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Reaching The Unreachable Referral

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THE ISSUE:
Someone you’ve been referred to can’t be reached and isn’t returning your calls.  Nothing else can happen until this is done.  It’s frustrating.  But, it can be addressed.

THE INSIGHT/S:
Assume your referrals are distracted and self-absorbed.  Why?  Because they are!  Consequently, ‘breaking through the clutter’ won’t be easy unless you can appeal to what they perceive to be either a) potential threats to their safety or life and/or b) possible opportunities that will improve their position.

THE RECOMMENDATION:
Focus someone’s attention on what they don’t know . . . and ignorance isn’t going to be bliss, either!

THE ACTIONS:

Research . . . your referral to learn what would cause PAIN or offer GAIN

Appeal . . . to your referral’s self interest . . . based on what your research suggests

Wait . . . for a response from your referral . . . it will happen if you’ve done the above correctly

You’re Invited . . .
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Does Networking Make You Feel D-I-R-T-Y?

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http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-suffering-pain-businesswoman-headache-image25232862

Granted, the title sounds a bit naughty, doesn’t it?  But it’s true!

The prestigious Harvard Business Review recently published an article that validates this is, in fact, true.

This particular article originated from a 2006 study in which the researchers demonstrated a direct connection between moral purity and physical purity.  It’s actually called The Macbeth Effect.

In the rather gory Shakespearean play, Macbeth . . .  Lady Macbeth literally has ‘blood on her hands’ and indulges in incessant hand-washing as a result.

Lady Macbeth’s famous line, “Out, out…spot”  wasn’t referring to the dog who wanted to go out to do his business.  It was actually the blood on her hands from the intrigues of the play that prompted that line.  But, I digress . . . 🙂

Why Business Networking Makes You Feel Dirty

Believing that moral lapses lead to physical feelings of being impure or ‘dirty’, these brave social scientists set out to test their hypothesis that when you engage in business networking — it evokes feelings of being non-authentic (ergo ‘dirty’) more often and more intensely than if you engage in social networking with your friends.

I won’t bore you with their marvelous methodology, but . . . they proved their hypothesis!

There IS a correlation between engaging in business networking that produces feelings of being ‘unclean’ that social networking doesn’t generate.  Which, is why we sometime hear someone say, “I need to take a shower after going to a networking event”.  In many ways, they’re not kidding!

Networking Isn’t The Problem, It’s Your Motivation For Doing It

The research study didn’t just reveal that many people feel, well . . . ‘dirty’ when they network for business, they revealed an important insight into why!

One of the groups examined in this study was lawyers.  (Please, no jokes).

The researchers looked at how senior partners vs. newer associates in a law firm felt after engaging in business networking.  They found senior partners felt LESS ‘dirty’ as a result of networking activity than the newer associates felt after doing the very same thing.

It’s About Value . . . Who’s Got It and Who Needs It

The conclusion of the study was that business networking is an activity that does not, by itself, make anyone feel dirty. But the degree of self-interest being exhibited by someone in a networking exchange was far more likely to determine if they felt dirty or not.

Think about it.  The partners were going into a networking exchange with (usually) more value than their junior associates.  In their case, value meant these partners were bringing substantial resources into a networking exchange — their extensive network of connections, access to resources of all kinds, etc. was much greater than what a junior legal associate might bring into a networking exchange.

Are You a ‘Giver’ or a ‘Taker’?

On the other hand, a newer associate has relatively less power to bring into a networking exchange and a lot of reason to seek to take something valuable out of it — can you help me find a good position, can you mentor me in the firm, can you tell me who are the players in town, etc. These newer legal associates bring more need than power into a networking exchange and, that generates feelings that make them feel ‘needy’ and that’s not a good feeling to have.  Neither is feeling dirty.  See the connection?

“Is This About Me or . . . About You?”

The study concluded that you’re LESS likely to feel dirty from business networking IF:

1) you believe you have valuable ‘resources’ — contacts, information, etc. — to offer, and

2) you seek to give value to others more than you seek to gain value for yourself

That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

untitledTake an extreme situation.  Let’s say you’re playing ‘Santa Claus’ for a kid’s holiday party.  Everybody’s going to love you.  So why would your role as the great benefactor (Santa) and the ‘resources’  you bring (presents) make you feel badly or, ‘dirty’ in any way?  Answer: it wouldn’t be possible!

