“ – ”

Price: £500
Very Special Report …
“How To Make More Profit –
The Complete Guide”
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
Section 1 - Introduction…………………………………………. 11
The Opportunities Are There
Don’t Worry About Mistakes
Read And Learn From Others.
Follow The Success Formula
The Importance Of Small Businesses
The Problems Of A Small Business
The Best Profit Improvement Ideas For Small Businesses
Time Management
Pareto’s Law
Get A Good Product
Section 2 - Your Strategy…………………………………….…. 22
Your Personal Objective
Your Business Strategy
Section 3 - Organising & Managing Your Business…………... 26
At McDonald’s
Organisational Strategy
Section 4 - Systemising Your Business………………………… 31
Putting The System In The Box
Management Systems – Do Without Experienced Managers
Section 5 - People Strategy…………………………………...… 34
It’s All About Motivation
They Must Want To Play Your Game
The Rules Of The Game
Recruitment, Induction, Ongoing & Leavers
Section 6 – Times Change……………………………………… 40
Section 7 – Marketing Strategy Overview…………………….. 42
Customer Dedication
Adding Value
The 2 Ways To Increase Profits
Is it Sales or Marketing?
The Power Of Leveraging
Isn’t It Time To Start Generating Leads?
Section 8 - Your Target Market……………………………….. 46
Section 9 - Unique Selling Proposition (USP)………………… 49
When It Absolutely, Positively, Has To Be There
How To Find Your USP or UPB
How To Write Your USP
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
Section 10 -“Guaran-damn-tee it” With Risk Reversal……. 54
Remove The Risk Completely
Are You Worried Customers Will Take Advantage?
To Improve The Power Of Guarantees…
Section 11 - Testimonials & Case Studies…………………… 58
Section 12 - Your Pricing Strategy…………………………... 61
What’s The Best Price?
Value Pricing
How To Raise Prices
Discounting For Profit
Section 13 - Get Your Fonts Right…………………………... 67
Serif Fonts
Sans Serif Fonts
Script Fonts
Section 14 - Customer Satisfaction Is Of No Use…………… 69
Only Loyalty Matters
How Customers Are Treated
Being Friendly
WOW Your Customers
Angry Customers, Complaints & Policies
Give Help Without The Expectation Of Return
The Phone’s Ringing, Is Someone Going To Answer?
Customer Visits To The Premises
To Get Loyalty
Business Is Great & We’re Looking For More
Your Mission Statement
Focus Groups
Section 15 – More Preparation……………………………… 81
Your Business Name
Geographic Location
Company Image
Colour & Shape Guide
Your Logo
Your Premises
Shop Window Ideas
Sign Magic
Telephone Numbers
Freepost & Business Reply
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
Food & Drink
Opening Hours
Speed of Service
Gift Certificates
What Are The Competition Doing?
Get Feedback
Payment Methods
Business Awards
Charity Incentives
Section 16 - Contact Management Database & Lists……… 90
Section 17 - Testing, Measuring & Budgeting……………... 94
Why Test?
The Lifetime Value Of A Customer
How To Test
The Law Of Probability
Section 18 - Lead Generation…………………………….... 100
Brand Marketing v Direct Marketing
Using An Ad Agency
One Step & Two Step Lead Generation
Hard v Soft Offer
Qualification Of Leads
Written Lead Generation Tools & AICDA
How To Write Powerful Headlines
The Opening Words
How To Write Body Copy
Generate Interest
Create Desire
Building Credibility
More Top Tips
Call To Action
Formatting Tricks
Be Ready For The Response
Section 19 - How To Grow With Advertising…………… 128
Advertising Does Work
How To Advertise In The Best Places
Start With A Small Ad
Negotiate The Ad Price
Negotiate The Position Of Your Ad
How To Write Your Ad
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
How Frequently Should You Run The Ad?
Classified Ads
Directory Advertising
Secrets To Get To The Front Of Your Directory Classification
Optimizing The Size Of Your Directory Ad
Layout Of Directory Ad
Adding Pictures To Adverts
Section 20 - Sales Letters - Sausage & Sizzle……….…….. 148
Sales Letter Work
Salutation Rules
Signing Off
The P.S.
More Top Letter Tips
The Reply Device
How To Get Your Envelope Opened
Example Letter Layout
Postcard Marketing
Section 21 - Fax Advertising………………………………. 158
Selecting Your Fax Bureau
Fax Format
When To Send The Fax
Section 22 - Internet Marketing…………………………... 164
How To Build Your Web Site
Search Engine Optimisation
More Web Marketing Ideas
E-mail Marketing
Getting Repeat Visitors
Fantastic Web Resources
Section 23 - Telephone Marketing & Selling……….……. 173
Telemarketing That Works
Getting Ready To Call
Beating The Gatekeeper
Opening With Your Prospect
Asking Questions
Developing The Dialogue
Asking For The Desired Action
Literature Requests
Follow Up
Closing The Sale
Section 24 – How To Write Press Releases…………….… 187
Press Releases That Work
Format Of The Release
Your Press Kit
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
How Else To Make Sure It’s Published
Now Leverage
Example Press Release Layout
Section 25 - Presentations and Seminars………………..… 193
Why Seminars Work
Finding Your Audience
Promoting Your Seminar
Preparing The Seminar
Equipment Tips
Controlling The Nerves
Your Introduction
The End
Follow Up
Now Leverage
Section 26 - Networking Magic……………………………. 205
Section 27 - How To Write Newsletters…………………... 208
Section 28 - Proven Referral Systems…………………….. 212
Section 29 - The Power Of Endorsement Marketing……. 215
Hosts & Beneficiaries
The Start Up Business People
The Endorsement Offer
How To Operate The Endorsement Arrangement
How Else To Use Endorsement Marketing
Section 30 - How To Write Special Reports……………… 220
Section 31 - The Competition Busting Special Report…... 223
Section 32 - Tip Sheets…………………………………….. 225
Section 33 - Information Packs…………………………… 227
Section 34 – Brochures……………………………………. 229
Section 35 – Catalogues…………………………………… 230
Section 36 – Mad Marketing Ideas………………………. 231
Section 37 - How To Convert Your Leads
Into Paying Customers……………………... 233
A Conversion System
The Quality Of Your Lead
Sales Conversion Letters
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
Future Contact Letter
More Information Letter
Sowing The Seeds Letter
Sales Conversion Letter
The Buyers Remorse Letter
The Sales Meeting
The Preparation Stage
Greeting The Prospect
The Chit Chat
Asking Questions
Now It’s Your Turn
Overcome The Objections
The Close
The Follow Up – making 3109% more sales
Section 38 - The Re-Selling System………………………… 255
Why Use Re-Selling
Re-Selling Tools To Increase The Average Order Value
Re-Selling Tools To Increase The Frequency Of Purchase
Re-Selling Tools To Keep Your Customers Longer
The Windows Of Opportunity Chart
Section 39 – Finance: Managing The Money……………… 261
The Accounting System
Management Information
What If Questions
Section 40 - Cost Controls & Expense Minimization……... 270
Section 41 - Using Barter To Reduce Costs……………….. 275
Section 42 - How To Make Sure You Get Paid……….…… 276
Section 43 - Minimizing Your Risks……………………….. 281
Section 44 - How To Raise Finance………………………... 283
How To Get Your Bank To Say “Yes”
Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme
Hire Purchase & Leasing
Trade Credit
Equity Finance
Venture Capital
Business Angels
Section 45 - Choosing Your Business Structure………….. 289
Limited Company
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
Sole Trader
Section 46 - How To Find A Product To Market……….….. 293
Recommended Reading & Information Sources………….. 296
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
Copyright Notices
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any
material, including photocopying or storing it by any medium by electronic
means and whether or not transiently or incidentally to some other use of
this publication, without the written permission of the copyright owner.
The reader is authorised to use any of the information in this publication for
his or her own use only.
Applications for the copyright owner’s permission or further information
should be addressed to the publisher.
Legal Notices
While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this
publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility
for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter given
in this publication.
The reader must accept full responsibility for determining the legality of any
and all ideas adopted and enacted in his or her particular business, whether
or not those ideas are suggested, either directly or indirectly in this product.
No guarantees of profit can be given or any responsibility taken for your
results. Every individual situation is different.
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Once upon a time there was a shepherd looking after his sheep on the edge
of a deserted road.
Suddenly a brand new Jeep Cherokee screeches to a halt next to him. The
driver, a young man dressed in a Brioni suit, Cerruti shoes, Ray-Ban
glasses, and a YSL tie gets out and asks the shepherd: - “ If I guess how
many sheep you do have, will you give me one of them? “
The shepherd looks at the young man, then looks at the sheep, which graze
and says: - “All right”.
The young man parks the car, connects the notebook and the mobile, enters
a NASA site, scans the ground using his GPS, opens a database and 60
excel tables filled with algorithms, then prints a 150-page report on his hightech mini printer. He then turns to the shepherd and says: - “You have
exactly 1586 sheep here.”
The shepherd answers: - That's correct, you can have your sheep. The young
man takes the sheep and puts it in the back of his jeep.
The shepherd looks at him and asks: “If I guess your profession, will you
return my sheep to me?”
The young man answers: “Yes, why not.”
The shepherd says: - You are an Accountant!
“How did you know?” asks the young man.
Very simple, answers the shepherd: “First you come here without being
called. Second, you charge me, to tell me something I already knew. Third,
you do not understand anything about what I do, because you took my dog!
Let’s begin…
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Section 1
“Will the people on the cheaper seats
clap your hands? All the rest of you,
if you’ll just rattle your jewellery”
John Lennon 1940 –80:
at the Royal Variety Performance, 4 November 1963
And welcome to “How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide For
Small Businesses.” This Special Report gives you lots of ideas you can start
implementing immediately.
Take a day out of your work schedule and set it aside to read this report in
full. The contents of it could well make it one of the most important days if
not the most important day, in your business and even personal life.
It starts with setting the scene and progresses to more detailed assistance but
it is important that it is read in full in the order laid out for you to get the
most from it.
It is specifically aimed at small businesses and based on proven ideas that
work. The extent to which they work will largely depend on you.
But You must take action, not just read what follows. There are broadly 3
types of people…
Those that make things happen.
Those that watch things happen.
Those that wondered what happened.
This report will only be of use to you if you make what is in it happen and
apply the right methods to your particular small business.
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A key principle throughout is the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid,
because it’s not complicated and a lot of it is staring you in the face and
obvious but you just don’t do it.
Take the story of the matchbox company. Matchboxes had two striking
sides and the top executives were trying to devise ways of reducing the
production cost of the matchbox by changing the size, materials, etc of the
striking strips. It was only a junior employee who suggested having just one
striking strip. It’s obvious, it’s staring you in the face and it’s simple. So
let’s not complicate things unnecessarily.
This Profit Maximizer Report is designed to help you learn what works
before you spend tens of thousands of pounds and enormous amounts of
time learning the lessons the hard way.
Because it’s obvious, doesn’t mean we can see it and there’ll no doubt be
many more obvious discoveries you will make for yourself with the right
mindset. After all, Ice cream was invented in 2000BC but it took another
3900 years before the cone came along.
It’s not large sums of money that are needed. Money of course, makes it
easier but many successful business people would say “if all this was taken
away from me tomorrow and I was left with no money, I could start over
again and be a millionaire within 12 months”. What is it they know?
This appears to be the only report of it’s kind in the UK today combining
everything together that will make a business more profitable and much of it
probably can’t be found in any text books.
The Opportunities Are There
There are lots of opportunities out there staring you in the face if you have
the right mindset. You are in control of your business and investing in it can
produce far greater returns than is possible through the stock market.
Often, there is a first group of people that never saw the opportunity and the
second who did and took action on it. They are people looking for the
breakthroughs and the opportunities rather than the problems that exist.
Think of these…
Lewis Crandal sold his half share in Woolworth’s to Mr Woolworth for
Dominoes Pizza took an old idea of home delivery and applied it to pizzas.
Ray Croc a 51 year old salesman took over McDonalds from the McDonald
brothers and completely revolutionised it.
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Don’t Worry About Mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes. Don’t listen to those who say you’ll learn from
them. May be you will, may be you won’t. After all, Henry Ford went
bankrupt twice before becoming a success.
Don’t worry about making mistakes if you want to succeed in business.
You need to decide for yourself if you can live with failure knowing you
tried your best. Is that not better than not to have tried at all? Many
successful entrepreneurs believe it’s better to have tried and failed than
never have had the courage to try.
You need to take action and get started. Sure, you don’t know everything
but don’t wait forever planning or you’ll do nothing.
If you don’t know about taxes, so what? There’s no tax to worry about until
you start making some money anyway.
And don’t beat a dead horse. Recognise when something is not going to
work, cut your losses and move on. There’s no rule about you can only start
one business in your lifetime. You have 365 new chances every year to
accomplish your goals.
Read And Learn From Others.
The most successful people have an insatiable need to know more, rather
than defending what they already know. Read books, magazines, learn from
others and continue to move forward. Try to learn something new everyday.
You can learn a lot from what other businesses are doing, especially those
that are not in your industry. What ideas can you take from totally different
types of businesses and apply them to yours. In sales, manufacturers tend to
have used a field sales force, retailers use adverts and professional services
use referrals but think how much more successful they could all be if they
added methods from other businesses. Use the principle of duality by
looking at other businesses. That’s what we’re doing in this report.
Fed Ex copied the banks method of clearing cheques overnight to develop
an overnight package delivery service.
There was a double-glazing firm who offered free window installation if
you signed up to have your windows fitted before the World Cup started and
England happened to win. A firm of accountants copied the concept but
applied it to accountancy services, adding the bonus that if Scotland won, it
was free accountancy services for life – a totally risk free offer! In reality
they placed a bet at the bookies to cover themselves and this was their
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
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marketing cost. This beat their conventional marketing offers many times
So look and learn from others. Adapt and adopt what you read here as
makes sense to you.
Follow The Success Formula
Believe you can.
Create the right environment at home and at work.
Enjoy yourself.
Expose yourself to what’s new and keep learning.
Plan what you’re going to do.
Stick at it.
Be willing to take risks.
Take responsibility for your actions.
Take action – follow Nike’s “just do it” slogan.
If you don’t have any empathy for this type of approach, you will get far
less out of this report.
The Importance Of Small Businesses
These are the statistics on small businesses in the UK provided by the
Federation of Small Businesses…
There are 3.95million small businesses in the UK.
97% of firms employ less than 20 people.
95% employ less than 5 people.
Over 500,000 people start up their own business every year.
Small firms employ more than 50 per cent of the private sector
12 million people work in small firms.
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Small firms contribute more than 50 per cent of the GDP - about
90 per cent of commercial innovations come from small firms.
Small firms collect and pay Tax, NICs, VAT and other dues that
help pay for public services.
This shows just how important small businesses are and how much they
A small business could be a…
Sole trader electrician working by himself.
Home based business.
Limited Company with 38 employees.
Most Government statistics seem to use 50 employees as a measure of when
a small business develops into a medium size business and it’s probably fair
to say that small businesses will get far more from this report as it’s based
on the ideas that work specifically for small businesses. Clearly from the
above there are variations within what is a small business and it’s important
to take the ideas from this report that are right for your particular small
business. Every idea isn’t necessarily relevant to every single business, so as
you go along try to think of how each idea can apply to your business.
The Problems Of A Small Business
Lots of people dream of having their own small business. Why work for
someone else when there is less job security and they are expecting more
and more work from you?
However it is overlooked that to run a successful business, especially in the
early years you need…
Capacity to work hard
Self –reliance
Support of your family
A skill or a good product.
Starting your own business takes determination, perseverance and selfdiscipline. Beware if you are starting for negative reasons, perhaps just
because you dislike your boss or you like drinking in pubs and so thought it
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
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would be great to run a pub. Running your own business is a big step. Take
time to consider and plan.
It’s not playing golf when you want and taking holidays when you want.
There can be a lot of admin and red tape to deal with. The customer
becomes your boss and they pay your wages.
It requires a different mindset and that’s what you’re going to need as you
go through this report.
Of all the tens of thousands of people who still start a business of some
By the end of the first year, 40% will have failed.
Within 3 years, 56% will have failed.
Within 5 years, 76% will have failed.
Of those who go past 5 years, there’s no guarantee they will survive the next
5 years.
So what are the common problems suffered by small businesses…
The owners work too hard and for too many hours.
Personal objectives of the owners such as hobbies and spending time
with their family end up low down on the list of priorities.
The owners spend too much time doing the day-to-day technical work
rather than planning and managing the business.
The owners don’t know where their business is going.
The owners don’t understand that in order for a business to have a good
sale value it must work without them.
Many owners get frustrated and simply give up and go back to being
an employee.
The rewards don’t match the effort.
They often face common problems in managing their business…
No consistency in delivery of their product.
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Can’t depend on their employees to get it right.
They focus on people rather than systems, which creates problems
when the people leave.
Systems that are in place are not documented but in the head of the
person who leaves.
The owner ends up doing everything.
Employees are not as diligent as the owners.
The owner spends too much time filled up with other people’s problems
and administration.
The owner always has to supervise and guide employees.
They have no idea how they compare with other similar businesses and
competitors with respect to financial performance or non-financial areas
such as human recourses, production, marketing, etc. They therefore
don’t know where there are areas for improvement.
With regards to marketing these are common problems for small
It’s done ad hoc rather than in a systematised way.
They don’t know what works.
They don’t fully understand why their customers buy.
They don’t know who their most profitable customers are.
They don’t measure their marketing results against costs.
They take on customers they later regret dealing with.
Bad debt problems.
Then there are the dreaded financial problems…
Relying on short-term overdrafts to try to support long-term growth.
Over relying on the bank due to over trading.
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No system for projecting income and expenditure.
