Category: sales

Part 4: 8 reasons your business is not growing and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

Part 4: 8 reasons your business is not growing and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

It looks like we have gotten to the end of another series; man, has this one been a pleasure to write. We have learned several tactics and mindsets that can help you overcome your business growth challenges in this series.

It was a pleasure sharing reasons 1-6 in the first three parts of this blog. If you have not read them, make sure to read them on my Linkedin page or my website before diving into part 4 today.

Here is a quick recap of what we have covered in the first three parts.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model 
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust) 
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage 
  6. Lack of curiosity 
  7. Vision with a plan
  8. A mirror

In this final installment, we will chat about arguably the two most important reasons you have not been able to grow your business the lack of sharable and actionable vision and to set yourself up with a mirror, a system of honest, open feedback.

Vision with a plan

Most people start their business without a plan. To be honest, it is a reaction to a problem that leads them to create a solution. That solution begins to create a vision of what their life could look like without this problem.

I fully agree that this is the best way to start a business. It allows you to follow an organic path and respond appropriately. However, there is a point in this experience where the moment begins to wain, where vision alone will not push you through.

I encourage you to create a plan before you get to this point. Most companies call this a strategic plan or business plan. It doesn’t matter what you call it if you don’t use it. This section will talk about some tips & tricks for constructing your plan, making it actionable, and ensuring it is something your company lives.

Core elements of your plan should include:

  • How you deliver your experience? Think of this as your external client journey. The step-by-step experience of your client. This should include all the actions and feeling your client will go through.
  • How you create your experience? Think of this as your internal client journey—the step-by-step experience of your employees. Include not only what they do but also think about how they will feel when they are doing it, what they need to be successful, and what their benefit is.
  • The financial model. This is self-explanatory but make sure you are projecting revenue, expenses, gross/net profit, and, if you can, cash flow for the next 3-5 years. Bonus if you can include where your expected revenue will come from.
  • Why do you exist? This is the most critical section to live every day. This is the great problem you solve or what change you hope to make in the world. This is the fuel that feeds your engines and those of your employees.

There are many other sections to a good plan, but in reality, it should fit under one of the above four areas of focus.

Tips for making your plan actionable

  • Write 1-5 concrete action steps for every goal in the plan to get it done. If you follow the above core elements, you will do this instinctively.
  • Assign the person or position/positions responsible for achieving the goals. Bonus point if you can break it down into the roles/ responsibilities based on the above journey.
  • Create how you will evaluate your plan’s performance. Include how often you will review goals and action steps. Include who will hold you accountable (best to use an outside coach or third party who can provide a penalty or reward based on achieving).

The final component is to make your plan sharable, making it a part of your companies everyday experience. If you followed all that has been said above and focused on creating your plan as if it is lived experience and not just goals on a piece of paper, then you have taken the first step in making it a livable component of your company. To take it to the next level, you can do a few things.

  • Bring in your leaders from all levels of your business. Create a cross-functional team of people from executive/top-level management to your front-end employees to review and give feedback. Then empower those leaders to propel the plan forward.
  • Create a corresponding training program to push the core reasons why. Teach the necessary skill to achieve the company goals.
  • Give autonomy to execute these plans.
  • Sit back and let things run their course.
  • Repeat your reason why as often as you can.
  • Have your employees share their reason why often and ask them to incorporate those reasons into the companies why.

I know this is a brief overview of strategic planning. However, it is essential that you engage in this process if you wish to grow your business and you’re currently slowing down or lacking momentum.

Lastly, do not do this in a vacuum; get help; it is excellent to engage in an outside agency to help facilitate it. It is worth investment as it will allow you to think and operate with a long-term mindset. Finally, start your planning process before it is too late.

A Mirror

If you have read this far, your head is spinning with the action you can take. However, before you do anything else, could you do one thing?

Turn the camera on your phone and make sure it’s pointed at you. I am assuming you’re now looking at yourself in the screen. Now wave.

What did you notice about how you waved? Did you see your facial expression or the angle of your hand? Did you notice the bags under your eyes or the position of your feet? Did you feel anything interesting?

Now, what if that mirror could talk? What if it could share what it is seeing, the experience it has, and the things it has heard? How could that change you?

If you genuinely want to solve your business’s problems, you need to get an honest view of what and how you’re doing. There are many ways to get this feedback from family, friends, employees, but the best way is going to be through coaching.

The main reason is that you have invested in making yourself better by facing your faults and insecurities. That is in addition to them seeing opportunities where you don’t, providing you business education, access to additional resources, and so much more. However, I don’t want to write an entry on the benefits.

