Read time: Less Than 5 min

To get amazing results and CRUSH your sales goals, you need the right marketing budget. Marketing is essential to growing your sales, and the question I hear most is “how much money should I allocate to marketing to achieve my sales goal?”

First, let’s decide what your sales goals are for this year. There is no right or wrong goal set, you need to do what works best for you and your business. Do you want to:

1. Maintain your current sales volume – The misconception is that you don’t need to be advertising at this stage. However, every year, no matter how great your product or service is, you will lose customers and they will need to be replaced.

2. Be Competitive – To ensure your business is growing at a comfortable rate and is keeping pace with your targeted sales goals.

3. Dominate your industry – You stand out in a crowd, anytime customers think of your industry, your business name is the first to come to mind.

Here is the breakdown to see how much you should invest in marketing to meet your sales goals:

Maintain  5% of annual sales example Annual Sales $500,000 $500,000 x 5% = $25,000 marketing budget per year $2,100 marketing budget per month

Competitive 10% of annual sales example Annual Sales $500,000 $500,000 x 10% = $50,000 marketing budget per year $4,200 marketing budget per month

Dominate 15% of annual sales example Annual Sales $500,000 $500,000 x 15% = $75,000 marketing budget per year $6,250 marketing budget per month

Stagnant or declining business Add 3% to the above

Investing the right amount in your marketing to match your sales goals will allow you to generate enough leads to increase your business.

Pro Tip: You should ALWAYS have a way to track the effectiveness of your marketing. Important indicators of a successful campaign are how many leads you are getting and how many sales from those leads.

Call us today! We are here to help create an advertising budget based on your sales goals.

If you like this Marketing Minute, you’ll love next month’s tip, “Why volume is important.”

Read Time: Under 5min

Do you know your customers lifetime value (CLV)? If the answer is no, you are not alone. Let’s talks $$$. Here are three ways understanding your customer lifetime value will help you increase your company’s sales.

 

 

#1 Advertising

Knowing your customers’ lifetime value, you can gauge how your advertising campaigns are performing and make informed decisions.

#2 Upsell or Cross-sell

Most sales reps don’t want to come off “pushy” so they won’t even inform their customers about different products and services. How can you educate your customers about your other products or services you offer to generate more revenue?

#3 Return Customers

Past customers are more likely to buy from you again. What are you doing to stay connected with them? Simple email newsletters, reaching out via phone or targeted postcard campaigns to your customer list will increase return customers, which will increase your CLV.

Warning:

In this next section, I will be talking about numbers and equations which can induce flashbacks of high school math class, causing you to zone out. COME BACK!!! I promise this is simple.

 

What you will need (if you are not sure, then guess!)*

 

  1. Average new customer sale amount
  2. Average # of transactions per year
  3. Average # of years a customer buys from you

 

The equation to determine the lifetime value of a new customer (CLV):

The average sales volume for a new customer X # of times a year a customer purchases = customer value

Customer value X the average # of years your customers buy from you = Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Examples:

Gardener (example of a monthly service)

$90 x 12 months = $1,080

$1,080 x 5 years = $5,400

Gutter / Window Cleaning (example of a seasonal service)

$250 x 2x a year = $500

$500 x 7 years = $3,500

Contractor (example of a one-time service)

$5,000 x 1 = $5,000

Call us today! We are here to help create an advertising campaign based on your customers’ lifetime value and answer any questions you may have.

Pro Tip *

• Don’t worry about getting the data perfect. It’s better to guess and do it, rather than not to do it at all. We will have a Marketing Minute on the best ways to track your important information.

If you like this Marketing Minute, you will love next month’s tip, “How to Create a Marketing Budget.”

At what point does customer satisfaction matter? We believe it starts from the first interaction. Here are four ways to make your customers fall in love with you and your company.

