Tuesday, March 29

Leave your niche and sound stupid 

Hey, wouldn't it be clever to have a carpet store called CARPET DIEM?

Sure it would.

Or how about a store called JUST TABLES AND CHAIRS?

You bet.

Now, how stupid is it when the first store renames itself CARPET AND FURNITURE DIEM? Or howzabout JUST TABLES AND CHAIRS...AND BARSTOOLS TOO! These are both real examples. I can't make stuff like this up!

I recently saw a van for a local catering company that said "Specializing in Corporate and Private Catering." Well, what else is there? Lunar catering, or catering for prisons? ALL THERE IS is "Corporate and Private Catering" - specializing in both means they specialize in neither.

I recently came across another guy who calls himself a Biofeedback Sales Trainer. Huh?!? He used to cure migraines with the same biofeedback approach. And before that, was a career consultant. Imagine this gent's credibility when he introduces himself that way. Next, he'll be selling vitamins on late night TV.

POINT: Find a niche, own that niche, and DON'T MOVE AWAY from it. And if you do, sure as hell don't talk about all the other things you used to do!!! I recently read that gay bookstores are struggling. Guess why? They're starting to stock more mainstream material, too, and cater to both markets. Bye, bye, Birdie.

Lose your focus and die. It's just that simple. What's next? Harley Davidson perfume? [Hint: they tried it - it failed miserably.] Stick to your knitting, people, stick to your knitting.

My email accepting thousands of dollars of work 

Also sent this evening, after delivering a full-blown marketing and sales strategy assessment to a small technology company that wants [and needs] EVERY aspect of the value I provide to clients - and he's also been my friend for 13 years. (This is the kind of work I'll take ANY day of the week!!!)


I'm ready to throw the building at this project with ZZZ! Very psyched
because we can do VERY great things very quickly.

Take a look, pass along, discuss, and let's connect later this week to set a
follow-up meeting.

-- D.

My email turning down thousands of dollars of work 

Sent moments ago... thought I'd share this for the betterment of the consulting profession:

Dear XXX:

In a strange turn of events (and with a healthy dose of gut feeling and intuition), I'm declining to work with you fabulous people on this project.

It looks like you're in good hands with ZZZ Corp, as they list among their
marketing services:
Concept Development
Target Market Analysis
Creative Design
Interactive Website Development
Marketing Systems Integration
Customer Profiling and CRM
Customer Acquisition Programs
Retention, Up Sell, and Cross Sell Programs

So there's your whole enchilada.

Frankly, from my side of the equation, this simply would not be fun for me, so I'm not doing it.

Thank goodness, I've been fortunate enough to develop my practice to the point where "if it ain't fun, I'm outta here" and I do not need to take on work that I feel won't burn the house down for my clients. And I cannot burn your house down, so I won't even start to play with the matches.

Best of luck. And thanks for all the fish!

-- D.

Tuesday, March 15

Replace cold calling with SMART calling 

Let’s back up a moment and define what COLD CALLING usually means to most people:

* Dialing the phone for a set amount of time each day trying to get someone (anyone) to talk to you.
* Quantity-driven (“Sales is a numbers game”) mindset.
* Preparation involves looking at the next number to dial on your printout.
* Message is highly scripted and usually begins with something amazingly stupid like, “How are you today?” (This SCREAMS “cold call” – stop asking this question NOW!! It’s what the bozos say who call to interrupt you at dinnertime!)

Cold calling, even in the hands of people that like it, do it a lot, and claim to make money at it, is at best 4-5% effective.

SMART CALLING, on the other hand, is just like a regular sales call, with the unique added challenge that your prospect simply cannot SEE you. It involves the following:

* Dialing the phone trying to reach specific decision makers within specifically targeted organizations to provide them with valuable content, information, and resources.
* Quality-driven (“Sales is NOT a numbers game”) mindset.
* Preparation involves research, networking, company background, industry news, regional news, company changes, strategic opportunities, lead sharing, and giving value first. (Yup, this is real work. Welcome to sales!)
* Message is unscripted but well-planned. Specific questions, issues, and value statements are prepared in advance and the call has a clearly defined objective within an overall end-to-end integrated sales and marketing process.

Think about it: do you want to focus on getting lucky or on getting highly qualified prospects which lead to sales?

Do you want to make 100 dumb phone calls a day to strangers or 10-12 SMART phone calls to the right people in the right places at the right time for the right reasons?


Sunday, March 13

Podcasting schmodcasting! 

I was recently asked to comment for a national business magazine about the marketing value of podcasting for small business owners.

FYI: "Podcasting" is making audio files (most commonly in MP3 format) available online in a way that allows software to automatically detect the availability of new files (generally via RSS), and download the files for listening at the user's convenience. The word "podcasting" is a portmanteau of the words iPod and broadcasting. A podcast is like an audio magazine subscription: a subscriber receives regular audio programs delivered via the internet, and can listen to them at their leisure.

Here is the response I sent to the reporter:

I've found that for small business owners, there is no "magic bullet" for marketing - and that, in fact, these marketing fads (like podcasting) are killing small business owners.

Among the key principles I believe in for marketing small businesses, here are three:

1. The media is NOT the message - it's not about e-zine vs. flashy website vs. podcast vs. buying radio time. It's about a compelling marketing message. Period. If you ain't got it, you lose, no matter what the media!

2. Broadcast, podcast, advertising, PR - you have to have killer CONTENT loaded with value. Distribution method is irrelevant. (If I won't read your 3-page white paper, I certainly won't download your 1-hour podcast!)

