Mobile Marketers Guide to Mobile Commerce

I read an interesting article recently in the Mobile Marketers trade association newsletter regarding the use of Mobile Commerce as an advertising channel. The article provided examples of firms that had used Mobile advertising quite effectively, made reference to the fact that consumers took awhile to warm up to eCommerce as an advertising/purchasing channel and that the same was likely with Mobile Commerce, and it also contained links to excellent Mobile Commerce educational tools. Among the tools available via this article is a PDF copy of the Mobile Marketer’s Classic Guide to Mobile Commerce, an excellent overview of this emerging industry. The link below will take you to the article on the trade association’s website.

http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/commerce/2173.html

While you’re there, I also encourage you to review the website for additional industry white papers and educational materials, as well as a section where you can sign up for a free educational newsletter. I have found this site to be quite full of very useful information and refer to it often.

Now is the time to learn everything you can about Mobile Marketing and Mobile Commerce as it’s becoming obvious that this is likely the next big advertising/purchasing channel. Though this channel is still in its infancy, due to the high penetration of cell phone users in the U.S. (approximately 85% market penetration) and higher-still penetration in Europe (140% market penetration – meaning that users have multiple devices), it is highly likely that Mobile Marketing/Mobile Commerce is not going away but rather will become an integral part of our everyday lives.

Let me know if you find this article link of value; if so, I will continue to seek out similar educational tools and opportunities to make available to you.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts with over twenty years’ experience in working with small businesses. Linda can be contacted by email at strategicgrowthconcepts@earthlink.net. The company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com

The Art of Selling at Full Price

 

Below is an article written by Lawrence Dawood, the Director of Training for Wireless Toyz, a franchised cellular retail chain. The original audience for this article was the Operations Field Staff for the chain who were experiencing significant hardship in weaning the franchisees away from “bargaining” for customers.

As I read this article again recently, it occurred to me that the issue is not limited to the cellular industry, and that Lawrence’s thoughts could provide assistance to many business owners in many industries. Throughout my career I’ve worked with companies and clients in a wide variety of industries and have found this issue to exist in most of them – sales people are afraid of the difficulty of selling “value” so they resort to selling “bargain” to achieve a closed sale, which ultimately harms the business financially. In previous training that I’ve conducted on consultative selling, this “value” proposition has typically been enthusiastically received, but rarely implemented once they’re back in their home environment. I’ve come to believe over time that the reason is because we haven’t started the change in the thinking process where we need to – at the top, with the business owners.

So my thought in making this article available to you is to bring the dilemma to the forefront if it exists in your organization, and to provide you with some “tools” to help eliminate the issue. Therefore, when you read the article below, substitute your industry and product into it wherever it references the cellular industry and products, and I believe you will find benefit in it as well.

 

Selling Value Not Price

 

  “Our products have become commoditized and our customers only care about price.”

This was the opening volley at a recent sales training session when I introduced the idea of Selling Value Over Price. The salespeople’s resistance to the idea was strong and quite predictable given what’s gone on in our marketplace over the last 5 years. Far too often in the cellular market, we have degraded our value proposition to the point of offering our products for “FREE!” The wireless industry has taken one of the true “miracles” of communication – the cell phone – and systematically stripped the value from it to the point where customers “expect” to get a new “FREE” phone almost every year.

Cellular Agents are looking at their bottom lines wondering where it will end and how they can slow the degradation of their business.

While we can’t sell every customer and prospect at list price, there is still a large percentage open to a well-defined value proposition that begins with the following 3 Steps.

1. First, you’ve got to BELIEVE!

I asked the sales team a question. “Do you believe that YOU and what you offer are worth more than the other guys?”  They all chimed “YES!”, except one guy who probably should change the title on his business card to “Giveaway Expert”. We then set out to answer the following questions.

  • “Why should a customer pay us more than the other guy who offers a similar (or the same) product?” and,
  • “How do we convey this to the customer?”


They listed about 2 dozen reasons why the customers should pay more for their services than their competitors.

