I love this mailing!

It’s taken me a while for me to write this blog because I didn’t want you, my reader, to think I was easily taken in. But I just love this mailing.

Envelope Mailing

It arrived on my doormat some months ago and I knew exactly what it was; someone was trying to sell me something. In fact I put the envelope, un-opened, straight into the recycling. As I say, I knew exactly what it was. But something at the back of my brain was nagging me. ‘You’re not average’, it was saying. But I knew it was just a ploy. ‘Forget it!’ I told myself.

I did forget it for a while but finally succumbed, retrieved the envelope from the re-cycling and opened it. And, of course, I was right. I was trying to be sold something I didn’t want.

But, that’s the point of great marketing – or, more importantly, a great ‘hook’.

You have to get opened whatever it is that you are sending out. You have to get the next paragraph of a letter read or the line in an advert. And the way you do that is with a brilliant ‘hook’. Be it a Subject Line of an email, the Headline in an advert, the title of a letter, the first words on your website, and yes, the words on an envelope.

Your most important job is to get people to read about whatever it is that you are selling and the better your ‘hook’ is, the more enquiries, and therefore sales, you will get.

Do this right and people will just have to open (read) and see what comes next. Almost against their will!

One tip, write your copy first and then work on the headline until you get it right.


Work progresses well in our lovely new home in the Surrey Hills. In our garden we have the more usual birds but also ducks, pheasants and a heron (I think he is fishing).

Currently we are working on the design of our ensuite and have spent a great deal of time choosing the furniture, tiles, fittings and taps. One of these items was a lovely white ceramic counter top basin chosen to go with a lovely oak vanity unit found on the internet.

The unit arrived well packed on a pallet but without the basin. This it turned out was coming from another supplier. A few days later a delivery man arrived at our door and, as he handed me the box he was carrying, I heard the sound of broken ceramic. I suggested he take the box back but he replied that his was to deliver not take returns (not the best customer service).

When I opened the box my fears were realised as the basin was smashed to pieces. What surprised me was that a ceramic bowl could just be placed into a standard cardboard carton without any additional packing.

smashed sink

A quick phone call, resulted in the company apologising for the mishap, that they would get a replacement basin sent out immediately, with extra packing.

Pretty good customer service and I have to say that I was pretty impressed. After all, mistakes happen and it’s how they are put right that makes the difference.

A couple of days later another delivery man knocked at my door and as he handed the box to me I heard the same sound of broken ceramic.

When I opened the box, there was the smashed basin. Again just placed in a cardboard carton; the extra packing consisted of a layer of bubblewrap wrapped around the outside of the carton.

Needless to say I didn’t ask for a third bowl to be sent but instead asked for a refund (given) and sourced, as it turned out, a far more beautiful basin locally.

But this is what I don’t understand. How is this business making any money? Two basins delivered and smashed and no sale – no income at all.

Even more mystifying is what sort of manufacture puts a delicate ceramic basin into a plain cardboard carton without any packing? I’m sure a little polystyrene would have done the job.

I can only assume that these basins are normally collected (even that doesn’t make any sense) and not delivered by courier, with no thought being given to the extra requirements of that service. But even then, when pointed out, no proper thought was given to a process that clearly wasn’t working.

So, are you providing a service that may have changed in some way that needs some extra thinking to ensure that you are providing the best possible service?

You’ve been Framed

I needed some pictures framed the week before last week (three in total) and, not having a Picture Framing company in my networking group, decided to contact four local framers by email. I could send the same specification to them all, right at that moment. It was Thursday evening at 9.00pm.

Picture Frame David Wimblett

After a quick Google search I found my four framers; basically the four that were based nearest to me.

Next morning (Friday), just after 10.30am, I received my first reply. The company gave prices, a delivery time, and said that they were sure that they could help me.

Later that afternoon I received my second reply. The prices were much higher and subject to sight of my pictures. Again they included a delivery time, which was longer than that of the first company.

I didn’t hear back from the other two companies; my emails didn’t bounce, and to this day never have.

Given that the first company who had replied, had done so quickly, and that their prices were the best, I decided to go and visit them.

