Category Archives: Marketing and Sales

April 2017 Newsletter – The 5 Tools for Taking Your Company to the Next Level

The 5 Tools for Taking Your Company to the Next Level

Recently I met with a client who has a multi-million-dollar company, regarding the future of their business. Over the past few years they have tripled their revenue and they have big plans to take their organization to the next level.

As we discussed their plans, the close interrelationship between a company’s Marketing and Sales area and its Production area became very clear. In our Business and Innovation consulting firm, Fountainhead Consulting Group, Inc. we refer to this relationship as “talking a good game, versus playing a good game”. Furthermore, it must be recognized and understood is that there is a chicken-and-egg syndrome between your Marketing and Sales area and your Production area.

Seizing Economic Opportunities

Currently there is a lot economic opportunity in the world and this is reflected in a high degree of optimism for growth in the minds of many business owners. To avail Small Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgiaoneself of these potential rewards, it is wise to consider whether a company is ready go to the next level.

The Structure of Success™ methodology and diagram that we use in working with organizations shows that the Vision and Leadership area of your organization leads to your Marketing and Sales area, and that in turn leads to your Production area – how you produce your product or service. A foundational component of both your Marketing and Sales and Production areas is determining and fully developing the attractiveness of your product or service in light of the opportunity that is presented to you via your target Marketing and Sales market.

Marketing and Sales/Production Chicken-and-Egg Syndrome

The above chicken-and-egg syndrome comes into play because – how do you know what you can bring to the marketplace with regards to the attractiveness of your product or service, (talking a good game) without first working on your Production area to determine how you plan to follow through and actually play a good game?

In reality, it is your expertise in delivering your product or service that should drive your Marketing and Sales area. This requires an organization to figure out how it will meet its greater customer’s expectations before it engages in the effort to create these increased demands via its expanded Marketing and Sales efforts.

Taking Your Company to the Next Level

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GeorgiaWhile it is easy to say “oh yeah, we can take our company to the next level”, a prudent business owner and their management team should do a thorough assessment as to whether they have the systems in place to handle the anticipated growth. Using a baseball metaphor, does the company have the systems and personnel in place to move from “A” ball, to “AA”, to “AAA” and maybe on to the Major League? Can you realistically compete with the other teams (your competition) in the new league in which you want to play?

An evaluation of your Production area involves reviewing your capabilities so you can figure out a go-forward game plan. There are five areas that should be evaluated, namely:

  1. Your Product Cost/Price

Will scaling your business develop a production cost advantage that will enable you to sell your product or service at a lower price than your competition? If this part of your growth strategy, have you done customer surveys regarding pricing to determine whether it is a significant buying criteria?

 2. Your Product Quality

In taking your company to the next level, can you maintain or develop a superior quality product? Or is there a risk that the quality of your product or service may degrade as a result of growing your company?

3. Your Delivery Time or Convenience

The third factor to consider is whether your growth plans will improve your delivery time (via a faster production cycle) or make you more convenient than your Small Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgiacompetition (more locations or closer to your customer)? Before embarking on a strategy to improve one or both of these areas, it is critical to have done customer surveys to determine whether getting your product or service more quickly or more conveniently is a significant buying criterion?

4. Your Customer Service

You need to assess how your customer service will be impacted by your growth plans. Do you have the systems in place to maintain your current level of customer service or could you provide even a higher level of customer service by improving your systems and personnel?

 5. Your Product/Service Uniqueness

The final question to ask is whether your plans to scale you company can produce some unique feature of your product or service? This uniqueness could manifest itself in several ways. Through increased R & D, could you develop products that have patent or copyright protection? Or, could you develop a design feature that makes your product or service different from your competition?

To assure yourself that your organization is ready for and capable of your desired growth, Production systems must be put in place that will either maintain or improve the above five areas. Otherwise, the organization’s reputation will be undermined as a result of expanding its marketing and sales efforts (“talking a good game) without first putting the necessary ingredients in place to “play a good game”.

If you need assistance with getting your company ready to go to the next level, please contact us using the below information so we can show you how to create a strategic competitive advantage for your company as a result of properly evaluating the above five areas and then translating them to your Marketing and Sales efforts.

Fountainhead Consulting Group, Inc. is an Innovation and Business Planning firm. During the past 17 years we have shown over 1,200 companies how to achieve their goals by using our unique, comprehensive and systematic, innovation, business planning and growth Structure of Success™, Innovation Academy™ and FastTrak Innovation Program™ methodologies. Using the components in these methodologies, each month we examine an aspect of how to transform your business or organization into a true 21st Century operation.

Office phone: (770) 642-4220                                             

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

George.Horrigan@FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

March 2017 Newsletter – 5 Steps to Beating Your Competition Through Branding

5 Steps to Beating Your Competition Through Branding

Do you want to generate ever increasing profits in your business? Would you like to separate your business from its competition and eliminate comparison shopping? Wouldn’t it be great to have instant name recognition for your business?

You can obtain all of the above and more by developing a powerful and attractive brand for your business!

