Career Advice

Revealed: The Ultimate Lead Generation Tool

Revealed: The Ultimate Lead Generation Tool

By: Peter Lawless

Create a Referral Strategy
The strategy that I am referring to is a referral strategy. Most importantly, ask them for a referral!For those of you married or with partners, think back to when you met them. Were you with someone you know, was there a connection to someone you know - or were they complete strangers that you just walked up to?

Most businesses will tell you that they do really well due to word of mouth. How well do they do? Most can't quantify it. In addition very few have implemented any formal process or strategy to ensure a referral system is in place.

A Referral Strategy in Practice
Let me share with you a simple strategy, which was put in place by a service garage. You should strongly consider a variant of this strategy for your own business. The garage owner created a simple card, which outlined in 5 short bullets, why they were a great place to get your car service done.

They gave this form to all people who had just had their car serviced. There were two blank spaces on the form. The first one entitled the person whose name was filled in to a 10% discount on their next car service. The second space was for the person who had just had a service.

If the card was used, that person then got a 10% discount as well. In other words there was an incentive to pass on the referral. In addition, there was also a strong subliminal message to the person being referred. They were being told that not only had the referrer had their car serviced and that they were happy with it, they also were prepared to go back again to get their 10% discount.

Create a Referral Strategy Today:
1. List all of your existing customers and categorize them by niche.
2. Ask yourself, what incentive you can give them to send you leads.
3. Set yourself a target of how many referrals you are looking for from each customer.
4. Do it, and measure it.
5. Once you know what works, and what doesn't - modify your system accordingly.

An opportunity lost, could be an opportunity gained.
There is one other great place to get referrals. And that is from the prospects that don't become customers. Let's assume you lose the sale, for whatever reason. You must remember that there is actually good in all people! When they tell you have lost, be nice and understanding, you may do business again at a later stage. Most importantly, ask them for a referral. The chances are, human nature, will kick in and they can absolve their conscience by giving you a referral.

 

Author Bio
Business Owners who need more sales and better marketing advice, turn to Peter Lawless, of 3R Sales & Marketing. For previous articles and interviews like this, visit our website and subscribe to Success. We also provide free Sales & Marketing Assessments for Business Owners with an Irish Connection.

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The 7 Step Challenge - Does Your Marketing Company Measure Up?

The 7 Step Challenge - Does Your Marketing Company Measure Up?

By: Peter Lawless

All companies are set up with one key goal in mind - to make money. Owners and investors put money into a company based on a business idea and plan. However, without continued and profitable sales they will fail.

It is essential that business owners realise how crucial it is to plan their sales and marketing effectively. This means understanding why people buy their products, who buys them, what problems purchasing those products solve, and what solving those problems enables the purchaser to do. Finally understanding how customers will put a value on the ownership of the product, as well as understanding the cost of not buying them.

In line with this, it is also very important to know the decision making process and also who their competitors are. This will impact the sales and marketing strategy, as well as pricing.

If you are not an experienced Sales or Marketing Manager, or indeed do not have the time to do everything yourself, you should look to investing in some services to compliment your own skill set. Below are some criteria, you should consider, before deciding on someone to help you generate additional business;


Experience -
Do they have relevant experience in my type of business - Do they have satisfied customers?

Understanding -
Do they understand what my issues and problems are - More importantly, do they understand my target market's issues?

Methodology -
Do they follow and implement proven processes - Will they work for my business?

Measurement -
Do they track all results - Can I see exactly what I am getting for my money?

Shared Risk -
Do they work on a flat or fixed Fee - Or is their remuneration part based on my actual sales?

Credibility -
Do they sound believable - Am I prepared to trust the future of my business with this firm?

Integrity -
How honest are they with me - Are my customer contacts, plans and aspirations safe?

And finally

Passion -
Do they have a passion to succeed in their own business, which will reflect on what they do for my Business?

Any engagement with an outside firm should be based on partnership. You need to share common values, and beliefs. While all businesses should operate to make a profit, there also needs to be a guiding principle of care and customer service.

 

Author Bio
Business Owners who need more sales and better marketing advice, turn to Peter Lawless, of 3R Sales & Marketing. For previous articles and interviews like this, visit our website and subscribe to Success. We also provide free Sales & Marketing Assessments for Business Owners with an Irish Connection.

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Fishing for Leads - The 5 Steps

Fishing for Leads - The 5 Steps

By: Peter Lawless

The first thing that I noticed when I got onto the small boat at the harbour in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, was the cleanliness and order of the boat. The skipper in charge had all of the rods, upright, with their lines neatly tucked away, in holders. The holders were made out of piping, about 30cm long, which had been welded to the side of the boat.

