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 »

The Top 10 Ways to Increase Your Cash Flow

Posted by Kevin O'Driscoll on July 8, 2013

Lack of cash flow – the Number One killer of small businesses! Here are some great ways to increase cash flow in your business. Put one or two ideas into practice and watch your cash grow!

1. Remove the roadblock.

Perhaps your customer’s account is unpaid because their largest customer isn’t paying or they’ve just lost a big account. Offer your customer the opportunity to make installment payments. You can arrange automatic payments from their bank account. This ensures you receive the payment monthly as agreed on.

2. Help your customer and in turn, help yourself.

Suppose your customer’s normal supplier has equipment problems and won’t be able to meet the deadline for a very important job. Connect your customer with someone you know who could help them out and you’ll be helping your customer, your business contact and yourself! As their cash flow grows, they have more money to pay you!

3. Be persistent.

When you contact your customer ask when you can expect payment. Be persistent in calling your customer for payment while remaining pleasant. It will pay off.

4. Strengthen your credit policy.

Add a condition that an account at 60 days past due, is authorized by the customer to be charged automatically to a credit card the customer provided when opening their account. This eliminates past due accounts and gets the money in your account.

5. Monitor your customer’s credit health.

Compare the customer’s Days Sales Outstanding (total amount owed divided by the average daily sales. Assuming the customer owes $15,000, with average daily sales of $420, the Days Sales Outstanding would be 35.7 days ($15,000 / $420 = 35.7 days). This means, with a credit policy of net 30 days, some portion of their account is past due. Having an indicator of an account’s status allows you to be proactive in collecting accounts on time.

6. Simplify billing.

Mortgage companies, insurance companies, private schools and health clubs have two things in common – a monthly bill to their customers and the option for the customer to pay the bill by automatic payment from their bank account. You can offer this service to your customers, too. It typically costs $2 to $4 per account to separately bill and collect on a monthly basis. The typical per transaction cost for automatic payments is only $0.30 to $0.50. Benefits are:
a) a cost reduction by at least half
b) a cash flow you can count on
c) time freed up from billing and collection for acquiring more customers, revenue, and profit.

7. Avoid waiting for checks to come in the mail.

Take the customer bank account information or credit card number over the phone instead of waiting for the promised check to come by mail. You can offer automated payments from your customer’s bank account to pay their account in full or to make installment payments. Once the payment is authorized, you control when you’re paid, rather than waiting for the check in the mail.

8. Identify debit cards to eliminate the credit card fee.

Credit card transactions have a fee of 1.5% to 2% of the ticket amount plus a per transaction fee of around $0.25. A sale of $70.00 would incur $1.65 in charges ($70 x 2% = $1.40 + $0.25 transaction fee = $1.65). In contrast, debit cards incur at most $0.50 per transaction. On this sale, you’d save $1.15, more than two times the total fees charged on those transactions identified at the point-of-sale as debit, not credit cards.

9. Get connected.

If you conduct business on the road, wireless technology makes having a credit card terminal with you a real possibility. You can process those swipe transactions at the point-of-sale, where the lowest rate applies (saving as much as 0.5%), keeping more cash in your account.

10. Eliminate bounced check headaches.

Wouldn’t it be a relief if you didn’t have to make calls to collect bounced checks? Most bounced checks are a result of a math or timing error on the customer’s part. You can avoid losing a good customer to embarrassment by collecting bounced checks electronically. With a check recovery service, it is collected electronically through the U.S. banking system. You get paid the face value of the check upon collection. The customer who wrote the bounced check is charged a reasonable fee, set by state laws. And, best of all, no collection phone calls to your customers. Spend your time re-investing your improved cash flow to increase your business.

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

The Top 10 Most Effective Behaviors at a Networking Event

Posted by Kevin O'Driscoll on June 10, 2013

Networking events offer an opportunity to introduce yourself and your business to a select, targeted group of people. These people are potential clients as well as potential sources of referral. How you introduce yourself will make an impact on them and will determine whether or not they actually remember you and your product or service.

Networking is a marketing and business development function. You can make it enjoyable and beneficial by qualifying prospects, creating strategic alliances and developing business relationships and mutually supportive friendships. Don’t let these networking events be a waste of time. Here are tips on making the most out of these business forums. Read article / comment »

Refine and Advance and You will stand a Chance

Posted by Kevin O'Driscoll on April 9, 2013

So you had a good year last year, that’s a good thing What do you think was missing that kept it from being a great year?  In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins says “Good is the enemy of Great”.   Oh great you say, it isn’t enough that I had a good year, now someone wants me to be perfect.  No, not perfect, just great!  And why not, after all when you started your Business you likely had a vision or dream about how you were going to do things differently, bigger, better, faster than anybody else.  You were going to make a difference, innovate and dominate, leave a legacy that would live long after you left the scene.  I hope I’m not scaring any of you, I’m hoping to inspire you to not settle for what you have, as good as it may seem in the moment.

What will become abundantly clear when you are growing your company is that the work will be hard and much of your time will be sacrificed to make it happen.  The learning curve will be very steep at times, but the reward will be sweet and worth every moment you have to wait.   For those of you that think success will happen overnight, you’re probably better off buying lottery tickets, the odds are better.

The truth is, most Businesses are quite simple to operate, just not easy to do. Almost every Business operates on the same model of gathering customers through various marketing strategies and then having an effective conversion process or sales system to create a new customer.  The next step is implementing customer service systems to serve them well, keep them coming back and become raving fans for life. We must also have an effective Human Resources division to select, hire and train our personnel to perform the duties and responsibilities of the various positions. 

Ideally we would have a policy or procedure for every operating component of our Business, a system that would ensure smooth operationsA system that could allow the business to operate with or without you being there.  Finally, we must understand our financials, manage our fixed and variable costs and keep the cash flowing. All of this of course hinges on one critical component.  That component is your leadership and your ability to manage your disappointments and celebrate the wins.  You must create a culture that rewards and empowers your team to be their very best and to have them constantly seeking ways to do better than before.  All of this must be done while juggling your family life, personal interests and maintaining excellent health!

Simple enough right Just not that easy to do!   So where do you start on this road to greatness?  The question our clients hear us ask all the time is “How do you eat an elephant?”  “One bite at a time!”

So in the interest of greatness, take a few minutes and do the exercise below.  Imagine the wheel you are about to build as a wheel on your car.  How smooth or bumpy would the ride be?

The Work/Career Wheel 

Draw a circle on a piece of paper and divide it into eight sections, like a large pizza.  On the outside of the wheel above each slice, write the following points; Marketing & Sales Processes, Customer Service Strategies, Relationship with Employees; Understand Financials, Systemization of Business, Organization & Time Management, Leadership & Vision and Work/Life Balance.

 For each section of the Work/Career Wheel, score your sense of satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 (10 = very satisfied). If an area doesn’t apply, replace it with a more appropriate label.  Once you have scored all the sections, identify the top three areas that you would like to target.  Ask yourself the question “if my current score is ____ in this area, what would a 10 look like?”

How’s the ride?  I hope this has been revealing and at the same time encouraging that you can build a successful Business.  At the very least, set aside 1-2 hours each week to work on your Business in the areas you have identified as priorities.  Imagine the smooth and refined ride of your vehicle with 10’s in every category.