Ghost Street interactive agency

Building Trust with Clients

New clients take a bit of work – you have to work hard to get to know them and they you.

Ghost Street interactive agency

Ghost Street logo

Having been part of the BizDojo community we were lucky to meet a host of great folks in the co-working space on K Road.

So it’s always a delight when we get to re-connect in the interests of client work.

Not only does it look good to be able to say “we know them already” but it builds trust with both parties and also some strong marketing too.

Nice work, Tim Dawson of Ghost Street and fun to be collaborating.

Networks of networks

Which makes me think about questions I have had this past fortnight about the networks which work for me and where and how I find them.

Challenging – because when I moved to Auckland I knew few people. So here are the ones which I find useful for meeting smart folks who think, challenge, may become clients and have good things which I’m interested in hearing others talk about….

Which are your go-to meetings, groups and influencers? Please add to the list.

 

We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile RaisingStep 5 – Relationship Development and Step 6 – Opportunity Spotting.

Click on each icon to see more posts in that category.

Symbol for profile raising as part of new business developmentSymbol for relationship developmentSymbol for creating new business opportunities

Step 5: Relationship Development

Step 5: Relationship development

This fifth step is where the hard work, diligence and persistence pay off in your search for success in new business development.

People buy from people they know, like and trust and so having an active relationship with prospects who remember your name when they want to and can get in touch with you easily when they want to is very important.

How memorable is your business?

People are forgetful. What are the ways that prospects use to remember your business?

I know people save the newsletters that I mail out. I find people write replies to Newsletters that I sent months ago and the reason is that they keep them “just in case” they need to get in touch again. Many businesses do not use a business database and this is a shortcoming.

There are many ways to stay in touch with people and it’s beneficial, as your mailing list grows, for you to have some that are semi-automated and do not require a lot of your time in order to fulfil.

Good examples of these are autoresponders and newsletters. We also use social media as a way of staying in front of people we have a set-and-forget process of feeding RSS feeds through to our social media profiles so that we can appear to stay ahead of the news and on top of new developments even though we are not actually watching social media every hour of the day!

Staying memorable

Every business owner should have some form of regular networking in their diary. This could be as simple as a trade professional membership group, your chamber of commerce, or some specialist group for your area of expertise. Meeting people regularly is a very good way of staying front of mind. But beware, these people must be your prospects, not your competitors!

One way to find out if you are doing well in your relationship development is to track the number of new people we put into the business database. I collect business cards from as many people as I can who I think maybe of potential future interest to the business. This includes suppliers as well as prospective clients.

How and where do you get business cards? And what do you do with them?

It is important to have a careful plan to stay in touch with new people you meet. Some of them you want to spend time with and have a slowly developing individual relationship, others you can use mass communication. When planning your marketing, you need to think through these processes and organise all the communications necessary.

I have two special face-to-face relationship development techniques which I use. One is my circle of influence. The other is unhurried conversations.

A circle of influence is a small group of people who regularly feed new work through to us. These are people in parallel businesses whose services precede ours in the business service cycle. I meet with them on a quarterly basis or speak to them on the phone and they send us new enquiries and we are also able to reciprocate work back to them.

Unhurried conversations work on a slightly different format. It is a social event in the evening where I gather a group of interesting people around our board table for some afterwork drinks and nibbles. We use a format whereby only one person may speak any time. This forces everyone to listen carefully to what is being said. There is no agenda. The conversation takes whatever direction it wants to go. Learn more about the unhurried conversations format at this website. It is interesting that in this busy age of connected people and individuals so many people value a slower pace of talk, chat and interaction. Working at the slower pace allows my guests to take their time in thinking and considering whether they might work with us.

In summary – formalise all methods of building relationships between the business staff and prospective customers.

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

How well do you really know your audience?

Do you know what their interests are, what they want and need? Sure, we’d like to think it’s all about us and our brand. But there are strategies to reach your audience in a way that will get them engaged in you and your brand that goes beyond the surface of what you think they want from you. There are tried and true ways for you to know your audience better.

What’s your common denominator?

Find out what you have in common with your audience so you can be the brand that they trust. Engage them to keep them coming back to you. If you’re a marketing communication manager, in public relations, an agency marketer or have done the Audience Industries Sequoia curriculum, you should understand what to do, how and when you need to to make sure your audience comes back to you… every time.

Get to know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Audience Industries is coming to a town near you in May and are bringing Circles with them. Really good news for you. The course is broken up into 7 modules that will help you to really get to know your audience. Audience Industries wants to show you how to bring your audience to you, over and over again. Keep them coming back by speaking their language, learning their paths and optimize your ads to deliver maximum value for your site. Because we know, it’s all about the money.