A simple, inexpensive aid had made me sit up and pay attention. This skipper thought about his customers, and this device left a strong impression. We then got a very short lecture on safety, checked we had our life jackets on, and off we went. About 12 of us!

Finding your target market
About 12 minutes later, the skipper stopped the boat, and told us we should find some mackerel here. He explained that the lures on the hooks looked just like what mackerel wanted to eat. It certainly was not something I would have fancied!

He explained that through his experience and the help of a little sonar gadget on his boat, that he knew there was a shoal of fish below. We all slung our rods over the side and dropped our lines.

Reeling in the sale
Now I don't know about you, but this was totally new to me. I wound up the line frantically, as soon as I felt a tug, and hey presto, there were three fish dangling off the hooks. I started flailing about, one jumped off before I even got it in over the side, and when I was trying to reel it in the final bit I lost an other one. The one that I got in, I lost down the gutter when I finally got it off the hook.

The skipper explained to me, that once a fish took the bait, I should give a quick tug on the rod, to make sure it was firmly hooked. I should then take my time, to reel it in. Secure the rod in the holder, with the fish hanging over the bucket and deal with them one by one - I did, and I ended up with 20 fish, which delighted me, as I had set a target of 10, since my friend had caught 9 on his first time

So what are the lessons for marketing - if you are still with me, and have not already got most of them, here they are in business speak;
1. Set goals and targets that are realistic, and based on some valid foundation or research.
2. Have simple procedures set up, to make it easy to operate and for your customers to conduct business with you.
3. Speak in your prospects language, about what they want - it's a bit like the fish bait, unlikely that strawberries and cream will catch many mackerel!
4. Once you know what your prospects like, find out where they are, do some research and target them accordingly - as in our example, not much point in putting down shark bait in a shoal of mackerel.
5. Once you get your customers attention, or have a lead, qualify it, and ensure you follow up at all time to close the sale. Again the use of a good sales process is essential here.

The bottom line, if you know what problems or desires your customers have, and you can solve or fulfill these, while providing value for money, you will always be a winner.

And if you don't know the answer to that question, go ask the people who have already bought from you - they do!

 

Author Bio
Business Owners who need more sales and better marketing advice, turn to Peter Lawless, of 3R Sales & Marketing. For previous articles and interviews like this, visit our website and subscribe to Success. We also provide free Sales & Marketing Assessments for Business Owners with an Irish Connection.

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How To Attract Prospects To Your Business Magnetically

How To Attract Prospects To Your Business Magnetically

By: David Pineda

A magnet has the properties to attract certain metals, and a magnetic person has the qualities, talents, or skills to attract others in a magnetic like manner.

In the world of network marketing, how can someone acquire that type of personality, how can someone become a magnetic sponsor, and develop a large base of customers using magnetic like attributes?

Before I answer that question, read this quote:

"Nobody who bought a drill actually wanted a drill. They wanted a hole. Therefore, if you want to sell drills, you should advertise information about making holes - NOT information about drills!" - Perry Marshall

There is a lot of meaning behing this quote, but in a few words it contains the secret to becoming a highly successfull magnetic sponsor.

Would you rather spend $200 bucks on a drill, or first get free or inexpensive information to learn how to operate that drill properly and effectively? If you are like me, I am sure you would first learn more about how you can make a good hole with this tool before making that kind of purchase.

Would you rather buy from a salesperson who insists that his/her drill is the best tool for what you want to do? I wouldn't. Because I don't like to be sold, and I don't like people to pitch their sales number on me.

Would you rather buy from a person who gave you free information or inexpensive information on how to properly operate, and get the best results from that tool, and who did not try to pitch a drill on you?

Again, if you are like me, you would buy from a person who first took the time to educate you on how to make that hole proper. In your mind, this person is an expert in his/her field, he/she knows what he/she is talking about. So you sell yourself on buying that drill from him/her.

This is what many network marketers keep doing, they keep pitching their opportunities on their family, friends, relatives, and get all hyped up on the net, on their ads, and every one they encounter. But guess what? People do not care about your business opportunity, what they care about is a solution to their problems. In other words, you did not buy a business opportunity (drill) because you wanted one. You wanted a solution (hole) for more free time to spend with your family, be your own boss, earn a living online, or get rich, etc..

So, what you need to do instead of pitching your opportunity to your prospects, is to sell them inexpensive or give away free information that shows how to solve problems - how to drill that "hole."

