Tip #10: Start small

Your goal is to sell a big deal with a big price tag. But your prospect may not be ready to buy a big deal.

They haven’t worked with you before. They don’t know the quality of your work or your ability to deliver on time. By starting with a smaller project of offering, the prospect gets to know you.

Thanks to the smaller deal, they’re no longer a prospect. They’re a customer and you can speak to them differently. They’ve learned through experience they can trust you. That opens the door to something bigger.

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Tip #19: Write the way you talk

When you’re developing marketing and sales copy for a letter, email campaign, website, or brochure, the secret is to write the way you talk. Flowery, eloquent, and formal writing doesn’t cut it. It’s a yawner.

To make sure your audience engages with your message and responds, My Marketing Handyman can review your copy, edit and, if necessary, recommend changes. Or, he can take the idea that’s floating around in your head and turn it into words that sell.

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Tip #13: Direct mail is alive and well

Many business owners choose email marketing because it’s low cost. But low cost isn’t the metric you want to watch. Response rate is.

Direct mail –– a letter, envelope, and postage stamp –– may cost more, but it may generate a better result… that result defined as money in your bank account.

Direct mail doesn’t mean you need to mail to everyone in the world. My Marketing Handyman can help you identify how to reach your target market and develop an offer that generates response.

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Tip #21: Know your market

Many years ago, I knew a business owner who advertised on a country music radio station because he loved country music. Yet, he always complained his advertising didn’t generate response.

As marketers, we dare not judge our audience based on our personal preferences. We need to know exactly who our target market is, where it is, and what it needs and wants. If you don’t know that, you’ll only be talking to yourself.

My Marketing Handyman helps you cut through the clutter, identify your target market, and structure messages that resonate with your target market.

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“Please help me”

It’s easy to ask for help. (Unless, of course, you’re trying to reach tech service at a mega corporation that wants your money but doesn’t want to talk to you.)

Yet people resist asking for help. Perhaps it’s because they want to figure things out on their own or they want to be totally independent.Information Desk 2

I believe many business owners – especially owners of smaller businesses – try to do things on their own to save money. They focus more on the upfront expense of doing something than on the potential return on investment.

Sometimes, we think we can do something on our own, but the outcome doesn’t live up to our expectation. It’s not as well thought out or professional as it should be.

I’ve never been shy about asking for help. I find that when I ask I save the time and money. If it’s a one-time task –– something I’ll probably never do again –– I never hesitate to ask for help for no other reason than it eliminates the learning curve. That saves me time, money, and hours of frustration.

Of course, when you’re asking for help, it helps to ask someone who knows how to help. Asking the wrong person rarely produces an exceptional outcome.

When we ask the right person for help, we wind up with a better solution and outcome. We’re able to move forward with greater confidence.

That’s what prompted me to develop My Marketing Handyman. Because business owners have lots of questions and they need professional help when it comes to marketing, promotion, advertising, and closing more business in less time, I wanted to be there for them… with good answers and professional help.

Whether they’re at their wits end or determined to increase the effectiveness of their marketing and their ability to close more business in less time, My Marketing Handyman is designed to give business owners competent, experienced, and authoritative help.

It never hurts to ask for help.

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Meet My Marketing Handyman

Growing up in a middle-class neighborhood, my buddies and I were in awe of Mr. Smith (his real name) and his garage workshop. He was a retired mechanical engineer with more tools than any of us had ever seen.

handyman_img_400From cars to appliances to broken windows, electrical shorts, and clogged drains, neighbors came to him with questions and for help. He always had the right tools and, most importantly, always had the knowledge and the right answers.

Think of me as a Mr. Smith. In my 35+ years as a marketing professional, I’ve accumulated vast knowledge, answers, tools, expertise, and knowhow to fix or solve or simplify just about every marketing challenge, problem, or conundrum there is. And I love to help.

Why “Marketing Handyman?”

As a marketing strategist and consultant, I spend most my time these days working with medium-sized businesses. They know they need experienced, professional help and, for the most part, they understand that help comes with a price.

Smaller businesses and startups need professional support, too. But too often, they don’t have deep pockets to get experienced, professional support. That’s especially true when it comes to marketing.

I grew up in and around small businesses. I admire the many business owners I met who overcame huge obstacles to start and build a profitable small business.

That’s why I created My Marketing Handyman… as a way of providing a range of marketing services to the owners of smaller businesses and startups who would appreciate the advice and knowledge I can bring to the table at a price they can afford.

Here’s how you can help.

First, follow My Marketing Handyman on your favorite social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.

And, of course, let an owner of a smaller business you know about My Marketing Handyman and how he can find me. www.MyMarketingHandyman.com.

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Writer’s block

I’ve been writing professionally my entire adult life — books, articles, reports, marketing copy, radio and television commercials, blog posts, you name it. I’ve always proudly proclaimed that I never get writer’s block.