The Importance of Branding

The textbook definition of a brand is the name or symbol used to identify and distinguish a specific product or business. A brand is the overall image or Small Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgiavalue statement you are trying to create in the market for your product or business.

But, why is having a brand image important?

Developing and communicating a brand reduces the perceived risk to your customer of making a purchase decision. With a strong brand identity, your customer feels that your product or business has a known identity, thereby reducing the uncertainty and risk they face compared to purchasing another product.

We see the substantiation of strong brands in the 2016 study by Brandz of the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. Some of the top brands were Google, Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, Facebook and VISA and as a result they are able to dominate their respective marketplaces and achieve the aforementioned results.

The Results of Branding

As companies focus on developing their brand identities one can see the results right in front of them, particularly when they incorporate an impactful and memorable tagline into their brand.

For instance, Arby’s restaurants has developed “We have the meats” into great name recognition. The Sandals Resorts brand of “luxury included” communicates that it provides serene blue water, white sand and casual fun in the sun. Lastly, regional fast-food chain Zaxby’s has developed the brand of a having fast-food experience that is cut above other fast-food chains with great food images in their commercials and the tagline that their food is “indescribably good”.

How would your life be different if you could charge a premium for your product (I will use the term “product” to include services in this article)? Additionally, people want to work for an organization that is going places so what would it be like to have employees jump at the opportunity to work for your business?

The Benefit of Successful Branding

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GeorgiaYour brand (defined as “the name used to identify and distinguish a specific product or business”) starts with psychological connection to your market and continues on to the actual experience that a customer has with your product or business.

The psychological brand identification is created in the mind of your target audience by your marketing program; its intention is to create the expectations in your customer’s mind that your product’s quality surpasses or is better suited for their needs than that of your competitors’. The experiential aspect includes the combination of all interactions with your business or its product. This is what is known as their “brand experience.”

The Power of Branding

Having a recognized brand is one of the most beneficial and powerful elements in your marketing plan providing unique marketing opportunities to your business and your product.

The power of branding is that it sets an expectation in the mind of your customer of what they will experience with your product or business.

A brand is the overall image or value statement you are trying to create in the marketplace for your product or business. It is what you want to be known for. Your brand should be what you are famous for; such as having the best hamburger in town or phenomenal customer service.

If this expected experience becomes a known commodity in the marketplace you will be able to catapult your product or company ahead of your competition. The ultimate level in branding is that you are perceived as the only one that does what you do, thus eliminating all of your competition.

Branding is for Organizations of All Sizes

Bear in mind that you don’t have to be a big business to develop a brand. Branding is available to any business – it is just the size of brand area that Small Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgiachanges. The scope of your brand could be your city, county, region, state, section of a country, the entire country, or worldwide.

Let me share three local brand success stories in the North Atlanta area where I live.

  • Alpine Bakery developed a reputation for exquisite desserts, expanded to a much larger location, and started a companion, co-located restaurant, while still supplying desserts to various other restaurants.
  • A local restaurant developed the image of an upscale diner with a very impressive menu, desserts to “die for,” and a unique logo to establish a string of diners – Diner at North Point, the Diner at Sugar Hill, etc.
  • Reliable Heating & Air used its great reputation, marketing savvy, and brand message to expand into plumbing, electrical and home performance, all branded with the “Reliable” name.

Five Steps to Developing Your Brand

There are five steps to fully developing a brand:

  1. Determine your intended brand identity
  2. Validate your brand identity by asking questions of your prospects and customers such as:
    1. What do they think when they hear about or see your business or product brand?
    2. How do they describe your business or product brand to others?
  3. Fully develop your branding by making changes to your brand based upon step 2.
  4. Determine how you want to communicate your brand to your target audience.
  5. Implement the marketing and promotion of your brand throughout all of your marketing materials and efforts.

Begin today to build your brand recognition by analyzing your business’ strengths and weaknesses and the message you are currently communicating to your market. Then make the necessary changes so that your target audience has a positive brand image of your business firmly etched in their mind.

In this way, you will create a business that can charge a premium for its products, grow its profits, differentiate itself from its competition, gain instant name recognition, and attract good employees. Who knows? You may grow your brand reach to your county, state, country or the world in a few short years.

If you need assistance with fully developing your Brand Image, please contact us using the below information so we can show you how beat your competition and separate your business from the rest of the pact via your Brand Strategy.

Fountainhead Consulting Group, Inc. is an Innovation and Business Planning firm. During the past 17 years we have shown over 1,200 companies how to achieve their goals by using our unique, comprehensive and systematic, innovation, business planning and growth Structure of Success™, Innovation Academy™ and FastTrak Innovation Program™ methodologies. Using the components in these methodologies, each month we examine an aspect of how to transform your business or organization into a true 21st Century operation.

Office phone: (770) 642-4220                                             

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

George.Horrigan@FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

February 2017 Newsletter – Creating Experiences Worth Repeating for Your Customer

Creating Experiences Worth Repeating for Your Customer

While at an event recently, I was talking with a Senior VP of Marketing of a Fortune 1000 company and the topic of keeping customers satisfied and happy came up. They went on to share their company was so committed to building long-lasting customer relationships that several years ago they hired a VP of Customer Relations to be the “voice of the customer” within their company.

