Sales & Marketing Tip of the Day: Narrow Your Focus

  • Posted on June 6, 2017
  • by John Scranton

What services do you provide?  Why would people want to do business with you?  How are you better than the next guy?

These simple questions are much too difficult for many agency executives to answer.  The answers are clouded by the abstract concepts and strategies we read in the trade magazines explaining how to mask the fact that we are selling insurance.  The quandary is further complicated for those who are striving to be everything to everyone – and are at risk of being nothing to no one.

The fastest and most effective path to cleaning the dust off of your value proposition and finding your true mission as a salesperson or producer is to narrow your focus.  Keep throwing the darts at the 20 until you can consistently hit your target.  Only then should you consider going for the 19’s, 18’s or bulls-eye.

StartUpSelling provides marketing solutions to insurance agencies.  Our deep industry expertise allows us to understand the challenges our clients face and to create effective solutions.  Our virtual model allows us to deliver a compelling value and responsive service.

Those are my responses to questions above.  Delivered from memory as fast as I can type.  They are easy to answer, because we have a highly focused sales and marketing strategy.

Originally Posted on May 14, 2012 by John Scranton

 

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10 Life & Business Lessons from Thomas Jefferson

  • Posted on May 8, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Jefferson

  1. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
  2. He who knows best knows how little he knows.
  3. Delay is preferable to error.
  4. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
  5. Never spend your money before you have earned it.
  6. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.
  7. I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
  8. Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
  9. Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
  10. Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.

Originally Posted on February 22nd, 2012 by John Scranton

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Social Media – A Fast & Simple Solution To Client Feedback

  • Posted on May 4, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency SEOBake a cupcake instead of a cake. Why? The answer is simple. Begin small.

You can bake a cake for several of your friends. But when you bake cupcakes, you show individual attention and commitment. Social media marketing creates the same phenomenon.

Client feedback is like oxygen for a business, and as the connected generation continues to grow, social platforms become an increasingly effective tool to glean feedback.

Social media has rapidly gained the attention and enthusiasm of many, and businesses can leverage their passion to generate feedback.

This process creates access to the thoughts and feelings of your clients and offers the opportunity to understand their needs and expectations. Examples of what social media can provide:

  1. Buzz generation
  2. Listening aids to hear client feedback
  3. Uncover potential issues & glean suggestions
  4. Generate client testimonials

Social media may seem daunting and challenging, but once initiated agencies will uncover great opportunity. To learn more, click here!

Originally Posted on January 27, 2015 by John Scranton

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3 Reasons Why Blogging is Effective and Fulfilling

  • Posted on April 21, 2017
  • by John Scranton
  1. Insurance Agency MarketingContent Conveys our Expertise and Value Proposition – If you read 2 or 3 entries of this blog, you will learn what StartUpSelling provides, why we feel it is important and how we believe we are different. This sounds like information that would be included in a sales pitch, but in a blog it is woven into the fabric of useful and educational information. Blogging allows prospects to learn and glean valuable insights without commitment, and allows the writer to deliver their marketing message – at the same time.
  2. Its Another Venue to Interact with Clients and Prospects – Some prospects like to talk on the phone, some like to interact via email, some like to connect on LinkedIn. Others like to read your content for weeks or even months before they develop an interest in the source. We regularly have conversations with prospects who explain they have been following our blogs and over time realized that their needs exceeded what they can read about and implement internally – now they enter our pipeline.
  3. Blogging Allows me to Share What I Learn Expeditiously  – When I am working with clients and colleagues or learning from other industry experts I pick up many useful insights and concepts. A B2B blog gives me the opportunity to quickly apply that insight and pass along the information. A few minutes ago I had a reminder of the value of a blog, now I am sharing that reminder with you.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on January 30, 2012

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Sell more & Work LessIn Sell More & Work Less, we talk about asking the “hard questions” during the sales process.  These are questions that many business people are reluctant to ask because they can be uncomfortable and seen as aggressive.  They include questions like:

  • Is there budget allocated for this project?
  • How does your purchasing process work?
  • Do you have a target date to implement this solution?

Those do not look like difficult questions to pose to a prospect.  In fact, if you have established even a modest level of rapport, you should be able to inquire about these topics without apprehension, and you are likely to receive honest answers.

Understanding if (budget), how (process) and when (target date) a prospect is going to purchase will allow you to focus on those who can buy.  Allocating your time and resources effectively, based on the answers to these “hard questions”, will result in more business.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on January 26, 2012

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sell-more-work-lessIn our new book Sell More & Work Less, we talk about calling and emailing high and wide.  By calling high we mean calling the top level executives.  By calling wide we mean reaching out to several contacts, including some who may not have titles you think directly apply to your opportunity.  When you combine this method with an integrated marketing campaign, the results are often compelling.  In fact, our business has achieved record growth over the past two years using this exact formula.  Here is an example:

I emailed the C-level executives of an organization I thought would be a great fit for our solutions.  The CEO opened my email several times, so I called and left him a voice mail.  A week or so later, a member of his marketing staff filled out the form on our website and asked for a meeting.  We met with the team the following week, and during the meeting they mentioned receiving my emails and reading a book our CEO had published.  We reach them with a multi-dimensional integrated campaign, and I called high and emailed wide.  They became a client shortly thereafter.

