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Transform Your Business by Answering 7 Simple Questions: #6

NOTE: This blog post is the sixth in a series to help you create a step-by-step framework for success, tailored to your business, by answering seven questions.

Question #5 helped you think about the best way for your business to engage your audience. Reaching out and touching customers on a regular basis is key to building trust and staying top of mind.

QUESTION #6: Do you have a process to convert leads into customers?

Don't assume your prospects will take the next step by themselves, so lend a hand. Increase your conversions by getting prospects to agree to take some action. Even a non-buying action. Each meeting, visit to your website, phone call, face-to-face meeting, news release, or email should move you closer to earning the sale with a compelling call-to-action. The words are important -- use active language to persuade prospects to take an action that you'd like. But, you just can't say, "buy" and expect people to act. Plan each interaction to get your prospect to say "Yes" one step at a time.

Revenue Success Starts With Your Story

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 39 seconds

William Faulkner said, “If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” So, what’s your company’s story?

Having a narrative that strikes a cord with your audience is one of the best marketing and sales tools you can have. Think about it -- how many times have you been captivated by a great story? Whether it’s a novel you can’t set aside or the inspiring tale of a presenter, stories add credibility and move us to action.

You need a story that rises above the noise because people will decide to buy when they connect with your business on some level. Plus, they’ll remember your story, but not the details of your product or service.

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Transform Your Business by Answering 7 Simple Questions: #5

NOTE: This blog post is the fifth in a series to help you create a step-by-step framework for success, tailored to your business, by answering seven questions.

You answered question #4 by finding where your buyers are online and offline and engaging them with a strong call to action. But not everyone is ready to buy right now. Your next step is to create a processes to stay top of mind with your prospect - so when they’re ready you’re there for them.

QUESTION #5: How will you develop and nurture your leads? The conversation has started and now you've got to keep it going. If a prospect is interested but not ready to act, the lead needs to be cultivated with a systematic approach until the time is right to consider your offering. The key here is to have a process of consistent follow-up that uses targeted information, education, and two-way conversations. Map out the possible steps of the buying process and how you'll handle different scenarios. Lead nurturing builds relationships that win the business of qualified prospects at the expense of your competition -- when they are ready.

How to Get the Most Out Of Business Events

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 31 seconds

Some people look forward to business showcases and trade shows. For them it’s an opportunity to catch up with friends and get out of the office. Others see these as a mind-numbing exercise.

Whether you're exhibiting or attending, events represent a major opportunity to promote your brand, generate leads, and drive sales. It’s a great way to connect with targeted prospects and solidify relationships with current customers.

Only if you’re prepared.

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Transform Your Business by Answering 7 Simple Questions: #4

NOTE: This blog post is the forth in a series to help you create a step-by-step framework for success, tailored to your business, by answering seven questions.

After giving question #3 some thought you laid out the most important strategy initiatives. Then you mapped out the tactics that will help you meet your strategy objectives. Now you have a blueprint for reaching and closing buyers. Hopefully you didn't forget to get specific with the time line and actions needed for each strategy initiative.

The next step is to create the needed processes to implement your plan.

QUESTION #4: How will you gain visibility and generate leads? No leads, no revenue. Your ideal prospects have no idea you exist and it's impossible for them to buy from you until they do. Think like your prospects and go where they go, see what they see -- both online and offline. Engage your buyers with a call to action using an offer to educate, in a way that showcases your expertise. Remember, people do not want to be sold to; they're looking for information and solutions to their problems. Help them by sharing valuable insights in the marketing content your company creates.

Special Offer Ends Soon

Do you want more leads, prospects, and customers? The Rapid Impact Marketing and Selling Playbook with 23 worksheets and templates is now available as a pay what you want download until the end of August!

Get more information and download it now at the link below ...

Continue reading "Special Offer Ends Soon"

Transform Your Business by Answering 7 Simple Questions: #3

NOTE: This blog post is the third in a series to help you create a step-by-step framework for success, tailored to your business, by answering seven questions.

The answers to question #2 helped you set the foundation for your marketing strategy. You now know who your business serves and what problems you solve that really matter to your audience. Because of this, you were able to put together a marketing and sales message that clearly demonstrates the unique benefits and value of your product or service.

