Licensed To Sell

With a nod to Mr. Bond, I’d ask you today: do you have a license to sell?

In the not so literal sense, do you have your ducks in a row, poop in a group, and otherwise thoughts and practices lined up so you can actually sell your goods and services?

If not, today’s the day. Now’s the time. Go. The only thing you’re waiting for is yourself.

This idea of a license to sell came to me while talking with a colleague.

  • What do I need to allow me to sell?
  • What is my licensing process and procedure to ensure I’m ready to serve to the sale?

For marketing, the licensing includes knowing that marketing is communication. Knowing that I need to ask lots of questions before I begin assisting my clients – and ask lots of them before actually engaging. Qualify first – make sure you talk it out, set up parameters you can both live within and flourish within before beginning.

What do YOU need to be licensed to sell?

What do YOU need to be licensed to sell?

Many an agreement is soured by lack of forethought, getting the specifics on paper, and then not following the mutually agreed upon guidelines. Use the agreement as a guide while still always working through it together. Like all guides, you can and should change directions when it merits and makes sense. All the same, having the guide is the important thing here: outline clear scope, terms, details, duties, tasks, responsibilities and investments.

The world is trusting you know what you’re doing. Often we do, sometimes we don’t though. And that’s the time – actually before that time – is when we need to make sure we’ve got all our assets and priorities aligned to move forward smoothly and effectively.

Drop the ego, arrogance and fake perceived threat that you’re competing against someone else too, while you’re at it. The only competition you have is with yourself. If your potential clients don’t see that, I suggest going elsewhere to work and exercise your talents. There are plenty of people who will find you valuable.

What do you need to be licensed to sell?

Everybody’s Business: Business Cards

When you meet me, you’ll find I’ll ask some open-ended questions, shake your hand firmly, and ask you for a business card – as well as have mine readily at hand to share with you.

Recently, a woman bought an item I had listed on Craig’s List. As she was preparing to leave, I asked her for a business card. “I really don’t have one…”, she trailed off.

Why not?, is always my question.

A business card with your name and phone number printed on it is a valuable piece of communication. It silently shares basic information at a moments notice. No need for pencil and paper – you’ve already got it handy!

IMG_4210As a big proponent of the usefulness of Business Cards, here are a few tips I’d offer today.

  1. Make sure your business card is on sturdy though not thick stock paper. Recycled best and not slippery. You need people to be able to write on it easily.
  2. The font you choose should be easy to read and of a size that is truly readable from a few feet away. Tiny print is a pain in the eyeballs for everyone.
  3. Must haves: First & last name, direct phone number, direct email. Street & mailing address are wise additions for many, especially merchants.
  4. Portrait orientation instead of landscape will get more notice. My cards are round. Yes, round. And they get a comment every single time I pass them out. As a marketer I better have a good card!
  5. Leave open space on the card, preferably the back, to write notes, dates you met, follow up info.
  6. I recommend not having a photo of yourself on the card. Why would you, really? Someone would have to convince me it’s key to a successful card.
  7. Use colored paper. White fades into everything else. Stand out.
  8. Hire a professional proofreader. Do it again. Do it a final time. Accuracy is critical and easy to conquer.

Have them handy, everywhere. Shirt pockets, jackets, bags, backpacks, purses. There is no reason to not have them within easy grasp if you have them printed. You got them to give them out – make it easy on yourself to do so.

Business cards will never go away. They are silent sales people, reminders, and fun to use. It’s a personal touch in an era of impersonality. It’s a tiny version of you to stay top of mind and easy to find.

My desktop Rolodex (yes, really) is invaluable, as is the 3 ring binder with clear sheets housing additional business cards. I reference it regularly to quickly find whom I’m in search of.

Get yourself a great card. Use it. See the benefit and fun that follow. If you want more specific advice on cards, call me. I’ll bring my binder over.

Marketing Management 101

Marketing is communication.

No stalling: get into managing your marketing.

No stalling: get into managing your marketing.

In this direction and mindset, ask yourself & consider:

  1. Does your business have style? What’s the marketing style of the business?
  2. You only succeed when they do. What are you doing to help others succeed? What are you doing to help your marketing efforts succeed?
  3. Questions are the answer. Ask yourself and your team questions every day you work. I know I come up with questions while I’m doing other ‘non-work’ activities. Write them down, return to them and use them.
  4. When those questions (above) are answered, ask others. If there’s not an immediate clear answer, let the thought ruminate in your grey matter.
  5. What opportunities are you giving yourself to have your marketing efforts succeed? What opportunities are you giving other people to use your marketing to succeed themselves? How does that create a mutually beneficial relationship?
  6. What’s your marketing battle cry?

I Stopped McLovin’ It Today

On a recent road trip My Fine Husband and I decided to patronize McDonald’s. We do so with random regularity when opportunity arises and the purpose fits the situation.

It was on this trip I stopped from the first time and asked myself (and MFH) why is it we visit and buy McDonald’s? What is it about the brand and experience we think we gravitate towards?

The questions came upon visiting one particular McDonald’s store in Utah….while I’m guessing this specific store isn’t monolithic, we found the visit to be especially strange. Here’s why.

  1. The store had all the windows wrapped in the apparent newest campaign, Create Your Taste. It immediately made me think of the decades long gone by Burger King campaign, Have It Your Way. Not being able to see inside from the parking lot was a bit unsettling – felt like walking into a windowless structure, which isn’t what we anticipate with McDonald’s or any food establishment. Think adult store instead.

