Small Business Marketing Show

How to Choose A Niche - Interview with Jarom Adair of SoloPreneur Marketing

Hey, Hey...we just hit Episode 50! This week on the Small Business Marketing Show we're continuing our theme of focused strategy and marketing. One of the best ways to accelerate your client attraction is to narrow your focus to a specific niche market (group of people). On this episode I interview Jarom Adair of SoloPreneur Marketing...Jarom is an expert at helping business owners find and focus on a niche market. He works exclusively with solo professionals and business owners and walks them through the process he shares on the interview.

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To learn more about Jarom and connect with him  and get the PDF Jarom mentioned on the podcast go to SoloPreneurMarketing.com

 

Specialization and Positioning: How to Stand Apart In A Crowded Market - Interview With Michael Zipursky

In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show I talk with Michael Zipursky of Business Consulting Buzz about standing out in a crowded and noisy market. Michael is an expert at helping consultants and professionals choose a specialization and strategically position themselves to attract better clients and higher fees.

In this interview Michael shares:

  • Why you should specialize.
  • How to choose the best specialty given all the options.
  • The key advantages specialists have over generalists and why generalists usually make less money.
  • The counter-intuitive truth that keeps most people from specializing.

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Learn more about Michael at Business Consulting Buzz...

 

The power of positive marketing

Positive thinking and positive marketing are partners. Positive thinking set you up for action...and all positive marketing comes from action. And, negative thinking...belief that "it won't work for me", kills marketing before it ever gets out the door.

In fact, I may have to revise my book 7 Deadly Marketing Sins That Will Kill Your Business and add disbelief as #8...

It's that big.

I've seen it halt business owners in their tracks...good ones too.

And there's but one way to overcome it...

Work on the mind.

Last week I interviewed Jeanna Gabellini, co-author of Life Lessons for Mastering the Law of Attraction: 7 Essential Ingredients for Living a Prosperous Life with Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Eva Gregory.

Jeanna's an expert at helping business owners up their mental game.

Listen to the interview online:

[powerpress] And Jeanna's hosting a live encore webinar that you'll want to check out here. Enjoy!

marketing consultant steve gordon

How to create newsletters that sell

I've written before about the importance of newsletters in your marketing. In fact, if you said to me today "Steve, you've got to choose one and only one marketing method to use from today forward."

I'd choose the printed newsletter.

Hands down.

Why?

It allows me to entertain while I sell.

It creates consistency and consistency builds trust.

It lets me show up differently than almost every competitor (I don't get many printed newsletters anymore…do you?).

Most importantly, it gives me an excuse to stay in front of every prospect and client, every month.

Last week I sat down with the man known as The Newsletter Guru…Mr. Jim Palmer.

Jim is an expert at the use of newsletters in your marketing. In this interview he shares his top tips for creating a newsletter that people actually want to read. (Believe it or not that's important ;-)

If you have a newsletter listen to the interview today. If you don't have a newsletter yet…you need this like…yesterday!

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Enjoy!

Steve

Networking and Sex

Get your mind out of the gutter… We're talking about the noun not the verb today.

I had no idea, but apparently men and women approach business networking differently.

Who knew?

Yes it seems we men simply want to get to the point (i.e. the money).

And the ladies want a relationship (among other things).

Now, lest you think I'm simply making up these outrageous theorems I spoke with a very smart lady named Hazel Walker who, along with a couple of gents, figured all of this out and wrote it down in an excellent book titled…

Business Networking and Sex: It's not what you think

Oh…and those gents she worked with: Dr. Ivan Misner (founder of BNI) and Frank DeRafelle, Jr.

The trio surveyed 12,000 business people to discover their perceptions about networking.

The results are fascinating…and guaranteed to help improve your (business) results with members of the opposite sex.

Now, about that conversation I had with Ms. Walker…I recorded the whole thing. In precisely 44-minutes and 26-seconds she tells all.

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Steve

PS - Get the book…read the book. It's both funny and profitable. And connect with Hazel Walker at HazelWalker.com (be sure to grab her e-book 26 Strategies for Increased Referrals).

The Smart Way to Do Content Marketing

 
         Tom Treanor

        Tom Treanor

 

In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show content marketing and SEO expert Tom Treanor shares:

  • Exactly how to get started in content marketing
  • What you SHOULD do and what to avoid
  • Why you'd better be thinking about your content strategy now
  • The importance of content for a local business

If you have a website, you need to listen to this interview. And be sure to listen all the way to the end...Tom's got something free for you!

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Connect with Tom at Right Mix Marketing

Secrets of Authentic Video Marketing with Steve Washer

Want to bond with clients and prospects quickly? Video is just the thing for you. Of all the marketing mediums it's the closest thing to "face-to-face"...without being, well...you know.

And that's the real power in video. Never mind that prospect's don't read much...they'd rather sit back and watch, than read. Never mind that Google loves video and often give your videos a preferential nod in the search results. Never mind that video proves again and again an asset in selling in advance.

Video is where it's at...and where your marketing should be going. But you've got to do it in an authentic way...and I know just the guy to help.

This week on the Small Business Marketing Show, I interview the "Sherlock Holmes of Video Marketing", Mr. Steve Washer.

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Steve shares some great tips on how to start out with video marketing and what key's to think about as you design your videos.

AND...he's invited you to the Video Superhero Summit where he'll be presenting on May 17th.

To find out more about Steve Washer and grab his fantastic "Fast Start Video Marketing Kit" (it's free) go to brainyvideo.com

Steve's got a TON of great video information on his site...check it out.

How to Become the #1 Expert in Your Industry - Interview With Kyle Hunt

 
                 Kyle Hunt

                Kyle Hunt

 

On this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show I interview the #1 Marketing Expert to the home remodeling industry - Kyle Hunt. In the interview Kyle shared a ton of great information including:

  • The single most profitable decision he ever made in business
  • The key metrics you should be tracking in your marketing
  • How to use marketing to differentiate your business and win more contracts
  • Simple ways to automate your marketing
  • How to get your clients to frame your marketing pieces and put it on the wall!

To learn more about Kyle go to remodelyourmarketing.com.

It ain't what you make it's how much you keep

In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show I talk money strategies with my friend and client John Curry. John's a financial advisor who specializes in working with business owners to plan (and fund) business exit strategies and succession plans. As I learned in my first business...you need to know how you're going to get out (and John explains there are only 3 ways) before you get in. If you're already in business and haven't figured out how to get out with the cash, you need to listen to this interview...

Sales, Success & Multiple Streams of Income with Matthew Kimberley

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Matthew Kimberley (he wrote How to Get A Grip,the last self-help book you'll ever need) …and we flipped on the recorder.

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(Well "sit down" is a relative term…he's in Malta…I'm in Florida…but we talked)

Matthew is super sharp when it comes to 1-on-1 sales. AND he's an outstanding marketer…listen in, you'll learn a bunch.

We covered:

  • How Matthew became an overnight success in something like 7 years. (good lessons in this story)
  • How to attract clients (Matthew's also the Head of Coach Training for the 'Book Yourself Solid' School of Coach Training…he's got a unique approach to attracting clients).
  • How and why to diversify and have multiple streams of income. Lots of people talk about this topic, few do it, fewer take this smart approach.

Lots of great info covered in less than 45-minutes.

Subscribe to the podcast and get every new episode the moment it's released right on your iPhone/iPad/iPod/Mac or PC.

Once you listen to it, be sure to jump over to Matthew's site…he's got some really great (and free) stuff that will help you get more clients.

http://matthewkimberley.com

Steve

Complete Transcript

Steve:        Welcome to the Small Business Marketing Show.  My name is Steve Gordon.  I am here this week with a really special guest, all the way from the island of Malta.  It's extra special because this is take two of our interview.  We've had to overcome power issues, Mediterranean storms, and all kinds of fun things. I'm here with Matthew Kimberley, the author of ìHow to Get a Grip,î which he bills as the last personal improvement book that you'll ever need to read.  I've read it; it's hilarious.  You've got to get it.  He'll tell you in a few minutes how to do that. He also works with businesses and helps them in the area of sales and marketing.  That's what we're going to be talking about today. Matthew, welcome from the other side of the planet.  Thanks for being here this morning.

Matthew:    Thank you so much for having me, Steve.

Steve:        I'm glad we've finally been able to connect.  I know we've had some technical challenges, but we're here. I really wanted to talk with you today particularly about sales.  I think you have a very refreshing perspective on that.  It's sort of a get-to-the-point-get-out-there-and-make-something-happen approach. We talk a lot here on the podcast about marketing, attracting clients, and all that.  But sometimes you just need to get on the phone and make it happen.  I'd like for you to just give us maybe a quick little background on you and then your approach to selling.