Sidebar: I personally have three coaches, one for business marketing, one for general business strategy, and one for mindset.

Instead, I want to talk about the insecurity of getting help.

The first insecurity to be prepared for is the fear that your coach will make you face yourself. They will force you to confront the things you don’t want to or have neglected. When you start this process, it can hurt, but the relief as you start making progress and begin to see your vision come to life. It can be the most rewarding thing.

The next insecurity to be prepared for; is do you really trust. A great coach is not only going to help you implement profit-generating changes in your business but also time freeing strategies. This usually requires you to invest in more people that can be employees, or it can be outside services.

One of the most demanding challenges is to give up control over your baby. However, learning how to build real trust is a game-changer and the only real way to have the lifestyle you want.

The final insecurity to be prepared for; is delayed reward. Change takes time, and lasting change takes even longer. There are plenty of gurus out there that will say they solve the “insert problem” in just a few weeks or months. Many of them can do it but will that solution last. The answer is no.

The only way to create lasting change is to change yourself. Be prepared that it may take you time to make the internal changes to get the external results, but please do not allow that to stop you.

Thank you for reading this four-part series on the 8 reasons your business is not growing. I hope you have found it enlightening and that you implement at least one change. If you have read this far, I want to make you a special offer. I will provide you with one profit acceleration assessment and one month of coaching for free. All you have to do is email me and write in the header, “I want to grow my business.” Then, I will contact you to get started.

I look forward to helping you achieve your dreams. Remember, the best time to change was yesterday, so you better change today.

The offer of free PAS and one month of coaching is good from January 20th, 2022, until February 20th, 2022.

Part 3: 8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

Part 3: 8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

In our last installment of the 8 reasons why we discussed two roadblocks that, when done right, can provide you with the structure for effective growth. I strongly suggest reading the previous blogs before jumping into this one.

Today we will discuss numbers 5 & 6 on our list of roadblocks. In addition, we will be chatting about leverage (use of debt) and the lack of curiosity.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust)
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage
  6. Lack of curiosity
  7. Vision with a plan
  8. A mirror

As with this entire series, one of these roadblocks is more tactical while the other is cultural. Why change a good thing now? Let’s get to discussing these two essential roadblocks.

Leverage

Many first-time or small business owners have the dream of being able self finance their business. Amazingly they will generate enough profit to pay themselves and provide the lifestyle they want while fueling their business growth. However, this is rarely possible. Instead, you will need to get some source of financing, which brings us to leverage.

Before I explain leverage and how you can use it to pole-vault your business. I must share a warning. With leverage comes taking on debt; debt comes additional risk with potential greater reward. However, if you have assembled a team of supporting organizations, including CPAs, CFP’s, & Business coaches, you can mitigate this risk.

Now that I have shared the warning, let’s dive into the superpower that can come with leverage. What is leverage?

Leverage results from using borrowed capital as a funding source when investing to expand the firm’s asset base and generate returns on risk capital.

Okay, so what does that mean. Let me give you a scenario that may help. Say you have a fantastic toy that requires you to cut out many small pieces using a laser cutter. However, your company is currently only worth (equity value) $100,000; this is the money you are using to cover your current operating expenses.

However, you know if you were able to purchase a few laser cutters for, say, $300,000, this would expand your max capacity and allow you to increase your total production by a factor of 10. So how can you raise this money?

If you watch Shark Tank, then you have seen companies raise money by giving up equity. However, there is another way by using debt financing.

You can borrow the money that you would need to purchase the equipment. Essentially you provide the lender with a promise to pay back the debt plus interest. This is an excellent option because you do not have to give up any ownership control of your business.

When to use leverage? When it comes to business, it is best to use leverage when launching new projects, increasing inventory, capital expenditures, and expanding the company’s overall operation.

If you’re considering expanding your business or have the desire to grow, make sure to consider leverage (debt) as an option to reach those goals. Once again, make sure to consulate your team of experts before taking on the additional risk. This can be a great tool to grow your business without giving up a level of operational control.

P.S. There are many ways to debt finance your business, from private lenders to small business loans.

Lack of Curiosity

Would you consider yourself curious?

Building a culture of curiosity can be one of the greatest tools to getting your business past the roadblocks that keep it from growing. Curiosity leads to problem-solving, problem-solving leads to calculated risk-taking, and calculated risk-taking leads to exponential returns.

This trait needs to be developed into your culture, not just an owner trait. You want all of your employees to be curious. This is a weird thing to hear from a consultant who specializes in creating SOP’s, but to me, it is truly the most important trait have in a company. So how do you build curiosity? There are many ways, but here are a few of my favorites.

