The Best 10 ways to make sure you get all you are entitled to in the event of a Home or Property Incident or Natural Disaster
1) Take a Video of each Room in your Home and Store it, or take 4 pictures of each room in your Home.
2) Make an Inventory list of all itmes in your Home and estimate their Value, (note: save all receipts of your purchases and store in a file or scan them to a Digital File .
3) If you have Valuable Items, such as Jewelry, Coin Collections, Valuable Art Work, etc, make sure you have an itemized listing, (note many homeowners polices have limited standard amount, so you may need an Additonal endorsement or seperate policy for those items, Example: I have an Extensive Coin Collection and some Art Pieces, So I have a Seperate Policy to insure those Items)
4) Always purchase an Umbrella Policy, this will make sure you have ample Coverage, with Inflation, and our extremely vioatle Legal Climate, you need to have the Extra coveraes.
5) Always File your Claim immediately after the Incident Occurs, if it is a Theft Claim, Make sure you call and get a Case # from your local Law Enforcement Agency, They will provide them over the phone. Carry an Accident form or incident form in You Glove Box. ( if you need an Auto Accident Instruction Form, Call us At ABM Insurance at 800 362 2809 , and we will send you a form, and a Jacket to store you Insurance information for you Car and Home)
6) You have the right to use an Independent Adjuster for your Claims, Make sure you have your Roof inspected every 6 years or After a Storm.
7) Water Damage , most Homeowners plans will not cover damage to Sewer Lines on the outside of your Home, Make sure you have the Endorsement to cover this or add the Additional Water Line Coverage.
8) Never Take the Minimum Lmits on your Auto Policy, with the Cost of New Vehicles at all time Highs, you should have No Less Than 100,000/300,000/100,000. if you have a Classic Car, you should purchase a Collectors Car Policy from a Carrier Like Hagerty. Always carry Uninsured, Underinsured coverage, many people who may hit you, may not have Coverage.
9) Make sure you are getting All the Discounts You are enriled to, if you dont Ask for them you may not get them, There are Numerious Discounts on both Auto and Home Policies. Always ask if they are going to run your Credit, as too many hits on your Credit Report, can lower your Credit Score.
10) Always Shop your Coverage every Three Years, or if you have an accident, shop the next year, as some Insures have Accident Forgiveness after an accident, this could save you $$$$
If you would like a Free Analysis of your Current Home and Auto Policy , Call Misty, Edlin, Meaghan, or Brandi at ABM Insurance & Benefit Services at 281 448 3040, its Free and can let you know if you have the proper coverage, and have the Best Rate Available to You.
Internal communication is such a simple topic it is nearly always forgotten as a strategic element of organizational performance. When was the last time anyone read a company’s strategic plan and found a section on internal communication? And yet how and when we communicate is so important to an organization’s culture, and central to a performance culture.
First things first. A performance culture is about performing; achieving objectives. In order for any team to achieve an objective the team needs to have a constant awareness of their attainment level toward that goal. Whether on the battlefield, the playing field, or the office, awareness of position in relation to the objective is foundational. We cannot move a team forward if we don’t know where they are and where they are headed. The same is true for the individual.
Because communication about objective attainment is a cornerstone of a performance culture, it connects to the very fabric of the team’s spirit. Communication needs to be understood as a web interconnecting all employees and because of that is critical to the recognition program.
Communications also need to follow the golden management rule of praise in public and criticize in private. With the caveat that team performance is for team awareness. Individual performance is for team awareness when exemplary (i.e. tied to the recognition program LINK) and private when less so.
A performance culture also requires communication to be action-focused. If providing communication to the individual about the person’s performance, how is training being connected? (See my blog on Training HERE). If the information is compliance-focused, what specific behavior changes are required? Back to training and action again. Every piece of communication needs to be connected to an action that improves performance.
A performance culture requires organizations to embrace communication as a cornerstone of their operation. To tap the spirit of the people and drive performance, how we are communicating the objective attainment and what specific actions are expected, is a strategic imperative. Ensure the people know where they are, and where they are going, and then train them on how to get there.
I love the response provided to the question asked of many a leader, “How is your organization’s workforce recognized and rewarded?” The response often surrounds the paycheck and any potential bonuses. Occasionally the mention of perks related to gyms, coffee, and food, or whatever basic element is onsite or free. I don’t mean to say a free onsite gym isn’t flippin’ awesome, only that these items fall into the basic level of the hierarchy of needs. We’re talking about elements related to nourishment and health. While awesome, I’m all in, those perks are hitting us, humans, at the most basic level of fulfillment. Our bodies.