2. We both went to the bathrooms first to wash hands since we’d just fueled up. It’s good I’m steady on my feet because the just mopped floor was extremely slippery – with no caution signs inside. What was in the bathroom were gloves, cleaning solution and a bucket on the single bathroom sink. The stuffs effectively blocked half the sink access for customers. The caution sign was outside the bathrooms, though the tiles there were slippery enough that it’d take very little to truly slip and be hurt by the fall.

3. The front ordering area was a bit cramped, with self-service kiosks – wait, what?!?? Since when is fast food self-serve food? It felt like they’re trying to remove any remaining human touch in the experience. I’d ask why. Like most consumers, the experience is a big part of why we patronize any business. I didn’t like the kiosks – they felt redundant too…since you still needed to go to the counter to complete the interaction, if not the transaction. We ordered at the counter.

4. The counter personnel was ill trained. No “Hello” or greet when we approached. The employee was efficient to the point of drill sargenty…not good. No smile, no offer of help to assist us. Major points down. It was very cold and uncaring – again, the experience relies heavily on the actual interaction with crew. Staccato delivery, clearly in need of education and customer service training. No “Thank You” either, which – for me – is the deal maker and deal breaker.

5. At one point while we were waiting in line, a young girl came in (about 10ish) and asked at the counter for the drink that was forgotten in her Happy Meal they’d ordered via the drive through. The employees were joking about it, got the milk, and didn’t apologize or thank her. Totally unacceptable and a terribly model to show off.

6. Our order was indicated by a number – which is what we felt like: a number. Cattle call. Faceless, immaterial, and unimportant.

7. The soda machine where we filled our cups with was nothing short of figuring out how to program the VCR. Some people like lots of electronic choices. I do not. And I’m not a Luddite. I simply want basic easy to figure out stuff – especially since they’re clearly removing the human interaction to assist in the transaction.

They do it all for...who?

They do it all for…who?

So back to the original question: Why do we patronize McDonald’s? What’s in it for us?

  1. We know what we are expecting. The same tastes and experience. My usual = the 2 Cheeseburger meal. It’s what I know I am happy with and can count on consistency wise.
  2. The crew is usually helpful and friendly, and they’re all sorts of different people who we totally enjoy. The people make and break experiences.
  3. We pay what we expect to pay. Again, consistency.

This experience is a huge message in knowing your market. McDonald’s is incredibly successful for many reasons and I laud them for it (fascinating book about them here, by the way).

I may still choose them once in a while, though my lens had been adjusted now. Any size company, association, and corporation – of any tax status – has to be in better touch with their market.

Perhaps I’m simply not who McDonald’s is after, customer wise. T’would be a pity for me since I want to like them for a variety of reasons.

So many I won’t stop McLovin’ them today, yet my affinity is now adjusted.

Women & Beer Survey 2015: Call For Input

‘Tis the season to pour a delicious beverage and tell people what you think!

If you’re a woman and have an opinion about beer, please contribute.

Here’s the link – and it’s easy to remember as well:

Thanks for your input! Men - forward to the great women in your lives please.

Thanks for your input!
Men – forward to the great women in your lives please.

Why are we doing this? In 2012 we put forth a 50 question survey – the first of its kind anywhere – for women to share their insights, opinions and thoughts on their relationship with beer.

Response was explosive! And I’ve started writing the (first) book with the insight. To make sure we’re still correct on much of the data shared, I’m offering this brief period for more to reply, whether new opinions or previous ones with an updated lens. Surveys will be accepted until December 31st, 2015.

It’s a quick 10 questions, fun to answer and all replies are very much appreciated.

Cheers & happy holidays ~

Ginger, Founder & Chief Everything Is Possible Officer

Ginger Johnson Marketing

Women Enjoying Beer

The Value In Your Communications (AKA Marketing)

Marketing is communication.

If you’ve heard me speak in person, followed me here, Twitter and other places you’ll know Rule #1 = Know Your Market.

Ribbon Cuttings highlight your business and provide a terrific reason to announce a business anniversary, product line roll out, and generally give people to get together and celebrate - and they build business.

Ribbon Cuttings highlight your business and provide a terrific reason to announce a business anniversary, product line roll out, and generally give people to get together and celebrate – and they build business.

So let me give you the gift of insight this holiday season as it relates to your future business success and your marketing endeavors.

  1. Marketing is tied to everything you do in your efforts. What you wear? Yes. What you say? Absolutely? How you share, what you share, where you share? Yep. Be aware of the how’s, what’s and where’s – they will live forever. Make sure they’re what you want out there for all to find.
  2. Marketing is directly tied to your financial success. Forethought is required, not just ‘nice’, in considering and determining where your marketing dollars should be invested. Yes, you need to have marketing as one of your business line items, one that regularly gets fed. If not and you wonder why businesses is floundering, well, you’ve choked off the marketing oxygen. No wonder.
  3. Interview and hire various marketing pros. We all have different particular areas of specialty, expertise and interest. You’re as different as we – so get recommendations from qualified colleagues, interview (30 minutes in person is best, phone fine, never email), and choose according to your goals and plans. From full-blown strategy and tactic development to one-project at a time, if your work is worth it – it’s worth hiring the right pro (do you change your own oil?).
  4. Be thoughtful, especially this time of year, of how often your constituency wants to hear from you – not how often you want to cram your message down their throats. Your fundraising and sales are not their concern: they should be your concern though. Marketing is about your message, delivered how your audience wants, when they want, where they want. If you get to know them, they’ll help you and you’ll be rewarded. If not, they’ll tune out and go elsewhere. And you can’t blame them – it’s all on you!

Give the gift of smart marketing to your self and your audience, customers, and supporters this season. Like a friend I know once said, “Bad marketing should be illegal.” I agree!

Go forth, know your market, have fun with it and you’ll be successful.