It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Keep on sharing. It really DOES matter.

Who are you? What do you know that is of value to others?

You are you. You are unique and your experiences do really matter to other people. You create value when you share who you are, as well as what you know.

I know that the people marketing and sales would have you believe that all about what you know. It’s not that what you know is not of, or does not create value. It’s more that who you are is an important and integral part of the value created when you share what you know.

People buy people. People buy feelings.

Do you really think that purely what you know is enough to make people spend money? Or is it the outcome that they will achieve for themselves?

I believe it is, for the most part, the latter. By learning from you people hope to get a specific result for themselves. That result, in turn, delivers a specific feeling for that person. The greater that feeling is in importance to them, then the greater the value it has to them.

This is where commerce comes into play. The people that you create value for have access to resources that are of value to you. The resources they have maybe skills, knowledge, networks, attention, time or money. And as we know, one of the main resources that is traded for the value you have created and the value that you desire to receive, is money.

Granted, it’s not all about money (at least it isn’t for me). It’s also about the one email, tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn message where you hear from someone the you never met.  In that message they thank you for changing their lives for the better through what you’ve shared. [I’ll share the message I received in a later post]

You may, like me, have forgotten what you wrote. But you will know that it came from a place of compassion, and passion. At that moment you will get that feeling of knowing that what you do and who you are really does matter.

I say all that to say this….

i2i TMM Global reach 20121119I have been writing blogs fairly consistently now for over a year. I know that it is necessary for me to share what I know and who I am. Until recently, I did not take a look at the web statistics that shows the global reach of what I say about what I know and who I am. The image in this blog was taken from my website stats analysis.

With that said, I want to say a big “thank you” to you for taking the time to read, watch and listen to what I have to say. No matter where you are on this global map (shows the countries that people have viewed this blog from) there are people just like us all over the world that seek to grow, share and walk together on this journey called life.

In 2013, I’ll be focusing most of my thoughts, videos and writing around a few core subjects. This will help me to focus my time, energy and efforts in a way that I will be able to establish a clearer “message” that we can discuss and share together.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Do you have a message that you wish to share? Have you allowed fear, or the illusion that it does not matter to others to be the reason for not sharing that message? Or have you allowed “planning to prepare” and “getting ready to get ready” to be the reason for not starting or building a rhythm for sharing your message?

If so, please know that what I have done is a baby step. But even the baby step is still a step forward.

This is all that we need to do. It may not be perfect, it may not be as consistent as we desire (at first), but is, can be and will be SOMETHING.

This is not about you, this is about them. All the people in the orange and red countries of your global reach map waiting to hear what you have to say. It may start small, with only one blog or video. It will become more, in time.

And in time you will hear the stories of how your words have impacted and changed the lives of others. This is my story, this is my song. And I thank you for taking the time to sing along.

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Money is NOT the root of all evil

The last step of ATM is a doozy.

So far you’ve learned the importance of getting the attention of the people you want to serve,

You’ve learned how essential it is to spend quality time with them to let them know how you can add value to their lives

Now you’re at the point where you can see if they really value what you have to offer, you’re at the last step where it’s time to put up the ultimate ‘applause for a job well done’ and ‘sign of commitment and interest’…. It’s the money step.

Money. Despite the misquotes and slander, money is NOT the root of all evil. The actual quote is “the love of money is the root of all evil” 1 Timothy 6:10

In fact, there can be a number of inhibitors and blocks for people taking the ‘money step’ can exist on both sides of the transaction. Yes, YOU can be the block through your own behaviour, attitude and perceptions about money.

It’s fair to say that YOUR perceptions about money can often be the greatest block. For that, I’d suggest a few sessions with your life or business coach.

I say all of that to say this….

When you can get and keep the attention of an audience. They are have invested in you on one level.  They have given you a small part of themselves to test the waters before they invest a larger portion by spending time with you.

