Hidden Resource Rediscovered

New Client Acquisition Program

If you’re an Independent Service Professional (attorney, accountant, consultant) there’s a hidden resource that could make your business/practice MUCH BETTER. That’s the good news. The bad new is that it’s tough to become one of their members. But, once you check them out, you’ll understand why membership is so well guarded. They literally broke the mold on new-client acquisition.

Members get exclusive Rights of Refusal as new clients come in!

This hidden resource does all the marketing spade work for members. There is no need to do any of the usual work involved with new client development. NO soliciting, screening, follow-on and trying to stay in focus so new customers will remember you. No more buying & chasing down leads, no more mailing campaigns, no more selling & negotiating fees …nothing... except to be available when called upon. (more…)

Death by Prospecting

Stop the InsanityMarketing is Dangerous to Your Health!

Most members are aware that we started banging this sentiment home a few years ago … when Local Channel Marketing™ went live.  Our premise was (is) that prospecting (lead form of marketing, pun intended) often is annoying, frustrating and bound to raise your blood pressure when lead-chasing goes sour! Let’s face it, we’ve all been there!

It starts out with a supposed solid lead–maybe even deemed hot by the giver.  (It could have even been solid as a referral, ready to buy/engage!). In any event, in good faith you set the appointment the day before and proceed on your way before 8am the following day. Drive time was between 1/2 and 3/4 hour. Happily, the prospect didn’t keep you waiting. No fumbling on your part—you know that your service rocks, it’s just a question of ensuring that the target is qualified and ready to buy. So you start with innocent probing questions and proceed into the usual pitch re: features & benefits. At this stage, price is totally irrelevant.

After about 20-30 minutes, you move toward trial closing since all is going well. The customer seems sincere and quite interested in you (must be your winsome manner). There is every indication a sale is about to be consummated as you pull out the contract. Flash! All of sudden, despite your ‘non-sell/just educate’ presentation, the prospect balks. Apparently he/she/they are not ready to commit today. You go on to answer all the objections successfully, and the reasons (typical excuses) come out. You’re smart enough to stop, but, internally you’re fuming or at least greatly disappointed.

The drive home, back to the office, or onto the next prospect, is anything but pleasant.  It’s not that you couldn’t close the deal as much as it was the knowledge of wasted time. Of course you beat yourself up for not pressing harder when setting the appointment in the first place.

As a seasoned practitioner, you are acutely aware of wasted time during business hours.  You’re keenly alert to the value of unrecoverable Lost Opportunity time. Either because of the inclement weather you’re driving through or because maybe sales have been slow, for some reason this failed lead has struck you as a particularly painful lesson learned…again!  (So what if it’s endemic in the business. You’re still pissed and feel emotionally drained.)


 

Marketing is Dangerous to Your Wealth!

Too Few Good (NHW) Clients!

 Too Few Good (NHW) Clients!

Every independent professional aka ‘solopreneur knows they are in a Time Management business, i.e., earnings are predicated upon the productive use of time. Conversely, income shrinks when marketing proves unproductive or useless. 

CRM programs like Salesforce can be good in the long run but no more holds their breath for instant or near-term results. Further, with so many sources banging the drum, SEO/SEM is now way more promise than result. Social media, for the most part fits nicely in this time-killing category. Yes, there are exceptions. For instance, email marketing still has a valid play. But this too can be time consuming as well quite expensive. And, if you happen to be into WordPress plugins, there’s a ton to examine ‘cuz shiny new objects (plugins) are being offered everyday. (Your author knows firsthand that it’s impossible to keep up with them and still maintain a thriving business practice.)

A recent survey showed that many solo-pros are forgoing external sourcing in favor of organic marketing. Instead of tearing up the phone lines or burning a lot of shoe leather like Dad did in his day, today’s practitioners going-it-alone are big on recycling email lists. Many like to periodically “touch base” with their existing clientele to announce what’s treading in the industry. Others like to give clients plenty of notice regarding price increases -and- reminding them that value always wins out. Besides relationships and best grade of service are already at hand.

As a final point, there are well over 80 trillion (yes, with a T) webpages on the surface web (source: Google). Amazingly, there may be twice this amount down in the deep/dark web. Why mention this? Because all that money everyone is spending on online marketing–and updating websites–can well be a giant waste of money, that is, unless there’s lots of marketing-driven traffic that converts into sales.

