Archives for April 2011

Apr
28

Wine barrel wealth and hidden opportunities for the astute

I realize that times are still tough for many people out there. The last few years were definitely felt here as well. I won’t be one of those posers who pretend all is perfect in la-la land.

But there is a way out.

It involves busting your tail.

And in looking at new ideas for revenue growth.

I was in Sonoma this past weekend for a friends 40th.

One of the guys with us is very wealthy.
He is also young, younger than me.

Something happened in Sonoma that really made me appreciate him and learn from him.
sonoma-wine-cave2
We were on a wine tour and we were inside one of the wine caves.

They were talking about the wine making process, and the subject of the oak barrels came up.

A long discussion on the barrels, how the oak is chosen from the 3 places in the world you can get it, how much the barrels cost ($400-$1,400 per barrel), and the fact that the barrels only last for a few years.

Fascinating.
sonoma-wine-barrels
But the wealthy individual in our group saw something and went after it.

He started asking lots of questions about the barrels… even to the point he was annoying the tour guide.

…But there was a reason he was asking all these questions.

He slowly walked away from the group and got out his cell phone.

A 2 minute call and an email later he came back to join us.

Later on I was talking to him and found out that he already had a team of his people analyzing the oak barrel market in the part
of the world he lived in. They were looking at the numbers, the competition, and the opportunity.

It would take them a week or two to report back the final recommendations.

THIS is how a guy like that made sooooo many millions of dollars before he hit 40.

…He took rapid action.
…He looked at the numbers.
…He pursued the areas that he could add value and expertise. (leverage)

We will see if the business is lucrative enough for him to go into, but if it is, rest assured, he will be in business in a week or two.

He saw opportunity in something most just glanced right by.

RAPID action.

You need to take it.

I need to take it.

It is the one thing that differentiates those that will make it through the coming years on top and those who won’t.

Let me know how else I can help.
sonoma-us2
Troy

PS: As I wrote this story to a client of mine, I realize how much I need to share it. Again – 10 minutes typing
and I now have an asset for my marketing campaigns. Rapid action + leverage = profitability.

Here is the ultimate tool for leveraging your assets through massive action http://www.marketingdojang.com

Apr
21

Bad advertising gone horribly wrong

Most advertising out there is so bad it’s funny.

Sometimes it goes beyond funny and gets incredibly offensive and downright ugly.

Like this…

offensive-calgary-condo-ads

WOW... I'm sold... aren't you? Amazing how this is supposed to appeal to someone with $20,000 extra in their pocket.

Maybe, just maybe they are targeting single men – can you imagine the response they would get from the women buyers?

Which, by the way, is the MAJORITY of home buyers!

Yikes.

Being controversial is a great way to stand out…

…being stupid not so.

(what exactly is all that stuff in the shirt collar supposed to say? A lesson here: offend your readers or confuse them and they are gone. So this is the perfect example on how NOT to do it.)

 

Apr
19

Cold Calling Mania… and my invaluable College Pro Experience

Wayyyy back in High School I started painting houses for some side income.  It was easy work – and the guy I was painting for paid me quite well, for the time.  Don owned around 30 properties in Calgary, where I live… and my job was to go from property to property after school and on weekends to spruce them up with a coat of paint.

At the time, it was great.  Out in the sun all day… making good coin… and no one watching over me (Don usually showed up at the start of the job then the end of it, with instructions for the next one).

Little did I know that this little “side job” would turn in my first sold entrepreneurial experience…

…and one of the BEST sales lessons I ever had the privilege to learn.

After painting houses for the year after graduation, and learning that being the painter wasn’t my life time aspiration… I decided school wasn’t all that bad.

So I squeaked in to the University of Calgary Bachelor of Commerce program (with the dismal grades I had back then – I wouldn’t have a chance these days… probably would have given the admissions staff a good laugh though if I did apply with my 49% in Physics and my 52% in English  (I excelled in Mechanics though, another aspiration I had when I was young – think I had a 89% or something like that in Mechanics – about the minimum overall grade you need now to get into school).

 

During my University days, in between parties, I found myself actually needing to eat (something other than barley). So off I went in search of a job – ugly jobs too.

Then I heard about this company called College Pro Painters.

Painting – I know how to do that! Off I went to their office to see what this was all about.  There I met with the general manager to see what they had to offer me.

college pro painters

This binder made me a bundle!

OWN A FRANCHISE?

