17 Things to Think About Before the New Year
The new year is right around the corner. What changes are you going to make in your marketing in 2014? What changes are you going to make in your life?
Everyone believes they need to make big changes but the only big change you need is the change to your thinking.
Change your thinking and you will automatically change dozens of small things you do every day. That’s because action follows thinking.
What follows are 17 things to think about before next year. Some are about marketing. Some are about life. To me, many are interchangeable. All of them can make a big difference for you in 2014.
Things to Think About in 2014:
(1) Why? Why are we doing things the way we are doing them? Why are we using that media? That message? Who suggested it? Are we testing it?
(2) Think of each day as a gift. What you do with that gift is up to you. Will you waste it? Make it productive? Enjoy it?
(3) What. What is your organization best at doing? Ask your staff. Then ask your customers the same thing.
(4) Consider that who we are is determined mostly by our environment — until we become aware of this fact — then it’s up to us.
(5) Big gifts rarely have the impact you desire on clients, friends or family. Appreciation and love are best demonstrated with kindness, a compliment and a smile.
(6) Of course you should go after the big raise and the big contract — but remember the greatest wealth is good health, a close family and good friends.
(7) Every time you go to work, work and work hard. A productive day will make the evening and weekend that much, much better.
(8) Forget the elevator speech until you know your Value Proposition. What do you offer that is truly relevant to your target market, is quantifiable value, and is uniquely differentiating?
(9) Remember that you can’t eliminate all mistakes, but you can stop repeating them. Are you repeating mistakes?
(10) Just because something has never been done doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Maybe you were meant to do it.
(11) If you are the boss, you are ALWAYS setting an example. Either a good one or a bad one. Your employees are always watching. So are your customers.
(12) Share what you learn. Share the credit. Share the success. Take responsibility for the flops.
(13) Spin sucks. Do not “spin” mistakes. Apologize for them. Do not “spin” bad news and try to make it look good. Put your best foot forward — but be honest. Geez, who raised you?
(14) Good communication can solve most problems at home, at work and in your community. Good communication starts with listening. Listening starts with caring about the other person.
(15) A good life has a positive impact on others, even after you are gone. A great life makes your children proud of you and shapes their values.
(16) Never forget that Business-to-Business is about solving problems. Every business has problems. Especially successful ones. Don’t expect to be hired just because you exist. Look for the problems. Offer solutions.
(17) Instead of being angry at the prospect that passed on your services, take a fresh look at how you could have better served them. Put yourself in their shoes. Ask what they may be have been looking for and what they were hoping to get from you. You will have a better chance next time if you learn from this time.
MY WISH FOR YOU: May next year and every year be fulfilling for you, your organization and your family.
Good Sales Messages Start With a Good Value Proposition
Every once in a while, the CEO of an organization should have to make a few new business sales calls. Yes, cold calls (gasp!).
The CEO should not imitate an episode of “Undercover Boss” by making the call anonymously. And he or she should not be calling friends, associates and vendors who will gladly open the doors for them. They should call people they don’t know — just as the sales force and staffers have to do.
This applies to CEOs of non-profits too, who sell their agency’s services or ask for a grant or sponsorship.
KEYS TO NEW BUSINESS SUCCESS
My firm, Farris Marketing, has developed and instituted new business development programs for manufacturing organizations, banks and every type of business you can imagine. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years. We’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be successful.
One key to success is getting top management involved — even if that means having the CEO make some new business calls, leave voice mails and send emails for a couple hours.
Another is to remember that new business (sales) is an ongoing part and full-time function of any successful business or organization. Businesses have sales departments. Non-profits have development departments.
The last key is understanding that a successful new business program requires a three-pronged approach — the right people, the right process and the right message. Each component is equally important.
I don’t have enough space to talk about the right people or the process, so today let’s talk about developing the right message. Sometimes it’s the right messages — plural — because you must adapt to the market you’re approaching.
POWERFUL SALES MESSAGES
A powerful sales message starts with a Value Proposition. Some people call it an elevator speech, a mission or something else.
I like to integrate Value Propositions into a small calling script, voice mail or email because it forces you to take the stiff words out of it. If it’s a good Value Proposition, it should work in all three of these formats. But not all Value Propositions are created equal.
A good Value Proposition should tell people who you are, what benefit you provide the customer, and how you do that. Though not actually part of the statement, most Value Propositions are followed by a Call to Action.
SAY THIS, NOT THAT
Note that a Value Proposition does NOT present “what you do.” This is the most common mistake. Instead it focuses on the benefit or value you provide to clients or customers.
Here’s a BAD Value Proposition statement in the form of a calling script:
“Hi Miss Jones, this is George Farris from Farris Marketing. We develop strategy, conduct research, develop logos, create media plans, develop TV commercials, print and digital marketing, videos and all kinds of websites. Do you need any of these things today?”
Here’s a GOOD Value Proposition statement:
“Hi Miss Jones, this is George Farris from Farris Marketing. We show you how to stand out and connect with prospects — even if the competition outspends you. We do this with a proprietary system of research, strategy, marketing tools and creative messaging that we’ve developed and refined over 30 years in business. Would you like to discuss how you can use this system to reach some of your goals?”
You can craft your Value Proposition statement following that pattern. Then adapt it to a calling script, voice mail and email message. Remember to include who you are, what benefit you provide the customer, and how you do that.
Then get that CEO on the phone!
MOONEY INDOOR BILLBOARDS
This is a series of "indoor billboards" we developed for Cardinal Mooney High School. They are displayed in hallways throughout the school. The goal is to inspire students and teachers every day. They also appeal to prospective students and parents who tour the school. Note these are draft mock ups. Some have temporary text as place holders. They are 4ft wide x 5ft high.
Board #1: Art Department
Board #2: Science Department
Board #3: Athletics
Board #4: Alumni (draft)
Board #5: 97% Go To College
Board #6: Alma Mater
Board #7: Speech Team
Board #8: Graduates Go Here
Board #9: AP Scholars
Board #10: Branding Campaign Theme
Board #11: Faith-Based Culture