  • Manage through questions
  • Have a failure policy
  • Communicate your guidelines
  • Create time for staff to explore their interests
  • Create employee dream plans as part of your onboarding & employee review process
  • Engage all levels of your organization in strategic planning

Anyone or a combination of these systems can begin to develop a company-wide curiosity. So what are the benefits of curiosity?

  • Your team will feel more positive and driven toward building the organization.
  • As an owner, you will have reduced stress because your employees will constantly use their problem-solving skills.
  •  Your company will develop a shared language organically and system for communication.
  • As an owner, you will develop higher levels of trust
  • Your company will become a place where people want to work
  • As an owner, you will begin to see problems solve themselves

With all that said, how are you developing a culture of curiosity?

Wow, what a third entry in our series. I hope you have begun to see changes you can make in your business at this point. Next week we will wrap up out 8 reasons your business is not growing with the importance of creating a shared vision and the most crucial reason a lack of a mirror,

Please feel free to share this series with a friend or colleague and let me know your thoughts in the comments. Also, if we can be of any assistance or answer any questions, please feel free to email us. 

Remember, the best time to make a change was yesterday, so you better start changing today.

8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

8 reasons your business is not growing, and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

There are 30.2 million small businesses in the US, accounting for 99.9% of all businesses in the country. Even though they account for 99% of all business;

  • They employee less than half of the American workforce
  • The average annual business revenue is $46,978 
  • 86.3% of small business owners make less than $100,000 a year in income

It begs the question; what is holding back your small businesses from reaching its full potential and becoming multi-million dollar businesses. This series will discuss 8 reasons why your business may not be growing and the action you can take to fix it. Today we will discuss numbers one and two.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model 
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust) 
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage 
  6. Lack of curiosity 
  7. Vision with a plan 
  8. A mirror 

Cash Flow

Cash flow is considered by many to number one business killer. There is a saying cash is king when it comes to your business; there is no more accurate statement. For those that don’t know this term:

 

The term cash flow refers to the net amount of cash and cash equivalents being transferred in and out of a company. Cash received represents inflows, while money spent represents outflows. A company’s ability to create value for shareholders is fundamentally determined by its ability to generate positive cash flows or, more specifically, to maximize long-term free cash flow (FCF). FCF is the cash generated by a company from its normal business operations after subtracting any money spent on capital expenditures (CapEx). (definition provided by Investopedia)

 

So how do companies get into cash flow trouble? 

  • Accounts receivable; you have provided service but have yet to receive the cash. Again, this usually comes down to your payment terms and your ability to collect whenever possible try to get full payment before or at least at the time of completion. 
  • Paying Bill First; we all hate owing people, but many businesses do not take advantage of the same payment terms. For example, if someone offers you net 30, 60 payment terms, take advantage of them and wait until the last opportunity to complete payment without accruing penalty. Also, consider renegotiating for a more favorable term.

There are many other ways to develop cash flow problems, but these are two of the biggest. Please take the time to review your cash flow statement & balance sheet see how your cash flow looks. Then, consider setting goals to improve your cash flow as a tool to increase the value of your company.

 

Dependent Model

Now that you have begun to conquer cash flow, the next step will be to make an independent business model. But, of course, you’re probably asking yourself what the hell does that means?

It means creating a business model that does not rely on you as the owner to push the buttons, pull the levers, provide the basic service. It is the philosophy of shifting from working in the business to working on the business. 

There are several reasons why owners struggle to make this transition; we will discuss a few today but remember there are many more, and it is up to create time to do the work and discover your cause and correct it. Today we will discuss the sphere of control.

This is a big one for most owners. At some point, you will get to the place where you can’t be everywhere at once and can’t interface with every client. This can be very tough because this usually means you need to hire middle management. It requires a different set of skills than the ones you have hired before but usually comes with a dip in profit. So what can you do about it?

The first step is to get organized and answer these two questions:

 

What do I need them to do?

Where is the information they need to get the job done stored?

 

Simply put, to create a stable sphere of control, you need to have a documented process with clear expectations, responsibilities, and most importantly, the information to be successful. The standard term for this is SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures).

Creating your companies SOP’s or engaging these new hires in creating the first version can significantly reduce the mistakes, miscommunication, and headaches that occur.

I hope you have begun to see your opportunities to improve your business. As always, our fractional COO’s are here to help with these and all of your other operational challenges. Thanks for reading, and remember the best time change was yesterday, so you better change today. 

Charity is Good Business

Charity is Good Business

Is charitable giving a part of your organizational practice? If so, kudos to you; you are well on your way to building a culture and financially optimized business. 

