Is Your Social Media Program Perfect?

DOES YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROGRAM HAVE A ROADMAP?

Driving around aimlessly, or in lazy circles may seem “fun” to some people, but the reality is you never end up at the right (or any appropriate) destination.

With the advent of smartphone apps, GPS devices, and satellite mapping, trips become much more efficient and much less costly since we know exactly where we are going and what route we will take.

Many companies using social media have inadvertently become lost drivers – unsure where they are going and even less sure how to get there. Often, they start using social platforms with the goal of reaching a certain number of Likes, Retweets, or Shares, but just as often, they begin the trip of social media strategies experiencing a disconnect between the Content they post on their Blog or in Tweets. Even more frustrating is the methodology they use to measure their success.  It isn’t about how many Likes on the Facebook business page!   It IS about the level of engagement, interaction, participation, and two-way communication you are having with these social media “friends.”  Absent this, it simply means you are driving without a roadmap; you probably just don’t know it.

When you finally determine social media isn’t working for you, your social media approaches are likely missing one or two fundamental components: an effective content strategy and making it about THEM, not you.

Here are three ways a solid content strategy can improve your company’s social media success:
How Important is a Like?
You probably have learned that all social media engagement is not created equally. To realize success with the social media activity that you generate, it must support your marketing goals – whether you want to boost customer conversions, build interest in a service, or simply engage customers so they can feel connected to you and your company. (People like to feel involved)!
Developing an appropriate and effective Content strategy before you get involved in social media will help your business clarify the specific marketing goals you want to achieve. Well-thought-out Content enables you to communicate effectively to reach those goals. This process will ensure you get the right likes, shares, and retweets from social interactions.

Social is a Channel.
Social media is a channel for sharing compelling Content with your audience, and it doesn’t work if you don’t know what issues, topics, and trends your audience finds compelling. Learning how those you are trying to reach want to be talked to, is a key part of developing a content strategy. Those on Facebook will expect something different than those on Twitter or Pinterest. Where do they go for the information they need at that moment? How much time do they spend online searching for the info they want? What kind of content are they looking for from your industry?

By getting to know the pains, issues, challenges, and interests of your audience (customers and potential customers, etc.), you can develop specific campaigns to reach your online audience more effectively, saving you time and enhancing your company’s social influence.  Remember, the primary reason to be social is to be a part of your community and customers.

Relevant Content Should be of Substance.
Rulers of social content don’t become that way by luck. They use strategic procedures and methods to connect with their audience through the right channels at the right times. More importantly, they make these connections meaningful and memorable by posting and sharing strategic, relevant content that their audiences desire.

Being successful in the world of social media means you have to create a detailed roadmap, identifying all the “places you want to visit, and how you will get to those places.”  A well-planned, well-thought-out, well-implemented Content strategy is not only an important component of any social media strategy; it’s the key to driving the results your business wants.

Your audience members enjoy your valuable or interesting social content when you deliver social content that rewards them for sharing your content, engaging with your business, and, ideally, helping to promote your reputation as a thought leader in your business or industry.  The right, methodically planned content strategy allows you to do just that when you have a clear and concise roadmap for your social media trip. Providing informative, helpful, educational, creative, and even humorous content makes it far more likely that you will have meaningful interactions.

Author: Dick Wagner –  expert on Social Media for Service Businesses   419-202-6745

Relationship Marketing is Alive – Maybe!

Route Marketing Is Dead

…is the title of the last article I wrote for R&R mag online. Many of the calls and emails I received asked if I thought they should completely quit marketing to insurance agents or adjusters or plumbers. The short answer is No. More accurately is: HOW you are marketing – (what you are saying) because cookie marketing won’t get the jobs you need and want. Wasted route marketing is what I keep referring to as Stop, Drop and Roll. Simply put, it is when the “marketing rep,” (and I use that term loosely) is more concerned about how many Stops they are able to achieve in one day or week/month. They just Drop off a bag of donuts and Roll on to the next Stop.

Some owners think that the shotgun blast approach – requiring the rep to hit as many Stops as possible – somehow increases the likelihood that the Stop will automatically produce work! I continue to be amazed at how many restoration contractors want quantity over quality. Quantity equates to less mental effort, less skill, and less commitment and creates an illusion that “busy” is better, and that type of marketing certainly means fewer deep relationships.

