Archives for August 2010

Never Want to Run Out of Work? Market Consistently

Have you ever wondered how some business owners are busy all the time and have a steady stream of clients and others don’t? Maybe you’ve even compared yourself to other businesses and thought, “How come they are getting all the new business and I’m not?”

The answer is simpler than you think.

If you want to have a full practice and a steady stream of clients regardless of the economic climate, then you have to market your business consistently. This means, continuing to market your services even when you aren’t taking on any clients. By doing so, there will be no “economic crisis” for you, because the fact is people are still spending money. They are just more selective and cautious about how they spend it. But they are absolutely looking for solutions to their problems, the solutions that you already have readily available.

Marketing your business consistently helps you achieve many things at once:

  1. Keeping the sales funnel “full”: Prospective clients might have to go on a waiting list, but keeping a steady stream of potential clients helps to ensure you’re never “desperate” for new business. Even if something unexpected comes up, you have a reserve to tap into to find more work and earn more money.
  2. Meet prospects where they are: I’ve talked before about the importance of having different packages and programs available for your prospective clients to choose from. You should have options that fit their needs, not one “all or nothing” service. Having various options available, such as a group program or self-study training course, allows you to serve your ideal clients whether or not they work with you privately and develop multiple streams of revenue. Then, when you do have space available to take on new private clients, you have a group of folks you can invite to apply who are already familiar with your services and have benefited from your work.
  3. Staying top of mind: Even though a prospective client might not need you now, they might need you in a week, a month or a year from now. By “reminding” them of your business and your services, you are staying on top of their mind so when they do need you, you are the first and only one they call. You’ll also be the one they refer to friends and family if they mention they need your services.
  4. Ongoing market research: By keeping a pulse on what’s going on with your target audience, you’ll always be “in the know” about their current challenges and needs. This puts you in prime position to offer the services they need, exactly when they need it. You’ll be their hero because you will be able to solve their problem quickly and efficiently.
  5. Creating a “go to” list: it’s happened to all of us at one time or another – you need more revenue ASAP. Keeping up your marketing efforts helps you to create a list of warm and hot leads to call if you need to make additional income. You can even create a special promotion for these clients to help close the sale immediately.

As you can see, your daily/weekly/monthly marketing efforts should not be taken lightly. Don’t think of marketing as a temporary event when you need more clients, think of it as an investment in your future. Planting the marketing seeds now ensures your business will be in full bloom all the time…not just when you “spring” into action.

SSMS Episode #10 – How To Create More Profits In Your Business While Taking Imperfect Action

Subscribe to Sydni's PodcastIt’s all too easy for entrepreneurs to be stuck in their business and NOT take consistent action because of feeling like each step has to be “perfect”.  The truth is “perfect” (a term I use loosely) action doesn’t create results.  What DOES create results is taking consistent (even if imperfect) action on the right things.  Last week we talked about creating your marketing plan and this week it’s all about HOW to work the plan and achieve your goals.

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Market Research: A Critical Step for Business Success

Keeping in contact with your target audience is an essential piece of creating your marketing plan.  By knowing exactly what’s going on with your ideal clients and knowing what their challenges are, you can provide the solutions exactly when the need it.

Sometimes the solutions you provide are free – either in the form of answering a question in a social network or in a blog post or an article.  Not everything you do to serve your target audience should be a “paid” service.  Remember, your target audience needs to get to know you and sample your work.  They are more likely to move to a paid service or product when they’ve had a chance to build trust in you and to “try before they buy.”

One key to positioning yourself as the expert in your field, is making sure you absolutely know what problems your target audience are facing and what solutions they’re looking for.  The ONLY way you can know that is to do your market research – consistently.

You’re not going to know everything you need to know by doing a yearly or bi-annual survey.  Really you should be researching what’s going on with your target market weekly, even daily, at the very least monthly.  Doing so will allow you to stay abreast of current trends, what’s new with key industry players and allow you to tailor your offerings just so to address current challenges and problems.

