Contact info: phone: 847-991-1294 email: howard@larsonassociates.ws
Mar

13

Be The Guy And Sell For Profit

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson

How do you sell, price or service?

When going after new clients selling on service alone can can be a hard nut to crack. What do you or can you say that everyone else is not saying? If you don't have a really good hook, you'll be the one yanked off the stage.

So is there a way to Compete on Service, Not Price?  


I say yes!
 
Selling by service alone is hard work. What do you or what can you lead in with that everyone else is not saying? Can you pass the "So What?" test?

Before you ever give your pitch or fancy Power Point presentation ask yourself So What? If it was me I and I were to tell you: I've been in business for 44 years. You would say So what? I have helped thousands of people succeed. So what? We have great team of people working here. So what? Get the point? 
 
Now ask yourself what you want to be doing. Maybe you are happy selling for pennies on the dollar just to stay busy. If your a printer do you sell at cost just to keep the presses rolling? The problem is when you get busy they still want your low pricing and if you don't the next very hungry salesperson or company will undercut you. That is unless you are THE GUY! When you are THE GUY they will not move your competition on price alone because you are part of their team. They will stay for your knowledge. They will stay for your service. They will stay to keep you part of their team. Are you competing by selling at a lower price or are you getting deserved high profit margins? 

That's a tough assignment. My answer is to ask you: What if you mixed in diagnosing and then solving customer problems as an advisor as a way to earn more sales and to differentiate yourself? And what if you grew long-term high profit sales by translating customers' needs to fulfillment from you as an advisor first and a sales person second?

 Imagine educating customers to make the right decision. Can't you see yourself as the resource guy. Transforming yourself into the person they turn when they need advice.  Sure you can. The hard thing is to BE that person all the time. You have to actually put the customer 1st , all the time, every time. Do you think that might just create even more demand for your products and services? Can you imagine helping customers improve their outcomes because of you? Coming up with solutions to the problems that keep them up at night. Think of the gratitude. Think of what they will do when you say, “Yes that I can do for you!” You think they will believe you? Do you think they will need "3 quotes"? Do you think they will ask you to sharpen the pencil? No because you have become THE GUY or do you say THE GAL?
 
They might just start to discover new reasons to do more business with you? Are you now better than your competitors? I think you know the answer.
 
For instance, let's say you sell marketing services. Think about having classes to teach customers how to improve their marketing focus and in doing so makes them better and more profitable. Who do you think is the person they are going to reach out to when the hard lifting in marketing starts? You guessed it. In this case me.
 
You design the curriculum to teach your methods to passionate buyers everything from how to redesign their content strategy using email blasting to direct mail, to helping companies to build a multi-targeted multi-channel plan built for growth, created to get over a 38% better ROI. Consider your own business and how powerful it would be to define what your customers should know, at what pace, and why. Imagine being that close to the person who makes the decisions, and if they are already hungry to get better at what they need to do in your area of expertise? OMG! Think of the power but remember with power comes responsibility. Responsibility to do what is right for the customer even when they would or might follow you blindly.
 
Do you sell insurance? Is your opening line to a prospect that you to a FREE analysis of there current policy. Really? Can you get much more lame that that? You and a thousand other agents in the city want to do that. Say that and you will never be THE GUY.

Let’s pretend you sell automated CRM software. You are up there doing your thing teaching customers all about the ins and outs of how to organize and run an effective sales program with CRM software. Your curriculum includes teaching customers how to write good sales letters then work the calendar for scheduled call backs. Even if you're selling products like painted canvas for needle pointing or replacement batteries for sump pumps, think about how you can bring out the educational aspects of your product, and think about how you can do this as a long term (marketing) project. Clients need continued advice and education and how they could benefit from continuous informational interactions with you. Remember education is good but don’t waste their time.

 So sit down with a cup of coffee (or do you do tea) and think in terms of your business. What are the little-known facts, tricks and tips of information that you may take for granted but customers might find empowering and use? Write them down and ask yourself, "What are the three major obstacles preventing our customers from selling more to their customers? This question works for my company, you have to think of a specific question for your industry.  How can you be helping them address the challenges that from your expertise day in and day out are able to educate, help and when necessary put into action.



Making Good Businesses Great
and Great Businesses Even Better

Should we be helping you?

We know and understand business to business marketing plans weaving together. emails, direct mail, trade show, content development and blogging and how to put it all together and cement it up tight with a follow-up phone call.

If you need targeted lead generation marketing help I would be happy to talk about our approach. What we do and how we do it is not for everyone. 


