Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

prospecting

The Ultimate Marketing Secret To Attracting More Clients

I once heard a great story about a little commercial fisherman who fishes off a well-known peninsula in New York. This man has become legendary in fishing circles and I even heard it rumored that he was the guy who captured the Great White shark that inspired the movie Jaws. Every morning, Captain Jack heads out bright and early to go fishing. But that’s pretty much where the similarity between him and every other commercial fisherman ends. Instead of hiring a big crew to help get his catch, Captain Jack has one lone deck hand.

And they don’t use nets to catch their fish. Call him old school, but he still prefers to use just fishing poles and lines.

But here’s the thing.

Every day for the past 20 years, without exception, Captain Jack catches not hundreds of fish, but thousands of fish. In fact, he out fishes every single commercial fishing operation in the area, usually by multiple times.

It doesn’t matter what the tides are doing, what time of year it is, or even if the fish are “running.” Captain Jack seems to have the “Midas touch.”

Over the years, he has been interviewed multiple times. Each time, the journalist tries to pry out of him the secret to his success. And every time, this is what he says (what’s most interesting is that it applies just as much to marketing as it does to fishing):

“I make it my business to know everything I can about my fish. I think like the fish, not the fisherman.”

That one little statement right there is the single biggest reason why his methods work while most methods fail.

It was made by an entrepreneur (it could have also been written by a marketer), who is thinking like his prospects, not like other entrepreneurs.

There is no one who knows more about fish in those waters than Captain Jack. For the last 20 years he’s documented the water currents, studied the fish migratory patterns, examined water temperature and, of course, knows his fish food sources.

A fisherman knows it’s all about putting the right bait on a hook to catch the right fish. If you’re looking to catch Cod and you bait your line with an old sock, you’re going to be very hungry come dinner time. On the other hand, if you use Peeler crab at a time when the Cod are looking for it, your chances of success multiply exponentially.

So why then do so many people make the mistake in their marketing of offering the wrong bait to their market? They offer things they themselves think their prospects should be interested in – but don’t actually know for sure what their prospects are looking for.

You are never your prospect. Even if you think you are. Assumptions are the most dangerous (and most expensive) things to make in marketing.

To catch a prospect, you have to think, act and talk like a prospect. Not like a marketer.

When I create advertising campaigns for my private clients, at least half of my time is spent studying the target market. I don’t even dare pick up a pen until I have a very firm grasp of whom I’m writing for and how they think. Copy is written very differently for business owners than for employees. You speak to a 30 year-old man very differently than you’d speak to a 40 year-old man; married women very differently than single women. Moms very differently from “empty nesters." Knowing and understanding these nuances makes all the difference to your marketing - it's the only way to attract more clients.

Think like the fish, not the fisherman and you'll experience your own Client Stampede!

My Irish Vacation

Wow, it's great to be back to a Michigan winter.  Really!  I never thought I'd EVER say that, except that the weather in Ireland was about 100 times worse!  Wet, cold, dark, miserable, with icy winds whipping your face straight off the Atlantic.  Just look at how many layers of clothing I had to wear just to go out shopping (and I can hardly see out of my hood!). Lucky that the Irish are so warm and welcoming because the weather sure isn't.  Maybe that explains why family life revolves around the local taverns that are always brimming with laughter, guinness (of course), and some of the most incredible fiddle playing, singing and Irish dancing I've ever seen!  The whole reason for going to Ireland was to catch up with my older brother Dale and his family, who live in Belfast.  He's got 3 kids of his own now who range in age from 1 to 6 and are delightful little characters with thick Irish accents and a naughty streak.  I sat on a whoppee cushion about 10 times, got pelted with "Nerf Bullets," and helped make a gingerbread train for Santa to hopefully "cancel out any naughtyness" during the year!  I also suffered 4 humiliating defeats playing tabletop football with my 4 year old nephew...!

I was last in Ireland 2 1/2 years ago - it's a country I love visiting, and this time around I was curious to see how things had changed. Particularly in regards to how the recession had impacted the area.  The reports I had read lumped the Irish economy alongside other EU economies that are in the toilet (like Greece).  Were there going to be stores borded up and lots of "going out of business" signs?  Would there be people begging on the streets?  Lots of vacant commercial buildings and houses?

What I was about to discover astounded me...