Yes, you read that right, financially optimized. 

If giving purely for altruistic reasons is not your thing, don’t worry; in today’s blog, I will share four reasons why you should make giving a part of your business plan.

Need a little more convincing how about $2.45 trillion reasons

“Omnicom Group’s Cone Communications study shows, 70 percent of millennials will spend more on brands that support causes—and with millennials representing $2.45 trillion in spending power, the subject of corporate social responsibility carries an unexpected level of clout.”

 

Reason Number 1: Employee Morale

Gen Z and Millennials share an appreciation for “Why”; their desire for purpose-driven work can help you retain these employees. In today’s climate retaining talent can be as important as generating new business. 

According to a Deloitte study on volunteering, millennials were “twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive” if their company participated in workplace volunteer activities. This is because employees respect companies that care for their community–it simply makes employees feel good and increases the emotional attachment to their employer.

 

Reason Number 2: Two for One Marketing Dollars

Charitable giving can be like doubling your marketing dollars. The goal of your marketing budget is to get your message in front of your target audience. One of the best ways to do this is by creating strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations that have similarly aligned missions to the product or service you provide. 

For example, if your company makes sporting equipment, consider sponsoring local sports teams or tournaments. That will show your current and future clients that you care about your business and your community.

 

Reason Number 3: Uncle Sam is going to take it anyway’s

This is one of the most immediate benefits of corporate donations. You may not instantly see how your contribution benefits your community, but you will quickly notice the tax savings. Of course, businesses shouldn’t donate with the sole expectation of financial gain, but there are financial rewards for helping a charity in need. In addition, companies can usually receive tax deductions from sponsoring charities or events. Still, you should make sure to follow the rules and go about the process in the right way to comply with all tax requirements. Talk to your accountant about creating a charitable giving strategy as part of your revenue model. 

 

Reason Number 4: Giving is Good

The final reason is arguably the most important. It feels good to know that you have found a way to help build your community. Plus, according to the Cleveland clinic, it can have the following health benefits;

  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Increased Self-esteem
  • Less Depression
  • Lower stress levels
  • Longer Life
  • Greater happiness and self-satisfaction

Create an Action Plan

As today is Giving Tuesday, there is no better time to build a charity culture into your business practice. So here are a few different ways you to give back.

  • Volunteer Day’s
  • Event Sponsorship 
  • Sponsor Youth Sports or Programs
  • Donate to research 
  • Charitable match program 
  • A competition where each team member represents a charity, whoever sells the most or exceeds monthly expectations the company will donate to their charity.

The options are endless and entirely up to you. If you need help creating a charitable process that will benefit the community and your bottom line click here and one of our coaches can help you design the best program for your organization.

 

Now get out there and give. 

 

20,000 ft. to go until your next client

20,000 ft. to go until your next client

In my previous blog, I gave you a laundry list of tips and tricks you can use to make your word of mouth program work for you. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to review and decide which one to three tips you plan to use in your campaign.

If you have not, make sure you go back and read the list, pick the tips and tricks the best fit your product/service, ideal customer, and company culture.

Today, we will wrap up this series on word-of-mouth, where we provide you with a 20,000-foot view of your campaign. 

Now, let’s get started building your campaign:

  1. Build your influencer network.
    1.  Find some way to get the product into the hands of key influencers. A good influencer is passionate about the problem you solve with your product/service and has access to 5000 or more of your ideal customers.
    2. Provide a channel or help the influencer to activate theirs, allowing them to share their experience.
  2. Review & Testimonials 
    1. Capture testimonials from the beginning and before they’re done with your service or product.
    2. Offers lots of testimonials and other resources.
    3. Develop clips on your website featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other excited customers. 
    4. Create an opportunity for prospective clients to meet past clients.
  3. Create an opportunity to share experiences 
    1. Form an ongoing group that meets once a year in a resort and once a month by teleconference.
    2. Create fun events to bring users together and invite non-users. Saturn, Harley-Davidson, and Lexus have all been successful with this approach.
    3. Hold seminars and workshops.
    4. Create a club with membership benefits.
  4. Gorilla 
    1. Pass out flyers. 
    2. Tell friends. 
      1. Offer special incentives and discounts for friends who tell their friends.
    3. Put business cards on all the cars you see
  5. Put the Internet to work.
    1. Do at least one outrageous thing to generate word-of-mouth. We live in an age of 10s video’s.
  6. Empower employees to go the extra mile.
  7. Encourage networking and brainstorming ideas.
  8. Run special sales.
  9. Encourage referrals with the use of a strong referral program.
  10. Use a script to tell people exactly what to say in their word-of-mouth communication.

