Power Collaboration

I just had a great meeting with Steven Nichols, CEO of OPV, about the power of video and the use of social media to build a business. Steven is a tremendous asset to the business community when it comes to teaching them how to build a following online.

On my way home I started to think about the power of collaboration.  When you get two or more professionals which are enthusiastic about what they do and have a passion for helping others  then you can really create some powerful momentum. (Power Collaboration)

What is your passion?  I dare you to find another passionate person this week and to sit and collaborate on how your passion can help theirs and watch what happens… 

Good Luck and enjoy the ride.

Audience is King

Remember Audience is King.

When was it that small business owners jumped on that wave of social media and Internet marketing? Maybe they still are jumping on the huge swell of movement. I thought today I would just a little nugget from my media buying experience, so that we all get a small reminder that in the end the Audience is what matters most. That might be a simple over statement but in the past two years I have seen plenty of business owners jump from wave to wave following the excitement of the movement, forgetting that they have to still create the audience.
I am a firm believer that all media works. I believe every advertiser that makes a valid offer to the end consumer will get results. So how do you decide where to invest your marketing budget?
Knowing that most of the time the business owner is buying the salesperson more than the product let me suggest that you ask your marketing advisor to explain the audience you are receiving. How is that audience different from the audience you are currently receiving? Is my current audience wrong? Often I find business owners willing to sacrifice audience for price. This can create short-term rewards but in the long run ends up hurting the momentum of your business.
Let me give you an example that I had first hand experience with; I worked with a medium sized furniture Store in Boise Idaho in the mid 90’s that had a very diverse marketing portfolio. They ran heavy print and TV marketing weekly and were regarded as one of the top 2 furniture stores in the marketplace. One quarter they decided to drop their newspaper advertising completely and expand their TV and radio buys because the stations got very aggressive and gave them a large volume of additional coverage. What do you think happened? They had just transferred from the largest audience base to several smaller bases in order to save cost.
After the first two weeks they started to see a real decline in foot traffic, they had just left behind the largest audience base in the community, newspaper readers, and they were used to seeing an ad with the weekly specials. After a month the store manager told me they had had there worst month of sales in over five years. After 6 weeks business had reached all time low levels. They contacted the newspaper and began advertising again ASAP. However the recovery was not quick, the store had lost market share to its competitors in a short six week window that took them over one year to recapture.

The audience size vs the audience quality, which is more important fro your business? I would suggest to you that is an unanswerable question in a forum like this. See it depends on your goals and objectives as a business owner.
Are you willing to sacrifice foot traffic in order to bring in only the best traffic? What would your business look like today if you only brought in your best customers? Could you survive if the not so perfect customer stopped calling?

Before you make that next marketing decision, stop and ask yourself what audience am I receiving for my investment? You might even want to compare that to other media and do the simple equation of (Cost/ audience = Cost per person) in order to evaluate the true value of the pricing model in front of you. Is it really that good of deal?

Power of Psychology Selling

I have been following a link on Linkedin that has asked the question; “how would you fix the economy?” That just seems to be a great question for our business community. Recently I had the privilege of meeting with a small business owner in Reno, which has enjoyed a great life cycle of success in her business. She made the most interesting statement about how bad our economic climate had become, she said “ I don’t have sales people calling on me any longer.”
I was stunned at first by this revelation, as she proceeded to describe how sales people have stopped calling because the manufactures have stopped making items for them to sell. Which bring to light my question, “The chicken before the egg or …..”
How do we fix this economy? How about we sell our way out of it. Create demand and the factories will start making those wonderful widgets, creating more jobs, creating more income, creating more sales, and creating more demand… I love that circle of life. Ok I know that is simplistic approach to a very real problem, however it begs to be asked, where are all the sales people? Have we lost our sales talent or have we created sales mangers, which can’t motivate and encourage in this business climate?
About 12 years ago I read a book by DR. Orv. Owens, The Psychology of Relationship Selling, that I believe needs to come back to the reading list for most sales manager and sales people. I have seen so many sales managers in the past five years revert to cookie cutter sales management tactics, not accounting for the personalities they hired. They make the mistake that believing sales people can all be motivated and encouraged to find success in the same manner. Sale mangers have forgotten that their primary client is their sales people. Have you ever worked with a sales person that was great at the sales when they did not believe in the product, company or manager?
I the last 7 years I have worked with three fantastic sales companies in the Newspaper industry. I myself have struggled to keep my focus on my sales people and have got caught up in looking at the bottom line. Recently I left the newspaper business over this very topic, as I challenged the practices of a fellow manager in the way sales people needed to be motivated and trained. There are a lot of issues in our market place that are making sales more challenging, and bottom lines increasingly challenging to make. However the simple fact is that salespeople, employees and customers are complex personalities that cannot be taught, motivated, encouraged or sold to the same way. We must understand the psychology of the staff, the individual and how it relates to the end goal.
So I ask you, how do we get the economy moving? Evaluate the practices internally, take the pulse of the sales team, Invest in the people that will make a difference, empower them and motivate them as individuals then you can inspire greatness from the team. In these economic times we need great salespeople and managers that can empower them to be their best.