Alison Edgar on better sales and building an entrepreneurial spirit at work – MAF222

My guest this week is bestselling sales author, Alison Edgar.

We talk about how to make sales engaging to drive business growth and building an entrepreneurial spirit at work.

Welcome to episode 222 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Alison Edgar on better sales and building an entrepreneurial spirit at work - MAF222

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why sales isn’t all about the hard sell
  • The difference between sales and marketing
  • What ‘Intrapreneurial’ means
  • How an entrepreneurial culture can exist in a business
  • How businesses can avoid being victims of their own success
  • The process Alison uses to help her clients

Who is Alison Edgar?

Alison worked in hospitality all over the world, then for BT in the UK. She wrote a book, “Secrets of Successful Sales” in 2018, describing things as ‘going mad’ after the launch. It was the WH Smith top ten and became an Amazon no.1 best seller. 18 months on, it’s got 115 five-star reviews, cementing her position as a sales expert.

She explains that she took on board what the top salespeople did and carried out analysis and research to learn more. She discovered that they did the same things as top performers in other industries.

Summary of our chat

Alison believes that when delivered correctly, sales and customer service are exactly the same thing. This has become the mission statement and how she delivers. People get sales wrong because they haven’t been trained properly. It’s an art, not a trick.

The key is to keep things as simple as possible. In her book, Alison uses the analogy of golf to explain the difference between sales and marketing. Marketing puts the tee in the ground and the ball on top – the set-up. Sales take the ball down the fairway, onto the green and into the hole (and you make money).

Alison created some content as part of a bid to encourage businesses to consider things from different points of view. Asking “What would I do if it was my…” helps to understand the employees’ needs and how to improve team relationships. The difference between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur is risk.

Alison says a growth mindset is really important. All businesses have someone who says no, but it’s always possible to do something differently. That person needs to change their mindset. Everyone in the business needs a growth mindset, and seeing things from other points of view can help.

A lot of microbusinesses don’t put foundations in when they start. They don’t have policies or a standard operating procedure, which makes growth harder. If they started off with structure, they’d find success easier to manage. Having a clear vision means they can employ the right people at the right time.

Alison encourages her clients to carry out a SWOT analysis right at the beginning. Self-analysing the owner and the business helps them to see where exactly where they want to go. From there, they can set SMART objectives. Too few people take specialist advice at the start to help them grow successfully.

Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Things don’t happen in five minutes. In her own business, Alison uses an outbound strategy to start conversations. Lots of local companies know who she is because she’s been building connections and marketing her brand over a long time.

One thing Alison would like listeners to take away

Alison says that networking has been invaluable for her. Not the early-morning breakfast get-togethers, but by attending the events which will help her grow her business and reach her goals.

If you want to take over the world, you can’t do that from your back bedroom! You need to get out there and meet people. Speaking at events can also be a good way to get known.

It’s not easy to run a business, so you need a good support network. Always be learning, and get your work/life balance right so you’re not working 24/7. Take advice for experts on the parts of the business you’re not as strong on. Nobody knows everything, so learn from others.

An Example of Simple Marketing

Alison says her new favourite campaign is Cadbury’s Dark Milk. They’re really good at diversifying their products with very little effort. The new advert features singer and actor Jason Donovan, and he takes the mickey out of his time on Neighbours.

He talks about how he’s grown up and he’s different now, which matches how the Dark Milk chocolate bar is the adult version of the Dairy Milk bar. It works really well and it’s memorable.

An Example of Marketing Madness

Alison says that the Go Compare adverts drive her bananas. They’re annoying, but it’s good marketing – viewers remember it for the negative connotations! She’s not a fan, though.

Links

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Ian Henderson on new advertising ideas for complicated businesses – MAF217

My guest this week is Ian Henderson, an advertising expert behind the infamous, “See it. Say it. Sorted” campaign.

We talk about how advertising has changed in the digital age and why annoying advertising is sometimes the best way to get a message across.

