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call to action

The image to the left is what is known as a call to action. Most commonly you’ll find call to action selling on internet sold e-products (an unregulated area with no official RRP), but you can find them in everyday life too:

  • Buy one get one free at the supermarket!
  • Half price sale at the sofa store must end today!
  • Two tickets for the price of one at the cinema, Wednesday only!
  • Get the full 12 CD rock anthems for just £17.95 (time limited offer)!

A call to action is one of the oldest sales techniques in the book, but why not use it when it works so well? Companies with e-products use it all the time, heck you can even buy a plug-in for your website which ensures your call to action is up to date – “This is a time-limited offer and expires at midnight (insert today’s date here!)“.

So if it works so well why isn’t it used more in other types of sales?

As a business we all have something to sell whether it comes in a box or it walks into the purchasers office. Using a call to action on our products not matter what they are could result in a sales decision faster if the customer thinks that they only have today to decide otherwise they may have to pay full price for your service.

So today I raise this challenge to you:

Think about your product and how much you want to sell it for at the top end. Then think about how much you would be prepared to reduce that cost by if you were to go into negotiations. Now that is the price you leave on the table as you walk out the door, but don’t forget this offer ends at midnight and after that the product goes back to full price.

A call to action could not only eliminate the need for lengthy, time wasting negotiation it could also eliminate the competition before they even step in the ring.

This is a time-limited blog post, read now for free or pay me what your business loses in profit for not taking heed!

gravityA comment I made the other day on Wekie Tay’s blog got me thinking that I should really put up a post on gravity here. This is particularly timely too as our next module for The Platform is on gravity.

We all know and understand the traditional definition of the word gravity – it’s all about a force that pulls inwards towards itself.

This force exists in business and even personal life too. Create something interesting, right at the core and people will start to gravitate towards it. The more interesting the core becomes the bigger the gravitational radius.

The more gravity you have the bigger the potential for sales and opportunities.

Companies are now beginning to recognise the importance of gravity, particularly in the area of affiliate marketing. Sites like Clickbank (a product database for electronic delivered goods), allow affiliates to search and sort their products in order of gravity – which is in effect the number of distinct affiliates who earned a commission by referring a paying customer to the publisher’s products.

clickbank

This is great for the casual affiliate who can see with a quick glance exactly what products are currently selling well. It’s also great for the product owner who needs to attract affiliates in order to market their product effectively.

more gravity = more interest = more free marketing = more sales

You know what it’s like … the seventh phone call to the support line and the seventh person who’s had to listen to the increasingly long story of woe. Why the need for seven calls to solve one problem? Surely that’s not good for customer satisfaction or efficient in terms of the call centre workload?

Well, I won’t bore you with why I had to make the other six calls to Virgin Media. Call number 7 was different and here’s why.

Ownership, promises and empowerment.

In the seventh call I still was no closer to getting the matter resolved with the urgency I knew it deserved. A six day wait to get my phone line back when they had cut it off was just not acceptable. So I asked to speak to the supervisor for the section and had to recount the story again, but this time the person I spoke to was prepared to take ownership of the issue. She said she personally would phone the manager of the teams out in the field, not just use the computer to find the next free date. She promised to phone back by 4pm at the latest with a progress report – in fact she phoned earlier than that with an update. Best of all, she was prepared to give me her personal mobile number, so I didn’t have to go through all the “Select option 2 to report telephone faults …” and so on, only to talk to a totally new person about my problem. Suddenly I felt more in control of the situation – I could contact someone immediately I needed an update or I had news. That felt really good – I was empowered.

Things then moved very quickly that day … within a few hours everything was sorted. I was able phone my contact, Christina Wright at Virgin Media, and tell her my phone was working!

Well done Ms Wright for the right way of doing things … and it wasn’t a new process or technical advancement that provided the solution. It was three simple steps that we can all take when helping others:

  • Taking ownership
  • Fulfilling promises made
  • Empowering the other person, by giving easy access

Not that difficult to do … but a certain recipe for customer retention and satisfaction.

friend wheel

After yesterday’s post filled with reasons not to use Facebook, the current Internet social networking hotspot has now come up with a very good reason to get yourself known on it.

Yesterday afternoon a very excited Tim Clague came bounding into my darkened edit suite waving a piece of paper around. On this piece of paper was a printout of a diagram created by the Facebook application Friend Wheel. After seeing it I was so excited that I had to create my own.

The image above is my Friend Wheel, click on it for a more in-depth look. Friend Wheel creates something in seconds that we’ve been encouraging people to create themselves recently in module 2 of The Platform, which tackles the art of contracting.

The point of the Friend Wheel is to show in one neat little diagram all of your friends and how they might connect with each other. In terms of networking this can open up all kinds of possibilities that you never knew existed, by showing exactly who within your network might be talking to each other.

Create one for your friends in Facebook and then try to create another one for your business contacts.

big brotherWe are big fans of the Radar Zone here at Marton House and have built numerous workshops and models around it as it is something important that many people can forget about.

For the as yet uninitiated the Radar Zone is an area of radius, at the centre of which is something or someone we have a reason to impress. When we are in the Radar Zone we have to be doubly careful of our actions in case someone is watching us or overhears us saying something.

