read Posts (2011)

You Had Me At Hello (and then, you just let me go)

The Most Powerful Phrase In Sales

Offline, Online & Flatline

My 25 Secrets Of Selling To Small Businesses

Help For Looooonnngg Sales Cycles

 

My 5 Favorite Posts of 2011 (aside from above!) 

Customs Fail and Redemption

From Have To Believe

Crushed

A Training Veteran

Larry Bird?

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Sharpen Your Sales Message

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Stop yourself just for a moment.  Breathe.   And Think.   

Listen to yourself or look at what you are writing.  Is it really what it should be?

Sharpen your Sales Messaging.   

It’s odd sometimes how much energy we spend pulling all the levers that we do to improve sales but often don’t take enough time to look hard or re-look at the very first lever – the most critical lever: Sales Messaging.

If your sales messaging is poo then it doesn’t matter how often or in how many ways you say it or distribute that sales message – it’s still poo.

  • It’s not “We have a special right now..”,  it’s “This special we have right now is flying out the door..”
  • It’s not “We can help you get Online..”, it’s “We can help you get more good leads …”
  • It’s not “There’s a price break at 2,000….”, it’s  “Hold on, let me save you some money here…”
  • It’s not “I’m calling to see what your supply of..”,  it’s  “I’m calling to take something off your to do list..”
  • It’s not “We’ve updated the product to include…”, it’s “Most people are flocking to the updated product because….”
  • It’s not “We have a some brand new Holiday cards and gifts this year…”, it’s “ Let’s help you stand out from your competitors this year..”
  • It’s not “We can customize this for you and add those things you want..”,  it’s “Let’s make your life easier for you…”

You get it.

But be honest with yourself.  Are you doing it?

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Consistency

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Seems like not everyone “gets it” these days.

 

Open your shop 15 minutes late or have your product fail, or disconnect a caller even once and those prospects that were waiting in your parking lot, or considering the upgrade or just looking for pricing won’t come back like they used to.   

 

It’s too easy to go somewhere else.

 

And it’s easier now to tattle on your inconsistencies, making even infrequent inconsistency seem like an epidemic.

 

Consistency isn’t sexy like your Groupon Sales plan or your YouTube buzz, yet its absence more than ever, can kill your wildest of business dreams. 

 

 

Till next time,

 

Grow The Business.

 

Mark

 

 

Mondays are busy.  All Monday posts are 100 words or less. 

What’s Easy

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image from hockeyindependent.com

I write a lot about easy.  But this one’s a little different.

I write often about how important it is to small business customers and prospects that your products are easy, that your website is easy, that your billing is easy, that your ordering is easy, or that your customer service is easy.    Basically easy is what small business needs.  

Here’s the rub though.  What’s easy for small business isn’t necessarily easy for you.

What’s easy for small business is:

  • To Keep Who They Got:   Dislodging a vendor in a small business is not easy.  Last I checked SB’s don’t have a team of sales or process strategists charged with looking at the value of bringing something or somebody in brand new.  Nope it’s more like, “I’ve been with them forever”, or “I know his family”, or “It’s too much work to change mid year”, or “This thing is like 1/100th of my budget why do I care?” etc. etc.     You have got to make it easier to switch.

 

  • To Blow You Off:   Heck, they themselves are or were, sales reps or account managers in one way or another for their own business-most of em’ anyway.  And they have staff trained to get rid of sales reps and marketers like you and some personally make it an art to avoid everybody but customers, family, their accountant or their banker.  It’s not that they don’t think you have a good product, it’s just that there’s no darn time to spare.    You have got to make it easier to see why just a little time with you might be valuable.

 

  • To Not Believe You:  The Small Business owner who has that type A personality, and is the wearer of all hats, and with the ego through the roof and the work ethic like nobody else;– Is she going to flat out just believe you when you say you can help grow her business?  Heck no.  You have to make it easier for her to trust you. 

 

 

I usually end all my posts with real applications, real ways to get it done.  I usually give you a few things you can just run with right now and tackle the problem and grow the business. 

That would be too easy. 

And there’s a better way.  Though this blog is only 6 months old, type in the search box the word “easy” (10 posts) or “value” (13 posts) or “credibility” (7 posts) or any darn word you think might be make sense.  Therein is a lot more help to make it easier for you and your customers.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Easy Still Needs To Get Easier

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Fax machines ain’t dead yet.   Especially in small businesses.  But of course it’s not the machine itself that matters; it’s what it still does really well that does.   I got a neat lesson about that not long ago.  

Last month I had the luck of sharing lunch with one of our operations leaders while on a visit to our Canadian facility.    He had just conducted a tour of his area that morning and was animatedly recounting the response he gave to the question about why there is still a healthy volume of faxed orders from small businesses.

“Here’s why…” he said and deftly picked up an imaginary order form, proceeded to circle an imaginary box, write in an imaginary quantity and then stick it into an imaginary fax machine. Done.

Sweet.  Simple.  Quaint even.  So Easy.

And that is the point.   For a small business, it is easier (and sometimes a heck of a lot easier) to stick with the old than go with the new “Easier Ways”.

Let’s take an online reorder of a product.  Maybe it’s new name plates, or business cards or truck parts or whatever.   And think about the online ordering process experience from just about any company.

In this typical small business you’ve got to find a computer you can use to place this order (it’s not like everyone at a small business has one readily available)…. open up a Browser….find the Vendor…. get past the “Sell” area landing page and find the Existing Customer area (you know up at the top right somewhere…. in the tiny print)….. find that Sign in button….. Enter Email address…. Login name… remember or dig for, the darned Password….. Place the order…. Verify…. Validate…. etc etc.  Is it simple? Yes, for some.

But some find it “easier” to grab the reorder form that was mailed to them, circle a spot, write in the quantity and fax it. 

Others find it easier still, to remember nothing at all other than the bloody company name, pick up the phone, talk to a human and place a reorder.  

This isn’t a knock on web plays for small business; this is a reminder that “Making it Easier” is a critical factor for small businesses.  And always will be.

Warrilow (a leading researcher of small business) often reminds us that the majority of small businesses are not early adopters of technology but I’d contend that is as much about how easy (or not)  something new is to do versus how easy it is to do today as anything else- especially for small business.

So two easy questions to ask yourself when you are trying to provide support and solutions for your small business customer;

  • How can your recommendation “make things easier” than the current product and/or supplier in use today?  Write down those answers for your favorite products and embed them in your contacts and conversations.

 

  • Is the reason a SB won’t budge or buy really because the solution will require “more work” on the clients’ part than they do today? (Even if just in the transition?)  If yes, remove the work!   Invest in whatever it takes to do this; the return you get versus price obsession or proving ROI will be significant.

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark