Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

Great Business Book Review: Rules of the Hunt

rules of the hunt book lgI love business books.

It's a bit of an addiction really.

Some are good, some are so-so, and once in a while a great one comes along.

This is about a great one - Rules of the Hunt by Michael Dalton Johnson. Michael is the founder, publisher and editor of which is THE go-to resource online for salespeople, sales management and sales success.

Let's cut to the chase and get you fully up to speed - first a video book review, then an in-depth 35-minute audio interview with Michael. (The audio also contains "The Magic Email" that was a featured story a few weeks ago in the newsletter. It has a 100% success rate to get you back in touch with prospects who have gone dark on you. You'll love it!)

Here's my video book review:

And then I invited Michael to chat with me about some of the key ideas in the book.

Listen in here.

NOTE: The audio will take a minute or two to load in your browser. If you prefer, you can download the digital audio file: RIGHT-click on this link and choose "Save Target As..." or "Save Link As..." or "Save File As..." and save the file to your desktop.

Here's to closing out your week with MORE Leads, BETTER Prospects and BIGGER Sales.


Tags: business coaching, word of mouth marketing, marketing book, marketing coaching, small business coach, marketing coach, success tips, small business marketing, doit marketing, small business marketing speaker, doitmarketing, sales and marketing, business book review, business strategy, business coach

Direct Mail

direct mail marketing speaker direct mail tipsHow to use Direct Mail effectively...

My friend Jose Palomino from recently did some web research and collected these dozen or so smart tips from the two resources linked below on increasing your results from your direct mail campaigns. 

Consider this a direct mail crash course for small business owners, entrepreneurs and indepent professionals. 

A. Write a letter? Cheap and inexpensive, but how?

  • Your letters should sound as if they were written by a human being.
  • One-to-one and conversational is usually best. Forget corporatese, it’s snooze-inducing.
  • Try a live stamp, even better, try two live stamps.
  • Try to find common ground. One of my favorite first lines is “I don’t know how you feel about (whatever), but I …”
  • Test a lot of different approaches and lengths.
  • Offer something they can get only by responding to your letter.
  • Ask for the order and make it easy to reply.

B.  Direct Mail Tips

  • Use only direct response direct mail campaigns – Direct response refers to what the name implies; all mailings should have a ‘call to action’ or request a direct response.  There is nothing that sabotages a direct mail campaign more than to not give the recipient a ‘call to action’.  Tell them what to do next . . . . call, write, pick up the phone, etc.
  • Make Your Mail Peer-To-Peer Personal - Consider sending a personalized direct mail letter "written" by your CEO, CFO, CIO, etc. on his or her corporate stationery to his or her counterpart. Play up the commonalities both people share, the business and professional challenges they face that only someone in their position truly understands. I call it "honcho-to-honcho" marketing and it can be very effective. For example, one organization had success with a simple peer-to-peer letter bearing its CEO's name, personal telephone number and a brief description of what the company offers.
  • Follow a formula when writing copy - there are a number of formulas that you can use to produce effective copy, but the easiest one out there and probably the simplest to use is the tried and true AIDA formula.  AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. If you follow this formula when writing your copy, you will produce better copy.
  • Test your copy always test your mailings with a small number of mailings before sending out “the” campaign.  A simple method to accomplishing a test is the A/B split test.  This is where you have a small sample size of say 200.  You mail 100 hundred of your target market a mailing with one headline; and the other 100 a mailing with a different headline to see which mailing will get a better response.  An important note for you to remember.  If you use the A/B split testing method, you can only change one element of your direct mail piece at a time so that you can determine what factor made one piece more effective than the other.  The three parts of your mailing you may want to test include the headline, the call to action or the P.S.

There you have it - all you need to know to kick some serious ass with direct mail.

Is creating a series of sales letters or direct mail postcards one of your to-do items that you've been putting off for WAY too long?

direct mail - direct mail tips - doitmarketingp.s. Crafting some solid direct mail pieces may be one of several things you might want to get DONE during our next DO IT DAY.

Check it out - it may be exactly the boost of accountability you've been looking for to help you make significant progress in ANY part of your business - all in one super-focused day

Tags: marketing speaker, direct mail tips, marketing coaching, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, marketing consultant, small business marketing, marketing mix, small business marketing speaker, small business marketing coach, direct mail

Marriage, Sex and Marketing

marriage sex and marketing one night stand"Direct marketing is to social marketing what a one-night stand is to marriage." -- @dnewman

The above statement is a tweet that gets a lot of reaction - some positive, some negative, and some asking for more detail. So - you asked for it, you got it. Let's dig in...