If you want to be great or you only want to be better than great we are

 YOUR GUY

Larson & Associates
678 N. Eagle Land     Suite 201
Palatine IL 60067
847-991-1294
howard@larsonassociates.ws
www.larsonassociates.ws


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Feb

12

Get Stronger Sales In 2019 Sta

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
 

Do You Have A Plan Of Action For 2019?

If you are like almost all businesses, marketing is an afterthought. Leads come in. Sales happen and life is good. That is, until they don’t.
 
For over 43 years, Larson & Associates has helped businesses just like yours grow into the companies they want, selling millions of products and services.
 
Get a strong start for 2019 with great a marketing plan and execution. 



Our team will:

  • Generate New Customers
  • Increase Repeat Business
  • Improve Your Customer's Experience
  • Converted More Sales

You are unique, so should your plan be.

We can craft a marketing plan for your unique business and not give you a cookie cutter off the shelf plan that was used for Joes Salvage Yard or Dorothy’s Dinner.  Please reply to this email, and give me 22 minutes of your time. Thant right 22 minutes to interview you so I can go back to my cave with my cohorts in crime and figure out what you need to be doing to take you to the next level for you and your business.


Larson & Associates
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

Thank you,
Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
678 N Eagle Lane
Suite 201
Palatine IL 60067
847-991-1294
howard@larsonassociates



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Feb

06

Beating The 7 Unforgivable Bus

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson

So you have a nice little (or is it big) business humming along

Yet, no company (or individual salesperson) should ever be on cruise control. To that end I sat down and came up with 7 deadly business curses.

The 7 Unforgivable Business Pitfalls

Every day you learn something new when you’re a business, if you don’t you’re sleeping or not in the game. Sometimes you learn the hard way, sometimes the lessons are easy.  So to give you a little short view point here are seven tips to help you avoid falling into some of the more common business traps.

1. Manage the stress



Being in business can be very rewarding but you are on the hook for everything, especially if it’s you are a sole proprietor. While working on your business dreams, you work long hours and have the stress that your business isn’t making any money. Or that if you are not a roaring success you doing something wrong and your friends and family will look at you as a failure
 
We get it, it’s stressful. But handling the pressure becomes second nature when you know how, and there’s plenty you can do to help ease the burden:
 

  • Take time out when you need to - retain a balanced lifestyle will help you focus better when you need it.
  • Be sure to make time for family and friends – they all want to help you succeed.
  • Don’t let initial setbacks get you down – keep a long term view and don’t put unrealistic pressure on yourself.


There's also no need to do everything yourself. Remember to Delegate. Using outside advisers and services make you stronger and building business networks for helping you manage your business effectively.

2. Lock in revenue streams


Many small businesses suffer peaks and valleys in their revenue streams. One month you’re flat out on a project but broke, the next month the projects over and you have money but no work.
 
A small business owner has a lot to consider in regard to money and cash flow
 
The business might be expanding or taken on staff or moved to bigger premises quicker than planned. As a result you now have a bigger payroll and greater overhead. In severe cases this extra load can cause the business to fail if you out pace your cash flow.
 
Here are some solutions to help you keep afloat:

  • Keep your focus on continued cash flow, even if you have to delegate other responsibilities.
  • Continue marketing at all times – especially when you’re busy.
  • Be wary of expanding too quickly – have sustainable long-term revenue streams locked in first.
  • Think about contracting out instead of taking on permanent staff and overheads.
  • Create good systems to ensure your business runs efficiently.

3. Do market research


Many businesses fail simply because they haven't done their homework – and that means market research.
 
It may be fine to go with your gut instinct, but sooner or later you if you are really going to grow proper research is the only way.
 

4. Target your market


Once you know that you even have a market for your business, the next step is to target your marketing to that audience. Yes my personal favorite, find your NITCHE.
 
Customers can’t buy from you if they don’t know about your product or service. You can waste a lot of time, money and effort marketing to people who are not likely to buy from you no matter how good you and your product or service is.
 
A good TARGETED marketing plan will help you avoid that and get the best return for your marketing dollar.
 
Case study: marketing choices
 
A start-up cartridge recycling company decided to spend ,000 a year marketing through various media including (in order of spend): newspaper, leaflet drops, shop signage, vehicle signage and online.
 
The business then decided to take a 'How did you find us?' survey, which revealed:
 

  • 36% were existing customers
  • 22% were referral
  • 21% came in as a result of online ads (mainly Ad Words) (I caution you on using Ad Words but sometimes they do work)
  • 10% saw the shop front
  • 7% came from the leaflet drop
  • 4% responded to newspaper ads. In fact, almost the opposite to their priority of marketing spend.

