LEAD GENERATION is Dead

END-STAGE MARKETING HAS ARRIVED

This blog is NOT for members. They already know what Concierge Marketing is all about. For outsiders (non-members) gather ’round and read my take on what this “new generation” of marketing means.  It’s totally unlike anything you ever seen.  But, if you’re not an Independent Professional (lawyer, CPA, or other service provider), you won’t get the opportunity to find out.


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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.



 

 

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


 

New Client Development Tool

We Get It!  Prospecting is the Pits!

hate networking clubs-jackassSTARTING OUT  IS ALWAYS A FORMIDABLE PERIOD

Cofounders of PMcommunity.org toiled in the SMB trenches for a combined 70 years. If anyone is qualified to speak to the hassles & frustrations of marketing as independent professionals, we are!

In the beginning, many of us go to “corporate kindergarten” to learn the basics of our trade. We spend a few (or many) years learning our craft, be it law, accounting, brokering, consulting, etc. Granted, there may be a few hardy souls who go right into private practice, but they must already have assets & resources to sustain them for the first couple of years! 95% of us, didn’t. We were forced to pay our dues.

Somewhere along the line we became inspired or, more likely, were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Undoubtedly, this laid dormant in our brains throughout grad school. You know, waiting to “breaking away” and do it ‘our way’—surely better than competition. In any event, some were smart enough to position themselves better than others. I.E. they had the good sense to line up a few selected prospects (plums) before making the break. Others, perhaps less scrupulous, envisioned taking a few clients away from the very firm that taught them how-to stick it to others aka aggressive competing & winning!

No matter how difficult the start, dues must be paid. Hanging the proverbial shingle or building a fancy website doesn’t cut it anymore. You must have a business plan (hopefully) driven by a marketing plan. Yes, planning is the key. Without one, our best advice is to forget becoming your own boss. Stay working for ‘the man’perhaps forever!

Buying printing media: yellow pages, colorful brochure, business cards, etc. is often the first step. Next comes advertising locally, joining a networking club and/or the local chamber. Concurrently, a good online presence is vital, a good CRM (Saleforce-type), a blog and SEO campaign, etc. What’s next?…especially when the phone doesn’t ring?!

Whatever it is, it’s marketing. Good old proactive marketing. In spite of the fact that the marketing paradigm is not buyer-oriented, YOU must go to/toward them! For how long? Answer: as long as it takes to become established. This could be 2-3 years or more! Eventually, you make it! Alternatively, you will muster out and rejoin the (comfortable) corporate ranks for survival. They’re good at marketing and finding prospects.


ASSUMING YOU CAN OVERCOME INERTIA …

Joys of ProspectingNot everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Most know this before they graduate. As alluded to, it’s a disease that incubates for a while before manifesting itself. More than a dream, it must be accompanied by a healthy dose of common sense and solid knowledge of the market place, especially targets and competitors. This takes courage, cunning and capital…in that order.

Survival depends on bringing “home the bacon” in the form of securing enough new clients and charging them enough, Mr/Ms Entrepreneur. Whereas the battle cry of Real Estate is location, location, location; yours is leads, leads, leads! In the early going, quality is secondary to quantity. Five-to-ten is good, but fifty-to-sixty is much better. You’ve read the books. Observed the market/competitors. Now you need prospects from whatever source generates the most, the fastest, most economically.

Fill that Sales Funnel as much as possible. Seek out a solid Pipeline!

Friends, family, relatives, classmates, neighbors and so on. The insurance & financial industries are famous for making ‘rookies’ write down & contact their warm markets early-and-often. These folks are more likely to say YES than anyone else. Swallow your pride. Do it. Now! | Some are smiling, remembering the good ole days. Others, somehow must have escaped the torture! This is marketing 101. Want to play? You’ve got to pay the price of admission!

After 4-5 years, you become reasonably good at prospecting and chasing down leads. You’ve discovered that buying leads from list sources is risky and fraught with junk, often recycled, names. You’ve also learned that the key to prospecting is to pre-determine how ready & serious is the suspect before making first contact! Most of you (us) get weary following up on leads (aka the art of the chase). One’s intense desire is to get prospects to come to you…like doctors. Lawyers are the first “clear the schedule” for a “no-cost consultation.” Yada, yada, yada.  In time, leaving the office to ‘do the mundane’ is tedious and often annoying. But, “one must do what(ever) must one do!” If the mountain doesn’t come to Mohammad, then …

Examine the time table illustration at the left to get a better sense of Prospecting. Despite the internet and huge advances in technology & communications, it attempts to shed light on the typical Independent Practitioner’s Journey. It also should serve to explain why our founders decided to create the Concierge Marketing concept. To wit, time is money and way, way too much is spent on prospecting. Eventually, every service solopreneur desires to escape the hassle of prospecting and the burden of lead chasing. Until now, it’s been terribly difficult.

Bottom Line: Concierge Marketing makes it easy!



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



  Marketing PRIORITIES

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…)

Less Talk, More Action

Blog Bloat Causes Boredom …

Look who’s calling the kettle black! For over a year now members have been telling [SHOUTING AT] us to trim down on the verbiage or break our blogs into smaller, readable pieces. So, in the interest of retaining more interest, this is attempt #1 to say more with less!


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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.


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