Tuesday, 22 December 2009

What's The problem? What's The Hurt?

For many of us the problem with marketing and strategy is that it just doesn’t seem to be working as well as it could. Typically our clients say things like:

  • ‘We don’t have a clear view of the future…’
  • ‘Our pricing is easily matched/bettered by our competitors who seem to surpass and outflank us…’
  • ‘Too much time and money is spent on sales promotion and we don’t know how effective it is…’
  • ‘Our so-called ‘innovative’ projects often don’t look much different from those of our competitors…’
  • ‘A lot is being given away…’

What is to be done?

  1. Throw away the textbooks.
  2. Dig deep to understand why people should bother to buy from you. If you are the same as the competition then there is no reason why they should buy from you… so what makes you different from the rest?
  3. Talk to your customers
    a. What do they love about you?
    b. What do they hate?
    c. What do you need to get more business?
  4. Don’t tolerate contented or satisfied customers – they will leave you. Seek to get customers who love what you do – what would ‘raving fans’ look like for your business?
  5. Categorise your clients by profitability – 80% of profits come from 20% of your clients (the law of the vital few)… where can you find more clients with the characteristics of the top 20%? What would happen if you sacked, say, the bottom 20 or 30% of your clients?
  6. Create a focus on client benefits – tell them what they will get if they buy from you and tell them about the benefits (how will it make them feel happier or better off?)

Directors' Centre Business Club now available at www.directorscentre.co.uk

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Business Club Update

Quick update here on the Business Club.

Firstly, thank you to all of you who signed up for the ‘trial period’ on the Business Club – it has been great to see so many old and so many new names.

The first ‘Open Day’ (“book in a time to speak to me”) was a great success – I had the MDs of small, medium and large companies calling in. The main theme was how to drive more and better customers to the businesses although there were some rather more specific discussions. Also a healthy mix of IT, consulting, and manufacturing businesses – all based in the UK. Call Trish on 01225 851044 for further dates. Your feedback – most of your initial feedback has been very generous but we can always do with even more!

As a ‘proof of concept’ the pre-launch has been a great success. The December bulletin used a fair amount of ‘existing materials’ and this will not be quite so pronounced once the Club is fully launched and focusing more on members’ specific needs.

Next Steps – the Club will see more exclusive materials (how to’s, articles and video) and would like to introduce teleseminars for ‘members only’. A discussion forum is also being debated although the demand doesn’t seem so strong. Maybe a LinkedIn group would suffice.

We have had several expressions of interest from potential sponsors; while politely declined at this stage, no sponsorship will be considered if it might compromise editorial independence.

Next month, the topic is ‘Just How Good Are You?’. Featured materials will include The Directors’ Centre workbook, a Video ThoughtBubble and an Article of the Month on the subject. Also there will be Part Two of the "Beating The Credit Crunch" Webinar.

As well as all the other features (case studies, tips of the month, how to’s, etc), there will also be an audio interview and further Open Days for you to call and speak with us.

We are really excited about how the Club is developing. With full launch and a paying membership we will be able to start planning future events (both online and live/face-to-face).

Looking forward to your feedback.



PS You can still use the free trial (for the rest of the month) at www.directorscentre.co.uk by using the promo code dec09. Let your friends know.

PPS gremlin spotted when we tried to send this as an email via the Club's platform - apologies if you received the weirdly formatted email!! RC

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Nine Sales and Customer Care Facts

  1. If your customers are not listening it is not their fault! It is your fault… you are not communicating in a way that they can hear your message.

  2. Your sales presentations/offers and so forth are probably all wrong. Read on...

  3. People have problems/hurts/needs that they want sorted out. You need to know what they are. Ask questions, shut up and listen to the answers.

  4. Customers are only interested in how you can help them relieve the pain or get more pleasure.

  5. People will buy from you if you are able to cut to the chase. Tell them what they will get… Don’t bore them. Be precise.

