Archive for What’s in it for me?
So the carbon tax was in the news again yesterday – this time because it’s likely not to be the huge cost (revenue earner) business (government) thought it might be. But the sad truth is that businesses have incurred higher bills for all sorts of things since its introduction – despite warnings and prosecutions from the ACCC regarding price gouging.
And when costs go up almost everyone starts wanting to drop costs. But let’s face it, there are only so many costs you can reasonably trim, before you lose the ability to actually run your business properly. So if you’ve gotten to the end of your cost-cutting rope – what else can you do?
What about increasing your revenue via new business?
Yes, even in tough(ish) times there’s always more new business to be found. Regardless of good times, tough times, GFCs, etc there’s always someone doing well.
But, if there’s so much new business out there, why then, do so many business owners hate ‘doing’ new business?
Business owners hate being rejected
The reason, research tells us, is because most of us fear being rejected. Yep, me too.
And we give up too quickly. Actually the statistics on how quickly sales people and business owners responsible for new business give up are alarming, but I digress.
One of the biggest reasons we’ve all had miserable experiences with new business in the past is because we’ve focussed on the wrong thing – getting our customer to buy what we’re selling; not selling what the customer wants. Yes, it’s a fine distinction, but it’s a really important one.
It’s not that your product or service isn’t the best in the world – it’s just that your customer, isn’t really that interested.
Customers aren’t interest except in themselves and WIIFM
So if they’re not interested in your product or service – what are they interested in? How do you build new business?
That’s easy – your customers are interested in themselves. Your job as a business owner/service provider is to answer their most critical question – “what’s in it for me?” or WIIFM. If you get your answer to that question right, you’ll have no shortage of new business opportunities.
Next blog post we’ll look at how to put the WIIFM principle to work for your business.
If we can help you better address your customer’s WIIFM needs and build your new buisness portfolio, we’d be delighted to help.
I’m just reading through Hubspot’s 2013 marketing predictions. I got to number two – Inbound marketing to business grows enterprise wide and had to write this. This is NOT a prediction. It is something that smart business owners and good marketers have known for an incredibly long time. Let me explain.
According to the prediction – marketing will no longer sustain its own department. Um, yes it will – someone (call it marketing, communications, PR, sales) has to do a lot of the work, ensure that the messaging is correct and consistent and have a plan in place to keep the effort going, which is key to the success of all marketing efforts.
BUT they are right in that good marketing is organisation wide. Ie: it doesn’t matter what the folks in marketing or sales do or how good your website or systems are, if;
- anyone in the service or customer support chain doesn’t care about the customer or is having a bad day or
- the shopfront or office ‘feel’ is off or
- the product or service doesn’t live up to expectation or
- the after service support either doesn’t exist or is painful for the customer (or someone else in the chain if you’re a manufacturer).
If your customer is experiencing either pain or even just a disconnect anywhere in your touchpoint process, very likely there are choppy waters ahead (and there’s a solid prediction for you).
Hubspot say this prediction is being driven by the customer being in control. Nope that’s not right either. The customer shouldn’t control your business (it is after all YOUR business) – BUT they should be at the very heart of all things that you do. And smart marketing people and business owners have known that for a very long time too.
To be fabulously successful (whatever that means to you), your business needs to revolve around WIIFM or the 5 most important words in the English language – What’s in it for me? from your customers’ perspectives – through every step of a customer’s interaction with you (from materials, websites, forms, reception, sales, media stories, product/services, customer service, after-care). If it does, you can pat yourself on the back for apparently ‘being ahead of your time’. If you’ve been doing it for a decade or longer – no doubt you’re running a spectacularly successful business.
It is however, harder to get WIIFM right than it might seem on the surface. Lots of clients have told us that they find it hard to get out of their own way enough to see what dealing with the business is like from a customer perspective. And let’s face it, when you’re writing materials, designing your interior or talking about your wonderful product or service, you want to spending time on your favourite subject – you (and that’s okay by the way – everyone does, but it’s not what your customers/clients need to feel/see/experience).
That’s where an external marketing agency can help – they’ll be able to see things you might not and/or that you might have been willfully blind to in the past. You might also consider going down the path of using a mystery shopper service too (especially if you’re a volume business like travel, tourism, childcare, gyms, retail or healthcare). Both bring different strengths to the table and both can highlight places where you might be losing new sales or losing longer-term customers. And getting and keeping customers makes for stronger businesses.
So if you’re looking for better 2013 marketing predictions for your business or you’d like to answer WIIFM better or your business needs a customer-focussed marketing makeover, we’d be delighted to talk to you. Feel free to get in contact or join us on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.