Now take a different but equally ‘extreme’ situation.  You’ve lost your job.  You haven’t been able to find another.  You’re low on funds.  You’re feeling depressed, hungry and getting a little desperate, too.  You hear about a Community Christmas party sponsored by The Salvation Army.  There will be food and gifts for the homeless and unemployed.

You never saw yourself ever attending an event like this when you were working but, this year, things have changed.  Drastically.  You decide to attend.  Reluctantly.

So why are you attending?  Are you planning to give anything to anyone.  Nope.  Your motivation is to take value for yourself.

Nothing wrong with that.  Especially if you’re going through a difficult time in your life.  But that also changes your mental framework of the ‘exchange’ event from one where your motivation is to give . . . to one where your motivation is to take . . . value away from the exchange.

The BIG Takeaways!

Networking is a Contact Sport
If you want to network effectively, you have to go and show up.  Networking is, by definition, a ‘contact’ sport. Like the lottery commercials say, “You can’t win if you don’t play”.

Framework Matters
If you don’t view networking in a positive light, you’ll find all kinds of reasons not to do it.  And, if you don’t do it (or, rarely), you won’t develop this important business building skill.

Attitude Matters
An attitude that empowers you to network with others comes when you see yourself as:

1)  bringing great value to others in every exchange you have with people, and

2)  seeking to give your value to others more than you seek gain for yourself

BNI’s Ivan Meisner had it right long ago – “Givers Gain”.  Now you know why!

Life is a Party . . . And You’re The Host
My mother was very successful in real estate.  Her career spanned 42 years.  She threw a lot of parties over the years.  Invariably, she would greet a guest when they arrived and say, “I’m so glad you’re here.  Come with me . . . I have someone I want you to meet”.  Mom was connector.  She was always adding value to other people in her own inimitable way.

One day I asked her the secret for her success.  She said, “Billy, life is a party.  You’re the host.  You’re responsible for making everyone feel good for attending your party.  Do that and you’ll be successful.”  And that’s why I use the phrase, “I want to be a party to your party”.  Life’s good.  Networking makes it even better.  Seeking to serve others ultimately serves you, too.

POINT:
You’re The HOST — it’s your party to share your value with with your guests.

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Double Revenue Growth in Your Practice in 2015

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Growth

Growth of your practice, to be specific.  It’s a good thing.  Yes?  Then let’s look at some more ways you can see more of it in the coming months and make your 2015 a banner year.

In my previous post, we looked at three (3) keys to help you grow your practice:

1.  Generate More Clients
2.  Increase Your Average Client Transaction
3.  Create Transactions More Frequently

In this post, I’d like to look at three more specific keys to increased growth of your practice.

By the end of this post, I’ll show you how to manage these three keys to effectively DOUBLE your production.  (Got your attention?  Good!  Stay tuned . . . film highlights at 11!)

 

Face-To-Face Meetings

I can think of no better metric at predicting how your year is going to turn out than how many people you’re meeting with on a daily basis.

Meetings with new prospects or with existing clients whom you meet with to review their planning, are the fertile ground from which great things can come to you and cause your practice to grow.

Big deal.  Everyone knows the old adage “See More People” is the secret to increased production, revenues and income.  You’re right.  Everyone knows WHAT will grow your practice.  But HOW do you get those ‘At Bats’ with people who can either buy from you or, refer you to others who can?

The real driving force behind having enough meetings comes down to your prospecting.  If you aren’t seeking introductions to people who are most like your best clients — i.e. referral prospecting — I suggest you learn how to do that as soon as possible.  Doing that will help you grow your meetings and, ultimately, your practice.  Probably better than many other marketing tactics will — and I say that from experience.

We offer a Special Report on this topic as well as private coaching on how to utilize a proven and proprietary prospecting system known as The Preferral Prospecting® System.  Click these links for more information.

untitledCase Size / Average Client Transaction Value

If all things are equal, but your average case size (remember the A.C.T we talked about in my last post?) is more or less than another advisor’s, the revenues you produce will be more or less, too.

If you want to make twice as much as you have in the past (2014?), then you’ll either need to work twice as hard or, generate twice as much revenue from each transaction you generate.

Obviously, you’ll have a range of transactions.  We all do.  Some cases will be larger (or, smaller) than others.  Regardless, your average case size reflects where you’re marketing yourself and prospecting for clients.

