Don’t Make These Dumb Selling Mistakes I Made

selling

I made these dumb selling mistakes so you don’t have to. You can avoid them in just four minutes. Thanks. Secure link here…or YouTube here:

Thanks,
Josh

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Can I Help You?
Hi, I’m Josh Horn, CPA/ABV, CVA of Horn Valuation. I help with business valuations in friendly or unfriendly situations. I also help owners build valuable companies. My clients are business owners and attorneys. If you’d like more information, check out my website hornvaluation.com, email me at josh@horncpa.com, or call me at 217-649-8794.

Josh Horn CPA

I’m a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and double-credentialed in business valuation (CVA & ABV). I’ve been a tax and business consultant in a top 100 CPA firm and a controller in a large international company. I’ve also valued and been the primary advisor to multi-million dollar and small companies in various industries.

“If you’re not working on business value, who is?” Josh Horn, CPA, Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited in Business Valuation

How Do You Get Sales Leads? This is What Works for Me

leads

A question I hear from business owners all the time is, “How can we generate more leads?” A common answer I’ve heard at seminars is, “Do good work.” Since doing good work implies you already got the work, that may be the worst answer ever. Yes, do good work. That’s not what you’re asking, is it?

I’m not a sales or marketing genius. I’m still making mistakes but I’m getting better. Since your business is probably different from mine, I’m going to give you principles instead of tactics. Ignore them if you want. They work.

Honesty. I take this for granted since I’ve been an accountant for over 20 years. Unfortunately, many people are suspicious until they get to know you. And you won’t get referrals unless someone thinks you’re honest. Honesty is the “spark” that starts the process. Honesty is also the most difficult principle to apply since you have the least control over it when you’re unknown. Honesty becomes a perception in the market when you apply these next three principles…

Curiosity. Get very curious about the clients you want to attract. What are their pains? Not the simple stuff like, “filing the tax return” or “repairing the faucet.” What’s really bothering them deep down? What can you fix while your competitors are checking boxes and offering the lowest price? Here’s a hint – they’re scared of something. It’s your job to find out what it is. Your curiosity will lead you to…

Generosity. You must create solutions for your potential clients. A lot of solutions with no expectation of sales. Blog posts, videos, worksheets, spreadsheets, and just chiming in on their latest difficulty on social media. Get to understand their industry and life and where their difficulties and opportunities are. Clients are looking for answers and you’re there to provide them, whenever they might be ready to engage. When they’re ready, you need some…

Personality. You don’t have to be Jerry Seinfeld or Steve Carell. You need to find something you have in common. Privacy is dead so take advantage by researching them on the internet. Do you both like baseball? Maybe your kids are the same age? Maybe you both went to the same high school? Use whatever you can to get a conversation started and let them talk. The more they talk, the more interesting they’ll think you are. Don’t fake it. Be interested in their life!

A Real Life Example
I recently got a referral. I’ve worked with the referrer on a mutual client and he’s a friend (honesty). My referring friend also knew I understood this industry (curiosity) since I referred one of my clients to him (generosity). As soon as we had been introduced via email, I gave the referral information about his industry and an example of a finished product (curiosity and generosity). That led the referral to request a meeting with me. Before the meeting, I did more research (curiosity). The referral was in a video I found on the internet. After we met and shook hands, it was a good opener to say, “I saw you on______.” That led to a personal conversation about him (personality) and not just the business. Remember, it has to come from the heart and be genuine! I got the project.

The Bottom Line
We all hit rock bottom generating leads sooner or later. Don’t get discouraged. As silly as it sounds, you need to find your inner-child to connect with potential clients. Who says “no” to a child? Nobody says “no” to my eight-year-old. She’s honest, curious, generous, and has plenty of personality. You can use the exact same principles to generate leads no matter how old you are.

Thanks,
Josh

Sign up for this blog here and connect with me on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

Can I Help You?
Hi, I’m Josh Horn, CPA/ABV, CVA of Horn Valuation. I help with business valuations in friendly or unfriendly situations. I also help owners build valuable companies. My clients are business owners and attorneys. If you’d like more information, check out my website hornvaluation.com, email me at josh@horncpa.com, or call me at 217-649-8794.

Josh Horn CPA

I’m a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and double-credentialed in business valuation (CVA & ABV). I’ve been a tax and business consultant in a top 100 CPA firm and a controller in a large international company. I’ve also valued and been the primary advisor to multi-million dollar and small companies in various industries.