Here’s what’s in store for you if you sign up for Circles:

  • Module 1: Learn what your audience has in common with you
  • Module 2: Be the brand/business that your audience trusts
  • Module 3: Find out what your audience wants and needs
  • Module 4: Break down the elements of compelling stories and apply them to YOUR story
  • Module 5: Understand what makes your audience take actions on your site and use the information for good
  • Module 6: Get the strategies that create likes, clicks, shares… real engagement on your social media channels
  • Module 7: What you should know before you optimize your ads

Sound like something your business needs?

We thought it might. That’s why founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin are bringing Audience Industries to New Zealand for the second time. The Circles curriculum is coming to these big NZ cities this May, so book your tickets now while there’s still time:

It’s not just the Circles curriculum that’s coming to town.

If you think the Circles curriculum is good… you’re right! But Audience Industries has 3 other curricula that we think you should take a look at, too, to help you grow your business in an online world. Read more about the Audience Industries NZ Tour from Creative Agency Secrets to see just what else you can learn from Dan and Rachel. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to grow you business revenue online! Book your tickets for a city near you now.

Unusual Christmas gifts for business

A client asked us what they could do to thank their clients for their business that was more original than a christmas card.  Here’s a summary of our suggestions:

Charity Gifts

Do a charity donation plus a performance.  I know the CEO of StarJam a charity empowering young people wiht disabilities through performance and singing.  Pay to sponsor their class for a year (it costs $30 per child per month), invite all your clients to a drinks party (mid-winter) and get a performance from the troupe.  I’ve experienced these and they are very powerful, plus it’s local and community building.
Better still, make the donation in the name of your client and get StarJam to send a thank you card direct to the client so they know it was given by you but they get the recognition.

Subscription gifting

Choose something that comes once a month so clients remember you throughout the year.  The Ma Cherie cafe makes exquisite French macaroons and pastries (I had breakfast there today) and they could send a box gift from you all.  Or FarroFoodKits (Auckland only) or SnackPack the Honest Food Co,
Overall, a good business gift should be memorable, enjoyable and if you can, unusual and over-riding all these it must align with your brand values.
Here are a few other helpful articles which may give you inspiration

Why accountants teach clients how to switch firms

I came across a curious slide deck recently called “How to Switch Accountants” published by an accounting firm.  Now why would a firm choose to tell their clients how to move to another service provider?How to switch accountants

Thinking more deeply it was immediately clear – this firm was using sophisticated psychology in its marketing.  Let me explain

When you’re dating, how do you find good dates?

Think back to when you were actively seeking a life partner.  Remember all those conversations with friends when you groaned “All the good looking ones are already with a partner”?  or “I just get hit on by the ones I don’t like!”.  And of course, once you had found a partner, it seemed that the reverse was true!

Well the same applies to businesses who are courting new clients – those who seem to be desperate and will “go out” with any prospect only attract the ugly ones – yet those who exhibit the reverse characteristics seem to magnetically attract great new clients.

That was what this firm was doing.

Attracting great new clients by showing such confidence by telling their existing clients how to leave.  The clients CAN check out other providers, but the firm is so sure that they won’t like what is on offer elsewhere, that they either won’t try leaving or will come back fast.

The slide deck also includes a comprehensive list of questions to ask your new accountant under headings like

  • Determining they are who they say they are
  • Meeting your needs now and in the future
  • Valuing your business – will they stick with you
  • Staying current

Hats off to Alliott Accountants for having the confidence to publish this marketing tool How To Successfully Switch Accountants.

What can your firm do?

You may not feel ready to publish a similar document.  But here are 3 things you can do now to check your own firm’s perception by prospective clients:

  1. Get a friend to ‘mystery shop’ your firm – ring up and see what happens when they say they’re looking to switch accountants.  Better still, call at 5.05 pm on a Friday.
  2. Review all the marketing literature you have and see whether it accurately portrays your firm’s services, people, skills and areas of expertise
  3. Do a client survey to see what (un-prompted) actual clients say they think your firm is good at.  And does it match 2 above?  Also do this to people who stop using your firm so you find out why they switched.

Need accountancy marketing help?

Creative Agency Secrets are experts in accountancy firm marketing.  We can tutor you and teach you what to do if you want to do the marketing yourself.  Or we can do the firm’s marketing for you.

Learn more and join our free Accountants Marketing Newsletter

Are you the CEO of your business website?

Yes I’m asking you if you drive business success from your website?

Is someone in charge of making your firm’s website successful?  Making the websitedeliver business goals?  It doesn’t matter if you’re self-employed or work for a giant corporation, if you have a website we will teach you how to drive proactive success with Blogging Concentrated education.

