Be a Person of Great Value

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How many caller id calls have you ignored? How many emails simply go unanswered?

We are all suffering from attention deficit and most people have to keep the noise out and focus just to survive and get what they think is important done.

If you are not a person of value in someone’s busy workday or life, then you are wasting their time and attention. And we have many ways to simply ignore what does not compel us to pay attention.

Deals get done with a lot of the important ingredients we know, but have to remain disciplined and focused on creating:

  • Attention. You have to matter.
  • Pain. What is it that your customer wants to improve or get rid of? What is it specifically?
  • Solutions. How do you make the pain go away or get resolved?
  • Conversations. Buying is largely done with human beings connecting and creating understanding and agreement. How many of these interactions are you having a day?
  • Value. You have to pay attention carefully and help people get what they want. Everyone’s different. Some people have kids. Others have health problems. Still others need a great networking connection.

Being a person of value means you are valuable. And you become valuable by continually growing personally. You know things that others can use. You apply your knowledge. You also know people that can help. You connect the dots and you proactively make connections.

When you start your days, say, “I will be a person of great value.”

Commit to being someone who gives continually.

And if you want to stay consistent, be sure to review the resource I share on using Gmail as a simple CRM. It can make your commitment happen day in and day out consistently with the people you want to be valuable towards.

Instead of Complaining Become Better

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One of the sobering and honest parts about the marketplace is that you might try any philosophy or approach you like, but it may not work. Your great intention does not necessarily mean that others have to go along.

That can be quite a shocking realization for a generation that may have been given and expected anything and everything. Perhaps a silver spoon makes some believe everything is done for them without cost or consequence.

Others might even have a world-class invention they believe everyone in the world must have.

Entitlement, passion and conviction are powerful tools of persuasion. But, in the end, noone has to do anything with you or for you. You can’t make someone buy, cooperate or work with you.

The marketplace, because of the availability of options and choice, places the burden on you as a seller to be convincing and attractive.

Forget complaining, insisting or appealing. Put all that energy into being better. If your calls are not being returned, how about thinking of what can make someone want to call you back? What’s going on in their world and how can you be worth their time and attention? Again, be better.

We are all needing better ideas, strategies and ways to improve our businesses. There is no shortage of this need.

How about spending a bit of time seeing how you can meet all those unspoken, continuous needs? You’ll be a player of value this way.

An Important Thought to Have

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I think a lot about how to make someone’s experience world-class. It’s fun. I’ve had a lot of meetings, calls and project work in the last week with clients, team members and partners. It’s important to me that I add a little bit more in my interactions and experiences. I think life and business are too vast for settling for the mundane and simply going through the motions.

Thinking this way does take intentionality and a care for other people. For the people I like, I tend to keep asking a simple question, “How can I be valuable and add more value?”

I like pushing on that question. It could be as simple as sending a note. Or it could be thinking deeply about the problems or issues that I hear in my friends’ worlds and offering a resource, connection or idea. A lot of it is listening and caring.

Most of it is the habit of being uncomfortable. I like thinking about improvement and making things better. I don’t know, perhaps it was always my nature. But the gaps, the opportunities, the connections – these intrigue me. Finding where to make an impact and an improvement for someone is fun and motivating. The helping makes me happy and keeps my creativity fresh. The great thing is that there is no shortage of opportunities to help people.

Caring.

Listening.

Thinking.

Connecting.

I walk through this process daily. And it keeps me growing, rather than fixed in my mindset. The fun of creating value for someone else where an idea or connection did not exist keeps my eyes wide open to do something that creates increase.

Simple thought,

“How can I add more value?

Big impact.

Watch People’s Faces to See What They Value

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I’m glad I get to do business in the connected economy rather than times past such as the industrial age. You can make your ideas happen so quickly without a ton of gatekeepers that had to give you access and permission to create, distribute or sell something.

If you want to put a book out, you can do it by getting to work and publishing on Amazon.

If you want to launch a business, you can put an idea out there by getting a new customer and refining your product.

The hard part is about how you approach testing your ideas. There’s such a temptation to be narcistic and think about what you want. The idea has to start with your own assumptions, creativity and zeal.

However, whether people want to pay for your idea or value what you are selling is entirely up to them. And it’s hard to break through the noise when everyone has access to any goods, content or information from their iPhone. You are competing for attention as well as quality presented by every major brand out there.