No system for measuring key financial indicators against their plan.
Accounts are not useful to the business.
Accounts are not produced quickly enough.
The Fundamental Cause Of Small Business Problems
Michael Gerber in his book the E-Myth shows us the obvious that just isn’t
seen by so many. The myth is that entrepreneurs start businesses – it isn’t
The beginning of all these problems is the very fact that often the business
isn’t started by an entrepreneur, but by a technician who has an
entrepreneurial moment, perhaps caused by a bad day at work, a lousy boss,
a thought you’re doing most of the work but only get paid a pittance, etc.
Whatever, the reason it’s then likely that the decorator starts a decorating
business, a barber a barber shop, a mechanic a garage and so forth. All very
good at what they do technically, but what do they do know about running a
business? Yes, very little. And the technical work of a business is very
different to running a business that does technical work.
The technician sets about the business but for it to work he needs to be the
technician doing the technical work, the manager organising everything
and the entrepreneur with the vision to take the business forward. However
he has a tendency towards the technical work as this is where he feels most
To start with this may be okay but as the business grows a little it becomes
harder to juggle all the balls. May be that being a barber, you just want to
cut hair but it’s not that simple with just you to run the business and you
have conflicts with the part of you that wants to manage and the part of you
that wants to take the business forward.
All you’ve done is swap one job for another, only now you’re working
twice as hard with extra responsibilities. If you just want to cut hair, it’s far
simpler to get a job doing it. Eventually you can’t cope and you get some
help, may be someone to manage the appointments, deal with suppliers,
write up the books, etc. However, one day they go ill or leave or they don’t
do it as well as you anyway or the next person doesn’t and you end up
trying to do more yourself.
However, if you’re going to grow this isn’t sustainable so most businesses
either get very small again, give up or go for broke and then fail.
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Employees will probably never do the job as well as you. They don’t have
the same attention to detail, skills, flare or enthusiasm for the job as you.
And in reality, they probably never will. So we have to find another way.
However, some businesses are successful and do work without their owners.
They are successful in marketing and increasing sales, they can manage
the growth and they manage the money successfully. They are doing things
that the rest aren’t. That’s what you’re going to find out by reading on.
The Best Profit Improvement Ideas For Small
1. LOW COST – or even free. We’re going to look at how to ensure
we only spend money that is going to produce a return and can be
measured. Many of the ideas won’t cost you much other than time.
2. QUICK & EASY– by using this report, it will make it far easier to
& quicker to introduce proven profit improvement techniques to
your business.
3. PROVEN– as already said, we’re looking at proven methods.
Time Management
With the average 40-year-old man having just 180,000 waking hours left to
live, it’s important to make the best use of them. As a lot of this report will
also require time input from you to implement it makes sense to start by
listing the top time management tips for you to apply…
Prioritise your workload.
Write a priority action list at the end of each day, ready for tomorrow.
See the job through – don’t start, put it down and come back to it as it
wastes time getting started again.
Delegate wherever possible. Especially unimportant jobs.
Hold efficient meetings. Consider if they are needed at all? Holding
meetings standing up or on the phone will shorten them and avoid wasted
Say “NO” if you’re not the right person to ask.
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Put time aside when colleagues know you’re not to be interrupted
each day.
Don’t do everything to perfection. Being 100% perfect takes twice as
long as 90% perfection, which is often good enough.
Use call logging sheets, not scraps of paper, to record phone calls.
Distinguish between urgent and non-urgent interruptions. Something
that is important isn’t always urgent.
Pareto’s Law
This is the law that suggests things like 80% of your sales come from 20%
of your customers?
Or the 20% of customers who give you 80% of your grief.
Pareto’s Law can help to identify the 20% that most of your effort should be
concentrated on. You may not even need the other 80% at all.
Perhaps the same is true of many of other things – 80% of your sales come
from 20% of your sales force or perhaps 80% of your employee problems
are caused by 20% of your employees.
Always look to see with everything if the extra 20% you get is worth the
80% of input. It can be a very useful law for identifying where you can
make the biggest changes in your business.
Get A Good Product
Before looking at everything that follows, let’s understand that you must
have a good idea, product or service to start with. Everything else that
follows cannot turn a bad product into a fantastic business success, unless
the product is changed. The business opportunity must be viable.
The product must be good and you must have researched that there is a
demand or likely demand for what you are offering. The importance of this
cannot be over emphasised. You can maybe sell a bad product to people
once, but they won’t come back for more.
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Certainly, don’t be in too much of a hurry to promote until you get good.
Otherwise, you’ll just speed up the rate at which the world finds out you’re
no good.
The word product is used, but everything equally applies to service
businesses. Similarly you’ll find the word customer used a lot, but this is
interchangeable for the word client.
If you don’t have a product, there are some ideas at the end of the report to
show you how to find one to base a business on.
Are you ready to get going? Let’s go…
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Section 2
Your Strategy
“One of the symptoms of approaching nervous
breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly
important, and that to take a holiday would bring
all kinds of disaster”
Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970:
Conquest Of Happiness (1930)
Your Personal Objective
There are two people left on earth, you and your business -remembering a
company is a separate legal entity in law! One of you must die to save the
planet. Who would you choose?
That’s right, it’s you! You are the most important person, not your business.
Therefore, before we even begin to look at your business, we need to take a
look at you personally. Only by establishing what you personally want to
achieve as an individual can you then set about your business.
If your business doesn’t meet your personal objectives you’ve not really
succeeded. Your business may be a success, made lots of money, have many
stores, etc but if that doesn’t deliver what you personally want from life,
what’s the point? You’ve now really made a loss rather than a profit from
your life.
Start by imagining your own funeral and what you would like to say to all
your friends, colleagues and acquaintances about your life, once it’s too late
to now do anything about it.
What would you like your life story to be?
What would you like to have achieved?
What would you like your life to have been like?
What battles would you like to have won?
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What moral values would you like to have lived up to?
Only when you answer these types of questions can you move onto your
business and develop that to fulfil your personal objectives.
It may be that you stop there. If a business isn’t going to be the thing that
helped you fulfil your life’s ambitions. Better to sort this out up front, than
waste precious time going down the wrong road.
Particularly with businesses owned by more than one person, it’s important
that each individual owners’ personal objectives can be met by the same
business. For example, do you know when your partner wants to exit the
business and does this work for your business strategy. If individual goals
can’t be met by the same business, it’s time to think again.
You need an open and honest discussion of each other’s personal goals to
identify any problem areas at this stage and to then identify a business
strategy to deliver those goals for all.
It’s important the business serves the owner, so personal goals must come
Here are some questions to answer personally to get you going…
Are you happy with what you do in the business?
If not, how would you like to change what you do?
Do you have a planned retirement date and exit routes and what are
Do you spend enough time away from the business?
Is there anything you would particularly like to do, success trappings
you would like or experiences to have over the next 5 years?
What don’t you want in your life?
What do you want out of life?
Where do you want to live?
What are the most important things for you and what gets in the
What income do you want in each of the next 5 years?
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Your Business Strategy
Once you have a clear idea of your personal objectives, you can start
developing your business strategy that will meet them. For example, you
know how much money you need to make to meet your life goals so your
business has to deliver this.
Your strategic plan for the business should aim to set a target for what your
business will look like in 5 years time or when it is complete. This can
cover profits, type of business, business size, value, products, market
position, unique selling points, etc. It is your vision of what it will look like.
You do firstly have to decide if the business you are in or are looking at is
capable of delivering what you are pursuing. If it’s not an opportunity
worth pursuing, it doesn’t matter how much you plan it, it won’t deliver
what you want.
Your business strategy should be based on your standards and values if it
is to tie in with your life plan.
Without this plan of where you are aiming to get to, it makes it far harder to
get there. By having goals, it makes it easier to determine if what you are
doing is moving you towards that goal or not and you can plan to put
everything in place to get there.
It enables you to identify the key challenges that need to be overcome if
you are to reach your goal. Once you know the challenges, the cause and
the real effect of not meeting them, you can identify the most fundamental
challenges and then establish how to overcome them.
Here are the kind of things to consider in the strategic objective for your
business of what your business will look like in 5 years time and when it is
What type of business will you have?
What products and services do you offer?
How large is the business with reference to turnover, gross profit,
costs and net profit?
What will the growth be over the period with regards to sales, new
products, new markets, and number of employees?
What will be your market position?
What reporting systems will you use?
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How will your employees be trained?
What geographic markets will you supply?
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What will be unique about the business and what will be your unique
selling points with regards to distinctive products, marketing,
operations and customer service.
How much is your business worth now and on completion?
Research on goal setting has proven the following helps people achieve
their goals…
It’s better to set your goals high rather than low.
Write down your goals. People who write down their goals are far more
likely to reach them. There is a saying, “if you don’t write something
down, it doesn’t exist”.
You can keep refining you goals and reviewing them as you go along.
Things do change.
Goals should be SMART goals to achieve the best results. This stands
Specific – how much, for whom, for what, etc
Time framed – by when
For example, having a goal to get rich is not a smart goal. However a
goal of “to have £100,000 in the bank in 5 years time” could be a smart
goal. It’s far easier to put the specific steps in place to achieve this type
of goal.
Goals such as “to be the best at what you do” or “to love what you do”
tend to lead to people being more successful than “to make lots of
money” goals. The money does come but it is a result of having more
meaningful goals in the first place.
Now we know where we’re going, we have to get there…
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Section 3
Organising And Managing
Your Business
“A place for everything
and everything in its place”
Mrs Beeton 1836 – 65:
Book Of Household Management (1861)
At McDonald’s…
Wouldn’t it be great if your small business…
Worked without you. Only if your business can work without you will
it have any great capital or sale value.
Delivered its product or service consistently time and time again to the
The employees did it the same way every time, the best way.
If we’re going to learn from the small businesses that successfully do this,
let’s take a look at the most successful small business in the world,
McDonalds. Even if you don’t like what McDonald’s sell, there is no
denying it is a hugely successful business.
At McDonald’s…
The owners don’t work in the business flipping burgers.
You know when you go you’re going to get the same consistent burger
every time, with the same customer experience every single time, which
is why people go there. They give the customer exactly what they are
expecting every single time, there is no disappointment and so the
customers return.
Similarly, if you went to a printer and got a great print job done the first
time but the next time there were a few mistakes, you’d be far less
inclined to return again. How comes it was perfect one time and not
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another? That doesn’t happen at McDonalds. What’s more, they manage
to do it at thousands of their restaurants all over the planet.
The burgers are the best tasting burgers made the same way every
single time. They’ve found their best formula and they use it consistently,
only changing it when they find an even better formula. And that is true
for every part of the McDonalds experience from the food, to the
greeting, to the cleanliness, to the kids packs, etc. Everything works and
is done the same way until they find a better way to do it.
It doesn’t matter who does a task, they always follow a system, so that it’s
then done the same way every single time and the customer gets the same
experience every time they go back.
When one-person leaves and another joins, how comes it still gets done
exactly the same way.
Although McDonald’s is a seemingly low quality product, it is an
extremely high quality business which customers value and have great
loyalty to.
McDonald’s has the entrepreneurs with the vision to move the business
forward, the managers who manage the units and the technicians who work
in the units and they all work together in harmony.
Of course, it’s because they have an organisational strategy, a
management strategy and a system for everything they do. It is the
ultimate systematized business that runs just like clockwork.
Just because your business isn’t McDonalds doesn’t mean you can’t learn
from them. It is what is known as a Business Format Franchise. This is
the type of franchise operated throughout the world by many other
businesses and it’s no surprise that franchises are far more likely to succeed
than any other start up business.
When a McDonalds franchise is taken, the franchisee gets far more than a
brand name. They get a whole way of doing things that work and not until
they have learnt the way things are done, do they get the keys to the door.
Just because you are not going to franchise your business doesn’t mean you
can’t learn from how they make everything inside the business consistently
happen. If that happened just inside your one business unit, without you
working in it, wouldn’t your business be a great place to go to work, or not
work if you so chose.
When Ray Croc took the McDonald brothers burger business in 1954 and
set about figuring out how he could make it work, he set about working on
the business and not in the business. The business became the product to
him, not the burgers and it was the business he worked on.
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The key is to work ON, not IN the business. If you are a one-man business,
not wanting to grow, this perhaps isn’t true to the same extent, although
certain things can still be learnt from it about ensuring you deliver
consistency to your customers. A one-man operation may not really have a
business; they have a job, possibly a well paid one, with customers as their
boss. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the one-man
operation. The world is reliant on many one-man operations, it’s just that
some of these principles apply less to them.
For every other small business that wants to develop, you’ll only do so if
you get to work on your business and stop working in it. As an extreme, you
can imagine that you are going to make another 1000 just like it. What
would you have to do to achieve this? You would have to completely
systematize your business.
An analogy that can help with the understanding of working on, rather than
in your business, is a game of monopoly. If you are the hat in the game,
you are simply a piece in the game and you don’t make the decisions, you
can’t influence the game at all. However, by being a player in the game and
being able to see the whole board, you can start to put strategies into place
that will have far more of an influence. You are now working on the game
rather than being in it. It’s exactly the same for your business, you can have
far more effect by working on it.
Before we get carried away, a word of warning. Some small businesses
have tried to systematize their business and got so carried away with it that
they spent all their time doing just that and failed almost before they got
going. Some people believe the E-Myth book sets a standard that most
people cannot hope to meet. Common sense is the operative word and the
E-Myth is a must read book for every entrepreneur.
You have to operate and generate enough income to put food on the table,
pay the mortgage, etc. This has to be the first priority. After that, look to
work on the systems for your business that will …
Give consistency to everyone – your customers, suppliers, and
Be operated by people with the lowest possible skill level. This enables
you to find staff when you need them at the lowest possible price. You
don’t want systems that can be operated by only high quality people,
because when that person leaves, you will have trouble getting a
Sure, you say McDonalds is not like your business. So let’s take a far
more complicated business such as a firm of solicitors. If a firm of
solicitors was to employ only the brightest legal brains it would be
extremely difficult to consistently offer their level of legal knowledge, as
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it becomes very difficult to find a replacement should they leave, be ill,
etc. However, if they were to develop services that could be provided by
anyone with an average legal brain, they would be able to grow and
leverage the business far more.
Enable you to eventually not work in the business at all.
Even if you just focus on the most critical things you do in your business
and systematize these, your business will be far better for it.
So what you need is a systems dependant rather than a people dependant
business. The systems run the business and the people run the systems. You
can’t do without people, but the more you systematize, the less dependant
you become on people.
Organisational Strategy
If you are going to develop a business that is not people dependant, you
need to have an organisational chart that starts not with peoples names on it
but with the positions that need filling.
It helps to draw an organisation chart based on what you want your
business to look like rather than how it is at present.
The positions on the chart should relate to employee functions (managing
director, sales director, accounts, etc) rather than named people. This
ensures it’s the system that you’re concentrating on.
Once you’ve decided the functions you need in each box, then you can
allocate people to fit those functions.
Let’s say there are three owners of the business but there is only one
position for managing director. Instead of having 3 people all trying to be
the managing director that creates conflict, duplication of resources and
nobody knowing what their responsibilities are, you agree who is likely to
be best suited to that position and put them into it. The other two, take other
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positions. They still all own the business equally but now they are starting
to organise the business far more effectively.
To start with, you may be the only one in the business. That doesn’t matter
– just put your name in each box. As the business grows you move out of
some boxes and get other people to move into the box. However, in the box
will be a system for them to follow so that they do it the same as you. Now
you’re starting to build a business that works.
Look at each position in the chart and outline what is expected of each
position. In the most profitable businesses, people know what is expected of
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Section 4
Systemising Your Business
“The shortest way to do many things
is to do only one thing at once”
Samuel Smiles 1912 – 1904: Self Help (1859)
Putting The System In The Box
Each box on the organisational chart needs a system. In reality, there will
be many systems that go into one box.
A system needs…
Creation – the starting point is the development of a system that will
allow you to overcome what needs doing, provide what the customer
wants and do it in the best possible way. So you need to create a system.
Measurement – once you’ve created a system you can only know if it
is the best system by measuring the results of the system, so you must
measure how the system performs.
Consistent Implementation – the system must be implemented so that
it is done the same way every time.
For example, if you have a sales hotline number for prospects to call, you
would create a way of answering the phone and dealing with the enquiries.
You would then measure how successful this was in comparison to other
ways of answering the phone. Once you have measured and found the best
way, you then consistently implement this system until you find a system
that is better. You only know if the new system is better by measuring it.
You’ll need systems for a whole lot more as well such as to cover…
Generating Leads
Converting leads
Measuring customer satisfaction
Processing orders, invoices, payments, management information
Measuring performance
Employee development
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And many more.
When one employee leaves, if the system is properly documented, it’s a lot
easier for someone else to take over the system
A system can’t be in someone’s head, otherwise when they’re ill or leave,
you have no system and your business is people dependant.
In designing a system it helps to specify the result you want and draw the
system in a flow chart as well as documenting it. The flow chart helps to
ensure you don’t miss out any stages.
The full logical process to design a system is as follows…
Name the system
Specify the result
Draw the systems with boxes and arrows
Allocate responsibility for the system
Set a deadline to implement it
Identify the time/resources needed to implement it
Document the system
Operating manuals are a very effective way of documenting the systems.
Really, everything in your business is a system, albeit different types of
Hard Systems – such as your signs, your computer, etc. Changing a
sign, computer, etc can improve the performance.
Soft Systems – the way you do things, such as a selling system.
Information systems – that provide the information against which you
can benchmark in order to compare and adopt best practice. For example,
if you know 80% of your sales come from 20% of your people, you want
to try to replicate the system that they are following.
Management Systems –
Do Without Experienced Managers
You don’t necessarily want experienced managers. An experienced manager
will come in with their own ideas and ways of doing things. If you let them
manage using their methods, this is management by abdication. What you
want is a management system that says, this is the way managers manage
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You use the same checklists, etc to manage and control that then produces
the same result every time and that consistent result gives a marketing
You will need management information systems to help monitor how you
are doing against the plan.
As well as financial measurements such as % of jobs finished on time there
will be non-financial areas you will want to measure, such as customer
satisfaction or employee morale. You could for example get employees to
put a score out of 10 on their timesheets each week to record how happy
they are at work.
Even if it’s not a financial item, you need to find a way to measure it if you
are to know what you are doing improves it. As they say, “you can’t
manage, what you can’t measure”
Here are examples of items you may want to measure and benchmarks in
your management information system…
Financial Benchmarks
Non- Financial Benchmarks
Stock & Work In Progress
Cash Collected
% of jobs completed on time
% of unproductive time
% net profit on each job
Net Profit
Average job turnaround time
No. of unstarted jobs
Customers won & lost
Staff turnover
% time absent/sick
% deadlines missed
Average Fee
Number of referrals
% of leads converted
Net profit per profit centre
Actual income/expenses v budget
Customer Satisfaction
Quality of work
Staff Morale
Staff Image
Business Image
Understanding of the business
New product ideas
Life/work balance
Training effectiveness
Use of IT in our work
Now we have developed systems, we need to have a people strategy that
will work in running those systems…
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Section 5
People Strategy
“It’s true hard work never killed anybody,
but I figured why take the chance?”
Ronald Reagan 1911- :Interview, Guardian 31 March 1987
It’s All About Motivation
68% of businesses have no employees to which this section is not
particularly applicable. Of the remainder, 27% have 1-9 employees and 5%
have more than 10 employees.
However, if you are going to grow, you’re going to need people, whether
you have a systems dependent business or not.
Sir John Harvey Jones said he never found a company that used more than
50% of the potential of its people.
You can create a system that your employees are capable of following but
only if the employees are motivated to do so, will they actually do so. You
can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. The systems stuff
sounds like it may not be all that inspiring to your employees. There’s a bit
of the rebel in everyone that doesn’t like to follow the rules and procedures.
So how do you create an environment in which the employees want to
follow the rules and are motivated to achieve their full potential? People
work harder when they are motivated. Just imagine the impact you can
make if you change the attitude of your employees from “I have to go to
work “ to “I get to go to work”. You don’t want people whose spirit dies as
they enter the office door.
People’s basic needs have to be met first which comes from the cash you
pay them. In the event you provide benefits ensure the staff know the value
of those benefits and find out if they really want them. However, there is far
more to motivation than cash.
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They Must Want To Play Your Game
It’s not really employees but people who want to play your game that you
need. To this end, we’ll refer to employees as team members rather than
employees. To get them to want to play your game…
They must understand the game.
They need to understand the purpose of the game.
They must understand the standards and values on which your game
is based. Unless they can relate to and share those values, they won’t
buy into your game and be committed to it.
They must believe the game is worthwhile; that what they are doing is
important and worthwhile. If they wash the dishes, they must understand
why it is important, where it fits in and even how it makes the world a
better place.
You need employees who work with you rather than for you. They must
want to work together as a team to be far more powerful than working as
individuals. People naturally work together when motivated, so take
advantage of it. To do this the team players must all have shared values and
purpose, not just be aware of what they are.
You must develop trust with your team. You can only do this by telling the
truth, the whole truth. You must respect what others do, their thoughts,
feelings, needs and dreams. You can be a boss without being bossy.
They must understand the ideas behind the work as well as understanding
the work itself. So if you haven’t created and thought through those values
in determining your strategy it’s now going to be difficult to communicate
those to your team.
Examples of your values could be…
The customer may not always be right but you must make him think he
The most important thing is to do the best you possibly can at all times.
If this is so, you don’t sack someone just because they aren’t as good as
others. If you did, you’d lose the values on which everything is based.
Values stand up in bad as well as good times.
You should continually test what you are doing in order to improve.
How you act will play a large part in how your ideas, beliefs and standards
are communicated.
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Sometimes existing staff won’t buy into your game and the only way to
change is to change the person. Getting rid of a good individual can be
necessary if they aren’t a team player and detract from the performance of
the whole team.
The Rules Of The Game
All games have rules and boundaries that all the players must know. The
following would be sensible rules for your business game…
The game must be fun from time to time – you need fun to help keep
the team motivated.
People have to be capable of playing the game. Only give work to
people that they can do or they will become de-motivated. Don’t set
unrealistic targets.
The game should be challenging, so don’t set targets too low but they
must be achievable. People want to do a fair days work for a fair days
pay, otherwise they lose a sense of value and it becomes demeaning.
The game needs playing in the right environment. A nicer working
environment will improve motivation.
Only play a game that you are willing to play yourself. If you expect
your team to play by different standards and values to you, they won’t
buy into your game. Your business ends up being a reflection of you. If
you’re greedy, you’ll end up with employees who are greedy, if you’re
disorganised your business will be disorganised, etc.
Let the employees have some autonomy and authority to play the game
their own way with rules to keep them in check. It’s a bit like being
independent contractors or thinking like an entrepreneurs but this must
only be within set guidelines. They can suggest improvements to
systems and these suggestions should be measured against the present
systems. The goals must be set with the team, the manager setting the
critical goals and the team the rest. They should have ownership and be
rewarded directly related to their achievements.
This could be as follows:
Sales staff – a % of sales – monthly or quarterly
Admin staff – a profit share – needs to be quarterly or 6 monthly
Retail staff – a % of sales – monthly or quarterly
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Design staff – a % of the fee paid by the client once the client has
Commission schemes are ideally best linked to profit rather than
The managers can work on the game rules but let the employees do the
work. The managers can decide who plays what position by matching
work to ability but the players move the ball.
Give employees responsibility for their own work. You really want
them to make a commitment as well as take responsibility but that may
take a bit longer to come. It’s bit like egg & bacon, the hen took on
some responsibility but the pig made a commitment.
The game must never end. If it ends there is no way of continually
moving forward. However, there does need to be victories along the
way to keep the team motivated. Cheer people, have contests, monthly
awards, tell people they are good at their work. It’s just like a football
match, the crowd cheers progress down the pitch, which often leads to a
goal that records the score.
But don’t congratulate if it’s not true. If you can’t congratulate, you
need to encourage. Look for positives, not negatives.
Never change the ethics of the game as the whole game is built around
this. However tactics can be changed to keep the team motivated. The
values have to hold up in tough times, not just be feel good slogans.
Keep reminding the team of the game.
Recruitment, Induction, Ongoing & Leavers
The following ideas are proven ways of getting employees motivated to that
follow the above principles…
You need to get the right people throughout your organisation, which starts
with your recruitment strategy…
Ensure your idea, values and history of the business is explained to
Ensure the attributes required of the team member are fully
communicated to them. The more you have systematized your business,
the less technical skills they will already need. In fact, less experience
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will often be an advantage as they are more likely to then do it your
An efficient way of doing this is through a group meeting with the
applicants. You then progress with those still interested with a one to one
In the meeting, discuss their reactions and feelings about your ideas and
standards. Ask why do they think they are superbly appropriate for the role?
The induction process should cover the following areas if the new team
player is to fully understand the purpose of their position…
A review of the bosses ideas and values.
A summary of the entire system for the business. How everything fits
together. This is a summary, not a detailed working knowledge of
Have a tour of the whole business.
Give the opportunity for the new team player to ask questions and
answer them.
Go though their position statement with them. It should form part of
their contract of employment and their appraisal structure. Position
statements are used to help employees know what is expected of them.
They are more than just job descriptions. They…
Highlight the overall result/objective required by that
Specify the work they are accountable for.
List the specific quality standards relevant to that position by
which they are measured.
List all the general behavioural standards for which everyone
in the business is responsible.
Make it clear to whom they report and who reports to them.
They create commitment and accountability for each
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Issue an operations manual and review the manual, especially the
areas relevant to their position. The manual should include the strategic
objective and the organisational strategy that the team player should be
familiar with.
Complete the necessary paperwork.
Regular business development meetings with the team to produce a
sense of togetherness, addressing their concerns, identifying new
opportunities, keeping everyone focused and giving permission for
everyone to speak openly and frankly about the business. They could be
held monthly on a departmental basis for 1- 1½ hours.
Individual Appraisals – focus on promoting employees growth by
working together, look at performance review, work issues, personal
issues, admin issues. Find out what they do & don’t want in the job,
what gets in their way of achieving objectives and how things can be
Ability for everyone to speak openly.
Performance related pay schemes.
Staff suggestion schemes - Have a Learning Zone where all staff
make 1 written idea each week to share with everyone else. As well as
having a suggestion box for customers, have one for your staff.
Let them put a score on their timesheet out of 10 for how happy they
were at work this week and monitor their happiness.
Staff training.
Staff surveys.
Employee magazine.
Let everyone know how the business is performing overall.
Hold exit interviews to find out how you can improve employee motivation
in the future.
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Section 6
Times Change
“Consistency is contrary to nature,
contrary to life. The only completely
consistent people are the dead”
Aldous Hexley 1894 - 1963: Do That You Will (1929)
Being willing to change can be one of the great barriers to creating and
sustaining a successful business.
People ask “What’s New?” not “What’s Old?” If you or your business
doesn’t change with the times it can get left behind. Many people don’t like
change even though they may know it is necessary.
You don’t always have to change and you need to establish the right time to
change. Should you change and start to be nice to someone you don’t like.
Probably not, there’s no rule that says you have to be nice to people you
don’t like. It’s your right and you should be happy and comfortable with it.
To make changes that help you it helps to ask a paradigm-shifting
question. Ask yourself “What would I like to do in my business that would
fundamentally change the way my business works?”
Once you know this you can then set about figuring out how to do it but you
need to concentrate on what you want first.
To accept, deal with and be more comfortable with change the following
thoughts can help…
Ask yourself “What would I do, if I weren’t afraid?” Not being
afraid can help you feel good. Remember that courage isn’t the
absence of fear. It’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
Change happens.
Anticipate change - You should look at your present situation often
to know what you’re doing is getting old.
Noticing small changes early helps you to adapt to bigger changes to
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Adapt to change quickly.
Going in a new direction can help you find what you want.
It helps to imagine yourself enjoying the results of the change.
The quicker you let go of the old, the sooner you’ll find the new
thing you want.
It is better to search for new solutions than to remain with a solution
that doesn’t work.
Old beliefs do not lead you to new solutions.
Move with the change and enjoy it. But be ready to change again
and again.
Here are some things to do to get you in the mood for change…
Put your other sock on first in the morning.
Change your breakfast.
Eat with your fork in the other hand.
Then start a change list and put deadlines on it.
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Section 7
Marketing Strategy Overview
“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife”
David Ogilvy: Confessions Of An Advertising Man (1963)
Customer Dedication
Successful businesses all have an understanding of their customers needs or
rather perceived needs and a total dedication to their customers.
Their marketing strategy is built around the customer – “what must the
business be for the customer to choose us?”
Everything they do is focused on the customer and they are continuously
improving how they do it.
In order to do this they need to understand the demographics (who they
are) and the psychographics (why they buy) of their customers. Only then
can you build your business to serve them.
Adding Value
Customers buy perceived value which is the difference between the
perceived benefits and the price. The more you increase the difference the
more value that is added to the customer. Again, the benefits are unlimited
but there’s only so low the price can go.
Explaining that a pair of shoes are made of leather, why they are more
comfortable, shock absorbing, will last, etc will make their perceived value
higher than the same shoes that are not so described.
The 2 Ways To Increase Profits
There are only 2 ways to increase profits. Either you increase sales or you
reduce costs. It’s that simple!
However, the amount you can reduce costs by is limited but the amount you
can increase sales by is unlimited. So there is far more potential in
increasing sales. We will start with exploring the sales side a bit more.
There are only 3 ways to generate more sales…
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Increase the number of customers.
Increase the value of each transaction.
Increase the frequency of sale to each customer.
More importantly, if you do all 3 together, you can achieve far higher
For example, lets look at the following scenario…
You presently have 100 customers.
The average transaction value is £100 for a product that costs you
£30 to produce.
 The average frequency of purchase by a customer is 10 times a year.
 Fixed overheads are £20,000
Therefore the annual profit is presently as follows:
Sales 100 x £100 x 10
Cost of Sales 100 x £30 x 10
Gross Profit
Fixed Overheads
Net Profit
If we now increase all three sales generators by 10%, we get the following
Sales 110 x £110 x 11
Cost of Sales 110 x £30 x 11
Gross Profit
Fixed Overheads
Net Profit
So profits have now risen by £26,800, a 53.6% increase as result of
improving all 3 generators by just 10%. This shows the power of working
on all 3 areas at the same time to achieve maximum results.
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The marketing tools you can use to get growth in all three of these areas can
be categorised in the following areas.
Lead Generation – of quality leads.
Lead Conversion into sales.
Re-selling to existing customers.
An overriding factor in all these is outstanding customer service,
particularly in re-selling to existing customers. Increasing your number of
customers is a factor of both how many you gain and how many you don’t
Remember never to sacrifice profit for growth. There is the saying “turnover
is for vanity, profit is for sanity”.
Is it Sales or Marketing?
Very simply, marketing is the methods used to generate quality new leads
and sales is the system of converting those leads into paying customers.
The Power Of Leveraging
If you can measure the result of a marketing activity it gives you enormous
A very simple example would be if you send 1,000 sales letters out and that
produces you 5 new customers which makes a profit, you should do more of
it, a lot more. You know that if you want 50 new customers, you simply
need send 10,000 letters. Leveraging is about taking something small and
using it to create something a lot larger. Often it is using a small sample and
extrapolating the results of it. The larger your sample, the more sure you can
be of the result.
The more you test, the more confidently you can predict this result. Many
small businesses don’t use the power of a sample to expand, often because
they don’t have a systematized business that can cope with the extra
volume, which again demonstrates the importance of systems.
Your business becomes far more effective by first maximising what you do
have and finding the best proven way of achieving a result and then simply
multiplying that result.
This is true of numerous things in your business whether it be number of
cold calls made, sales letters sent, salesmen employed, referrals requested,
etc. Almost anything can be leveraged upwards if you get a sample size that
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you can rely on that you can confidently predict will occur if you increase
the sample size. The later section on testing will cover how you can use
samples to predict an outcome based on probabilities.
Isn’t It Time To Start Generating Leads?
Not yet! Before we even start looking at how to use all the lead generation
tools like sales letters, adverts, fax broadcasts, web sites, telemarketing, etc,
we need to put in place all the things that are going to multiply the effects
of your lead generation tools many times over and blow your competition
Everything that follows before we get to lead generation is all about
preparation and cannot be overlooked. It will make using the lead
generation tools easy.
So let’s start preparing to market…
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Section 8
Your Target Market
“But screw your courage to the sticking place,
And we’ll not fail”
William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616: Macbeth (1606)
If you try selling to the wrong people, you’ll fail. That’s how important it is
to get your target market right.
You need a list of prospects that are right for your product or service. Send
your sales letter to the wrong list and it’s doomed, advertise in the wrong
magazine and it won’t work, no matter how good the advert or sales letter
is. Your target market could be geographic or demographic (age, sex,
business type, etc).
So first you have to identify who your target market is. In doing this, don’t
try to be all things to all people. It just doesn’t work.
For example, a horse dealer who deals in dressage horses and targets their
marketing at dressage horse people will be more successful in approaching
them than a general horse dealer. They could also deal in eventing horses
but would need to approach that market in a different way. The more
defined the target market is, the more successful you are likely to be with
them. By doing this you can focus on the needs of your target market.
The overall target database becomes smaller but within that target market
the chances of success increase dramatically.
These target markets are also known as niches and marketing to them is
what you need to do. Don’t market to people who are unlikely to buy from
Most small businesses take any customers they come across which is one of
the biggest mistakes a small business can make.
Think about your own business and what your target market should be. It
doesn’t have to be certain business sizes. It could be by location, industry
type, size, number of children they have, household income, etc. The more
specifically you define your niche, the more you can concentrate on their
needs and so the more likely you are to be successful with them.
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You can have more than one niche but the more you speak to each niche
differently, the more successful you’ll be with each.
You’ll need to know how you can reach them. What do they read, where do
they live, where do they work, where do they shop, what clubs do they
belong to, can you get a list of them from a list broker, etc.
To help you identify the best niches for you look for…
Who are your best & worst customers and what their characteristics
are - attitude to staff, price sensitive, age, location, business type, etc.
What you offer and your areas of expertise.
What’s unique about you?
Look also for gaps in the market place – yellow pages can be a good
source for doing this.
What are your competitors doing?
Consider your market position and where you want to be in your
High Quality
Low Price
High Price
Low Quality
Talk to people from potential target markets and do research on them to
find out if there’s likely to be a demand for your business from them.
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You should end up with the key characteristics for typical customers in your
target market.
If your target market is limited by geography, you should try to work it to
death and decimate it. For example, a florist or restaurant could mail
frequently to everyone in the area, the owner can knock on doors to
personally introduce themselves, they can throw a party for everyone in the
neighbourhood, send holiday greetings, make charity efforts, etc.
You can also make offers that are targeted. For example, a travel agent may
have a questionnaire for customers to fill in about their holiday preferences.
They are then send marketing material that ties in with their preferences.
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Section 9
Unique Selling Proposition
“We even sell a pair of earrings for under £1,
which is cheaper than a prawn sandwich from
Marks & Spencers. But I have to say the earrings
probably won’t last as long.
Gerald Ratner: speech to the Institute Of Directors,
Albert Hall 23 April 1991
When It Absolutely, Positively, Has To Be There
You need a USP or a UPB (unique perceived benefit). Theoretically a UPB
is more customer focused, but either way, you need one.
