Chocolate Covered Strawberries for You

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Warm chocolate sauce is dripping on your tongue off the ripe red strawberry. You bite down and you can taste the sweet juice of the strawberry as it squirts out all around the chocolate covering. Fondue is a beautiful example of what creative writing, copywriting, and marketing should do for the user that partakes in it. Your copywriting should tease the senses, excite the mind, and tug at the heart strings of your audience. Does it?

I am an experienced copywriter who has spent the last 15 years writing stories, copy, ad campaigns, and sales scripts that achieve amazing results. No matter what you’re doing or what you’re selling you need strong creative writing to persuade your audience. If you call me and we take just five minutes of time together, I can show how you can offer your audience a juicy chocolate covered strawberry. Call me, text me, or email me anytime.

voice / text: 312-857-8373 email:

You Need Overflowing Leads

You Need Overflowing Leads

You Need Overflowing LeadsDo you have new leads overflowing all around you?  As I write this post I have 513 new leads sitting in my inbox.  If you don’t have hundreds of new opportunities in front of you then how can you build your business?  You need overflowing leads.

Find a Free or Low Cost Lead Source

Last night I was at my local casino.  The gambling machine in this picture is the one that you drop quarters into and the more you drop in the more quarters drop over the edge into the payout tray.  The person who designed this was incredibly bright.  They realized that if someone heard that clinking quarter in the payout tray often enough, that they would keep dropping quarters in just because they think that there is a possibility that the whole shelf may drop a big payout.  Unfortunately you can play this machine for hours and not make any money.

One thing that the quarter machine does remind me of is a good lead source.  If you realize that there are hundreds of leads out there just waiting to tip over the edge than you’ll stay motivated and keep working to find, develop, and refine a system that gives you leads constantly.

What you need to find is low cost or free leads.  What if each lead only cost you 25 cents, it would only cost you $250.00 for one thousand leads.  What if instead of dropping a quarter in the leads machine you could put a free metal washer?  It sure would be easier to push some of those leads over the edge if you had a bucket full of washers.

Low cost or free lead options are out there.  You just have to commit to seeking a perfect lead source until you find it.  The 513 leads I mentioned were all free.  Because they are free I’ll probably have to discard over half of them, because the quality might be lower than my standards on half of them, but that still means I have 250+ quality leads.  It took me about 18 months to find a solid lead source that fit me well.  It was worth it though, now I have overflowing leads.  Your lead source will be unique to you, so take time to study what fits and what doesn’t fit, and don’t stop until you are satisfied with the cost and quantity of your leads.

Control the Flow

One thing that is critical to your success in lead management is the ability to control the flow of your leads.  Can you turn them on and off?  Do you know what you’ll get if you turn on the lead source for 90 days?  Remember it’s not really a reliable lead source unless you can control the flow of leads 100% of the time.  You need to know that for every 100 leads you’re likely to close X percentage.  This way you can turn on your leads, get busy closing some new customers and see consistent growth in your company.  Be sure you can control the flow of leads when you look at a new lead source.

Create a Solid Approach for Closing Each Lead

Once you’ve received the lead, reviewed it and pre-qualified it, then you need to put it into a system that allows for the highest possibility of converting it into a sale.  Think about the hours that you invest in each new prospect.  I know for my team we can spend 12-40 hours to close a lead.  Depending on the size of the job 40 hours may be worth it.  In some cases it might take 120 hours to close the deal.  Whatever it is, you don’t want a missing piece in your system to lower your chances of success.  When I wrote Stop Hiring Weak Sales People Now I described a method that allows your strongest sales person (often you, the business owner) to close the sales by using a system that sends all qualified leads to you.  Whatever the approach is, you should be careful to study and refine your prospecting and sales approach so that you can wisely use your team’s resources to close more deals.

Follow Up with Long Term Follow Up on Won and Lost Leads

Last week I looked to see how many dollars I invoice compared to the proposals I send out.  39% of all estimated work in my tech company ultimately becomes an invoice.  I think that is a reasonable close rate.  It’s not where I would like it to be, but it’s a good gauge on how much work I need to quote in order to reach my sales goals.  Basically for every million in sales I want to do, I need to send out estimates for 2.5 million.

One of the important pieces that I’ve been focusing on more recently is long term follow up.  No matter if I close the lead or lose the lead initially, there is a huge opportunity to do more business in the future if I am diligent to follow up.  I use a product called Infusionsoft (affiliate link) because of the intelligent tagging and automated decisions that the software can make for me after I set it up.  Whatever software or method you choose, be certain to put something in place that allows you to follow up with closed and lost leads in a consistent manner.  Follow up is key, no matter what industry you’re in, you have to have a follow up plan if you want to increase your close ratio.  Make a point today put some follow up procedures and methods in place that are automated and don’t get lost in the daily shuffle.  There is a quote in Infusionsoft that really stood out to me and I think it’s important to remember:

Don’t get too hung up on getting your copy perfect.  Following up doesn’t require prefection.  Reaching out is what makes the difference! ~ Infusionsoft

I remember that line every time I build a new automation sequence and every time I sit down to write a new post.  Although my work isn’t always as perfect as I would like it to be, I’ve committed to stepping out and producing content on a consistent basis.  My consistent actions produce results, not the perfection or lack of perfection in each action.

So there you have it, four of the pieces I think about when I work to create overflowing leads for my business or one of my clients.  Take action today and generate yourself overflowing leads!

