The Temptation of Being Too Commercial

Diluting your business, product, your website, your marketing materials, etc. to make them appear more “commercial” will just make people like them less.

Photographing business owners

It seems to be the “default” mode of doing things for businesses trying to climb to the top. The thought is that “bigger is better”, so tremendous efforts are made to look big by copying the methods and styles of the big guys.

Website designers choose stock photos of professional, unrealistic looking people in a boardroom happily smiling and pointing to graph on the whiteboard that has nothing really to do with the business. They choose a stock photo of  high rise building  to represent their facilities when in reality they’re located somewhere in the suburbs. It goes on and on.

They are confused about the difference between looking professional and looking commercial, contrived, or institutional…

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Do Your Marketing While You’re Busy

Things take time. Opportunities often develop very slowly – it may be weeks or months from the time a contact or connection is made before it develops into business. If you wait until business slows down to begin your marketing efforts it may be too late for it to pull you out of the lull.

The Facts Are No Longer Enough

The speed of life is shortening the window consumers have for analysis.  Nowadays people are so overloaded with information, resources, and options,  they no longer take the time they once did to evaluate every option – especially online.

People are moving so fast that they really don’t have (say- take) the time to think.  They’re so busy clicking, tweeting, sharing, and liking that they are conditioned to move quickly to the next thing for the slightest reason.

We now consume so much information so quickly that we’ve learned how to make snapshot judgments of even the most important things in our lives.  That’s why most marketing material, most advertisements, and most websites just don’t work.  They’re built with the best of intentions – to give the consumer the facts they need to make a good decision.  But what they overlook is the fact that you have about 6 seconds to capture the attention of your audience or they’re gone. (more…)

Reputation Management

Everyone’s heard of reputation management.  The anonymous nature of the internet has been a blessing for those who want to express their opinions without fear of retribution, and a curse for individuals and business owners who do wrong in the sight of their customers or clients.

Anyone can post reviews, comments, and even create entire websites to try and manipulate the online reputation of a business or individual.  Some for good (meaning a positive effect to the reputation) and some for bad (a negative affect to the reputation.)

So how does anyone know the truth?  The answer is – you can’t.

When businesses or individuals are hit with negative reviews or negative search results for their names or brands they often turn to reputation management companies for help.  The idea is to have the company create tons of mini-sites, social media assets, blog posts, etc. throughout the internet and link them in a way that will cause them or other “good” pages to rank for the search term or name thereby “pushing down” the negative or harmful content in the search results where it is less likely to be seen.

Does it work? Yes, but isn’t just a bunch of keyword optimized, meaningless mini-sites and fake pages just adding to the “junk” that shows up in the search results?  It isn’t generally good content either – only content favorable to the subject.

It’s just noise, not information.  Trying to do it this way is like trying to yell louder than the opposition – yelling anything, just louder.

There is a better way to do reputation management.

One that not only helps the problem it doesn’t call your credibility into question.

First, if you’ve done something wrong own up to it.  Fix it.  Fix the people, the process, the situation that caused it in the first place.  Hiding behind the noise doesn’t make the problem go away, it only hides it.  If you don’t do this you can count on a never ending cycle of noise generation.

Second, if you want your search results to be positive you are better off showing the world the real version of what’s going on in your business, not a bunch of meaningless pages of noise.   Real photos, real reviews, real interviews, real people – real.

Everyone wants a shortcut so they throw easy junk out there.

Unless you have nothing of merit to show or tell about, it’s much easier to show off the truth about your business than it is to make it up.  Not only that, it’s maintainable.  Do it the other way and you’ll soon run out of combinations of things to post and promote.

If you truly care about your reputation or how you’re percieved online, it’s critical to do it right, do it well, do it consistently, and do it truthfully.  There are no shortcuts that have long term value.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Power Disqualifiers in Sales and Marketing

I worked with John Paul Mendocha on refining sales processes for a company several years ago.  John is one of those guys who is a total no-fear salesman.  John is extremely persuasive and an expert in sales processes, sales funnels, and writing persuasive copy – especially for high-ticket products and services.

One thing he always talks about that I still use and refer to often is his Power Disqualifiers.

The idea is that in any sales situation the very best and most important thing to do is quickly disqualify prospects as quickly as possible so you don’t spend your valuable time working with people who have don’t have a snowball’s chance of actually buying your product or service.

Here they are – in order…

  1. Have the money to pay for your services
  2. Have a “bleeding neck”
  3. Have the ability to say “yes”
  4. Buy in to  your USP
  5. Your service must fit into their overall plans

If any prospect doesn’t immediately pass each of these questions (how you find out is another story) they are disqualified and you simply move on.

Some people say it’s harsh, but really – are you doing anyone any good if you can’t help them?  Of course, if you find out they are disqualified and you can’t help them, you can easily refer them to someone who can.  Everyone wins.