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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Kings, Peasants & Innovation

  • Posted on March 13, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Long, long ago in a place far, far away, a king ruled a country of peasants.  They hunted, gathered, and farmed.  They built buildings and a castle for the king.  They fought for the king when the neighbors attacked.  All of the peasants did as they were told.  Nothing less, and nothing more.  The king was very pleased with this, as his loyal subjects faithfully executed his orders.  He was a happy king.

Until one day, the neighboring kingdom attacked and sacked the village, destroying the castle.  The king and his peasants were forced into servitude for the new king.  All of the peasants did as they were told.  Nothing less, and nothing more.  However, they noticed the peasants in this kingdom were different.  They carried out their orders, but were not told exactly how their duties should be carried out – only their end goals.  They were also rewarded when they exceeded their goals.

Therefore, the peasants in the new kingdom had an incentive to create and advance their methods.  They fertilized crops with different materials to increase the farming yield.  They built sound structures that were more difficult to penetrate.  And they created advanced weaponry that allowed them to penetrate the walls of their neighboring kingdom and overthrow the formerly happy king.

These peasants had become innovators.  They constantly sought better, faster, and more efficient methods for reaching their goals.  And they were rewarded by their king consistently for their efforts.  In fact, he was so impressed with the production of his people that he distributed the indentured peasants to work as their assistants.  Thus making the peasants not peasants at all really.  Now, they were managers.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on September 29, 2011

 

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10 Business Quotes Worth Reading

  • Posted on March 9, 2017
  • by John Scranton
  1. Nothing happens until someone sells something. – Tom Watson
  2. Business, that’s easily defined – it’s other people’s money. – Peter Drucker
  3. If you owe the bank $100 that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem. – J. Paul Getty
  4. It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. – Tom Brokaw
  5. You know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It’s to see my dividends coming in. – John D. Rockefeller
  6. I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible. – Milton Friedman
  7. Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. – Henry David Thoreau
  8. Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones. – Ben Franklin
  9. Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing… layout, processes, and procedures. – Tom Peters
  10. The invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government. – Mitt Romney

Originally Posted by John Scranton on September 26, 2011

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The Perils of Jargon & The Power of Clear Communication

  • Posted on March 7, 2017
  • by John Scranton

Insurance Agency MarketingYesterday I had some repairs made to my ankle. I won’t share all the details, but to summarize, the procedure repaired old sports injuries and was invasive enough to require general anesthesia.

I spoke with two nurses, a physician’s assistant, anesthesiologist and surgeon prior to the operation.  Each of these people attempted to explain important information to me, however they spoke a foreign language: medicine.

Luckily they were each highly experienced professionals who had honed their communication skills. For example, the anesthesiologist reviewed his recommended strategy called “a block.” He elucidated the details of this jargon by analogizing the process to receiving novacane at the dentist. Jargon before, now clearly understood, and readily accepted (bought) by me as the best course of action.

During your sales process, consistently confirm that your prospect understands your communication and concepts  clearly.  Alliteration aside, ask yourself these questions. If you aren’t sure, ask your prospect.

  • Did you define industry jargon and technical terms in clear and simple language?
  • Did you use examples and stories that a common business person would understand?
  • Did you clearly elucidate how your solution would improve your prospects business?
  • Would your mother understand your value proposition and pitch?

A prospect will not buy a product, service or solution they do not understand.  The clarity of your communication can determine the success or failure of your deal.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on September 13, 2011

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