Your voice is powerful

March 14, 2018

voiceOne of the most remarkable aspects of marketing in this era is that every human being is a publisher. We can write reviews that impact businesses. We can share our expertise to create a position of thought leadership. We can amplify the messages that others create/share by volleying their content to our audiences. Each of us has a voice, and it is powerful.

As I scan through my social streams, I watch people exercising that power and it seems that for many of them, they’ve missed a key consideration that comes along with that voice.

You are always on stage. No matter where you are, what you say or who you are with – it is being documented, and it paints a picture of you for all to see. Like it or not, people draw conclusions based on those glimpses into your thoughts, actions, and attitudes.

No matter what your privacy settings are – what you share is not private. Google never forgets anything and in this day of instant sharing, screenshots and phones that serve as video cameras — someone can always capture your most private moments and make them public.

We live in complicated times. Between the most polarizing presidential election I can remember, the Parkland shooting, the Black Lives Matter crisis, police being gunned down in the street, terrorist attacks happening with increased frequency and all of the other social issues – there’s a lot going on. Every one of these moments in history has the capability of inspiring deeply held emotions, opinions, and beliefs.

It’s human nature to have a very visceral reaction to these events. Heck, it’s human nature to have a strong reaction to the more personal events we individually face like canceled flights, a business deal gone bad or the loss of a loved one.

Today – some have a tendency to voice those reactions through all channels, regardless of who can access those channels. And if my social feeds are any indication, people often post those responses to these highly emotional events without thinking about how their reactions might be interpreted by the wide variety of people who see them.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t share your political beliefs, your feelings about the tragedies our country is dealing with or anything going on in your personal life. But I am suggesting that you remember you’re not just talking to a few people anymore. Everything you say, like, share or comment on becomes a reflection of who you are, both personally and professionally. We all need to have a very clear understanding of the implications of that sharing.

Depending on how/what you share – you may very well attract people to you/your business based on your common attitudes and beliefs. You may also, especially if your opinions are expressed in a very strong/pointed manner, repel people from you/your business. And it’s not just potential customers. It’s future employers (who doesn’t Google job candidates today?) and even potential employees.

If you own your own business, there’s freedom to do as you please. After all, no one is going to fire you. But there are many examples of employees being fired for what they’ve posted online.

None of us, from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to the owner or employee of a locally owned retail business, can expect our digital activities to go unnoticed or to have no consequence. Every action adds to your brand – intentional or not. Keep that in mind as you’re about to fire off your next Facebook post, tweet or share that photo on Instagram.

You are what you share. And who you are has always had a huge influence on whether or not someone chooses to do business with you. Today, more than ever.




Be findable

February 14, 2018

findWhether you’ve had a website for a couple decades or a couple weeks – you built it so prospects could learn more about you, customers could communicate with you and potential employees could find you and check you out. For most organizations, their website is the biggest workhorse of your marketing arsenal.

But a website is definitely not a “build it and they will come” sort of marketing tactic. You need to draw people to your site. Odds are you’ve talked about search engine optimization along the way. And rightly so. When done well, SEO helps people who are looking for what you sell, find someone with your expertise and locate a place to spend their money.

If your business has a physical presence, you should not just be worried about your keywords but you also need to focus on ranking for local results. While many of the standard SEO practices we know and love benefit local SEO, there are a few other steps to take so you can start showing up in the local results for your area. There’s huge potential here, and the competition is only getting more intense as time goes on.

Local results appear for people who search for businesses and places near their location. They’re shown in a number of places across all of the search engines. But for now, we’re going to focus on Google since it owns the lion’s share of search results relevance. Let’s say you search for “Mexican restaurant” from your mobile device. Google will try to show you the kind of nearby restaurant that you’d like to visit.

You may find that your business doesn’t appear for relevant searches in your area.  We need to fix that so that your customers can find you and know you’re close by.

After you’ve set up your website (and maybe you’ve also added a business blog and some social channels), the next step is to start optimizing for both organic search and local results. Fortunately, many of the organic search efforts, like the blog and creating links back to your site through social, will also help with your local results.

But that’s not enough.

