The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the other articles) in the series. Each takes a closer look at one of the tactics listed in that first article.
I love marketing. And I love trying to help others understand its importance. As with most things I try to teach, I almost always encounter the same headwinds, “Oh, you don’t understand; my business is different.” It should be a book title! The problems are always the same, and lack of good marketing is always at the top of the list.
Marketing is not just advertising. The world is a busy place and folks have lots of options. I’ve helped banks, insurance agents, auto dealers, lawyers, restaurants, and many other types of small businesses; all of them needed help with marketing and finding customers.
The place to start is with a unique selling proposition. What makes you special? Why should anyone care about you or your products or services? I don’t want to hear that you’re the best, or that your quality is the highest, or that you have the best employees. Those are tired rhetoric, and even if true, people don’t believe in them. You have to have something that makes you stand out from others. You must be able to write it and speak it in one or two sentences, tops.
Next, how do people even know you are out there? You can’t spend enough money to get in front of everyone. You need networking and help. Do you send thank you cards to everyone you meet? Not many folks do; even that’s a unique selling proposition. Do you have a well done website? It’s imperative today. If you can identify your target market closely enough, do you make sure you stay in front of them? (This is much harder if your market is big).
Not long ago, I was helping a musician who wanted to get more gigs, audio, production, and studio work. He said that he was working by word of mouth and networking. He said that in the music business that was the only and best way to handle marketing because the music business is different. Really? I checked the business count for audio and video production companies, studios and musician agencies. Within an easy commute, there were 481. It’s a target rich environment in Nashville.
Now, let’s bet how many of those folks have any idea who he is? Or what he has to offer? What would be the downside to a nice handwritten note to each of them? How many of his peers have done that? THAT is a unique selling proposition, because no one else is doing it. He was too modest to talk about himself, so he didn’t send the notes. Of the 481 prospects, I bet not more than 20 had any idea who he was. Had he been willing to think differently, nearly all of the would have known him in a way that would separate him from his more timid, traditional peers.
I teach a seminar on how to establish yourself as an expert and gain a unique selling proposition: Write a book. Who do you know who has done that? You can do a book and have 1,000 copies printed for less than $5,000, using what I teach and a ghost writer. Most won’t even read the book, but they will be honored that you chose them for an autographed copy.” Are you an expert tailor? “10 Secrets Tailors Know about Getting the Perfect Fit.” Are you a blossoming contemporary artist? “Understanding Contemporary Art for a Novice.” Maybe you do asphalt work? “Understanding Asphalt Work and How to Get It Done on a Budget.” How many businesses will that open the door to, helping you get to bid on repaving their torn up parking lot? You think any other contractor will give them a book?
Now, here’s a plan for my musician friend; there are only 481 people to give a book to. Do 10 a week; in a year, you will be known by most of those prospects and be enjoying lots of work! “10 Trends in the Music Business Today.”
Read my articles on prospect and customer acquisition cost, and read 5 good books on marketing, starting with Seth Godin’s The Purple Cow. You will be much smarter. But one thing is for sure, without a marketing plan and execution, it won’t matter even if you have a unique selling proposition. You’re a small fish in a big noisy sea, and the likelihood you will be noticed is remote.
Remember only you can make business great!
Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies.
Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for- performance, and find new customers on the web.
As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.
To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.