Relationships are the glue that keeps the client close to the marketer/restoration company. Relationships are what make the prospect want to refer work to the marketer. Relationships are what help overcome the occasional “bad” situation that develops during a project. I don’t advocate that you quit visiting prospects – quite the opposite! Just be absolutely sure that you and your marketing reps understand how important the Relationship connection is to what you really want to achieve.

Since it is clear in almost every “marketing for dummies” type book, that relationships are the key, the challenge is: what are the steps, the process, and the methods, to develop valuable relationships? An old boss (sorry Jack – didn’t mean it that way) used to tell me that we really don’t want all the potential customers; we only wanted 10% of them. What he meant was that first: you can’t get All the customers, second: you don’t want All the customers, third: there is the old Law of Diminishing Return that goes something like this; 10% of the good customers will yield you 90% of the sales. And yes, I’ve taken a very liberal literary license with this idea, however, the point to be taken is; don’t waste your valuable time (something you can’t buy more of) trying to hook all the fish in the sea of prospects.

Most important are the Steps and Methods you use to develop these relationships. So often the rep visit to the prospect goes something like this: “Hi, I’m Frankie with BigDog Restoration. Let me tell you a little about BigDog. We answer our phone 24/7/365 and we are IICRC certified and we care more about our customers, and we have uniforms, and no tattoos, and logoed trucks, and a really cool thing is we are the only contractor in the area that has the Binford Ultra 5000 SuperSucker machine so we can dry your clients’ property in 15 minutes or less.” Or some baloney like this.

There are several fatal flaws in that approach that gets you into immediate trouble. First, your competition is going to go out and buy the Binford Screamin Meanie 6000 Ultra Fast SuperSucker, so all of that effort (and money) is now wasted, therefore promoting equipment won’t buy you long-term business. Second, the prospect really does NOT care about your business, and does NOT want to know the details of your business! Third, if you haven’t learned this yet, it’s NOT about you!

I can’t impress upon you enough that the prospect cares about their business, their opportunities, their sales, their profit, their quality of life, their success, etc. OK, you think, then I’ll just go in and say “tell me a little about your business” or some other fatal comment. If you have to ask them to tell you a little about their business, then shame on you. You should already know a LOT about their business, having done your homework on that prospect and industry. You should already know which prospects can send you jobs; know which ones have the potential for a reasonable volume of work to send you, know about the challenges and issues facing the prospect, and how you can help them get what they want. For example, it is no secret that many insurance agents are struggling to retain clients, in part because of the big shift to internet-purchased insurance. You ought to know this already and then demonstrate to the prospect that you understand this and that your company’s focus is on helping the agent with client retention. They are then far more likely to want to do business with you. This is just one of a hundred (thousand) ways to bring value to your prospect in advance – just one of many ways that you are helping them with what they care about; (their sales, their profit, their quality of life, their success).

Poor route marketing IS dead, but Relationship building is not. Stop, Drop and Roll marketing is a shotgun blast into the air – you might get lucky and hit a low-flying bird once in a while but that’s not reliable and certainly not profitable. I love the saying “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.” Don’t let your marketing rep be out there blindly hoping to “find a nut” and think they are really doing a good job!

It is also no secret that most restoration contractors are experiencing a shrinking book of smaller residential losses/jobs. (If you just got on a third-party program, you may have the perception that you are finally seeing that long-sought-after increase, but I am not hopeful that it will be long-term considering all the radical changes happening in the insurance claims industry). Plus, you probably joined the TPA program because you were experiencing less and less small residential work that used to be your bread and butter.

It is very important – especially since our society is dramatically changing, to have a marketing process where your reps utilize a specialized sales program to “see the right people, say the right things, provide value-in-advance, and recognize that the prospect cares about their own issues – not yours.” In addition to these specialized sales and marketing methods, it is my belief that for mitigation and restoration contractors to survive over the next 10 or 15-plus years, they will need to implement a very methodical and targeted strategy to develop commercial work. This means creating the opportunities NOW to get referrals from commercial property managers, facilities managers, schools, colleges, hotels, large churches, hospitals, etc before your competition does! And make no mistake about it… your competition is aggressively going after this potential work, signing up commercial properties in anticipation of that future disaster that could strike their facility.