Announcing the Blogging Concentrated New Zealand Tour

Running to five dates, we are bringing the US founders of Blogging Concentrated, Dan Morris and Rachel Martin, to NZ so we can get ahead learning how to become the CEO of our websites and drive business success.

Five dates, Four Cities, Two Leaders and One YOU.

Join us in Auckland on May 1, May 3; Wellington on May 6th; Nelson on May 7th and Christchurch on May 9th for the best, practical website marketing execution training available.

What will I learn?

Websites are the modern marketer’s best tool to build new revenue streams and grow audience engagement.  This training comes from the leading edge of best practice with two international practitioners sharing their up to date knowledge.

Learn specific techniques that will deliver outcomes including:

  • Audience engagement with clusters marketing
  • Persuasion and action techniques
  • How to tell a story
  • Using data dashboards to improve conversions
  • The copywriting words that create engagement
  • How to use custom sidebars to optimise your adverts
  • A YouTube strategy to keep viewers on your videos
  • And more….
Watch the 4 minute video Dan and Rachel recorded about the NZ sessions 
Everything taught in the sessions is based on real-world learning and used daily in Dan and Rachel’s own business websites.  They know these techniques work.
You will be learning practical solutions from knowledgeable technicians.

Blogging Concentrated Testimonials

“I think you are going to revolutionize the way I write posts – the Adsense lecture was phenomenal. We will be contacting you with more specific questions e.g. How on earth do we get the CPM per post spreadsheet – and everything else, once we decompress what we’ve learned.”  R Miller

“You know when you go to a conference and you sit through sessions that simply regurgitate stuff you already know?  Yeah, I hate that, which is why I’m so excited about being at Blogging Concentrated Atlanta, Dan R Morris and Rachel Martin have put together a ton of original content that is not just informative but actionable.  When they come to your town you should definitely sign up and go.”  Simon Salt

“Stay in front of your audience was worth the price of the conference ticket! Wow!” Penny Woodin Rogers

“@DanRMorris 16 minutes in and mind exploding with actions already!” Amie Flowerday

“Hi Dan,  Just wanted to say thank you so much for all the valuable information you and Rachel gave us this weekend.  You can not put any price on what we learned, and I am forever in debt to you both!”  Emily Luscombe

Want to pay less for the event?

The Blogging Concentrated business has 2 parts – training events and BC Prime, a subscriber community who buy training and advice by monthly subscription.  If you’re curious about the depth of knowledge these guys bring to training events – read the BC Prime page – note the huge quantity of 2014 Release Archives – impressive, eh?  6 – 10 new pieces of educational content per month…

Choose BC Prime when you book your ticket and pay less – but GET MORE.

Ready to become the CEO of your website?
Join us by booking your ticket

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There are two prices, one for BC Prime members and one for the public.
Avoid limp education, buzz phrases and marketing hype.  Concentrate on workable, practical solutions that you can implement immediately on your website.
You know where to come!

 

Business & Marketing Tip: Following up with leads and relationships

A mutually beneficial client winning strategy

Marketing education is a big part of our overall new business strategy. At Creative Agency Secrets we strive to find ways to connect with our potential clients and be a part of their marketing success whether they work with us or not. We hold complimentary marketing management and idea calls, host free marketing seminars, create appraisals for websites and so on. But what makes it all work is our ability to follow up with the people we meet and educate. It’s one of our core lead generation and client winning strategies, and it could work for your business as well.

What following up does for your business

Staying connected develops relationships between you and your prospective clients or friends. This means you build up a network of people who can use your services, direct you to new clients and endorse your work.

Here’s a case study of a sports equipment online retailer we manage marketing activities for called Space Saver Rowing Systems. The client was so impressed with our work that when their manufacturer started looking for marketing assistance, the client directed them to us.

In another example, we worked with Zeald website designers to host a free marketing event. From that connection we gained several new clients, among them – European Auto Spares. We followed up with them individually after the event.

We’ve got loads of these stories and all because we helped our contacts in their endeavours and kept up communications with them.  In short, following up with people can net you leads and create a healthy flow of revenue for your business.

relationships casKeep the relationship flowing: the different ways we follow up

Meeting summaries for prospective clients – summaries are quite common, usually in the form of a dreary PDF or bullet-pointed word document. Along with that, we like to include anecdotes or a friendly sentence relating to something new we learned about the prospective client from that meeting. This gives those who joined the meeting more reason to read the email and even better, a reason to reply. To the right an example of a regular email following up a business meeting.

Something that we love to include in these that makes all the difference, is a link to one of our helpful blog posts or free eBooks. We look for a related topic in the email, then link a keyword or two and mention it may help. For example, if the email pertains to construction an email campaign, we might link to our cold emails eBook!

