When I was director of marketing for a national company, my office was situated right next to that of the president’s. One day, he walked by my door and saw me sitting in the visitor chair at the opposite side of the desk than my normal chair. I was just sitting.
The president stopped in the doorway and asked me, “What are you doing?”
I answered, “I’m looking at the company from the customer’s point of view.”
We are often so busy working at our own jobs that we can overlook the point of view our customer sees. Therefore, it is good to either take a moment to “sit in their chair,” or hire an outside eye (trained consultant) who can identify just what it is the customer sees…and needs.
As a hired marketing consultant, I have made the tiniest tweaks in someone’s presentation, look, office, retail space or marketing strategy that have made huge differences the next time they went to make a sale.
For example, I worked with a woman who put together a high-end crafts and specialty items show twice a year. Her problem was that her attendance had been dropping each year until the point where she wasn’t sure she could continue holding the much-loved show or close the business. My point of view was that every year she placed the same booths in the same spot, used the same commercials, and promoted the same vendors, although about 20% of her vendors were new each show.
For the next show I instructed her to promote only the new vendors, building up the excitement about what was new at the show. I also asked her to change up the floor plan a bit, moving some vendors into new spots if possible. Attendees get used to seeing the same vendors in the same location year after year, becoming blind to them after a while. And although the vendor may love that location, being in a new spot will change things up , making them a highlight—something new and changed—in the visitor’s eyes.
The client followed my advice and for the next show, her attendance shot up, and has remained high as she implements this strategy ever year. With this fresh approach, people are excited to come and see what is new instead of thinking, “I’ve seen it before, I’ll skip it this year.”
Closing a Sale
In another example, a Realtor was not winning her listing presentations and wondered why. I had her do a mock presentation to me as a potential home seller. Right off the bat, I knew what was wrong because I was looking at it from the seller’s point of view. This Realtor was using a canned presentation, obviously provided by her brokerage, that began with all kinds of information, statistics and charts about the brokerage. It was at least 15 minutes before she began talking about “my” house.
I simply had her reverse her presentation to get immediately into what was important to me—the sale of my home—the “what’s in it for me.” I asked her to speak to me from the heart instead of using a canned approach, and I pointed out that the facts about the brokerage were backup support that may or may not be needed. Excited to try this new approach, she contacted me after her next presentation and exclaimed, “I won the listing!”
Sometimes, all it takes is to look at what you are doing through your customer’s eyes, but that isn’t always easy. That’s why you need an outside eye to look at your website copy, your presentation, and perhaps even your physical location. Successful athletes all have coaches who can tweak their performance to higher triumph; take for example a slight change in a golf swing. And companies hire mystery shoppers to report back—in detail—a firsthand customer experience. I should know, I was trained by and have worked as a mystery shopper for one of the largest organizations for many, many years.
Why shouldn’t business owners take advantage of that outside eye to improve their own business success? There are probably small tweaks that can make a big difference in peak performance.
Let All the Buzz Help You Increase Sales
If you would like an experienced marketing professional to take a look at your business from your customer’s point of view, contact All the Buzz. We’ll be glad to help you make more sales.
I love this quote from Warren Buffett because it truly describes what sales and marketing is all about.
If your clients or customers are complaining about the price of the services or goods you are offering, they probably don’t understand the value of what they are buying. And this is where you need to beef up your marketing efforts.
We’ve all heard how we must feature the benefits of an item, not its features when selling. This concept takes that credo to a new level. People will pay — and pay handsomely — for something they value.
Within the past few months I had the opportunity to work with a start-up company in creating its brand and new website. We went round and round with the pricing for copywriting on their new site. If it weren’t for the fact that I was referred to them by someone they respected, I’m not sure they would have hired a copywriter at all. They simply didn’t see the value in good writing or the need to pay for it. But in the end, they ended up hiring me for the job and accepted the completed copy for their new site.
I Didn’t Realize Your Value
I recently received an email from this client whose very words were, “We have gotten such great feedback on our new website. I didn’t realize the value that a professional copywriter could bring.”