If you want to improve your average case size, ask yourself, “Am I in the BEST market/s, for the value I offer?”  You can, if you do some research, find a more lucrative marketplace — and the clients it offers — than the one/s you’re in now.  Remember — even a modest change in where you’re marketing can have a significant growth on your revenues and income.

Lifetime Value of a Client

When we’re in ‘hunt’ mode . . . we’re seeking to close a sale . . . and it’s so easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Quick story.  As you probably know, life insurance policies have an optional feature that allows an insured to be able to buy additional insurance at ages 25, 28, 31, 34, 37 and 4o regardless of their health.

This feature known by various names (Additional Purchase Benefit, Guaranteed Issue Option, etc.) is offered because insurance companies know that, at those ages, the need to buy more life insurance is the greatest it will ever be.

During these critical years — from 25 – 40 —  most of us get married, have kids, buy a home, have a mortgage, start a business, etc.  It’s also when the most people will have the greatest need for the insurance the companies want to sell.  Offering APB or GIO options practically guarantees additional policies will be sold . . . by the companies.

Not surprisingly, only a small percentage of all policies (about 7%) later issued under these guaranteed issue options are sold by the agent who sold the original policy.  To be fair, it could be these policies were sold by agents in these same age groups (e.g. under 30) and agent attrition can’t be ignored as a factor behind the low percentage of later sales made by the original agent.

But I submit there’s another reason.  The original agents didn’t stay in touch with their clients.  They were so busy seeking new people to sell that they ignored their past clients.  True, some clients moved away from where they bought their first policy.  But more often than not, benign neglect may be the most significant reason why those later policies were sold by agents who didn’t sell the original policy.

SYNERGY . . . It’s a Beautiful Thing

Earlier I promised to show you a do-able way to DOUBLE your production.  Not surprisingly, it depends on how you use the information we just discussed above.

Your growth or productivity reflects three factors:

•  The People You’re Seeing / Meeting
•  The Size of Your Average Case
•  The Percentage of a Client’s Lifetime Value You’ll Enjoy

Here’s a simple graphic that reflects how this works:

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Each factor is a key element of a formula or functional relationship — as you can see is being shown by the white numbers in the red box at the top.

Let’s assume each factor is equal and valued at “1.0”  The resulting formula thus gives us a growth factor of “1.0”.

OK, now let’s see how you can DOUBLE your growth!

 

The first way you can double your revenue or growth is to double the number of people you’re seeing and meeting with . . . i.e. your ‘At Bats’ . . . e.g.

 

The second way you can double your revenue or growth is to double your average case size . . . e.g.

The third way you can double your revenue or growth is to double the length of time you retain a client and, as a result, realize a greater portion of that person’s lifetime value based on future transactions for the service you offer . . . e.g.

untitled

 

 

 

 

 

In theory, each of these approaches will DOUBLE the revenues or growth you’re currently enjoying.

In practice, that’s not likely.  Why?  Because it’s not easy to double the people you’re seeing, double your average case size or double the length of time you retain a client.

That said, here’s a far more practical (i.e. DO-able!) way to double your revenues . . . e.g.untitled

 

 

OK, now let’s suppose . . . you improve each of the factors we’ve introduced by 25% . . . that’s far more do-able than if you actually had to do twice as much of any one of these factors as you were up to now.  Fair?

But look . . . if you improve each factor by just 25% across the board, you actually end up DOUBLING your revenues!

Making a ‘little bit’ of improvement in each factor goes a long way toward making your revenues and the growth they’ll support . . . what you really want them to be.

POINT:
Growth comes from doing many things, a little better and more consistently than you are now

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Building Your Practice Network – Part 2 of 2

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Quick Recap of My Last Post

Building Your Practice Network — Part 1 of 2, was prompted by a question from a young man who was transitioning from a career as a graphic designer to becoming a financial advisor.

While his financial education was being addressed by his company and CFP studies, he didn’t feel he was learning how to build his practice.  Specifically, he was seeking guidance about the best ways to find and grow his clientele.

In the prior post, we set the stage for this post.  My biographic ramblings notwithstanding, several points were made by me to this new planner:

Passion
It’s imperative that, whatever you do, you do something you love.

Leveraging Your Network To Find Clients
There are several options to connect with prospective clients.  I highly recommend finding prospects through introductions from people who know, like and trust you to people they know who look like the people who can best understand, value, desire and afford what you can do for them.

