Friday, October 31, 2008

Rebel Marketing Tactics That Work in Today’s Economic Climate

The headline today in the Arizona Republic states “Consumer spending plummets.” The sub stories are “Economy officially contracting, pointing to a recession” and “Car sales going from bad to worse.”

I don’t think the fact that personal consumption fell 3.1% equates to “plummets.” How about you? Now car sales, on the other hand, are pretty bad off, down some 30%. Car dealers are feeling the double whammy of lower SUV sales due to high gas prices and the slowing economy. I know that many consumers enjoy purchasing a new car every 3-5 years, but I prefer to keep my cars eight to ten years.

Could it be that we are just now realizing that what we really need is more priuses and far fewer hummers?

What car manufacturers need to do is to is come out with cars we want to buy that satisfy our needs and desires in the current economic times and then market them in obvious ways.

I saw a GREAT rebel marketing tactic yesterday driving down Scottsdale Road. A driver had this plastered in huge white letters on the rear window of his Saturn car “Scottsdale Saturn 32 Miles Per Gallon.” Obviously, if it’s great gas mileage you want, you don’t need to buy a hybrid, you can buy a Saturn at a far lower cost.

Sometimes the best marketing tactics are the easiest, in your face, and most obvious. The ones that take you down in the trenches. Take a look at your own marketing. Do you need to use “Rebel Marketing”?

Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

Friday, October 24, 2008

Prosperous Businesses - Peak Concierge Services

The Prosperous Business Series - This is the first in a series of posts about business owners that continue to market and take risks to build their businesses and do so with a smile on their face.

Tell us about your business concept

Our Motto at Peak Concierge Services is: Call the Peak. Call it Done! This motto really tells it all. If you have a closet that needs organized, an event that needs planed, or a car that has to be detailed - call the Peak. We offer a great variety of Personal Assistance and Concierge Services, incl. grocery shopping, errand running, pet and house sitting, complete house management, event planning and co-ordination … the list is endless.

How are you handling the current economic environment?

I am very grounded in understanding that my personal "reality" (what I believe, what I chose to focus on, etc.) has a much greater impact on my business then the overall economic environment. That is not to say we are not affected by it - we just find ways to make it work in our favor. For example: New home builders are really struggling at the moment - so we created a value added proposal for them to differentiate their upscale neighborhood in the market place. Peak Concierge Services has just been approved by another Home Owner Association to offer services directly to the home buyers! This is a direct result of the changed economic environment.

Tell us something about your business philosophy? What makes you different and able to do well in the face of negativity all around us?

We start our day with 5 minutes of noticing and appreciating all the good that we bring to clients and the good that we have in our lives - that really has an impact! Our services are very personal and we earn our clients trust with every visit, every task completed. Our business philosophy is to provide a great experience each and every time we do something for our clients. Here is an example: quite a few of our homeowners have second homes here in the valley - so at the initial visit we place an " Ancient Prayer for the traveler" on their bed - welcoming them to their second home -I cannot tell you how many compliments we have received for this gesture. So our philosophy is to "WOW" our clients and trust that they are telling their friends about us - and this really works.

Tell us one marketing tactic that is working for you in spite of this economy

We think about how we can let clients know about our services in an inexpensive way! We have an internal competition going on: Who can think about more "free" creative ways to get the word out about Peak Concierge Services… and it works. Also using great resources like the book "Get Clients Now" and Networking with successful individuals that share some of the same ideas also helps a lot. Despite what we hear on the news - the sky is still up there and there remains plenty of work that needs to be done!!! Now more than ever we can prove that we help with the positive change in our client's lives!

What advice do you have for those starting a business right now?

Get really clear on why you want to start a business and what value you are offering to your clients. The clearer the vision the easier it will be to find the way there. Then, surround yourself with positive influential individuals, find a mentor, and listen! Believe in yourself and prepare to work hard (with a smile on your face) and off you go!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prosperous Businesses - a new series profiling companies that are doing well despite the economy

According to an October 2nd survey by American Express ® Open Small Business Monitor, 75% of business owners plan to grow their businesses over the next six months!!!

Now that’s great news, but why don’t hear about this in the major media? Could it be that we are focusing far too much on the negative aspects of the financial meltdown?

Another interesting tidbit: 44% of businesses in the service sector have plans to hire over the next six months.

It seems that there is too much focus on market fears and small business failures. To counteract this negativity, I am starting a blog series – Prosperous Businesses - profiling companies that are doing well and even thriving in the current economic environment.

Stay tuned for more…
Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors

Friday, October 17, 2008

Financial Markets – Don’t take actions you may regret later

Many of you want to know why I commented about Suze Orman and Jim Cramer last week so I thought I would explain. After Suze appeared on Larry King and Oprah and made a blanket statement telling investors to sell stocks, the Dow went on a 6 day slide. Coincidence? Maybe yes. Maybe no.

Half my clients are entrepreneurial financial advisors. They have been bombarded with calls from their clients over the past two weeks. Typical conversations start with “Suze Orman (or Jim Cramer) told me to sell my stocks.” When celebrities make blanket statements without prefacing them with “You should seek advice from a financial planner prior to taking action on your investment accounts” they risk causing widespread public panic.