Quick sidenote before we start: I find it telling that people read the analogy wrong - they sometimes misunderstand and think I'm saying that social marketing is the one-night stand. NOT AT ALL - direct marketing is the one-night stand. Social marketing is a marriage (unless you do it like an idiot - More on that later.

(Social marketing)

(Direct marketing)
 One-night stand: 

 Serious  Frivolous
 Committed  Promiscuous 
 Long-term  Short-term 
 Based on giving  Based on getting 
 Trust-based  Transaction-based 
 Other-focused  Self-focused 
 Metric: quality  Metric: quantity
 Heart, mind, body  Body  
 What's next?  Who's next? 
 Closer over time  Distance over time

The purpose of direct marketing (short for direct response marketing) is just that - to get a response. A hit. A lead. A sale. A little badda-bing in your pants, ya dig?

The purpose of social marketing (short for social media marketing) is to establish trust, build a strong relationship and deliver value over time. Can you hear the wedding bells?   

A big mistake that a lot of business owners, entrepreneurs and indepent professionals make is to think of social marketing in the same way that you might think of direct marketing or outbound sales activity. (As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I see this mistake all the time and it's the source of MANY bad marketing decisions and idiotic online sales antics.)

Think about it: Cold calls. Email blasts. Direct mail like postcards and sales letters. Do those things and the natural question to ask is - OK, how much did you SELL TODAY?

You made 100 dials, you connected with 20 humans, you had 14 conversations, you qualified 5 serious prospects and then how much did you SELL TODAY?

You sent 10,000 postcards. Requests came back for 300 quotes. So how many widgets did you SELL TODAY?

All that scorekeeping, bad pick-up lines, hitting on people (not to mention the need to do it over and over again the next day, the next week, and the next month) is starting to sound a lot like Leisure Suit Larry's dating life, doesn't it?

Social marketing doesn't work that way. Social marketing is... well, social. It's about relationships and trust. Relationships and trust don't have an ON/OFF switch - they develop over time.

Transactions happen today from relationships you built last week, last month, and last year. The benefit of that - and the reason it's worth the "wait" is that social media gives you a permanent asset - TRUST.

Oh and by the way, married people DO have crazy good sex. But those transactions happen BECAUSE of the relationship, not instead of it!! It's the permanence of the relationship that gives you both the long-term love (trust) AND the short-term lust (profitable transactions) you want and need.  

Think about the long-term impact of your social media marketing assets and the fleeting nature of your direct marketing investments:

Blog entries are forever. They continue to sell your expertise, your company, and your value day after day, week after week, year after year.

LinkedIn recommendations are forever. People that wrote glowingly of you in 2002 are still "selling" for you and your reputation TODAY.

A voice mail? BEEP - gone.

An email? ZAP - deleted.

A sales letter or postcard? THUNK - into the recycling.

Those happen today and they're gone today. 

Sure, you have to sell today. You have to make your quota today. You have to feed your family today. But social media marketing helps you ensure that what you create ONCE today works and lasts and brings customers and clients to you for many years to come...

Not because you SOLD them like an idiot -- but because you built the trust and relationships that HELPED THEM BUY today, tomorrow and beyond!

Use the COMMENTS area below to share your advice, insights and recommendations on marriage, sex or marketing. 
marriage sex and marketing

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Are you a DO IT freak? Welcome to the club!! Please use the social media buttons at the top of this post to share it with your network. YOU are a rock star!

Tags: marketing speaker, business coaching, web marketing, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, doit marketing, small business marketing speaker, doitmarketing, social media marketing, small business marketing coach

Marketing Coach: "You Never Know" Will Kill You

This blog post inspired by ideas from my friend, Tom Davidson, who is THE leadership expert for the forestry industry. Tom says he used to be a victim of "You Never Know" ...but NOW he knows. And his business is booming!

marketing coach you never know will kill youWhen it comes to small business marketing, "You Never Know" will kill you...

See if these scenarios ring a bell with you...

