Newsletter - 2009 11

November 2009

Business Success

Brought to You By BMA Marketing

BMA Marketing

246 Wolcott Rd

Wolcott CT 06716

(800) 603-3985


Why Product Benefits Are Key to Making the Sale

It is an axiom of Sales 101 that people buy benefits, not features.

If you try to sell customers on the features of your products and services, you won't meet with much success.

Why is it more effective to promote benefits over features?

• Benefits show the value of your products or services.

• Benefits solve customers' problems.

• Benefits tell customers what they will gain from your product or service.

The thing is, though, features are easy to list and talk about, but translating them into benefits can be tricky. The best way to communicate the true benefit of your product or service and to answer the customer's what's-in-it-for-me question is to drop the term "benefit" and talk about "results.".

Take a product like Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking technology.

Today's models have a bewildering array of features: text-to-speech, multi-destination routing, navigational options, locate and track capabilities, and screen-viewing options, to name just a few. Most consumers have only a vague idea of how these features actually benefit them.

But the benefits of GPS tracking are clear and compelling:

• Save time by mapping out the best course for your travels.

• Save hassle by using GPS tracking technology to avoid getting lost.

• Save money with reduced car insurance rates.

• If your car is stolen, its location can be pinpointed and tracked through a GPS system.

When you sell the features of your product or service, the customer has to figure out what the benefits will be. When you use the results approach, you make it clear what's in it for them.


Top Tips for Terrific Customer Service

Good customer service is the foundation of every successful business. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring customers in the door, but if those customers don't come back, the efforts are wasted.

Quick Quiz

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In Anne of Green Gables, Green Gables is in what town?

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Worth Reading

Selections from the best articles seen online this month.

Daddy Givebucks: Lessons Learned When Warren Buffett Hands You $1 Billion

From Fast Company

Three years ago, Warren Buffett gave each of his kids $1 billion to give away - suddenly thrusting them into the philanthropic elite. Here's what they learned.

Read more

Understanding Business Development

From Seth Godin's Blog

Business Development is a mysterious title for a little discussed function or department in most larger companies. It's also a great way for an entrepreneur or small business to have fun, create value and make money.

Read more

Building a Culture of Employee Appreciation

From Inc. magazine

How one company overhauled its employee-appreciation, recognition, and incentive programs.

Read more


Exploiting Chaos, by Jeremy Gutsche

Since last year's economic crash, bookstore shelves have been buckling under the weight of tomes aimed at helping businesses survive...and a recession.

A lot of it is good advice, because it's usually better to take action in times like these than wait it out.

One such book is Exploiting Chaos by the "chief trend hunter" of - the website that reveals the latest cultural and business ideas.

This is a beautifully produced book: light on words, heavy on design - and also heavy on ideas.

The idea is that times like these require businesses to be creative; to stop doing business as it has always been done and to start taking bold steps to doing business a new way - all with the aim of being nimble in a world that is changing rapidly.

You might not be able to implement everything in the book, but it's sure to get the brain whirring.

Good customer service is all about making customers feel valued, satisfied with their purchases and pleased about the buying experience. Following are some back-to-basics tips for great customer service:

Answer the phone: Make sure someone picks up the phone when it rings.

Be positive: Smile and approach every situation with a positive, can-do attitude.

Keep your promises: Ensure that deliveries, appointments and deadlines are met. Do what you say you're going to do - or else don't say it.

Deal with complaints constructively: Give every complaint your attention, and do what it takes to defuse, settle or resolve it.

Be helpful: Even if there's no immediate profit in it, be helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable. It will pay off in the long run.

Empower your staff to serve customers: Give your staff enough information and authority to make those small decisions that please customers - even if those decisions sometimes incur a small extra expense.

Throw in something extra: Consider offering a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a just some useful tips. A gesture does not have to be large to be effective.

Listen to your customers: Show a genuine interest in every customer and listen to what they all have to say.

Always do the right thing: Treat every customer with dignity, respect and integrity. Do the right thing - every time.


Corporate Identity Markers Create a Buzz for Businesses

McDonald's golden arches, Nike's swoosh, Coca-Cola's sleek bottle, the NBC peacock and Apple's apple are all very instantly recognizable symbols of corporate identity.


Quotes by...Peter Drucker

"The most efficient way to produce anything is to bring together under one management as many as possible of the activities needed to turn out the product."

"Some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I've worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths and weaknesses."

All firms - from multinational giants to small- and medium-sized enterprises and solopreneurs - use visual symbols to represent and distinguish themselves. These symbols reflect an organization's view of itself and communicate how it wants others to recognize and remember it.

Corporate identity is commonly conveyed by features such as color schemes, logos, taglines, artistic flourishes, stationery, signage and uniforms. Aspects of corporate expression such as architecture and interior design are also corporate identity markers.

Corporate identity markers can help to:

• Establish name recognition

• Generate awareness about an organization

• Reflect corporate characteristics and personality

• Create a buzz or a signature

• Differentiate an organization from its competitors

• Establish cultural, geographical and sectoral positioning

Unlike corporate image, which derives from people's opinions and experiences, a firm's corporate identity does not depend upon its performance or reputation. Generally, a corporate identity is more or less permanent unless it is changed deliberately to reflect a new strategy or changing times.

Marketing gurus caution against attempting to establish a brand using visual design alone. Building a strong brand is a rigorous process that involves market research, product development, pricing and placement strategy, and systematic marketing support. Once this process is complete, you can use words, sounds and pictures - as well as a logo and a tagline - to communicate to people why they should select your brand over the competition.


How Businesses Can Plan Ahead in Changing Times

Depending on who you listen to, the economy has or has not bottomed out, nationwide unemployment will or will not reach double digits, consumer demand has or has not stopped declining, and commodity prices will or will not stabilize in the next quarter.

To say the least, economic forecasting is an imprecise tool, but it is essential for small- and medium-sized enterprises to anticipate market trends, adapt to the changing economy and make proactive decisions to position themselves for what lies ahead.

Using predictors such as the consumer confidence index, the stock market, interest rates, unemployment statistics and various other measures, businesspeople try to gauge everything, including sales trends, product demand, future inventory levels, website traffic, and exposure to fraud and risk.

The data can be scrutinized using estimation functions such as time-series analysis, causal models and regression analysis. Data mining is a popular method of business forecasting that uses predictive models based on existing and historical data to project potential outcomes of business activities and transactions.

One of the newer forecasting techniques is called "scenario forecasting". With this method, companies indentify changes that could happen in the world economic and political situations and determine the possible effects those changes would have on their businesses. They then decide in advance how to react if those scenarios come to pass. The idea is that the exercise will make them better prepared to take action if the scenario occurs. Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed.

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BMA Marketing

246 Wolcott Rd

Wolcott, CT 06716