Saturday, March 17, 2018

Ed Sheehan Inc - Kochies takeouts from the concert last night

Great musings by David Koch 

I like Ed Sheeran a lot ... his music and as a bloke. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

But I went to his stadium show in Sydney last night because I was intrigued. Intrigued how one single entertainer with just a guitar, on a stage all by himself, could hold the attention of 80,000 people in a massive stadium. I’ve seen him indoors in small venues... but a stadium? In an era of big big blockbuster spectaculars?

Ed’s smart with terrific business nous. He’s appeared on Sunrise a number of times and often jokes with me that he’s the entertainer with the biggest profit margin in the world... no band, no dancers, no backup singers... so no salaries, no travel expenses, no overheads. Just him, his guitars and his manager.

I reckon we could all learn a lot from Ed’s business strategy;

The product is world class

It’s all about the songs. They are the foundation of Ed Sheeran Inc. He is prolific and extraordinarily good.

Ed reminds me of the greats like Dylan, Peter Allen, Carole King... amazing song writers who not only wrote hits for themselves but for other artists as well. Each song building its own income stream which can last for years.

The connection with customers is super strong

The ultimate showman with his own character and uniqueness. As far from an Elton John in terms of glitz and glamour as you can imagine... but with an authenticity and humbleness which is so endearing. Ed had the 80,000 strong audience in the palm of his hand.

He makes a pact with the audience to deliver 110% commitment if they, in turn, promise to party, sing and go wild. He even challenges the reluctant boyfriend, and the caring dad’s at the show under sufferance, to let loose and surprise their partners and kids.

Innovation is a cornerstone

Ed doesn’t need a band because he uses, and operates, technology which records music and lyrics during the show and loops it back during a song. He builds the musical layers of the song, on stage, live, and in full view of the audience.

It is absolutely fascinating to watch and intriguing how he does it. But it adds a richness to the sound that brings the songs alive.

Transparency builds credibility

Stung by the criticism he received from performing at the famous Glastonbury music festival, Ed constantly explains the technology he uses. He was accused of playing to a backing track and lip syncing... which is arguably the greatest insult that can be thrown at an entertainer.

During the show he explains exactly how the technology works and how he builds his show from scratch every show. Intrigue is replaced with admiration for the technology and his skill.

Overall it was an incredible night on a number of levels.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Why Referrals are the Best Way to Generate Sales

DirecTV gives their customers up to $1000 in bill credit if they refer others to their DirecTV service. For every new customer referred to DirecTV, their current customer gets a $100 credit (up to 10) and DirecTV becomes the provider for another household, gaining monthly service fees in addition to any special event or upgrade fees. The new customer gets a friendly new service ready to lavish them with benefits. This article is not a pitch for DirecTV, despite the laudatory language. But DirectTV’s approach definitely demonstrates the value of referrals and recommendations. If DirecTV, a faceless company, understands it, imagine the use of referrals in sales, which involves face-to-face interaction.

Sales jobs require attentive individuals who have the power to capture a potential client’s trust and retain it over time. Many would argue that the initial interaction in which a salesman must convince their potential clients to become real clients is the hardest part. Surely, good salesmen have a particular set of skills, like charm, understanding, or attentiveness, that enable them to expand their client list.

images (1)

But even good salesmen must work hard to get those leads. Prospecting is difficult, especially when you’re essentially cold-calling prospects. But what if, if only, there was an easier way to create leads? And not just any leads. Good leads. Leads that have more potential than the average cold-call recipient. There is. It’s called referrals.


Referrals should hold a special place in the heart of sales. Referrals are valuable even in industries that do not involve person-to-person interaction. If you tell me that one blanket is warmer and more loving than another kind of blanket, you can bet I will buy the blanket you recommended because warmth and love is what I want. Likewise, if you tell me that your personal financial advisor is understanding, smart, and attentive to your needs, I am more likely to trust your recommendation than if I had read those same words in an ad.

