My Blog, By Chris Wharram
What I have learned through my 35 years + of running my own businesses.
If you you like my blog here is my gift to you
Top 20 Mistakes the Trades make in their marketing
When I talk to trades people in business there is often a mis-understanding or a mystery around this subject of what marketing actually is. Some say its advertising, some about social media, others say things like ‘it’s your Branding’.
All of these are correct in their way, but let’s start to get clearer on what marketing is, for the Trades businesses in particular.
Marketing is about 2 basic things
A. Getting new business and
B. Keeping existing business and making the most of it.
It is specifically about how you get the market to come to you.
So onto my top 20 Mistakes that I see in my day to day work.
- No People doing the marketing
You need to have some people doing marketing for you. They may be full time or part time or you may allocate someone in the team and dedicate a relevant amount of their time to this. Alternatively marketing services can readily be bought in nowadays from freelancers or specialist companies.
A. There are 4 main types of marketers and each type requires a different type of person so you need to think about what type of marketer is right for you.
i). Digital content marketer, these are database builders. They write and find relevant content to engage your target audience.
ii). Relationship marketer, these are the relationship builders. The type of person who is good with people to do networking and face to face contact.
iii). Direct marketer, to use the databases and create letters, emails, brochures etc.
iv). Advertiser marketer, to produce compelling adverts. Use the A.I.D.A principle that’s Attract, Interest, Desire, Action.
When recruiting starting out go for Junior rather than senior type people. Start off with a doer not a manager, you won’t need a manager until you have a team of marketers to manage.
B. Get 2 or 3 strategies up and running before trying to do everything
C. Look for the low hanging fruit, the easy place to start
2. Me Focus
When most companies start marketing they often project their messages about themselves. How they are better, what they can do and they completely miss the point.
Marketing messages need to attract your target audience and they are thinking,
WII FM, WHATS IN IT FOR ME?
There are three parts to this Facts, Advantages and Benefits, get over the message, ‘What that means to you’ of ‘so that’
Write your marketing as if you are talking to one person, as if it’s to your best customer and think , how would ‘John’ react to that?
- Wrong Pricing
Price is always an important part of your offering but rather than making price the focus and the one thing, include options in your offer, package things up so that the customer doesn’t just need to choose between you and another quote but he can choose another option from you.
Add value rather than discount wherever possible. So give something away in addition that you can buy cheaply put that has a perceived high value to the customer.
How to Price. When writing a quote get the pricing in early and use the rest of the page showing added advantages and benefits that make your particular offer more valuable.
What to say when someone rings in to ask the price. This happens so often in many businesses and I hear the response its £xxx, the called then says thanks I’ll get back to you.
The Magic Line. Use this verbatim word for word and train all your staff to get this consistently.
Thank you for your call. Just so that I can help you the best, would be ok if I ask you a couple of questions? When they say yes then follow with a couple of value adding questions that are relevant to your particular business.
- No Numbers
Marketing is maths (Book, Buying Customers, by Brad Sugars). If the numbers work its good marketing. The bad news is that 80% of marketing fails so how do you find what’s working for your business.
The answer is Measure the results and test lots of options of messages and combinations. What are you conversion % rates of enquiries to orders? Are you even asking, ’where did you find out about us’, is there a difference between morning and afternoon etc. etc.
The one important this is to get good analysis of the numbers, so who is the best person in your business to do this and is it being done regularly on a weekly basis.
I recommend a book ‘Buying Customers’ by Brad Sugars’ this really gets you to understand how the numbers are important.
- Just One Strategy
Having just one marketing strategy means that when this strategy starts to falter then there is nothing in reserve. Use the magic five ways numbers and develop 5 strategies for each part, I have a list of 350 strategies to pick from and this is certainly not exhaustive.
- No Goals
What is your overall Goal for your marketing and what is the goal for each particular marketing strategy. If you don’t have a goal how will you know if you have been successful of not?
- No Budget
What is your budget? How can you create an un-limited marketing budget?
This brings up two important numbers that you need to know in your business.
