Thursday, December 24, 2020

What Have You Done For Me. . . NOW!



What Have You Done For Me. . . NOW!

This is my life. My customer's and I live in today, not tomorrow. 

As I sit here on Covid D-Day I wonder what will 2021 bring. This year has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs; the kind of work we have been doing, the expectations that have been placed upon myself and my staff and the limited resources given to produce results. Are we working in the office or remote? What about a coffee shop? Are they even open?

I want to start this out by saying, we don't make work. We don't twist arms. We don't trick people into buying or backing them into a corner where they will regret their decision later and not become a repeat customer. What we do is to go out and attempt to find you customers, not just for today but, tomorrow and the next day so you can actually grow your business. We present you, our clients in the best possible light through E-mail, Direct mail and Teleprospecting. Then we add in a little social media marketing, some content marketing, a touch of SEO, if the demographics are right some texting, Instagram or YouTube and we find companies that want to work with you.

The 3 Legged Stool Method

Nothing works every time but somethings work better than others. Our method, the Larson way is the 3 Legged Stool method of marketing. I have been using the Stool or in some way, shape or form for 45 years. The tools have changed but the basic idea has not. Hit people in three different ways using 3 different touch points and you are going to find a way that they respond to. The five senses are sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. If you use them right people will respond to your message

When I started out back in the 70's and 80's I would fax out all night long. Now that has evolved into email marketing. Don't laugh, email works. The right subject line, the right message, with the right product or service at the right time and with out allot of fancy arm twisting and you have a new customer. No you many get a low conversion rate but remember the rule of 27, right Fred?

Direct mail if used correctly targets the right customers at the right time. If you weave it in and out of emails and a phone you have a powerful way to find a ready and waiting audience. With direct mail becoming less common, there is less noise. THE MAIL BOX IS EMPTY! You can capture the undivided attention of your customers. Now more then ever direct mail is more likely to get read, it increases your name and company awareness. Unlike digital campaigns, direct mail has a larger appeal to every age group. Ready don't think that under 40s don't read their mail, they do, they really do.  We do outsource all our printing but with our careful control we make it actually work.

Since direct mail is a physical product, it allows room for creativity. Thus it can appeal to more senses, leaving a lasting and memorable impact on your customer. In the end, direct mail is powerful because it’s different from the digital way of doing things. I get hundreds of emails every week. But I get only a small amount marketing messages in the form of postcards or letters in my mailbox.

Finally we come to telemarketing or teleprospecting. Telemarketing is the glue that sticks it all together. No, not everyone we call is going to agree to make a purchase. 
But why would telemarketing even exist if it didn’t provide positive results? Telemarketing is a powerful and cost-effective marketing tool. 

1. It provides your company with direct feedback.
2. It connects people with other people in a low tech / high touch way.
3. It can expand your sales territory in a very personal way.
4. It provides immediate results when you use a real person making the calls like we do at Larson & Associates. Not some automated voice system

Larson & Associates

Making Good Businesses Great and Great Businesses Even Better

Call me at 847-991-1294 and get the full range of services you need to grow your business during this trying period in time.

Copyright ©2020 Larson & Associates, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Larson & Associates
3475 Steeplechase Way     Suite 201
Grayslake IL 60030

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Best Time To Reach Out


Is there a best time to contact a prospect?

I Don't know what you think you know but
The research is wrong!

There have been numerous research studies, advice and opinions published on when is the best time to contact a prospect. And there is one thing that is the same in all the published articles: none of them agree on any thing. Time, day nothing!

There isn't a good time!

Some will tell you that it is 10.37am on a Wednesday morning (I don't know how they manage to work out that every prospect is in a wonderfully receptive mood at precisely at 10:37 but ok). Others will say that it’s a Monday afternoon. (By the way, there may be loads of prospects who are ready to take calls and e-mails on a Monday afternoon)

But you are getting the idea here: everyone is different, everyone has a different suggestion. And that is what has led me to create the definitive answer to the question “when is the best time to contact a prospect?”. If you were looking for a simple answer, be ready for crushing disappointment. Here goes:

So when is
the best time to contact a prospect?
There is no correct time!

It is simply not possible to give an answer to when is the best time to contact a prospect. Everyone is different. We need to take into account that there are different habits and cultures in each area of the country, market sector and type of company. And that’s before we talk about the fact that everyone has individual preferences and that these days people rarely have two weeks that are the same.

