Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Is your networking not working?

Or maybe it’s not working as consistently well as you’d like? Well you could be in luck because I’ve discovered there’s now a networking University course on offer!

I didn’t register when I first visited a couple of weeks or so ago because the site seemed to me to want a lot of information from me, the potential “student”, without divulging much at all of what’s on offer… other than the name of a handful of modules, nothing about what cost and effort would be involved… and zilch information about who’s behind it and what their credentials are.

Returning to the site yesterday to research some more for us all I see that it’s changed out of all recognition, in look and feel anyway. The course “modules” that were headlined there then that I could see without registering have moved here and I see that the course appears to be of six modules, each one of 4 weeks duration. But I still can see nothing of any substance (sorry guys, nameless photographs and national flags don’t account to much) about who’s running it or their credentials. And still no upfront mention of cost…

Sharp End Training is the company offering this course. From its main site, appears to specialise in online training for small businesses – from building a website, using WordPress, writing a book… to individuals in employment – writing a CV, interview skills… And they’re currently using the main site to promote networking as their flagship course… I suspect because it’s likely to be the highest ticket one. Well, that’s enough free promotion for them!

So, what do I think?

With the varied results – from useless to reasonable to spectacular – that different people get frome their networking activities it would seem that some could do with a bit of help…

But is this online “university” (?) course over a 24-week period the best answer? I’ve no idea from the limited information that’s currently openly published on their site (and no price anywhere)

I need to confess something here so you can decide whether or not this me doing a bit of “Bah! Humbug!” I rarely do it here but this has prodded me into action and it’s time for my own bit of promotion…

I created an ebook on networking a few years ago: Opening Doors. And I drafted in expertise from business people whose skills I respect to add extra value. Gratifyingly, with hardly any promotion, it sold moderately well and continues to with hardly any atention from me until such times as I see other offerings that make me relook at my own. This was such a case for me and I wouldn’t mind betting that many of you have several “moments” too! :-)

Back to my book: Apart from some of the online and offline networks I refer to, some of which have changed, most of the content is not time sensitive and, at £24.95 (approx $US39.42 according to an online exchange calculation and conversion today), it’s exceptionally good value, even if I do say so myself! 😉 but it’s probably more useful for you to hear from somebody else:

Andy Lopata – Business Networking and Referrals Strategist says:

“This book is the perfect guide to ‘how to network’. Not simply the skills of working the room, but the approach, preparation and planning that need to go into networking effectively. Linda explains with beautiful clarity just what networking is, banishing many misconceptions in the process, and how important it is to the modern business. Opening Doors is immensely practical and written with good humour and common sense.”

So here’s an early snippet from the book

——————

Some reasons why you might network

Is it any or all of:

  • Part of your overall marketing ‘mix’ to attract more business
  • An alternative way to cold calling to get business
  • To access and tap into the support of a group
  • To better get to know the needs of other businesses in your community
  • To collaborate or find potential new business partner(s) to promote your business
  • To raise your company’s visibility
  • To raise your own visibility and look for job/ career progression
  • To find potential employees for your company

Or is it any one of a number of other or additional ways you believe that networking will open doors for you and commercially propel you forwards and upwards? Maybe you’re a sole trader who just wants to meet, mix and socialize with other business people. Each and every reason is valid.

The point of this session is that, once we’re absolutely clear about what we want our networking activities to help us achieve, we stand a far better chance of getting the best results…
——————

Bottom line

If your networking isn’t working as well as you want and need it to – get out there and do something about it! :-)

What help do you need or what advice could you give? Why not share here!
photo credit: JodiWomack via photo pin cc
photo credit: Executives International via photo pin cc


Business start ups need this and so do business Neanderthals!

Regulars here will know that I rarely refer to or get involved with business start ups. In my experience they have so much on their plates with the day-to-day hassles of survival that it’s a little while before they come up for air, look around, and see what else is happening that they should maybe know about.

Well, to my mind, this is something that business start ups should get savvy on sooner rather than later.

I happen to believe it’s also really good for owners of small businesses that have been around for a while but still not really got their heads round how to handle the whole on line business presence.

These days, to ignore an effective on line presence is a potential, probable and, okay, I’ll stick my neck out ever so slightly, almost “written-in-the-stars” contribution to the route of said business ultimately disappearing down the drain…

What to do then, smarty-pants, Linda?

So glad you asked! :-)

As you’ll have gathered, this isn’t an area I work on – it’s not my experience or expertise. And my partner (who rarely gets mentioned in my posts here, and then only by oblique reference) works with small, but clearly focused, high value business owners and entrepreneurs.