These are all fantastic ways to get the word out about your products and services and start a word-of-mouth campaign that takes on a life of its own. However, before you can release your word-of-mouth campaign out into the world, you need to go through the checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.

Word-of-mouth campaign checklist:

  • Are all of your communications sending the same simple message? If it can’t survive word-of-mouth, it’s not a compelling story.
  • Is your product positioned as part of a category? Ex.”A dandruff shampoo that doesn’t dry your hair.”
  • Are your examples outrageous enough to be shared?
  • Do you enhance your materials with success stories from real people?
  • Are you using experts effectively and in an objective manner?
  • Have you created mechanisms so people can follow up on the word-of-mouth they hear, as well as simple ways of inquiring or ordering?
  • Have you made the decision process easy for customers?
  • Have you created events and mechanisms so that your prospects hear about your product/service once a year, and it is easier to try or buy?
  • Have you written down the specific behaviors you want your prospect to follow during each step of the campaign?
  • Are your people primed? 
  • Am I ready to handle all the additional communication?
  • Am I ready to handle all the additional business?

These are essential elements to keep in mind when taking a second or even third check over your word-of-mouth campaigns. I hope you’ve found this series on word-of-mouth to be a great resource and are getting ready to put it into action for your products and services.

Remember, if you need help with anything in this series, try our FREE test drive to gain access to the best resources, tools, and business coaches you can find.

39 Tried and True Lessons to Put Your Word-of-Mouth to Work

39 Tried and True Lessons to Put Your Word-of-Mouth to Work

In the last post, we talked about conducting word-of-mouth research and then putting that research to work. Today we’re going to give you 39 great tried and true ways to use word-of-mouth when building and executing your campaign.

We’ve done it in a list form, so you can go through and highlight the ones you want to put into action. For more information read George Silverman’s “The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing”.

Here they are:

  1. Give them something worth talking about
  2. Cater to your initial customers shamelessly
  3. Give them incentives to engage in word of mouth
  4. Ask them to tell their friends
  5. The customer is always right
  6. Always tell the truth
  7. Surprise the customers by giving them a little more than they expected 
  8. Give them a reason to buy, make them come back, and refuse service from anyone else other than you
  9. Make eye contact, and smile, even through the telephone
  10. Find ways to make doing business with you a little better: a warmer greeting, a cleaner floor, nicer lighting, a better shopping bag, extra matches, faster service, free delivery, lower prices, more selection.
  11. Never be annoyed when a customer asks you to change a large bill even if he doesn’t buy anything.
  12. The customer is your reason for being. Never take her for granted. If you do, she will never come back and will go straight to your competition.
  13. Always dust off items, but never let the customer see you doing it.
  14. Never embarrass a customer, especially by making him feel ignorant.
  15. Never answer a question coming from a desire to show how smart you are. Answer with a desire to help the customer make the best decision.
  16. Never shout across the store, “How much are these condoms?” or anything about the personal items a customer is buying.
  17. When you don’t know, say so. Do whatever you can to find out the answer.
  18. Every customer is special. Try to remember their names.
  19. Don’t allow known shoplifters into the store.
  20. Don’t ever let two sales staff talk when a customer is waiting. The worst thing you can do is count your cash while a customer is waiting.
  21. If you can suggest something better, they will be grateful. Always respect their choice.
  22. Never pressure anyone into buying anything.
  23. Never knowingly give bad advice. Just help people come to the right decision.
  24. Personally visit the store of the competition or assign people to visit and report back to you.
  25. Hire a shopping service to prepare periodic reports on how your people are treating your customers.
  26. If you hear of a store where the management is insulting the customers, buy it, then put up the sign “Under New Management” outside. Then sell it later based on the increased sales.
  27. One expert (in the drugstore’s case, a nurse or physician) who is convinced you are better brings hundreds of customers and their friends through word of mouth.
  28. Always look for ways to make a stranger a customer.
  29. People will walk several blocks to save a dollar, or see a smile, or be treated right.
  30. Always run a sale promotion or an offbeat event. Make them come back to see what you are cooking up next.
  31. Use the best sign-maker you can find and pay him more than anybody else.
  32. If someone is mad at you, they will tell everyone who will listen for as long as they are angry, maybe even longer. So correct any dissatisfaction, and ask customers to send their friends.
  33. Treat your employees and salespeople who sell to you the same way you treat your customers.
  34. Have a zero-error system. There may be terrible consequences for example if a mistake is made filling a prescription. Have people check each other’s work for safety.
  35. Occasionally make intentional mistakes to see if people are checking.
  36. Always measure your performance.
  37. Always ask a customer to “come back soon.”
  38. If customers say they are moving away, offer to send them their favorite items by mail.
  39. Tell jokes.

