Monday, December 27, 2010

I Hate To Say Goodbye...

I hate to say goodbye to any client. I know you do, too.

We work so hard to find them. Then we put massive effort into nurturing them as prospects and converting them into clients. It’s often a long process in which we’ve invested much in financial and other resources. So when they leave us, it’s not an easy thing to take.


With increasing competition and noise in the marketplace, focusing on capturing our audiences’ attention, attracting them, converting them into clients, then retaining them long-term is more important than ever. That last element--retaining--is the one that seems to get too little attention.

My challenge for you in 2011 is to understand and act on, more than ever, your awareness of the value of an existing client. What measures can we each take to ensure our client bases will increase in the coming year--not just through new client acquisition, but because of aggressive client retention activities as well?

I will propose one possible direction to get your mind going on this subject:

Imagine offering your existing clients better deals than you give prospects to get them to become first-time clients. This is backwards from most companies’ approach. In the scenario I’m proposing, your absolute best deals would be available to your longest-term clients.

Can you take this concept and create a culture among your clients in which it becomes something of a competition to be an ongoing client who gets the premier deals from your company?

Of course, this is just one of many possible directions. Pull your team together and share this message with them. Then dig deep and find the best way(s) for you and your people to keep your clients actively engaging with you this coming year.

Here’s to your client loyalty success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finding Our Hidden Marketing Assets (Part 2 of 2)

In my last post, I talked about people and organizations that may be seen as marketing assets. Today I’ll share two other categories of possible assets we should each examine with the help of our marketing teams.

The two categories are: tangibles and intangibles. These categories cover just about anything that isn’t a person our group of people. I enjoy working with clients to find these resources because they are usually much more readily visible by me than by the people working day-to-day in the business. That’s the power of your mastermind team. Since they aren’t in the trenches in your business every day, they stand in a better position to see these assets and opportunities. Here’s a short list of items under each category to help prompt the creative juices as you consider your own situation:


Wasted production space
Overstocked items
Old inventory
Repackaging current products or services
(bundling, re-purposing, etc.)
On-hand collateral material


Successful campaigns and activities from the past
Joint-venture opportunities
Publicity opportunities
Unused intellectual property
Relationships and connections

Between the lists I shared previously and these two, every person reading these posts has the opportunity to identify and engage at least a couple of meaningful assets at no financial expense to increase revenues.

I’d love to hear your success stories or answer any questions you have. Just comment below. Let’s uncover our hidden marketing assets and put them to work.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, December 13, 2010

Finding Our Hidden Marketing Assets (Part 1 of 2)

Any time I ask business owners and marketing managers what the one thing is they’d like more of to effectively market themselves, I always get the same response that has already popped into your head: money. While more money can be hugely beneficial in marketing our businesses, we all have other assets--many of which may be hidden from our immediate view--that can be used to meet our marketing objectives.

Today I’d like to share two of four categories of assets we should take time to carefully explore: people and organizations. Our connections and affiliations can be leveraged appropriately, tastefully, and effectively to ultimately bring us the greater success we’re each seeking. Here’s a partial list of places to look to get your mind going:


Family Members
Inactive Clients
Old Colleagues
Past Employees
Past Co-workers
Past Business Partners
…and the list goes on.


Chambers of Commerce
Networking Groups
Mastermind Groups
Seminar and Workshop Groups
Business Societies

Gather your team and take a look at the resources and assets available to you as a collective group in terms of relationships and associations with other people and organizations. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities available in these largely untapped asset pools.

Next time I’ll share some insights on two other groups of assets to consider diving into to find unused marketing opportunity.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, December 6, 2010

2011 Marketing and Business Plans

The holiday season is here! And with this season comes a time of reflection and planning for all business owners.

What went well in 2010? What could have been better? What are we going to do to make the most of our opportunities in 2011?

It’s extremely valuable, at least once a year, to step away from our businesses, evaluate what has happened since our last examination of the company, and plan for the upcoming year. For many of us, December is the time to undertake this task. For others (like retailers, who are in the middle of their busy season), this activity may make more sense after the first of the year.

I’m going on my annual retreat next week. This is a solo experience where fresh mountain air, fluffy holiday snow, and a crackling fire combine to take me away from the trenches of everyday business and open my mind to limitless possibilities. (Who knows, I may even buckle on the ol’ skis and hit the slopes while I’m at it just to make the experience complete.)

After this solo portion of my review and planning experience, I’ll take what I come up with and present it to my team for further examination and input. By month end, I’ll have my 2011 plan in place.

However you choose to engage in this activity, I strongly suggest you do it. A two-part solo/team approach works well for me. Perhaps a team retreat is more suited to your situation. Whatever the case, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but the outcome is genuinely invaluable.

Here’s to your 2011 planning success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Need a team to work with you on your marketing? Check out

Monday, November 29, 2010

2 Lessons from McDonald's

There are some great lessons to be learned from successful businesses all around us. One I saw early on in my business career was the importance of consistency. And there is probably no better model of consistency out there than McDonald’s.

I’ve eaten in McDonald’s restaurants in seven or eight countries around the world. Although there are some slight variations to meet local tastes, the consistency of the McDonald’s experience is clear. If our clients know what to expect in terms in product, price, availability, delivery, and so on, we’re on our way to creating a base of loyal followers.

