Grow Your Service Firm – Step 3 – what do you REALLY do for your clients?

We’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re putting the book to the test and reporting through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

The next step in the book is what Robert calls “Action Point Questions”.   Here are his questions and our answers:

What is your client’s problem/need/hurt?
They want/need more sales OR have not got enough sales coming in.

Why and when do they have the need?
They have the need because most businesses are poor at finding new prospects to turn into new clients.

They feel this need most when they look at the bank statement or overdue bills they can’t pay.

What can they do to have this hurt resolved/sorted?
Engage us to find them more prospects that they can then turn into clients!

What can you do to resolve the hurt/pain?
Find them more prospects that they can turn into clients.

List the benefits of working with you (make them measureable and quantifiable)

  1. Our  clients get a regular stream of new prospects to turn into customers
  2. Our clients get consistent, regular communications out to their customers to ensure they stay engaged and don’t fade away to the competition next time they have an order or requirement
  3. By working with us, clients have regular discussions about their business and how to generate more sales for it.  These discussions and our expertise always enhance the client’s ability to sell and help them convert more prospects to customers
  4. By paying us, clients have a strong desire to get a return on their investment and so put a lot more effort into sales.  And we drive this too!

Our view:  Writing this down makes it clear to us that we should be working for everyone!  Our whole business model is founded on the belief that most companies are unable or unwilling to find sufficient prospect to turn into customers to drive their business growth.

ie.  Our clients are good at turning prospects into customers, but finding these prospects is the hard part.  Are we right?

 

Grow Your Service Firm – Update on progress so far

OK, we’ve taken a week to get clear on what we’re good at and where we need to improve.  Based on what we found out in Step 1, it’s clear that clients are getting great value from what we are doing for them, but sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we could about what it happening, going to happen and when for their monthly campaigns.

What have we done?  Our first instinct was to build an extension of our CRM system to log and update clients, but we quickly discounted that and instead have a new extra large whiteboard in the office!  We’re using this to track each client’s monthly campaigns and make sure they know about each step in the process.

The result.  Having just taken on three new clients, this is already making life easier in keeping track of all our client campaigns.  Thanks Robert – first measurable result.

Praise for Grow Your Service Firm

This is great!  Not the usual boring testimonal for a business product.  Take a look…

Great “apology” email

I love clear, easy to read emails that catch my eye.  This one is a great example that I’ve just received:

What’s so good about this email then?  Well, the key points for me are:

  1. Strong message.  Gives the impression of a busy company working hard.
  2. Good customer service.  They know that customers have been having problems contacting them and are not scared to own up and apologise.  And they’ve given you a gift in “compensation”.
  3. It has the side (or main) benefit for anyone not inconvenienced of reminding them about the company and gives them an incentive to order during December.

I don’t know how many people have been unable to contact them or if this is a blatent ploy, but whatever the case, it’s a good message and if I were looking for ink cartridges right now I’d have taken them up on their offer…

Grow Your Service Firm – Step 2 – The Big Question

So, we’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re going to put the book to the test and report through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

Following on from the questions in the last step, Robert has one, big question next:

Why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition?  Write down 5 reasons…

  1. Clients get high levels of personal attention from us that gives them a bespoke promotion that allow them to stand out
  2. Clients gain access to our wealth of expertise in running campaigns that get results.  They know we will do the best possible job for them.
  3. Our pricing is very competitive, priced to suit the budgets of smaller businesses, NOT corporate level pricing.
  4. We use the best possible systems and resources to get the best results for clients.  And we re-invest in our knowledge to ensure we stay at the forefront of our industry, so we can offer best advice to clients.
  5. If the competition is DIY (or Do Nothing Atall)… then the best reason to buy from us is because we will take action each month to push clients’ sales forward consistently when they won’t.

… and out of the five listed above, which is the main reason that people buy from you…?

5 is the main driver for most clients.  1 to 4 are the reasons that clients choose us, not someone else.

Key Learning
So, it looks like our competition is nothing to do with other companies offering our services, but far more to do with convincing clients that they should take action.

What does this mean for our business?

To me, it means that our marketing and promotion should be nothing to do with convincing prospective clients to choose us over another company offering to find them more sales. Rather it should focus on persuading businesses that it’s a good idea to get someone else in to help them find more prospects that they can turn into customers.  Good stuff!