Acquisition cost. How much do you need to spend to get each new customer? When you have established this you can then work out the profit contribution from the 1st sale and assess whether that covers the cost of the marketing and more. If it does this changes the effect of this from being a cost into being an investment. The second number is
Lifetime Value. Once you have gained a new customer on average how long do they stay as customers and what do they spend in the lifetime that they are a customer. What is the gross profit contribution from them?
Once you know these two numbers you can then make good decisions on how much to invest into your marketing budget and create a plan to get the right number of new customers into your business.
When you have found what works you can effectively create that un-limited budget.
- No Plan
Creating a marketing plan takes time and energy. The simplest plan would be just a calendar of events and that would be a start however what are your goals , what do you need to learn, what strategies are you going to start with and how are you going to build on this.
Bad news is that 80% of marketing doesn’t work so make sure you are measuring everything and test different headlines & offers.
Start with one strategy, get it working and build up to 10 different strategies for generating those new leads. The way modern marketing is working, what works today may stop working tomorrow so you do need to have several strands to the plan so that if one strategy dries up there are other that keep working.
- 100 not just 1 at a time.
Aim to attract 100 people not just for 1 at a time. This is about how you think about your marketing messages.
Marketing is about incoming enquiries, getting them to contact you as opposed to Sales which is where you go out to contact potential targets and generate sales.
10. Wrong Targets
Hit the right target customers. Hone in on specific types or groups of people and how do you define and target them. Is it?
- High Concentration
- Profit or volume.
- Wat does your internal research tell you? Who are you best type of customer?
- External research. What are the gaps that I am missing.
11. Wrong Offers
What is it that the target group really want to buy? Why emotionally do they want it? People buy the solution not the tool.
A young woman who is buying a sexy dress, isn’t buying a dress she’s really buying attention, boyfriends or even free drinks at the bar.
Of the three offers. A. ½ price , B. buy 1 get 1 free, and C. 50% off, we have found the
‘Buy 1 get 1 free’ gets a 50% better response than the other two.
12. Wrong Copy, Words or Pictures
Test different headlines. ‘Here’s why………..’, ‘Now you can…..….’ ‘7 Reasons………….’
Google often send out free vouchers to try AdWords. Tip. Use these to test 7-10 different headlines and offers.
There is only one marketing genius and that is the customer so get over your ego and get testing
13. Not Consistant
Don’t change for the sake of it. If you have something that’s working run it for ever or until it stops working. Just because you are bored with it doesn’t matter if it’s working. Build on that and add another layer.
We all know that people buy from people who they know, like & trust so keep that winning message going.
14. Too Fancy & Brand Building
In the early stages of marketing concentrate on getting the headlines and messages right.
Having a fancy logo and graphics is kind of irrelevant if people are not seeing you messages. You can always work on improving that at a later stage when you have created some profits to pay for it. Nobody is going to buy from you because you have a fancy logo.
Small businesses should not be brand building in their marketing. It’s about getting a response to your investment.
There is a science to marketing though and to be attuned to that will help.
I recall the old Adige, I like to treat people how I like to be treat myself. This is interesting as we use a communication style assessment tool that shows 4 distinct type of people, it’s called DISC.
The reality is that people want to be treated like they want to be treated.
D’s tend to be loud, pushy, abdicating hunters
I’s tend to be friendly, poor finishers but farmers
S’s tend to be consistent, stable, good finishers and are the workhorses of the world
C’s tend to not like people like lots of detail and have a need to be right in their decisions.
Using this science can be most useful in your marketing as you develop knowledge around this.
15. No Content or Just Content
On social media
- Be social 50% social and 50% business
- Add value by helping people to understand
- Interact, comment back
- Sell softly by adding links to helpful information sources, preferably on your own website.
16. No stories
1. Get Get the storey of your company out there
2, Get Testimonials, ratings & reviews on your site
3. Make sure you ask for positive reviews on your pages and sites so that when an odd negative one comes in then it is balanced out
17. No Referrals
Getting referrals & new contacts through people who already know, like & trust you is the No.1 cost effective way of generating new business. There are several routes to this.
- Ask your existing customers.
- Use host beneficiaries to market on a reciprocal arrangement
- for strategic alliances with key contacts who share the same target markets as you.
- Piggy back on someone else’s database with an appropriate offer
I can recommend the book ‘Instant Referrals’ by Brad Sugars if you want to learn more about how you can generate more for your businesss.
