I believe in the laws of attraction and if business people like what you have to say it naturally creates an interest and a “hard selling” approach isn’t necessary. I have owned a consulting business for the past 21 years and just like you, I have changed the way I operate my business since the last financial meltdown and am better prepared for this new uncertainty.
Speak to the Right Audience Who Will Build Your Business
Product, Publicity, and Distribution have been my mantra since I started. I have received publicity on TV, in magazines, spoken at countless events around the world. Like many of you, I have built a data base of clients from my work, paid for a monthly newsletter to be sent out that was content driven, and have tried to always provide good information and not sell people “a used car”.
You with the right social influencers can have clients running through your doors when open. I can honestly say that all the TV, articles, trade show booth space, and newsletters have not done a thing for me other than look good on my company website. I have never once received a phone call where someone wanted to do business because they saw a quote in a magazine article. A majority of my revenue has come from people who attend my education at the tradeshow events and product sales. Many people in my classrooms have never even heard of me despite all the publicity and having presented at the same events annually for two decades or more. I have learned that what I close in the room for the most part are going to be my sales for that event.
I have read recently that closing sales happens during the 4th to 10th follow up after the first point of contact. In my experience if I haven’t reached them by the second attempt the other follow ups via e-mails or calls don’t translate into new business. This may be just my particular field.
My main revenue stream has come mainly from speaking at industry specific tradeshow events. At my peak I did 21 events a year including producing one of my own. (Here is a link to how to put Your In House Events together) Putting on your own event is a learning curve all to itself. Two words I will never forget “attrition rates” when it comes to dealing with hotel venues. Out of the 21 shows I used to present at half are now no longer in existence. Out of the other half of those only half produced a result. It doesn’t matter if you are the “Key Note Speaker” at a perceived prestigious event if there are no dollars to be translated or your audience are not decision makers to authorize your services it makes no difference unless you like hearing yourself speak. We all can do that at home for free.
Now I only speak at 13 key venues a year that consistently produce results for my company.
Focus on your services that have the highest profit centers! I don’t take exhibit space, don’t deal with freight and don’t take a team anymore. If they are in my presentation room and I get a chance to listen and relate with them I close the same amount of dollars without all of the expenses with the right people in the seats. The same can be said for you. Instead of big events where clients expect discounts like a once a year sale have smaller monthly education events where there is more hands-on interaction and you can build relationships and close more sales effectively.
Lesson Learned – More isn’t better. Only focus on avenues that produce tangible results and let go of what doesn’t work anymore or produce revenue.
Expand Your Areas of Service Expertise to Generate New Revenue
There are many services we provide that are complimentary to the main business consulting we do. We work with likeminded professionals who specialize in the same industry as us and offer our company the opportunity of making money by selling our expertise combined. We work with an architectural firm to provide design and space planning along with our business planning, and web/print developers to provide websites, e-commerce solutions, and marketing collaterals. This works out great as we are able to make money collaborating where we couldn’t on our own. For example, we write all of the collateral copy, give input on design and together we produce a better result than what could have been done with the client and a professional who didn’t have the specific industry knowledge we provide. Think about who you could partner with to expand your offerings and generate new business opportunities. Things like an online store or virtual consultations relating to skincare you offer. Bring in merchandise on consignment.
Lesson Learned – Look at new partnerships and service options that can generate more income and make you more convenient and competitive.
Create a Product to Sell Based on Your Expertise
You are smart and should share it with more people. I have created over 20 CD, DVD, and educational books for my field of expertise.
You can sell skincare, bath, body, gift, (here is a list) I figured I couldn’t be everywhere and not all people could afford my consulting so product would be a smart idea, and it has been for sure. This is a way for people to be easily connected to your products or information and benefit. It can also be an inexpensive way for people to “try your brand out” and lead to larger business opportunities. Whether it’s an e-book or an audio download sold on ITunes or a moisturizer waking up to sales in your shopping cart that happened while you were sleeping can be a savior to your business. Have an online store with the products you carry and more available for your clients to purchase. Convenient and free shopping carts are available with companies like Square.
Lesson Learned – 50% of all my company revenues have come from product sales where money earned is from work that has already been completed.
The Social Media Experience
Whatever you spend you should receive 5 times ROI back for your efforts. If your monthly advertising and marketing budget is $2500 you should generate $12,500 in sales from it. Social media has ascended to the top of the pyramid as the preferred method for reaching your audience. The question is how you really get it to work for you and track the results. So since my main vehicle for getting new clients had dramatically diminished I went to strategize on news ways to acquire business and grow. Like a lot of you, I had sort of worked Social Media and online marketing for the past few years but not consistently and with little results in the B2B marketplace. The following are the steps I have consistently taken and the lessons learned. These are places I post consistently.
Facebook Lessons Learned:
I created a presence on Facebook with a fan page and imported my contacts and asked them to like my page. Only about 10% responded. I have found that for my clients who own spas and wellness centers Facebook is a better option for their B2C marketing than for my B2B business. I can post an article on LinkedIn and receive 3,500 views and then share the same article on my Facebook page and get 10. When I post an inspirational quote I receive the most views and no business. I post regularly because it takes 30 seconds.
Twitter Lessons Learned: Twitter works and is a great vehicle for attracting people to your blog, website etc. plus getting inquiries for business. Don’t get attached to your followers they come and go depending on your current content.
LinkedIn Lessons Learned: I love LinkedIn! I am not being paid to say this either. It is the only social media site where I have taken tangible steps and actually received business opportunities. As a leading social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn is perfect for B2B organizations, as the focus is on education, work history, companies and professional interests. First off I did not re-invent the wheel. I was at Barnes & Noble and saw Dan Sherman’s book Maximum Success with LinkedIn and bought it. I loved the book because you can read and the do the steps at the same time. When you have completed the book all the results are there right in front of your eyes. Then the daily work starts.
Updated LinkedIn To Do List
To be successful with social media, it is necessary to get your company in front of prospects at the exact time they are looking for you. Spend time on the ones that work for you. The reason I spent time to publish this on LinkedIn is simple. I received four requests for business in the pasts 3 weeks. Plan out the story you want to tell before, not after, you dive into social media. Do not just try to sell them products and services. All of your efforts should be content driven with your promotions following after. That way your clients will look forward to your expertise and being informed.
Don’t reinvent the wheel do what other successful people have done first! Social Media Marketing is multi-faceted and labor intensive. To be successful requires consistent and engaging messaging on a daily basis across the platforms. Results will come over time.
Yours in Success,
Durocher Enterprises Inc.
5110 W. Bismark Ave.
Spokane, WA. 99208