Archives for March 2008
We’re going to travel back in time today … all the way back to 1968 and the release of the album “Beggars Banquet” by The Rolling Stones.
Why? To understand a little bit more about sales and marketing. You see, when something like a song becomes a classic, there’s a very good reason why. It’s because it strikes a chord with us. It tells a story. Imparts great knowledge.
It contains ideas that fit neatly into the collective consciousness.
Finding Success in Success
The formula goes like this: It takes a certain mindset to be successful (and The Rolling Stones have been very successful). And so, anything that comes out of a successful person’s mind has the great potential to create more success.
Knowing that, I’m going to take the first four lines of the song “Sympathy for the Devil”, and apply them to sales and marketing …
Always remember: Smart people make money when times are good. Rich people make money when times are bad.
It’s pretty much all people have been talking about; Bear Stearns, the fifth largest investment bank in the U.S., whose stock was up at $160 last year, got blown out in a firesale deal to JP Morgan for $2 a share.
Playing the Patience Game
A lot of people that get into trading stocks jump in, buy a bunch of stocks, and then sit and watch the ticker hoping for the best. Or, they get into the game because they’re girlfriends’ second cousin’s husband is a trader and gave them a (not so) hot tip.
The smart way to play is to follow some basic “market truths” and exercise the patience you need to jump on the smart opportunities. Here’s a quick list of what to look for:
No matter what you’re doing – communication, networking, and having the ability to “sell it” is key to success. Your ideas, discussions, speeches, ramblings, sales pitches; they all have to have an impact. They have to stick.
Well, Chip Heath and Dan Heath wrote the authoritive book on the subject. It’s called Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. In the book, they map out 6 principles for making your ideas stick and it’s filled with great stories, real experiences, urban legends; the works.
So here’s a 6 day challenge for you. Take the principles from Made to Stick and concentrate on one of them each day; throughout the day. Whatever you’ve got to say, write, or convey to others, use the principles to do it and make your ideas stick …
The idea behind a loss-leader is that you sell something super cheap; in fact it’s such a deal that you lose money on every unit you sell. The idea behind this is to get customers in the door and it’s the other items they buy while they’re there that make you money.
And of course, customers love the idea of flaunting the deal they got at an obvious loss leader price. Loss leaders used to be quite popular. And promoting something like it is one is still really popular. But usually they’re not loss leaders at all …
The Business Landscape Has Changed
The first thing that most businesses have come to understand is that selling loss leaders doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get any other business from a customer. This is especially true in business-to-business deals. And bringing on a loss leader doesn’t mean you’ll keep a contract you already have or that you won’t get the deal in the first place if you don’t take the hit.
This is partly why most successful businesses don’t sell loss leaders any more. There’s just no money in it.
First off, welcome to all of you who are recent Zoomstart subscribers. This post, in a roundabout way, is about you. Read on …
After starting Zoomstart last year and blogging away for about 9 months, I managed to gain about 200 subscribers. I stopped writing for a few months because of other commitments, and then about a month ago I started writing again. And in the last month my subscriber count has rocketed up to around 300.
Okay, those don’t seem like earth shattering numbers, but a 50% gain in subscribers in one month compared to the results of the entire previous year is very significant. Annualized, it’s a 600% increase year over year.
Don’t Focus on the Goal … Focus on the Result
The reason for this big increase in Zoomstarters is because I focused the blog (theme design, etc) on results rather than goals.
Err … what’s the difference?
Some friends of mine are starting a painting business. Initially, they found it difficult to get contracts as most small businesses do. The best way is to just go out and start knocking on doors to introduce yourself. I suggested they hit small businesses where they can talk directly to the owner and just drop off 20 or 30 business cards a day.
It’s pretty much guaranteed in this market that you can line up 2 or 3 jobs just by doing that kind of networking for half a day. But most people, for whatever reason (lack of confidence in their own business), just won’t do it.
The Subcontracting Trap
So, as a lot of entrepreneurs do, they started talking to a contractor to get work. The good thing about being a subcontractor is they go out and get all the sales, do customer service, etc. Which takes that burden off you.
The bad thing is they usually take up to or over 50% of the pie. It can still be good money, but it’s little more than a glorified job. And it doesn’t make your business the killer cash you need to grow your business; it’s more like earning a wage.
Now, subcontracting can be a great way to get started. It’s paid training and experience. But at some point you have to cut the cord and go out on your own.