Mind Capture News E-Letter
Thursday, June 26, 2008, 09:53 PMThe second Mind Capture book is complete and a full schedule of book related activities have been announced including a full speaking tour covering 50 US and Canadian cities to support the new book.
Here's the list of announced cities. Keep an eye out for confirmed cities and dates the next 30-60 days in upcoming eletters, blog posts and on the speaking engagements section of this website.
A Vote For Business Change 2008 North American Tour
*Grand Rapids, Dallas, AnnArbor, Austin, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, Madison, Santa Fe,Indianapolis, Denver, South Bend, Colorado Springs, Ft. Wayne, Cheyenne, Cleveland, Omaha, Akron, Sioux Falls, Columbus, Boise,Cincinnati, Seattle,
Pittsburg, Portland, Nashville, Salem, Memphis, Reno, St. Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta, Sacramento, Albany, San Diego, Buffalo, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Flagstaff, Washington, DC, Phoenix, Richmond, Salt Lake City, Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto.
The advance reviews for the new book have been solid ranging from NY Times bestselling authors, CEO's, academia, to countless entrepreneur's and sales professionals.
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Monday, June 23, 2008, 10:54 AMI’m often asked by challenged CEO’s, VP’s of sales and marketing, and non-profit leaders within many organizations the same question when it comes to marketing. “Tony, how do we get people to pay attention to us?”
This to me is often a three, five or ten year problem in the making that I can’t solve with a simple five-minute solution. I often throw back when asked this the question: “How are you tracking and handling leads?” I do this not to confuse, but more importantly to get a quick read on a potential problem that’s much deeper than the best marketing could ever help to solve.
While a number of answers are often given to my question there’s usually a bigger problem lurking within most organizations as it relates to marketing. Here it is. There are often few if any systems for accountability or tracking in place to improve the lead process within the organization. Astonishing! Kind of like playing blind archery. A dangerous proposition indeed. Seems like common sense, but I’m not kidding. I’d like to share with you a recent true story to prove my point.
A local client has brought me in to do marketing consulting and specific customer service and referral related training for their staff. With walk in traffic being a big part of their business, I recently decided to conduct a mystery shopping experiment and sure enough a major marketing gap was identified. I began my mystery shopping experience by asking for information about the firms services and saying that I was considering moving and needed to learn more about them. After about a minute I was given a brochure and told “here you go.” I took a few seconds, glanced at the brochure, said “thanks” and moved on. I was hoping there would be some questions asked regarding my inquiry, but none came. There was zero attempt to engage or ask me any questions.
So what was wrong with my experience? There were two simple, yet very critical, things that should’ve been done differently if a system had been in place by all front line people at this company. This system would only be made to stick via training and ongoing enforcement to make sure it became a policy and not an option.
One, the person helping me should’ve asked “how did you hear about us?” This is valuable marketing information to have. Was I referred there? Did I see there billboard, hear there radio ad, read one of their mail pieces, or hear about them from a friend or co-worker? The answer will never be known. This is critical to know, because if you can’t track your leads you’re playing an expensive guessing game with your marketing and often letting a fortune walk in and out of your business net.
Secondly, once it was identified that I was not a customer, a simple procedure – not an option - should have been at the ready to make sure that before I left additional information was gathered about me so proper follow up could be made. Some simple, non-intrusive ways to get information include offering them a small gift for stopping in, to having them fill out a quick questionnaire right there with them. I can hear the naysayers, “but Tony, we don’t have time to do that.” My answer’s simple, make it a job requirement and train the entire team to do it and build in a policy to regularly audit the process and reward those doing it and discipline those who don’t. Harsh? I don’t think so one bit. Capturing leads is critical and marketing is often an expensive and frustrating exercise for many organizations. When you get a lead, you need to capture information, cultivate it and not let it simply walk out the door into the land of lost customers.
The learning lesson here is that proper training is critical within all organizations and should be a continual habit and not a one-shot deal every few years. If your average client is worth potentially thousands of dollars in future or ongoing business and you’re losing two, three, five or more leads per week it’s costing you a fortune in sales and lost referral opportunities.
