Achieving a goal is important. But life is in flux and every day is a blessing. Sometimes things will come up that require you to focus on something that you did not even see coming a minute ago. Trust yourself to do the right thing everyday. Stay on point, evaluate you success and failures, don’t ignore your inner voice telling you what you NEED to do today.
Stocking Stuffers – Moving product/building community around Xmas
Your prospects are your diamond mine. Your job is to find the diamonds and dig them out. We followed up with 120,000 prospects. Of the prospects that did not purchase, the top three reasons are (1) too expensive, (2) lost interest and (3) did not get follow up from the salesperson. I can assure you that this is not the case, every salesperson makes one call and sends an email, and most salespeople make second call as well. After that second call most follow up processes start to fall apart.
The first thing to realize is that even if the prospect does not reach out to you or get back to you right away, they probably still want you to contact them. When we asked the unconverting prospects if they received any contact from the salesperson, almost all acknowledged some level of contact attempt. When we asked them if they would like us to reconnect them with the salesperson about 40% say yes. It is likely that about 40% of your prospects still want you to reach them. It is also likely that most of these prospects are expecting you keep trying.
Prospect contact process and strategy
Crafting your prospect contact process includes the message, as well as the communication channel you use to send the message and the timing of your message. Crafting and refining these variables will increase your prospect contact rate.
Your initial message to a prospect should be clear, clean and concise. It should clearly identify you and what you want the prospect to do. Your message should also be clean, the grammar needs to be perfect as well as the look and feel of the message. A sloppy email or stumbling voice mail does not make a good impression. The message also needs to be concise. The initial email or voicemail should be no more than five sentences long.
You can contact a prospect through many channels including phone, email, snail mail, text and social media. It is important to test all of these channels, as well as others that you uncover. In today’s multimedia world, prospects have many doors, all of them can lead to connecting with the prospect.
Next design your contact schedule, both the timing of your messages and the communication channel. This will be your testing ground. Track contact rates and outcomes then tweak communication channels, messaging and timing to dial it in as much as possible.
For starters we suggest that you call the prospect as soon as possible. The quicker the prospect is called the more likely it is that the salesperson will reach them on the first attempt. If you do not reach them on the first call leave a clear, clean and concise voice mail and send an email.
Hello XX – This is XX calling you from YYY (about your, to get you your) XXXXX. Please call me back at XXX-XXX-XXXX.”
The voice mails and the emails should be short and to the point. Make sure that the prospect has your best contact information. Call again between 30 minutes and 1 hour, do not leave a 2nd voicemail. Call again between 2 hours and 4 hours, do not leave another voicemail. If it is a mobile line you can end the first day’s contact attempts by ++ sending a text asking if there is a good time to connect.
On the next day, call the prospect in the morning and leave another voice mail, it should be about the same as the first voice mail. It is important to stay concise and keep the same message. Think of it like a commercial, you need to hear or see a commercial 10-15 times until you start to remember it. Call again in the afternoon but do not leave another message.
On the third day call once and do not leave a message. On the fourth day call once do not leave a message but send another email. On the fifth day call once and leave a voice mail and you can also send a second text message if you have a mobile number.
After the fifth day, you should wait between a week and 10 days. Then on your chosen day call and leave a message and send an email. You can call them back once more the next day, then wait another week and call once. After that call the customer should go into your drip marketing campaign for nurturing which is a good topic as well.
There has been a lot of talk about drones lately. For some, it’s something new, intriguing and exciting. And for most, it’s something unknown, military-related and mostly frightening. For a very small few, it’s nascent hobbyist field with that’s very complex with a lot of moving parts and know-how to get around.
As with all complex things, the distance between the experts, and the people who want to get started in field, are gigantic. So I’ve decided to put together a few key concepts in question form that I’d wish I’d known before I started learning. I had to peruse the dark alleys of then unknown DIY and RC forums and terminology that made no sense to me initially. It took me a while from getting to knowing nothing, to getting started and flying my first drone. Hopefully this can help expedited that process, or if you’re just interested know more about hobbyist drones that you can make, this would be a good overview too.
What is a drone?
DIY Drones are fundamentally just sophisticated radio control systems, with microcontrollers that are programmed to stabilize, control and fly the drone better. What’s changed over the past few years is that through the advent of the smartphone, accelerometers, magnetometers (GPS), barometers, DataFlash chips and sensors and other technologies have become cheaper and cheaper. This, in conjunction with open hardware like the Arduino, has made the microcontroller both more accessible to the everyday user and much cheaper than before.
What types of drones are out there?
Drones come in many shapes and sizes. There are many types of drones out there, but the most common type of hobbyist drone that you can make yourself or see in a neighborhood near you, are the multi-rotor copters. Usually something like a quadcopter, a drone with 4 propellers. Hexacopters have 6 propellers and Octocopters have 8. There are some drones with as many as 12 propellers. Another up and coming phenomena is for drones to have 2 rotors attached to a single arm. Y6 drones have 3 arms and 2 propellers each (it’s shaped like a Y and has 6 propellers) X8 drones have 4 arms and 8 propellers.