So how do sales people make the best use of their time? How do they create the maximum success for contacting people? Here are seven quick tips to maximise your chances of engaging a prospect:

Call when you are not supposed to:

Where much of the research about when is the best time to contact a prospect agrees is that no-one wants to speak to you on a Monday morning or a Friday afternoon. Really? For some reason I have made some of my best sales at those times. They might seem unproductive but yes this is when I get my best results! Perhaps it’s because nobody else is dumb enough to be calling at that time. Calling after 5.30pm works pretty well for me as well and before 7:30 also: meetings have not started or they are finished but the boss is in early or still there late.

Here is another secret: right before you leave at the end of your day, make 1 more call. Just 1 more. I don't care if it is 4:14 or 7:26, make one more call!

Mix up your calling times!

If someone is not available when you call them at 10.37am on a Wednesday don’t try contacting them again at the same time next week. Like I need to really be saying this but try a different day and a different time. Sooner or later you will find the right time for that person. But remember that probably won’t be the best time for your other prospects.

Go multi-channel!

Whenever I run one of my Teleprospecting workshops I ask the people there how many ways they contact prospects. Nearly everyone falls far short of the 14 different ways that I use. If someone ignores you when you call or e-mail, try something else. Use social media messaging, a blog, a direct mail postcard. You will usually get a response when you find a channel that resonates with them. It about them and what they want, not you.

Just remember the rule of 38. No matter what marketing channel you use, picking up the phone and making a follow up phone call will ad a 38% better response rate to what ever you are doing or getting.

Have a great message!

It doesn’t matter how good you are at getting through to people: your time is wasted if you simply give them a standard sales message that they have heard before. If you want to find out how to create a good message, again don't over think it. what do you want to achieve out of the call? What is the next step you want to take with them and ask for it. Really ask for the result you want to have happen.

Like now: I want to be doing teleprospecting and run your multichannel marketing program so call me at 847-991-1294 and calling right now would be good!

Be persistent!

So many people give up after two or three attempts to contact someone. I almost have to laugh here because the average prospect buys after 7 to 9 sales and marketing messages and they only see 1 out of 3. Do the math, That is 21 to 27 messages to get where you want to go with them. It usually takes a lot longer to get hold of a prospect and start a meaningful dialogue. Sometimes it takes me two or three years from the first engagement until the sale. But you’ll never make the sale if you give up too soon. (I should add that I qualify my prospects carefully to make sure that I am not wasting my time on people who are the wrong fit or who are not going to take the next step).

Run a CRM entry for each important prospect!

When I have my buyers hat on, I will receive calls from companies trying to sell me something. Many of them called at the wrong time. I might tell them when I was next reviewing suppliers like them. But not even ten percent would call back at the right time. Yes laying out there dead in the parking lot. I often tell people to call me back the following week or month (and mean it) and they either fail to contact me or get the time wrong. So make a CRM entry to make sure that you never forget to call anyone again at their right time.

Just do it!

Sorry but research is highly over rated. If you do niche selling like I strongly suggest you do, you already know the problems and you know your answer to those problems. Yes good old pain and pleasure selling. We can spend a lot of time researching. We can also be diverted by prospect research, managing current customers or just the general busy. Sometimes we manage our time badly. And sometimes we use all these reasons as an excuse not to call new prospects because it seems too scary. The best thing that we can do is to actually start making contact with people. Pick up the phone and make the call!

Want to do it yourself?
Here’s a quick action point for you

Try and make contact with at least five people today, and the same tomorrow. Choose a channel that you are comfortable with. Try social media or writing a note card if the phone and e-mail do not appeal. The most important thing is to take action. At the end of the week you have made 25 reach outs!

If you reach out to 25 people you have a reasonably good chance of having a conversation with at least one new contact. You will be making progress with your sales and you will also be doing better than most of your competition.

Research is over-rated!

Yes, Research is highly over-rated!

Action is better.

What do you do if you don’t know what to say to new prospects? Have a weekly special. A new twist to your product of service or how you are servicing customers during covid.

Don't like to prospect?
For you there is Larson & Associates

We make good businesses great and great businesses even better!

Our focus is on working to become a part of your sales and marketing team in a seamless, invisible way to help propel your business to the next level. We will get to know you, understand you, sell you!

If you don't enjoy phone call after phone call or have a multichannel system that works call us!

WE Do!

Larson & Associates

Monday, October 19, 2020

Direct Mail Is Part of a Successful Marketing Plan


Covid changes everything.

Covid changes nothing!

