Marketing Corner – December 3rd, 2015

5 Best Practices for Client Appreciation Events

Client appreciation events are a great way to reward your clients and reinforce your relationship with them. However, advisors and agents often struggle with how to properly run an effective (and fun) event. Many will offer a dinner, maybe a wine and cheese party, or even a few rounds of golf. While a free nice dinner is certainly nothing to sneeze at, putting on a memorable event goes beyond these approaches. Here are five best practices for organizing a knockout client appreciation event.

Time it Right

Many advisors time their get-togethers to occur around the holidays. This certainly makes sense—people are in a cheery mood, you may have more time available at the end of the year for an event, plus it serves as a good transition from one year to the next. It fits nicely with the sense of thankfulness and generosity that come with the holidays. However you may want to consider looking at off-holiday opportunities. This is because the end of the year can be a very busy time for your clients, even if it’s a wind-down time for you. Holding your completely awesome client event in the second or third week of December will be as good as not doing it all for some of your clients, possibly the ones you wish to acknowledge the most. So look at times that fit for you and your clients. Perhaps early November, or even in the summertime. You may even want to reach out to your top clients and ask them what dates work for them.

Know Your Client Base

Having a good knowledge of your clients’ interests will go a long way to organizing an effective event. You may have clients that love golf and some that absolutely hate it. You may have clients with food allergies or some that don’t drink alcohol. Having a good understanding of who you are putting the event on for, not just why, will make the event all the more meaningful. This will also affect whether the event is more formal or more casual. If you have more of a formal client base, a tailgate BBQ may not resonate. If you have a more casual base, a black-tie event may be uncomfortable.

No Pitching, No Selling

An invitation to an event run by a financial advisor or agent often means there will be selling involved. Consumers know this. Your clients know this and in fact you may have earned their business from an event like a dinner-plate seminar. However, with your client appreciation event you should not sell at all, because this is supposed to be about your appreciation of your current relationship with your clients. Presentations about a hot new product line or attempts at upselling will spoil the spirit of your get-together. Leave the upselling for policy reviews and follow-ups.

Allow Friends and Family of Your Clients

While you should not seek out referrals with an appreciation event, encouraging your clients to bring friends or family members is a good way to put your face in front of potential new clients. A successful, fun event will leave an impression that can pay off down the road. This does not mean, however, that you should actively collect information from potential clients. Rather, have a few business cards handy and brand the event if possible.

Make Your Client Appreciation Event Unique

A good client appreciation event will have two main things: a meaningful activity and an opportunity for interaction. A big stuffy dinner will have neither, no matter how delicious the steak is. A wine and cheese party may give an opportunity for conversation, but will likely not be that memorable.

A golf outing may be very memorable, but will not give a chance to interact with all of your clients if you have a large book. So when you think about a client appreciation event, look for more unique opportunities that fit your clients. Obviously budget can have some effect on what you are able to do, but it’s important to realize that, 1) client appreciation events are investments and 2) there are many relatively inexpensive unique solutions. You may look at holding your event on a rented yacht, as one of our advisors did. You may look at a tailgate BBQ event, if it’s appropriate for your clients.

If budget allows, you could even look at renting a skybox for sporting event in your area. Even something as simple as picnic can be memorable if it is tied to something else. The point is, to really show your sincere appreciation of your clients, look for events that are different than what they are used to.

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Tuesday Tips – December 1st, 2015


Alerts

North American Reminder

Reminder that North American is sunsetting multiple products and introducing a new income rider. Contact us today to get updated application forms and additional details.

F&G Interest Rate Enhancement

For a limited time F&G is offering a 3% rate on their 5 year MYGA. To qualify for this enhanced rate applications must be submitted electronically, it must be cash with application, and the minimum premium is $20k. Call for additional details and state availability.

Sales Opportunity

Personality Traits

Everyone has a different personality but when it comes to saving and investing most people will fall into a few categories. Understanding this and being able to identify someone’s personality trait is an important part of running an appointment. Knowing how to articulate your message or recommendation to each personality type can help close more business. Available for download is a great guide that discusses the different personality types and optimal words and phrasing that can be used to effectively articulate your message.

Industry News

Medicare Premiums

Increases in 2016 medicare premiums aren’t as much as projected. The monthly increase for 2016 is ranges from $23-$54 over monthly rates from 2015.