And yes. Pay is critical. Still falls in the basic level of security and nourishment category. No self-actualization happening from a 3% raise, if we’re lucky. Am I right? We’re talking about first-level physiological needs.
To create a performance culture the heart of the employee must be tapped. The person must want to perform for reasons that are uniquely their own. Do you know what those are for your team? Every employee has an intrinsic reason that is unique to the person. That is why the person comes to work every day. To even begin to make a performance culture every employee must be understood at this level by their manager. To tap into the unlimited potential of the workforce it is important to understand them at the individual level. Before people can work for each other in a performance culture, they work for themselves.
To create a performance culture we need to understand that pay and perks are the basic levels of employee fulfillment. That culture is created when we move beyond the body and tap the spirit. We need to tie recognition to the higher levels of fulfillment, the psychological needs.
To reach those higher levels of fulfillment, and to create a performance culture, organizations need to tie their recognition programs to the individual AND the team. To truly create a performance culture, the team needs to be able to recognize and reward each other. One team member recognizing another team member sans any management involvement goes much further than a dozen organizationally directed recognitions. People stay and perform for teams.
This is where a sense of belonging is derived in the workplace. The team is where a person wants to fit in. Where the group is formed. And where performance culture thrives.
I personally hate the saying, “there is no I in team”. I think that’s absolute bull$#!T! There is a “me” in every team. Each team is made up of individual people doing their part in the makeup of the team. Each “me” plays a role in the “we” and creates the team.
This dynamic requires us to identify and recognize individual performance. Better said, a performance culture requires our recognition program to contain elements that identify and communicate the accomplishments of individuals so they may feel a sense of pride, prestige, of accomplishment within the team. By allowing people to shine individually organizations tap into the second-highest level of fulfillment. Now organizations are starting to truly connect with the spirit of the people.
What is self-fulfillment, by the way? How is it defined? What is the path to get there? Well, it is the highest level of fulfillment according to Maslow. But what the heck is it? Any person with Google and an internet connection can find hundreds of millions of “answers” to those questions.
For the employee, we’re talking about a person becoming the most they can be in that role. Maybe the person is perfectly happy being an accountant but loves to help others by being a trainer. Maybe that front-line employee has years of experience with the company and would like to be a mentor to others. Maybe that seasoned salesperson whose been with the company from the beginning would love to participate in social media efforts. There is something greater that is not tied to pay or to perks that will help employees feel they are growing and becoming better, whatever “better” means for each person. A performance culture requires organizations to think beyond the basics and even the job function to help employees develop and grow for their own reasons, not the organization’s. That is the number one job of every manager. Learn how to help your employees grow for their reasons, not yours.
Move beyond the body. To build a performance culture, focus recognition and reward programs on efforts that tap the spirit of the person and the team. Remember, each “me” plays a role in the “we” and creates the team.
7.5 million Americans lost their extended unemployment benefits in September. The question remains, how will this impact the labor shortage plaguing the majority of small businesses? Fortunately, we don't have to wait to find out. Twenty-two states have ended their employment benefits early, and the numbers are in.
Let's start with the bad news, in these twenty-two states, consumer spending dropped. This is bad for local businesses and couldn't come at a worse time. A new research paper from Harvard University found that these twenty-two states experienced an average of 20% decrease in week-over-week consumer spending, compared to states that kept benefits in place.
Eliminated Benefits will mean millions of Americans will finally be available to work. Right?
You wouldn't be alone in this thought process. Although, the data from this study shows that only 4.4% more workers in those early-out states gained employment compared to their colleagues in states that kept benefits in place. For every eight workers that lost benefits in the early out states, only one went on to gain employment.
What does this mean for my business?
Well, for starters, it means weathering the storm a little longer. Even though 7.5 million Americans lose a significant portion of their income, we shouldn't expect a flood of applicants after September 6th. Potential employees re-entering the workforce are demanding more than ever before, and small businesses often find themselves unable to keep up.
It also means being prepared to weather a potential decrease in income due to consumer spending declines (approximately 20%).
What can be done?
Fortunately, Congress has released and/or renewed many programs to offset the catastrophic effects Covid-19 is having on small businesses.