4 Keys of The Preferral Prospecting® System

Actively seeking introductions to prospective clients is far better than waiting passively for referrals to magically ‘show up’.  Asking people who know, like and trust us for help connecting with people who could use our services isn’t easy for most of us.  But, it’s also not impossible.

A system for generating introductions to people is the ‘secret’ to generating opportunities with new clients on a consistent basis.  There are four (4) key elements to such a system:

PROFILE
. . . of someone who looks like the kind of person you know or believe can become a client.  The reason for such a profile is to share with other people when you ask them, “Who do you know who . . .”

SOURCE
. . . this is someone who knows, likes and trusts you so well that, if you ask properly, they’d be willing to introduce you to people in their network of connection who fit your profile

METHOD
. . . this refers to 2 things.  First, what you must say and do to help your Sources identify people they know who fit the profile of your Ideal Client.  Second, what you must say and do to approach those people and decide if they’re viable for you.  Or, not.

PLAN
. . . If your method suggests a number of actions you must take to ‘make things happen’, your plan helps you orchestrate and coordinate them.  Some call this the ‘How Much’ and ‘What Kind’ of activities must you engage in, daily and weekly, to generate the number of prospects that will be come the clients who support your annual revenue goals.

Getting Introduced To Others

There are seven (7) ‘mission critical’ activities that will help you generate introductions to people who look like the kind of people you’d be happy to have as your clients.

I’m assuming you’ve done the work necessary to implement your introduction system.  Namely, you have a clear PROFILE of your ideal client, you know people — SOURCES — you can approach to generate introductions to their contacts who look like your PROFILE.  Your METHOD — the things you’ll say and do — has been developed and readied to use.   So now, the PLAN of what to do when is all that remains to be done.

Six (6) Key Activities

1.  Approach your Source/s for a Meeting 
You want to begin with people you know well and, vice versa.  You can just pick up the phone and ask to meet.  Tell them you’re actively building your clientele and would like their input on how to do this most effectively.  Most people who know, like and trust you will agree to help and meet with you.  You’ll also quickly discover who your real friends are here!

2. Meet with your Source/s 
I highly recommend you have a face-to-face meeting with someone if possible.  But, if you know someone really, really well or they’re not able to meet with you in-person . . . then a phonetical can work just fine, too.

3.  Generate Introductions 
10 Step Preferral Guidethis is where your METHOD comes into play. You want to explain that you have a challenge (to grow your clientele) and you’d like their help –– if they’re able to help you (by introducing you to people they know who fit your Profile).  This is all covered in detail in this Discussion Guide:

4.  Approach Your Introductions
the best way to do this is by snail-mailing a notecard or note on blank paper to each introduction you generate. You simply want to prepare the person for a phone call that you’ll make shortly after they receive your note.  Do NOT assume or suggest the person has any need or desire for your products or services. Leverage the relationship you have in-common with the Source with a simple “P.S” like “Prior to my calling, please contact Bill Doerr concerning who I am and what I do.  Bill’s number is (860) 798-6964”.  Here’s an example of what this might be:

5.  Follow-up with Your Introductions . . . about 3 days after you mail them your note of introduction.  You’ll want to call these people, introduce yourself, reference the person you know in common (your Source) and see what happens.  Generally, there are only three possible outcomes.Vintage Traffic Signal

“It’ Over!” . . . First, they may not only have ‘no need’ to know more about you / your services but they may already have a great relationship with another planner and have no desire to look at you any further.  Congratulate them on their relationship, thank them for their time and hang up.  (In time, you can pursue these kinds of people, but for now, keep it simple.)

“Receptive, BUT not now” . . . Second, you may find someone doesn’t have a ‘financial girlfriend’ and also isn’t opposed to knowing you.  But they also have no compelling reason to get to know you any better.  Today.  Again, you weren’t calling to sell them, today.  You wanted to find out if they’re the kind of person who might need to know someone in your field . . . probably in the future, right?  So ask them to invite you to keep-in-touch over time so that when (not if) a need arises that you can help address . . . you’ll come to mind like candy from a PEZ dispenser — i.e. first and favorably.  You’ll need a system to do this — a ‘cultivation’ system.  But it’s not hard to set that up and use it to keep-in-touch and top-of-mind with these people who are likely to become someone’s client . . . and you want them to be yours!