Matthew:     I'd absolutely love to, Steve.  I've been in sales pretty much all my professional life; in fact, even before my professional life started when I told a little white lie about my age when I was 15 in order to be allowed to set up appointments for double-glazing salesmen by telephone. I remember it was a commission-only job in my local town where I'd been juggling to make a living.  I'd been juggling to earn pocket money in the street, busking.  I'd put my hat out and throw knives, fire, and balls all around the air in order to earn some pocket money. It was fine, but it was manual labor.  I'm as lazy as they come.  I thought, ìThere must be an easier way to make money.î  I realized that the local call center - the outbound call center for one of the national double-glazing companies - was hiring.  So I went in there and they hired me. During my school holidays and vacations, I would go and set up appointments on the telephone for the double-glazing reps.  I wasn't allowed to go door-to-door because I was too young.  When I was old enough to go door-to-door, I realized that you could knock on people's doors, and if you knocked on enough people's doors - provided they didn't set a dog on you or throw things out of the window on you - eventually people would start to say yes. I graduated from high school.  I went to Malaysia to teach French and English to entirely disinterested, incredibly wealthy Southeast Asian kids.  I got fed up there because I didn't have any money, which seems to be a recurring motive that drives me through life ever since. I finally found my way to Malta via Brussels, Italy, and various places.  I met a Maltese girl while I was living in Brussels.  I ended up in Malta, which is a small Mediterranean island.  It's onlyI'm going to get this wrong and offend somebodybut it's somewhere between 30 and 40 miles from north to south.  400,000 people are packed on the island, which makes it one of the most densely populated countries in the world, after I think Singapore, Monaco, and possibly Hong Kong. I ended up selling timeshare because this was a time I wasn't able to work, as Malta wasn't part of the European Union.  As an Englishman, getting a work permit was a tricky thing then.  But the timeshare industry has always traditionally been a little shady; they didn't care too much.  I felt that I was back in the world of double glazing again, where I was put in front of people and asked to make a strong enough argument to the people then that they should devote some of their time and money to investing in vacation ownership systems. It was a real hard school of selling.  I was probably about 21 or 22 at the time.  I had problems ultimately.  After about a year, I had problems with the product we were selling, so I left.  But as a school for understanding the psychology of sales, there's really nothing better.  I learned an awful lot of advanced sales techniques and how to warm people up, how to win trust, and I think possibly even some cheats.  I mean that in the worst possible way, how you can almost trick people into trusting you.  So I was having this moral dilemma. I love selling; not sure about the product, not sure about the process.  How can we change that?  Luckily, fate intervened.  My Maltese girlfriend got a job back in Brussels where we'd let.  I went to join her. After a few stints working in bars - which I also think is exceptional sales training, particularly if you're building relationship and understanding what people want - I started working in recruitment services.  It was about selling corporate solutions to multinational companies.  We were selling IT staffing services, headhunting, recruitment, and procurement services, which was a cold calling job. Anyone who says a recruitment consultant does more consultancy than sales is blessed, frankly, if that is their job.  Certainly in my experience, it was pick up the phone, talk to as many people as you can over a very long period of time - possibly nine months to two years - before they say, ìYes, okay, I'll have a meeting with you.î  Then when they have the meeting with you and agree to do a bit of business with you, you have to go away and provide the service. So it's not like you sign the order form and move on to the next sale.  You have to look after the customer right from before they were a customer until much later down the line when you hope they were still a customer because of the great job that you were doing. That taught me a lot about keeping people onboard and building relationships with them.  I really wasn't the best recruitment consultant you've ever seen.  I wasn't the best barman you've ever seen.  I wasn't the best timeshare salesman you've ever seen.  But I enjoyed different aspects of it.  I enjoyed recruitment so much and realized what potential it had that I decided to set up my own recruitment company with a business partner. After a few years of doing recruitment for somebody else, I started doing it on my own.  The company did phenomenally well in terms of sales and market penetration.  We went from nothing to something very quickly.  We sold several million euros worth of services within the first two years.  It's a very low-margin industry typically.  Several million euros worth of revenue doesn't equate to several million euros worth of profit, unfortunately. I realized there was a real distinct skillset between selling and running a company or office.  I realized that I was actually better at the latter than the former.  So it was things like staff headaches, dealing with paperwork, even leading by example from the managerial point of view.  I think it posed a bit of a problem for me. It dawned on me that I was probably better off self-employed.  I was also a bit fed up with selling on price to sweaty, disinterested corporate procurement professionals.  I say sweaty because they were stressed, not because they were necessarily sweaty. I looked at the various parts of the business that I really enjoyed.  I realized that I really enjoyed training my salespeople.  I'd recruit somebody to work in-house.  We had a guy who used to work in a sandwich job.  We had a fellow who was fresh out of school.  We had somebody who studied as an accountant.  Over time, we managed to - with varying degrees of success, it must be said - turn them into somebody actually capable of closing a deal. I thought if I could do that in an industry I totally, totally believed in and really enjoyed, that that would be my dream job.  I realized I had to be self-employed.  I realized I had to sell to people who were actively interested in our services.  I realized I wanted to be able to spread the good word about how positively being able to ask people to buy your stuff can impact your business and life. This is because sales is a skill we have to use with our spouses, our children, our partners, people we meet on the street.  I think not even the psychological aspect of it; just the systematized approach to getting people to jump onboard with you that you learn from selling serves you in every possible aspect of your life. Around that time, I'd been reading an awful lot of self-improvement literature.  I'd been reading a lot of business-building books.  I'll tell you about my self-improvement books that came out as a result of that, perhaps separately. I discovered a guy called Michael Port, who wrote a book called ìBook Yourself Solid.î  I read it a few years ago, signed up to his mailing list, and studiously ignored every email that ever came through until I was ready. I think there's an old saying, isn't it, that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear?  I got an email from him just around the time I realized I was going to have to amicably divorce my business partner, leave the company to him, and go off to do something else.  Michael Port - whose mailing list I was on - sent an email saying, ìLook, I'm looking to train some people up to become small business marketing coaches in my own system, the Book Yourself Solid system.î I emailed him to say, ìI'd love to do it, but I can't come and see you.î  He was doing it in-house in Philadelphia.  I said, ìI can't come and see you because I've got professional commitments in Belgium I can't get away from.  Can we do it by telephone?  Would you train me online, over the phone?  Is there some way you could give me the license to sell the Book Yourself Solid small business marketing system to my clients without me coming to see you?î He replied very promptly.  He said, ìNo, absolutely not, unless I can find another five or six people to do it with you,î which taught me a great lesson about leverage: I'll only do it if it becomes with my while.

Steve:        [Laughs]

Matthew:     He got back to me three weeks later.  He said, ìGood news, Matthew.  I found some other people who could do it with you simultaneously.  Do you want to get started?î  I wrote a check to Michael. I became a star student of his by design, partly because I loved the material and also partly because I realized that if I wanted to get noticed by people who could perhaps further propel my career and fast track my name recognition in the industry, then it would be good to be a teacher's pet or a star pupil. After Michael trained me and I started working with my first clients, I did some work for free with Michael.  He'd say, ìCan you help me run one of these online programs?î  ìWould you mind being an assistant coach in one of these things?î  I always volunteered.  I always stuck my hand up.  Eventually he said, ìLook Matthew, I really would like to bring you on as the head of the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training,î which was how his training program evolved. Now I worked very closely with Michael as the head of the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training, where we train marketing coaches to teach his system.  It's a licensing and training program.  We ran The Alliance with Michael, which is a year-long mastermind program for business owners of every description.  We also ran Daily Success Deals together, which is an online discounted training voucher site. I work with my own clients here in Malta; I have one-and-a-half clients here in Malta.  The rest of the time I spend looking after my clients one-to-one worldwide.  I worked with clients in Tallahassee, Tokyo, Australia, the UK.  That's my story.

Steve:        Very interesting.  Thank you for sharing all of that because I think it's all very relevant.  I think I originally found and connected with you when I was doing a search on Infusionsoft and Highrise.  You had an article on your blog about the two and I was looking for some perspective, as I was questioning the direction I was going with the tool.  I read your article and subscribed to your list.  I thought you had some unique perspectives on sales and marketing. Kind of interestingly, I had seen Michael's book years ago.  I just summarily ignored it.  It's not for any particular reason, but I was reading and doing other things.  But I didn't find you that way.  Then you reintroduced me to Michael's work.  I found it very useful. You mentioned Tallahassee, which is where I'm located.  I actually ran across someone who was I think either in The Alliance program or in the School of Coach Training.  I'm not sure exactly where he's plugged into you guys, but he's plugged in and speaks very, very highly of the program and what it has done for his business. I always like to hear the path people take to get wherever they are, because sometimes you'll learn more by listening to that description than you do listening to what they're doing now.  Everybody thinks that you're an overnight success because you came on their radar yesterday and you're very successful.  But there's always a process.  I don't care who you are; there's always a process.  Nobody's ever an overnight success.  So I think it's always educational with you.  Thanks for sharing that. You mentioned a whole host of projects you're involved in.  I'd like for you to touch on some of those.  Where would you like to start?  You've got your fingers in so many different things.  I think it's just very interesting when I come across people who are doing so many different things simultaneously, because most of us can't do one thing at a high level.  But you're doing a lot of things at a very high level.

Matthew:     I'm doing a lot of things [laughs], but I don't know if at a very high level.  I'm at the stage, Steve, where I'm still crucially aware that if anything would happen to me tomorrow, my income would drop drastically.  This is why I'm involved in different things with different areas of responsibility, with different corporate structures around each one. I'm a shareholder in one organization while I'm an external contractor for another, and I work one-to-one with individual clients as well.  I'm in the process of putting together an ongoing mastermind environment for small business owners who are very keen to sell.  Because I'm crucially aware thatÖ I'm very flattered that you say I managed to be successful.  For me, I'm not even scratching the surface of what I should be doing.  I think part of this jumping around and being involved in lots of different programs is partly to be sure that I don't turn around in 10 years and say, ìWell, I really should have done more of that.î  It's also partly because I'm very interested in pursuing a practical approach to multiple streams of income. What I've done recently is pull back on a few things.  In fact, towards the end of last year, I've said yes to a couple of things that I realized I had to say no to about a month later, when I did the beginning of the year reassessment about how I was going to allocate my time. If I were to start from scratch tomorrow with no existing relationships, no existing assets - nothing like that - I would absolutely work one-to-one with motivated small business owners in an advisory capacity. I'm talking about excellent technicians, people who understand their craft very well, who truly believe in what they're selling.  They're just not quite sure because they've never received training on how to sell it or how to put a system in place in order that they're having frequent and regular sales conversations and not adopting an approach that's, ìIf I build it, they will come.î

Steve:        I share your love with that group.  I work with a lot of those people.  It's the most rewarding work you could possibly do because you work with some outstanding human beings who need help in an area of their life and business, that can deliver immense results and positive changes when they get it right.  It often takes them from really struggling to getting to a place where they have the life they want.  It's extremely rewarding. I want to go back to this idea of multiple streams of income.  I've had lots of folks on the podcast.  We've talked about marketing techniques, sales tactics, and all these other stuff.  You brought up multiple streams of income.  I think for a lot of small businesspeoplewhether they're in professional practice or they own a small, kind of brick-and-mortar businessthey're so focused on keeping the one stream of income they've got that they don't begin to diversify out.  It can become a really precarious thing. I've seen a lot of people fall victim to it because they don't get to a point where they've got a system that generates new business in that one stream of income, and nothing really consistent, no foundational piece that is generating new business all the time.  If it goes away, if they stop working for any reason, then they're in real trouble, having this attitude that, ìOkay, I'm going toÖî I think there's a systematic way to do it.  You take one, you build it, and you get a marketing system, a sales system in place that can operate outside of you being involved.  It's like you're creating little machines or oil wells, things that can operate without you.  For those of us who are working in what most would consider extremely small businesses - anything under, say, 50 people in the business and down to as few as one or two - then I think having that kind of an approach is important. I like the way you have approached it.  You've got a lot of connected things so they support each other.  I'd like for you to talk a minute about that and how you've gone about looking for those opportunities.

Matthew:     I think it would be fair to say I've gone for the low-hanging fruit in every instance.  In every instance.  I've seen how one complementary service, group of people or addition to what I'm doing can be incorporated with very little overhead or additional energy in order to reap bigger returns.  That was a bit amorphous, so I'll give you a very concrete example. I had a single client here in Malta.  Today, that client is a sales organizational recruitment organization.  I train the salespeople in how to be good recruiters and how to sell good stuff.  I go in there maybe eight times a year.  I think I have a contract with them.  I retain a contract with them and I go in eight times over the space of 12 months and deliver customized training for their team.  They're literally just down the road. They're a great group of people.  It was fine.  It was great.  Because I retained a contract, I knew on the basis of that single contract that the mortgages would be paid.  Great.  Huge relief.  It wasn't massively time-intensive, which meant I was able to spend a lot of time pursuing other things as well. Recently, they were talking to me about how they were looking at opening a second branch in a totally different area of recruitment.  These guys do online casinos, iGaming, that world of recruitment.  They said they wanted to open up a new branch in oil, gas, and energy recruitment.  They were putting a team together and they were wondering where the role for me would be. Rather than say, ìLook, let's sign a contract as a service provider again,î but partly because I was actually trying to do less in terms of real, sort of getting-dressed-and-going-to-work kind of stuff, we reached an agreement where I would actually take a shareholding in the company in return for ad hoc advisory consulting training services for the organization as it was needed.  But it's just around the corner; literally just around the corner from my house.  I use that word sparingly, but it's just around the corner from my house. That enabled me to say, ìLook, I can give a lot without being tied to a time-for-money approach.  Without being tied to a time-for-money contract, I will give you as much as I can afford to give and as much as is necessary, in return for something that is going to be worth more than an hourly rate or something similar.î Look at my relationship with Michael, for example, and the work we do together.  I started off being hired help and now I'm a business partner of his.  I think he started the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training.  We started that. We looked at the work we were doing.  We thought about how we can take the core services - which was providing training and support to people who wanted to become business coachesthe trainee has become a business coach.  Then let us support your business.  We asked, ìHow can we then extrapolate it and offer it to a new target market without creating any additional content?î There are basically two ways to grow a business.  This is my take.  I say basically like it's the most obvious thing in the world.  My take is that there are two main ways to grow your business. One is you expand your core offering to a different target market.  Say I'm a yoga teacher that caters to pregnant ladies.  I could cater to a new target market overnight without changing my core offering.  I could offer yoga services to middle-aged men, for example.  We can expand our business that way. The other way of course is to offer different products and services to the same target market.  If I was a yoga teacher catering to pregnant ladies, I may then expand my business to offer pregnancy clothing, prenatal massage or vegetarian fetus-friendly food to the same target market.  You can offer a different group of services to the same target market. With Michael's business, we did exactly that.  We said, ìWe've got the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training,î which is a school and mastermind for business coaches, ìHow could we expand that in a way that made sense to offer an extra source of income and at the same time without having to double down and reinvent the wheel again?î We thought, ìAt the moment, we're offering a mastermind support group to business coaches.  Let's expand it to a larger target market.î  So now this is open for service providers.  It's not called a School of Coach Training.  It's called The Alliance; specifically, The Alliance With Michael. That allowed us to take an identical business model.  We actually took a part out of the Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training and called it The Alliancethat was the mastermind partand offered it much more widely. Another simple example was Daily Success Deal.  Daily Success Deals is a site that has sputtered and started from when it was founded in different levels of success over the months that it's been running.  We're still working very hard on that. It's becoming an absolute joy to operate now that we've finally allocated enough time and developed a system to make it happen.  But we thought, ìWhat do we have and how can we turn that into a source of income?î  What we have are relationships with people who create information products. ìHow could wein a systematized wayturn that into an extra stream of income?  How can we give them something so that everybody can benefit?î  We came up with Daily Success Deals.  That was really taking something we already had, scratching our heads, and saying, ìHow do we go about turning this into something that benefits everybody, us included?î