  • Create a Google My Business Page. Be sure you fill out the page completely and include your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number), business hours and some high-quality photos.
  • Include your my Business Page on your domain email.
  • Make sure that your business listing is verified by Google. Easy and free to do, this is a biggie, so don’t skip it.
  • Put your NAP information on your site’s footer so it appears on every page.
  • Earn backlinks and citations from other local businesses and websites. Ideally, these backlinks would reference keywords that are very relevant to the work you do.
  • Encourage and earn reviews on Google, Yelp, and other sites. Link back to these review sites from your own site.
  • Utilize Schema Markup. Visit and mark your NAP information at the Schema site.
  • Make sure your website is mobile responsive and your site (both desktop and mobile) loads quickly.

Even doing a few of these will deliver better local results, and your business will reap the benefits of your effort. Google just released some data that shows that over 50% of local searches result in a visit to the local location that very same day.

Remember that this doesn’t take you off the hook for organic and potentially paid searches. You still need to drive traffic to your site to impact your rankings. The local optimization alone won’t do it. But the combination of organic, paid and local search best practices means you’ll have more people on your site and in your store!


The best use of your time

February 7, 2018

timeNow that we are a month into 2018, are you still looking for ways you can kick-start your business successes, sales and marketing wins?  One of the best ways is by really being intentional about where you spend your time. I truly believe in Jim Rohn’s “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” philosophy and we’ll dig into that next week but for this week, I want to step out a little further and think about the events we attend.

When you think about it, for most of us, the most finite professional resource we have is time. So being smart about where we spend that resource just makes good business sense.

My mom always used the phrase “chat, chat, love your hat” to describe events where everyone air kissed or shook hands and then had conversations that stayed on the surface with people they didn’t know very well. Think the neighborhood barbeque or typical mixer events for business.

The truth is, for us professionally, there are a ton of “chat, chat, love your hat” kinds of events that are available to us as marketers, business owners, and business leaders. Some of them have an educational component, like a professional association monthly gathering with a speaker. Some are business development driven, like a networking event or rotary type gathering and others are really more of a see and be seen sort of opportunity. Every one of them can be valuable. But you also need to dole yourself out judiciously or else you won’t have enough time and energy to actually accomplish what you need to get done.

Like most marketing tactics, these events yield far better results if you do a little pre-planning. As you decide which ones to attend, ask yourself these questions:

What three things am I looking to walk away with from this event? This could be a new connection, new insights or spending time with someone you already know. But if you’re going to spend an hour or two, shouldn’t you know there’s something specific in it for you?

What can I offer the other attendees? How can you add value to the other people who attend the event? Have you recently read something that you can refer them to? If it’s an event or a gathering you know well, can you go out of your way to make introductions for the newcomers? Can you go and ask better questions that really get beyond the small talk?

Who can I take with me who would also benefit from the event? There’s something to be said about tag teaming these sorts of gatherings. Is it a mentoring situation? Could you bring someone who is new to the community? Or an old sage who hasn’t been as active lately and everyone would love to re-connect with?

Can I go and be completely present? Are you going to be distracted by your phone, texts, emails, or have something pressing on your mind? Can you leave your phone in your pocket and really tend to the people you meet, the content being presented and the opportunities that may present themselves? If not, maybe it’s not a good use of your time.

What’s your capacity to follow up? You always meet or re-connect with someone at these events. But ideally, that’s not the end — it’s just the beginning. Do you have time to reach back out and take the next step?

You’re going to have to pick and choose where you invest your time. When it comes to these sorts of events, be sure you choose wisely and make the most out of every time investment.


Your enewsletter is missing the point

January 24, 2018

enewsletterDespite all of the talk about digital tools like programmatic media buying and social media, the old newsletter, or nowadays, the enewsletter is still a staple of many organization’s marketing efforts. Rightly so, when done right, they’re incredibly effective and a great way to stay in front of a prospect until they’re ready to buy.

Unfortunately, the ones that are done right are few and far between. Let’s dissect how to create an enewsletter that your prospects will welcome in their inbox.

Intent: This is the first place companies screw up. They think the enewsletter is there to sell stuff. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The purpose of your enewsletter is to be so helpful/useful that the recipients will allow you to keep showing up in their inbox, sometimes for years, before they’re ready to buy.

Your content should be constructed to be of value each and every time you send it. Think about your audience. What do they care about that you can help them improve, protect, or grow? It should be bigger than you and what you sell. Depending on your sales cycle, you may be sending that enewsletter for years before they’re ready to buy. So you have to be helpful for all that time. No small or easy task. But if you stay focused and resist the urge to sell, by the time they’re ready to buy, they’ll know, like and trust you enough to give you an opportunity.

Layout: Be mindful of how your content will be accessed. Today, over 68% of emails are opened on a mobile device of some kind. You need to be using software that is mobile friendly. You need to keep the masthead, color scheme, and style very clean and simple.