Sometime after I learned this lesson of consistency, I learned another lesson that is, in large part, the story behind consistency. That lesson: the importance of systems. Systems allow us to turn initial success into ongoing success. Again, looking at McDonald’s as an example, we see systems at work from end to end of their operation. Everything is pre-determined, measured, planned, scheduled, and executed by the use of systems.

How many systems do we have in place constantly improving our marketing, sales efforts, production, and other areas of business that directly affect the prospect and client experience? Where do the mistakes happen that could be remedied with effective systems? How will wise investments of time and resources in developing and implementing systems pay off for each of our companies?

We’d love to hear about the systems in place in your business that help you succeed, or questions you may have about systems you should have in place. Join the conversation.

Here’s to your systematic success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Underused Ingredient for Success

When we talk about success, we quickly think of money, possessions, and power. We may picture our dream home, the vacation of a lifetime, or a particular lifestyle. Success is a personal thing. How we define it is ours to personally create and pursue. Regardless of one’s definition of success, however, there is one key ingredient that sometimes gets forgotten: Gratitude.

On this week of Thanksgiving, I wish to express my deep and sincere gratitude to my clients, advocates, mentors, friends, and family members without whom I would not be in business. You are the reason and, in many cases, the support structure that allows me to do what I do. Without each of you and the important roles you play, MSI would not be what it is. THANK YOU!

Enjoy this marvelous season of gratitude and reflection. Thank you for being who you are to me.

Here’s to you!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, November 15, 2010

Social Media: When Less is More

I am NOT a social media expert. But then again, who is?

One of the problems with the use of social media in marketing is the assumption by most ‘experts’ that they are their audience. If you want to build an Internet marketing company around social media, this may be true. But if you’re a business owner who wishes to use social media as part of your marketing initiative, you probably find the suggestions and requirements lined out by these experts to be overwhelming.

Recently, I heard someone speaking on social media who suggested that most business owners, after researching their options, decide on the ONE social media vehicle they are going to use and how they are going to use it. Then make it part of how they do business. If, after a few months, it makes sense to add another element, move forward and test it. I wish I could remember who said this so I could give him proper credit. It makes good sense for the vast majority of business owners who do not have the resources to mount a full-blown social media program.

Another way in which less may be more when it comes to social media is the number of contacts, friends, or fans we have. When speaking of social media and email lists, most people seem to contend that bigger is better. For some, this may be true. But, again, for the majority of business owners I’ll submit this isn’t necessarily the case.

The irony of social media is how un-social it is. Yes, lots of people see blips of what you’re up to. And, yes, you see lots of blips about others. But unless it is used to open one-on-one doors and nurture relationships, it’s largely useless.

Consider a strategy that gets you one-on-one with more of your audience members. Build relationships that matter to you and others. Focus on meeting others’ needs and providing value. That’s being social. That’s building community. And the reality of the matter is most of us can’t effectively manage more than a few hundred meaningful relationships anyway, much less thousands.

Start small. Be focused. Create high-touch scenarios with those to whom you are connected. If your following grows beyond those you can keep up with personally in that process, congratulations! This means you are providing value and have something significant to offer that others feel compelled to talk about and share.

If, on the other hand, you have thousands of ‘friends’ but aren’t adding value to their situations (and they aren’t adding value to yours), reconsider your reasons for engaging in social media. If it’s just to grow your list and make money, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree.

So who is a social media expert? I propose it is a mentor to whom you can look who has done what you want to do for the reasons you want to do it. Find that person or group. Follow them. Ignore the hype and stay your course. Be genuine. Make your approach to social media yours.

Here’s to your social media success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, November 8, 2010

21 Attributes of Extraordinarily Effective Salespeople (Attributes 15-21)

Here they are! The final seven of the 21 Attributes of Extraordinarily Effective Salespeople. I hope you’ve found the others helpful, and that you’ll see the value in developing these final seven attributes in yourself and your salespeople. Also, make sure to read the simple implementation suggestion I have at the end.

Attributes 15-21: Extraordinarily effective salespeople…

15. See opportunity, but aren’t opportunists
Extraordinarily effective salespeople have deep and broad vision. They don’t always color within the lines. They see opportunity, but never do they take advantage of another.

16. Are team players
As a salesperson, you’re on a sales team. You’re on your company’s team. And you’re on your clients’ teams. Play as a team player on all your teams and you’ll succeed.

17. Use slow times wisely
The typical salesperson kicks back when the prod of the boss or a client’s need isn’t sharply felt. Learn to use slow times wisely—whether that’s 5 minutes or 5 weeks—to be productively advancing your sales efforts and your clients’ needs.

18. Are goal-driven
External forces are a convenient excuse for poor performance. Driving to meet one’s goals in spite of hurdles and unforeseen obstacles is a hallmark of an effective salesperson. Set long-term goals, break them down into mid-term and short-term goals, then live by them.

19. Know their audiences in detail
Most salespeople offer what they have as-is to as large an audience as possible, hoping to hook a few prospects. Effective salespeople know who they are looking for, find them, then get to know them better to meet their most exacting needs.

