Fun facts and info on advertising, marketing, business, and life in general

Giant Spiders as Motivation?!?

MotivatedPpleThere are many, many different ways to #motivatepeople to work, especially salespeople.  Management knows you have to amp them up and get adrenal going to be able to cold call and sell – it applies to any type of work. Unmotivated is Unproductive!

If you’ve ever been in a sales position where you had to go out and cold call, walk in to businesses without an appointment and try to get time to present your product or service, you know how hard that first step can be.  There are more reasons NOT to walk in or call, than to just do it.

Here’s a story of how one method went a little too far and was sort of funny in a “you have GOT to be kidding” way. 

A memo was on everyone’s desk first thing one morning.  It said that spiderpeoplefaces“Giant Spiders” had been spotted in the offices and that exterminator was coming, but had strongly suggested people leave the building asap.  Oddly it seemed only the spiders were after the salespeople!  Management didn’t have to go out?

Someone had the not-so-bright idea that this memo, what they thought was funny, would get the sales team out early and motivated!

2 things happened, and neither was what management was hoping for. A salesperson that was on the phone getting closing a large contract was told to hang up and get out of the building due to the “Giant Spiders.” Having to hang up with no explanation, or the weird explanation, on a potential big buy did not help close the sale at all.

And, although the salespeople all left, they gathered at a local fast food place to complain about the whole issue. So the motivation turned into negative attitudes, a very hostile work environment, and was counterproductive to both the staff and management.

This was a case of not thinking it through and managing to get the exact opposite results than were expected. The giant cans of bug spray some of the salespeople put on their desks the next morning was kind of funny! 

Sometimes you have to think ideas through all the steps to the potential outcomes and decided if it is wort i.

 

What is PR?

Many business people are unsure of, or unclear what PR is; is it advertising, marketing, press releases or what?

PR – #PublicRelations – is just that – what YOUR relationship and the face of your business is to the public, your existing and potential customers.AwardCup

  •  “getting caught at doing something good”
  • releasing info on awards you have won
  • charity or community work putting business in the public eye.
  • establishing someone from your company as an “expert” that the media turns to when they need expert opinions or facts on the subject of a story they are doing (print, radio, TV, Social Media, etc).

Having someone handling what info gets put out is generally a good idea, especially for a small business.  It is better to have someone other than the owner or manager of a business, a professional at PR, telling what your business and you are doing and how you are giving back to your community. Sometimes an owner (or manager) can put the info out with the incorrect emphasis, where it may be perceived as advertising, rather than a public interest story.

A PR person also knows what is trending, what people are talking about, topics and events that are time sensitive and current, and knows how to showcase and promote your business with the emphasis on the right  points.  A business owner or a manager (or your marketing person) should be also involved in #localcharities or #communityevents.

Writing and distributing Press Releases in the proper format, using the buzz words and trending topics, and distribution are so important to getting your info “picked up”; showing how a business (and owner & staff) are real people doing real-life things.

Advertising and publicity just about what products or services a business offers is not always enough of a “recommendation” – you need to show the “heart” of your business.

Public relations is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public. Public relations and publicity differ in that PR is controlled internally, whereas publicity is not controlled and contributed by external parties. Wikipedia

A little Watch How You Say Things Humor…

ilaughingmagesWe all know what NOT to say in front of kids – but we forget they hear the things adults say differently than adults mean sometimes.

Years ago I did training sessions for a group of Tupperware salespeople in my home. Most of the dealers were female and Tupperware Parties were held at night, making it a good way for moms to make some extra money; they were very popular and a way of socializing.

A lot of the training was motivational. We used the pat business and training lingo, and terms of the day. Things like Time Management, the do’s and don’t of Closing a Sale, and some Important Tips to Being a Good Salesperson, KIS (kiss) Keep it Simple, etc.

I touched on personality and relationships with the customers.  One of the things we talked about was selling yourself as a salesperson, and not only the product.  The most successful were the people that formed good relationships with the customers, who then referred them to other customers.

Kids of course heard a lot of what we were saying, without us adults realizing it.  In school, the kids were 44-447110_shocked-clipartasked to tell what their parents did…many different answers; fireman, doctor, mom is a shopper, dad drives to work, I Don’t Know was a big one, (not many were too descriptive, because these kids were maybe 8 years old).  One answered, My Mom goes out at night and sells herself!  You can imagine what the teacher thought, and the note sent home.

Of course, once explained that the kid had overheard a motivational sales talk, it was funny – but not when teacher first heard it.  Luckily, most of the kids did not get what was so shocking or funny.