During this important exchange it is your responsibility to make good on the promise you made when you gained their attention. You have to provide real and connected value that is of use to the people who  you share your message with.  You have to prove yourself, credible and worthy of further investment of time.  And when over the course of time you have proven yourself, they will exchange something that you value and can use….. money.

Money is a means to an end.  Money is a clear indication that they want to continue to invest in you and themselves. It’s for mutual benefit.  You will give them something that is of greater use value to them than the financial value that you have requested.

Attention, Time and Money. Straight forward yet far from simple. It’s sort of like a maze. And like a maze it is far easier to navigate if you have the benefit of a guide or a map.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

What does your brand communicate? Has it been engineered to gain and keep their attention?

Are you making good on the promises you make after you get the attention of the people you wish to serve?

What is the clear pathway, product matrix or product staircase that you’ve created to continue to serve your customers as time goes on?

If you’d like to find out how to build your own product matrix and product staircase, you can visit your nearest branch of The Business Wealth Club in the UK or USA. Alternatively, you can get a 1:1 ‘i2insight Session’

This is a 40 min session discussion specifically about YOUR business and looking at quick wins to grow, have more impact and make more money.  The qualify for that session you have to complete the following three steps

Complete the questionnaire (takes 3 min) [ www.bit.ly/i2insight01 ]

Select and make a donation to one of our four charities (min £10 donation)

Book a meeting time with me [ www.bit.ly/i2ischedule  ]

During the session we are likely to discover ways for you to generate NEW business and more profitable customers. This will pave the way for increased cashflow and opportunities for you to invest in the business.

I look forward to connecting with you.

Make it easy to buy and watch your profits grow

Strategy No. 1 to increase profitability – Increase your margin

I’m going to continue using the approach of cutting to the chase and giving the ‘answer’ up front.  If you’ve read any of my previous blogs – or you’re a truly inquisitive lifelong learner – then you’ll already know that “the answer isn’t the answer…”

You can increase your margin in a few ways.

  1. Reduce the net cost (your cost to provide/make it) and keep the selling price the same.
  2. Increase the price that you sell it for
  3. or do both.

For those out there who are shocked or scared by the notion of increasing prices (based upon the fear that ‘If I increase my price then I’ll lose customers”) let me be the Mythbuster on that particular point. A study by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that the reasons people stop being customers are:

  • 68% Are upset with the treatment they’ve received
  • 14% Dissatisfied with product or service
  • 9% Price
  • 9% Other

That said, your focus should really be on the way you engage/interact with our customer and adding value that looking solely at the price you’re selling for.

It’s easy to buy something that has value to you and where YOU feel valued in the process.

Additionally, I would recommend that if you decide to increase the price, do so at the same time as emphasising and adding value.  This can be as easy as adding a feature that makes it easy to buy the product or service

Product Example – vending machine

How many times have you paid just a little more for something just because it was convenient?  It may have been petrol, a meal at a train station/airport or just a bottle of water at a ‘convenience store’.

This behaviour is perfectly fine and is quite common.  In fact, the busy pace of western life often requires – and caters for it.

On a recent visit to a college campus in the US I was waiting to meet one of the professors before I delivered a talk to business students.  As I waited by the faculty lounge, I noticed a couple of vending machines.  This wasn’t a surprise or interesting in itself until I noticed the added method of payment (MoP) feature that the machine had incorporated.

This feature allows customers to pay for the snack (including healthy snacks) with the ‘tap’ of a credit/debit card.  The cost of the items was slightly more than other vending machines but ‘what the heck it’s only 10 cents more’ – in exchange for the convenience and speed of the transaction. A win, win situation.

Service Example – Pencast & Recordings

The majority of my income is derived from providing consultancy services to organisations who want to make sure that projects are done right, first time, every time AND within the cost and time constraints that were agreed.  Another part of my income is from providing one-to-one coaching for business leaders with teams between 5 and 20 people.