The next key was to transfer these “added values” into a tangible part of what they offer to their customers. If your sales team (from the Owner on down) doesn’t believe that you’re “worth more” than the competition, then you’re not. Game over. Play the discount game and good luck.

However, if that isn’t where you want to be, then try the above questioning exercise with your sales team and then read on.

2. Define your Value Proposition

Building a Quantifiable Value Proposition for your customers begins with the understanding that “value” often comes in the elements that we wrap around the product, and not in the product itself. Products have become so similar, that the focus must shift from the product to “the relationship.” Here are some of the elements of value (beyond the product) that can add tremendous value over the life of a customer Relationship:

  • The “expertise” of your personnel at uncovering problems and helping the customer to solve them.
  • The resources and special services of your company on the sales and service sides of the business.
  • Knowledge of Applications-how other customers creatively utilize your products and accessories to improve their efficiency and profitability.
  • Your ability to demonstrate ROI (Return-on-Investment) in terms of how our products, expertise and company resources can help to increase our customer’s revenues, decrease their costs, and/or impact their bottom line.
  • Your ability to quantify all of the above in dollars and cents for the customer.


3. Improve Sales Competencies

As an industry, the wireless business (at least on the cellular side) has transformed itself from being “problem solvers” to being “promo-pushers.” The average cellular salesperson would go into withdrawal symptoms if you took away his/her promo’s for the next quarter. Hiring people after they’ve been in this business for any length of time is almost a guarantee of lower margins. Therefore, upgrade your sales team by hiring reps who are “Problem Solvers” vs. “promo pushers.” Hire people who understand Step 2 – how to define and sell “value” beyond the product and a potentially lower cost.

For existing reps, it is critical to increase their competency at uncovering what customers will pay extra for and conveying this during their presentations. This takes training and on-going role play on a weekly basis. Look at the deals you sell for the largest margins and dissect the reasons why customers purchased from you vs. going to a cheaper alternative. Selling “Value” is not an easy transition for most salespeople, but an essential one if they want to boost their income… and if you want to boost the profits at your company.

So the bottom line is to focus on creating a value proposition for your customers and training your team to package and present along with the product. You’ll find this to be the most profitable sales decision you can make… and it’ll show up on the last line of your Profit and Loss at the end of each month. 

Event for Great Lakes Entrepreneurs

For those of you who reside in the Great Lakes area of the country, I have recently been made aware of an entrepreneurial event taking place in January in Ann Arbor, MI.  Though I’ve not previously attended this event, the materials describe an event which appears to have significant value to existing and potential entrepreneurs.  Check out the link below.

http://ace-event.org/index.html

If any of you attend this annual event, I would be very interested in receiving feedback about it that I can share with our readers; you can post it in the comments section or you can email it to me at strategicmktgconcepts@earthlink.net .

FREE Marketing Tele-conference Registration Deadline is Almost Here!

Just a reminder – the registration deadline of December 30th is rapidly approaching for participation in the FREE Marketing Consulting tele-conferences. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain insight from other small business owners, as well as a professional marketing consultant, on marketing challenges your business is currently facing. Start the New Year with a plan!!  Check the “Events” page for registration details.

The Ultimate Sales Strategy

No matter what business you’re in, whether as a business owner or an employee, it is highly likely that a good part of your job involves Sales.  You may call this task many different things such as:  marketing, business development, customer service, lead generation, customer development, or any one of a dozen different terms – but in the end – it’s sales.  While for some people, the sales process is as natural as breathing, for the majority of us, it’s intimidating and something we try to find every way possible to avoid.  But in the end, if you want to grow your business, then Sales is a skill you must develop and it must be an integral part of your Marketing and Business Plans. 

With that thought in mind I would like to share with you the article below that was shared with me a few months ago, in the hope that it will help you be less intimidated by the sales process and will provide you with a tool that will enable you to be successful in growing your business.

 

How a Funeral Turned Joe Girard Into the World’s Greatest Salesperson

By John Wood

Joe Girard knows how to sell cars.

In fact, he’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records: as “the world’s greatest salesman.”

