Marketing Handbook

MarketingHandbookFollowing up from last week’s post Moments several of you have asked about the book I mentioned. The book is called the Marketing Handbook and it is a multi-author book on marketing professional services published by BNI Building News. I wrote the section of the book on Client Relationship Management and lead tracking. If you are working in the design and construction industry let me encourage you to pick-up a copy.

Over the past several weeks I have enjoyed reading several great articles in the blogosphere, so this week I wanted to share some of my favorites with you:

Not Everybody has to Like You
Valerie Conyngham from The Cecil Group writes a great post about what it takes to win work in a down economy. My favorite part of the article is a discussion on the problems that can occur when a firms’ mantra changes from “from niche, niche, niche to diversify, diversify, diversify.” 

How important is it to be first on Google?
Mark Buckshon of Construction News and Report shares a great chart that denotes the percentage of clicks that you will receive based on your location in Google search results. I’ll tell you here that the first position gets clicked on 56.36% of the time. Do you know what your chances are of being clicked on if you are in the third position?

Networking for Success
Mel Lester of the Business Edge discusses key principals of networking that everyone should know. I especially agree with his belief that networking shouldn’t be all about selling, rather about building relationships.

The Dull Edge of Experience
How do our clients define experience? Bruce of PSMJ Resources considers how you would feel about selecting a physician if they had “performed the operation you needed 27 years ago.” He then uses this as an analogy for how to win work based on your individual or firm experience. 

Why Cofebuz and some incredible links

treeandfieldIn an effort to explain what Cofebuz is all about I have recently added the following description to the sidebar here at Cofebuz.com: Relationships are the foundation of success in business and in life. Cofebuz is dedicated to creating and maintaining the relationships that build companies and individuals. 

It is my hope that through Cofebuz you will gain insight into building networks and relationships that create success in business and in life. Oftentimes this takes the form of writing on marketing or networking, but it can also take the form of discussing challenges and ways to overcome those challenges. In addition it is my personal goal to build relationships with each of you; I do this by working to provide you with help and insight during the time you spend reading Cofebuz. 

On that note, this past week there has been a plethora of great information that I am certain you will find helpful. Here are the links and information: 

  1. The Stimulus Bill, Sector by Sector – This is a great summary of the economic stimulus package that congress is working on that was sent to me by Matt Handal of Trauner Consulting Services.
  2. LinkedIn for A/E Professionals? – This article by Mel Lester of The Business Edge provides a great overview for those that are just getting into, or are interested in getting into, online networking. While it is written for the design and construction industry, many others will benefit from his clearly defined outline of the benefits and downfalls of online networking.
  3. Proposals… and proposals – What do you do when your marketing staff needs technical help, but the technical staff tends to ignore proposal deadlines? Some experts weigh in on Mark Buckshon’s Construction Marketing Ideas website.

The Intrinsic Value of Your Network

lesterMel Lester of The Business Edge recently wrote a great post on the intrinsic value of your network on his E-Quip Blog. Here is a small sampling of what he had to say:

 “So now when I’m helping my clients improve their business development process or providing sales training or speaking at a conference on the subject, I always stress the importance of networking. But not just as a sales tactic. I encourage people to get serious about networking for the intrinsic value of those relationships alone. Bottom line: Make friends, take care of them, and you’ll reap the rewards, both personally and professionally, for years.

This is not just advice for old guys or rainmakers or managers. It’s sound advice for everyone. I urge young professionals to develop the habit of building and nurturing their network now so hopefully they won’t struggle with it as much later as I do. It takes time and discipline. You must make it an immutable priority.”

“…networking should be the centerpiece of your business development strategy, whether the economy is weak or strong.”

I couldn’t agree more, thanks for the great post Mel!

Getting Feedback from Clients

In his E-Quipblog this week Mel Lester provides some great thoughts on client feedback that are well worth reading. In addition to his insights he provides a great sample, “Client Service Assessment” that you can download from his site. Two of his points that I found especially insightful regarding a new client feedback program were: ‘Start with your best clients’ and ‘Communicate client feedback.’

  • Start with your best clients. The best way to generate momentum for this process is to start with those clients who have a mutual interest in strengthening the working relationship. Pick an easily manageable number of clients to start, where you’re confident you can be fully responsive to whatever feedback you receive. Then expand to other clients when you’re ready.
  • Communicate client feedback to the staff. Everyone in your firm should be engaged in continually improving service and striving to deliver the branded experience. Feedback from clients is the fuel that keeps the fires of continuous improvement burning. Give all employees a stake in helping your firm become a service leader. Share feedback, lessons learned, and success stories.