“Come on down” . . . Third, you may find yourself talking with someone who, upon learning that you’re a financial advisor, reveals that they’ve been thinking about their financial affairs and were wondering how to address them.  These people may give you an appointment!  It happens.  But not it’s not common on a first call.

6.  Follow-up with Your Source/s
If there’s one thing you can do that will make it so easy to generate additional introductions in the future from the person who just helped you to meet someone they know fitting your profile it’s this . . . give your Source a simple update on how their introduction turned out for you.

It’s such a simple courtesy!  This one simple action will mark you as someone who has both class and manners.  I suggest using a form to be able to make these ‘reports’ to your Sources — e.g.

Preferral Follow-up Report Form

Using a ‘Follow-Up Report’ form will allow you to do two things:

1.  Record . . . what happened with each introduction your Source made for you, and

2.  Report . . . back to your Source very easily on what happened with their introductions

The Key To Ongoing Success:  Cultivate 240 People!
If you follow this process and grow your contacts being cultivated to about 240 people who agree to be cultivated, you’ll have a steady stream of predictable revenue-generating opportunities . . . each and every month!!

Let’s assume you call each of your well-qualified contacts every 3 months.  If so, you’ll be calling about 1/3 of your total contacts EACH month.

Monthly Calling Chart

If you’re cultivating 240 people, it means you’ll have roughly 80 people you’re to re-call to ’touch base’ with each month.

You won’t connect with 50% of these people (40 people) due to timing issues — yours or theirs.  It’s OK.  They’ll come back again for another call in 90 days.  That leaves you with 40 people who will be reachable.

50% of the remaining people (20 people) will thank you for your thoughtful diligence and follow-up call but have no need, at this time, to talk with you further.  OK, they stay in your system and will also come back again in 90 days or so.

The remaining 20 people will either agree to talk with you about their financial matters and/or agree to introduce you to people in their networks who fit your Ideal Client Profile.  Remember, these are people who ‘qualified’ to be cultivated in the first place and are growing closer and closer to their ‘need’ and purchase.  So stay with them and see what develops!

Assuming you actually end up meeting with 20 people . . . how many will give you introductions . . . possibly half?  How many meetings will generate updated ‘facts’  and turn into ‘open cases’ for you?  How many open cases will result in a ‘decision meeting’ where you can present a recommendation for someone to buy something from you?  What’s your average client transaction worth to you?  How many of these do you require to ‘make your numbers’ . . . for the month . . . for the year?  See where I’m going with this?

My friend, and I say this not knowing you personally but in a collegial way, you are in a wonderful position to do a great deal of good for others and enjoy a great life and lifestyle for yourself as a financial advisor.

If I can be of any further assistance to you, contact me.  I’m delighted to be able to transfer what I’ve learned worked for me on to a new generation of advisors.  To download my report on this topic, just visit: bit.ly/1wOx6j6  Enjoy and prosper!

POINT:
Building a Practice Is Best Done By Design, Not Accident

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Your Contact Network IS a Money Tree

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Money TreeThe more people who ‘know, like and trust’ you, the better.  But do you really know why?

It centers around the value of building a network of ‘raving fans’ — people who know, like and trust you.

Doing that is not only easy, but motivational as well.

Your Network IS a ‘Money Tree’

If you’re a solo-practitioner, there’s a practical limitation on the number of business relationships you can cultivate.  Despite what you might like to believe, it’s difficult to maintain a quality relationship with more than a few hundred individuals.

In fact, an English researcher named Robin Dunbar did research that revealed how most people can only maintain a viable relationship with around 150 people.  Thus, the ‘Dunbar Number‘ of 150 people refers to the number of people you can maintain an active relationship with over time.  And, by ‘active’ I mean they’ll respond to you when you call or contact them.

If you look at the average person’s network connections on Linkedin, they probably have a few million ‘close, personal connections’.  The fact is . . . most of your online ‘connections’ don’t know you exist and couldn’t pick you out of a police line-up if they had to (and why would you be in a police line-up, anyway?).

I’m not putting down social network connections.  But the reality is, absent a personal effort to cultivate an awareness of you and build a position for you / your brand, you’re not likely to generate new clients from social network connections.  Doubt that?  OK, in the last 12 months, how many new clients did you generate who only know you from Linkedin, Facebook, Google + or the like?  See.  I rest my case.