Now, in saying that, I know how challenging it can be to manage a market research campaign.  It could seem overwhelming  even just getting started.  But, the good news is, researching your market is much easier than you think.  And it can be actually (gasp!) FUN!

The key to doing your market research consistently is to follow a system.

Following a system allows you to methodically and easily implement a market research campaign, review the results and follow up with some kind of action such as blog posts, new programs, teleseminars, etc.   A lot of folks get “stuck” when it comes to creating that system though.  It’s almost like you need a system to create a system.

If you’ve ever felt like that, I’d love to help you get “un-stuck” in this area.

My colleague, Joshua Zerkel and I want to help you master the skill of creating systems.  Over the last few months, we’ve created systems in our businesses that have allowed us to improve our marketing activities tremendously, with LESS effort.  Learning how to create systems is a LIFELONG SKILL that you can apply to ANY part of your business.

So, join us on Wednesday, September 8th at 5 PM (PDT) for a FREE teleseminar to learn how to create simple systems for marketing your business.  You’ll walk away from that call knowing exactly what to do to create a system to implement your marketing research campaignand all the other parts of your marketing plan, consistently.  Thus you’ll be well-equipped to attract more clients and create more revenue, because you’ll  know exactly what solutions to create that your ideal clients are looking for.

Don’t worry if you can’t join us live, we’ll be recording the call so you can review it when you have a chance.  But, you have to register for the call to receive the recording.

Register now!  http://www.smartsimplemarketing.com/market-your-business/

Oh, and by the way, this week we’ll be putting the finishing touches on our outline for the call.  If you have any specific questions about how to conduct your market research or creating systems in your business, please post your questions below.  We’ll try to answer as many questions as we can during the call and look forward to having you there!

Reinventing the Business Card – How To Optimize Yours To Attract More Clients

We all collect business cards. When you’re out networking and meeting people, you get their business card and you give them yours. Then you get home or back to the office, you put their business card in a nice little pile and often never look at it again unless you need something, right?

How can you make sure that this doesn’t happen to YOUR business card?

One of the most important pieces of marketing collateral you can have is a high-quality business card. Take the time and effort to make this an impressionable marketing tool so that it will talk to your ideal client, even when you’re not there.

Traditionally, the problem with most business cards is that they are boring. They have a logo, a name, a phone number, physical address, email address and website…that’s it. So no one really gives it a second look or wants to keep it around because it doesn’t really “say” anything. There’s nothing on that business card that makes someone stop and say, “I need to save this card because I’m going to need these services soon.”

Here’s how to ensure your business card isn’t thrown away or forgotten:

  1. Spend some time designing your new business card. Really take the time to make it look polished and include all the necessary information. (I’m always amazed when I get business cards without a physical address!) This isn’t the time for “do it yourself” by just using the software that comes with your computer to create a business card and print it on your home printer. Hire a graphic designer who can incorporate style and function into your business card.
  2. Don’t go cheap! Your business card shouldn’t have any other companies information printed on it. Your card is a reflection of you and your business, make sure it leaves a good impression. Spend a few extra dollars on the good card stock and color printing. It makes a big difference!
  3. Utilize the space of the entire card, both front and back, but don’t put too much info. Maximize the back of the card too by speaking directly to your ideal client. Consider printing your targeted tag line on the back of your business card, or a few open ended questions that speak to catch your ideal clients’ attention. You may also include an offer for the compelling freebie you have posted on your website to drive traffic there. When prospects see you as a solutions provider, they will keep your business card.
  4. Resist the urge to put a lot of information on your card, people simply won’t read it. Don’t overwhelm them with details right away, make them contact you for more information.

After you’ve designed a great business card and have them printed on high quality card stock, the next step to ensure your business card isn’t ignored is to follow simple business card etiquette. That is, don’t give your business card to a person unless they ask you for it.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are out networking and meeting people, is that they automatically shove their business card in the other person’s hand. They haven’t even had a chance to find out their name or what kind of business they are in and they are already “assuming” the other person “needs” them and their services.