All employers qualify for up to $26,000 per employee of emergency relief even if their business took advantage of the PPP program or other emergency relief programs.
In partnership with Antonio Little-El, Growth Management Group has developed software to help businesses find out precisely what emergency relief they qualify for and quickly get the money into their hands, helping businesses all across America.
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Don’t do it. You don’t need clichés, especially in advertising copy. They are lazy. “For all your toe shoe needs,” “sale ends soon,” “the tent is up, the prices are down.” Ick. We don’t need a study to know audiences mentally tune out at these trite idiocies, we tune out ourselves. Where’s the inspiration? Where’s the motivation? Why are we wasting resources creating this waste of time?
The intent of this post was to provide a list of some clichés and provide alternatives. But in assembling this article we learned that the vast majority of cliché’s used in commercials come because the copywriter is ‘telling’ the audience, instead of ‘showing’ them something.
Here’s an example: instead of telling the listener that the advertiser is “the home of fun for the whole family,” give them the sounds, the images, the lingual inspiration that brings them into the ad, participating as part of the ad where they can see themselves and their family having fun. This is best done in audio, where the listener can picture themselves and their family having that fun, instead of in supplied visuals like TV and online. The only goal: show, don’t tell.
Show, don’t Tell
Instead of telling the listener the advertiser has “savings throughout the store,” use the visual abilities of audio, your blog, your landing page to show savings throughout the store. Instead of telling the listener to “hurry on in before we run out,” show the shortage, the demand, maybe even the disappointment of someone who missed out (though make sure the prospect doesn’t think they are too late).
Of course I know the time constraints on copywriters, too – so here’s a (by no means complete) list of cliché’s that you may be asked to include, what listeners/readers think you mean, and maybe an alternative or two to make the copy better.
“It’s customer appreciation time.” Listener’s reaction: “What? You didn’t appreciate me all the other times I shopped your store?” How about: Thanks to your loyalty, we can save you another 15 percent through Tuesday.”
“It’s savings time.” Oh, so you’ve been overcharging me for years. (This reminds me of the big mall anchor stores like Sears, Kohls, and JC Penney. They advertise big Saturday sales, and in effect are telling their customers to wait until Saturday to shop, otherwise, you’re being over-charged.)
“Located at” Just drop this. 9.9 times out of 10 it is just excess verbiage.
“Going on now.” Of course it's going on now or you wouldn’t be advertising it, or you’d provide a specific date. And make sure when a sale or special is to be over the copy lets listeners know exactly when it will be over. Sale ends January 5th, never “sale ends soon”.
“Sale ends soon.” This has zero motivation to move people to action. This is an attempted plea for immediacy, yet fails to provide any. Without a firm deadline readers and listeners will think they have time to shop until they stop seeing and hearing the ad. But the advertiser stops the spot when the sale is over. So the listener forgets there was a sale they were interested in because they thought they had time because the “sale ends soon”. Always use a firm date.
“They won’t last long.” The listener thinks: you either didn’t order enough, or the product has been discontinued. Thanks, but I’ll wait for the upgraded version. Maybe: “These are the last of version 2.9, and they are priced to save you money.”
“We service what we sell.” You had better. If this needs mentioning, the client has other significant perception problems that need to be addressed with the advertising. Alternative: “Should you have a problem, bring it back, we’ll make it right.”
“Service second to none.” What are they are trying to say? Maybe they are the best at what they do? Show it. Use testimonials with real people, not actors or “air personalities”.
“Its inventory/St. Patrick’s Day/holiday/clearance/bargain/sale/whatever time…” Can you say “ad coming, let my mind wander”? Remember when local car dealers got the bright idea to mumble the disclaimer at the front of a radio spot? Listeners soon realized a high-pressure yelling car spot was coming and changed the station. If you don't remember that, its 'cause of the same reason. It didn't work.
“Our people make the difference” or “friendly, knowledgeable staff.” Instead show the friendly, knowledgeable staff. Show the listener how your people make the difference.
Reap the profits when you avoid the clichés and needless words.
Have we included clichés in copy from time to time? Only on client demand. One demanded “conveniently located” in his commercial for farm tractors. Never mind that the reason he was on our station was so his spot would be heard for dozens of miles, and at night for hundreds of rural miles; and his business was not “conveniently located” for everyone. Yet he insisted because he was “Just 6 miles off the Interstate at exit 2B.” How is that convenient to rural farmer farmers across 120 miles of signal coverage? Those few seconds could have been better-used showing.
