Monday, October 31

Happy (Sales) Halloween 

Nearly 12% (3.8 million) of trick-or-treating kids will dress up as princesses for Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation. They’re likely to be joined by 1.7 million witches (#2 at 5.2%), and 1.4 million Spidermen (#3 at 4.5%).

More than half (52.5%) of U.S. consumers plan to celebrate Halloween this year, and the average person will spend more than $48 on the holiday. More than half also plan to buy a costume (53.3%) and decorations (59.8%), and most (94.6%) will purchase candy. Overall, American consumers expect to spend $3.29 billion, an increase of more than 5% over 2004.

Halloween is the sixth-largest spending holiday, following the Winter Holidays ($435.5 billion), Valentine’s Day ($13.19 billion), Mother’s Day ($11.43 billion), Easter ($9.6 billion), and Father’s Day ($8.23 billion).

What are you SELLING for Halloween?

Thursday, October 27

Marketing for professional services done right!! 

I just came across this website in doing some research for my latest book, "The Manager's Guide to Using Consultants" from HRD Press.

But here's the point - this website I found is GREAT!! From a marketing angle, these guys are doing EVERYTHING right - and I mean EVERYTHING on one, small, concise little part of one web page.

Please take a look, and I'll walk you through all the elements that you can (and SHOULD) copy for your own professional services website:


1. Headline - Use headlines, people!!! Websites without headlines look as goofy as newspapers without headlines - people are lost and confused. Plus internet research proves that people don't READ web pages - they SCAN. Headlines help scannability! Plus, this headline reaches out to a specific audience with a specific service, and reassures them that this is the RIGHT place (a cliche, but an effective one!)

Looking for Facilitator Training?
You've come to the right place!

2. Credibility - BAM BAM BAM BAM!!! Doug Hall calls these "Real Reasons to Believe" and all 5 of these are VERY strong:

We train more facilitators than anyone on the east coast!
Give us 4 days and learn 90+ techniques, with 6 practices, feedback and videotaping
Give us 5 days and we will prepare you for certification by NIFac!
Clients include top consulting and training firms like Price Waterhouse Coopers, Gartner, & Dale Carnegie!
Selected 4 years running by the International Association of Facilitators to provide pre-conference workshops!

3. Opt-in, opt-in everywhere. No, you cannot have too many opportunities to capture email addresses on a website - but you should go one step further and use a special download or special report: it's more powerful and pulls much better than the standard "subscribe to our newsletter."

Sign-up for
Our Newsletter

4. Compare apples to oranges... not apples to going hungry. Always help prospects decide HOW to use your services, not WHETHER to use your services. This language is subtle, but, again, very effective:

Learn which of our facilitation courses is best for you...

5. Be easy to do business with - using an 800 number enhances credibility, trust, and establishes a professional outfit. They're cheap - $5-15 a month to look like a pro. Get one!!

Call Today for More Information: 800.824.2850

6. Testimonials on every page. Don't be shy with these - use 'em everywhere. People should not be able to (digitally) spit without hitting a testimonial. And NEVER make testimonials anonymous. Use full names, departments, companies. Always ask permission, of course, since that's the right thing to do. But don't cram all your gems into a single page called "Testimonials" or "Client success" - you want these EVERYWHERE.

"I have had amazing feedback from my first go at facilitating and am looking forward to further developing the skills. There is no way I could have achieved the 'Buy-In' to the training materials without the skills I gained from your course. Thank you Leadership Strategies!"
Garry Cullen
Lend Lease Investments Inc.

OK - that's all the free advice my wife is allowing me to give out today. If you want more, check out:
For consultants, entrepreneurs, and business owners:
For larger organizations looking for leadership, innovation, and sales effectiveness programs:

Wednesday, October 26

Cease to complain 

Cease to complain.

The weather.
The traffic.
My boss.
My customer.
My prospect.
My colleagues.
My organization.
My industry.
The economy.

I don’t have enough… But I really need…

I can’t… If only [he, she, they] would…

It’s been a tough [day, week, month]…

It’s [Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday]...

Cease to complain and watch your sales, your creativity, your clarity, your productivity, your profitability, your happiness multiply exponentially.
Cease to complain and start to focus on what's working.
Cease to complain and concentrate on...

Solutions, not problems
Suggestions, not complaints
Recommendations, not alternatives
Answers, not questions
Facts, not assumptions
Reasons, not excuses
Specifics, not generalities

Friday, October 21

Building more innovative organizations  

From innovation guru Lynne Levesque:

Recent research to address the challenges facing leaders eager to build more innovative organizations has led to some interesting results, including the identification of several key drivers of innovation. These include:
* A leadership style that is humble, open to input, curious, willing to experiment, and truly values people;
* Flexible processes that promote communication, creative decision making, new ways of doing things, focus, and execution; and
* Metrics that drive accountability and progress.

The research also led to the conclusion that the practices promoting innovation in a company are the enduring principles of good management. These principles drive innovation, but they have also been shown to promote high employee satisfaction, morale and thus well satisfied, loyal customers and long-term organizational success.

The research also identified three reasons for the tough challenges leaders face in building an organization for top performance, one where innovation, high morale and customer satisfaction thrive:

1. The first is that there is almost too much separate focus on innovation. To be truly successful, an organization needs to embed innovative practices and metrics into the fabric of the organization.

2. The second is that an organization's ability to respond quickly to customers and to come up with new ways of doing business depends to a great extent on the leadership style at the top. When senior leaders of an organization — no matter how large or small — are open to being challenged, remain curious and willing to experiment, and truly value and listen to others, then their employees will ask questions and come up with new ideas and solutions. This type of leadership style, however, is not easy for leaders to adopt, especially if they have to fight, in one academic's words, "the very human tendency to cling to [different] formulas that worked well in the past."

3. The third is that prescriptions for what actions to take to build a more innovative organization are often made with the assumption that all leaders are the same. These recommendations rarely recognize the role of different personality preferences even though those preferences, like functional backgrounds and other demographics, have a significant impact on the strategic choices of leaders and their teams.

Marketing: Fix the System vs. Solve a Problem 

There are two kinds of marketing - there's the revolutionary type and the evolutionary type. The revolution = Fix the System. The system is broken; we need an overhaul; it's not working; in Shakespeare's terms, the line would be "Ring the alarum bell!" (Macbeth, Act 2, Scene iii) [Sorry, I was a Drama major in college!]

This type of marketing is OK if you're big - think about some great examples of this type of marketing:
The '1984' Super Bowl commercial that put Apple computer and the Macintosh on the map
The launch of Saturn - A different kind of car company
Ben & Jerry's - a socially conscious ice cream company with a triple bottom line

But you know what? For a small consulting firm, ad agency, architecture firm, this is a hard row to hoe.

You know what's MUCH easier to sell? The heck with the system - just fix a PROBLEM. People have problems all day long. They're much less engaged in fixing the "system" - after all, that's somebody else's problem, isn't it?

This puts a whole new spin on the old adage, "Think globally, act locally." Maybe in terms of your marketing it should be "Deliver revolution tomorrow, sell evolution today."

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