However, a speciality of a friend of mine (whom I’ve known for several years) is helping new-to-the-web entrepreneurs and small businesses establish a presence that they can get to work for them. And it eases them gently and cost effectively into the process.

So, what do you need to do?

You may not need to do anything other than tell those of your mates who you recognise in my description above who might benefit from a free “session” with the Blogmistress.

Oh, down boys and girls, for heaven’s sake! :-)

Babs Saul is offering a free Blogmistress“>webinar on Wednesday 20th June at noon UK time. Now, it’s probable that all but the swiftest to respond will be too late to participate live on the day, but Babs is talking about making a recording available down the line a bit. So follow the link I’ve given you and get over there is my advice!

What’s it about?

I think it’s going to be fiendishly revealing… Well, I hope so!

Babs is great on how to get the best out of your website on a shoestring budget and optimising WordPress in ways most of us wouldn’t realise we could.

This isn’t part of an affiliate scheme

I don’t have anything against them and I’d probably happily join in with one I thought would be helpful to you to know about. With this it’s just that Babs mentioned what she was doing and I decided it could be useful either to you or people you know.

There is, I understand, an option to join a paying course that Babs is running: That’s up to you to decide about – you’ll have had the value of the freebie before you take that decision anyway… And Babs is no smooth-talking-sales hustler – Anything but! :-)

Hope this has been useful to you, and, as always, let me have your comments…

Thank you!

Linda


Not getting the results you want?

The world is changing at, some say, an alarming pace… What worked yesterday might no longer work today and what works today might suddenly not work tomorrow.

Is this cause for hand wringing and despair? :-(

Not necessarily if we’re
a) Keeping our eyes open to what’s going on around us and
b) Prepared to change the way we do things and, maybe even what we do

So let’s have a quick look at the basics. In cases where you’re not getting the results/ outcomes you want, here are a couple of tips.

3 questions to ask yourself:

1: “What is it I really want from this business?”

There are always underlying ‘why’s to wanting material results, such as:

  • A great way of life for me/ and my family
  • Financial freedom
  • Pay for the kids education
  • Pay off the mortgage with enough over for a decent lifestyle
  • Something I look forward to doing each day – that gives me a buzz – that I can never imagine retiring from

And then you need to be able to describe what each of the above would look like)

Whatever your answers, they needs to be strong enough and mean enough for you to shift from wherever you are to somewhere better or you just won’t bother… If they do, you can ask yourself:

2: “What is it I need to do differently to create different and better results?”

Now the answer to this little beauty could include all sorts of areas to test:

  • Strategy
  • Product/ service
  • Message/ pitch
  • Target audience
  • Positioning and pricing
  • Focus/ concentration of effort

This can be a bit tricky as it’s unlikely to be just one thing. And so it’s imperative to bring in the old direct marketing adage here which is to change only one thing at a time and measure pre- and post change results before implementing and testing any other changes.

Why? Because otherwise you’ll never know which of your changes caused the different results you get! 😉

Another helpful question is:

3: “Where am I currently and how does that compare to where I want to be?”

You can then identify the gap between the two, do a gap analysis, define what’s missing and, finally, decide what actions are required to bridge the gap.

You may find you have all the skills and tools you need to work it all out for yourself or you may need help in some areas but at least you’re addressing the problem and not burying your head in the sand or running away from it! :-)

By the way, I’m asking these questions with the intention of applying them to business. When I step back and think from a different angle they can in fact be applied to all sorts of things, can’t they? Health/ fitness/ exercise/ diet, relationships… 😉

Have you tried any of these when you’ve been “up against it” and, if so with what outcomes? Or maybe you have your own favourite questions you’d like to share with us?


Speaking “Opportunities” – What is their REAL marketing value?

If they’re paid there’s your fee plus whatever extra you may get down the line. If they’re unpaid or, even more scary, you’re being asked to pay for the opportunity to speak… that needs a lot more careful consideration, I’d have thought…

I’ve just come off the phone from talking with a friend. At one point she mentioned that she had to put together a 15-minute talk about empowerment (through her area of expertise) that she’ll be delivering to a group of about 500 in a week’s time. No money involved. Trouble was she wasn’t sure how she was going to address the subject, which is unlike her…

It sounded like a potentially good opportunity to me, so I asked her to tell me more about it and that’s when it started to become a bit like pulling teeth…

Me: Who are the 500 people going to be?
F: Mixed gender, various ages I guess

Me: Closed or open group?
F: Open

Me: Employees? Self employed? Redundant workers? Business start ups?
F: Er, a mixture, I suppose

Me: What’s the occasion?
F: Something that’s going on in (name of town)

Me: What kind of event is it? What’s its purpose? Why would people attend?
F: Don’t know. There’ll be stall holders there and several speakers. The stall holders are each being charged £10 and attendee entrance is free… That’s all I really know. I only met the organiser for the first time yesterday and we just hit it off… She’s sending me a flyer.