I don’t like to assume anything. At the end of the day, people want what they want and it’s our job in business and selling to figure out what resonates.

I like to come up with ideas all the time. That creative process is critical. Furthermore, what is valuable today becomes old news and stale in a short time. So that idea machine has to be continually running.

I think the critical part is dialing in on what people want and one of the best ways to approach making money is to watch people’s faces closely. That’s right, look for their reactions. When you have something you are presenting the world, the ultimate question is not the intrinsic value you believe exists in your idea, product or service. It’s the value perception and reaction your customer carries in their mind.

There are 3 outcomes when you risk presenting your idea:

  1. Your customer perceives immense value.
  2. Your customer is indifferent and does not perceive value.
  3. You are close, but something is missing.

The first reaction is the home run. You can expand and repeat. Great job.

The second means you have to pivot. People vote with their wallets. Either the idea is majorly flawed and you have no hope. Or your idea needs refinement, thus number 3. More work and engagement is required to see what is missing. It’s an exercise in filling in the gaps.

This is why you have to watch people’s faces. See how they react. Probe and find out where you need to tweak or whether you need to abandon the idea altogether to put your energy into a better concept.

If you miss the reaction and refinement then you lose opportunity to delight, connect and make money. You don’t get to be the judge. The customer is the judge and is incapable of being wrong when it comes to determining value.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs get too married to their idea and miss that value perception is the key thing that matters.

You can affect your own revenue and loyalty by taking heed and watching people’s faces closely. See what they truly value and keep coming back with positioning, framing and enhancements to your offering.

How are people perceiving your value? How can you increase it 100%?

Making Impactful Introductions

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There are certainly a great many messages that get ignored. We tune out what is irrelevant as a way to simply survive the noise and to focus on what is important.

However, one gesture that gets attention and is extremely high value is to make introductions that lead to deal making. Opportunities are hard to come by for many of your friends, clients and business relationships.

Those that are looking to grow their business or pay the bills are working hard to find meaningful opportunities. And as you are bumping around the universe, you have the change to bring immense value to others by thinking like a connector, someone who is able to bring together two parties that can greatly benefit from each other.

I like to keep my eyes and ears open to opportunities. I like putting the jigsaw puzzle of value together for people I like. It’s fun. Sometimes the people I put together get immense value and remember me. And that helps my own business goals.

Here’s how I like to introduce people that can do business together, being considerate of both people’s time and attention:

  1. Pinging. I like to stay in touch with people and see what they are up to. When I read something, I may share it with people that come top of mind. I let my contact list and my mind lead me to people to check in with. I send out a lot of pings with ideas to help.
  2. Listening. In all the interactions I have with people, I listen for what is happening and where the problems are. I was educated as an engineer. My mind is built to solve problems and what I hear all the time are problems after problems. Usually, the problems revolve around money, health and parenting.
  3. Connecting. I have a large network of people that I like to think about when I hear triggers around problems. I have to connect around the question, “Who can help?” People come to mind. I may search my old emails and my contacts. Then I think about how I can connect the two people.
  4. Ideas. I hate wasting time. I hate anyone wasting my time and I hate wasting other people’s time. I think my friends know this and pay attention when I do approach them. I like to think about goals and outcomes. When I think someone can help, I take the initiative and send an email connecting the two people and share specific ideas of how these two friends of mine can help each other and how they can benefit. It takes thought and effort.

I assume that if two people talk long enough that there are many areas where both can mutually benefit. However, we don’t always have the luxury to probe and find those areas of convergence.

I do the work of making an introduction that helps everyone win. And I try to be respectful and put myself in the shoes of others so I can evaluate, “If it were me, would I find this extremely valuable?” I make the connection. Then I get out of the way.

The process of making impactful introductions is creative work for me. I have to keep tuned in. I have to be learning. I get a lot out of being resourceful and efficient with connecting people around ideas and strategies they can both benefit from.

How do you like to make introductions? Can you think of anything that is of more value to your friends?

Look What I Did For You

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It’s much easier to sell “Look what I did for you” than “Look what I avoided for you.” ~ Nassim Taleb, Antifragile

I lament that our society and human nature exalts the glamorous over the shrewd.

“Look what I did for you” garners perceived value so readily. Perhaps it’s because we are wired to respond to what we can see, feel and touch more so than what was accomplished conceptually.