Welcome to episode 217 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Ian Henderson on new advertising ideas for complicated businesses - MAF217

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • What is the UK’s most annoying advert?
  • How annoying adverts can still be successful
  • How advertising has changed in the digital world
  • The differences between old-style and new adverts
  • The three steps to creating a successful advertising campaign
  • Cost-effective advertising
  • A financial services company doing well with ads

Who is Ian Henderson?

Ian has been an advertising copywriter for many years, producing ads for cars and whiskeys at London agencies. He became interested in brand development, particularly for complicated businesses.

His business, AML Group, have been working in this area for about eight years. They describe their service as: “simple ideas for complicated businesses.” That covers things like technology, counter-terrorism, law and international finance.

It also includes retirement life insurance – anything that’s highly regulated and therefore difficult to communicate to potential customers so they understand what businesses do.

Summary of our chat

AML Group created the “See it. Say it. Sorted” advert on behalf of British Transport Police to encourage people to report anything suspicious at train stations. While it was voted the most annoying advert in the UK, Ian explains that it’s resulted in a 90% increase in incident reporting.

The old model of TV ads for large companies in the financial services sector, using a top-down push method, is outdated in the world of social media. Consumers are empowered now, and we have grassroots movements created by people we trust more than organisations. Brands are now trying to replicate this for business growth.

Ian says that the old ways of advertising still work, and it allows companies to reach large numbers of people fast. On the other side, creating pull messages is increasingly popular. The audience creates stories and builds participation. This is both cost-effective and removes barriers that prevent people from taking action.

The first step is understanding the rational and emotional drivers of the audiences. Then, find the “connected connectors” you can influence within that group. You need a strong, simple, memorable and relevant core idea people can get behind. Finally, you need to create a platform to build participation and remove barriers to access.

Ian says producing adverts is much cheaper than they used to be. However, you still need to create assets and seed the movement. It’s not cost-free, but there’s no longer a need for expensive, top-down media. Companies are keen to do the right thing, and that includes enabling consumers to make informed decisions.

Ian points to a project between Big Issue and large asset managers. To build a financial ecosystem which is inclusive and allows people to invest in a sustainable way and have access to low-cost banking and ethical financial products. It’s a great example of collaboration between competitors for the greater good.

Ian’s Tips for Small Business Marketing

For smaller businesses who can’t afford to work with an agency, Ian recommends using tools such as content marketing and social media, because they’re available to everyone.

Firstly, though, you need to be clear on what it is you want to say. What is the purpose of your organisation and why should people come to you? It sounds obvious, but Ian says many companies don’t get that right.

Be clear on what you’re trying to say, then find a compelling, relevant and memorable way that sticks in people’s minds. We’re all good at filtering messages out unless they’re clear and simple, because attention spans are shorter.

Finally, use digital platforms to ensure the message is delivered consistently across each one and reaches the right people. Clarity and being compelling, and using the right channels, are universal tools for successful advertising.

One thing Ian would like listeners to take away

Ian says that “simple ideas for complicated businesses” is not a bad summary of his experience. Businesses, particularly in the sectors AML Group work with, are necessarily complicated, because they’re intermediated and regulated.

There is often a lot of resistance, confusion and anxiety on the part of consumers around their offerings. Being simple and clear, and delivering key messages in a timely and relevant way is obvious, but that’s what it takes.

Ian thinks that using the new techniques in the environment of ‘doing the right thing’ and focussing on sustainability means that it’s possible for the financial industry to start a conversation to help consumers to make the right decisions.

An Example of Simple Marketing

Ian points to the “Take back Control” campaign used by the Leave side during the Brexit campaign, regardless of your views, was a powerful and effective marketing campaign. It’s a good example of an almost invisible grassroots campaign, like those talked about during this interview.

An Example of Marketing Madness

Ian says he thinks it’s a bit bonkers spending £100,000,000 on a leaflet campaign to tell people to get ready for Brexit when no-one really knows the outcome.

