The 2 Most Important Functions of Business are Innovation & Marketing – All Others are Costs

More than 60 years ago, Peter Drucker dramatically influenced the foundations of the modern American corporation. His words are as true today as they were then – maybe even more in the digital age when we’re all more easily and directly involved with marketing our businesses.

Peter Drucker Quote - Dane Shakespear Marketing

One of his most significant and profound observations was that innovation and marketing are the two most important functions of business – all others are costs.

Business owners and entrepreneurs probably agree in principle, but few put this precept into practice. Surveys of businesses across the board reveal that the top priorities are usually finance, sales, production, management, legal and people.

Why is Drucker Right and Almost Everyone Else Wrong?

If a meeting is scheduled with the most important department heads in your business, who would have a seat at the table? Legal and sales would be there, the CFO certainly, perhaps the CIO and HR. Would the head of marketing or R&D get an invite? (more…)

People Don’t Want to Buy Your Product

They Want to Buy a Better Version of Themselves..

One of the most difficult things for business owners to get a handle on is the true perspective of the needs and desires their clients or customers.  Because we spend so much time working on, perfecting and promoting our products or services – over time we get caught up in how awesome our product is rather than how awesome the client will be once he’s used it.

Reputation Management

All marketing communications should focus on showing the prospect the better version of himself he secretly desires.

Instead of talking about the specs, features, details, delivery, etc. of the product, you should paint a picture of how those specs and features will give them the outcome they want – from using your product or service.

Most successful high-end products are marketed this way.  Those who market these products understand that if they can tap into how a person will feel after or while using the product, the price becomes a secondary consideration.

If they instead focus on specs and features alone, their product becomes a commodity and price becomes the main consideration.

Take a simple high-end product like Starbucks coffee – of course people like the way it tastes, but if that were the only reason, the price would be similar to McDonalds or Dunkin Doughnuts coffee.

Because Starbucks offers the buyer a way to feel better, look better, or fit in – they can charge a premium for what has been historically nearly a free product.

More Isn’t Better, Better is Better

Lead Generation Isn't Only About Volume..

I find it interesting as I begin evaluating prospective clients how infatuated they are with a single metric in their lead generation – volume.  Search volume, click volume, impressions, number of calls – whatever it is they watch it like a hawk and sadly make a lot of decisions based on it alone.

lead generation

I think it comes from the common idea that marketing is a numbers game – so if you want more sales, you simply pump up the volume of impressions, clicks, calls, etc. and eventually a certain number of conversions will take place.

While that may be true to a certain extent, a few highly qualified, highly interested leads  are way more valuable than thousands of unqualified leads that you have to wade through over and over until you find the one that may be in them.

Volume is one of those things that can be seductive.  It makes you feel like there is something going on, that you are making progress, or that whoever is making your phone ring is doing a good job.  It also gives you hope because if there is a high volume someone has to convert soon.

But the problem is, while it is an important metric, it is the wrong metric to measure to determine the success of any campaign. (more…)

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.