Since then, I have run into this client at a networking event and in their introduction of me to one of their alliances, they bragged that they had hired me and what a difference I made. Not only did I provide excellent website copy that was already getting them leads, they told this new company that I saved them from what had been hours and hours of labor trying to come up with the copy themselves. This I had not known when I first met them. Multiply the lost revenues of the hours an executive can spend agonizing over the rights words vs. the comparatively small cost of hiring a professional and you’ll see the value too.
You Just Can’t Write About Yourself
One of the most difficult things you can do is write about yourself. You’re too close to it. Even I have difficulty writing about myself although I write about others all day long. Part of the value a professional copywriter brings is the ability to stand outside your company and look at what a potential customer might need and want from you and translate that into copy that sells. In fact, by looking at a client’s website from outside eyes, with a consumer mindset, I most often see obvious things that the client missed if they wrote the copy themselves. This is a truly valuable insight that some business owners neglect.
Through our interview process, analysis and research, along with a plain old consumer attitude, we can create value not only for our customers but for their potential clients and customers as well through the right words, delivering the right message at the right time.
Be Prepared to Talk About Value
The next time someone counters your price or complains about your fee, be ready to counter with value. Have concrete examples of how you provide that value in terms they can understand–often the bottom line. If they see and understand the value, they will have no problem accepting the cost.
If you need to have your website copy written or reviewed by a professional copywriter, contact All the Buzz. We’ll be glad to bring value to your organization.
They say that those who are passionate about what they do never feel as if they are working. Their passion is what drives them, and what makes them successful.
Wonder if you’re still passionate about your business? Take this quick quiz to find out:
The Passion Quiz
- Do you have a strong curiosity about what you do, and a desire to keep learning more about it in order to get better?
- Do you have a sense of excitement and energy when you are working?
- Do you want to seek out others who share your interests so you can talk about it?
- Do you literally dream or daydream about it?
- Do you secretly fantasize about being on the top of your profession, or envision taking it to a new level never before reached by anyone?
- Do you feel a sense of loss or like something is missing when you’re not doing it?
How Did You Do?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re on the right track. If you answered, “no” then your business is probably passionate-less as well. You may want to re-look at the business you are in, and perhaps make some changes.
The good news is that if you have lost your sense of passion, you can get it back. Step back from your business and return to the “why” you chose this profession in the first place. There was some reason that has somehow gotten buried along the way.
Entrepreneur Richard Branson advises, “Go back to that ‘aha!’ moment and try to understand what motivated you to think in that direction in the first place — the passion behind your idea might lead you to the business or industry you truly care about.”
Translate that Passion into Sales
Once you have rediscovered your passion, use this information to translate it into sales materials, website copy, and interactions with your customers. There is nothing more appealing than someone who is truly passionate about and sincerely believes that what they do can make a difference.
As Branson puts it, “When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals. This is essential to success.”
Think about the last time you interacted with a customer. Were you merely going through the motions, or was there a spark in your voice and a twinkle in your eye as you described your product or services. Your passion can make all the different between a sale and a so-so experience.
–Passion Quiz excerpted from “Protecting Your Passion,” by Robin Todd, Motivated Magazine.
Washington Post Reports Writing Skills Rising on the List of Job Requirements But Failing in Candidates
Selingo continues to reports hearing an interviewer from government contracting firm, looking to hire proposal writers for federal agencies, complain about “how difficult it is to find good writers these days.”
“According to national surveys, employers want to hire college graduates who can write coherently, think creatively and analyze quantitative data. But the Conference Board has found in its surveys of corporate hiring leaders that skillful writing is one of the biggest shortfalls in workplace readiness,” Selingo said.
“That’s why so many employers now explicitly ask for writing and communications skills in their job advertisements. Experience in writing and communications are the most requested job requirements across nearly every industry, even in fields such as information technology and engineering.”
