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Straight Talk About Setting Prospect Expectations

setting prospect expectations

Let’s say you and your spouse are watching TV. A commercial for a Disney cruise comes on.

You have three kids, and they’re at that perfect “Disney” age.

You start talking about how you’ve wanted to take your kids on a BIG vacation. You’ve even been saving some cash for it.

So the following day, as you’re driving to your travel agent (yes, you still have a travel agent in 2017—just go with it), you discuss the plan with your spouse and try to determine your budget.

Here’s what you talk about:

  1. You are unsure how much Disney cruises cost, but you assume they’re expensive. (Everything Disney is expensive.)
  2. You have friends that have been on a Disney cruise before, and they swore on a stack of Bibles it was the greatest experience ever. But the cost never came up in discussion.
  3. You have other friends who went on a Carnival cruise and loved it. Your friend is the kind who “finds deals” and said their all-inclusive cruise was only $380 per person for seven days. That’s $1,900 for five people.
  4. Since you know Disney will cost more (Mickey Mouse doesn’t entertain kids for free), and you know your friend is a bargain hound, you’re assuming that the Disney Cruise will probably be about DOUBLE the cost of your friend’s cruise—maybe as much as $4,000.
  5. You also know you need to fly to Florida where the ship launches… say that’s $300 per person, that will add another $1,500.
  6. You budget $500 for miscellaneous things and “fun stuff,” bringing your total maximum budget to $6,000.
  7. You’ve already saved up $3,000, and you think you can save another $1,500 prior to the trip, and you’ll just put the other $1,500 on a credit card that you’ll pay off as soon as you can.

Bing, bang, boom—you’re ready to speak with your travel agent.

The travel agent, of course, is thrilled to see you. She gets the dates and info from you and inputs it into her computer.

The following conversation ensues:

Travel Agent: Okay. It’s going to be… $10,783.80, including taxes. That’s a stateroom with a verandah.

You: (Gulp) What’s a stateroom with a verandah?

Travel Agent: Stateroom just means room; verandah means it has a little balcony you can sit on to view the ocean. Here is a picture. (She shows you the computer monitor).

You: That’s nice, but it might be out of our budget. (A single bead of sweat rolls down your forehead.)

Travel Agent: Well, that’s actually the cheapest price in July.

You: Uh, okay. Are there any, you know, less expensive staterooms? Maybe without a verandah?

Travel Agent: The cruise ship has interior rooms with no view or balcony. They are usually around $7,000 to $8,000. But they’re sold out for all of this month.

You: Uh, okay. Um, uh.

Travel Agent: If you could go later in the year, like in October, then these cheaper rooms would be available. Or you could go on a different cruise line—we have a Carnival Cruise in July for only $4,700. Disney does have a four-day cruise that is less money, but that is sold out, too.

You: Uh… uh… (exchanging nervous looks with your spouse)… okay. We need to think about it.

Travel Agent: Well, I’ll tell you what. I have been authorized to give you a 10% discount on any of these cruises if you decide and buy right now. Because, you know, if you do that, then I don’t have to waste time calling you back later. So which cruise do you want?

You: I… don’t know. I’d really like some time to think about it.

Travel Agent:  We can finance it. Just put down $1,000, and we can do 0% financing for up to 18 months. Then you can afford the Disney Cruise you want. Which date would you like to book?

You: Heh, yea. Okay. I think we want to think about this. We’ll get back to you. (You run away and never look back.)

Let me ask you… whose fault is it that you didn’t buy?

Maybe the travel agent didn’t “sell” well enough. Maybe she didn’t ask for the sale in a firm enough fashion.

I’m sure if the travel agent’s sales manager asked, they would blame YOU for being “cheap” and “indecisive.” You couldn’t come to a decision, even when given multiple options in your price range and financing was offered.

This role play scenario is a microcosm of the ordeal many (probably MOST) contractors force their customers to go through in every sales meeting.

You ask them to pay much more money than they thought they would.

You use words and jargon that are foreign to them.

You throw a ton of choices at them that they don’t know how to sort through.

You try to make them decide something right away, when they really need is to step back, breath, and process.

I’ve got some advice…

Stop doing this.

There’s an old marketing adage: “If you want to know why John Smith buys what John Smith buys, you’ve got to see the world through John Smith’s eyes.”