We are in a world where everyone and their brother is scrambling to get “data-driven” “content driven” marketing out there yet the old rules still apply. You know rules like people see or hear 1 out of 3 marketing messages you send out and it takes 9 views so it takes on average 27 marketing messages to find a new customer. I was data-driven before it was the thing to do. In the old days it use to be called “direct marketing.”

As a marketing person who started my working life as a printer, a typographer and an advertising man I have a long history of direct marketing. I’ve never understood the push to throw the print marketing under the bus when it should be kept as part of the marketing equation and not what the pure social media guys want to do in their definition of an all digital marketing attack. Both complement each other and if used correctly build upon each other.

Print is high cost, high touch, high impact.  Digital is lower cost, low impact. Add in teleprospecting and you have the glue to drive your message home in a very low tech high touch way.

What I am I saying? I like to think print brings an air of importance, a high-credibility to marketing messages. The "If it is in print it must be true mentality."

Take a look at the average response rates!

Direct mail has average response rates from 4.9% to 9%. (If the list and the message is constructed correctly). Digital channels have conversion rates ranging from 0.77% to 1.3%. But where one is weak the other is strong. Typically, print can touch a customer only a handful of times per year, but it’s a powerful touch that drives action. Meanwhile, digital can follow a person everywhere, every day, year-round, all the time, keeping mind awareness high.

If digital and print complement each other, what are the facts behind the claims of higher success? The numbers are clearly out there on the result side. Of those marketers who incorporate direct mail into their multichannel efforts, 80% reported seeing better results, sometimes dramatic. 

Simply put, print is an important and integral part of a digital marketing plan.

Then you add in teleprospecting and you get a 38% bump in your response rate! 80% becomes 110%. And what if I am wrong and your print-digital only gets you 25% response? Well do the numbers 25% with teleprospecting becomes 34.5%. Not too shabby huh?

Larson & Associates

Making Good Businesses Great and Great Businesses Even Better

Is it time to get your 38% bump?
Phone 847-991-1294

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Covid Marketing

A seven-point plan

To Get You Through Covid

The good and the bad is this is only a starting point to provide a plan for marketing  throughout Coronavirus pandemic. But it is a start. Now you need it to be your start.
As we go along in the pandemic our businesses are all facing challenging times as the economic impact of Coronavirus starts to bite longer. And when faced with challenges like this, it's time to turn to The Godfather for that inimitable advice:

“Go to the mattresses.”

In other words, prepare your business for the long haul. Get your mattresses ready for your company to go to battle.

We need to work smarter, and be ready to tackle the challenges ahead.

Here are seven steps you can take to prepare your marketing activity during this Coronovirus downturn:rt to retain your existing customer base

  1. Work harder at expanding your prospecting list
  2. Work harder at expanding your prospecting list
  3. Get even more visible in front of your target market
  4. Fine unique ways of grabbing marketing share in your niche area(s)
  5. Focus on driving market share
  6. Measure, measure, measure
  7. Test, learn, test
Seven marketing techniques for powering through Corona
Businesses are looking more carefully at budgets, making sure we can squeeze every penny of profit out of our investments, and looking for the most cost-effective way to deliver products and services.

Marketing budgets may appear to be a soft target for businesses looking to make budget cuts. But a cut in marketing activity is a short term fix that is sure to have long term consequences. Maintaining visibility in your market is essential for long term profitability and continued investment.

And our customers are also watching the pennies, but they are still spending money. They may be spending less, but we need to figure out what they’re spending their money on. They don’t want to risk wasting a penny; they want to buy the right products from companies they can trust.

1. Work smart to retain & expand your existing customer base
Out of sight means out of mind. You need to keep in touch with your customers or you risk losing them. It's always cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.
  • Marketing automation is the lowest cost, easiest, and most effective way of keeping in touch with your customers. I’m not talking sending automated email marketing spam, nor am I talking about broadcasting cold calling messages to get new customers. Well, I guess I sort of am. You need to be sending out niche specific, contextualized, targeted messages to existing customers, prospects, suspects and any anyone else you can find to hear your message. Maybe they are not a customer but maybe, just maybe they have a friend who is. You need to be keeping in touch at every touch point possible, social channels, through the web email, direct mail, phone. Doing this systematically and as automatically as possible will ensure the job gets done, and free up your finite and expensive human talents to deliver creative messages that will bring an even higher ROI that a single or two channel attack.
  • Content production is an essential for your niche specific marketing campaign. Share what makes you the unique and better option for their covid recovery. Explain how you are best choice in what differentiates your offering from your competitors. and promote your story showing how with you the client wins.
  • Getting more social means engaging in conversations with your existing customers. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Email. Direct mail- these are places where you customers are reviewing you and your products, analyzing their purchasing decisions, exchanging views on your business. Create a high impact low cost plan for reaching customers at every touch point point you can use effectively to get them through in the sales funnel As you use these tools, what are your customer's and prospect's reactions, listen to your customers, hear what they’re talking about, keep track of the call backs, the opt outs, learn more about your market. And remember, it isn’t ALL about you – your are speaking to people you should understand in regard to needs and remedies to problems and solutions. Your message and to the conversation needs to be valuable and appropriate.
2. Work harder at expanding your prospecting list
Use Linked-In, find directories, online "zoom" networking meetings,virtual trade shows. There are a million ways to add into your. The point is you need more names in your data base. Do  what ever you can to add marketing share. Personally I have a daily special going to grab prospects and market share. I love market share more than anything else. Even with covid people still  need what you sell. They might need less of it but someone somewhere still needs it.