20. Engage in ongoing training
The most successful salespeople are those who balance a get-to-it attitude with a lifetime student mentality. Always learning and never acting will take you nowhere. Acting without ongoing training will only take you so far. Do both and see yourself becoming the best salesperson you can possibly be over and over.

21. Finish
Finish reading this paragraph. Finish your follow-up calls for today. Finish those letters for this week’s direct mail campaign. Help your client finish his due diligence and decision-making process so he can finish his transaction with you this month. Extraordinarily effective salespeople are finishers. Execution, perseverance, and the ability to finish are all necessary to excel!

There they are, 21 attributes I’ve observed in successful salesperson after successful salesperson. To help you implement these and make them part of who you are and how you sell, follow this simple plan:

Write each of the 21 attributes on a small card—something that will fit in your shirt pocket. Each business day, put one of those cards in your pocket and make a point of pulling it out and looking at it a number of times during the day. Focus on developing that attribute that day. If you do this every business day, you’ll rotate through the cards once each month.

Some attributes will become second nature quickly. Others will take more time to develop. If you’re consistent with this approach, you’ll see improvement month after month.

Here’s to your extraordinary sales success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, November 1, 2010

21 Attributes of Extraordinarily Effective Salespeople (Attributes 8-14)

I hope you enjoyed the first seven of the 21 Attributes of Extraordinarily Effective Salespeople I shared last week. Here are the next seven. Next week I’ll share the final seven along with a simple way to make all 21 of these attributes a natural part of how you and your sales team consistently get the sales you pursue.

Attributes 8-14: Extraordinarily effective salespeople…

8. Talk about money with ease
If discussing the financial side of the deal makes you uneasy, it will make your prospect uneasy. Offer outstanding value. Always know you’re giving your prospect a superior deal.

9. Never have to “close” a sale
If getting the sale means putting your prospect through a pre-determined closing routine, do him and yourself a favor and find a different career. True salespeople naturally move to a mutually beneficial conclusion.

10. Use systems
If every prospecting campaign, every phone call, every meeting, and every contact record require that you pause to figure out what to do (or what to do next), you’ll never be everything you can be as a salesperson. Create and use systems to maximize your effectiveness.

11. Only work with decision-makers
You’ve either already learned this one, will learn it soon, or will change careers. Wasting your time with non-decision-makers becomes laborious and terribly distracting very quickly. Find out who has the authority to make a purchasing decision, then only work with that person.

12. See themselves as successful
To a large extent, other people see you the way you see yourself. If you look in the mirror and you see someone who can’t bring home the bacon, your prospects will see that same person. See it...believe it!

13. Are seen as experts, not salespeople
Everyone dislikes salespeople. That may come off strong, but it's true. At the same time, they love people who have solutions to their needs. Be seen as an expert and watch your sales soar.

14. Don’t let a client buy more or less than they need
A typical salesperson is happy to just make a sale, regardless of the fit for the client. An extraordinary salesperson won’t let his client go without anything he needs, and will never allow his client to overspend, even if he’s willing to.

Here’s to your extraordinary sales success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, October 25, 2010

21 Attributes of Extraordinarily Effective Salespeople (Attributes 1-7)

I had an interesting conversation recently with a business owner I’ve known for 25 years or so who has been a long-time follower of MSI. He told me it seemed the direction of many of my monthly topics had turned to sales, and he didn’t feel they applied to him because he doesn’t have a sales team. He is in a business with a physical location that serves consumers in the general population. Most people who do business with him find him through special offers by direct mail or word-of-mouth. I was surprised he felt the way he did.

We’re all in the sales game whether we know it or not. If we understand this fact, we can execute our sales activities that much better. Marketing involves attracting, converting, and retaining clients. The conversion portion of this process is where the sale happens. So whether we have dedicated salespeople who bear that title doesn’t determine whether we have salespeople in our businesses. We all do. How well they handle this function will determine whether we consistently grow and succeed.

Over the decades I’ve been a salesman and worked with clients’ salespeople, I’ve identified 21 attributes that are consistently prominent among those who are successful. They hold true with the person standing at a counter in the front lobby, the employee stocking shelves, cashiers, and other personnel just as much as they do with full-time inside or outside salespeople.

Today I’ll share the first seven of the 21 attributes with you. As you receive all 21 over the next couple of weeks, take time to review them and examine your own situation. Where are you strong? Where do you have room to improve? After I’ve shared all 21 attributes, I’ll share a method for making them part of how you and your staff do business.

Here are the first seven of the 21 attributes.

Extraordinarily effective salespeople:

1. Ask questions
No one likes to buy from a pre-programmed know-it-all sales presentation machine.

2. Listen
After you’ve asked meaningful questions, process the responses with sincerity.

3. Focus on the needs of the client
If anything comes ahead of the client’s need, your insincerity will shine through and your career as a salesperson will be short-lived.

4. Know when to stop talking
When you realize there isn’t a match between what you have to offer and what the client needs, or when the client has made a purchasing decision, be heads-up enough to realize it and simply stop talking.

5. Walk away from unproductive deals
If there is no foreseeable positive outcome (regardless of what that means in a given situation), be wise enough to walk away.

6. Only think in terms of mutual benefit
If the deal is good for you, but bad for the client, be ethical enough to correct the situation. If the deal is good for the client, but bad for you, be wise enough to correct the situation.