Steve:        A couple of things struck me as you described that.  First, you talked about a target market.  The way that you described it is perfect: A yoga teacher who is targeting pregnant women, expectant mothers. In my experience, there are very, very few business owners that get that dialed in.  I think that's where it becomes really difficult for people to start to see the opportunities. It's a small shift in thinking, but what I found is that it is like the hardest shift for most business owners to make.  Since most of us don't have a way to really consistently be attracting new and potential clients, we are in need most of the time.  So anybody with a heartbeat and a wallet is a real, good, live prospect, assuming there's at least a dollar in the wallet. By getting really specific, you've got a really tailored offering.  It might be that you're still offering yoga services to people who are pregnant, but you've got a specific offering to that group, which makes A) attracting that type of client a thousand times easier and B) now you know with great clarity what to offer them. They have a specific set of needs that differ from the general crowd and you've got something that - just as you have described - you could take it, add a little bit, offer it to a different market or add more things to that specific group because they're unique.  I wanted to just pull that out because I think that's a really keen insight that a lot of people miss.  Thank you for sharing.

Matthew:     Also, of course, when you clearly identify a target market, you know physically - even geographically - where to show up to sell to them. I often use the analogy of collecting for charity.  In the UK, we have chuggers on the street.  These are charity muggers.  They're people with clipboards and collecting pots who come up to you outside the stores or in high streets to try and get you to donate to their charity. If you were a chugger and your charity was Save the Whales, you'd have a lot more joy and success if you hung out outside San Diego SeaWorld than at a Japanese harbor town or fishing port.  Just by clearly identifying your target market, you know where to go.  If you are collecting money for Save the Whales, then people who've just come from watching Shamu splash around are going to be much more inclined to give you $50-$100 than a Japanese fisherman whose entire livelihood revolves around not saving the whales. If you know that your target market is pregnant ladies because you're a pregnancy yoga teacher, then it's very clear where you can find those pregnant people.  You can find them in hospitals, doctor's offices, and certain shops that cater towards pregnant people.  They're going to be a certain age demographic. You show up, but you show up more than once.  You show up twice, thrice, four times.  If you become that famous big fish in a small pond, you can make a name for yourself.  I think showing up over and over and over again is the key to making more sales, frankly.  That comes from the cold calling background where we might have to have contact with somebody 40-60 times before they would even give us a meeting.

Steve:        I always tell my clients there are two types of prospects you're going to run across.  You're going to run across a very small number who are ready to go now and know they want to deal with you.  You know what to do with them already; there's no big mystery there.  You take the check, you put it in the bank, and you do whatever it was they paid you for.  That's easy. It's the other 90% or 98% that is a little more challenging to deal with.  They might convert next week; they might convert two years from now. You're absolutely right.  Showing up over time consistently and in different places where they will be is correct.  It's not any big secret.  It's not like there's some kind of hidden magic formula.  It's just that very few people actually do it.

Matthew:     And you don't have to ask for the sale every time you show up.

Steve:        No.

Matthew:     In fact, you shouldn't ask for the sale because again, we go to that low-hanging fruit.  We want to make sure that we exist enough that people think of us when they eventually need us. I'm not a fan of uncovering and exacerbating pain, which is something you hear a lot of sales trainings teach, that you've got to discover your prospect's pain and then amplify it as much as you can by rubbing salt in the wound or by creating a sense of fear.  I said, ìOh, that sounds like far too much hard work.î  I'd rather find the people who'll use it. I'm sure you might know this, Steve.  If not, somebody listening to this will.  But a great copywriter said if he had a load of hotdogs to sell, the quickest way to sell them would be to find a crowd of very hungry people.  Let's look for the hungry people, but let's show up with our hotdog cart.

Steve:        Right.  The whole idea of uncovering pain, certainly you want to know what the pain is because if you're not communicating with them about that painÖ so if you've got the hotdogs, you've got to know that there's a hungry crowd that wants the hotdogs.  But to me it's the difference between compelling someone to do something or convincing them. If you've got to come up with all of these fancy sales techniques to convince someone to give you money for whatever it is, then they may not be the ideal prospect yet.  You might not be talking to the right person.  However, if you've got the perfect offer for the perfect person who is ready, then they're compelled to do business with you.  It becomes easy. I think your point of showing up over and over and over again, you never know when the timing is right that your offer is going to be compelling to that person.  You can get pretty close. If you're teaching yoga to pregnant women, you can probably have a good idea over some time that if they're interested in health, well-being, and all of that sort of thing, that they might be ready.  But you don't know if it's going to be on day 10 or day 60.  You've got to continue showing up because you don't know.

Matthew:     That's right.  This is what we teach in the Book Yourself Solid system.  We teach exactly this.  We say, ìPeople will make investments in your services in direct proportion to the amount of trust they have in you and the magnitude of their need.î Everybody who studies the Book Yourself Solid system has what we call a sales cycle in place.  This is a bit like a sales funnel, only we believe the sales funnel actually looks more like a carousel, where you always have various offers in place; offers that suit people depending on how much trust they have in you and how much they want or need what you have to offer. Some people you'll come across will never need your services and that's absolutely fine.  However, if I am a potential prospect, I've only just met you, and I haven't quite sussed you out, give me a way to get to know you that doesn't require a massive investment.  Maybe it's an investment of time, maybe it's a small investment of money. I would venture that if I was interested in finding out more about Steve Gordon, I would perhaps listen to Steve Gordon's podcasts before I get some money from my pocket and spend it with you.  This podcast is not only a marketing tool; it really is a sales tool because you're advising people to invest time in hearing you, in hearing me, in hearing the other people that you interview. Later on down the line, after they've gotten to know you and the trust level is a lot higher, it will become more appropriate then for them to jump in perhaps to do some one-on-one coaching with you or to join one of your group programs.  But people reach those stages at different times. I've had people hire me - my top level one-to-one consulting - as a result of buying ìHow to Get a Grip,î which is my book that costs like $5 or $10.  They spend $10 with me and then all of a sudden, they spend $10,000 literally within the space of a week because this is coup de foudre, where they absolutely fall in love with my voice, with my tone. Sometimes people put their hand up and say, ìLook, I've only known you for a week, but I want to invest an important amount of money and time in your services.î  Then I might have somebody else who's been receiving my emails for three years.  Eventually, after three years, he'll be ready to join a month-long program that only costs $200.

Steve:        You just never know and you never know where they are.  So have a consistent way to communicate with them, which is something that you and Michael cover very effectively in the Book Yourself Solid system.  I encourage everybody to go get the ìBook Yourself Solidî book in addition to your book, ìHow to Get a Grip.î  I think it describes it very well.  Having something in place, I think you call it the always-have-something-to-invite-people-to offer.

Matthew:     You got it.

Steve:        Did I get that right?

Matthew:     Yes.  It's quite a mouthful.

Steve:        It's someplace for people to show up and interact with you.  I think it's just a simple way to express that.  It's very effective. Again, we talk about these things over and over on the podcast.  There aren't any great secrets in any of this, but it's the difference between the businesses that get very successful and the business owners that struggle mightily to make their businesses work. The ones that get to a point where the business is working for them are the ones that take these ideas and do something with them.  For those listening, consider this your weekly kick in the backside to go get something done.  These ideas can really, really help you.

Matthew, I want to thank you for spending some time from halfway across the globe this morning, for sticking with us through the technical challenges that we had last week.  What's the best place - because I know you've got a lot of places that you interact with folks - but what's the best place they can go to begin to learn more about you and interact with you?

Matthew:     Thank you Steve for having me.  It's always a pleasure to speak with you, especially so today where we've got a good chunk of time to pick each other's brains. The best place to find me is at www.matthewkimberley.com.  You should be able to spell that pretty much any way you like.  I think I've covered every base.  But it's Matthew with two Ts and Kimberley is spelled K-I-M-B-E-R-L-E-Y.  So that's www.matthewkimberley.com. Have a look and sniff around.  I would love it if you were to download my short, informative, and incredibly practical guide called ì5 Things You Need To Do Every Morning To Get More Clients In 60 Days.î  It is a short and very effective guide to networking from your desk.  That's because I truly believe I owe 98% of my success to everybody else around me. My success is really nascent.  As I said earlier to Steve, I've such a long way to go.  It's been thanks to the other people around me that I've managed to get this far.  That guide to networking will hopefully encourage you to take your important relationships even more seriously. After that, you'll receive emails from me on a regular basis, possibly even daily.  You can of course unsubscribe at any time.

Steve:        I take the blame for those.

Matthew:     That's absolutely the fault of Steve Gordon who suggested that would be a good thing to do.  You know what?  It really is.  Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time if you wish.  I would encourage you not to, but if it's not a right match for you, then that's okay.  www.matthewkimberley.com is the best place to go.

Steve:        Perfect.  If you're listening to this, you need to go there right now.  The guide is outstanding.  I have on my iPad a shortlist of things that I review fairly regularly.  That's one of about seven reports, checklists, and things thatÖ I look at it about once a month.  It's a good reminder of the things I need to be doing.  I recommend everybody to go get it. Get the book.  It's number one, Matthew.  The book is hilarious.  I laughed all the way through it.  I think it is also very much on point in terms of how to move yourself forward.  Well done on the book as well.

Matthew:     Thank you.  That's "How to Get a Grip" which you can find on Amazon.  You can go to www.howtogetagrip.com or you can go to Amazon and search for ìHow to Get a Grip.î  That's available for the Kindle and in paperback.

Steve:        Perfect.  Thank you for spending a little bit of time with me this morning.  This has been a lot of fun.  You shared some great stuff.

Up Sell Magic: How to increase initial customer value the right way

The most famous phrase in fast food, "Would you like fries with that" is nothing more than a simple, elegant up sell. Today on the Small Business Marketing Show I talk with Ryan Chapman, up sell expert, and author of "Would You Like to Go Big? How to Increase Initial Customer Value Without Sacrificing Lifetime Value." Ryan shares answers to like:

  • Why are up sells such a big deal?
  • Where do people mess up with up sells?
  • What are the keys to successful up sells online? ...and Offline?
  • And a whole lot more...

Adding a relevant up sell offer is one of the best ways to both serve your clients better AND give a big boost to your profits.

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To get a free copy of Ryan's book Would You Like To Go Big? (Ryan's even offered to pay the shipping!) Click here.

 

Secrets of Generating Leads - Interview with Jason Leister

Leads, Leads, Leads...

You need more leads!