Hot Rates

Protective Custom Choice UL

Protective offers a highly competitive guaranteed universal product that offers flexibility and options. The product allows you to dial the guarantee to reduce pricing and also offers an Income Provider Option that allows you to reduce the pricing even further. It also offers a host of living benefits and a true LTC rider. Call today for details and state availability.

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Tuesday Tips – November 24th, 2015


Alerts

Thanksgiving Holiday

Legacy Financial Partners will be closed Thursday November 26th and Friday November 27th in observance of the thanksgiving holiday.

Legacy Increasing Rates

Effective November 30, 2015 Legacy Marketing Group will be increasing rates on the LibertyMark FIA. Several indices will have increases. Call today for additional details.

Sales Opportunity

The Right Words

What you say and how you phrase can be the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity. Finding the right words to articulate why a client should work with you and implement your recommendations can take years to master. Available for download is a great guide that discusses optimal phrases to use with a prospect to get them to take action.

Industry News

Average Account Balance Down

According to Fidelity the average 401k balance is $84,400 through the third quarter of this year. This is down from $89,100 during the same time period in 2014.

Hot Rates

Kemper Whole Life

Finding affordable life insurance for clients with significant health issues can be a daunting task. Kemper offers a competitive guaranteed issue whole life product that will issue coverage on anyone regardless of medical condition. The product writes up to $25,000.00 and issue ages are 40-80. Call today for rates and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – November 19th, 2015

Evaluate Your Year

At the end of the calendar year, many advisors find themselves thinking about how well they did during the year and what they can do better in the next. However, advisors and agents often evaluate their year from one single metric: production. It’s the only thing that matters right?

While production can be an indicator of success, it is not the only metric that matters. Production is in many ways is like a baseball player’s batting average. Many students of baseball and statistics will challenge batting average, and the way it is calculated, as flawed, not revealing enough about the true strengths of the player. It tells part of the story, but not the whole thing.

Assuming production does impart the whole story of your year in business can leave you vulnerable to blindspots and missed opportunities for more sustained growth. Digging deeper can not only help you more accurately evaluate the year, it can help you build a better marketing strategy for the next year. Here are four ways to dig deep and evaluate the year.

Examine Your ROI of Marketing Activities

You may have done bang-up production over the year, but how much did it cost you to hit those numbers?

Look at the past year’s marketing activities and see if you can directly tie them to specific cases.

Obviously marketing is a little more complex and may not always offer a direct correlation to a case. You may conduct certain marketing actions purely for the sake of brand awareness and these are less likely to receive a direct return on investment. However, think about the quantifiable aspects of the past year’s marketing to get a sense of what’s paying off.

There’s a huge difference between clearing a million in production from a $20,000 marketing budget than there is clearing a million from a $500,000 budget.

Examine Your Target Market

If examining your marketing activities gives you an idea how your production came to you, looking at your target market will tell you who it came from. This is important because it can help redirect your marketing activities or even open you to new markets. Did the majority of your production come from your ideal target market or was it a range of demographics?

Most advisors will have a certain client profile they target. Some may specialize with pre-retiree boomers. So if you target pre-retirees, but saw more business from younger clients, you’ll want to rethink how you are marketing, maybe to readjust to your preferred target market, or to focus more on the new client base.

Related to this, you should also examine how much of your business came from existing clients and how much came from new clients. And from your new clients, how much of them were referrals and how many were from your marketing efforts.

Examine Your Consistency Quotient

Just by being in the game, you might hit a fluke homer or even a grand-slam. (Sorry, but not really for all the baseball metaphors). Landing big cases with high production is certainly a goal for most financial advisors—who wouldn’t want to spend their career shaping high-value cases that pay off big every time? Unfortunately not every case will be as big as you like. (Taking on smaller, or more run-of-the-mill, cases may pay off down road, especially if the client becomes a lifetime customer). Just as you wouldn’t want to judge your performance based on the very small cases that yielded slim comp, you shouldn’t judge how well you did based on your big cases (unless, of course, you kept hitting it out of the park). To get a better appreciation for how well you did, isolate the outliers and look at the bulk of the past year’s cases. The areas where you are consistent and see consistent growth are going to be better signals of your success than a few big cases as you move into the next year.

Examine How Well You Achieved Your Business Plans

What were your goals at the beginning of the year? How many did you achieve or how close were you to achieving them? What prevented you from doing so?

In talking with financial advisors and agents, we find that many don’t have a set new-year business plan, and if they do, it’s often simply doing more production. As we’ve discussed before, having a specific set of goals, versus a vague direction, is going to be better for the mid-term and long-term sustainability of your practice. This is because a set of specific, reasonably achievable goals, gives you basic metrics to measure. This helps you to understand why you achieve these goals, and why you perhaps fell short on some of them.