 Furthermore, in 2013, Nielson found that 84% of consumersin any industry - entertainment, finance, consumer products, etc. - will trust a product more if recommended by friends or family.

 Eighty-four percent is a huge statistic in any consumer industry. If even a fraction of those recommendations translated into referrals and then sales, the benefits could be huge and self-sustaining. A human element alters a product or service review and makes it more real and tangible to prospects. Because of this, word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most effective outreach programs a company can implement. In sales, it is invaluable.

Leads generated through referrals are more valuable than normal leads for several reasons. For one, your customer knows your potential leads more intimately than you. When they approach your lead, they don’t have to establish the trust that you usually have to foster. Your customer’s recommendation comes naturally, as a simple suggestion in response to your prospect’s issues. This leads to another advantage: your current customer is already using your services and evaluating your value. Knowing what you can do and how well you do it, your current customer can evaluate whether your potential customer needs or could benefit from your services. From your perspective, this narrows down your cold-call list. Also, when the referred prospect comes into your office, you are more aware of their wants and needs. This saves you time and focus. .


Sales is already challenging. Referrals do not mean that you can stop prospecting, but they do make prospecting much easier and more focused. If you have not done so yet, consider starting a habit of simply suggesting your availability to your best clients.

 Referrals should become a trustworthy stream of leads that allow you to make headway into future customer relationships. Listen to Nielson. Study the DirecTV example. Make sure you are selling the best, most loving blanket so that future customers come to you. Instead of having to slowly prove yourself to your sales prospects, let your previous work and sales clients speak for you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

WIIFM: Do You Turn Your Buyers Off or On, Right From The First Contact?

In this time of hyper-competition it is more important than ever to connect with your target market effectively and decisively, if you don’t want them to fall into the hands of your competitors.

Less than ten seconds is all the time executives now take before they decide whether a sales rep is worth spending their time with, or not. 

Salespeople tell me that, ten years ago, they used to have 30 minutes, or even longer, to establish rapport with a new Prospect or Buyer. During the 2010s, this time shrank down to just a few minutes. The latest feedback is that this window of opportunity has now shrunk even further and is now down to less than ten seconds. 

That's all the time executives now take before they decide whether a new sales rep is worth spending their time with, or not. This anecdotal evidence is also backed up by research. Sirius Decisions tells us: “The greatest inhibitor to sales effectiveness is the seller’s inability to communicate a VALUE message.”

“The greatest inhibitor to sales effectiveness is the seller’s inability to communicate a VALUE message.” - Sirius Decisions 

Add to this Forrester's research findings, saying that "85 percent of sales interactions fail to meet the expectations of buyers" and you can see how the old linear method of introducing ourselves and our business first, before moving on to our products, services or solutions and related customer pain points, is well and truly passé.

Possessing an effective and professional business introduction that spells out clearly and succinctly the benefits that we bring to our buyers is now more essential than ever. If those benefits are also quantified then that's even better.

So, why do many businesses and their salespeople turn off their prospects, right from the first contact?

Let me give you a concrete example:

The other day, I was asked by a senior executive in an international technology company to facilitate an introduction to a CMO whom I know personally.

I was happy to make the introduction and asked the executive to send me just a short paragraph with a synopsis on their business for me to make the introduction with. Let’s call them xyz IT Company to protect their true identity.

Here is an anonymized version of what I then received

:"xyz IT Company is a US-based technology company founded in 2013, we provide a cloud-based application, designed for enterprise businesses who are committed to B2B and B2C sales transformation, and interested in automating the preparation of bespoke presentations to increase productivity and drive revenue growth, along with reporting and analytics to surface the most effective presentations. 

xyz IT Company integrates deeply with CRM’s, BI tools and any data sources to fuse company data and approved content, delivering a high quality, interactive experience. These automatically generated presentations save a sales (or account management) teams significant preparation time; meaning they can spend longer with their customers and prospects doing what they do best: selling. The presentations themselves are developed as web pages at a slide level, so there’s unlimited flexibility in how content is designed and the way data is visualized.

 xyz IT Company currently works with organizations across a range of industry verticals and company sizes, clients such as (customer brands removed) and we’re also in the process of launching pilots with companies such as (brand names withheld)."

