Please answer the following questions in as much detail as you like. The more I know, the better I can understand what you need. Of course, you don't have to write a novel, either. We'll fill in any gaps when we talk.
Section 1: About Your Business
1. Describe your business, it's history, and how it's doing?
I’ve been in business for ten years. Before I was doing this I was doing it within an industry. Helping people understand things so what happened was I got I was a CPA and cut my teeth on things like “how to get out of debt, how to read a balance sheet stuff like that.
In doing that I felt like I was in a tiny little niche and that if I was going to do products I was I should really use the Suzy Orman model wher eyou have books, tapes, and CDS and allign herself with financial planner snd investment borker but not that passionate. Be the marketing arm for a financila planning group. Her passion is really chagne leadership and helping people grow I their carrerrs and making things happen. Started being all things to all people and realized sheis most interested in how people change, how people transform.
All of that, everybody does, so she wondered how would she separate herself from what everyone lese is doing that calls themselves a leadership expert so that’s when I started doing Teams on Target, that’s how she got to where she was. She was either on a team, then leading teams, then inventing
I thought change, communication, time management, tools, tips, tactics for working with other people so that’s what I’m passionate about. Helping people be successful within their jobs. Whether it’s their own company or
So I just kind of developed my umbrella as Teams on Target saying gosh if you’re on a team you need to learn how to be a great team member you need to learn how to facilitate a team, you need to learn how to lead a team and if you’re a senior person you need to be a champion of a team. Therefore you need communication and change management, and process improvement skills.
So it’s just a little hierarchy I made up in my brain, so people can remember me without saying I’m another leadership person.
And I love strategic planning.
So I first went out and did everything and then I realized I was spread too thin, and that’s when I started focusing a little bit more.
2. Describe your business income, and how you feel about it.
I have created income of up to $150,000 a year but it’s not consistent. $80 – 150 is kind of where I land. And it all is dependant on me being out there presenting. So that’s important. That it’s all about how much I have the capacity to do. Though I’ve understood the product model for a long time but what’s stopped me is I didn’t think I had anything new or different or interesting to say because I still think everybody has already said it. And Jon Weiss kept saying “but they haven’t heard it from you the way you say it which is important so,
I really do listen to Malcolm Gladwell and Marcus Buckingham of the Gallup organization, I mean, God those guys are brilliant. I mean Rosenberg is brilliant, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. That is going to be a model forever. Ken Blanchard, situational leadership. There’s just certain things. There’s a conflict model, Thomas Kilman has. No one gets to see them.
That’s my fear that I don’t have anything new or different or interesting.
3. Where do you feel successful in your business?
I feel successful in my business when I have things booked.
I feel really good about my accellerated learning. How I facilitate people and get them engaged, I feel like I have cutting edge material that I show them models that sink in quickly and I don’t elaborate on anything. I show them the concept they’re smart and then we put it into practice, “How would you use it, how are you going to take this, what are you going to do next?”
I don’t spend an hour defining. I hit the highlights, I trust that people are smart and I think people like that faster pace. I know everybody doesn’t but I do think most people do.
They don’t want to sit in class and have something spoon-fed to them. They want to meet other people and get ideas from each other.
I have a great client list. I feel very successful about that. I’ve had some great opportunities. Really important people that, I like being in the conversation with them and listening to what their issues are. Help them think creatively about how to go about changing.
I’m also really successful at reframing just like you did. I reframe things to what’s possible rather than what are the obstacles.
I like it too because I have to do all the stuff I teach. I can’t really say I do time management unless I’m really doing it. So I get to teach what I love.
4. Where are you challenged or struggling in your business?
I’m not so successful at the whole selling side. I’ve often had other people do my selling for me. I don’t do public seminars for that reason.
I’m not struggling or challenged. The only small place that I feel challenged but it’s going away is volunteer for the Women’s Vision Foundation and we run a leadership program and seven years ago I was a co-founder and today I have a very small role in that and as a volunteer it’s ok it’s sort of ok that I have a small role but I’d like a bigger role. Because the bigger role would be more money. My income drpped in that program from $35K to maybe $20 and that kind of pisses me off. It’s a committee and I’ve decided not to be one who rocks a boat.