And, quite frankly, what can be sensed sells more efficiently than what is avoided.

For the seller, tuning into what you do communicates value. That’s your task. Make the unseen felt and valued.

There’s the challenge of helping customers with what may be needed and then ensuring they get what they wanted.

Insistence on what people should perceive as value can be fatal if that’s your goal.

How do you show what you did for someone?

4 Call To Action Marketing Strategies

Effective calls to action will reveal your connection to the buyer’s problem and the value of your message to your market.  It represents the decision point between anonymity and courtship.  Your visitor is giving something to get something of value.

The call to action constitutes the beginning of the relationship after getting found.  Here are four call to action marketing strategies to employ in your buying process that will help your visitors take a next step:

  1. Provide Ideas. The problem you solve is something that your visitors are thinking about continually.  They are looking for fresh ideas and new ways to attack their problems.  Give a list of ideas, preferably that you have tested and can attest to working.
  2. Minimize Download Steps.  Ensure your forms, buttons and the overall process for getting access is as simple as possible.  Friction in the process can cause people to disengage.  Be the buyer and ask yourself if you would be delighted or annoyed by the process.
  3. Measure Conversions. Use a real-time analytics system and ensure you can see the conversion points in the process for downloading.  If people are on the page, then ensure that you can deduce why they discontinue if you see such metrics.  If you see successes, replicate this elsewhere as part of your marketing automation process.
  4. Nurture Via Marketing Automation. After the call to action has worked, the next step is to create personalized marketing to the new lead which shows care and connection.  Your marketing automation campaign should be relevant to the value piece they consume and invite them to a logical small next step.

This step in the buying process is critical to manage from an experience standpoint.  It sets up the next parts of an effective marketing automation process.  Analysis should provide the feedback loop you need to refine how the conversion occurs between visitors to leads.  Be vigilant and you will be growing a database of potential leads to work through the next phases to your sales process.

What are some of your call to action strategies that have worked?

 

Converting Inbound Leads

The inbound marketing process has failure points.  If your business is set up where marketing generates leads and your sales team aggressively calls, then trust can be compromised with otherwise potential sales opportunities.

Inbound marketing has the following conversion points:

  1. Visitors: These are a high quantity of people that find you from search or marketing efforts.  They visit your site and will engage your content if it is relevant and remarkable.  If you do not meet this criteria, then you lose visitor stickiness.
  2. Leads: A lead is someone who chooses to exchange their anonymity for something of value.  As trust is built from your content, then their eagerness for a higher level of value means that they identify themselves.  They will give you their email address and name when they get access to white papers, video, guides, ebooks and other quality produced items that help them solve a problem.
  3. Prospects: These are people that move through the marketing funnel and say, “Yes,” to engaging your sales process.  They agree to a meeting, a trial of software or purchasing an item.  High trust and/or high pain has created this opportunity for your business.

Conversion

Think about when you buy.  It is a process which starts with awareness moves through education and then escalates to action based on trust.

If you disrupt the natural buying process by injecting your salesmanship or not providing a logical next step, then a conversion point is affected.  In our attention economy, it is difficult to regain ground.

Each of the steps need to be monitored and walked with analytics that reveal how your buyers are moving through the funnel.  As you are building your process, it becomes an exercise in refinement and iteration.  Here is what to look for:

  • Content Interest.  Understand what your visitors are looking at specifically and how deep they delve.  Their affinities will provide insight into how to create further content which builds upon the initial search.
  • Call To Action Value. Your value piece to generate a lead takes up valuable real estate with each content piece.  Ensure there is a logical and attractive next step to your call to action.  Analyzing the number of new emails you get will determine success.  Drive the ratio between Leads to Visitors by carefully reviewing where the drop offs are between the content consumption and the actual sign-ups for your value pieces.
  • Nurturing.  Continue to build momentum and trust with Leads by delivering ongoing value and nurturing.  Timeliness and personal messages which connect based on their behaviors are required.  This is an intelligent marketing automation process that has responsive engagement with the prospect.  Nurturing is the appropriate strategy where premature sales engagement might otherwise be used.

You may be getting visitors, but converting them to viable sales opportunities requires focus and systems to drive the conversion points.  These areas of iteration will be the crux points for making your inbound marketing strategies and systems a continuing asset for lead generation and lead conversion in your business.

What areas can you optimize for helping visitors become prospects?  Feel free to comment below.