The panic and craziness that ensued after 9/11 will stay with me forever. The current market instability is reminiscent of that time, only far worse. I just happened to be on the phones at the Vanguard Group helping 401(k) participants with their accounts during 9/11. I heard conversations all over the call center about participants selling at the bottom of the market, regretting it later, but unable to reverse the trade.

You should always seek advice from a competent financial advisor who understands your risk tolerance, time horizon, and complete financial picture before making a move that could have financial ramifications for the rest of your life.

Suzanne Muusers
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors
Scottsdale, Arizona

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Don’t Panic! The sky is not falling in on your business!!!

My clients and acquaintances are calling and asking about what they should do with their business during this global economic crisis. Many are scared - we all know that acting on fear is the worst possible thing you could do.

So here is my take on things you can do:

1. Stop listening to IDIOTS like Suze Orman and Jim Cramer!!!! They are fear mongers that live off selling magazines and television shows that spew irresponsible viewpoints. All they care about is getting their mugs on the camera of equally irresponsible news programs on CNN and the like.

2. CALM DOWN! Take a deep breath and don’t let negative emotions get to you.

3. Don’t rush to make any decisions that you may regret later.

4. FOCUS on your business and what you do best.

5. Do NOT stop improving your skills or your marketing. Studies show that those who reduce their marketing activities in times like these have a much harder time coming out of it.

6. DO keep on top of your client and prospect relationships.

7. Take a CONTRARIAN view and tell everyone NOT TO PANIC. Be an example of what is possible if you put your mind to it.

8. FOCUS on the opportunities. While everyone else is running scared, what opportunities can you take advantage of?

Slow and steady wins the race. If you decide the world’s markets are crashing and you jump on the band wagon then you are contributing to the negativity. Six months from now this will just be a memory.

Suzanne Muusers

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Marketing Plans, Target Clients, and Ideal Clients – part 3

Our house is almost built. We put together the foundation (our Target Clients), the walls (our Ideal Clients), and now we are attaching the roof (your Unique Strategic Position) to tie it all together.

Today we will examine how to use your Unique Strategic Position, or your expertise in your marketing plan. A Unique Strategic Position is how you stand out from the crowd. You’ve created a profile of your Ideal Client. You should now know where to find them. You’re getting an idea of their challenges, so now you’re ready to tweak your Unique Strategic Position.

Look for an unmet need in the marketplace and design a marketing tactic around that need. In the financial advisor example in part 1, I said “A great place to market your services would be at the local Home Builders Association.” By networking at events where your Ideal Clients congregate, you will have a much higher close ratio than if you went to your local chamber of commerce, where all types of business owners gather. Targeting your Ideal Client allows you to work and less and close more sales. You work less because you learn all about your Ideal Client’s challenges and you become used to solving the same set of problems.

In this example, you can create a Unique Strategic Position by designing marketing activities that help your Ideal Client. We all have problems or challenges no matter what industry we’re in. What type of special report can you write that helps your Ideal Client solve a problem? How can you position yourself as the expert ready to save the day?

For our financial advisor, he could create two marketing tactics.
1. Plan a talk to the Home Builders Association about the different types of retirement plans and the pros and cons of each.
2. Write an article or special report that addresses solutions to their problems

Suzanne Muusers
Grow Your Business & Prosper!
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs & Financial Advisors

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Marketing Plans, Target Clients, and Ideal Clients – part 2

Today I will be investigating how your Ideal Client makes a difference in your marketing plan.

An Ideal Client is your Target Client on Steroids. For instance, I work especially well with financial advisors. My Target Client is an independent male financial advisor aged 30-55 with assets under management from $40M to $200M and can reside in any state since I work via phone.

After interviewing several of my Ideal Clients, I came up with the following profile. My Ideal Client is already successful, but he realizes he could be doing far more than he is doing now. He can easily afford my fees and willingly hires me to help him bring in more assets under management, attract high net worth clients, get more organized, increase his profits and help him take more time off.

He recognizes that while he may be able to do this on his own, if he hires a business partner that doesn’t share in his profits, who pushes him to do more than he would on his own, he is likely to be more accountable and therefore more successful. He’s ready for action, takes FULL responsibility for his success and tells me when I am not pushing him enough. He’s open to new ideas and is willing to do some things that might be viewed as scary by other advisors who are not as successful as he is.

The best part about my financial advisor Ideal Client is that he refers business my way because he is such a big fan (he will refer entrepreneur clients to me, but probably not other financial advisors because he views me as his competitive advantage and doesn’t want other advisors to know he uses a business coach).

Differentiating your Ideal Client from your Target Client helps you create a laser sharp focus of exactly who you want to work with and eliminates those that are not right for you. And it helps you determine where to find your Ideal Client.

So my question for you is “Who is Your Ideal Client?”
Create a profile today of your Ideal Client so you can best figure out where to find them.

Suzanne Muusers
Grow Your Business & Prosper!
Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Financial Advisors