I used this in later years to also illustrate to salespeople in any product or service line, that WHAT we say is not always HEARD the same way we mean it.  So Watch How You Say Things…applies to life and business alike.  Life is funny!

Popular isn’t always best!

MMyersCropYears ago,  a restaurant client of mine asked for help in reviewing his menu. We gathered a lot of info, listed the most ordered dishes, and did a cost analysis of menu items.

I found that one item’s cost was way over the normal acceptance %  – it was at almost 85% cost! He was losing money every time it was served. ilaughingmagesWhen I suggested to owner that he do away with the item, wait a while, then either add it back or offer as a special at higher more cost-efficient price,  because he was losing money whenever it was ordered, he said…….and this is priceless – I CAN’T DO THAT —  LESS PEOPLE WILL ORDER IT AND IT’S MY MOST POPULAR ITEM!  

After trying not to LAUGH out loud, I said, with a semi-straight face… so you want a lot customers to order an item that you lose the most money on???  So you can lose more money??

He looked at me like I was crazy, then the “light” went on and he looked shocked!  Needless to say we went over the menu more carefully, and adjusted the item to keep it popular but not a loser.

Reviewing a menu and knowing what the data means, then correctly using the info to make changes, is really important! Having an outside eye look at it sometimes can shed a different prospective.  Just because it’s popular, doesn’t mean it’s good….for business.

How to keep the restaurant doors open…and generate income

With Covid-19 affecting all businesses, especially local small businesses and restaurants, it’s time to get creative to generate enough income to keep DollarsonPlatethe doors open.

Too many restaurants are suffering and in danger of joining the ever-growing number closing permanently.  Owners are looking for ways to generate income and keep the doors open.  

Too often, the first thought is to raise prices.  It isn’t always as good an idea as it sounds. About 10-15% of customer base is lost when you raise prices noticeably. And right now, with everyone watching what and where they spend their money, most restaurants cannot afford to lose even 1% of customers.  A better, more creative way is to cut costs without cutting quality or raising prices.

The All-American Hamburger is one way to illustrate this option.  A majority of restaurants offer hamburgers – generally served with fries, LTO (lettuce, tomato, onion), salt, pepper, and packets of condiments – ketchup, mustard and sometimes mayo.  Be aware of what comes back un-used and gets thrown away.  Most people don’t use all condiments or don’t eat the onions either. 

Maybe have waitstaff ASK if someone wants onion, same with mustard and mayo, rather than automatically putting on every plate and then throwing away. They can carry in apron, so if customer wants it, they don’t have to make a separate trip. It’s amazing how a 2¢ item can add up at end of week to $$$ being thrown in garbage! 

Also review your menu and what your best sellers are, AND what gives you the most profit – focus on those, maybe trim number of offerings so you do not have to keep so many varied supplies that don’t have a long shelf life.

Ask your kitchen staff for input – they know the equipment, stock and 866e6a55758df44e4df961815ca3a00bee99d7ae_mhow best to maximize the use. Ask them to suggest New  Items or Specials – offer an incentive when they sell! Getting your staff “invested” in your business is a great asset.

#FoodSpecials (and beverage specials) and NEW menu items are proven to increase sales; most are not the least expensive items (and sometimes are more expensive) on the menu, BUT they do get ordered 80% of the time.
Make sure your servers are aware of the new item or special, OFFER it to customers, and know how to describe it so it sounds appetizing. It’s a good idea to have a staff tasting as well.

small-business-clipart-1Now is NOT the time to do away with special offers – with the Covid-19 lockdowns and slowdowns making it harder to compete for the available business and customers out there! A special can make the difference where people decide to take their business – and you want that to be YOUR PLACE!

Watch for next blog about how a restaurant was losing money on it’s most ordered dish!

It didn’t work!

MadMan (2)
So as salespeople and almost everyone in business has heard at least once – something you presented, proposed, planned got the reaction “It Didn’t Work” from your client.

Well, 99% of the time #ItDidn’tWork BECAUSE they did not follow it exactly or fully. When, as a business owner, you try to save $$, sometimes it winds up costing more or being a waste of the $$ spent.

Marketing, Advertising, Promotional and PR plans are called plans because they are not a ONE STEP ANSWER to increasing business. When a business owner doesn’t follow or implement ALL of the steps in a plan, it is NOT the plan that didn’t work – it’s the partial or incorrect execution of it that doesn’t give the results expected.

So, as a salesperson or consultant make sure you stress the importance of following your plan or program fully. IF the owner is not willing to do it right, then it is better for you to advise them NOT to do it in a partial, or pick and choose method. Because when it doesn’t work, you will get the blame.