Wrong.

Networking is as much about building relationships as it is about building business. But you have to have a good relationship first. Make sure to wait for someone to ask you for your nice new business card before you give it to them. You will be glad you did. This gracious gesture helps create a solid foundation for the beginning of a great relationship. And, it ensures that people will want to remember you and keep your card because of their positive experience with you.

SSMS Episode #9 – How to Find The Hidden Profits in Your Business

Subscribe to Sydni's PodcastDid you know there are pockets of money “hidden” in your business that you don’t even see? It’s true! For EVERY single client that I work with, the first thing I do is assess the opportunities in front of them (that they are too close to their business to see) and then create a “Money Map” to help them dig out the additional profits they’re looking for. You can do the same for your business…starting NOW! Listen to today’s episode as I share details on the importance of creating your own marketing plan, what benefits you can expect to enjoy in doing so and how to get started.

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Using the Upsell Strategy in Your Business to Create More Revenue

Upselling is not a new concept.  It’s actually deeply rooted in “regular” sales techniques.  Think about how many upsell opportunities you encounter when purchasing virtually anything.

For example:

  • “What size fries would you like with your burger?”
  • “How many ink cartridges would you like for your new printer?”
  • “What type of car wash would you like with your oil change?”
  • “What kind of dessert would you like from our wonderful dessert menu?”
  • “You can get a discount if you get your auto and home policy with us; let’s run the numbers real quick.”

You can see from this short set of examples how often the upsell strategy is used.  In these examples, I purposefully used an “assumptive close”, which is an open ended question that can’t be answered with a yes or no.  While this is somewhat of an “advanced” selling technique, you can apply the same general lesson in your own business.

Once you have established a relationship with a new client, you know exactly what their challenges are and the solutions they need.  A great way to create more revenue is to upsell them to an offering that further supports them in solving their problem.  This can be in the form of one of your own products like an eBook or additional services, or, it can actually be an affiliate product that closely aligns with your business strategy.

Affiliate marketing is a common practice in the Internet Marketing world.  It’s simply a way for you to earn money (commission) from promoting another person’s product to your clients.  As long as the product fits your clients’ needs, then it can be a win-win-win situation.  Your client gets the additional help they need, you and your partner get more revenue.

Another great benefit to affiliate or partner marketing is that you show your client that you are truly interested in helping them solve their problems.  While you may not be able to help them with everything they need, you are going out of your way to provide them with other solutions.  This saves them time from having to research other options and creates more trust in you as a problem solver.  You also automatically position yourself as an expert because you intuitively know what they need.

An example of this type of marketing upsell is an interior designer who offers her clients an eBook from a professional organizer on how to make a home office more efficient.  Or the designer could offer her client an introductory session with the organizer at a discounted rate.  (She would likely receive a commission on the sale and the organizer is introduced to a new client he/she might not have connected with).  While the interior designer has designed and decorated a beautiful office, the professional organizer can share tips and techniques on how to make that office function more efficiently.  With the knowledge from the eBook or the introductory session, the client can then use that information to transform their home office into a primo working environment.  While the interior designer may not be an “organization” expert, she can provide the resources for the client to do it themselves.

The most important aspect of upsell marketing is that it is done with the utmost professionalism and respect.  If you choose to partner with an affiliate, make sure you take the time to get to know the provider and ensure they meet your professional standards.  Don’t endanger your relationship with your client by providing shoddy “referrals” to make a quick buck.  This will reflect poorly on you and ultimately impact your relationship with your client.  Which in the end means less revenue for you.

There are many different upsell strategies to use in your business.  Do you use any in your business right now?   Which is your favorite one?  If you don’t use an upsell strategy in your business now, what could you do?  Let me know how you can apply this smart, simple strategy to your own business today!