Members know that there are untold millions of eager marketers lusting after anyone/everyone’s budget. Each one of these marketers purports to be a “guru” with testimonials out the wazoo. They declare that confusion is for sissies—since they have all the ‘secrets.’ For this reason, and all the pain you’ve already experienced, we submit that marketing can also be very dangerous to your wealth!



Death by Prospecting: #5243  This blog is monitored by our Executive Committee and is intended exclusively for members or candidates for membership. Contents of all blogs and FAQ sessions are subject to change & correction and do not constitute community policy. The executed Community Marketing Agreement (CMA) determines prevailing policy & practices, as amended.  |  (C) Copyright 2004-2015 pmCommunity.org; all rights reserved. Depicted graphics are the exclusive property of PM Community and all others belong to their respective owners or record.



 

 

Marketing’s BIG Dilemma

Marketing is inefficient, uneffective & costly

MEMBERS KNOW THAT WASTE IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE

Large companies with deep pockets and average management can usually control variable expenses such as marketing. However, if you’re the proverbial ‘solopreneur’ like all of our members, ones’marketing spend is considered less discretionary and more vital to his/her business. Read: much too important to waste on venues of higher risk. 

Insanely perhaps, a good many small business folks in private practice continue to ‘follow the leader.’ After all, they would claim it’s the ‘norm.’ They advertise this way and conduct that procedure during peak seasons, etc. You might even hear, “this was good enough for my father and it surely is good enough for me.” Really?  Your father never had online marketing to do deal with, let alone a newer, fiercer brand of competitions.

Marketing is a vast subject to examine and explore. Before continuing, let’s get it out there: no one has the one right marketing system or solution all the time. There are too many factors precluding perfection. Granted, there are many experts out there (actual & self-proclaimed), but not nearly as many as others who have colorful, fancy websites—promising everything under (over & around) the sun! CRM, PPC, SEO, SEM & so on.

The goal of marketing is to create leads; helping buyers to understand
the sellers’ value as well as the sellers to understand (fill) buyers’ needs.

This is conventional wisdom. You can never have enough leads. Hopefully, you’ll get some that might be qualified. By & large, everyone knows it’s a numbers game. To create sales, one must do everything reasonably possible (cf, alphabet in last paragraph) to close the sale. Sounds right, doesn’t it?

Of course it should! But, as our members know, “lead gen” [lead generation] quietly passed away during the past few years. It will probably take decades for the majority of folks to come to grips with this fact. That said, end stage” is the opposite of “lead gen.” It presumes that leads are already at hand waiting for someone to chase them, or in the alternative, convert them into bone fide referrals … before acting on them.


LEADS ARE WHY MARKETING IS SO WASTEFUL

The business world has long confused leads with referrals. Today, most believe the terms are interchangeable. Even the marketing industry at large is guilty of choosing to accept both terms as synonymous with no distinction. This is WRONG on many levels. Read some of our past blogs to glean the difference. Leads are just that. They may or may not be qualified. Referrals, on the other hand, are a higher form of marketing DEMANDING definition & understanding.

Detractors will disavow distinction. Usually, this is because they have a vested interest in keeping
the populous uninformed or underinformed. Reason: one word: greed.

Members know our own definition and they embrace it as accurate—for our purposes. We are not laying claim to having invented it, but clearly, no one else has ever promulgated this before our founders did years ago. At issue are two major concerns, the state of leads. Invariably, they are not (fully) qualified as having value. Also, a referral must be “referred” by an individual who is personally familiar with the case at hand. (We take this further by insisting that the referring source must have first-hand knowledge of the owner wanting to buy/looking for service…and vice versa!  This means the referred must know the referrer.

Not to know each other, in our view, means that it could be a lead, perhaps even an excellent lead; but it is definitely not a real referral. 


Our community adds its marketing value by taking a lead (from a member), verifying that the need is properly qualified, and then converting it into a referrals by diligently researching the local market and searching our public & proprietary databases and ultimately personally confirming that the matched Subject Matter Expert (other member) understands [1] the exclusive assignment and [2] is available to perform within the prescribed time frame. (FYI-All this cannot be done online by a mere algorithm.) 


Sorry if I ran over! This is my first Community blog. Hope you enjoyed it.  |  JS


Marketing’s Big Dilemma: #5779.  Please note that all PMcommunity’s Blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes. They are intended for independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. PMcommunity.org has no clients (only members) and no corporate sponsors. It is not affiliated with Project Management Institute (PMI) although we wholeheartedly endorse their principles & practices. | © Copyright 2004-2016 PMcommunity.org



Advanced Marketing Concepts

Everybody Loves a Winner!

MKTING 101 Leads Suck“WE’RE THE BEST … REALLY!” Just ask us.

In the SMB trenches far too many professionals agree with THE unofficial-official Internet Guru, Seth Godin’s pronouncement that All Marketers are Liars!

No one disputes the fact that marketing is a terribly inexact science—largely due to its grossly indeterminable (and costly) results. Marketing gets a bad rap in virtually every industry. Contrast this to the Sales function that is applauded universally. Most forget (or simply don’t care) that Sales are driven by Marketing. Others believe they are actually inseparable. And some folks really don’t care as long as the results are positive. FYI–the same folks would quickly blame Marketing if Sales were flat/down!

To those who appreciate or at least understand the Value of Marketing, this blog seeks to debunk the emphasis of Lead Generation. More commonly referred to as “Lead Gen”, it has enjoyed a decade or more of adulation especially with the tremendous growth of buy-side CRM software programs designed to fill everyone’s Sales Funnels. While the Marketo, Hubspot et al surely command a strong SMB following, the leader is still Salesforce. 

Know this: All CRM software was designed for a long-term marketing play.

From a specific niche perspective, LAWYERS still have the American Bar’s Practice Management’s Comparison chart at http://bit.ly/1GJFxYW.  ACCOUNTANTS have Randy Johnston’s ASW terrific pyramid at http://bit.ly/1kpxvtL. Consultants and the rest of us can always head over to the ever-popular Capterra.com at http://bit.ly/1kpxXYW.

We strongly recommend that readers stay with known programs for safety sake. There are altogether too many fast-buck artists offering the latest & greatest CRM solution. Beyond their products’ so-called “value” (even when it’s a freebie), it is the agenda that we’re concerned with. What is brazenly heralded [“marketed”] as a breakthrough—may turn out to be anything but! Obviously, due diligence is a must! The shinier & slicker the offering, the greater caution is advised.


→  BUT WAIT … THERE’S MORE  ←

Slick DudeRegular readers are familiar with this heading. We enjoy exposing bad guys and con artists whose mission is to grab the fast buck possible online & offline. Some in this crowd offer interesting programs & products; most do not.

The sad part is that once they have your money, the mission has been accomplished—UNLESS THERE’S AN UPSELL! The first offering can be the proverbial “come-on” to suck the unsuspecting buyer into the real agenda. And, the super slick may hold-back even more to entice [LURE] the buyer into the biggest gotcha of all. This is naturally a big-ticket item, i.e. course, program or system that can make you, too, a millionaire.

Before ranting about these guys, let’s back up lest there be a Doubting Thomas out there who thinks we’re calling the kettle black just to make others look bad, and by default, making us look good/great/superior in every way.

The fact that we’re been around for over a decade, cf., without anyone casting aspersions, may not be enough for some critics (competition). Because the Community literally operates in-the-dark and doesn’t disclose members identities, some suggest we must have something to hide. Quite the contrary, our modus operandi dictates that Confidentiality is our Hallmark. 

Members voted a few years back that they do not want member directories (we’re not an association), slick brochures or any marketing materials for themselves—because the Community is strictly a “Hidden Resource” for them. Whenever they choose to start a Concierge Marketing project, it is always done anonymously and in total confidence. (Note: clients’ identities are not needed). 

For more details, visit PMcommunity.org or if time permits today, read a few more blogs to learn why our Community may belong in your marketing mix.


Please note that all PMcommunity’s Blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes. They are intended for independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. PMcommunity.org has no clients (only members), no corporate sponsors, and no hidden agendas. It is not affiliated with Project Management Institute (PMI) although we wholeheartedly endorse their principles & practices. | © Copyright 2004-2015 PMcommunity.org. Other trademarks are the exclusive property of their respective owners, as applicable.



Greedy marketing vendors

Eliminate Marketing & Sales People

Great New Marketing Paradigm

Free Membership (Privileges)SOLOS CAN GO IT ALONE

Tired of losing money on false promises? Want to stop playing ‘their’ game? Is it time to say goodbye to marketing & outside sales folks who talk a good game but fall short of delivering?

Please note that this blog start with “once upon a time.” The answers to the above questions should be a resounding YES … if you’ve been in the SMB trenches long enough to pay your dues. If you’re an independent professional in private practice FOR MORE THAN 5 YEARS, you could escape from the rigors of lead chasing and prospecting. How? Simply by being in “good standing” within your trade/profession and joining a members’ marketing organization consisting of like-minded MULTI-DISCIPLINE peers & colleagues.