7. Help decision-makers look like heroes
If the fit is right, don’t let the decision-maker miss out on the opportunity to look good. If the fit is wrong, don’t let the decision-maker misstep and look bad. Help decision-makers look like heroes and you’ll always have insider advocates.

I’ll share the next seven attributes with you next week.

Here’s to your extraordinary sales success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fake It 'Til You Make It

I was sharing this story with a client recently and wanted to share it with you as well.

A number of years ago I was teaching a workshop on networking. In the course of the conversation, the principle of perception was addressed. We talked about being an expert and never appearing desperate no matter one's circumstance. No one wants to do business with a newbie or someone who isn't successful.

One of the workshop participants raised his hand and asked, "So are you saying we should fake it 'til we make it?" I went on to share my thoughts on this point by proposing we're all 'faking it' to some extent since none of us ever really 'arrive,' and that once someone feels he or she has arrived, a decline begins.

The participant agreed with my stand, but went on to state there is a point of 'arrival' when one is considered an expert and money is no longer a primary driver in one's business pursuits. I acknowledged his input, pointing out this perception needs to reside in the minds of the audience and proceeded with the discussion. He wanted more. He wanted me to identify the point of 'arrival' he had proposed. In the course of his quest for an answer he blurted out in a most confrontational manner, "So have you made it, or are you just faking it?"

I replied, "You really can't tell?"

"No," came his response.

To that I only had one thing left to say: "Exactly."

The workshop proceeded.

I'm not suggesting we operate as impostors in our businesses. Being genuine is key to success. I am, however, submitting that no one ever 'made it' by focusing on his or her flaws, pointing them out to an audience of prospects, or apologizing constantly for shortcomings.

Focus on your strengths. Become a real authority on whatever it is you do. Then speak and act with purpose and conviction. If you do this, are you faking it, or have you made it? I suppose that question is still up for discussion.

Bryan Waldon Pope

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Monday, September 27, 2010

What Am I Really Spending to Get New Customers and Clients?

Last week I shared a formula for determining the lifetime value of customers and clients (LTV). This is useful in helping us decide what we’re willing to invest to engage and keep our audience as repeat clients. Today I’m going to share another useful formula: Client/Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). This formula will tell us what we’re actually investing, on average, to gain each new client.

Although there are methods of getting down to very specific numbers, it’s more important to have a good idea of our CAC than it is to have it down to the penny (at least to begin with). Determining our current CAC is accomplished by gathering information on all our marketing-related expenses for new customer/client acquisition over the past 12 months. Using a 12-month period is good for coming up with a true average. Leaving out expenses specifically directed at retention and loyalty campaigns is good since these are not part of initial acquisition.

Once we have our 12-month expenditure number, we need to find out how many new customers or clients we have acquired during that same 12-month period. Once that number is known, we simply divide our investment by the number of new clients we’ve gained. Here’s the formula:

$ Invested in Acquisition Marketing Activities (past 12 months)
/ # New Clients in the same period
= Client Acquisition Cost (CAC)

As an example, if we’ve invested $10,000 in new client acquisition marketing activities over the past 12 months, and we’ve gained 100 new clients, our Client Acquisition Cost (CAC) is $100.

In conducting this activity, many will find their CAC is far too high, calling for a need for more targeted marketing efforts. Others will find they can afford to invest more in each new client, allowing them to accelerate client acquisition rates.

Questions? Comments? Let’s hear them!

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Much Should I Spend to Get a New Customer?

A common question posed to me is: “How much should I be willing to spend (or invest) to get a new customer (or client)?” This question is closely related to another common one about how to set an appropriate ongoing marketing budget.

It becomes much simpler to decide how much to invest to get and keep clients when we know how much money each of those clients means to our bottom line. If, over the course of a client’s lifetime with us, we’ll profit $100 from him, it doesn’t make much sense to invest $150 to get him. While this may sound obvious, it’s surprising how many business owners merrily go along their way having no idea what their company’s average lifetime value of a client (LTV) is. Knowing this number will go a long way to helping us determine the answer to the question posed above.

The determine LTV, follow this simple equation:

Average Transaction $
x Average # Transactions/Client/Year
x # Years of Average Client Activity
= Gross Lifetime Revenues
x Profit Margin
= Lifetime Value of a Client (LTV)

You’ll note my version of LTV is a bit different from other explanations you may have seen. Most end before multiplying the Gross Lifetime Revenues by the company’s average Profit Margin. To me it makes no sense to look only at revenues since profit margins vary so much between companies. In the end it’s all about profits, right? If this is true, LTV needs to be based on profits, not revenues.

Now you can look at the profit you’ll enjoy from a client, on average, over their lifetime as well as during any given year. Armed with this information, you can now make a much more educated decision as to what you are willing to invest to get and keep that new client.

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Butterfly Effect in Marketing

The Butterfly Effect suggests that small variations in the initial condition of a dynamic system may result in vastly differing outcomes over time. I won’t go into the history of the coining of the term, but suffice it to say that one notion of The Butterfly Effect is that when a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, it affects the behavior of weather far away in another part of the world.

