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Month: June 2012

Advertising & The Salesperson

Advertising is salesmanship and today I’m gonna give it to you with both barrels.

At the last big System Seminar in 2011 I heard this mentioned again and it really rang home with me because so many ads I’ve come across never even hint of sales. They just don’t even come close, except to show some creative persons idea of brand awareness.

During a recent lunch meeting with a client we got on the topic of sales events and unscrupulous sales tactics and a firm that was continually using these to promote businesses that were having challenges during the last decade or so.

This brings me to a series of questions:

Are you seeing ROI in your advertising? Are you seeing an increase in sales due to the advertising expenditure that shows up on your books every month?

Are you testing, split testing and tracking your advertising?

These are tough questions, I know. But you should answer them sooner than later and make sure to keep the answers honest. 

Now back to our topic…

Many times I have found that the people in the small business who are wrapping their lives around advertising and marketing should be doing something else. 

What is it that draws the owner or employee to head up the advertising and marketing charge only to stumble and bloody their nose again and again?

This is not always the case because I’ve seen business owners and managers who really understand that advertising is salesmanship. But it’s somewhat rare.

In many cases the owner wants the influx of new business thus creating what I call ‘sale, sale, sale’ advertising – only to have the salesperson be trampled by bargain hunters and tire kickers. It’s frustrating for the salesperson because he or she makes a living based on what he or she sells!

Advertising is salesmanship. It’s not about who can do the best graphics and dish out a cool looking logo with a fancy background. It’s not about ego boosts and who has the biggest ad with the bells and whistles going bonkers.

For a small business it really means this – does the advertising message accomplish something and sell the product or service? Is it just cool looking or does it really sell and get the person to do something, like a direct response ad that has a call to action.

Now let’s take a turn and look at the the sales professional. You know, the salesman or saleswoman who has chosen to invest and spend their career in the trenches as a relationship building, customer service, prospecting, merchandising machine. Most salespeople wear multiple hats and sometimes only one hat is sales-oriented.

I’m talking about the sales professional who has worked and studied for hundreds and maybe thousands of hours only to have worthless advertising make their job or business that much more difficult.

The best advertising enables the sales professional to do his or her job, not prohibit them or interfere. 

If your sales team ( or person or yourself) is going to perform at peak levels and you are investing in advertising…Support with the best marketing that you and your team can produce and afford and make sure to back it up with stellar customer service and deliver on what you advertised.

Because in the end what really matters is ROI and profits in your pockets.

To your continued success,

Dave Krygier

PS – Sometimes small business owners get overwhelmed and need help with sales and marketing. If this is you, I would suggest you contact The SmallBiz Mechanic and see if he can provide some assistance.


Restaurant Marketing – Survey to Success

When it comes to the business of food there’s no better way to success than through the stomachs of your customers. After all you want to retain as many customers as possible, right? You want them returning weekly or monthly, right? Then quit wasting time and find out what they really like to eat! Find out what they want and desire to eat and survey your way to a growing repeat customer base.

Survey your way to success in your restaurant business and do what few other restaurant owners are willing to do. How do I know this? Because I travel a lot and what I’m sharing with you is rarely done, at least in the many different establishments I’ve frequented in the last 20 plus years.

Survey you say! Yes, and it’s really simple to do.

It’s what I did at SOTS. Surveying and tracking were one of The Secrets of The Tiny Store and these two were what enabled me to do what so few other companies in our industry had done before.

When it comes to restaurant marketing, simple surveys can be what separates you from the pack.

Here’s what you do:

Survey – Yourself.  Yes, you the big boss does the actual yakkin’ and asking! Just be yourself, friendly and ask some questions. Then when you get done, go back to your office or tablet, or notepad and write down the questions, answers, date and name of the customer. It’s a simple solution, especially if you run a small establishment and need immediate feedback.

Survey – Have managers and supervisors talk to your customers and then document what they say. It can be casual and friendly like inquiring about the service and what they thought of the meal.