You need to give your customers a reason to choose you ahead of the
competition and your USP is a great way of doing this.
This is what a USP should do…
It’s the one thing that really differentiates you from your competition.
It helps give you the WOW factor that makes your customers stand up
and take notice.
It makes your prospects think I must have this product or service.
The reason it’s perceived is that is doesn’t have to be unique to you but
must be perceived as such to your prospect. All your competitors may do
the same thing but if they don’t tell anyone about it and you do, you’re
unique in the minds of your customers.
Very few small businesses do this and if you do, it will give you the edge. It
will be the cornerstone of all your marketing efforts.
Here are some great USP examples…
Fed Ex – when it absolutely, positively, has to be there.
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Dominoes Pizza – red hot pizza delivered to your door in less than 30
minutes or its free.
Avis Car Rentals – we’re number two, we try harder.
Polo mints – the mint with the hole.
Often, you find your doing them anyway but just aren’t telling your
How To Find Your USP or UPB
Your USP must convey a benefit
Let’s first make sure you understand the difference between features and
ABS Brakes
Stopping on ice won’t kill you
Accountant- accounts in 30 days or
you don’t pay
You will never get a late filing
penalty and have your accounts
ready to help raise finance whenever
you need them
Mobile Phone
You can make calls wherever you
A dog
Never be lonely
Now look at all the features of your product or service and write down all
the benefits that go with those features. Areas to consider, especially
compared to your competition are…
Product/Service Quality – cost, build, image.
Delivery of product – speed, efficiency & quality.
Employees – friendly, happy & efficient.
Billing – prompt, fair, easily understood.
Complaints – speed, effectiveness of resolution.
Customer – satisfaction & loyalty.
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The best benefit could be the basis of your USP. Keep this list as you can
make use of all the other benefits in later marketing tools.
Other ways to develop your USP…
Think of why should your customers choose your business
product/service as against every other competitive option available to
them. This is the essence of a USP.
What do you offer that your customers can’t get for themselves.
What keeps them awake at night, what are they afraid of, what are their
angers and frustrations & how can you solve them. What would customers
love from your business.
Do your customers have a bias in how they make decisions, such as
engineers may be analytical, so having a USP that compliments this may
be beneficial.
Are you unique because of something you have done such as written a
book, invented a product, etc so you could be the basis of your USP.
If you offer an intangible service, it can be harder because customers
can’t see or feel the service. You need to try and make it more tangible.
This can be by turning a service into a product with a name such as an
accountant having “The Super Tax Saving System”.
Apart from a name, you can make it look tangible using graphics to
design a book or box cover for it, such as on the front of this report.
You can then use the name on adverts, stationery, signature lines on
email, etc to help promote it as a product to make it more tangible to
potential customers.
Other accountants could be offering the same service but they don’t make
it clear to their prospects. Once you’ve got a product you can use this as
the basis of your USP.
Packaging your service can also make it easier for customers to see the
benefits and so be less price resistant as customers can now no longer
directly compare what you do with your competitors. You can package
services by writing down everything you do for a customer with a
specific service, giving it a USP, give it a name and draw it in a flow
Have you got a trademark? If your product is trademarked then that is
unique and you can build this into your USP. It costs to get a trademark
for your name but it can be worth it as it adds credibility.
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Write every idea down, no matter how crazy it seems. Once you’ve written
down the above, think about the possibilities that are there are for you.
Now get rid of the unrealistic ones, those you dislike, those that your
competitors are already using and see what you have left. What do you like
best? This may be your USP that you are going to use as the star of your
You must be able to deliver on your USP throughout your organisation. If
you fail to live up to it, it won’t work for you.
How To Write Your USP
You want to write your USP in a way that excites people in one or two clear
Think of lots of different ways of getting your message across and write
them down, bounce ideas off of other people, take a break and come back
and think some more.
Here are some guidelines…
Keep it short
Make it vague but back it up with specifics when expanding upon on
 Make sure there is a positive image
 Convey impact and emotion.
Here are some words that may help you in writing your USP…
Because we care
Add value
We care
You can count on us
Proven results
Proven time and time again
On time
Your Way
The way you want it
Number one
Make it happen
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It Works
Right Answer
You always get
Now choose the one that really appeals to you and work on it some more.
Ask friends and colleagues what they think. You can always improve on it
later but get a USP now and start using it.
Now you’ve got it make sure everyone knows about it, publicise it on all
your marketing materials.
If what you offer is service based rather than based on price, ensure your
USP reflects this.
Your USP can’t appeal to everyone. You could of course develop
businesses with different USP’s that effectively compete against each other.
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Section 10
“Guaran-damn-tee it”
With Risk Reversal
“Promise, large promise,
is the soul of an advertisement”
Samuel Johnson 1709 – 84: The Idler 20 January 1759
Remove The Risk Completely
Every time a customer buys from you they are taking a risk. If you reduce
or eliminate those risks, it makes it far easier for them to do business with
you and your sales will soon grow dramatically.
If you’re good at what you do, offer good products, etc there shouldn’t be
any problem in guaranteeing what you sell. As we covered right at the
beginning, it’s critical that you or your product is good. If you don’t have a
good product or service or you get lots of complaints about it, you need to
solve that problem before you start using risk reversal.
Here is an example of risk reversal from a horse dealing business…
A couple wanted to purchase a pony for their daughter. They went to one
dealer who said if the pony she chose wasn’t right, she could bring it back
and exchange it for another. The price of the pony was £1000. This is
commonplace amongst horse dealers and is their idea of risk reversal. The
customer is still locked into having to get another pony from that dealer.
Compare this to what a horse dealer who really understands the full extent
of risk reversal…
The dealer says “it’s important your daughter is happy with her pony in
every way. Please take the pony, let your daughter look after it and try it out
for two weeks. I’ll provide you with the hay to last during this period. If
your daughter is happy with it, pay me for it then. If not, I’ll come and
collect it, and tidy out your stable”.
This dealer knows the pony is a good pony, there is a trial period and there’s
nothing to pay until completely happy. The dealer also understands that
once the daughter gets the pony home, she’s going to fall in love with it.
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Even if the price was more at £1250, which one do you think the parents
would choose to buy from? That’s the power of great risk reversal.
Proper risk reversal gives you the competitive advantage to outsell your
competitors many times over.
Another example of fantastic risk reversal is a publication that offers to give
a refund and buy you a subscription to a competitor’s publication if you are
dissatisfied with them. It’s fair to say that the publisher has a good product
and are very successful at what they do. Their product may be similar to
competitors but by providing such a guarantee they are completely
differentiating themselves from those competitors.
The additional benefit of offering such guarantees is that is makes people
think you must be good, or you wouldn’t offer them.
To find your guarantee(s), look at what your customers want to hear, that no
one else dares to make and then fulfil it better than any of your competitors.
Think about what your clients get and want from your service, how they
would suffer if they didn’t have it, what common objections, or irritations
they may have about your industry. Then work out how you can guarantee
this for them.
Common objections are cost and they won’t get the result they are
Also look at what guarantees your competitors are offering. Often they
aren’t but if they are, just figure out how you can make your guarantees
even better.
A few other examples of guarantees…
Try us for 3 months and if you’re not completely happy, there’s nothing
to pay – no questions asked.
You only pay for the new clients we get for you, however much it costs
us to get them
Taxi to your door in 15 minutes or the ride’s free
If your accounts aren’t ready in 21 days, there’s nothing to pay.
TGI Fridays guaranteed that if your food wasn’t on the table in 10
minutes, you don’t pay.
If you’re not completely satisfied with the product, return it at any time
in the next 30 days and you’re money back.
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The more you offer, the more meaningful the guarantee. For example, with
the last guarantee it would mean more if the customer didn’t have to pay
until the 30 days were up and you paid the return carriage. How far you go
or is sensible will vary from business to business and what you are selling
but the further you go, the more impact it has.
Guarantees make customers feel comfortable doing business with you and
make it easy for them to do business with you.
To add credibility to your guarantee it helps to explain why you are
offering it. You’ll see this in the following example guarantee you could
apply to most service businesses…
“First Year Full Refund Guarantee -if at any time in the first 365 days
of our relationship you are not happy with my work, you can cancel our
arrangement and you’ll have 100% of any fees you’ve paid REFUNDED
without question. This is offered because our services are intangible and
it’s all very well me saying I can help you, but until you’ve experienced
my service I appreciate you may have doubts and I understand that. You
shouldn’t shoulder the risk if I don’t meet your expectations. I believe I
am good at what I do with proactive advice. Your year’s trial gives you
plenty of time to judge for yourself. Thereafter, you always have the right
to cancel our arrangement at any time.”
Are You Worried Customers Will Take
You can’t guarantee that you’ll never get a customer take advantage but
what has been proven time and time again is that if you offer a good product
or service the additional sales from offering proper risk reversal will
outweigh any downside many times over.
Powerful risk reversal can increase sales by 300% and the attrition rate will
rarely exceed 5%.
The vast majority of people buy for perfectly good reasons. They want a
good product, not to take advantage of your guarantees.
To Improve The Power Of Guarantees…
Write the guarantees positively, such as the following camera
“if you don’t think it’s the sharpest picture ever…”
and not
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“if you think it’s a poor quality picture…”
Look for guarantees that can be measured and be specific.
You can improve the impact when writing the guarantee by saying it
“Receive a full 100% refund of every penny you paid”
Call it a Free Trial Offer – return it in 90 days or your money back.
Try not to put any conditions on your guarantee or it will take away
from the power of it.
The longer the time period the guarantee relates to, the more powerful
it is.
Offer better than risk free guarantees. Acknowledge the value of
people’s time and faith by offering an extra reward on top of their
money back.
So take your guarantees and write them to WOW your customers.
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Section 11
Testimonials & Case Studies
“What I tell you three times is true”
Lewis Carroll 1832 – 98 The Hunting of the Snark (1876)
If your prospects don’t believe you, you won’t make the sale.
This is where the power of testimonials comes in. It’s praise from your
existing customers, the media, other experts or even a celebrity. They are
extremely powerful.
The testimonials you collect can be used…
In most lead generation tools such as sales letters and adverts.
In your reception area on display or in a folder.
As a way of overcoming objections to specific points in sales
So how do you get testimonials?
You ask your customers for them, particularly at the time they are most
likely to be positive about your service or product which is when they
have just experienced using it. Tell them it would really be doing you a
favour and most will oblige if they are happy.
Write them for the client. It’s best if you get the client to tell you a
few things in their own words about using you and then write it for them.
They may just arrive in the post.
People just say them on the phone or in a meeting so just ask if you can
quote them on what they said.
Competitions – offer a prize to your customers for the best letter of
“why I use…” in 30 words or less.
Feedback forms – with open-ended questions.
Offer a free gift in exchange for testimonials.
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Any testimonial is better than none but these are the golden rules of
increasing their effectiveness…
Get different testimonials to cover different aspects of your product or
service. One testimonial can cover more than one aspect of your affairs.
Identify the person giving the testimonial. This could be their name,
company, location, etc.
To add extra power give the telephone number or email address of
the person giving the testimonial. In reality the people giving these
details won’t be contacted very often, just giving them is what gives the
proof they are real.
Get permission to use the testimonial.
Try to make them specific. It saved me £480 is better than it saved me
lots. It’s more credible.
Ensure they say positive things about your business.
“Put quotation marks around your testimonials”
Get testimonials from male & female customers.
A photo of the person giving the testimonial would make it even more
powerful. The before and after photos of weight watchers are extremely
powerful when added to a testimonial.
Use as many testimonials as possible.
You can get testimonials other than on paper. Think how powerful a
video testimonial of one of your customers running in your reception area
or shop may be. Or perhaps they could speak at a seminar you’re giving.
There are a few types of businesses where testimonials are harder to use.
For example in a legal practice client affairs are more confidential and it’s
not always appropriate for others to know what legal advice they are
receiving. They may still be able to say something along the following
“Although client affairs are confidential, I do have many clients who
have said they would be happy for potential new clients to speak with them.
If you would like to speak to some existing clients, let me know what you’re
looking for from the service and I’ll put you in touch with a few clients who
have received this.”
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Case Studies
Case studies are a form of expanded testimonial.
Providing specific and detailed real life case studies is another way to help
overcome the doubters. In an ideal world you’ll have a case study for every
benefit you offer. Give the case study a title or headline, then outline the
problem, give the background information; explain how the problem was
solved and the result obtained.
You should go into detail and be as specific as possible.
The best format for a case study is an editorial style just like newspapers use
and you’ll learn more about this style later. It involves having a headline in
bold at the top of the page, using two or more columns, keeping sentences
short, indent and vary your paragraph lengths.
Add a testimonial from the customer concerned.
Always add your contact details to each page. You can then just print them
out yourself direct from your PC as needed.
They are a more powerful form of testimonial you can use in all the places
you use testimonials.
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Section 12
Your Pricing Strategy
“For I don’t care too much for money,
For Money Can’t Buy Me Love”
John Lennon & Paul McCartney: Can’t Buy Me Love (1964 song)
What’s The Best Price?
The more you can differentiate your products or services from others the
wider the range of possible prices you may be able to charge as the
customer has little to compare what you are offering against.
If you can differentiate what you are offering, a higher price may work
better. People automatically value high priced items more than low priced
items and some people just wouldn’t buy a low priced item on the belief it is
also low quality.
The perceived value to the customer must be greater than the price or they
won’t buy.
Your price will not ultimately be determined by you but by what your
prospects are prepared to pay. You can only find this out by testing
different prices.
You will have always have a minimum price below which it doesn’t make
sense to sell your product or service. You’ve got your overheads to cover
and the minimum amount you need to earn to cover your personal living
To test for the optimum price you need to test some price points. If you can
differentiate what you do, look at raising prices by 25% or 50%. If you can’t
differentiate what you sell from your competitors, small increases are likely
to be more relevant. Then record the results. You also need to test to see if
price decreases make you more profit.
It has been proven in studies that the price sensitive points work such as
£99 rather than £100, although it has also been shown more recently that
many people now read £99 as £100 and that you actually need to change a 9
to a 7 with many people for it to have an impact.
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Make sure you measure the impact of price movements on profit and not on
sales levels. Let’s look at an example for a company selling widgets…
Sales (1000 widgets at £100 each)
Cost of sales (1000 widgets at £70 each)
Gross Profit
Fixed overheads
The company wants to know if is going to better off by reducing prices by
10% or increasing them by 10%. The only way to find out is to test. After
testing, they find out …
Option 1 of reducing prices by 10% results in a 20% increase in
quantity sold
Option 2 of increasing prices by 10% results in a 20% fall in quantity
Which should they do?
It’s tempting to go for option 1 with 20% more sales with only a price cut of
10% but lets look at what happens…
Option 1
1200 × £90
Option 2
800 × £110
Cost of Sales 1200 × £70
Gross Profit
Fixed overheads
Net Profit
800 × £70
Raising prices is better. In addition you have less work to do for more
Every situation will vary depending on your profit margins, which is why
it’s important to do the numbers. However, using discount pricing will
generally mean you do have to significantly increase sales volumes to make
more profit.
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The following chart gives you an idea of the effect on your profitability by
showing the quantity your sales would need to increase or decrease if you
reduced or increased your prices. You can use this table as a guide to your
pricing policy.
If your present gross profit percentage is:
20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 55% 60%
To increase your profit, your sales volume must increase by
more than…
2% 11% 9% 7% 6% 5% 5% 4% 4% 3%
4% 25% 19% 15% 13% 11% 10% 9% 8% 7%
6% 43% 32% 25% 21% 18% 15% 14% 12% 11%
8% 67% 47% 36% 30% 25% 22% 19% 17% 15%
10% 100% 67% 50% 40% 33% 29% 25% 22% 20%
12% 150% 92% 67% 52% 43% 36% 32% 28% 25%
14% 233% 127% 88% 67% 54% 45% 39% 34% 30%
16% 400% 178% 114% 84% 67% 55% 47% 41% 36%
18% 900% 257% 150% 106% 82% 67% 56% 49% 43%
- 400% 200% 133% 100% 80% 67% 57% 50%
- 500% 250% 167% 125% 100% 83% 71%
If your present gross profit percentage is:
20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 55% 60%
And your
To increase your profit, your sales volume must not
reduce by more than..
9% 7% 6% 5% 5% 4% 4% 4%
17% 14% 12% 10% 9% 8% 7% 7%
23% 19% 17% 15% 13% 12% 11% 10%
29% 24% 21% 19% 17% 15% 14% 13% 12%
33% 19% 25% 22% 20% 18% 17% 15% 14%
38% 32% 29% 26% 23% 21% 19% 18% 17%
41% 36% 32% 29% 26% 24% 22% 20% 19%
44% 39% 35% 31% 29% 26% 24% 23% 21%
47% 42% 38% 34% 31% 29% 26% 25% 23%
50% 44% 40% 36% 33% 31% 29% 27% 25%
56% 50% 45% 42% 38% 36% 33% 31% 29%
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In the average UK Company, that makes a 5% net profit on its sales, a 1%
price increase will increase the net profit percentage to 6% which is actually
a 20% rise in profits from just a 1% sales increase. How many of your
customers would leave if there was just a 1% price increase. Would you
stop drinking your favourite drink down the pub if its price went up by just
Value Pricing
Using pricing systems such as cost plus a standard mark-up, will not
maximize your profits. Pricing according to the perceived value the
customer gets gives you the opportunity to charge higher mark-ups on some
Before setting your prices give consideration to the following…
Your customers’ characteristics such as age, sex, income, etc and try to
determine their ability to pay you.
Their psychological characteristic to determine what they are willing to
pay and for what. Some are risk averse, require a high level of detail,
have different concerns and expectations all of which have an effect.