This is why TOP organizations, despite what the economy’s doing, see training as an investment and not an expense.
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Friday, June 6, 2008, 01:14 PMYes, the famous quote from former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been on my mind lately when I meet with business and non-profit leaders to discuss marketing strategies and the present state of the U.S. economy. I get various reports from many of them on how sales and profits are doing. Many economists are now saying we’re in a recession and that the future is grim. While my opinion is just that, I want to push you to think differently in a market that has obvious challenges and opportunities at the same time.
So let me ask you a direct question: What is your business or non-profit doing to not just maintain but grow right now? This isn’t a practical joke. I’m going to jump on my little soapbox with this blog post today because frankly, I’m getting tired of the fear and excuses being made by people from all sectors complaining about the economy, gas prices, inflation, and most of all their sales.
I’m very pragmatic and maybe too direct with clients and in my live seminars (Ten years studying with fellow marketing guru Dan Kennedy does that to you) and fully realize that some industries are being negatively impacted more than others. Airlines, auto and housing immediately come to mind. I often think and ask myself, were the folks in some of these segments asleep at the wheel or just plain naïve about the changes taking place in their industry? There’s no simple answer to this question, but let me offer up a clue and quick marketing lesson that I hope serves you in the current state of fear we find the economy and many people experiencing.
Brace yourself, I’m about to challenge many of you to think very differently about your primary function in the market. I truly believe that most people have no idea that they’re first and foremost in the marketing business. What do I mean? It’s easy. Regardless of your title, position or what product, service or firm you represent, your mind set should be that of a good marketer.
Good marketers are relentless and always promoting their message in good times and bad regardless of what’s happening with the economy. They protect their mindset carefully and often ignore the doubters who attempt to sabotage or bring them down. You’d be surprised, but many people are actually doing well and sales are actually up. While they don’t blast it from the rooftops in the village square, they do have one key thing in common, we can ALL learn from.
Many are great at marketing. When times were easier they never became complacent in the sales and marketing function and when a challenge arose in their industry they were prepared to diversify and capitalize on their particular industries change, but more importantly fear. This is what I describe in my first Mind Capture book as offense versus defense thinking as it relates to sales. Far too many businesses are stuck in defense mode right now. Unless they change their thinking and get good at marketing and see it as an investment and not an expense, they risk losing market share and future growth due to a competitor who turns up the marketing heat when most people are cutting back.
I leave you with a great quote from communication expert Lee Milteer that sums up our time together: There are no victims, only volunteers.
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Sunday, June 1, 2008, 10:06 AMLos Angeles, CA – May 30, 2008 – The book paparazzi were out in full force. TV crews and cameramen circled the stage like bees protecting their hive. A global audience was gathered in room 403A at the LA Convention Center last Thursday afternoon to hear Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, sell his latest product offering the Kindle at Book Expo America.
After an eight year sabbatical from the BEA show, Bezos entered the room from the left side of the stage, walked directly to the podium and began his talk. Sitting in the front row near the press core, 30-feet from the stage I quickly snapped a photo, grabbed my pen and settled in to hear, in my opinion, one of the top five business innovators on the planet over the last decade. There to discuss the Kindle, Amazon’s new, wireless and portable, digital book device, his talk was well worth the price of admission.
As an author, avid reader, student and teacher of marketing, I listened to Bezo’s talk as my ears and mind moved between an intense state of listening, to quickly writing down a key point here, a great quote there and my own insights and observations. When he finished, my assessment of his speech was that he not only presented a captivating talk, but also a well thought out marketing clinic at the same time!
Fresh from LA I bring you Five Powerful Strategies Employed by Amazon’s Founder at Book Expo America that we can all use to improve our marketing presentations.
1. The use of testimonials. To provide evidence that the Kindle wasn’t just marketing hype, but worth paying attention to, he employed both printed and video testimonials to make his case. As I often mention in live programs and with clients, what others say about your product, service or organization is infinitely more believed than anything you say initially.