Need a Good Writer–or Writing Training? Contact All The Buzz
The most successful businesses realize that how they communicate with their customers can either make–or break–their sales, so they don’t leave the marketing copywriting up to their staff. They bring in an expert to write their website, sales materials, brochures, direct mail, proposals, and other important marketing collateral.
All the Buzz has conducted corporate training classes in how to be a better business writer, and worked with executives to assist with their writing skills. If you need writing training, or desire a great (and award-winning) business copywriter, contact All the Buzz.
–excerpted from washingtonpost.com/news/gradepoint
I was listening to a TED Talk today that offered to teach people how to find their true calling in just five minutes. In it, the speaker, Adam Leipzig, asked the audience five questions:
- What is your name?
- What do you do?
- Who do you do it for?
- What do those people want and need?
- How do they change as a result?
When he asked the first question, of course everyone in the audience knew the answer, however, as he progressed down the short list, the responses became fewer and fewer. Although most people knew what they did, they knew not why they did it.
The last question, #5, is the most important, he said. Knowing how you make a difference in someone’s life or work is how you should answer the question, “What do you do.”
In other words, instead of saying, “I do bookkeeping,” you could answer, “I keep people’s monthly accounting up to date so they know exactly how their business is doing at any time.”
Look for the real reason people rely on you and your service, and engage and intrigue your audience with the benefit.
All the Buzz Can Uncover Your Real Value
If you have difficulty defining what it is you really do in terms of its benefit, that’s where we come in. Let a professional writer, like us, look at your website copy and your marketing materials. We’ll uncover the real benefits of doing business with you and help you share them with the world with more compelling sales messages that get results. Contact us today.
Even as a professional writer, I have to review everything I write to make sure I am writing in “active voice.” I review for it in my professional writing as well as my everyday correspondences via email or letters, and believe it or not, I usually find at least one place where I can make my writing stronger.
What is Active Voice?
When using active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed in the verb: The girl brushed the dog. An example of this same sentence in passive voice would be: The dog was brushed by the girl. One tip for identifying a passive sentence is to look for the word “by.”
Why is Active Voice Important?
Active voice sentences are preferable in writing because Continue reading →
I learned a technique as a magazine writer. As an exercise, we wrote a sentence or paragraph using ordinary words, as in this example:
- John went to the store to buy bananas.
Then we had to replace the ordinary words and phrases with more descriptive ones, as in this example:
- John lumbered into the small neighborhood grocery on his quest for the most perfectly ripe bananas to please his perfectionist mother.
The first sentence merely says what he does, the second sentence tells a whole story.
By simply expanding your vocabulary you can wake up your copy, make it inviting and exciting, and attract customers. After all, we don’t buy the product itself, we actually buy if for what it does for us or how it makes us feel.
Does Your Copy Just Say What You Do, or Does it Tell a Story?
How can you use an expanded vocabulary to better describe your business in a way that tells your story? Continue reading →
If you have ever been to a networking group, you were probably asked to stand and give your “elevator pitch” to the group. Members are trained in how to present who they are, what they do, and the benefits of their product or service in 30 seconds or less, or the time it would take to travel in an elevator from floor to floor (which is why it’s called an elevator pitch).
Even if you don’t network, you will constantly be asked, “So, what do you do?” It will happen at family gatherings, parties, social events…pretty much anyplace people gather.
Therefore, you need to be prepared with an elevator speech. It doesn’t have to be canned, but it does need to outline the basics that not only tell what you do, but inspire the listener to ask more. Here are some simply steps to developing your perfect pitch. Continue reading →
Many an entrepreneur has started a business from home. You might recognize some of the more famous names: Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com), Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Apple), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google), and Walt Disney (Disney). These men all started their companies from their garages.
In 2013, Small Business Trends reported that 69% of startup and 59% of established businesses were home-based. Even more interesting, the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report stated that more than half of U.S. entrepreneurs continued to operate their businesses from home long after they had been established.
There is no stigma in stating that your business is run from home. In fact, there are many smart reasons to continue doing it Continue reading →