If we define marketing that way, then what do you want marketing to do for you? Probably, you want marketing to deliver you:
- more prospects
- more customers
- more sales, and, of course
- more profits!
Yes, it really is possible to get new customers "on demand." Hereīs what you need to know before you get started
Iīm a marketing consultant, and in the last 17 years Iīve helped hundreds of businesses grow. Over the years Iīve come to know a select group of marketers like myself from around the world. Not every marketing consultant has growing your business as his or her primary focus – but the ones I know do.
Recently I sat down with a few of them – among the smartest people I know – and said I was amazed at how some businesses did so well working with marketing consultants like ourselves, while others always seemed to be spinning their wheels. They asked me: What made the difference? We discussed our experiences for a while. This report is the result of their answers and my follow-up research into marketing successes, marketing failures, and the reasons why.
First, letīs take a quick look at three powerful, inspiring successes.
The million sales letter. This business sold travel agency services to other businesses. The agency was successful, but could only get new business by referral. All attempts at advertising had produced dismal results. That changed with a highly targeted direct-mail letter that offered prospects two rewards for meeting with the agency: a box of Godiva chocolates, and a chance to get a personal vacation planned at rock-bottom prices. The agency mailed the letter to CEOs of entrepreneurial companies 25 at a time until there were so many appointments that they had to stop mailing for a week or two. The result was million a year in additional business.
How to build a money machine. A company that provided dentists with Web sites guaranteed to pay for themselves with new patients was only successful selling to dentists who already knew them. To expand into new markets, the company tested three mailings and found the first two barely paid for themselves, but the third paid for itself better than 5:1 – that is, for every dollar spent on this mailing, more than came back in sales. After carefully tabulating the results, the company expanded the profitable mailing to target all qualified dentists in the U.S.
1,000 from 100 sales leads. A small software company sold a program that helped businesses encourage carpooling, vanpooling and telecommuting among employees. When qualified prospects talked with the company, sales closed quickly and often. The problem was getting in front of prospects. A carefully designed and implemented direct mail campaign to 100 prospects yielded 1,000 in sales.
Now, The Conclusions Of My Research: The Six Characteristics You Need To Succeed
Iīve found that successful clients have a lot in common with many of those who didnīt do as well. They were all good salespeople. They had good, practical ideas. Each had a strong desire to succeed.
What was the difference, then, between marketing failure and marketing success? It rarely boils down to intelligence and ability, since itīs possible to have those qualities in abundance and still fail. The difference between the winners and the losers almost always turned out to be skills, behaviors and attitudes. The successes learned to do certain things (skills), actually did them (behaviors), and approached their businesses from a different perspective (attitude), but the failures did not.
Iīve narrowed down these skills, behaviors and attitudes to fit into this checklist of six characteristics:
1. You must have a marketing budget. The best things in life are free, except for marketing. While good marketing pays for itself and then some, it does require an initial investment of money. Think of it like priming the pump. Along with a commitment of money, marketing requires a commitment of time. You must consistently make marketing a top priority to make it work. If you are only planning to do marketing when things start to slow down, donīt hire a marketing consultant – this will only waste your money and the consultantīs time. But if you can truly make your marketing an ongoing priority, then go for it – you will attain success.
2. You must continue to execute after the marketing starts getting you results. That probably sounds silly to you – after all, if the marketing is working, you say, why wouldnīt I want to continue? Hereīs why: you might want to, but suddenly youīre dealing with the unexpected problems of growth. Namely, you donīt have enough time to take orders, fulfill orders, and handle everyday tasks – much less keep up with your new marketing program. Be prepared for this. Growth isnīt always easy, but hey – it sure beats the alternative, the old "feast-or-famine" cycle.