 

 

Respect Time

Today’s customers are busy. Go above and beyond in respecting their time, and they will notice.
  • Answer phone call within 3 rings
  • Reply to voicemails and emails within the same business day
  • Give specific time frames for meetings and jobs and show up on time and ready

Listen

We are so eager to show off our knowledge, that most of launch into the “pitch” right off the bat. In your initial meeting, we should let the customer talk. In this time, we should:
  • Ask Questions
  • Take Notes to show that we are listening
  • Look your customers in the eye

Follow Up

Don’t make the client follow up with you after a meeting, it may be easier for us, but it is not for them.
  • Be specific on when they can expect to hear from you
  • Ask what their preferred method of communication is, email, phone calls or text message.

Thank You

We say thank you because we want the other person to know that we value them. Taking a minute to give thanks will be something customers remember.
  • Handwritten Thank you Cards to new and repeat clients
  • Phone call personally Thanking for a referral

Key Takeaway

Customer Satisfaction starts from the minute they pick up the phone or go to your website. People do business with companies that leave them feeling happy and valued. Happy Customers buy again and refer their friends and neighbors and that is GOOD for business!

It’s Not Sexy… But It’s Time to Talk Conversion Rates

Tristan Barger, CEO, Golden Mailer

Don’t miss my full article on Duct Tape Marketing. Below is a sneak peak with links and clips from my guest article.

Guest blogger: Tristan Barger, March 17, 2015

Read the full article here: http://ducttapemarketingconsultant.com/determine-campaign-success/#

Not properly analyzing the success of every campaign might seem like an isolated issue. What you don’t realize is this lack of knowledge instigates several unintended (and seemingly unrelated) problems.

flat design icon set of analytics elements

Article clips:

“With no standard method to evaluate marketing campaigns business owners are left with no way to calculate investment costs, leads generated, appointments scheduled, deals closed or the final conversion rate of specific campaigns. You have no clue what’s working. These businesses don’t have the resources to track the necessary information or set-up these systems to complement their business and marketing model.

There is no solution that will work for every small business owner. But there is a solution that will work for your business, you just have to find it. Once you start looking into the number of qualified leads that come in and the close rate, you will get a better idea of what kind of CRM service you need. Do you simply need call tracking? Do you need web analytics and keyword tracking?

Marketing ROI, Golden Mailer

From personal experience, I will warn you that you might discover you have a bigger problem that needs to be addressed before anything else is done. If your close rate of qualified leads is at 15 percent, you need first to identify where in the process things start to “go off the rails,” and fix it. It could be an administration issue, poor communication with staff or a larger problem related to the kind of leads you are attracting.”

Read more on ducttapemarketing.com & the full article @ http://ducttapemarketingconsultant.com/determine-campaign-success/#

Sample of a simple Call Tracking service:

Call Tracking, Golden Mailer
 

How to build client trust and still set boundaries…

I was reading through a discussion posted by Paul Castain on LinkedIn about sales reps remaining “on call” after hours. The responses all seemed to have a single underlying theme. It wasn’t stated out right in some of the responses, but it was at the foundation of their point. You need to set boundaries but still make sure your clients trust that they are a priority.

This is never as simple as it seems. Some respondents went as far as to say that they pick up EVERY single call they get – regardless of the day or time.

On Call Photo, Golden Mailer, Blog

This made me laugh a little because, well, that simply isn’t possible. You can’t take every call – Even when it’s the middle of the workday. You might be on a job site, talking to another customer, or installing a garage door. Of course, depending on your industry, your response time will vary… As will your customer’s needs.

For local businesses owners it’s hard to let it go to voice mail…

This is very true. For many businesses that invest a large portion of their budget into some form of advertising, missing a single call could cost them their entire conversion rate (again, depending on what your median sales point is). So they are left to push against the ocean. A point well made by Lon Lohmiller when he stated, “experience has proven that a work/life balance is critical for optimal performance at the times when the rep is “on”, which implies that there has to be “off” time that in the end I believe should be self imposed.”

Why can’t it be as simple as the “hours of operation” listed on YP.com, Google Places, or Yelp?

Once again, it’s just not that simple. Your customer might have the same work hours that you have listed on your website. So do you play phone tag for the rest of your life? No, most business owners that are out in the field for the majority of the day have what they call a “bat phone” – It’s a cell phone that office calls get forwarded to when they aren’t in the office.

