Author Archives: knowledgence associates

Business Tip: Don’t Annoy Your Customers!

angry businessmanI recently read an interesting article called 10 Surefire Ways To Annoy Your Customers.

As I reviewed each of the 10 ways, I was easily able to identify a company or two that fell into at least one category.  Some pretty prominent ones, too.

In the rush to get campaigns out there, and execute, execute, execute, these blunders get skipped, or not planned for.  Check them out – is YOUR organization inadvertently making your customers and prospects annoyed?

If so, cut it out!  Correct these errors now!  Don’t wait until you notice customer defections!

 

— Lisa Dennis

Leadership Interview with Dan Pink

Six New Pitches for the 21st Century

From Dan Pink‘s new book, To Sell is Human

6pitches-3

The World of Sales, Through Pink Colored Lenses

I first “met” Dan Pink via an article he wrote in Fast Company magazine, back in 1997, called Free Agent Nation.  Having just gone out on my own as an independent consultant, this article really resonated with me, on a number of levels.  Not the least of which was his estimate  that 25 million other Americans were doing the same thing – eschewing the normal 9-5-working-for-the-man routine.  I found both comfort and inspiration in Dan’s article.

Around that time, I was heading up the Boston chapter of Company of Friends, a networking group promoted by Fast Company magazine.   I was privileged to host Dan as a speaker on a couple of occasions, and soon realized that this man is a thinker and a visionary, who has a sharp eye for what is going on in the world of business.

Dan’s books and public speaking have inspired millions of people over the years, which is why I am excited to help him announce the publication of his new work, To Sell is Human.  This book is another example of Dan’s vision, this time applied to the sales arena.  Feel free to view the short video below.

To inspire interest in this book, Dan has some great pre-publication order give-aways, which you should read about here.  In order to get these goodies, you must order before December 30, 2012.  Do it.  Stay ahead of the game!

Full disclosure: I’m a member of the To Sell Is Human launch team and will be receiving the goodies above as well as the advance reading copy of the book and a signed copy of the hardcover. I’m not being paid for my review (good or bad) or receiving any other compensation. I’ve paid for all the other copies of Dan’s books that I own as well as those I’ve given away as gifts. In other words, I’m not in this for the freebies and accolades of the fawning masses but because I really like Dan’s books and ideas.

Lisa Dennis

Social Selling

One of the bigger challenges facing sales people these days is the fact that buyers are not connecting with sales people until later in the sales cycle.

Frankly, they can self-serve and don’t need us for education and awareness any more.  So what does that mean for us sales types?  Social Selling.

Check out this great article in Forbes.  

Most Effective Testing Methods for Value Propositions

Marketing Sherpa just republished a chart that outlined some research on how organizations test this key marketing asset.

One area that they overlooked entirely is testing by conducting live interviews with your existing customers about the value proposition.  This kind of conversation with customers can provide important information on what resonates, what is missing, what proof points are needed, how it is perceived comparatively with your competition, among other vital attributes. While online testing via landing pages, email, and other electronic options provides good data – nothing replaces live customer feedback.  In crafting messaging that brings the value proposition to life, a customer voice is essential.

Here’s the whole article.  What do you think?

 

— Lisa Dennis

The Value of Your Value Proposition

In a recent article I wrote called Time for a Value Proposition Reality Check, I discussed the three most common types of value propositions, including the most common, and least effective, type, which I designated as the “Me, Me, Me” version.  You know the kind…one that only talks about your own company and products.  Sadly enough, this is employed by businesses in the vast majority of cases. Why is it used so often, then?  Because it’s the easiest one to construct, which may not be the best reason for the choice.

So here we are.  You need to buy a product (or service), and I am trying to get you to buy mine.  You have choices.  You can buy my product, or you can buy my competitor’s product.  I want you to buy mine, so in order to get you to do so, I am going to tell you all the wonderful things I can think of about my product, and my company, and the outstanding people that I employ in order to create this great product that I want you to buy.

Now, how could you NOT want to buy my product?  You now know how great it is, because I told you so.  We can’t imagine anyone else having nearly as great a product, because they don’t have this great a company, and they can’t have the best people because I told you, WE have the best people.  So, how many of our products do you want, hmmm? While this may seem a bit sarcastic – the reality is that many value propositions do, in fact, include this type of pitch.

Obviously, the problem here is that it does not take into consideration any of the prospective customers’ needs, feelings, experiences, or knowledge.  We are not selling in the abstract here,  nor are we selling to Generic Customers.  We are selling to individuals, each as different as each of the “great people” we’ve employed.  Therefore, talking only about ourselves is not going to sell the product unless we related that greatness to what the prospective customer is seeking.  And in order to know what that is, we have to get to know the prospective customer, and see the world through his/her eyes.