Survey – By having your best employees or managers doing the actual survey for you. These employees can become your best allies as they ask customers simple questions and get real time feedback. Make sure to set up a reward or incentive program for the employees so you receive the most accurate information and they look forward to doing the work.

Survey – Using social ignitors before, during and after the meal. These little gems can bring repeat business if you go about it the right way. Give your customer a free appetizer or drink or something of value that says you care. Even offer to deduct something from the existing bill if they fill out a survey card right there in the restaurant, go online by a certain time or simply answer a few questions if they are open to do this.

It’s a simple process to survey. Keep it that way and learn what your customers like to eat and provide great service. It’s not rocket science.

To your restaurant’s success,

Dave Krygier

Secrets of The Tiny Store

PS – I have found that the email auto-responder can also be a great way to keep in touch with customers and do simple surveys just by asking a few questions at a time.

Best Email Software – Review

For any marketer who is building a list of subscribers or for the offline enterprise that is looking to attract new online leads and communicate with existing customers, email software is a critical component to the equation.

If you are new to the world of email marketing you might want to read through my post – What is an email auto-responder and also review a few of the other articles I’ve written about the topic of list building and email marketing.

Back in early 2010 I initially tested one other email auto-responder service and it was way to complicated even for my brother-in-law the computer expert, although I believe he could have dug in and figured it out.

I have also had experience with a few clients using one of the most popular email software programs which in itself is a pretty good program but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.

So when it comes to the best email software I’m a little biased towards one company as I like simplicity, customer service and quick reference tutorials. In my expereince the best email software for the newbie and small business has been Aweber.

Aweber is a pretty robust, solid platform that has lots of features and is pretty simple to navigate. This along with their knowledge base and excellent customer service has made me a fan.

There’s also email software by Get Response. In my opinion their platform is a little more complex but still delivers and many top marketers continue to use their services.

There are other email software programs like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Infusionsoft and iContact. Each one has it’s own features and benefits, but when it comes down to a robust auto-responder and lead capture solution, I believe Aweber takes the cake.

From list management and settings to web form creation and installation – once you learn the software it’s pretty easy to manage and update.

Like any new software, it takes time to learn the ins and outs. Email software is no different.  But know this – if I can do it and learn how to use this software, so can you.

The best email software for small business is software that works and gets the job done with the least amount of headaches and stress.

So when it comes to email marketing campaigns and the ability to execute and manage these you need a simple solution and for small business I believe Aweber is a solid fit.

To your list building success,

Dave Krygier

Social Media Madness

Today is one of those days where I’m going to step out of the norm and touch on the subject of social media and specifically social media madness. 

Let me first say this – I’m no social media ‘expert’, yet… But I have studied, tested some, used different channels and followed a few of the top marketers on the web who specialize in social media.

So I continue to learn, test and be open minded to all things social and since I’m not your typical type that loves socializing, this topic is one that takes more work than others.

This leads me to the guts of my post today…

Social media has a strong foothold on the web today. There’s no arguing this fact. 
What has yet to be seen is monetizing social media and that’s where the madness comes into play. Because more and more businesses are spending time and money on social media, yet do they have a real plan or understand how to monetize their efforts?

This is where testing comes in and in my opinion not enough small businesses test or survey enough when it comes to online and offline marketing.

Test, Test, Test…

My first social media test proved that the book marking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon, along with help from Twitter, will work if you create the right content and know how to post it.

Since I’m a firm believer that one should work in his or her strength areas and leave the rest to others, I actually hired a ‘social media specialist’ who was really a Facebook specialist at the time and pretty good at it.

This person was good at connecting and we learned together about the other social media outlets while I footed the bill.

This was an expensive test for me but turned out to be well worth it, because it taught me the value in the other social media sites outside of FB and TW. Plus it showed me the power of using FB for tele-seminars and future webinars.

As a small business person you always need to be looking at ways to increase sales while retaining customers and clients. Social media can work for you especially if you understand how each of these outlets work.

They are all unique and different so you have to understand how they function and best suite your needs.

After all, you are in business to make a profit and the last thing you want to do is waste precious time posting, tweeting, re-tweeting, posting some more, only to find yourself in a spiraling cycle.