I thought I signed up with entrepreneurial, creative women but instead I’m working with people who are very slow. People who forget to get back to her.
I just need more business. I have all the infrastructure. Just more business to delegate to. Need capacity. NUDE mdel
6. What goals and intentions do you have in your business that you would want to use this product in helping to achieve it?
I would like to have more freedom to travel and continue working. So if my husband and I go out of town I feel like I need to be home to be deliver a webinar. Which I don’t mind. One little flexibility that I could live anywhere.
Really my biggest goal is on getting more passive income. And really helping people be successful is my goal. I just like to help people. I want to learn and grow and I want them to learn and grow. It’s so exciting to be learning and growing.
7. What is the most profitable part of your business? The least profitable?
Consulting and programs with past clients where they say “we want you to do this again.” What’s not profitable which I did for the first few years is to design everything custom. So I have a lot of modules that I can pull together quickly and customize something. But it’s more profitable if someone says “we love what you did last year; don’t change a thing.
The most profitable is repeat products; repeat programs. And consulting at business process improvement even though there isn’t any repeats, that’s ok.
I make more money leading programs because you can get something like $250 an hour where in consulting I get $25 an hour. But the program, you have to sell it, deliver it, assessment.
8. What trends in the marketplace are you following (and/or responding to)?
There are good trends. There’s no training departments in a lot of companies and I used to get 40 hours of trainng every year and I took advantage of it. A lot of people don’t get that so I go all over the city for example and do lunch and learns. They’re free, one hour lunch programs and then I get a lot of visibility with really big companies. (marketing? And the head of HR usually brings me in. So it’s good that they don’t have money and they need people like me. And if I work in Denver, I give them a pretty good break if I don’t have to get on an airplane. I’ll bring my prices down a bit for them.
9. What are the risks in your market?
Probably my ability to work. There’s a tad of a risk misunderstanding what they want and not delivering it. But that’s not a huge risk because I can always give them their money back if they’re not satisfied. But that’s never really happened.
The other risk is that they cancel the program cause they don’t have time or money.
There are a lot of people who do what I do and I can’t distinguish myself and even if I went to a client and did their strategic planning for two years in a row they probably want to switch for variety or if I’ve come in and done a program or two and they’re like, “Now we want to have a different person” So I don’t think in our field there’s the best. I think maybe you have certain people who have humor which probably are a little more entertaining but I think we’re pretty replaceable. We’re like a photagrapher if the photographer says oh I’m busy that day, we’ll just find another one. You’re booked that day, we’ll talk to you next year.
Being famous helps. Don’t be an expert in a subject just be “Marilyn.”
10. Do you have strategic partners? Who and how do you work together?
Yes. I have people who sell me and I give them 20, 30, or 40%. Basically, they’ve got a big net and they’re selling training. And so they’ll say can you do this and I have four or five partners that do that for me.
It’s been good. Some people would say that’s my only strategy of marketing to go through bureaus.
In fact I’m seeing that so many people in my business don’t like to market and sell that I can market or sell their services and make a comission off of them.
Section 2: Your Products and Services
1. What are your products and services and how do you see an information product fitting in?
Really I’m an expert in information that helps business people be successful. Mostly processes. There’s technical things you’ve got to do in businesses and then there’s people issues. I’m probably good at both of them but I kind of have more fun on the people issues.
2. What is your most popular offering? Least popular?
The most popular one which I really don’t sell is “moving up in your career.” The What’s-in-it-for-me factor is very very clear. I’m thinking of making a new product offering called what to do with the boss from hell. Something about how to get along with the boss I don’t get along with. Because I think a lot of people are stuck there and kind of take their boss too seriously. Until then you might as well have fun being resourceful and resilient.
Help the team be more successful. Figuring out the rules of the road. Looking at what they’re doing and making them higher performing.
I get a lot of requests for strategic planning. Getting a group together and making a decision. I love that because it’s not preprogrammed because they need me on that one. I probably don’t talk about that one on my website enough.