3. Get even more visible in front of your potential clients
You have to build your brand awareness and get more visibility, which means driving visitors to your website to make the sales. And one of the best times to get found by potential clients is when they’re searching for what you’re selling. You need to get found at every stage of the purchasing life-cycle, from exploring new suppliers to evaluating specific offerings.
  • The Mere Exposure Effect is the marketing phenomenon by which consumers develop a preference for your products or services merely because they are familiar with them. Now is the time to explore low cost techniques that will keep your brand visible in front of potential clients on a steady basis. It may feel counter-intuitive, but setting aside an advertising budget for keeping your brand visible will deliver long term benefits. Focus on creating high quality content that is going to get shared, and reduce your budget for generating low value, low impact content.
  • Update your evergreen content. Your business has an archive of perennially relevant, interesting content that does not become dated and is still of value to your customers… and the search engines. Revisit your content, update it, give it a spring clean, with the objective of improving your rankings in the search engines.
  • What other people say about your is more important than what you say about yourself. Another low cost way of getting visible in front of a larger pool of potential clients is to leverage the authority of other respected experts.
4. Focus on driving market share
A low cost, high impact covid marketing is about grabbing market share Don't focus on conversion rate, clicks and likes. Yes that is (sort of) important but we want action. I have a plan where in certain days in a certain niche I will set up and run at no charge for 2 months a content based email marketing plan no cost. I have a customer Estimator Cloud who has a covid special of after a demo you get to run the print estimation program and no cost or obligation for free for 3 months.  Small incremental changes to the user journey will turn more of your website visitors into customers.
  • Social proof and post positive stories about your business. Revisit how you are using your cases studies, recommendations and reviews at every touch point in your marketing, and take the time to weave this content throughout your website and share actively on social media.
  • Customer experience is king. Invest in your website to ensure you are giving a fast, personalized experience. And in terms of keeping costs down, remember that small changes to your website will have a huge impact on the final results.
  • Leverage artificial intelligence. Now is the time to get up to speed on the latest developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence that will give your business competitive advantage and access to the right prospective customers at the right time. Taking advantage of current developments in AI will drive down your cost per acquisition of new clients by ensuring you are getting the right message to the right person at the right time, and reducing waste.
5. Fine unique ways of grabbing marketing share in your niche area(s)
What can you offer to attract people? I sell marketing so what do I do. I over limited time teaser work do get them into the Larson Way of marketing. I know m way works even in the age of covid so if "MY" way can get them visibility and maybe even a customer to two think what it will do when things get going full steam again. Lock them in and put the hammer down!

6. Measure, measure, measure
If you don’t measure, then you can’t manage. And if you’re not managing, then you could be pouring money down the drain.

Measuring means accountability for your marketing spend. You need to be measuring against your success criteria. You may want to measure sales, numbers of lead generated, up-sells, or referrals. Now is the time to ensure you have defined your key performance indicators.
  • Configure your Google Analytics correctly. Ensure you are covering all the basics and that you are using the data to drive your marketing inefficiencies. Do you have goals set-up correctly? Have you connected your search console?  Have you defined what you are measuring?  Are you taking advantage of all the free data that Google Analytics provides to you that can shape your strategy?
  • Measure your social media ROI. When budgets get tight, you may need to make tough decisions on how you are going to spend your resources. One soft option might be to put the breaks on your social media activity. Social media can appear to be very time consuming and an optional non-essential activity. But before you make that decision, ensure you have explored how social media is contributing to your bottom line in terms of engagement, visibility, and profitability.
If marketing budgets are tight, then knowing what works makes it easier to make the decisions of where to invest your cash.

