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When you tell people your marketing message, they're not going to jump and down and throw money at you. Go for mild interest and you won't be disappointed.

I've seen people spend months trying to craft the perfect marketing message that would hit the "hot spot" of a prospective client. They would write it and fine tune it and get feedback on it - but rarely try it - afraid that it wasn't he perfect message yet.

This is pathological perfection and a complete waste of time.

Nobody ever created a marketing message that was so powerful that anyone who heard it jumped up and down and demanded that you work with them. Never happened. Never going to happen.

Create a simple marketing message that says, "I work with these kind of clients who have this kind of problem." That's it. And if you get mild interest, that's enough. If they say, "Oh, what do you do for them?" you are one first base. You have the foundation for a marketing conversation. And that's great.

Spend the rest of the conversation listening, not talking and trying to impress them. Ask smart questions, trying to determine if they are a prospect or not. If they are, then offer to send them more information and follow up with them.

If everyone followed this plan instead of trying to craft a perfect message, a lot more business would be generated. Over time, you'll hone your message and it will get better and better, but never expect too much from it. From mild interest you can go great places.

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The difference between working hard and working smart in marketing: Working hard means communicating a lot of things to a lot of people. Working smart means communicating just the right thing to a select group of people.

It starts with creating a personality profile of an ideal client. Just think, if you were working only with ideal clients, who would they be? Their age, gender, and profession. What kind of company do they work for or run? What are their biggest issues and aspirations? What motivates them? Why would they want to work with you?

Really zero in until you can see them, feel them, touch them.

Then all your marketing, from your Audio Logo to your website, articles, blog posts, and conversations with associates, clearly reflects your ideal clients. Your messages will speak to them, resonate with them, attract them.

When this happens, the right people will sign up for your eZine, and attend your teleclasses and talks. When you follow up with your ideal clients they'll want to speak with you, will be receptive to you and the sales process will be effortless.

So, who are your ideal clients?

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Scripting is the step-by-step outline of what to say in any marketing situation. But few people use scripting; most just improvise.

Improvising is great in jazz but can you imagine improvising Hamlet? Wouldn't come out too well, would it?

Since marketing is 100% communication, wouldn't it make sense to think through, plan, organize and script what you were going to say, especially if what you said made the difference between winning and losing a client?

You can script all of the following:

1. Your Audio Logo and in-person conversations.

2. A follow-up call and conversation.

3. A teleclass or a talk to a group.

4. An invitation to meet with you to discuss your services.

5. A meeting to ask for referrals from an existing client.

6. The selling conversation and close.

We often avoid these conversations because we aren't sure what to say or how to say it. But when you discover scripting, you just need to think through what to say in a very natural way.

The truth is, it's not essential that you are as true to your script as you are to Hamlet; you actually can do some improvising. But it's important to have a very clear purpose for your conversation, and an outline consisting of a beginning middle and an end.

To create a script, start with what you want to accomplish, write down a rough outline of what you need to say and then actually write a fairly complete script of the conversation. Then practice it out loud a few times until you're comfortable.

Once you become proficient at scripting a variety of marketing conversations, you'll notice that your hesitance to talk to prospects starts to dissolve while your confidence soars. 

 

Please share this blog post with those in your social networks. I appreciate you spreading the word. 

 

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Selling is totally misunderstood. Selling is not about pushing, forcing or manipulating someone to do business with you. But neither is selling totally passive, just waiting for a client to tell you they want to start working with you.

Marketing prepares the ground for selling. Marketing motivates a qualified prospect to want to speak with you about how you can help them solve their problems and produce results.

Selling is a receptive process. It is about listening, diagnosing, and sincere inquiry. It doesn't impose your ideas or prescribe anything until you know the prospect's situation, goals and challenges in great depth.

When you are ready to prescribe, you offer your suggestions with confidence but without arrogance. You suggest a course of action that will be accepted readily by your prospect. And you work out the details of how your services will be delivered. Selling creates a partnership, so it needs to be respectful and collaborative.

Selling is a joyful process as it initiates exciting new beginnings.

Please share this blog post with those in your social networks. I appreciate you spreading the word.

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Marketing is not selling. You are not trying to convince someone to do business with you now. That's violent. That pushes people away. It alienates them.

When you try to sell when should be marketing you are asking people to make decisions and take steps they are not ready to take. Marketing should be gentler than that.

Marketing is more about education, developing familiarity and trust. Successful marketing activities make prospects feel good about you and stimulate their interest in how you can help them.

Marketing says, "I understand your situation. I feel your pain. And here are some ideas that will help you understand your situation and pain even better and some ideas how you can alleviate that pain and get the results you are looking for."

Selling doesn't happen until a prospect says: "I've heard about you, I have read your web site, and know something about your services. You really seem to understand my situation and problems. Now can you tell me how you can help me?"

Tomorrow: Joyful Selling

Please share this blog post with those in your social network. I appreciate you spreading the word.  

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In this past year's Marketing Mastery Program we've been refining the steps in the selling process. One of our "best practices" has been offering an "initial proposal" before a final proposal. This approach tends to help close more business.

The step before a proposal is a "Strategy Session" where you discuss the situation, goals, and challenges of the prospect and then outline the services or programs you offer. Sometimes it's possible to close after this session and get a commitment from the prospect to work with you.

But with bigger companies, the next step is usually a proposal. What most people do is put a lot of time into the proposal, make the best guess as to what price to attach to it, then send it off and see what happens. I've never found this to be very effective, and the acceptance rate of proposals is not as high as it could be.