Evaluate your target rich demographic and determine when they are most likely to call and try to make yourself available at those times. Some business owners do need to tweak their hours so customers can reach them on the weekends or evenings.

Set boundaries from the beginning!

If an existing customer calls you at an inappropriate time, don’t pick up, listen to the voice mail, and if it is in fact urgent, call them back immediately. If it can wait a day, call them back within 24 hours. Otherwise, you are setting a precedent that any problem is an emergency and will be dealt with immediately. This quickly becomes a habit and before you know it you’re camping with your family and the “bat phone” is attached to your hip. You get burnt out and can’t perform at an optimal level.

On Call Photo, Golden Mailer, Blog

Even the type A personality working seven days a week will get burnt out or over commit their time and resources to customers. It doesn’t matter how much you LOVE YOUR JOB, you still need to take a step back and focus on something else. Tunnel vision and the compulsions to make every single customer your first priority and your best friend will eventually crash and burn. Every client should be a priority. Make sure the squeaky wheel doesn’t get all your grease, and most importantly, be a dependable and reliable vendor that every client can trust.

By

Chelsea Irwin

I hate to break it to you, but most of what you’re reading online was written by the man behind the curtain…

If you really think that CEOs and VCs really have the time to sit down, with no interruptions, long enough to actually write some of the articles that they are posting online… you’re either naive, or have witnessed this first hand. I have witnessed this first hand, and work with CXOs who not only write their own content but enjoy writing it… I also know that this is rare.

(My hat is off to every executive that is as involved in the content creation process as the C-level team at Golden Mailer is.)

So what are you actually reading most of the time?

It starts with an idea. Usually something the “author” came up with in the shower or while his/her eyes were starting to glaze over at yet another employee’s birthday calibration. (I’m shocked the ice cream cake didn’t hold everyone’s interest for at least 15 minutes… especially those of us with lactose issues!?)

Then they get all ramped up about this idea. This is the fun part…? They want it published in Forbes.com! “There’s no reason it shouldn’t be, it’s an excellent idea that probably NO ONE has ever written about before.”

This is when the content writers (or “ghostwriters”) come in…

ghostwriters blog, Golden Mailer, Chelsea Irwin

First, you talk them off the ledge. Let’s start with a meeting. Hash out some talking points, possibly some analyst support, and then we can send you a mock up.

“FORBES!”

Yes, I understand. Let’s get what ever it is in your head down on paper first. ALWAYS RECORD THE BRIEFING CALLS!! These are high profile people and they read and meet with powerful connections multiple times a day. It’s almost like herding cats. First remind them of the topic. (By this point they have already thought of 10 more ideas – It should be a series!) You take what you can from the call; apply it to the topic at hand, and as a professional content writer, the rest is up to you.

You research and read and hopefully come across some of the material that sparked the initial interest in this topic. It’s your job to make “brilliant verbal diarrhea” sound great. You listen to the call over and over. Google some of his key phrases – BUT DON’T PLAGIARIZE! Attribute phrases if it fits. I have NEVER been afraid to attribute anything. It shows that I’m not plagiarizing and I did my research, or at least it shows that the author has.

This is a topic that could go on for pages. But I have two very important takeaways:

  1. As the writer, you have a responsibility to reflect the author’s opinions and point of view with facts and clear concepts.
  2. As the author, you have a responsibility to provide the writer with clear information. Not everything you have learned in the last 20-years. You must stay on track and stay focused for at least 15 minutes. You also have a responsibility to yourself to read EVERYTHING that is published with your name on it. Otherwise, you have no one to blame but yourself.

But no, I don’t think having a ghostwriter makes anyone a phony. I think most content writers would agree. They simply turn an idea into something you can share with other people.

