Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘prospecting

How much are you worth?

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This weekend, I spent some time painting and staining my front porch before the Northeast Winter starts to roll in.  As I was standing on the ladder dabbing the wood with my paint brush, my mind started to wander to all the things I could be doing with my time that are billable.  For the entire 4 hours I spent on that front porch and subsequently mowing my lawn, I didn’t generate any income for my family.  This led me to think even more…what is my time on this ladder worth?

Let’s start with what I could have been doing.  I could have been prospecting.  In my line of work, there are a number of people that watch TV with a pad and pen.  They write down the names of businesses that are already on the air and they contact them.  Or I could have been writing some proposals.  There have been some ideas that I’ve been kicking around in my head that I think are very economically viable.  Once I start putting those ideas to paper, they tend to start to become real concepts that can be begun.  I could have been working on tutorials or some other way of learning something new.  And this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Some time between shifting from paint to stain, I got the idea that I was wasting money.

Let’s talk about the economics for a minute.  Let’s say I’m able to hire someone to paint & stain my porch for $200 including materials.  I spent $50 in materials myself today.  So, by doing it myself, I saved $150, right?  Moving on, I could have hired a neighborhood kid to mow my small lawn for $10.  I did it myself saving a grand total of $160.

Was this a good idea?  Ignoring the health benefits (of which, I need to take advantage of as many of those as possible), I would have to say no.  The amount that I “saved” my family amounts to $40/hour.  I could have earned more by one of the other tasks that I listed.

Have you ever thought about your time in this way?  Most people haven’t.  Each hour you have is the same hour that the richest people in the world have.  What’s the difference?  In most cases, those people have figured out how to maximize the one thing they can’t get more of: time.

I hope you think about this the next time you go on vacation and feel guilt about it.  Do you know what vacation is?  A chance to recharge your batteries.  And that activity makes you more productive when you get back.  And more productivity means you make more money.  So take that vacation guilt free.  Tell them I said so.

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Written by Jeff York

September 21, 2008 at 4:22 am

Are you the right customer for me?

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Much is made of marketing customers searching hard for the right marketing company to help them grow. As there is a huge number of marketing organizations out there, customers/businesses must work hard to vet each one to find that special organization that has a mix of experience and expertise to help them move ahead of their competitors and grow.

Internally to the marketing companies, sales representatives spend enormous amounts of effort prospecting, qualifying, and landing leads and turning those leads into clients. The future of a marketing company depends on the ability to generate new project work.

However, smart marketing companies take that extra time before pitching a client to ask themselves “Is this prospect a good fit for us?” We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule. As it applies to this former Production Manager, it means that I had to spend 80% of my time holding the hand of 20% of our clients. This is a reflection of finding a client that’s smart enough to know that they need marketing to grow, but is somehow uncomfortable with the cost they are spending or perhaps they don’t fully understand the process. Or maybe their superiors are directing pressure on them for the same reasons. Innocently, these clients place a drag on the process by not trusting that the agency they hired isn’t working 100% in their best interests.

Or worse. A green sales rep at the marketing company signs a client whom believes they know marketing better than the agency. Maybe they think they know graphic design because they own a pencil or web development because their son used iWeb. In any event, endless rounds of changes ensue dragging the process to a halt and raising expenses on both sides of the equation.

The bottom line here is knowing the importance of spending time analyzing your ideal client profile and targeting potential clients that fit that spec which will pay you dividends in the long run.

Do you spend any time determining who your ideal customer might be? How do you turn away business that might not be a good fit, especially if times are tight? Do you have any strategies that you might be able to share?

Written by Jeff York

June 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm