Fred Thompson Lears the Hard Lesson of What Happens When You Don't Get Sales Leads

O.K., O.K...for Thompson, "leads" were really votes.     Fred Thompson quits presidential race 

But in dropping out of the Republican presidential primary today, Thompson demonstrates what happens when you don't get the incoming interest that you need to keep your campaign alive:

  • You can't raise cash.
  • You can't get people excited about investing their time and energy into the hard work of campaigning.
  • You can't get the wins you need.

It's interesting to note that...

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I Love Incandescent Light Bulbs

Is that wrong?

If you ask the government, they would say "yes".  Ask most environmentalists, and they would say "yes".

The fact that those two groups both answer in the affirmative only strengthens my gut feeling that I should keep my incandescent bulbs in place.  Why?  Two big reasons:

  • The debate over the mercury danger in the new CFC bulbs.  It's strange to CFC Light Bulbme that over the years, I've grown-up with the idea that even trace amounts of mercury in water would wipe-out entire species of fish, or pose untold dangers to children.  But now, the mercury in new CFC lightbulbs is O.K.?  My fear is that years from now, as the CFC's head to America's landfills and dumps, we'll be treated to the discovery that mercury in our soil is an epidemic.  Horror stories of broken CFC bulbs, and the scary results, exist.  Mercury is nothing to mess around with, which makes me leary of the new wonder bulbs.
  • I like the way the light from incandescent bulbs looks.  Florescent lights hurt my eyes.  I don't know why, but it does.  It's a harsher light, and if I'm around it too much I start to get a headache.

Now I perfectly understand that my second reason isn't real solid.  It's a personal choice and opinion.  But I think in saying that, it might be the best reason of all to choose not to use CFC light bulbs:  It's my choice.

I live in a state (California) that recently talked about being able to control the thermostats of people's homes to control energy costs.  To me, that's un-American.  If I want to set my thermostat at 65 degrees on a hot summer day, I know that I'm going to pay through the nose for that cool air.  But it's my choice to make.  I want the freedom to make personal choices.

And that includes light bulbs.  I'm not faulting anyone who wants to use CFC's...go for it!  That's your choice, and I support you in choosing a light bulb that you want to use.

Afford me the same choice, and give me permission to remain a little skeptical of the whole Energy Star campaign to rid ourselves of the evil incadescent light bulb.


Being a Radically Different Doctor

Right this second, close your eyes and think about your last visit to your doctor.  Go ahead, I'll wait...


Got it in your mind?


Can you picture the boring office?  The old magazines?  The pre-occupied office staff that seems to not really care that you are there, and that you might not feel good?


Do you like sitting next to someone who is coughing and wheezing?  Do you like showing up on time, and then waiting 30 minutes, and then getting into the little room where you take off your clothes and wait another 15 minutes?  Do you like it when you've spent all that time waiting, all for that great three-and-a-half minute visit, ending with a perscription and back to the pre-occupied staff so you can write them a check?



OK, open your eyes again.  (And stick with me on this...it'll pay-off in the end)



Whatever feeling you have after being reminded what a trip to the doctor is like, many of you create that same feeling for your recruits.  The unknown...the confusion about the process...the waiting.  None of it furthers your "brand" as a professional, and does nothing to fire-up your prospect when it comes to committing to doing business with you.


"But Dan, that's just the process when it comes to how my industry does business.  What can I do?"


For your answer, let's go back to your doctor's office:

  • Does every doctor have to have a square waiting room with uncomfortable chairs?
  • Does every doctor have to have a staff that doesn't seem to enjoy their job, and seem bothered that you're there to see their boss?
  • Does every doctor have to waste your time?
  • Does every doctor have to make you feel like you're one of 238 patients that's part of the giant assembly line that is their day?



They choose to do it that way.  They choose to take the attitude of "well, that's just the way all doctors do it". 


Dr. Jay Parkinson, MDBut now imagine something different:  

  • What if your doctor came to you...to your house or office...like they used to do in the old days?
  • What if you could deal directly with your doctor, instead of through his staff?
  • What if your doctor showed up on time, and spent as much time with you as you needed?
  • What if you came away feeling like you had a real one-on-one relationship with your doctor, and could call, e-mail or IM him (or her) whenever you wanted?