What’s a Better Approach?  Cultivate Your Own Network!

Again, there are very good reasons to be active on social media — especially Linkedin.  But generating new revenues from people whom you have not connected with in a meaningful and ongoing way . . . is not one of them.

What is better is to identify people who are likely to buy what you offer and/or likely to refer you to others who can?  In a word, ‘Cultivation’.

Cultivation is a KEY Function for Growing Your Clientele

Cultivation is one of the six (6) key client-development functions you must engage in or you’ll be relegated to making cold calls for the rest of your career.  These are:

Fueling . . . generating introductions to people who MAY be able to buy or refer you

Qualifying . . . learning if someone can buy and/or refer you to others who can

Cultivating . . . building top-of-mind awareness and preference for the brand called Y-O-U

Converting . . . helping someone make a decision to act on your recommendations

Servicing . . . keeping someone happy to work with and spend money with you

Managing . . . operating your practice in a way that consistently exceeds clients’ expectations

Once you’ve found someone who’s able to buy what you offer and/or refer you to other people who can, you’ll want to cultivate a relationship with them.  This helps you build the ‘know, like and trust’ factor you need to be thought of first and favorably when (not if) a need arises for your problem-solving expertise, services and products.

To keep this function simple, all you want to do is keep-in-touch and top-of-mind with your qualified people.  Reconnecting with them to remind them you exist . . . with relevance, respect and regularity . . . is all you need to do.

This calls for a very simple ‘plan’.  For example, you can build a Cultivation Plan using any or all of the following means of keeping-in-touch and top-of-mind with your ‘qualified’ connections:

1.  a newsletter

2. a personal, handwritten note of appreciation

3. a phone call to ‘touch base’

4. a ‘Thinking of You’ email with a link to an article of relevance to your contact

5. an invitation to reconnect over lunch or coffee with 2 other people-of-interest

6. an introduction to a person of interest or value

7. a referral to someone you know who might do business with your contact

8. an item-of-value that your contact would likely appreciate receiving

You don’t have to incorporate all these different activities.  Nor do you need to do them each month.  But you do need to choose some of them and use them consistently and conscientiously.

Why 240 People . . . Is Your Magic Number

Earlier, I said it’s not practical to attempt to cultivate more than 150 – 250 people on a regular basis.  But if you do cultivate 240 people, you’ll see a lot of opportunities to generate clients, revenues and referrals.  Here’s how . . .

Let’s say your Cultivation Plan requires you to call your people once a quarter.  That means you’ll be calling, on average, 1/3 of all your contacts being cultivated, each month.  (If you want to know why, call me — 860-798-6964).

If you’re cultivating 240 people, you’re re-calling 80 people a month.  Unfortunately, between your schedule and theirs you aren’t going to reach 50% of them.  No problem.  They’ll remain in your cultivation system and you’ll continue to cultivate them as your plan suggests.  Yes, you’ll call them again in another 90 days.  So you’re down to 40 people.

Of the 40 people you do reach, expect that around 50% will thank you for calling but they’re not going to have a need you can address or know someone they can refer you to meet.  It’s OK.  They go back into the cultivation pool as well.

Now you’re down to roughly 20 people.  A couple are likely to tell you, “Let’s stop”.  They (or, you) will decide that they’ll never buy from or refer to you.  It’s over.  It’s OK.  You’ll live.  You remove them from your cultivation system and make room for new, more viable contacts to go into it.  It all works out in the end.

Of the remaining people you do reach, you’ll either find a reason to meet or you’ll generate some referrals to people they know who fits the profile of the kind of person who can best understand, value, desire and afford your services.  It’s all good.

Now remember, these are WARM calls . . . to people who know, like and trust you.  Each one is growing steadily closer to the next time they need to buy what you do — lifetime value of a client, remember?

So how many discussions do you need to generate an open case?  How many open cases can you turn into a decision meeting?  How many decision meetings do you need to close a single sale?  What’s your average sale look like?

Now, do you see why you want to cultivate qualified people?  It reinforces your relationship with key people for your practice, it makes your life easier, your revenues greater and, best of all, more predictable, too.

POINT:
Cultivating Key Relationships . . . helps generate revenues easily, predictably and significantly

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Packaging Your Service (Part 3)

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package

Constructing Your (Intangible Service) Package

Today, we’re going to PRE-view what must go into an effective package. It may help if you keep  “The Pure Powder Skiing Escape” from the 1/8/2013 post in mind as we do this.

