Author: Don Vanpool

Create a Market Dominating Position or Perish

Most businesses are me-too with very little differentiation. They have not created a unique position in the market place, and if they have, are not communicating their uniqueness to the outside market. A market dominating position (MDP) is simply any value-added customer perceived benefit, or a combination of benefits, that differentiates you from your competitors, and does so in a strong enough manner that makes your business the logical choice in the minds of your prospects and customers. One great example is Domino’s Pizza, which built stores in areas with lots of colleges, which was fast hot pizza, targeted specifically for hungry college kids. A contemporary example would be stock trading start-up Robinhood with a hassle-free signup process, a sleek website design and zero fee trading.

Some key ways to differentiate yourself from the competition includes level of service:

Convenience – location, availability, ordering, delivery, and ease of payment

Speed – loan approval time

Education and training – on-line training for 24/7/365 access

Removal of potential risk – what is your guarantee

Quality

Security and safety – are your restaurant strictly following CDC guidelines

Another key category is selection. In Netflix’s case, all they had to do was match their competition in the areas of selection, and innovate int he area of convenience.

And finally, price such as single or fixed pricing. Businesses can differentiate themselves by offering a set price. Fixed pricing can be used for most businesses to establish an MDP when you use a little imagination. What about a divorce attorney that charges a fixed price for a divorce?

Your MDP will never be 100% complete and you will need to continuously innovate your business to stay unique. With the proper marketing you can then communicate that uniqueness to the market and crush your competition.

P.S. Do not leave this blog until you have a plan of action!

PPS. If you’re looking for a proven system to grow your business …. we created business development software and high-end step by step training to support it…

I can find any business owner $100,000 in 45 minutes without them spending an extra dollar on marketing or advertising.

Visit me on optaprofit.com to find out how or book time on my calendar https://optaprofit1.youcanbook.me

Don Vanpool … AKA “The King of Cash”

9 Time Tested Principles of Leadership

There are 9 time-tested principles of leadership that will work for all leaders at every level of an organization. This is the CEO to the newest employee with no direct reports, endeavoring to drive positive change. Print this list, keep it handy and get an accountability partner.

 

  1. Know yourself and embrace life-long learning— understand who you are, your values, priorities, strengths and weaknesses. And have a development plan.
  2. Be the master of your domain — before leaders can lead effectively, they must have mastered the tasks required by the people they lead. In addition, leaders train their people to do their own jobs while understudying the leader so that they are prepared to replace the leader if necessary.
  3. Embrace accountability and take the initiative– Organizational effectiveness depends upon having leaders at all levels that exercise initiative, are resourceful and take opportunities that will lead to goal accomplishment and business success.
  4. Lead by example— people want and need their leaders to be role models. This is a heavy responsibility, but leaders have no choice. No aspect of leadership is more powerful.
  5. Know your people and look out for their welfare — it is not enough to know the names and birth dates of your people. You need to understand what motivates them and what is important to them. Commit time and effort to listen to and learn about them. Keep them updated and informed.
  6. Ensure the mission is understood and teams are held accountable— your team must understand what you want done, to what standard and by when.
  7. Develop a sense of responsibility among your people— people feel a sense of pride and responsibility when they successfully accomplish a new task. Delegation indicates trust in people and encourages them to seek responsibility.
  8. Train cross-functional teams — teamwork is becoming more and more crucial to achieving goals. Teamwork is possible only when people have trust and respect for their leader and for each other as competent professionals and see the importance of their contributions to the organization.
  9. Make sound and timely decisions— leaders must assess situations rapidly and make sound decisions. They need to know when to make decisions themselves, when to consult with people before deciding and when to delegate the decision.

PS. Do not leave this blog until you have a plan of action!

PPS. If you’re looking for a proven system to grow your business …. we created business development software and high-end step by step training to support it…

I can find any business owner $100,000 in 45 minutes without them spending an extra dollar on marketing or advertising.’

Visit me on optaprofit.com to find out how or book time on my calendar https://optaprofit1.youcanbook.me

Don Vanpool … AKA “The King of Cash”

Customer Service as the WOW factor

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, they will tell everyone they know!