If your goal is only to do more production, then what constitutes more? If you have a specific number, say, hitting your first million-dollar year, what will you sacrifice or overlook to achieve this? How much did it cost you to hit a million? What other opportunities did you overlook? The point is the story of your year in business is not just your production or revenue; it comes down to who your clients were, how they found you, how effective your marketing was, the consistency of your cases, and how you measured up to your business plans.

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Tuesday Tips – November 17th, 2015


Alerts

Mutual Of Omaha Rate Incease

Mutual of Omaha will be increasing rates on several blocks of inforce LTC business effective February 1, 2016. Letters will begin going out December 1, 2015 to notify policy holders of the new rates. Call today for additional details.

North American Introducing New Income Rider

Effective December 1, 2015 North American will be launching the Income Pay Plus Rider and discontinuing the current Income Pay rider. In order to receive the old rider applications must be received at the carrier no later than November 30, 2015. The new rider is designed to offer more flexibility with competitive income. Call today for additional details.

Sales Opportunity

Year End Planning

While many advisors start to wind down this time of year. There is still time for clients to take advantage of planning opportunities to benefit them for this tax year. Available for download is a year end planning guide as well as our recent marketing corner article.

Industry News

Americans Too Conservative?

According to a recent survey by BlackRock Americans on average hold 65% of their net worth in cash. Keeping money too safe can be just as dangerous as investing too aggressively. As clients open themselves up to “go broke slowly” by not generating a yield significant enough to keep pace with inflation, expenditures, etc.

Hot Rates

Sagicor Fixed Indexed Single Premium Whole Life

Sagicor offers several life and annuity products and one of their most competitive products is their single premium indexed whole life. It is a single premium simplified issue product that offers a declared interest option along with multiple indexing options. It credits an immediate 10% premium bonus and a guaranteed return of premium day one. It also offers additional liquidity for terminal and chronic illness. The product also boasts competitive compensation and writes to age 85. Call for additional details and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – 11/09/15

Finish The Year Strong

Well here we are in the last two months of the year. For some financial advisors, this is a time to wind down and set up for the next year. Some may have a mad dash to close as much business as they can through the month of November and ease off in December. However, there are several strategies that advisors and agents can use to make the most of the end of the year and finish strong.

Holiday Marketing

One of the main reasons advisors ease off toward the end of the year is because the period is loaded with holidays. This means that prospects and clients are likely focused on family and travel, rather than their big picture financial concerns. Advisors themselves may enjoy the ability to comfortably wind down, spend time with family, and reset for the new year. But this period presents several opportunities for marketing.

Now, you may know that a holiday—especially a big one like Christmas—is a great reason to touch base with you clients and prospects. Generally advisors will issue Christmas greeting cards to their existing clients and perhaps even to targeted prospects. It’s a nice way to keep your name in front of consumers and to show your current book of clients how much you appreciate them.

However, overlooked is Thanksgiving. This is arguably as relevant of a holiday as Christmas and presents another great opportunity to reach out to your target market. Plus, since not many advisors use Thanksgiving for holiday marketing, you will have a better shot of having your message stand out.

So what kinds of marketing should you do?

You may elect to do a simple holiday greeting card or you could incorporate the holiday into a marketing push around a specific program or service. (“Be Thankful for Lifetime Protection and Accessible Cash Value with our Life Insurance Solutions”). However you do it, be sincere, respectful, and professional with your holiday marketing.

Employ Pull Marketing

Perhaps you draw a lot of your business from seminars and presentations throughout the year. Many of the advisors and agents we work with run successful seminar programs. In our digitally driven world, seminars can still be very effective. However, at the end of the year, this style of marketing can be challenging. Since the last two months are busy for everyone, you might not see your usual attendance numbers and end up spending much time and effort on busted seminar presentations.

Here is where digital pull marketing solutions can work to draw consumers to you and help make up lost opportunities. Pull marketing generally refers to non-intrusive methods that work to draw consumers who have an interest in your services. This often includes SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click campaigns) and other digitals means of marketing. While a good marketing plan is going to incorporate many different platforms and methods, focusing on pull marketing can help overcome the challenges at the end of the year with push marketing. While pull marketing may not bring the same number of leads as a good seminar, it is not as time-involved and relatively inexpensive.

