You Need Collaboration Marketing!

Collaboration Marketing has arrived at the forefront…of the most effective way to advance your products and services.

We have gone through several types of marketing concepts and methods during the past 20 years, including traditional “Route” Marketing (repetitive – in their face) which includes “Stop, Drop & Roll” marketing, “Bribery” Marketing (giving them goodies so they will like you), to “Relationship” Marketing (knowing all about them and their family).

Most of us have tried some or all of these marketing approaches with limited to great success during the past years. The culture and climate of the business world were receptive to many of these methods, and depending on the skill of the marketer, they have served more or less appropriately.  Let me be perfectly clear here: the culture and climate of the business world have changed more in the last five years than at any time in the past 100 years!  That said, Relationship Marketing is one of the more recent past styles of marketing that is still very effective and valuable, especially when combined with Collaboration Marketing.

Collaboration Marketing focuses on attracting customers. Collaboration Marketing creates an environment where the target (client or prospect) wants to seek you out and engage you – a climate where they WANT to come to you.  That might only mean they want to ask you a question – simply because they perceive you to be their go-to person i.e. “in the know.” The question they seek an answer to may not even be related to your business!

This collaborative approach draws customers by becoming ever more useful so they begin to seek you out for the off the wall type help which you should welcome. The example I often give is: “as a restoration company, you might expect your client to call you for help on a technical aspect of a Fire, Water or Mold problem, but collaborative success is really achieved when they call you because they need advice on where to buy mulch, or who is the best lawn service.”  You may think, why should I want them to call me for mulch? The simple answer is: “You want them to think of you as the go-to person so much so, that they immediately think of you for non-restoration type questions.”  When your client has that level of comfort with you, (they are thinking of you often), they WILL call you for the services that you provide and won’t even think of shopping elsewhere. In short: Effective collaborative marketing creates an almost unbreakable loyalty to you!

Traditional advertising, mailers, flyers, brochures, etc are designed to interrupt the “target” and be in their face – whether they want the information or not!  The “PULL” approach of Collaboration Marketing means the marketer becomes so helpful to prospects and clients that they seek the marketer out, rather than the old “PUSH” approach,  shoving “interruptive sales pitches” out in the hope that customers will be receptive to the offer.

Collaboration Marketing is about becoming more and more helpful by utilizing a wide range of resources to position the marketer to become very valuable, providing knowledge and information so that the client can immediately benefit. Rather than “owning the customer”, collaboration marketing strives to give each customer the perception that they own the vendor.

Traditional “one to one marketing” interrupts, however, Collaboration Marketing makes the focus more about “many to one”, connecting numerous clients with as many other clients, vendors, (including other customers), and yes even competitors!  Plus, collaboration marketing is also the best way to learn what customers really think and want. We can then modify our products or services by incorporating the feedback into our product and services development process.

You may object by saying: “Traditional marketing techniques give us tight control over our marketing messages and brand. They’ve served us well for decades. Why change?”  The short answer is: “This is happening whether we like it or not. People today are actively and publicly expressing their opinions about our company and products. If we don’t engage, competitors will.”

I speak often about the critical need of marketers to seek out, find, and provide Resource Documents to their prospects and clients.  Resource documents (white papers, reports, and interesting articles) can come from consultants, distributors, similar industries, green-building experts, energy efficiency organizations, research companies, PR firms, Bloggers, and the almost unlimited database from Google. This list is endless and the sources could be many; it is not the number of individuals or consultants involved, but the quality and usefulness of the resource materials (information) that makes for successful marketing and establishes you as their go-to person.

If you aren’t developing a “relationship” with a prospect or client that includes Collaboration, you are not staying in today’s game. The game has changed, the rules have changed, and if you aren’t careful the players (you) may be replaced.


Dick Wagner is a Restoration Consultant and Commercial Sales Coach   419-202-6745

Nationally recognized restoration marketing consultant
Specializing in exclusive territory commercial marketing programs

Fifteen Fairytales of Marketing

Fifteen Fairytales of Marketing

1.    My company doesn’t need marketing

2.    I can’t afford the money to market

3.    If I’m really that good, people will find me

4.    Sorry, but marketing doesn’t work in my community

5.    I hate to market, ignoring it is the best approach

6.    I have an ad in the Yellow Pages, that’s all I need

7.    Trucks need graphics, so I will get noticed

8.    My time is limited, and marketing takes too much time

9.    Networking of any kind is a waste of effort

10.  My marketers don’t have much impact

11.  We deliver candy to our clients monthly, that’s enough

12.  Homeowners don’t use Social Media to find contractors

13.  FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube don’t bring any ROI

14.  Businesses would never search vendors using Google

15.  Warm leads can’t be generated from LinkedIn

If this is your style of business,  GOOD LUCK.