And this week on the Small Business Marketing Show we're talking to a master of lead generation--Jason Leister.

Jason shares some amazing secrets to generating the leads you need to grow your business, including...

  • Why lead generation is so important.
  • Taking the long view when generating leads.
  • How to be valuable to your prospects.
  • Simple ways to stay in front of the leads you generate.
  • The importance of persistence...and how to do it.

Jason publishes a fantastic daily email--The Client Letter--you can get it at ArtOfClients.com.

How to Find Top Sales Talent

steve-clark-photo.jpg

We spend a lot of time focused on how small businesses can do a better job of marketing themselves here...but today we're going to take a different view.

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We're going to look at what it takes to find, hire and develop a top-shelf sales team. To uncover the real secrets to a winning sales team I sat down to interview Steve Clark, President of New School Selling and author of the book Profitable Persuasion: Proven strategies for Sales and Management Success.

On this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show Steve shares...

  • The reasons behind the dismal state of sales performance.
  • The seven attributes of star sales people.
  • How to find top sales people (it's not in the places you think).
  • Strategies for growing and developing your sales talent.

Steve Clark has a number of outstanding and free resources for you on his website. I encourage you to visit him at NewSchoolSelling.com

One of The Simplest Ways To Follow-up With Leads

contactually-sales-follow-upFollowup is one of the best ways to make more sales. Simply persevering until the prospect is ready to buy will win the day most of the time. But followup doesn't just happen, you've got to have a way to keep track of who to contact and when. Early in my career I tried everything from a day planner where, after each contact with a prospect, I'd immediately put a note in the future to re-contact the person. To a tickler file...to Outlook reminders...to seriously expensive CRM software.

That's until I found a neat little tool (I say little because it only takes a little time) to keep track of who I need to be in touch with and when.

Contactually is that tool.

It scans my inbox to see who I contact and how frequently. Then it asks me to put my contacts into buckets. I've got buckets for prospects, clients, family, friends, people in my network. And for each bucket I tell Contactually to remind me to reach out to the individuals in the bucket on a certain interval.

And it's a faithful servant.

I've just scratched the surface of what it can do and it's saved my bacon at least a half-dozen times.

So I reached out to Co-founder and COO Tony Cappaert to give you a demo of all it can do. (And he was kind enough to offer a discount for you...enter the code 'stevegordonmarketing' to get 25% off your first 3-months). That's not an affiliate link...I don't get anything from referring you, this is just a good service that I use myself.

Be sure to watch the demo/interview below.

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90 Days to $1 Million - How Walter Bergeron Transformed His Business With Autopilot Marketing

Automated marketing transforms business in 90 days
Automated marketing transforms business in 90 days

What if you could add $1,000,000 to your business in the next 90 days? Most business owners over estimate what they can accomplish in a month...but they dramatically underestimate what can be accomplished in 90 days.

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In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show, I talk to Walter Bergeron, author of The Million Dollar Total Business Transformation. Walter describes how he used autopilot marketing systems to add $1,000,000 in revenue in just 90 days.

To get it done, Walter had to overcome the biggest obstacles that I see entrepreneurs face...

  • Finding the time to work on marketing (you'll love Walter's surprising solution to this...)
  • Getting hung up in the search for perfection...when on simple mantra will make you much more money and save you hours of stress.
  • Working sequentially instead of focusing on parallel implementation.

Listen to the interview to learn exactly how Walter overcame these challenges and how a massive marketing burst can change your business in the next 90 days.

To learn more about Walter and get a copy of his book click here.

To get more Small Business Marketing Show Episodes, subscribe on iTunes.

How to Automate Your Marketing With Infusionsoft and Basecamp (How I Save 4 Hours A Week)

I've been teaching business owners how to automate their marketing for three years. Now, when I get introduced I'm the "guy who can get you lots more clients...on autopilot."

But sometimes I get a puzzled look on the face of business owners when they hear all of that.

So I thought, maybe, it's time to SHOW you what marketing automation looks like inside my business.

I put together a quick video (about 25 minutes) that shows you an actual marketing and follow-up campaign and how it has reduced what used to be a 4-hour a week task down to just 90 minutes.

Would you like and extra 2 and a half hours this week?

How would you use it?

Before you click play, take out a pen and paper. As you watch the video, you're going to get ideas about what YOU could automate in your business...write them down.

If you want to talk 1-on-1 about how you can get this kind of automation (and this just scratches the surface) in your business click here.

Underground New Zealand Web Expert Answers the Question "How to Promote My Website to Generate Leads?"

Late Sunday night I held a secret call with an underground web expert from New Zealand. On the call I got him to answer the question many of you have asked..."How to promote my website to generate leads?"

You can hear the complete interview on this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show.

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My guest is D. Bnonn Tennant. Bnonn is a clever copywriter and marketer...infact he brings together three essential skills (and few possess all three)...

  1. He's an expert web designer (and understands how to design a website to SELL).
  2. He's a skilled copywriter (I've got a few of his pieces in my own swipe file).
  3. He understands direct response marketing...that special form of marketing that designed to make you money (not just get your name out there).

On the call he shares his five part framework for analyzing the effectiveness of your website.

Your website wants you to listen to this interview!

Or, better yet...subscribe on iTunes.

Links mentioned on the call:

Bnonn's Free Course: attentionthievery.com

The Shirtsleeve Marketing Communique': shirtsleevesmarketing.com

 

How Inbound Marketing Can Revolutionize Your Local Business - Interview With Marcus Sheridan

small business marketing show

On this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show I talk with inbound marketing expert Marcus Sheridan...a/k/a The Sales Lion!

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Listen as Marcus describes how he used inbound marketing to grow his local pool construction company during a down economy.

  • Discover the Law of Compound Information
  • What it takes to be successful with content marketing
  • The simple "They ask, You answer" formula for creating great content
  • How the content marketing "CSI" affects your success

If you want to attract your ideal clients online you need to listen to this interview with Marcus!

Go here to learn more about Marcus Sheridan.

Episode Transcript

Steve: Welcome to the Small Business Marketing Show. This is Steve Gordon of Steve Gordon Marketing Systems. Today, I want to welcome you to a really special show. We’ve got a great guest today. I’m really pleased to introduce you all to Marcus Sheridan.

Marcus is going to tell us his story in a minute. I love the story he’s going to tell, because he comes from what I call the real world of business. He doesn’t come from a business that was built on internet marketing or built solely to marketing on the internet. He comes from what I consider real-world business and has done some amazing things. I think it will be a very informative call for everybody today. I want to thank you for being here.

Marcus, thank you for being here. I’m excited to talk to you. If you would, please give everybody a quick little background. I’d love for you to tell the story of how you got into internet marketing, because you’ve done some really neat things.

Marcus: Steve, thanks for the intro. Hello everyone out there in the podcast world. It’s a pleasure for me to be here, because I love talking about actionable stuff that works for businesses, especially having gone through this myself. You asked for a brief overview of my story, right? I’ll try to be as brief as I can.

In 2001, I opened a swimming pool company in Virginia. We started to grow that company. We installed inground pools. It’s called River Pools and Spas, by the way. Things were going okay until about November 2008 when the market crashed. The housing bubble burst. All of a sudden, people left and right were withdrawing the deposits they had put on inground pool installations. We were in big trouble, man. We were in big trouble. Our company had to install about 70 inground pools a year to meet our overhead and be successful, based on the amount of employees and such.

When the crash occurred, our big problem was that we didn’t have any money for marketing and advertising, as we had always done. We had to increase our reach, because there were so few people now that could actually afford to buy a pool, because so many people were in the water with their home values.

It was during this time that I started researching. I stumbled across the site HubSpot. For those that aren’t familiar with them, they’re the ones that have really become champions of the phrase “inbound marketing.” I started reading about inbound marketing—the process of becoming attractive to consumers because of the information that we have on our website. For me, as somebody with a degree in teaching, it made total sense to me.

So our approach was, okay, we see where the trend is going. People are doing all their research online. We don’t want to be left behind. We can’t afford all this shotgun marketing that we’ve always done: yellow pages, radio, tv, all that junk. We spend a couple hundred thousand dollars a year on advertising.

What we did, Steve, was a really simple strategy. I sat and I brainstormed every single question that I had ever received from a client, a prospect, a consumer. I wrote all those questions out. Then each question, I turned into a title of what would become a blog post. Then I answered it, just like I would answer it if I was talking to a homeowner sitting at their kitchen table, right?

So really, our golden rule for our marketing approach became they ask—the consumer asked—we answer. So they ask, we answer with our compass of what we should write about. I didn’t use any keyword tools, didn’t use Google, didn’t use any of that stuff. If somebody asked me a question, I think, “Okay Marcus, have you answered that yet on the website?” If I hadn’t, I would go and I would turn that question into a title of a blog post. I’d write out the answer.

A couple of things happened, man. First thing that happened was, Google quickly fell in love with our stuff, because there was somebody that was finally thinking like a consumer, talking like a consumer, acting like a consumer, and willing to address their questions. I was number one.

Number two. Consumers, pool shoppers, they fell in love with us too and started spending an incredible amount of time on the website, which changed our sales process, which changed of course traffic leads and sales, our brand.

Today, to make a long story really short, we have the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world. We are very successful. All of our advertising or marketing is essentially the internet. It’s really, really amazing. It’s changed my life.

Now, I talk about that experience on The Sales Lion, which is my marketing company and blog. I still have the swimming pool company, but I talk about all those experiences that I have with River Pools and the techniques that I used, and now the techniques that I’ve implemented with other companies. That’s found at www.thesaleslion.com. That’s our story, man. That’s it.

Steve: It’s a great story, because you’ve taken something that a lot of people talk about. You mentioned a term, inbound marketing. Some people call it content marketing. Can you kind of describe the process and how it works?
A lot of the folks who listen to this are probably getting hit up by the yellow pages rep and the tv rep and the newspaper rep who are coming around trying to sell them ads on a regular basis. For a lot of businesses, that’s the framework that they have for marketing.

This idea of publishing content I think scares a lot of people, because it sounds like an awful lot of work. You’re talking about writing blog posts and you’ve got to get a blog set up, and all these seemingly complicated things. Can you kind of just break it down a little bit in terms of what you did?

Marcus: Absolutely. Just so you know, when it comes to vernacular, we’re crazy about this, because we say the word inbound marketing, content marketing. To me really, I look to them as essentially, close to the same thing.
The bottom line is this. If we want to be great in the information age—which is the age we’re now in, in a digital world—we’ve got to be great communicators and great teachers. That just starts with great listening.

If you listen well, you hear what consumers are saying, you hear their problems, their concerns, their issues. When you hear that, you do something about it. So you teach them through producing content in the text or video format on your website or other website in a digital form, right? And you communicate that in a way that they can understand it.
In other words, the goal isn’t to sound intelligent. The goal of all marketing that we do—certainly content, inbound, digital, social—the goal is the person that reads it says, “Ha! I got it. I understand now. I know what I need to do. That answers my question.”

That’s the goal. The goal isn’t that we use our industry speak—if you will—and confuse people, because that’s what happens too often. You see all these crazy definitions of content marketing and blogging. Let’s just throw all that out for a minute.

Our goal is to listen well. If we listen well, we teach well. By teaching well, we’ve got to communicate well. If we communicate well, we’re going to get the reward. The reward goes back to those two parties I mentioned earlier: the search engines like Google and real consumers. When they read your stuff, they say, “Man, this guy, this gal thinks like me. He cares about my needs. He’s willing to answer and address my question.”

I think we make it way, way too difficult. I’ll tell you what, man. Those whole outbound marketing techniques, they’re so short-lived. In 2007, to achieve about $4 million in sales, I had to spend $250,000 on advertising. In 2012, to achieve almost $5 million in sales, we spent a little bit under $20,000 in advertising.