Links

If you enjoyed – Ian Henderson on new advertising ideas for complicated businesses – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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Chrys Tan on Facebook Messenger Bots for relationship building, marketing and customer service – MAF216

This week my guest is Chrys Tan, an expert in using Facebook Messenger Bots.

Stats show high engagement rates for companies using “chatbots” compared to email. We chat about how to set up a Facebook Messenger Bot and how to use it for relationship building, marketing and customer service.

Welcome to episode 216 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Chrys Tan on Facebook Messenger Bots for relationship building, marketing and customer service - MAF216

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How to use Messenger Bots the right way
  • Why businesses should focus on conversations
  • What Facebook Messenger Bots are
  • How financial services can use Bots
  • How bots work with human customer support
  • Using bots in smaller businesses
  • Customer services and relationship-building

Who Chrys Tan?

Chrys is originally from Singapore, and her background has always been in marketing. She worked for the largest ad agency in Singapore for seven years but felt more like an entrepreneur. Even as a child, she’d earn pocket money from selling printed T-shirts.

Leaving the agency, Chrys first set up a health and fitness company, then another start-up, both of which failed quite early on. Already convinced that traditional forms of marketing weren’t working anymore, she started to use her skills as a freelance marketer. Seeing success from using Facebook Messenger Bots, she decided to focus on them in her new business, Chrys Media.

Summary of our chat

Platforms like Facebook are ripe for conversations. Users are already talking to their friends on Messenger, and it’s quick to use. Unfortunately, businesses end up spamming people when using bots for marketing, rather than focusing on building relationships. And unlike emails, you only have a few lines to persuade the readers to engage.

Chrys says businesses are keen to use Bots because they have high open and engagement rates. Eventually, users will get used to these messages and rates will start to drop. However, it’s currently the only channel that allows you to have a one-on-one conversation with subscribers at scale and speed.

Chatbots are an automated messaging system with pre-entered messages which answer the questions visitors ask. Some use AI to answer more complicated questions, but it depends on the need. The bot lives inside Facebook Messenger on your business page and interacts with visitors. Sites such as Weibo also offer chatbots.

Banks use chatbots for customer service. They can answer basic questions quickly and 24/7 simply by pre-populating responses. For more involved queries, such as losing a bank card, human advisors are available. Insurance companies can use bots to give instant quotes, rather than using the slower system of emailing the results to customers.

Online chat facilities usually rely on each team member speaking to several people at the same time. Bots can save time by collecting basic customer information first. For more complex queries, the bot can pass the chat to a human advisor, and each business can set up their own handover process.

Small business owners can benefit from bots too. You don’t need to know how to code, as tools like ManyChat build the bots. Be clear on why you’re using bots. Chrys has a 4-step plan: Build your list to get subscribers. Next, get to know your users better. Pitch your services, then constantly reengage.

The key is to put people first. Bots can be used for better and faster customer service, to give visitors the answers they need. They shouldn’t be used to bombard people with sales messages, but to engage with them and build relationships.

One thing Chrys would like listeners to take away

Chrys’ big tip is to market where your audience is hanging out. Make sure you’re in the right place. If your followers are older, concentrate on LinkedIn for lead generation and leave Instagram for now. Don’t choose the platform you like; go where your potential customers are.

An Example of Simple Marketing

Chrys used to work with Volkswagen when she was at the ad agency. She says that on all channels they’re on-brand, their messages are exactly right and they’re really clear on their target audience. They create beautiful ads in a traditional style, and their branding is really clear.

An Example of Marketing Madness

Chrys isn’t a fan of “bro marketing.” This is where people sell their products with messages such as: “the one tip that helped me make seven figures’ or including flashy cars in their adverts. She says it screams fake because people are hiring helicopters and cars just for photoshoots.

They’re also misleading people because they’re pretending someone can become a millionaire just from buying their product. It can’t happen, so they’re selling false dreams.

Links

If you enjoyed – Chrys Tan on Facebook Messenger Bots for relationship building, marketing and customer service – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

Don’t miss an episode of the MAF Podcast – subscribe now.

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