How price sensitive is the customer?
How much work is needed?
What are the risks of the work?
Is it required urgently?
Are you the only one who can deliver it for them?
Who is the competition?
Will the sale lead to more sales?
How sophisticated is the customer?
Do you like the customer?
What do your competitors charge?
When you are in a commodity business you can only sell on cheap price.
However if you add value such as McDonald’s do with their Happy Meals
& Toys, you differentiate your commodity from others. Allowing you to sell
not at the cheapest price.
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The following pricing strategies may also help…
Avoid comparing apples with apples to make direct price comparison
easy. Make a comparison with something else. For example. if selling a
tape of a business seminar, you may sell it for £50 but normal business
seminar tapes sell for £10. Therefore compare it with the actual cost of
attending the seminar, say £100.
Bulk = value, so when selling something like an apple, you could list
every vitamin in it to increase its value. Or every chapter in a book, every
song on a CD, etc.
Discuss the price paid to develop the offer – the amount of time and
money you have invested.
Break the price into small amounts; say 3 monthly payments of £9
charged to your credit card rather than £27. Lottery tickets work on this
basis as well at £1 per ticket rather than £52 per year.
Too many low priced items are likely to encourage low priced
purchases and any expensive items are disregarded.
Consider the effect of prices in relation to each other. The effect of a
low price may mean you sell more of one particular product but that
product may then have more add-ons.
Describe your price as an “investment”.
On a menu, don’t line up prices directly underneath each other as it
makes price comparison very easy and will lead to more of the lower
priced items being chosen…
Fish & Chips…………………………. £5.90
Steak & Kidney………………………. £6.40
Pizza………………………………….. £6.20
Burger & Chips………………………. £4.80
However, the ultimate way to determine your best price is to test.
How To Raise Prices…
Tell them in advance a number of times but make the actual
increase less than they were anticipating.
Put your prices up at the same time as the rest of your industry.
Reduce prices of some items, especially those that are bought less.
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Make price rises 6 monthly rather than annually to make them look
Explain why the price has gone up.
Let them know if it’s due to improvements.
Change the discount structure completely, so they can’t compare it
against the old.
It helps to raise the prices of unusual items and not standard items.
Repackage items when increasing prices to help disguise price
Discounting For Profit
Get sales people to use discounts as a targeted tool, not offer them to
Ensure discounts are monitored and controlled for each salesman with
limits set.
Strategic discounts such as 20% discount for sales above £1000 rather than
5% on all sales may work better as they would have bought anyway.
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Section 13
Get Your Fonts RigHt
“No man but a blockhead ever wrote,
except for money”
Samuel Johnson 1709 – 84: in James Boswell Life Of Johnson (1791)
Getting the right font in your sales letters, adverts, reports, fax shots, etc can
make all the difference and numerous studies have shown this.
Serif Fonts
For body copy, long headlines and subheadings use a serif font.
A serif font is recognisable by the feet at the bottom of the letters.
These feet make it easier to read across passages of text. This body of this
report is set in Times New Roman, which is a serif font. This and courier are
probably the best serif fonts.
Generally, in body copy or letters you should use size 11 to 13 fonts. The
more elderly may be suited to a font size of up to 15. This body is set in size
12 although how big a font size is will vary from font to font.
Sans Serif Fonts
Use these for short headlines.
These letters don’t have feet and the title heading above is set in Arial,
which is a sans serif font.
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Script Fonts
Script fonts give an impression of personal
handwriting that may be suitable in personal
invitations or as the P.S. on a sales letter.
You should choose one serif font and one sans serif and stick to these in
everything you do to build consistency.
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Section 14
Customer Satisfaction
Is Of No Use
“A man without a smiling face
should not open a shop”
Only Loyalty Matters
The customer is the most important person in the world, right? Again, if
there were two people left in the world and one has to die, you or the
customer, who would it be?
Now, we’re agreed you are the most important person in the world.
The problem is that the customer thinks they are and that’s why you have to
treat them that way if your business is to be successful.
Would you believe that if your customers are satisfied, you’re in trouble?
That’s right, you read it correctly…
Let’s say you have a 95% customer satisfaction rating. Sounds great, but
what it means is that you have 5% going round telling everyone how awful
you are. The other 95% felt ok about you so they may shop with you but
they could shop anywhere – they don’t have any special loyalty to you.
What’s more, a dissatisfied customer is 20 times more likely to tell
someone. So if 95% of your customers are happy, you’ll have more negative
than positive messages out in the market place.
It’s loyalty you should be after, not just satisfaction. For example, the
typical customer satisfaction question may ask “did you enjoy your stay?”
or “were we friendly?” The only answers these give are ones of
satisfaction, not designed to find out if the customer felt great and had a
memorable experience.
How about asking…
“Describe the most memorable thing that took place during your last
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or having a large checkbox for them to tick if nothing memorable happened.
Choose “How” & “Why” questions when doing customer surveys – “How
will you recommend us?” and “Why would you recommend us?” When
you get answers to these types of questions, you know you’ve created a
truly memorable impression.
Now you can find out if they are just satisfied or whether what you do
creates loyalty to your business.
When customer satisfaction surveys are carried out, the results must be
How Customers Are Treated
Here are typical examples of how most businesses treat their customers and
why their customers will never be anything more than just satisfied…
“We’ve done all we can…”
“You’ll have to…”
“That’s not my job…”
“The person who deals with that is on holiday”
“Our policy says…”
“We’re out of stock, I don’t know when we’ll have some more”
“What seems to be the problem”
“Let me transfer you”
“I’ll have to check if that’s OK”
“Sorry, that offer ended yesterday”
“Why didn’t you…”
An insincere “Sorry about that”
“You don’t have to be rude about it”
“I’m just doing my job”
And aren’t those computerised phone systems great for customer service,
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The list is endless. So many people seem to act like they’re doing the
customer a favour.
The best rule to follow is…
If you wouldn’t like it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.
Customers want help, not “hell”. They also want value, communication, a
willing attitude, reliability, assurance, empathy and exceptional service. But
all they get from most businesses is lousy service.
Customer service is about your business soul, putting the customers needs
first. For example a father buying a first bike for his son may be attracted to
a great looking bike that isn’t the best for a beginner. Pointing them towards
a cheaper bike more suited to a beginner will get you paid back many times
over in the future. Try to be a problem solver, not a bringer of problems, add
value and treat customers as friends.
Decide what all your customers needs and frustrations are and develop your
product or service to meet these.
Think about why you stay loyal to certain suppliers.
Customers are your pay cheque and they are the pay cheque for all your
employees as well. Because every aspect of your business can translate into
customer service, the reality is that every employee in an organisation
should consider themselves in the customer service and sales business.
Your kids and their kids eat because the customer buys.
When a customer complaint gets the response “they don’t pay me enough to
listen to this” and the customer is lost, you can probably multiply the annual
sales volume from that customer by 20 to establish the real cost when you
take account of their lifetime value and that of referrals.
Standing in line and queuing is everywhere. Rather than just the typical
“stand in line” or “who’s next” it doesn’t take much to say “I’ll be with you
in just a second.”
Being Friendly
People want to deal with friendly people. The whole organisation set-up has
to be friendly and the tone is set by the bosses. Friendliness has to come
from the inside.
Some useful tips to help with being friendly…
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Let your staff have input as to how the business can be friendlier.
Hire happy people & fire the grumpy ones – get double the benefit by
letting them go to your competition.
You can’t really manage anything you can’t measure, so measure
friendliness. Ask for a rating from 1 to 10 for friendliness in customer
Answer the phone as if it’s a friend you haven’t seen in years. Smile at
WOW Your Customers
Go the extra mile. What will make people talk about you, look forward to
doing business with you and make them tell others about you. It’s the
WOW factor and it helps to create loyalty.
50% of all business is word of mouth, that’s how important it is to have the
WOW factor.
The following are examples of the WOW factor at work…
A dentist, who mainly deals with children, lowered the floor level of
the receptionists’ area so they would be at the same height as the
children. They put up huge photos of each dentist with a bit about them
and their hobbies and then let the children choose their dentist. They also
gave away a free bicycle to all children who followed a tooth healthcare
programme of regularly brushing their teeth. Can you imagine the
reaction when other kids asked, “Where did you get that new bike?” and
the response was “from my dentist”. Where do you think all those other
children wanted to go for their dentist? They also called patients the next
day after treatment to see how they were.
If you are a garage and it’s raining, do you escort your customers to
their car with an umbrella? If you don’t have a spare part, do you call
other garages for them and find out where they can get their car done and
then give them directions to get their.
When introducing a customer to another member of staff to look after,
how about saying something like “Tom, I want you to take care of my
special friend, Mr Smith”
If a customer is making a choice of shoes at £60 but there is a pair at
£40 that would be better for them, if you said “that choice of shoes is
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great, but not the best for your type of foot…”, you would gain a
customer for life rather than just make a one off sale.
When it’s getting close to closing time and a customer asks how late are
you open, a wow reply would be “We’re open as late as you are here
Offer crayons to kids that are waiting and cappuccino and croissants to
Offer free use of your photocopier for up to 5 copies. It costs next to
nothing and gets people coming into your business.
Interact with your customers. In an aeroplane delay, having a contest to
guess the collective age of the cabin crew can overcome a bad situation.
Use the customer’s name. Even in a shop, you can see the name on the
credit card, so use it.
Nominate some of your business customers for business awards.
The Royal Bank Of Scotland offer two cards for Transvestites – one
with a picture of a man and one a woman.
Give surprise thank you’s. For example if you are a car dealer and the
second hand car that was part exchanged sold quicker than you expected,
send a £50 bonus to the customer who supplied it. Who do you think they
will buy their next car from?
When in a store a customer is asked “can I help you?”, it’s not very
inspiring and the response most times is “no thanks”. If instead you
asked, “have you shopped here before?” you may get the response “no”
in which case you can say “Great we have a special program for new
customers”. If they say “yes”, you then say “Great we have a special
program for returning customers”
Angry Customers, Complaints & Policies
Did you ever wonder why roses come in dozens when a lover is saying
“sorry”? Well, research shows it takes 12 positive impressions to overcome
a single negative one.
Customers leave for the following reasons…
There is no show of genuine interest.
Poor response.
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Hard to order from – long waits, no knowledge.
Unfriendly people in the front line.
Rude or poor debt collection practices.
Over promising and under delivering.
Inability to handle the customer’s problems.
Being too pushy to do more business.
Poor professional image.
Poor excuses about “why you cant”.
Penny pinching – charging for every incidental like photocopies &
phone calls.
 Poor quality product.
 Poor service delivery.
 Poor training.
From this list you can see that all staff are in the customer service business.
If they are going to offer outstanding customer service they need to
understand the principles of your business, not it’s policies.
Policies tell you what you can’t do. Customers hate policies. An example is
menus that have “No Substitution” written on them.
So rather than saying
“it’s not our policy………. to piss everyone off”
try changing the words that are used to along the lines of
“in order to be fair to everyone….”
Look to write your policy in terms of things you can do as well as what you
can’t. Customers want solutions, not excuses. Start with “yes, the best way
to get that done is….”
The only place where policies are acceptable are in a prison where there is a
captive audience.
And of all the angry customers…
91% who leave will never return.
96% won’t say why they left.
80% will do business with you again if you handle their problem correctly.
It’s not who’s right or wrong that matters, but how you react to the
Don’t take complaints personally but do take them seriously. It turns “you
against them” into “you with them”. The customers may simply be taking
their own personal problems out on you.
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When dealing with a complaint, the customer wants to know you are on
their side, you care and are going to sort the problem, not defend your
corner. Rather than just saying “sorry” how about starting with “Oh, that’s
horrible”, said with empathy & feeling.
You need to react, respond and recover. You must resolve the situation
and let the customer know what you are doing about it. You should also
recontact the customer afterwards to ensure everything has now been dealt
with for them.
For example, let’s say a wrong item was delivered and the customer calls to
complain. React with “oh, that’s horrible” and then tell them what and when
it will be done.
Even better, continue with “You’ve qualified for our wrong delivery,
customer bonus program. Here’s how it works…” Now you have the chance
to turn a bad situation into a WOW situation.
Here are examples of ways that a negative could be turned into a positive…
A Hotel room not ready when a guest arrives – upgrade to a better room
and a free breakfast.
An item a customer has ordered is out of stock – call other stores to
locate the item and have it delivered free to the customer. Plus a 15%
discount on anything else bought today only.
Now when the customer tells someone else about their experience, it will
totally change how the story is told.
Don’t say “On behalf of ….. I apologise” but just take responsibility and
say “I apologise”. You could also add “Thank you for letting me know”.
The customer isn’t interested in lame excuses but just in what you are
going to do about it. Never blame someone else. If you take the phone
call, you should take responsibility for the problem. Make sure the customer
knows your name.
In the event you can’t actually deal with the complaint but need someone
else to, don’t just say “ I can’t help you, I’ll have to transfer you to a
manager”. Say something like “the best way I can help you right now is…..”
Here are some top tips for dealing with complaints…
Understand what the complaint is.
Have empathy.
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Listen and ask questions – don’t interrupt.
Agree if at all possible.
Take notes and confirm everything back.
Say you’ll handle it personally.
Give the customer options.
Respond immediately and as a matter of urgency.
Try to find some common ground or rapport.
Agree a solution and tell the customer what you plan to do and DO IT.
Make a follow up call after it is resolved.
Learn from it to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Ensure all disputes and complaints are recorded and the resolution of
the complaints monitored at a senior level
Whether you agree or not with the complaint, the customer’s perception is
REALITY. You can’t win an argument with an angry customer.
Give Help Without The Expectation Of Return
Suppose a local business called an accountant to say, “I need an accountant
to verify that a copy of my passport is an original copy, for a business bank
account I need to open. How much do you charge?”
The first accountant may say “it’s not our policy to do that for non clients”
The second accountant may say “that will be £30”
But the third accountant may say “it won’t take a moment of my time, in
fact I’m out your way later this afternoon, why don’t I pop in and do it for
you, no charge”. They then also take the interest to find out which bank
they have chosen and advise them that another bank is presently offering 24
months free banking for new businesses and “if you want I’ll call the
manager for you and make an introduction.”
No accountant is guaranteed to get the business but we all know which one
is most likely to when the business decide to appoint an accountant. And
which accountant are they likely to recommend to others. Give first and
you will be repaid many times over.
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The Phone’s Ringing, Is Someone Going To
First impressions count and this is often the first contact a prospect has with
your business. Do you always answer the phone in the same way, so that
you know how the customer will get the same experience each time.
Avoid interrogations…
“Who’s calling?”
“Where are you calling from?”
“What’s it concerning?”
“Does he know you?”
You wouldn’t do this if you knew it was a prospect, so don’t take the
chance. Put people straight through, may be don’t even ask their name.
Sure, you’ll take some sales calls but so what. The difference to both
prospects and existing customers will be so positive.
Your first words need to be friendly.
All staff need to be trained in how to deal with queries, particularly the top
25 queries your business gets.
The first few words make all the difference. How about using some of
No problem
That’s my favourite problem
I think we can solve that
I’m sure there’s a way
I think I can help
Can do
Consider it done
Rather than saying, “you’ll have to wait till next Thursday”, why not say
“you’re in luck, we’ve got a slot available next Thursday. Same answer with
different words can make all the difference to how it is perceived.
You need the words, the tone and the intent.
What sounds more real “Have a nice day” or “thanks for your business”?
Whenever, you say something to a customer, think about how it would
sound if you put the word “grandma” at the end…
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“It’s not out policy, grandma”
“That’s not my job, grandma”
“We’re closed, grandma”
If you wouldn’t say it to your grandma, don’t say it to your customers.
Just think, if by changing the way you answered the phone, you generated
just £100 more of sales per day, that’s £36,500 per year.
Check your own voice mail to see how it sounds. Something like “I’m
either on my phone or away from my desk” is hardly inspiring.
Other telephone tips…
Check calls are answered promptly.
If the customer cannot be put straight through, make sure they are
informed and not just left waiting.
Have enough lines to avoid engaged signals.
Ensure prospects put through to the right competent individual?
Customer Visits To The Premises
Is a map available for customers and is it provided?
Are visitors acknowledged immediately and given priority attention and
made to feel welcome?
Are staff dressed suitably?
Are refreshments offered and are they of the right standard?
Are the premises always clean & tidy and display the appropriate
Are the toilets clean & fully provisioned?
To Get Loyalty
Be unusual where usual is expected.
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Get business for your customers.
Give valuable information.
Be proactive.
Give service after the sale. e.g. product use advice.
Give the best service ever.
Friendly service.
Answer the phone in a memorable way.
Give customers something they will use every day and show to others.
For example have a “Customer Of The Day” award printed on a coffee
mug. Rather than just having one, why not have one for all the employees
you have to give out each day for their customer of the day. The mug could
even entitle the customer to special discounts to encourage extra purchases.
Go beyond what is expected.
Be your own customer or get a mystery shopper to do it for you once a
month and see how it feels dealing with your own business. Call before and
after hours and at lunchtime. Try asking for the MD and see if you get
through. Try placing an order or call with a complaint. See how much of the
loyalty factor there is in your business.
Business Is Great & We’re Looking For More
Whenever anyone asks, “how’s business?” that natural response is often
“we’re busy” or “I’m busy”.
Whilst this may sound like you’re doing well and successful, think of how it
sounds to the customer. It sounds like you’re too busy for them, too busy to
offer the service they need and certainly too busy to take on referrals. A
better response, suggested by Chris Frederiksen a leader in the accountancymarketing field would be “Business is great and we’re looking for more”.
Have a swear bucket for every time you use the “busy” word.