Shortly thereafter, the actual VP of Customer Relations joined our conversation. As we chatted I shared that our firm has done a lot of work in the area of Customer Experience Improvement and that we described the objective that organizations should shoot for as – Creating Experiences Worth Repeating™. That is, you want to create experiences for your customer that are so good, they can’t wait to do them again. That is how repeat sales and customer referrals are generated.

In working with customers, the most important action is to meet or fulfill their perceived need. However, almost as crucial is the overall experience they have in interacting with your organization.

Satisfying Versus Unsatisfying Experiences

We have all had many experiences where our wants or needs were met, but the overall experience ranged from less than desirable to awful.

The fast food restaurant that was anything but fast, although we did eat. The car repair that cost us more than the car was worth, though the car now runs again. The home repair job that had to be repaired another time. The vacation experience that was anything but relaxing. The tool or appliance purchase that was a trying experience. The meal at a fine dining restaurant that was not a great experience – food but not much else.

Think back to the last time that on a 1 to 10 scale, you personally as a customer had a 10 or even an 11 experience. How did you feel? Did you tell others about the company? Did you become their advocate, not just their satisfied customer?

An Incredible Customer Experience

In working with one of our clients several years ago they shared an incredible example of Creating Experiences Worth Repeating™.

I live in Atlanta, Georgia and a couple of years ago we had a summer with a number of days over 100 degrees (which is very, very unusual for us). So people’s air conditioning was regularly breaking down.

One of our clients is a very large HVAC company and one of their sales people was out completing an order for a man in the hot sun one afternoon. As the sales person was finishing up the order, an elderly neighbor came running across the street saying something empathically – so the sales person thought “this is just what I don’t need.

As the neighbor approached them he said “you have to buy from who I got mine from”. As it turned out, the neighbor had bought their air conditioner from the same company – our client’s company. The sales person was greatly heartened.

Our client had created an Experience Worth Repeating for the elderly neighbor that was so good, that on a blazingly hot day he would run across the street to say – you have to buy from the company where I got mine from!

Five Ways to Improve your Customer’s Experience

Small Business Planning in AtlantaHow do you go about Creating Experiences Worth Repeating™ for your customer?

Your organization must build this in from the core of your offering. It must be engineered in. It cannot just be something that you add as a veneer or is an after-the-fact add in – to try to create a nicer customer experience.

Listed below are paths you can use to move your company towards Creating Experiences Worth Repeating™ for your customer:

  1. Ask your customers and then actively listen to what they say they want and how they want to receive it. Many times companies just don’t want to hear the reality of how they are doing.
  2. Be your own customer. Call into your company and pretend to be a prospect. What is your experience like? Purchase your own product and see what your overall experience is like. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
  3. Use focus groups, customer panels and research tools to try to get inside your customer’s mind as to what they want their overall experience to be.
  4. Ask your employees who directly interact with your customers what they think can be done to improve your customer’s experience. If you do this in a sincere and open way they will give you tons of ideas because they see what your customers want on a daily basis.
  5. Take a step back and ask yourself “how ought the world work with regard to my customer getting their need met?” That is, from their point of view, what would an ideal customer experience look like?

If you need assistance with Creating Experiences Worth Repeating™ for your customer please contact us using the below information so we can show you how create experiences for your customer that are so good, they can’t wait to do them again – resulting in repeat sales and customer referrals.

Fountainhead Consulting Group, Inc. is an Innovation and Business Planning firm. During the past 17 years we have shown over 1,200 companies how to achieve their goals by using our unique, comprehensive and systematic, innovation, business planning and growth Structure of Success™, Innovation Academy™ and FastTrak Innovation Program™ methodologies. Using the components in these methodologies, each month we examine an aspect of how to transform your business or organization into a true 21st Century operation.

Office phone: (770) 642-4220                                             

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

George.Horrigan@FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

October 2016 Newsletter – “Future Proofing” Your Company for 2017 and Beyond – Part I

“Future Proofing” Your Company for 2017 and Beyond

Recently, industrial heavyweight companies Fujifilm and Hitachi announced plans to incredibly change the future of their respective companies by significantly investing in the area of Stem Cell research and development. These are marked departures from their traditional areas of focus.

In their announcement they said while Stem Cell research and development is a small sector now, it is expected to grow in Japan to $950M by 2020 and to $120B worldwide by 2030. This is a bold move based upon their view of where the world is going and their Vision for how they want their companies to look like in the future.

How does an organization foster such visionary thinking? How can a leader move past the constraints of their current operations to embrace a future that is very different from today? I call this open-ended process, re-conceptualizing a business.

“How Ought the World to Work”

I have found that a great way to jumpstart the re-conceptualizing process is to reflect on or ponder about “how ought the world to work” in the context of Small Business Planning in Atlantathe environment in which your business operates. This involves focusing on your Customer and envisioning the best way they could have their need met (i.e. how ought the world to work from the standpoint of their need?)