The next step is to create a marketing blueprint with the tactics needed to generate leads, close deals, and keep your customers coming back for more.

QUESTION #3: Do you have a blueprint for reaching and closing buyers? A marketing strategy is a statement that outlines exactly how you intend to attract customers to your business. But, intentions are meaningless without a plan of action that converts your strategy into tactics and activities. Layout your big idea strategy and break it down into bite-sized chunks of objectives. Then create programs and tactics around each. Now get specific -- time line with dates for critical tasks, who's accountable for each element, budget, conditions that will pose a risk, and how you'll measure success.

Transform Your Business by Answering 7 Simple Questions: #2

NOTE: This blog post is the second of a series to help you create a step-by-step framework for success, tailored to your business, by answering seven questions.

Answering question #1 helped you to think about and zero in on your perfect prospects profile. Once you know the the demographics, the type of companies, and even what gets the audience you target excited then you can find more people like them.

The next step is to create a marketing message that will resonate with your perfect customer.

QUESTION #2: What's your core marketing message? Once there is clarity about exactly who you target as a customer, it's much easier to create a compelling message. Define your exclusive difference and edge. Describe the exact problems your offering solves that are relevant only to your target audience. Demonstrate that the unique benefits and value of your product or service is much greater than the cost and risks, in easy-to-understand language.

Transform Your Business by Answering 7 Simple Questions

NOTE: This blog post is the first of a series to help you create a step-by-step framework for success, tailored to your business, by answering seven questions.

We all want more for our business. More leads, more customers, and more profits. And, you'd probably like more time in the day too. All of this can lead to more stress!

Let's face it; burnout isn't far away when you're constantly stressed out because more isn't happening. So, you try harder and end up getting less for your efforts. Well, except for the stress -- you'll get more of that!

Didn't Albert Einstein say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?Here's the deal. To obtain the result you're expecting you'll have to zero in the actions needed to produce it. Yes, this is obvious advice, but here's what's not so obvious; first it's important to know where you are right now. That's how you'll gain clarity as to which activities are needed to get to your desired goal.

Once you know where you are, it is much easier to take the next step. Then the next step builds on that. It's the same for each step after that. All while your eye is on the prize -- your goal.

There's a catch. Most people don't make a distinction between the core actions that really makes a difference and actions that are helpful but not essential.

So, how can you tell which are the absolutely core steps to take?

A step-by-step road map would be helpful to keep from getting off course. Start with the answers to these seven simple, yet powerful questions. Use them as a step-by-step framework to take the core actions you need to transform your business.

QUESTION #1: Who are your perfect prospects and customers? Let's face it, not everyone wants or needs your product or service. The more you know about your audience, the more success you'll have selling to them. Your mission is to find the "perfect audience" for your offering. When you carefully and specifically define who your buyers are, you'll spend your time and money much more wisely. Build a perfect prospect profile and there will be no confusion over who to target.

For a Limited Time Only: Pay What You Want for the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook

You can buy the Rapid Impact Marketing and Selling Playbook and pay what you want until the end of August! You’ll get the The complete 7-step, 170 plus pages, with all 23 worksheets and templates.

Order now and let me know what you think!

Continue reading "For a Limited Time Only: Pay What You Want for the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook"

3 Steps to Boost Your Sales with Strategic Marketing

The latest edition of the Marketing Spark Newsletter is out. In this issue you’ll learn how to lay the foundation for a sound marketing strategy in three steps. Also, there’s a quick review of a free tool called SavvyCard, which is a customizable webcard added to your email that make it easy to share your business information.

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Create a Business Introduction That's Effective and Attention Getting

A business introduction at a networking event can be nerve racking. Here’s how to do it without making it a canned and boring pitch.

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How to Get the Greatest Response from Your Target Audience

The latest edition of the Marketing Spark Newsletter is out. Discover five simple, yet powerful common sense rules to turn your conversations and literature into a magnet for attracting new customers to your business.

Also, learn why simplicity is the key to modern marketing. Such as, research shows that companies that simplified the decision making process were 86% more likely to make a sale.

