NAVIGATION

November 20, 2017

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida Business

Do you have the right stuff?

Ron Stein | 7/14/2017

Mario Andretti said, “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” For a race car driver, that makes sense -- push it to the edge and you’ll lead the pack.

And in his book, The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe wrote about the enormous risks taken by the first Project Mercury astronauts to ride on top of dangerous rockets. They really pushed it to the edge!

Then there are us mere mortals in the world of business. It doesn’t make sense to take unnecessarily chances, but just like a racecar driver or astronauts, you need to be prepared with the right stuff.

Do you have the right stuff?

No, I’m not talking about the tenacity and determination you need to lead your business. Important ingredients for sure!

Selling is tough enough with limited time, budgets, and resources. Yet, with the right “stuff” at the ready, it’s much easier to accomplish goals and close deals. The problem is, the stuff you need takes time to create. And when you do, the last minute rush to crank out what’s needed may not represent your company, products, and services as well as they should.

So what kind of stuff should you have? Depending on your industry and business model, It can be almost anything that promotes your offering and advances prospects to the next buying step.

Sell sheets, LinkedIn profiles, proposals, email newsletters, promotional landing pages, brochures, signage, news releases, Power Point presentations, backgrounders, infographics, business cases, fact sheets, onboarding videos, clip files and on and on.

That’s a lot of stuff!

So, how does a busy person like you make this happen? Here are a few tips that will take the load off of you and your team, while avoiding last minute disorder and the stress of managing deadlines.

Just-in-time stuff delivery strategy. Start by being honest and accepting that fact that us humans tend to never really have all the important stuff siting around at the ready -- or maybe too much of the wrong things. Vow now to change, not by taking a step back to think of all the stuff that must be created, but by transforming the way your marketing and sales operates. Adopt the Just-in-time inventory strategy model to increase efficiency and decrease waste. The twist is, instead of forecasting demand accurately, you’ll use bits and pieces of stuff you’ve already produced in an “inventory” of sorts. Then, you can tailor the particular stuff you need to produce quickly by picking and choosing from what’s available, as you need it.

Visualize your words like a webmaster. All of your stuff has ideas and key elements in common. Your marketing and selling materials are based on words to describe what you do and how your products solve problems for customers; such as in a speech, blog post, white paper, on your website, and feedback you collect from buyers. Yet, there are certain words and phrases that appear more often than others. These represent your company’s core concepts and should be compiled into a master Word document that’s available to your team for the project they have going at the moment. After all, consistency across all your stuff is important for positioning, messaging, and branding. A word cloud is a wonderful, visual way to identify the words your business uses most frequently. Free word cloud generators like TagCloud allow you to save the list as a PDF -- just make sure that whichever one you choose does not automatically add text clouds to their public portfolio, potentially allowing your competition to see them.

Create a simple stuff finder system. Picture this: a highly qualified prospect says, “Hey, that new product sounds exactly like what we’ve been looking for. Send me over your fact sheet and competition comparison matrix.” You tell them you’ll jump on it and do that as soon as you get back to the office. Except, it’s a new product and the stuff the buyer asked for hasn’t been created yet! No problem. You jolt into action by accessing the master keyword and document index. Instead of complete brochures of an older product and forty page proposals, it’s an index pointed to snippets of crucial information. These bite-sized chunks can be anything from bios of executives, company overview, a competitor’s comparison chart sent out two months ago, PDFs of recent glowing press coverage, templates, and even a “personalized” cover letter pitching your company, product, or service. Now tag each with a few keywords and very short description in a master document such as Excel spreadsheet that’s searchable. Drop it into the company’s shared Dropbox folder or password-protected webpage and you are good to go!

You’ll get back to the office and whip together a great response in no time!

A stuff system like this allows you and your team to quickly copy relevant information into a document you will send to your buyer or get on social media pronto.

Make your life a little easier. Start today, and in a blink of an eye you’ll build a library of the stuff you need to get more customers.

Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.

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