At the beginning of your re-conceptualizing process, absolutely do not limit or consider the meeting of your Customer’s needs in the context of how your existing business operates. In fact, it may be helpful to pretend that your business does not even exist! In essence, imagine in a perfect world the best possible way that your Customer’s goals could be met.

One of our clients, a Physician recruitment and Physician office training company, used this unconstrained view of their company to begin the process of re-shaping their organization into an online Portal for all things related to operating a Physician Office practice.

How Would an Ideal World Operate?

This step will require you to expand your thinking and develop your thoughts regarding how an ideal world would operate pertaining to your market and your Customer’s needs being fulfilled. In imagining how ought the world to work or operate, it may be useful to reflect on the “true values” of life, the “truths of life,” the entire concept of excellence, and how excellence would be manifested in your market.

Here are ten innovations from 1995 to 2010 where someone asked – What is the best way that our customers’ needs can be met?

  1. iPod
  2. YouTube
  3. Smart phones
  4. Groupon
  5. Facebook
  6. All-electric cars
  7. Civilian hypersonic aircraft for space tourism
  8. Apps for smart phones
  9. Civilian use of GPS

An Unconstrained Point of View

Small Business Planning in AtlantaTo properly complete the re-conceptualizing process, you must first examine and determine the ideal solution from an unconstrained point of view – you want to think outside the box and not limit your possibility thinking. By thinking about all the various options that could meet your Customer’s needs, you will be able to generate the greatest number of options, possibilities, and alternatives for enabling your Customers to achieve their goals.

While some of these ideas may be unrealistic from a technical standpoint or pricing perspective, the ideas will spawn other ideas, thoughts, and concepts that may be more practical. One way of looking at this step is that it is a uniquely targeted method of brainstorming related to what you can do with your business. The outcome from this uniquely constructed method of brainstorming is then eligible to become your renewed Vision for your business.

Generate Multiple “Ideal Solutions”

Please remember that the above process may not yield just one ideal solution; it may present multiple ideal solutions. In fact, this exercise of looking at how ought the world to work may provide you with an array of options, which may include variants of ideal solutions. At this point in the exercise, do not let your possibility thinking be constrained by costs to deliver or price points in your market; the goal is to develop as many excellent ideal solutions as possible.

An example of this is when one of our clients, a large HVAC company, went through this process they ended up with several very different options for moving forward. They allowed themselves to fully flesh out each one independently and once they had considered the advantages and disadvantages of each one, they choose one that over the past 8 years has generated a 10-fold increase in revenue.

Get Inside Your Customer’s Heart and Mind

Keep in mind that to fully understand what your Customer’s needs are and how they sense their needs, you must get inside their hearts and minds. To Small Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgiafully comprehend your Customer’s needs, you must understand and address their perceived short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals, and the related emotional state that they perceive they want to be in as a result of achieving their goals.

This entire concept of getting inside your Customer’s heart and mind is the foundation of preparing for 2017 and beyond because the world is changing and changing fast and your organization must be ready for these changes.

In next month’s Newsletter, I will cover the remaining four steps of “future proofing” your company by looking at how ought the world to work.

If you need assistance with how to use this concept of “How ought the world to work” to transform your organization, please contact us using the below information.

Fountainhead Consulting Group, Inc. is an Innovation and Business Planning firm. During the past 17 years we have shown over 1,200 companies how to achieve their goals by using our unique, comprehensive and systematic, innovation, business planning and growth Structure of Success™, Innovation Academy™ and FastTrak Innovation Program™ methodologies. Using the components in these methodologies, each month we examine an aspect of how to transform your business or organization into a true 21st Century operation.

Office phone: (770) 642-4220

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

George.Horrigan@FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

March 2016 Newsletter – Are You Taking Your Customer for a Ride?

Are You Taking Your Customer for a Ride?

This past week while talking to a well-known Marketing Consultant I was struck by two statements she made. “How you sell to your customer has totally changed. Companies that don’t get how to properly sell are going to be out of business”.

They went on to share that as a result of the proliferation of products and services available to consumers and organizations, customers have so many more choices than previously. This translates to significantly increased competition for you as a business or organization.

Sell Solutions, Not Features

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GAWe have found the answer to this dilemma is that your sales process must be founded on selling solutions to your customer’s needs, not just promoting the features of your product. This may sound very easy on the surface, but it is actually much harder than it looks. This is because each of us just naturally tends to focus on what we have to sell and its attributes.

It is pretty easy to talk about what we have. It takes a whole lot more effort to uncover your customer’s needs as it relates to your product. To do this you have to first understand what they are trying to accomplish with regards to your product or service. We have found that a great way to un-ravel this mystery is to understand their goals in work or life that relate to your product or service?

Enable Customers to Achieve Their Goals in Life

So how do you understand your customer’s needs? What are they trying to accomplish? How can you identify their Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GAgoals related to your product or service? In other words, how do find out where they want to go so you can Take Your Customer for a Ride to Their Goals?

It is very simple, just ask them.

Unfortunately, many businesses just don’t do this. There are various reasons for this oversight. The major reason is that because they have dealt with so many customers in their particular market in the past many organizations just assume they know what their customer is trying to accomplish. Therefore they just focus on their product or service’s features.