Me: Well, why don’t you give her a bell, tell her you’re preparing your bit and and ask her to take a couple of minutes to give you the low down on these points? I’m sure she won’t mind.
F: Yes, that’s an idea.

Me: It’s the only way you’re likely to get any kind of feel for the target audience in time to tailor your talk to their likely needs… Now, get off the phone – you’ve work to do! :-)
F: Okay, ‘bye…

The importance of research

I’m not about bursting anyone’s bubble but I know what it’s like to put a lot of effort into preparation to speak to X amount of people at somebody else’s event only to discover you could have sat round a kitchen table to chat with the the number who actually turned up! :-(

And I’m well aware of the fact that people will say they’ll turn up to a freebie without even really thinking it through: there’s no binding commitment to that. If it’s raining on the day or ‘something better’ crops up you won’t see them for dust…

So a couple of minutes after I’d put the phone down I was searching the Internet for the women’s group I thought my friend had mentioned that her new contact runs. After a couple of false starts I found the website and the event next week is being promoted on the home page…

  • The event is for new and small business owners
  • 3 of the speakers are talking about different aspects of Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and Blogging
  • The other 4 are on Funding, Finance, Self Employment and Bookkeeping

I then Googled the venue which has 4 rooms with a combined total capacity of approximately 170 people – to accommodate everyone: stallholders, speakers and attendees…

The likely value of this particular speaking “opportunity”?

The answer, I believe, lies entirely on what my friend expects to get from it, directly or indirectly.

  • If it’s clients from attendees, I’d say she’ll be lucky if her audience on the day is made up of 50 to 100 new and small business owners and some mates who’ve ‘come along for the ride’, rather than the 500 mentioned.
  • From my own experience, owners of new and small businesses “have short arms and deep pockets”, as one of my Scottish friends would say 😉
  • But the event is likely to be covered by the local press – as one of the speakers she might get a mention.
  • A bit like at a networking event, she’ll be making contact with a whole bunch of new people, each of whom might know somebody who might be a potential client.

And at the end of the day, another pal of mine pointed out to me that his speaking career was effectively launched at his first ‘gig’ where only two people turned up!

What are your thoughts or experiences you’d like to share?


2 great ways marketing helps grow your business

2 great ways marketing can help you grow your business in a gentle, non-sales-y, yet very effective way!

  • Attract more new clients
  • Maximise existing relationships

Let’s concentrate on the first one: Attract more new clients and start with what should be the easiest methods of marketing, yet most of us don’t capitalise on:

Word Of Mouth

And there are 3 main things to take into consideration and be absolutely clear on here:

  • Know your niche target audience
  • Know where your target niche hang out
  • Have an irresistable offer

Your niche target audience

Know your niche:

Be able to draw a word picture of who your clients are that easily helps people self-identify or think of a person or persons who ‘fit the bill’.

How many times have you been to a networking meeting, asked someone (or several someones) what they do and been no wiser at the answer as to why you should refer them to someone you know?

Accept that your target market is NOT everybody – or you’ll likely attract nobody because you’ll be too bland… Don’t be afraid that your message might repel some people if it’s clearer and more attractive to the ones who will become your clients.

How do you know it’s a good niche?

  • It has people in it who are hungry for what you provide – and will happily pay you for it
  • There are enough of them to keep you in business for as long as you could possibly want
  • There are already well established, high quality hang out areas where these like minded souls get together

– which brings us onto the next component:

Know where your target niche hang out

  • Networks they’re members of
  • Associations &/ or Institutes they belong to
  • Conventions (or any events) they go to
  • Magazines they read
  • Websites they visit and sign up to

And so on – anywhere you establish that they congregate

Why is this important? Well, which do you think is easier: Finding one potential client at a time or going to a place where there’s a whole load of them hanging out???

Having an irresistable offer

Before you get into your fabulous offer you need to demonstrate your understanding of the problem/ pain you solve. I know, I know, it can seem like a real graunch and yuk! that many of us Brits feel it’s distasteful and somehow tacky to identify, expand and home in on. Yet unless all of us can get our clients to face the gremlins and obstacles that are a real pain to them, they won’t take action to get over them.

The more you can demonstrate understanding of the impact of these issues to your (potential) client, without pushing you, your product or service, the more you will be building rapport and a potentially trusted relationship.