Avoid complicated backgrounds, reversing your text out in white or funky fonts that may not translate on all devices. Be sure you test your layout on several different mobile phones, tablets and desktops as well as different browsers and email tools.

Tone: For some reason when people write marketing content, they stiffen up, and their words become more formal and forced. You want your enewsletter to help the prospects get to know and like you. It’s tough to get to know someone who isn’t being themselves. Instead of writing your enewsletter word for word, try outlining it and then record yourself talking about the content. Transcribe what you said and voila – odds are it will be in your voice.

If you’re not sure if your enewsletter’s tone is aligned with who you are, read it out loud. Does it sound like how you’d say it in an actual conversation? If not, either sharpen your pencil or try my transcription trick.

Length: Remember – 68% of your audience is probably reading your missive on their smartphone. Those devices are not made for lengthy reading. There is no universal rule in terms of word count, but keep the reader’s tolerance in mind.

If any section is more than a couple paragraphs long, be mindful to use eye breaks like bullet points, subheads, and plenty of white space.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective and reliable marketing tactics available. For businesses with a longer sales cycle, it’s a critical component in staying top of mind until the prospect has an immediate need. But they’re in control and can kick you out of their inbox any time they want.

An enewsletter that is packed with useful information and is designed to be easy to digest is one that will never get the boot. Make sure it sounds and feels like you so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re exactly who they expect.



Reinvent your category – Be different

January 17, 2018

differentThis past year my daughter and I were in New York City and saw the play that took Broadway by storm – Hamilton. It was spectacular in every way imaginable, but it was also the antithesis of a Broadway musical in every way imaginable. It was different.

According to Broadway League research, the average theatergoer is a 44+-year-old, Caucasian, female tourist. 78% of these attendees have completed college, and 39% have advanced degrees. The average income of a Broadway attendee is $205,000 so clearly, this is primarily an affluent, white, middle-aged audience.

Which is why the traditional Broadway musical is such a hit. They’re packed with big dance numbers, elaborate sets, over the top musical performances and happy endings.

It’s also why most Broadway hits look a lot like each other. Many of them are based on proven stories like Lion King or use iconic music (Mamma Mia or Beautiful) from a popular entertainer/group. It costs between $5-$10 million dollars to launch a Broadway musical, so the risks are huge. Why would someone ever vary from the successful formula?

I think that’s the same question that we wrestle with all the time. When there’s someone in your category (or everyone in your category) that does something in a certain way, it feels smart and safe to do it the same way. The problem is that it’s pretty tough to stand out when you’re just like everyone else. The only way to compete is to outspend the competitors and for most companies that isn’t an option.

Or you can pull a Hamilton. Take everything I just said about a Broadway musical and turn it on its head.

  • The play’s primary spoken style is rap/hip-hop (hardly the language of the middle-aged white woman).
  • The storyline is based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, who is famous sort of. He was chief staff aide to General Washington during the Revolutionary War and our country’s first Secretary of the Treasury (hardly sexy roles).
  • The main character is not a typical hero – in fact, he was arrogant, and his blunders and ego cost him dearly, both personally and professionally.
  • There’s no happy ending to the story – as you know, Hamilton is killed in a duel.
  • The set is a simple, almost rustic wooden set with a single turntable to create movement.

Despite all the reasons why Hamilton isn’t like all the others and shouldn’t be successful by Broadway’s standards – it has broken every attendance record you can imagine. Tickets are impossible to get. It has sold out for months at a time not just in New York but all around the country, and the secondary market (StubHub and the like) sold the worst seats in the house for $700+. It received a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations and many people referred to the Tony’s in 2016 as the Hamiltonys because they were expected to sweep the awards show.

My point – people are not the lemmings we assume they are. What Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda understood is that being different is marketing gold. Being different means you have less competition, and every dollar you spend telling your story is amplified because it’s not competing with as much noise. He also understood that being different means you get plenty of media attention, which creates curiosity, interest, and momentum.

How can you take your product or service and turn expectations and “the norm” on its ear? How can you authentically (that matters a lot) give a unique twist to what you do so you stand out from the crowd?

I encourage you to identify the 3-4 places where everyone in your industry looks the same and figure out how you could deliver something different and fresh. Hamilton isn’t just a spectacular play; it’s a business lesson we should all pay attention to.



