I attended my first Clarence Chamber of Commerce event last night as a prospective new member. It was a small business marketing meeting with a presentation titled “The lies that hold you back & seven steps to success.”
When I lived in Chandler, Arizona, I partnered with the local chamber on a few community special events, cross-promotions and its annual leadership program. I wanted to learn more about my hometown’s chapter after many years away. Currently, I am doing part-time contractual marketing for my previous employer while exploring the waters of a freelance writer. It is an endeavor I have often pondered and am now considering pursuing.
The presenter was Rick Wallace of Next Level Coaching. There were 15 attendees and he spoke for an hour. My synthesized takeaways are as follows:
- Ignore the common lies and excuses about the need for marketing and its priorities (i.e. it costs too much, I tried it and it didn’t work, all I need is more leads, there is no way to know it works) and focus on frequent, relevant communication to effectively get people with similar needs, pains, fears and wants to know, like and trust you.
- The old approach to marketing often consisted of running an ad, score/vet the leads and move into the sale-making stage. The new method is to begin with genuine communication before a free offer to earn permission for education via multi-step channels. Then the customer will let you know when they are ready to move toward a sale.
- The seven steps for small business marketing should entail setting goals (as Rick said, goals without actions are just dreams), profile your prospects (find their pain), create the value proposition and guarantees, create lead magnets/offers, define your MarComm plan, automate the machine to educate and nurture leads and track and measure.
- Define and profile your ideal customers, develop seven to 10 follow-up questions in assessing your value proposition.
- Hear the “pains, needs, concerns and wants” of your customer and seek to address them first (before company bravado and constant promotional offers) when fine-tuning your messages, value proposition and guarantees.
- Small business marketing should be consistent, authoritative, educational; track and measure constantly.
- Do more servicing than selling to your ideal customer target groups and the sales will develop organically through awareness, satisfaction, trust and referrals.
- Companies need to enhance their CRM mechanisms and streamline the follow-up process for cultivating leads. There are too many erratic tactics and insufficient follow-through. Research indicates 80% of sales arise after five to 12 contact points, yet 10% of sales personnel cease communication efforts with a prospect after three contact points.
- Ensure your MarComm strategies are focused, frequent, relevant and executed effectively with the ultimate aim of securing trust before sales.
- Attract the right prospect and repel the wrong prospect; 30% of customers buy on price, you don’t want this group as they are fickle, disloyal and a major drain on your resources.
- In paraphrasing Seth Godin, he said, “If you want to be the best in the world, make your world smaller.”
- Referrals can be sticky as you want to feel good when they work well, but people are reticent because their reputation goes on the line if another party drops the ball and frustration results when there is no follow-up from the outcome of one’s efforts in connecting prospects or experts. Be cautious and frugal with referrals; choose your altruistic battles carefully.