SSMS Episode #8 – The #1 Thing Holding You Back from BIG Profits in Your Business

Subscribe to Sydni's PodcastHave you set a goal for yourself and your business and find yourself struggling to make it happen? Are you wondering why having the business you desire seems just out of reach? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of solo service professionals feel this way. The good news is the answer is very simple. And it has nothing to do with the economy, how long you’ve been in business or what type of business you have. Listen in as I share the secret and how to overcome this common challenge.

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How to Breakthrough Your Challenges and Get Back in Gear

It’s hard to believe that more than half the year is over.  It seems like time moves faster than you can keep up with when you are a solopreneur.  There is so much to do and yet so little time.

Breakthrough Your ChallengesIf you have felt “stuck” with where you’re at in your business, especially as it relates to accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself,  I want to assure you that it is possible to get “un-stuck”, breakthrough the challenges you’re facing and get back in gear.

How?

First, stop being so hard on yourself.  Many times when I start working with a new client, I find that they’ve been spinning their wheels trying to move forward and are feeling very frustrated that they aren’t making progress.  It’s all too easy to put undue pressure on yourself and to feel buried under feelings of guilt.  All this is doing is draining your energy and distracting you from moving forward.

So, if you’ve been feeling this way…let it GO!  Stop being so hard on yourself! Getting distracted can happen to the best of us and if this has happened to you, it doesn’t mean you’re a “failure”.  You can’t change the past, but you can most certainly take control of your future, starting today. Forgive yourself, make the commitment to change and open your eyes to see all of the possibilities in front of you.

Second, take stock of your assets.  You likely have a lot of good things going for you in your business.  (You may have been too busy focusing on the “negative” things to see this.) So make a list of all the things that are going RIGHT.  Also, make a list of all the opportunities you have at your disposable.  The prospective clients that have expressed an interest in working with you.  The referral partners who would like to partner with you or send client leads your way.  The request you had to speak at an industry event or conference.  Also, I want you to start capturing all of your great ideas in one place so you can refer to them again and again.  Once you’ve organized your thoughts and opportunities you can start to see clearly what your next steps should be to take advantage of them and grow your business.

Next, set some achievable goals for yourself for the next 90 days.  This isn’t the time to focus on your long-term goals.  While I wholeheartedly agree that you should have a BIG vision for what your business can become and steadily work towards that, what you need to get back in gear right now is a few “small” victories.  So make a list of 5-7 things you’d like to accomplish that seem manageable, achievable and inspiring to you.  Then break this list down into actionable tasks and schedule these on your calendar so that you have dedicated blocks of time for working on your business.

Finally, I want you to reach out for support.  Just because you are a solopreneur, doesn’t mean you have to be “in the trenches” alone.  No one who is successful in business has become so on their own.  We all need a helping hand.  If you feel overwhelmed by all that you have to get done in a day, partner with a Virtual Assistant to whom you can delegate.  Consider working with a coach to keep yourself accountable and on track with your tasks.  If you really want to leap ahead and overhaul your business within the next six months, contact me about my VIP Coaching Program and enjoy the support of working one-on-one with me AND a group of likeminded entrepreneurs.

At certain times in my business I have faced feelings of being “stuck” and have had to work my way through the challenges I was facing.  By implementing the steps I just shared with you, I was able to breakthrough my difficulties, get re-aligned with my goals and start making progress.  If I could do it, so can you!

I’d love to hear about how you’ve conquered your own challenges and how you can implement today’s strategies in your business. Comment below and let me know your thoughts! 🙂

SSMS Episode #7 – How to Easily and Consistently Create Hot Content for Your Blog!

Subscribe to Sydni's PodcastMaintaining a business blog is one of my favorite strategies for driving pre-qualified traffic to your website. But a lot of entrepreneurs I know shy away from starting a blog (or let it “die”) because they can’t imagine writing content every week. I hear your struggle! So today’s episodes shares a few of my secrets for how to overcome this dilemma and take advantage of this powerful marketing tool.

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