Starbucks has rolled out their red cups so I guess it’s official, right? The holiday season has begun. (And I love it!) But it’s also the time of year where we’re assaulted with offers everywhere we look. Everybody’s eager to sell, something.
Image courtesy Weedezign / Shutterstock.com
And whether you’re hoping to make some extra holiday sales in the next two months, or you’d like to just sell anything, anytime, there’s one question I want you to ask yourself, as you make your sales pitch.
Two months ago I launched my third online program, inviting my readers to join The Boardroom as a Charter Member. Today, I want to share with you the results of that launch, three learnings you need to consider for your business growth, and where I’m going with The Boardroom from here (get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor!) Because my original plans for The Boardroom have changed. I’m excited about it and I think you will be too.
So here’s the deal. I didn’t hit my membership goal for The Boardroom’s Charter Membership. If you want to be an optimist (I am!) we had half as many members as I’d hoped for…but a realist would say, yeah, that was actually a third.
Now, pay close attention…
It’s a crisp fall morning. The sun is just peeking over the foothills and you’re headed out to the lake, black coffee in your Thermos, ready to shoot some ducks. You set up your decoys, dig in to your blind and start calling the birds in.
….here they come!
You point your gun into the sky and start firing randomly.
How d’ya think that’s gonna work out for you?
I’m no duck hunter (or anything-hunter) but my hubby is. And what he’ll tell you about hunting ducks is what you and I both need to CONSTANTLY revisit in our business.
Why would a headache persist after you took a one-cent aspirin but disappear when you took a fifty-cent aspirin? When you come across a new product, do you accept the first price that you’re presented with? Whether you say yes or no…does that first price you saw have a long-term effect on your willingness to pay for the product in the future?
These are some of the many questions answered in a fascinating book I just finished, Predictably Irrational. The author poses the question:
When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we’re making smart, rational choices. But are we?
The answer will surprise you, because it’s not as easy as a simple yes or no. And there are many ways these findings could affect your business.
There’s a recurring theme I hear frequently when talking with people who have a business, or have a great idea and want to start a business. Whether they want more customers, more sales, or simply to launch, it tends to sound something like, “I have so much to do,” “I don’t know where to start,” and “How do I get it out there?”
I’m a big fan of roadmaps; it’s how I think. What are the steps to take to get from where I am today to where I want to be? After creating a partner development roadmap (that is living far beyond my time at Microsoft), I started thinking about what my roadmap would look like for BizFarmer, or really any business. I’ve been working on this for a while, and had just about decided it was probably something that you would find helpful too.
And then last Saturday, a dear friend was expressing her frustration with not making the shift in her business that she wants to make, because she just can’t visualize exactly how it looks. She said to me, “I need a roadmap.” (Ok, message received!)
So this is for you if you’ve ever had thoughts similar to the people I mentioned earlier. Are you ready to get your business out there?
The last few months I’ve been spending a good chunk of time working with our church. The goal? To attract customers and make sales of course. OH wait no, that’s your goal! But you’d probably be surprised at how many similarities there are in what I’m doing with the church, and what I would do for you.
I’ll give you some examples shortly but the bottom line is this:
You’ve got to smoke what you’re selling.
Last week we launched my husband’s new business. We kicked it off spending a couple hundred dollars on Facebook advertising, to invite fans to like his page. And we’ll probably spend a few hundred more. Why would we do that when you can’t really pin an ROI on those dollars? You’re not the only one to ask that. From other clients, to family friends and even an MBA bearing corporate colleague, I’ve explained our strategy often over the last couple of weeks.
We’re simply combining permission marketing with sales management. In Seth Godin’s book Permission Marketing, he explains it as simply turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers. And if you’ve ever carried a sales quota or managed a sales team, you know that you have to have a considerably larger pipeline of opportunity than what you actually need to close, to hit your number. If you combine the two (and I added a category) this is what you get:
With Ken’s business, for now we’re using Facebook as the way to invite strangers into the funnel. They become followers as they get to know him through the things he shares on Facebook. When his podcast launches next month, we’ll invite them to listen and subscribe to it (for free of course). This will give him the opportunity to turn those followers into friends – by providing entertainment and value through his podcast.
And then, once they know him better, and he knows them better, he’ll make a product available for purchase. Because they know, like and trust him, it’ll be a natural fit.
It’s like how I feel about Under Armour. Or Michael Hyatt. Pretty much anything they come up with, I’ll buy. (Although I do restrain myself with Under Armour so as not to break the bank!)
I bet it’s even easier for you, than Ken. You probably already have a service or product you’re selling. So look at the diagram again.
How are you pulling strangers into your sales funnel?
How can you reach out to people you know you can serve, and invite them into your circle? (Remember, it’s your job to get out there and tell people how you benefit them. It’s not their job to find you.)
Last week I took some time off to spend spring break with my little kindergartner (why don’t we grown-ups get a mandatory spring break too? Think about how much good it would provide towards the mental health of our country!) Anyway, my husband and I took the time to enjoy a much overdue movie night. We chose The Wolf of Wall Street despite its daunting three-hour length, because it looked interesting and also because my former boss actually knew the real “Wolf” (it’s based on a true story).
Image courtesy Helga Esteb/Shutterstock.com
Now, please don’t take this as a movie recommendation because although fascinating, it was rated “R” for a reason…which I did not realize, heading into it. Nonetheless the insight into lifestyle of the uber wealthy (and greedy?) was interesting and I’m sure you could draw a lot of lessons from it.
There’s one simple one though that I wanted to highlight today, which comes about when Jordan (the “Wolf”), hands his pen to his fledgling crew of newbie salesmen and says, “Sell me this pen.”
If I was to hand you a pen and ask you the same question, how would you respond?