Their shop was busy, being a Saturday (in Guildford), but when I mentioned my name they knew who I was and what they had quoted. They asked to look at my pictures, confirmed that the prices given were correct, showed me the choice of frames and advised on suitable mounts. Then I asked about delivery. They said that they could have them done by the following Saturday to which I replied that I was having a dinner party that day and had rather hoped to have them on display. Their answer was just what I was hoping for: they would have them done on Friday.

To my delight the pictures were ready on the Friday and the framing was excellent.

So, what can we all learn from this?

First, that speed really makes a difference as to whether you get a business opportunity or not.

Second, that a really well-worded quote makes a big difference. I liked the fact that they were so positive about being able to help me.

Third, that price is important, but not the only reason people buy. Had this company been more expensive I would have still checked them out because of the other two points above.

Fourth, that the actual personal sales experience needs to match, if not better, the pre-sales experience (which it did).

Fifth, that if you advertise your business you just must respond to the people that contact you. So many sales are lost to companies that don’t.

I am sure that there is even more that can be learned from my experience but my question to you is this. How would your business have done in similar circumstances?

Just keeping in touch

Today I would like to tell you about an encounter I had a few months ago with someone while at a networking event. It was the normal type of evening event: a drink, a few canapés, and lots of mingling.

I had shaken a fair number of hands and had some polite conversations when I got talking to an IFA that I had never met before. Having covered the normal opening questions we got on to more serious matters. I’m not sure how we got there but I was ‘into’ one of my favourite topics of conversation – keeping in contact with customers. You see most people I work with spend a great deal of time, and money, looking for new customers but very little on looking after the clients they have already.

It was the same with the IFA; he was searching for new business, as that was what he saw as most important. I couldn’t convince him otherwise and so we moved on to another topic. The quality of the canapés, I think.

No more than five minutes later he was bemoaning the fact that he had just lost a good monthly commission payment from a client that very day. I asked when he had last spoken to the customer concerned. He answered, ‘Oh, years ago.’ The irony was lost on him.

Just keeping in touch with your customers is one of the best ways to grow your business and is not only very effective but it’s easy as well. If you don’t believe me think about this: you already know them, they know you, you know what they buy and they are already happy to buy from you. What more do you need?

As a good friend of mine says, ‘It’s not your customer’s job to remember to use you, it’s your job to remind them to use you.’

Keeping in touch should be regular and can be by any means: in person, on the phone, email, letter, video, even text. Sometimes just a simple ‘How are you?’ is enough while at other times you may have some great news for them or an interesting offer, or a new product or service to tell them about.

One of the best ways to stay in touch is with a printed newsletter – monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly is best – no longer than that. The cost might worry some people but I promise you the rewards can far outweigh anything a printed newsletter will cost you.

If you would like a copy of my Blueprint on Printed Newsletters (worth £47.50 + vat) just email me at: david@7training.co.uk

Why should anyone do business with you?

It’s a question I ask everyone I work with and for most it’s a very difficult question to answer.

But before we look more closely at why this should be the case let’s go back to the beginning of your marketing strategy because this is the key to how successful you will be.

You see many business owners think that everyone, in the field in which they operate, is a potential customer. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth and, in addition, even those that are, to a large degree, won’t be motivated enough to contact you.

So the first thing to know is who exactly is your ideal customer, because you will have one, whatever it is that you do. For example, if you are a plumber you might think that every house is a potential prospect. But it won’t necessarily be due to location, or the type of plumbing you do, or the type of house it is, or if it’s domestic or business. As a plumber you will have an ideal customer.

Once you know your ideal customer you can better target your marketing to them, using the right words and pictures, and then of course you can more easily choose the correct media to find your ideal customers. This could be as simple as just leaflet dropping the right streets, rather than every road in a neighbourhood (saving money).

And this then brings us back to my original question. Why should anyone do business with you?

To answer this let’s again use our plumber as the example. Go online, look in a directory, go to Checkatrade and there will be dozens of plumbers all doing much the same. So why should someone choose you? What makes you stand out?

I’ve just Googled plumbers and even a geographical location brings up far more plumbers than I want to sift through and they all say much the same: great service and been in business for years. I need something that says ‘Pick me’. And this is what you need, something that tells your ideal prospect why you are their perfect match. Something in the first line, the heading, that stops the person looking passing your advert by.