Use End of Year Tax Concerns to Target New Business

Toward the end of the year, consumers–especially high-earners and business owners–may have specific concerns about their tax liabilities. Some may be actively looking for ways to reduce their overall tax bill and some may be unaware of solutions for minimization. November and December present last chances to make choices that will have a positive impact for the year come tax time. These opportunities will vary depending on the consumer’s unique situation, but they are opportunities nonetheless. Beyond looking at deductions and credits, many of these beneficial tax arrangements may involve financial products like life insurance, annuities, and retirement accounts.

Incorporate Programs That Use Real-Time Leads

To squeeze the most out of the end of the year, you may want to consider using a real-time lead generation program to boost your production opportunities. Legacy Financial Partners currently has a new enhanced real-time lead program available to our clients. Like pull marketing, real-time lead programs deal with consumers who have shown an interest in relevant topics and positions them to you. However, in the case of real-time lead generation, these consumers may be vetted, qualified, or further enhanced through an intermediate specialist lead-gen affiliate.

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Tuesday Tips – November 3rd, 2015


Alerts

Allianz Increasing Caps

Effective today Allianz has increased the caps on it’s S&P and Blended index crediting strategies. The increase applies to Allianz’s Life Pro + FIUL. Call today for additional details and state availability.

Equitrust Announces Sales Incentive

Equitrust launched a new sales incentive that runs from November 1, 2015 to April 29, 2016. Qualifying producers will get to spend a week in Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. Call today for contest rules and additional information.

Sales Opportunity

Real Benefits

American Equity has updated their most popular piece the “Real Benefits” of Indexed Annuities with Annual Reset. This popular piece illustrates the power of an indexed annuity and it’s ability to protect against market risk. Call today to get an updated version or request a poster for your office.

Industry News

File and Suspend

A curveball was thrown in the recently passed budget deal. Tucked away in the legislation were changes to common social security claiming strategies which include file and suspend and filing a restricted claim for spousal benefits. While consumers that have already implemented these strategies will be grandfathered in the window of opportunity to continue to implement these strategies is rapidly closing. The take away from this is that the with funding challenges associated with social security there will continue to be changes to limit the amount of benefit to consumers.

Hot Rates

Lifetime Legacy

Americo has introduced a new single premium simplified issue universal life product. This product is designed for consumers in the boomer and senior market who are interested in wealth transfer but also might need the funds back or are concerned about nursing home costs. The product offers a full return of premium at the end of year 5 and also allows for up to 80% of the death benefit to be advanced for nursing home confinement. In addition to this the product offers point of sale teleunderwriting. Call today for additional details and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – October 28th, 2015

Four Ways To Improve Your Digital Presence

With so much focus on in-person appointments, financial advisors and agents often treat their digital lives as an afterthought. This makes sense to a degree—even with “robo-advisors” and mouse-click policy shopping, nothing is going to replace the service an advisor can provide in person.

However, your digital presence matters, even if it simply acts to funnel leads to in-person appointments. Since consumers will research you online, your digital presence now serves as a first impression. How you run your website will also factor into your ranking on search engines and online directories. So with that in mind, here are five was to juice up your digital presence.

Brand

It’s important to treat your website and web collateral as more than a digital business card. Consumers should be able to get a sense of who you are and why you are uniquely qualified to serve them from your web platforms. One thing that will help you stick in the minds of consumers is good digital branding.

Now, in today’s digital environment, everything—from social networks, to your website, to your content—is branding. However, we are specifically talking about branding in a traditional sense–design, layout, and images.

If your website looks and “feels” outdated, consumers are less likely to have confidence in your services. When was the last time you updated your website’s branding? Is your logo outdated? Are photos low-quality or low-resolution. Does your website function the way a modern site should?

A simple, and often inexpensive, way to improve your digital presence is to invest in re-branding and digital infrastructure. This will give your consumers a modern and responsive digital experience.

Optimize for Desktop AND Mobile

Advisors that embrace content and edu-marketing may be aware of SEO basics. But this is typically thought of in terms of a desktop experience. Now, more than ever, mobile optimization is a crucial aspect of ranking and SEO.

Earlier this year Google made significant changes to it’s search algorithms, with more emphasis on mobile-friendliness. And so on April 21, the Mobile Apocalypse (or Mobilegeddon) arrived, forcing the hand of many website owners to evolve with the new digital landscape or fall behind.