Did you understand it?

Did you read even past the first paragraph?

I know the company, but even I couldn’t make sense of their introduction. Now imagine what the poor CMO whom I was meant to introduce would have thought both of xyz IT Company and of me as the referrer.

I get it that it is human nature to want to talk about ourselves and our business and how important and great we and our products or services are.

For a quick exercise go to your business website and take a good look at your ABOUT US page. 

For a quick exercise go to your business website and take a good look at your ABOUT US page. If that web page is really all about you then get it changed. Get it changed to ABOUT WHAT WE DO FOR YOU. Then it will be more likely to engage buyers.

Let's see how it looks from the other side. Just put yourself into your prospects’, clients’ and customers’ shoes and imagine this:

If I were in their position, would I want to hear all about you and your company, how long you have been around, how many employees you have, in how many countries you operate, what products you have and the logos of your customers?

Or, would I first and foremost want to hear what's in it for me (WIIFM)?

I like to break the process of starting a new business conversation down into three parts:

  1. Answering WIIFM
  2. Answering HOW we do it
  3. Answering where we have done it before

Let me elaborate:

1. Answering WIIFM

If we spell out the exact business benefits in qualitative and quantitative terms then a buyer can decide very quickly whether they are interested in finding out more, or not. After, all for a sales rep it is just as important to qualify a prospects OUT, as it is to qualify them IN. It saves a rep a lot of time NOT to pursue a prospect who is not interested.

2. Answering HOW we do it

Once we have established active interest in our buyer's mind they will want more information. Information such as how we deliver the benefits, what they need to do from their end to be successful and how our product, service or solution may apply to their business.

3. Answering WHERE we have done it before 

So, they know what's in it for them and how we deliver the outcome. Now, our buyer will want to be assured that this result can also be delivered to their business and that they are not a lab rat or Guinea pig. They want proof that what we can deliver what we promise. So at this 3rd stage they want customer success stories and testimonials.

All the above, however, depends on gaining that buyer's interest in the first six seconds. So, how is your business introduction doing?




6 Proven Ways to Get Referrals Without Asking for Them

Great article from  MICHELLE KISS from Clicktime


Referrals are from people you know, like and trust (klt) and who know like and trust you - join us at a bbg forum 

One major consequence of the internet has been the proliferation of choice, in all arenas. Remember when you walked into clothing stores and picked out what was on the shelf? How quaint. Looking for a new kind of toothpaste? Here are 75!

When it comes to material objects, figuring out what you need can usually be done through online reviews. For services, however, the currency is still the personal reference. Think about it: when you need a service, would you rather read 400 online reviews, then make your best guess, or would you rather hire a referral from someone you legitimately trust? 

Even if you have a dedicated marketing team, if you’re a service agency, building a business still means generating referrals. For any other agency, good referrals are your best sales opportunities and are always worth getting. Here’s how.

1. Don’t Ask For Referrals — Your Clients Should Want To Give Them

Most advice about referrals comes down to “ask clients to refer you.” While this is sometimes appropriate, it can also put your clients in a difficult position. After all, if you’re asking a client to refer you, you’re asking them to put their own reputation on the line.

So instead of asking them to go to bat for you, teach your clients how to refer you. Make it clear in your materials that you rely on referrals. Don’t just say that you’re looking for new clients; ask your current clients for advice, to make them feel involved in your success. Remind clients of their colleagues, and ask if they have similar problems to the ones you’re currently solving. 

The point isn’t to ask directly, it’s to subtly nudge.

