How were the last 12 months for you? How was business, how successful was your marketing program, and how much happiness and joy did you experience outside of work?
If you’re like most of us, you probably had a mix of results. So here are suggestions to help you generate some successful strategies for the new year. Apply these, and no matter how last 12 months went, the next 12 will be better.
- Ask yourself and your employees these four new business questions often, and at times they are not expected:
- Who are your best prospects?
- Why should they buy from you?
- How can you best reach them?
- What will it take to move them to inquire or buy?
- Apply a Strength-Based Approach to challenging situations and communications. Do you need to email or talk to a customer or employee who has become or presents a problem?
Focus on future outcomes and strengths that people bring to the situation. Start off with a positive comment or compliment, then explain how things may get even better if you can resolve the problem. Close or end the conversation or communication with another positive reinforcement about the person’s strengths. I’ve found the results of this approach nothing short of amazing.
Example: “Jim, you’re one of the hardest workers we have. I wish everyone here had your work ethic. I would like to see you wear a tie and jacket to client meetings, as I think it gives our whole organization a more professional presentation. I’m sure that your hard work and extra efforts will help all of us get to the next level.”
- Learn from your competitors and peers in your profession by subscribing to their blogs and e-newsletters. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
- Aim for critical mass. If you truly have developed the best product and the best marketing messages, commit to a budget that will help you reach critical mass. Anything less will keep you in the minor leagues.
What is critical mass? It’s that point when your audience is large enough, and enough people know about your products and services, that even a minimal response will bring in new business. It may be an audience of 200 prospects, it may be 20,000.
Most companies underestimate that number. The fax machine has been around in various forms for over a hundred years, but it was only in the late 80s that it was assumed “every business has a fax machine.”
- Start getting testimonials now. Stop being squeamish about them. The next time a prospect asks for references, use that request to ask for comments from your clients. When we received a Request for Qualifications a few months ago, we asked a dozen clients if we could use them as a reference, and if they would also give us a short quote. Ten out of 12 replied yes — only two were not permitted to do so by their corporate office.
- Make your brand reflect you. You are your brand. You work there, or maybe even own it. Stop talking about what your brand stands for — and start talking about what you stand for. Build your brand around your values. Let your brand reflect your values. Remember, people buy from those they admire, trust and believe have their best interests at heart.
You can make a difference in the next 12 months. A difference for you, your employees and your community. Get started now.