Another type of drone is the fixed-wing drone, and there are many different kinds of fixed-wing drones by many manufacturers. Fixed wing drones tend to be a lot easier to control as they have aerodynamics on their side to create lift to fight gravity while in flight. The downside is that unlike multi-rotor copters, a fixed-wing drone can’t fly in the same place or hover.
What separates a drone from a simple remote controlled copter/plane?
The difference is subtle, but fundamentally, the key is it’s ability to have autopilot. Some sort of flight management system that can run on the microcontroller means that you can fly drones autonomously from somewhere else through a computer. The ability to do something autonomously is really the difference that turns a plane or copter from being simply remote controlled to being a fine-tuned, environment aware and automated flying computer.
What are the regulations surrounding drones?
With a lot of negative media hype surrounding drones, the regulation is still very vague. The current legislation states that drones are not to be used for commercial use. However this is similar to how the Internet was not allowed to be used for commercial use in its early days, and consequently, the looseness of the exact definition of commercial use allows for a lot of wiggle room to use them commercially. The FAA is looking to make it a bit clearer in the future, and more commercial friendly as they are looking to make it more lax for businesses to deploy them commercially (http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/7/5074520/wild-skies-how-long-will-drones-for-hire-fly-in-a-legal-limbo) but we’ll see what happens when it actually happens.
How do you fly a drone?
It’s still usually done with a Radio transmitter, like the Turnigy 9XR (http://www.turnigy9xr.com/) which costs around $59.99. The price of transmitters have also significantly decreased in the past few years, with other companies like Futaba and Spektrum still costing of upwards to $400 to fly Radio controlled drones.
It’s also important to note that if you get a transmitter, you need a receiver on your drone. FrSky makes good receivers such as this one (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__14350__frsky_v8fr_ii_2_4ghz_8ch_receiver_hv_.html) which then you need to take and bind your radio transmitter to your receiver depending on what you use as your transmitter.
How much do they cost?
It depends on the type of drone you want to get. The cheapest multi-rotor copter drone you can get is probably the Parrot AR.Drone (http://ardrone2.parrot.com/) which costs around ~$300 on Amazon or Brookstone. DJI Phantom is another good example of this (http://www.dji.com/product/phantom/) and they are great drones. These drones are called RTF drones, (RTF means ‘ready to fly’) and come packaged with a radio transmitter, and a drone all set up for you ready to fly out of the box. They tend to be very hard to customize, and are usually incompatible with nothing but the parts that the manufacture of the RTF drone itself. However, this is the cheapest option because you would not need to purchase the parts to build it.
The more open and advanced way to build drones is to build them from scrath by picking and choosing each component. This is undoubtedly for the more experienced. But if you do go down the path, the components you would need for a quadcopter with autopilot are thus:
- A frame for quadcopter
- ESCs (electronic speed controllers)
- Radio Transmitter
- Radio Receiver
- ArduPilot Mega 2.6
- Li-Po(Lithium Polymer) battery
- LiPo Battery Balance Charger
- Telemetry Radio transmitter and module (optional)
- External GPS Compass (optional)
- (FPV) First Person View / OSD (On Screen Display) setup (optional)
- Brushless gimbal for GoPro (optional)
And that’s just to get started, not even including calibration, installation of the firmware to the ArduPilot Mega just to get all the features that a DJI Phantom would provide (and more). All of this together will definitely put you over $2,000 — which is really cheap considering that drones used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars just a few years ago.
Where can I learn more about drones?
Probably some of the best resources to get started on is diydrones (http://www.diydrones.com) is a good place to start, as well as RCGroups (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/index.php) but RC groups treats drones as a subset of a larger radio controller movement. Hopefully there’s enough information to perk your information and just get started.
Further reading and information
- Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired talks about starting 3D Robotics, a drone company (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/06/ff_drones/all/)
- Autonomous synced flying (http://gizmodo.com/you-wont-believe-these-perfectly-synced-drones-arent-1460768867)
- 3D Robotics: (http://store.3drobotics.com)
- HobbyKing, a place to buy drones (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/index.asp)
- ArduPilot, the open source software to fly drones autonomously (http://ardupilot.com/) and github repo: (https://github.com/diydrones/ardupilot)
- Tutorial on building your own flight management system using Arduino and raspberry pi (http://oweng.myweb.port.ac.uk/build-your-own-quadcopter-autopilot/)
- Webinar on the structure of the ArduPilot code: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA0z65TnMv0)
Customers are the fuel.
Customers are the coal that goes in the boiler, that heats the water, that cranks the pistons, turning the wheels taking your business into the future. All customers start as leads. A lead is a potential prospect. It is the a combination of intention and contact information. This person may be interested in this item, service, information etc.