 

I know your looking at this exhaustive list and asking yourself how can I implement these lessons. We’re going to wrap up this lesson to give you a chance to digest, prioritize, and plan. To aid you with this here is a little homework assignment.

Go through the list again, find 1 or 2 lessons that fit your company and that you feel you can implement. Then I want you to write down we business activities the lessons are relevant to. Next, write down a no more than 5 step process to implement those lessons into that business activity. This will provide you with a quick action plan.

If you need help with this process, feel free to email me at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com and I will review it and provide you with feedback. 

Remember the best time to change was yesterday, so you better start today.

Search & Implement

Search & Implement

People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising, and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm; in fact, this could easily drive customers away. You need to have a product or service that is high quality and marketable, then you need to market it as extraordinary and new. 

As you research word of mouth, there are some questions you need to ask along the way:

What are the users willing to tell the non-users?

  • Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
  • What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
  • What are the things they need to know but are unwilling to ask?
  • What happens when these issues are raised?
  • Precisely what do your prospects have to know to trigger purchase?
  • Exactly how do your customers answer the objections, concerns, and qualms of your prospects?
  • How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
  • How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
  • What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers tell to your prospects?
  • Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product getting through and surviving word of mouth?
  • What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace to turn the tide in your favor, and how will you deliver them?

 

There are two main reasons why word of mouth research is so important:

  1. To get the real impression and feedback from customers
  2. To define word of mouth itself and the concept it creates

There is a simple formula that can help you conduct your word-of-mouth research. It’s called the “2-2-2” model.

2-2-2- Model

What this breaks down to is:

  • Two groups of customers 
  • Two focus groups of prospects
  • Two mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics)

 

In these groups, you need to ask the following questions:

  1. What would you tell a friend?
  2. How would you persuade a skeptic?
  3. What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
  4. How would you answer their objections?

The best way to conduct these groups is by teleconference. This ensures you’ll get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. It also allows people to feel safe and more able to express their true feelings. To avoid adding pressure to the situation, these teleconferences should not be conducted by you but by an independent party.

We’re going to transition a bit and talk about how to construct a word-of-mouth campaign. First, we’ll talk a look at the essential ingredients you need to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:

  • A superior product
  • A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace
  • A cadre of experts willing to bat for you
  • A large number of enthusiastic consumers
  • A way of reaching the right prospects
  • One or more compelling stories that people will want to tell to illustrate your product’s superiority
  • A way to substantiate, prove, or back up your claims and how the product will work in the real world
  • A way for people to have direct, low-risk experience, a demo, sample, or free trial
  • A way of reducing overall risk, an ironclad guarantee

 

Once you have those ingredients ready to use, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong word-of-mouth program. Some of these situations are:

  • When there are credibility problems
  • When there are breakthroughs
  • When there are marginal improvements
  • Where the product has to be tried in large numbers or over time
  • Where there is a high risk in trying the product
  • With older or mature products that have a news story that people tend to ignore
  • With unfair competitive practices such as spreading rumors or telling lies about your product
  • When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly

 

While most of the word-of-mouth tactics are favorable for your word-of-mouth program, there are a few products to avoid using in this program. They are:

  • Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value
  • Products that can’t be tried and where there is no consensus among experts
  • Products that are inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products
  • Products that are so personal or emotional that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision
  • The medium will not be cost-effective for products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume). 

This wraps up this post on word-of-mouth research and how that research can be used when putting together your word-of-mouth campaign. However, if you need help with the research and a plan to use the results of that research, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you need with our top-notch resources and tools.

Science of the Memes

Science of the Memes

 

Today I’d like to discuss the science of memes and how the spreading of ideas is engrained in our human society.

Definition

An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.

  • a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users

 

Memes

In our modern era, memes have become a cornerstone of our social media-filled lives. However, we never take the time to investigate why they spread so fast and how that affects consumerism. 

You can use this same information to create a lasting positive impression about your company, products, and services. People are more likely to try a new product or service when they feel protected and reassured by the masses. 

It’s been determined that spreading ideas is essential to the survival of a society. There are five main situations where this occurs. They are:

  1. Crisis
  2. Mission
  3. Problem
  4. Danger
  5. Opportunity

Think of Evangelism. This movement is a prime example of people not only spreading the word but also convincing people to jump on board and start spreading the word themselves. How did this movement do this?

