Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Standard

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a little more free time, just maybe this one Friday, to spend with your kids?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry so much about being half way through the month and the pile of bills on the desk is already 8 inches high?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you felt like you could be more confident about what people thought of you?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry about being safe or being taken advantage of by anyone?

Wouldn’t it be nice you felt like you can’t focus on the important things because you are so darn busy?

Wouldn’t it be nice to not always pray that nobody really knows just how confused you are about some things some of the time?

 

It sure would be.

But I’m not talking about you.  I’m talking about the small business owner you.  He or she is thinking these things all darn day and you can help them.

You serve these people.  You help these people.  You love these people.

And chances are what you do and what you have helps every one of them with all of the angst they have above.

Maybe you can help them put that best face forward to the whole world both online and off- line.  Maybe you can get them more calls, more visits, more leads and more money for that stack of bills.  Maybe you can take hours off their plates with your super cool products, services or widgets so they can take this afternoon with the kids.  Maybe you can secure their payments or their business or their workers and lessen the worry.  Maybe you can help them feel it’s OK not to quite understand digital marketing or financial products or even  custom full color print because heck, you’ll teach em’.

Make no mistake.  The products you are schlepping are worth nothing.  They are silly, stupid and dumb.   It’s what they do that matters.  And further, it’s what they do emotionally that really matters.

So go out there and help these people.  Make their day.  Don’t talk about pricing and sizes and subscriptions and colors and shipping fees.  Help them take a load off and ease a bit of their burdens.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Big Whoop

Standard

big whoop

Big Whoop

 

  • You have a new dry cleaning store that also provides a unique pick up service?  Big Whoop.
  • You have a new service that writes blog posts for your business so you don’t have to?  Big Whoop.
  • You have  loan acquisition product for my bank that is cheaper than my current partner?  Big Whoop.
  • You have all in one online and offline marketing product suite?  Big Whoop.
  • You have an online fraud prevention product that is tablet friendly?  Big Whoop.

*****

  • Big Whoop cuz’ I wash and iron my own dress shirts.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I don’t blog on my business website.
  • Big Whoop cuz’  the pain of switching to you blinds me just thinking about it.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I don’t care what you have my business is small.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I am very careful.

We spend a lot of time focused on why clients and prospects should choose us.  So much time.  So much time it is often sickening.

We need to spend more time on why clients and prospects should even choose at all.

Big Whoop is what you never hear your client say but what they often think.  Let’s be honest, most businesses and consumers are getting it done today, somehow or some way.

Your job is to get them to think change, to want to change, to inspire or scare them into change.  Get them to think differently.  Get them off the status quo.   

Status quo is ten times the enemy your competitor ever will be.  Go focus on that. 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Plan Ahead (and Behind)

Standard

Plan Ahead ( and Behind) 

It’s always a risk to see my mug on video first thing in the morning – but here are two short ones to jump start your day with messages about planning.

The first one can help you like, today.. 

This next one can help you like, forever…

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Platinum Question(s) Are Better

Standard

platinum

Longer post today, but I think worth it.   Scroll worthy for sure – maybe even print worthy.  Hang in till the end but only if you want to be more successful.    

If you are in sales or marketing, you’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase the “Golden question”.  It’s usually a crafted discovery question in which the answer tells you the sales person, whether the client or prospect is “ripe” for a sale, cross sell or upsell. 

Golden questions are fine.  Many aren’t that golden however.  [Although I do remember one from a pet supply mail order company where the agent asks the inbound caller “Are you going to get little (insert pet name here) something for Christmas this year?” and if the caller says “yes” – then release the hounds ( pardon the pun) of sales pitches, cross sells and upsells now!!!  That one wasn’t bad.]

Golden questions are fine but have drawbacks.  They usually come out of no where, reek of “Here comes the sales pitch” and have no perceived immediate value to the customer or prospect that has to answer them.   Platinum questions are much better. 

Platinum questions are a term I use for questions that give you the same valuable information as a golden question but do so in such a way that does not raise sales tension or customer fatigue in the interaction. 

In more detail … Platinum questions are presumptive discovery questions that make sense to the customer or prospect. They make sense because the answers are beneficial to them and the reason they called, stopped by or visited your site.  In addition, Platinum questions give you the seller, vital information and credibility to leverage and transition from in the sales process. 

That’s a mouthful so let’s put it to real life.  Let’s say you work in a print shop that does lots of things for a small business like a wide range of print, to designing logos, to providing websites, to offering online marketing products etc etc.

In walks a customer who wants to reorder some business cards.  Perfect.  Now, you could do what you’ve always done and say “Is everything staying the same on these on these cards?” and then (unless you feel like getting rejected) you could start pitching all of your other services.

Or you could ask a Platinum question or two.

  • “You’re ordering more business cards.. Great. Since you last ordered these have you made any changes to your website, your email address or social media sites you use for the business?”

Anything the customer answers is valuable.   Even the simple “No – nothing’s changed” (which tells you a lot) to “Um…I don’t have a website yet” to “..What social media sites do you mean?” to just asking “Why do you ask?”  are awesome answers.