In Belfast, the post Christmas sales have always been legendary.  With the recession going on, I thought that the post Christmas shopping experience would be a little more sane, a lot less hectic, and far less busy.  So when my sister-in-law suggested we "hit the shops," I thought it was a great idea as I'm not usually one to brave big crowds.  With the economy, surely most people would be staying home - right? Afterall, in a country whose economy has been likened to that of the great depression, how many people would be out spending their hard earned dollars...not many, right?

WRONG.

Oh my goodness...

It was total madness.  There were crowds clamboring to the stores like I have NEVER EVER SEEN IN ANY ECONOMY.  People were lining up outside some of the high end department stores, braving that terrible weather, just for the chance to buy a $200 sweater at 25% off!  These people were NOT strapped for cash, and what blew me away is how well dressed everyone was - designer duds everywhere, expensive baby strollers...if there was a recession going on, the people shopping in downtown Belfast surely hadn't been told about it!!!

In one store I went to (that I wish I owned shares in) - there was quite literally a MOVING HIGHWAY of people in and out, all hustling to buy and then moving onto the next deal.  I stood in the same spot by the door for maybe 5 minutes and watched throngs of people push past me in search of bargains.  The store is a high end clothing and homeware store where basic throw rugs sell for the equivilent of $175 USD!  To put things in perspective, in Northern Ireland the currency is British pounds, which is a lot stronger than our US dollar, and dollar for dollar things are much more expensive in Belfast than what we pay over here.  Yet I watched in amazement as people dropped huge sums of money on purses, suits, coats, linens...hundreds and hundreds and very often thousands of pounds!

After I recovered from my initial shock, I realized with a grin the significance of what I was witnessing.  Actions speak a lot louder than words...WHAT RECESSION?  These people were thriving!  Businesses were thriving!

So here's the BIG LESSON:  Just like you've heard me say so many times before...be very careful what you read and who you listen to and whatever you do.... "DON'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU READ IN MASS MEDIA." Scare mongering is the real business they're in.  It's bad news, not good news, that sells newspapers and magazines.  Despite what you might hear there are many businesses thriving (including mine :) and there is MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY TO PROSPER EVERYWHERE!

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not denying that there's a recession going on.  I know times are tough for many right now.  There's no doubt that shrinkage has happened and will continue to happen for those industries and businesses who refuse to adapt and keep operating under the rules of the old economy. But YOU won't be one of them -  providing you run your business according to the new rules of the new economy.   (If you're not yet familiar with the new rules of the new economy then drop everything right now and order a copy of my audio CD "How to thrive in the new economy" - (worth $97, it's yours for just $2) - it's your blueprint for success in the coming year.

And speaking of this year - take heart that things aren't nearly as bad as they seem. In fact many businesses will continue to quietly thrive, racking up record profits.  There's NO reason why your business can't be one of them.

So set your goals HIGH for this year.  Work tirelessly to deliver even greater value to your customers. Refuse to read anything negative and only listen to those of us who are getting on and making things happen.  And stay tuned, I've got some REALLY exciting things happening to help you build your business quickly and easily, that you're just going to love.

Warm regards,

Julie

Looking For Value In All The Wrong Places ...

If I was to conduct a straw poll of 100 different businesses and asked them just this one simple question: “What’s the one thing you have that’s of MOST value in your business?, what do you think the responses would likely be? Here’s what I think they’d be:

“Well, DUH – its in our super-fandangled-whiz-bang new product we’ve just released”

“It’s in our amazing customer service – our customers love us and refer us like crazy”

“it’s our incredible service”

“Our single biggest assest is that we have THE best storefront location in the city”

“My staff is my single biggest asset”

“Its our amazing technology”

The list goes on and on…you get the idea.

But here’s the thing. ALL of them would be wrong.

Unless, of course they made this one simple statement: ”It’s in our customer list – we’ve got full customer information for ALL our customers – name, address, mailing address, physical address, phone numbers, buying history, referral history …”

Most business owners mistakenly place high value on the physical or service aspects of their business – their location, factory, equipment, products or services. But all that is just “stuff”. Its easily replaced and easily duplicated.

The real value in your business is with your customers.

If you have a great customer list, then you, quite literally have at your fingertips the ability to create your own income on demand. Releasing a new product? Zaap! Send an email to your list with a great offer before you go to bed at night and cha-ching – you’re got money in your account when you wake up. Found a great product that your customers could really benefit from? Send an offer to your list and earn a commission off the sales.

