A new discount chain opened up in our area a couple of months ago. I was one of the first to go check it out on opening day. There were plenty of good deals to be had throughout the store, but what caught my attention the most was the maze check-out line with items to buy all along the way. Everyone in front of me picked up at least one of these impulse buys, I think most people just can’t help themselves, especially when faced with what seems like a good deal, but really all it does is make us spend money on items we were not intending on buying and blowing a budget. Good for the store, not good for our wallets!

Is this how your marketing plan is for your business? Do the promotional t-shirt companies call for a $500 donation and a spot on the back of a shirt to support a local team? Do the radio reps come in with a special offer just for this week? Has a television rep offered a free commercial for your business along with a great deal on a schedule? Were any of these “deals” part of your advertising budget set at the beginning of the year or was that toast by the second quarter?

Truth is we all LOVE a good deal, but most of the time, these deals are not as good as they seem. However, if a business doesn’t have a set marketing plan and budget for the year, often the business marketing message is inconsistent and ineffective. SDB Creative Group works with our clients to establish their goals for the upcoming year, develop a strategic marketing plan that would incorporate, traditional media, digital media and promotional media, talk to all of the people with their “offers”, so you don’t have to, and makes sure you stay on track with your message and your budget.

The best time to get your plan together for 2013 is now. If you would like to schedule an appointment to go over your 2013 marketing plan and how we could help you stay on track and on budget, call us today!

You’ve got the perfect 30 second commercial, a great social media campaign, an informative website, and a trained staff to sell your products and services, but if you were on an elevator and had 30 seconds to tell a stranger what you do, could you do it?

As a business owner, you know your business, but often explaining the business to another seems harder than it should be. Do you give them just a simple sentence, “I am a lawyer” or do you go further and explain all aspects of the specialty law you do? The answer lies somewhere in between both. Too short of an answer and you will not give the listener any reason to use your business if they happen to need it. Too long of an answer and you may come across long winded and “salesy”.

An “elevator speech” is a 30 second or less description of your business that gives the listener enough information to know what you do, and if your services would be valuable to them. Doesn’t seem very long, does it? It’s not, but it’s also about as big of an attentions span as our society has these days, and good “elevator speech” will get the reader’s attention, have them engaged in a conversation, and illustrate how you could help them in a very short amount of time.

Step 1: Getting their Attention
Does your current explain of your business or “elevator speech,” give a clear explanation of what you do? For example, if you have seen the show Gas Monkeys, if the owner of this Dallas based business simply said they were mechanics, he would be short changing his business and the work they do. However, if the owner said, “I have a car shop that restores old cars and restores cars to be sold at auction; we can simply restore them to their original condition or go further and add custom detailing to make the car even more special.” This tells the listener that they are no ordinary mechanic shop.

Step 2: Engage in Conversation
Now, that he has peaked an interest much more than if they had just said I am a mechanic, he needs to engage the listener. Let them ask more questions and help them understand your business. Once, they understand exactly what you do, your business is likely to be top of mind, when there need arises.

Step 3: Entice the Listener
In this particular example, the need is a desire to have a great car. You would know because you engaged conversation, and they understand that you are an expert in your field. The perceived need has been planted and they will be calling you soon to do business. Success!

All small businesses are in sales, and the doors are never closed. Whether you are at a soccer game or an elegant dinner, every conversation is an opportunity. Don’t miss out!

Training staff. Every company recognizes the importance of it, but few actually dedicate the resources to properly do it. This week’s blog looks at two methods of training and asks you which one you want to practice, and which one you currently are. Have you built your company where it can run on its own without you? Can your staff handle every situation without you? If the answer is no, your training program needs an upgrade. What kind of training are you currently using? Let’s take a look first at the most popular form.

The Tribal Method
Using the tribal method, companies pass information down from employee to employee. Is it effective? If you have a superstar employee passing the information down, yes. In many cases though bad habits and poor practices are passed down using the tribal method. This only multiplies these bad habits and practices in your operation. Unfortunately the tribal method of training is the most used.

Developing a successful training program takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. This makes the tribal method very attractive. It is easy and requires very little thought other than which employee to match up and train your new one. Don’t be tempted to take the easy road.

Now let’s look at an alternative to the tribal method that will get your employees producing faster with less effort on your end (except in the development phase)

The Systematic Method
The systematic method is very simple. You basically define how your entire operation functions. The hardest part for you is taking the time to define your operation. If you will take the time to do this, it will pay huge dividends for you in the future and will save you and your staff a tremendous amount of time training new employees. Here are some basics that you should include:

  • Welcome statement
  • Employee handbook
  • Time management
  • Company history
  • Company philosophy
  • Business model
  • Sales process
  • Products and services
  • Competitors
  • Industry knowledge
  • Specialized knowledge
  • Policies
  • Procedures

Next you should include testing on each section. These tests make sure your new employees comprehend the information. They should be reviewed with the new employees before moving on to the next section. This also gives you the opportunity to reemphasize key points of the training to set the appropriate expectations for your new employee.

Your training can be presented in a printed format or even better, online in a separate training website. If you would like to learn more about how to develop a systematic, online training program, give SDB a call. We’ll even let you take a peek at ours.