If you can show them how to make that "hole", your prospects will come to the conclusion on their own without you pounding hard on them that they need a drill from you. Why? Because you gave them free knowledge or inexpensive information on how to accomplish their goal, and therefore earning their trust in you.

This is one of the main principles that will allow you to become magnetic and attract your prospects to come to you, instead of you chasing after them.

 

Author Bio
David Pineda is an active affiliate of Magnetic Sponsoring and of Turn Words Into Traffic. To request the complete free 10 day boot camp training course send an email to: networkmagnetism@sbcglobal.net or go to: www.davidhpineda.ws

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To get great coverage, you need a great media list

To get great coverage, you need a great media list

By: Shannon Cherry

You've written a great press release and it's ready to go.

But the bigger question remains: who do I send it to?

Before you begin sending the release to anyone and everyone, take heed. By not targeting the release to the right person at the right media outlet, your release will simply go into the trash and you'll never gain the respect of any reporter.

So look long and hard at your perfect release. Who would be truly interested in it? Let's face it, Oprah probably doesn't care you have developed additions to your product line.

So look for publications and media that match your target market, not where you'd like to appear.

Where to find media listings?
Once you determine who you want to send the release to generally, you need to get all the information on the media. You can use the following to find who your looking for:

1. Surf the 'Net. Several databases are available for a fee. But you may find they are out of your budget. In addition, there are several free listings of media on the Internet. These are great for a start, but often leave out important contact information and may never be updated.

2. Use the library. Most libraries have resource directories that list local and national media. Take a few hours and write down all the information you need. You'll need to remember, however, that since these directories are in print, many of the listings may be out of date.

3. Use what you already have. A savvy person is already monitoring what's going on in their target market's media, often to subscribing to publications and using RSS feeds & news alerts on the Internet. (Check out Google's News Alerts to create your own). Every time you find a story that is related to your topic, write down the name of the reporter and contact information.

Don't forget you need to verify the information. Editors and the like often change roles or switch companies, so regardless how recent you feel the information is that you have, you need to call to verify it. Gatekeepers (the receptionists) can often be protective with contact names and employee information and very seldom just give this information away. Asking them to verify what you have can prove to be more productive.

 

Author Bio
Shannon Cherry, APR, MA helps businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations to be heard. She's a marketing communications and public relations expert with more than 15 years experience and the owner of Cherry Communications. Subscribe today for Be Heard! a FREE biweekly ezine and get the FREE special report: "Be the Big Fish: Three No-Cost Publicity Tactics to Help You Be Heard." Go to: www.cherrycommunications.com/FreeReport.htm

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Your Marketing Funnel

Your Marketing Funnel

By: Alicia Forest

Do you often wonder why it is that some coaches and other solo service providers seem to be well-known and sought after in their niche and while others, many others (you, perhaps?), still struggle to attract all the clients they'd like?

I can give you a simple (really!) solution to that problem. It's called the Marketing Funnel and if you implement it in your business, I promise that you too can enjoy being considered an expert, in addition to selling more of your products and services. And you'll just have more fun!

You know what a funnel looks like, right? It's wide and the top and tapers down to a narrow opening. When your prospects enter your funnel through your ezine or other (usually) freebie offering, they are in the "getting to know you"level of the funnel. Once they get to know you, like you and trust you, they likely will move down to the next level, which will include your for-fee products and services, your least expensive ones first, increasing in value and cost as they continue downwards, until they eventually get to hiring you one-on-one or to your other big ticket item. That's basically how the funnel system of marketing works.

I see a lot of coaches and other solo service professionals offer a freebie at the top of their funnel, and then their one-on-one service packages at the bottom, with nothing in between. I've made this mistake myself. It's important to have offerings at each level of your marketing funnel so people can continue to get to know, like and trust you, as well as get to know, like and trust your products and services.

And when you offer your products and services at different price points, you are lowering the financial and emotional risk for your prospects. You are essentially making it impossible for them not to buy from you!

Implementing this system is easy. Get started by attract prospects into your funnel. Create a freebie offering (an ezine, mini ecourse, ebook, report, guide, checklist, etc.) and put a sign-up form 'above the fold' and prominently on your website. You'll want to add a link to your freebie offering in your email signature as well.

For example, one version of my current email signatures says:
"Are you on the verge of giving up on your business because you don't have enough clients?

Don't turn your back on your vision for entrepreneurial success. Get your FREE 5-day ecourse '5 Keys to Driving an Abundance of Clients to Your Business' by sending a blank email to clientabundance@aweber.com."