After posting this discussion on LinkedIn

I was very surprised with how many people disagreed with me. When I really looked at the responses and why these people were disagreeing with me, I did find a common theme. “Writers” and “Journalist” – not just “Content Writers” – have a strong attachment to their words; it’s their intellectual property! The respondents that were fervent believers that putting your name on something you didn’t write is, “plagiarism, simple as that,” are the same writers that develop their own ideas and inspiration. Not to mention, many of them are book authors. I would agree that credit is due when someone ghostwrites a book.

I disagree that publishing a book about your life, which you didn’t necessarily write, but has your name listed as the author, makes you a liar. Many people make a living as Ghostwriters. They don’t have the name recognition to get a book deal, but they have the skills to help readers understand the author with words, the way the “subject” would want people to view them.

Maybe we can get into outsourcing your social media and engagement next time… That’s another can of worms!

“If you want them off the phone so bad, why don’t you just hang up?” – Boiler Room, Movie (2000)

I would like to take a trip back to Ben Affleck’s short, yet unforgettable, role in the 2000 film Boiler Room. It doesn’t matter if it’s B2B, B2C, wholesale, retail or just dreams that you are pitching…

“There is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless, that’s it, I’m done.” – Boiler Room boiler room, golden Mailer, Always Be Closing, Tristan Barger

We would NEVER operate under such crewed methods, language or overall goals, but he has a point. If you sell tires, every time the phone rings, there’s potential to sell a tire.

According to www.JustSell.com‘s negotiation guide, during negotiation…

  1. Use open-ended questions to confirm your understanding of their needs
  2. State your understanding of how the prospect or customer will benefit from your product or service – confirm this is accurate by asking
  3. Be prepared for tactical responses from prospects and customers – whether it’s the flinch following your price quote or silence – don’t react and instead respond with more questions
  4. Listen
  5. Don’t rush to fill pauses – become comfortable with moments of silence
  6. Be prepared to change the value proposition to support price concessions–support your price integrity by adjusting the overall value (e.g., change delivery times, follow-up schedules, service period, etc.)
  7. Try to identify agreement on small items to help develop positive momentum – summarize these agreements periodically
  8. Take notes to demonstrate you’re commitment to the negotiation and to help you find opportunities to summarize the smaller agreements verbally with the prospect/ customer

Always be cautious of your client’s time, space and boundaries. Don’t over step. Give them room to breath and never force them into something you don’t believe in yourself.

Most importantly… Never end a sales call or meeting with:

“Fine. I’m gonna take you off my list of successful people today.” – Boiler Room

If you haven’t seen the film, it’s not for children; however, it begins with a great quote from the lead character:

“I read this article awhile back, that said that Microsoft employs more millionaire secretary’s that any other company in the world. They took stock options over Christmas bonuses. It was a good move. I remember there was this picture, of one of the groundskeepers next to his Ferrari. Blew my mind. You see *stuff* like that, and it just plants seeds, makes you think it’s possible, even easy. And then you turn on the TV, and there’s just more of it. The $87 Million lottery winner, that kid actor that just made 20 million on his last movie, that Internet stock that shot through the roof, you could have made millions if you had just gotten in early, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do: get in. I didn’t want to be an innovator any more, I just wanted to make the quick and easy buck, I just wanted in. Nobody wants to work for it anymore. There’s no honor in taking that after school job at Mickey Dee’s, honor’s in the dollar, kid. So I went another way; I became a stockbroker.” – Boiler Room

This is when Sales Negotiating comes in…

You need to create a sales that benefits both parties! Everyone leaves HAPPPY!

The realization that it’s real people, with real lives, and real families that you are selling to, that’s the moment you become a sales person. The small businesses, the home loans, the company that employees your neighbor… It’s everywhere and there IS NO EASY WAY in. It takes work, time, trust, experience, knowledge, and most importantly, the ability to fall and get right back up and pick up the phone or serve the next customer. Simply knowing that you are selling them something that will benefit everyone is the only talking point you will need.