 

9 Key Steps in Creating Your Intangible Service Package

As you build packages for your services, it becomes easier and easier (I’m NOT kidding — trust me!).

Why?  Simple.  You begin to see the structure of ANY package whenever you decide to promote a service.

We’ll go through each element, in detail, but first . . . let’s list ALL the elements at once . . . THEN . . . we’ll come back and explain each one for you.  OK?

The nine (9) step PROCESS you’ll  use to create your intangible service package is:

1.  Define your . . . core benefit or ‘Mission’ (if you haven’t done so before!)

2.  Review your . . .  most recent clients

3.  Identify the specific PAIN of each group / sub-group of recent clients

4.  Refine your core benefit as the ‘ideal Client’ for this service sees it

5.  Choose the essential elements needed to deliver your service

6.  Choose the optional elements that may enhance the delivery of your service

7.  Seek feedback from prospective clients and fine-tune your package

8.  Add in any ‘missing’ elements that your clients’ feedback suggested

9.  Name your package with a distinctive and attractive name

That may sound like a LOT to do . . . and, maybe it is.  But remember this — it’s very do-able.  And, with practice, it’s easier and easier to do!

To recap this PART 3 on Packaging Your Services:  

•  a ‘package’ has a specific ‘formula’ like a recipe

•  a ‘package’ is built by following a 9 step process

•  a ‘package’ makes it easier to buy what you offer

In PART 4, we’ll explain what’s implied by each step in the 9 step process outlined above.

Don’t want to wait?  Download the full Special Report . . . NOW!

Strategy Before Tactics — ALWAYS!!

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Duct Tape Marketing Founder John Jantsch has a number of words of wisdom.

One of them is that effective marketing results from a coordinated, strategic approach rather than what might be called chasing the marketing tactic of the week.  This is very common.  You hear about what a fellow business owner did that got their phone to ring, their ‘likes’ to increase, etc. and you think, “Hey, that sounds like a good thing to do . . .”.  So you do it.

But you’re playing ‘Follow The Leader’, marketing-wise, and . . . it’s not a good thing to do.

The Problem with Playing Follow-The-Leader
In a business growth consultation I do with clients (The Profit Project™) I share a simple story.

“Assume you’re a bird.  In a long line of birds.  And the line leads to a very high cliff.  As each bird moves up to the edge of the cliff, they step off and fly away.  Now assume you realize that, while you’re a bird, you’re not an eagle like all the other birds.  In fact, you’re a penguin.  So if you attempt to fly off the cliff, you’ll fall like a rock and be killed or seriously hurt at best.”

Then I share a slightly different scenario  . . .

“Assume you’re a bird.  In a long line of birds.  And the line leads to a very high cliff.  But here’s the difference.  The ‘cliff’ is made of snow and ice.  You’re in Antarctica.  And yes, you’re a penguin.  This time, you’re likely to survive your cliff jump and the other birds, presumably still eagles, are going to freeze to death.”

Even if their marketing tactic is productive, it’s likely due to a proper alignment between the marketing tactic/s they chose and the nature of their specific business.  Your business is different.  And, you may not be so successful — even if you employ the very same tactics!

KEY POINT:
Choose your marketing tactics based on who YOU are, not on what the business owner next to you is doing.

Give Prospects What They Want . . . NOW!

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In today’s crazy, hurry-up-and-make-it-happen kind of world, the desire for immediate (or, short-term vs. longer-term) gratificationis a force to recognize and reckon with . . . if you want to help prospects become clients and clients become repeat clients!

procrastination visual

See www.despair.com for more like this!

Our friends at www.despair.com are always ready to provide a moment of mirthful visual sobriety — and humor — sharing truths about how we humans are truly ‘built’ and ‘operate’.

As the poster spoofs, “. . . laziness always pays off NOW”.  Relative to ‘hard work’ and ‘delayed gratification’, getting more immediate reward will usually win out.

“Please, Don’t Make Me Wait!”
In your marketing, you might want to apply this notion by making it easy for your reader, listener or viewer to ‘get’ what they want from you . . . quickly and easily.

If you assume a prospective client or customer is visiting you website . . . for a reason . . . then make it as simple as possible for them to get what they want . . . be it information or a way to buy what you’re offering.