Ad pros can only protest so much before the lure of the dollar sign pushes management to approve the ad. I expect you know what that’s like.
But there are alternatives, and the key is education. Teach the advertiser the value of each second of air-time, of the reader’s time, and show them how the power of words makes his product relatable, desirable, and necessary. Ads are more powerful when they skip the cliché.
Networking is the daily currency of an entrepreneur. For some of us networking is fun, but for others it’s a struggle. And I get it, the whole introvert/extrovert thing. But let’s face it, without networking it’s hard to find a consistency of clients.
I’m an introvert myself, but I was able to overcome my anti-socialness (if that’s even a word), and it made all the difference in helping me to grow my clientele within my business. There are several “dos and don’ts” when networking, but today we’ll focus on 5 tips for conversion networking.
1. Listen First
People love to talk about themselves, so let them talk. Starting a conversation with intentions of being a great listener, allows you to make better connections with others. You’re able to get a better understanding of who they are and what their business is about. It also allows you to direct the conversation and easily find common interests with one another.
2. Provide Value
Give before you ask. Being a great resource for others, makes you a valuable person. You should always share your purpose, rather than your passions when networking. Purpose is a more wholesome topic, it describes your service to humanity and your reason for existence. It’s a powerful way to make genuine connections with others because you’re sharing something so personal, yet inspiring and intriguing. It creates admiration of your character over your accomplishments. Remember, your passion is for you, your purpose is for others.
3. Follow Up
Once the networking event is over, the social setting is gone, and the high emotions has wore off, people forget to reconnect with the people they’ve met. This is a BIG mistake that most people make. Always take the initiative to reach out via email, phone, or social media to reconnect. This is KEY in converting networking into a relationship.
4. Create Trust
It takes time to gain someone’s trust, but a second to destroy it. Good character and authenticity, amongst other characteristics creates trust. When discussing your capabilities, clientele, and accomplishments be honest and transparent. We all have long-term goals for our businesses to be super successful, and if you’re not at that point yet, it’s okay. Demonstrate respect, show loyalty, clarify any expectations, practice accountability and keep your commitments. Staying consistent with these attributes and your network will likely entrust you for your services.
5. Build Relationships
The saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and neither are relationships. Stay in touch with the people you’ve networked with, weeks and months after you’ve connected with them. Ask them how’s business and how their day is going. Schedule a meet-up date with them for coffee, lunch, or even dinner. If you happen to follow them on social media, like/comment on their posts and celebrate their successes. Show that you actually care and make friends.
Whether networking virtually and/or in-person is up to you, just make sure you’re out there connecting with others. And remember, people work with who they know, like and trust.
It’s no secret that your small business marketing strategy is what makes or breaks your brand.
With over 80% of customers admitting that they do online research before making a purchase, it’s crucial to get your business’s info out there. But in today’s crowded marketplace, how do you find the strategies that actually work?
Though there are countless marketing fads that come and go, we’ve put together a list of tried-and-tested strategies that can help your brand stand out. Read on to learn more.
1. Hone Your Target Audience
It’s always important to know who you’re talking to, but honing your target audience is even more crucial for small businesses than for larger brands. Figuring out who you should focus your limited time and resources attracting can ensure you’re getting leads you can actually convert.
If you haven’t already done so, take the time to figure out who you’re targeting. Consider your niche, get your hands on demographic data, and work on creating buyer personas that help you understand who to attract.
2. Craft Compelling Content
In a digital landscape that’s awash in brands like yours, the best way to cut through the noise is to create compelling content. In fact, it’s easy to argue that failing to follow this step might sabotage all of your other efforts!
Relevant, helpful, high-quality content is attention-grabbing, which is exactly what you need. Whether you’re drafting thoughtful opinion pieces on your blog, creating helpful infographic tutorials, or launching fun but relevant videos on TikTok, make sure you’re showcasing what your brand offers.
This is where the step above comes in: knowing who you’re talking to makes it easier to create content they’ll love and want to share. For small Houston businesses, don’t forget that creating a local content strategy that positions your brand as a leader within the area is a great way to stand out.
3. Optimize Your Google Business Profile (GBP)
You’d be shocked at how many small businesses fail to take advantage of Google.