To become the world’s greatest salesperson, he used what is perhaps the most underused lead-generation technique in the world. Yet it’s probably the most effective way of getting new business that there is. It gives a salesperson instant credibility with a prospective customer – making the prospect more likely to buy.

The idea came to Girard while he was attending a funeral.

Before I tell you what it is, let’s take a look at some of the most notable selling statistics from Girard’s 14-year (1963 to 1977) car-selling career (courtesy of Tom Sant’s book The Giants of Sales, in which Girard is profiled)…

  • In total, he sold more than 13,000 vehicles. That’s an average of six cars per day.
  • On his best day, he sold 18 vehicles.
  • His best month, he sold 174.
  • In his best year, he sold 1,425.
  • By himself, Joe Girard has sold more cars than 95 percent of all dealers in North America.
  • To make his feat even more incredible, he sold them at retail – one vehicle at a time.

Amazing. Especially when you consider that when he first applied for a job as a car salesman, no one would hire him. At the time, he was in debt and struggling to keep his family fed.

The sales manager who finally hired him at first said “No,” explaining that if he hired Girard his other salespeople wouldn’t like it because their share of walk-in traffic would be reduced. It was only when Girard said he wasn’t interested in the walk-in traffic – he would generate his own leads – that he was hired.

He quickly found that selling without access to the dealership’s walk-in traffic was more difficult than he had hoped it would be.

The first thing he did was grab a phonebook and started calling people randomly. He made some headway, but it was tough slogging.

The Funeral That Changed His Approach to Sales

It was around this time that he attended that funeral. It was a Catholic funeral. Mass cards were given out to all those in attendance.

Girard asked the funeral director how he knew how many mass cards to have printed up for each funeral.

The funeral director told Girard that the number of people attending a funeral always seems to average out to 250. So that’s how many he prints up each time.

Soon after that, Girard sold a car to a Protestant funeral director. When he asked how many people typically attend a Protestant funeral, he got the same reply: “About 250.”

When he attended a wedding, he asked the minister the same question. The answer was about 250 on the bride’s side and 250 on the groom’s side.

Joe Girard’s “Law of 250″

It was then that Girard came up with what he called the “Law of 250.”

The basic principle is that most people have about 250 people in their lives who would show up at their funeral or wedding. There are exceptions, of course. Some have more, some have less. But the average seems to be 250.

So how did he use this information?

First off, he realized that if he did a crummy job of selling a car to somebody, he could potentially lose 250 more customers.

But, more important – if he did a great job, he could gain 250 more customers.

So Girard reasoned that if he consistently built strong relationships with his customers and treated them fairly, it would make his job a lot easier in the long run.

So he set his sights on getting referrals. How did he go about it?

Here are the three main ways…

  • First, within a few weeks of selling a car to someone, he would call them up and ask how the car was running. If things were going well, he’d ask for a referral. If they weren’t, he’d fix the problem – then ask for a referral.
  • He kept a file listing personal information about each customer – such as the names of their children, what they did for a living, their birthdays, their kids’ birthdays, etc. He’d use that information to personalize his conversations with them. He sincerely cared about people, and made them feel so special they couldn’t wait to recommend him to a friend or relative.
  • Every month, year after year, Girard would send a greeting card to every customer on his list. Inside would be a simple message. He knew they’d need a new car one day, and he wanted to keep himself top of mind. He was careful not to include anything that might sound like a sales pitch. Just an anecdote, a new idea, a news story, a book review, a birthday greeting, or a tip he knew they’d be interested in. (Eventually this task became so big, he had to hire someone to do it for him.)

Girard’s dedication to keeping in touch with his customers instilled in them a psychological obligation to do business with him. His customers would never even dream of buying a car from someone else.

Girard has often said he doesn’t believe in hard work. That what he does believe in is working smart. And no one approached selling cars any smarter than Joe Girard did.

No matter what product or service you sell, if you don’t have a referral and repeat-business strategy in place, you’re working too hard.

