Wednesday, February 23

155 words for $8500 or the power of friends 

I just sent a proposal by email (not in a Word document, mind you but just a plain text email) to a friend of mine who asked for some work. The total value of the project: $8500. My time on the proposal: about 5 minutes of typing. Proposal length: 155 words.

Lesson 1: Listen, listen, listen. We had a 20 minute phone conversation in which I maybe said 50 words. The rest was listening to what she needed, why she needed it, when, how, and why.

Lesson 2: Have friends that you work with (not 'clients,' not 'prospects,' not 'leads') and that know you, like you, and see you often in professional circles. She had a need, and I was in the right place at the right time. And I also happened to be speaking to a professional group and my friend was in the audience when the idea popped into her head, "Hey, David would be great for this project!" Lesson 2a: SPEAK OFTEN!!!

Lesson 3: The proposal is only a confirmation of what was already discussed and agreed upon in some other medium - face to face meeting, phone call, etc. The proposal should NOT be the first time the recipient sees "what they get" nor should it be the first time they see the cost of the program. [Now, if you're smart, it WILL be the first time they see the EXACT cost of your services after you've agreed to a ballpark VALUE of the outcome - and if you're even smarter, you'll have options and choices for services at medium, high, and highest price points, too - but now we're getting into pricing v. value which is a separate blog entry!!]

Lesson 4: Be quick. Often, the first proposal in the door gets it. Wait a week... or even worse TWO... and the urgency has run cold, and you can pretty much bet that someone else ran off with your lunch while you were 'too busy' to crank out your standard 14-page proposal.

Lesson 5: Consultants often ask me if they should charge for proposals. The answer is no. And the full answer is don't waste hours on proposals - listen, write, close. Make it as short as you possibly can. Another proposal that was sent to the owner of a $25 million manufacturing company was a grand total of 3 pages long. Project value on that one: $35,000. So the rule of thumb here, at least according to me, is make your proposals about $10,000 per page. When you write a $100,000 proposal, sure... make it 10 pages. Knock yourself out. But it better be laden with VALUE and RESULTS and OUTPUTS (outcomes) and not methods and tools and inputs.

Happy proposing...

Friday, February 18

How to turn an UNSUBSCRIBE into a laugh 

The verdict is in. In the spam wars, HUMANS WIN.

Check out this email exchange with someone asking to be taken off my mailing list for a special series of seminars I'm doing for a Chamber of Commerce:

*** Mike Dornenberg wrote: ***

please take me off the e-mail list

Then I replied with this:

Mr. Mike:

You bad man. No more seminars for you. No business plan. No sales.

You off list. Me mad now. No seminars, you hear?!! You off list for good!!!!

-- Huang

And he replied with the following:

*** Mike Dornenberg wrote: ***

No be mad. Me already know everything.


Is that classic, or what? I was being funny - and he was being funny. We were being human with each other!

Try something like this the next time someone asks to be removed from your list. You may win a friend, a client, or both!!

Thursday, February 17

Ignore These Marketing Principles and Go Broke 

From marketing guy Charlie Cook - good stuff to think about:

Use the following marketing principles to pull in prospects the same way gravity pulls planets into orbit around the sun. (Imagine yourself as the sun, the driving force of the solar system.)

Client goals and concerns are the reason you are in business. Clients buy your products and services to meet their needs. You know this, but are you applying it to your marketing?

Many service providers marketing materials are little more than a laundry list of services. To attract prospects and clients, start with client problems as the catalyst for writing your marketing "meme" and materials. If you are a massage therapist you may provide "hot stone" or "deep tissue" massage but to get your prospects' attention you'll need to talk about relieving back pain or eliminating muscle spasms.

There are a finite number of people who want and are willing to buy any given product and service. Marketing to people who don't want what you provide is a waste of time and money. You know this, but are you targeting your marketing to those people who are most likely to buy your
services and products?

Learn (if you don't already know) who buys your products and services and why. Develop a picture of your ideal buyer, their demographics, concerns and motivates. Use this information to identify marketing tactics that will attract them to you.

Before a prospect becomes a client and a client becomes a repeat client, they need to be convinced of the value of your products and services. They need to feel confident that your products and services will do what they are supposed to do. You know this, but is your marketing built around demonstrating the value you provide?