I wasn’t thinking along those lines at first – but my dreams of mega riches from my new franchise glittered in my eyes – so I signed up and became a College Pro Painters Franchise Owner.

It was the smartest thing I had ever done!

Fortunately, I didn’t need to learn much about painting – – they even asked me to teach their new painters how to paint properly.

But I did need to learn more about management and door to door sales.

One of the ways we got painting contracts was door knocking.  Selling $2,000+ paintjobs by knocking on peoples doors… what a new world I had opened up!

Cold calling by door knocking was definitely not an easy thing… but damn I got good at it!  I could knock on enough doors on a Saturday to book myself up for a months worth of work.  Then I found out that all the other franchise owners hated door knocking… I smelled opportunity.

They hated it – I loved it – and I was good at it.

So they paid me to go out and get them leads – – – and I could easily make $300 or $400 knocking on doors for a day (back then, this seemed like a small fortune!).

So one day a month I would do my leads – another day I would do leads for them… it worked out great.  Looking back, I have to wonder what amazing things I really could have done in the lead generation field using direct mail.  I could have supplied the entire crew of franchise owners with leads – and not have had to knock on a single door!

That was one of many exceptional lessons I took away from owning a College Pro Franchise

I don’t see them around as much anymore, but they had some incredible systems in place that explain why they got so big so fast.

 

1)   They sold territory-exclusive opportunities for entrepreneurial minded college kids. We each had an area we could sell and paint in – and no one else was allowed to cross the boundary (I busted one other franchise owner painting in my area once – yikes did he get in some serious doo doo).

Question for you: Is there any way you can limit who buys from you based on city, location within the city, line of work they are in, etc?  When you create a more tightly defined niche to sell to, your sales process will be easier (everyone wants what they can’t have… and from the buyers side it is much easier to make a decision when you know they are trying to sell to someone with your experience and knowledge).  What smaller markets can you focus your marketing on?   (note: watch for something along this line that I am going to be discussing in  an upcoming article)

 

2)   They trained us to use systems in everything that we did. We used sales scripts for door knocking (which I modified to suit my style and which got me more leads). We used sales scripts for how we did the quotes. We had systems and forms we used for the actual presentation of the pricing (and a script to follow). We used picture books to show work we had done (proof). We were backed by a major corporation and told everyone that (further proof). We were taught how to pay our crews of painters (I had 8 painters in 4 crews that I managed)… how to teach them to paint… how to manage them… and how to keep them happy.

Question for you: What parts of your business should be scripted more or put into a better system?  I am reorganizing much of my own lead generation system and sales system they go through right now. Have you put yours on paper?  Why not?  It is one of the biggest areas you can see the holes, and implement immediate improvements that grow your business and profits.

 

3)   We used multi-media sales tools for those who answered the door (cold calling) and for those who didn’t. You will see below one of the very friendly forms we used to leave with people.  Note the flow… headline, subheads with explanation, guarantees, specific numbers (95% satisfaction), order form (with the infamous YES! copy),  checkboxes with choices (from best option to worst), a form with ample room to write on, mailing instructions (self-mailer they can instantly pop in the mail to get the requested information).  It does pack a lot in the little space it uses.

Question for you: Are you pulling out all the stops to make sure you stay in front of those who show immediate action, and with those who don’t?  I am revamping my entire sales and marketing funnel right now – when it is taken apart and re-organized – it’s amazing how many holes you will find in the system. One of the best things you could do is draw out on paper your entire sales system from lead to sale, then from sale to repeat sale right through to what you will do when a customer hasn’t bought in XX months.  This is a GREAT time of year to be doing this in planning for the new year.

 

College Pro - Entrepreneurial secrets

The lowly flier... one of my most powerful tools when done right

4)   We had the ‘branded’ look and feel. From the shirts we wore – awful bright yellow things they were(!), to the clipboards we used, to the truck I drove (I have been trying to find some photos I had of that beauty!  Imagine a BRIGHT yellow Toyota pickup with College Pro on the doors, a MONSTER room rack that could hold, and was usually stacked with 10 or 20 ladders, bottoming out on the back from all the paint in the back, and pushing some serious blue smoke everywhere I went (sorry Al Gore).)  All the painters wore the t-shirts – all invoices and business cards were branded. We look real professional – and it paid off in the number of contracts I got signed.