2. The use of “Reason Why Marketing”. With the Kindle priced at $399, he mentioned a price reduction of $40 to the crowd and positioned it a very clever and unique way. After it sold out on the first day five months earlier, he stated that production was now ramped up and ready to keep up with demand and also that “he was excited to get the Kindle to more people.”
Now ask yourself, when’s the last time you heard a CEO say they were excited about having to lower the price of their product? 99% of the time a price reduction is framed as a negative or bad thing. Bezos nailed this test and I’m certain most of the room and the press missed his clever price positioning and logic to turn a potential negative point into a positive.
3. Sell speed and simplicity. Time after time he hammered home how you could order an ebook to your Kindle in less than 60-seconds via the built in wireless device. Two big things were going on here. We live in a digital age of instant access and massive choices. This makes us prone to impulse purchases and Amazon knows this.
Secondly, we’re incredibly impatient and hate to wait. Downloading a book is quick and easy. This was stated over and over again. If it’s a challenge, people are likely to get frustrated and tell others about their negative experience. This is the last thing you want early adopters with any product launch to experience and then quickly spread to their friends, associates and within the Internet community.
4. The use of celebrity. Make no mistake; we are a celebrity obsessed culture. Bezos employed a picture of the world famous writer Stephen King and his thoughts about Kindle to add not only ‘star power’ but massive credibility with the assembled audience of book influencers, publishers and media. Most people know who Stephen King is, so his comments carry even more perceived value to the mass market.
5. Passion about your product. Sprinkled within his message, he also mentioned some of the early critics when he dreamt up Amazon back in 1995 and how it related to current discussion about the Kindle. Regarding being a pioneer he stated,
“You have to be willing to be misunderstood.”
In the formation of Amazon many people thought he was nuts. Allies were far and few between, as were investors. The path to getting funding was over 60 meetings and a ton of ‘no, we’ll pass for now’ comments after giving his pitch. His comment about being ‘misunderstood’ is key for people to understand in a marketplace buried in ideas.
His upbeat attitude is exactly what successful people have when they’re
passionate and relentless about their vision. Many of you may be thinking this is motivation not marketing. You’re correct. The trick is that if you don’t have motivation and aren't 100% sold yourself, often times your product, service or idea and the marketing to promote it both die an early and unfortunate death.
So there you have it. An up close and personal report from my time in Los Angles at BEA with Jeff Bezos.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008, 06:24 AMI'd like to share with you Five Proven Ways To Stay In Touch With Key Customers, Prospects and Referral Partners
I've been traveling a lot lately and I wanted to give you an in-depth article of immense value, if applied, to make up for lost time.
I’m absolutely amazed at the large number of businesses that take their customers, prospects and referral partners for granted. In the non-profit world the same mentality is often seen in relation to donors, volunteers and key board members. I know I sound like a broken record to many loyal readers of this blog, but here are three key reasons why tightening the bond of communication with those who influence, shape or spend money with you is a smart marketing strategy:
1. Inexpensive versus pure cold prospecting efforts
2. Great way to differentiate
3. Produces repeat business and referrals
If these three outcomes don’t get your marketing mind cranking and your bank balance dancing with glee, then I’m worried that nothing will. Yes, I know it seems like common sense to follow up with people and many of you do it well. I read your emails carefully and look at everything you send my direction with high priority. Here’s the challenge though: We live in a sped up, digital, MTV world, where manners and follow up are often forgotten or given little justice in the commerce arena.
How do I arrive at this line of thinking? Easy. Look around at how RARE it is when we truly feel wanted, respected and thanked for our business, time, contributions or ideas. For most of us an occasional thank you would be nice for our patronage, but even that seems to be in short supply these day.
Let's focus on five ways to improve follow up within your own organization because it’s a huge problem that costs organizations millions of dollars daily in lost sales, referral opportunities and growth regardless if they’re for-profit or non-profit.
Ok, enough of my rant! Let’s pull up to the Mind Capture marketing buffet and dig in before the risk arises that these ideas get cold or someone tries to distract you from achieving better customer relationships and marketing excellence.