Until today! Nothing came to mind as a topic for this week’s blog post. I had a terrible case of writer’s block and the vultures were circling overhead. Pressure as it was, I found my answer. writersblock

Most of my ideas come from my personal experiences and from what I see and hear in the world of business and marketing. So, I thought I’d write about my dilemma du jour –– writer’s block.

There are some rules I follow that make writing easier and more fluid and can help prevent writer’s block. These apply to most all writing.

Little stories make for great ideas. Like me, today, writing about writer’s block. It’s not earthshaking, but it will help someone. And it’ll be fun to read.

Write about what you know. This is perhaps the most important of all. You wouldn’t jump into a conversation with a group of medical technicians (unless you were one) and start pontificating. When you write about what you know, it’s effortless. Continue reading

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Who Killed the Family Business?

In 2015, Centre Club Business Connection Committee (the committee in which I currently serve as chair) needed an event: something theatrical. My recommendation was that to make it truly effective, it needed to be more than actors speaking to a passive audience. It needed to be totally interactive.

That led us to think mystery dinner theatre. Two other committee members joined me in attending a mystery dinner theatre production in St. Petersburg. At the conclusion of what we saw as an amateur program, we agreed we could do better. And we could make ours truly valuable to our audience by adding a business theme. That saw the creation of our first production, “Who Killed the Business?”

It was fun and it was educational. With so many thumbs up, we produced an entirely new mystery dinner theatre production in 2016 entitled “Who Killed the Customers?”

This year, we’re producing still another all new production entitled “Who Killed the Family Business?” If you know anything about family businesses (and even if you don’t) you’re in for a real treat.

Plan to join us on Friday, September 22, 2017.

By the way, the production isn’t scripted. The cast uses improv to work our way through the scenes. We never know exactly what will happen. One thing is for sure, If you pay attention, you’ll be able to determine who is pulling the rug out from underneath the family and the family business!

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Who writes these directions?

The man on the corner says, “Straight ahead for three blocks. Then turn left. You’ll drive about four blocks and the store will be on the right. Big red sign. You can’t miss it. But if you pass the Sunoco Station, you’ve gone too far.”

road mapWe’ve all been recipients of directions like that. It lays everything out in a very logical, foolproof sequence and then provides you with a landmark that you don’t really need – the one that tells you you’ve gone too far. While it’s useful to know you passed your destination, knowing doesn’t help you find it.

No, I’m not sitting here with too much time on my hands today. It’s just one of those days in which the quirks of how people communicate with each other (spoken or written) really bugs me.

Here’s another that drives me up a wall. I like to assemble things. So, let’s put assembly instructions into this same communication abyss. “Connect the two pieces with the bolt, washer, and nut provided.” Easy, right? I do that. Bolt, washer, nut… two pieces are connected. And I make sure they’re tight. I wouldn’t want them to come apart – ever!

Then comes the next instruction. “But before you tighten it all the way…” Grrrrr. It’s so illogical. Why not tell me ahead of time… or at least give me a warning.

I don’t know if the people who write directions or instructions are just so familiar with what they’re doing that they take for granted that I’ll understand it, too.

As a writer and author, it concerns me. As the world becomes more complicated, I wonder what needs to happen for people to become serious about better communicate. Perhaps I should write some instructions for how to write clear, easy-to-follow instruction.

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First impressions versus lasting impressions

At a chamber of commerce mixer recently, one of the other attendees and I found ourselves in a heated conversation about the importance of first impressions.

He was adamant making a good first impression is the single-most important thing a business should do. I responded by saying I thought first impressions were not nearly as important as lasting impressions.

I shared a story of walking into a restaurant in New York City with a group of friends, looking around at the incredible decor, taking in some incrediblewaiter4 aromas, and being greeted and seated courteously and efficiently by the maître d’.

It was a great first impression and we were off to a great start. None of us could have hoped for more. At that point, I absolutely would have raved about it.

I’m sympathetic that eight people at a table in a crowded restaurant doesn’t make life easy for any waiter or waitress. But she carefully took notes and disappeared.

When the food finally arrived, practically all the special requests had been ignored. Plus, many entrées were either overcooked or undercooked. Trying to get the situation corrected was no easy task.

The bottom line to this story is only one person at the table had a meal they felt was above standard. The rest of us were doing more complaining than smiling.

The point is what brings consumers back to a restaurant or to any other business establishment is not the first impression the restaurant or business makes. It’s the lasting impression –– the exceptional experience we take with us when we leave.

It’s the lasting impression that either encourages us to return and contribute more of our hard-earned money to the establishment or to cross it off our list of places to patronize again.

As you read How to Close More Business in Less Time and begin working through your ideal sales process, remember every extraordinary lasting impression begins with an equally extraordinary first impression.

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