There are three reasons for seeking to know your customer’s specific goals:

  1. You establish common ground with them and they begin to feel that you understand them and their needs
  2. You remind them of what they are seeking or trying to accomplish
  3. You may discover that they have goals related to your product or service of which you were not aware

Understanding Your Customer’s Goals

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GATaking the few minutes it requires to explore the above is particularly important in Business to Business sales situations because it enables you to pinpoint their “buying criteria”.

However, this effort even pays off in Business to Customer sales situations. An example is that Home Depot has trained their staff to ask “what are you trying to do” when a customer asks for anything out of the ordinary.

For instance, if I asked someone at Home Depot where are 8” Lag Screws, they might say, what are you trying to do? I might reply, I am getting ready to build a deck and I need them need attach the joists to the house. They then might say “have you looked at using joist hangers”, or some other product.

Once they understand my goals they may suggest using their design services to design a deck or even have one of their contractors build the deck for me. Either of these could lead to additional revenue for Home Depot and perhaps a happier customer. None of this would have been possible without a staff member taking a little time to understand my goal as it related to their product – 8” Lag Screws.

Short, Intermediate, or Long-Term Goals

Please be aware that your customer’s goals may be short, intermediate, or long-term. What is the difference?Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GA

Short-term goals are things like getting a lower rate on a credit card, buying a certain cereal that may lower cholesterol, eating at a certain restaurant tonight, buying some fashionable new clothes for your children, or buying a car polish that will make your car look more attractive.

Intermediate-term goals are things like building retirement savings, exercising more, visiting Disney World, sending your children to a private school, or buying a prestigious new car.

Long-term goals are things like financial security, better health, enjoying life, your children excelling in life, or living a certain lifestyle.

Your Customer makes their purchasing decisions based on the perception that your product will enable them to achieve their short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term goals.

Goals Are Interrelated

If you examine the above lists closely, you will observe that they are interrelated.

For instance, a lower rate on a credit card may lead to building retirement saving, which may in turn lead to financial security. Buying a certain cereal to help lower cholesterol may lead to wanting to exercise more often, which should result in better health so that one could enjoy life more.

All these thoughts are running in a Customer’s mind; however, many times people are not consciously aware of them, even though they are influenced by them and make choices that move toward those goals.

By asking your customer questions or tapping into marketing and sales research on your customer you will be able to recognize and tie into your Customer’s short, intermediate, and long-term goals. This will allow you to properly layer both your marketing and sales messages in ways that will enable you to connect with them at multiple levels.

The bottom line of connecting with your customer is it will enable you to have a more effective sales process, garner more sales and create more loyal customers as a result of their perception that your product or service will enable them to meet their goals in life.

If you need assistance with applying this concept of identifying your Customer’s short, intermediate, and long-term goals so that you can produce greater sales and generate enhanced customer loyalty, please contact us. We can show you how do this in an easy, straightforward way by Taking Your Customer for a Ride to Their Goals.

Fountainhead Consulting Group, Inc. is an Innovation and Business Planning firm. During the past 17 years we have shown over 1,200 companies how to achieve the goals for their business by using our unique, comprehensive and systematic business planning and growth methodology, the Structure of Success™ so they can Work Less, Make More and most importantly Have Fun in Their Business. Using our Structure of Success™ methodology each month we examine one of 12 areas of a business or organization.

Office phone: (770) 642-4220

photos by: & , ,

May 2015 Newsletter – Is Your Customer a Walled City?

Is Your Customer a Walled City?

At times you may have asked yourself, how can I truly connect with my customer and increase my sales closing ratio? With regards to that question, I have good news and bad news.

First the bad news. We need to be totally aware that in the sales process you, I and all of us are walled cities. We have a defensive wall up against sales efforts all of the time.

Whereas, this is not typically the case with regards to marketing efforts. The marketing function does not tend to encounter the same resistance that the sales process does because of two things: First, good marketing generally is not presented in a way that tries to invade our walled city but is usually very subtle and even entertaining. Secondly, marketing is not done one-on-one, whereas the sales process is always interpersonal.

The Good News

How does a business overcome this wall in the interpersonal salesSmall Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgia process? By connecting with your target customer so that they take the wall down themselves. It is almost impossible for you or your business, as an outsider, as an invading army if you will, to take the wall down. The customer has to personally dismantle the wall for you to enter.

The height and strength of their wall is determined by their temperament, personality and upbringing, the nature of your product, and the setting in which they find themselves. A person who would be considered very cynical would have the highest and strongest wall. An individual’s wall is overcome by connecting with them from the start with something that is of emotional importance to them before going into the details of your sales presentation.

Connecting Emotionally Gets You Over the Wall

The emotions, either positive or negative, your customer feels regarding the need for which your business offers a product/service is the ladder that will enable you to get over the wall. The benefits in the form of the facts and the claims of your product are carried by your sales person on the ladder. Present the attractiveness of how your product/service fulfills their need or want in words and concepts that emotionally reverberate throughout their heart and soul and you most likely will get the sale.