We’ve grown our business yet decreased advertising. We’ve grown in a time when most pool companies are still—to this day—down somewhere between 40% to 70% of what they were four years ago. Do you know what I mean? That’s all because we’ve decided to become the best teachers in the world at what we do.

When a company changes its mentality to that of teachers, everything changes. They see the world from the eyes of the student. Most never do that, man. They’re always like, I love using this phrase, “It’s called a blog, not a brag,” right? Because companies want to just talk about how awesome they are on their website. Well the fact is, nobody cares how awesome you are until you’ve taught them something they didn’t know, until you’ve addressed a problem that they have.

90% of my website is a teaching mechanism, where I’m teaching and teaching and teaching; helping them understand stuff. 10% is, “Hey, I’m awesome. Give us a call.”

Steve: As I work with a business, one of the things I try to get them to understand is that paid media can be good. It has its place. But you’ve got to understand that when you stop paying for it, they stop delivering leads.

What you’re really talking about is, over time, building up an asset that if you do it well, if you do it right… and I don’t think it’s all that hard to do it right, as long as you’re thinking about your customer. But now, you’ve got an asset that is likely to be shown in the search engines because they’ve got interest in connecting searchers with good content. If you produce good content that is customer focused, you’ve got it.

Now you’ve got that asset. You don’t have to pay for it over and over and over again, like you do if you’re running a tv commercial or a pay-per-click ad. I would imagine your investment will actually decrease over time. Initially, I’m sure you had a huge time investment. There are certainly costs to that, not necessarily hard cash out the door. There are costs to that. But that investment, I would imagine, even decreases over time.

Marcus: I look at it like this, Steve. Content--when done right--is a gift that keeps on giving. I always like to use the phrase “compound information,” because most people understand the law of compound interest. The law of compound interest is what allows us to be rich by the time we’re age 60. It’s really contingent upon two things: when we start investing and how often we make the investment.

The law of compound information is the exact same thing. If you want to be great, if you want to be rich as a company—I wouldn’t say rich; I’m just talking about being financially stable, generating leads continuously now and long-term—you’ve got to start producing content now. You can’t make up for time.

The person who starts investing at 30 versus the one at 20, even if they’re investing twice as much at age 30 to their account, they’re not going to be as wealthy by the time they’re age 60. It’s the same thing when it comes to the law of compound information. We’ve got to start investing now, not later. It’ll kill us if we wait five years. By that point, so many have jumped onboard this train.

The second component is how often we make the investment. If you have a blog—in other words, if you’re producing content—are you producing content and teaching people on your site once a week, once a month, once a year?

When I started this—like you said—I didn’t have a lot of hard cost. It was just me spending time. When people say to me, “Marcus, I don’t have the time.” I didn’t have the time either. I was working 55 to 65 hours a week like most other entrepreneurs. I would get home late at night—11:30 PM—and write blog posts on my kitchen table with a little lamp on, and nobody else in my house was awake. That’s what I did. I have produced content in crazy places. I’ve written blog articles in parking lots, in between appointments. You pretty much name it, I’ve done it. That’s what I had to do, because I was going to lose my business, Steve. I had no choice.

Unfortunately, the sad reality is, most people will not do this until they’re faced with financial hardship and they’re on the brink. It just doesn’t make sense.

There’s one single article I’ve talked so much about. I’ve briefly described this they ask, we answer mentality or they ask, you answer—which by the way, is going to be the title of my first book on hard back. I’m really excited about this whole principle of they ask, you answer.

For years, I had people ask, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” That’s always the first question a pool guy gets. How much does a concrete pool cost? In business, people always bring up cost within the first 5 to 10 minutes. I don’t care if it’s service, product, B2B, B2C, local, national. It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same. We all want to know about money.

Three and a half years ago—when I started this principle of following the golden rule—nobody, no website in the world, Steve, had addressed the singular question, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” No pool guy had done this, which is preposterous considering it’s always the first consumer question. We all know the reason why: they’re afraid of competition, they’re afraid to scare people, blah blah blah.

The fact is, in this day and age… let’s say you’re looking for how much something costs, Steve. When you go on a website and you can’t find it quickly, you bounce. You’re gone. Every single person listening to this podcast right now is the same way. We’ve all grown incredibly impatient online. We want answers fast and furious. We want them quick. If we can’t find them, we’re going to bounce and go to the next website. But if we do find the information jackpot—the site that’s willing to think like us and talk like us and answer our questions—man, now we’re more loyal than ever. We’ll stay there for a long, long time. That’s just the facts. It’s like that in every single industry.

So I wrote that article—how much a fiberglass will cost—because I was following the golden rule of they ask, you answer. Immediately, Google said, “My goodness, somebody finally answered this question.” It was the first page for almost every fiberglass pool cost-related keyword phrase you could type in.
Right now, if anybody types in “fiberglass pool cost” or, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” or, “What’s the average cost of a fiberglass pool?” or, “How much does an inground pool cost?” we’re going to be on the first page of Google, usually ranked number one every single time.

Because we can track the people that have come to our site from that article based on the analytics that we use—we use HubSpot—and if they fill out a form which says, “Hey, contact me,” I’m able to see how that particular lead came into the system.

In other words, what the keyword that they typed in was and what article they landed on. Eventually, I’m able to say, well, because these leads became customers and because these customers typed in these particular phrases and landed on these particular blog articles, I can give an actual return on investment (ROI) to a specific article. This is available to any company.

To make a long story short, Steve, that one article, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” has led so far to—at a minimum, what I can track—$1.2 million in sales. That is a huge amount for me as a pool guy. That’s a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot. These are phrases that, had I not shown up in the search, they never would have found me, man. They just wouldn’t have found me.
The principle applies to everything. Literally, there are no exceptions. In some markets, I’ve been hearing that there are certain problems with fiberglass pools. So be honest, what are the problems with fiberglass pools? Again, that’s a question. That means I’ve got to answer it. I have an article titled “Top 5 Fiberglass Pool Problems and Solutions” on our website. It’s gets about 30,000 to 40,000 reads a year. So far, it’s made somewhere around $500,000 in sales.

The number one lead generating phrase that people type in to become a lead—other than River Pool and Spas, which is a direct one that doesn’t count—is fiberglass pool problems. Think about that. I’m actually talking about the problems of my own product. I am honest in that article. We say, “There are certain drawbacks to fiberglass pools. Here’s what they are.” So you see, that’s the beauty of being willing to answer.

I call it the antithesis of ostrich marketing. Most companies are like ostriches, possibly one of the dumbest animals on Earth. When they see a problem, they bury their head in the sand. They think it’ll go away and that by the time they come back out, it’ll be gone. It doesn’t work that way for the ostrich, and it certainly doesn’t work that way for businesses.

If somebody asked you a question like, “How much does your product cost?” you shouldn’t ignore the question and say, “Well, I’ll just wait until they get to the store,” or, “I’ll wait until I talk to them.” It doesn’t mean that you have to specifically give a cost. But you have to be able to address it. There is a big difference between addressing and answering questions.

For example, you can go read the, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” article. Never once did I say, “Your pool will cost you this much.” I said, “It’s like buying a car. It can range. It varies. Tons of options here, folks. But you might be anywhere between $20,000 and $80,000 on average. It could be higher than that depending on what you get.” But I did at least address the question.
Google views that as an answer. Consumers are satisfied that somebody’s taken the time to think like them and address their question. Now they’re in my house, a.k.a. my website. They’re going to start to read more content. The more content they read, every single article induces more trust. With more trust comes the fact that they’re closer and closer to filling out forms for or calling the source, “Hey Marcus,” or, “Hey River Pools, help me with this.”

Again, people think that what I’m talking about, their industry is the exception to this principle, Steve. It’s not the case. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C, this golden rule applies. If you’re a great listener, you’ll never run out of blog content, content for your website. Search engines will love you and people will love you. You’ve just got to figure out how to apply it to your industry, because the principle of communication and listening is the same.

Steve: You mentioned a really important word there—trust. I think a lot of people and a lot of businesses want to walk away from the price question. It’s important to answer the price question because most of the time when people ask it, they just want a frame of reference. They’re not necessarily using it to price shop.

If you’re buying something that’s totally commoditized—something you could buy on amazon.com—yeah, maybe they’re doing that. But for most of us in business, we’re selling stuff that’s a little more complicated than that.

Really, the trust piece is more important than the price, as long as the price is somewhere within reason. They just want a frame of reference. By putting it out there while everyone else is hiding it, you’re building trust. You’re showing that, “Hey, we’re transparent. We’re going to give you an honest answer.”

I think it goes a long way especially in making a complicated sale, like a lot of the people listening to this deal with every day. Having that transparency, talking about the problems is important, because every product and every service has its weaknesses. People actually appreciate it when you let them know, “Hey, here are the pros and cons. Here are the pros and cons of maybe a competing thing. You figure out which one is best for you, but I’m going to lay it all out.” If you’re the one that lays it all out for them, who are they going to trust?

Marcus: That’s exactly right. It goes back to… you have a choice. You can be the ostrich or not. Also, every second somebody is on your website, they’re closer to buying your stuff.

When we talk about price, people raise their hand and say, “No, this won’t work. It’s a service-based business.” Again, that’s a bunch of hooey, because if somebody called up a service-based business and said, “Roughly, how much can I expect to spend?” eventually, they’re going to get some type of answer. It might not be a direct number, but like you said, you’re at least giving a range. Your answer might be, “It’s impossible, because our customers spend between $0 and $1 million, and here are the factors that dictate it.” But at least, hey, you addressed the question.

You can simplify this even further. What we’re talking about here is how the mind of today’s consumer has changed. Ten years ago, Steve, if you find a car that looks really cool on a car lot and you call in and say, “Hey, I saw you have this car. How much is it?” what’s the guy going to say back then? He’s going to say, “Oh Steve, yeah. That’s a good car. Why don’t you come on in? We’ll show it to you. Come on in. Have a look.” You didn’t ever answer the question.

Often times, people would still go to the lot and look. Today, we don’t have the patience for that and we don’t put up with it. Today, if you called the car guy and you said, “How much is this?” and he didn’t answer your question, what would you do? Everybody else, the same thing. We would get mad. We would maybe hang up. If we didn’t hang up, when we got off the phone, we’d never talk to that company again, because we’re in a different era.

This is the era of transparent marketing. It doesn’t mean that we show every single price in the world. But it means we’re willing to address every single question you ask.

Steve: If folks who are listening to this are saying, “Okay, this is great. I want to start blogging,” so they go to their web person and they get a blog set up. They start brainstorming all the questions that their prospects and customers ask and write the answers to that and put some posts up, that will get them moving forward.

But as I was reading your e-book—it’s over on thesaleslion.com—the thing that just jumped out at me was that you said you didn’t start networking quickly enough. I found this to be true as well. Why is networking with other folks that are also publishing online in your industry important?

Marcus: Networking is the answer to what I call CSI, which is the content saturation index of an industry. The higher the CSI or the more content is out there, the more you’re going to need to network in order to help your content get noticed and to develop followers, fans, readers—whatever you want to call it.

With River Pools, because the CSI was so low—in other words, people weren’t producing content in the pool industry, and they’re still not for the most part—I didn’t have to network at all, man. It was easy. I just had to answers questions. Because there were no answers out there, Google fell in love quick and so did the consumers.

When I got to the marketing realm and started teaching about marketing from The Sales Lion, immediately I was like, “Doggone, man. I’m not getting traction here.” That’s because every single marketing company, agency, consultant or whatever, had a blog. I had to network, and I had to get my name and my voice out there. They’re two different strategies.

