Monday, July 28, 2008

Plan A, B & C

Time to share with you a sales proposal technique that I learned years ago.

My example applies to radio advertising, but you can adapt it to nearly anything that you are selling.

First, what is the dollar amount that you believe the client will spend?

Let's say $2000 a month for our example. This is going to be Plan C.

Multiply that times one and a half. $2000 x 1.5=$3000. This will be Plan B.

Multiply the dollar amount of Plan B times one and a half. $3000 x 1.5= $4500 a month. This is Plan A.

So you have your three price levels, next you decide what your client will get for the money they spend.

I start with Plan A and look at the options that would be good for my client and produce a return on investment as quickly as possible. This may include daily radio commercials, a live broadcast or two, perhaps an in studio interview, sponsorship opportunities, website links, website promotions, email sponsorships, etc. Everything has a price with it, although my proposal doesn't itemize everything.

Now I look at my price for Plan B and start taking away stuff from Plan A. I still want an effective campaign, but it make take a little longer to get the results because we are doing less and the cost is less.

Next, I do the same thing to create Plan C. Remember Plan C is the dollar amount we believe they will say yes to, so I want to be sure that it is an effective plan that produces results.

When I give the presentation, I control the conversation and show what I want to show.

I do not say, "I've got three options for you", and I don't give them all the pages all at once.

Instead, I present them with Plan A, showing them what we are doing and why and get their agreement on each of the items I included. We talk through it and answer questions. Then when they see the price, they will then have to decide if they want to come up with the money for everything they said they liked.

Sometimes, they go with Plan A and we move forward. If not, then I tell them, that this is something they can grow into, and I pull out Plan B.

I compare Plan B with Plan A and show them why it costs less and we talk some more.

If Plan B is still not going to fit their "budget", then we go to Plan C.

Remember present one plan at a time, one page at a time. Talk, converse, get agreements as you do this.

You will have laid out a plan for now, plus one or two upgrade plans for the future.

And one more very important tip, as you present the cost...

Ask what they need to sell (or produce) in order to pay for that investment. That way you have a goal of what you need to see happen and a time frame for getting it done.

Just as car dealers, appliance salesmen, even gas stations offer different prices for different services and options, you can too, and by following this method, everyone can win.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Changes and Stability

It was 22 years ago that I made the switch to the advertising side of media.

Some of the changes over the past two decades include:

We are exposed to more advertising messages than ever before. So we become consciously numb to many of the ads and it takes something out of the ordinary to get our attention.

There are more demands on our time as the two income family is now the norm
. So there are less housewives than ever before as even those that take a break when their children are born, return back to work within weeks, not years.

We have more choices for where we get our news, information and entertainment
. In 1986, we had cable, but not 200 channels. The internet was not an option.

Our telephones were at our desks, or on the wall
, not in our purse, pocket or belts. And we were not expected to be on call 24/7.

Personal Computers did not exist in most offices. Email, Instant Messaging, Blogs, Social Media sites, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Google have all changed the way we live our lives.

With all these changes, there are still lots of things that have not changed.

People like to buy, they don't like to be sold.

People will tell others about a good deal. People will tell LOTS of others about a bad deal.

Reputation matters.

We buy based on emotion, not logic. Even the most logical, unemotional people do this.

So to summarize, technology will continue to change, human nature remains predictably stable.

If your advertising is contrary to human nature and emotion, (like the screaming furniture sale tv ad I saw this week), then your chances of success are minimal.

Use the power of human nature and predictability as a guideline as you consider your advertising and marketing and you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's the Experience, Stupid

Some of the smartest marketing minds don't seem to get IT.

Some of the smartest marketing minds DO GET IT.

What's IT?

IT is the real reason people like you and me and your neighbor, and your spouse, and nearly every human being decide:

  1. What to Buy
  2. Who to Buy from
  3. When to Buy
The pessimistic economists and some in the news media say that we are slaves to prices. That we are driven by the mighty dollar and what it will buy.

It's this line of thinking prompts retailers to always have a sale, to the point that you feel stupid if you pay full price.

We have become numb to the price games.

We want more.

We want to feel important.

We want to feel valued.

We want someone to care about the things we care about.

We want to know that we are getting what we pay for, not just something cheap.

It's the experience we are after and here's two examples from my own life that illustrate this point:

In 2002, I bought a house that had no central air conditioning, and no duct work since the house had hot water heat.

I got two bids from two companies that I was familiar with that my parents had used years ago, or that I remembered from their decades of advertising. One bid was for $8,000. The other bid was for $8,500.

