Archive | July, 2010

23 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

blind date

blind date

Before you begin any business endeavor, marketing initiative or anything that’s going to involve you and an audience, do not proceed without being able to answer these six questions to yourself:

The Perfect Customer

1. Picture the your best possible customer. The best, most profitable customer who would also refer more business to back to you. Now answer this question: how would I be able to identify your ideal customer?

2. The most important thing about your ideal customer is the common need, frustration or desire that they share, that your business can resolve. Describe this problem as briefly as you can.

Your Incredible Difference

3. You need to uncover and communicate a way in which your business is different from every other business that says they do what you do. What is different, intentional or unintentional, about your business in the minds of the people you work with?

4. What is it about your product or service, the way you do business or the passion you bring to your work that makes your business different?

Your Service Experience

5. When prices are more or less the same and feature/functionality is only marginally different, attention and selection criteria turns to the service experience with a company. What service innovations should your business be bringing to your customers? (when answering, think about all the things your business could do for our customers that would make them naturally come back to you the next time they have a decision to make)

6. Doing what is expected of you is critical to your existence as a company, however what must you do beyond this to surprise and delight your customers?

(credit to John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing for these targeting concepts)

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19 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

the crew the target

the crew the target

To polarise iron filings, a magnet is required. To direct people, you need to have and let everyone know about your vision.

Your vision is your view on the core purpose and idealogy of your company or endevour, the passion that drives it and the pleasure you aim to convey to the people you are doing this for. The vision is not a blah blah document, but instead a short and concise statement that will drive decision making and people to fulfil the company and brand’s role in the world.

For example, Southwest Airlines is a low cost airline whereas Jet Blue stands for safety, caring, integrity, fun and passion. Any employee inside these two companies uses this as a bearing to guide their decisions to match the bigger direction.

From the vision you can derive what core values you and your people (and, by extension, your brand) should follow, the core purpose and the visionary goals you’re going to aim for to achieve the vision.

But why have a vision? Everyone wants to know where to go. This points them in the same direction, toward the target you’re aiming for.

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17 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

transfer point

transfer point

Sales people are not engineers. Engineers are not sales people.

Great sales people are extremely charismatic. Well dressed charmers. They reach out, connect, find common ground, establish rapport and convince. Their attitude, tonality and body language adapts to the interaction with other people as they paint an attractive landscape that eventuality leads to trade. They dance as they reduce the risk for change and make what they have in their toolkit the most attractive option for the prospect’s problem.

They are up and they are down. They are emotional and passionate. Success for a sales person is measured as the grand finale act of convincing someone to commit to something they didn’t know they wanted. Every step to reach that point is an exercise in change and analysis and more change.

Real engineers live to solve problems. Instead of the rapidly altering emotion of a sales person, an engineer aims for a point and seldom alters the course until all the relevant data is captured, analyzed and pieced together to reach the solution.

Each problem is a jigsaw puzzle and work continues until it’s solved. A constant flow of thought and activity, trial and error until the goal is reached and the jigsaw completion.

Having a sales person guide engineers is to restart the jigsaw puzzle in every interaction. To have engineers be a component in a sales cycle is to inhibit the fluidity of the conversation and rapport. Each has a different set of motivators and path to success.

When the sales person has done their convincing, insert a transfer point between then and the when engineers being to enact the change agreed to with the client. Purposefully move from a state of conversation to one of action by itemizing the problem and the commitments made to resolve those problems.

Then let the sales person move to the next convincing situation and have the engineer focus on solving the problem.

This may come across as relatively obvious and even, possibly, old fashioned advice. In the modern world we tend to assume that the world is full of change and everyone must be able to accommodate this and people are more or less the same (this, I fear, is narrowed by most people’s built-in assumption that everyone is like THEM). To bridge gaps, technical frameworks exist to embrace change to shorten delivery cycles and bring sales people and engineers closer together.

This is fantastic news, however sales people are sales people because they are driven that way; the thrill and art of convincing and the commission for turning it into trade. The engineer isn’t driven by the same factors, but instead needs quiet time to solve the problems they are handed.

Ideologies of a worldwide ‘group hug’ aside, recognize these differences and be the transfer point between the two worlds when a sale needs to turn to action. In all other stages and steps, keep the two worlds separated.

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08 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

speechless

speechless

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re surrounded by people you don’t know and are struggling to think of what to say or talk about, keep these in mind…

1. Occasion
Why are you all gathered together? What’s special about this occasion? What’s about to happen?

2. Location
Where are you? Was it easy to find? What are some notable characteristics of the area? Have you been there before?

3. Weather
The constant failsafe for conversation openers. Hopefully you’ll never reach this point for conversation starters.

All three of these share a common element: we’re all in this together. Use that to build bridges with people.

Work with these openers to break a silence, but then move on to asking more about the people you’re with. Avoid question that solicit ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Instead, try ‘tell me your thoughts on…’ or ‘what do you think about…’.

Very little else keeps a conversation alive than having others talk about or answer questions on their favorite subject – themselves.

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