This requires some thoughtful attention to your navigation, your copy or content and, of course, your Calls-To-Action. These allow people to get something you want them to have –– and they’ll really want . . . kind of like this . . .

Special Report:  GROWTH MADE SIMPLE
In this 18 page report you’ll learn a simple, easy and effective way many companies are using to generate double-digit growth.  And, best of all . . . it’s 100% complimentary . . . our Holiday gift to you.  Enjoy!

Special Report Download

Moments of Truth in Branding

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Branding Lessons:  Moments of Truth
Last evening I attended a meeting where the topic of discussion was ‘branding’.
While many of us are, in varying degrees, familiar with the topic, the viewpoint of those present focused on: 1) the means of ‘sharing’ the brand or identify of a firm and 2) the basis of its reality.

You Don’t Tell People What Your Brand Is — They Tell You 
One of the points we discussed was that, what with social media being what it is, the power of branding your business is more in the hands of your customers and clients than yourself or your own marketing people.

Of course, we all want to have a ‘brand’ that elicits the feelings and generates the associations we’d like people to have of us. But the reality is that your firm’s brand is what the people who come into contact with your business believe about it.

True, or not.  Desirable, or not.  Perception is reality.  And whatever people believe is true about your business is what is ‘true’ and real about it.  For them. For example, you may believe your _______ don’t stink.  But if your prospects and clients think it stinks, then it does!

If You Can’t Control The Distribution, Control What’s Being Distributed!
OK.  So you know that the word-of-mouth process is not under your control, right?  But, what IS under your control is the kind of experience people have when they come into contact with your company.  This is a far more significant truth to embrace.  After all, if you create a ‘Wow’ Experience for your customers or clients or patients, they will talk about you.  And, what they say will help to establish a positive (and, competitive!) perception about your business.

KEY POINT:
Your brand differentiates your business from others to prospective clients.  While you may have little or no control over how people may share your brand with other people, you have 100% control over how they’ll experience your business / understand your brand.

Therefore, seek to create an experience with your business that makes people say, “Wow!”. 

Marketing To Needs vs. Wants

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In a recent post (3/22/2012) I discussed the need to be sure you get a response from any marketing you do to promote your services. But getting a response depends on WHAT you’re offering and . . . HOW you’re inviting a response from your prospective client.

Which is More Potent . . . Needs or Wants?
No doubt about it, marketing what people want is relatively easier than marketing what they need.  If that seems odd, consider this:

Most people will agree that ‘being healthy’ is something they ‘want’ to be.  At the same time, they may ‘need’ something to achieve that goal — i.e. a colonoscopy after age 50.

Of these two, which one is easier to sell?  Which one is easier for someone to ‘buy’ into getting?

You may want a new sports car, but you may need some sales training to help you get it. Wanting the sports car is obvious and desirable. Needing sales training that can help you get it is neither!

Needs or Wants — There’s a Different Approach for Each!
If  your prospect wants what you offer, then you can invite a response in the form of an immediate buying decision.  For example, if you’re offering a wonderful Caribbean cruise, that’s highly desirable.  And a good Call-To-Action would invite someone to book with you.

However, if your prospect needs what you offer, then you should use a different approach. Typically, ‘wants’ are associated with ‘soft’ services like ‘business consulting’ more than ‘hard’ products or goods like a ‘getaway weekend’ cruise. Remember, we want to be healthy but we need a colonoscopy.  The former is obvious and desirable.  The later is not.

The Two-Step Call-To-Action
I’m assuming you’re offering a service more than a product.  So what you’re offering is really the (needed) MEANS to some (wanted) END that your prospect would like to enjoy.   This requires an offer to get something — usually information — that would help someone get what they want.

A CPA might therefore ‘offer’ an e-book on:
“The Five Biggest Tax Deductions Business Owners Always Seem To Miss”

Inviting people to download that e-book would certainly identify people who might logically need other services that a CPA can render.  But, absent an opportunity to engage prospective clients in the first place, those subsequent conversations may never have a chance to occur!

KEY POINT:
When appealing to ‘wants’, always offer an item-of-value that is low-risk / no-cost to accept and suggests high-value if it is.  Once you have the ‘first’ step out of the way, you can make follow-up actions appropriate to the person’s ‘need-to-know’ and ‘readiness-to-go’ ahead with later offers to engage your services.