Dick Wagner is a National Sales Coach and Commercial Marketing Consultant.  419-202-6745

Collaboration Marketing – Are You On Board?

Collaboration Marketing

A new, more social friendly strategy that deviates from old traditional methods where companies used interruption style advertising and promotion, as ways of marketing. Instead, it focuses on attracting customers by way of understanding their needs and fulfilling their needs, providing a dramatically more personalized customer service. Collaboration Marketing involves strategies that are customer tailored and all aimed at maximizing and adding customer value before, during and after they have purchased the products or service.

Collaboration Marketing can involve the use of third parties to add value to customers’ relationship.  Strategies are often geared toward viewing marketing as “many to one” rather than the common strategy of “one to one marketing”. It also involves collaborating with prospects and customers by way of connecting each prospect or customer with others, with the aim of adding and maximizing value for customers. This is the  represents a “pull” approach – where the marketer becomes so helpful to customers that they seek the marketer out, rather than a conventional “push” approach blasting marketing messages out in an effort to find customers that might be receptive to the marketer’s offering. Continue reading “Collaboration Marketing – Are You On Board?”

Your Company Literature Is Junk!

Throw away your company literature!

Have you ever really thought about why you have company brochures, flyers, literature, and even business cards?
Here are the brutal facts about your marketing materials: they are all about you, all about your services, all about your skills, training, certifications, number of trucks, the quantity of equipment, ad nauseam.  For most business owners, managers and marketing reps; a glossy, four-color, full bleed folder or pamphlet about your company only serves to stroke your ego. And for the few of you that don’t do it for your ego, you create and print these marketing materials because you think that’s what you are supposed to do! Sorry. Wrong.

While I’m on this rant, the very common networking meetings are also almost always, in my opinion, a waste of time. You probably immediately thought about meetings like Chamber events, business networking luncheons, or other get-togethers primarily intended for you to leave the meeting with a handful of business cards.  The more cards you walk away with, the more success you think you had! Oh, you also are excited if you got to spend time telling people about your company, services, skills, or expertise. Yes, you rock. But they really don’t care.

Just like your company brochures, these meetings are all about you and rarely bring anything to the prospect that is truly important to them.  Should I say it again? It is not about you. It is about what they need and want!

I consult daily with many clients, teach classes to hundreds of marketers, sales managers, and business owners, and hear constantly the same bogus excuses or “reasons” why they need to have company literature. They even dream up plausible answers about why they need to attend a networking event. Reasons like: my competition are there, I need the visibility and exposure, I get a ton of work from other attendees, (sure you do), giving them my literature is the only way they will know what we do. Blah, blah, blah.

As is the case with most business cards, most of them are miniature sales brochures, sometimes using print so small it actually requires a magnifying glass to read the details like a phone number or email address!  And once again, it’s usually a laundry list of the company services and certifications.  Your business card should have the critical contact info, in a very readable format, and not be a sales flyer.

By this point, I hope I have you agreeing, but if not, here is the bottom line: In this fast and ever-changing world, people still do business with those they like, those they have a good relationship with, and especially those bringing value in advance.  One of the best ways to bring “value-in-advance” is to continually provide helpful content and information using the many social media platforms available to you free. Those like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and many more.

You bring value in advance by doing your homework on your prospects and clients, by learning about their business as well as their industry. This is the only valid way you can be sure you are able to provide exactly what they need and want. This makes it about them. This demonstrates your skills, knowledge, and expertise, without shouting it in one of your typical company brochures. This gives them confidence in you. Without that confidence, it’s very unlikely they will do business with you.

They don’t care about your certifications, they don’t “care” if you claim you are the Mold expert or the water removal guru. They only care about themselves, and if you do a good job showing and demonstrating to them you are knowledgeable about their business, they will have you top-of-mind and probably on their speed dial.

Most of the consulting and courses that teaches are about helping you learn better ways to market, sell and be profitable – making it about your client and not about you.