Coming in loud and clear – Podcasts

December 27, 2017

podcastsWhen I was a kid, I loved listening to the old time radio shows that my parents grew up with. The Shadow was my favorite. I loved the storytelling but I also loved the portability — I used to listen when I was mowing the lawn (on my old Walkman, if that doesn’t age me!). Today, my old time radio fix is met through podcasts. There are so many podcasts out there – I don’t care what your interest, personal or professional, there’s a show for you.

I can listen when I’m driving, taking a walk, working out or on a plane. I love video but it requires all of my attention. One of the best things about a podcast is that I can consume them during “down time” and turn it into productive time.

I believe that podcasts are one of the most under-utilized marketing tactics out there today and if you haven’t considered it, I want to make sure it gets on your radar screen.

We probably do them a disservice, calling them podcasts. Who actually listens to them on an iPod anymore? The new term that seems to be gaining momentum is on-demand radio. 64% of podcasts are being consumed via smartphones or tablets today.

Consider these stats (from a study done by Edison Research):

  • 36% of all Americans have listened to at least one podcast
  • 21% listen to podcasts on a monthly basis
  • Podcast listening has increased 23% from 2015
  • Podcast listening has increased 75% since 2013
  • The same number of Americans listen to podcasts as there are Twitter accounts
  • The average podcast listener consumes five podcast episodes a week

This medium has huge potential as a part of your content strategy, but only if you build it with your audience in mind. Podcasts aren’t about selling. They’re about teaching, entertaining or both. Just like I’ve preached about your blog posts, videos or any other form of content — your podcast needs to be engaging and helpful. Otherwise, you will never build an audience.

Here are some other best practices if you’re going to launch a podcast.

Use good equipment: You don’t need to spend big bucks, but you do need to invest in a decent microphone and headphones. You’ll have to decide if you’re going to do the editing yourself or hire someone. For my podcast, I don’t have the time or technical expertise to do the editing/uploading to iTunes etc. I’ve got a great partner who handles all of that for me. If you’re interested in an introduction – shoot me an email.

Time is of the essence: The average commute is 25 minutes. Podcasts that are shorter than 30 minutes tend to have more listeners and get more downloads. But if you are providing high-value content, people will stick around.

Don’t wing it: Even though the best podcasts feel like they’re just casual conversations – they are anything but. You want to do some serious prep for your podcasts. It takes a lot of poise and preparation to sound unrehearsed. At the very least, have your intro and closing comments drafted and an outline of how you’d like the conversation to go.

Consistency wins: This is one of those “don’t start if you’re not serious” marketing tactics. Your efforts will not be rewarded if you’re inconsistent. Podcasting is also not a once a quarter or once a month effort. Weekly seems to be the ideal frequency for a busy brand that isn’t trying to monetize their podcast.

I guarantee that you have plenty to teach and that there’s an audience out there that’s hungry to learn. Why not consider jumping on the podcast bandwagon while it’s still building up steam?



Measure what matters – business metrics

December 20, 2017

metricsA while back, we explored the business metrics that every business owner and leader should be monitoring to keep their finger on the health of their organization. We dug into the purely financial metrics like lifetime value of a customer and profitability.

Today, I’d like to explore the marketing/sales and employee metrics that we help clients define and grow as we work with them. Just as a reminder, those metrics are:


  1. Retention percentage (How many customers did we keep from last year)
  2. New business win rate (How many prospects did we convert to becoming customers)
  3. New business traffic patterns (How are our new customers finding us)


  1. Employee satisfaction/retention (Average tenure of your team and the health of your team)
  2. Employee value (How much value does each employee contribute to your company and are they continuing to grow/add more value)

Now let’s look at each of these and why they matter.

Retention percentage: One of the truths that many business owners forget is that the largest source of new revenue should be your existing customers. It makes perfect sense. They know and trust you. If you deliver consistently, they should need and want to spend more with you, year after year. Well, to make that work – you have to keep them as customers. When you combine this with customer ratings (how good of a customer are they for your business) you really have valuable insights.

New business win rate: When you get a chance to win a new customer, how often are you successful? If the number is too high, your pricing strategy might need some work. If the number is too low, you might be talking to the wrong people or there’s something else that’s not working. This data will also help you decide if you’re wasting a lot of time chasing after business you have no chance of getting or you’re setting your sites too low.

New business traffic patterns: One of the ways to assess your marketing spend is to understand how prospects find you. When you understand what brings your best prospects to your door – you know where to spend your time and money. Even if your best avenue for new opportunities is through referrals, there are tactics you can strategically employ to enhance the quality and quantity of referrals you get.