Your Mission Statement
Rather than having a mission statement along the lines of “To be the best”
or “To be the leader in our field”, every mission statement should really
have at it’s core…
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“Treat every customer in such a meaningful way that when the
transaction is complete, the customer tells someone else how great it
Focus Groups
Focus Groups or Client Advisory Boards are a group of your customers who
meet with the purpose of coming up with recommendations of what you
could be doing to improve customer service. Who better to let you know
what needs doing.
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Section 15
More Preparation
I have heard of a man who had a mind to sell his
house, and therefore carried a piece of brick in
his pocket, which he showed as a pattern to
encourage purchasers.
Jonathan Swift 1667 – 1745: The Drapier’s Letters (1724)
Here is a whole list of other things you should consider and put in place
before you commence marketing…
Your Business Name
The name of your business or service or product can have a dramatic effect,
so give it proper consideration.
You often find short names, plurals of names and initials work to good
effect. Ask other people what they think of your name.
Sole Traders and Partnerships can use their surname(s) as their business
name or trade with a different name must they must include the proprietors
or partners name on their business stationery.
A Limited Company must register its name at Companies House and will
only be able to use that name if there is not already a company registered
with that name. It can trade under a different name but the official name
of the company must appear on business stationery.
Geographic Location
If location is critical it is important to get this right first, before you start. In
some instances location can be so critical that if you get it wrong, the
business won’t work. Certain pubs & restaurants are good examples.
For an inbound business such as shops, dentists and garages consider the
travel time of customers, travel routes and competitors locations.
For an outbound business such as plumbers, electrician and consultants
consider the cost/time efficiencies of travelling to the customer.
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Company Image
The problem with image is it’s often not real. You need an image that is you
so that it’s honest and credible. People will then trust you.
Do this by asking other people how they see you. Once you know who you
really are, make sure everything you do in the business reflects that.
Your marketing materials should be consistent with the image you are
trying to convey…
Is the marketing material up to date and state of the art?
Is the paper quality good?
Does the logo portray the right image?
Do the marketing materials reflect the USP?
Do the marketing materials address common customer queries?
Do the marketing materials reflect the image you want customers to
Colour & Shape Guide
Just how far you take this guide is up to you. If nothing else it’s bit of light
relief but colours and shapes can have an impact, so consider these when
putting together your stationery and marketing materials.
Shape & Colour Male/Female Preference
Reliable, Intelligent
Depressing, Professional
Rich, Elegant, Reliable
Sunshine, Brightness
Good-Taste, Healthful
Calm, Relaxing
High In Quality
Rich, Warm
Feminine, Soft, Weak
Tender, Loving, Warm
Solid, Predictable, Sure
Brittle, Hard, Abrasive
Mysterious, Powerful
Forceful, Threatening
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Your Logo
Your logo is not likely to be critical for a small business, as the type of
marketing that is best for small businesses isn’t brand type marketing, as
you will see. However, a logo doesn’t really cost much, so get one and put
it on your marketing materials.
Stick to a single logo with an easy to understand image.
Make sure its appropriate, clear and then use it everywhere you can.
You want some panache and pizzazz, right?
Consider the paper, colour, logo, typeface, strapline and the layout. Do it
professionally so you’re not seen as a fly by night outfit.
Your business card has 2 sides, so use them both and have a selling message
on them.
Your Premises
They should reflect what you are trying to portray with your décor and
choice of furnishings. This doesn’t always mean you want them to look
expensive, as you may not want people to think they are paying for your
luxury premises.
Use posters and blow-ups of adverts and press articles about you inside the
Your premises need to be tidy both inside and out. An untidy premises
infers an untidy disorganised business. How often do you see the team at
McDonalds tidying up outside – they know it matters. Tax Inspectors are
trained to interview people in rooms without any other files. What this does
is create an impression they have all the time in the world to look into your
affairs. Take a look at how tidy your premises look and whether it conveys
the impression you want.
The following are also all relevant to your premises…
Is the temperature inviting?
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Is the smell right?
Are all items in your store priced and is the price tag attractive? Are
the goods well organised in an easy to find manner?
Are the chairs comfortable?
What are the toilets like?
If your address isn’t the greatest, consider if renting a mailbox in a
posh part of town would help.
Sometimes you may want to make it look busy and more successful,
especially if you are a new business. So you can park your cars in some
customer spaces, have people ring the phone in the background when you’re
in a meeting, etc. How about hiring some extra staff or even pretend
customers when an important prospect is coming?
Have reserved spaces for visitors so that they can always park.
Particularly relevant to stores and shops, all displays must convey a
congruent deliberate message. Present goods in a logical and organised
way. Help the customer with creative displays such as putting pictures of
your latest fashions on dressing room walls. You can educate customers
with something like a loop video. You should use every bit of wall space to
promote, advertise and educate.
Shop Window Ideas
You don’t have to be a retail shop to have a shop window to promote
yourself. It is an equally valid way of attracting customers for other types of
business. Try to be original. One nice story is of a blacked out window
with a small hole to look through which said above it “for men’s eyes
only”. Can you imagine how many people looked through it? Inside were
some power tools!
Other original examples…
Live mannequins.
A big screen TV playing a video or PowerPoint presentation on a PC of
what you have to offer.
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Weird objects such as the world’s largest ball of barbed wire.
And if you don’t have a window, you can always try renting window space
from unoccupied premises where the landlord would be grateful of any
Sign Magic
Check that your signs make customers feel welcome. Avoid negative signs
such as …
Don’t Park Here
No skateboarding
No Credit
No Refunds
Use positive signs…
 Thank You For Your Business
 Valued Customers of ABC ARE Welcome to Park Here
 Welcome – instead of “Open” on your door.
Add a “Thank You” to your signs, so rather than “No Smoking”, use “We
appreciate your co-operation with not smoking, Thank You”
Make them outstanding. Use big bold graphic signs that make people say
“you’ve gotta see those signs”. Even use LED signs. Reflective paint will
make them show up at night.
Just putting a clock outside your building will make lots of people look at it.
Do your signs outside the building encourage people to come in? Signage
inside can be used to cross sell other products and services.
A passing motorist can only read 6 words and has 5 seconds in which to
work. You need to use strong pure colours with no more than 3 elements in
the design and silhouette them against a white background. Use the largest
possible type. Pictures work.
Telephone Numbers
If you want a vanity number such as 0800 PINESHOP which translates to
0800 74637467, you can’t actually get a phone number with the 7 as the
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eighth (last) digit but you can use it anyway as the exchange just ignores
any digits after the seventh digit.
A FREEPHONE 0800 number is not expensive and will pay for itself
many times over. The number simply sits on top of your normal phone
number and calls are diverted to it. You then pay for the cost of the call.
It is a must for using in lead generation marketing and you can use it for
general customer use as well. They also allow you to move around the
country and take your number with you. It allows you to appear more than
just a local business.
The cost is now very low. For example for £109 per year you can presently
get 360 free minutes per month and then pay 2.8p per minute thereafter at
www.kendlebell.com and there are no set up costs.
Alternatives are 0845 numbers where the caller just pays the cost of a local
call and some of these are available at no cost to you.
Why not use an 0800 number for your fax machine as well and use it as a
Freefax number.
Freepost & Business Reply
Freepost Handwritten is where the customer adds the word Freepost
before your name and then doesn’t pay for the postage, you do. It only sends
post by 2nd Class mail. It doesn’t have to be pre-printed.
Freepost Name is an abbreviation such as just having to use Freepost ABC
Ltd and it will get to you. It allows you to abbreviate your address in
adverts. It only works by 1st Class mail and costs slightly more than 1st class
Business Reply has 1st class & 2nd Class Options and you have to have preprinted envelopes or reply cards so can’t be used in adverts but can in direct
mail campaigns.
Mailsort – is a discount service of up to 30% for pre-sorted mail >4000
Full details of all these are on the Royal Mail website www.royalmail.com
Food & Drink
Do you offer customers food & drink? A bowl of Quality Street in reception
or a mug of tea while the customer is waiting at the garage. Why not
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introduce the WOW factor and provide a menu of drinks available. Some
firms have been known to have Champagne and beans on toast on the menu.
It helps differentiate them and it gets talked about although rarely ordered!
Breakfast – Earl Grey
Filter - Instant
Sparkling - Still
Orange Juice – Coca Cola
Alcoholic – Non Alcoholic
White – Red
How you and your staff dress will effect how you are perceived. Dress as
appropriate for your business. Have you ever noticed how the Labour front
bench are often dressed in blue suits and red ties. It’s no coincidence that
studies have shown these colours to represent authority and passion.
Create your business strapline. It’s a concise statement of your uniqueness,
benefits and what you represent. It’s often part of your USP helps to identify
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Great examples are “Just Do It” from Nike and “It’s the real thing” from
Coca Cola.
These will have an impact on how your business is perceived. A builder
with a nice clean tidy van is more likely to be perceived as a clean, tidy &
responsible builder. Look to use your vehicles to advertise your business.
Opening Hours
The more your open the more business you can do. This is why we have 24hour supermarkets. Of course this may not suit you, but a 24-hour web site,
faxline, answer machine and helpline could be promoted.
Speed of Service
More than ever people expect things done yesterday. We live in the
microwave age. Use email & technology to speed up communication and
do things when you say you are going to do them.
Gift Certificates
Let customers and prospects know they are available, especially around
times like Christmas and Mothers Day.
What Are The Competition Doing?
Find out all about how they work and what they offer. Call them for their
brochures, etc.
Get Feedback
You need feedback on an ongoing basis from your customers to find out
what you’re doing well and not so that you can continually improve. This
could be verbal or you could use feedback questionnaires.
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A positive can do attitude and enthusiasm can do wonders for your
business. It’s catching and will come across to your staff and prospects.
Smile, both when you meet people and when on the phone. It makes
people feel good and breaks down barriers. If you smile, they’ll smile
back at you.
You need to develop a giving attitude. The more you give, the more will
come back your way. Everything you do is customer focused.
See the good in things and the opportunities when there’s an obstacle.
Treat others as you would want to be treated.
Encourage others, forgive others and never let a negative experience
effect you for more than 5 minutes.
Always have something nice and humorous to say.
Payment Methods
Taking credit cards just makes it easier for customers to do business with
you. Do you have easy payment terms so customers can spread the cost?
You should always be looking to lower the barriers of entry if you want to
win new customers.
Business Awards
The main trick to winning business awards is to enter them. Very few
businesses do, so if you make a good attempt you have an excellent chance
of winning. It will then improve your credibility massively.
Charity Incentives
If you promote that £1 of every sale goes to a certain charity, this can
improve response. If you donate anyway, why not use this method of raising
the contribution.
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Section 16
Contact Management
Database & Lists
“Accountants are the witch-doctors of the
modern world and willing to turn their hands to
any kind of magic”
Lord Justice Harman 1894 –1970
A contact management database is extremely powerful. It will reduce your
marketing workload enormously. Two of the off the shelf packages that you
can tailor to your own use are ACT and Goldmine. They don’t cost much
and you just can’t do direct marketing without this sort of package.
Try the following web sites for more information…
You need a database to record at least the basics…
Name of individual
Name of company
Full address including postcode
Telephone Number
Fax Number
Email address
Source of the enquiry e.g. advert, sales letter, etc
Date of first order
Consider adding the following…
Date of last order
Frequency of ordering
Monetary purchase history including date.
Cumulative purchases in pounds
Product lines purchased.
Credit history & credit score.
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For individuals…
Marital status
Family data.
For businesses…
 Business activity
 Turnover
 No of employees
You will probably want to record other details depending on your business.
For example…
A restaurant could record the birthdays and anniversaries of its
customers to know when to send a promotion item to them.
An insurance company could record the renewal date of insurance for
A dentist might record customers hobbies so he know what to talk to
them about to relax them.
The database package you use must allow you to at least do the following…
Search for contacts and groups of data.
Group contacts together such as everyone in MK19 postcode or
everyone with a birthday this week.
Set reminders for the next action to be taken.
Make notes on the contact record.
Create standard letters that can be merged into the contacts. This
allows mass mailshots or just one letter at a time that use the standard
letter as a base that is tailored for that prospect if necessary.
Can check for duplication of names in the database.
Such a database is extremely powerful.
The contact management database is the centre of your direct marketing
system. Anyone serious about using direct marketing must have one.
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Lists Of Names
Media Guides (see more in the advertising section later) provide lists of
lists or you can use a list broker…
Magazine subscription lists or trade association lists are normally good, as
they are kept up to date.
When considering a list, here is some information you would want to know
before deciding to purchase the list…
How recently was the list updated? It needs to be at least once a year.
How frequently do they buy?
How much did they spend?
How big is the list? If it’s large, test a small portion first.
Cost per 1000 names & minimum order.
What selections are available – the more the better.
How much has the list been used?
What is the source of the list?
When did they last buy?
What did they buy?
Are they mail order buyers? These are normally good lists.
Were the sales for cash, credit and what type of credit?
Were they buyers or enquirers?
Does the list have their full name and title?
You can build up your own lists by using questionnaires with perhaps free
sample to get names.
Developing you database helps you to contact those most likely to respond
to your offers.
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You may be able to rent your own names out. Around £75 per 1000 is about
the going rate. You should seed it with trap names that come back to you
so that you know what is being sent out and let it be known that it is seeded.
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Section 17
Testing, Measuring & Budgeting
“Someone told me that each equation I included
in the book would halve the sales”
Stephen Hawking: A Brief History Of Time (1988)
Why Test?
As a small business, unless you test, measure and budget, you risk losing
money you can’t afford to. By testing you have the power to go to levels
your competitors can only dream of.
A good place to start your budget is to look at what you can afford to lose.
This budget we are then going to spend wisely as you’ll see over the coming
sections of the report.
However, once you know what works and what doesn’t, you just continue
doing what works repeatedly until it stops making a profit for you.
The marketing tools that work, you keep and improve upon. Some will
make more than others but the key is to use every one that is profitable,
even if you get fed up with it.
Obviously to know what works you have to record the results of your
different marketing tools. Unless you do this, you’ll never know for sure
how profitable each one is.
The Lifetime Value Of A Customer
To know how profitable your marketing is, you need to know the lifetime
value of your customers. This is the average profit you earn from a customer
over their lifetime.
Take a mechanics garage as an example.
If the average new customer brings their car in three times a year and spends
£200 each time and half of this is profit, this makes the annual value of that
customer £200 x 3 x ½ = £300.
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If we know that on average we are going to be able to sell additional items
to the average customer once a year of an MOT and Pre Winter Check Up
with profits of £50 this makes the annual value now £350.
But the average customer also introduces one other customer to your garage
once a year that is also worth £350 to you over a year. Therefore the annual
value of the first new customer is really £700.
More than that, you know a new customer stays with you on average for 5
years, so this makes the lifetime value of the customer £3500.
By knowing the lifetime value you are in a far better position than your
competitors. If you now know the true value of the average new customer is
£3500, not the original £75 profit on the first sale, how much are you
prepared to pay for a new customer?
You’re likely to be prepared to pay a lot more than your competitors who
don’t understand lifetime values. Being able to spend more puts you at a
competitive advantage. But only if you know the lifetime value can you
work out how much you would be prepared to spend. You now have the
ability to increase your cost of getting the customer to a level where you
make it irresistible for your prospects to say no.
This could include buying them with a free initial service, spending more on
your advertising, etc. What’s more your competitors will think you are crazy
because they don’t understand lifetime values. A great example of this is
buy 5 CD’s for £5 to get you hooked in as a customer, which is a loss leader
offer. The basic idea is to breakeven on the first sale and then break the
If a new customer costs the garage £110 to get, they should do a lot more of
that marketing activity because it is very profitable but their competitors
may think they’re making a loss and they would have made the mistake of
stopping this profitable activity. Keep on doing it until it no longer makes a
Naturally, you need to watch the cashflow because it takes the lifetime of
the client to generate this profit but if you’re sensible, can you see how
much more opportunity recognising the lifetime value of a customer gives
How To Test
You should accept nothing as true about what works best until it has been
objectively and scientifically tested.
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Apparently, Henry Ford, America’s first billionaire always went to lunch
with a new recruit before employing them. If they put salt on the food
before trying it, it was an indication they would implement a plan before
testing it and they wouldn’t get hired.
You must have a system for recording where your leads came from.
One advert can outpull another by more than tenfold, so you’ve got to
record results if you are going to know what works.
If the prospect contacts you by phone or in person, never forget to ask
“where did you hear about us?”
Often, a prospect may make contact using reply forms, coupons, etc. It is
important you put a code on all your reply devices so that you know where
the lead came from. That’s why you’ll often see ads that say reply to
“Dept…” so they can measure the response by changing the department
name. You could also use different fictitious names or different phone
numbers for prospects to call.
Make sure you have some kind of basic enquiry sheet to record the details
you need from every lead and the action you need to take next.
You then need to monitor if the lead turned into a paying customer and the
income generated. This is another reason why you have a contact
management database.
Whilst leads matter, it’s more important to know the value of sales made. 2
sales from 3 leads is better than 1 sale from 10 leads. It will also help to
monitor the quality of the leads.
Now that you’re going to test, it helps to appreciate you can only change
one variable at a time in your testing if it is going to be a meaningful test.
Examples of what you could test include…
Your list of prospects
The sales person
Your list of fax numbers
The Magazine
Your headline
The body copy
Frequency of your ad
Your Price
Your Guarantee
If advertising or sending sales letters it’s recommend you test the
publication or the list first as if your target market is wrong, it will never
work. After that test the headline next.
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If you change more than variable, you won’t know which one made the
difference, so only test one at a time and only change meaningful variables.
Either that or change the whole advert.
For example, if making a half price type offer, you could test the effect that
different offers make. Take a product that normally sells for £22, the
variations could be…
Save 50%
50% off
Save £11
Half Price
Buy One, Get One Free
Two for £22.