There are three secrets to good customer service, the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that includes customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  1. It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website and other technology based programs to help them shop.
  2. Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting a good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience. Make certain your team is cross-trained if you sell in multiple product lines.
  3. Change your mind set and ask yourself “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers. A motivated customer service team can become a revenue generating profit center with proper planning and execution.

Which these thoughts in mind you also need to take a few things into consideration when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  • Develop the customer service vision with your staff.
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is delivering & provide coaching.
  • Teach your customer service staff to cross sell, upsell and down sell.
  • Create visual management that has everyone focused on the goals.

Now, that you know what you want you can start thinking about how to meet those wants and create a positive customer service experience.

PS. Do not leave this blog until you have a plan of action!

PPS. If you’re looking for a proven system to grow your business …. we created business development software and high-end step by step training to support it…

I can find any business owner $100,000 in 45 minutes without them spending an extra dollar on marketing or advertising.’

Visit me on optaprofit.com to find out how

Don Vanpool … AKA “The King of Cash”

 

How to Profit through Time Management

 

Manage Time Like Money

 

Why did you get into business for yourself? Was it to be your own boss? Choose your own hours? Have more time with the family? Spend more time doing what you love? Chances are, you answered yes to all these questions.

 

These days, you probably wonder where the time went. Why you spent 12 hours at work and barely made a dent in your to-do list. We already know that time is a key resource for you and your business, but it’s also a key resource in your life. Harnessing and leveraging time is the only way to enjoy life and have a profitable business at the same time.

 

Time will never manage itself. The decision to make a pro-active effort to manage your time must come from you. Once you have committed to taking ownership for your own time management, there are a host of tools available to you.

 

The Five Culprits of time Theft

 

  1. Your Email – How many times a day do you check your email? Is Outlook or Mail constantly running on your desktop.
  2. Your Smart Phone – Smart phones have created convenience, security and the luxury of telecommuting, but also the ability to work day and night.
  3. Your Open-Door Policy – If you make it easy for your staff and associates to interrupt you, they will.
  4. Meetings – How many times have you been to a meeting that was scheduled to be an hour, and ended up lasting three?
  5. You! – Every person has daily habits that sabotage their ability to work effectively and efficiently.

 

Simple Strategies for Profitable Time Management

 

  1. Set clear priorities
  2. Use your skills – delegate your weaknesses
  3. Create and keep a strict schedule
  4. Be decisive
  5. Manage telephone interruptions
  6. Keep your work environment organized
  7. Keep your filing system (digital or paper) organized
  8. Say goodbye to perfection
  9. Plan your work, work your plan

 

Choose the top 3 to 5 tips from this article, write them down with corresponding actions and start getting time back tomorrow. For example, if you are going to set a strict schedule, three actions might be to establish the schedule, communicate it to your staff, and re-record your voicemail message.

 

PS. Do not leave this blog until you have a plan of action!

 

PPS. If you’re looking for a proven system to grow your business …. we created business development software and high-end step by step training to support it…

 

I can find any business owner $100,000 in 45 minutes without them spending an extra dollar on marketing or advertising.’

 

Visit me on optaprofit.com to find out how

 

Don Vanpool … AKA “The King of Cash”

How to Double Your Referrals

What if I told you that you could put an inexpensive system in place that would effectively allow your business to grow itself?

For most business owners, a large part of their customer base is comprised of referral customers. These people found out about the company’s products or services from the recommendation of a friend or colleague who had a positive experience purchasing from that company.

If your business benefits from referral customers, you will find that these customers arrive ready to buy from you, and tend to buy more often They also tend to be highly loyal to your product or service.

 

A referral program can:

  1. Save you time
  2. Deliver more qualified customers
  3. Improve your reputation
  4. Speed the sales process
  5. Increase your profit

 

You don’t “get” customers, you buy them. The money you spend on advertising, direct mail, and other promotions ideally results in potential customers walking through your doors. Referral customers cost less and require less time investment than any other customer. That means you can spend that time making them a loyal customer, or a devoted fan.

 

Here are some ideas to get you started:

 

  • Past relationships – Former colleagues, associates, customers and friends

 

  • Suppliers and vendors – They can be a great source for referrals because the presumably deal daily with businesses that are complementary to your own.

 

  • Customers – This one should be obvious

 

  • Employees and associates – Give your employees and associates a reason to have their friends and families shop at your business with a simple incentive program.