Let’s have a mini recap

  • Identify your niche
  • Know what their biggest hassles are (that they’ll pay to get sorted and you can help with)
  • Become great at (genuinely) empathising with them

Based on that, have a brilliant and irresistable offer… and remember:

People love discovering a product or service that could almost have been tailor made for them – but they don’t want to be sold it. The want enough information to make the right decision for themselves.

So you have some great tips – let us know how you use them!


3 easy ways to get recommended!

I came across a really sweet reason for getting existing clients to recommend new ones to you and it’s one of those doh! :-( moments that, once you’ve heard it you’ll probably wonder why you never thought of it before!

Tune into WIIFM…

You get really honest with your clients and tell them that the more clients you get recommended to you the less time and money you’ll have to divert to sales and marketing activities and the more you can devote to what you love doing, your core business, which of course is serving them…

The efficacy of all this hinges on your clients being really happy with the service that you give them but that almost goes without saying because, if you don’t get that bit right you’re not going to be in business very long… And it can’t be just good service if you’re asking them to recommend others to you – it needs to be outstanding and they need to believe there’s enough in it for them to bother going out of their way and making an effort on your behalf.

So this brings the age old question of: “What’s in it for me?” that every customer and potential customer asks him- or herself really to front and centre, doesn’t it? If there’s not a strong enough distinction between your offer and another’s the customer will see your offering as a commodity and will buy on price – and that’s a slippery slope.

You fabulous you!

You need to be really, really specific on what makes you so different – we used to call it the USP – Unique Selling Point/ Unique Sales Proposition – it doesn’t matter what you call it so long as you have one

  • That’s true
  • That you’re prepared to stand by and
  • That your customers recognise and appreciate the value of…

… and no, “best value” and “best service” are too bland and just won’t cut it…

One of the most powerful persuaders to buy is when you offer a guarantee on something you know you can deliver on – and take the burden of risk off the customer. Research shows that only about 1% will claim a refund on a business that delivers on it promise and it’s widely agreed that the increase in custom you get as a result of providing the guarantee will far outweigh any returns you may have to give.

So as a Trainer/ Coach/ Mentor/ Facilitator/ Catalyst whose role with clients is to get them recognising and earning their unique value and having fun doing it, one of the perennial woes is lack of money so one USP I’d choose might be:

“The first thing we do is recoup your monetary investment in working with me.”

I know I can help you do that because there are so many ways – all legal and ethical :-) – there’ll always be at least one that will appeal to you that you’ll be able to adopt and swiftly put into practice!

One client hadn’t earned any money in six months yet billed (and received payment for) £3,200 of work within four weeks of me working with him. Was it work he out and out loved doing? No, but he didn’t really know what he wanted to do at that stage and he was happier than he’d been for about a year (so was his hard working wife who was delighted!).

The other thing is that, once somebody has decided to get help to up their game, I also know that they know full well that if they could have got where they wanted to under their own steam they would have already done so… And they are prepared to put the “work” in to make their change happen.

Another USP of mine that’s fun and I enjoy is:
“I help you get out of your own way and get on with the life you’d love” :-)

More than one of my clients say they’re sometimes not sure precisely what’s happened they just see the results (a friend of mine, Sarah, explains that as “you’ve been Linda’d” :-)

So, to wrap up for now

  1. Choose your best clients (after all, you want more like them…)
  2. Explain the 3 wins provided by recommendations they could make about your services (more of your time devoted to them and meeting their needs; less sales & marketing activities and expenditure so hold your prices; ethical ‘bribes’ – preferential treatment such as the opportunity to test products and services in development – get creative!)
  3. Make it easy for them by reminding them of (or giving them) your USPs

Who’s brave enough to post at least one of your USPs in the comments? It’s another shop window opportunity for your business…

Linda


Calling Women Who Love Life and Mean Business!

Regular readers will know by now that I’ve enticed Jackie (Make Friends With Money) Dunn to join me in London on Friday 13th January 2012 to offer 20 women a fabulous opportunity to roll up their sleeves, work and play hands on with us and gain from our combined 50+ years of business and financial growth experience for an entire day! And not just that – can you imagine the sheer energy of 22 women working together to help each other enhance her business success? Wow!

Are you one of these

  • A Happy Successful Business Woman?
  • A Trapped Successful Business Woman?
  • A Struggling Business Woman?
  • An Aspiring or Reluctant Business Woman?

We’re looking for all levels to come together because when we’re good at what we do, enjoy it and are successful at it we are of more value to ourselves, those we care about and the community in general. We create cash flow in the economy. We also tend to be more fun to be around!