Instead, after the Strategy Session, I recommend saying something like this: "Based on everything we've discussed, I am confident we can help you. The next step I usually take is to prepare an initial proposal based on your objectives and the services we can provide. But I want to build this together with you. I'll send you a first draft and then set up a time to go over it with you. You can then add your input and ideas. This will take one to three drafts, depending, and then we'll deliver a final draft with a final price. How does that sound to you?"

Most people love this. You are involving them in developing their program or service. Even if your program is 80% standard, this still involves them in the process. And when you send the initial proposal, because it doesn't have a price on it, they are more likely to look at it closely. With a standard proposal, most prospects look at the price first and only skim the content of the proposal. Then they "think about it" forever. 

Set a phone meeting for a week or so later to meet and go over the initial proposal. Develop this initial draft and send it the day before the meeting. In the meeting, literally go over it line-by-line and elicit suggestions and ideas as you go. Then let them know you'll have the next draft or a final draft in a few days. Set up another meeting to go over this.

Because they are building the proposal with you in partnership, they have more skin in the game and they will be more willing to meet. Don't send a proposal without a set meeting.

In the final meeting, answer any questions, discuss the price, if necessary, and close the deal. You'll find that although this process take a little more time, a higher percentage of closes will more than compensate you for your effort.

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The difference between a want and a desire? A want is like a desire but without the passion or commitment.

We all want stuff. We want to make more money, attract more clients, and work fewer hours. But wanting is never enough to give you any of this. Built into a want is often the belief that we can't have what we want.

"I want, but..."

Wants lead to frustration, despair and failure.

Desire is something different. A want says, "I wish I could have this." A desire says, "I will find a way to have this, no matter what."

There's nothing wrong with your wants. But if they are going to be realized, you need a proven strategy to turn them into desires. Here are some things that work:

1. Turn the want into a specific goal. "Making more money," is vague and indefinite. "Increase business by $50,000 by the end of the year," is specific and measurable.

2. Flesh out the goal by writing down answers to the following questions: a)Why is this goal important to you? b) How will things change when you achieve this goal? c) Who else be impacted by achieving this goal? d) What are you willing to pay or sacrifice for this goal? c) What challenges will you need to overcome to achieve this goal?

3. Start working on a plan to achieve the goal. a) What is your main strategy going to be? b) What resources will you need? (time, money, knowledge) c) What assistance will you need?

4. Make a definite commitment. This isn't something you do once, but something you have to renew over and over. If such a goal was easy to achieve, you wouldn't have to do any of the above, but if it's something you've never done before, you need to think differently, feel differently and act differently.

All of these steps tend to increase your desire and pull you towards your goal, making success almost inevitable. Avoid these steps and you'll be left what you started with - a want.  

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A religious belief is something we adhere to without evidence, but with faith.

If we have a belief, "I can never succeed with this," it is no less our religion. There is scant evident and lots of faith.

The more important question is whether or not this belief serves you. If that belief prevents you from succeeding at anything, it's hard to argue that it's serving you.

What belief, what religion, are you adhering to that is preventing you from doing great things in your life?

My recommendation is to start a new, private, religion: "I can always succeed with this."

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Randomness is the enemy of marketing. It's going in any and all directions with no definite purpose or goal.

Planning is the friend of marketing. It's laying out a plan of action towards a definite, achievable goal.

Randomness is when you sit down at your desk on Monday and think about how you're going to market your business. You get an idea, make a call, write an email and then move on to something else. The next day it's the same. Nothing builds on anything else. You have no momentum, no clear target, no list, no nothing. It's a hard truth to accept, but randomness is the operating principle when it comes to marketing for almost all Independent Professionals.

Planning is when you sit down at your desk on Monday and you have a prioritized list of marketing activities that are all action items from very organized plans. You write your eZine, develop a proposal, and respond to an inquiry all based on well-thought-out plans. The next day is the same. Everything builds on everything else. You have momentum, a clear target, a list, everything you need to attract all the clients you'll ever need. And you're never putting out fires.

This situation is rare for most Independent Professionals but it is quite possible. Work through the Fast Track to More Clients Program step-by-step and you'll get there.  

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Frustrated by follow-up? Putting out the word, getting attention, generating interest, even eliciting a response to your marketing is easy in comparison to the art of following up and getting an appointment.  

When doing follow-up, remember that your prospects are on a different time scale than you are. A month to you seems like a few days to them. And just because a prospective client is on your radar doesn't mean you are on their radar. 

Let's say you meet a good potential prospect through a networking meeting. You have a good conversation. You use your Audio Logo. You tell a few client stories. They show interest. You offer to send an article. They say they are interested and would be happy to receive the article and talk fourther. You send an email the next day with the article attached. 

And you hear nothing. Two days later you're bummed out. You KNOW they are not interested and that you might as well give up. After awhile you give up on networking, sending articles and following up. 

However, the truth is that you have no idea what this prospect is thinking. Most likely they are busy and haven't gotten to the article yet. Or they just went on vacation. Who knows? 

As Napoleon Hill say, "It's always your next move." Don't wait, be proactive. 

You might call a few days later or the following week. You might send an email. You keep networking and bump into them again at a meeting. When you finally connect, you may discover that they are interested or perhaps not interested. 

The point is not to give up in your follow-up until you know one way or the other. 

Those who don't give up on follow-up are those who will get clients others miss. It's not because of their great persuasive skills; it's not because they are better coaches or consultants; it's not because they are lucky. It's because they practice the art of friendly persistence.   

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Robert Middleton, the owner of Action Plan Marketing, has for 30 years, been helping Self-Employed Professionals attract more of their ideal clients.  He offers the online membership site, The More Clients Club, and individual coaching and consulting through his Marketing Action Coaching. If this is your first visit to the More Clients blog, make sure to get a copy of the Marketing Plan Workbook and join the Marketing Club Forum for free.