And the answer to “Why do you ask?” of course is the truth – you ask because you are a pro and know that many small businesses put their website address via a QR code and all their Twitter/LinkedIn/FaceBookr logos on the business cards these days (I’ve even seen them on printed checks).  So these questions make sense to the customer as to why you are asking them – these questions are in their interest to help you get this business card order done just right.   And the answers give you amazing, as good as golden information with half the pain. 

Here’s the real beauty of the question; It’s presumptive ( “…have you made any changes?”)  – it assumes the client already has a website and uses social media generously.  You ask it like you’ve been there before and that other small businesses do this all the time.  That’s brilliant on your part because you are educating and teaching at the same time.  It also tells you in an instant; (in a way that does not sales stress or fatigue the customer) whether they even have a website (or ever thought of a QR code)  and how they feel or don’t feel about online marketing (i.e. if they use social media for business that’s a good hint they may have interest in focusing more calories there).  In so many ways, you have a painless transition point to talk about other services much more easily than by just pitching and praying.

You’re not done with Platinum questions just yet in your print shop.  Let’s go for two.   

  • “Any major changes in your business since last time you ordered business cards – any new services, products or anything?”

 “Why do you ask?”

  •  “Oh, well sometimes folks want to call it out on their business cards, or even update their logos to reflect the changes”.

Ding Ding.  You get it.  You asked a presumptive question in the interest of the client’s need to get the business cards done right. Makes perfect sense.  And you learned if you have inertia to talk about a logo refresh.

Platinum questions take some crafting- so do those supposed Golden questions.  But Platinum is soooo much better.

It doesn’t matter if you sell forklifts for a living and are moving into propane delivery services or maybe you sell commercial insurance and are branching into risk and compliance consulting – when those customers call you for maintenance or to renew policies- you’ll have crafted those Platinum questions optimizing the customers current need and setting the stage for further help and sales.

It doesn’t matter if you are in customer service or technical support and have some obligation to upsell or generate leads – crafting Platinum questions works perfectly well here too.  Those discovery questions that help the client get their problem fixed well but tell you much about them and lead to great sales conversations are doable (I know, I’ve helped craft them before). 

In the end, you don’t have to do Platinum questions and can continue to do discovery the old fashioned painful way:  ‘Do you have a website?” “Ever thought of updating your logo”?  or “Who is your current propane delivery provider?” You can do that and raise sales tension, customer fatigue and get what you’ve always got right up to through your golden years.

Or, you can spend time right now by yourself or with your team – and go Platinum. 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

2 Videos, 3 Minutes and Grow The Business

Standard

 

Two very short videos today.  One about doing something way better than the phrase “How I can help you?” and the other about the power of not always having the answer!  Take the 3 minutes and apply right away.  Business growth ahead! 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Tangibly Speaking

Standard

Blue Sun

Tangibly Speaking

How timely. 

The Cool factor for this ad? A 10.  And psychologically smart too. 

Kudos to the Blue Sun.  

As it happens, later today I’m presenting six effective ways to teach and coach to selling products and services that are less tangible than others.  The audience is a group of motivated sales leaders.  One of those six ways was one I didn’t expect to see in seat 19B yesterday.

As my flight was descending into Minneapolis yesterday afternoon, I was forced to shut down (ok – hide) all electronics –so I picked up the Sky Magazine to read.  I flipped through the ads for the best plastic surgeon(s?) in the world and the many lunch dating services (I would definitely need the former before I could take advantage of the latter – and um..of course, er.. not be married.), but then I fell upon on page 58.  Oh Joy! 

Here it was!  An “in print” example of working around what many sales and service people face who try and create interest in, or sell, intangible products – It was a wonderful means to get people to actually just “try it”!

The TechnoMarine ad copy says “Lift here to experience Blue Sun on your wrist”.   And there gloriously lay, a perforated cut out you could lift out and place on your wrist.   

I know what the makers of Blue Sun are thinking- that it’s one thing to read about the watch and see nice pictures but to “see” the watch on your wrist? – now, that is something.

I know a “watch” is not intangible or abstract like my training focus later today but TechnoMarine knows that selling a watch in a magazine is for all intents and purposes an “abstract” timepiece trapped in a two dimensional pixilated prison.  And what I know about selling abstract products and services also applies here in that you have to often  “try it” or “experience it” before you make a decision or even move the sales process forward. 

Pretend you are selling a financial management dashboard or a social media business portal – you have to get your clients hands on the keyboard and immersed in her screen and that dashboard a bit first –like the ubiquitous test drive.  It’s akin to having that faux paper watch wrapped around your wrist to see how it fits

What I love about the watch ad is how quickly you can experience it. Boom!  Lift it and wrap it around your wrist.  Easy Peasy.  And there is a QR code on the back and you can learn more about it.  The Blue Sun ad is like the steroid version of the “scratch and sniff” print ads.- one swipe and you’ve got the experience – but in this case you can really wear it. 

The broader point is simple too.   “Try it” opportunities that allow you to test drive products – even when those products aren’t super abstract or intangible like a watch or a new car, (pardon the pun) are key.  They always were and they always are.   In the crazy world today where we have less and less time to get our prospects attention – it’s important especially when your product or service is not crystal clear immediately, to create those opportunities when a client can “wear” it.  

Keep creating those free trial apps, the Freemiums, the virtual realities and the test drives for abstract and intangible products and services.  And if you ever get a chance to put a perforated cut out of your product in an airline magazine – do that too. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter