If you live in Melbourne you have to be prepared for any type of weather.
Take today, 38 degrees, not a cloud in the sky.
Tomorrow, 17 degrees and rain all day.
I had to get out of the house early today to beat the heat.
I wasn’t going anywhere special, just to buy my son another school jumper as it is only going to be 15 on Thursday with rain and storms.
Standard Melbourne week.
Growing up with weather like this teaches you to be prepared.
My car is full of umbrellas, gumboots, towels, sunscreen and hats, both winter and summer versions.
And being prepared is just as necessary for business as it is for Melbourne weather.
So many business owners come to me to get their marketing done when they are in a drought, they have no customers left.
When business is busy, the money is pouring in with the phone continues to ring, no one is worried about going out and getting new customers or planning the next marketing campaign.
But like the weather it can be unpredictable.
Me, ’m not one for taking a risk.
I (and my smart clients too) don’t want to leave it up to chance, we like to control our financial forecast.
Too often when the work runs out everyone is looking to me to make it rain for them.
Whilst I can be more consistent than Mother Nature, it is up to you to be prepared.
And like us Melbournian’s with a car load of all-weather-gear, you can be prepared to always get your phone running hot, no matter what business you are in or what time of year it is.
Having a marketing system that you can turn on and off, predictable, reliable, so systematised a 1st year apprentice could do it and that delivers you a steady flow of profit, allows for constant sunshine rather than a scorched and barren bank account.
Don’t rely on the current temperature to predict your success.
Click on the Learn More button to get yourself a proven and awarded system so you can control your financial forecasts.
Recently I got a call from a local not for profit group who wanted some help marketing their services. Specifically, they wanted to know my thoughts on their billboard out the front of their centre to help to increase the number of local people using the facilities.
I do a fair bit of pro-bono work for local not-for profit organisations and was happy to help them out.
The board had been set up out the front of the centre, in a very high traffic area. Wonderful because your ads will never work if no one sees them.
The biggest issue that I saw with the billboard was that it was 50% logo.
Now, whilst I do think branding is important, your logo is not a headline, you are not Nike.
So I gave them an outline of what I think would be more suitable and some other strategies they could apply.
After running this past my suggestions past the committee, I had a phone call ‘What are your qualifications to make these recommendations?”
The committee wanted to know what my educational background was. How was I able to make these suggestions about this marketing strategy.
And here in lies a common questions, what is more valuable qualifications or experience?
Now I know that in several industries, qualifications are compulsory and rightly so, but my question here relates to what do you look at when it may not be the case.
I have a Bachelor of Adult Learning and Development, hold several diplomas and certificates in education and vocational training, which were compulsory for by industry I was working in years ago.
But do I have any formalised marketing qualifications? No.
Have I worked with and been trained by some of Australia’s leading marketers, copywriters and publicity experts? Yes.
Have I spent more on my ‘education’ than most people spend on several cars, learning from people who have done what I want to do, taught what I need to know and have more successful clients that I count? Yes.
Have I used this knowledge to make my businesses marketing and my clients marketing very profitable? Yes.
Do I write about, get interviewed for and speak on stage about my expertise based on my experience? Yes I do.
So, what do you think is more valuable, experience – where I have put my own money on the line, been in the trenches, testing what works, what doesn’t and learning from failure and success, or qualifications – learnt from theory, often from people whom themselves may never have had any experience.
And the end result for the updated billboard?
The implemented some of my suggestions, doubled their business and are on track to triple it next year.
So you decide if my lack of formalised qualifications is important.
“What qualities do you look for when hiring a trade contractor to perform construction or maintenance work?”
Working with my tradie clients helping them to turn more of their quotes into paying customers, I have found that there is a big misconception about what customers are really looking for, and most of these things are really simple do ensure that you are doing on a regular basis for your business.
Research has been done to find out exactly what customers are looking for and it may not be what you thinking.
Here is the Top Ten things that customers are looking for, how do you measure up?
(Notice price wasn’t mentioned once?)
These should be the “norm”. The minimum level of service you provide.
I know that some of you are looking for help right now so that you can apply a better strategy for your business so, that you make more sales on your quotes and stop wasting times doing quotes the ones you won’t win.Let’s schedule an call to see if I can help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday saw me judging the NABBA/ WFF Victorian Bodybuilding and Model Championships.
It was a huge day full of fake tan, teeny tiny outfits and more diamontes than an Elvis Presley convention.
A great day, amazing physiques and a stack of talent in the showmanship rounds.
Judging is not easy, it is always subjective, arguments break out, competitors are on stage for what seems like an eternity, all for 9 people to judge them and give them glory and a plastic trophy.
But the one thing that constantly stuck out to me as an important lesson is ‘everything matters’
Obviously physique matters, but so does choice of outfit, hair style, tan, deportment and presentation.
Because it is judge on the physique presented with the least amount of flaws, for some catergories when trying to decide between the placings, it could come down to the tiny details, like a broken finger nail or streaky tan.
It is a reminder that in business, you are judged on everything, everything matters.
From your website, to your uniform, to the way you present your paperwork, all of these things are going to make an impact about what your potential clients think about you.
So stop for a minute today and think about whether or not your business presentation would allow you to take out first place.
And if not, where are you lacking?
For those of you not sure, send me a message, I am happy to put on my judges hat and give you a ranking and feedback, maybe a plastic trophy if your nice.
When you are actually talking to potential customers it’s really great to be able to talk about the benefits of your work but is a lot easier if you’ve got other people doing the talking and selling for you.
For many businesses, 20 to 50% of their work comes in from referrals from others so having testimonials is a really powerful thing that you can have within your marketing.
A testimonial is described as a formal statement testifying to someone’s character, qualifications and skills.
So why are testimonials so effective?
Testimonials build trust
Whether your customers are raving about what your product has
done for them or about the great service you gave, they’re telling your potential customers first and foremost that they had a positive experience with your products and company
Testimonials aren’t “salesy.”
Because testimonials aren’t written in your “voice,” they stand out in your marketing as candid and unbiased accounts of how well your service and products works
Testimonials overcome scepticism
A good testimonial has the power to convince even your “tough sell” customers that your product or service really made a difference in your customer’s life–and can help them too
So, how do you collect the testimonials you need and keep them coming as you grow your business?
You need to ask!
But most tradies would rather pick out their nose hairs with tweezers than ask for a testimonial, it is painful and often embarrassing.
So I’m giving you my three top templates to make it less awkward and uncomfortable for you.
Ready to go?
Simply click the link below for your exclusive access
My clients always want to know how I manage to get so much writing done everyday.
‘I don’t know how you do it, I go cross eyed at the computer’ they say.
Given a choice I would hand write out everything before I would type a word.
My brain to pen speed is a lot faster and smoother than my brain to keyboard speed.
And, with today’s technology you have options for old school writers like me.
Lifescribe Pen – this gives me the ability to handwrite into a workbook then using Livescribe aps and Evernote transfer it to my computer.
I use it a lot when I am at my kids sports, where I only have 30 mins to write. It is faster than getting the laptop out. I have been known to write an entire sales page at a karate class.
But, people laugh when they see me out writing with ‘a pen’ saying it so old school and that I should just ‘use a computer’.
If only they knew!
My other favourite go to is Dragon Speak Software.
It is basically the ability to speak your words and have them transcribed onto your computer.
You can do it from your phone or straight into the computer.
Many of my posts and emails to you have been recorded on my phone, transcribed, tidied up and then sent out.
Neither of these is perfect but to me it’s certainly a lot easier and smoother for me than typing away at the computer every day.
· So many things going on in the mind, it is impossible to focus on one thing?
· Trying to juggle too many balls in the air – and dropping them?
· Short tempered easily tired, feel it is all like treading water?
· Feeling unable to take any time off at all, that you have to be "on" all the time?
· Fearing being unable to continue, the stresses are so much that there is no longer any enjoyment in life?
· Constantly worrying about everything that running a business demands?
The stresses of life can have a crippling effect on us, so that our day to day lives seem too challenging, there is no time for yourself; just you on autopilot day in, day out.
Modern life is filled with hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. Stress is so commonplace that it seems like it is just "natural," "the way it is" and something that cannot be avoided.
The number one cause of overwhelming stress for so many business owners is completing tasks within the business that they don’t enjoy doing. Or feel that perhaps they are not properly qualified to do.
There is no glory in thinking that you must complete all the tasks yourself, when you know you would really prefer to hand some of them to someone else.
When you come to understand that outsourcing your requirements can be beneficial both to you and to your business. The relief and sense of freedom will be enormous!
Last year at a meeting with a new client, we discussed his day and how he was struggling to manage it all.
I suggested that he outsource his bookkeeping to a professional service, because:
1) they were properly qualified, and therefore could do the work much more efficiently and in a shorter time frame; 2) they picked up errors that he had been making and under invoicing for 3 months and 3) he was able to focus more on the income producing aspects of his business, such as following up quotes.
His cost for getting the bookkeeping done was under $200.00. The amount of new business he was able to bring in? Over $10,000 worth!
Here are my top three reasons for outsourcing and winning back valuable time:
1) You can boost your own efficiency. Outsourcing can help you focus on the jobs that do matter. For example, bookkeeping isn’t my strength. By hiring someone else do it for me, I have the time to focus on creating content, working with clients and pitching new business. And I know that my accounts will be done correctly.
2) You can grow your business. When you free up your time, you can actually focus on building your business. You can create the time you need to follow up leads, launch products or services and basically, take your business to the next level. all in the time you have.
3) You can build your network. Yes, outsourcing is a great way to grow your network. You hire someone to do your web design or accounting for you and they’re bound to think of you or refer you when they need someone with your expertise. Outsourcing is a great way to support another business while freeing up your time and growing your professional network as well.
You might like to consider outsourcing some or all of the following: accounting and other financial matters; stock management; marketing; using social media effectively; materials & product ordering; diary management - the list goes on.
So, what are you going to outsource this year to boost your efficiency, grow your business and build your network? And get back some worthwhile enjoyment in life!
There are many things that you can do to build your business and reach more customers and one of the great ways to do it is through a strategic alliance.
In fact you are probably already doing it but don’t realise.
Here is what I mean.
You are a plumber and want to add installing air conditioning system to what you do for customers.
You know that it will require some electrical work in most cases, so you have an electrician that you work with so that you can get the job done.
This is basically an informal strategic alliance.
An official definition of strategic alliance from BusinessDictionary.com is
Agreement for cooperation among two or more independent firms to work together toward common objectives. Unlike in a joint venture, firms in a strategic alliance do not form a new entity to further their aims but collaborate while remaining apart and distinct.
More and more small businesses are banding together in less formal ways to form strategic alliances of their own.
What are some of the benefits of forming small business strategic alliances?
As a small business owner, how can you reach out to start conversations with potential allies and what should you look for in a strategic partner?
Small businesses can also use strategic alliances expand their service offering. Establishing strategic alliances with (like minded) businesses that share the same target market and provide products or services that compliment yours. So consider, who has your customers before you? What other trades do you work with? What else do your customers need done to get the job completed?
How do you start the process of creating strategic alliances?
Well, who are you are you already getting in to work on your projects? Who do you refer your customers too? Who refers their customers to you?
You can keep it simple with an email or phone call to have a chat about what you see as the potential benefits to working together are.
Before you start any business arrangement, be it formal or casual, is the performance of due diligence. Like the level of effort required to effectively and efficiently pursue new business, the same research and scrutiny should be leveraged when seeking to develop partnerships.
Make sure that you know that business you are forming a strategic alliance with ticks all the boxes in regards to services, licenses and that you know that they are reliable and do a great job.
After all you have to put your reputation on the line every time you bring them in on a project.
When you are a small business owner, you have to wear many hats.
With 98.6% of construction businesses with fewer than 20 staff their often isn’t money in the business for staff to source new business and new contracts. And this is something that falls to the business owner.
Did you know that the average company with 100 employees has a marketing team of 11 people?
So these companies would spend roughly 11% of their human resources on marketing of the business.
Say you work 40 hours a week (I know, you probably do more) and you spent an hour a weekday on your marketing then that’s roughly 12.5% of your time.
But I know most tradesmen don’t spend anytime actively marketing until they run out of work.
Known as the feast and famine cycle.
Many clients come to me as they don’t have any time or the resources to do the marketing for their business.
And that is normal for small business owners.
They have hit the DIY Ceiling.
You have hit the point where you are no longer able to achieve better result if you continue to do it yourself.
Marketing and sales are a key component to your success.
Nothing takes place without a sale, an exchange of value.
And you can’t sell a secret. If they don’t know you exist, how can they hire you?
The good news is you don’t need a huge marketing team to succeed.
It’s not the size of the marketing department, it’s how effective it is.
Most of these bigger companies make their marketing worthwhile, effective and systemised.
And you can too.
Something that is paint-by-numbers.
So simple even a first year apprentice can do it!
With 90% of the work done-for-you all you need to be able to do are: copy and paste an email, take a USB stick to Officeworks or address an envelope.
See if you qualify to have this system built out for you by booking a Profit Pipeline Audit, to see how to fill the gap in your quotes to sales method.
Using frequently asked questions
“And then she asked me 15 questions, it did my head in. I feel like a broken record every time I speak to a customer”
A common cry for trade business owners from all industries, from plumbing to fencing to concrete.
The good news is, if people aren’t interested, they won’t ask questions.
But this doesn’t really help you when you are looking to reduce the amount of hours that you are spending talking to clients about the same things, over and over again.
But their is something you can do about it.
Use Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in your marketing
FAQ’s can be a really powerful way to position you as an expert in your industry and niche.
There’s a simple way to go about setting them up too.
All you really need to do is to keep a record (for as little as two or three weeks) when you’re talking to new clients, of the types of questions that they ask you.
It could be what is your guarantee, how do I know this is right for me, how long will this take, what do I need to do to prepare or anything specific about the product or service.
Then you can simply record your answers to these questions either on video and get the transcribed, or you can type them out yourself.
What you can do with them then is used to overcome the objections that people have answer the questions that are repeatedly coming up in your business and send them out to prospective customers so that you actually addressing those concerned before people have to ask.
It’s a really simple method to position yourself and let people know that you are the expert in the industry.
Pro Tip – make sure at the end of your FAQ’s you have a call action, something like ‘Don’t see your question here?
Call us on PHONE NUMBER now and we can answer it for you.’
Frequently asked questions pages can be on your website or added into your catalogues or marketing material.
I have some really great templates so you can shoot me an email and I will send them through.