Take a second to view the situation from your prospect’s standpoint:

  • Know That They Don’t Know: Remember that your prospects know very little about what you sell—including pricing and options. Everyone knows a Chevy Malibu is probably $20,000 or $25,000. Almost no one has any idea how much a new kitchen or replacement windows cost.
  • Facilitate Their Knowledge: Don’t make prospects wait for the sales meeting to find all this out—it’s overwhelming and unfair to them. On your website, provide information so they know you’re different (and better!) that your competitors. Give case studies, with as much detail as possible. Provide them with pre-positioning materials before your meeting, so they have a better idea of what to expect (more on that in a second).
  • Take Responsibility: Don’t become frustrated when prospects don’t know something. Consider it your responsibility if they walk into a sales appointment unprepared.
  • Give Them A Break: If they really do need more time, give them more time. This isn’t ideal, but neither is pressuring them. If you do your job on the front end, you won’t find yourself in this situation.

Ultimately, this all boils down to respect. If you respect your prospects as humans, you won’t force them into uncomfortable situations.

One of the best ways to educate prospects and lower their sales resistance is with Pre Positioning materials. These include items such as a Contractor Standards Guide, product brochures, and pre-appointment emails.

The idea is to get prospects familiar with your business BEFORE you walk through their front door. By doing so, you make them more prepared and at ease for your meeting. This increases your closing rates and helps you increase your average sales amount.

MYM provides contractors with a powerful, proven Pre-Positioning package.

Our Pre-Positioning materials soften up your prospects like microwaved butter, so you can keep more appointments, close more jobs, and boost your bottom line.

Visit our Pre-Positioning package webpage for the details.

P.S. Thursday’s email is for the contractors who follow MYM but haven’t yet become clients. I’ll unveil a website we just launched for one of our new clients. The client received bids from four online marketing companies (including MYM) to build them a new website… and they chose us. I’ll tell you why—and show you the client’s amazing new website—in a couple days.

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MYM Blows Away ‘Longtime Listener, First-Time Caller’

long time MYM listener

If you’re a contractor who regularly reads my emails—but you haven’t partnered with MYM because you’re “on the fence”–the following story is for you.

On May 3rd, we launched a new contractor website: Johnson County Siding & Windows Co. (“JoCo” for short.)

JoCo is a sports radio show’s equivalent of a “long-time listener, first-time caller.”

The company had followed MYM for years. They’d listened to our webinars. They’d subscribed to our emails.

Simply put, they were HUGE MYM fans.

But for one particular reason (which I’ll get to in a second), they never made the leap to becoming an actual MYM client.

That all changed when JoCo’s owner Teresa Christie and head of sales, Justin Christie attended MYM’s Make The Jump seminar in Dallas last October.

Teresa is JoCo’s marketing manager. Prior to the Make The Jump seminar, she was looking to build a new website for the company. JoCo’s last website was built in November 2014, and was not getting the organic traffic and leads Teresa wanted.

“Our biggest concern was SEO,” Teresa said. “We were paying a substantial amount of money with no results.”

So, how did JoCo go from “on the fence” spectator to “over the moon” MYM client?

Before attending Make The Jump, Teresa had gotten three other bids on a new website. And when it came to website companies, she liked to stay local.

“I tend to do business with marketing companies and website companies in my area,” Teresa said. “I have some apprehension about working with virtual companies.”

So… what made Teresa step outside her comfort zone and choose MYM?

“After spending time with Rich and [COO] Bryan Bauman at Make The Jump, I was impressed with their knowledge, professionalism, and honesty,” Teresa said. “That clinched the deal for me.”

Plus, the price was right. Out of the three other website bids Teresa received, one bid was less than MYM and another was much higher. MYM’s pricing was in the middle.

After demonstrating that we could provide tremendous value for her money and quelling her apprehensions about working with a  virtual marketing company, Teresa signed on as an MYM client.

And so began JoCo’s website-creation process. Here’s a summary:

Creating The Copy

When creating web content for contractors, internet marketing companies need to write copy that’s powerful, passionate, and precise. That’s a given. But it’s also important to get the TONE of each individual client right.

Though we were creating JoCo a new website, Teresa wanted to maintain the branding they had already built. They had a reputation for being a highly professional company that focused on educating the client, rather than going for the immediate sale. Teresa wanted that identity reflected in their new website.

“The content creation process was fantastic,” said Teresa. “[Senior Copywriter] Dave Moffitt was great. He’d write sections of the website, send them to me one by one, and we’d discuss them in detail.”

Because of our highly collaborative content-creation process, we were able to provide JoCo with our renowned powerful MYM copy across their 40+ web pages, while also ensuring it was something that reflected THEIR company, philosophy, and branding.