Question for you: Are you consistent in your look and feel?  Do prospects and customers alike know who they are dealing with? Either you as the owner can be the brand you show, or your company name (if designed to tell them what you do right in the name, unless you have a multi-million dollar budget to sell people on a name that means nothing).  This is another piece I am re-inventing for the new year – something too few of us marketing through the internet pay as much attention to as we should.

 

5)   We had FUN!  From the houseboat trips all the franchise owners would take (from what I recall, there were some copious amounts of alcohol drank by all, sitting out on the lake in our houseboat), to the pizza nights with the painters, to the annual awards banquet (I won Most improved Rookie of the year my second year in the franchise).  It was one of the most memorable things I have ever done – and the skills learned there have been invaluable in my future businesses (unlike the skills learned in my University Marketing classes, which are pretty much useless in the real world of small business).

You may even recall my practical joke story I wrote not long ago about my fun days at College Pro?

Question for you: What are you doing to have fun with your clients, your prospects and your employees and partners?  What could you be doing?  For example, this December, I am hosting the Wild West Christmas Bash (www.WildWestChristmasBash.com) – a free nighttime event for clients and prospects to come out, network, have some fun and learn a few things about growing their business.  It is my first annual – so I will let you know how it goes.  The cartoons I have been using for the past year in my marketing of the Wild West Wealth Summit (affiliate link) have been very well received and people comment on them frequently.

 

6)   Direct sales was mandatory. We had to report in on a weekly basis how many cold call leads we had generated – basically forcing us to get off our butts and create sales – or hire someone else to do it for you.  This really made us ger serious – we had to be serious as we had some serious (22%) royalties to pay on sales!

Question for you: When was the last time you picked up the phone and CALLED some customers or prospects?  See firsthand what they are thinking and what is holding them back from buying more and more often.  Many times it takes the simple things in life for the big breakthroughs we all seek.

 

College Pro was a fabulous learning experience for me back then, and it still continues to teach me things as I reflect back on what happened over those summers.

I hope you take note and try a few of the things discussed here.

Troy

PS: You can still snap up my Mother Days Madness special… the weather
still stinks here so the special stands for now
http://www.blog.smallbusinesscopywriter.com/making-the-most-of-unexpected-events-in-business/

Apr
14

Making the most of unexpected events in business

Is it January 14th – or April 14th?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell, ESPECIALLY IN CALGARY TODAY!

Join me in this video as I share with you an easy way to turn the unexpected in business into some of your greatest assets.

Quick and easy 2 minute video…

As well, the Mother Nature Madness Special is right here for your gain.

Enjoy the weather :O)

Troy

PS: If you want to up your marketing game and improve your cash flow, the Mother Nature Madness Bundle is here for you:

(1) Sales Letter Success Class – a content packed event I put on for getting more results from your marketing. Complete with pdf transcripts and 3 mp3s on how to write more effectively and persuasively

(2) Direct Mail Detox in pdf – a fantastic course I wrote on how anyone, in any industry, can stand out from the crowd (especially highly competitive industries). Includes positioning ideas, testing ideas, 1-2-3 blueprints for marketing success, lead generation ideas, etc).

(3) My Cosmo Headline Swipe file in pdf – pure GOLD. These headlines have sold millions upon millions of magazines… every week.
Imagine what they can do to build your business!

(4) Story worthy desires that motivate people and keep them reading – in pdf

(5) Marketing and joint venture secrets for small businesses – mp3

(6) Story Selling Bonus Book

(7) The 31k Course – this will get you cranking out content for the next 31 days. Daily ideas to spark your writing genius and get you cranking out content you can use forever. Articles, blog posts, campaigns and Facebook updates – all of them you will uncover with this gem of a course.

(8) The 2014 Cash Flow Calendar :: complete with daily marketing ideas, social media updates, copy & paste marketing materials, and 365 days of product launch theme ideas you can take to the BANK.

Note – all of these are digitally delivered to you right away.

$97 for all of them – and amazing deal for getting your writing cranked up and your customer relationships at a new high.

Plus, if you use these systems and don’t make at LEAST 50 times your money back in the coming year – let me know and I will refund your money. $97 in and $4900 out – talk about a great return!

Get your Mother Nature Madness Bundle Here

Have a great weekend and keep on writing!

Apr
08

The greatest story ever told

I am sure you have seen this video by now… at time of writing 17 MILLION people have… and it was just released not long ago.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JmA2ClUvUY&sns=em

My daughters used to ‘talk’ to each other like this at that age – they even looked like these 2 boys back then (don’t tell them I said that!).

