What do you do once you have identified your target, or ideal, customer?
Hopefully, you have not only identified the ideal customer, you have learned as much as you can so that you are comfortable in what is important to them. And, of course, you have developed a winning value proposition and put your elevator speech together. You have also identified the marketing tactics you will use to get your message attract their attention.
So far, so good? Are you ready to take action to start signing up customers?
In a word, "no".
In sales and marketing almost every strategy you are going to employ will require some planning. Even something as simple as attending a local networking event will require that you identify the right events, customize your "elevator speech" so that the benefits of your service are related directly to the participants, and you'll need to develop a set of specific questions to ask once you are face to face with a potential customer. Last but not least, you have to figure out what kind, and how much, follow-up you are going to do.
Not so simple after all.
Plan or perish. Without effective planning, you have little chance that your marketing or sales efforts will deliver any results.
Case in point: when I first started in the consulting business, I decided that I should take my expertise on the road, using speaking engagements and seminars as a way of meeting potential clients. After a while, nothing happened.
Nothing happened for a very simple reason: wanting and wishing don't work; planning and doing are what converts leads into prospects and prospects into customers.
Once I decided to practice what I preach, I set myself a clearly defined target (how many presentations/seminars I wanted to do in the next 12 months that had more than 15 attendees), I divided my target numbers into months and planned the activities I needed to do to hit that target.
I researched the possibilities; what events or webinars made sense for me? On what topics would I focus — email marketing, social networks, corporate sales — and then I identified the resources that I would need to make it all happen.
Once my plan was in place, I became more aware of possibilities as I reviewed my plan over and over to keep the pressure on and keep me focused.
It worked. I met my target in just 9 months, and in the year I exceeded my own expectations far more than I ever thought possible.
Simple, huh? Unfortunately, I didn't do nearly as well the year before because I didn't take my own advice for setting my targets and putting a plan together to make it happen.
What Makes a Plan That Works?
Effective plans are not just about activities or milestones. They are about thinking through your objectives and clearly defining the deliverables you want. What does success mean to you — you won't know until you are clear on what your critical success factors are — the things you must do to ensure that you achieve your objectives.
In my case I set a goal of converting 10 qualified people in my seminar and presentation audiences into customers. To get the ten, I estimated that it would take 15 people attending at least 10 of my events. In other words, I wanted to convert at least 1.5% of my leads into sales.
To achieve this goal, I had to develop a quality presentation/workshop, find the right events to be at and put a follow-up program in place to find out who in each audience was actually interested in what I had to offer and convert them into customers. These were my critical success factors.
Certainly not rocket science, but I had to really understand what I wanted to achieve and prioritize the most important steps. This led to my plan of developing compelling content and identifying the right places to be in. Once that was done, I reached out to each event's organizers and sold them on my workshop or presentation. Last but not least I actually wrote the presentation, prepared the presentation materials or workbooks, and put a follow-up system in place before my first event.
Do you need to do this much planning? After all, you are not consultants or content marketers, you are operators of limousine and ground transportation companies.
The answer is an unqualified "Yes"
I’ve seen so many owners, managers and professionals who think that they can always wing it. Some even think that once they have decided what "marketing" they want, they can just do "it" and keep all the details in their heads.
They are doomed to Failure.
Or worse, they achieve some minor success, so they keep on doing what they are doing, never realizing how really effective and successful they could be in they only planned properly.
If you don't have a detailed written plan that you follow day-in and day-out (or at least weekly) for the key marketing strategies and tactics that you are going to use to convert leads into prospects and prospects into customers, you are, inevitably, going to do only one thing; be distracted by the day to day pressure of running your business. New customers are the lifeblood of any company, and without a plan, you'll never have all the customers you should.
Like I said, plan or perish.
If you need any help planning and/or implementing your marketing strategy, give us a call at DriveProfit today, toll free at 855-541-2220
Posted on Jan 17 2013
Share on Social Media