 

  • Your network, associations and special interest groups.

Some simple strategies include just asking, offering incentives, being proactive (referral cards, gift certificates, free seminars and closed-door sales), providing great customer service and simply staying in touch with all your potential and converted customers.

 

These are just a few examples of some of the referral programs in our system. Hope this helps and happy selling.

P.S. Always remember: The first rule of Alzheimer’s Club: Don talk about Chess Club

PPS. If you’re looking for a proven system to grow your business …. we created business development software and high-end step by step training to support it…

I can find any small business owner $100,000 in 45 minutes without them spending an extra dollar on marketing or advertising.

Visit me on optaprofit.com to find out how

Don Vanpool … AKA “The King of Cash”

 

 

Cash is King in Good Times and Bad

Often business owners are directed to spend heavily on advertising and marketing programs, when looking at her companies cost structure would provide more benefit – at least initially. It will take considerable success in top line growth to match even a 5-10% improvement in variable costs/cost of goods sold.

Some areas to focus on include:

  • Misaligned pricing to her targeted margins
  • Constant or excessive discounting
  • Supplier price increases
  • Warranty and returns
  • Scrap
  • Excess inventory

By focusing on these levers, a 10% improvement can increase profitability by as much as 35 to 40% improvement in revenue, depending on the margins of the business. And in the current economic environment this leads to much needed cash.

In the area of pricing and discounting the business owner can create bundles of goods, innovate her business and benchmark industry standards. As suppliers increase prices, and they do, the business owner can get competitive quotes, set up group purchasing agreements and negotiate longer terms. And for warranty/return issues and scrap, a lean program can identify and eliminate unnecessary waste in her business.

When the business owner has a clear roadmap, she should assign specific owners to key initiatives, establish improvement targets and consistently review to establish accountability. By consistently delivering on plan, she will quickly see improvement in both operating margins and cash balances. And that additional cash can then be used to invest in marketing programs to drive leads and conversions of new customers.

While we provide programs that will triple your leads and double your conversions, focusing initially on the profitability setting right in front of you is often the best option.

 

Kick Start Your Marketing

Today I’d like to teach you about the three most important start up marketing tools you need to get and keep new customers.

  1. In person: It’s essential you meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. This shows you respect them and take the time to work with your clients to give personal attention to each of them.
  2. Follow up letter: Always take a moment to send a follow up letter about what you talked about, new agreements or partnerships made and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Likewise, you should always send thank you letters or small gifts to partners you find success with.
  3. Phone call: Use a telephone call to follow up with them to talk again about the matters you talked about in your meeting and offer any assistance you can to help their business run smoothly and more successfully.

None of these will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up!

Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:

  1. Research potential customers, buyers, competitors and their preferred methods of distribution.
  2. Talk to potential customers. Take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
  3. Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
  4. Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards and customer service.
  5. Develop post-sale follow up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.

“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs” Peter Drucker, management consultant

Here’s another one I love from an icon:

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

This lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way.

Stop Wasting Your Resources!

Today you’re going to learn how to find a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:
  • What do people really want to buy from me?
  • What related products are they already buying?
Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores. The basic concept is this: You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to. Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses. As a result, you have an audience to market to and they generate an added value from their current base. So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success. LV = (P x F) x N – MC Here’s what it all means:
  • LV is the life time value of a customer
  • P is the average profit margin from each sale
  • F is the number of times a customer buys each year
  • N is the number of years customers stay with you
  • MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers. So, here’s your step-by-step process:
  1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
  2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
  3. Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.
If you need help working through this process, please contact us and we’ll set you up with the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.

Educate Your Customers

Educate them about what, you may be thinking. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, we can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.

Lessons I Learned from Paris Hilton

Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. That’s right, I said it! Shameless! After all, we are learning from Paris Hilton here.

It’s all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.

We all self promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we are talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.

Natural self-promoters are the former and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.

  1. The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.

Also consider:

Who can help me meet my goals?

Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?

Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.

  1. Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though, let’s be honest-it wouldn’t hurt) ☺ What this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?

If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.

There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:

  • Business cards
  • Company message
  • Your picture
  • Your wording

Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it really works!)

You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you great people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.

  1. The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually you head out to the store.

You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.