How would that make you feel about your doctor?  Would you ever leave that doctor?  Or, would you enthusiastically talk about your doctor and brag how great he was?


It's not a fantasy.  There really is a doctor like that.  If you live in the New York area, you can have him as his doctor. 

Here's his website

You really need to take a few minutes and see how he approaches his practice, and how he communicates with his patients.


Why?  Because you have the power, as a business professional in search of more sales leads, to make communicating with your prospects more original, simpler, and more direct.  You can do it just like he does it. 


Look at the way his website looks and feels.  Look how communicates with his patients, and prospective patients.  You can do some of the same things. 


Make your prospect feel the same way about you, as you do now in reading about Dr. Parkinson.

Always Look for New and Better Products to Launch to Bring in New Customers

Sounds like a simple strategy, but it amazes me how many businesses enjoy some initial success, and do nothing to improve upon that as they grow.

Apple is not one of those companies.

Apple is consistently researching and launching new products that gets the market's attention and gets their customers (and potential customers) excited about their newest products.

MacBook AirOn the heels of the success of the iPhone, Apple introduced their new ultra-thin laptop, the MacBook Air:

At its beefiest, the new computer is .76 inches thick; at its thinnest, it's .16 inches, he said. It comes standard with an 80- gigabyte hard drive, with the option of a 64GB flash-based solid state drive as an upgrade.

The machine doesn't come with a built-in optical drive for reading CDs and DVDs, a feature Jobs says consumers won't miss because they can download movies and music over the Internet and access the optical drives on other PCs and Macs to install new software. They can buy an external drive, however, that will retail for $99.

The new laptop, which has a 13.3-inch screen and full-sized laptop keyboard, will cost $1,799 when it goes on sale in two weeks, though Apple is taking orders now. The company's Web site is already touting the machine. The price is competitive with other laptops in its market segment.

It doesn't hurt when your product or service is "cool", but even if its an older company with an older product or service, making small changes to the way it looks, feels and performs can gain a whole new segment of whatever your market is.

Want an example of the right way to use products to increase market share?  Look no further than Apple.

American Idol: In Search of Sales Leads Disguised as Viewers
American Idol

Think big-time television executives don't have to worry about generating sales leads for their shows?

Think hit shows like "American Idol" can just sit back and put it on cruise control, and not worry about their current customers and generating new customers?

Guess again...

Take a look at a recent issue of Variety, and read between the lines here to see how vital it is for network television to bring in new "leads" (aka, "viewers") and what happens when they lose that focus:

"The show has got to look better. It's got to be more fun as a show," he says. "It absolutely comes down to the content of what we provide the viewers."

Exec producer Nigel Lythgoe concedes that mistakes were made last year. For starters, Lythgoe says the show spent too much time on big-name guest mentors and performers, at the expense of investing viewers in who's who (particularly early in the show's competish).

"We need to put our hand up and take the blame," he says. "We missed out on telling the best stories. If (contestants) were uninteresting, it's because we made them uninteresting."

As a result, "Idol" is looking to shake things up this year by spending more time on those contestant backstories.

"I want to give up that time and focus on the kids," Lythgoe says. "It's the emotional hooks that sell us, and get us watching every week. I don't think last year we were necessarily an appointment to view. There wasn't a 'I want to watch Bo Bice win' or 'I want to see Justin Guarini get kicked off' feeling to the show."

Already, the marketing of "Idol" has reflected that change, Liguori says.

"We've had our promos talk a little bit more about 'I'm from Nebraska, I'm a cotton candy maker,' and 'I'm from Oklahoma, I'm a cowboy,' " he says. "We're basically trying to set it up that this is a show about people with stories. ... It's about people who think they're good (singers) and (are) not, and people who think they're good and are great."

As a marketer, you have to know your audience.  If you lose sight of how to bringAmerican Idol singer them in and experience your product, you will struggle.

You have to adapt and evolve your sales lead generation campaign constantly.  What you did to bring in new customers two years ago might not work as well now.