They effectively incorporated a few key things that always catch people’s eye:

  • The use of media: especially news. They associate their movement with polarizing events and caustic leaders.
  • The power of selflessness, a massive piece of this movement, is that through association, you live a life of helping others and altruism.
  • The power of exclusivity; it takes becoming a member to learn all the secrets. It comes in the form of in speak, opportunity, and ultimately community connections.

These are just a few lessons we can learn from this powerful movement if you think about your business marketing strategy. What elements do you have?

It takes these elements and more to go viral, which we will discuss in the next section.

Let’s Go Viral

While traditional marketing can be used to your advantage, the reality is viral and online marketing is the king of the castle. You can spread the word online like the plague if you know what to do. Here are some simple steps to do this:

  • Find an interesting idea
  • Make it easy for people to experience or try
  • Spread the idea while people who are in close contact with others
  • Take advantage of existing communication methods
  • Develop the way of testing your product in such a way that it automatically draws more participants

Viral marketing is the new gorilla marketing; it creates channels to allow you to provide value to a lot of people. Thus giving them the best chance to advocate for your product or service. A few great places to try to create a viral marketing campaign are:

  • Tik Tok
  • YouTube 
  • Facebook 
  • Instagram 
  • E-Mail marketing

 

There are six things everyone should be doing to benefit from word of mouth on the Internet:

  • Put WOM components on your website.
  • Assign people to monitor your viral marketing.
  • Place testimonials in different places on your website to walk a customer through the purchasing cycle.
  • Set up an email marketing campaign.
  • Stay up to date on what products and services the experts in your industry are recommending.
  • Use your website & media to demonstrate the great ways people are using or finding success with your products and services.

This wraps up our lesson on how to apply the power of memes to your marketing. If you need help creating your own plan and discovering your business plan, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.

Decoding Word-Of-Mouth Messages

Decoding Word-Of-Mouth Messages

Title Photo

Today’s lesson will talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and how you can influence those messages.

There is a simple hierarchy of how to make WOM most effective

  1. Be an expert talking to an expert
  2. Get that expert talking to ICA (Ideal Client Avatar)
  3. Then get the ICA to talk with other ICA’s

 

When experts talk about your products or service, you will usually receive an amazing rush of sales and new customers, so obviously, this is one of the best things that can happen. However, you can also help facilitate this by offering free products to experts to review.

Expert opinion can also bring about new ideas that help to fuel new products, services, and operating systems within your company. If you take the time to change or develop the opinions of even a small group of experts, you will have the opportunity to help your market explode.

There is a standard word-of-mouth delivery system that, in most cases, takes a few years. But, you can speed this up into only a few weeks. The traditional approach is:

  • First impressions from an expert
  • Organized trial of your products or services
  • Pooling peer experiences

 

It’s important to know exactly who is advocating for your products and service. Take the time to find out who they are and reward them. While you may already have a customer service system for filing complaints, do you have one for compiling praise? Most likely not. If you take the time to show these people appreciation, they will help take your products and services to the top. 

Some of the ways you can show them appreciation are:

 

  • Invite them to a customer appreciation dinner
  • Offer to videotape their testimonials
  • Ask to interview them for feedback to improve with
  • Offer them a premier customer membership
  • Ask them to join a referral incentive program

 

There are lots of things you can offer your biggest fans to help spread the word about your products and services. 

Conventional media has been around forever, and while it can still be effective, it’s lost a little of its luster over the last few years. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Expensive and doesn’t necessarily return results
  • Boring, lacking something fresh and new
  • Too short of a time slot to offer enough information

 

While these are all true, there are ways you can make conventional media work for you. For the information to be effective, it needs to be presented in the right sequence, come from the right sources, be relevant to the target customer, be credible, and be delivered at the right time in the medium. 

We’re going to switch gears a little and talk about the two phases of the product adoption cycle. Traditional media is great for taking you through the information stage, where you can offer the information you need to your potential customers. Still, it’s not so great for measuring the results of those efforts. 

Without these results, you can’t fine-tune your marketing and, therefore, can easily miss the boat and lose potential customers and waste a whole lot of money. Once a consumer has the information they need, they’ll go through a verification process as they analyze whether or not the purchase was a good one. They generally get their information through:

  • Direct experience with the product
  • Interaction with peers using the same product
  • Experts’ experience
  • Scientific journals and other resources
  • Independent reviews and opinions

 

You can accelerate this process by:

 

  • Providing your own demos and free trials
  • Offer them indirect experience through the experience of others
  • Offer a good, true story that can be passed around 

Once you have the ability and can work through these concepts, you will be able to target your customers much better. If you need help with any of this along the way, try our FREE test drive to gain access to our experienced business coaches.