Traditionally, a coaching session involves a conversation that lasts an hour or so. A LOT of things are discussed and even in the best case scenario, what you as a client, may hear doesn’t always really sink in until it’s heard or re-heard during a following session.

With other coaches the other nuggets and gems in the session is lost forever and you would have to wait for (and pay for) another session to hear the same thing.  This is where I do something different to add value.

The value add that I provide as a free opt-in part of my service is a recording (Skype or audio WITH notes).  This allows you to review the meeting at your leisure and often gain deeper insight and understanding by re-hearing the points when they are in a ‘different’ mindset. 

Being a ‘mechanic profile’ (Talent Dynamics Profiles) I’ve naturally systemised the way this happens to reduce the overhead for me and make it easy for my clients.  The result: more value for my clients and more clients for me (as a result of referrals and recommendations).

I say all of that to say this….

Increasing your margin is more about being resourceful than having resources.  You are already successful if you are in business.  You’ve demonstrated the resourcefulness, creativity and stamina to get this far.

You can increase your margins and be more profitable without having to spend excessive amounts on new marketing or computer systems. To do this you must continue to create value and leverage that value with the customer in mind.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

What are some cost-effective and quick ways that you could increase your margin? Who is someone who could help you to become more aware of ways to do this if you get stuck?

Seek out someone to assist you get a new perspective on an old situation. This can be in the form of an advisor, consultant or coach. Most of them provide a 30 minute or 1 hour first consultation – just be sure to ensure that THEY provide results based pricing so that you can be sure that it’s a partnership that everyone has ‘skin in the game’ (That’s what I do).

You’ve got may attention, not my money

Effective marketing should be more than entertaining, it should make you money

What would make the biggest impact to your marketing campaign? How about having big time celebrities endorsing your product? Or maybe a million dollar budget with a top class ad agency?

Even with all of the above it STILL comes back to connecting with your market….. measured by using the ATM (from my last blog – Attention, Time and Money)

As if by some grand design, a perfect example came to my attention this week. The campaign proved to me that even with a globally recognised brand, celebrity endorsements and a million dollar budget –

if you aren’t hitting your target market then you won’t MAKE the important last step… MONEY.

The campaign I’m talking about is that of Nike and Kobe Bryant “Kobe System”.  It’s brilliant.  It’s funny. It’s entertaining. I’m sure it did reach its target market and a whole lot more.  Yet with all of that, I may not be the ‘target market’ because I’m not compelled to buy the shoe (the product).

Maybe it’s because of my age, interests or preference of shoe colour.  Either way, the product doesn’t place that highly on my ‘purchasing radar’ that I’m going to pay £140 for a pair of basketball shoes.

Nike spent a lot of money on a blanket campaign because they have the money to do that.  Most other businesses don’t have that luxury.

The fact that I still don’t feel inclined to buy the Kobe System shoes is a clear indicator that I’m not the target market for that product and Nike and Kobe won’t be seeing any money from me (well for that particular product anyway).

I say all fo that to say this….

Most businesses don’t have the resources of Nike to conduct blanket or ‘brand reinforcement campaigns’ that don’t have immediate or significant short-term return on investment. So if someone has convinced you that having people talk about you is as good as having people connect and buy from you…. think again. You CAN have both.

The Nike ad is an example of the fact that even with a big budget, celebrity endorsements and an entertaining campaign…. you may get my attention and even an investment of my time, but you won’t get my money if I don’t find value in the product (or service).

It’s far more important your product has value to the market and that your campaign reaches and connects with the market.

This can be achieved for less money than ever before (using targeted campaigns, social media etc.)

You’ll get a better return and make more money focussing your efforts and building from there – leveraging, adding more value, leveraging on that and so on.

As my Grandma would say “Crawl before you walk. Walk before you run” By doing this you can let each step pay for itself and manage the risks along the way – because times are tough and it pays to be smart with YOUR money.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Can you think of any ads that you found entertaining?  How many of those ‘entertaining’ ads resulted in you purchasing the product or service? Wouldn’t it be great if you could create a message about your product or service AND get that message directly to the people who value it?