By the end of this day everyone will be closer than ever before to complete clarity on:

  • The precise space or niche you occupy
  • Its potential value to you
  • Its value to your customers
  • Who your target market is
  • What that market wants or needs and will pay for
  • How to reach it efficiently and effectively
  • What to say to it
  • How and when to say it
  • What results you want and how to get them

And you’ll have several new tools and techniques to add to your existing tool bag and help you achieve your aims!

Talking of money…

Financial freedom is high on 98% of the population’s wish list yet how many of us actually believe it’s achievable?

What negative or limiting concepts do you have about money that might be holding you back from:

  • Believing you deserve it
  • Making more of it
  • Sharing it
  • Being aware of money that’s literally frittered away
  • Uncovering resources you don’t realise you have
  • Knowing there is always ample money around for whatever you need or want
  • Making what you earn work for you … And that includes using event receipts (such as this event) and allowing the tax man to pick up the tab

By the way, did you know that:

“It’s never about the money; it’s about fear of loss, or wanting things to be different.”

Come along and be prepared to blow apart any limiting ideas about money!

Your Hosts for the day

Linda Mattacks – Value in Business
Jackie Dunn – Make Friends with Money

The most effective way to do your own due diligence is probably to Google each of us but here’s a bit about us to start you off.

Linda – Me!

I have worked for over 25 years with international corporations, from senior management to rank-and-file employees, to independent consultants/ sole traders and everything in between, to help them win, keep and grow customers. I have created and run courses, and trained and coached on the subject.

I am an ace on living, giving and receiving your value in business. 6 years worth of free training is accessible right here on this website :-)

I am the author of “Redundancy – Survive and Thrive” and “Opening Doors” a ‘how to’ book on effective networking – offline and online.

Jackie

Being a sole trader for almost 22 years, most of it as an holistic Independent Financial Adviser, and running alongside that, a financial coach: getting and retaining high value clients. Managing to have a great life uncovering and advising about the richness of her finds: A win-win!

As a story-teller Jackie loves having fun sharing these real life financial anecdotes with you. They bring financial freedom to life in an animated and memorable way.

Seeing her role as a teacher and student, the sense of wealth-being is evident on the page ‘What people say about Jackie

And remember Jackie will show you how to make this event tax deductible…

The Event

£60 per delegate for the entire day includes light refreshments – more than a carrot, not a feast!

By the way, we’ve been asked: “Why only £60?”

The answer is simple: If we put the price tag on it we know it’s worth, it would probably preclude the ones who at first glance would have most to gain – those struggling or just starting out – from attending.

Those of you who are (happily or unhappily) more successful will come because you’ll want to mix with your peers and the idea of sharing your own experiences and offering shortcuts to those currently less fortunate will appeal – the money will be almost irrelevant – it’s the time investment that you’ll consider. Oh, and the promise of having access to a financial coach for a day at a mere £60 won’t go amiss! :-)

Be part of something special!

Where: The Arches Fairhazel Gardens NW6 3QE
The event is downstairs at this well known wine bar in London’s Swiss Cottage (or South Hampstead if you look at the A to Z!).
Google or Streetmap will pinpoint it for you if you copy and paste the postcode in.
Overground: South Hampstead 2 mins walk
Underground: Finchley Road (Metropolitan& Jubilee lines) 4 mins walk
Parking: Don’t unless you’re a local resident!
When: Friday 13th January 2012. Convene at 9.30am for 10am start: Play/work through to 4pm
4pm: Disperse OR stay to brainstorm next steps / get to know us and your fellow delegates better
6pm : Get kicked upstairs to the main bar or go home!

Why come and play? Because you’re worth it!

We are so convinced of the value of this day to you we’ll even say: Leave at 1pm if you’re not totally happy and we’ll refund your money within 31 days.

To register or for clarification:

Call Linda on 020 7209 1284/ 07879 628367
Or Jackie on 01664 482665/ 07973 895750

  • Tell us in advance what you need to jump start or take the success you’ve already achieved to the next level
  • Tell us your biggest money issues

We’ll compile all issues (not attributable to any individuals – many we know, will crop up more than once) and shape this day’s event around the group’s needs and by the end of the day each of you will be aware of previously untapped possibilities, how to explore them and make money work smarter for you!

There is only space for 20 delegates so it’s first come first served…

What do you have to lose if you come?
What do you have to lose if you don’t come?

Act now!


+44 (0)20 7209 1284

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"I was very impressed by Linda's determination to help and the constructive, but persistent, manner in which she identified issues and then tried to resolve them. After recent progress I was again reaching a stage where I seemed to be spinning my wheels, and she has given me fresh impetus to start moving forward again."

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