Now BNI* gets a bit of a tough wrap. Yes, it’s a bit old school – some might even say ‘blokey’. Yes, it’s pretty formal and you have to play by their rules. Yes, it requires a serious time commitment. Yes, it costs a bit of cash to join.
Done properly, it can also deliver some very significant benefits to your business.
As business people, and even as consumers, we prefer to do business with people – not brands, businesses, products, etc. And we have to know, like and trust those people in order for us to usually give them our business.
I was a bit grumpy when my old group (called a chapter) closed back in February after only 7 months of membership. I even complained to the founder in the US, Ivan Misner – who to his credit – engaged in some fairly robust conversation about some of the politicking that had gone on in the closing process – as did the Australian Director.
At the time, I felt like I was losing my ‘business family’. A bunch of men and women that I’d been having breakfast with each week for 7 months. They knew me and they were getting to know what my business could do for them. And they’d started to give me referrals to other business people they knew.
It worked. Even after the group was closed down, I still continued to receive referrals to qualified leads (Ie: people who wanted to do business with me, based on the strength of their relationship with the referrer and who were more or less ready to start their projects) from my former group members.
A bit of searching was required to find a new BNI group to call home. Some groups would have been great, but the marketing seat was already occupied and other groups seemed not to ‘fit’ what I was really looking for. Maybe that’s a chic thing, but for me ‘fit’ was critical. How could I do business with people I didn’t warm to, much less had to like and trust?
I also belong to a women’s business club She Business – which is an altogether different kettle of fish. We all joined to get new business, but what we actually got from our She membership was a business education, a bunch of like-minded women – the same ones we see on a regular monthly basis and we partner with each other to hold ourselves accountable for moving ourselves and our businesses forward. In other words, we’ve developed business friends.
That’s not to say that you can’t build a business without joining a BNI group or She Business – absolutely you can and many people do. But, if you want your business building to be a bit easier and maybe even a bit more fun, find yourself a group of like-minded people who meet regularly, commit to getting to know them and be open to what happens. Be patient – the business will come.
* For those of you who’ve never heard of BNI, it’s a business networking club where only one person per profession/trade can join. Most run at breakfast time and you’re pretty much required to go once a week, bring referrals and meet up with at least one other member a week outside the breakfast meeting. Onerous maybe, but it works. My ROI has been spectacular around 20x my paid investment in my first 9 months (and many of those clients have become ongoing clients).
Kristin Austin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She loves creating content and campaigns that drive engagement (using WIIFM) and capturing customers for her really lovely clients. She can be found hanging out in social media-land – for her clients’ benefit of course when she’s not working on client campaigns, strategy or writing them content. You can follow her @glitteratichic or connect on LinkedIn. If you’re not on social media and still want to connect - she’s happy to talk marketing and business boosting over coffee.
1. Be different – but in a good way. You may have heard the saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Yes, there is – just ask Rupert Murdoch. Make sure that you stand out for the right reasons. Keep the WIIFM principle, otherwise known as what’s in it for me (from your customers’ perspective) at the centre of anything you do.
2. Do something great – either for a client, for your staff or for the world in general and let people know about it. Everyone likes to think that business decisions are based on rationale and logic. They’re not. Everyone – yes everyone, buys on emotion and then backs it up with logic. So do something authentic for you and your organisation that makes someone somewhere feel better about their day – again keeping the WIIFM principle top of mind. You might also want to have some logical reasons for doing business with you handy too. Customers like logic to back up their emotional purchase decision (yep – even the business to business buyers).
3. Keep it consistent - Make sure that every part of your business (and yes, that’s more than just your marketing materials) says the same thing. If you pride yourself on service, but it takes your receptionist 10 rings to answer, there’s an incongruity there. That incongruity makes people feel uncomfortable. If it happens enough, your customers will have a level of discomfort that turns them and their business away.
4. Do what you say you’ll do – so many people don’t. When something goes wrong (maybe it’s outside your control) that’s when keeping on keeping on really counts. After you finish swearing, downing a scotch, panicking, etc – sort the problem and get on with it. There’s no need to share the drama with your client – you’ll know you’ve gone above and beyond – bask in the inner glow of a job well done – problems and all.
5. Give good love – client love that is. Send thank you notes – yes lots of people say it and still so very few do it. Send something nice with your bills to your favourite clients. Send things for Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, big wins, etc that you know they’ll like. I gave a client of mine who was very into beer, a beer tasting box – he loved it. Sure I could have got him a bottle of wine, but it would have gone either in the office kitchen or to his home relatively unappreciated. The trick to this is to pay attention when they speak.