You can post on as many walls as you want, tweet till the cow’s come home, and post article after article. But in the end ( or whatever time frame you determine), if you ain’t makin’ any money and new clients or customers are not coming your way, then you are simply wasting your time. 

Conclusion –

1. Have a plan for your social media endeavors. This means you’ll need to determine how each outlet is going to work for your business. DO NOT WING IT!

2. If you choose to hire a social media expert, make sure he or she knows how to each and every social media channel and have proven results with existing or past clients. 

3. Study the best of the best and learn from their mistakes. 

4. Test, Test, Test and continue to test and survey your prospects and clients.

5. Track your results and adjust your plan accordingly.

Ok – off my soap box.

Tomorrow we’ll return with our regularly scheduled program of posts having to do with small business marketing, sales and client retention.

Until then,

Dave Krygier

PS – If your small business is struggling to increase sales and revenues, contact The SmallBiz Mechanic




Youth Soccer Coaching – Lessons Learned

Today’s youth sports marketplace is flooded with all kinds of opportunities and in most cases if your kids want to play competitive sports – it’s gonna cost ya. At least that’s been our experience in the last five years.

In our case we’ve expended thousands and thousands of dollars to have our children play youth sports and have had mixed experiences with both club and youth sports organizations.

In our most recent series of episodes (that almost read like a tv soap opera), the spring season has wound down and the SS Minnow (the other club) has been beached and is awaiting for Gilligan and the Skipper (our club) to save the day.

Now I know this reference to the old TV sitcom may or may not make sense, but basically the Minnow has been run up on the beach of a deserted island and the people on the island need to figure out how to save themselves.

So the final season has wound down and our daughter has been picked up by another youth soccer club. This came after much discussion, debate as we made the move, went with our gut and fortunately it turned out to be the right decision.

The funny thing was that after we had made the decision we finally heard from our daughter’s coach. This call came as quite the surprise since we had never spoken with him on the phone and he chose not to interact much with us parents during the entire time that he coached our kids. He had been interacting with our daughter for 10 months but had never personally contacted or connected with us once. The problem was that his decision to connect with us came after the door was closed and locked.

The club director did realize there was an issue and even brought it to our attention, but he never addressed it by communicating or holding a parent meeting. He just didn’t understand the key to building bridges and I believe this eventually hurt the club since they decided to merge with a competing organization.

Our experience has been with youth soccer coaching is that the club soccer coaches who coach the ‘b teams’ are just not as committed, because the majority of the kids just aren’t that serious. This has been the case with five different coaches so I’m not giving a one-sided view. We tested four organizations over a three year period and the results were always the same.

My point here is that if the coach had more interaction with the parents, even an occasional hello, it would have made a difference. Instead he chose to call after the door was closed and locked. He never connected.

The director, associate director and club trainer were fantastic and that’s what kept us around. These three individuals connected with us thus making the overall experience a good one, even though the coach was in the background.

The coach can be a promoter and help move the club forward or be an introvert that collects a check. The coach can be a communicator who builds bridges with players and parents or simply chooses to stand alone not allowing anyone in his or her space.

It has been our experience that parents like communication and don’t like to be left out of the loop or on the side of the road.

What does all this youth sports and soccer talk have to do with your small business?

Here it is:

If you are going to retain customers then you best have a program or process in place that  gets the job done. Otherwise you might find a revolving door with customers(or players) coming and going on a continual basis.

This means that you need to cultivate, connect and continue to communicate with your customers(players) and subscribers (if you are marketing via email or direct mail) before, during and after each and every transaction.

Build bridges, make connections and constantly communicate with each and every customer (player and parent). It’s easier than you think and simple to manage, especially if you use an email auto responder and social media to do the heavy lifting.

So if you find your business needs a little help to better communicate, connect and develop long term relationships with clients, customers and subscribers – get in touch with the SmallBiz Mechanic. He May be able to help you build bridges and better connections.