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Identifying Customer Needs: 3 Tips For Success

These 3 keys to identifying customer needs and asking the right questions will help you zero in on what your market really wants.

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How to Persuade Prospects to Take the Next Step With Your Company

One of my biggest pet peeves in sales and marketing is when companies fail to have a clear call to action. It's not enough to simply have a phone number on a product sell sheet or "click here" in an email message. It just doesn't give your prospect enough information.

Whether it's your website, emails, marketing literature, presentations, or face-to-face talks, a clear call to action lets people know what they need to do next — and why.

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Get The Attention Of Your Target Market

Most companies believe that their market just needs to be told why they're better. You must do much better that that. Shift the conversation!

The inability to communicate value is the greatest roadblock to marketing and sales success. When your message and conversations clearly express value, it's like a giant neon billboard saying to the world, "This is the sandbox I play in and own and we will make your pain go away like no other company can".

This is how you'll immediately stand apart from your competition.

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5 Ways to Get Everybody to Sell for You

This week's Marketing Spark Newsletter ... lots of good info and a surprise announcement from Google!

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Case Study: Improve Customer Experience Satisfaction Now Before Trouble Strikes

Why it is important to improve customer experience and satisfaction levels before disaster strikes.

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Your Differentiation and Positioning: 6 Questions You Need to Answer

Your differentiation and positioning is all about impact and having potential customers say WOW, I must have that. These 6 questions will help you build a great value proposition.

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Create A Sales Attitude Accross Your Entire Company With These 5 Tips

Inspire everyone in your company to have a sales attitude. Here are 5 ways to establish a customer centered culture up and down your entire organization.

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Case Study: A Differentiation Strategy Will Help You Avoid a New Product Failure

A solid differentiation strategy will improve your odds for success. This business case example shows what happens when a company fails to think through a new product and its target markets.

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Base Your Marketing Strategy Planning On Deep Customer Knowledge

At the heart of marketing strategy planning, is a total understanding of your customer and their perspective - the problems you are trying to solve. These guidelines will help.

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How To Build An Irresistible Brand

Your business has a brand. Do you know what it is? If you never really thought about what your brand stands for and how your audience experiences your brand, then it’s time to hit the reset button.

In many ways branding is the heart of marketing and you can’t separate the two.

What exactly is a brand anyway? What a company stands for as expressed by logos, taglines, and even the look and feel of marketing materials and a website are all only pieces of what makes up a brand.

You’ll be close if you think that branding conveys a business’ positioning as the go-to expert in its area or industry. But don’t stop here or you’ll spend a lot of time and money and get few results in return – and flush money down the toilet.

Your brand is how you show up to play. It’s who you are and what you represent. It’s the “thing” that you’re marketing in your business. It’s putting what you stand for in motion. Branding is the thing or idea that you’re marketing in your business. Got it?

Your value of ‘why’ is what makes you different. When you’re extremely clear about your brand, the marketplace will look for you. Your value goes well beyond the great results your product or service delivers. Start with why you do what you do. It’s your story and your passion as a business that separates you from the competition. Simon Sinek famously said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

Bridge the gap between expectations and actual experiences. At its core, successful branding relies on making and keeping promises. Every time you open you mouth, an advertisement is placed, or a brochure is handed out a promise of some sort is being made. Today most buyers will see through slick marketing words and have low expectations. Let your why shine through to catch the attention of prospects, and then deliver with great experiences every step of the way. That’s competitive differentiation in action. It’s that simple.

Develop a branding road map. A branding framework begins with a solid strategy and flows into a plan of action on how you’ll connect with buyers. Take the why that’s woven into your company’s culture and wrap it in with your vision and goals. All of your tactical marketing and operational activities need to support the branding objectives. Map it out in detail. Not just a logo, website layout, and social media campaign; articulate what your exact promise and everything the buyer gets when they do business with you. Track and measure what you do. This how you’ll turn vision into a reality.

You bring to the table something that no other business has -- your company’s unique DNA. Think about how you’re different from others that do the same thing you do.

Why Your Frontline Sales Must Include Marketing

Your frontline sales effort will be kicked into high gear when marketing takes a sales centered approach.