Many independent professionals sell information and ideas. If you are a web designer, you could provide a tutorial on how to plan a web site. If you provide tangible services, you need to show people examples of your work and provide testimonials from former clients.

Lead generation is the lifeblood of any small business. The more qualified prospects contact, the more clients you'll have. Even if you don't want a thousand clients, if you have lots of prospects you can have the option of having just a few high paying clients. You knew this too, but do you have a marketing strategy which helps you grow the number of qualified prospects you market to each month?

One of your marketing goals should be to motivate qualified prospects to give you their contact information so you can market to them. If you sell information, publishing articles with a free teaser at the end is one way to do this. If you sell products or tangible services, a raffle can attract prospects.

People like to buy from others they know and trust. And attracting new clients takes ten times as much effort as selling to a repeat client. You know this too, but do you have a marketing strategy which helps prospects get to know and trust you?

You can assume that your prospects receive more information everyday than they can remember. Even if they need and want what you have to offer, there is a good chance they will forget an occasional radio ad or an annual newsletter. To grow your business, find ways to regularly stay in touch, educate them, and explain the ways you can help solve their problems.

You already know the law of gravity and these five core marketing principles. Become a true genius like Issac Newton, and apply them to pull prospects and clients into your orbit and grow your business.

Tuesday, February 15

Valentines from salary.com! 

"It turns out that making a lot of money doesn't necessarily make you sexy. In a recent poll conducted by Salary.com, firefighter hosed down the competition and won the title of 'sexiest job' with 16% of the nearly 5,000 votes. These brave, uniformed public servants lit it up over other high paying jobs like doctor, lawyer, and Chief Executive Officer. Take it from the wife of a firefighter: 'How could you not find it sexy when a person is willing to risk his life for another's; literally walk through fire? You can't put a price tag on that. It is not just a job to them, but a way of life. It is who they are.' Flight attendants also flew high, finishing second in the poll with 13% of the vote. We scoped these job titles to see exactly what this year's most popular Valentines are making for salaries.

Sexiest Jobs

Title (% of Votes)
Firefighter 16%
Flight Attendant 13%
CEO 11%
Reporter 10%
Interior Designer 10%
Event Planner 10%
Nurse 9%
Teacher 8%
Doctor 7%
Lawyer 4%
Veterinarian 3%


Monday, February 14

Rome wasn't built... 

This week, I'm speaking to the Philadelphia Chapters of both the International Coaching Federation and also ASTD.

One of my messages is that it's impossible to go forward in all directions at once. People need to focus.

SINGLE-tasking is the most underrated skill of corporate warriors and entrepreneurs alike. Most people are great at going in 12 directions by inches, whereas success comes from going forward in 1 direction by miles.

I tell people that it's like cancer research - the researchers focusing on cancer will not switch to something else if it seems more interesting; they won't also try to cure Parkinson's Disease or MS. They're going to STICK WITH IT until they find their answer.

Now, I just came across one of the sharpest and most succinct ways to communicate this powerful idea, from speaker John Childers:

Rome wasn’t built while they were working on Sicily.

Exactly! Focus!!!

Thursday, February 10

What if streetsmart business savvy could be taught? 

Inspired my lunch today with Scott Simons of Business Resource Place. He wants to combine his tremendous experience as a serial entrepreneur and business owner, venure capitalist insider, and teacher/mentor. I said, "Wow - let's do it!" And here's the first draft of what he could say to the world:

"What if we could create an entrepreneurial structure that promotes individual self-confidence, provides educational programs for entrepreneurial growth, with on-the-job mentoring and business coaching from successful experienced entrepreneurs, which would encourage and promote individual creativity and personal business development?"

I sure wish I had something like that when I was "growing up."

Be serious! 

Be serious. Are you taking yourself seriously enough? Or are you a “temporary” worker/ manager /entrepreneur? Do you have an inner bumper sticker welded to your forehead, or one of those goofy “God Bless America” magnets on your car that you can easily remove? I don’t know about you, but for me, “God Bless America” is a permanent sentiment.

Many people are living in temporary-land. And it shows. And it’s the reason you’re not as successful as you could be. Find something to immerse yourself in 220%... or again, be ready to step out of the way when your 220%-dedicated competitors blow by you in the marathon we call business.

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