Realize Making the Sale is the Beginning, Not the End

Realize Making the Sale is the Beginning, Not the End

Okay, you’ve decided to get that marketing idea out of your head, you’ve started an MVP, are testing and you’re making some sales. Each sale is an opportunity to learn something.  It’s a beginning, not a culmination of efforts. It’s a beginning because you need to know some things: What did people think they were buying?  Often, the reasons and justifications you present for buying your product don’t tie directly with why people buy. Are they actually using the product?  This is key, especially with lower priced items that may be impulse buys.  We see this often with apps.  Tons of people downloading the app with few actually using it.  Don’t be too quick to pat yourself on the back until you understand usage. Are they happy?  Plain and simple. What have you learned?  The real learning is NOT around the number who purchased.  What do your customers think you have?  Is it useful?  How can you improve/change it? That perfect, awesome, cool thing that was in your head will change and morph into something different once put through the prism of the customer buying experience.  Realize making the sale is the beginning, not the end.  And ask your buyers some basic, simple, powerful questions.  Don’t send a survey.  Call them.  ...
Field Note 6 – Do an MVP

Field Note 6 – Do an MVP

The second in a four-part exploration of getting ideas out of your head and into action.  Part one here. Eric Reis is right.  The only way to learn something real about your new or improved product is to get it in front of the right people early, before you feel it’s finished, and listen to what they’re saying.  He calls it a Minimum Viable Product; MVP.  Two keys here: It needs only to be enough to deliver the basic value you propose to deliver. Better this way (let users tell you how to improve it) rather than spending that time pre-product launch making the improvements and final refinements YOU think users will want. The whole of what you’re selling (price, product definition) doesn’t have to be 100% refined.  Don’t wait and wait and wait until the product is ready.  Do it quickly.   Watch how people react.  Are they trying it?  What do they think it is? Are they buying?  Then “finish” the product based on what buyers tell you it ought to be. His world is silicon valley, full of digital things that can be built and refined quickly.  But the same applies to ANYTHING, any value proposition, delivered by a tangible or intangible product. Because all we sell is a value proposition.  Whether it’s delivered by a product or service doesn’t matter.  His book. So, focus on the value proposition and not the product or service.  Get that value proposition in front of people as quickly as possible.  Let users tell you what your value proposition ought to be. Then start learning and refining.  As quickly as possible. How? How would people expect to...
Field Note 5: Acting on Important Marketing Ideas

Field Note 5: Acting on Important Marketing Ideas

Starting is hard. You know you know what I mean. That marketing idea brewing in your head, right along side the questions that keep you from putting it into action- What will it cost? What are all the moving parts? What’s the best way to make it work? Whatever “it” is, chances are the picture you have in your mind is of a complete, successful result. But, that perfect picture is the thing that makes starting so hard because we tend to resist starting hard things.  Simplify the goal and starting gets easier. Testing – The Key to Getting Started There are lots of steps between where you are now and that perfect vision. Better to rethink the goal down into the first few steps — think test — than to resist starting. Then just start! If you test something, that’s all you’re doing, just testing. You can test it, can’t you? Doesn’t that feel different (better!) when I say let’s test a new email campaign, let’s test getting white papers or webinars on the website as a way to collect leads?  It’s just a test. . . I’ve seen my clients make substantial changes for three decades by responding to four simple words, “Let’s just test it”. Believe me, you can get going on a test in 72 hours. A webpage up, some copy written, crank up a Google Adwords campaign to push some traffic through the page. Measure, adjust, repeat. If you have an idea floating around in your head and not getting out, rethinking the goal into a test is the best way I know to get started on it. Try it, it...

How Business Storytelling MUST Be Part of Your New Branding

  Donna said something to me on the phone I hear a lot: “We just don’t do a good job branding ourselves. . .” And then she went on about how much their customers love them, how companies request her partner and husband as the lead on projects and how successful they’ve become via word-of-mouth. BUT — and there’s always a but or they wouldn’t call me — NOW they want to grow faster than WOM will take them.  So, the “We need branding” thinking. While every small business has its own set of unique marketing challenges, I’ve seen one thing drive the success or failure of EVERY re-branding project: the presence or absence of storytelling. Simply put, branding, as practiced today, typically only embraces the visual: You redesign your website, brochure, mailings, etc.  You re-brand and everybody’s happy.  And nothing happens.  Re-branding, without refreshing your story, isn’t re-branding.  It’s redesigning. Yet, when you get someone on the phone or in a demo or in a gotomeeting, nine times out of ten, they become a customer. What’s Going On Here??  Hint. . .the answer is your story isn’t being told in the redesign, but it is on the phone or in the demo.  YOUR story.  Without your story, people aren’t sticking around long enough to understand what you can do for them — why they should buy from you.  They aren’t engaged.  And this is why you’re here. The video tells the story: Like Roger and Chris — they came to me after testing and patenting a new material to resurface the interior of swimming pools. Except, we found a cool new material wasn’t...
Field Note 4

Field Note 4

Narrative (storytelling) is powerful because it is built on cause and effect. Narrative, or storytelling,  describes cause and affect.  Cause and effect, by definition, create movement.  This engages us and carries us along. Compare: Jack is a 10-year veteran of our customer service department and cares deeply about customer satisfaction.  Time and time again Jack goes above and beyond to make sure customers are happy. As he drove home from work Jack noticed an email on his iPhone from a customer he had spoken to that afternoon. He pulled his car over and spent the next 15 minutes on the phone digging through reference materials in his briefcase to walk the customer through troubleshooting the software installation. The first Jack barely gets your attention because there’s no narrative.  The second Jack?  You know he’s committed to excellent customer service.  Noticed an email, pulled his car to the side of the road, dug through his briefcase, to walk the customer through.  Cause and effect.  Movement.  All coming from narrative.  This is what storytelling does. Our brains are wired for cause and effect.  It’s how we make sense out of situations.  It helps us remember. If you want to persuade, if you want to be remembered, use narrative. Tell a...