Secret Covert Marketing

Why is it important that your marketing reach your future clients without being seen my your competitors?Secret Direct Mail Marketing

Do you NOT want you competition to have any idea what or how you are marketing?

Plainly, the situation will dictate the answer: certainly not every marketing project requires secrecy.

Many times your marketing campaigns must be directed at as many potential customers as possible.

And there are other times when its VERY important to keep your marketing campaigns a secret.

Direct response mail marketing is covert marketing, and you should be using it when you need the competitive edge.

Use direct response mail, you control how many people are “in on” your secret offer.

It is simple to limit that knowledge to your own marketing team, staff and to the customers or clients who you want to receive your mailing.

So the next time you need to market covertly without alerting your competitors; maybe for a new product launch, or an exclusive limited product offering, or a “special sale” rifle targeting your most important customers, direct mail is a no-brainer option.

Also, direct response mail allows you to do small marketing tests in a specific geographic area as a test, then you can roll out and introduce your product, services or ideas into other markets, and he best part is, you’ll be creating more opportunities to grow and streghten your business.

Covert marketing campaigns are the complete opposite of general marketing.

When you market in social media,  trade publications and local newspapers, or through radio and television advertising many many many more people will see your message including your competitors.

Sometimes this is the right way to market, but be aware that this type of marketing is “out in the open,” so your competitors know exactly what you are doing and how you are doing it. But ultimately, they will not know the “why” you are doing it.

Many times, this will help them to take advantage of your advertising and “counter market” against it for their own gain. And sometimes it can be a bit mistake for your competitors depending on what your marketing goal was.

Ask me more about covert marketing, and how it can be use in your business.

When and how will you use the privacy of direct mail to keep your “special marketing efforts” secret?

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What Business Is It Of Yours?

What type of business do you have?WhatQuestion

Are you in the manufacturing business, or own a retail store, or sell insurance, or provide personal pet care.

Do you have a store that sells actual “carry-out” items, or your company may provide training services or sell something on the internet.

The type of business that you operate is important, but you need to keep in mind that no matter what type of business that you have, you are always in the business of Marketing and Sales.

The dictionary defines the word “market” (the verb, or action form of the word) as “to offer for sale” or “to sell.” So “marketing” is the action of offering your products or services for sale and/or the action of selling them.

You see, it doesn’t really make a difference what you are selling.

What matters is that you understand that you are not merely in the business of whatever it is that you do… you are in the business of marketing and selling whatever it is that you sell!

I’ll say it again in a different way: the business that you actually end up generating from your clients, customers, or patients is secondary to the fact that acquiring those customers in the first place is the single most important activity that you’ll ever undertake!

Getting clients is the name of the game, and “marketing” is the tool that will get you clients. The ultimate purpose of every marketing effort, both big and small, is to attract and/or retain clients.

What are you doing to actively market and sell what it is you offer? 

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What’s competing for your undivided attention right now?

In today’s crazy media inundated world, we are overwhelmed with far more information than ever before.

multichannel-target-marketingTV (both network and cable), radio, the Internet, tens of thousands of blogs, newspapers and magazines, faxes, e-mails, cell phones, Apps, multiple 24¬hour news and sports channels, newsletters, etc., etc., etc.

Even worse, each source of information is screaming louder and louder to get our attention because without your eyeballs and clicks they won’t make a dime.

All of this information and “noise” makes it very important that you target your marketing precisely to the people who actually want to receive it.

Precise, targeted marketing is indispensable for every business because when you know exactly who will buy your products or services, you can save thousands of marketing dollars by directly contacting only those people who have an ‘affinity’ to buy what you are selling.

Target your marketing where you know that your typical customer will be looking.

Example: I wrote a marketing plan recently for a group of financial planners who had developed a system of advice for couples who are going through a divorce.

After doing some research we discovered that over 14,000 couples divorced every year in the metro Detroit area, where we are located.

Now, even if we were only to sell the planners’ services to 1.25% of these couples, at an average profit of $750.00 for the services and materials involved, the revenue in the first year would be approximately $273,750.00.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The real income is made on the “back-end” financial planning commissions from the insurance and investments that are made for the divorcing couples.