How to Dramatically Improve Your Sales Process

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GeorgiaThe first thing that needs to be done is to gain a thorough comprehension of the needs of your customer related to your product. Better still is to understand the goal(s) they are trying to accomplish through the purchase of your product. Next you have to understand the emotional state they want to be in as a result of buying your product. Where do they want to be emotionally once they have used or consumed your product?

For instance, in the selling of life insurance an emotion your customer mostly like wants to experience is the assurance that they are taking care of their family. In the purchase of a zero emission car they want the emotional gratification of helping to save our planet. Or in the purchase of a high quality desert they are trying to emotionally reward themselves with a special treat whose taste satisfies them.

Then comes the easy part. You need to create a detailed list of major features of your product. This includes documenting the usefulness of your product to your customer. Finally you want to identify the uniqueness of your product in fulfilling their needs and achieving their desired emotional state.

Ask Questions to Emotional Connect

With this effort done you can now create an effective sales script to “get over the wall”.  You do this by asking a question that can emotionally connect you and them. A question is utilized because the human mind automatically wants to answer a question posed to them. To do this you want to utilize the emotional state information you have garnered in questions like:

  • Is having the assurance if something happened to you, your family would be taken care of something you would be interested in?
  • Wouldn’t be buying one of our zero emission cars be a great way of making sure our planet will be great place for your children and grandchildren to live?
  • Do you think bringing home one of our mouth-watering deserts would be a good way to celebrate special times with your loved ones?

Take a few minutes and write down various questions you could use to emotionally connect with your customer.

An effective sales process brings the emotional attractiveness of your solution to life. An outcome-based sales approach is very successful because it identifies the need, lack, want, or desire that a potential customer is feeling and presents your product in terms of providing the emotional outcome they are seeking.

If you need assistance with reeving up your sales process by emotionally connecting with your customer so you can take your business where you want it to go, please feel free to contact us for assistance.

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

Office phone: (770) 642-4220

photo by: h.koppdelaney

January 2015 Newsletter – Your Customer – You Have to Know Them to Love Them

Your Customer – You Have to Know Them to Love Them

A little while ago the mid 30’s co-owners of a project management company, Bob and Nick contacted us for help in their Marketing and Sales area. They told us they were not getting the sales they needed to sustain and grow their company and had to recently lay off a number of their employees.

As we worked with them we discovered their problem was that they did not a have a specific sales process. While both Bob and Nick and sales responsibility they had never taken the time to develop and record an actual sales process. A key piece that was missing from their sales effort was having an understanding of who their customer was and what motivated them to make a purchase decision?

As we worked with them they discovered that the typical person who would make the go or no go decision on using Bob and Nick’s company had a specific profile:

  1. Male
  2. Age 35-45
  3. Middle Management
  4. Been with their company for 15 years
  5. Married with children
  6. Had a Bachelor’s Degree
  7. Wanted to move up in the company
  8. Wanted to stay with their company long term
  9. Wanted to avoid excessive risk in their projects
  10. Their objective that the projects go smoothly and be delivered on time

Once they developed this profile they realized their buyer was a “company man” who wanted to stay long term at their employer and retire from there.

The Power of the Profile

Armed with this information they were able to craft their sales Small Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgiapresentation around words and pictures that communicated how their project management services would provide the assurance to their customer their projects would go smoothly. Their projects would be delivered on time and result in the customer’s advancement within the company. None of this would have been possible without first having developed a profile of their customer.

Therefore, you want to fully understand what your customer looks like so you will have the information needed to decode your customer’s motivating factors in making a purchasing decision. Another reason to determine what your customers look like is to calculate how many of them exist, thus enabling you to ascertain the size of your potential market. An excellent way of determining this is to develop a profile of your customer.

By creating a profile of the specific characteristics common to your target customer (or market segment), you will be able create an effective marketing and sales function within your business.

Profile Attributes

Small Business Planning in AtlantaIn developing a customer profile there can be almost an untold number of factors you could identify. Listed below is a sample of factors may want to ascertain about your customer:

 

 

 

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Family size (adults and children)
  • Education level
  • Typical Degrees
  • Total income level
  • Discretionary income level
  • Spending habits
  • Occupation
  • Geographical area
  • Demographics/culture/religion
  • Ethnic and cultural background and practices
  • Social status
  • Spare-time activities
  • Choice of information sources (TV, radio, internet, social media, etc.)
  • Tourist, seasonal, or permanent resident status
  • Early adopter of new products/service (e.g., Apple® product devotees)
  • Other factors or special interests

Developing Your Customer Profile

There are two basic ways to ascertain the above information. First, observation or analysis of your current customer base. Second, performing research via the internet or accessing industry specific sources to identify what your market’s typical customer looks like.

Keep in mind that all of your customers will not fit your customer profile, but there will be a “central tendency” of your customer. Also, you could have more than one than central tendency of customers. When this occurs all you have do is modify your sales process to the particular factors in each profile.