Since solopreneurs don’t have an excess of resources, it’s important to make variable expenses such as marketing go a [VERY] long way. The problem is there are now too many “marketing” and “sales” possibilities to choose from. Print media has died and online marketing is a joke. Everyone’s trying to sell their expertise as the one-right client-development solution. No wonder most of us solos are fed up with empty promises and extravagant claims. “But wait, there’s more!?!”

Concierge Marketing is fairly new to the market—still in short pants—and virtually unknown to the public. It is not a panacea. It won’t get you tons of new, fresh, hot, and exciting leads. In fact, it won’t get you any leads! Why? Because it converts leads-into-referrals before getting you or anyone involved. And, these are not just any ‘referrals,’ but truly qualified referrals that are actually delivered by a needy client’s trusted advisor. This “trusted advisor” is a member of PMcommunity.org. She/he would not use a members’ directory to find you. Instead, she/he (with a needy client requiring locally outsourced service) would confidentially contact the Community who would do the transformation/conversion and then contact you—if you were the perfect match to satisfy the need.

There are no smoke & mirrors. There is only diligent, agile marketing management services going on behind-the-scenes. When successfully completed, one member is confidentially connect to another member. Think: need/requirement being matched to supply/fulfillment. No one else is aware of what is going on/happening. I.E. Just member-to-member, peer-to-peer, end-to-end…totally without middleman interference, hassle or commission. (We work on a small flat fee instead.)


It is important to note that the Community performs the marketing function in such a way (-confidentially-) that it allows members to virtually avoid the open-market Marketing & Sales functions. 


This is possible because Concierge Marketing deals with the opposite of Lead Gen, start of Sales Funnel. It deals with End-Stage Marketing, the very bottom of the Sales Funnel. This is precisely when marketing is about to end because the sale function is about to happen. No hassle. Simply two trusted advisors hooking up to help the same needy client…in total silence (confidentially).


WHAT AM I MISSING?!?

We Assume ALL RiskThe description above begs the question: could this be too good to believe? The answer is “positively” if you are not a member participating in Concierge Marketing. Members know otherwise, i.e. this can only happen in a closed, private PLATFORM called PMcommunityConcierge Marketing is the licensed PROGRAM that delivers the goods. These are sales-enabled referrals brought to you by a fellow member when the conditions are perfect. Without fanfare or hoopla, you are introduced to your brand new client (assuming that you & the client agree to agree) by his very own trusted advisor. Read: no sales’ job or fee negotiations needed, simply a straightforward discussion about the “change-project” at hand. (If you’re a lawyer, this is a new case. If a CPA, a new client. If a business analyst, a new project. If a consultant, a new assignment, and so on.)

There is no magic or easy short-cut solution here. There’s only real work by marketing professionals who understand their Value-Added to the Demand/Supply Chain.

Initially, many member-candidates think that they can get the same services elsewhere—without the ‘bother’ of joining any private marketing organization. FYI-This is the exact reason why PMcommunity had such a hard time entering the market back in 2004. The logic went like this: “why should I pay in advance for a service that is free on the internet?” or “I already belong to the Chamber and a Networking Club; I don’t need another resource, thank you!” Candidly, this rejection forced us back to the drawing board not once but 2-3 times before finally getting it ‘right’ with the introduction of Local Channel Marketing™. 

Today, Concierge Marketing is not a copyrighted or trademark service. It doesn’t have to be since it’s a proprietary, licensed marketing program found only in a private marketing organization called PMcommunity.org. | Care to join us? | Entrance is via INVITATION from Admin (one can be requested via Admin@PMcommunity.org) or else by RECOMMENDATION from an existing member. If you should act prior to 12-31-15, a steep discount (50%) applies when you enroll. “BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE” (as the sales pitch goes.)  Member-candidates who are not ready to join can still register without cost or obligation as a Standby or Registered Professional.   /  BV


Please note that all PMcommunity’s Blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes. They are intended for independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. PMcommunity.org has no clients (only members) and no corporate sponsors. It is not affiliated with Project Management Institute (PMI) although we wholeheartedly endorse their principles & practices. | © Copyright 2004-2015 PMcommunity.org. Other trademarks are the exclusive property of their respective owners, as applicable.


Stop the Insanity


 

Marketing Results Guaranteed

BREAKAWAY or Follow the Pack..

Prof MktingDOING WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE DOES..