Here are a few referral-related tactics you can start using tomorrow:

1. Go the extra mile for your customers and prospects.

Do things that will make you stand out from the pack. If you see an article that you feel may interest one of them, mail it (or e-mail it, but sending something in the mail tends to have a greater impact). A good way to find appropriate articles is to set up a Google News Alert for topics you feel would interest your customers. If you think a story is relevant, send them the link.

2. Make sure your customers know about every service you provide.

If you sell Product A to someone, make sure they also know you carry Products B, C, and D. The more solutions your customers know you provide, the more likely it is that they’ll know someone who will benefit from getting a call from you.

3. Establish relationships with people who sell complementary products or services.

For example, if you sell boats, contact the local marina and introduce yourself. Tell them you’ll be referring your customers to them, and make them aware that you’d be open to any referrals from them.

4. Ask for a referral.

If you don’t ask, chances are you’ll never get a referral. Customers usually don’t volunteer them on their own. When the time seems right, say something like “Do you know anyone else I might be able to help out?”

5. Always thank your customers for their referrals.

Obviously, say “Thank you.” But then take it one step further. Send a thank you note or a small gift. It could lead to another referral.

6. Keep your customers informed.

Let your customers know what happened when you called the person they referred you to. Offer to keep them in the loop as things progress.

Develop and follow through on a referral and repeat-business strategy and, like Joe Girard, you’ll make more sales… and have an easier time doing it.

Funding Your Company in Today’s Tight Economy

 

We’ve all heard the stories and read the articles in the media – well-established businesses with solid track records can no longer get funding to keep their businesses going thru tight spots or to expand, or stories about people with almost perfect credit scores who can’t even get a bank to talk to them about funding their new business – even with collateral. If you read enough or hear enough, it might make you think that now is definitely not a good time to be in business for yourself.

That being the case, I am always on the look-out for information that tells a different story – that it IS possible to obtain funding for your business – and it is possible to be successful in business for yourself, even today. So I was very happy when I came across this article on LinkedIN written by Internet technology blogger, Kevin Flood. Kevin offers a wealth of information about sources of potential funding for early-stage businesses that may be of value to you, so I am happy to make that information available via this posting. I encourage you to follow the link below and read Kevin’s article. Happy hunting!

http://kevinflood.blogspot.com/2008/12/raising-seed-capital-in-great-recession

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts with over twenty years’ experience in working with small businesses. Linda can be contacted by email at strategicgrowthconcepts@earthlink.net. The company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS

     

     

Are you ready to own your own business?  Have you thought about it for years but don’t know if you have what it takes to be successful?  The list below is a compilation from a wide variety of sources and experts on entrepreneurship; review the list to see if you have what it takes to be successful at owning your own business.

  • An exceedingly strong need to achieve, as opposed to a need to be liked, or to exercise power.
  • The trait of following through on a commitment, not quitting half-way through when the going gets tough. In short, perseverance.
  • Positive mental attitude, or the ability to remain optimistic in difficult situations, which is the result of being self-confident about one’s abilities.
  • Objectivity. The ability to accurately weigh and assess risks associated with a particular course of action, as well as being realistic about one’s own abilities and limitations.
  • A respectful attitude toward money, but a tendency to look upon it as a means for accomplishing things, or a way of keeping score in the game of business, rather than as a thing to be sought as the end in itself.
  • The tendency to anticipate developments and to make things happen, rather than waiting to react to problems as they arise.
  • Resourcefulness. The ability to solve problems in unique ways, to be able to handle things that come even without having previous experience to rely on as a guide.
  • Personal relations. The successful entrepreneur usually has an emotionally stable personality, is cheerful, cooperative, and usually gets along well with (without necessarily being close to) employees and associates.
  • Communication skills are well developed, both in oral and written presentations.
  • Technical knowledge is usually well-rounded, and the successful entrepreneur generally is knowledgeable about the specifics of providing their goods and services.   

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    The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts with over twenty years’ experience in working with small businesses. Linda can be contacted by email at strategicgrowthconcepts@earthlink.net. The company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com

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