  1. "We've been talking with this prospect for YEARS and now they've suddenly expressed interest... You never know!"
  2. "We've been running that expensive ad month after month and sure enough, someone just called... You never know!"
  3. "This guy asked me for a proposal last year and then disappeared on me. Couldn't get a hold of him to save my life. But he just opted into our website... You never know!"
  4. "We wanted to stop offering that program and focus on more profitable services, but just last month, two clients signed up before we could pull it off the website. You never know..." 
  5. "We were in the process of changing our tag line because nobody knew what the heck it meant. But then a new prospect just told me, 'I love your tag line' so we're keeping it. You never know..."
  6. "Although 70% of our business is in this industry - we don't want to exclusively focus on them because we'd be cutting ourselves off from other business. You never know..."
  7. "We love working with small companies, but my sales coach told me that if we're ever going to seriously grow revenue, we have to start selling to much bigger companies. He may be right. You never know..." 

You're breaking my heart... 

And you're killing your business... 


Look at you... Spinning your wheels, chasing all your random maybes.

STOP hedging your bets. 

(Thank you to Peter Sheahan for hammering that point home in a speech.)

You need to focus on a SPECIFIC audience, dedicate yourself to ONE distribution channel, lead with one FLAGSHIP service, promote one CORE program, sell one MAIN product line, PRESENT prospects with a PRIMARY investable opportunity. 

The sound bite I share with my marketing seminar audiences and marketing coaching clients is "Focus on what you want - you can always take what comes."

Big problem: Maybe your business model IS "we take what comes."

5 Signs Your Business is a Victim of "You Never Know"

  1. You feel you're chasing your tail and spending too much time and too much money bouncing from idea to idea or initiative to initiative...
  2. You have no idea where your next lead is coming from...
  3. Your pipeline is full of "maybes" but it's been months since you've closed a deal and cashed a check...
  4. You find yourself succumbing to too many sales pitches for marketing ebooks, get-rich-quick courses, social media services, online sales tools, subscriptions, advertising, directories, web software...
  5. You are relying on hope as a marketing strategy...

Bottom line: The truth is that you may very well never KNOW...

But you sure as hell can DECIDE.

And as my pal Jim Canterucci likes to say, once you DECIDE, your choices are easy. 

That's the key you need to unlock marketing success for your small business so that you get better traction, make faster progress and make more money.

Grab your FREE copy of the Platform Promotion Checklist!

And then leave a comment below with your questions, thoughts, and advice on the ideas above.

Are you a DO IT freak? Welcome to the club!! Please use the social media buttons at the top of this post to share it with your network. YOU are a rock star!

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing concept, niche, small business marketing expert, marketing strategist, marketing consultant, small business marketing, doit marketing, small business marketing speaker, doitmarketing, small business marketing coach, business strategy

Which Do YOU Need More - Strategy or Implementation?

small business marketing coach business coaching strategyAs a marketing coach for business owners, entrepreneurs and solo professionals, I'm often asked some variation of the following questions:

  • What's more important - a focused marketing plan or consistent marketing activity?
  • Do I need to change my marketing strategy? 
  • What should I be doing more of - and less of - to get more clients? 
  • How do I know the kind of marketing that will work for what I offer? 
  • How can I stop spinning my wheels and do a FEW simple things consistently to generate leads, prospects and sales?

Here's my answer in very sophisticated and technical marketing lingo:

"Wow, man... I dunno."

Now before you dismiss me as a complete marketing moron, let me put that insightful statement into some context for you.

If you don't know where you are, who you're marketing to, what they want, what they're willing to pay for, and how to position yourself as the "Ah - at last!!" solution they've been looking for, then all these questions will do is: 

  • Confuse you
  • Scare you
  • Piss you off

And the bottom line is that it's tough to be a successful entrepreneur when you're running around confused, scared and pissed off all the time. 

So stop it. 

The first thing you need to decide is - which do YOU need more of? A revised and refocused master plan? Or some healthy ass-kicking to DO what you ALREADY know you need to do?

Follow the Teddy Roosevelt principle of "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." What does that mean?

That means you need to STOP GETTING READY TO GET READY until...

  • You get your next professional certification...
  • You finish writing your book...
  • Your kids are a little older...
  • You build your updated website...
  • You have a few more clients...
  • You start making more money...


Can you SMELL the stinky pile of rotten excuses suffocating you with their disgusting stench?


The short answer is a screaming YES with racing stripes and flames coming out the tailpipes.

Do you need a 60-page marketing/business plan with charts and graphs and financial projections for the next 5 years? No you do not. 