Our premise is that Best Practices is a misnomer more often than not. After all, who determines what’s Good, Better or BEST Practices anyways? Does this right belong to academia? industry? trade orgs? all three?

If you follow everyone’s “best practices,” doesn’t that make you a copycat?

Where is it written that this practice is better than that? Does majority rule? And, if so where & when? And, of course, most especially, why? Is there a standard that so-called best practices must meet? comply with? be accepted/acceptable? Okay, you get the point. Just because someone deems “it” so, doesn’t make it so, does it? Hey, if this is so (probably by a highly recognized ‘authority figure’ in an industry or niche), how long does it remain best practices? Can it be challenged immediately by another recognized ‘authority’ who insists she/he has invented or discovered definitive best practices?

Hopefully, you know where I’m going with this line of questioning. Because a bunch of long-hairs or leaders of the pack “embrace” what they claim are best practices, may or may not be right. Okay, it’s right for them! (Maybe, only them.)

The illustrious Wikipedia declares that “best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.” But, they go onto to declare that this phrase is also considered “a business buzzword.” And, there you have it. Benchmarks are considered Buzzwords as well as Best Practices! 

Getting to the point, best practices are like marketing initiatives. Considered as real/true only if you will buy into the postulate. And we contend that in some instances this is tantamount to a great many people [majority?] following others whom they believe (should/do) know what is right. Optic: leaders going over the cliff and everyone following them. Folks, in marketing, this is the rule not the exception.


FOUR DECADES IN THE TRENCHES

What CompetitionThe founders of our Community are all semi-retired. This is actually a euphemism for ‘retired’ but can’t/won’t quit staying active performing meaningful goals…because there is still a ton left in the tank!. Besides, rockin’ & awhittlin’ isn’t in their cards! Instead, they are committed to creating, sustaining & overseeing a specialty organization that can add more value to more “colleagues & peers” than anything else presently on the market.

Of course, we are talking about Local Channel Marketing™ that morphed into our unique brand of Concierge Marketing.

This space has explained and enumerate the case for a close-knit, client-centric, single-purpose marketing organization for years now. (Parenthetically, members are probably bored hearing about what they already know firsthand. But these blogs are not written for them–they have their own Insider News.) Rather, we intend to enlighten those independent professionals and sole practitioners who haven’t yet been exposed to the wonders of “end-stage” marketing. Before expounding on our Proprietary PROGRAM, it’s mandatory to first understand that it isn’t Best Practices to the outside world…because they would neither know nor understand it. 

First and foremost, Concierge Marketing requires a community-based PLATFORM. Not just any kind of platform but a custom-crafted, specialty organization that virtually “owns” and “operates” what the military would call a tight ship. There’s not enough space to go into the merits of a purified (qualified/vetted), homogeneous (like-minded) organization here, but the program doesn’t work without such a labor-intensive entity working behind-the-scenes. In other words, anyone can claim to have a Concierge Marketing program, but it’s not (anything like) PMcommunity’s.

Similarly, we strongly suspect others will try to copy our “end-stage marketing” program, but it won’t/can’t meet muster…despite hardy claims to the contrary! The fact of the matter is, without our members-only platform, they’ll be offering a cyber-based model—run by clearinghouse-type algorithm rather than actual trained analysts. Members know better and this, frankly, is the reason why they voted last year to restrict membership exclusively to qualified candidates—who are either INVITED by Admin or else RECOMMENDED by existing members.

Ironically, we’re far more inclusive than this may sound. It really boils down to meeting our Member Standards of Competence, Trustworthiness and Collegiality. For more info, check out PMcommunity.org.



Please note that all PM Community Blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes. They are intended for independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. PM Community has no clients (only members) and is not affiliated with Project Management Institute (PMI) although we wholeheartedly endorse their principles & practices. | © Copyright 2004-2015 pmCommunity.org. Other trademarks are the exclusive property of their respective owners, as applicable. 



New Client Development

Professional Marketing Breakthrough   

MORE THAN BUZZ: THE REAL THING

No one is saying to STOP PROSPECTING altogether. What PMcommunity is stating boldly to members is that there is no need to continue prospecting once you hit critical mass. Now that’s exciting! Well worth the buzz…but only to those to understand our remarkable Value Proposition. (more…)

Prosper without Prospecting

Complement to Maturing Practices …

When a professional service provider is starting out, she/he needs all the leads that are available. Then, at the end of their career, quite the opposite is true. They don’t need more new clients, they only need better clients— more substantial/lucrative, and, much more easy to acquire.


(more…)