Garnered with knowing and recording your customer’s profile you will be able optimize your Marketing and Sales functions. This will result in a more effective sales process that will enable you, just like Bob and Nick, to grow your revenue and profits.

If you need assistance in fully understanding your target audience and growing your sales please contact us so we can show you how to use this concept to tremendously increase your revenue and take your business where you want it to go.

george.horrigan@FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com

Office phone: (770) 642-4220

photo by: pochacco20

October 2014 Newsletter – Getting Your Employees On Board

Getting Your Employees On Board

Recently I was talking with Irene, a perky woman in her late 30’s who owns a 12 person health care business. As we chatted about what we do she said “Can you do anything about my employees? They just are not on the same page as me.”

She went on to share how they each march to their own drum, don’t work as a team and have their own itinerary. Her description so reminded me of the “Herding Cats” TV commercial several years ago.

“Herding Cats”

Trying to herd a cat is a great mental picture of so very many companies with regards to their staff. According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report 70% of employees are not fully engaged and inspired at work. These people have their own agenda and are doing their “own thing”.

In these situations, as a business owner or leader you scratch your head and say to yourself, “I thought explained what I want and how to do it enough times that they should get it”. But they don’t.

They don’t seem to see eye to eye with what you want to do in your business and where you want it to go. Does this sound familiar? But take heart, you can get your staff on board with what you want to do in your business and create a fully “engaged” workforce.

Having worked with over 1,200 companies during the past 17 years I have found there are three main ingredients to getting your personnel on board with where you want to take your business. I will cover the first of these elements in this newsletter and the remaining ones in the November issue.

Vision

Many times people are not on board with where you want to take your business because they simply don’t know where you want your business to go. So many business owners and leaders think that when a person just walks through the door of your company they suddenly are endowed with the knowledge of knowing your mind and what you are trying to accomplish.

The truth of the situation is, unless you tell them and regularly remind them of the Vision you have for your business they will frame your company, their workplace and what they do on a daily basis from their standpoint.

Several years ago I was working with one of our clients who owned a 25 person dog training, boarding and grooming business who had the same problem as Irene. Once they understood they needed to regularly and formally communicate with their staff they started having weekly meetings with each of the three units of their company and a monthly meeting with entire company.

Using the newly learned concept of “Casting their Vision” they regularly shared what was the future of their business as they saw it. This transformed their entire company and their personnel issues virtually disappeared!

Casting Your Vision

Your Vision is the destination or direction of where you want to take your company. It is – what a successful and thriving business looks like to you.

Sharing or Casting your Vision is painting a vivid mental picture in words of what your company will look like when it is there. The process includes describing the path you and your organization are on. Your company’s Goals are key pieces of information to present.

As you envision what your company will be like down the road, you should naturally get excited. You want to communicate and show that you are excited about the future of your business! That excitement is contagious to all of your staff.

However, what you communicate should not be done in a self-aggrandizing or boastful way. It should not be accomplished in an egotistical way, but in an encouraging way, just like a football coach ties to motivate their team before and during a game.

A key thing to relay is how your company will improve and benefit the lives of your customers. You want to stress how their job and its daily activities is critical in making this happen.

Both Formal and Informal Communication

Communicating your Vision should be done both formally and informally – in one-on-one conversations. Telling your personnel where your company is going and the great things it is now and will be accomplishing should be done in:

  • Staff meetings
  • Newsletters
  • Emails
  • Videos
  • Walking down the hall
  • Performance reviews
  • In everything you do and say

Painting a picture with words like “Won’t it be great when…” is very encouraging to your staff. However, you want to be very careful not to repeat the same thing every time. Otherwise you will sound like a broken record and your personnel may just write off whatever you say.

Variations on a Theme

You want use a “variations on a theme” approach like if you are looking an object from various view points and describing it from many different perspectives.

Your messaging should be like a song that uses a base melody, but it changes a line or a sequence of chords regularly so you don’t become bored with the song. When it is done this way you look forward to the great chorus that really grabs you. Casting your Vision should be just as natural as writing that song. Just as much fun as singing it. As enjoyable to your staff as hearing their favorite song.

If you need assistance with getting your employees fully engaged and on board with the goals for your company please contact us so we can show you how to use this concept of “Casting your Vision” to tremendously increase your revenue and take your business where you want it to go.

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com
Office phone: (770) 642-4220

September 2014 Newsletter – How to Make Your Customers Fall in Love With Your Business

How to Make Your Customers Fall in Love With Your Business

We have been looking at how you “connect with your prospects” and close sales by having a compelling marketing message. This is done by using the most powerful marketing tool known to mankind – your Unique Selling Proposition!

In the July Newsletter we examined Your Big Idea and in August Your Big Benefit. This month we will delve into How to Make Your Customers Fall in Love With Your Business by using Your Big Promise and Proof of Your Claims.

Your Big Promise

The third step is to define your Big Promise – the specific thing that your product will provide to your Customer with regard toSmall Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgia your Big Benefit. It is very important that you identify a Big Promise that is close to or similar to your Customer’s imagined Big Benefit. This makes your Big Promise as powerful as possible, which in turn increases the effectiveness of your entire Unique Selling Proposition.