Since divorce typically is a very private issue, we are marketing by using a referral system.

Divorcing couples locate my clients’ services through religious organizations, community and government organizations, business organizations and associations, real estate associations, hospital and medical organizations and associations, arts and humanities organizations, CPAs and enrolled accountants, family marriage counselors and psychologists, and estate planning specialists that have a relationship with us.

Why, because typically, these are the people that divorcing couples go to for advice.

Do you know who your ideal clients are and where to find them?
What are you doing to target your clients and prospects precisely?

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What prevents You from doing power research?

research_mattersWhat prevents business owners from using research is quite often a case of misplaced ego.

Most business owners are entrepreneurs or small businesses.

They tend to hold strong opinions (from experience or not) of what will or won’t work.

Many are not in the habit of looking outward for answers and prefer to think they know best.

Ask yourself these questions, the next time you’re likely to go it alone:

1) If I’m wrong, how much will it cost me?

2) How long can I afford to be wrong before I run out of money?

3) Have I asked for input from my customers or prospects that have no stake in whether I succeed or fail?

4) Have I asked my customers and prospects what they need and want from me and my business?

5) Do I know if my customers think I’m giving them what they need and want?

6) Do I know what else I can provide my customers so that they’ll pay me more…and be happier about it?

7) Do my customers and prospects know the benefits of buying from me?

8) Do I know with certainty why my prospects go to a competitor rather than me?

Now, open your mind. 

Remember, you aren’t in it alone and it needn’t cost you a fortune to tap into the best advice you’ll ever get.

Start listening to your mentors, trusted advisors, customers, clients, patients and prospects.

At least once a week ask yourself this question.

Can you stand to know your  mentors, trusted advisors, customers, clients, patients or prospects might be smarter than you in helping you grow your business?


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Is being an entrepreuner a blessing or a curse?


Do you feel that being in business for yourself is a blessing?

If not, stop and think about this: In what other part of your life can you go out on a limb, pursue your dreams, and meet your fears head on?

In business you learn to control your emotions, help people, and balance a million tasks.

There are very few opportunities in life that can offer you the moment-to-moment challenges that being in business for yourself does.

It forces you how to deal with your fears and challenges, how to be gutsy, and how to move on to the next “greatest” thing.

It’s my opinion that if more people went into business on their own, less people would be in therapy.

If your are in your own business, congratulations.

If not, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about it.
What do you love to do?
What do you know a lot about?
What are you good at?
And perhaps most importantly, what are you passionate about?

Just do it…

Posted in business, business personality, Business Plans, change, decisions, How, marketing, money, motivation, passion, purpose | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Your Business Doomed Before Your Get Started?

It’s a tough question.

One of the most significant factors in causing a business to fail is creating the product/service first, and the market (the need for the product/service) second.

This is the opposite of what many people think needs to be done to create a successful business.

Talented people who have great ideas start many businesses. These folks may be great at what they do or know, and they are often great technicians. Unfortunately, many of them never investigate whether there is a real market (need) for the products/services they wish to offer.

Clever and successful entrepreneurs find the market first.
As the late great Gary Halbert always said… “Find The Starving Crowd”

Discover who needs what, and then they focus on creating or locating the product that will fill that need.

To be successful, you must find out whether or not anyone actually wants the product/service you intend to offer.  If you discover that people do want your product/service, then you need to find out if they are willing to pay for it (and if so, then how much).

The very best proof is to do a “market test” to determine whether or not your marketing message will sell your product.

Many publishers will produce a list of 40-50 different titles for  books that they are thinking about printing in the upcoming months. Ask you select your favorite titles. The response that the list generates helps the publisher to determine which titles, if any, the public might be interested in buying.

BMG music use to do this test, and may still do it: they mail sheets of stamps, each containing a different musical artist. The selections that people make when they return their order form help BMG market the music that is most popular.

Anyway, before spending a fortune on your latest business idea, please make sure there are enough people and interest so you are not wasting your time, money and efforts on a product, service or idea that never had the chance of succeeding.