Dave Krygier

How to Increase Sales in a Small Business

Ever seen the business that is complaining about lack of traffic, lack of sales and how the economy is hurting business? How to increase sales in a small business is simple. There are two ways to accomplish this: One is through your existing customers and the other way is through new leads and fresh prospects.

Today I’ll cover the existing customer side of the equation.

Here’s a story to kick things off:

I was on the telephone(yes, ye ole telee) with a business acquaintance from the past and this person mentioned how a particular store he was dealing with had fantastic sales numbers. His company, we’ll refer to it as #1, had been trying to figure out how to bring in more sales yet he couldn’t quite figure out how to duplicate his customer’s success.

As I asked more questions it became apparent that the people in that particular store were the key, if he was going to increase his sales in other stores.

Yes, the people were the key that could unlock the door to additional sales. Because the sales staff at this particular store have been ecstatic about his product. They love it.  Why?

Because the product speaks quality, the marketing materials support this quality and they deliver on time. Now these are the two major factors as to why this manufacturer is still in business after more than 50 years.

On the other hand you have this business’ competitor, company #2, who hasn’t updated their marketing materials or catalog in years and the owner is turning over his company to a family member and people who may not have the best intentions.

Company #2 is struggling and it looks like a long up hill battle unless they can change their plan and give it an overhaul.

Now let’s get back to company #1. What could they do to increase sales?

Simple…Use Social Proof and obtain Testimonials from the store owner and staff about his product. Then take these testimonials in written form, audio and video and use them in all of his marketing and sales efforts to obtain new business.

Because there’s nothing better than a satisfied customer singing your praises to help bring new prospects to the party.

Like I said in the beginning of the post, how to increase sales in a small business is simple; look at your existing customers and dig deep to see how you can bring them back into the fold. This should create repeat and referral revenue and once you do that you can begin to  cultivate and build on the relationships you have started. 

Want to know how we generated 20 to 25% repeat and referral revenue? Check out Secrets of The TIny Store and learn how to increase sales in your small business or touch bases with the Small Biz Mechanic and maybe he can help you tune up your sales engine.

Dave Krygier

Local Internet Marketing & List Building

I’ll never forget the day when a colleague mentioned to me that Google was going local. I had been struggling for more than five years to geo target in our region but continued to get people from Australia, The Netherlands, California and even Antarctica coming our way.

Our presence on the search engines at the time was rock solid but boy to get more local exposure was like pulling teeth without a dentist.

I mean The Tiny Store had Microsoftees, Boeingites and the local teckie crowd crossing our doorstep and this continued to grow, but I still continued to search for ways to bring more local searchers our direction.

We did just about everything you could think of offline and online to attract new business, and this was why we were so successful during that time of economic ups and downs.

We stayed consistent. We experimented. We succeeded and we failed. But in the long run, it all worked out and our list of clients grew year after year.

This leads me to you and your business – local Internet marketing and your list.

You as a local merchant or service provider can maximize your ROI by focusing on developing and cultivating your own list of subscribers and clients.

Local Internet Marketing can bring exposure and make you visible to more people in your region versus those that are in areas you don’t service or care to sell to. So all that energy and time that you put into local Internet marketing can bring a solid return, if you develop a list of subscribers and clients.

List building is where the ROI is. Your list doesn’t have to be huge in order to see ROI. It could be relatively small but your conversion could be really high depending on how you position your offers. The great thing about building a list of local subscribers and clients is that you can utilize both email and direct mail to better connect, grow and test your way to success.

So all that money you put into local internet marketing through pay per click, directories, search engine optimization and Google + Local will pay off if you capture new leads and bring them into your world.

How do you do this?

Simple – place a lead capture(opt in) form on each and every page of your web site and use an email auto responder to do the heavy lifting.

Next – setup a separate URL and use this for tracking any leads developed through direct response marketing.

Lastly – develop a simple email campaign with a mix of messages that deliver great content   along with the occasional sales letter, page or video.

Remember – keep it simple. Stay within your budget and always test, test, test.

To your local marketing success,

Dave Krygier




List Building – The Sales Monster Returns

Ok, so if you missed part one(List Building and The Sales Monster) you probably want to check it out first so this post makes more sense. The jist of where I’m going with part two about List Building and The Sales Monster is connecting with your subscribers without losing them along the way.

