Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Media Numbers vs Your Numbers

Last week it was announced that Facebook now has 500 million members.

That's a helluva lot of people.

The radio stations I work for have over 142,000 listeners every week according to the last report we received from Arbiton.

That's a helluva lot of people.

Every week there are over 400 visits to one of my blogs.

That's a helluva lot of people.

But these numbers don't really matter.

I have a choice of watching between 50 and 150 different TV Channels in my home.

I have over 500 Linked-In connections.

I have 550 Facebook Friends and 1017 Followers on Twitter.

That's a helluva lot of people.

But these numbers don't really matter.

What does matter?

Your numbers.

If you are running a business, and you need to, or want to grow, do you know how many more customers you can handle before you have to make some changes, like hire staff, extend hours, etc?

Do you know how to grow by 10% without gaining a single new customer? (Upsell).

Do you know what it takes to retain more customers and recruit them as your ambassadors who will tell others about you which in turn creates more business and growth?

Please don't be hoodwinked by the marketing gurus, advertising salespeople, or social media pundits into spending your money based on their numbers.

Invest in your business marketing based on your numbers.

Need help? Contact me. Click here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Self Centered vs Customer Centered

Last week I visited my dentist for a cleaning and check-up. Everything was fine, as usual. Last year I had my first cavity in 20 years, which is pretty good.

As a kid, we had our cleanings every 6 months and at the conclusion of each appointment, they'd schedule my next visit and give me a reminder card to stick on the refrigerator along with a new toothbrush.

But as schedules have become busier, and working moms are the norm, my dentist has stepped up the reminder process.

A week before my appointment I got a post card, which jogged my memory to keep Tuesday afternoon open at 3:30. I don't recall getting a post card in the past. Usually the day before my appointment, I would get a phone call as a reminder, and sure enough, I got a message Monday in my voice mail about my cleaning the next day.

Now my dentist was doing something different. His office asked if I preferred Text Message or E-mail reminders too. They assured me that they were going to continue with the phone calls, because that works best for some folks, but they were expanding to these other reminder services too "as a service to our patients".

I know that it's also a service for themselves, because if someone forgets an appointment, it's money lost forever, since for a doctor, time is money.

So, are you asking the right questions about communication with your customers? Are you offering either enough choices or at least the choices that your customers want?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Three Choices

There is a bit of magic in the power of three. But today I'm going to refer to three that every business owner has to make everyday.

1. Improve.

2. Stay the same.

3. Go out of business.

Let's look at #2 first.

Stay the same. Coast for awhile. A lot of folks decided to do this when times were tough. When the recession hit their business, when the phone stopped ringing off the hook with new customers, when the easy money stopped being so easy... Many decided to hang tight, "I don't want to do anything different right now"

Problem is that by doing nothing, or cutting back, or staying the same, the world continued to change. Every corner of it.

Even yours.

The internet has changed the way we get information, make choices, and how we play. And now you don't need a computer to access the web.

I recall being amazed that even homeless people still had cellphones. And last month when I moved up to a Smartphone, another light bulb lit up above my head.

With the mobile web technology, even the most remote locations now are connected. And that connection means, they are not waiting for you.

I only use the homeless example to help you realize that if they are moving forward, you should be too.

There is only one way to coast.

You can't coast uphill.

You can only go so far by coasting on a flat surface.

The only way to coast is downhill. And once you start going down, you pick up speed until you crash at the bottom.

I don't think that's what most people were planning when they told me they were going to "ride it out". But unfortunately, it happened anyway.

Gravity is a law.

Of course, there are those that decided to choose #3 and close the doors and retire. Good for them if that's what they want.

But what about you?

For most of us the best choice is #1.

It's not the easiest, I can promise you that! But it is your only chance to survive. And if you can survive, you can also thrive.

In a couple of weeks I'll list a number of ways you can improve, survive and thrive.

I like that list of three, "improve, survive and thrive", don't you?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sales Basics: Attitude

The easy ones sometimes aren't.

Unless you are prepared and know what you are doing.

Around the group of radio stations I work with, I am the fix-it person. About four years ago when I moved into management, I took over our Hip-Hop Station and increased sales to hit our budget within 4 months.

Then I took over the sales management of a different station with the same result... 4 months later, it was on budget.

April of this year, we launched a new station and by June, it was on budget. Now I've been assigned a different station and by September or October it will be exceeding its budget too.

The station I'm focused on improving now just launched a morning talk show 3 weeks ago. A well known afternoon talk show host from another station in town became available and after doing research, we brought him on board.

He had a list of about 40 local businesses that he used to do testimonial commercials for and they were our first target for increasing revenues. Yesterday I met with another one on the list and it was fun. Not easy, but fun.

For the past eight years, this local business owner would never agree to meet. The door opener was the talk show host we hired.

When I was ushered into his office, he introduced me to his marketing team, one of whom I've known for about 3 years. It was clear that the final decision was going to be the owners, but he wanted input from his team.

I brought with me, a few papers, one with the price for advertising, and a blank contract along with a credit application. I've renamed it a terms agreement because it sounds friendlier.

The conversation was back and forth, like a real conversation. I involved everyone in the room, and they basically sold themselves on what I was offering them.

But I've seen others who were put in similar situations, who would have blown it. They talk too much about themselves, or why they are better than others. They give unnecessary price discounts, they appear nervous, pushy, and they project zero confidence.

I did the opposite. I even gave them an idea on how to get better results with the radio station they were still on.

Sales shouldn't be a battle, or a game of trickery. Successful sales people know that their mission is to help solve their customers problems. And when you do it with the right attitude it can pay pretty well too.