Meeting Your Customer Head On WOM Style

Meeting Your Customer Head On WOM Style

Today we’ll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision-making process with positive word of mouth. There are essentially five stages in the decision-making process.

They are:

  1. Give the product/service a chance and transition from a “no” to a “maybe.”
  2. Check out the options and investigate the different products/services available.
  3. Observe the product/service to check for potential benefits, features, and operations to see if they fit their needs.
  4. Become a customer and purchase their first item. They will be discriminate with their first product as they form their opinion of you.
  5. Purchase again and starts spreading positive word of mouth as an advocate of your products.

So, let’s take a closer look at each one of these.

From “No” to “Maybe”

This stage is crucial because if your potential client doesn’t even take a second look at your products and services, then you have no chance of sealing a deal. It is paramount that you have invested time in the education of your potential client. This is your chance to provide value before they give up their hard-earned cash.

You want your customer to say how much they enjoyed your presentation, or they say have you seen this new commercial. Better yet they say have you heard of (insert your product/service) I hear it is truly the best at solving their problem.

A couple of quick tips:

  • Have great guarantees like trying it before you buy it or we 100% guarantee your satisfaction or will give you 110% back.
  • Give value before you get value. You can do something as simple as sending a personalized card with a gift card or a copy of your favorite book.

Investigating Your Products

At this stage, they are taking a closer look at your product line to see if there is actually anything that could benefit their life. This is where you need to make sure your information is right out there in front for the customers to see and compare.

Think about creating a comparison between you and your chief competitor or industry leader. It is your chance to explain why your process or product is distinctively better.

Quick tips:

  • Comparison charts
  • Third-party evaluation
  • Testimonials

Trial Period

Customers often feel more at ease and ready to purchase when there is some sort of a trial in place. They usually want to try vicariously through someone else, so they don’t feel any risk involved. An excellent way to offer this is through demo videos, product demonstrations, or a tour of your facilities. This stage may invoke a reaction of “I tried it and liked it. You should check it out.”

It is your chance to share how your relationship will develop. All of a sudden it becomes more about you and them instead of your product/service and their problem. This creates long-term value.

Quick Tips:

  • Demo, walkthroughs, 14-day trials
  • Have a communication plan in place during this period

Make a Purchase

At this stage, they have taken the risk of purchasing one of your products or services and are now evaluating how easy, convenient, cost-effective, and satisfying your product/service is. At this stage, a common reaction would be, “It was really easy to use and learn from. It’s really great, and you should get it!”

This is your chance to get them to become one of your champions. This can be done in a few ways.

  • You can upsell them on a more premium service or product, giving them more accessible to you.
  • You can engage to write a testimonial or better yet film one
  • Ask them to refer a friend

It is pivotal to have a plan on how to engage them after they purchase.

Advocates for Your Products

At this last stage of decision-making, the customer is immensely pleased with your product and often keeps using it and/or comes back for more products and services. They are likely telling everyone they know how much they like it, that they use it every day and have already (or will be) back to your establishment for more.

Types of Purchasers

We talked a minute ago about the different types of purchasers. Now we will take a closer look at their characteristics, so you can figure out which tactics are best to use at the right stage of the decision-making process.

The Innovator

  • Wants to stand out from the crowd
  • Know what’s hot and trendy
  • Likes “strange” or “weird” new products
  • Wants to be the first to try and will talk about it animatedly

Early Adopter

  • Driven by excellence
  • More concerned with possibilities than realities
  • Always looking to be a leader
  • Always looking for a new vision

Middle Majority

  • Wants to be perceived as competent
  • Concerned about practicality and easy comparisons
  • Needs an easy way out if not satisfied
  • Wants products that meet the industry standard

Late Majority

  • Generally skeptical and wants to know the risks upfront
  • Needs to shop around for the best deal
  • Needs a support system
  • Wants what everyone else has

Laggard

  • Needs it to be completely safe and traditional
  • Needs reassurance that nothing will go wrong
  • Won’t try new things unless it’s the last resort
  • Will search for loopholes and problems
  • Wants to use it in the standard industry way

As you can see, each type of consumer wants something just a little different depending on their personality type. Therefore, the key to successful word of mouth is to target and cater to every kind of consumer. If you need help identifying the types of consumers you are currently helping, and how to attract the types you are lacking, book a free consultation and I’ll provide you with one year of access to our online marketing academy $1200 value (offer good until January 1st, 2021).

Next time we’ll talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and what you can do to help facilitate that.