Professional Services Marketing
When you find a business mentor, business coach or marketing coach, your business can take off … but when you try to find a business mentor, you can embark on a time-consuming, expensive process that doesn’t help your business.
A good business mentor will transform your business and help you achieve your goals. A business mentor who’s not on the same page will not only fail to help; she might end up costing you a lot more than your fees. [Read more…] about How To Find A Business Mentor Who Will REALLY Help Your Business (And Avoid The Top Business Mentor Mistakes)
A few years ago I participated in a special event for online marketing. The organizer, a genuinely caring person, wanted to send participants a gift. She sent a box of caramel candy. I appreciated the gesture, but I had to give away the candy. I just don’t eat it.
An acquaintance got a gift from a company to thank him for being a good customer: a box of chocolate with nuts. He was allergic to nuts and his doctor had just put him on a sugar-free diet.
A marketer decided to send Christmas cards to the many people who’d signed up for his high-priced coaching program. The envelopes were addressed by hand, apparently by his children. Inside, the cards held a standard printed message – not even a handwritten note.
A real estate agent sent her client a scratch-and-sniff card as a thank you – after representing that client in sale and purchase of his homes.
Each of these stories demonstrates what’s becoming increasingly common: fake personalization.
We’ve all been encouraged to personalize our interactions with clients. Research actually supports this advice.
In particular, a study attributed to Robert Cialdini mailed a survey with 3 different cover letter set-ups: a printed letter; a printed letter with a handwritten message; and a printed letter with a handwritten message on a Post-It note.
Only 36% responded to the plain printed letter; adding a handwritten note raised the response rate to 48%; adding a post-it hit a home run with a 75% response rate.
Was there some magic in the sticky note? Apparently not: a blank post-it note evoked a 42% response rate, not much higher than the printed letter.
Cialdini suspected the respondents were responding to apparent effort by the sender. Some effort was required to produce a handwritten note, and an even greater effort was required to add the sticky note.
Trying to get personal in an online environment
When you’re marketing yourself as a professional service, you might believe you need to promote your personal side. Your clients want to know there’s a person. And when someone’s done something special, you might feel impelled to respond with a personal note to communicate your appreciation of specialness.
But getting personal can become meaningless on the one hand or intrusive on the other.
Meaningless: If everybody does the same thing, recipients will recognize it’s a ploy to grab attention.
Sometimes I get a personal note from someone I met at a networking event, or a thank you from someone whose services I bought.
I know exactly what they’re doing. For all I know, they’ve hired assistants to imitate their handwriting.
But handwritten sticky notes are 100 times better than those printed cards designed to mimic handwriting. Every year, I get a few holiday cards that obviously came from that company.
What to do instead:
If you send cards, write a short personal note on each one – something that shows you’re directly addressing the recipient.
No time to write all those cards? Send a personal email to your special colleagues and clients.
Intrusive: Sometimes you’re advised to pick up the phone and call people. If you don’t know them, you might not be perceived as personal and friendly. You might be seen as intrusive. It’s usually better to set up a call via email: “I’ll call you at 2 PM Tuesday, if that’s okay,” and send a reminder.
It’s hard to believe, but some of us remember when a long-distance call cost more than a local call. At one time the cost was so great, people held off making those calls!. Holiday phone calls were a very big deal.
Today it’s easy to pick up the phone or hook up to Skype to call New Mexico or New Guinea.
As a result, some people don’t realize they’re talking to another time zone. Calling at 3:30 PM seems reasonable … unless you happen to be in Los Angeles and you’re calling me in Philadelphia. At 6:30 I’m thinking about my dinner or my Zumba class.
Phone calls are always an interruption.
Recently I was trying to record a video and forgot to shut off my phone. Suddenly I heard a familiar musical tone and the rest was history.
To be sure, I’ve had a few wonderful experiences with people who called me out of the blue to set up a joint venture or a client relationship. Those people were courteous, friendly, and purposeful. They had done their homework and knew exactly what they wanted.
They introduced themselves immediately and. told me what they wanted. They didn’t begin with, “Hi, is this Cathy? How are you today?” They know that opening sounds like a sales pitch.
A well-written email can seem more personal than anything else.
You’ll show you took time to compose your
And let’s hope somebody doesn’t get the bright idea to preprint the sticky notes! We need something personal.
You probably already know this: The best way for service businesses to keep targeted prospects in the pipeline is to grow your optin list and mail to them regularly. To motivate website visitors to sign up so you can grow your optin list, you’ll need a giveaway (often called a lead magnet). Here are some tips to create a cool lead magnet so you’ll motivate more subscribers and ultimately get more clients for your service business.
What’s the title of your lead magnet? Post in the comment section!
When you create a new product, website or program, your first step often involves choosing your domain name. It’s like writing your name on the ID badge you’re going to wear to a networking event. People always look!
According to Dilbert creator Scott Adams, the answers are “yes” and “yes.” You can read the full article in today’s Wall Street Journal – just click here.
In this remarkable article, Scott Adams reveals some down-to-earth realistic business advice that’s refreshingly different from the typical “think big” cookie cutter business book.
Instead of goals, Adams says, you need systems. Adams learned this idea from a CEO he met on a westbound airplane trip. The CEO advised, “When you get a job it’s time to start looking for the next.”
In other words, it’s a system. Instead of celebrating your arrival, or lamenting your decision to take a job that’s going nowhere, you just scan the horizon to see what’s next.
Jobs don’t appear when you’re looking for them, Adams says. It’s best to have your radar set to “scan continuously. ” Additionally, this advice helps you answer the question, “After I get this job now what?”
This advice reinforces another Adams warning: “Beware of advice from successful people and their methods,” Knowing that Thomas Edison took naps won’t help if you’re starting a dry cleaning empire, he says.
These pieces of advice reinforce each other. For instance, I once heard a famous marketing guru respond to a request for advice on “getting started as a coach.” She responded by saying something like, “Well, I invited my women friends over to my apartment in the city. At the time I was into a form of wellness coaching. From those meetings came group coaching and then my empire.’
At the time I had just moved to a new city, where I shared a crowded home with two very furry cats and one very furry dog. Hosting a party would be challenging enough. A business meeting of prospective clients – mostly strangers – would be drowned out by itching, sneezing, and cries of “No! Don’t do that!!” Anyway, my clients were (and are) busy men and women who prefer to do business remotely.
The real takeaway from any “Here’s what I did” story isn’t the method, but rather the notion of having a system. You pretty much have to come up with your own, by trial and error. One coaching consultant used to advocate breakfast meetings in your home with local opinion leaders (a bad idea if your kitchen is small and your toaster tends to set off the fire alarm). Another is finding a market that’s desperate for solutions and writing ebooks for them.
Having a system, says Adams, is more important than passion or goals. “But being system-oriented,” says Adams, “I felt myself growing more capable every day, no matter the fate of the project that I happened to be working on. An every day I woke up with the same thought …. ‘Today’s the day!'”
Passion? When you’re successful, you’ll feel passion. When you’re heading down a dead-end path, your passion drains away with frustration.
And perhaps the most inspiring message of all:
“The universe has plenty of luck to go around; you just need to keep your hand raised until it’s your turn. It helps to see failure as a road and not a wall.”
This article, published in today’s WSJ, comes from Adams’s new book: How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!