flowing motion

Posts Tagged ‘selling

We don’t want them to wear out the carpets

There is an old saying in business: we don’t want them to wear out the carpets.  We want inquiries, but only from people who actually buy something.  Here endeth the lesson on selling. We will sell far more to people who are genuinely interested and who have a means to pay.

Social media shock: we need to supply carpet for 200x our customers

And there beginneth the lesson on social media.  Social media specialists, beginning with Google Alerts, concentrate our attention on the numbers.

  • How many people did we reach? (Hits)
  • Did they pay attention? (Time on the site)
  • Did we invoke curiosity? (Did they explore the site?)
  • Did we get them to take an action that shows interest & intent? (A goal in Google Alerts-speak)

Getting hits is hard and getting people to stay and explore is hard.

Conversion – taking the first step to a sale is even harder.  It is shocking the first time we realize that 0.5% of people click on an advert.  That is 1 out of 200 of people wearing out your digital carpets are actually looking for something to buy.  And those 1 out of 200 don’t necessarily buy anything.

Maybe we need carpets for 1000x our customers!

Social media is advanced window shopping

Social media is advanced window shopping.  Surf.  It says it all.  It’s like going to the mall with no money and no credit card. Well, people do.  I don’t understand.  I assume they have nothing else to do.  Or maybe they have cunningly cut costs on the gym by doing their surfing on foot.

But to my point:  marketers have brought their finely-tuned focus to the web.  It’s great to have Google Alerts, to drive up our hits and get people to read and explore our content. It’s real cool when someone transforms from lurker to commentator and contacts you.  It’s rip-roaring-fantastic when they suggest some collaborative action.

Thank you marketers.   Because carpets are  expensive we must try to get the people on them to buy something!

This is all a bit industrial age, isn’t it?

What marketers don’t seem to talk about is this:  if the same people come day after day, and the same people look (very nice, welcome!), our business will never grow.

We can get more hits, and in theory as we move from 200 to 400, we should go from 1 enquiry per day to 2. Fine.   Good prediction. Throw in some natural variability and some days we get none and others more than 2.

We can confirm all of this with some elementary high school statistics.

The point is that the underlying dynamics stay the same.  Getting bigger to get richer is the thinking of the industrial age.

What marketers don’t tell us

Social media gives us three new opportunities.

1.  Reach different people. Completely change the market.

2.  Move up the value chain.  Get a higher margin per hit.

3.  Cut out the cost of replacing the carpets.

Come back tomorrow if you want more.  See you then!  The Welcome mat is out.  I’ve still got carpets!  At least for a while!

Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger in Oliver!, the...
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In brisk, post-Thatcher Britain, we go to a lot of networking gigs

Post-Thatcher Britain, you may know, is an elbows-out sort-of-place.  Everyone is touting their wares like a scene out Dickensian Britain.  Do you remember the song “Who will buy?” from Oliver.  Well, it is like that. Except, people don’t sing so well.

Wannabe Artful Dodgers

There are wannabe Artful Dodgers at every gig.  They are not up to making-off with your wallet and silk handkerchief.  But you can see that is why they joined such a convenient crowd!

Fagin will be unhappy

When they get home, they will be in trouble with Fagin, their conscience, who asks them the wrong questions.

  • How many business cards did you give out?
  • How many business cards did you collect?
  • How much free food and drink did you score?
  • Did you find someone to give you some work?

They need to get a better conscience and a better Fagin to ask them these questions:

#1  Did they promise at least 5 favors to at least 5 different people?

If there weren’t at least 5 people at the gig who needed something they could do with their littte finger, they are sooo at the wrong gig, or soooo under-qualified to eat and drink with those people

If they were the Artful Dodger, they would pick a neighborhood better suited to their skills, or start to behave like the people in the neighborhood they’d chosen.

Or, they were so obsessed with themselves, they found out nothing about the other people there.

If they were the Artful Dodger, they would start to watch the crowd while Oliver stood in the shadows, singing mournful songs!

#2  Did 5 different people offer them 5 different favors?

Hmm, did they look at a lot of gift-horses in the mouth?  Maybe they talk too much and not give the other person even a few seconds to chip in and some assistance?

Oliver got help from all over because he was cute and un-pushy.  The Artful Dodger was admired but never got help from  anyone.

Had he washed his face, people may have helped him.  But then he wouldn’t be the Artful Dodger!

I suppose we really have to decide whether we want to work sooo hard or whether want to let luck find us!

#3  Did the person they help, or the person who took their card, write to say thank you?

Did they just hand out their cards like a free newspaper and walk away?  Or did they stay with the conversation to the point that they could offer to do something specific for the other person? Or ask them to do something specific and useful? Did they take the conversation through the stages of forming, storming, norming to performing?  Or. did they jump from forming to adjourning?