Recently, I had a client bemoaning the fact that all the “out-of-town, out-of-state contractors, including all the national multi-office companies, swarmed into New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy and took all of what this contractor thought was going to be hurricane gravy opportunities. She thought her ship had come in, only to find out the competition smashed a hole in her figurative ship and she floundered in the water without getting all the work she had hoped. An ongoing strategy of methodical marketing, developing emergency response plans for the commercial prospects in the region, would have put her securely in a position of having the most profitable jobs already in her portfolio. The out-of-staters wouldn’t have had the heyday they got.

If the “local” contractor had previously developed a locked-in, committed, commercial client base, she would have had first pick of those losses. Society is dramatically changing the way business is done, the way they interact with people, the way they refer and recommend, AND the way they hire contractors.

Is Relationship Marketing Alive?
Author: Dick Wagner, National Sales Coach

Specializing in exclusive territory commercial marketing programs

Stupid Things Contractors Say On Social Media

I hope you didn’t make this stupid comment!

The highlighted message below (in quotes) was recently posted on a Social Media site by a contractor who, in my opinion, is ill-informed – at best.

“Attention Homeowners: Do Not Choose a Restoration Company/Contractor who has little, or no experience working with Insurance companies.
As the insurance policyholder, it is your responsibility to disclose any loss to the insurance company and provide the necessary documentation required to process the claim. You will need an estimate from a restoration company that meets the strict insurance company requirements, created using specific estimating software. If the estimate format does not meet the insurance company standards, it may be rejected.”

Sadly, the above statement seems to be the belief of many restoration companies! In my humble opinion, it’s absolutely WRONG.

First: The Skills and Experience needed are: knowing the correct way to mitigate and restore the property.

Second: what do they mean “disclose any loss?” If the toilet overflows in your home and you get it cleaned up quickly and properly, and choose not to make a claim (or the cost is below your deductible amount), you are NOT required to contact your insurance company.

Third: An Estimate is not required. Certainly, the property owner may want an idea of what to expect in costs, but it is NOT required, and the insurance company does not and cannot demand it!

Fourth: No insurance company has the right to require the contractor to use “specific estimating software.” There are several Estimating programs on the market and the key word is “Estimate.” That means approximate, close, about, in the area, a general idea or expectation of the cost.

Policyholders are required to immediately mitigate their loss to prevent further damage. This means they are required to hire a contractor and get the loss mitigated ASAP. No estimate is required by the insurance company, (however, the policyholder may ask for an approximate price). And, yes, the adjuster or agent may TELL YOU that you need to get an estimate but they cannot DEMAND it! No place in the homeowner policy does it require an estimate before work is done.

Only those contractors that have sold their souls to Third Party Administrators or Preferred Vendor Programs are expected to use the “approved pricing program of the TPA or insurance carrier – in the format they demand.”

Working With Insurance Companies.
As the insurance policyholder, it is your responsibility to disclose any loss to the insurance company and provide the necessary documentation required to process the claim. You will need an estimate from a restoration company that meets the strict insurance company requirements,

created using specific estimating software. If the estimate format does not meet the insurance company standards, it may be rejected.”

Sadly, the above statement seems to be the belief of many restoration companies! In my humble opinion, it’s absolutely WRONG.

Dick Wagner, National Marketing Coach, and Commercial Marketing Expert

Five Personality Types Jeopardizing Your Success

The procrastinator: waits seemingly forever for the right moment, the right situation, to act. If you want a self-fulfilling prophecy, then practice procrastination! It leads to apathy and is extremely demotivating. It’s easy for many people to be procrastinators. There’s always “a better time” to do what needs to be done. To say we work better under pressure is bogus and it really means we are desperate and have no choice but to perform.

The distracted person is one I’ve written about before. This kind of person is like the cat chasing the red laser light. They’re constantly vulnerable to the shiny object syndrome (SOS). Too much time is spent on poor ideas and rabbit holes instead of setting goals and working the plan. I see this in business owners that constantly think they need to add an additional service to their product offering. They waste valuable time and resources (often money) trying to get a new service or product off the ground and yet they haven’t perfected their core services.

The dreamer has lots of big ideas and I’ve also written articles about this too. Since we all know that dreaming can be a good thing for coming up with new ideas, we get pulled into the dreaming syndrome of wasting time on far-fetched ideas and failing to implement any of them. Sadly, without effective and full implementation, dreams are doomed to failure.