This principle can be applied in just about any facet of life. It is very applicable when we talk about marketing. Today I’d like to share just three ways The Butterfly Effect may apply to our marketing efforts:

1. Small amounts of time and effort spent consistently can produce dramatic results. Many business owners with whom I work are the marketing decision-maker for their businesses. They don’t have a full-time marketing director, manager, or even assistant. Especially in such cases we see the most significant proof of this concept. Spending 30-60 minutes a day or a half-day a week consistently on marketing efforts can pay off in a big way.

One such example was a two-person business who, after listening to me speak, decided to distribute flyers for one-half day each week. They began immediately, and within a few weeks they were in the best financial position they had been since opening their doors.

2. The smallest act of kindness toward a client can bring back a tidal wave of business. Sometimes going the extra mile with a client increases the loyalty of that client, but doesn’t go any further (which isn’t a bad thing – we’ve still won in that case). But occasionally, a particularly satisfied client becomes an avid promoter for the business that went above and beyond.

In today’s digital society, good news can travel faster than ever. It’s easy for people to share their positive experiences with others, including businesses. Making these “acts of kindness” part of our companies’ cultures and daily operations can have a monumental effect on our success. Think “Zappos.”

3. A seemingly insignificant oversight or error can come back to bury your company. I’ve noted two positive ways The Butterfly Effect can bring greater success to your company through relatively small marketing efforts. Here’s one on the other side of the fence.

I once worked with a company that had a customer complaint come back to them about how they had been served. The complaint was unfounded by any reasonable person’s judgment. The company told the customer nothing would be done to rectify the situation. And, based on my understanding of the situation, they had no reason to. The customer was dead wrong. Unfortunately, the customer took legal action and the judge saw things differently. The event resulted in the company’s demise. They filed bankruptcy and closed their doors. The saddest part of the story is this: for a day’s time on the part of one of the principals and two or three thousand dollars, the whole situation could have been averted. A significant investment, you say? It seemed so on the front end. After all, the customer was wrong. Period. But in the end, it would have been a very inexpensive fix. Hind sight is 20/20.

What other Butterfly Effect scenarios do you potentially see in your marketing? What small efforts can result in significantly different outcomes for you and your business? Please share your thoughts.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How Competent Are You as a Marketer?

In the 1940s, psychologist Abraham Maslow gave us The Four Stages of Learning. It’s an eye-opening framework used to determine one’s competence level in just about any area of life. Once you know where you’re at, you can create meaningful action steps to get to the next level. I’d like to apply Maslow’s insights to the world of marketing.

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence--you don’t even know that you don’t know something. This is the most dangerous of places to be with regard to marketing if you’re a business owner or other person responsible for making business happen for your company. Don’t assume you’ve got things figured out. Open your eyes and your mind to what’s going on around you and discover marketing issues, trends, and techniques of which you’re currently unaware. The Unconscious Incompetent does not last long in business.

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence--you know you lack information and experience. This is a much better place to be than Stage 1, although it still doesn’t immediately benefit your business. You realize you lack marketing skills, education, and experience. Hopefully you’re willing to consistently invest time and energy to move to the next level. Awareness is good, but action must follow.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence--you know how to market your business, but it’s accomplished with a significant exertion of effort. It takes too much time. Efficiencies are lacking that would bring greater results with less investment of resources. Marketing is still something you probably don’t truly enjoy. It’s still a necessary evil.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence--marketing has become part of who you are and how you do business. Let me note that I’m not a total believer in Maslow’s use of the term “unconscious” in this stage. I’d rather consider this stage “Automatic Competence.” The Automatic Competent marketer consistently enjoys a solid return-on-investment on marketing activities. Marketing is not something that is “done” from time to time; it’s an integral component of daily business. The company is a marketing company first--and it shows in both revenues and profits.

What stage are you at right now as a marketer? What do you need to do to progress to the next level? How will making that effort pay off for you and your company?

Share your thoughts, ideas, and questions below. Let’s take you to the next stage in becoming automatic in your marketing activities.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, August 30, 2010

3 Fast Ways to Increase Revenues NOW (Method 3 of 3)

So far we’ve talked about holding an event and sending a special offer to existing contacts as two ways to quickly increase revenues. Today I’m going to share perhaps the fastest way I’ve seen to boost sales over my 20+ years of marketing.

Method #3: Create a Cross-Promotion

Cross-promotions are fast and effective because 1.) they make use of your greatest asset—your existing client base, and 2.) they leverage others’ client bases as well.

In its simplest form, a cross-promotion is simply a promotion in which two parties make offers to their audiences with a freebie attached from another party. A restaurant and a dry cleaner can run a cross-promotion. Each gives gift certificates to their clients for the other’s business. This works for service providers, retailers, internet-based businesses, wholesalers, and just about anyone else you can think of. A car wash can give a free oil change away with the purchase of a five-pass carwash book, while the oil change shop can give away gift certificates for a free upgrade to a super-wash at the car wash. The possibilities are endless.

Two important points to remember: 1.) Your cross-promo partners reflect on your company. Choose carefully! 2.) Gift certificates work much, much better than coupons. Don’t make the cross-promo a dollar-off deal, make it free or value-added offer.

Cross-promos can be created and launched in a matter of a few hours of work. They instantly tap others’ audiences for the benefit of your company. They make both (or all) partners in the cross-promotion look good because they add value all the way around and create client loyalty.