And as an owner, if you are not open fully to the ideas, or do not have confidence in the plan or person….then don’t do it. There is no point asking for advice and then not following it or not following it fully. On the flip side, do not follow blindly, make sure the salesperson or consultant has a proven track record, has references and has a really good working knowledge of YOUR particular business and industry, not just their own product or plan.

DigustFaceNot following all the steps is like planning and preparing to serve a great dinner, then using the wrong ingredients or spices, or not cooking it at all and expecting it to be great.
It Doesn’t Work!

Owning and operating a business is hard, and sometimes it’s hard to spend money on a marketing and advertising plan or program that has no guarantees. Let’s face it though, there are NO GUARANTEES.

But, again if you do it right you can expect results. And if you do not do anything, most likely nothing will happen or change. Many businesses throughout the years have said “It didn’t work” – generally, they are no longer in business.

It’s like raising prices and wondering why your business isn’t making more money. 10-15% of existing customers are lost when prices go up, especially in the restaurant industry. If you cannot afford to lose them, or cannot generate enough new customers to replace and surpass that number, think about what effect raising prices will have.

There are better ways to increase sales and profits. Watch for next blog with some ideas and stories about small changes than can bring big results!

WHO is that Shopper…?

Alienwmask
We have probably all heard of Secret Shoppers and thought they were used mostly in big retail businesses. We have all heard of corporate spies! With face masks now common, everyone looks like a secret shopper.

They can be a valuable asset to a small business almost more than to the big corporations.

#SecretShoppers come in to your business, ask questions, try or buy your products or services, and report back to you, the business owner.  Just sending someone in and saying let me know what you think is not the way to do it – there are a series of questions a Secret Shopper should answer, so you, the owner, get the right info and feedback.  (I have a form with a great set of questions). The way you compensate and treat the Secret Shopper is also very important.

You want the info to actually help you if changes are needed – you want to see and experience what a customer does.  If you don’t use the info gathered properly, it was a waste of time and money to even use a Secret Shopper approach.

Secret Shoppers accomplish a few things, one of which is creating a new customer (the Secret Shopper) and a spokesperson.  If they enjoy their experience, after you give the OK, they will then tell other people firsthand about your business, and how they helped.

But – you do have to be prepared for potentially bad feedback.  When an owner or manager is on-site, staff – and their interactions with customers – are usually pretty different than when no one is watching over them.
Many owners say the info they got back was not helpful — because it was not what they wanted to hear, or it different from what they saw when they were on-site.  They then do not make any adjustments and, of course, say secret shoppers are waste of time.

What you do with the info is also extremely important – if you ignore what you do not like or want to hear, and do nothing, it will accomplish nothing.  Getting info to help fix small problems before they become BIG problems is so important to a small business, which typically does not have the luxury of waiting for things like the virus shut-downs and decrease in customers to get better, and go back to normal.  Face it, normal will NOT be the normal we used to have, it will be a #NewNormal – and businesses that adapt and get creative will survive it.

Secret Shoppers are just one of the creative and inexpensive ways to help increase your share of the limited budgets people now have to spend.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to help your business. You invested too much time, effort and money not to keep it going.

More ways to help keep your business afloat coming. Check out BestMarketingNC.com for info on our services.

FREE products ad story

FREEbuttonA semi-funny story, with a point that advertising salespeople can use. You can credit me or not (Jean Best, Best Marketing)  This is something I have used in my career in ad sales and as a sales manager for a couple of newspapers, radio stations, and ad agencies, both here in Raleigh area, as well as back in NYC.

Many sales people have business owners say their ads do not work OK, let me prove ads work!  Lets run an ad and give away a FREE item to first (10, 20, 100) customers. Absolutely FREE with the ad or mention of ad, BUT the salesperson gets to pick the item.  Here’s where you, as the salesperson, pick an expensive item, say for example a $300 TV.   The store owner, OF COURSE, will have a slight fit!  They usually then say – are you kidding ( Crazy!?) I’ll go broke giving away thousands of dollar$$ worth of products.  Let’s give a $1 or $2 item!

My answer was sooooo – you are saying the ad will work?!  IF the ad isn’t going to work, why is it a problem to advertise to give away an really expensive item? If the ad isn’t going to bring people in asking for the item, then why worry?smiley eyes

The point of this is, WHAT you advertise, not IF you advertise, makes the difference in response to advertising.

But, a word of caution, be careful how you say it – don’t make an enemy of the business owner.  Better to be laughing when you say it, and still get the point across.

This little story has resulted in closing many, many sales for me, and my sales staffs. Oh, and the use of the word FREE often and boldly helps too!