7. Test, learn, test
And finally, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the the conventional, digital and social marketing puzzle.
You will need to be nimble and quick. Creative and memorial. Measure your success, and learn from the experiment. Here are some parting tips:
  • Experiments should be quick, cheap, and easy to deliver.
  • If it works, wonderful, do more of the same.
  • And if it doesn’t work so well, then kill the experiment and move on. No harm done. Be quick and be ruthless. You will have tested something, learned from it, allowing you to move on and test something new.


Larson & Associates

Making Good Businesses Great and Great Businesses Even Better

Is it time to make you great?
Phone 847-991-1294

Our mailing address is:
Larson & Associates
678 N Eagle Lane    Suite 201
Palatine IL 60067

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Sales Lessons From Baseball

Baseball, I remember the first time I went to a game. Going through a dark tunnel opening up to w wide green field. This
was as good as it gets. The big leagues.

It’s about individual efforts and the team.
1) A baseball team is made up of individual players who know how to play together.
2) Every great baseball player started out as a beginner.
3) Every Major Leaguer started out in the minors
4) All Pros are coachable
5) Baseball players warm up and practice before every game
6) Baseball players learn the fundamentals until they are automatic
7) All baseball players go through slumps
8) All baseball players make errors
9) All baseball players LOVE the game

The down side
1) Very few baseball players make it to the big leagues
2) Very few baseball players can lead
3) Very few baseball players can hit a home run or get that clutch hit
4) Errors in judgment can cost you your career
5) Cheaters do eventually get caught
6) There is not prize for second place
7) For fans to be loyal to the team the team needs to be loyal to the fans

Larson Notes & Satire: To succeed in baseball or sales you need to believe not just in yourself but in your teammates, you have to believe you and your team will win. You need to believe in your coach and your leadership.
So ask yourself
Who are you playing for?
Are you a winner?
How much do you practice a day?
How much of you is in the game?
Where is your loyalty?
Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. We make teleprospecting for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you sould add teleprospecting into your marketing mix call today and find out.

Monday, July 20, 2020

I Got A Guy. . Is it you?

I Got A Guy

Is it you?
If you follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter or my Facebook Business Page you might have noticed at times I post products or services I do not do, and say I Got A Guy.
So who are these guys and what are these products and services?
My Customers
If you are one of  my customers your one of  MY Guy's and I do everything and more to get you sales leads and customers. I do what I said I would do for your marketing and then I give that little bit extra!

E-Mail Marketing

If Email is your channel of distribution use it wisely. Think before you share your latest blog, a sale or to just share information. Choose wisely. Make sure what you are sending is useful information and worth their time. Good subject, engaging content and always a call to action.  

Direct Mail

Direct Mail is seen as a dinosaur by many but before you dismiss it do your research, it has proven to be beneficial. Don’t forget to apply the golden rule 40/20/40 the success of your direct mail marketing efforts are going to be dependent upon three factors –
  • 40% of your success will come from how effective your mailing list is
  • 20% will come from everything else (design, the copy text etc.).
  • 40% will depend on how compelling your offer is.
The takeaway here is do not spend a whole lot of time and money on flashy graphics, layouts. It might not win creative awards but it will bring business to your door. And isn't that what we want, more sales? And keep in mind the mail box is next to empty. Its your job to fill it.

For all you printers out there we don't print but do use print services.

Telemarketing / Teleprospecting

Telemarketing is the glue to make this all come together.

You pick your plan from straight hourly to straight incentive with NO long term contact, no hidden costs. Additionally we can put a telesales plan together with as few as 10 hours a week keeping it in balance with your company’s staff, growth projections and marketing budget.

It gives you the unique ability to go make sure they are getting your message, the ability to ask questions on what you sent and come away with information you need to take then farther down the sales pipeline and it gives you immediate feedback.  Then regardless of the call and how it went ASK FOR THE ORDER! If you are afraid to ask we are not. So let us ask for you.
When you're ready to change the look of your email, take a look through the “design” tab to set background colors, borders, and other styles.

So you want to be one of
My Guys?

If you want to be one of MY Guys give me a call me at 847-991-1294. We have a program that is right for you and a little bit more.

And if nothing else you now you know what "I got a guy" is when you see it posted

Larson & Associates

We Make Good Businesses Great and Great Businesses Even Better
Copyright ©2020 Larson & Associates, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Larson & Associates
678 N Eagle Ln   Suite 201
Palatine IL 60067