Tag Archives: value

Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die!

I bet you hate to make cold calls. Thankfully, over the last ten years or more, you didn’t need to cold call, market, or sell much to win your share of contracts or profitable work. The phone just kept ringing and you stayed busy. You also like it when potential customers call you with jobs to bid or propose on. This ‘old school’ marketing plan of letting your reputation speak for itself and waiting for referrals to grow your business used to work. Now it doesn’t.

In today’s tough work environment, that old school marketing plan doesn’t work. So in the new normal of less work and more competition, you need to make outbound sales calls and implement a marketing system to keep your pipeline full of potential projects to bid. The following is my simple marketing system that doesn’t require cold calls. Instead, it’s more like a form of that Chinese water torture you saw in the old movies — Drip! Drip! Drip! I call it: ‘Bug ‘Em Til They Buy or Die!’

‘Bug ‘Em Til The Buy Or Die’ marketing system:
1. Create Awareness Of Your Company
2. Pique Potential Customer’s Interest
3. Stay at Top of Customer’s Mind
4. Generate Inquiry
5. Get Belly To Belly / Face To Face
6. Convert a Bid or Proposal Into a Contract
7. Develop Customer Relationships
8. Get Referrals

The 8 step ‘Bug ‘Em ‘Til They Buy Or Die’ marketing system is designed to move the prospective customer through all eight marketing steps without a single cold call. The goal of this system is to get potential customers TO CALL YOU versus you calling them.

The ‘Bug ‘Em’ system builds an AWARENESS of your company and what you can DO for customers over a period of time. Drip! Awareness is based upon the ‘Rule of Seven.’

The Rule Of Seven
You must have at least seven contacts with a potential customer before they:
– Remember YOUR NAME
– Feel they KNOW YOU
– TRUST you
– Will TAKE ANY ACTION towards you

To grow both our construction and speaking businesses, we use the trusted U.S. postal service to make potential customers AWARE of us. Drip! We mail something to everyone on our mailing list at least 4 times per year. Drip! Drip! Once is not enough and we don’t just mail any old boring piece of mail. We send creative, different, unique, fun, factual, caring, and informative articles, photos, postcards, white papers, mini-brochures, checklists, and guides. We use a professional design firm to keep our image consistent. Orange and blue are our colors. Everyone recognizes our orange hardhat or our blueprint background on every piece of mail we send out. Drip! Drip! Drip! Now you’re creating and building AWARENESS. Everything you send out must do one of three things:

– Pique customer INTEREST
– Create a Perception of VALUE
– Reinforce customer RELATIONSHIP

To pique customer INTEREST, you must send out something different, crazy, funny, eye catching, bold or unique. You want to stand out from the crowd and make a statement. Try to be clever, creative, and fun enough to create the ‘WOW!’ factor. Never send those same old throw-away pens, ball caps, and notepads like everyone else. If you send out cheap stuff or tacky give-aways, your potential customers will think you’re cheap, have low standards, and not financially strong enough to handle their work. Send professionally created materials that consistently reflect your image. Quality counts.

Match your mail-outs to your customer targets. We use a newsletter that looks like a blueprint for our construction customers. But to attract bank investors we use traditional white stationary with blue ink. On a mailing to lawyers we sent out messages on legal pads and when we mail to meeting planners, we use a theme based on helping them make THEIR meeting a success. To attract investors for real estate development projects, we send out aerial photos of the neighborhood along with pictures and renderings packaged in typical real estate folders. Potential customers respond to the familiar.

To peak their INTEREST we also rotate mailing out cartoons, jokes, small hardhats, mini CDs or DVDs, estimating grid notepads, paper clip holders, coffee cups with hammer handles, business card holders, post-it notes, golf tees, golf ball markers, and American flags on the 4th of July! Once we mailed envelopes full of nails with the banner: “When can we nail down your next job?”! Last year I sent postcards from Maui, Hawaii with the note: “Thanks to my loyal customers for sending me skiing. I appreciate your business!” The best things to mail are items that pack flat, play big, and will not be thrown away. Don’t forget to put your name and logo on all of your ‘Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die’ mail.

Only send what your customer:
1. Will READ
2. Needs TO KNOW
3. WANTS
4. WILL KEEP

Remember your goal is not only to create INTEREST, but to create the right kind of interest in YOU. Be sure that your mail creates the right perception of VALUE about your company ans how it does business. You have to tell your potential customers what you want THEM to REMEMBER ABOUT YOU. Don’t assume customers know what you know about you. To show potential customer targets we were more than a small “local” company, we sent out maps indicating our project locations covering a 100-mile radius. To show we were qualified in a new business market, we sent out photos and resumes of key managers with years of experience in this “new for us” area. To create the perception of fast service, we mailed out “On-Time Schedulers” and photos of projects with the headline: “Another Successful Fast-Track Project”. Decide what perception of VALUE you want to present to your customers and tell them about it – OVER & OVER & OVER! Continue reading

Be On Purpose! Be On Target!

FACE REALITY

I sent this email to the President of a company I am consulting with. See if it can help your thinking during the slow economy.

1. Whether or not the note comes due doesn’t change anything for the next few months. The money is still due and deserves a return. More investment money will only enable you to limp along longer without accountability.

2. The economy is not an excuse for 4 years of no growth and no profits. The purpose of every successful company is to grow and make a profit. The more sales and profit, the more valuable the company.

3. The sole purpose of a real company is not to sell it, but to grow it. Entrepreneurs grow companies. Small business owners own a company that barely makes them a living.

4. CEO’s of companies who don’t steadily increase the value of their stock and/or grow their revenue get replaced fast. No excuses. They make it happen or find another job.

5. The meeting we had was the same meeting we have had at least 4 times over two years:  

  • No growth and not profit.
  • No positive sales results.
  • Not enough sales activity or impact to attract new customers.
  • For whatever reason, you have not hired more sales people to close enough leads

As you know, I study entrepreneurs and small business owners. 95% of them get stuck and can’t grow beyond a certain level that leaves them short of successful. Good intentions, hard workers, work 80 hours / week, care about their product, and very convinced their way is the best and only way. But these 95% of all small businesses don’t move beyond the owner’s ability to control all the work. This keeps them stuck at a level they can’t get beyond. They don’t know what to do next except try to work harder themselves. They get frustrated when questioned because they value working hard over getting results. They never can find any good help they can afford. They are slow to hire new people who will help them grow the company. They don’t put strong people around themselves because they think they cost too much. They can’t let go, can’t delegate, and micro-mange everything that happens every day.

The only way to break the cycle is for the owner to change their habits or be replaced by another manager who knows how to manage instead of doing the work. For example, my friend has started 6 companies and eventually gets replaced or fired by the investors when the company gets stuck. With new direction and leadership, the company gets back on track.

Now what is your solution?
I DON’T want to Survive for another year. You have a great product that saves companies money. The economy is not the reason for the lack of sales. It is a lack of enough excellent and qualified people selling. You can’t do it alone with weak players surrounding yourself. You must reshuffle your staff to make way for at least 1 more fully qualified sales closer to get the revenue back on track. Time is too short to hope for a big deal or another loan to bail you out for another 6 months. I will close this rant with one of my quotes:

“The results you get are a direct indicator of the leader of an organization.”

It is time to face reality. What BIG change do YOU need to make (and your company) to get different results.