Instead of leaving Google to guess what your brand has to offer—even if it would be an educated guess, given Google’s ability to pull info from other networks and directories—why not tell it yourself?
Optimizing your GBP profile allows you to share info about your brand with local searchers using Google. It even makes it more likely that your company info will appear at the top of a local search! You can also use your GBP to showcase photos, events, discounts, and more.
4. Stand Out With SEO
If you’re trying to ramp up your Houston marketing efforts without this step, you may as well not even bother! SEO is what helps small businesses get found online, and though it can be tricky to compete with larger, established brands, there are plenty of strategies that can give you an edge.
When paired with content marketing, SEO is one of the most cost-effective ways to get more site visitors and leads, especially with the explosion of mobile search in recent years. Even better, Google wants to provide relevant and helpful results, so its algorithm often favors local brands.
5. Advertise Online
While this strategy will cost more upfront than long-term SEO tactics, the immediate results make it well worth your time.
There’s a caveat here, as you might expect: if you’re hoping to beat the local competition and raise your ROI, it’s crucial to know your audience. Creating tailored ads that appear on the platforms where your audience spends its time is key. The most popular online ad tools include Google Ads and Facebook Ads, both of which allow you to target specific niches.
6. Start an Email Campaign
Sure, the humble email has been around for decades now. But did you know it’s still offering one of the highest ROIs of all types of marketing for small businesses, hovering at around $36 for every $1 spent?
Better still, especially for busy entrepreneurs, is the fact that email campaigns are easy to automate. Though you’ll have to invest time and money up front in creating valuable content, today’s online tools make it easy to send future emails to leads and customers at the perfect time.
7. Network With Local Brands
This is a tried-and-tested marketing strategy for good reason: it really works! Connecting with other Houston businesses is a great opportunity to share tips and insights, collaborate, and promote each other’s goods and services.
There are countless small business expos in Houston throughout the year, as well as regular events via sites like Meetup. However, don’t hesitate to reach out to other brands directly or to connect with them online!
8. Partner With an Influencer
We’re not necessarily talking about influencers with followers in the hundreds of millions. When it comes to small brands, finding micro-influencers within your specific niche can be a great way to promote yourself in a way that feels organic to their followers.
This partnership may involve reaching out to an influencer marketing agency, or you might find it easier to reach out to an influencer directly. Even a single promotional post can offer a massive increase in visibility and sales, as long as the influencer’s followers include your target audience.
9. Offer Freebies and Discounts
Everyone loves getting something for free—even if it means leaving you with their contact details.
Freebies and discounts can be a great way to build up your list of email subscribers and leads, and you can do it right from your website.
Note, of course, that you’ll have to offer up something valuable in return, which is where that “compelling content” often comes in. No matter your brand, there are plenty of great lead magnet marketing strategies for small businesses to try. E-books, guides, PDF templates, quizzes, demos, webinars, and even special discounts can be powerful ways to attract your audience.
Let Us Boost Your Small Business Marketing Efforts
Growing your digital presence can feel like an uphill battle—but it doesn’t have to be that way. When you don’t have time to research and implement the key solutions above, our team is here to help!
We’ve helped multiple brands boost their online presence fast, and we’re happy to discuss what we can do for you. Get in touch with us to learn more.
An SEO strategy can improve your online presence and traffic for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. But unfortunately, 70% of small businesses don’t have an SEO content marketing strategy.
There are several content marketing SEO strategies small companies should employ. Some examples are keyword targeting, link building, and content creation. However, it can be several months before any results are seen.
If you are scratching your head asking, “SEO content, what now?” then keep reading. We will explain how SEO content marketing can improve your online status and how your business can benefit.
What Is SEO Content Marketing?
To answer this, we have to split the question into “SEO” and “content marketing.” So let’s address SEO first.
The technical term for SEO is “Search Engine Optimization,” which is an effort to increase the quality of traffic to your website. That means getting as many visitors to your site as possible.
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand as a way to connect to your readers. This is accomplished by creating meaningful content that is insightful and educational so your reader knows why they should take action.
Your content is generated based on keywords gathered at the beginning of your SEO strategy. Typically, this will be industry-specific. This encourages customers to engage with links and call-to-actions, keeping them interested in your site longer.
What Are The Benefits?
There are multiple benefits to having a solid content marketing plan in place. First, by offering customers what they are looking for while they are searching for it, content marketing drives sales.