The Artful Dodger knew the endpoint – to hand his pickings over to Fagin.  But he didn’t jump there in one fell swoop. He watched, he followed, he ducked, he dived.  He fell into the other person’s rhythm.  Then he cleanly picked the other pocket and moved the contents smoothly to his own!

#4  Did they write to thank people who gave them their card?

Did they have anything at all to say to the people with whom they spent an evening?  Did they waste more time by sending an automated message when they got home?  Or did they talk to people in sufficient depth to remember them and be remembered?  Does their note reflect something they ‘did’ together?

The Artful Dodger would remember the people he met -more clearly than they would remember him.  He would know exactly how many pockets in each person’s suit, and exactly what is in them!

Which is your next networking event?

Maybe I will see you there!  I hope I remember you and you me!

I wonder what we have in common and what we could do for in each other, right there, in the few moments we share together!

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Speedometer in Ford Mondeo ST220 (MK3) (highli...
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The 2nd rule 0f the 10 Sun Tzu rules of the Networked World

Make our messages as small as possible.

An example

Once again, this rule is intimidating at first, but we can be assured that if pundits are telling us to do something, then they already know how to do it. So for an example, have a look at the link to BNET that I posted yesterday morning to a handy resource for Prospect Qualification.

Note well how they have worked out a simple decision tree and each step is small enough to do.

The General Idea

This is not a new idea at all. We often break complex jobs into small steps.

We are not, however, making information chunks small for the sake of it.  If we do, we are in danger of disemboding information and rendering it unintelligible.

But feed forward and feedback must come in ‘glanceable’ amounts – like the speedometer on our car. The information must arrive at exactly the point that we need it (not at exactly the point Head Office feels like sending it!)

Our Overall Goal

To think in networked terms, I want to reach everyone one of my fans and I want to reach potential fans – the friends of my friends.

So I have to think like Twitter.   Not only do I keep my messages under 140 chars, I allow for the RT and keep them even shorter!  After all, they are 5 times more likely to be read when they come from a close friend.

The technicalities are easy, it is the substance that counts.

The technicalities can be learned quickly enough. What is harder to work out is when and where people need information.

And the viral potential of the message

Hairdressers are often very good at txting reminders for appointments.

What we need too are messages that will go to the “end of the line.” What are we likely to retweet because we want other people to know that information too?

My local deli for example, could tweet its specials to customers who have requested tweets. That makes it easy for me to retweet and invite someone to lunch.

Hack for the 2nd rule

For each customer group that we have identified in 1a and judged to be a qualified prospect in 1b, we can ask:

  • What information do they need from us to organize themselves with people around them?
  • What is their purpose when they use my message?

Isn’t that why we love resources so much?  They become a lego block in a project of our own.

Recap of the 2nd rule

So we need to go back to the scenarios for defining our fans in 1a and think again.  Do we know what our potential customer is trying to achieve?

When we do, communicating is ever so easy.

(And it is so hard, when we try to jump steps.  Find time this weekend to work on your scenarios!  You can do them in the shower, in a walk in the woods, while waiting for your daughter to finish ballet class!).

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NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - JUNE 14:  Music fans ...
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Laying out your social media campaign

Yesterday morning, I posted 10 Sun Tzu rules for the networked world.  These are 10 questions to guide our social media strategy – beginning with describing our fans and ending, with  issues which confuse the fans and which we need to address.

Startups have special issues

Start-ups struggle, or rather panic on the first question.  Who is my fan?  I know who speaks to me now, and I have a vague idea about who I want to speak to – and there is a biiiiiiiiig gap.

Pupils dilate.  Heart pounds.

How can we define the fans we have never met?

All is not lost.  We have a hack.

Last night, I posted a really simple way to imagine speaking to that customer that we haven’t met yet.

It’s a really good technqiue for describing fans and customers we hope to have but don’t have yet.

Get our scenario-writing going

Try it.  Get rid of that anxious feeling !

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can  imagine the scenarios.

Once you are imagining meeting your customers, you can start defining your sales process

Once you can imagine your customers, the next important step is to figure out who is ready to buy.  And if they are ready to buy, do they have the money and when will they have the money?

Finding the best customers

For those of us not from a sales background, approaching customers is seriously intimidating and meeting with dead-ends is disheartening.

BNET came timeously to the rescue yesterday.  Here is their step-by-step “prospect qualification” system.

It breaks these larger 4 questions into baby steps.

  1. Do they need what you sell?
  2. Do they have the money to pay?
  3. Who does the buyer have to consult and who makes the final decision?
  4. When might they buy and what determines when they might buy?

It’s a very good idea to take one of the fans you described and step through these questions.

The questions seem to loop into each other towards the end so just revert to the pages 1-17 and click throught to the end!

Making progress?

Is this coming together for you?  It should be.  Do let me know!

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