If you’re not zealously collecting the names and contact details of not just your customers, but all your prospects too (especially your prospects) – you’re letting a HUGE amount of money slip through your fingers.

Stop the hemorrhaging and make this your number one priority starting today…

PS if you haven’t ordered yourself a FREE copy of my audio CD: 10 Secret strategies to get more clients, make more money, turn customers into raving fans and give more back in the new economy – you’re nuts. It’s a $97 value, yours FREE! Just visit my website at www.TheClientStampede.com and use promo code GetYerSpursOn at checkout.

The $3.5 Million Dollar Violin and the Washington Subway

On a cold January morning in 2007 at L’Enfant Plaza subway station at exactly 7:51 am  - the height of rush hour - an ordinary looking man wearing a pair of jeans and a baseball cap nonchalantly took out his $3.5 million Stradivarius violin and started to play.  The man was Joshua Bell – one of the world’s finest violin players -  a man who regularly performs to sold out crowds at the world’s most prestigious venues. Unbeknownst to any of the commuters, Bell was taking part in an undercover study conducted by The Washington Post.

Bell started his subway concert performance with Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin – one of the most challenging musical pieces ever composed for violin.  Over the next 43 minutes his concert continued – but this time not to the thunderous applause he was so accustomed to receiving.  In fact, of the 1097 who scurried past him that morning, hardly anyone stopped.  One man listened for a couple of minutes, a few kids stared, and one woman who recognized him gaped in utter disbelief.

Now the commuters may have been in too much of a hurry to listen to Bell, but clearly if there’d been news cameras there, or if a few more people had known this man was a virtuoso and huddled around him as an attentive mini-crowd, then at least a few more would have stopped to listen.

But think about how Joshua Bell appeared on the subway.  He was wearing jeans and a baseball cap.  No black tie and no stage for him to stand on.  To everyone passing by, Bell looked like an ordinary, run-of-the-mill street performer.  Even though Bell didn’t sound like a mediocre violinist, he sure looked like one.

Without realizing it – the DC commuters had made the assumption that because he looked like an ordinary street performer, and because he was playing in a subway station, his talent as a violinist was nothing to write home about.

You see, as much as many of us would like to believe differently, image really does matter.  Especially when it comes to business.  The way we dress, the car we drive, the companies we do business with, the places we vacation to, even the pen that we write with – can have an enormous impact about how our customers perceive us, which will ultimately dictate how much money we can charge and how big our paychecks are.  These so-called “little things” aren’t little at all.  They’re actually ginormous.  Remember, when it comes to business – it’s not how you perceive yourself that counts – it’s how your customers perceive you.

Have a great weekend!

Who You Sell To Is More Important Than What You Sell

When most people decide to start a business, they figure out what they want to sell first, and then once they’ve developed the product, widget or service, they try and figure out who to sell it to. Actually this is backwards.

The best, most surefire way to success is to start with the WHO first, not the WHAT. Otherwise you may have gone to all the trouble of developing and investing in a new product or service which no one actually needs, or wants to buy.

To successfully sell a product you need a starving market. That’s why it always makes sense to identify the starving market first. You need to get to know them, figure out what problems they have that you can solve - and then go develop your product and service to specifically meet that need.

Note also that there is a big difference between a product we all know we need versus one we actually want to buy. It’s a much harder pitch to sell a product that’s needed instead of wanted. Obviously the sweet spot is a product that’s both needed and wanted.

For example, we know that we need to see our dentist at least once a year for a check up and cleaning. You’ll have to work a lot harder in your sales copy to get a prospect to schedule the appointment because it's a service they know they need, but don't necessarily want.

Compare this to an offer for professional teeth whitening that’s sent to a list of 30 and 40 something year olds who are single, smoke and drink coffee.

That’s a much easier sale to make.

In starting with the WHO first and not the WHAT, you'll be saving yourself a LOT of time, money and effort. You won't be investing in a product that you might think is the best thing since sliced bread, but your market doesn't!

The Sloppy Sales Guys In My Neighborhood

Over the last 6 weeks I’ve had 3 separate tradespeople come to my door trying to sell me construction upgrades, lawn fertilizer and a new roof.  Over the summer so far, that’s brought the total amount to probably 10 cold calls. Unlike most people I LOVE standing at the front door and hearing their sales pitch.  I like watching their body language, I eagerly outstretch my hand for their sales collateral, and I listen intently to their “close”.