The Top 10 Things That Entrepreneurs Do

I heard a very interesting podcast about the world of entrepreneurs back before Christmas.  The guests, Anne S. Habiby and Deirdre M. Coyle, Jr., were talking about their recent article “The High-Intensity Entrepreneur” from the Harvard Business Review. What stood out to me from the podcast and the article was this statement:

Today entrepreneurs anywhere can create value with relatively little capital.Today entrepreneurs anywhere can create value with relatively little capital.

That single line made me think a lot about the simple question, what is an entrepreneur?  Why can they create value with so little capital?  What is the difference between being a one man shop, and an enterprise?  What do entrepreneurs do that make them succeed in the long run?  One of my favorite leaders of all time, Winston Churchill, said this about entrepreneurs:

Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is – the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.

Here are the top 10 reasons why I believe entrepreneurs succeed:

1. They Can Sell Anything To Anyone

I sometimes overlook this, but it’s because it’s second nature to me.  I can sell almost anything to almost anyone.  This is the number one thing it takes to be an entrepreneur because if you can’t sell your idea at the beginning you are going to fail quickly.  You have to be able to:

  • Get people to trust you
  • Provide them solutions
  • Close the deal and get the check

2. They Think Large From the Beginning

If you don’t start planning from the beginning to open more locations and franchise or grow your idea then you won’t plan properly.  Entrepreneurs think about:

  • How they’ll add staff
  • What their long term management structure looks like
  • How their financial model changes when their staff and number of locations grow

3. They Build With Systems in Mind

If you don’t start to think about systems from day one you’ll establish a crippling habit by relying on people instead of systems.  No matter who you are working with, the fact that they will ultimately leave you is inevitable.  Don’t be ignorant and blind.  Death, family issues, differences of opinion, and boredom are just a few causes of this.  Work to build systems that help you:

  • Make rock stars out of people with average skills
  • Give you a tight hold on your finances at all times
  • Makes raving fans out of your customers every day

4. They Make Everything Scalable

When you rent your first hosting account, are you thinking about how you’ll be able to move and grow your site?  When you lease your first office location, are you thinking about what expansion looks like?  When you purchase any service, do you think about how it can grow when you have a larger team and you need more?  Partner with great vendors who understand win-win and who can:

  • Start small and grow with you
  • Consistently deliver on time
  • Work with your standards

5. They Pursue Mass Market Appeal

Entrepreneurs are always looking for how they can take their idea to the masses.  The flattening of our world makes this easier to do, but it still means that you have to:

  • Research your idea and market thoroughly
  • Survey your demographic
  • Test market your idea

6. They Provide for Others

The word I like the best from the quote in the article I shared is the word value.  I believe that the opportunity to serve others and create value for your team is the greatest part of your job as an entrepreneur.  Real entrepreneurs:

  • Think of their teams financial needs above their own
  • Think of how to train and grow each team member
  • Try to ensure that their enterprise gives back to their community

7. They Have Incredible Resilience

In order to make it as an entrepreneur you have to be tougher, faster, and more resilient than the rest.  Trying and failing 1,000 times just means that you should keep trying.  Making no money for 2-3 years while you invest is what it takes sometimes.  Entrepreneurs are:

  • People with incredible physical and mental stamina
  • People who refuse to listen to negativity
  • People who’s attitude carries them forward

8. They Learn From Their Mistakes

When I hear someone tell me they are afraid to fail, I have one simple answer.  You will definitely fail.” You might be surprised because that doesn’t initially sound positive, but it actually is.  If you can get over the fact that you will fail and make mistakes then you can:

  • Treat mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Not let fear stop you from trying something new
  • Learn and grow faster than your competition

9. They Know That Businesses Fail

Entrepreneurs know that even the best ideas can fail.  Perfectly laid plans can go of course.  Time can change a model and make it obsolete.  If you understand that businesses fail and close up eventually then you can:

  • Live in reality and plan well personally
  • Learn to see the trends in business
  • Protect your team when you see the end coming

10. They Can Remake Themselves

Once you’ve been around the block a few times and started a few businesses you understand a lot of what I’ve described here.  A true entrepreneur won’t let let the ultimate learning experience of going out of business stop them.  Entrepreneurs can remake themselves, jump into new industries and use what they’ve learned to:

  • Start over with $20.00 in their pocket
  • Sell a concept and then produce results
  • Innovate better than the rest

That’s what it takes to be an entrepreneur.  Do you have it?  If you do then you can deliver results over and over.  Get out there and show the rest of us how it’s done.  Don’t ever let your fear stop you.

More great articles on entrepreneurs:

10 Successful Entrepreneurs You Must Connect With

Entrepreneurs: You do Know You’re Unemployable, Right?

The Entrepreneur’s Handbook – 59 Resources For First Time Entrepreneurs

50 Leaders Who All Young Entrepreneurs MUST Follow on Twitter

Einstein’s Advice For Entrepreneurs

Launching a New Generation of Entrepreneurs

Getting People To Follow You On Twitter

A few months ago I created this tutorial on how to get people to follow you on Twitter.  You may find it helpful for yourself so I wanted to share it here with you.  This video will teach you how to sequentially follow more people and in turn build your following on Twitter.

How To Get More Followers On Twitter

I’d really be interested in learning about how you’ve built your following on Twitter.  Share your ideas in the comments if you have any suggestions!  Thanks.