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4 Elements of a Successful Marketing System

It’s really crazy. You have a structure for just about everything you do in your business. Billing. Inventory. Purchasing. Fulfillment. Payroll. And, of course, a customer relationship management process.

Yet, none of these are the most important system you should have in place.

You need every advantage you can get. That edge is marketing. More precisely, you need a marketing framework.

A marketing blueprint is much more than a strategy and associated tactics. It is a way of thinking. Particularly when you “systemize” marketing.

Here’s the best part -- marketing can be simple, affordable, and yet very effective when carried out in a structured way. And, having a marketing system will actually free up your time.

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Free Market Research To Help You Stay Competitive

These free market research sources will help you keep a finger on the pulse of your industry and competitors too.

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Tips For Driving More Revenue That Won't Drive You Nuts

I bet you're still thinking about all the things you didn't do last year to get ready for this year.

Starting a newsletter, adding video and infographics to your marketing mix, following up on leads, updating your website, blogging quality content more often, finalizing your ebook, increasing social media activity, and booking speaking engagements.

Everything you planned to do last year yet, never did.

Please forgive me for making your head hurt. Read on, because this is not a typical “new habits and resolutions” New Year column. It’s all about how to drive more revenue without driving yourself nuts.

Here’s the first thing to know: stop thinking about what you needed to do for your business last year and never got around to. That’ll take too much of your precious time reflecting on how far behind you feel and get you down in the dumps.

Get over it!

It’s time to swiftly decide what’s really important to your company’s success and build a plan of action around that.

Focus on your key marketing strategy initiative. Yes, there’s a lot to do. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with that thought, decide what's the number one objective for you to accomplish. And don’t simply say it’s to grow revenues. Layout the single strategy that you believe will grow revenues.

Zero in only on a few actions at a time. Now layout HOW will get you the results your marketing strategy initiative calls for, but no more than two or three activities. Focus only on a few quick start actions leading directly to revenue. All of your energy goes there. Nothing else matters.

Create a no interruption zone. The challenge you face is finding dedicated time to focus. Set aside two blocks of time everyday that you schedule. The first is for your key marketing strategy initiative, since this is your high priority activity. It’s a good idea to break it up. The second block of time is dedicated to the ongoing activities of running a business and customers that you need to attend to. Insist that others on your team follow a similar schedule. Close the door and remember; it’s a meeting-free, no email, no interruptions time.

Your cup need not overflow with tasks. There’s no two ways about it; you have a full plate in front of you. You feel overwhelmed. To make this a reality delegate to others inside and outside of your organization and make them accountable. If you’re a small company, I highly recommend a virtual assistant for both administrative and technical support. You can do it!

Make a commitment to smaller, more manageable activities that will help you succeed quickly at the beginning of the New Year. You’ll have a better chance of victory. Don't drive yourself crazy dwelling on what you didn’t do last year to drive revenue.

What’s the key marketing strategy initiative for you business in the New Year?

Make your buyer the hero of their story

Everyone loves a hero. Like Superman they swoop in and save the day.

Seems natural then that your business would try to position itself as a champion in the prospect’s mind. And it feels good too. After all, you’re helping others solve their problems with your product or service.

Well, if this is what your business does, you are signaling to the potential buyer that the world revolves around you and not them. Ultimately, it’s your buyer’s story, not yours.

So, how are you supposed to talk about your solution if you can’t talk about your solution? Just flip the story and make your customer the hero of their buying journey.

Why would you do this? For one thing, this approach will differentiate your company. Hardly any of your competitors do this. Think about it for a second -- almost every presentation, email, website, or brochure starts the same. It’s all about the product, service, or company.

Maybe even more important, it’s not unusual for a person to be on the fence as to whether or not to make a change. Or worse, they don’t realize the problem they have requires a change to achieve better things for them.

Take a clue from fairy tales, folklore, mythology, and Hollywood. The best stories draw us in and have a fairly defined recipe. An unwilling hero. The world changes. A call to adventure. The transformation. The hero saves the day. Oh yeah, and there’s always a guide of some sort that appears to aid them in their quest.