Integrated Marketing + Calling and Emailing High and Wide = More Business.

Originally Posted January 19, 2012 by John Scranton

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Marketing Sauce

  • Posted on April 6, 2017
  • by John Scranton

SauceOnce a month or so, my wife and I invest our Sunday in the careful production of spaghetti sauce.  We use her family recipe, which begins with 3 pounds of ground sirloin, 10 large cans of tomatoes and a page long list of vegetables, spices, herbs and other goodies – and ends with two very large pots of delicious sauce.

It takes about an hour to cook the meat, chop the veggies, and to measure and mix each of the other ingredients.  Once everything is simmering on the stove, we wait patiently for 3+ hours while the concoction cooks.  After eating the initial celebratory meal, we package up all the extra sauce and freeze it for future Sundays.  Factoring in the shopping and cleanup, its long process.

The key elements to sauce success are the variety of ingredients and time.  If any of the ingredients are neglected, the sauce does not produce the optimum result.  Too little garlic or a lack of fresh basil can cause me to miss the target.  Not enough patience will result in an undercooked, mediocre product that crushes my ROI.

Executing a marketing campaign is very much like cooking sauce.  With meat and tomatoes you have a foundation that could sustain you, but with a variety of spices, herbs, vegetables and a splash of wine you have a delicious product that will feed you for a long time.  Tasting the sauce early on will allow you to measure your progress, but will not be a clear indicator of your future results and return.

Integrating several web marketing initiatives will over time yield a superior result to traditional programs, as long as you are willing to wait until it has cooked long enough for all the flavors to come together.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on January 9, 2012

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What a Contractor is Teaching me About Great Customer Service

  • Posted on April 4, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Picture1Whenever I have a commercial interaction, I try to glean a few insights into why it was enjoyable or why it was annoying.  My most recent endeavor has been the engagement of a contractor to make some home improvements.  As my wife and I researched vendors we heard many horror stories of dishonest contractors delivering a shoddy product or poor customer service.  So far the product appears to speak for itself, and I have noticed a few things that make the service superior:

  1. They Never Bother Me – Working virtually, I am in the same building, so it would be easy for the contractors to interrupt me to ask questions or review specifications.  They never do.  The only interactions I have with them are on my terms.  Imagine if this was the case on a car lot?  How can you avoid bothering your clients?
  2. They Deliver a Little Extra – One of the contractors noticed the felt pads on the feet of some of my kitchen chairs had worn off.  Replacing them will require a $5 purchase and 10 minutes of labor.  This is an infinitesimal task relative to the project scope, but it makes my life just a little easier at no additional charge.  What extra value can you deliver to your clients?
  3. They Simplify Billing – We only meet once per week to talk about money.  On Fridays I pay for what has been completed and they tell me what will be completed the following week and what the cost will be.  There are no surprises.  This relieves any anxiety I might have about the financial plan for the project.  What are your clients prospects worried about?

Originally Posted November 30th, 2011 by John Scranton

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10 More Business Quotes Worth Reading

  • Posted on March 30, 2017
  • by John Scranton
  1. All lasting business is built on friendship. – Alfred A. Montapert
  2. Be candid with everyone. – Jack Welch
  3. Our favorite holding period is forever. – Warren Buffet
  4. Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing. – Thomas Jefferson
  5. I buy when other people are selling. – J. Paul Getty
  6. A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets. – Steve Jobs
  7. Business is a combination of war and sport. – Andre Maurois
  8. I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod. – Winston Churchill
  9. And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department. – Andrew Carnegie
  10. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. – Dale Carnegie

Originally Posted by John Scranton on November 1, 2011

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Speedometer90 days ago I purchased a new vehicle. This was the first car I acquired since I transitioned to a virtual business model, which made me wonder how this vehicle’s first few months as a member of my household compared to my last new car purchase, when I still followed the traditional sales model. Lets take a look at the numbers.

In the first 90 days that I owned my last vehicle, the mileage increased from 33 to 12,430. That is 4,100+ miles per month on the road a traveling salesman. My new vehicle has aged from 6 to 1,624 during the first 90 days of ownership. That represents a nearly 90% drop in miles driven per month.

Now let us explore how that translates to fuel costs. The traditional sales miles were covered in an economical sedan which averaged 27 MPG. 12,430 / 27 X $3.50 per gallon = $1,611 in fuel costs. Meanwhile, my virtual miles are driven in an SUV which averages 18 MPG. 1,624 / 18 X $3.50 per gallon = $316. This equates to $1,300 in my pocket, while making no mention of maintenance costs, even while driving a much less efficient vehicle.

This simple example illustrates just one of the many challenges created by a traditional sales model that puts people on the road. By leveraging a virtual model, people have more time to work and their businesses are significantly more profitable.

Originally Posted on October 10, 2011 by John Scranton

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