Networking is important. It’s not as critical in certain industries, because if you’ve got nobody to network with—and sometimes it’s the case, believe it or not—well then, you just be your own little content renegade like I was in the pool industry. Produce the content and answer the question, you’re going to be successful. But if you’re writing about a niche like sales, marketing, personal development, politics or religion, there are a lot of content out there, there might be a lot to cover, and you might need to build your network. You might need to use social media.

For River Pools, I didn’t use social media. I didn’t use Facebook and Twitter to build that huge audience, because I didn’t need to. All I needed to do—because the CSI was so low—was answer the questions. Well again, I had to use social with The Sales Lion, because I was in the marketing, sales and business realm, where there were lots and lots of content.

Keep this in mind, Steve. You mentioned something that I don’t want to forget at this point. People get confused about this. A blog is simply a way of formatting information on your website. So your blog should not be a separate component of your website. It’s just more pages. Every blog article is a new page of your website. It shows differently though than your average page.

Sometimes people say, “Well, I have a blog and I have a website.” I’m like, that’s messed up. If somebody is reading your blog, they should feel like they’re on your website. They shouldn’t feel like they’ve gone somewhere else, to a different home. They should feel like they’re still there. Your blog articles—in fact, links to your blog articles—are sprinkled throughout your website. That’s very, very important. It’s amazing to me how many businesses screw that up.

Steve: That’s a good point. I guess I kind of take for granted that in this day and age, that most websites are being built on what I would call blogging platforms like WordPress and so many others that are out there. But I came across a client that hired a web designer. What they proposed originally was a static website. I said, “No, no, no. We can’t do that. There’s no way to grow that for the future.” So thank you for pointing that out, because I think that is an important distinction.

Marcus: Like I said, it’s critical. Most of the clients I had—especially when you get closer to mid-sized businesses—they’ve got custom junk that the website was built on. So at that point, they had to figure out a way to integrate a blog platform like WordPress.

We just can’t predict that, because to this day, there’s this misnomer about what blogging is. I think the definition has actually changed. Like I said, at present, a blog is a format of information on your website. That’s what a blog is.

Until people fully understand that, they’re still going to misconstrue, really, what we’re talking about. I don’t even like to call it blogging. I like to call it, in a sense, education-based marketing. We’re answering questions. Each question gets its own specific page on the website. It happens to be considered a blog article.

Steve: I think that’s real helpful. As folks get started on blogging… you’ve been through this, I’ve been through it. You get going, you’re writing articles left and right, you start out, and you’ve got all this energy that you’re just going to overtake the world with this blog.

Then maybe you make it a month into it, maybe you make it two months into it. You’re looking at your statistics, your analytics, and it doesn’t seem like you’re getting quite the traffic that you had expected. The world hasn’t rushed in.

I think all of us have kind of experienced this dip that you go through, where it gets a little bit tough to keep the momentum going. How long does it take and what was your experience with the dip, in getting through that? How did you kind of maintain momentum?

Marcus: That’s all industry-based, Steve. It’s all CSI based, depending on the content saturation index. When you start to have success is really going to be based on a couple of factors.

The number one factor is CSI. The number two factor is the way you title your blog posts, the pages of your website. People jack that up all the time. It is the number one screw up for new content marketers and bloggers. Number three is, how often you’re producing the content. You’ve got to be consistent. For the majority of businesses, produce at least two new pieces of content a week. Everybody wants to know how much. Well, at least two.

I’ve sat down with companies. We’ve brainstormed consumer questions. When we spent any bit of time on it, I’ve never come up with less than 100 in a brainstorming session with any company. Usually—if it’s say 5 to 10 employees—we can come up with 50 unique consumer questions within the first 5 to 10 minutes of brainstorming. In 30 minutes, we can come up with at least 100. That’s just the way it is.

Unfortunately, most don’t do that. They’re so attached to the numbers, but they’re not attached to doing it the right way. Doing it the right way is okay. So here is let’s say 100 blog posts. If you’ve got 100 blog posts, and if you do two blogs a week, that’s a year’s worth of content, right? You just need to write those questions out.

Now you have the titles. You know when you’re going to put them out there. It’s your editorial calendar. Then you just go. You just do. You don’t question. You don’t go, “Well, what if we don’t reach this number? What if that…” You just do it, because it’s who you are. It’s the culture. The culture is we’re teachers and we’re going to do this.

The other factor is, you have to implement that content into your sales process. So you shouldn’t write a blog article and die out. You should constantly be referring your customers, your clients, your prospects, to the content that you’ve written. If somebody comes to you and had a particular problem and you’ve written about it a couple of times on your blog, the next time you send them an e-mail, you should have links to those two blog articles. It’s amazing to me how many e-mails we send out that do not include content. It’s a huge mistake.

Can there be a dip? Yes, absolutely. But usually the dip comes with the fact that the person doesn’t truly see themselves as a teacher, has not disconnected as much with the sheer numbers as they are with, “This is who we are. This is what we do.” It’s like, “We do paychecks on Fridays. We blog Mondays and Wednesdays, because that’s what we do.” That’s the approach. That’s the mentality.

I’ve written at least two blog articles a week on The Sales Lion for three years. With River Pools—I don’t have to write as much now, but I still do—usually at least one a week. But for the first year, I did three a week. I’ve never hit a dip. The only reason why I’ve slowed down with River Pools is because I have so much traffic and I get so many leads, my company is not built to even build the number of pools that could be sold from the marketing that we do, which is a good problem to have.

I think people go through dips when they have unrealistic expectations, when they don’t understand the whole purpose of their content. For example, let’s say I never got another new visitor to my site because of my content. I would still produce content, because I use that content as part of my sales process.

Just like if somebody comes to me and says, “I want a pool,” they have to read the e-book that came from the blog articles that we wrote on River Pools. See? We’re refurbishing that content. We’re using that as part of our sales process. When they read that, they’re so much better as a lead—as a customer—than they ever would have been otherwise.

If somebody comes to me at The Sales Lion and says, “Hey Marcus, I want you to help us with our content marketing,” I’m going to say, “Have you read my e-book?” If they haven’t, I’m going to make sure they read the e-book first, because that is going to establish the relationship of expertise. They’re going to know how I roll. They’re going to know how I think. They’re going to know my essential content marketing doctrine, if you will. That’s very, very important. So now when we have a deep conversation, they’re more advanced. The foundation has already been laid out.

When people get caught up solely on more traffic, more traffic, more traffic, they’re missing the mark of really what content marketing is all about. Yes, that’s a huge deal. But the other deal thing is, are we using the content to push that person down the sales funnel so they pop out as a great client? If we’re not, we need to start doing it.

Steve: I think that’s absolutely great advice. Now, a couple of things I want to make sure we get to before we wrap up. One is HubSpot. You mentioned that. I know you have a lot of good things to say about HubSpot. I don’t know if you want to share anything now about that.

Marcus: I like HubSpot. I was their first customer that actually became a value-added reseller. With a lot of marketing clients, they use HubSpot.

The thing about it is this. HubSpot is a great all-in-one tool. It’s an e-mail marketing tool and it’s an SEO tool. It’s also a lead tracking tool. That’s a huge deal. In other words, let’s say Steve, you come to my website right now at River Pools. You fill out a form. I looked at your information. But now I can look and say, “Okay, Steve. Before you filled out the form, you looked at this page, this page, and this page. This is the time of day that you came onto this site.” I can see exactly what content that you have read, any content that you have read after you filled out the form.

I can essentially track you, right? That is a huge deal. If I’m going on a sales appointment and I know that you’ve gone and read 30 pages and I know what those 30 pages are, I know your hot buttons. I’m inside your head. The sales appointment is going to be way more productive.

At the same time, I know that if a lead comes into the system that has barely read any portion of my site. I use this on The Sales Lion as well. People come to me all the time and say, “I’ve been reading your site.” They fill out a form. They tell me how they’ve read the site, but they’re just pitching something. I can look and see how they went to one page and then went to my contact page. They’re lying to me, and I just trash it.

Or if somebody tells me, “I’ve been all over your site, Marcus. I’m really interested,” I can see if they’re being sincere or not. I can see that sincere person that really just dove into the content and sucked it all up, and is really trying hard. I can see that they’re going to be a great client.

That’s what HubSpot does. It does lead tracking. They’ll promote things too. I don’t find it very expensive it all. For most people, it’s a few hundred dollars a month. For mid-sized companies, it might be $1,000 a month or so.

It’s not for everybody, because unless you’re producing content regularly, unless you’re looking at your analytics, unless you’re trying to be great online, it’s going to be a waste of time. It’s just a tool. It’s only as good as the person that’s using the tool. That’s why there are a lot of folks I say not to use HubSpot, because they would just be wasting their money.

Steve: I think that’s wise advice there at the end. Tell us a little bit about The Sales Lion. I want to make sure we direct folks over to your e-book there, because if they’ve listened to this and they’re thinking about getting into content marketing or they’re doing it already, you’ve got to go get the e-book that Marcus has written. It’s outstanding. How do they get that?

Marcus: I appreciate that, Steve. The site is The Sales Lion, like the animal. So thesaleslion.com. You’ll see right away that there’s a free e-book there. It’s a couple of hundred pages. It’s called “Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy.” It’s literally been downloaded thousands of times all over the world. It’s changed businesses and lives all over the world. It is something that I’m incredibly proud of. It’s free. It’s my gift to everybody.

Content marketing, inbound marketing, changed my life so much. I was on the brink of financial ruin. It brought me out of that. I have so much passion to talk about it. That’s exactly why I give that e-book away for free.

Hopefully, your listeners will go there. If they read it and they apply it, they’re going to be on the top 1% of those that are in their particular niche and field. I’m telling you, they’ll be elite level and they’ll be there quickly. So thesaleslion.com.

Steve: It’s a phenomenal resource. I can’t believe you’re giving it away. Most people would get something that’s got that much meat in it and think, “God, this has got to be sold for a couple of hundred bucks.” But you’re giving it away. So everybody ought to go get it. It really is valuable.

Marcus, thanks so much for being with us today on the Small Business Marketing Show. This has been really informative. It’s been a lot of fun. I wish you luck.

Marcus: My pleasure, sir. Thanks everyone for listening today. Good luck to you and your business.

How to Sell Your Product or Service With An Irresistible Offer

small business marketing show

Want to know how to sell your product or service more easily? Create an irresistible offer.

[powerpress]

On this week's Small Business Marketing Show I sit down with, friend, colleague and copywriter extraordinaire Donnie Bryant to breakdown exactly how he develops killer offers for his clients (which include Experian and  Early to Rise).

Listen as Donnie explains how to...

  •  Position your product or service in a unique way (even if it's not unique).
  • How to remove yourself from all price competition.
  • How to communicate the value of your offer.
  • 3 ways to bundle your offering to add incredible value.

If you feel like you're in "commodity hell" or if price competition's got you down, you must listen to this interview.

Be sure to check out Donnie's book Stealth Selling: Non-Pushy Persuasion for Professionals...and connect with Donnie on Google+

Episode Transcript

Steve: Welcome to the Small Business Marketing Show. This is your host, Steve Gordon. I’m the founder of Steve Gordon Marketing Systems, where we help small business owners and people in professional practice build autopilot marketing systems to attract all the clients they want, and do so with a lot less work.
Today, I’m really excited to be talking with my good friend Donnie Bryant. Donnie is a direct response copywriter and a marketing consultant up near Chicago. He just does so many neat things. I’ve been following him for gosh, 18 months, 2 years now. The things that come out of his brain are really cool.
The reason I wanted to have him on today is because as a direct response copywriter, he has to spend a lot of time figuring out how to craft an offer and how to package a product or service so that somebody will actually want to buy it. In fact, that’s what he gets paid to do.
One of the things that I run into over and over again with businesses that I come across with is they just don’t have a good feel about how to package what they do into a compelling offer that’s going to make somebody want to stand up and say, “Hey, I want that.” We’re going to talk with Donnie about that today.
In addition to all of that, Donnie has authored a book called “Stealth Selling: Non-Pushy Persuasion for Professionals,” which I highly recommend. We’ll give you a link to that at the end of the show.
Donnie, welcome. Great talking to you.