While this mobile-friendliness ranking directly affects searches conducted on a mobile device–not as much on desktop—this change is still huge. According to a Local Search Association Study, 60% of US adults now use tablets or smartphones over PCs to get information about services and products. With more and more consumers using phones and tablets for their searches, having a mobile-friendly site will go a long way to increasing your visibility.

You can test your website’s mobile-friendliness using this Google tool [LINK].

Be Consistent With Content Marketing

Content marketing can be a great way to discuss topics that are relevant to your target market and educate consumers on important aspects of financial planning. Content marketing can also reap benefits with your SEO, as search engines tend to favor sites with recent consumer-facing content.

However, content marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it marketing activity. Rather, it is an ongoing and evolving process. Advisors and agents certainly have a great deal of expertise to draw on when drafting content. The problem comes when content becomes stagnant. Maybe you become busy with big cases or you focus on other marketing activities with more immediate lead generation. Maybe you hit a rut.

But the key to content is consistency. Publishing posts at regular intervals is going to be much more effective than irregular intervals, even if the time span between posts is, say, two weeks.

So take a look your schedule, see where you can appropriate a few hours for content generation and stick to it. Draw on your resources and support staff. If you have sub-agents, use their knowledge base and experience to generate posts, or even relegate content activities to them.

**For more information content marketing and effective blogging, check out our Marketing Corner piece, “Writing An Effective Blog Post” **

Automate Drip Marketing

To a large degree, good visual branding, optimization, and content creation can be seen as passive marketing activities. You are trying to draw consumers to your website, learn about your services, and possibly submit information through contact forms. Many advisors use contact form submittals to generate leads and capture promising consumers to follow up with.

However, you can make this process more efficient–and still retain a personal touch–through automated drip marketing platforms that piecemeal information about you and your services over a period of time. In addition to complimenting other aspects of your digital presence, automated drip systems allow you to engage in multiple ways. Your messages are issued at a steady clip and you can (and absolutely should) follow-up in more direct means, like a phone call.

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Tuesday Tips – October 27th, 2015

Alerts

Athene Crediting Method Change

Athene has announced effective November 2nd they will be making an adjustment to how interest is calculated on the 1 year no cap index strategy on the Performance Elite Series. Call today for additional details.

North American Product Change

North American has announced effective December 1st they will be sunsetting multiple products. The products affected are the Charter series, Precision series, and Prizm series. Applications must be received in house by November 30th to purchase any of these products. Call today for additional details.

Sales Opportunity

Prospecting Letters

A good prospecting letter can be a great way to get a prospect to engage with you. Whether it’s the initial contact or drip marketing one of the biggest challenges is coming up with good content. Available for download is our Prospecting Letter Database that has over 20 unique prospecting letters for a variety of target markets.

Industry News

Meals

The SEC is currently evaluating the idea of preventing brokers from offering free meals at seminars. Their reasoning is that they believe there is a correlation between offering meals and problematic behavior of the advisor.

Hot Rates

Equitrust MarketValue Index

Equitrust’s MarketValue indexed annuity is a competitive 10 year product designed for accumulation. The product offers multiple crediting strategies with annual point to point caps as high as 5%. In addition to this it offers an optional income rider and nursing home waiver. Call today for additional details and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – October 20th, 2015

Why You Keep Reliving Your First Year In The Business


The first year of running a business is usually the hardest. While it promises great opportunity and can be very exciting, the first year of running your operation involves long hours, stressful work, and strategic risk taking. You struggle, sweat, and toil, with hopes that it becomes easier and that your vision will take flight. You walk through the crucible of your early years with the idea that the challenges you face later on will be welcome and proportionate to your business’ growth.

Many business owners find themselves, however, reliving the drama of their first year. This could be a problem that continues from year one of the company’s lifecycle, or emerge after periods of success. But if this year feels like the first, here are five potential reasons.

You Focus More on New Client Acquisition than Client Experience and Retention

There is no definitive statistic on the cost difference between going after a new customer versus retaining a current one. Most reports suggest a range of 4-10 times more, but the actual figures will likely depend on industry and specific consumer profiles. Some fields like financial services will have a generally high client acquisition cost.

Your client acquisition cost (CAC) is one of the key numbers you and your team should always know. Likewise, you should have a sense of the value a lifetime consumer represents, although, depending on your service mix and market, the value/cost ratio of retained customers can be subject to different parameters.

As a general rule, it is going to be more cost effective—and easier—to retain your existing client base than it will be to acquire new clients. Many business chase new clients aggressively as a way to bring new life into their business, to move into different markets, and to maintain an active company.

