Using the Law of Attraction to grow your business

I’ve been reading The Law of Attraction by Michael Losier. I attracted it to me – by putting it on my Christmas list!

I’ve been a fan of the law of attraction for many years, since finding out how to apply it to find ideal clients and attracting them to my business. It works on the ‘like attracts like’ principle and you can read more here in a blog I wrote about it. Now I know a bit more about how it works. You see, your words turn into thoughts and those thoughts turn into feelings, or positive or negative vibes. This means that you get what you say and think, whether it’s positive or negative. You know what happens when someone tells you not to think of a pink elephant, don’t you? The words are ‘pink elephant’, so that’s what you think of.

So if you want to get rid of your overdraft, you can’t do it by saying “I want to get rid of my overdraft” because the focus is on ‘overdraft’. You could repeat the phrase over and over, like a mantra, but all it will do is attract you an overdraft!

Losier has a three stage process for attracting what you want. The best thing you can do is read the book, but in the meantime, here’s a summary.

  1. Identify your desire – get really clear on what you want. One of the best ways of doing this is by writing a list of what you don’t want. Then take each thing on the list and turn it into something positive. If you don’t want to be late for a meeting, think about being early or on time.
  2. Give your desire attention – use your words to get more of what you want. One tool you can use for this is rewording affirmations. If your affirmation is that you have a fit, toned body, but you don’t see that when you look in the mirror, say instead say “I am in the process of developing a fit, toned body.” That’s true and it feels much better.
  3. Allow it – because allowing is the absence of negative vibes, or doubt. Take away the doubt and what you want can get to you.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?! It is and it works. Try this process on something small to start with, and see what happens. And for the full story, read Losier’s book.

Can Your Business Afford to Stand Still This Year?

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingIf your business is standing still – always doing the same things, the same ways, for the same people – then you could be missing out on new opportunities and new business. Your competitors will be innovating – looking for different ways of making money – which means that you could be losing business to them.

Every year your competition becomes fiercer, more pressure is put on margins and new products or technologies come along and nibble away at your market. This means that just doing what you’ve always done is a recipe for eventual failure. You need to innovate and improve your offer continuously, or someone else will either steal your market or leave you working harder for less money.

So how do you innovate? Where do the new ideas come from?

Steve Jobs from Apple said “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.”

Innovations happen most frequently when you need to solve a problem. You may not know which one thing about your service niggles your customers most, because it might be very small. And yet when you find out what it is, it could open the way making huge improvements. So you need to make a point of asking your clients what it is about your service that they don’t like.

Towards the end of 2011 we decided to run a workshop, to help service based businesses to get more from their marketing. In the run up to the event, I realised that there was only so much help and advice I could give the delegates in one day. This was a problem for me, because I didn’t want my delegates to get all fired up and then not be able to carry on marketing their businesses. After a bit of thinking I came up with the idea of an ongoing mentoring programme, to provide a regular top up of marketing ideas and momentum. And hey presto – a new service was created! The clients who have joined the programme are making great progress already!

Innovative Marketing

You don’t have to restrict innovation to developing new services. You’ll also find a lot of scope for applying new ideas in sales and marketing. I recently started working with a new client because he’d been using the same marketing tactics for the last year. While they used to work, bringing in a steady flow of new clients, over the last six months he’d noticed that flow almost completely dry up and he didn’t know what to do. He wanted some ideas on what could be done differently with his marketing. There are so many marketing channels now available to you that you’re almost spoilt for choice!

Innovative Pricing

You can also be innovative in the way you charge for your service. Experiment with a mix of incentives, or price test your new services, to see what response you get. Don’t think that cheaper is better – some clients won’t take you seriously if they think you’re too cheap; and offering endless discounts can devalue your service and expertise. Look at ways in which you can add value to what you provide, without adding to the cost of delivery.

Can your business afford to stand still this year? What will you do differently this year?

Making a case for case studies

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingA great way of promoting what you do is by writing case studies about your clients. They are also a great way to get feedback from your clients and to build up stronger relationships with your clients.

But how do you go about doing it? Where do you start? How do you make sure you include all the best information, without boring your readers?

Here’s how we do it. We ask our clients 4 questions and then we write up the answers. Here are the questions:

1. What was the problem that you were looking to solve?

This puts the work into context and it also gives your readers a good idea about the sort of issues you can solve for your clients. Say a bit about your client too, to give them some promotion.

2. Why did you come to us rather than someone else?

This question gives you the chance to get some feedback on your business and your marketing. What makes you better than your competitors? What did you do differently that attracted this client?

3. What did we actually do?

This is where you get to explain the actions you carried out to solve your client’s problem. It’s a great way of showing off your expertise and talking about how you actually do what you do. Don’t go into too much detail because it might get too technical for some people. Just give them a taste of what you can do.

4. What were the results of what we did?

So what did you actually achieve for your client? How did your actions and expertise solve their problem? No matter how you solved it, what’s really important is what happened as a result. This is what other clients will be interested in buying from you.

Using these questions will help keep you really focused on writing clear, concise case studies that will be very powerful tools you can use to promote your business.

Want to know how to use the case studies you write? Ask me nicely and I’ll answer that question in another blog for you!

Marketing planning and why now is a great time to do it

Planning, that old exercise of writing a list of things you are going to do, only never to look at the list again!  Sound familiar?  The start of a new year is generally filled with repeated resolutions that are quickly forgotten once day to day life starts. We all do it in various aspects of life, but planning for your business and your marketing is crucial.  Your business has the people, resources and desire to make the year a great one, why not augment that with an effective Marketing Plan.