It Allows You to Direct the Conversation
One thing that online shopping lacks is the ability to talk to your customers and help them choose your product. If you tailor your online content around educating your would-be customers, this assists them with making purchasing decisions that benefit your company and not the competitors.
It Increases Your Social Media Following
If someone finds content on your website interesting or helpful, they’re more likely to share it and follow you on other platforms like Facebook or Instagram. If you keep delivering quality, informative content, you’ll gain more loyal followers.
It Improves Your Online Visibility
When your content focuses on your product or service, the people reading your article will likely visit those pages to see your offering. Additionally, conveniently linking to your products increases the likelihood of this happening.
It Improves Your Site’s “Street Cred”
Writing helpful content is not only for the customers’ benefit. For example, if you write good-quality blog content, other websites will hyperlink to your content. And the more you’re credited by backlinks; the more Google is interested in offering you as a first-page result.
Your Audience Will Visit Longer
When you have excellent content that readers find helpful, the chances are high that they will click around your site to see what other information you have. Pairing this up with targeted ads sprinkled around your website can also encourage readers to make a purchase while they’re on your site browsing.
It Builds Trust
Customers who have found your website informative are more likely to trust your brand. It is easier for your audience to trust you as a source of advice and recommendations if you create value for them without expecting anything in return. This also builds customer loyalty.
Trust Our SEO Content Marketing Experts
When you have a good SEO content strategy, it will provide your business with great content that is, above all, helpful to customers. This same content will gain your customers’ trust and loyalty and, in turn, more followers.
The good news is that to benefit from SEO content marketing; you don’t have to learn all this yourself. Instead, reach out to us for more information on our services, such as SEO management, organic SEO services, local search and social media advertising, and custom web design.
If you a worried about missing out on the growth opportunities for independent consultants right now, then something’s off. Most likely, there is not enough demand or not too many buyers for what you do. Or simply your offer, and I do not want to mince words here, sucks.
I know that because the need for business consultants has stayed high during every economic downturn in the last 18 years. (See the graph from Google Trends below.)
But not all consultants are equal.
Positioning is key.
ROI consultants, for example, are just not as much searched for as sales consultants or business consultants.
There is more demand for HR consultants than there is for DEI consultants. Health consultants dwarf wellness consultants.
Do your research. Go to Google Trends and see how your title compares to others.
Bring it home to three needs
I started my consulting journey as an independent consultant for localization, which is the discipline of culturally adapting a product to international markets.
It turns out that not so many companies who need help, care for it unless I was able to tie my activities to:
Increase in revenue,
Reduction of cost,
Improvement of relationships with clients, or
Team productivity and wellness.
In other words, tie your activities to money, relationships, or health. Examples are:
Money: Business consultants, sales consultants, and marketing consultants. ROI and OKR consultants don’t seem to be in demand that much.
Relationships: HR consultants, leadership consultants, and relationship consultants lead the pack. While the need for DEI consultants is currently growing, it dwarfs compared to the top three in this category.
Health: Health consultants seem to be what companies are looking for, but the term wellness consultant appears to resonate less. Feng Shui consultants? Forget about it in the business world.
See, for example, this comparison of consulting types on Google Trends.
Note that IT consultant and operational consultant are missing from my lists above. That’s not an oversight …
In the last 18 years, operational consultants have been at the bottom of the search list. So, if you are calling yourself the latter, consider making a change.
When it comes to IT consultants, I could have easily left them in their own category but didn’t. But I strongly believe that they need to connect their work to the Three Needs or they'll starve.
They can help companies reduce technical debt (money), improve collaboration between IT and the business (relationships), or reduce stress for agile development teams (health).
I suggest they act less like a corporate IT team who justifies their being based on the existence of technology. That’s like forecasting the weather because weather is here.
As an independent consultant, you have got to have a purpose and need.
Choose your toolkit
Nobody buys consulting let alone consulting hours. They buy the outcomes they want and shop for the consultant they believe can best help them get results.
The five tools independent consultants can offer are:
Clients expect consultants to offer all five.
When I worked as a localization consultant, my average engagement time per client was 5.7 years. That’s huge in a niche market where the average is 4.3 MONTHS, not years.
When I asked my clients why they kept me on board so long, they all gave the same answer: ‘There are plenty of other experts with your type of knowledge out there. We keep you engaged because you made me a better leader, my team better collaborators, and my vendors better suppliers.’