The case of the Spider Crabs or What actually IS Marketing?

CrabA lot of people use the term marketing as interchangeable with advertising.  They are not the same thing.

Marketing is creating a NEED and want for your product or service, on an on-going basis, and increasing the sale of existing products.  I am sure there are other definitions that people use, but something from the past has always given me a clear view of it.

Some great examples of marketing from the past: (these may be true or may be one of many “urban legends” in the ad agency world, but did put things in a unique perspective):

  • Ad agencies were asked to present plan to market a personal care item that everyone already knew how to use  – ONE tiny word made all the difference – “REPEAT”   Shampoo directions were changed to say Lather, Rinse, Repeat. People now needed to buy it more often, thus creating more repeat sales and increasing revenues from an existing product.  All the other brands shortly followed adding Repeat to their directions,
  • Re Branding or Re-naming – the case of the Spider Crabs – although the taste was delicious, they were not selling very well when called Spider Crabs (along with a few species) and had to be sold at a low profit margin.  A creative person came up with the idea to call them King Crabs (re-branded product) changing Spider to KING – and King Crabs became the high end product it is now. Sales increased quickly.
  • Buzz and celebrity endorsements – getting stories out to the public about your product being used by Celebrities – or Influencers – as we now have!  Products were shown on TV shows as being used by the stars, not just in ads.   Companies gave stars samples of their products – when the public saw them, they wanted them too.   We now have podcasts, blogs, influencers on social media to help with this.  There are local influencers too.  Businesses should take advantage of these.
  • Impulse buy and Product placement – WHERE and HOW you display a product or position your service, can make all the difference. Seeing suntan lotion in bathing suit or outdoor sections, as well as the health and beauty area, create additional sales. This is why end-caps and cashier lines have products on display, and stores charge companies for visibility and product placement.  You have time to look at them, and think I could use that! Just putting a product out there is not always enough. In the huge pool of competition, you need to get your business, service or product noticed, and have it stand out among competitors.Future blogs will talk about Advertising (letting potential customers know what you offer, what it cost, where it is, etc). Promoting and cross-promoting. Creating new revenue streams. Turning slow times into income producing times. Product placement, perception and more. Low or no-cost options. Sales techniques. Plus some funny business and sales stories too.
    Check out BestMarketingNC.com

No-Where-Land?!

Tip for business owners: You are open and/or possibly struggling to stay open. It’s important, more now than ever, to make sure your info, links and public profile position your business, product or service in the right way, so customers can find you.
Don’t send potential customers to No-Where-Land!

Broken Links: Many businesses send out newsletters, tweet, or have social media presence, but links don’t always work or send people to the right location. Think about it like putting an address in your GPS, getting there and being told You Have Arrived...and it is an empty parking lot OR the GPS says Address Unknown.  That’s what a non-working or incorrect link is like in your newsletters, social media posts, and website.

People are pre-planning where they go, not as many are driving or walking by storefronts and businesses as pre-Covid. There is not as much foot traffic as in the past. They are checking online to preview a business, it’s hours, if any specials, and, most importantly IF they are even open.

You can search for info online, but not always get an answer or get the answer you are looking for  No one wants to drive somewhere only to find out it is closed, or their hours, products or services you need have been cut.  They check online – websites, facebook pages, tweets, yelp, etc.  If the info is not up to date or you get an error message, or links go to no-where-land, it is frustrating and many people give up and look for another place to take their business.

Many retail stores are closing brick and mortar locations and relying on online – this may be the new future of your business too…if you cannot be a strictly online business, you need to get people to your location, online and actually through your door.

Using the services of a person dedicated to that rather than an owner or staff who have their own jobs to do,  or just trying to post now and then, can be a huge asset to a business.  It is almost worse to have your latest up-to-date info be from a year or more in the past!  That is like opening your business and keeping the lights off and door locked.  It appears to potential customers that you may be closed. But it needs to be done creatively, and be current and consistent.  Now is the time to re-position your business, and look for new ways to create customers and customer loyalty.

It doesn’t take a lot of budget to have someone handle your online presence.  You invested a lot of money and time in your business, you should promote it – don’t rely on people just finding you by chance. Protect your invest and future. The shopping and dining habits of people change very easily, your loyal customers of the past can be loyal customers of a new business pretty quickly.

People are finding out every day that one or more of their favorite places have given up and closed for good.
Don’t let your business address be in NoWhereLand! 

More tips coming on What’s the difference between advertising and marketing – What Actually does Marketing mean? and more; plus some funny business stories to lighten things.

Check out some of the services we offer at Best Marketing.