Unfortunately though I’m always left very disappointed.  Their sales pitches are usually rambling and sound over rehearsed.  I’ve yet to hear one that contains an irresistible offer or a reason to make me want to whip out my check book right then. None have referred to a guarantee, and frankly their sales collateral (if they even have any) is just awful.  And follow up direct mail?  None.

All 3 of these companies are great examples of organizations still trying to use the old economy rules in the new economy.  Sloppy salesmanship was acceptable in the past because back then it was more about being in the right place at the right time.  The heedy spending days of the property boom meant cash was flowing and you only needed to offer a service scarcely adequate to make a good living.

Not any more.

As consumers we hold all the purchasing power again and we know it.  Companies who want to separate us from our hard earned cash MUST woo us, persuade us and give us an incredible offer to make us take action. While the 3 different companies who dispatched sales people to my house had invested in uniforms, name tags and their staff actually taking the time to do cold calling – they choked on the stuff that really matters.  The actual sales presentation, the sales collateral and the direct mail correspondence afterwards.

At bare minimum the sales collateral they left me with should have radiated with benefits and contained a limited time, irresistible offer that also contained a risk free, full satisfaction guarantee.  And if I still failed to call to take them up on that offer, I should have been mailed 2 follow up pieces containing a second offer.  And then I should have been added to their mailing list so that when I am ready to “grow a lawn as rich and thick as nature’s own shag carpet”, I’ll know exactly who to call.

Don't Make This 100k Mistake A Small Ann Arbor Business Made

Happy April fools day!  I have 2 brothers (one younger one older) so as a kid I grew up with a big fear of this day every year.  I'd wake up to fake dog poop in my school shoes (thankfully it was fake), salt on my tooth brush, a whoppee cushion under my breakfast chair...phew glad I managed to survive that lot! I wanted to share with you a major mistake that's being made by a hairdressing salon I just started using, so you can learn from it and avoid this giant pothole in your business.

They're a relatively upscale Ann Arbor hair salon, serving mostly professional women and a handful of men from the area (think $70 and up for a haircut and color starting from $130).  Inside is tastefully decorated, modern - has a high end/trendy/warehouse feel to it. All good so far.

And they're doing some things right - they've implemented a successful referral campaign, they've created an actual "sales process" so that when you come on your first visit you get presented with discount coupons for your second and third visits to get clients coming back.  They greet people by name regardless of whether they've met you before or not.  You get an actual "hair consultation" which is of course a sales pitch for the latest and greatest products that will transform your golden locks from drab to fab.  All good stuff and a good start to creating a platform to really grow your business from.

But here's their $100K+ mistake.

Their location absolutely sucks.  They're situated in the outskirts of Ann Arbor in an area I can only call industrial.  But worse than that, they're part of a strip mall that has, as their neighbors, many visibly struggling small businesses, and several vacant store fronts.  All with a very dilapidated feel to it.

When I pulled up to my first consultation, I could hardly believe where this salon was located.  From the outside there was absolutely no street appeal created by the owners to make their salon at least look somewhat inviting despite it's horrid surroundings.  I wondered what kind of place this was and had it not been that a good friend and client had referred me, I would have turned my car around and canceled my appointment on the way out.

No doubt this owner thought he was "saving" money by paying a lot less in rent.

He probably figured that as the interior of the salon was so nice, and they were good at what they did, they could be located nearly anywhere.  Little does he realize the true cost of this giant mistake.  If he moved to downtown Ann Arbor - yes he would pay a lot more in rent but this would be more than offset from the higher prices he could then command (clever positioning), attract and retain better talent, attract far more prospective clients just from visibility...the list goes on and on.

Also, on researching this salon, I found glowing reviews.  Except that 3 mentioned the sinking feeling and intrepidation they felt on driving up and seeing it from the outside.  For every one client who mentions it, at least 100 think it...

You may or may not have a physical location that you operate your business from.  Regardless, learn from this mistake and review objectively the interaction your prospects have with your business before, during and after they do business with you.  It'll make a HUGE difference to your bottom line.  If you need help, call my office and ask about my End-To-End Sales Choreography service - from prospect to close and happily-ever-after after sales.

