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What can we learn from our competitors?

The answer is quite a lot.

Your competitor is not your enemy. He’s an educational opportunity just waiting to broaden your horizons.

Chances are great that your competitors do all kinds of things you can learn from. If your competitor frequently hires staff out from under you, for example, find out why. What benefits do they offer that you don’t? Ditto for the people that you’ve tried to hire away from them. Ask why they chose to stay, even if you offered them more.

Ask yourself:

  • What does your competition do they do better than you? And how do they get it right?
  • How and where do they market their services?
  • What are the best decisions your competitor or your predecessor made recently?
  • What do they do or make that you could produce better?

It’s always a good idea to pay attention to your competition in an open minded way. It’s easy to get in a rut with insider thinking. Looking at the way your competition does things can unlock new ways of thinking and open doors to biases you didn’t even know you had.

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Entrepreneurial Marketing, Selling the Sizzle

What's-Your-StorySteve Jobs was famous for entrepreneurial marketing. He created gadgets we didn’t even know we needed, and then marketed them so effectively, we knew we craved whatever he blessed – asap.

At FocalPoint, we’re quick to give Jobs his due, but we also appreciate that he’s not the only one to market entrepreneurially. There are many great examples of reading the marketplace correctly and capturing consumers’ attention, from hot movie franchises to new cars, popular political slogans to toy manufacturers.

According to Adrian Slywotzky, author of Demand: Creating What People Love Before they Know they Want it, “Demand creators figure out how to solve the big and little hassles we all face.” They tell a story about how their product will make our days more convenient, more productive and more fun. Then, they market that hassle-relief instead of the product itself.

It’s a great strategy, but not a new one. That theory used to be called “selling the sizzle, not the steak.” And it’s still a very effective way to market new products and new ideas because it relies on human emotion.

But it’s not always the first entrepreneur that succeeds in a big way. It’s the first to market to the emotional business or marketplace. Effective entrepreneurs and marketers have the uncanny ability to turn “fence-sitters” into customers by correctly pinpointing and marketing to buying triggers.

How can we help you use this marketing philosophy to help you with your business?

How to maintain more effective business relationships

How important is building and maintaining solid connections with your customers and the people you work with?

MillennialsBoth are invaluable, according to Michael Ray Hopkin, popular blogger and author of Lead on Purpose.

Hopkin believes that to be a truly effective manager or company president and attract and keep clients, you need to continuously improve your business relationships with your employees and your clients.

 

Here are three ways to do this:

Listen.

Let others talk more than you do. Pay attention to what they’re saying.

Understand.

Appreciate what your clients and your employees do. Take the time to understand where they are truly coming from.

Acknowledge.

Be quick to give credit to others for their successes. Celebrate achievements of your employees and delight in the accomplishments of your customers.

 

At FocalPoint, we agree, and put this goal into daily practice. We have seen that if you do this every day and make it a priority, you’ll learn about what inspires and motivates your employees. That will make you a better manager (and will keep employee morale strong).

Additionally, listening, understanding and acknowledging what your customers are saying, how they are reacting to your company, and what is really important to them – will put you in position to provide the services they really need in a way they will appreciate. And that translates into increased sales and customer dedication.

FocalPoint asks: What are you doing to build effective, solid relationships inside and out of your workplace? Got a great example? We’d love to hear about it.

 

Never. Stop. Networking. Ever

Networking or word of mouth is still among the most powerful things you can do to expand your sphere of influence, increase your base of potential clients, and grow your business.

This is why at FocalPoint, we encourage networking. Our best tip? Ask the most influential friends and powerful business associates you know to introduce you to the people they think you should get to know to expand your business. Be sure you ask for a warm introduction – a shared business card followed up with an email to both you and the new contact.

I know what you’re thinking. People often agree to network with one another and don’t follow up. It happens to me as well. So make sure you agree to do network for them first. Then do it. Chances are good you will receive the same treatment in return.

Then what? Reach out. Get to know them those contacts. Emails are great for that first introduction. But a 30 minute coffee first thing in the morning is even better. Especially if you buy. Talk about your company and what makes it tick. Tell them what your perfect client looks like. And your next product launch. The best thing you can do is ask for their advice. People love to offer advice. They feel good offering it and you build a bond. You’ll now have a new contact who is going to look out for you and send new business your way. And maybe provide you with a new business idea or two you hadn’t considered.

Someone ultimately knows someone that can help you out and even better, will want to.

Networking. The incredibly powerful, original marketing tool that still works wonders. It’s personal. It’s effective. And the best part? Other than your time, it’s free.

Here’s my card. What can I do to help you?

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