You need some flip charts, markers, paper, plenty of wall space and at least half a day to map out: 

  • Your business and marketing objectives and strategies
  • Your current and future revenue streams
  • Your thought leadership strategies (speaking, publishing, social media)
  • Your business systems and processes
  • Your current and future staffing and outsourcing game plan
  • Simple templates and scripts to operationalize your plan
  • Your pricing structure including new ways to monetize your expertise
  • Your marketing action plan with daily, weekly and monthly tasks 

I do this with my clients all the time - it's called a VIP Coaching Day and the process and the output look something like the flipcharts and action notes you'll see smack in the middle of this page.


The short answer is a screaming YES with racing stripes and flames coming out the tailpipes.

Do you need a 1,000% laser focus with a non-stop implementation mindset? No you do not. That's not realistic and it's never going to happen. 

You need a calendar, just a little bit of focus, some serious accountability for a short period of time, and your to-do list (which probably contains some long-overdue "big ideas" which you've simply never gotten around to doing even though they might be the exact things you need to FINISH so that you get out of your rut, find your groove and grow your business significantly!)

What kinds of to-do items might you tackle on such a focused day of implementation?

  • Rewrite the home page of your website
  • Record a series of videos or audios that showcase your services
  • Do some writing to better articulate your fabulousness
  • Create a few simple tools to help you generate more leads
  • Clean up your office or empty your inbox to streamline your daily work
  • Develop (or refresh) your consulting or service/project offerings
  • Optimize your social media profiles so that more prospects find (and contact!) you
  • Draft the outline for your book, product, or signature program
  • Map out your proactive referral and networking strategy (who, what, where, when)

I do this with my clients all the time too. It's called a DO IT DAY and you can find out more about them here. Sign up for the next one - I'd be honored to do a little ass-kicking with YOU over a single focused day... and cheer you on as you cross the finish line on what YOU need to get done

What do you think? Use the COMMENTS area below to talk about your experiences with strategy vs. implementation for YOUR business...

Tags: consultant marketing, marketing concept, marketing coaching, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, marketing consultant, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, small business marketing coach

Marketing Speaker: Why Your Inbound Leads Are a 911 Call

marketing speaker marketing coach doit marketing911 means emergency response.

The sooner, the better.

You get there quick or the patient dies. 

As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I encourage my clients and seminar participants to UP the urgency of their marketing and sales response times. 


Well... Do you know the lead follow-up time that maximizes your sales for online leads that come through your website or email? Or your leads/prospect inquiries that come in by phone?

Do you think it's: 

a. 48 hours

b. 24 hours

c. 8 hours

d. 1 hour

e. 15 minutes

f. Whenever we get around to it - they can wait

Research from MarketingProfs and Hubspot proves that the lead follow-up time that maximizes sales is e. within 15 minutes!

What does that mean to you, your marketing efforts, your sales team, and your own personal schedule as a business owner or entrepreneur?

Simple - when it comes to responding to leads, the mantra is "Now or never."

Bad news: Your leads won't wait - they're SEEKING a solution NOW. You are not the only service provider they are calling. Not by a long shot.

Good news: A lead converted to a prospect FAST (meaning you had a conversation within 15 minutes of first contact) is much more likely to stop looking. Once they connect with a real live human being who conveys the fact that they understand the situation AND they are in a position to help... the frenzied dialing and emailing stops. All the previous unanswered calls, emails, and web forms go by the wayside and YOU HAVE YOUR SHOT. 

So don't blow it. Don't be tempted to start waxing poetic about how great your product, your service, your program and your people are. STOP.

A conversation that is mostly listening on your end is much more likely to build trust and rapport on their end. 

But the point is speed. Why? Because responsiveness in the sales process equates to responsiveness in the business relationship.

The bottom line is that your leads CANNOT wait.

Your prospects won't wait.

Think of your own buying behavior. You leave a message - you keep dialing. Someone answers, and you're problem is 80% solved and it's THAT salesperson who gets the chance to win your business. 

The only exception to the 911 rule is a publicity lead. When a reporter calls, it's NOT a 911...

It's a FIVE ALARM fire in your pants.

So if 911 is emergency response, putting the fire out in your pants would be a critical right-now drop-what-you're doing this second response. Reporters' deadlines are expressed in hours, sometimes minutes. They have sources coming at them all day, every day. If a reporter wants to feature or include you in their story - RUN, don't walk to the nearest phone or internet connection and get them what they need. Otherwise, you're toast.

And you looked so good in those pants, too. A real shame.  

