Tag Archives: marketing

When a Customer Outgrows You

There is nothing that quite matches the excitement of landing your first really big customer. It often brings with it the confidence that comes with knowing, really knowing, that you can compete in the big leagues. There could be the added security of … Continue reading

Posted in Customer Relations, Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Sales, Sales, Strategy and Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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Never Fire a Salesperson

The majority of business owners prefer linking pay to employee performance. The sales role in most businesses is the easiest and most obvious place to begin. Yet owners struggle with compensating salespeople in a manner that is affordable while still driving sustained performance. Building … Continue reading

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Incentives, Managing Employees, Marketing and Sales, Sales, Strategy and Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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Invisible Discounts

In the words of the late, great Father Guido Sarducci of Saturday Night Live fame; “I canna teach you everything you need to know about business inna fiva minutes. You buya something, and thena you sell it for more.” A … Continue reading

Posted in Customer Relations, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Marketing and Sales, Sales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Invisible Discounts

  1. Good article, and I agree completely.

    A discount is an incredibly expensive give away as it comes straight out of your bottom line. Every penny is additional profit you could be making, and to give away anything you don’t need simply amounts to charity. This is even more damaging when it is what I call a Post-Sale Discount – one you voluntarily offer after the customer has already agreed to buy.

    I saw this in all its destructive glory with a client of mine who owned an upscale optical store. He was always complaining about the pressure on his margins and never made the kind of profits he should. We analyzed his problem up and down, but it wasn’t until I bought a pair of glasses from him that I saw the root cause of the problem.

    I picked out what I wanted from his inventory and knew the price for both the frames and the lenses before I was measured up. I was happy with the price, but when the time came to pay, he suddenly took 10% off . This took place without any prompting on my part, and I probed into his sales process in a way that I hadn’t thought about before.

    It wasn’t just because of our relationship, and it turned out that he did this on virtually every sale. He couldn’t really explain why he did it and while he root causes might lie in a general lack of business confidence, it had simply become a habit that had been integrated into his sales process. His other salespeople followed his lead and the practice was costing him substantial lost profits.

    In my case, the sale was $1,000. His gross margin of about 50%, which after overhead probably would have generated a net profit of about 10%. After the discount, his gross margin fell to 40% but his net profit on the transaction after fixed overhead actually disappears, making the transaction a break-even!

  2. cathy locke says:

    I find this interesting. I am finally at a point where I can honestly give a quote, but I always need time to figure all areas for the final proposal and then I make sure I record all parts of the quote so I don’t end up giving added materials for free. I am a small business, so with experience and time, I will probably have to learn the hard way at times.
    Thanks for the blogs!
    Cathy

  3. Cathy Locke says:

    I agree and I am going to meet with my Mentor today to make some adjustments, I know I am giving discounts and for a small business , I cannot do that. Thanks, great reply.

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Marketing for Trust

Why are car dealer commercials so crappy? I’m not talking about the manufacturers’ ads. Those cost millions and have big-name professional spokespeople. The regional marketing association ads aren’t quite as flashy, but Ford Truck Month or End of Year sales for the … Continue reading

Posted in Customer Relations, Marketing, Marketing and Sales, Sales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Marketing for Trust

  1. jim marshall says:

    There may be merit to what you claim as to earning trust by doing what everyone else does. But I believe you might also be passed over….similar to a billboard that is there everyday but becomes so much a part of the landscape it isn’t noticed. Being different can at least get you noticed…then it is up to you and your message to earn trust.

  2. All true, but this is mediocrity. Maybe there is another way as video has become so much more accessible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI

  3. John Hyman says:

    The goal of marketing is to establishing top of mind awareness- the kind of awareness where the target audience thinks of your brand before they open their browser. So if the target audience cannot tell the chaff from the wheat because everything looks and feels the same, the marketer is placing the fate of his/her marketing budget on search engine results. Or playing a huge timing game.

    The real reason automotive dealerships (as only one of many examples) fall into the same tired marketing rut is because it’s human nature to stick with what you’ve always done. They continually rely on marketing agencies with a specialty in their space, instead of seeking out an agency with a fresh point of view; it’s comfortable, and seemingly low risk because, well, they are rich and it’s gotten them to this point, hasn’t it?

    Besides pioneering something new is risky… and change is scary. (Insert Einstein’s most famous quite here).

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“Everyone has Gotten So Rude!”

Not too long ago, I was leading a group of business owners in a discussion. These were not my peer board members, but rather owners at a breakfast, none of whom I’d met before. To start the conversation, I asked … Continue reading

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Sales, Sales | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

6 Responses to “Everyone has Gotten So Rude!”

  1. Phyllis Pickard says:

    It is true that we don’t see cold call sales people, but we do try to treat them courteously.

  2. Mike Havel says:

    Interesting and so true. The World has changed! When I started in sales in 1979, I use to park my car in an industrial area, and walk the block making cold calls. I do not believe that would work in today’s world.

    Just like a lot of us grew up with an open chain link fence or no fence at all. We all knew our neighbors.

    Today most fences are tall wooded structures that are not open to your neighbors to see in, and a lot of us never see or know our neighbors.

    I agree that most of my calls today are “warm calls”. Either the customer found us on the web and ask to see us, or I connect with a referral or follow up from a show.

    However I do miss the FUN of making cold calls. Use to learn a lot about an area and meet new and interesting people.

    Mike
    .

  3. Jim Edholm says:

    I began selling in 1964. From day #1 – based on the sales book used at my Monsanto sales training course, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Sales” by Frank Bettger – I always worked by appointment out of respect for the other person’s time. I felt that just “dropping by” suggested that the CEO or Purchasing Agent had little to do besides entertain me.

    That said, when I would call for appointments, I usually got a somewhat friendly reception and an appointment.

    In 1975 I changed to selling estate planning/financial planning just like your subject in your opening story. We called on business owners – valuable, illiquid assets like a business need cash, i.e. insurance, to pay estate taxes at death. WHen I made that switch, also moving to New England from the Midwest at the time, I found an ENTIRELY different atmosphere – hostile, suspicious, defensive, closed off.

    Since then it’s only gotten worse. Coward that I am, I now employ a telemarketer to “sell” initial telephone consultations. Easier appointment to get, somewhat less productive than face-to-face.

  4. Mike Wright says:

    As pointed out, the Internet has changed so much. It used to be that sales calls were an important source of information. Now we are constantly bombarded with information, and the challenge is on filtering most of it out. Which comes across as abrupt or rude. We have been trained the we can search for what we need when we need it. Knowing exactly what we are looking for has become the challenge.

  5. Jeff Ostroff says:

    Our distribution business requires cold calling. We get no where with phone calls and little with emails, so we go to the prospects. In food service this has not become entirely unexpected. We apologize for interrupting, introduce ourselves, leave a card, ask for a card and a future appointment. Rarely are we treated poorly and the results are still worthwhile.

    • John F. Dini says:

      I agree, Jeff. The restaurant industry – perhaps due to the more hectic nature of mealtime rush and lulls combined with the “hospitality” aspect of greeting everyone as a potential customer, is one of those where cold calling is still effective and expected.

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