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3 Action Steps You Can Take Now To Improve Your Business

By Terry L. Brock

Yikes! Is the sky falling? It sure sounds like it from the business news press. Everyday we get a new round of problems reported. And now we get more news of more industries lining up to get a piece of the federal bail-out money that is being passed around.

Since you and I run small businesses and don’t worry about those trillion dollar decisions in the real world (thank goodness!), let’s focus on making things better where we are. President Teddy Roosevelt had some good words of advice that apply today, Do what you can, with what you’ve got, right where you are.

I recently attended an info Marketing Boot Camp hosted by EarlyToRise.com and picked up several good marketing ideas. Here are three that can help us in today’s tumultuous environment:

Principle # 1 – Think WHO, Then WHAT

Focus on your customers before you focus on your product. Too many businesses focus on their own product. Salespeople go into a presentation thinking that if they can just talk more about their product, the customer will buy. The technical word for this is, Hogwash! Focus on the needs of your customer first. Do this before developing a product. At the beginning of each presentation focus on the pain the customer is experiencing and how you can help them. Then twist and mold your product or service to fit their needs.

Think of your prospect and what she will need before you think about your product. See the prospect’s pain and how she is dealing with today’s topsy-turvy world and what she would like to do to correct it. Then think (this is the hard part!) about how you can present your product or service in a way to help her deal with and overcome problems she is facing. Think about your customer before you think about your products. Your customer already does.

Principle # 2 – Focus On Direct Marketing, Not Image Building Advertising

Today dollars are tight. They are tight for you and your customers. You need to know what works. Just putting out a nice, smiling image advertisement won’t cut it anymore. You need to know what works and what doesn’t. One of the benefits of marketing over the Internet is that you can measure just about everything. Find what pages draw more attention. Find out what sites are visited and which are ignored. Today you’ve got to embrace different strategies to succeed in a different market. Forget bland, blather about image. Focus on getting a direct response via the Net or any media you use.

Principle # 3 Get In Front Of Trends

We are at a critical time of change in our world. We have a new administration coming into Washington. What worked before is not working today. We are facing one of the greatest financial challenges ever in history. This creates massive opportunities to solve problems. Yes, you’ll have to be creative. Yes, you’ll probably have to embrace some new tactics.

Study and capitalize on trends. Michael Masterson said, Make the trend your friend. Know what is happening and position yourself to take advantage of it. If you are in the food business, get in front of a hungry bunch of people who are ready, willing and able to buy from you.

The principles of success remain the same, even if the tactics have to change. Relationship Marketing principles work today as before. Customers want to deal with companies who care for them and try to help solve problems.

You know, when you think about it, this is a wonderful time for business. It gives the good businesses an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. This has always been the case. Today things are accentuated.

The best will get better. The bad will go away (unless they receive a large government bail-out, which only delays the inevitable pain). There has been a lot of chaff among the wheat in business. Far too many people have based their lives, their spending patterns and ways of treating others on philosophies that don’t work and are hurtful. Now is a great opportunity to shed practices that have been holding you and your business back. Embrace what works yes, in technology but more importantly in philosophy. Discard philosophies and practices that harm others and don’t contribute to your success or others success.

Finally here’s another bonus to improve your business today.Use social proof extensively and rely on the ease of video today to communicate that. Here’s an idea go out and visit (yes, this goes beyond email for desk-bound key-typers! and visit real, live customers! For those who have been pleased with your products or services in the past, ask for a quick video endorsement. This video testimonial can quickly be placed on your website’s homepage. Don’t worry about making it super professional. In fact, make it more man on the street real world type of interviews and it will communicate that they are real, not paid actors. You’ll bond more with customers and you’ll be able to build the base for new customers.

The opportunities are enormous for companies who embrace time-honored principles of success. Applying these principles can help you succeed today and no matter what comes tomorrow.

Somehow I think Teddy Roosevelt would be proud.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com.

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