If you have a tale about what you do to stand out, please feel free to share below.
Recently I was asked to share some ideas for getting more members into a networking group – in other words getting the group more business.
Often when consultants are asked to share ideas, they rattle off their list of top 10 quicker than you can ask the question (oh how we love to share). However, usually that ends up with the group saying ‘oh we’ve already tried that” and the consultant either feeling sheepish or a bit miffed thinking, “well if it’s worked so well, why did you ask me!”
So rather than bullishly come up with ‘the answer’, I asked the group what they’d done in the past so together we could get a better idea of what had and hadn’t worked before. Needless to say, some of what I might have suggested was on that list (just as well I asked, huh!!).
When we got to the bottom of what wasn’t working, some of the things that stood out were;
- Many of the group members were thinking about inviting their visitor from their own perspective - they had to get new members – which kind of smelled a little like the sales person that’s desperate to close the deal, any deal, just sign now, pleeeeeease?. That in itself is off-putting enough. Worse when you add they were thinking about themselves first and their potential fellow networker second (or maybe not at all).
- Some members of the group rushed in and asked anyone they came across rather than delving deeper into the other person’s needs to cherry pick those for whom the group would have been a great fit
- Whilst they were keen to share how great the group was, they were sharing what was good for them rather than the reasons their potential member might find interesting (things like a strong inner group of people in allied industries or the number of referrals group members gave each other or something else their guest might be really keen to learn more about).
In essence, what they’d forgotten about, in their desire to ‘nab’ new members was WIIFM for the potential member. Rather than appealing to their prospect’s business need, they were off on a rant about their own needs - so much easier to do, but so much less fruitful. In the end we developed a WIIFM list (almost like a list of selling points – but benefits driven rather than features) that they each felt comfortable using to talk about membership of the group.
What are they going to do moving forward?
- Ask lots of questions up front – so they can
- Assess whether the group might be a good fit for their ‘prospect’ – and if it is then they can
- Tailor their approach with information (and reasons to check the group out) that is meaningful to the ‘prospect’
WIIFM is simple stuff, but so few people remember to use it. If you’re part of a membership group, let me know what worked to get you involved, how you get others on board or where else you might use WIIFM.
If you’re anything like most business owners, you spend a lot of time thinking about how to get more customers through your door. Marketing is critically important to your business, but should you do it yourself or should you get someone else to do it?
Let’s look at the top three reasons to give the job to someone else.
1. WIIFM? – how many times have you been to a store, visited a website or sat through a presentation thinking “these people just don’t get it”. Most likely the reason was that they were talking seemingly endlessly about themselves – when what really matters to you is YOU. Certainly their product, service, etc might be of interest, but it’s what it does for you.
Throughout your whole experience with them, you’re trying to make what they’re saying apply to you. If all they’re doing is talking about themselves, you’re likely to dismiss what they’re saying as irrelevant. Only the better marketers know how to apply the WIIFM principles well.
2. Good marketers understand how to bring how to bring your best points to the front and centre of your customer’s minds. If you’re like many clients, you might find you’re too wrapped up in the detail of what you’re selling – or in love with your product. Which is great from a passion perspective, but often it means that you might be burying the most compelling reasons your customers need in order to buy from you.
A client and I were talking about a marketing piece he’d mocked up. After half an hour of talking me through it (it was a very busy brochure), it emerged the strongest reasons to buy were the free personalised trial and the product’s environmental benefit (which was exceptional).
After two brief looks at the piece whilst we were talking (which is sadly more than a customer will usually give a brochure), I found the FREE offer buried in the middle of page 2 and the environmental message was entirely missing. Needless to say, those messages are now front and centre.
3. Better outcomes. Working with an experienced marketer vastly increases your likelihood of achieving the outcomes that you’re after for your business. Don’t just look at their work from a ‘how it looks’ perspective – it might just be ‘pretty’ work. Ask them what it achieved for their client – you’re looking for answers like -” this campaign”…*
- uncovered 32 potential new pieces of business waiting to be signed
- achieved media coverage of $1.5 million
- became the top selling non-fiction book
- reported to be one of the most-successful infomercials of the year
- increased overnights to the destination by 20%
- changed the product from being an ‘untouchable’ before launch to rocketing it to number one in a reasonably mature category in six months.
Ask for hard numbers – if they can’t give you any – maybe it’s time to talk someone else.
* these are actual results from my real campaigns.
These are just the top three, but there really are loads of reasons to outsource your marketing – more coming soon. If we can help, please let us know.