While capturing new clients and expanding into new markets is essential for any business to sustain growth, many businesses do so at the detriment of their existing client base, diluting the overall customer experience.

To combat this, balance your acquisition efforts by giving the same special attention to your current or previous clients. Create customer experiences that ensure your clients are likely to repeat business with you. Cultivate a business environment that is attractive to both new and old clients.

You Focus Too Much On Lead Generation Rather Than Branding

Let’s make one point clear: lead generation is absolutely crucial in any business. As suggested in the previous section, lead generation can come from both new clients and existing clients. Without leads and clients you don’t really have a business, right?

So the point of this section is not to diminish the importance of lead generation, rather, it is to convey the importance of brand awareness. Depending on your industry and business, you may have different ideas about brand awareness.

For one, brand awareness is a term that gets broadly shucked around. It is an important aspect of business that is equally measurable and immeasurable. You can quantify it through clicks and impressions, direct mail response rates, and surveys. Yet there’s an unquantifiable quality to brand awareness, and this is one of the reasons many small businesses spend more time on measureable actions.

Brand awareness is simply the level at which consumers are familiar with your company and your services, the idea being that the more recognized you are, the more a consumer is likely to seek you out. For some products and services, brand awareness drives the business. For others, this can be difficult.

If you are a tech giant like Apple, you are highly visible and have a wide audience to speak to. If, however, you are a small business like an auto shop or a financial advisor, your market is clustered with others that more or less provide the same service you do.

This is why your marketing should serve the dual purpose of lead generation and brand awareness. Go after the “now” clients with timely promotions, and capture the “later” clients with material that demonstrates what you provide and why you are one of the best at it. You may even perform actions that are solely for the purpose of brand awareness, such as content creation, edu-marketing, and community sponsorships. While these activities may not see an immediate return, you will have a brand recognition that can enhance the response rate of your more direct lead generation activities.

With a proper mix of marketing methods that includes both traditional and digital means, effective brand awareness can be performed relatively inexpensively.

Your Marketing Is Not Evolving

How you reach out to your clients is just as important as the message you send. Sticking with what has worked for you may provide good returns in the short term. However, over time you are likely to experience diminishing returns, due to a variety of factors, such changes in culture, new technology, and market shifts.

The means and the content of your marketing should match a unique aspect of your target market. For instance if you are targeting baby boomers, you might play on nostalgia and use direct mail pieces. For a millennial audience, you likely would engage with social media. Obviously these are reductive examples and don’t speak to complexities within all target markets. The point is your marketing should have a purpose and a target, and evolve as the means in which your potential customers access information evolves.

You Are Not Addressing Your Value

One reason you may be reliving your first year in the business is that you are not unique or are no longer unique. This can be a rough epiphany, but understanding what, if anything, distinguishes you against similar companies and service providers will help to focus your marketing and prospecting efforts.

Having a vague idea of the value you offer to consumers will result in a vague mix of business. Knowing your value proposition may be as broad as the level of customer service and care you provide, compared to other similar companies. Or your unique value may extend to areas of expertise—specific offerings that others in your area cannot provide.

So have a long hard look in the mirror and determine the value of your services and what makes you unique. The other side of this point is that you may have a unique value, but are not featuring it properly with your marketing and prospecting.

You Don’t Have a Direction or Specific Goals

It’s easy enough to say that you want your company to grow—what business owner doesn’t want to? But you may find yourself back in that first year scramble if you don’t have concrete goals that match your vision for your company. Or you may not have a vision at all.

In business, there are two types of goals: specific and non-specific. Both do have a function in developing a marketing and business plan, but many businesses overlook the importance of specific goals. Non-specific goals are great at giving a broad sense of momentum and help you see the bigger picture of your company.

Specific goals, however, represent actionable and measurable objectives to push your business forward. So instead of “I’d like to see more business by the end of the year,” think more a long the lines of “we did $100,000 last October. This October let’s hit this number again.” This may or may not be a reasonable goal—you could be experiencing an overall slump and need to hedge expectations, or you may be primed to shoot for a bigger number. The point is, you have a specific goal that you can now evaluate and design the means to achieve.

Your specific goals will likely fall in short-term ranges, simply because those are the easiest to measure and evaluate. But your overall vision for the company should have some specificity to it as well—what do you want to be doing with your company in 5, 10, 15 years? Having a specific answer to this will go a long way in keeping your business thriving.

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