Dick Wagner is a Sales Coach and Consultant for the Disaster Restoration industry.  I’ll always take your call!   419-202-6745

Consistency – Not Having It Will Cost You!

Trust takes weeks, months, even years to build.

Trust is something that scales; it’s something that we can continue to build on for decades, for a lifetime, or longer. Trust is the investment you cash in on when you print “Since 1870” on your beer label. Trust can take a century to build. Sadly, trust can take seconds to destroy.

Trust isn’t just the most valuable asset that you have at your disposal; it might be your only asset. You can use that trust to find new employees, you can use that trust to build new partnerships and make sales, but you can’t buy trust with money, and it takes a long time to earn it all over (if you even can) again once you’ve lost it.

The only way that you build trust is with consistency. It is through our most consistent behavior and attitudes that we develop a reputation that others know who we are and whether or not we can be counted on.

In a B2B scenario, consistency can refer to consistent follow-up, consistently ensuring that every web page we design for a client is just as good as the last one. In marketing, consistency might mean turning away that major client who wanted you to disobey the do-not-call list in your telemarketing efforts so that your other clients know that you can be trusted not to associate their brand with invasive advertising techniques.

In the classic Tarantino film Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson’s character is asked about a girlfriend of his who is always trying to double cross him. Questioned on why he keeps her around, Jackson replies “Well you can’t trust Melanie, but you can always trust Melanie to be Melanie.” This is an example of the kind of trust that you don’t want to earn, but if you consistently fail to complete a project on time, if you consistently release poorly tested products, if you are consistently inconsistent, reversing your position on everything on a near-daily process, this is the kind of trust that you’ll earn: we can be one hundred percent certain that you’re not going to deliver on your promises. Your customers, your employees, your friends and family all learn who you are and know your reputation. It must be consistently good!

You don’t build trust with the big product launches. You don’t build trust with the expensive ad campaigns. You build trust by doing the right thing every day, even when there’s no glory in it. You build trust by consistently being there for your customers and your partners and your clients. You build trust by always telling the truth in your marketing campaigns, even when the truth isn’t flattering. You build trust with a reliable customer service department. You build trust with reliable products and services and by honoring your warranties and your promises to the market.

You don’t build trust with the big moves, you build (or lose) trust with the small moves, being reliable, and offering some kind of real accountability when you do fail to fulfill the promises that you’ve made. It’s about consistency. It’s not about just impressing people, it’s not about blowing everyone away, it’s not about joking with the press at a conference or showing up to the meeting in your new convertible, it’s about doing right by the people you deal with on a daily basis. It’s even about making it “right” when you’ve screwed up.

Impressive product launches are great, there’s something to be said for showmanship and big, game-changing ideas, but if your whole business plan rotates around impressing people enough that they give you all their money, then you’re not a businessperson, you’re a con-artist. A businessperson, a true capitalist, is here for the long-haul, and that means putting in the footwork, doing the little things that need to be done every day in order to build trust, and doing them consistently.

To put the importance of consistency into just one sentence: Nobody ever won Husband of the Year by “not cheating all that often.”

It’s not the sexy, exciting or glamorous part of running a business or hiring people or earning clients or maintaining a marriage or raising a child or making friends, it’s just the most important.

Within an organization, when the owner or managers continually change the rules, continually modify the program, regularly throw a monkey wrench into the plan, all that’s generated is chaos, resentment, and ultimately a staff with low morale, lack of motivation and potentially failure of your business.

It’s OK to have your business plan or strategies be a living document – constantly tweaking a few little things to get it perfect. This will even be necessary since the world, our culture and society are constantly changing. However, the wholesale dramatic major changes you make every few days or weeks in your organization will take a huge toll of the effectiveness and eventually the profit and survival of your company. It will also cost you good employees.

It doesn’t have to be “slow and steady,” you just need solid, reliable, dependable consistency.

Dick Wagner is a Sales Coach and Consultant    419-202-6745

Published courtesy of Dick Wagner   AskDickWagner, LLC
Nationally recognized restoration sales consultant
Specializing in exclusive territory commercial sales programs

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 a less mental effort, less skill, 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 which 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, 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-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 so 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 the 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 on-going 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

Nationally recognized restoration marketing consultant
Specializing in exclusive territory commercial marketing programs

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 spent on poor ideas and the 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 in to the dreaming syndrome of wasted time on far-fetched ideas and fail 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 GM’s 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, 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 telling 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 last 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.

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