Before You Spend a Single Dime on Marketing, Do This First

The most important thing is not which system you use. The most important thing is you have a system! - Zig Ziglar

It amazes me that the vast majority of golf clubs, resorts, and real estate developments that I work with think that someone paid a modest salary has any clue how to sell a $25,000 membership or $500,000 villa without training—let alone memberships or real estate that are priced far higher.

Even if your product or service is cheap, allowing anyone to handle leads without formal sales training is not much better than just throwing them away.

Do NOT start ANY MARKETING campaign without a written sales system in place and the sales training to back it up. A sales system will take ONLY one sale to pay for itself and will keep on returning the favor with every employee you hire from now until you retire.

Even a small change, such as how the phone is answered or how an objection is countered, can have an astonishing effect on your sales performance and overall success.

Imagine if you closed two out of ten leads instead of one. You have just doubled sales at NO cost!

Now think of this concept for telephone inquiries, referrals, or dealing with objections. Incremental improvement at each phase of the sales process leads to ASTONISHINGLY greater results. This is why NO marketing campaign should ever be undertaken without first having a sales system and training in place.

The system should include:

• step-by-step instructions
• phone scripts
• qualifying scripts
• a presentation script
• objection scripts
• closing scripts
• a referral program

To go forward with any marketing campaign without investing in a written sales system is, quite frankly, insane. Just a 5% improvement in sales skills can easily increase your bottom line by 30% or more.

Countless millions are squandered on campaigns to generate leads, yet little to nothing is spent on the back-end sales system or follow up. Do NOT make this cardinal mistake.

Before you invest a dime in advertising or marketing of any kind, invest in a sales and training system to back up your efforts.

Think Big, Rent Small

First of all, I choose the great roles, and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don’t come, I choose the ones that pay the rent. - Michael Caine

Thinking big while renting small is a rule I have always followed, thanks to a good mentor on this very important subject early in my career, but not heeding this maxim is a mistake I’ve seen hundreds of others make. Big buildings create big overhead, not just in rent, but also in taxes, insurance, maintenance, heating, cooling, and decorating.

For example:
• Developers build massive clubhouses before a single golf membership or lot is sold.
• Karate schools rent large warehouses when 1500 square feet produces optimum profits.
• Corporations build giant headquarters in anticipation of future growth, only to be caught out when the business or the economy falter.

Let your operation burst at the seams before you are tempted to get a bigger space and, even then, explore all options before committing.

Play the What-If Game

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

When you are faced with a difficult problem to solve, it is important for you not to allow yourself to be governed by rigid or straight-line thinking. Most people think rigidly because that is what they have been taught to do. You must allow your mind to wander in all directions and throw out any kind of wild and crazy solution that it cares to. You can then write down each idea as it comes. (This is like brainstorming without the group.)

When faced with a particular problem, take out a blank sheet of paper and write the problem at the top of the page. Then write down all the ways in which this problem could be solved. Do not think over your answers; just write all your thoughts and ideas down, no matter how silly or unlikely they seem. You can go back later and rate each on its particular merits.

Critical Business Advice You MUST NOT Ignore!

The Department of Consumer and Employment Protection had heard that a farmer was not paying proper wages to his employees and sent an agent down to interview him.

“I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,” demanded the agent.

“Well,” replied the farmer, “there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for three years. I pay him $700 a week plus free room and board.The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $750 per week plus free room and board. Then there’s the half-wit who works about 18 to 20 hours every day and does about 95% of all the work around here. He makes about $30 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of booze every Saturday night. He also has sex with my wife occasionally.”

The Perfect Ad for Finding the Perfect Employee

"I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way." - Lee Iacocca

Are you running ads that target the right type of people for your company or are you just running ads for anyone who holds a specific job title? The difference can be spectacular as I will share with you from a recent personal experience.

A little over a year ago I ran an ad for an advertising copywriter for golf courses. I got hundreds of responses, most from people who couldn’t write a thank-you card. I also got a great many people who could write but could not write sales copy. That is to say, they could accurately describe what’s in the picture but couldn’t motivate a dog to lick a bone. They all thought they could write good copy, but I had high expectations. I play golf and at one time expected to win the Masters and I wanted a Masters-level copywriter.

How a Magazine I Published Lost $40,000 a Year and Was My Key to Making Millions

"Don’t let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you’re crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you’re lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you’re greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn’t understand." - Robert G. Allen

There had been one or two attempts to publish a martial arts business magazine by the time I launched my first issue in 1992, but they were flawed attempts. Although the products were good, both attempts tried to survive on the classic magazine model of selling advertising. Other than a couple of major suppliers, there were simply not enough vendors to support a magazine through ads alone.

Despite publishing for five years with the long-term support of several vendors, my magazine never made a net profit from ads sales. What it did accomplish was far more important and far more profitable than ad sales alone could ever be.

First, publishing your own magazine to an industry of 15,000 or so schools was not as expensive as you might think—about $18,000 an issue—with ad sales picking up about 80% of the cost. This meant I essentially got into the magazine business with no money, as my advertisers had to pay in advance. (Good way to get financed.)

Despite losing an average of $4,000 per issue, the upside was huge: instant credibility. I was my own Randolph Hearst. I could say whatever I wanted about me, my competitors, and the various other suppliers in the industry. I could, in fact, influence a great many people.