Remember - whether it's prospects calling you to do business or journalists responding to a press release or interview request, speed KILLS (the competition!)

Grab your FREE copy of the Strategic Marketing eBook.

And then leave a comment below with your questions, thoughts, and advice on the ideas above.

Are you a DO IT freak? Welcome to the club!! Please use the social media buttons at the top of this post to share it with your network. YOU are a rock star!

Tags: marketing speaker, business coaching, public relations, marketing coach, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, small business marketing coach, pr, business coach, lead generation

Business Coach: 50 Reasons People Should Buy from YOU

business coach business coaching marketing coachAs a business coach, I love tools, strategies, templates and exercises that help small business owners sell more, more easily and more often. 


After reading this post, YOU will be able to build yourself one of the most powerful sales tools I've ever seen. (And I've seen a LOT of marketing/sales tools in my 20+ years in business.) 

Because of my involvement in the National Speakers Association (NSA) and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS), I've been fortunate to develop personal friendships with some of the smartest and most successful business speakers, sales experts and marketing gurus in my field.

One of these folks is known as Canada's Sales Coach - his name is Tom Stoyan and he is also a member of the Speaker's Hall of Fame (HoF). When Tom and I were co-presenting at a convention almost three years ago, he kindly participated in a small part of my program and I participated in his. We thought we'd compare notes and both learn a thing or two.

Tom picked up some ideas around social media and inbound marketing and I picked up a Million Dollar Idea called the "Why People Buy from Me" worksheet.

It is a structured process that walks you through 5 key questions - which require 10 (ten!) answers to each, giving you an arsenal of 50 selling points. You can use these in your marketing materials, sales conversations, website copy, phone calls, emails, and anyplace else you need to PROVE to your buyers that buying from anyone else would be a HUGE mistake.

At the risk of being self-serving (get over it - it's an example, OK?) here is mine for the marketing coaching part of my business.

Note I cheated on Question #3 because I did this exercise from a personal perspective, not an overall company perspective. If you work for an organization larger than yourself, DO NOT SKIP Question #3. Seek help from your boss and co-workers to answer it - or call Tom Stoyan and he'll help you answer it as part of his program!

1. Why should I buy your product/service?

  1. Because you're terrible at marketing
  2. You don't make time for marketing
  3. You've read too many books yet implemented too few ideas
  4. Because without proactive marketing, you're the best kept secret at what you do
  5. Because you don't need marketing information - you need marketing implementation
  6. You don't know what you don't know about marketing your services
  7. You're tired of throwing money in a marketing black hole
  8. You want to regain control of your marketing and sales results
  9. You're tired of spinning your wheels and you're ready to commit to marketing success
  10. You realize that for every marketing dollar you spend, you should get at least $3 in return

2. Why should I buy from YOU?

  1. Because of my brilliant testimonials from some of the top entrepreneurs and consultants in the US
  2. Because I've been the talent, bought the talent, and sold the talent so I've sat on all three sides of the table!
  3. Because I give you the strategies, tactics, and guided implementation you need to generate results
  4. Because my materials, advice, articles, and presentations are splattered all over the web! (You've already heard of me so I must be doing something right - what if YOU could do the same in your prospect base?)
  5. Because I've been quoted or featured in the New York Times, Investors Business Daily, Fast Company, Selling Power, Sales & Marketing Management, Business 2.0 and Entrepreneur Magazine (with a picture!)
  6. Because I'm the author of 3 books on marketing and professional services, including The Manager's Pocket Guide to Using Consultants (HRD Press, 2007) Do It! Marketing (AMACOM, 2013) and 21 Secrets of Simple Marketing Success
  7. Because I've delivered over 600 presentations since 1992 and I've worked with 44 of the Fortune 500
  8. Because I have an application process that you must go through before we work together - I don't work with any warm body with a checkbook
  9. Because my programs are consistently among the highest rated at national conventions and association chapters nationwide
  10. Because I have over 40 video testimonials on YouTube so you can see I'm the "real deal"

3. Why should I buy from your company?

My company and me are one and the same. See reasons above.