Have a great weekend! Julie

How To Use A Stealth Social Media Tool To Spy On Your Mailing List Subscribers

I recently stumbled across a fantastic tool that I want to share with you that answers that multi-million dollar question - how can I leverage social media to grow my business? (actually it's one of the top 3 questions I get asked by my clients all the time). The impact this one little tool could have on your business is monumental.  Are you ready for it?

The tool is called Flowtown and here's why it's incredible:

On Flowtown you upload an email or your entire email list.  FT  then trots off to all the major social networks and finds those people for you.  You'll be able to see WHO those people are and exactly what they're talking about.

That in itself is of huge value to your business.  But FT does a lot more than that.

(drum roll please)...

FT will then spider your lists to show you who your major influencers are, which of those people have others following them and how many followers they have.

Wow.  Imagine if you knew the top 5% of the most influential people on your list.  How would you treat them differently?  What kinds of relationships could you start up if you contacted them directly?

FT also enables you to hook a little script onto your opt-in forms, so when people opt in to hear from you - you'll be notified immediately when people of influence have joined your list.

The impact this one little tool could have on your business is monumental.  Just think about your mailing list for a second.  How much do you really know about the people on it?

If your mailing list is a bit, ahem, neglected - if you're missing major chunks of information about your prospects or customers, then not only can FT fill in the gaps, but you can know more about the people on it than you ever imagined.  And, almost in the blink of an eye you can know who the most valuable people are on it.

What takes most businesses years to figure out (if they ever actually do), you can know immediately.

So then you can treat these major influencers very very differently.  You can create special offers just for them - do whatever it takes to turn them into raving fans of your business, reach out to them for JV opportunities, ask them to become trusted advisers in your business and get their feedback on new products or services you're about to launch...  the possibilities are endless!

Stop Guessing. Start Tracking...

your marketing that is... :) Remember that the ONLY reason you spend money in your business, is to make more money.

How do you know what's actually working to bring you new customers or bring back old ones, unless you ruthlessly track the marketing results of every dollar you spend.

Sounds hard but it isn't.  Here's how you do it.

For every piece of advertising you put out there - you include an offer that is unique for every ad.  So if you're running a half page display ad in the local newspaper, for example, you include at the bottom an irresistible offer (of course with a deadline imposed) but that contains a unique call to action.  So the simplest would be a unique coupon code redeemable at your business or website, or a specific webpage to visit where they enter their details.  Easy, trackable and you get the added bonus of capturing their contact details to add to your mailing list.

But if your business doesn't fit this model - the dead easiest way to track your advertising is have them call a number to place their order and ask for a person of a fictitious name (eg To order call now and ask for Marlene).  If you have 10 different ads running at the same time, you use 10 different names to find which ads are driving in the most business.  Obviously the person at the other end of the phone in your business is already fully briefed on your tracking strategy so when a call for Marlene comes through, she pretends to be Marlene and keeps a record of the call.

Tracking should apply to every little piece of advertising you put out in the marketplace.  You will be amazed at what the results are.  Often they are the exact opposite of what you'd expect.  Once you find a winning advertisement, keep it as your control piece and make minor tweaks to it (one tweak at a time otherwise you won't know what worked!) to see if you can bump the response rate and beat the control.

Happy tracking!

What Kenneth Cole Can Teach Us About Perseverence

On the weekend I stumbled across this great story about how designer Kenneth Cole began his multi-billion dollar shoe and fashion empire. I felt inspired after reading it so thought I would share it with you.When Kenneth Cole was starting out, he was flat broke but wanted to exhibit at his industry's giant trade show in New York City. They wanted a huge exhibit fee which he simply couldn't pay. So he got the bright idea to just rent a huge motor home and park it right outside the convention hall, and invite attendees in to see his shoes. When he went to get a permit, he was told that nobody got permits to park anything on a major New York street for 3 days. For 99% of business owners, that would have been the end of that great idea. But he thought about it and went back and said "SOMEBODY must get permits. If somebody could, who would?". The answer: only tv and production companies. So he quickly registered a new business - Kenneth Cole Productions, got a sign made for his rented motor home, got a permit, hired guys with film cameras with no film in them, laid down a red carpet and then spent 3 days with his motor home parked exactly where he wanted, grabbing attention with the filming, inviting people in and selling shoes like crazy. This isn't just a great story about not giving up. It's also evidence of a deeper, determined mind set developed by a certain tiny percentage of business people who are determined to "make it" and to do whatever "it" takes...a trait as valuable as it is rare. Have a great week! Julie