Once you have a basic product flow prototype you must start pushing fuel through the engine in the form of leads.
Getting leads in the door is the only way you are going to be able to tell if your engine works. You will also figure out where you engine leaks. If you are luck and the engine works you may very well get a sense of ‘just how fast can we push this baby’. Botttles Tonight is an app company in the Dojo. the Bottles Tonight app gets you same day bottle service at the hottest clubs and venues for up to 70% off. They need to test their live product. They set up a small Facebook App install campaign to drive people to install the app on their phones. Each one of these installs is a lead. After a few hundred installs, these leads gave the Bottles Tonight team the data they needed to test the experience, improve the conversion flow, and get a real idea of their growth opportunity. In their situation the test worked out so well that they are only expanding their existing lead channel (Facebook Installs) and exploring other lead channels as well.
You must expand your lead base once you are up & running.
Once you figured out how to get customers, you must focus on it and do it more. Increasing customers is the only way to grow a business and the only way to increase customers is to increase your funnel of leads. This does not mean only increase the best leads or only focus on one type of lead. Every lead can be a win and every lead increases the size of your funnel. Each lead is an opportunity to get a new customer, expand your brand and improve your lead nurturing process.
Even a bad lead is probably a good lead.
Leads have a long life. Only a small percentage of your leads will turn into customers right away. The real value of the lead is that a person expressed an interest that can be fulfilled by your company and you have ways to reach them. There is a good chance that your timeline is NOT your lead’s timeline. That means that you must stay connected to them and relevant to them between now and the time they are ready to be your customer. According to published statistics and our internal data, re-engaging your cold leads converts at 150% better than your new leads. The better you are at lead follow up and lead nurturing, the more of your leads will turn into customer.
Every lead is an opportunity to test and improve your follow up process.
There is no such thing as the perfect follow up process to convert leads into customers. Luckily there are many paths to test including phone calls, emails, connecting on social media and snail mail. Also every lead keeps your sale people focused on your funnel, stories about bad leads are opportunities to improve pitches, overcome objections and figure out wins. Once you have a lead flow, improving your lead follow up process and lead nurturing process is the single best thing you can do to grow your customer base and build your business. The real value is in that alone.
Growing your business
The first step is STOP and make time to reflect and plan. As the owner and /or leader in a business the ‘needs to be done now’ never ends. However, as the owner and /or leader of the business you are the only one who has the perception, interest and authority to reflect on what is doing one, prioritize what needs to happen and judge the outcomes. You have to stop and make time to reflect on what has happened, what is happening and what needs to happen.
Make time for it everyday. Even 5 minutes a day thinking about (1) the things I have to finish today and (2) if time allows, the one thing I want to try today will help you construct a wall of success with each day. Reflections are an honest inventory of your entire business.
Reflect on the NOW
Start by taking inventory or your assets and experiences. Think about your past experiences, successes and failures ONLY as information to help you move forward now. In other words do not dwell on the success or failure of past experience only how that experience can help you in the future. When taking inventory you can start with your hard assets vehicles, equipment,etc, but do not forget your team, their roles and their strengths and weaknesses. Next take a quick inventory of your strengths and weaknesses etc. Dissect what worked from what did not work and why. Take an inventory of your business. How do you make money? What things do you seem to do that don’t help you make money. What is your most successful product, service, project etc. Make note of marketing campaigns that worked particularly well, or things that you started and stopped. Jot down any innovations in your work process that helped or hurt. If you are great at doing the actual work that is an asset. If you are a awesome marketer that is also an asset. If you have a great sales team that is also an asset. Spend some time thinking about these but don not hurt yourself coming up with the list. Chances are somewhere in those top 5 is a key or two that will help you grow your business.
Figure out your best growth opportunities
Once you have your list start thinking about how these assets help you operate and/or build your business. A helpful tool is to put each asset under the one or more of these headings.
(1) Assets that help us connect with new customers.
* word of mouth advertising
* online presence
* lead sources
(2) Assets that allow us to performing the work
* operations team
* skills and techniques
(3) Assets helping us Customer service and support.
* customer support tools (online and offline)
* customer support team
* customer support philosophy
* communication tools
* office team
Your best opportunity is in front of you.
Your best opportunity is in front of you. It is the thing that has brought you the most business or it could be fixing the thing that is costing you the most time, resources or money and NOT performing the way it should be performing.
Focus on one implementation or one fix at a time. Break it into small manageable task. Moving too fast or too slow will be counter productive. When we implement new business processes or refine existing business processes we try to ‘shake the apple cart’ as little as possible while moving in the right direction. After each task is implements, take a breath. review the new process, is it performing well, does it need tweaking. Stay on it and make it fit or if you see it is a loser, get rid of it. Once you are on level ground, think about your next step and repeat.
My experience has been that success is both the sum of your failures and your successes. Taking the time to reflect and implement at a good pace is the best way to grow your business.