“Its strange to think how that knock changed everything, everything, hey don’t get me wrong here, I don’t believe in fate, I believe in odds.” – Boiler Room

A recent study published by SalesStaff.com found that 52% of in-house B2B sales representatives considered “Reaching Decision Makers” as their biggest challenge. What this survey failed to ask is whom they consider to be the “Decision Makers”? The most difficult part of B2B sales is to identify the person within the organization most influential when it comes to budgetary decisions – That’s the person you want to impress and build your initial relationship with. I call this person “The Gatekeeper”.

According to SalesStaff.com, a few other areas in-house sales reps struggle with are:

I come from a sales background, my focus is also on new business prospecting and client retention. These are all different forms of B2B sales. I increased monthly budgets, sold additional social media packages, and convinced the company to resign quarterly retainers regularly. Many of these sales were made without so much as a direct conversation with the CEO and myself.

These “Decision Makers” that every sales executives and associates so desperately try to get on the phone don’t take cold calls; a CEO will rarely take a cold call. There is that small percentage… and sometimes we just get lucky, but 90% of the people you want to get in front of have a “Gatekeeper”. They trust this person to not let any calls through, schedule any meetings, or spend any money on anything they haven’t been convinced is worth it. That’s why convincing “The Gatekeeper” is the key to getting the meetings and the sells you want.

“The Gatekeeper” will always tell you their boss isn’t available. That’s when to pitch them. If they buy your pitch, they will bring it to management. Don’t simply leave a message and hope the CEO will call you back. The people that screen my phone calls, emails, and scheduling meetings are employees I trust and opinions I take seriously. If they tell me something is worth trying, I’m often too busy to hear the details, but I trust them, so most of the time I will just give them the green light.

Most CEOs send marketing material to an assistant, department manager, or even an intern with a brief message… “Can you look into this? Do you think it’s worth doing?” Business owners just don’t have time to look into every single pitch that comes their way. But if it’s a really good pitch, they just might look into it further.

You shouldn’t be expecting a high success rate when you’re pitching business owners over the phone while making cold calls. If you have a long standing relationship, that’s a different story, but anything less than that, you can expect a lot of:

  1. I’m sorry, he/she isn’t in right now, can I take a message?
  2. On vacation for the week, can I take a message?
  3. What is this regarding and I will make sure they return your call.
  4. In a meeting… stepped out for lunch… unavailable…
  5. Then, there’s just the HANG UP (which is always fun!)

After 10 years of working on both sides I can say one thing is certain, if you find “The Gatekeeper”, the person the “Decision Maker” trusts and listens to, you will get a lot further than assuming there’s nothing they can do.

Ask the person on the other end if they are up-to-speed on the company’s current marketing efforts. If they aren’t just an answering service, send them the material – It’s better than leaving a message that will rarely even make it to the target.

Happy Holidays From Golden Mailer!

It was a close vote ending in a happy tie. Congrats to Mary & Chris for winning the 2014 Ugly Sweater Party Contest. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Golden Mailer Ugly Sweater Party

Sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words…

From everyone at Golden Mailer we wish you Happy Holidays and a safe New Years!

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For over 30 years, Golden Mailer has been providing businesses in the East Bay Area with the marketing tools they need to attract new customers. As we look forward to 2015, we reaffirm our commitment to providing our current customers with high-quality products and services at affordable prices.

The founder of Golden Mailer, Nicole Barger, built the company from the ground up and is passionate about helping other businesses succeed. The business continues to expand, and recently the company’s ownership transitioned to Nicole’s children, Tristan Barger, CEO, and Sabline Carbaugh, COO.

Their goal is to continue to maintain Nicole’s commitment to the success of businesses in our community. Tristan and Sabline are launching the company into the digital age to appeal to consumers and meet the marketing demands faced by business owners.

Our outstanding team consists of sales, marketing, and production staff who are passionate about providing support that goes a step above and beyond for our customers. We are all committed to providing unbeatable direct mail advertising while simultaneously fostering the online marketing side of the business. Online strategies include website development, SEO services, content creation, social media, and effective Internet marketing campaigns.

We invite you to join us as we celebrate our first 30 years of success. We look forward to the future of Golden Mailer as we continue to meet the growing needs of locally owned businesses all over the East Bay Area.