2. Give Lots of Referrals

Simply doing good work means that your clients will think of you when someone asks them for a referral. 

The problem? That’s not enough. Especially if you're trying to manage difficult clients. What you really want is for your clients to have you in the front of their mind, to be alert to opportunities, so that when then hear something related to you, you’ll automatically pop into their head.

How to do this? One way is to be someone who gives lots of referrals. To be the person your clients and friends know is looking out for them. This puts you all on the same team, and leads you to work for one another’s success. In this, referrals are like boomerangs: they always come back to you. 

3. Focus on Newer Customers 

Remember when you ate at that new, amazing restaurant nobody else knew about? Couldn’t you not wait to tell people about it? 

When you’ve done work for a new client — solved a particularly difficult problem for them, or given them a service they’d never had before — you are that new restaurant. You’re the thing your clients can’t stop talking about. It’s these clients you can safely ask for referrals, since they’ll be excited to share.

Once you’ve worked with someone for a long time, you’re more like the regular Friday night restaurant: your customers still love you, but they’ve lost the urge to spread the gospel.

4. Thank Your Referrers (Preferably with Gifts)

You probably know this already, but a great way to make sure people keep referring you is to give them something nice. Buy them a gift certificate. Send a cake. Find out what their hobbies are, and give them a neat item that shows you’ve done your homework.

You don’t have to promise this in advance; in fact, this often works better when your gift is a surprise. This small expenditure works wonders: it shows your clients that you appreciate their referrals, and gives them an incentive to refer you again.

5. Know the Difference Between a Referral and a Lead

Sometimes when you ask for referrals, you’ll get a nice list of potential clients. The problem? That’s not a referral, it’s a set of leads.

The difference is important. A referral is a personal introduction that explicitly recommends you, and it takes care of the introductory salesmanship for you. A lead is just a name — you have to do the work to convince that person they should talk to you.

How to get referrals instead of leads? Here’s an idea: don’t ask client whom they know. Instead, ask them whom they like, or whom they’d recommend. Doing this immediately narrows down the list, ensuring that everyone on it is someone your client isn’t anxious about sending you to. Once you’ve done that, you can ask your client if they’d be willing to make a connection.

6. Create a (Legitimate) Product for Clients to Hand Out 

If you’re looking for referrals, you can either ask your clients to pass your name along, or you can do that work yourself. How? By giving your clients something that’s actually useful to the people whom they’d refer you to.

By “something useful,” we mean something they can’t get anywhere else. Like a useful book people might not know about, with your name pasted to the inside. Or an info sheet you’ve put together. Or an authoritative guide to something you know about. Or a tool that not everybody has.

The key is this: instead of putting this thing on your website, give it to your clients, and give them more than they need. Instead of asking your clients for referrals, ask them if they’d be willing to put the thing somewhere where other clients can see it. This gets examples of your work in the hands of new potential clients, but without making your current clients uncomfortable.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sparkmag: Compromise and empathy - listen!!

Sparkmag: Compromise and empathy - listen!!: Great  post on collaboration and a few comments - from  Ben Wise My wife's Catholic. I'm Jewish. She practices yoga. I'm into m...

Monday, January 29, 2018

8 things that Phil Lee suggests to get into the 2018 groove

  1. (Goals) Spend some quiet time thinking about what you want to achieve this year (not just at work) and then write it down and put it somewhere where you can see it.
  2. (Tasks) Daily schedule the 5 most important and productive things you need to do that day. 
  3. (Action) Do them. 
  4. Do the hard things first. (Eat the frog)
  5. (Wins) Celebrate your wins - even the small ones.
  6. (Nice) “Be nice” Be kind to others as a regular practice AND be kind to yourself.
  7. (Accept failure) Instead of viewing problems and frustrations as setbacks view them as learning and growth opportunities. Perhaps one of the biggest growth opportunities is learning to let go of your own personal melodrama.
  8. (Br grateful ) Be Grateful Look for opportunities daily to serve, smile and say, "Thank you

The 10 Marketing fundamentals in the current world

Written by Adrian Stewart

As silos crumble around us and the world becomes more connected, integrated, and seamless, it’s becoming harder to see where one thing ends and another begins

1. Start with Why

It’s been proven that purpose-led organisations outperform their competitors. With a clear unifying purpose, your team and your stakeholders have a clear focus to rally behind and your customers have more than something to buy — they have something to buy into

Recommended reading: How Organisational Purpose Will Make You Outperform Your Competitors

 2. Know Your Market

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is trying to speak to too many people. In an increasingly competitive environment, understanding your market and your customers is more important than ever. Taking the time to do a deep dive into both gives you the necessary insights to deliver real differentiated value that your customers actually care about.

Recommended reading: How to Achieve Product/Market Fit


3. Present Your Value

It’s not how good you are; it’s how good you appear to your customers. You may have the best product around, but if you aren’t communicating your value clearly, succinctly, and persuasively, be prepared to get lost in the noise.

Recommended reading: The Advanced Guide to Brand Positioning


4. Get Focused

Time and time again, businesses try and do too much and end up getting nowhere. Strategy is about choices, and by identifying the top opportunities and challenges upon which to focus, you can more effectively leverage your limited resources for maximum results.

Recommended reading: The Death of the SWOT Analysis and the Rise of the Strategic Radar


5. Check Your Foundations

In the quest for innovation and pursuit of the next big thing, it’s easy to forget about the fundamentals. But without strong foundations, no amount of innovation will save you. Fixing the foundations by taking a look at your customer journey — from the way customers find out about you to the way your customers are asked for referrals or reviews — often yields the biggest returns because, after all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.


6. Establish Your Digital Fundamentals

As the lines between physical and digital become increasingly blurred, the importance of optimising your digital presence is greater than ever. Your customers’ lives are not neatly split between physical and digital; rather they’re a seamless whole. The more effectively you capitalise on that, the more successful you’ll be.

Recommended reading: What CMOs Need to Know about Digital Marketing


7. Identify Your Customer Experience Multiplier

Word of mouth has long been one of the most effective forms of marketing, and nowadays the scale of reach has increased ten fold. Deliver a remarkable customer experience, known as lightning strikes, and make it easy for your customers to talk about you and reap the rewards.

Recommended reading: 6 Things You Should Be Doing to Engage Your Customers (But Probably Aren’t)


8. Find Your Step Change 

To paraphrase Jack Welch, if you’re not innovating faster than the market, you’re losing. And in a time of constant change and evolution, staying still is a recipe for disaster. The pressure is on to continually be growing, developing, and looking for ways to improve on previous performance.

Recommended reading: Unpacking Innovation: How You Can Be an Innovator


9. Define Your Strategy

It’s all well and good to launch a series of growth initiatives, but unless they’re part of a coherent strategy, you aren’t realising the full value. Taking the time to focus, make the tough choices, and crystallise a clearly defined and understood strategy ensures that your growth initiatives work together to achieve your core objectives.

Recommended reading: The 3 Absolute Essentials of Good Strategy


10. Get Moving 

The real value of any strategy lies in its execution. An average strategy well executed is better than a great strategy that sits in a bottom drawer. But the true value comes from a great strategy well executed. But no strategy survives its first engagement with reality, so move quickly, be agile, and develop safe-fail tests where required.



So there you have it, a very brief helicopter view of Growth Strategies: A Marketing Toolkit for the Modern World.

adrian-stewart.jpegAdrian Stewart is a Senior Strategy Exec at Step Change. He is a strategic thinker and lifetime improviser with a passion for understanding human behaviour. With over 10 years’ experience in the world of marketing, he’s covered a range of roles in sales, account management, training, strategy, and copywriting. He’s worked with all manner of big global brands, small businesses, and startups.