Marketing planning should be something you look forward to as it is this plan of activities that will lead to business over the year.  There are however a few golden rules that must be applied to your plan.

The plan must be something that works with you at all times, it must not be completed then ‘filed’, never to be seen again.

The plan must be visible, either as a chart on your office wall which you can tick each time you’ve completed an activity; or a spreadsheet that you populate with activity, costs, and results.  It really doesn’t matter how you choose to see your plan, the important bit is that you do see it, daily.

It also needs to reflect activity that can be carried out by you, on a regular basis.  It may include the number of prospect calls you’ll make each week; the client visits you’ll book to focus on repeat business and upselling; the target number of tweets you’ll send out daily; the networking events you’ll attend each week.

Whatever the action, make it SMART, that old marketing adage which still applies to business today: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.  Some of the activity can be outsourced to expert providers, but again this can, and should be, ticked off your list and measured in terms of performance on an ongoing basis.

Creating a plan now will also make future planning far easier.  Reflect on which activity has worked: created the most leads and most importantly, provided the best return on investment.  Without a plan you can’t accurately reflect which marketing activity works best for your business, so which to do again, and which not to.

When you know where you want your business to be in 12 months time, you’ll have a much greater chance of getting there.  With a strategy in place and a plan of action to follow, any marketing for your business will produce much better results than ad hoc initiatives.

For practical help in writing an effective Marketing Plan for your business, why not come to a workshop we’re running on the 24th January at the Harwell Innovation Centre, Harwell Campus, near Didcot from 9am to 1pm.  At the end of the workshop you’ll have an effective and achievable Marketing Plan to take away and put into practice.  For more information on the SOS Marketing Workshop click here.

Great marketing won’t get you anywhere … Part 3

This is the final blog of a 3 part series that I’ve been writing, about how to close a sale. Great marketing won’t get you anywhere if you can’t close a sale, so here is the final part of the very clever sales process that I’ve been taught. Click here to read part 1 and click here to read part 2.

Finally, after you’ve spent time asking your prospective client lots of questions to establish what issues they are currently facing, that you could solve for them (part 1); and you’ve helped your prospect to identify the opportunity that’s open to them (part 2), it’s time to tell them what you can do!

Describe elements of the solution. Tell your prospect what you can do to help them, how and why it will work and how the different elements of the solution fit together. This is where to get to describe what you exactly do.

Make sure your solution is aligned with your prospect’s strategy. Because you’ve already asked a lot of questions about their business, you know what they’re aiming for. This means that you can create a solution to meets their strategy. If you suggest a solution that doesn’t help your prospect to meet achieve their goals, they won’t be interested in buying from you.

Ensure that your solution will meet your prospect’s personal need. As well as meeting their business objectives, your solution needs to meet the personal needs of the person who will buy from you. Do they need to look good in front of their boss? Do they need to save time or not get lost in the detail? Whatever it is, make sure your solution is aligned.

Why is your solution the best one? This is where you tell your prospect why your solution is better than everyone else’s. Talk about your experience, your USPs and the great results you’ve achieved for your clients.

Engagement questions. Finally, ask your final engagement question. “Does this sound like a solution that will meet your needs?” or, “How does this sound?” or even “When would you like to start?” are all great questions. After all the preparation work you’ve done, don’t forget to ask this final engagement question and actually ask for the sale. If you don’t ask for the sale, you certainly won’t get it.

Next steps. Whatever answer you get to your final question, make sure you agree the next steps with your prospect (or new client!)

If you use this sales process (all the sections of it, from parts 1, 2 and 3 of this blog) you’ll find it much easier to close all those sales.

Great marketing won’t get you anywhere ……unless you know how to sell and close the deal!

You can spend a lot of time, effort and money generating enquiries, getting your phone to ring and having meetings with prospective clients. But if you don’t have a great way of asking for the sale and getting it, you’ll be wasting all that time and expense.

Here is a simple sales process that I was taught by a very experienced Sales Consultant. I use it a lot, to great effect and have shared it with many other consultants and coaches. It works very well in face to face meetings; you can also use it for sales phone calls.

Situation questions – start by asking your prospect about their business. What do they do? Who are their clients? What are their dreams and plans for their business? These questions will help you build up rapport with them and allow you to get to know them better. They will also start to highlight any issues they have.

Problem questions – then ask what issues they’re struggling with at the moment, related to what you do. For me, these will be questions about what marketing they are doing, or the number of new clients they want to attract and what’s stopping them.

Implication questions – what will happen if they don’t address the problems and do anything about them? You need to ask this question, because it starts your prospect really thinking about what might or might not happen to their business, if the problem persists.

Urgency and importance questions – how urgently do they want to deal with the issue? Are they looking for help right now, or within the next six months? This will help you plan your solution and any follow up. Is it important to them right now, or are there more pressing issues they need to deal with? If the latter, no matter how great your solution, they won’t be ready to buy from you just yet.

There are two things to point out at this stage – firstly you’ve still not told your prospect anything about your business – other than what they already know about you. Don’t be tempted to jump in at any stage with your ‘presentation’ because if you do, you won’t win the sale. Secondly, you’ve also asked a number of ‘commitment’ questions, which help you establish whether or not you need to carry on talking to this prospect.

And the third thing to point out … is that I’ll tell you the next steps of this sales process in a future blog – so come back soon!