Build Business 2008: Wrap-up

This years SMPS Build Business conference was nothing short of great: great friends, great information, and great fun. Some of my personal highlights included speaking at CPSM day on Wednesday on Building a Company of Rainmakers, celebrating with friends at this year’s awards gala, and finally meeting Randy Pollock, Mark Buckshon, and Mel Lester in person. I would like to say a special thanks to Kevin Doyle who worked with me at length to make certain everything went smoothly on CPSM day.  Also, extra thanks to Ron Worth, Lisa Bowman, Michele Santiago, Mark DellaPietra, Bill Scott, Christine Chirichella and the rest of the SMPS National staff that made Build Business such a great success. I have enjoyed getting to know so many of the SMPS staff and I am nothing less than impressed at the incredible job they have done as SMPS continues to grow.

Later this week I will post a follow-up to Building a Company of Rainmakers for those of you that are now apart of this blog’s network after attending Wednesday’s seminar. Also check out the PSMJ Resources Blog that was also active during Build Business this year for additional follow-up from the conference.  Thanks for the great coverage Ed!

Thank you again SMPS, I look forward to seeing all of you next year in Las Vegas for Build Business 2009!

Build Business 2008: Marketing the Experience

Marketing the Experience

Speaker: Mel Lester – The Business Edge

Favorite Quote from the Session:
“Marketing should be centered on providing value to potential clients, not inward focused or ‘selling'”

Key Takeaways

  1. Focus on the client, not yourself
  2. Our goal should be to make every encounter with a client or potential client a positive experience
  3. Service is delivering great experiences to the client
  4. The best way to sell is to serve
  5. Marketing should be centered on providing value to potential clients
  6. Don’t underestimate the impact of “service centered” marketing
  7. Service centered selling is focusing on providing value to the client before they ever hire you
  8. Time is your client’s most precious resource, don’t waste it!
  9. Bring something of value to every meeting (including sales meeting) with a existing or potential client
  10. Demonstrate your service, don’t just sell your service

Build Success by Creating Value

It seems that almost every day I get an e-mail or note telling me about a new blog. Tracking several of these blogs I have found that often, after a sort time, the writer begins to realize that it takes a massive amount of time to regularly write compelling blogs. A common result of this realization is that the posts begin to slow and eventually the blog fades away.

Then, every once in awhile, I run across a new blog that inspires and opens my mind to new ideas.  These are the blogs that seem to begin filling a niche almost overnight.  On my blogroll you will find several such blogs that have lasted the test of time including Ford Harding’s blog and Mark Buckshon’s Construction Marketing Ideas blog. I’m going to step out on a limb and say that I believe I recently found another such blog, Mel Lester’s E-Quip blog.

Yesterday I tracked Mel Lester to his Business Edge website to find more about an obviously well known consultant, trainer, and coach.  What I found was probably the most common reason that people succeed: Mel has created value for anyone that visits his website through his articles page. Let me encourage you to visit Mel’s Business Edge website to view his articles page as the resources there provide great insight into a number of business topics from Strategic Planning to Productivity.

Principles of Service-Centered Selling

Mel Lester’s recent posting on his E-Quip Blog is a great reminder of the importance of relationships in the sales process.  Here is a brief look at his posting Uncomfortable With Sales? You Should Be:

Principles of Service-Centered Selling
“Service-Centered Selling is the application of service excellence to the way we develop new business for our companies. Remember, great service happens in the context of a strong relationship with the client. Selling is essentially how we initiate that relationship. It’s courtship. Naturally the way we start the relationship sets the tone for how it will develop. If we want the client to value the service difference we offer, we should begin demonstrating it during the sales process. That difference likely then becomes the key factor in our being selected for the work.”

Note that how you begin the relationship “sets the tone” for how you will be viewed throughout not just this contract, but also future work.  Are you the “low cost” fix, or the “high quality” solution?  Take a moment to reflect about how your sales process sets the tone for your business, are you laying the foundation to achieve your business goals, or are you just getting another job in the door?

Please note that E-Quip has been added to my blogroll.  Thank you Mel, I look forward to reading more great posts!