Employee satisfaction/retention: The team that serves your customers is a make or break element of your business. Keeping your best performers and knowing that your crew feels appreciated and well prepared to do their jobs is a vital metric for every business. As we enter into an era of scarcity when it comes to skilled and talented employees, this will become increasingly important to your business. Don’t scrimp on this – figure out a way to benchmark and then routinely measure this key metric for your business.

Employee value: Every employer knows that not all team members are created equal and that each of them contributes at a different level. You want to have a very clear understanding of the value they deliver to your customers and to your bottom line as you are determining career paths, salary increases, and bonus amounts. This will also help you decide where to invest for your long-term growth.

Once you decide how to get the data you need to track these metrics, the mechanics are pretty easy. For most organizations, quarterly monitoring will give you a good handle on the trends that have a huge impact on your company’s profitability and viability. This information will also help you determine new opportunities to explore and where you need to keep a watchful eye.



Mini Marketing

October 25, 2017

marketingThe list of marketing tactics that you can use to reach an audience is staggering. The different ways you can slice and dice humankind into different audience segments is never-ending. The stories you can tell and the messages you can deliver are countless.

And that’s exactly what is ruining your marketing.

The truth is there is not a business on the planet that needs to be on everyone’s radar screen. Whether you are a global business or a Mom and Pop local shop – you have a very finite number of people who actually can benefit from what you do. One of the biggest mistakes marketing people make is inflating their number. They fish with a very wide net when a spear gun is a much better choice.

Stay with me on this analogy. When you cast out a wide net, it gets filled up with a wide variety of fish, debris, and seaweed. You spend a lot of time sorting out the good from the bad. You often will talk yourself into trying some odd fish that looks good but turns out to be hideous. And by the time you dig down to the ones you actually wanted – they’re a little worse for wear. If there’s even one in the net at all.

That’s how most businesses approach their marketing. They cast a wide net, trying to have a presence everywhere because they don’t want to risk missing someone. I’m here to tell you, you can miss most of the someones as long as you connect with a relatively small number of the right someones.

Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired magazine, has been talking about this idea since 2008. You’ve probably heard of the 1,000 fans theory. His hypothesis is that an artist (performer, author, artist, etc.) can survive on 1,000 true fans. The number 1,000 is not a precise number but more of a ballpark. But the concept holds either way.

The idea is basically that as your fan base gets larger and larger, the ROI per fan gets less and less because you can’t possibly cater to them all. The long tail is past the sweet point of the effort to engage. According to Kelly, if you want to make money, you will make much more from the first 1,000 fans that are diehard because they’ll buy whatever you produce and engage no matter what. They will also tell the world about you and how much they love you. Back in 2008, the world looked very different, but changes in our connectedness and online behavior only make this base idea more relevant.

Odds are your business is a little bigger than a single artist, so recognize that the number 1,000 is symbolic. But the message is dead on. You need to figure out who your fans are and talk to them on a regular basis about the things they care about. That will attract more of them.

Here’s the danger zone in this effort. Once they have their attention, many marketers just check the box and consider it done. And they’re off to chase the next audience.

That’s where you can do it better by being smarter about keeping the target small and focused. The minute you broaden your message or your channel, you make your fans feel like customers. That shift – from being someone you care about to someone you want to convince to buy something, changes everything. They don’t feel special. They don’t feel catered to and they sure don’t feel like telling the world about you.

Marketing shouldn’t be wide. It should be deep. That’s where people evolve from prospects to customers and if you stay focused – become your raving fans.


You are what you measure

October 18, 2017

measureBack in the good old days, measuring your business outcomes and the impact of marketing on those outcomes was a challenge and at best, imprecise. Today, we have the opposite problem. Thanks to the web, Google Analytics, cookies, and other tools – we can measure everything. Unique visits, time on site, clicks, and so much more. But are those the things we should be measuring?

In marketing, there’s an important axiom – just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I think that definitely applies to how we define and measure success. I think that the web has made counting things so easy that we’ve forgotten what actually matters. It doesn’t serve anyone to measure just for measurement’s sake.

There are a ton of tactical things we can measure that correspond to a campaign or a specific marketing tactic. Naturally, we need to watch those too but they’re not going to tell us if a business is healthy or not. They’re only insightful to a point.