18. No Follow up.
So many businesses fail to follow up after an initial enquiry.
Create a sales flow chart and include follow up, follow up, follow up. Analyse your performance and the performance of all the sales people in your team against the sales process checklist.
On average a person will say no 7 times before they buy.
19. No Database
If you don’t have a database get one. Set up your CRM so that you can automate your marketing as much as possible. Send out reminders for birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions, seasons etc. that you can use as marketing opportunities.
20. Over Promising
Over promise and under deliver it’s a KILLER
Under promise and over deliver all the time
And as a bonus
21. Your New Focus
Repeat business = Profit
Resources for you
21 E books for you to download for free www.bradsfreeebooks.com
Or take my free marketing test www.actioncoach.com/chriswharram/marketing-quiz
I also offer a complimentary 90 minute Strategy Planning session at which you build your plan and have it to take away.
To book this please email me at email@example.com
Copyright Chris Wharram 15th May 2017
Top 10 Tips from my 35 Years In the Real Business World
10. Accept that you can’t do everything and you will never get it all done. You can then choose what gets done and what
doesn’t and then pass on the excess to your team. If they don’t know how to do it show and train them.
- As a tradesman myself, I was often hands on and valued working hard, however, if you want the business to work you have to find a way to change your beliefs. Open your mind to what you believe is true and allow outside comments and alternative beliefs into your life. Test and measure different ways of doing things and just because it didn’t work first time doesn’t mean it has failed. After all, Thomas Edison discovered over 3000 different ways of successfully not inventing the light bulb before his breakthrough to finding a successful way to do so.
- Use your time to do the highest value jobs. Pass on as many of your lower skill tasks to team members who are paid a lower hourly rate than you are.
- Employ people who are better than you. Whilst you can be very efficient in various aspects of your work, bring in specialists to focus on specialist jobs and develop yourself as a generalist. Get to know a lot of general things about the business. Don’t Major in Minor things.
- Make sure you have the right kind of people in the right positions. Have a recruitment process that includes formal behavioural profiling so that you are not reliant on just gut instinct & check out references.
- Get rid of the bad apple in the cart. If they don’t want to play by your set of cultural rules don’t tolerate them. Help them to find another job. Recruit slowly and sack quickly.
- Be fastidious in training your customers in paying you on time. Do not fear upsetting bad payers as they suck the energy from you, as well as starve the business of its life blood – CASH.
- You get the behaviour you tolerate. It’s always easier to talk yourself into keeping someone as the fear of having nobody seems worse. My experience is the rest of the team usually rejoice and a common comment is ‘I’m amazed you didn’t do it sooner’
- Have a rolling 12 month P & L Budget, ensure you have a budget for the profit you intend to make.
1. Cash is king. Have a minimum of 3 months rolling live cash flow projection and be sure you know where you are with your cash every day.
Do you have a team or a group of individuals?
Do you ever hear yourself saying things like ‘I wish he would just do what I asked’ or ‘how many times do I have to tell you’?
Building a great team is paramount in business today. But where do you start?
Naturally most people’s answer to that is to find the right people for the job, but in my experience it often doesn’t work out quite like that.
We go through a selection process and pick a candidate, often by how they show up for the day to an interview and then throw them into the pack and let them get on with it. After all they came to us wanting a job and they say and seem to have all the qualifications to do the job.
After a week or two there are a few uneasy situation and the new recruit just doesn’t seem to fit in, they appear to need more support and training than we thought and just don’t seem as keen now the honeymoon period is over. They start to turn up late and be unreliable and make the odd comment that seems inappropriate for a particular situation. Your other trusted team members start to question his ability and look to you to `sort him out’. You are busy and need this extra pair of hands to keep up with the work so you do your best to change his behaviour but you end up tolerating some of his foibles for the sake of getting the work off your back.
I think you get the picture? You get into a downward spiral and this destroys the spirit that you previously had with the rest of the team who until this point had grown with you and the business.
So how can we do this differently?
What is your recruitment process?