The “Me, Me, Me” value proposition sees the world through the business’ eyes.  That works for a Friday afternoon internal company pep rally, but does very little to entice an educated customer.  This customer wants to know, given specific needs and particular circumstances, why this product is the right choice.  Everything else, frankly, is irrelevant.

Lisa Dennis

Inbound Marketing: The Funnel is There for a Reason | Business 2 Community

See on Scoop.itKnowledgence: Marketing and Sales

When getting started with Inbound Marketing, it’s tempting to try to jumpstart your efforts by communicating every product, service and special offer your firm has. Fight the temptation! In Inbound Marketing, the funnel is your friend. Made up of top, middle and bottom of the funnel offers on a limited number of topics, the funnel is designed to keep your efforts focused and allow you to work prospects through to the sale.

See on www.business2community.com

Hey, Get off of My Property!

I am amazed at some of the shenanigans that businesses that should know better try to pull.

Today, I received an email from Don Draper.  You know, the studly advertising exec on AMC’s TV hit, Mad Men.  But the email didn’t originate from AMC.  It came from MarketingProfs, an otherwise great resource for marketing and social media content and information.  It was somewhat clever, in that Mr. Draper, who is known as an old-school ad man grappling with the changes in the world occurring in the early to mid-1960’s, stating his reasons for NOT attending MarketingProf’s B2B Forum 2012.  You know, because this forum will be touting new ideas for marketing, and Don is a dyed-in-the-wool (or grey flannel) old school marketer.  Get it?

But to me, this kind of thing does HUGE damage to MarketingProf’s reputation!  I mean, is this what we’re supposed to do now?  Just help ourselves to other business’ intellectual property, because the fame of another business’ creation might somehow boost our own sales?

You know, it’s one thing if a small, bootstrapping organization does something like this out of ignorant exuberance.  But when a business that makes its money by providing marketing advice and services does it, it just blows my mind.  I am no intellectual property expert, but I did spend a good portion of my career in a business that provided IP research to law firms and businesses interested in protecting their IP rights.  There is the concept of Public Domain, where creative works are open to use after a certain period following the death of the work’s creator.  But Don Draper is a current – and hugely popular – work of fiction, and it seems to me that use of his name and persona should be the exclusive right of the business that created him, and made him so popular.  I would have been a lot more comfortable with this zippy little email if it had “The character Don Draper is owned by AMC, Inc. and is used with permission” written at the bottom, even in the tiniest type.

— Chuck Dennis

Devil in the Details

This morning, I received an automated business email from an organization that a colleague had once referred me to, as a source of a potential project.  After reaching out to the CEO – a good friend of my colleague’s –  several times about this opportunity and never hearing back from him, I simply dismissed the whole thing as something that was just not meant to be.  No harm, no foul.

However, I had been placed on the company’s mailing list, but since I get roughly 8 zillion emails a day, I didn’t bother to remove myself from it.  Who knows, maybe the project opportunity I was seeking might rear its head again.

So this morning, I noticed the email from this company.  They recently modified their business name, and started utilizing a spiffy new email application to communicate with their audience.  Since email marketing is one of the services I provide, I opened the email to see what how they were doing with it.

Now, the whole reason that email marketing applications like Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc. have a process for “personalizing” the email greeting is that, on a psychological level, recipients feel a little more comfortable receiving and reading an email when it is addressed to them by name.  It gives the impression, or illusion, that there is a relationship of sorts between the emailer and the emailee.

However, this warm & fuzzy illusion is completely blown, right from the get-go, when your email begins “Dear Dennis, Chuck,”.  My name is not Dennis, Chuck.  No one calls me Dennis, Chuck – at least not anyone who knows me.  Certainly, our mutual friend does not refer to me as Dennis, Chuck.  If this sounds like I am just being grumpy about having my name messed up, that misses the point.  I really don’t care about that.  But as a businessperson who has chosen to utilize electronic communications to engage his customers and prospects, this CEO should care a lot about this.  And you should, too.

Too many businesses shoot themselves in the foot by overlooking or dismissing details like this.  Your mailing list is one of your business’ most precious assets; it warrants your attention to detail.  It should be reviewed for accuracy and formatting.  If it is not, it sends the message, loud and clear, that your business does not care OR it is simply incompetent when it comes to communicating with its intended audience.  Neither impression inspires customer confidence.

— Chuck Dennis

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