2. What do you see as your "product funnel?" (Meaning, the natural sequence of products, programs a customer/student would take on- free, entry-level, moderate, higher-priced, premium)
Not really. I offer some webinars and different pricing schedule for non-profit. I have a pipeline for my clients VCP, but not a product. 1500 to 2500. There is a small business but they only do biz. I get their business because I charge them 1200 a day. They/re not looking for anything spectacular and super customized.
You’re on airplanes a lot and you don’t get paid for traveling.
3. How are your products and services priced? (are you Neiman Marcus, Macy’s , or Wal-Mart)
4. What products are protected by copywrite and similar intellectual property protections
I have copywrite on everything but I have’t invented anything like products .
5. Have you developed any unique methodologies, models, etc?
She always creates models. Showed me the roadmap. Really enjoys doing it. Difficult. Use in Powerpoint but need to turn it into.
Team charter? Turn this into a workbook. Then they think it has different value.
Put on her website and sell it.
Other things on her website. Productivity tools. Sources of power. Roadmap to success. Some are free and some they buy. They’ll a little. They’re not finished.
She needs to bundle them. Needs to drive more people to her website.
Question: what are her current traffic stats?
Sends her newsletter to about 2,000 people. (2% 40) She’s getting there. She has little pieces. Get structure in place.
Section 3: Your Customers
1. Who are your primary customers or clients?
They hire me to do workshops for them. Somehow they hear that I do these workshops and my website is all about workshops. But the people who know me will call me and tell her something about a company needing a strategic planning proposal so no problem. So I’m sure I’m a little confusing about what I tell people but for the last year or so she was only getting workshop requests and she makes more money when she does a complete project.
A longer term project and I get deeper with people rather than spending a day with them.
Who are your clients? If I were a media person and we neede d to reach people.
People I see as my clients are people who want to
They generally have a budget which means a big company
Want their team or their staff or their employees to have more skills so I might be in there helping them learn process improvement, leading a workshop with the city and county of Denver their offsite annual retreat and getting people excited about working on some really boring projects. But also get to know each other better and kind of say here’s our goals for next year. But I want to wrap it around an exciting team building day.
But what he said was talking heads and boring. NO TALKING HEADS
Sounds like people think of you in the OD context. Right. How do we develop our people how do we develop our processes and structures that support our people. OK
Where does this usually come from? I try to bypass the C level people and HR and go right to the person who has a budget who can hire me.
I belong to the HR association.
I work with someone who is in charge of the small biz who has a budget. Works with the economic decision maker, the person who can say yes or no. That’s why she calls her company Teams on Target because she figures the team leader has a budget for development.
Just recently did on for Tyco international healthcare and she didn’t have a big budget but she was a new team leader and she had a changeover so the old team leader was going to stay on her team and she needed to do the major change.
Here’s what we’re going to do and she’s like “I LOVE it!” Told me it was the most successful team day they had had in the ten years and they all work on teams all the time.
What products, people, or services can they choose instead of you.
If they did a search on the web, she probably wouldn’t show up. That might be her competitor. Rellly famous company BCG. And Org Dev called Hite group. Just like tLots ofgur. Joe Vitale. That would be her competition.
What makes you the best choice. Her competition. Assuming all of us are on the radar. Visibility playing field has been level. Ways to be more effective. More intimate ways to get in front of people.
2. What problems do they have that you help them with?
3. Why do your customers typically hire you?
4. Who are your main competitors? Frame as if a client’s has a need she can fill, what choices do they have.__I Something something International they sell something like 500 courses on CD online. You just put it on your intranet, everybody can click on it and take a course,
I don’t know. I think it’s the famous companies that have a lot of money for marketing that are national. (she may do best by focusing on a niche) who will often be on their radar screen.
Or Coors recently brought Norman Schwartzkopf to tehirmeeting. Cuz they said we’re going to make this a WOW event. She’s not going to do their.
More with 50 or 30 or 20 people who need to make a decision.
Terms of who’s in field of vision. What are they choosing from. If someone has a book they really like they’ll probably call the author. That’s why she is writing a book.