That was only 9 years ago… but boy oh boy has technology changed! It is now easier than every to get your message (video, email, webpage, blog, etc) in front of millions for little to no cost.

What I love most about this video is how engaged they both are in the stories they are sharing with each other. They may not understand the stories, but are they ever having fun telling them.

By the looks of it, their mother is a chatty Cathy type and they are modeling how she tells stories to her friends. (I know – I am married to a chatty Kari – and her story skills and chattiness have been passed on to our daughters :o)

Everyone LOVES a great story – 17 million people in this case.

What’s your funniest story?

Or the pivotal moment in your life or business that triggered the change you needed?

Think it through… a great signature story can be used on your websites, your product packaging, your blogs, your emails, your sales scripts and your customer reactivation sequences.

Great stories ROCK… just ask these 2 little boys.

Have a great day.

Troy

PS: A month ago I sent out a survey for everyone to fill out. I loved the results I saw… 79.2% of the people who filled it out wanted more access to me and would be signing up if I launched a membership program. I am proud to announce that my new membership site is coming along nicely.

The Marketing Dojang is Your Training Place For Serious Entrepreneurs Who Want Kick Ass Marketing.

You can get on the notification list here and get informed of new things coming shortly… http://www.marketingdojang.com

Apr
07

How duct tape saved my sanity as a parent (and marketer)

One of the main reasons I left a great paying sales job in the corporate world 9 years ago was my daughters. I wanted to be there as they grew up… and I didn’t want to be sitting in rush hour when they were learning to talk.

When they were one year old, I took the plunge and quit.

…Not having a clue on what I would do.

I knew it would be something to do with selling products or services, but how and what I was selling was still a mystery.

Fortunately for me, I was owed some decent commissions and had a cushion to work with.

I got what I wanted, time with my daughters…

….and a chance to go back after my entrepreneurial dreams.

I had put myself through University owning a College Pro Painters franchise with 8 painters, but followed the Corporate job after
University in dreams of big fat bi-weekly paydays.

Being a work at home dad had lots of challenges.

But the benefits were worth it.

Until they found a new ‘game’ with their diapers.

They used to rip the ‘full’ diapers off and use the goodies inside the diapers to ‘paint’ their walls.

Imagine two little one year old twins girls laughing themselves silly over this fun art project. To them it was just plain old fun. To my wife and I, it was…awful (an understatement).

But we found a solution

…Duct tape.

That silver sticky tape worked wonders to ensure they couldn’t get their diapers off.

We improvised, and won.

Until they started to scream – “daddy, NO MORE DUCT TAPE!”

People that didn’t know what that was about started to look quite concerned :o)

Ultimately they learned their lesson, we steam cleaned their walls, and it never happened again.

Sorry about the visual here – but we still laugh about it all 9 years later.

…What does this have to do with your business?

Much of the time in marketing and sales, things don’t go exactly as you expected.

The promotion bombs.

The hours and hours you spent on Facebook aren’t resulting in anything.

The economy or local business climate doesn’t cooperate with your plans.

…whatever it is, you have to suck it up and find a ‘plan b’.

Quickly.

Write a new promotion… add in a 10 step auto responder series… and add in direct mail to get people from offline to online.

Start calling 3 of your past clients a day to see what you can do for them.

Try SOMETHING… ANYTHING new to test.

And get it implemented right now.

Not next month. Even next week can be too long.

You need to get busy, set aside all the time sucks in your business, and worry about implementation ONLY.
http://www.blog.smallbusinesscopywriter.com/my-top-time-vampires/

Often times, it is those rapid implementation modes you get in where big breakthroughs happen and new marketing campaigns start
to shine through and make you a mint.

Duct tape is a wonderful thing for quick fixes.

Which area in your business needs a new solution right now?

Then STOP fretting about it and start doing something about it!!

No more mess on the walls :o)

Have a great day.

Troy

PS: If you are stuck in your business, or aren’t sure which business you want to get into right now, my good friend Steve Little can help.

Having built multiple $100 million dollar businesses in the past, he knows a thing or twenty that helps entrepreneurs get out of stuck mode and into the right business for them.

He has also arranged a very special trial for you here http://www.entrepreneurprofit.com.

Have a look and see for yourself… the best feeling in the world is knowing that you are passionate about what you do, and that you are in the right business, at the right time and right place.