Get your team together. Identify five cross-promo opportunities your company has right now. Don’t have a team? Brain block on cross-promo opportunities? Need more direction? No problem! Ask your questions below and let's get your cross-promos going RIGHT NOW!

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2 Mistakes That Killed the Punch in This Promotion

I just received an email from a vendor I've used a number of times in the past offering me "exclusive pricing" on some of their products. Interested in what I may have qualified for as a client, I read on. That's when I hit the first HUGE mistake made in this promotion.

As I would hope, there was a deadline on this "exclusive pricing" which, in theory, should make me feel some urgency to place an order. But immediately following the expiration date notice was a statement that indicated a new "exclusive pricing" offer would be sent to me when that one expired.


That took the urgency right out of the picture. Apparently I can order any time I want and get a deal. No rush, right?

Then the thought hit me: If this blatant a blunder was made in this promotion, is my "exclusive pricing" even really exclusive? So I went to the company's website. guessed it. My "exclusive pricing" is posted right on their website for anyone who happens by. And I thought I was special.

When we run promotions, we must be sincere. We need to create real urgency. We must make genuine deals to our audiences that really are whatever they are purported to be. Running a promotion right can bring a windfall of sales. Blunders like those I've shared from this company's train wreck of a promotion can cause permanent apathy--a marketers worst enemy.

Remember the boy who cried wolf? You don't want to be him. Especially when it comes to your marketing.

Here's to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

3 Fast Ways to Increase Revenues NOW! (Method 2 of 3)

In my last installment on this topic, I discussed holding an open house, seminar, or other event as a fast way to increase revenues. Today’s method is even quicker.

Method #2: Send a Special Offer to Existing Contacts

Most businesses have contact records for past clients, current clients, and prospects. If you don’t, your assignment is to devise a way to begin capturing such data and never (never, never) let a client or prospect interact with you again without obtaining his or her contact information--at least in its simplest form.

On that note, I once served a retail store owner who was struggling and had not captured any data on the company’s customers. The first thing we did was create an offer to make to each person who entered the store in exchange for his or her information so special VIP client deals could be personally extended to them. Within a week or two, the idle store clerks were making calls to these people informing them of a special offer in a brief, 20- or 30-second phone call, allowing them to easily break from their calls when clients entered the store. Within a few months, sales were strong and the company was out of trouble.

The five most popular ways to extend special offers to contacts are:

:: in person
:: by phone
:: by direct mail
:: by email or text
:: through social media.

Email, text, and social media have become particularly strong contenders as vehicles for carrying special offer messages due to their low cost and convenience. While this isn’t a bad thing, remember that they are low-cost and convenient for everyone, making them heavily used and, in some cases, less effective than other methods. Being a high-touch contender in an electronic world may serve you well. Consider all your possibilities carefully before deciding how you will extend your special offers.

So what is your special offer for your prospects? What about existing clients? How will you extend your offer to them? Gather your team, decide on the strategy behind your offer, develop the campaign, determine the best vehicle for your message, and execute.

I’ve increased clients’ top-line revenues by 20%, 50%, even 100% in as little as one month using this one technique. How will you employ it? Don’t just think about it. Do it today!

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, August 16, 2010

3 Fast Ways to Increase Revenues NOW! (Method 1 of 3)

Most of the people who talk with me about marketing are looking for a quick fix. I hate the see this because consistently engaging in effective marketing practices can go a long way to removing the need for these emergency blitzes. I certainly understand, however, that sometimes a business just needs a shot in the arm to get over a hump. Over my next three installments, I’m going to share three ways virtually any business can create an income boost that can bring in new money in as little as one day, but absolutely within 30 days.

Method #1: Hold an Open House, Seminar, or Other Event

Regardless of the type of business you have, you either have a place of business people can come to, valuable knowledge you can share with your audience, or both. This means you are a candidate for holding an open house to allow prospects to get to know you better, a live or tele-seminar to share your knowledge, or some other similar type of event that gets you noticed.

:: Decide what type of event you are going to hold. It doesn’t have to be fancy or over-the-top. It just needs to meet your audience’s needs.

:: Involve the media and your contacts in getting the word out. Sit down and look at all the places and people who can help you publicize your event. You have at least a few, including the local paper, online community calendars, vendors, and clients; but chances are good you have many more than that. Get your team involved and think through all the possibilities.

:: When you have your plan in place, launch your publicity campaign two to four weeks in advance of the event, depending on the time commitment your event requires on the part of an attendee. A drop-open house only needs a couple weeks’ advance notice, while a full-day seminar calls for four weeks. Remember, though, that most of your attendees won’t RSVP (if that is required) until a few days before the event. That’s just human nature.

:: Keep it simple, especially if you’re new to such an event. Let your fears go, make your plan, and DO IT! You’ll be surprised at how effective events can be in raising your profile, improving client and customer loyalty, and improving your top-line revenues.

Watch for my next two installments. They offer even quicker ways to bring in new money NOW.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Marketing Success Institute

Monday, July 26, 2010

Doing What is Required

“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.”

I’m sure Winston Churchill wasn’t talking about marketing specifically when he made this statement, but he may as well have been. It applies here as it does everywhere else.