5. What makes you the very best choice for your customers relative to other providers?
My experience, my models, and my energy. Processes and models and I have energy.
Do you think you are more effective in terms of your ability to get results? You can hire an expert, what they’re best at. Ikeep evaluations, short term and longer term. I’m pretty tuned in to. They aren’t as approachable. They are more canned. They’re above people sometimes. When I tried to relate. Level of empathy that some people don’t have. Sheconnect better, she doesn’t see her job as sharing content, she sees it as _________.
Anything else that comes to mind. Always helpful to go to seminars. Great title. I know this information, wanted to sit injust to see how they did it. Inside the Executive mind. Part of her needs to listen to this to know she can do it.
Why do presentaitons suck? They’re too basic, too much about the person selling themselves, rather than helping the audience be successful. I put my bio in there so they can read it. I don’t talk about it. ‘m a better storyteller in many cases, so if I have a concept, give them an example of how it works, I just don’t think there’s enough content that they value for my time. And I have to admit that I know a lot because I’ve been studying stuff for a long time.
You can’t teach me a concept that I haven’t already bumped into but you might inspire me. That I haven’t been using that I know. I want to inspire them to not just know something but to try something different.
6. What needs do you see in the marketplace that you aren't yet meeting for your target market?
Career development. That’s a really good one. Elaborate onit a little. Career development within corps. She’s thinking of it as career development within a company. Do know hwo to help them move up .Doesn’t really go in that direction. Something she kjows when she coach people . They hire people because you’re promotable. If they are going to develop you they want a return on investmnet.
See that a lot of people probably thrown onto something. Helpful to let them map a territory. Conflict model. Have a picture re where your headed.
A “digest” map type of thing., Rather than tell someone go read this book.Here how to get your needs met. Shorter faster, more succinct.
Four agreements. That’s the kind of stuff I like. It’s like “when?” Ledership Cliff notes, a summary of all the leadership book. Better, faster.
Create products that would be Cliff Notes or Digests, very high level in a nutshell. Something she can do. She has them all. Just. Decisions. Just needs to get them out. Decision model.
7. Where are your customers from? What % come from
Get a few from her website. About how many? Ten in the last year. What about your newsletter? No, not yet. What about when you present? Not seeing a direct correclation. Strategic planning, a few people will say, Oh I’d like you to do this for my company but I could count them on my hands
Public Speaking,doing keynotes. Just did that for and got some leads and am doing follow ups.
First and second best way. Strategic partners who are doing outbound calls. Ed Oakley. Signed up. More biz through them. Then the women’s Vision Foundation. She delivers and they do all the sales. Leadership Istitute but really need to farm it. Managing for Impact but has to ask ask ask. Decision makers with money, newsletter. When they come thorugh a class try to figure out ways to stay closer to them. Hard to turn over people she knowsreally well.
Already has a relationship. Bottom line, organization she belongs to and strategic partnerships. How many referrals where a colleague or client referred her. “Not enough” Maybe ten a year. Conversion?
Section 4: Your Marketing
1. What do you consider to be your position/identity in the marketplace?
She is currently seen as a trainer who does workshops because that’s how they would see her most. Even at the WVF, that something you want to continue or to change. She doesn’t want to be limited to being a workshop designer and presenter. Tells them stories about her business development seminar. Tell me what you are doing at work!
Tells stories about her current clients so that they have a bigger picture
2. What brands do you have?
Teams on Target. High Impact, Accellerated workshops.
3. What methods you do use to market your products and services
Referals from customers, colleagues, and strategic partners
Attending trade shows and professional conferences Yes. has goal of meeting certain people and getting on the speakers roster. I try to meet with them nd talk with them about their business.
Newspapers and magazines. I have an article in _____ magazine. Do you have a column or anything like that? Thinking of corporate newsletters. We should bewriting articles to put in their corporate newsletters.
Trade publications. I could be doing that for sure. But no hasn’t yet done it. But need to be doing it. Doing more now that Lynn is writing for her.
Professional interest meetings, websites, and listservs. Association of Training and Development, National Speakers Association, Metro Denver Chamber of Conference.