What markets do you need to discover, and what business ideas do you need to test before you invest in them on a large scale?

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Thank You Jay…

Thank you, Jay

My friend, colleague and marketing mentor Jay Conrad Levinson just passed away yesterday. He was eighty years young.

Jay wrote one of the very first marketing books for small businesses and was the father of Guerrilla Marketing. He created the best known marketing brand that’s been around for as long as I can remember.

Jay wrote and inspired multiple Guerrilla Marketing titles and sold over 21 million books. An incredible legacy.

He change the way millions of business people thought about marketing and the importance of not wasting a dime on marketing that does not work.

But most of all, I want to thank Jay for being a very generous person. He always said yes to any request for help.  He always shared his experience and taught what he knew in such a positive way that you were uplifted by his enthusiasm, kindness and spirit.

Once you got Jay going, his stories soared you to new heights, with valuable lessons in each. And Jay had hundreds of interesting stories.

I cannot thank Jay enough for helping promote my first book “97 Marketing Secrets To Make More Money. The two times he invited me on to his weekly radio show he knew just the right questions to ask and how the to get the best out of all his guests. In fact, Jay humbly titled me Mr. Marketing Plan during one of our interviews promoting

We’ll miss you and your unstoppable enthusiasm for life, Jay.

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Joe Girard’s “Law of 250?

Joe’s basic principle is that most people have about 250 people in their lives who would show up at their funeral or wedding. There are exceptions, of course. Some have more, some have less. But the average seems to be 250.

So how did he use this information?

First off, Joe realized that if he did a crummy job of selling a car to somebody, he could potentially lose 250 more customers.

But, more important – if he did a great job, he could gain 250 more customers.

So Mr. Girard reasoned that if he consistently built strong relationships with his customers and treated them fairly, it would make his job a lot easier in the long run.

So he set his sights on getting referrals. How did he go about it?

Here are the three main ways…

— First, within a few weeks of selling a car to someone, he would call them up and ask how the car was running. If things were going well, he’d ask for a referral. If they weren’t, he’d fix the problem – then ask for a referral.

—He kept a file listing personal information about each customer – such as the names of their children, what they did for a living, their birthdays, their kids’ birthdays, etc. He’d use that information to personalize his conversations with them. He sincerely cared about people, and made them feel so special they couldn’t wait to recommend him to a friend or relative.

—Every month, year after year, Mr. Girard would send a greeting card to every customer on his list. Inside would be a simple message. He knew they’d need a new car one day, and he wanted to keep himself top of mind. He was careful not to include anything that might sound like a sales pitch. Just an anecdote, a new idea, a news story, a book review, a birthday greeting, or a tip he knew they’d be interested in. (Eventually this task became so big, he had to hire someone to do it for him.)

Girard’s dedication to keeping in touch with his customers instilled in them a psychological obligation to do business with him. His customers would never even dream of buying a car from someone else.

Girard has often said he doesn’t believe in hard work. That what he does believe in is working smart. And no one approached selling cars any smarter than Joe Girard did.

No matter what product or service you sell, if you don’t have a referral and repeat-business strategy in place, you’re working too hard.

Here are a few referral-related tactics you can start using tomorrow:

1. Go the extra mile for your customers and prospects.
Do things that will make you stand out from the pack. If you see an article that you feel may interest one of them, mail it (or e-mail it, but sending something in the mail tends to have a greater impact). A good way to find appropriate articles is to set up a Google News Alert for topics you feel would interest your customers. If you think a story is relevant, send them the link.

2. Make sure your customers know about every service you provide.
If you sell Product A to someone, make sure they also know you carry Products B, C, and D. The more solutions your customers know you provide, the more likely it is that they’ll know someone who will benefit from getting a call from you.

3. Establish relationships with people who sell complementary products or services.
For example, if you sell boats, contact the local marina and introduce yourself. Tell them you’ll be referring your customers to them, and make them aware that you’d be open to any referrals from them.

4. Ask for a referral.
If you don’t ask, chances are you’ll never get a referral. Customers usually don’t volunteer them on their own. When the time seems right, say something like “Do you know anyone else I might be able to help out?”

5. Always thank your customers for their referrals.
Obviously, say “Thank you.” But then take it one step further. Send a thank you note or a small gift. It could lead to another referral.

6. Keep your customers informed.
Let your customers know what happened when you called the person they referred you to. Offer to keep them in the loop as things progress.

Develop and follow through on a referral and repeat-business strategy and, like Joe Girard, you’ll make more sales… and have an easier time doing it.

Posted in business, competition, referrals, relationships, sales, sales training, Salesmanship, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sales Calls On Fire elbowed its way into the #8 position in the App Store

Very exciting news this month: My first iPhone app (“Sales Calls On Fire”) the weekend of March 11th elbowed its way into the #8 position in the App Store Business Category. It’s now steady in the top 200 in the iPhone “business” section and surging here and there popping into the top 100.

This is like watching your book climb in the Amazon rankings. I labored over the app (with superb help from JacApps doing the programming and many beta testers) for many months, whipping it into shape and waiting for the Apples approval to dive into the wonderful new world of app sales that has exploded like five hundred sticks of dynamite .

And, as always, now it’s up to the public to decide, by downloading and using Sales Calls On Fire. The public will say if it’s worthwhile or not. A little scary, a little thrilling, a lot of fun for a marketer and sales guy who has loved being in control of the marketing my own stuff, in my own crazy way, now at the mercy of Apple and the public.

Now, as satisfying as it is to read the great buzz-comments on the App Store page (and in social media and the app review sites) for this new app… it’s even more energizing to have finally busted my cherry in app development and app marketing. This first app took a while to finish and launched. The Android version will follow a lot faster, and the next app blazingly fast because the ideas are flowing like water over Niagara Falls.

If you’re in sales (and who’s not), you can check out the App (or even, gasp, buy it) Here

If you do buy it, leave a review, too. And share it with your fellow colleagues in sales. The app is getting rave reviews, which makes sense since it’s a hell of a lot easier to use than most of the damn CRM tools. This is street-tested stuff, by hardened sales pros.

Hope you enjoy it, if you buy it. Hope you stay awake all night thinking about it if you don’t buy it, and feel compelled to buy it first thing in the morning. Cuz it’s damn cheap, and you really SHOULD have it on your iPhone. (And yes, we’ll be offering a Android version down the road, in fact I have a meeting tomorrow with start the Android development.)


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How To Find Your Competitors Weakness…

Competitive WeaknessesHow most Anyone Can Find More Information About And Take Advantage Of Their Competitor’s Weaknesses

Whether you are just starting in sales or have been around the block a few times you realize there are always competitors nipping at your heels. These competitors are grabbing for your customers and clients. It’s part of doing business.

The big question is, do you know the top three to five strongest competitors and any effective marketing and sales strategy or tactic they use that you don’t? Do you know their strengths and weaknesses?

If you can answer the above questions, stop reading! You don’t need these upcoming ideas. If you do need help answering the above questions, please keep reading and discover ways to legally spy on your competitors without them ever knowing.

First, there’s a tool sitting on your desk, in your pocket or in your hand right now that can provide you massive competitive intelligence.

You know the object that weights a ton when you go to make sales calls.

Well your telephone has another function. Pick it up and dial your competitor’s office. Ask to speak to the sales department. Pose as a new customer looking for information. If you’re concerned you’ll be discovered, ask a friend or colleague to help.

Ask five or ten questions about your competitor’s products and services. Listen closely to the answers. The answers you hear will tell you how your competitor sells. What they are offering. Take good notes. If you can, order their products and services. See how they handle your order and follow-up to that order. You’ll learn a ton of valuable information you can use to out market and sell them.

Second, another is a tool sitting on your desk or in your hand right now, your computer or smart phone. It can also provide a bird’s eye view of how your competitors market and sell on the Internet. Search for known and unknown competitors. Go to their Websites. Dig deep; you may discover a list of clients and new or old press releases about a product and services offered.

You’ll learn how your competitor markets its identity (positioning) compared to yours. Digging around, you may find a better way to present your website or see a few mistakes your competitor is making. Surf around, read their marketing copy, read their testimonials, listen to their podcasts and watch their videos. You’ll be shocked and amazed at the wealth of information you can find on your competitors websites.

Now, while on your competitor’s websites, also view a few web pages source code. You can find it your browser menu by clicking on “View” then “Page Source.” Look for the Meta tags, they look a bit like this:

Meta name =”keywords” content=”advertising, Internet marketing, marketing plans, business plans, planning, marketing, PR, public relations”

Meta name =”description” content=”Providing Internet marketing, offline marketing, advertising and marketing plans to successful business owners”

These are the keywords and description that your competitors are using to attract visitors to their website. Next, look at those same Meta tags of your website. What’s the same? What’s different? What should you be adding, deleting to your website to make it competitive with your competitor’s website.

Also take the keywords and keyword phrases you find and do an Internet search and see how many more competitors pop up. Search Facebook®, LinkedIn® and Twitter®. It will lead you to many of the ways your competitors are marketing and selling on the Internet.

Next step, anytime you win over one of your competitor’s customers, ask them about your competitors. What they like or disliked. What they could have done better. Why they switched to you and not another competitor. What they tell you may be very revealing and can be used to improve your products, services and marketing.

OK, now you have a few simple tools to go out and compete on a level playing field. Take advantage of the many resources at your fingertips and learn more about your competitors. Use the information you find to outwit even the most formidable competitor in their own backyard. Have fun hunting, spying and discovering.

Remember now, that you have the stronger marketing mindset. Now that you know how to research your products and services and your competitor’s products and services you owe it to yourself to try these ideas, and next are a few low cost marketing ideas that almost any sales professional can profit by using.


Posted in business, competition, corporate strategy, focus, information, knowledge, marketing plan, Proof, research | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Networking Sucks. Webinars & Teleseminars Crash. Marketing is Math. Maybe. Maybe Not.

Maybe or Maybe Not And Do Something.Ideas from networking and joint venturing to honoring and doing simple math. Most of these ideas can be done with your investment of time and effort.

  1. Attend networking events in your community. Search the Internet, find and attend the next local Chamber of Commerce meeting. Be taken as a guest to your local BNI or other networking group meetings. Choose these meetings wisely based in the product/service you are offering. Keep in mind that not all networking groups will be attended by your ideal target prospect, but you may get an introduction from one of the members to someone who’ll fit your target. Most important, don’t forget to follow-up with any hot leads fast.
  2. Create joint ventures. Approach complimentary businesses that you think will be a good fit for joint marketing efforts. For example, a carpet cleaning business could do joint ventures with carpet sellers, builders or their local dry cleaner. Who will you collaborate with?
  3. Host a get together. It doesn’t have to be anything on a grand scale. Simply invite a bunch of complimentary business people together. Start a discussion about a common topic, stand back and listen. I guarantee everyone will learn something and walk away with new business ideas.
  4. Host a webinar or teleseminar. A good webinar or teleseminar informs participants, gives them very high value for their time, educates and motivates them to make a buying decision for your product or service. During the webinar or teleseminar, show how your product or service solves their problems ands what will happen if they don’t fix the problem. There are many free hosting services, simply do an online search.
  5. Hold a fundraising award show. Create an event to honor your clients, employees and suppliers with various awards. Inform your honorees about the award they have won. Invite the honorees, their friends, family and colleges to your fundraising event. They will want to come to your event collect their award and won’t mind contributing because it’s for a fundraising cause. Use the monies you collect to offset the cost and contribute the balance to the charity.
  6. Improve Customer Service. Most businesses can find areas of their customer service that need poking, tweaking and improvement. It’s all in the details. Happy customers will buy from you over and over. And it’s a lot easier and less expensive to keep an existing customer happy compared to replacing lost customers and revenue.
  7. Marketing is arithmetic. Direct marketing is measurable and as Peter F. Drucker, said, “What’s measurable improves.” Are you measuring the response to your ads, direct marketing effort or your web traffic? Direct marketing measurement is basically free. Whether you spend a nickel, a hundred or ten thousand dollars on your marketing, is it a great deal or is it a bad investment? The only real way to know is tracking and measuring your results. If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide, you can become a profitable marketer.