When we have prepared some new promotion material, I’ll post into this blog so you can see what we are saying now – and by writing this here, it means I’m more likely to do it quickly 🙂

Grow Your Service Firm – Step 1 – Review

So, we’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re going to put the book to the test and report through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

The starting point in Robert’s book is a couple of key questions.  Here they are along with our answers:

What is your market position now, and in the future?

We’re well differentiated from our competitors by majoring on getting sales results for our clients through email marketing and follow up.  Rather than this being just one creative marketing task amongst many others – which is where most of our competitors are.

Our biggest competitor is DIY – which usually means NDA (Not Do Atall)

What is your customer position (how are you seen in the minds of your customers) now and in the future?

Currently we are well perceived as experts in a narrow field, but we need to define (and keep to) a pathway for each client so they know where they (and we) are, what is expected of them, what we are doing for them and when we are doing it.

How will you achieve and sustain this new position?

We need to implement (and use!) a system and way of working that lets clients know where they are in this “Nett Sales process”, what activity is on going, results, next actions, etc. etc.

This will allow us to be able to clearly show value to clients each and every month…

Key Learning points
Wow!  I wasn’t expecting this sort of learning so early on.  It looks like I have identified a need to communicate better with our customers and tighten up the system we use to keep them updated.

 

Grow Your Service Firm – taking action on this book

A French Ski resort is a strange place to begin a blog on growing sales – but that’s where it started, so that’s where I will begin.

In February this year I was skiing with Robert Craven and other business friends.  During the week Robert injured himself and so was unable to ski for the rest of the week.  So he spent the daytime writing his new book which launched on Friday last week.  The book is called Grow Your Service Firm.

As we are a service firm that wants to grow, it’s almost like the book was written for us.  And as I was there at the start, I felt compelled to be one of the first to put the book into action.

This blog charts our progress in putting Robert’s ideas into action for us.  If you run a services firm, you will see that the lessons are universally applicable…

 

How to send your marketing emails

We’ve come across some really bad examples of email marketing (and featured some of them on this blog).  Some of the worst examples never get to us as they are cut by spam systems.  But a conversation with a colleague prompted me to outline the different options you have when sending email for marketing purpose.

You have three choices:

Send the emails yourself from Outlook, adding all the addresses in the BCC (blind copy) field.  Don’t do this!  Firstly, your email will often fail to be delivered as spam systems look for BCC sends and secondly, you are using your company email system for marketing emails.  This means that if you get a spam complaint, your company domain is blacklisted and you can’t get any email to any of your contacts.

Buy / Download a dedicated email marketing program.  There are some great products out there that let you do this.  And if you only want to send small volumes of email every so often to people that know you well, this approach may work.  But it means that you are taking on responsibility for ensuring deliverability of your email yourself, and this is a very technical area.  If you have the technical skills to set up and manage a dedicated domain for sending email and apply Domain keys and SPF to it then this approach will work well for you.  If you don’t understand the last sentence don’t follow this approach!

Use an Email Sending Provider.  An ESP will have dedicated infrastructure designed to get emails delivered into recipients’ inboxes.  Different ESPs serve different markets and they cost from £10 per month to several thousand depending on your requirements.  I would always recommend this option.  Let them have the hassle of managing the technical infrastructure needed to get your email delivered!

So, I said at the start you have three choices, but you don’t really.  If you are serious about email marketing, get an ESP to do the sending for you.  As to which one of the many hundred out there to choose, that’s a different matter and one that I will be writing on shortly…

 

 

What is the “call to action” to here?

We got this email today:

What catches your eye in the email?  For me, the thing that stood out most was “Click here to unsubscribe”.  Surely not the intent of the email?

This is yet another example of not checking how an email will look when a user does not download the associated images – which is on average 90% of your audience!

 

“I” disease

I received a strange email today.  I liked it and didn’t like it at the same time!  Here it is, what do you think?

I like this email because it’s plain and simple.  No silly images to distract from the message.  However I don’t like this message because:

  • It’s “all about us”.  Look at the times it says “I, us, we, our” compared to you & your.  This is the email equivalent of shouting at someone from 6 inches away!
  • Variable size fonts.  I’m sure this is not deliberate, but look at the size of the font through the email.
  • Typos & language.  Didn’t read well – in fact I had to read it 3 times to understand it.
  • There was no fluency of message.  It does not take me, the reader on a journey from problem to solution so I’ve no idea what issue is being solved for me.

Anyway, hope you find this useful.  And if you want me to take a look over your emails before you send, just let me know – no charge!!