3. You must be able to curb those creative urges and stick to a plan. The brutal reality: once youīve made a decision to do something, youīll suddenly get a little nervous and think of a better way to do it. This is human nature. Successful marketers resist the urge to meddle at the last minute, and stick with their decisions until they have enough data to determine how well the original plan is working. Another problem: Youīll get bored with your marketing long before your prospects do. Resist the temptation to change for that reason. The most successful ad in history – it has made over billion in sales – is the Wall Street Journalīs "Two Young Men" letter. This letter has mailed, virtually unchanged, for nearly 30 years.
4. You must be willing and able to delegate. There are only two ways I know of to grow a business: get more money from the customers you have now, or get more customers. When you get more customers, you will need help to sell and deliver to them. Thereīs tremendous profit in growing by getting more customers, but it canīt be done without delegating in some way, shape or form. Even if you donīt want to have employees, you still need to be able to work with others and let go of some hands-on control in order to get the greater results you want. Letting go is one of the hardest things for many entrepreneurs to do. After all, the entrepreneurial personality is typically just the opposite of the managerial personality. But you must make this choice, because only if you can delegate can you grow when you use a marketing consultant.
5. You must have scalability. To be scalable means having the ability, system and plan to grow from 1 to 10, or 10 to 100, or 100 to 1000 – whether the number is measuring sales, people, production capacity, locations, or anything else that will increase profits. Scalability is the next level of delegation. To be scalable means you have a system you are delegating to. (Thatīs what McDonaldīs does. Love or hate their hamburgers, youīve got to respect their profits.) Scalability is the secret of all great business empires. It means that your business isnīt based on you, itīs based on your idea successfully expressed as a profitable business system. By the way, a business can be large and still not be scalable. Thatīs the situation when ultimately, the business still depends on one person. To be scalable, the business needs to still be able to run effectively and profitably without the presence of the owner or CEO. Once your business can do that, you can really take advantage of the leverage a marketing consultant can bring you.
6. You must be able to build a sales culture. This may be the trickiest requirement of all. It sounds easy, doesnīt it? All you have to do is hire a bunch of good salespeople. While itīs certainly possible to do that, there are some challenges you must deal with. First, good salespeople – closers – are hard to find. Second, good salespeople are hard to keep. And third, theyīre often hard to manage. But the biggest challenge of all – if youīre a good salesperson yourself (and you probably are) – is that you find yourself in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-donīt dilemma. That is, if you get someone better than you, thatīs unpleasant. But itīs enormously frustrating to have people who arenīt as good as you working for you. You have to resist the temptation to step in and do things for them. Nevertheless, once you understand that as the head of a fast-growing business, your role shifts from mainly closing sales to inspiring and motivating production in others, then you can create a great sales culture and grow a fabulous business.
Summing Up: The Secret of Marketing Success
At this point, you could be overwhelmed by all the requirements for success. If I may give you some free advice about that: relax. As my most successful client reminds me when we encounter frustration or disappointment: "Donīt worry. Nothing in life is perfect. We deal with problems as they come up."
What that means here is that you have to acknowledge your challenges and deal with them. If you donīt embody all six characteristics, can you still succeed? Of course! No one is born having a scalable business, or knowing how to execute consistently even in the face of – gasp! – awesome growth. But successful people who arenīt where they need to be take note of their situation, and take action to fix it.
Thatīs what I have found really separates the successful clients from the unsuccessful ones – the ability to acknowledge and deal with problems. Not just with good-sounding words and impressive gestures, but with true willingness to accept responsibility for the situation at hand, and to make necessary changes, no matter how uncomfortable that might momentarily be.
And remember – the rewards far outweigh (and outlast) the discomfort. It takes courage and commitment, but just the sheer joy of playing in a bigger league makes it worth it, not to mention the money and all the new options available to you as a byproduct of breakthrough success.
So, if youīre willing to deal with the challenges that growth will bring (and, of course, accept all the good stuff as well), then give me a call and letīs talk about growing your business.
Article courtesey of Family Business Strategies.
About the author: David Garfinkel can be reached via emailor at http://www.overnightmarketing.com.