If you can identify why your ideal customer should buy from you it will make a massive difference to your business. Sometimes when I work with people this can take half a day, sometimes a day, but the results are always worth the effort.

Don’t send Christmas Cards…

Sending Christmas Cards is a waste of time some people will tell you – but I disagree.

There seem to be three main reasons given for not sending printed cards.

christmas card

First, your card will be lost amongst all of the others, so it won’t have any impact. Well that’s like saying if, for example, you are a web designer you shouldn’t start a business because your business will get lost amongst all the other web design businesses. When the answer is that you need to stand out.

Second, sending an eCard saves money. I guess this is true but do you actually want to tell your customers that you want to wish them a Merry Christmas but at as little cost as possible? It doesn’t exactly tell them that you value their business.

But, there is a far better reason for not sending an eCard. Don’t know about you but if I receive an eCard I may, or may not, click through to view it. And even if I do click through to see it, I rarely show the eCard to anyone else, and never bother to go back for a second look.

Whereas a printed Christmas Card is always opened and then put up in the office (for a whole month). In addition, staff will often read a card to see who sent it and a well-designed card will always be commented on.

Third, by not sending printed Christmas Cards you save trees and the environment. Sadly, this is just a myth and my good friends at PDC Design and Print will be happy to explain why. But if you don’t believe me, Friends of the Earth do a lovely range of Christmas Cards. Printed Christmas Cards are printed on 100% recycled board or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified board, printed with vegetable inks, and so are environmentally sound products.

I love receiving Christmas Cards and it’s always great to see who is thinking of me. Sometimes they remind me of clients I haven’t spoken to for a while. Some cards are just fantastic and I show them around the office.

In marketing we talk about ‘touch points’ and building good relationships and I personally think that a great Christmas Card is the perfect way of doing both of these things.

And, here’s a tip that will make a big difference to what your customers think of you. Don’t be tempted to print signatures, sign all of your cards, it says a great deal about you and what you think of the person you are sending the card to.

So spread a little joy this Christmas and send a printed Christmas Card.

NOTE: Get your cards ordered without delay.

A Tale of Two Dinners

Not so long ago I went out to dinner at a local restaurant; it was my first visit there. The waiting staff were nice and friendly, there was a good feel to the restaurant, and the menu looked interesting. In the end I decided to try their fish stew – and what a fabulous choice it turned out to be.

It was beautiful. Real chunks of at least three types of fish, a nice big langoustine, half-a-dozen mussels or so, a lovely rich soup and lots of lovely toasted bread to soak up the juices. All together a real treat.

Recently, I was in the area again and having had such a good meal on my first visit decided to dine at the same restaurant. After having a long hard look at the menu, and not being able to decide on which of the tempting dishes to try, and, as it was so good the first time, I went for the fish stew again. How I wish I hadn’t.

It looked similar: large langoustine, lovely tomato coloured soup, but that was as far as it went. There were plenty of mussels, about three times as many as on the first occasion, but some weren’t very good, only one piece of fish (bony) and just two bits of toasted bread. Nowhere enough to soak up the lovely juices – only the juices weren’t quite as tasty – and so I ended up leaving most of the soup.

So what has this to do with your business?

Well, I will never have the fish stew again, as I can’t be sure if it will be good or bad, and I don’t want to be disappointed, but worse, I may not even visit the restaurant again.

And this is what it has to do with your business. Does your business provide a service, an experience, which is consistent? Put another way, do your customers know exactly where they stand? Because if not you could be losing business without even realising it. Let’s face it, I’m not going to go back to the restaurant and tell them I might not be back; I just won’t go again.

The thing about the consistency of your offering is that it doesn’t have to be just about the big things. It could be the way your telephone is answered, or not answered. It could be the way that your customers are met at reception. It could be whether your invoices arrive at the same time each month. It could be how quickly you return a phone call.

What’s important is that your customers have an expectation, and whatever that might be, they will be a happier customer if they can count on their expectation being fulfilled consistently.

After all, it’s why the Big Mac is such a success! You know exactly what you are getting every time you order one.