I spent the extra $500 from the company that impressed me with the way they treated me as a potential customer, and I was not disappointed. After the A/C was installed, they had to come back and make some adjustments, but they told me in advance that this was going to be necessary, and I continue to recommend them and use them.

The other story involves dry cleaning. I once was tempted to visit a different dry cleaner than my usual dry cleaner because of a special they were running.

Problem was, they told me it was going to be 5 days instead of the 24 hours I was used to at my usual dry cleaners to get my clothes back. I continue to be loyal to the one that provides the best service for my needs.

Now granted, there are certain stores that do both, provide good service and good prices.

But you can never lower your prices low enough to make up for bad service.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Turn Around

As we kick off a new week, I have a challenge for you and your advertising guru's.

Last week as I was listening to the radio, watching television, reading the paper, and going about my usual travels, I noticed too many businesses that are doing things the way they did in the 1960's and 1950's.

That was the age of "Build It And They Will Come".

All it took to get attention was a big red sign that said "Now Open".

Or "Grand Opening".

And advertising for some of these companies has remained virtually unchanged.

One of the worst offenses is when a company says something like, "over 30 years in business", in their advertising.

What image does that portray?

Old Fashioned
or Out of Date?

I want you to stop thinking about your business from your perspective, your side of the desk, and Turn Around and look at it from your customers perspective.

If you're not sure how to do this, practice this with a company that you do business with, and ask yourself why you do spend money with them?

Dig deep.

Do this as a consumer too.

Then ask those same questions about your business. You will have created the building blocks for the next step in your businesses survival and growth.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's in a Name?

Most of us were named by our parents. Some of us like our names, others don't seem to care, and folks detest their names. They will disguise it by using a nick name or initials.

Be careful and thoughtful when naming your business.

Things to avoid:

  • Naming your business after your location. If you move or expand to another location, then what?
  • Naming your business after yourself. Sort of limits your options for selling the biz in the future.
  • Using a generic name. Just how many "Quality Cars" are there in the world?
Of course, for everyone of these rules, there is a successful business that breaks these rules.

How about creating a word? Think Google, Microsoft, (even ScLoHo)!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pain or Pleasure

There's only 2 reasons people will part with their money.

  1. Pain. "My car's transmission is shot. I need to fix it, or replace my car."
  2. Pleasure. "I really want to see my grandchildren next week. Take the car in for a tune-up so I will be able to drive without any hassles."
Apply this to your business and you'll see there are just two angles to your marketing approach.

And notice that both of these are from the buyers perspective, not yours.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

5 Simple Things First

There is a very valuable strategy that says to do the hardest project on your to do list first.

That may be good for your time management, but isn't always the best for your marketing.

Here are 5 Simple Things you should do now:

1. Business Cards with correct information.

2. Signage if you have a physical location.

3. Networking, a low to zero cost way to start Word of Mouth.

4. Press Release, to announce ANYTHING of importance.

5. Website, a real one, not a myspace or facebook page.

Contact me at if you need help.

Now, that you've taken care of the basics, then you can start some of the harder stuff like a marketing and advertising plan that fits your business.

But First things First.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Trends around us

Part of staying on top of trends is to be observant.

Notice patterns.

Be curious.

While relaxing on the 4th of July at a B & B, there was no television in our room. But there was free wifi.

This is the second time this summer, this has happened, no television in our room. But there was free wifi.

No problem, because my wife and I brought our laptops and we can watch tv or movies or anything else this way.

More and more folks are placing greater importance on Internet Access than Television.

So my advice to you is to do what we learned as little kids crossing the street:




You may be discovered what you'll find.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Planning Ahead

Every once in awhile I come across a business that wants to advertise, for a few weeks or couple of months.

So let me ask you this, how long of a lease did you sign? How about your phone service, how many years is your commitment?

There are certain items and events you can count on, like January 1st is New Years Day, February 14th is Valentines Day, that your plans for the 4th of July don't include a snow blower, and that eventually your body will call it quits and you will die.

Sorry to be sort of morbid, but there are certain things you can plan on to occur in your life, and you might as well plan for them.

What's this have to do with advertising and marketing?

Marketing and advertising are just as important, (sometimes more important), compared to any other part of your business.

So plan ahead, not just for the next couple of weeks, or months, but for the next 12 months to 5 years.

When it comes to negotiating prices for advertising, you'll get a better price and value by planing ahead, you may even protect yourself from price increases.

In the weeks ahead, I'll lay out some questions you should be asking to determine what might work best for you advertising and marketing dolars, but for now, start getting in the mindset to plan ahead.

You can contact me directly at ScLoHo at ScLoHo dot net (Use the symbols, not words) if you want some assistance.

In the meantime, have a safe and happy 4th of July, and put away the snowblower, for a few months.