For example we could be going to see a client about some work or maybe going for a job interview. Let’s take the job interview as an example. If we were holding an interview for a job here we may well ask our receptionist what the candidates did whilst they waited; Did they look frustrated? Did they make phone-calls, not focusing on the here and now? Did they read one of our brochures, subtly placed on the waiting room table?

Of course that is just one example, the Radar Zone is much, much wider than that and the bad news is it’s getting wider too.

This article on MSN News reveals that 1 in 5 employers now vet potential candidates pre-interview via the current Internet social hotbed that is Facebook. The story goes on to report how students from Oxford University are now being fined for being disorderly after celebrating the fact their exams were over, based on photographic evidence found on Facebook.

With web-based social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace encouraging us more and more to be fully open and public about our private lives, we are going to have to be much more virulent when it comes to what data is available for the general masses to dig up on us.

If you haven’t yet tried typing your name into Google and see what dirt comes up on you then give it a try, you might be shocked.

Traditionally the image of a stand-up training session conjures up a vision of small room filled with people and a person standing up at the front pointing to a flip chart telling you how it is…

This isn’t the Marton House way. There isn’t another company in the country that has all of the resources in-house which can develop and produce materials to support their own trainers out in the field. Our proposition is unique… and relax there is still some flip chart action!

The strange thing is with all the video and media rich materials we produce we rarely manage to capture our trainers in action. That’s why when our MD Brian asked me to go along to one of his seminars and document the occasion I leapt at the chance.

Click on the video below for an example of what one of our training solutions might look like.

If you want to know more about our training solutions our contact details can be found on the about us page.

If you’ve ever been turned down for something and felt let down by the system there is now a way to reject the rejection! See below.

Herbert A. Millington
Chair - Search Committee
412A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University
College Hill, MA  34109

Dear Professor Millington,

Thank you for your letter of March 16.  After careful consideration, I
regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me
an assistant professor position in your department. 

This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually
large number of rejection letters.  With such a varied and promising field
of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals. 

Despite Whitson's outstanding qualifications and previous experience in
rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at
this time.  Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor
in your department this August.  I look forward to seeing you then. 

Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.

Sincerely,
Chris L. Jensen

j0382829.jpgI’ve always taken out breakdowncover … in fact I’ve been a member of the RAC for more than 20 years. I even returned to the RAC for cover for a second family car after I’d had a “rest period” of three years with the AA, courtesy of a new car that automatically came with cover. So that says a lot about Brand Loyalty … or maybe inertia on my part. To be fair to the RAC, it was more than just inertia, as I’ve always been pleased, sometimes very impressed, with their level of service. So I’ve been a long-standing, loyal and satisfied customer – loyal to the brand, until my renewal came through this year …

So what’s different this year? Well, the cost seemed quite high, particularly as I wanted to change the cover and add my wife (who was no longer covered by the AA arrangement). A family subscription was over £200 … and I just thought that it seemed too much.

So it became a potential breaking point for me in my relationship with the RAC.

Surely there had to be a cheaper alternative? I wanted to cover two cars with any one of three members of my family driving … and that was over £200 a year. The advantage we all have now is that we can research costs, services and competitors on the internet. Ten minutes later I’d done some extensive research and I’d found out that the AA was almost exactly the same cost … but that Tesco offered cover (outsourcing to Green Flag) for £90.30.

Loyalty to the brand?

Or pay less than half the price for basically the same service?

A “no-brainer”, as everyone seems to say nowadays!

So what would it take for you reach breaking point and switch away from a long standing supplier or service provider?

And for your customers? Are your services or products that different that you can expect long term brand loyalty? Or are they going to be reaching ‘breaking point’ this year?

Bit of a strange point of view for someone who works for a company that creates E-Learning solutions, I agree. But hear me out …

Learning isn’t something ‘electronic’ … we learn today in the same way we always have learned:

  • through seeing (reading and watching)
  • through hearing (listening to teachers, parents, video, commentaries, etc)
  • through doing (physical actions … with “E-Learning” via the keyboard and mouse – clicking, dragging and dropping)
  • even through smelling and tasting things. These aren’t available at all in E-Learning (well, not yet).

We can’t “electronically learn” … we learn as we have always learnt, through our five senses and our experiences. Unlike the rapid change in technology in the last 20 years, we haven’t changed how we absorb information and behaviours over the last two decades. All that has happened is that we have a new way of being presented with the information.

So if there’s no such thing as E-Learning, what is there?

Well, I’d argue there’s a form of E-Teaching or E-Instructing … maybe even E-Facilitating or E-Presenting (none of which are snappy phrases, I agree). E-Learning is just another way of presenting information to the learner – a surrogate teacher / instructor / facilitator, often embellished with images, video and, all too often, lots of text to read. So maybe not the quantum leap that people thought …

That is why some people may have become so disappointed with E-Learning – they believed there was a new way to learn that would give amazing results, but in reality we still learn in the same way we always have.

So, there is no such thing as E-Learning … might have to start thinking about a new career, I suppose!

holiday.jpgAre you dreading the holiday season coming up? Will you still be mentally in the office while the rest of the family enjoy their break? Will you be left to hold the reigns while your colleagues lap up valuable leisure time?

If so this article may be for you!

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