My manager has 15 other salesmen in the office, he doesn’t need my sales to pay his bills!
This is what I finally realized after struggling and striking out week after week for three months when I first got into sales following a severe injury that required me to change career fields. Why did it take so long for me to come to this realization? Because I assumed he WANTED me to succeed. The day I realized my success would not impact him, I was finally able to succeed.
It may seem counter intuitive, but it actually made me focus on myself and owning what I COULD do to succeed instead of waiting for my sales manager to help me, for no help was on the way. I admit, at first, I was a little pissed off at him, but I decided I could stay mad and fail or figure out how to win without him!
This was a huge turning point in my entire sales career for it was that day that I realized for the rest of the time I’m in sales I cannot depend on anyone but me for no one cares as much about my income or family’s needs as I do.
Now that I realized it was my job to succeed, I had to figure out HOW TO do it. At the time I was doing in-home sales presentations and about 50% of our leads were from telemarketing. They were the worst leads you could get for most of the leads didn’t realize they were actually becoming “a lead,” they thought they were just confirming information to the “survey.”
This was in 2000, the internet was growing but was certainly not an ocean of leads for the average salesman with below average internet savvy. I realized the one thing that was holding me back was not enough leads and the leads I had were not very qualified. But, when I was with a family that actually had inquired for our service, my close ratio was very high.
Problem identified, I need more leads and they need be higher quality, the kind that actually had a need for our service and the ability to pay for it.
I focused on learning everything I could about marketing, ad copy, call to actions, demographics; you name it, I read about it. I then started producing my own direct mail marketing campaign and was spending more on my own marketing than my sales manager was spending for his entire team. This may seem reckless, but I started small and each week I made sales I increased my advertising spending. At the end of the year, I was the top salesman for the office and the #2 salesman in our three-state region. The #1 salesman was working in a population base of 2.5 million, I was working in a population base of 300 thousand, so all in all, I was happy with where I landed. As a side note: #1 salesman in our region had a client retention rate of 67% and I had a client retention rate of 96.2%. This is where having quality leads and being honest with your clients comes in.
As I continued to expand my personal marketing, I developed what I call the Marketing MALL approach. Fast forward 18 years and this approach is still as relevant today as it was in 2000.
What is a Marketing Strip Mall?
Envision a strip mall. Whenever a developer is going to build a strip mall the FIRST thing they do is identify the type of business(s) that will be the Anchor Tenant. Often this is a grocery chain or National Retailer. They will often give large incentives to the anchor tenant to get them in the strip mall for the Anchor will draw a Large and Steady flow of traffic into the development. Once an anchor is established, then the developer will begin marketing to other businesses.
Diversity is key in a successful strip mall. Have you ever seen a mall strip mall with 7 pizza businesses side by side? No, and you never will for two reasons. 1) Too many similar businesses is like having all of your eggs in one basket and 2) having this many competitors in the exact same market space would self-eliminate other competitors from wanting to be in this location in the first place.
A strip mall is successful when it has a variety of businesses that complement the types of customers that will be attracted to the development by the Anchor Tenant. If the Anchor is a grocery chain, the developer is probably not going to try to fill out the remaining spaces with clothing shops for that wrong type of shopping is being done to support the retail mix. But if the Anchor is a Kohls or Target, then you would expect to see a high mixture of boutiques for the foot traffic fits into the same type of demographics.
You may wonder what this has to do with your marketing, well here it is. The reason most strip malls are profitable is they have DIVERSITY in their portfolio. If 3 or 4 boutiques go out of business each year, it is a simple process to replace those vacancies with other boutiques, in fact; they know they will have an attrition each year which goes back to why they diversify their tenants. Your marketing should be the same.
Draw out a sketch of a strip mall, have a Big Box on one end and a Big Box on the other end and then several smaller boxes in between. Now look at your marketing and see which method is generating the most leads and put that in one of the “Tenant” or “Anchor” spots. Next look at which leads are creating the highest profit margin and put it in the other Anchor spot. Now fill in each of the remaining boxes with other sources of leads/sales, those are your “Boutiques.”
Now that you know which two are your Anchors, factor in how much each lead costs and how much profit does each lead generate. Whichever has the highest margin, begin focusing more marketing budget on that Anchor to grow it and make it more solid. This will gradually bleed over into some of your Boutique marketing sources. The more ways you give your market to find you, the more synergy each of your marketing efforts feed into each other.
Take your Boutique marketing sources and do the same as you did with the Anchors. Lead cost and average profit per lead. You will probably find you have a small Boutique that only generates a couple leads a month, but they are extremely profitable in comparison to others. When you find these, take time to brainstorm how you can grow one into being more consistent. Perhaps it means you simply spend more, or you may need to dedicate some time to make this source reach your target market; whichever the case put more resources into developing it.
The last thing you want in your Marketing Strip Mall is just ONE big lead generator. Toys R Us would be considered an Anchor and so would Sears, they are both bankrupt and gone! Fill your Marketing Mall with several lead sources so your business is protected from ever being overly reliant on one source for your success!
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