  6. People don’t buy from you for what you do but for what your product or service will do for them (probably after you are gone). How will they be better off after you have gone?

  7. Customers want you to make it absolutely clear what they will get by buying from you. Tell them how you will make things better for them.

  8. Customers love it when you make it clear that you can deliver. So tell them: “We can do that” and give them some brief proofs or examples.

  9. Customers love it when you shut up.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Ritz Carlton Update

An up-to-date interview on Ritz Carlton supports our earlier blog posts - How Ritz Carlton Stay at the Top (Forbes.com)

Ritz-Carlton has become a leading brand in luxury lodging by rigorously adhering to its own standards.

It is the only service company in America that has won the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award twice, and Training Magazine has called it the best company in the nation for employee training.

Its unique culture starts with a motto: "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen." 

One of its remarkable policies is to permit every employee to spend up to $2,000 making any single guest satisfied.

Ritz-Carlton codifies its expectations regarding service in 

  • "The 12 Service Values" 
  • "The Credo" 
  • "The Three Steps of Service" 
  • "The 6th Diamond" 
  • and other proprietary statements that are taught to all 38,000 employees.

The Ritz Carlton Experience - blog posted in 2007
Customer Is King - the book

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Dixons Selling On Price!!!

As Dixons say, they should be the last place you visit. See John Lewis and Dixons in Spat Over Ad

There are several ads that read like the following:

"Step into middle England’s best loved department store, stroll though haberdashery to the audiovisual department where an awfully well brought up man will bend over backwards to find the right TV for you."

Then the font changes into Dixon’s red and white lettering and adds:

"Then go to Dixons.co.uk and buy it". It ends with the tagline: "Dixons.co.uk - the last place you want to go".

Is this really clever or really dumb...?

Yes, it appeals to those buying on price but it also alienates the long-term middle-England John Lewis buyer. Maybe Dixons would never appeal to Mr/Ms JL.... maybe this is just a red herring designed to make Dixons look ubercool (=dumb) or maybe Dixons thought it was saying "we have the best prices so if you buy on price then come to us"

Yes, it has got the marketing fraternity talking but has it created more sales in the short term? (Maybe...) Has it created more Dixons customer loyalty in the long run? (I doubt it...)

Check out The Directors' Centre Business Club before its formal launch, promo code 'dec09' for free access this month.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Spend LESS and Spend MORE

Rajesh Setty has a nice spin on the "money in faster: money out slower" ratio I use when looking at businesses in recession. See his book Upbeat.

He argues that we need to continue spending on "investments" and continue cutting on "non-critical expenses".

So his list looks as follows:
  1. What expenses can you knock off starting tomorrow?
  2. With the money saved, what new investments can you make in yourself?
  3. Even if you can't cut any expenses, what new investments should you make in yourself today so that you are prepared for tomorrow?


Rajesh Setty - Upbeat
Check out The Directors' Centre Business Club before its formal launch, promo code 'dec09' for free access this month.

Friday, 4 December 2009

New Business Club from The Directors' Centre

We are delighted to announce the launch of the full preview version of The Directors' Centre's new Business Club.

The full service will go on-line mid-January.

In the meantime, we have a preview version that you can sign up for. It is our full test version to make sure that all the technology works and to make sure that we have got the right formula.

In return for the free month's subscription we are simply asking for feedback. (Only at the end of the free month will we ask if you wish to subscribe and start taking about credit card details etc.)

We could shout about the 'high value features', 'incredible once-in-a-lifetime free extras' and 'killer benefits' of subscribing but that is not really our style.

At its simplest..., the Business Club is a monthly bulletin full of tools, tips and techniques that will help you to make the decisions and take the actions to grow your business. At £25 per month it will cost you the price of a decent cappuccino and a coffee per week!

To find out more click here, click the 'Join Now' button and use the promotional code "dec09" and you will get free use of the the bulletin

The Directors' Centre new Business Club -
use the promotional code "dec09"