Donnie: Wow, thanks for having me. Thanks for a great introduction. Hopefully, we can live up to the expectation that we’ve just set. [laughs]

Steve: I have full confidence. We’re talking about offers today. Probably, 9 out of 10 business owners that I will say the word “offer” to, their immediate response will be, “You mean like a sale?” We’re not talking about a sale. We’re not talking about a special discount. It might include that, but really, that’s not what we’re talking about.
Can you kind of describe to folks? When you and I talk offer, what does that mean to you?

Donnie: What we want to do, ideally, is kind of the opposite of a sale. You want to be able to make more money rather than less. You want to be able to charge more for what you’re offering than what the next guy is.
By coming up with an offer, you don’t want to turn yourself into the Wal-Mart of your field. What you want to do is turn yourself into the Apple of your field and create something that your target audience is going to line up for and pre-order buy in piles, like they do for anything that Apple does.
That’s kind of what we are talking about when we say offer. How do you get your product, your service… how do you construct something that will make it really appealing to your target audience?
You know what’s funny? I suppose you watch Shark Tank, right?

Steve: Oh, all the time.

Donnie: [laughs] A couple of weeks ago—I can’t remember which one it was—a guy and his wife came on and they were selling the chicken wing chip dip. Did you see that episode?

Steve: Yes. [laughs]

Donnie: So the panel was tasting. It’s like, oh okay. Daymond John said, “So basically, this is a chicken smoothie.” [laughs] I’m like, wait. Change your perspective just for a second. They showed the shots of Mark looking like, “Ugh.” [laughs]
When you’re putting together an offer, when you’re structuring how you’re going to present your offer--your product, your service--you can position it in a way that it looks terrible, like Damon said. “Here’s a chicken smoothie.” You’re not going to sell any of that. No. [laughs]

Steve: That’s right.

Donnie: But the idea is, to put it together in a way that it’s unique and obviously valuable and can create an emotional connection with the person that you really want to buy from you, the person who will benefit from what it is that you have. That’s where the struggle is. That’s I guess the foundation of where we’re going to go.
I think the first thing is uniqueness. That’s a valid point, that sometimes you don’t feel like you’re in a unique market or you don’t have a unique product or service.
For me, there are a million copywriters or probably more. There are more coming out every day. There are so many people who will charge less than me. Believe me, I hear that frequently. “You cost too much.” Which I guess is a good thing. I used to be one of the guys who didn’t charge much. There are two who charge ten times as much as I do, and they probably are worth it. [chuckles]
So the question is, how do you position something that’s not inherently unique as a product or service? How do you make an offer on that that’s still compelling to your target audience? That comes down to understanding what it is that those particular people are looking for, what connects between you and them, or what it is about you that’s appealing to them.
In my particular case, I’ve had so many people tell me that they really respect and value my ability to emulate their voice. If somebody wanted to communicate in a personal way that sounded like them rather than sounded like a robot or sounded like every other guy out there… just my ability to emulate their voice. So whatever it is about you that people really respond to, that’s going to be key to coming up with an offer that really works.

Steve: I think you hit it perfectly. It’s about being unique. There aren’t very many businesses that are unique. In the marketing world, we all like to point to Apple. Apple hasn’t created a unique product yet.

Donnie: [laughs]

Steve: They haven’t innovated nor created a brand new category ever, I think. They came out with the iPod, but there were tons of mp3 players around when they came out with the iPod.

Donnie: That’s right.

Steve: They just packaged it differently and they bundled it. That’s a key concept to think about here. They bundled the physical mp3 player with the buying of content through the iTunes store to put onto the mp3 player, because that was a pain in the neck for those of us who were around back when mp3 players came out. I hate to admit it, but I was around back when cassette players were state of the art.

Donnie: [laughs] I still have a few cassettes in my house as well.

Steve: Exactly. By packaging things together like that, it allows you to get out of what I call commodity hell, because now it becomes harder for people to do an apples to apples comparison. So now, you’re in the apples and oranges, and they go, “Well, I got an apple over here and I got an orange over here. How do I sell? Which one’s worth more money?” That immediately then disconnects whatever it is you do from price.
If you’re a professional—say an attorney or somebody—and you’ve got your regular service but you bundle that with something that’s really valuable to your particular client that they’re going to need anyway and you would often do anyway but nobody else is talking about it, well now you’ve got a package over here. You’ve got a special offer that adds value. Now you can justify charging higher fees.
That’s why I think this is so important. This can be a game changer. You get the right offer, and it can completely change your business.

Donnie: It changes everything. You said something brilliant—to shift from an apple to apple comparison, to an apple to orange comparison. One thing you’ve got to know is some people prefer apples over oranges. Your offer is going to be targeted. Some people will not want what you have to offer.
Some people can’t stand an Apple product, the company Apple. There’s a battle between Android phones and iPhones. Some people are going to go with one, some people are going to go with the other. That’s good. It’s good for you to define what kind of fruit you are—an apple to grape comparison, maybe. What kind of fruit are you? You’re not just, “We’re selling fruit.” But you want to be in your own space, even if you’re not creating a new category.
Apple was just making things that people loved in areas that already existed, in categories that already existed. But they set themselves apart from all their competitors as far as creating a design and creating a brand and creating a lifestyle, almost, that’s unique to them. People will buy anything that Apple said--

Steve: Certain people will buy.

Donnie: Certain people, yeah. There you go.

Steve: I think that’s key. Apple Computers—they don’t call themselves that anymore—they sell in a bubble.

Donnie: Right.

Steve: I’ve got a Mac, I’ve got a MacBook Pro, an iPhone, and an iPad within arm’s reach of me here.

Donnie: [laughs]

Steve: If I was at home with my wife, there would be another iPhone. I think we have five iPods of various ages that our kids have.
Any time they come out with something new, it’s already sold to us. There’s no competition. We’re not going anywhere else. They’re selling in a bubble. That’s the advantage of crafting an offer that speaks to a really specific part of the market.

Donnie: That’s right.

Steve: So how do we go about doing that? What are some of the things you go through when you think about building an offer for a client?

Donnie: When you sent me the e-mail title, “How do we come up with an irresistible offer?” That’s kind of the little language that we use. You have to realize where resistance comes from. People have resistance against the things that aren’t their priority, things that aren’t important to them. So how do you make something that they won’t resist? You have to come up with something that they really want.
I think all marketers have heard this, most people in business have heard this. You have to sell something that people want. The question is, how do you do this? But when you’re constructing your offer, you have to find out what it is that people already want.
Steve Jobs said something like, “Sometimes, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” I don’t know that he was right about that. Not to speak badly about such a great guy. Like you said, he didn’t create a new thing; he just presented it in a new way.
People already liked music, right? People already liked to be mobile, especially nowadays. You want to be able to move all the time. So make music easy to carry with you wherever you go. You’re just putting two things together that people already wanted. Then you think, “Who decided to put music in a phone?”
So people already wanted mobile phones and people liked music, and people liked to carry fewer things if they can. So you just squish them together. That’s the bundling thing, the idea that I’m going to appeal to several things that you already want and maybe never thought to put together.
Let’s go to your lawyer example. There are maybe several services that he can provide that people can use in conjunction with each other. I don’t spend a lot of time with lawyers, so I can’t think what any of those services might be. But to put things together and then say, “Okay, you can buy your home and do this thing here,” and just put them together in a special way so it’s super easy.
That’s another thing that references back to Apple. Super easy for the customer to say, “Hey, I need this, this, and that, and I can get it all at once.” And they all complement each other, each piece of offer enhances the other one, and they logically connect to each other. All of them will give benefit to the person who’s thinking about it.
The audience needs to be able to see how their lives are going to be different. So I think the struggles that we have is we fall in love with our thing, whatever our thing is. If you sell widgets, you love your widgets. People don’t care about your widget, really. People care about what their life will be like after they have it. Or maybe they care about how their life is without it, but they just don’t know.
Or you construct a message that shows people what their life situation is without this thing and what it will be like afterwards. So your offer is kind of a way of pointing that out to them. Yeah, your life stinks a little more than it has to, because you’re carrying a laptop that isn’t thin as a pencil. [laughs]

Steve: Right.

Donnie: That MacBook Air is ridiculous. I haven’t purchased one, but the weight of it is like, you can play with it like a real notebook. It’s weightless. It’s like, how much better would your life be if you could carry the thing? First of all, it’s cool. My laptop weighs five pounds, which means I’m kind of still stuck in the old school. But if you didn’t have that weight, your life would be better. Your shoulders… they’re probably not selling, “Your shoulder pain will be gone, your back pain will be gone,” but these are benefits that are true.

Steve: Right.

Donnie: They just show it to you rather than tell you. They just show it to you. “Look, he can lift the computer like it’s nothing.” They’ve been doing product placement for Air in all these sitcoms, if you’ve seen it. They’ve been spending a lot of money. People are just carrying it around like it’s nothing, because it is.
So subliminally, you say, “Man, that is nice. I can’t do that with my computer. I’ve got to use both hands and almost bend my knees when I’m lifting it.”

Steve: We’ve talked about Apple a lot. Everybody credits them for being extremely innovative. Steve Jobs has that quote you mentioned, that customers don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
When I look at what they’ve done—I think this is really instructive for what I would call regular businesses that aren’t at that level—a lot of their thinking has just been incremental and has just been, as you pointed out, combining ideas that were already there, and just combining them in a different way.
To kind of bring that down to this attorney example we started with, a divorce attorney goes to handle the dissolution of someone’s marriage. But what happens to that person when they’re getting that divorce? There’s likely a piece of real estate that’s got to be sold off or dealt with in some way. So you could bundle real estate law services. That person’s will and estate plan certainly now needs to be updated, because there’s probably somebody that they don’t want to leave any money to anymore.

Donnie: [laughs]

Steve: So you could bundle that service. If you start to think about it, you could put two, three or four things together and put that in a really attractive package where…

Donnie: Sure. The total divorce package. You probably could think of a more sexy title for it. But we handle everything at one time. That’s exactly right. You’re not going to have to worry about if you die tomorrow, does so and so that you just divorced still get half because you didn’t handle that today? You handle it all at once. Nobody likes to go to a lawyer’s office several times, right? You want to get that done as quickly, as smoothly, and as painlessly as possible. That’s really smart.

Steve: And in doing that, you serve the client better than you ever could have by having those services individually, because people hate going to attorneys.

Donnie: That’s right.

Steve: For attorneys listening to this, you all know it’s true. People are afraid. You only go to an attorney when there’s something really tough going on in your life, usually. So you don’t want to go. By bringing all that together, not only can you set yourself apart from the competition and increase your own business, but you’re actually serving the client better that way. That’s worth more money.

Donnie: You’re exactly right. In that case, now that you’ve created an apples to oranges situation, we’re not the guy who’s going to try to milk you and get you to come in time after time.
Most people are trained not to trust lawyers, right? You compare a lawyer with someone who’s going to lie to you, someone who’s going to try and rip you off. You set yourself up with a trusted person, they should be trusted. But people kind of have that perception of lawyers in the back of their mind. But the fewer times you have to see me, the fewer times I can put my hand in your pocket.
So even if you have a negative stereotype, you’re going to have less touch through with me, so I have less opportunity to treat you in a way that you’re worried about. You can eliminate all those obstacles and objections that might pop up in the minds of people just by bundling everything together, making it so easy.