They have now changed from newspaper advertising (sorry Daily Herald) to a customer loyalty and referral campaign, and a bigger focus on online ads and social media and moving to organic search and way from Ad Words.
 

5. Retain your customers


You work hard to attract customers, so doesn’t it makes sense to keep hold of them. Some businesses fail because they spend all their time attracting new customers, while ignoring those they already have.
 
To retain your valuable customers and to also gain referral business put a customer retention plan in place. Think about the lifetime value of your customers and how to get them to spend more.

6. Make your website work for you


Online marketing is an important tool for almost every business - and a key part of that is your business website. It doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg or even your 1st born but, you just need to be smart about the way you use it.
 
From selling your products and services to enabling your business to be found by new customers, being online is a must. Here’s why:

  • Your website is ‘open’ 24/7 - so potential customers can browse, research, and if you have the facility, buy online from you whenever they want, not just during your ‘physical’ open hours.
  • Reach people worldwide - a website also means you can attract international customers, giving you worldwide opportunities.
  • Better customer experience – people like buying products or services online, the option of an online booking system, and even if you don’t sell your product or service online, customers like researching before they buy.
  • Reduce costs – this is especially true if you’re doing all your business online. For example, if you’re selling a skin-care range, you’re saving on shelving, displays, rent and rates.
  • Develop a customer database – you can use your website to build up a database of leads. Providing you have the right privacy statements and opt-in functionality, you can use the contact details you collect to send e-mails and to profile and analyze your customers – another valuable marketing tool.
  • How to build a website for your new business is a useful article to check out.

7. Build a successful culture


Think about how you motivate employees and stakeholders to get them to help you achieve your business goal.
 
Remember that your people - including you - are your biggest asset. Keep your people happy and they’ll ensure you stay competitive – and attract more great people to your business too. It’s a win-win.
 
Ensure your business has a vision that everyone can believe in, and offer their input. Give them responsibility, recognize and reward them when they do well.
 
You might also consider providing key staff with either a profit sharing, or some attempt to reward consistent effort. Even setting short-term goals and rewarding people with a half-day off can work wonders.
 

Maintaining or starting a business should be one of the most exciting and satisfying journeys you’ll go on.

If we here at Larson & Associates are able to help you with a Targeted Marketing and Teleprospecting plan using email, direct mail, content development all the a powerful phone follow up system give me a call at 847-991-1294 or email athoward@larsonassociates.ws

Larson & Associates
Making good business great and great business even better


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Jan

30

9 Steps To The Age Of Innovati

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson

 

Is your organization people ready to make the necessary transition from the age of information to the age of innovation?

Can you create not only a learning organization but a living organization where adaptive communication, management, and leadership thrive?  

Here are nine simple, but powerful steps:

1. Be a promise manager and leader. Use every opportunity to model promise management and leadership. Build the DNA of all successful relationships, trust. Do what you say, come through with the promises you make.

2. Find the DNA of success. Get coached so that you can not only build but sustain the high emotional intelligence edge, life, leadership, communication and whole brain thinking strengths that are the new currency of success.

3. Fail Forward. The only way to build and sustain success in an environment of constant change, challenge, competition is to learn to fail forward. Develop a new perspective on change, challenges, competition and failures that is relentlessly solution focused.

4. Get out of the comfort zone on a daily basis. There is nothing comfortable about the era in which we are living and leading. Learn to embrace and use moments that take you out of your comfort zone as opportunities to stretch, grow, learn and succeed.

5. Cultivate humour, optimism, and resiliency, while retaining a realistic perspective. Take time each day for a good laugh. Brain science tells us that laughter not only connects you with others but it also helps strengthen the immune system, creativity, and enhanced ideation.

6. Nurture and build collective intelligence; develop vertical and horizontal communication. Success is not achieved alone. Your people are your most important asset.

7. Build your diversity quotient. A global marketplace, a war for talent, and a diverse workforce all demand a new perspective that will allow you to understand and successfully negotiate the cultural and ethnic differences that can deride communication, effectiveness, engagement, action-ability, and results.

8.  Don’t react-respond.   Build your adaptive management and leadership skills because the era of command and control leadership is passé. Adaptive management and leadership mean keeping an eagle eye on your goals and objectives, values and vision while also building an emotionally intelligent, adaptive leadership and management style that is responsive and not reactive.

9. Positively adapt and model changes in your management and leadership style. Send the message loud and clear that positive change is where it is at. Encourage learning, growth, collaboration, and action!

