The case in the defence of Twitter

A client recently remarked “let me know when you get a sale from Twitter”.  In other words, “I bet I’ll never see the day we get a sale as a result of Twitter!”

A statement said many a time I would wager.  My answer, said smiling: “No, you probably won’t if you just use Twitter on its own, but use it as part of an integrated marketing plan and yes, you probably WILL see sales as a result of it.”

A great deal of our time as a marketing consultancy is spent working with clients on their marketing planning, and crucially the implementation of those plans.  We ensure all marketing activity is tied together with a common message.  We write blogs, newsletters, press articles, tweets, website copy – all focused on key marketing messages unique to our clients.  It’s the combination of all these activities, carried out regularly, timely but regularly, which is enabling our clients to become seen as experts in each of their fields.

Crucially, the information they are imparting on their target audience is being seen in a variety of areas.  Websites are great as long as people are getting to them, LinkedIn is great for networking and discussions, and Google+ is growing and will be great.

What Twitter does is allow you to ‘speak’ to a huge number of people, at no cost, and with little time.  Just make sure you apply a bit of thought to ensure your message is ‘on plan’ and you create a call to action (eg website links) and you have an effective marketing tool.

In a recent statistic I read (I know stats are what you want them to be but…) ‘80% of business decision makers now prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.’  By using the platforms social media provides, your company information can be seen this way.  Social media writing can easily be incorporated with Facebook, Twitter and other outlets, driving valuable inbound links for SEO.

I feel privileged to be involved in providing intelligent content marketing to clients who recognise what marketing actually should be, which consistent, ongoing, valuable information to customers is.  With the right marketing planning and delivery, customers will ultimately reward with their business and loyalty.

Yes, marketing is still what it always was – creating messages, identifying prospective customers and trying to influence their behaviour.  These days, it’s just being delivered in a different, I would say smarter way, and across different platforms, even Twitter.

Contact Appletree  (debbie@appletreeuk.com) and let us know if you have or haven’t seen sales from your social media plan – and yes, that does include Twitter!

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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.

Have you tried the art of Zen Marketing?

Some people rush around doing masses of marketing – lots of networking, writing articles and blog posts, speaking in public – and hope that the phone rings. They go to loads of meetings and send out dozens of proposals, hoping that all the activities will bring in more clients.

Other people get up late, take the dog for a walk, wander into their office and answer the phone, to talk to a prospect client who is calling and ask if they can pay them for their help.

The latter group of people are practicing the art of Zen Marketing! It’s much cheaper, less time consuming and more effective than the marketing that the first group of people do.

So how does it work? First you need to get really clear on who your ideal clients are, so that other people can recommend you to them. This also means that you can stop wasting time running after not so ideal clients, who will take months to sign the deal and then don’t want to pay you for the great job you’ve done for them.

Secondly you need to build a great reputation. When people are talking about you without you being there – and saying nice things, or course – then your phone will ring without you having to do all the chasing.

So the next time you’re thinking about spending a lot of time and money on your marketing, stop, take the dog for a walk (or go to the gym, or take a nap) and think about getting the basics right. When you get the basics right, the rest of your marketing will be much more effective.

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!

Why Christmas is Just a Marketing Tactic

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingAre you a big fan of Christmas? Do you have your tree up, your lights on and all your presents bought and wrapped? Or do you say “Bah humbug” to all the festive glitz and expense?

Whatever your attitude, Christmas is actually a great marketing tactic that should not be ignored and this issue of Scribbles will give you some ideas on how you can use it to promote your business.

Personally I’m not a huge fan of Christmas, because it has become too commercial. We’ve forgotten the real meaning of Christmas and it can be so stressful. (On 25 December I’ll be at home with my husband, cats and dogs, enjoying a quiet day and a roast duck!)

However, from a marketing point of view, I do think Christmas has its uses. Here are a few ideas for you:

Seasonal promotions – you can use the end of the year to run special promotions. “Last chance to buy this service at this price before the prices go up in the New Year.” Just make sure your promotion is different to what you offer throughout the rest of the year, or no one will take you seriously.

Christmas cards – I always take the time to write personalised Christmas cards to all my clients, suppliers, friends and supporters. It’s my way of saying thank you for being with us this year and here’s to more success next year. Each card is hand written, with a personal note in it, which shows the receiver that we’ve taken the time to think about them. The cards are only signed by people in the office who know the recipient; they are a great way of getting back in touch with people we’ve not spoken to for a while.

Party time – throwing a Christmas party for your clients is a great way to thank them for their custom and support over the year. It needn’t cost the earth – think of something original and people will talk about it for years to come. The mince pie extravaganza we held a couple of years ago was a real hit.

Networking mayhem – many networking groups hold special Christmas events. If you go to all of them, it could get expensive, so choose wisely. Some will be more relaxed than usual, so if you want to do something a bit differently, this is the time to turn up wearing your reindeer antlers!

So will you be using Christmas as a marketing tool, or will you just be eating and drinking as much as you can, while wearing a party hat and dancing around the Christmas tree?! Let a comment here to let me know.

Why you have to write that book!

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingLast week I launched my brand new (and first) book! It was so exciting to have dozens of copies on display at the workshop I was running, with people picking them up and looking at them. It hardly took any time at all before people were asking if they could buy a copy (silly question!) And then someone asked if I would sign their copy for them. I felt really honoured to be able to do that. All the hours of hard work and worry were paying off. People where wanting to read what I had to say – and wanting to pay me for it. I only ordered 50 copies from the printer and as I write this, less than a week later, I’ve already sold 20 copies.

Since the workshop I’ve sold copies to prospective clients I’ve met and taken the book to networking events. I have a number of copies that I will be giving to clients when I go to see them. And I’ll be getting back in touch with some past clients and people I’ve not spoken to for a while, to give them a copy. It’s a great marketing tool for me – as well as a really useful marketing resource for anyone who uses it.

Soon we’ll be on Amazon and going global!

The majority of the people who think about writing a book never actually get around to doing it. Yes it’s hard work, but is it worth it? Definitely. Can you write a book? Of course you can! Just give it a go and see what happens!

Click here if you’d like to order a copy of Magnetic Marketing and we’ll send it to you.

What makes your perfect clients tick?

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingIf you’d rather work with PERFECT clients, than ones that sometimes pay you on time and don’t demand too much too soon, you need to work out who these people are. One way is by thinking about what makes them tick. If you already have a perfect client, think about how they would answer the questions below. (If you don’t yet have a perfect client, think about how one might answer the question.)

There are five questions to ask them.

  1. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  2. Who is the most important person to you?
  3. What is the most important to you?
  4. What do you want to achieve in your life?
  5. What do you love about your life?

When you’ve got the answers to these questions, look over them. Does your perfect client remind you of anyone? Do you see yourself in the answers you’ve written down?

Here’s the clever bit that will make your marketing easy. The Law of Attraction, when applied to business, says that people want to work with people just like them. This means that if you are hard working, passionate about helping other people and you get out of bed in the morning because you like a challenge, chances are that your perfect clients are just the same. It means that you will find it difficult to work with people who don’t really care about what they do or are only in it for the money. Trying to attract people like that to do business with will be hard work and you won’t enjoy the work you do for them. On the other hand, when you know what sort of people your perfect clients are, you’ll find it easy to attract them – they will actually come and find you! How much fun will that be? How much time and money can you save on your marketing now?

If you already have a perfect client, once you’ve written the answers you think they would give, call them and ask what makes them tick. See if you know your perfect clients as well as you think you do!

Want to know more about how to find your perfect clients and the best marketing to attract them? There’s more of this in my new book – Magnetic Marketing. Click here to order your copy.