If you feel you’ve done your best, but your marketing isn’t bringing the results you’d like, perhaps you’ve missed some requirements. You may not be spending the time you need to. You may not have the right team in place. You may be sending the wrong message out. You may be sending that message to the wrong audience… The possibilities for falling short of meeting the requirements necessary to be successful in our marketing efforts are many.

Quick self-assessment:

:: Is your marketing everything you’d like it to be? Are you getting the results you want?

:: Are you really doing your best? Are you aware of things you should be doing that you aren’t?

:: Are there things you should be doing you’re not even aware of? What are you going to do to become better educated?

Always do your best. That goes without saying. But along with doing your best, make sure you’re doing what is required. The best of misdirected efforts won’t bring the results you are seeking.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, July 19, 2010

Accountability in Marketing

I once attended a breakfast meeting in which the speaker asserted that marketing is all the soft things we do in promoting our businesses that cannot be measured, while advertising constitutes the hard, measurable activities in which we engage. How unfortunate that he, and anyone who subscribes to his way of thinking, is missing out on the lion’s share of actionable, measurable marketing that goes on every day for those who understand otherwise.

I’d like to apply my thoughts on accountability to our in-house teams--the people who make the products we sell, fill the orders, provide services, answer the phones, enter client data, and even sweep the floor. All these things play a role in marketing our businesses--especially if we see our businesses as marketing businesses first, regardless of the products or services we provide.

A number of years ago, I worked with a company that was failing. As I evaluated the situation, I found quality defect issues, equipment problems, low production numbers, and general lack of employee morale. I corrected this situation by establishing aggressive accountability measures; but not in the way one might imagine. Here’s the five-step approach we took:

1. With my executive team, we determined what the company needed in terms of production levels, acceptable reject rates, and so on. These were non-negotiable if we were to succeed.

2. I called our entire team together (yes, delivery drivers, production personnel, office staff…everyone), told them what the company needed out of them, and asked what they wanted to make it happen.

3. They devised their own reward system. It was nothing like anything I would have suggested. It fit well within the financial needs of the company. I approved their package deal.

4. I had to do very little in the way of holding anyone’s feet to the fire. The team became a real team. They helped each other. They kept each other motivated. They collectively enjoyed the financial, physical, and emotional fruits of their efforts.

5. The company’s production numbers, quality level, revenues, and profits soared.

It’s tough to sell products when you can’t deliver. It’s even more difficult when the delivered products are sub-standard in quality. Does this apply to marketing? You’d better believe it!

Look inside your own organization. Where are internal shortcomings thwarting the overall marketing efforts of your company?

Focus on these issues. Fix them. Marketing encompasses the entire client experience. Stop thinking in terms of “marketing” meaning only the vehicles that carry your message to your audience; or worse, that “marketing” is that department down the hall.

What I’ve shared today is just one of many facets of the face of marketing. You may have this one under control in your business. Where else can you apply accountability in your marketing?

If you can’t measure your marketing, you’re doing it wrong. Period.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jump On This "Train"

Have you ever found yourself in the situation of being a new-hire who is expected to perform “by the book,” yet not only is there no book, there’s no real formal hands-on training? We all have at some point in the past. So my big question for you as a business owner or marketing decision-maker is this: Are your employees suffering from this problem?

A significant part of marketing is delivering the experience promised, or even alluded to, in your ads, articles about your business, on your blog, on your website, or anywhere else a prospect may encounter information about your company and develop an expectation. And delivering this experience can’t happen without quality, consistent employee training.

Here are a few thoughts from my history as an employer that will help you engage in more effective, consistent training that will ensure your clients of the experience they are seeking:

1. Training is not a one-time event. A 30-minute, full-day, or even multi-day training session is not going to immerse your new employees in the culture you want to create for them and your clients.

2. Training is not something that should be detached from the work experience. If all one’s training is in a classroom, yet all his work is done at a service counter, on a production floor, driving a bus, helping clients on the phone, or anywhere else (other than a classroom, I suppose), you’re missing the most powerful training opportunities. Get hands-on in real-world scenarios to make the training stick.

3. The most powerful, yet most subtle, training comes from you as a leader every day. Every thought you think about your employees and clients, every word you say, every action you take screams your true beliefs. Are your thoughts, words, and actions training your employees the way you’d like?

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Marketing Success Institute

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

3 Concepts Embodied in Ultra-Successful Companies

I’m going to share three concepts with you. You’ve heard them before. But perhaps you haven’t linked them together to see the powerful situation they can create for your company. And none of us, regardless of how diligently we work at perfection, ever “arrive,” so we need to keep working to be our best and make our companies all they can be.

Concept #1: Every truly successful company is a marketing company first

Too often, we focus on our products or services, thinking we have to make them better. While consistent improvement of our offerings is good, consistent improvement of our clients’ or guests’ experiences is more important. From the first time someone becomes aware of our existence to our ongoing relationship with them, it’s all marketing. It’s all about the client.

Concept #2: Marketing is a mindset, not a department

If we’re really going to create a marketing company, marketing can’t be the sole responsibility of a department or individual. Marketing is a way of doing business. It’s a cultural mindset. Which leads us to our final concept…

Concept #3: Every employee, agent, or other company representative is the company

For good or bad, every human point of contact a prospect or client has with our company creates the face of our company. Years of pleasant association and rapport can be destroyed by one careless moment on the part of one thoughtless company representative. By the same token, the person who goes above and beyond the call of duty in the name of the company can create an instant bond between our company and a newly won client.