The “buy one, get one free” offer is often the most successful but you’ll
never know in your own situation without testing.
Once you’ve got a lead generation tool that works, keep testing against it so
that you are continually improving. This becomes your control tool.
Other ways to test…
Split Run Tests are where you run exactly the same size ad in the same
place at the same time in the same publication but one ad goes to half the
readership and the other ad to the other half. This allows you to very
effectively test one variable at a time, such as a change of headline. Not
all publications offer this but some do – just ask.
Regional Testing – national publications often allow you to put an ad
in that only goes to one region. It therefore costs less and allows you to
test on a smaller basis before going national. You can widen the area
once you know the regional results. The same applies for sales lists,
although in this case you just buy a small part of the list to test first.
These are the minimum requirements of what you should measure for every
marketing tool you use…
Total cost of the marketing tool (include your time or employees time in
this calculation)
Total number of leads generated
Response rate
Conversion rate into paying customers
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Gross income generated
Net profit generated
Total lifetime value
You need to be interested in more than the leads generated. The final test is
how much money do you make from the marketing?
Sometimes, it’s not quite so easy. Perhaps a retail shop, gets a press release
article in the local paper. May be the only way they can measure the impact
is to compare against the previous days sales.
Of course, there are times when you can’t test properly because it may be a
one off ad or your budget may be very limited. In those situations, you have
to learn from others.
You can also learn by ringing up following a direct mail campaign and
enquiring why they didn’t reply.
The Law Of Probability
When you undertake a marketing activity that produces a result it would be
great to know that if you repeated it, the same result would occur or if you
did twice the amount, you would get twice the return and so on. Of course,
there is no certainty. Nevertheless, the larger the sample size of the first test,
the more confidently you can predict the results of additional marketing
activities based on the probability of the result. The following table on the
next page shows how to be 95% sure that additional mailings will produce a
result within certain boundaries…
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Probability Chart of Results of Test Mailings
If the
size of
the test
mailing is
the test
Then 95 chances
out of 100, the return
on the identical mailing
to the whole list will be
If the
size of
the test
on the
Then 95 chances
out of 100, the return
on the identical
mailing to the whole
list will be between
0 & 2.99%
0 & 4.80%
0 & 6.41%
.08% & 7.92%
.64% & 9.36%
4% & 16.00%
12% & 28.00%
& 2.26%
.23% & 3.77%
.84% & 5.16%
1.52% & 6.48%
2.24% & 7.76%
6.20% & 13.80%
14.94% & 25.00%
.11% & 1.89%
.75% & 3.25%
1.48% & 4.52%
2.25% & 5.75%
3.05% & 6.95%
7.32% & 12.68%
16.42% & 23.58%
.37% & 1.63%
1.12% & 2.88%
1.92% & 4.08%
2.76% & 5.24%
3.62% & 6.38%
8.10% & 11.90%
17.48% & 22.52%
.55% & 1.45%
1.37% & 2.63%
2.24% & 3.76%
3.12% & 4.88%
4.03% & 5.97%
8.66% & 11.34%
18.21% & 21.70%
.72% & 1.28%
1.60% & 2.40%
2.52% & 3.48%
3.45% & 4.55%
4.38% & 5.62%
9.15% & 10.85%
18.87% & 21.13%
.80% & 1.20%
1.72% & 2.28%
2.66% & 3.34%
3.12% & 4.39%
4.56% & 5.44%
9.40% & 10.60%
19.20% & 20.80%
.94 & 1.06%
1.91% & 2.09%
2.89% & 3.11%
3.88% & 4.12%
4.86% & 5.14%
9.81% & 10.19%
19.75% & 20.25%
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Section 18
Lead Generation
“Those who prefer their English sloppy have
only themselves to thank if the advertisement
writer uses his mastery of vocabulary and syntax
to mislead their weak minds”
Dorothy L. Sayers 1893 – 1957: Spectator 19 November 1937
Here’s a corny saying…
“He who whispers down a well
About the goods he has to sell
Will never make as many dollars
As he who climbs a tree and hollas!”
It might be corny, but if you want to gain new customers, you have to let
them know about you and the more the better.
Brand Marketing v Direct Marketing
The type of marketing that works best for small businesses is direct
marketing, not brand marketing.
As a small business you need to make every penny you spend on marketing
count. To do this you need to be able to monitor the results of your
marketing activities so that you can test and change them to optimise the
results you achieve.
You can’t do that with brand marketing. We want results and we need to
know what the results of the marketing are. Direct Marketing is results
Many small businesses don’t use advertising, perhaps they’ve never tried
because it seems expensive or perhaps they’ve tried and it didn’t work.
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Well, advertising that doesn’t work is expensive. Despite this, thousands of
small businesses do continue to use advertising that just doesn’t work or
doesn’t work anywhere near as well as it could.
They may have designed the ads themselves or got an ad agency to do the
ad but they still don’t work. This is because they are all taking the wrong
approach. They are based on brand or institutionalised advertising and
brand advertising just doesn’t work for small businesses.
They promote the name of the business or product but there are now so
many brands out there, it costs a fortune to create a brand and that just isn’t
appropriate for small businesses. The last thing the customer cares about is
your business name. He wants to know what you can do to benefit him.
Brand advertising is characterised by the name of the business as the
headline at the top of the ad, a big logo, list of services, not much copy and
nothing to make you get out of your chair to call now.
You don’t need a fantastic looking ad created by ad agencies for them to
work. A great designer ad may win an award, but its sales you want to win.
That’s why you should primarily consider direct marketing. Forget any ad
agencies designing a great looking advert for you to raise awareness of your
business. You can’t accurately monitor the results from it. You don’t need it
and you’ll see why.
Direct marketing can create some brand awareness but that just happens to
be an additional benefit, it’s not the main purpose of what you are doing.
Some products may need brand advertising, such as cars where the
manufacture typically carries out brand advertising but the local dealer must
then use direct marketing on top.
Direct marketing builds a continuous relationship with the customer. It asks
people to do something. It could be to request immediate sales, a request for
information, a request for a demonstration or meeting, a visit to a retail
establishment, etc.
There are lots of direct marketing methods you can use to generate leads,
the best ones which we will look at in more detail are probably…
Directory Advertising – in the likes of Yellow Pages.
Print Advertising – in magazines
Classified Advertising
Sales letters
Fax Broadcasting
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Internet Marketing
Press Releases
Newsletters (especially e-newsletters)
Referral Systems
Endorsement Marketing
Other lead generation tools you can test include…
Radio Advertising
TV Commercials
Hospitality Events
Take One Boxes –placed in strategic positions
Contest Entry Boxes
Trade Shows
Audio & videotapes– they have a higher perceived value than junk
mail. You can’t skim them. Can be good for unfamiliar products
 Sponsorship
 Door to door selling
 Posters – especially in door to door areas
You don’t have to do them all, but the more you do, the more results you’ll
get. Some can be outsourced, telemarketing being a prime example that is
often outsourced.
Using An Ad Agency
After reading this report, you shouldn’t need to use an agency. An
additional downside of using an agency is that they need to fully learn and
understand the product or service you are offering first and it’s unlikely
they will ever understand it as well as you. So have confidence, you can do
it yourself.
What you say (the content) is more important than how you say it (the
One Step & Two Step Lead Generation
One-step advertising is when you ask for the sale direct from your
marketing tool. It’s where you perhaps ask them to ring to place their order
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and the sale is made immediately. It would be great if this worked but unless
you are selling a very low value product, it tends not to work very well.
What is often needed is two-step advertising that generates leads in the first
stage rather than sales. This leads to the sales and more of them. This is
even more important with small ads where you don’t have room to explain
everything the purchaser needs to know.
Two step advertising involves a first step of offering something in your ad,
sales letter or whatever lead generation tool you are using, before the sale is
made in the second step.
Examples include…
Free Sample Product
Free Special Report
Free Booklet
Free Information Pack
Tip Sheets
Free Initial Consultation
Free Demonstration
For example, a free painters kit with all sorts of painting information could
be provided as a first step lead in advance of house paints or a home
decorating service. Sample products work well for food items.
This way there is no commitment initially so the response will be far
higher, and if you’ve targeted the right people, you’ll then make far more
It is of course harder for some products than others to use the two-step
method. For example, headache remedies are often needed immediately and
there is only a narrow market that is interested at any one time.
Wherever practical, look to use two step marketing in preference to one
With direct response marketing you need an offer. The offer is what the
customer gets when they respond to the lead generation tool.
Hard v Soft Offer
Hard offers need the prospect to personally interact with you such as…
Free No Obligation Appointment
Free Consultation
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Free Demonstration,
Free Trial
Order Now but send no money
Extra discount for volume
Surprise gift with your order
The problem with hard offers is that they put a barrier in the way because of
the personal interaction that is required, which means extra commitment.
Soft offers are easier for the prospect to accept, as there is less commitment.
Soft offer examples are offers of Free Special Reports, Information Kits,
Free Newsletters, Free Brochure, etc.
If there is a soft offer of something for free, never say a salesman will call
afterwards or it almost turns it into a hard offer.
You should try to make two or three offers rather than just the one with a
hard and a soft offer but always have a soft offer wherever possible. Even
though the offer is FREE, it will help to put a deadline on it and link a
benefit to it.
With businesses, it’s worth noting that a bonus offer to Secretaries can be a
Make sure your offer is clear, easy to understand, unique and irresistible.
Back the offer up with your guarantee.
You need to make the offer irresistible. For example, a free Pony Ride for
the kids could be an irresistible offer for a store.
Qualification Of Leads
The more you tighten the qualification, the higher the quality each response
is likely to be. How much you do this will depend on your own
For example, if there is a small payment required for someone to get your
Special Report on “How To Make Your Garden Look Good In Winter” by a
landscape gardener, any responses are likely to be more valuable leads than
if the report was free. However there will normally be far fewer responses.
Alternatively, you could ask them to send a stamped addressed envelope. If
selling a book, you could charge a small amount to get excerpts of a book.
These types of qualifications helps avoid the coupon clipper type people
who’ll just take anything that’s free, whatever it is.
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A free hidden offer within an advert as opposed to using say a coupon that
stands out would improve the quality of responses.
However, the ads that bring in the most enquiries, tend to lead to the most
sales. Daniel Starch of Starch Reports came to this conclusion decades ago
in his analysis of 165 firms over a period of 12 years.
Written Lead Generation Tools & AICDA
What follows is aimed particularly at all the written lead generation tools,
especially sales letters, adverts and fax broadcasts, although the
principles can be applied across all direct marketing tools.
Whatever lead generation tools you use follow these guidelines…
Enthusiasm must come through in every letter, advert, phone call,
meeting, etc.
They require time commitment. Do them on a continuous
systematised basis otherwise they will stop and you’ll struggle to get
going again.
Consider appointing a marketing co-ordinator to organise
Use a lead generation planner and have a marketing action plan.
Look to keep changing what you offer. McDonalds constantly have
something new every couple of weeks. Look to create new products
and services. You can always tie into trends and news stories, to
holiday seasons and other fads. For example, a Dentist could offer
free Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to child patients.
AICDA - is the process of sale and is the process a lead generation tool
should follow…
Attract the attention of the reader – the headline is used for this.
Interest the reader in what you are saying. Opening words will be crucial to
Credibility – you must build credibility in what you are saying. It must be
Desire – the copy needs to build desire in the prospect for your offer.
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Action – you want the prospect to take action so there must be a call to
action, telling the prospect what to do next.
We will look at each of these areas in more detail.
How To Write Powerful Headlines
The headline is crucial to the success of your ad. It’s what makes the reader
start reading the ad or sales letter. The headline must get the reader to read
the next sentence.
A good headline gets attention, selects an audience, delivers your message
and gets the prospect to start reading.
In advertising a good headline can make the difference of 10 to 1 in sales.
You get just 1 to 4 seconds to grab someone’s attention. With advertising
awards, the judges read the body copy, but in real life, your copy may never
get read if the headline isn’t good enough. It then won’t matter how brilliant
your copy is. Spend most of your money and effort on the headline.
The headline should never be the name of your business or service. Picked
at random are the headlines from a pest control page of a yellow pages
Forward Environmental Services
Pest Control
1ST Active Pest Control
Buzz Environmental Services
JMC Pest Control
DSD Contracting
It’s the same with 99% of ads that are placed.
Even better, in the same Yellow Pages, the section of Marketing &
Advertising Consultants, the people who should really know how to create
great headlines, had these headlines for the display ads in that category…
AWR Marketing Services
Brand Script Consulting Ltd
Big Fish Wanted
Fisher Creative
If they can’t get it right, its no wonder most small businesses can’t.
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Your Headline must stand alone without the body copy. Avoid blind
headlines. If it was the only line in a classified ad with the words “Call Now
For More Information” would it work?
Read it to other people and see if they know what you are trying to sell. If
you are selling a remedy for bladder weakness, it’s clearly going to help to
get that in the headline. Examples of other hopeless headlines include…
“Men May Not Admit It, But….”
“Look To The Sea”
They give you no idea what it is about.
The following are all examples of proven headline templates you can use in
headlines. They may be clichés and shopworn, but they work…
They Didn’t Think I Could….., But I Did
“They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano. But When I Started To
Play” – Headline for a home study course by the U.S. School of music.
How………. Made Me………..
“How A Simple Idea Made Me Plant Manager Of The Year”
Are You………?
“Are You Smarter Than Your Boss?”
How I……….
“How I Earn My Living In 4 Hours A Day”
How To……….
“How To Start A Backyard Garden”
“For Busy Doctors: How To Educate New Patients In Half The Time”
If You Are…. You Can…
“If You Are A Non Drinker, You Can Save 20% On Life Assurance”
Secrets Of…
“Secrets OF Four Champion Golfers”
Thousands (hundreds, millions) Now…… Even Though They…..
“138000 Members Of Your Profession Now Receive A Check From Us
Every Month Even Though They Once Through This Letter In The Bin”
“Warning: Read This Before You Talk To Any Other Solicitor”
Give Me… And I’ll
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“Give Me 1 Hour A Day And I’ll Have You Speaking French Like “Pierre”
In one Month”
…..Ways To…
“17 Ways To Slash Your Equipment Maintenance Costs”
…. Right? WRONG
“When Someone Dies Their Possessions Automatically Go To Their Next
Of Kin, Right? WRONG” – Help The Aged headline
Do You…
“Do You Make These Mistakes In English” outpulled by 300% a similar
headline of “Are You Afraid Of Making Mistakes in English?” It’s likely
that the use of the word “these” implied there would be some free
information to follow.
The following are all proven words to use in headlines…
Your …. Skin Will Look & Feel Smoother Than It Ever Has In Just 7 Days.
Incredible… New Engine Does 97 Miles Per Gallon
Powerful... New PC Works Faster Than Any Other System
Why… Your Feet Hurt
Which… Of These 5 Skin Troubles Would You Like To End
Who Else… Has Hair That Won’t Stay Combed.
Wanted… A Few Good Men (U.S. Marine Recruitment)
This… Is The Quietest Dishwasher In the UK
Because… Your Cats Quality Of Life Is Important To You
If… You Think The Ultimate Speaker System Would HAVE a Subwoofer,
You’re Half Right
Advice… To Brides
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Free – Always works well.
The Thing About…
Last Chance
Emotional words like…
And these are the words to use if you want your headline to die…
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These are the top 3 most successful types of headlines in this order
Promise a benefit for reading on. e.g. Retire at 55.
When you are really struggling to come up with a headline use the
trusted favourite “Free Booklet Offers… benefit, benefit, benefit”
News Headlines such as…
Discovered – How To Correct Short Sight In Under An Hour
Introducing….. Four New Ways To Say I Love You Every Day
(Cat food headline)
Announcing … A Great New Car
Words that have an announcement quality…
Thank You For…
Good Bye…
Just Published…
Just Arrived…
Important Development…
New… Method Of Keeping Your Personal Finances.
Now… On Home Video
At Last… A Toothbrush Guaranteed For 6 Months
Just Invented…
It’s Here…
Just Off The Press…
Put a date in the headline – Beginning June 5th… or You Can Speak
French by October 5th.
Here’s… The Larger Computer Desk You’ve Been Waiting For
Curiosity Headlines such as…
“ How A Strange Accident Saved Me From Baldness”.
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“We could have bought you a lottery ticket!” (Accountants headline
because running a business is a bit like playing the lottery)
“Never make the same mistake once”
You can mix them up, for example these headlines mix curiosity and
“How A Fool Stunt Made Me A Star Salesman”
“How I Improved My Memory In One Evening” – it’s always better
when it sounds quick and easy. Just don’t stress it to the extent that it
is unbelievable.
“I Gambled A Postage Stamp And Won £27406 In 2 Years” – the
postage stamp is for the letter to send for the information. Note how
the specific figure makes it sound more believable.
Other ways to increase the power of your headline…
Select your audience by mentioning your target group such as estate
agents or homeowners in the headline helps increase response as these
people instantly know the ad is for them.
Don’t try to be smart or funny, just keep it clear. For example
“Women! Read This Summery Summary”. Avoid puns, literary
allusions and other obscurities. People don’t stop to decipher it when an
average paper has 350 headlines to scan.
Being specific helps. For example, save £92 a week, rather than save
Avoid negative headlines such as “Our Salt Contains No Arsenic”. It
can lead to an impression that it might.
Don’t do anything that will exclude a group, such as men or women if it
is for both.
Create interest. For example, a security company used the headline
“How To Steal Your Boss Blind”. The following types of headlines
create interest…
Headlines that lead to a story are interesting - “How I
Became Popular Overnight”.
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Warning the reader to delay buying can create interest, as it
is the opposite of conventional advertising. For example,
“Don’t Buy Car Insurance Until You’ve Read These Facts”
Or “Don’t Call Us If You’re Happy With…”
You could offer the reader a test – “Can You Pass The
Memory Test?”