1. Create and use a monthly newsletter or eletter. This is challenging for many businesses because they assume that they have to do an eight-page full color newsletter mailing each time, or that they don’t have the time or know-how to pull it off on a consistent basis. I’d like to challenge this type of thinking. Start simple with a two page update and get it in motion. As you get more and more newsletters done, it gets easier and becomes a priority. If you’re not a good writer, hire a local freelance writer or local college student to edit and shape your ideas, post-it-notes or scribbled messages containing your ideas and notes. I’m not joking. There are lots of great folks in your area or available online that do a great job and are a steal to pay versus you or one of your key staffers spending hours to launch, edit and get the newsletter done and out the door.
Let’s look at why EVERY business or non-profit should be using an eletter.Folks, email is essentially free and plugging your rolodex into a simple, user friendly eletter program is easy. I’ll save you some time searching and highly recommend that you explore Constant Contact. It passes the Tony test. If I think it’s easy to use, then you or someone on your team will breeze through setting it up and using it on an ongoing basis.
2. Send thank you notes. I’ll go a step further and make this easy. Grab a pen (Seems that most salespeople have forgotten what these look like unless they’re trying to get a signature on a contract!) and write down three lists that contain your top 10 customers, referral partners and prospects. Pick up some postcards, stationary, and fire off a few hand-written notes.
If you’re lost for words I’m going to make a recommendation that I strongly suggest you investigate for yourself. Check out Send Out Cards. Yes, some of you know of them, or I bet have received one and had no idea that you can use this as a resource within your own business. I use them and have become a raving fan. I’m tough to impress sometimes and this product solves a TON of follow up issues. Since there’s more to the story and we have three more strategies so here’s what I’ve decided to do. If you’d like more information and a FREE gift account of 5 cards, please contact Kim at our office directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Continually roll out new promotions or programs. I believe that once trust has been established and earned with a key customer or referral partner you owe it to them and your continued success to offer additional products or services that improve and add value to their life. One of the biggest sins many businesses make besides being boring, and lifeless with their marketing, is a lack of consistent follow up by not making new offers or announcements to encourage their customers to come back again or refer people they know who may have an interest in what they do.
Here are a few great shortcut questions to ask yourself in advance when rolling out potential new offers to your customers:
*Will it save them time?
*Is the new offer consistent with our core business strengths to increase the odds
of repeat business with them or referrals from others our customers know in their
*What are logical upsale opportunities we’re missing based on what customers
are telling us they’d like to see us offer that we’re currently referring to someone
4. Use client focused events to reconnect. Event marketing is a huge business and the trends show no sign of this slowing down. Hosting your own client appreciation events is one of many events that I recommend you add into your marketing mix. Here are a few simple suggestions when putting together an event for key customers and contacts:
*Make it fun
*Give away free stuff
*Make it convenient
*Avoid making it into an infomercial – yes it can be tempting 
*Encourage your customers to bring a friend or business associate so you can meetfuture customers or referral partners
*Make it worth their time by adding something educational in nature that would be timely and of interest
5. Pick up the phone. Some business owners and marketing folks would be stunned to realize that, a. the phone works b. email gets lost c. you’ll uncover a lot of things to help you build better relationships versus using email only.
I look at so many business and non-profit leaders who use email like two third-grade kids passing notes while the teacher isn’t looking. Many are either afraid to pick up the phone or claim, “I’m just so busy Tony.” Yeah, I’m sure if they wanted to place an order and demanded that you call them, you’d suddenly find time in your busy life to pick up the phone. Think about that last statement very carefully. I know you can’t spend an hour on the phone with each of them, that’s why you poll and call your top customers and referral partners first. Here are a few smart ways to maximize phone time:
*Thank them up front
*Ask them a couple of smart questions
*See how they’re doing first and if possible offer of something of value related to their business or life that’s not a heavy handed sales pitch
*Mention that you only have a few minutes but wanted to pick up the phone versus sending an email message
There you have it. Apply these five strategies and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of better client relationships, repeat business and referral opportunities!
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