4. Why should I buy your price?

  1. Because I have a 1000% guarantee as follows: "I'm better than anyone who's cheaper; and I'm cheaper than anyone who's better."
  2. Pay one price for unlimited coaching - I'm more concerned in getting you to your destination than running the meter.
  3. The fee is the fee - and if you're not making back 3-10x my fee after our work, one of us is not doing his job... and it's not usually me.
  4. Everything is too expensive until you want it* (*T. Stoyan, 2012)
  5. People won't spend $50 to fix a $5 problem. But they will spend $1 million to solve a $10 million problem
  6. If you're not comfortable spending big money with me, why would you expect your prospects to spend big money with you?
  7. If you ask anyone I've worked with, 90% of them will tell you that working with me was some of the smartest money they ever spent. The other 10% didn't do the work. 
  8. You shouldn't work with me if marketing and growing your business is not a serious priority for you
  9. You shouldn't work with me if your business is struggling - get sales coaching first (I'm serious!)
  10. You can spend less and you'll get less - and you can also spend more and you'll still get less. I over-deliver like crazy (see testimonials) because once you're "in" with me, I have nothing more to sell you and we can get to work!

5. Why should I buy NOW? ("Now is a relative term" -- T. Stoyan, 2012)

  1. Because it's rare that I have openings in my client roster - you can get in now or typically wait 3-6 months.
  2. Because the longer you delay getting your marketing house in order, the longer you'll be in a state of confusion, inaction, and overwhelm
  3. Because "waiting til my business picks up" to invest in marketing is like saying "I'm sick as a dog but I'll wait til I feel better to go to the doctor." It's never going to happen
  4. I've never seen a marketing plan that starts with "Generate enough sales to afford marketing plan"
  5. Maybe you should never buy - and you might not qualify to work with me.
  6. What would it be like if your next year's revenues were much like your last year's? If you're OK with that, there's probably no reason for us to work together.
  7. Are you sure you have a marketing problem and not a sales problem? Maybe Stoyan is a better fit for you. Would you like his number?
  8. Because the money you're NOT making week after week, month after month, is a larger number than the money you'd be investing to restore your revenues to where you'd like them to be
  9. Because you want to stop the "feast or famine" revenue cycle and get a proactive handle on your marketing process before you hit your next dip
  10. Because someone you know and respect recommended we chat and I'm the answer to your prayers. (In addition to... I'm one of the most humble people you know!)

See? I told you it was self-serving.

Until now.

Because NOW - it is YOUR turn. Here is your assignment:

1. Why should I buy your product/service?   
2. Why should I buy from YOU?
3. Why should I buy from your company? 
4. Why should I buy your price?
5. Why should I buy NOW? ("Now is a relative term" -- T. Stoyan, 2012)
Grab your FREE copy of the Strategic Marketing eBook.

And then leave a comment below with your questions, thoughts, and advice on the ideas above.

Are you a DO IT freak? Welcome to the club!! Please use the social media buttons at the top of this post to share it with your network. YOU are a rock star!

Tags: business coaching, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, marketing professional services firms, marketing coaching, marketing coach, small business marketing speaker, sales and marketing, small business marketing coach, business coach

Business Coach: Why You DON'T Want to Be in the Book

In my role as a business coach, my clients often ask me if they should spend the time and money to be listed in this directory or that trade show book or some magazine's "Marketplace" section. 

Here's the answer for YOU and YOUR business if you've ever wondered the same thing. 

But first, remember the Yellow Pages?

Their old tagline was "Let Your Fingers Do the Walking."

It was more convenient - in the 1960's and 1970's - to use the Yellow Pages and your rotary phone to find out what you needed to know about local businesses than to literally walk from store to store or office to office.

Check out this sign and you'll see where this tale starts to unravel: 

business coach business coaching

Photo credit: Rolando Pujol

Yes, you can find Tony's One Hour Cleaners in the Yellow Pages. 

Along with Sam's One Hour Cleaners, Jiffy Dry Cleaning, and dozens of other competitors all over town. This was great for consumers up until about 1992 when the web took over much of this same functionality (and multiplied its marketing power by about 1000-fold.)

And it's pretty dumb for business owners today. 

Why? Because the moment you're "in the book" - you're a commodity. 

You are ACTIVELY inviting your prospects, customers, clients and influencers to comparison-shop your ad vs. their ad. Your listing vs. their listing. Your trade show booth vs. their trade show booth. 

And don't even get me started on trade show exhibiting. Unless you're in the top 5% of folks who TRULY know what they're doing, exhibiting at a trade show is nothing more than endless days of exhaustion, massive expense and being proactively ignored by people walking rapidly to the back of the exhibit center to get their bagel while working insanely hard to avoid eye contact with you and your staff at all costs. 