There are four stages to telling your buyer’s story – a pattern you can follow to connect with your audience, online and offline.

Stage 1: Start with the idea that every great story needs an antagonist; so introduce an idea or insight that shows your buyer that their world is changing.

Stage 2: Establish that where they are today is risky, maybe even hazardous to their security.

Stage 3: Introduce contrast with an approach that provides a safe place that’s distinct from what your competitor’s offer -- but don’t talk about your solution yet!

Stage 4: Now, put it all together by providing proof that you have the answer with a story. Ideally that’s a story based on one of your existing customers that had the same struggle the prospect has now, made a change using your offering, and achieved great results.

Your challenge is to position your product as the factor your hero needs to succeed.

All communications should paint a clear picture that that they are the main focus of your business. Put them in that picture. Demonstrate that you understand them and their problems. And provide hope. This how you create trust and build real relationships that last.

You are your buyer’s guide. Help make them the leading actor in their adventure by keeping your message on point with this concept.

Build Product Differentiation and a Powerful Value Proposition Into Your Story

Discover why product differentiation alone is not the same as your value to customers. Learn how to build a powerful value proposition into your story.

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Pre-release Special: Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook

As a thank you to my blog subscribers I'd like to give you an end of the year surprise ... a copy of my soon-to-be released "Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook" at a great discount. This is the same 200+ page workbook and guide that my private clients get. It includes the complete 7 step FastPath To More Customers Framework program along with 23 worksheets and templates for growing your business.

When I publicly announce the Playbook's release during the second week of January, the price will increase. But, if you purchase a copy before then you'll receive a discount of up to 32% depending on the package you choose. The three packages are:

The Complete Playbook Package, normally $59 is now $40. My clients pay thousands of dollars to work with me and when they do, the Playbook is part of what they get. With this package you’ll get hundreds of practical, affordable marketing ideas for boosting your sales. It includes the entire 7-Step Rapid Impact Marketing and Selling Playbook (200+ pages in PDF format) PLUS 23 worksheets and templates (WORD and Excel formats).

The Jumpstart Package, normally $39 is now $29. You'll get the first 3 steps of the Rapid Impact Marketing and Selling Playbook consisting of everything you need to zero in on your ideal target market, develop a marketing message and unique voice for your business, and how to create a marketing action plan that lays out the details of how you’ll reach your target audience and with what tactics and tools. It includes 100+ pages in PDF format and 12 worksheets and templates in WORD and Excel formats.

The Mastermind Package, normally $149 is now $120. This is the Compete Playbook Package PLUS great additional benefits. You'll also receive a 30-minute “borrow Ron’s brain” strategy session by telephone or Skype. In addition, I'll give you a written assessment of one piece of your marketing material. This is the best value package of the three.

Please know that I will raise the pricing when the marketing promotional campaign begins. Go here to purchase one of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook packages now and start 2014 with a bang!

Think Like a Venture Capitalist To Grow Your Business

If you think like a venture capitalist, you’ll be in a better position to attain sales and maximum profits today.

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How Targeted Lead Generation Will Get You More Hot Prospects and Close Sales

Here's how targeted lead generation will generate an endless supply of qualified prospects without cold calling.

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Why Identifying Ideal Customers Is Your First Priority

Identifying ideal customers correctly will give you a huge competitive advantage. Defining your perfect prospect profile is the first step to an effective marketing message that will turn prospects in

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How to Sell More Products by Filling Your Sales Funnel with Quality Leads

The secret of how to sell more products. It is important that sales and marketing act as a team and be in sync. 4 Reasons why you need to make this happen now.

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101 Marketing Strategies, How to Move From Strategy Planning to Action Marketing

You need more than 101 marketing strategies - Learn the 7 basic rules that will move you to an action marketing plan.

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Do You Know Your Customer Base And What They Really Need?

Amazing things happen when you truly know your customer base and how they measure success. You will develop better solutions to their problems and understand how to sell them.

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An Important Small Business Tool - The Marketing Tune-up

The FastPath To More Customers Marketing Tune-up is a small business tool that evaluates your marketing and sales effectiveness on over 40 critical factors in the 5 key areas of marketing success.

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