At MMG, we’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that you should have a few vital metrics (KPIs, goals – call them what you will) that are at the core of your business’ success and you need to monitor them faithfully – watching for trends, good or bad and reacting accordingly.

Every business may have one or two unique metrics but there are some that are pretty universal. This week, we’re going to look at the financial metrics that every organization should measure. We’ll dig into the marketing/sales and employee metrics next week.

Financial Metrics

  1. Lifetime value of a customer (How much does a customer spend over the entire span of working with them)
  2. Annual value of a customer (How much did the average customer spend this year)
  3. Profitability of a customer (For every customer you have, how much money did you make)
  4. Revenue mix (Amount of money from existing customers versus new customers)

Now let’s look at each of these and why they matter.

Lifetime value of a customer: This is a vital metric that tells you how much you can afford to spend to chase after new customers. It also tells you if your pricing strategies are properly aligned and what the loss of a customer is actually going to cost you.

Annual value of a customer: Ideally, this number would increase every year. You want to keep delivering more value so that each customer wants and needs to spend more with you. It should also increase year over year as your retention improves. For most businesses, the customer is much more profitable in years 2+ than they are when you’re onboarding them in year one. The exception to that rule is if you’re a high ticket, considered purchase like a house.

Profitability of a customer: This is one of the most insightful metrics possible. You will quickly identify what size and type of customers are where you make your money. You will also be surprised at the customers who don’t yield a profit or worse – you are paying for the privilege of working for them. It may also suggest that certain products or services that you sell yield better profits.

Revenue mix: New dollars are harder to earn than recurring dollars. But you also need an influx of new dollars to offset the natural attrition that every business experiences. This metric and the retention percentage that we’ll cover next week work hand in hand.

For most organizations, it’s enough to monitor these quarterly because more often than that doesn’t really show much movement. It’s like a built-in early warning system for trouble that will give you time to course correct before the damage is too deep or too expensive to fix.


One thing

October 11, 2017

one thingIn the wake of what we’ve been talking about over the last couple weeks, I’ve received a lot of emails asking about this idea of how to define who your organization is, who you best serve and what you do for them. Ironically, this all boils down to doing less, to focusing on just one thing. It’s so counter-intuitive that most business owners and leaders reject the idea. I get it – you want to offer as much as possible to your potential customers and surely more potential customers means more revenue, right?

Actually, no. Our world today is about specialization. In most cases, people have a specific need. I need someone to tune up my BMW not just I want an auto mechanic. I need someone to come to the house to tune my piano not just I need a piano store. I need long-term disability insurance for my company of 43 employees not I need someone who sells every kind of insurance under the sun.

We get it when we are the consumer. We want someone who has a depth of knowledge so we can be confident that they will not only understand my need but they’ve met my specific need many times for customers who have gone before me. But when it comes to the selling side of our world, we somehow forget the value of this distinction and want to sell a little something to everyone.

Here’s why that’s a flawed premise:

Your most profitable sale is the repeat sale: You know the least profitable of all sales is the first one. The sales cycle is longer. The concessions are often greater and the risk of a client mismatch or dissatisfaction is greater. But when you delight someone and meet their need to such a degree that they buy again – there’s hardly any sales cycle, they are happy to pay your price because they’ve already seen the value and they know they’re going to be happy.

You don’t need that many: I think one of the reasons businesses take the generalist route is because they haven’t done the math. If you could secure new customers that were going to be repeat buyers and great referral sources – how many do you really need? The truth is, you can only handle so many new clients. So why not narrow your focus so you only secure the best possible new clients?  Why not focus on the one thing?

Generalists are commodities: If you sell everything to everyone, you become the dollar store of your industry. You have to be less expensive because you are a generalist and generalists have to compete with everyone out there. So it becomes a price issue. Is that really where you want to be?

It diminishes the experience for your team: Being pretty good at a lot of things does not feel the same as being incredible at a few things. Everyone wants to take pride in their work. Everyone wants to be perceived as being best in class. Everyone wants to be appreciated for adding incredible value. With today’s shrinking workforce – you want to offer your team the luxury of being a rock star, not a garage band so that you can attract and retain the best talent out there.

Part of your work in defining your company’s values, mission and vision should be focused on the question “where can we truly over deliver that will add tremendous value to our clients?” Odds are the answer will not be everywhere. What is our one thing? Define the playing field where you have the shot at winning almost every game and refuse to play anywhere else. That sort of discipline is difficult but the short and long-term rewards are worth the effort.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Be indispensable to a few who will help you attract more just like them.


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