As I stated earlier, you’ve heard these concepts before. Where does your company rank in the implementation of them? What steps can you take today to set a path toward becoming a full-on, world-class marketing company?

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, June 28, 2010

Everyone Competes with Disneyland

Who is your strongest competitor? I’d like to suggest that no matter the industry you’re in, it’s Disneyland. Not because people have to make a choice between spending their money purchasing your products or services or going to a theme park, but because Disney has set a benchmark for creating an experience against which we are all measured, whether we like it or not.

I just spent a couple of days in the Disney parks—something I have done many times before. But this time was different. We didn’t take the kids. We took a couple of tours in which I became much more familiar with Walt Disney and his vision for the resort. I spent a substantial amount of time in the museum reading about the development of Disneyland and history of Mr. Disney.

Since I wasn’t spending my time looking after kids, I was afforded the opportunity to really pay attention to the systems operating all around me. Every cast member was an expert in creating the Disney experience. Long lines melded into their surroundings, creating experiences for those waiting in them that made the wait painless. Food service was quick and seating was plentiful.

I made note over and over of the interactions between cast members and guests. No one was in too big a hurry to meet the requests of each and every guest. When I looked at the numbers of people being moved about, enjoying the various attractions, eating, and making purchases—all in order and synchronicity—I was blown away.

What can we each learn from the vision of Walt Disney? How can we make the passion we feel for what we do as contagious as Mr. Disney has?

With my trip to Disneyland as a springboard, I intend to continue to study the philosophies and accomplishments of Walt Disney. I invite you to join me. I highly recommend the walking tour, “A Walk in Walt’s Footsteps,” along with a study of the displays on Main Street as a beginning to your studies. I would appreciate any insights on books or other materials you may know of as I continue on my journey of discovery.

To Walt Disney I offer a heartfelt “Thank You” for his vision, beliefs, and tenacity. May his inspiration live on and forever burn as the lamp in the little window above the fire station on Main Street that remains as a constant reminder to all of the light he has shared with each of us. The breadth and depth of his ever-growing legacy is immeasurable as more and more of us strive to emulate his profound example—not just making a living, but making life better for others by passionately doing what we do.

Here’s to our collective Disney-inspired success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Marketing Success Institute

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Fast Way to Turn OFF Prospects

Email is great, isn’t it? You can contact as many people as you want at virtually no cost!

That attitude gets a lot of people in trouble. When you’ve been given someone’s email address, it is because they trust you. Don’t break that trust by spamming them.

This past week I received an email from someone I don’t believe I’ve met before, and I know I hadn’t signed up for any email contact from him. In a nutshell, he asked me to help him sign up a given number of new clients for his company’s services so he could win a trip. The tone of the entire email surprised me. It was almost as if he was doing me a favor by remembering to include me in his spam distribution.

I actually made contact with this salesman and found he had a bunch of old cards from networking events another person in his office had attended, so he added them to his email list. First of all, that’s not how it works. Secondly, even if he had met me once at a networking event, I’m certainly not his instant advocate and, therefore, willing to help him win a trip.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when starting up email-based communications campaign when someone has not specifically signed up for a specific newsletter, coupon mailing, etc.:

:: Make your contact valuable
Provide your audience with information that is timely and useful.

:: Don’t jump into sales mode
If your first contact says, “Buy from me,” you’ve missed the boat.

:: Personalize
Don’t lump everyone into the same category. Communications with those who know you well can be different from general email messages for your broader audience.

:: Prepare your audience if necessary
If it’s been a while since you met the person, a phone call before adding them to your email list can go a long way to having your email messages read and not simply discarded.

:: Allow for easy opt-out
If an email is personal, using your email account to send it is fine. If it’s part of a large distribution, use a system that allows for simple management of one’s email preferences including opting out of the email list.

Email is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoy being kept up on what’s happening with the people and companies I choose to follow. I know many people feel the same. So let’s be part of that group that builds strong relationships through proper use of email instead of turning off our audience with unwanted messages.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Founder, Marketing Success Institute

Monday, June 14, 2010

Are You An Expert at What You Do?

Are you an expert at what you do?

Nobody wants to do business with the newbie. Everyone wants the expert.

Think about it: The new surgeon, or the experienced one? The first-time pilot, or the one with tens of thousands of hours under his belt? The house painter who just bought his equipment this morning, or the one who painted all your friends’ custom homes? You get the idea.

So, let me ask my question again: Are you an expert at what you do?

If you’re not, that needs to change NOW. If you are, you know maintaining your status is an ongoing journey. The best way to become and remain an expert is to demonstrate your expertise consistently to both your client and non-client audiences.

:: Write articles that openly share your knowledge
:: Conduct complimentary seminars (live, on the web, or by phone)
:: Stay in front of your audience with an e-newsletter that provides value
:: Write a blog that is worthy of being shared
:: Offer your products or services in supporting community volunteerism…

There are as many ways to establish yourself as an expert as your creativity will allow. Gather your marketing team. Analyze your position as an expert. Decide how you will establish or improve your image. Then act.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Founder, Marketing Success Institute