I’ve Mystery shopped your business and this is what I found

Posted by Kevin O'Driscoll on February 26, 2014

When I meet with a business owner, I always want to make sure they receive value for their time. One technique I have used is to mystery shop the business by posing as a potential prospect and then providing a summary of the experience. The object is to portray a reasonable prospect with a real world need.??Given what I have experienced in these sessions, I would STRONGLY encourage all business owners and general managers to regularly mystery shop if you are not already. When a prospect visits or calls, you have already paid for the lead through your advertising and marketing. The cost per lead is the same whether you make the sale or completely turn off the prospect. In this economy we cannot afford to waste leads.

Here are the biggest misses I consistently see that can make a HUGE difference in the conversion rate, size of the sale and lifetime value of the client. Bottom line is to address these simple things to drive more profits.

Greeting: Greet the prospect promptly with your name and get their name. Use their name immediately and throughout the conversation. Seems elementary, but this happens less than 50% of the time.

Sequential Sale Process: Have a sequential sales process in place including a standard opening question with the greeting to help direct the conversation. Also be sure to have a transition statement along with a series of open ended questions to allow for a targeted recommendation. “I would be happy to assist you with that. May I ask you a few questions so I can suggest the best options for your situation?” Then ask open- ended questions to identify the key info you need to narrow the choices. If you don’t have this in writing for your sales team, you can expect a lower conversion rate. A sequential sales process is occurring less than 20% of the time. Read article / comment »

Tapping the Power of the Press

Posted by Kevin O'Driscoll on January 7, 2014

There’s nothing difficult or mysterious about putting together a press kit aimed at generating some free publicity!

 

Question: I have a vague idea what a press kit consists of, but by no means any great detail. Are there any general guidelines available on creating one?

Answer: A press kit is a packet of information on a business and its principals that is distributed to the media to provide a background briefing and encourage publicity. That way, when a local business reporter writes about your company, he or she can refer to the package for details of your outfit’s history, what it does, the number of employees, where it ranks in the industry, and so forth.

As a general rule, press kits are typically put out by public-relations or marketing firms, whose job it is to garner some positive articles about their clients. But there’s no reason why a savvy entrepreneur can’t put together a press kit and distribute it to both local media and industry publications without outside help.

Ed Klinenberg, president of Precise Communications of Pasadena, Calif., includes the following elements in the press kits he puts together for his PR clients: Read article / comment »

9 Painfully honest causes for Small Business Failure

Posted by Kevin O'Driscoll on October 25, 2013

“The short answer is, regardless of the industry, failure is the result of either the lack of management skills or lack of proper capitalization or both”

 

1. Choosing a business that isn’t very profitable. Even though you generate lots of activity, the profits never materialize to the extent necessary to sustain an on-going company.

2. Inadequate cash reserves. If you don’t have enough cash to carry you through the first six months or so before the business starts making money, your prospects for Success are not good. Consider both business and personal living expenses when determining how much cash you will need.

Read article / comment »

Anatomy of a Sales Letter

Posted by Kevin O'Driscoll on August 6, 2013

Here’s a letter used by a tiny little independent service station that once stood on an obscure piece of ground located on the outskirts of Toledo Ohio. It’s part of a series of letters that was used to steal customers from the established service businesses run by the well to do dealers of the time.

Its form & style are perfect for pointing your prospects attention to your (USP) Unique Selling Proposition, and planting the seeds of doubt about the wisdom of continuing with their existing suppliers.

It also does a superb job of demonstrating that the best defense is a strong offense. Note how it takes what some might see as a point of objection (the fact that it is a small independent), and turns it into a benefit!

Legend has it that this series of sales letters resulted in a 500% increase in sales within a period of only 15 weeks!

 

Dear Sir:

Have you ever taken your car to a dealer service station for repairs, paid a high bill, and driven away only to find that your car ran worse than before?

If you were one of those people that had such an experience, wouldn’t you be living the painful emotions that went along with it all over again?

Have you ever had it suggested to you, about the time your valves first needed grinding, that you’d better consider ‘turning in the old boat on a new one?’

Read article / comment »

14 Tips to Write Powerful Calls to Action

Posted by Kevin O'Driscoll on June 14, 2013

I found this great article and felt it would be valuable to share on this blog..hope it is of great value to you

Your time is precious, so it always strikes me as odd when Expert Authors don’t dedicate a little more time to the call to action in their articles.

A call to action is a pitch to motivate your audience to take action. Calls to action commonly appear in the form of buttons or graphics on a website. In article writing, a text-based call to action occurs twice in article submissions: 1) in the summary where the reader is compelled to dive into the article and 2) in the Resource Box where the reader is encouraged to visit your highly relevant website.

In her articleHow to Write a Call to Action – 7 Tips for Creating a Call to Action That Works, marketing and media relations specialist Megan Tsai states:

“Marketers should always be asking themselves one question: ‘What’s next?’ After all, you invest significant time and money into every marketing effort. But if you don’t include an effective call to action (CTA), you’ll have little to show for your work.”

To help you create a powerful call to action that delivers, we’ve highlighted Megan’s insights and added a few of our own to provide you with the following 14 tips!

Megan Tsai’s 7 Tips for Creating a Call to Action That Works

  • Create a logical next step … that will be comfortable for the prospect and in line with the information they are viewing.
  • Capture the lead … For example if a prospect is reading one of your organization’s blog entries, the call to action may be to download a free white paper on a related topic in exchange for an email address.
  • Play up the benefits … For instance, the call to action for your email newsletter sign up might be “Stay up to date on industry news in just minutes a week.”
  • Consider the context [by making] sure your call to action is in sync with the content around it.
  • Place it right … make sure the call to action doesn’t interrupt the flow of the content.
  • Let it stand out … from the surrounding copy. The goal is to draw the prospect’s eye without being annoying or distracting.
  • Deliver what you promise … a prospect following through with [your call to action] should get what you promised quickly and easily.

7 More Methods to Implement in Your Call to Action

 

In addition to Megan’s above tips, we’d like to add an additional 7 methods to create a great call to action:

  • Be relevant by ensuring your call to action is related to the article.
  • Create a sense of urgency. For example: “On my website you will find time-saving resources” vs. “Stop wasting time! Subscribe now for free tips that will save you time” provides urgency.
  • Use active language. For example: “You can try it for free” is a suggestion vs. “Try it for free” is a stronger command that will provide better results.
  • Provide incentive that tells readers they’re getting a bargain, such as 2 for the price of 1 or subscribe to a newsletter and receive a free ebook.
  • Keep choices simple by providing one call to action in your summary (compel them to read the article) and one call to action in your Resource Box (compel them to visit your website) in order to avoid overwhelming your readers.
  • Make your call to action exclusive by tying in your UVP (unique value proposition).
  • Make your readers feel special or rewarded. For example: “Visit Your-Company-Name.com to pamper yourself with VIP priority.”

Try any or all of these powerful call-to-action tips to test what works for youraudience and your platform. You’ll soon be on your way to incredible results that build your exposure and drive traffic back to your blog or website