This is one highly effective way I attract folks into my funnel.

Once you have prospects in your funnel, find ways to give them more valuable content at increasingly higher prices as they go through the funnel.

For example, the second level of your funnel might offer an ebook for $27 or an ecource for $39. The third level might have a home study course for $147 or a series of teleseminars for $77 each. The fourth level might offer a boot camp for $347, and the fifth level might offer your one-on-one services for $500.

Get the picture? Fabulous - now go to it!

 

Author Bio
Alicia Forest, MBA, Multiple Streams Licensed Coach, & Founder of www.ClientAbundance.com, helps coaches and other solo service professionals to attract more clients, create profit-making products and services, make more sales, and ultimately make more money. 
For FREE tips on how to create your own Client Abundance, visit www.ClientAbundance.com.

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Take proper control of your company web site

Take proper control of your company web site

By: John Philip

I recently carried out a web-site review for a solid and successful company. It had followed most of the 'rules' for getting high traffic, but had somehow missed the mark. I suspect that a large number of visitors found the site unconvincing, uninspiring and unmemorable. The site certainly did little to enhance the company's otherwise very high reputation. I quickly spotted the problem, but it took me a while to figure out the underlying cause.

The problem itself was really very simple. Each page was fine on its own, but the site as a whole was not coherent. Some pages had long paragraphs while others were written in bullet points. Sentences varied hugely in length and complexity. Key staff were profiled by some departments, but not by others. Even key branding language varied, including, believe it or not, the name of the company!

The root of the problem was somewhere in the overall co-ordination of the site. The obvious conclusion was that whoever was in charge was not sufficiently skilled as an editor. But that was not enough. Why were senior executives not dealing with it?

The company's paper publications were excellent, with attention to detail and a common style across the range from annual reports and press releases to marketing materials and recruitment leaflets. Each department's copy passed through the hands of a small editorial team who corrected and improved the language and transformed it into a coherent company style. Beyond this, a director ensured consistency and co-ordinated the output of different departments in accordance with the board's strategic demands.

The web site was a totally different ball game.

The company leaders regarded the web site as a techie issue. The different departments were giving well-written copy, but there was no-one with proper editing experience to pull it together. Executives were satisfied with the web pages that were relevant to their own departmental responsibilities and were happy to leave the site management in the hands of someone who understood the technical issues involved. This was the equivalent of leaving paper publications in the hands of printers and graphic designers.

The lessons are clear. First, ensure proper executive oversight of your website. If it isn't already, your site will soon be the most frequently viewed representation of your company. Second, make full use of professional editors for your site's text. It depends upon your company's circumstances whether you are better off doing this in house or outsourcing.

 

Author Bio
John Philip has been a writer, editor and educator for over 30 years. He now mainly provides consultancy to businesses, professions and public services and continues to work for befirstgroup.com, which offers writing and editorial services.

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Positive language for a positive response

Positive language for a positive response

By: John Philip

The vast majority of business literature is boring. This applies to printed and web writing alike. It is sometimes tempting to inject a bit of light-heartedness into the text, but it is a dangerous game.

Some time ago, I edited the marketing materials produced by a London hotel. One of the hotel's attractions was its leisure centre, which included a well-equipped gym. The original script referred to a 'large satellite TV to give some relief from the torture.' Now, I have to admit that I agree with the sentiment. The strange machines in gyms are as painful as they are boring. Nevertheless, this was an unwise piece of ironic humour.

The gym is a selling point to people who already like hard exercise, not to couch potatoes like me. Why present a negative perception of the gym, however obviously it is intended as humour? Of course, it is unlikely to deter the hardened keep-fit fanatic and, no matter how the gym is marketed, I am a lost cause. The big risk is that it puts off someone who is wondering whether to try a gym during a leisure weekend. Reminding them that long-forgotten muscles are going to ache is perhaps not the best selling point.

We changed the brochure to say that the gym has a 'large satellite TV to keep you entertained.' The number of guests using the gym has increased. Enough said!

 

Author Bio
John Philip has been a writer, editor and educator for over 30 years. He now mainly provides consultancy to businesses, professions and public services and continues to work for befirstgroup.com, which offers writing and editorial services.

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About Logos

About Logos

By: Vukan Karadzic

What makes one logo better than another?

Simplicity.

A good logo works in the simplest form. It is a memorable representation of your brand and inspires confidence in your customers. It should be fresh and original -- without visual cliches or amateur effects. A logo is well-designed when it looks as good on a business card as it does on a web page or a billboard. To be functional, a good logo must reduce well to simple black & white or grayscale for use on faxes or in newspaper ads. The best logos are elegantly simple.