Steve: Yes. As I start to think about offers, that’s one of the first places I look at. What logically goes together with whatever the core offering of the business is? Whatever it is.
It works for professionals. I’ve had clients in the document storage business, where they’ll warehouse your documents all the way in, to the roofing business. It works in every business I’ve ever worked in.
If you look at, okay, what things go logically together that you used to sell separately? Then if you look at, okay, if your solution takes them 80% of the way, but you’ve always got to be calling in somebody else to do the other 20%, what can you combine there? It’s another way to look at it. What are the peripheral services?
The third way that I usually try and break it down is, what does that client need next? So once I complete this and they’re happy with this, what’s the next thing that they’re looking for? Is that something I can bundle in?
By looking at it from those three perspectives, it starts to open up your mind to what some of the possibilities are.

Donnie: Yes. One of the best opportunities to increase the amount of business that you have, the amount of profit that you get, is to think about—the last point that you made—the unexpected consequences. Or maybe the expected for you, but the customer may not realize, that becomes a natural consequence. So I’m going to tell you this is going to happen, so let’s deal with that, also as part of the package.
Once you have the divorce, the next thing that you need to figure out is the real estate thing. You didn’t think about it, you may not have thought about it, but I did, and I’m going to take care of you in that respect. You need to think about the will situation and that thing. You may not have thought about it, but I did, and I’m going to take care of you all at once.

Steve: That builds huge trust, too.

Donnie: Sure. When you read people’s minds or tell them something that, “Oh!” You give them the light bulb moment. “I do need that. I didn’t even think about that.” But you’re thinking about how you can make my life easier and how you can make my life better.
Now you’ve put yourself into a situation where it’s not a commodity anymore. You’re looking out for the person. So part of what I was getting at before, we fall in love with our thing, but we need to be really obsessed with our people, the people we want to reach, and the transformation that we can create in their lives. What is it that they’re getting out of it?
So rather than selling widgets, you think about the core benefit that they’re getting. Okay, you need a divorce or you need roofing. There’s something that you’re getting out of it. I’m not buying a service; I’m buying structural stability for my house. Or I’m getting my life back in order from this marriage that didn’t work out, getting my life back in order.
Now your tie-in is there. Not necessarily ties in your service, but ties into the benefit, that ties into the transformation that’s coming into the life of the customer.
So now that you’re getting your life back in order in the case of the lawyer, what’s the next thing? It’s making sure your real estate, your assets are in order. It’s making sure your final planning is in order. It’s making sure all these things that are tied into the change are coming. I think that’s where the best natural tie-in and the most emotional tie-in come. Not necessarily, “Oh, I’m selling you a service.” So it’s another service that’s related. It’s tied to the feelings that you have as you’re going through this process.
Or if you’re getting roofing, “Oh, let’s check out your windows.” We were talking about hurricanes, a timely topic. A roofer will have business through the roof right now, no pun intended. But what’s a natural time? People are thinking about their whole house, what other things are damaged, what other things need to be repaired. They’re thinking about, let me get my house back in pristine condition. Let me get back to my life pre-hurricane.
You’re a roofer. Maybe you can partner up with somebody, like say 80% you can do the roofing. You can partner up with a window guy. Or you can partner up with somebody who can get the landscaping back together or whatever, and put together an offer that, this is your post-hurricane solution, get your home back the way it was the day before or even better.
But when you think about it in those terms, you’re not just selling your thing; you’re resetting somebody’s life.

Steve: I think that’s a great concept for folks to really wrap their heads around, because what you’re talking about is no longer selling the widget, not selling the service that you offer, but you’re really selling the result that the client or the customer is receiving from the service.
That’s what they really want. Nobody wants to hire a roofing company; they want a dry home. Nobody wants to hire a divorce attorney; they want to be legally severed from their spouse. As you pointed out, they want their life back together.
My wife works for an ophthalmologist, an eye surgeon. Nobody goes to him because they want surgery; they want to be able to see clearly.

Donnie: [laughs] Right.

Steve: So beginning to communicate it in those terms I think is really important. For a lot of us, it’s easy to lose sight of that, because for the most part, business owners love what they do. They’re passionate about it.

Donnie: And rightly so.

Steve: Yes, and they should. That’s great, because that means you’re going to deliver great service. But you can’t communicate it to your customers like that, because they don’t love it like you love it.

Donnie: Right. That’s one point that I almost always have with clients and people who I’m speaking with, even for a non-client service provider relationship. It’s like, the way you see what you’re selling isn’t the way that your customer sees it. They see what they’re getting out of it. You love your thing and you should.
When you build a wonderful building, you’re thinking, “This is beautiful—structurally, architecturally, aesthetically beautiful.” But nobody’s necessarily thinking that. They’re thinking, “This is home.” For a construction guy, nobody cares about how you dry a wall, it’s composed of the greatest material. They just want to know that their house is really strong, it’s going to last, it’s going to look great for years, and it’s going to be a comfortable place for them to live. Or an insulation guy. Nobody cares about insulation. They just care about being warm.
You should love what you do. If I said falling in love with your thing is wrong, I didn’t mean that. But your customer and the benefit they get need to be on the forefront of your mind, to make sure that you’re continuing to innovate as well. Because if you fall in love with your payphone, you’ll get lost. If your thing suddenly becomes obsolete, you’re out of business. But if you fall in love with your customer, their need to communicate, then you stay on the forefront of fulfilling that need.

Steve: I think that’s right on. That really is central to this topic that we talk about every week at marketing. It’s not just about what ad am I going to run and what direct mail campaign am I going to put out there. We talk a lot about that. But really, at its core, it’s having a deep understanding of who your customer is, what it is that they want, and figuring out how to communicate what you do so that it aligns with what they want and solves that problem that they have.
I always tell my clients, “This isn’t just about selling stuff. This is about people out there in the world that have big problems, and you’re the solution to their big problems.” I see it in a way as a moral obligation to communicate with them in whatever means necessary to get the message across that you’re the solution to their problem.

Donnie: That’s right. I’ve mentioned that in one of the recent newsletters. Let’s say for example you’re in Africa, and there are kids who have no drinking water, and you happen to have a drill. It is your obligation to use your drill—which is your gift or your thing that you have, your ability, experience—it’s your responsibility, if you have a drill, to drill a well. If there’s water right under the ground, there are kids who are dying of thirst, do something about it.
That’s exactly right. That’s the point I was trying to make. I’m sorry, my brain has just switched back into gear. Marketing isn’t so much about how do I make more money. It’s about connecting your talents, your gifts, your abilities, whatever you bring that’s transformative, whatever you bring that’s beneficial to people’s lives, connecting what you got with the people who need it.
How do you come up with a message and how do you come up with an offer that allows you to show them that you can actually help them meet that need? If they have a strong desire for whatever it is, I can actually help you get it.
We talked about marketing. But marketing isn’t about primarily making money. Marketing is about, how do you connect yourself with the people who you can help? Then you’ll make money doing that.

Steve: Yes. That’s the result that flows from delivering value. But you’re absolutely right. First things first, you’ve got to be able to communicate with folks, so that they understand that you can solve a problem that they have. It’s a skill.
Once you get to a point where you can do that, the business opportunities that open for you are I think limitless, because you begin to see the world in terms of this problem-solution, and you’re able to communicate it with the people who have the problem. That really changes everything.
We’ve got just a couple of minutes left. Any final thoughts that you want to share on creating offers and creating marketing that works?

Donnie: I think we’ve covered the big stuff. You need to achieve clarity in your own mind about what value you deliver, and you need to look at it from the perspective of the person you’re serving. Your offer is going to come directly out of the benefit that you deliver to your target audience.
One quick example. I have a buddy who did radio advertising for I think a divorce lawyer. The law firm specialized in working for the husbands. They crafted all their advertising about what the man’s perspective is and what the man’s feelings are and what the man’s going through. Their offer, they could have charged whatever they wanted, because when the men in that area, the local businesses, when they think about, “Okay, I’m going through a divorce,” you’re thinking about the people who have connected with you time and again on an emotional level.
So your offer, like I said, it’s not just coming up with a cheaper price to get people to come to the store. Your offer is, literally, giving somebody an opportunity to get that transformation that you can provide for them, to get that benefit that you provide, to get the service that will take them to the next level in their life or their career or their business.
That’s really where the offer comes from. I guess that’s kind of generic, and everybody’s offer is going to be different. But you think about that in those terms. Don’t think, “I need to come up with the cheapest price in the industry,” because that’s what you call commodity…

Steve: Commodity hell. I think that is the fastest way to get onto a path that will ultimately end in you being out of business, because there are a lot--

Donnie: You go back to doing it as a hobby [laughs].

Steve: Yes. There will always be somebody who is willing to do it for less. If you look at history, that shows itself over and over and over again. Wal-Mart is nothing new. There have been a string of low-cost, department-type stores in this country since the 1800s. They survived for a while until someone else figures out how to do it a little bit cheaper, and then they disappear really quickly.

Donnie: Quickly. If the only thing that you have is the cheapest price, you set yourself up to fail.

Steve: Right.

Donnie: What you need to build your business on is your unique value proposition and your ability to connect with the people that you serve. If you can form a personal relationship, maybe it just seems personal. Like I said, the divorce lawyers for men. It just felt personal because there was the emotional, “Wow, that ad just speaks directly to me.” The radio spot speaks right to what I’m feeling right now. They’re bringing in the kids, “Where’s Daddy?” That connected. These guys, their business is really strong because they’re able to do that.
You need to connect with people and provide value, and focus on value rather than focusing on yourself, focusing on low prices. Your competitors can’t compete with that, with the emotional connection. There’s no way to copy that. When you find out what people really want and help them get it, show them that you can help them get it. It’s almost impossible once that’s in their mind.
It’s positioning. Offers are positioning. How do I position this thing in a way that owns a space in their mind? When I think about phones, I’m thinking about iPhones. When I think about computers, I’m thinking about Mac, MacBooks. When I think about roofing, I’m thinking about Johnson’s Roofing, because for whatever reason, we’ve connected on that basis.

Steve: I think those are all great points. I want to make sure everybody knows how they can find you, because you put out I think a really intelligent newsletter on e-mail that folks can get. You’ve also got a book, “Stealth Selling: Non-Pushy Persuasion for Professionals,” which is outstanding. Where can they find you on the web, Donnie?

Donnie: My website is www.donnie-bryant.com. Basic website. I got my blog there, which I need to spend more time on [chuckles]. There’s a contact form there, if you need to get in touch with me with questions or what have you. If you were interested in the book, the webpage is www.stealthsellingbook.com.

Steve: Very good. Thanks for taking some time out of your day to share with us. I always learn a lot when I do these. Today is no exception. I enjoyed catching up with you. Thanks for being on, Donnie.

Donnie: I really appreciate it. Like you said, you’ve been following me for a while. I’ve been following you and learning from you for going on two years now, too. I really appreciate the opportunity.

5 Steps to More Sales Conversions Says Peter Sandeen

Lead Conversion Expert Photo

In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show, I put Peter Sandeen on the hot seat to get to the bottom of how he attracts leads and converts them into customers using his 5-part conversion framework.

[powerpress]

In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show...

  • Where to find traffic for your site (and we're not talking about Google, Facebook or Twitter)
  • How to screw up the sale and have your prospects turn back, just as they're ready to buy...and what to do about it.
  • Peter's 5-part framework to attract prospects and convert them into customers.

What do you think?

  • Is your website a sales machine or sales killer?
  • What's your big marketing challenge this week? Lead generation or lead conversion?

Leave your answers in the comments below.

Links Mentioned on The Show

Peter Sandeen's Free 5-Part email course.

Transcript of 5 Steps to More Sales Conversions Says Peter Sandeen