Newsletters – if you run a regular newsletter about your personal or company activities, invite your contacts to it. Make sure first that they’ll get something out of your blog posts and focus on explaining that to them. Newsletters don’t only inform, they help keep you and your business in the minds of others. This can make the difference between whether or not they think of you when new work arises. For an example, sign up to our newsletter list and see what you learn.

Related business – categorise your past clients and business friends by business type. This lets you update contacts in different industries on related updates to your activities or information you find.  To make the most of this, as soon as you form a new business relationship you should create a related industry update alert via a tool like Google Alerts. This way you’re following the industries most related to your activities and the alerts remind you that you have a connection to that industry. Then you can report any exciting news you find straight to them.

Us? Well, we’ve created our subcontracted services listing for exactly this reason. It’s an activity we do whereby we list all the work we can’t do or isn’t related to our services, and those listings get picked up by other businesses with the right set of skills for the job. It’s a fairly simple information sharing activity but with huge potential impact. As a result, people loves connecting with us.

Follow themif you keep up to date with the activities of your contacts you can provide more relevant input or updates. This is another exercise making sure you keep your follow ups linked to you with context as opposed to random email drops asking them how they are.

Daily tasks for this would include reading LinkedIn status updates. Weekly or monthly tasks include reading your contacts’ newsletters. One way we keep up with our industries and clients is by setting Google Alerts searching for company names. We also set an event on our Google Calendar that has a list of company websites and blogs to read up on in the description.

In Summary

Be diligent and consistent when you’re following up with people. Sometimes they are busy or skip emails, life gets in the way. Keep trying while not being too aggressive and you’ll grow on the minds of your clients and leads. Change up your approach to be more informative if a friendly nature doesn’t catch their eye. For example, you could direct them to tools or blog posts that will directly improve their way of business or provide them with a new opportunity. We posted up several examples of catch up emails and following leads through email that we’ve written previously to help you on your way.

Many of these ways to follow up with contacts can fit into your day to day activities, especially if you’re a marketing agency like us. If you spot yourself working on something that could help out some of your business contacts, send them an email and keep up to date. But more importantly – keep your business in their minds, and leading with a positive impression.

 


The blue icons opposite are part of our 8-Step New Business Development Methodology.  6 Create Opportunities icon5 Relationship Development icon

Click each icon to find more blog articles on the topic – educate yourself in modern marketing

 

 

GoHachi introduces you to new biz dev prospects

Getting in front of the people you want to sell to is difficult. Hell, we even wrote a how to manual about ways to research and find contact details of people online.

GoHachi threatens to make this history with its network-of-networks approach to business referrals and introductory sales.

I was an early beta tester and I love the idea of joining together all my networks and using whichever works best to connect with prospects.

So when Hachi invited me to test it out again, I jumped at the chance.

Hachi is improved

Take a look at the nice graphics and easy site layout.  All good for UX.

I added in my Linked In contacts.

Hachi linked in connections

Hachi linked in connections

– but was a bit confused because I thought I’d already done them.

My profile photo isn’t rendering properly (but I know what I look like).

Hachi helps make a connection to a prospect

Hachi helps make a connection to a prospect

So I thought I’d try out a couple of new introductions.

I browsed the “surprise me” tab to see who Hachi thought I should connect to.

Then I ran and saved a search for “marketing managers” in Auckland, New Zealand.  Came up with someone at Fonterra – a  milk marketing and buying company so I thought I’d give it a go.

Hachi offered me 5 possible routes to connect and I selected Jason – who I know from PocketSmith (cute financial planning tool).

Irritatingly, it doesn’t offer me the chance to just click and send.  I have to manually type in his email (necessitated going to Linked In which I thought I’d connected).

Hachi requires you to insert email

Hachi requires you to insert email

There’s a nice page where you can keep track of all the introductions you have in progress.

Let’s see what comes back.

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Failure of the creative agency business model

Reading a great post about the lack of scalability in the creative agency business model is a great reinforcement for me and validation of the business that we run here at Creative Agency Secrets.

Years ago I realised three things

  1. No agency staff are trained on how to do biz dev
  2. A process must underpin successful, reliably consistent new business
  3. Only by getting buy in from all the senior team can it work in the medium term

Our new business methodology underpins all our work and that’s why, like Blair, our  recommendations from past clients fall into 2 camps. The politely nice and the ecstatic. For the latter, we  succeed in embedding a process that has continued long after our consulting assignment ended.  That is the difference the Creative Agency Secrets team makes in new business development.

Follow our 8 step New Business Methodology in the categories on the right side you’ll see articles listed on each step that can help your business embed, codify and practice new business development successfully.

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