Attending chamber of commerce events and similar networking functions. Womens vision founation and NCCR.
Leads and referral groups such as BNI, LeTip, Sales Pros. They’re not really good for B2B. Work with larger corporation. Haven’t mined it very much because she works with large corporation.
Your website Nonrobust
Telemarketing Send out Xmas cards.
4. Of those methods which are most successful?
Websites and going to all these networking events. Website is a critical piece. Learn a lot and get great connections. Her newsletter is real important but not the most successful right now. Relationships are the most successful Trouble with the Relationship piece Staying in touch.
5. Do you have any of the following? If yes, with which do you spend the most time?
Your own website? Feel guilty don’t use it enough.
An online store? Have but don’t use. Paypal
An ezine or newsletter that you use to keep in touch. eNewletter.
A discussion forum. Leading for the chamber. In-person.
A blog no
A list of subscribers/how many subscribers do you have and how do you get them? About 2,000
A radio show or guest column in the local paper no
An affiliate program? no
6. Do you?
Create podcasts? No
Regularly write blogs (your own and others) No
Speak professionally or semi-professionally yes
Use Google Adwords no
Use Search Engine Optimization either yourself or using a service? Every once in a while. They go away and she needs to hire them again but don’t know what they do.
Participate in affiliate programs such as Amazon Partners? No but would like to learn more.
Shares links – yes does this
7. How do you follow up on leads and referrals?
I make phone calls. Pat Wilburn makes them and she is her assistant plus she gest $300
8. Do you or have you worked with advertising agencies, promotion agencies, marketing specialty providers
I bought pens
Workd with Cathy Mason but it all fell back on me to do the work. But she helped me understand why she was doing it.
9. How do you track the success of your marketing programs?
Gut feel bu most people don’t unsubscribe so that is good.
Section 5: About Your Information Product
1. What are you calling your product?
Not absolutely sure yet. Kind of like “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf” (JM note: we need something catchy but descriptive) Brainstorm if time.
2. Have you created the content?
Yes but will probably revise as I practice and hear how it sounds.
3. What format is your content in? (check all that apply)
Written file (word processing file)
Web page (html)
Other (please describe)
4. What is the size of your presentation or text product
Number of words
Number of slides About one hour’s worth (60?)
5. How many graphics are used in your product?
Every page or slide has at least one graphic
6. How many charts and tables does your product have?
Copy for the “landing page.” If you’re selling the product as a web-based download, you need several paragraphs of copy that tell the “customer story.” The story identifies the problem (what’s causing pain), what they’ve tried as solutions, why the solutions they tried haven’t worked, what your solutions is, and why you’re so well-qualified to deliver the solution.
Testimonials to support landing page copy
Information about what the product includes (for example, topics addressed, steps for solving the problem, additional resources, etc).
Link to shopping cart
For a physical package
Cover art & copy
Back cover art and copy
Help with the Marketing Process
In addition to the marketing materials for the product package and promotion materials, you have an opportunity to cultivate a relationship with your buyers. When you do this you can
Upsell them to your more expensive products and services
Ask them to refer you to others they know who would benefit
Cross-sell with other products you offer or with products and services offered by strategic partnerspartners
Just to name a few
So, you need product strategy.which should include:
Periodic “how’s it going” emails to encourage people to actually use your product (a lot of people never even crack the cover once they buy information products).
Some of these emails will relate directly to the purchase.
So will offer upgrades, complementary products (workbooks, podcasts, etc) and bonus items (it’s always nice to get something free because you’ve already purchased something).
Offers to subscribe to your newsletter (if they’re not already subscribed) so you can continue to legitimately make offers
And you should consider including:
A discussion forum which encourages purchasers to talk about your product; provides them with a support community; and gives you a chance to answer questions which further establishes your expertise and keeps you connected. You can answer the questions yourself or hire someone to answer them on your behalf a la Martha Stewart. You can also ask people for feedback on how to imporve the product so that you can come out with version 2.
Your product strategy needs to complement the way you market your other products and services (so you’re not sending conflicting messages or cannibalizing sales from your other products) and ideally you want your offerings to have a synergistic effect on your overall revenue.