“If you’re not working on business value, who is?” Josh Horn, CPA, Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited in Business Valuation

A Tale of Two Vegases. Which Las Vegas are You?

vegas

I recently visited Las Vegas for the first time. I guess a numbers guy like me doesn’t see gambling as the best way to spend my time and money. All kidding aside, I really enjoyed the trip but not for the reasons most people talk about Vegas. I was fascinated by the extreme contrast in selling and marketing depending on where you were. For example, at Caesar’s Palace, you can be there an entire week and almost never talk to a single human. Check in: automated with a kiosk. Checkout: on your phone and done in two minutes. It’s as if Caesar’s is saying, “we have one of the most beautiful places in Vegas. Please enjoy yourself and we won’t bother you.” If you’re busy, on-the-go, with smartphone in one hand, and a young child in the other (like me), this may be appealing to you. Otherwise, consider another place if you need more personal attention.

Then, step outside and you get the other extreme. People in the street and malls walking right up to you to try to sell something – tickets to a show, a picture with Batman, your picture with someone wearing…umm…you’ll have to use your imagination. This was an actual exchange my wife had with one of the sellers. We’ll call this the “Hard Sell.”
My wife: “We’re looking for ____ (restaurant).” (We’ve just walked through 100 degree heat several blocks with a seven-year-old).
Seller: “Oh, yes it’s here. Would you like a free show for kids?”
My wife: (Intrigued) “Maybe. When is it?”
Seller: Fumbling through her papers… “Would you like to go to the restaurant tomorrow?”
My wife: “No thanks.”
We walked away. True story.

What’s the difference between Caesar’s and the Hard Sell, other than all the Roman statues?  This is how I’d break it down.

Target Market
We’re for those who want beauty, convenience, and privacy.
Everyone is the same and wants the same things.

Customization
We built our product for those who want what our target wants.
We built our product for every human that walks the planet. You’re all the same.

Pricing
Our fee reflects those who value beauty, convenience, and privacy.
Everyone will pay the same. Push low price to sell.

How Many Customers?
If we serve our target customers well, the numbers will take care of themselves.
The more victims…uh…prospects, the better my odds. Keep pushing for volume.

Value of Time
Your time is important, and our time is important. Let’s spend time wisely.
Nobody’s time is important. Time is infinite.

I don’t want to give you the impression you should open a hotel casino like Caesar’s tomorrow. And I don’t even necessarily want you to follow their model. Just know which model you are following and the likely consequences. If you believe what “Hard Sell” believes, knock yourself out. You’ll likely need a thick skin, an army of people, and an unshakeable belief in what you’re selling–even if it’s garbage. What concerns me is you might be wandering in the gray area between Caesar’s and Hard Sell. How do I know this? Because I’ve made that mistake myself! As Yoda said, “Do or do not.” Don’t wander in the gray area.

You may not see yourself as Hard Sell, but have you…
-> Identified your target?
-> Customized your product for your target?
-> Priced your product or service correctly?
-> Thought about how many customers you need—for profit and to be happy?
-> Valued your time so you spend it wisely for your target and yourself?

Tough questions for all of us. Better to answer them sooner than later.

Thanks,
Josh

Sign up for this blog here and connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Can I Help You?

Hi, I’m Josh Horn, CPA/ABV, CVA of Horn Valuation. I help with business valuations in friendly or unfriendly situations. I also help owners build valuable companies. My clients are business owners and attorneys. If you’d like more information, check out my website hornvaluation.com, email me at josh@horncpa.com, or call me at 217-649-8794.

Josh Horn CPA

I’m a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and double-credentialed in business valuation (CVA & ABV). I’ve been a tax and business consultant in a top 100 CPA firm and a controller in a large international company. I’ve also valued and been the primary advisor to multi-million dollar and small companies in various industries.

“If you’re not working on building value in your company, who is?” Josh Horn, CPA, Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited in Business Valuation

You’re Not Full-Service and it Doesn’t Matter. This is How You Position Instead.

full-service

Ugh, there it is again.  That phrase.  I was hoping it would die several years ago.  Then it makes a comeback – in ads, internet postings, and other mediums.  What is full-service?

Full-service, as defined by Merriam-Webster and Cambridge Dictionary is “providing comprehensive service of a particular kind.” and “used to describe a business that provides customers with a complete range of services.”  Are you telling your prospective customers you are full-service?  What does that mean to you?  My take is that you provide everything in your general profession.  So, if you’re a construction contractor, you build everything from the foundation to the roof.  Why could this be a problem for your business?