Now, pick one of these items and commit to adding it to your marketing plan and doing it on a daily or weekly basis.

Within a month, you will see your business climb with more clients and sales.

And remember, you can get the word out about your products, services and ideas without spending hundreds or thousands of your hard earned marketing budget.

If these marketing for sales professionals ideas are helpful, maybe the last 3 posts will help you even more.

Posted in competition, customer service, database, focus, knowledge, marketing ideas, money | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 More Simple, Effective And Affordable Marketing Solutions For Sales Professionals

10 More Simple, Effective And Affordable Marketing Solutions For Sales Professionals.

10 more marketing ideas and tipsThese ten additional marketing ideas promise to help jump start your marketing and help you get everything you can out of all you’ve got:

  1. Target the customer most likely to buy your product. Don’t waste your money by advertising on mass media that targets anyone who is reading or watching. There are too many ways these days to identify media that target your ideal customer, you know the ones I am talking about, they are the 20 percent of your customers that make up 80 percent of your profits. Learn as much about them as you can and focus your marketing budget on them.
  2. Focus your marketing on your future clients not your company. Too many businesses create marketing materials that are all about them. They talk about how great their products and services are. They talk about history, about missions and about all the things that make them superior. Anyone who reads these materials will quickly throw them away or ask, “What’s in it for me?” Don’t put your future clients in that position. Make sure your marketing messages are full of the benefits, reasons why and proof you will deliver to them what you promise.
  3. Use more than one-step to turn strangers into prospects. Many professionals use their marketing budgets on advertising and direct response marketing that takes time to work, but they’ll only run the ad once or mail the marketing piece once or maybe twice. Most people need to see your message a number of times before they are ready to act, so concentrate on strategies that let them gradually get to know your business.
  4. Follow-up. Many sales professionals do all the right things, but fail to follow-up. Develop opportunities to stay in touch with your customers. Call them to see how they are doing without mentioning your product. Drop them a note or send them an article that relates to an issue they are facing. Do everything you can to get them to see you as a valuable advisor.
  5. Write articles, guides, reports and book on subjects relating to your services and send them to your clients, prospects and the local media. No time to write? Then speak your ideas into a smart phone or digital recorder when you have down time, or driving, and then have them transcribed, edited and created into a distributable document.
  6. Develop a relationship with your prospects before you try to make them customers. Build trust by giving something away like a newsletter, free tips or other information about your product or service tied to their needs
  7. Develop a compelling offer. Focus on what your product, service or idea will do for the customer. Always stress the benefits and a few specific features that set you apart. Include a call to action to tell the prospect exactly what to do next. Include a sense of urgency or encourage them to act within a limited period.
  8. Promote your product or service in a variety of ways; don’t just rely on one strategy. If money is in short supply, try sending press releases, write articles, or volunteer to speak. You also should ask current customers for referrals.  Start a website and blog to build a list. Your website & blog may cost you money, but it will open up many lower cost ways for you provide information to prospects about your products and services. Get the word out in other ways too. You can join industry associations where you can network with prospects or sponsor a sports team in the community where your business is located. Get your company name and product or service on something that people will keep or create a giveaway with another company if you cannot afford it alone.
  9. Offer great customer service. One of best ways to create buzz is to wow your customers and turn them into ambassadors for you. You can also take the risk out of doing business with you by providing guarantees and warranties.
  10. Track the response to your marketing so you can do more of what is working and eliminate measures that don’t bring a good return on your investment. Set up benchmarks so that you can measure every marketing method you use. Test your marketing materials to determine if they are effective in bringing your qualified sales leads.

Now, pick one and start doing it today.

Next week add one more, in 1o weeks you’ll have your marketing kicked-up to a much higher level and your pipeline filling up with higher quality sales leads.

Or keep doing what you’ve always done.


Posted in advertising, business, direct marketing, information, knowledge, learn, learning, marketing, marketing plan, planning, sales, sales training, Salesmanship, sandy barris, target marketing, USP | Tagged , | Leave a comment