In other words, they thought I was everybody's coach.
Side note: This feedback was the catalyst for me to become a full-time coach, but I still offer information and training to all of my clients, and I am adding services and products as ‘we speak.’
Seek clarity on which tools your clients need most during the recession.
Tighten your Niche
I hate to break it to you, but small business owners are not a niche. They are a demographic.
No one introduces themselves at a party as being ‘a small business owner.’ The same is true for ‘heart-centered leaders’, ‘female entrepreneurs’ or ‘fearless business leaders.’
People introduce themselves in terms of what they do, for example ‘CEO of a software development company, ‘VP of Sales for an ice cream company’ or ‘I own a barber shop.’
Your niche has five elements:
Easy to find
You can get them specific results
You like them
They can pay you
When they start out, independent consultants are often fuzzy about these criteria. I typically work with very smart and driven consultants who can help a variety of people master lots of challenges.
They resist niching down over fears that they might lose opportunities if they did.
The irony is that more often than not, the opposite is the case. They lose opportunities because they are too wishy-washy about whom they want to serve and how.
In recessions, people look for certainty and get irritated by more ambiguity.
Change your time horizon
Corporate America is obsessed with the next quarter. That short-term focus has infected so many corporate workers and they often take that virus with them when they start their businesses.
It’s already hard to sell people a vision beyond the next quarter. In recessions, it’s often impossible.
Focus on quick wins, fast results, and immediate ROI.
This is not the time to propose enhancements and customizations for a CRM, for example. It’s an opportunity to draw out of technology what is already in it.
If you would like to review or have a second opinion on how you can increase momentum during the recession, see if you can still snag an opportunity to meet with me for an Accelerator Audit.
We are going to cover three things:
1. Attract leads with the Authority Builder so that we speak to people we want and keep away those that we don't.
2. Engage potential clients with the event appointment funnel so that we can start conversations naturally and select - not sell - the people we want to work with.
3. Scale your practice with the Delivery Power Matrix so that you can serve more clients without working more hours.
Hello? Is anyone there? You've just been put on hold (you think!) but all you hear is silence. Are you being transferred? Are you still connected? Will anyone return to take your call? This scenario is fairly common and not only bad customer service, but also a missed opportunity. In today's world, there is no excuse for this. Why not provide music combined with a message that will let your caller know they are important to you?
Even better, why not take the opportunity to let the caller know what your company is about and let them know about your products and services or tell them about special programs or company initiatives?
Marketing-On-Hold (MOH) is a valuable service that is easy to manage and inexpensive to install. The service is offered through a small playback device that connects directly to your phone system. The message and licensed music plays when callers are placed on hold or during call transfer. The message itself is recorded in a sound studio by a voice actor and can be customized to any company's needs. The message is easily changed by downloading a new file via an internet connection or a memory device like a USB/Flash drive.
The cost will fit into any size company's marketing budget. Typically, you can expect a one-time purchase of the MOH device ($230 for a Flash Drive Player and $350 for an Internet-connected player) and a monthly subscription cost ranging from $40 to $75 depending on the program, which will include some number of new recordings per year.
The benefits easily outweigh the costs:
1. Let your caller know they are still connected
2. Shorten the perceived hold time
3. Inform your callers of your products and services
4. Improve your company image
Our clients using this service vary widely in their business interests. Schools can let parents know about upcoming events or schedules, Retailers inform callers of promotions and store hours, Medical Practices remind patients that it's time for flu vaccination and Auto Dealerships highlight the vehicles they want to promote. For some, it's just to simply thank the caller for their business.
The content of the message is important, but don't be overly concerned with the writing process. Experienced script-writers and copy editors are available to work with you to design the message and it's typically included in the monthly cost.
Hot Tips for Message content: On Hold Messages are about "theater of the mind". It's a place where, through music and voice, you can create warm and friendly feelings about your company and guide callers' attention to the points that you want to highlight.
In the End
Traditional marketing can be very expensive. Advertisements in Print, Radio or Television come with substantial price tags. Marketing to customers while they wait is not only efficient but effective as well. Callers are already reaching out to you with a purpose and are ready-made captive audiences. Seize the opportunity to provide information about your company and your products and services, or at least make sure your callers know they are on hold and important enough that they are appreciated.