The goal is that your Customer’s desired outcome from purchasing your product should be your Big Benefit. What you are trying to do is to subtly and in a non-patronizing way tap into your target Customer’s hopes and dreams, because these are incredibly motivating factors in our lives.

To be effective, your Big Promise must be significant, important, or attractive enough to motivate a person to take action but still believable enough to not raise doubts. Here are some sample Big Promises: “Our program will make exercise fun and you will look forward to it each day,” “Making and keeping friends will be as natural as breathing,” or “You will stop sleepwalking through life because you find your ideal soul mate.”

To create your Big Promise you must have identified and developed all the items below:

  • A detailed list of the major features of your product
  • An awareness of the uniqueness of your product
  • A recognition of the usefulness of your product to your Customer
  • A selling proposition that conveys with simplicity how your product meets the goals and the desired emotional state of your Customer

 Proof of Your Claims

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GeorgiaThe last step is to identify the Proof of Your Claims—the documented results that Customers have obtained by using your product. These results could be in the form of testimonials, reported results from Customers, Customer statistics, or surveys that support your claims that relate to your Big Promise.

The Proof of Your Claims can also be statements you make regarding your observation of the results of Customers using your product. To support the Proof of Your Claims you must have observed or documented results from your Customer’s use of your product

Here are some sample Proof of Your Claims:

  • Ninety-five percent of our Customers who used our program report continuing to exercise at least three times a week for the next five years
  • Surveys have shown that our Customers double their number of friends within one year
  • Our Customers regularly share with us that they have found their “soul mate” as a result of using our service

You know the math concept that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Well, the shortest distance between you and your Customer is your Unique Selling Proposition. By utilizing this concept, you will have your most efficient and effective Marketing and Sales Program. It will produce the greatest sales results on a consistent basis, using the least amount of resources.

If you need assistance in fully connecting with your target audience and closing sales please contact us so we can show you how to use this concept to tremendously increase your revenue and take your business where you want it to go.

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com
Office phone: (770) 642-4220

August 2014 Newsletter – Grow Your Business by Using the Most Powerful Marketing Tool Known to Mankind – Part 2 of 3

Grow Your Business by Using the Most Powerful Marketing Tool Known to Mankind – Part 2 of 3

As I shared in the July Newsletter, recently I was working with Rick, an even keeled man in his late forties who had a medium sized health care consulting company. He told me “we just aren’t connecting with our prospects and we aren’t closing the deals we should”. He went on to share “I feel our marketing message is not compelling enough to fully engage the people we are talking to”.

Does this sound familiar? What if you could fully connect with your target audience? What would your life look like if you could consistently get your message across to your prospects and customers? How would it impact you if you had a marketing message that was unique and fully engaged your potential customer?

By using the most powerful marketing tool known to mankind – your Unique Selling Proposition the answer is YES to all three of these!

Your Unique Selling PropositionSmall Business Planning in Atlanta, Georgia

Developing your Unique Selling Proposition is the best way to construct your marketing message. We discussed the first component of your Unique Selling Proposition, Your Big Idea last month and we will cover the second item, Your Big Benefit in this newsletter.

Your Big Benefit

You can identify your Big Benefit by personalizing yourBig Idea by asking, “If my Big Idea were a reality, how would it specificallybenefit my Customer?” Your Big Benefit enables you to connect with your Customer at an emotional level in terms of the outcomes your target Customer desires from your product. Your Big Benefit needs to click with and speak to the things that are important to your target Customer at an emotional level.

Using July’s examples of Big Ideas, our Big Benefits could be: “If exercise was fun I would exercise regularly and look and feel great”, “If I could make everyone my friend, I would be incredibly happy, I could not wait to meet the next person in my life, and I would eagerly awaken every day”, or “If I could find my ideal soul mate my life would totally be worth living, every day would be paradise, and I would want to spend every minute in joyful happiness with that person.”

To develop your Big Benefit you must have:

  • A thorough comprehension of the goals and desired emotional state of your Customer
  • An understanding where the market is going in terms ofyour Customer’s expectations related to your product
  • A recognition of the usefulness of your product to your Customer

 Identifying your Big Benefit

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GeorgiaTo identify your Big Benefit look at your Big Idea and write down three large benefits that your customer would enjoy if your Big Idea become a reality in their life. Next, ask several of your customers to look at your Big Idea and three Big Benefits and tell you which one is most appealing to them. Please see the above and the July Newsletter for Big Idea and Big Benefit examples.

By utilizing this concept, you will fully connect with your customer, giving you the largest sales results on a consistent basis. It will also yield the most efficient and effective Marketing and Sales function.

Next month we will examine the last two components of your Unique Selling Proposition and how to put it into practice in your business.

Please post any questions that you have on my blog or share some of your results from using your Unique Selling Proposition in your company’s marketing.

If you need assistance in fully connecting with your target audience and closing sales please contact us so we can show you how to use this concept to tremendously increase your revenue and take your business where you want it to go.

www.FountainheadConsultingGroup.com
Office phone: (770) 642-4220