The analytical becomes too paralyzed with overthinking to let go and make something happen. I teach specialized marketing classes around the country and routinely see business owners and sometimes even GMs that are so focused on “what might go wrong,” or “what could improve it” that they never take the strategies any further. They can see it all “in their head” but that’s where the strategy stays – dead and incomplete.

The non-producer is always busy but never really productive. How many marketing reps have worked for you that were always bubbly, energetic, happy, and constantly on the go, But… rarely ever really produced jobs or real work. Their engine is screaming, there is lots of noise, and smoke is pouring out the exhaust, but their wheels are in the mud just spinning and not going anywhere. Owners often tell me their marketers are rocking but these same owners don’t understand that real jobs need to be generated by these marketers. Lots of “busy” action rarely leads to jobs and projects that generate income. Without COLLABORATION MARKETING, it’s all wasted effort.

As a side note about the non-producer: this type of person usually only lasts a few months to a year and then the owner hires another person to do the same foolish thing. If only they knew how to use collaboration marketing to generate maven relationships, instead of the Stop Drop and Roll marketing!

Click on the links in this article to read more about “Stop Drop and Roll,” and Collaboration!
Dick Wagner is a Disaster Restoration and Commercial Marketing Consultant.

Owner and General Managers Do You Sell?

As the Owner or GM do you go out, call on clients and actually sell?

I consult with and coach many business owners, and I hear a common complaint: “The sales and marketing team isn’t making their revenue numbers and I don’t know what to do to get their sales numbers up. What should I do?”

When I ask how much the Owner or GM is selling, I almost always get the same answer – “My GM doesn’t sell.” Really? How can he be “in touch?” Worse is: “I’m too busy being the Owner to go out and sell!”

The problem with many owners and managers is that they aren’t expected to get out of the office and sell, or even build relationships. And the problem with that is how can they teach and coach something they aren’t doing themselves (or worse, that they can’t do)? How do you have real credibility?

The most effective and respected owners and managers lead by example. They have a personal quota (even if it’s a small number) and they keep their skills sharp and refined because they are on out in the real world closing prospects and clients every day. This gives them a real understanding of what it takes to get the job done, and so they are in the best position to teach this to others.

The top 4 benefits of having an Owner or General Manager that actively sells:

    • Owners and managers who actively sell have a current and intimate understanding of what techniques, skills, and strategies work in your selling environment. And having this first-hand knowledge means they can teach it to others.
    • Because a selling owner or manager has this immediate experience of closing sales, they are in a much better position to help their team members close business as well.
    • A selling manager commands the immediate respect and confidence of his/her sales team. An owner is a leader of his team, and the best way to lead is by example. Marketers respect and follow a leader who can help them close sales and achieve their goals.
    • A confident manager grows a confident and productive team. Nothing is better for a manager than to have him/her demonstrate they have what it takes to successfully close deals. Smaller companies usually have no more than one or two sales professionals, along with a General Manager or Owner overseeing them. As GM or Owner, they have a number of responsibilities and often don’t have sales backgrounds. Because of this, they struggle to provide the necessary direction and often fail to help their sales professionals realize their full potential. A great solution for a smaller company is hiring an “outside” coach or “remote sales manager” which can be far less expensive than bringing on a full-time salaried sales manager in-house. An outside sales coach can still review Daily Activity, establish Goals, and generally hold the sales staff accountable to the numbers and targets. Even the smallest sales force needs some form of sales management. An outside sales coach/manager brings objectivity, accountability, and valuable sales guidance.

At a minimum, a marketing manager should:

    • Know the real buying environment
    • Have measurable goals/quotas
    • Hold marketers accountable
    • Track and hold salespeople accountable
    • Be skilled in training sales staff
    • Be able to motivate your salespeople

A final thought:
Most managers believe that salespeople should be able to convince prospects to buy. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that their salespeople can’t convince people to do anything they don’t already want to do. Insist that your salespeople treat prospects with trust and respect, utilize an effective sales process, and abandon all forms of persuasion, false urgency, and manipulation. It’s about the client, NOT about the salesman or his services.

And most importantly, as an owner or general manager, establish your own personal quota and go out and sell – even if it’s only one qualified prospect each week!

Author: Dick Wagner, Marketing Coach, and Consultant, Commercial Marketing Expert

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