Seeing what has happened in our nation’s fourth-largest city has been a sobering reminder of the fragility of life, and business.
It’s helpful to be reminded that threats and disasters can (and do) strike from directions that you might least expect.
And while this is quite obviously not the case when it comes to natural disasters, I’ve come to realize that more often than not WE are our own worst enemy, when it comes to running our Chicago businesses — not external factors, not market forces. It comes down to looking in the mirror and taking responsibility for the results we’re currently experiencing.
So, if things are down right now: don’t blame anyone but yourself. This doesn’t mean self-flagellation, but instead that seeing things in this light really is the first step to getting OUT of it — because you finally begin to focus on things WITHIN your control, instead of outside of it. And it’s really quite liberating.
Conversely, if things are GOOD: don’t abandon what got you there in the first place and coast, as if just by showing up, the magic happens. That just isn’t the case, and I believe that you know it.
Last week, I wrote about some common advertising and marketing mistakes I see … and, well, I think it touched some familiar nerves. But allow me to remind you — being challenged in your thinking is a GOOD thing.
Here are a couple more I’ve seen.
A Few More Common Marketing Mistakes Made By Chicago Businesses
“How many things in your life do you do automatically, routinely, that is a waste of time but you don’t take the time to remedy them?” -Robert S. Scott
Whether you create most of your sales through referrals, through direct marketing, or with a dedicated sales force — there are some quite common mistakes I’ve seen which are destined to suck the life out of your sales process.
Last week, I posted the first three. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, send me a note, and we’ll get it to you.
Here they were:
1. Failure To Tell Your Story
2. Right product, wrong market?
3. Right market, wrong problem?
As we head out of summer, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your marketing processes … and plug the holes.
So, here’s the next installment.
4. Right problem, wrong pitch or promise?
Emotionally, you’re right in line with your target audience. Yet still, they don’t call your office, act on your sales pitch or otherwise respond. Not to worry, because knowing how your customers think is already half the battle. But now you need to work out the other half of the proposition — the solution they’ll respond to.
The first thing you know is that it has to be somehow better, stronger, or entirely different than whatever solution everyone else is offering. How do you figure that out?
It starts with studying the competition. What’s working for them? Further, what has worked for you in the past, which you haven’t since returned to?
Because these pitches are already tested and proven effective.
In both cases, you’re getting a feel for the solutions that hit the prospect closest to the core. Good sales processes or advertising solves problems. It offers hope. That much is proven over ages. And it works.
5. Right pitch, wrong timing?
Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell called it the “tipping point.” One of the things so many businesses fail to take into consideration is how well timed their promotional campaigns and sales presentations are with what’s currently happening in the marketplace.
The bottom line is that markets move fast, and armies of prospective customers march on. What worked yesterday or even this morning may not work tomorrow. That’s why you SHOULD be plugged into what’s happening in the world, and in the marketplace. Subscribe to the magazines your customers read. Use blog-tracking services online to see what the most passionate customers for your product or service are talking about (www.BuzzSumo.com is one useful one). Set up a Google news alert related to what you’re selling (you can do so at this page: https://www.google.com/alerts).
I truly hope this helps. I’m by no means a marketing guru, but I do get to see what works for my clients and pass it along.
Feel very free to forward this article to a Chicago business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Chicago families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.
A.L. Taylor & Associates, PC