It’s Probably Not True

Do you really provide everything…and do it well?  Likely not.  When I was working in public accounting, they said they were full-service.  Did they provide SEC company audits?  No.  Did they provide business valuation services?  Sometimes, but not in every office.  Banks often say they’re full-service.  However, a full-service bank for a small business may not be for a large international business.  Full service is in the eye of the beholder so it’s unattainable.  Admit you probably don’t provide everything because…

Your Ideal Customers Don’t Care

Does anyone say, “Yeah, I went to ABC Company because they do everything.”  Or, “Once I saw they had a full page of services, I knew they were the company for me.”  I don’t hear this much and you probably don’t seek out services for your business or family like this either.  In fact, what is happening more often today is…

Your Ideal Customer is Seeking a Specialist

They want to know you have specialized expertise and can help them with their problem.  They want to know you’ve solved similar problems for similar customers.  They want to see you have experience, credentials, testimonials, tools, written materials, videos, and on and on—proof that you can help them.

OK, so here are some of your likely objections and my responses.

We Provide a Wide Range of Products and Services.  Are You Suggesting We Kill Everything but One? 

Maybe.  Maybe not.  I’m a big believer that niche providers are ruling the world and will continue to do so for some time.  That said, there’s a difference between what you provide and how you market.  You can still provide multiple services without having generic marketing.

When advertising your services or meeting prospective customers, do you lead with, “We are a full-service______?”  That’s a dead-end conversation for your prospect.  You just put them to sleep.  Each ad or interaction should have a specific purpose intended to reach a specific customer.  Going too broad confuses your audience and will have little chance of success.  It also makes measuring your campaigns much more difficult.

If We Don’t Say We Provide Everything, We’ll Lose Customers

That’s fear talking.  Fear of missing out on any customer that has a pulse.  Fear that this customer will be the last.  Fear that you will lose this customer to your “me too” full-service competitor.  Fear cannot drive your business decisions or your chances of success drop significantly.  There are products and services that you provide better than anyone else.  You have expertise that no other business has.  Highlight this, drill down to your ideal customer, and ditch your fear.  And if none of this changes your mind…

Have You Noticed What Three of the Most Successful Do? 

Apple, Google, and Amazon all have a narrow focus, even with billions in sales and profits.  You could make a strong argument they are niche players in media, search, and distribution.  Could it be they know something that modestly successful companies don’t?  When it gets tough for small companies, many broaden their offerings.  The ultra-successful often do the exact opposite—identify their core customers and go back to basics.  Remember, these ultra-successful companies were all small once.

What Should You Do? 

Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, provided a great positioning list in his newsletter.  Here it is:

  • “Clear answer to what problem you solve.
  • Explanation of how that happens.
  • Easy next step after they agree you’re the one for them.
  • A strong About page/copy that explains how you help them.
  • A picture of you and your team.
  • Deeper information if someone’s not yet sold.
  • Tell the story of what you do and what you sell from their side.
  • Two ways to contact you.”

What does your positioning look like?  Could it be improved?  I hope you agree that positioning as full-service is not positioning at all.

Thanks,

Josh

Let me know what you think about this.  Sign up for this blog here and connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Can I Help You?

Hi, I’m Josh Horn, CPA/ABV, CVA of Horn Valuation.  I can help you with a business valuation in a friendly or unfriendly situation.  I also help owners build valuable companies.  My clients are business owners and attorneys.  If you’d like more information, check out my website hornvaluation.com, email me at josh@horncpa.com, or call me at 217-649-8794.

Josh Horn CPA

I’m a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and double-credentialed in business valuation (CVA & ABV).  I’ve been a tax and business consultant in a top 100 CPA firm and a controller in a large international company.  I’ve also valued and been the primary advisor to multi-million dollar and small companies in various industries.

“Sacrificing everything building your company and leaving value to chance is nothing short of a tragedy.”  Josh Horn, CPA, Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited in Business Valuation

If This CPA Can Do Video, You Can Too. Here’s How and Why.

video

Today, I show you how to get past your fear of making videos for your clients and referral sources.  I also give you the exact tools I use to make my videos here.

Let me know if you need help with video.  Watch the video (about video) here.

See you again soon,

Josh

Sign up for this blog here and connect with me on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

Can I Help You?
Hi, I’m Josh Horn, CPA/ABV, CVA of Horn Valuation. I help with business valuations in friendly or unfriendly situations. I also help owners build valuable companies. My clients are business owners and attorneys. If you’d like more information, check out my website hornvaluation.com, email me at josh@horncpa.com, or call me at 217-649-8794.

Josh Horn CPA

I’m a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and double-credentialed in business valuation (CVA & ABV). I’ve been a tax and business consultant in a top 100 CPA firm and a controller in a large international company. I’ve also valued and been the primary advisor to multi-million dollar and small companies in various industries.

“If you’re not working on business value, who is?” Josh Horn, CPA, Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited in Business Valuation