Because if you are going to build a list of subscribers(online or offline), at some point you’ll need to convert them into customers. And by doing so the conversion plus ROI should equal one happy business owner.

You see just building a list by itself is not going to make you any money. I know, I’m beating a dead horse here but a long list of peeps with no conversion is not gonna help your small business.

So we have to sell and offer our subscribers and clients(if you have any) at intervals and these intervals will depend on your type of business and how many products and services you have to sell.

Maybe the interval is once a week or maybe it’s two times per month?

Maybe you have so many products to offer that it’s twice a week or more?

No matter – just work to achieve a balance between selling and great content.

Because if you don’t, the sales monster might rear his ugly head when you let him loose on your subscribers and clients without properly understanding how to create and manage a sales funnel.

In other words – you throw too many offers on the table all at once or every day and your list gets burned out like water thrown on a fire pit.

Now let’s take a turn and talk briefly about the triggers…

If you want to really connect with ‘the people’ on your list and desire to have them purchase whatever it is you have to offer them…

Then consider implementing the Seven Triggers.

Author Russell Granger refers to Seven Triggers in his book on influencing people’s decisions. These triggers can surely make a difference for you in your business if you study and implement them correctly.

Let’s say you test just one of the triggers in your marketing and it happens to be the Authority Trigger. This trigger is one where you are the expert or maybe someone you work with is the expert and you build on credibility.

This credibility will open up doors to opportunities that otherwise would not be available to you and might increase sales if used legitimately. Of all the triggers this is one that you as a professional or seasoned business owner can use to develop, grow new business and conquer the sales monster.

Remember – if you really connect with subscribers, then they are more likely to purchase and become clients (or customers if you prefer) and clients are more likely to continue working with you over the long-haul.

Repeat Sales = Happy Business Owner = No More Sales Monster

If you want more information about list building tactics and strategies, check out this article about List Building & The Relationship and consider subscribing to the List Building Guide if you want more in depth information on the topic.

Dave Krygier










How Not to Lose an Organization

It’s such a shame to see people build organizations, only to lose a vast majority of the people. I’ve seen this occur several times during my small business career. The first time I saw this happen it involved thousands of small business owners. The leadership of the departing organization wanted more control and more money and they achieved this but the fracture their move created never healed.

The second time I encountered an organizational fracture was during a recent merge of two local youth sports organizations. This most recent event had a direct impact on our family, especially our children, as these two local competing clubs decided to merge and combine forces to supposedly achieve a more cohesive and better environment for the children.

I feel the two directors jumped the gun, sent a mixed message and didn’t communicate properly. They both seemed to feel that dropping a big turd on everyone would be the best way to go and then leave people in the dark until they could work out the details.

Now I will say that one of the organizations was pretty good at communicating, but only after the public announcement of the proposed merger.

After all, the intent to merge and actually completing the merge are two separate topics.

Before you ever make a major change like a merge, especially when it involves families, money and children, it’s best to communicate first instead of later on down the line.

In our case – the families have been one of the main financial sources for the two organizations. So the salaries, overhead and expenses of these two operations are paid by the parents along with sponsors.

We happened to have experience with both organizations, so our perspective was different than the families on either side of the fence.

The one thing that struck me the most was the speed at which the two competing directors  put the deal together. This and the simple fact that they are fierce competitors and have never worked together. Now I could keep going on and on but hopefully you get the idea.

It would be like two CEO’s or if you like, owners of small businesses merging to help foster a better community for their employees and their families.

Hmmmmmmm……let’s take a peak behind the scenes in the boardrooms and follow the money, eh?

With all that said…

Before you jump ship and split up an organization or merge two competing organizations, make sure that your ego and pride are in check. Do everything you can to work it out and consider the families that your split or merge will affect.

Lastly, communicate with the organization(s) before you make it public. For great communication can make the difference of a successful merger or one that fails and falls by the roadside.

Stay Tuned,

Dave Krygier

SmallBiz Mechanix