It all starts with you the Business Owner, you need to have a clear idea of where you are going and what you are trying to achieve. You need a compelling vision, purpose and culture for your company that you can easily communicate. This is an absolute must as from now on we are going to be recruiting people who have the right attitude 1st and foremost before we look at their skills. The candidates that we attract will like and feel drawn to your vision & purpose and will want to be part of your business culture. In other words they will be people with a similar attitude to you!
These are my 4 principles of recruitment
- Attract a large pool of applicants. If you do this you are more likely to find the right candidates
- Get the Screening right. Set up a screening system that allows the candidates to de-select themselves.
- Observe a ‘shortlist’ of applicants performing an essential task of the position, on a trial basis.
- Asses the short list and make sure there is an appropriate match.
My 6 Stage Recruitment process
- Describe and write down precisely what your ideal candidate looks like.
- Put Together a great advert using the AIDA principle. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
- Decide where to Fish, place your advert in multiple places where your target audience are likely to see it, Facebook, Linked in, your web site, agencies, trade press etc. etc.
- Screening. Have a process for candidates to de-select themselves from the process along the application journey so that when you get to the detailed reading of CV and interviews only the keenest are still hanging in there.
- Have several levels and types of interviews so that you really know how these people are for real. So maybe a practical one, a social one and a formal one,
- Selling. When you have decided on the most appropriate 2/3 candidates sell your future Vision for them and your company.
There was a survey I saw a few days ago that said the average cost of the wrong recruit to UK companies is £30,000. What has getting the wrong people in cost you in the past?
We get the people we deserve, so is it worth spending the time and effort on getting the best possible people to help us grow our business?
I would say Recruit slowly but fire quickly if it’s not working out. Don’t tolerate those who do not share your cultural rules of your game.
I can also recommend a book
Instant Team Building, By Brad Sugars
Chris Wharram, Action Coach 29th March 2017
Do you ask for help?
Do you find it easy to ask for help or are you like the majority who just push and work harder at figuring it out for yourself, ‘I’m Ok Thanks, I’ll work it out for myself’? It often takes much longer to do this and the result will be limited by your own knowledge and experiences.
It is a bit of a joke I know, but it is often said that a man will drive around for hours trying to find a particular address and will resist stopping to ask directions whereas a woman will just get to the point and ask. I don’t think this is really a gender thing but it certainly has some truth in it. I realise that when my wife Carole and I go shopping I will often wander all over the store trying to find what I want myself and in contrast Carole will walk in and just ask an assistant.
If you hadn’t guessed yet – I’m drawing parallels with the work environment. My working days as a Business Coach are split between helping existing clients with whatever aspect of their business needs attention and the other half is talking to business owners who are “absolutely fine on my own, thanks” and busy working it out for themselves. The fact is that only a tiny minority of business owners look for help – or even accept it when it’s offered!
From a very early age in the schooling system we are conditioned to do this. To copy or ask another one of our peers was and still is considered cheating and is often punishable too. So there is no wonder we act like this as this habit has been perfected over many years and like any habit it takes awareness first and then persistence to break this habit.
When you look at it logically, it’s easy to believe that we’ll get much faster results by asking for help from someone who’s ‘been there and done that’ and can give us the shortcut. The very word “shortcut” can imply “cheating” and people avoid it. Seriously, I see it all the time, people in business being paid by the hour to work out answers to things that many thousands have already done before. It’s not a recipe for success
In business we call this market research. We have a look at what everyone else is doing, pick out the best bits and add our twist to it and this is perfectly acceptable.
In my line of work I see both extremes of this in the business people who think they have to do it all right through to the open minded ones who generally have a full team of advisors. I’m sure you can guess which businesses generally get the best results.
Similarly in sport the top performers are the ones with a team of advisors and the performers. Success is often publicly attributed to the team behind them. I challenge you to come up with a top sportsman or team who do not surround themselves with a team of helpers.
So if you want to succeed to faster and to a higher, how about asking for some help from those who know the answers? It could be your accountant, your bank manager, a solicitor, or maybe it’s a virtual PA or bookkeeper to actually do some of the things for you that you’d take ten times as long to do yourself. Business can feel tough enough so does every turn and every step need to be a personal challenge, reach out and ask for some help – today!
Chris Wharram, Action Coach. 28 March 2017