The Right Advertising Message Means More Business (or Votes)

Hillary Clinton

The Clinton campaign is getting cozy with longtime supporter and advertising whiz Roy Spence to help re-shape her up-and-down campaign.

Spence coined the famous phrases, "Don't Mess With Texas" and the Southwest Airlines motto, "You are now free to move about the country".  He's smart, and a savvy advertiser.

Here's more from the ABC News report:

Spence was active early on in the campaign, but will now take on an every greater role, having input on how to rebrand Clinton's message to voters.

"Hillary wants somebody in there that is going to comprehend what messaging conversations are being had and how things are being formulated," a Clinton campaign insider told ABC News.

On the one hand, its probably a smart thing for anyone - a business, a non-profit, or a politician - to want to clearly brand themselves to their audience.

But to me, there's something creepy about having to bring in an outside advertising pro to "re-brand" yourself.  Shouldn't a politician, and what he or she stands for at their core, be the "brand"?

Bill, Hillary and Roy Spence

Jan 9
How One Car Dealership Generated Big Time Sales Leads

In researching online ad campaigns - what works, and what doesn't - I came across this interesting story about a car dealership that was struggling.

They were in a crowded market, and couldn't use traditional advertising like some of their competitors.

Their solution?

Online advertising using Google AdWords.  The results?  A 265% increase (orChevrolet something close to that) in leads that originated from the web.

It's a really interesting story, especially if you are looking for a good "case study" of how to create a winning online advertising campaign.

Use the Right Internet Search Terms for Your Sales Lead Generation Campaign

Here's a great website to start with when you are beginning a Google AdWords campaign or some other similar online lead campaign.

When you visit www.wordtracker.com you will be tied into a service that lets you see what the most effective key words will be for your online advertising campaign.  You can even try it for free during a trial period they offer.

Check it out.  Users claim that it has saved them a lot of time, and has resulted in some good results compared with coming up with - and testing - online ad placement themselves.

Jan 8
New Hampshire Primary Results in Passionate Selling for...Alan Keyes???

The New Hampshire Primary is happening as I type this, and there's a guy in Phoenix today that is a passionate salesman for his candidate.airline seat

I witnessed his passion first-hand last night on a flight from Baltimore to Phoenix.  He sat in the seat in front of me, and thanks to the sardine-like way U.S. Airways crams people into their airplanes, I was about 17 inches from the back of his head and got to hear all about his favorite candidate: Alan Keyes.

He's the African-American that the media isn't going ga-ga about.  But that didn't stop the passion of the man sitting in seat 17D last night.  He was EXCITED about Keyes.

New Hampshire PrimaryHe talked to everyone around him.  Not in an annoying kind of way...he was just a really passionate supporter of Alan Keyes.  He passed out Alan Keyes stickers.  He could recite his candidate's experience and qualifications.  He could position Keyes against any other choice people threw at him.  He was a very, very good salesman.

Here's my point: As you look at ways to increase sales leads for your business (or your campaign, if you're in the business of politics) don't overlook passion.  It makes all the difference.

Here's a guy that is supporting a candidate who can't win, and won't get many votes today, but believes in what he's selling.  He gets people to listen because of his passion. 

Does your sales lead generation campaign have that kind of energy and positive passion?  Probably not.  Think about ways to inject passion into getting new customers interested in your business. 

Passion can make all the difference in the world.  If you sell with passion, people will listen.

Mmmmm....Meatball Sundaes!

Just picked up Seth Godin's new book, "Meatball Sundae".

It's all about how many marketing messages today don't fit the product they are marketing, or the groups that they are marketing to.  It just came out...I picked it up last night, so I haven't had much of a chance to get into it.

But if its life any of Seth's other books, it will be a worthwhile read.

I think the underlying message of the book is crucial: You have to know how to market to get bring in sales leads and new customers.  Sounds easy, right?  Not for everyone.

I'm consulting for a company that hasn't changed their marketing in 25 years.  It's the same direct mail letter, with basically the same message.  And here's the kicker: Despite a steady decline in their incoming leads, they refuse to change.  They refuse to adapt.

They are dead set on serving up...meatball sundaes.


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