Every summer as a nation, it seems we hit a point in which it feels like everything is fraying at the edges and we’re in danger of falling apart.
Not only do we seem to be more divided than ever (with a heaping slice of online bitterness thrown in), but each of us carries our own private fears and struggles having to do with our own circumstances — be they financial, family, or otherwise.
One key principle that I like to remind my clients is this:
The only thing you can truly control is yourself. You can’t control the market, you can’t control our domestic politics (unless, of course, anyone in the Trump administration is reading this — perhaps you people can!), and sometimes you can feel that there’s a real sense in which you can’t even, really, control your salary and income.
And don’t lull yourself into the belief that you can, in fact, *fully* control your Central California business, or your client behavior — that’s a clear path towards irrelevance and bankruptcy. But you CAN affect your business through effective sales and marketing.
However, so much of what people do with their existing advertising doesn’t work. So I’ve put together some clear-eyed advice about what DOES work (and I’m speaking from personal experience here).
Oh, and if you’d really like to talk this week (and I don’t blame you) I have EIGHT open tax-planning sessions. But I urge you to move quickly, as I sent a strategy note to non-business clients about them as well, and they’re going quickly. Send me a quick email, or call: (559) 369-7691 to grab one.
On to making your advertising better…
Is Your Central California Business Making These Advertising Mistakes?
“If you make a mistake, no matter what, correct your error and keep moving forward.” -Alex Altman
Whether you create most of your sales through referrals, through direct marketing, or with a dedicated sales force–there are some common mistakes I’ve seen which are destined to suck the life out of your sales process.
As we move towards the end of summer (a typically “slow” season for many Central California businesses), it’s the perfect time to evaluate your marketing processes… and plug the holes.
So, here’s a start: consider whether you’re making any of these common advertising mistakes…
1. Failure To Tell Your Story
One of the simplest mistakes many Central California marketers or sales professionals make happens long before they set out to make a sale: they don’t settle into the clear, *unique* story behind their service or product.
I’m not referring to an “origins” story (though that’s often pertinent), but rather–what’s the MAIN message nobody else is telling? Or just as good–what’s the story that sets you apart from your competitors?
This is often called the “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP), and it’s essentially: “Why you?”
Ask yourself… if you had five seconds to sum it all up, and you had to close the deal on the spot… what would you say?
When the answer to that little thought experiment is enough to complete a sale, you’re good.
2. Right Product, Wrong Market?
This one isn’t always something you can control, but every business owner should get feedback from their customers/clients about this.
Is your proposed customer base actually interested in the item or service you’re wanting to provide? You could be selling the best darn carpet cleaning service in Mayberry… but what if everyone’s got hardwood floors?
So… before you launch that new service or product, do some *basic* research: Are there other businesses successfully selling a similar product or service? Despite your fears–that’s a GOOD sign, because it means you won’t have to carve out some kind of unique niche.
It seems, though, that many business owners pursue the “holy grail” of a totally unique offering… forgetting that it’s probably unique for a reason.
Similarly, many business owners come to the market with what THEY want to sell… without giving any serious thought or research into whether it’s something which folks want badly enough to fork over their wallets for it.
3. Right Market, Wrong Problem?
Let’s assume, at this step, you’ve got the right target market. And you’ve got enough of them in one place that you’ll be able to sell something effectively.
But still, the product or service fails. What happened?
The next thing you have to ask is whether you’ve really got your finger on the pulse of your targets’ DESIRES… not just their NEEDS.
Are you really speaking to the element they care about most? Or are you just pitching to the things you *think* the prospect should care about? Surprisingly, those two factors may not be the same thing.
If you think this might be a trouble spot, the next step is to go where those prospects congregate… and listen. Ask questions. Take notes. What online forums do they read, and what do they write about within them? What other products do your prospects use, and in response to what sales pitches do they buy them?
What grabs their attention in the headlines? What do they whisper about at cocktail parties and around the cooler? When they lie awake at night, what do they worry about?
Get the answers to THESE questions, and your sales pitch is practically written for you.
Again, I don’t pretend to be a “guru” … I just see what works, and I pass it on.
Feel very free to forward this article to a Central California business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Central California families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.
George & Cindy Leddicotte
SBA Accounting & Tax Solutions