Why Buyers Avoid Your Sales Process

Your sales process is about you, not about your buyer.  How soon did you want to talk to a salesperson on your last major purchase?  It was likely much later, not sooner.  The reason is that we all know once we engage a salesperson, we are going to be harassed.  This is by design.  The salesperson is executing their sales process and their function is to close anyone that makes themselves known.

What if I am not ready to be closed?  When we first start buying, we are not ready to be closed.  We are looking for information and we are wanting to find that information to help us feel comfortable, educated and aware of our need.  We may not be able to articulate our need just yet.  Talking to a salesperson prematurely only highlights the awkwardness.

Make It About Buying

If it was the old days, I would tell you to get out there, woo prospects, educate them, follow up and close them.  They gave you permission.  You were the keeper of special knowledge after all.

Today, that is both disruptive and awkward.  Information is free for people.  They expect to find it with a few searches and clicks.  The internet has allowed a complete self-service model which empowers buyers to learn before they decide.  There is plenty for them to consume and they will take their time until they become close to as knowledgeable as you, Ms. Salesperson.

Here’s how you can help them do what they are going to do anyways – avoid salespeople, educate themselves and decide on their own – and pick you when they are ready:

  1. Create Smart Decision Trees – Build logic and autoresponders which are intelligent to serve up the right information based on your buyer decisions and indecisions.
  2. Package Content – Use multimedia and content strategically delivered and marketed for consumption and download.  Make it count.  Put it on the web on your domain.
  3. Measure Every Movement – You should be able to see everything the buyer does.  There is a lot of action they are taking apart from calling you.  It’s data that tells you whether they are ready or not.  If you are flying blind, it’s because you have poor systems and are not understand what marketing automation is.  Get smarter.
  4. Position Your Leadership – Always, always, always lead.  Help.  Think ahead for the customer.  Be more valuable than anyone else.

Reality Today

The reality is that organizations are realizing that hiring a large sales force is vanity.  There may be a lot of busy work, but the results damage your brand more than help your results.

The job of sales has been contracted because information via the internet has tilted the balance of power to the buyer.  They can self-serve and they prefer this.  If you cannot see this reality, then think about it long and hard.  After doing so, take the advice in stride and rebuild how you sell.  Skinny selling and beef up buying.  It is the winning strategy of today.

What have you noticed about how your buyers engage you compared to the past?  Feel free to comment below.

Everyone Is Not Your Customer

Not all prospects are equal. Just because someone visited your site or store, does not mean you have permission to engage them. A portion of them will at some point give this permission based on their preferences and requests. The others will react negatively towards unsolicited marketing advances. We should know this because we are buyers, too.

The mindset of the buyer is critical to understand and capture.

The traditional marketing approach is to send a one-size-fits-all message to everyone and hope for a few responses. This is lazy, irresponsible and destroys your credibility. The ability to work with the few who truly are your customers is available today. Depending on the readiness of your buyer, it is wise to deliver the right message at the right time to nurture the relationship with your brand. With a marketing automation system, you can engage in a custom, one-to-one fashion based on the digital body language of your unseen buyer.

Different marketing automation campaigns which nurture the customer based on their digital profile need to be developed and triggered. The strategy and personalized approach with the right timing need to be developed with a sensitivity to effective nurturing.

Most people in that first experience with you are not ready to buy. Therefore, providing value becomes an important component of the marketing automation strategy. Value can take many forms. It starts with the question, “What is valuable to your buyer?” This requires a mindset shift from, “How can I sell?” to “Why does a person buy?”

The exchange of value builds trust over time. This is required in a buying atmosphere where choices are abundant and skepticism is high. Connecting in terms of value often revolves around pain or pleasure. Depending on your value proposition, it is important to get at the root of the buyer’s pain or pleasure and deliver value methodically and precisely, speaking to their emotion. A few examples include:

  • Getting promoted
  • Increasing revenue
  • Overcoming boredom
  • Feeling productive

Your product or service is a means to such an end. Your message must connect personally, relevantly and timely based on the reaction of the buyer through automated systems. When they emerge with a readiness based on your marketing automation triggers, then your sales process will effectively engage with your true customer.

The goal is to design for the few, not the many. This focuses your marketing automation to avoid the drag from irrelevant buyers and deliver value to the ones that truly will reward you with sales and loyalty.