By k | May 28, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

You’re a regional hit,
a favorite in your territory.

How do you expand?

The national distributors
have their huge national brands.
They aren’t likely
to push your brand.

Not without help
from your customers.

Joy Ritchie,
Cheerwine’s head of marketing,

“Cheerwine’s reach extends
far beyond the traditional distribution channels
— many people order Cheerwine online
and customers have been bringing
Cheerwine to their shelves
on their own
from New York to California
and many stops in between.”

I see this all the time
in the book world.
Writers tell readers,
“If you want my book
in your local bookstore,
tell the manager.”
“If you want my book
in your local library,
tell the librarian.”

Harness the power of your customers
to stock your product.

By k | May 27, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my buddies,
when we graduated
from university,
“Thank G*d.
There’s no more required reading.”

The thing is…
required reading isn’t only
for school courses.

Almost every industry
has required reading also.
There’s at least
one benchmark book
that people in that industry
tend to read
and quote.

In business,
one required reading
Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War.

In erotic romance,
one required reading
E.L. James’ Fifty Shades Of Grey.

In programming,
one required reading
Donald Knuth’s
The Art of Computer Programming.

Bill Gates
has stated

“If you think
you’re a really good programmer…
read (Knuth’s) Art of Computer Programming…
You should definitely send me a résumé
if you can read the whole thing.”

Have you read
your industry’s required reading?

By k | May 26, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I get extremely nervous
before making important presentations
or sales calls.

Being nervous is normal.
Looking nervous can often be
a disaster.
It signals a lack of faith
in yourself and in your product.

How to counteract this?

Amy Cuddy

“open up your body,
do not allow yourself
to collapse,
breathe slowly and deeply.

Even slow your speech
if you get nervous,
you will likely start
speaking too quickly.

And that makes you
feel less powerful
and it also makes you
appear less powerful.”

You believe in your product/service,
in yourself,
in your business.
Ensure your body language
communicates this.

By k | May 25, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There’s a writer in the Romance genre
who specializes in attacking
other writers.
She sends her group of readers out
to blast her perceived competitor’s books.
This decreases her competitor’s sales.

She counts on these writers
to not call her out
on these attacks.

And this has been effective
…for a while.

The thing is…
the writers attacked know
she’s doing this.

The more writers she attacks,
the more writers know
she’s behind the attacks,
the less effective her actions are.
The strategy isn’t maintainable.
It might help her sales
in the short run
but it will hurt her sales
in the long run.

Assume you will be around
for the long run.
Plan your strategies around this.

By k | May 24, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

There are some huge reader groups
which prohibit marketing.

Some writers are getting around
this rule
by asking for help.
The topic they need help on
requires them
to talk about their books.

What this does
is waste everyone’s time.
Other writers try to help them out.
But this help isn’t needed.

And because these shady promoters
are posting these fake questions
on multiple groups,
the writers soon discover
they’re not serious.

They feel like fools.
They vow not to help
that person again.

Unfortunately, we all know people
who try to sell or promote this way.
They ask an idol or mentor for help
and then slide in information
about their projects or products.

This rarely works
and it often destroys relationships.

Only ask for help
if you truly need help
and you truly plan to listen to it.

By k | May 23, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I was a kid,
I took care of a neighbor’s dog.
I spent many hours a week
at their house.
While I was there,
I’d listen to their conversations.
They’d talk about financial planning
and business.
I never participated in the conversations.

I listened
and I learned.

I have five siblings.
I’m the only one
who is
financially stable.

Fan Bi,
CEO and Founder of
Blank Label,

“I grew up
in a small family business.
The dinner table conversation was,
‘How are we going to
offload this inventory
that’s going to go bad
in three days?’
Part of me always knew
I wanted to go in to business
some day.”

Children listen
and they learn.

If you want them to learn
about business building,
talk about it.

By k | May 22, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Businesses are rarely
overnight successes.

Most businesses grow slowly,
adding a couple customers
a month or a week or a day.

Seth Godin

“Facebook and other legendary companies
didn’t get that way all at once,
and neither will you.

We can definitely spend time
worrying about/building the tsunami,
but it’s the drip, drip, drip
that will change everything
in the long run.”

Focus on landing the next customer.

By k | May 21, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I have rarely, if ever,
made a sale
on the first try.
If I didn’t try again,
I’d never have any sales.

Monika Götzmann

“one of the most harmful sales habits
is a tendency to give up too early.

If a sales person does not receive
a response to their initial outreach,
rather than calling it a day,
it often pays off to be persistent.
In fact,
some experts recommend
that you should make
at least five different outreach attempts
unless the person asks you to stop.”

In sales,
one ‘no’ doesn’t mean stop.
It means try again.

By k | May 20, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Shobha Ponnappa
has written an awesome article
on creating content
for each step of the sales process.
I recommend reading the entire article
but here is a favorite snippet…

“By the time
your potential customers reach
the Middle of the Purchase Funnel (MOFU),
they probably know you reasonably well
and are somewhat ready
to take the next step
like subscribing to your mailing list
to stay in contact with you.
This is the stage
when “traffic” is not your #1 issue
as much as before,
but “conversion” becomes the focal concern.

Two pieces of content are crucial to this stage:

Your newsletters can be crucial
to this phase of customer hand-holding.

A spate of “how to” articles
that help customers get answers
to their pain points
are important here.”

I’ve been providing potential customers
with a variety of articles
serving different stages in the sales funnel
but this has been accidental,
not planned.
Based on this article,
I plan to organize my content
in different ways.

Are you consciously creating content
each stage in the sales funnel?

By k | May 19, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

You’ve mastered the startup stage
of business building.
You know the rules,
how to succeed at it.
You want your business
to stay there.

That’s not possible.
The startup stage of business building
is like school.

School is designed to prepare us
for the working world.
It is a temporary place.

Startup is a stage a business is meant
to pass through also.

Les McKeown

“there’s nothing wrong with
adopting and holding on to
some of the features
of being a startup
such as flexibility, innovation
and creativity,
but encouraging the notion
of staying a startup
is plain wrong.

To thrive and survive,
every organization has to,
at some point, find its
profitable, sustainable market,
mine that market,
grow, and become
– gulp –
a mature,
post-startup business.”

Being a startup is temporary.
When it’s viable,
move your business into its next stage.