Overcoming A Design Setback

After Teresa approved the content, we began the design phase of the project. The first design came back about a month later… and missed the mark.

“The colors were off and the design seemed too busy,” Teresa said.

When it comes to websites, these things happen about 10% of the time… even when you’re working with a top-notch marketing company.

But we’re not the kind of company that tells a client to “deal with it” if they don’t like the design. Nope—when a client is dissatisfied, we’re primed and ready to course correct ASAP.

After Teresa told us she was underwhelmed with the first design, we hit “pause” on the website’s creation and hopped on the phone with her.

We discussed everything about the design—what the client liked, what they didn’t like, and what we needed to change. To ensure we delivered the exact result the client wanted, we decided to gather the whole MYM team and had weekly calls with Teresa. We would review what we had done for the week with her to ensure JoCo got the website they envisioned.

When we turned around the second design, JoCo was extremely pleased—not only with the look of the website, but also the overall process.

“The phone calls were a phenomenal experience,” Teresa said. “I’m a perfectionist, so the constant communication saved me a lot of anxiety and produced a very good end result.”

Implementing High-Level SEO Strategy

As I mentioned earlier, Teresa’s biggest priority was boosting JoCo’s search rankings. And she wasn’t thrilled with the SEO strategies that prior internet companies had developed for her.

“With our old marketing company, we didn’t receive much aside from blog and Facebook posts,” Teresa said.

While MYM does blog and Facebook posts too, we also implement dozens of sophisticated SEO strategies to ensure great rankings for our clients.

“MYM has a higher-level SEO strategy and a better feel for the end result than other internet marketing companies I’ve worked with,” Teresa said.

Not to pat ourselves on the back (okay, maybe a little), but it’s true. Our SEO process is exhaustive, and we have some of the best minds in the business on our team. (Click here for a comprehensive list of what our SEO setup involves.)

It’s too early in the SEO process to show you results—SEO can take at least six months to propagate. But because of our comprehensive SEO strategy, we’re confident we’ll have JoCo ranking competitively in no time. (I’ll keep you updated on their SEO progress through MYM’s email newsletter.)

Conclusion

JoCo’s website took about five months from the initial kickoff call to launch. And for Teresa Christie of Johnson County Siding & Windows, working with MYM was an overwhelmingly positive experience.

“Building a website is a tremendous amount of work,” Teresa said. “I appreciate that MYM listened to me and was willing to converse throughout the process.”

Here are other steps we’ve taken or will take in the near future to ensure JoCo’s long-term online marketing success:

  • Implemented Online Reputation Management to build the client’s online reputation
  • Began creating premium customized blog posts to ensure the highest quality SEO-friendly content
  • Will soon install a chat feature on the website to increase lead generation
  • Continue to optimize SEO to improve search rankings

We turned this “longtime listener, first-time caller” into an over-the-moon MYM client with our communication, abilities, and knowledge.

“Working with MYM was a very good experience,” Teresa said. “I would absolutely and highly recommend MYM to contractors looking to build a new website.”

Click here to view Johnson County Siding & Windows’ website.

 

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Playing Whack-A-Mole With Your Bad Online Reviews

Do you remember playing that Whack-a-Mole game when you were a kid?

You had a mallet, and you’d bonk any mole that popped its head out of the hole.

playing whack a mole with your bad online reviews
At MYM, we have our own version of Whack-a-Mole. We call it “Whack-a-Review.”

Here are the rules…

  • Your online reputation is the “player.”
  • MYM’s Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the “mallet.”
  • Whenever a negative review about you pops up online, ORM instantly whacks it on the head, potentially forcing it back into the hole it crawled out from.

Our ORM “whacks” bad internet reviews about your company in two ways:

  1. It immediately alerts you to any negative reviews that pop up or already exist on 170+ review websites across the internet. This allows you the opportunity to contact the customer that left the review to fix the situation, or respond to the review directly on the website (here’s the right way to do that).
  2. When customers leave an online review directly from your website, it sends them through a review funnel. If they plan to leave you a negative online review, they are given the opportunity to discuss their experience with you first. This gives you the chance to talk to the customer, fix the problem, and get that customer to either not to post a negative review or change their negative review into a positive one. (Here’s an example of MYM ORM on a client’s website.)

In both instances, you “win the game.”

Not only do you have the ability to prevent reputation-damaging bad reviews from seeing the light of day… but you can also transform the existing ones (ones you may not know even exist) into favorable feedback about your company.