Write down the profile of your BEST client (age, gender, job role, where they live, what they read, their interests) and do your own trial of Facebook and LinkedIn ads. If it seems like too much of a bother to use Google or YouTube to find out how to do this, then speak to someone who knows more about the subject.  The cost could be as little as buying someone a cup of tea!

It’s less about ‘cost’ and more about VALUE (because value is the source of the revenue for both you and the supplier).

Three steps to increase revenue

How to make more money in three steps

Note that I didn’t say “three easy steps”.  That’s the headline that the internet marketers would suggest.  That would not, however, be the full story or really be the truth.

Heck, if it were easy then everybody would be doing it.

If it were easy then it would most likely be something that comes naturally to you (flow), you’d be doing it and you wouldn’t, necessarily, be reading this blog.

For the rest of the world that wants to make more money and realises that it will take effort, read on.

Recently, more and more of my clients have been sharing a common frustration.  How do I increase revenue?  (a sophisticated/business way of saying “I want to make more money”)

There are a number of ways that I’ve learned over the past 25 years working with businesses to help them grow.  I’ve even distilled it down into clear steps that have always yielded results (i.e. this is a strategy that has made countless people into millionaires)

There are lots of ‘answers’ out there but as I said in my last blog..

“the answer isn’t really the answer”

It’s more about the journey. Step by step, day by day, pennies to pounds.

OK, I hear you saying, “So what are the three steps?” Well, if you’re one of the many people out there that just want an answer, then here it is:

  1. Create value
  2. Leverage it
  3. Repeat

Those are the three steps of the strategy……… the answer.

Within the steps there’s more….. so If you stop reading now you’ll miss out on the part that will help you to take the next step. This is because there are questions that follow with answers that are all a part of the journey.

The challenge that many businesses face is that they believe they’ve created value but aren’t seeing the level of revenue that they desire.

The fact is, they’ve created value for somebody but it might be for a dwindling number of people.  Additionally, the people you may be connecting with don’t necessarily place a constant level of value on what you are delivering.

So, here’s the next question, “What are some of the easy indicators that you are delivering value?”

The answer: Attention, Time and Money (ATM)

  • Attention – If something is really of interest to you, then you’ll have no problem clicking a mouse, looking in a shop window or reading the headline on a leaflet or brochure.
  • Time – Once you’ve moved past the initial glance of the headline or clicked on an ad or banner, you’ll invest more and more time to investigate and learn more about the product or service
  • Money – Money is one of the most clear indicators of interest.  The indicator that, once given to you, can be exchanged for other goods and services.

I say all of that to say this….

The global economy is based upon the principle that people will invest into things that meet a need or a want.  You may pay (money) for something, but the money is usually the last step in a sequence of investments – the preceding investments being attention and time.

The attention and time investments that your customers make can be measured.  The level of investment will vary based upon how important the need/want may be to you (balanced with the attention and time that you have to invest)

These two key areas (attention and time), when measured, are important leading indicators of the potential for revenue.

If you make the effort to examine the buying habits of your customers and measure the

  • ‘attention’ that you are getting,
  • ‘time’ they are spending
  • money they are willing to exchange,

THEN you can see if you are really connecting with the right market and if you have created the level of value that makes them want to invest their ATM.

If your customers aren’t willing to give you their attention or their time, chances are that they won’t give you their money.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Do you have metrics within your organisation that measures attention and time invested by your customers?  If you do, bravo.  You are equipped with valuable information that, when used strategically, can help you say ‘no’ to products and services that are losing traction OR equip you to ask better questions about who you are trying to reach as a customer.

If you don’t then find a way to do so.

If you still have questions on specific measures, indicators or strategies, contact me or leave a comment and I will assist where possible.  It’s always better to have a specific and personal answer than to deal in the hypothetical.

This is another important step on your journey to go from an idea, through effective implementation and all the way to making the income you desire.