As I share in my small business marketing seminars, we're living in an ATTENTION economy. Meaning, first you must earn your prospect's attention. And only then do you get the chance to earn their money.

And these days, it's damn difficult to earn anyone's attention with a BIGGER ad, a BOLDER directory listing, or a SPLASHIER banner. 

Nobody cares. Truly. So give it up.

The expiration date on that strategy has come and gone like a bucket of old yogurt.

Today, you can save all that money and put it toward creating resources, tools and content that your target market will VALUE, will KEEP and will SHARE. 

Am I nuts? Is directory advertising still working for YOU? 

Grab your FREE copy of the Ultimate Resource List!

And then leave a comment below with your questions, thoughts, and advice on the ideas above.

Are you a DO IT freak? Welcome to the club!! Please use the social media buttons at the top of this post to share it with your network. YOU are a rock star!

Tags: marketing speaker, business coaching, small business advertising, marketing professional services, marketing coach, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, small business marketing coach, business coach

Marketing Concept: You're Competing with Idiots - and They're Winning

Here's the problem for you:marketing speaker marketing coach you're competing with idiots

  • you have integrity
  • you have smarts
  • you have standards
  • you have ethics
  • you have conscientiousness
  • you have detail orientation
  • you have an innate desire to only deliver your best work

Why is any of this a problem? 

Because you're competing with idiots who have no hesitation to: 

  • charge more (way more in some cases)
  • deliver less (way less in MOST cases)
  • shoot faster
  • shoot more often
  • brag and boast with nothing but hot air and smoke
  • overpromise and package their offerings with more sizzle
  • underdeliver but become brilliant at evasion and deceit
  • game the system to win meaningless awards, garner inflated reviews, and continue to deceive the world that they are better than you.

Truth: they're not better than you at all. Not for a second.

But here's the rub: perception is reality.

Let me repeat that: perception IS reality.

You're fighting the wrong war.

  • You're trying to win the wrong game
  • You are who Google says you are
  • Your clients see what your LinkedIn recommendations tell them to look for

You are really fighting a two-front war:

1. Managing the perceptions of you and your firm

2. Managing the reality of you and your firm

The fakers are better at FAKING it.

So you better be better at DELIVERING it.

For real. Every minute of every day.

If perception is reality, then the sooner you get busy changing your perception, the sooner your prospects and clients will appreciate your reality.

Keep it real, people.   

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing concept, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, marketing professional services firms, marketing coach, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker

5 Reasons You're Getting Referred to Losers - and How to Fix It

marketing coach marketing speaker doit marketingAs a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I preach and teach and continually refine my own ability to stimulate more and better referrals in addition to helping my small business and professional services clients do the same. 

Although I am not a referral expert - check out my pal referral marketing expert Michael Goldberg for that - I am indeed a referral enthusiast

A client of mine - a consultant with a midsized firm - asked me a great referral question.

After reading this post, YOU will see where your own referral generation process may be stuck - and how to fix it. 

My client said to me, "David, I don't seem to have any problem generating referrals. In fact, my clients and colleagues are always very generous and forthcoming with referrals. The problem is not with QUANTITY - it is with QUALITY."

She went on, "No matter how successful my referral source may be, they seem to always refer me only to losers. I hate to say that - but you know what I mean. People who can't afford what we do, folks who are not decision-makers, or folks who for a variety of reasons are simply not the right fit."

Her question: "How can I get out of referral jail?"

Here are five ideas to help YOU get out of referral jail and put YOUR allies, advocates, friends and fans in the best and most likely position to refer you to the right people for the right reasons with the right fit. 

1. Ask for what you want. 

Be specific. "Business owners" is not specific. "IT managers" is not specific. "Front line salespeople" is not specific.

  • "CEOs of 20-100 person companies in the food distribution industry in the Northeast US" is specific.
  • "Female sales executives in the technology industry" is specific.
  • "IT managers in Canadian call centers" is specific. 

Some of my clients also like to include a "phrase book" in their referral description. This means the phrases to listen for that indicate someone may be a good fit as a referral to you.

The WORST kind of referral request is, "I'll talk to anybody who needs [your product/service.]"

Stop making dumb referral requests and you'll stop getting dumb referrals.

2. Show them names, companies, and proof that you can make those people happy.

Let's face it - the reason people don't want to give you referrals is because they're putting their own relational capital (aka reputation) on the line. And that's risky.