And “Whack-a-Review” is just one of the great features of our Online Reputation Management.

It also builds your online reputation by getting more of your customers to leave good online reviews. By sending your customers through a review funnel on your website, you build a strong online reputation in no time.

For instance, we recently signed up a new ORM client that had a substantial customer list they provided us.

Within the first week, our ORM generated eight new positive customer reviews for the client on Google and Facebook (two of the sites the client wants to target).

The amount of new online reviews you get per week depends on a number of factors, such as the amount of customers you have and how quickly/aggressively you want to build your online reputation.

Truthfully, creating a stout online reputation is like when the Romans built Rome—it won’t get done in a day.

But let’s assume our ORM generates you two to three new positive online reviews per week.
That’s…

  • About 8 to 12 a month…
  • 104 to 156 in one year…
  • 208 to 312 in two years…
  • 520 to 780 in five years.

Considering that studies show 9 out of 10 prospects read online reviews before contacting a contractor, don’t you think having hundreds of positive online reviews will convince people to pick up the phone and call you?

I’d bet my retirement fund on it.

So you can see just how important it is to start building your online reputation NOW.

Visit our ORM page now to find out more about how we can build, manage, and maintain a healthy, robust online reputation for your company.

And if you want to see if there are currently any negative online reviews about your company that need “whacking,” sign up for a free Lead Generation Audit. We’ll sniff them out for you.

Ready those mallets.

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Putting Your Clients’ Names… On Your Website?!

putting satisfied customers on your website

What if you put your customer references directly on your website?

I’m talking names, phone numbers, and email addresses of at least 15 past customers… and putting them on your website for the world to see. No opt-in required.

Do you think that would help your website conversions?

A better question…

How could putting customer references on your website NOT help conversions?

Think about it…

If you have a strong Identity that’s powerfully communicated on your website, you’re going to need to provide social proof to back up all your big claims.

And there aren’t many better ways to do that than giving prospects an instant way to talk to living, breathing people who have hired you, worked with you, and love you.

Putting references directly on your site—instead of providing them to prospects only when asked for—is also a supreme show of confidence.

You’re telling your prospects, “I’m so confident in my work, I’m giving you the names and numbers of 27 of my customers you can call right here, right now.”

Since calling a stranger can be first date levels of awkward, it’s also a good idea to provide the prospect with a list of “ice-breaker” questions to ask your references. These can include…

  • Were you satisfied with the results produced by the company?
  • Were there any issues during the project? If so, were they handled appropriately?
  • If you needed the company, were they easy to reach and responsive?
  • Did you ever feel pressured or stressed by them?
  • If you had to do it over, would you choose them again?

Of course, I’ve had contractors object to putting references on their website. Here are the most common ones…

Objection 1: What if my customers don’t want to be on my website?

Easy—don’t put them on your list!

Getting a customer’s written permission is necessary, but you’ll find it is much easier to get than you think.

For example: If you’ve completed 500 jobs, and you’re shooting for a reference list with 20 names, that’s only 4% of your past customer base. Doesn’t that seem doable?

Objection 2: What if my references get too many phone calls?

Then, by all means, remove them from the list.

Let your references know up front that they can request to be taken off your list at any time, whether permanently or just for a breather.

A good solution is to rotate two or three different lists once or twice per month. You will quickly find out that only your most earnestly interested prospects actually take the time to call your list. And most of them actually WAIT until after they’ve engaged you in conversation to actually pick up the phone.

Objection 3: What about my customers’ privacy?

If you don’t want your customers’ names showing up in Google searches, have one of your website geeks code your reference page so it’s not indexed by search engines. This way if someone searches your customer’s name, your webpage will not show up in the results.

Objection 4: What if my competitors see my customer list?

Big deal.

What could your competitors do with the information, exactly? Call your customers, tell them you’re awful and try to make them talk crap about you to your prospects?

Remember, the people on your reference list are HAPPY customers. Your competitors aren’t going to do anything with this list, and even if they did, it wouldn’t affect you in any way.

Asking Can’t Hurt…

Ultimately, there’s no harm in asking your customers to be on your online reference list.

The worst that can happen is that they say “no.” The best that can happen is that you create a powerful form of social proof on your website—one that NONE of your competitors have the guts to utilize.

P.S. Is putting customer references directly on your website a gamble? No, not at all. Simply follow the steps above, and you’ve got a powerful new persuasion tool for your website. Give it a shot!

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