3. Podcasting seriously limits your marketing to reach a narrow audience - specifically, "nerds" - most non-technology companies need to reach broader audiences. And the high-level B2B decision-makers that most small business owners need to reach are NOT nerds (i.e. "they don't download!") - a better solution: send a compelling letter with an audio CD loaded with value. That's how audio marketing can reach non-nerds and have a real impact.

Saturday, March 12

30+ ways to earn more & work less 

I thought I'd share the output from the very first 5 minutes of a recent full-day Juiced!(tm) business creativity and innovation program that we did in early February. The first question that came up was, "How can I work LESS and earn MORE money?" We thought that was a great question, and worthy of cranking out about 30 ideas. So we did. Now, these are not necessarily 30 good, actionable ideas... but it's a pretty good start for tapping into 23 brains for a grand total of a 5-minute time investment. See if you find the germ of something useable here:

  1. Hold interesting and valuable events for your clients - totally free.
  2. Throw a party
  3. Beat more $$$ out of existing clients
  4. Get more clients and money by pressuring your family and friends to 'give it up'
  5. Use interns from a college - they learn, you earn
  6. Take a lesson from Alan Weiss - charge $5 million for 20 minutes of advice (Alan jokes that this is one of his ultimate goals for his career!)
  7. Come up with better ideas for your clients
  8. Charge more money - increase rates today by 15-30%
  9. Love what you do - it won't seem like WORK!
  10. Create new ways to make more money - create passive income streams
  11. Build an online community for your clients and prospects and charge them money to access it
  12. Accessorize - add bells and whistles that increase your value with minimal (or no) additional work required from you
  13. Offshoring
  14. Hire 10 employees and go on vacation
  15. Apply for an award, and then become "the award-winning XYZ"
  16. Create an award and build PR awareness around it as the with your company as the "presenting sponsor"
  17. Grow while shrinking - close unprofitable lines of business or locations and beef up the hours, services, or reach of the remainder
  18. Create a sense of exclusivity (a club) - be the Chanel No. 5 or the Rolex of your industry
  19. Specialize - narrow your niche and become the go-to expert in your field
  20. Offer different levels and depths of services - platinum, gold, silver, bronze, etc.
  21. Fire low-maintenance "drive-by" clients that drain profits and take up more time than they're worth
  22. Get in deeper and wider with your best clients (multiple departments, locations, business units, etc.)
  23. Sell the same thing over and over again
  24. Do research and sell the data
  25. Increase operational efficiency
  26. Use the 80/20 rule
  27. Establish a frequent flyer (loyalty) program to encourage repeat business
  28. Alliances and partnerships - leverage your friends and find 1+1=5 projects
  29. Become a member of different trade organizations (the ones where your clients are, not the ones where all your competitors meet!)
  30. Beef up your web presence - make it irresistable and easy to find on the search engines!
  31. Teach courses on your area of expertise
  32. Find a mentor
  33. Write a book
  34. Develop a killer 1-hour talk and charge big money to deliver it
  35. Make a video and send it along to prospects
  36. Re-evaluate your financial portfolio [outside of professional income]

Pretty good for 5 minutes, right?

Thursday, March 3

Motivational speaking (NOT!) 

A friend sent me the following email just now:
Saw this quotation yesterday and thought of you!

Today's Quote:
People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily.
--Zig Ziglar

Here is my reply:
Oh, dear... no, no, no! I am *not* a motivational speaker. And, in fact, I hate that term. Although I appreciate your sentiment, I'd much rather be known as an 'informational speaker', an 'actionable speaker', or a 'practical speaker.'

I'm a big believer that the only person that can motivate you is YOU. Motivation comes from the inside, not from the outside. [If it came from the outside, there'd be no such thing as filing late for tax returns, for example. People that file on time do it because they WANT to, not because the deadline is April 15th and that date happens to be convenient for them. And those that file late would file late no matter what the external deadline was!!]

I try as much as I can to pack my talks, my consulting, and my seminars with valuable, actionable, practical sales and marketing information. If THAT gets people motivated (to act) that's great. But my aim is certainly not to motivate anyone!!

[Stepping off soapbox now...]
And, as Forrest Gump likes to say, "That's all I have to say about that."

Wednesday, March 2

Hey stupid, take me off your list 

Here's an email I sent to someone who truly doesn't understand email marketing. All I get from this person is emails announcing new partners, press releases, and other nonsense that is of no interest to anyone outside their 5-person organization. So I opened up on the poor sap:

Dear Shlomo:

I have yet to receive a single piece of value from being on your mailing list. Think about it: do I really give a crap about your partner announcements, press releases, and other self-centered trivia you send out?

If you want your mailing list to generate business, and not annoyed emails like this one from people who are in a position to refer you, then start loading up your email (and every other piece of outbound communication) with VALUE. Let me spell it out for you: VALUE is about *ME*, it's not about YOU.

Send me checklists, tip sheets, Top 10 things to look for in this or that, white papers and reports (no jargon, just plain English info that I can use immediately). Help me, guide me, advise me, show me how smart you are.

Until then, please remove me from your mailing list.

David Newman

Yahoo's 10th B'day + You Get Ice Cream 

Today, March 2, 2005 is Yahoo's 10th Birthday.

If you're a registered Yahoo! user, you can go to any of the 3,423 Baskin Robbins locations, and get a cup or cone of ice cream FREE.

Now, that's pretty COOL!


Then, check out the Yahoo! Netrospective: 10 years, 100 moments of the Web

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