Why do you need a logo?
In a way, a logo is a visual shortcut to who you are. Your logo will establish your corporate identity and credibility. It builds loyalty among your clients and employees. You invest in your brand image every time your logo is displayed on a Web page, on a sign, or in an advertisement.

A professionally designed logo enables you to be immediately recognizable and must be unique, memorable and simple. Such a logo will become one of your most valuable corporate assets over time.

How does your current logo stack up?
Run down this logo quick test:

  • Does the logo have immediate impact?
  • Is it good to look at?
  • Is it distinctive?
  • Does it create or evoke a positive image?
  • Does it accurately represent the organization or business?
  • Is it straightforward?
  • Is it comprehensible?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Is it flexible?
  • Does it copy well?
  • Will it hold up to both large and small scale use?
  • Will it wear well over time?
  • Will you be proud to use it?

 

Author Bio
Vukan Karadzic is the main logo designer at E Logo Design company.

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Give 'em a Taste (and they'll likely come back for more)

Give 'em a Taste (and they'll likely come back for more)

By: Alicia Forest

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the original ice cream shop that offers you a taste of any flavor ice cream you want before you make your decision on which scoop you are going to enjoy.

Giving you a taste (or as many tastes of different flavors as you'd like) is a brilliant way to ensure that you not only order a cone at that moment, but it's also a way to bring you back to try more flavors on another day.

You can use this brilliant marketing strategy in building your business, too. Offering your prospects a taste of what it is that you provide is a proven and easy way to get people to become part of your community, and part of your marketing/product funnel (the funnel is the "journey" (that builds a relationship over time) that your clients follow from the first visit to your website, where they enter by giving you their contact information, down through each level as they make their way through each purchasing step in the funnel). By offering them a sample, you're giving them an opportunity to get to know you without risking anything more than perhaps a bit of time.

In your marketing/product funnel, the taste you are giving your potential clients is at the top of the funnel, the widest part. The taste is your freebie/complimentary/gift offering and is your first (and usually only!) opportunity to engage your prospect. Your taste needs to be something of value that you offer for free to people who visit your website in exchange for their contact information, usually their name and email address.

This is often one of the most overlooked steps in building an online business. A prospect needs to see your message many times (it ranges anywhere from 5-10) before they will feel confident enough to risk handing over their money to you. In order to build a relationship with people you need to be able to contact them again, which means your goal is to capture their email address before they click away from your website.

If they leave, it's unlikely that they will come back, so don't lose the opportunity to welcome them into your community, your funnel. They landed at your website because they were looking for something (usually a solution to a problem they are having, right? :)). Give them a taste of the solution you offer. And remember to make it easy for them: make your sign-up form or email so obvious that they'd have to trip over it not to notice it (yes, that includes pop-ups and the like, because even if they annoy you as much as they do me, they work!).

So, what can you offer of value in exchange for their email address? A newsletter, an ecourse, an audio clip, or a special report, are all good options. Personally, I like the offer of an ecourse AND an ezine. You give them a taste of what your services are like with the ecourse, and then you keep in touch with them on a regular basis with the ezine. The ezine allows you to build a bond with your readers in a uniquely personal way, letting them get to know, like and trust you over time, with you having to build that bond one-on-one.

So, one caution is to not offer any one-on-one interaction with you at this level. You want to leverage your time, and offering free consultations or one-time meetings with you is not a good use of your time. Let them get to know you over the course of your freebie offering. When and if they become serious about you and your products or services, they will move further down the funnel (from free to fee) without you having to "sell" them on what you provide during a complimentary session (how nice is that?).

So what is your taste going to be? Here are some other ideas:

  • write a Top Ten article about the benefits of your products and services, convert it to a PDF file, and offer it as a special report.
  • record a short audio about the three key things your niche needs to know about X.
  • create a mini ecourse that encompasses the five steps to getting started for your market.
  • or create a quick-start guide that helps your market focus on how to get started.

Once you've given them a taste, they will likely come back for more, eventually turning from a prospect to a client. Creating a taste of what you provide is easy and it's fun. Try it and watch what happens!

 

Author Bio
Alicia Forest, MBA, Multiple Streams Licensed Coach, & Founder of www.ClientAbundance.com, helps coaches and other solo service professionals to attract more clients, create profit-making products and services, make more sales, and ultimately make more money. 
For FREE tips on how to create your own Client Abundance, visit www.ClientAbundance.com

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