Authored by Irene Becker
Described by clients as a transformational catalyst, Irene Becker works with C-suite executives, vice-presidents, senior managers, and entrepreneurs optimizing leadership, performance, and communications in high stress, high change environments. Irene is also an exceptional mentor coach and trainer who will develop a custom coaching or training program for you and/or organization.

Irene is one of the Larson & Associates approved consultants who work in close collaboration with us 
Irene can be reached at 
Email: Irene@justcoachit.com
Tel: 416-671-4726
Skype: beckerirene
Twitter: @justcoachit



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Dec

11

Getting Top Returns From Your

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson

Build your business through multi-channel target marketing.

Target marketing offers you the potential to gain further sales from existing customers or clients, and new sales from new customers. This guide offers you an overview of what’s involved and how direct marketing works.

So what is target marketing?

Target marketing is really quite simple. It is the building of targeted, close relationships with your customers and prospects. It works with and on different marketing platforms so you are put in front of your target when and where they are. It means marketing your product or service to the people that are most likely to buy what you are selling.
 
In putting a program together I find the best place to start is to build a list of all your customers, past customers and all those you might have send proposals out to. Then use this list as a launch pad to your program.
 
Target marketing can be one of the most cost-effective ways of expanding your sales. It has the great advantage of being trackable. This means (unlike some other forms of advertising) you can measure the results, know who is reading and seeing your message.

Will Target marketing work for your business?

Targeting your direct marketing
 
The people most likely to buy from you are:
Your existing customers and
People and or companies who are similar to your existing customers.

Pretty simple so far?

Because you're not using the 'shotgun' kind of approach, the far more focused tactic of target marketing means you get much better rate return on your marketing investment. The more accurately you can nitch your 'best and perfect' customer, the better your chance you will have in finding more just like them. Answering these questions to segment the market makes your message even more direct. It allows you to focus maximum effort on the right people.
 
So, how do you get started? Call Larson & Associates! Just kidding, not.
 
Target marketing is built around your list and database(s).
 
Existing customers
Your most cost-effective option is to keep on building your database of customers. Keep your messages going out to these wonderful people.  It is always easier and less expensive to sell more to existing customers than to go out and find new ones. If you are not already doing it start to capture all the details you need for list creation. You know those important things like names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses from enquiries coming into your business. Think of it as trying to date a person you really want to take out and what you need to know about them.
 
Once you've defined your perfect customer based on your existing customers, you can set about finding out where there are more people like them. Some sources include:
 
A joint venture with another business
List services are a valuable resource if you're selling to businesses.
List brokers rent lists.
Other sources of prospects include business directories,
Your Chamber of Commerce

Do your homework first!

As with any marketing exercise, you need to do your homework first. Set a budget for your direct marketing campaign and work through the following questions:
 
Have I identified my target market?
What am I going to offer them?
Do I have the stock/capacity on hand to meet possible demand and fulfill orders efficiently?
You should also complete a break-even analysis to work out what increase in sales is needed to recover the cost of your direct marketing campaign.  

Tips for using direct marketing

Because existing customers are the lifeblood of your business, it's vital that you keep hold of them. You know how difficult it is to lure a loyal customer away from a competitor - the same should apply to you and your customers. Your first efforts in target marketing should therefore be directed at keeping your regular customers happy and informed. For example:
 
Keep in touch at least once every 60 days. 15 or 30 days is even better. People like to feel special and individual. Show them that you know who they are. Tell them what is new and how they can benefit from your services or products. If you don’t tell them, who will?

Keep them informed about what is happening in your business. Offer them a special preview of your new product lines or promotions.

Send your customer’s updates of new products or services, details of discount offers only for regular customers, reminders of a list of your products. Ideas for them when you know they will be buying. For example, a florist might send a product list before Mother's Day or Valentine's Day.
Think up fresh marketing ideas that no one else uses
 
New customers
Send new customers a follow-up letter or card thanking them for their first purchase.

Offer them products or services that complement what they have just bought.

Future customers
These are the future growth of your company. If you can narrow your target market down to exactly what you want to have as your future customer you can just go out and find some more of them or go out and buy lists of more just like them. 

Summary

Every business, large or small, or even what I call 1 person armies can use direct target marketing.

It starts with your highly quality nitch directed databases and lists as the key to effective direct marketing.

It is less expensive and more efficient to collect names yourself, but you can also rent pr buy lists or work in alliance with other businesses that have good databases.

Then content development but that my friend is another story.


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