If you can remove the risk of the referral, you will open the floodgates to getting more and better referrals for life. 

Hint: They won't believe YOU. They WILL believe your clients, past referrals, and people who have given you money and been thrilled to do so. 

Print up a sheet called "Referral Success Stories." Put in 5-7 specific referrals you've gotten over the last 12 months. Put in TWO kinds of quotes from both:

a. Clients who were referred and eventually hired you (Client success)
b. Your referral sources who are quoting how good they looked for making the referral (Referral success)

3. Tell them exactly what to say or send.

I hate to repeat myself so let me simply point out this post on the power of referral blurbs. Follow the templates given here to create your own referral blurb and START USING IT.

4. When a bad referral comes in, give some referral coaching.

When you get referred to a dud, diplomatically tell your referral source why it wasn't a great fit AND how they can tune their radar better next time.

Here's the template you can adapt to your own situation, style and tone. This is a delicate communication so you will want to re-word this carefully. Definitely not a cut-and-paste cookie cutter response but here's your starting point: 



I've kindly and gently turned down the opportunity to pursue a business relationship with [referral name.]

Too many red flags and especially after listening to his concerns, he's just not a good fit for us.

Thank you very much indeed for the referral - and in my book, it still counts. (EVERY referral counts no matter how it turns out!!)

If this causes you any strain in your relationship with [referral name] (and I doubt it will), please accept my apologies in advance.

For the record, his PROFILE was perfect - [DESCRIBE 2-3 ideal qualities about the referral.] The disconnect was in OUR FIT with his expectations and [lack of budget, lack of need, lack of authority, whatever was missing] -- two factors over which YOU had no control.

Always appreciate your advocacy, guidance and friendship.

-- David


5. Ask smart Referral-GIVING questions to generate smart Referral-GETTING answers. 

If you want to increase both the quality and quantity of your INCOMING referrals - the fastest way to do that is to increase your OWN track record of GIVING high-quality referrals. 

And to do so, you need to stop guessing and start targeting

Become a referral detective.

Learn to ask consultative questions of your current clients, vendors, partners, suppliers, friends, colleagues, and networking associates -- anyone to whom you wish to GIVE more targeted referrals. 

Your questions might include: 

  1. Who is your best client and why?
  2. How did they come to you? 
  3. What situation were they in? 
  4. What did they say or do to show interest? 
  5. How could you tell they were a great fit? 
  6. How have you tried to get more just like them? 
  7. What should I be listening for? (Ask for details and specifics)
  8. What's the DNA of a great prospect for you? (Ask for details and specifics)
  9. What phrases, key words or problems should I be listening for on your behalf? 
  10. What wants, needs, desires, and aspirations do your best clients have in common? (Ask for details and specifics)
  11. What heartaches, headaches, obstacles and challenges do your best clients have in common? (Ask for details and specifics)
  12. If I programmed my GPS to home in on perfect prospects for you, what would those settings look like? (Ask for details and specifics)
Be relentless in your followup questions to tease out details. Here's a set of probing tools to get you armed and ready for intelligent follow-up: 
  1. Tell me more about that...
  2. Say more about... 
  3. Why was that important to them? 
  4. What makes you say that? 
  5. How could you tell? 
  6. And that led to... 
  7. Why was that a problem? 
  8. What else did they say? 
  9. What else do you think they're after? 
  10. Please share 2-3 of your favorite pre-qualification questions so I can start to refer you more accurately
Follow these 5 steps to generate MORE and BETTER referrals that are MORE likely to close FASTER and more EASILY. 
-- David

P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are 4 ways I can help you grow your speaking-driven business:

1. Grab a free copy of my Action Guide

Download "6 Keys to Rapidly Grow Your Speaking Business." It’s the roadmap to attract prospects, get more clients, and scale your speaking  business fast. — Click Here

2. Join the Art of High Profit Speaking group

It’s our free Facebook community where smart speakers, consultants, and experts learn to boost their reach and revenue with the power of speaking. — Click Here 

3. Watch our current free on-demand masterclass

Get in front of the exact right buyers, get off the gig-to-gig hamster wheel, and build a high-fee speaking-driven business you can be proud of. — Click Here

4. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to help you build a high-fee speaking, training, consulting, and coaching business in our Speaker Profit Formula mentorship, see details and client case studies here first and then schedule your call here.

Tags: consultant marketing, marketing concept, referral blurb, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, small business coach, marketing coach, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, referral marketing, referrals