Ask A Question – “Did You Know You Can Give Your Cat
Perfect Nutrition?”
Headlines than put price in the headline can help. For example…
“Would You Spend £5 To Feel Like A Million?”
“It’s True, Genuine Kidskin Leather Shoes, Only £29.95”
”Less Than Half Price… Stainless Steel Kitchen Sets”
“Order Now, Pay Next Year”
“Free To Brides…£2 To Anyone Else”
Testimonial style headlines such as “I Was Going Broke – So I Started
Reading The Wall Street Journal”. The story should be told in the first
The other headline that will never go out of fashion is of course “SEX”.
You then open with “Now, that we have your attention…”
How to format your headline in the ad, sales letter, fax broadcast, etc…
The Headline always goes at the top.
“Put the headline in speech marks”.
Should be at least 4 points larger than the body copy
Use a serif font for short headlines and a sans serif for long headlines.
However if the ad is a print ad amongst editorial look to copy the
headline font of the magazine.
Long headlines generally work better than short if you have the space.
The headline should be in bold.
Centre the headline.
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Make Sure You Capitalise The First Letter Of Each Word In The
Headline, Just Like This. Avoid using just capitals as they are harder to
The headline can go on more than one line.
Never end the headline with a full stop as it stops the reader dead in
their tracks. You wan them to flow onto reading the first line. That is the
objective of the headline – to get the reader to read to read the next line.
You can break up the grey tone of a long headline by CAPITALISING
an important word or putting it in larger type. For example “AT LAST, A
Hair Spray Made For Dry Hair” is wrong. The correct way to do it is “At
Last, A Hair Spray Made For DRY HAIR”
The headline is so important that you should write lots of them before
choosing the best one. The top copywriters wouldn’t think twice about
writing out a hundred headlines to create that one fantastic headline.
If you are wary of making definitive promises in headlines because of any
legal repercussions, you can play with the wording. For example try “To A
Ten Thousand Pound Employee Who Would Like To Be Making £25,000”.
Using the word “like” takes away any guarantee that this will happen, and
just infers it will happen.
The Opening Words
Your opening words are the hardest part to write and they are critical. Their
purpose is to get the reader to read the next sentence, the objective of that
being to read the next sentence and so forth.
The first sentence and paragraph both need to be short otherwise the reader
will lose interest. You are best by ending the first paragraph at the end of the
first sentence. Try not to go over 11 words.
The opening words will normally expand on the headline.
Ways to open…
Announce the main benefit and then expand upon it. When you are
really stuck, the following are two easy ways you can always apply…
1. If you want (big benefit) read on because I’ve got good
For example, “If you want to reduce your tax bill read on
because I’ve got good news.”
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2. Are you (your prospects biggest problem that you solve)?
Do you (next biggest problem that you solve)? If so read
on because I’ve got good news.
For example, “Are you annoyed at the amount of tax you
pay. Do you never know how much your accountant will
charge? If so read on because I’ve got good news.
Make an invitation.
Start with the offer.
Give some news.
Address the reader as one of you, for example “As an old age
Flatter the reader – “the American Express Card is not for everyone”
Surprise or shock the reader – “This Afternoon I Buried My Husband"
–for life assurance.
If you start with statements of fact it creates believability for what is to
come later. It could be about materials, workmanship, reputation, facilities,
locations, employees, data, client names, etc.
A useful trick if you are having trouble starting is to just write anything and
then delete the first one or two sentences and go from there. To warm up, it
helps to just start writing anything and write fast. Write too much and then
If you want some truly great openings try the book “Sales Letters That
Sizzle” by Herschell Gordon Lewis”. There are many great openings in
there, some of which are included below that may help you get going…
Why have I enclosed this free…
Two years from now will you…
If you’re like me…
At last!
Have you ever wished…
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Did you know…
This letter is going to be short and to the point.
I’ll get straight to the point.
I know you’re busy so I’ll get straight to the point.
The best… just got better.
Remember when…
Which would you rather be…
What if…
I’ve got good news… and I’ve got bad news. The good news is…
I’ve enclosed…
Now you can…
Wouldn’t it be great if…
How would you like to…
Here’s the deal…
I’m going to make your day…
When was the last time you…
The word is out!… It’s not a secret anymore…
I just couldn’t wait to write to you…
It’s been a while since…
I won’t waste your time…
Thank you…
I bet I can guess the question you’re about to ask yourself: Why do I need
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How To Write Body Copy
For most products and services, the more you tell, the more you sell. Long
copy invariably outsells short copy. You are writing for the buyer, not the
non-buyer. For example, with adverts, research shows that readership falls
off rapidly up to 50 words of copy but very little between 50 and 500 words
which is when the people interested in buying are reading.
So tell them everything they would want to know. If using long copy you
must be able to keep the customer interested. If you can’t do this, short copy
may well do better. Short copy is also more suited to simple products that
can be explained in a short letter.
If someone who is buying would need 16 pages to fully explain the product
or service to them, use them. If only 1 page is needed, use that.
The rest of the body copy needs to generate stacks of interest and desire so
that the prospect is forced to take action. It must be written from the readers
viewpoint, not yours.
You must write with enthusiasm. Tell the truth but make it fascinating. It’s
harder with dull products but there is always something you can do given a
bit of thought. For example, promoting a disinfectant could involve the story
of the Black Death. A hand lotion could be based around a headline of “She
Sat Out Every Dance, Ashamed Of Her Chapped Hands”
Have the objective of what you are trying to achieve written at the top of
the page to help you write only for that objective. The objective could be
to get an immediate order or to get an appointment. If the next stage is to get
an appointment this is what you need to focus on, not the order.
Some ways to Generate
1. Expand on the most important benefit of your offer.
These should be the benefits particular to what you are
trying to get the prospect to respond to, such as the Free
Special Report.
2. Focus on a specific problem and generate anger, fear,
guilt, etc followed by your solution.
3. Use comparisons such as two ladies both 16 stone a year
ago and both went on the same diet but one is now 11
stone and the other still 16 stone. What made the
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4. Get your USP message across.
5. Give free information first before getting to the sales
You can create interest even in a boring product. For example, one
manufacturer had a sales letter based on “69 Things You Can Do After
Work When You’re Absolutely Free Of Worry About Whether Or Not Your
Part Will Arrive Tomorrow”. There was one paragraph about the part and
then everything else about what they can get up to after work. It was a great
Ways to Create
After the interest has been generated you then need to convey the
benefits of your product or service by telling the prospect exactly what
your product or service will do for them and mean to them and what they
are missing out on. Also add other benefits of your product or service putting them in bullet point format can help being left aligned and
ragged right justification.
If avoiding pain, rather than a gain, such as tax savings or security
systems, tell them the problem, agitate it to stir up their emotion, make it
seem larger than life, then provide the solution.
You can increase desire by saying only some people can qualify, such
as with a gold credit card. Putting an obstacle in the way that has to be
overcome to be accepted can increase desire. Another example could be,
you’ll only be accepted onto the home study course once you’ve read all
the introductory materials.
Limited number available – if your response is received after our
supply is exhausted, it will not be accepted and your cheque will be
returned to you.
If our phone lines are busy when you call, please be patient and keep
trying. We have added extra customer service people to handle
everybody’s calls as rapidly as possible.
Appeal to their ego – for example “what excuse do you make when
asked for your web site address and you haven’t got one”
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Building Credibility
Having credibility helps prospects to believe what you are saying and makes
it far easier to get them to take action. One-step sales in particular require
extra credibility.
Here are ways to build credibility…
Use testimonials, case studies.
Get endorsements from other credible people or businesses.
Say how long you’ve been trading, qualifications, awards won, number
of customers, etc.
Specific facts and figures build credibility. Avoid generalities. For
example, “ ….burns up to79% more calories than ordinary treadmills”.
Try to quantity the benefits in pound notes if possible. You must give
As David Ogilvy said “the consumer isn’t a moron, she is your wife” and
“Don’t write an advertisement you wouldn’t want your own family to
read”. If you lie, you’ll be found out.
Be honest. If there are any downsides, addressing them will help. For
example “the house does however need the tender care of a family with
Address the flaws and why people won’t respond openly. Consider the
objections, concerns and doubts your reader may have that you need to
overcome and put them in order of importance. Perhaps it sounds too
good to be true. Every product or service has some disadvantages,
nothing’s perfect and everyone knows that.
For example, a restaurant with a homely feel may produce great home
cooked food but not have the greatest wines in the world. Let them know
that if they want fine dining it’s not the place for them but if the want
wholesome home cooked food and a choice of a bottomless house red or
white wine, yours is the place to come.
If the information to be sent is of a personal nature, make it clear that it
will be sent in a plain envelope.
Here is some brilliant copy for you written by Dan Kennedy that
addresses why people won’t respond…
“As attractive as this product/service/offer is, our marketing experts tell
us that only about X% of the people receiving it will respond. Although
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that’s okay with us from a business standpoint, it still bothers me
personally. You see, I know how much the owners/users of our
product/service/offer benefit from it. I read their letters; I talk to them on
the phone; I see them personally when they visit us; and
hundreds/thousands/millions each year tell me that “(strong brief
customer quote)”. Because of this, I just hate the thought of someone not
getting our product/service/offer because of some error or omission in
our explanation. That’s why I held a special brainstorming session with a
group of our people just to try and figure out why you might say “no” to
our free trial offer. After several hours, our group could think of only
three possible reasons. Here they are:”
In a letter, a page of FAQ’s and answers can be used well as an alternative
method of dealing with objections.
Avoid poetic copy that is unbelievable.
For professional services credibility is vital and a free consultation is
often an essential offer so they can feel the quality first.
If a product is technical, give the specifications.
Demonstrate the return on their investment such as saving £150 on
labour costs from buying a £30 machine give a 500% return. You can
exaggerate the return on investment and then say… “and even if I’m only
half right, you’ll still pocket over…”
If you are making an unbelievable offer, give reasons why. For
example if you are offering 100 haircuts at £2 each by a professional
stylist, explain it is because you want the customers to see how good the
stylist is so that they’ll come back again paying the full price.
If there is a big discount give the reasons why such as a slow month,
special factory incentive, etc
If offering a Special Report of Booklet, you can use the technique of
listing the table contents to describe what’s in it…
How To.…. Page 1
How To….. Page 3
Give Guarantees and explain why you offer them. Here are some
example copy words to use in connection with guarantees…
“Satisfaction guaranteed”
“No-questions asked, 100% money-back guarantee anytime within
sixty days if my product fails to perform exactly as promised.”
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“No questions asked,100%money-back, ninety day guarantee if you
can’t honestly state that your face looks more youthful and radiant,
and that your skin has better colour and elasticity. If you don’t enjoy
results that good or better within the first ninety days of using our
product, we don’t deserve to keep your money. You have every right
to ask for a full, no-questions-asked, on-the-spot 100% refund
anytime you decide. And if you decide you want a refund, there’ll be
no questions asked and no hard feelings whatsoever on our part.”
Again, use the name of your target group such as estate agents. This
will give the impression you specialise in them. Never forget if you have
two clients of a type it makes you a specialist, three makes you an
expert and four an authority!
More Top Tips…
You need to sell a particular product, not for example TV’s in general
as you may just be helping your competitors.
If there is a price, it should come after all the benefits.
Never write to entertain but to sell. Avoid trying to be clever and
humorous which probably only works when done brilliantly in 1% of
Copy giving helpful advice, such as “how to remove stains” when
promoting a stain removal product can help.
It generally helps to avoid analogies.
People prefer rewards to threats. For example, life assurance is better
promoted by talking about the money that is paid out, than the death.
Make sure it is clear who you are and what you do.
Don’t waffle, just get to the point.
Ensure you include your contact details.
Forget the English teachers. Write as you talk in conversational
English. It has a natural enthusiasm that is infectious. A bit like a 10year-old child telling you what they’ve been up to.
Use the present tense, second person – “you feel well dressed in a
Brown Brothers Suit” and not “a man will feel well dressed…”. Use “it
does” and not “can” or “could”
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Use “you” & “your”, not “I” & “me”. For example it shouldn’t be “I’m
going to send “you” and should be “you will receive”. Try to use “you”
three times for every once “I” is used.
Use the language of your prospects – if they are uneducated, use those
words. Unless you are talking to a specific group that you know talks in a
different way and everyone understands, avoid jargon. Use a simple style
of writing with simple words. People talk and think with one or two
syllable Anglo Saxon words, not Latin. Remember the KISS principle –
Keep It Simple Stupid and ask your 10 year old to point out any words
they don’t understand.
Always look to replace weak phrases with more powerful shorter
phrases. Examples…
Miss out on
An additional element
At this time
Female personnel
Conclude discussions
Deposit waste material
Terminate momentarily
Please find enclosed
something else
end talks
put rubbish
stop soon
I enclose
Always look to use powerful positive words such as in headlines and
avoid negative words as in headlines.
Use short words. Examples…
Call To Action
You must have a call to action to get the prospect to respond NOW. This
must be related to your primary objective such as to call for your Special
Do this by
Summarising the main benefits.
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Restating your guarantee.
Add urgency by limited availability, special price for
fast response, etc – but be honest and believable. A
handwritten or rubber stamped deadline can help.
Providing a bonus available by a deadline.
Offer a discount for an early response.
Offer more than one method of responding – by phone,
fax, post, email, etc. Different prospects prefer to respond
in different ways.
Tell them exactly what to do and what will happen when
they do respond.
Make sure you include your contact details, particularly
those related to the call to action. If there are alternatives,
make it clear.
Try offering the prospect the opportunity to call a free
recorded message at any time rather than you in person.
This can increase response rates because it again means
less commitment and people can also call whenever they
are reading it, at whatever time of day or night. This alone
has been proven to dramatically increase response rates.
To do this, install a separate phone line with a Freephone
number and record an answer machine message thanking
them for calling, telling them who you are, what the offer
is and the details for them to leave including how they
heard about the offer.
Here are some words to use in your call to action that you can use and adapt
for your own situation…
To emphasise “No Obligation”
“No obligation.”
“Send me without obligation.”
“I understand that this does not obligate me.”
“I am under no obligation, now or ever.”
“I understand this book is mine to keep, and sending for it does not
obligate me in any way.”
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“No salesman will call.”
Calls To Action Copy…
“Fill in the coupon today and mail it for your free copy of a 32-page
information booklet and chart, which supply additional information
you should have. All will be sent postage paid.”
“Send no money; we will bill you later. Merely send me your name
and address and we will send you “How To Reduce” at the special
low price. If at the end of ten days you are not completely satisfied –
if you do not lose weight rapidly and easily – then simply tell me so
on the invoice and you will owe nothing. WRITE TODAY.”
“Supply is limited.”
“For a short time only.”
“Post coupon today.”
“Act now - offer expires 5th June.”
“Rush your name for free booklet.”
“Get free book by sending coupon NOW.”
“Yes, it is possible.”
“Why not give me a call; let’s arrange a meeting where I can
personally explain the different “standard opportunities” and then
“brainstorm” with you about the best way for your business to
participate. There’s no obligation, of course, and certainly no
pressure, but, together, we may just figure out the perfect situation
for your business.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
“Call Now”
“Call Right Now”
“What do you think the (service or product name) is worth? £500,
£1000, £2000, £5000 or more? Not even close. You can order the
(service or product name) today for just £X+ vat. Should I charge
more? Probably. I intend to. But at the moment in my new customer
drive I’m offering you the chance to buy the (service or product
name) at this very reasonable price, complete with the guarantee.
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One thing’s for sure, the (service or product name) won’t ever be
offered at a lower price.”
For use in reply forms and coupons, etc…
“Yes!! I agree! Your proposition is irresistible and your product
appears superior. Also, your bonuses are so darned attractive it’s
hard to refuse. But your 100% money-back guarantee, keep-all-thebonuses, better-than-risk-free proposition is the real reason I’m
“I will take you up on the exact guarantee and try the product or
service, but only for the next sixty days. If it doesn’t perform or if I
don’t benefit just as you promised, I will send it back and expect a
full and immediate refund. And I’ll get to keep all those desirable
bonuses for my trouble. On that basis only, here is my order.”
“Your case is indeed compelling. I don’t know if your product is for
me but I want to learn more. So send me the kit or have a
representative call and answer my questions. Better yet, do both.
But only on the condition that I am under absolutely no obligation
and no risk whatsoever.”
Formatting Tricks
The body copy font should be your usual serif font or if a print ad you
can use the body copy font used by the magazine in its editorial.
The font size should be between 8 & 12. Going small is OK in ads,
because your ad is designed specifically for the prospects that will be
interested, no one else. Ignore what the rep tells you. The headline draws
them in and if they’re interested, they'll read it.
 Indent the start of each paragraph like this.
Vary the lengths of the sentences and paragraphs to make it look
interesting. Don’t worry about breaking up paragraphs. As we said, it’s
not an English lesson.
Sentences to be no longer than two lines and paragraphs no longer than
7 lines.
Words in a list can use bold more often.
Avoid using the exclamation mark too much!
Different font sizes can make it appear more interesting.
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Use transitions… to keep the prospect reading
Here are some typical examples…
Let me explain…
What’s more…
And that’s not all…
In short…
Or even better…
So remember…
Let’s take a look…
What we know for sure…
Try to not to finish any page with a full stop, but finish mid sentence
or use transitions… It helps to get the reader to move onto the next page
and avoids putting a barrier in their way.
Use some formatting tricks such as using bold underline italics and/or
CAPITALS for certain keywords. Don’t over use them otherwise they
will lose their effect away from your key words. A little sprinkle will do
Setting key paragraphs in boldface or italic can break up long copy.
Use boxes with light shading for extra emphasis of
important points such as your guarantee.
Use bold more often in bullet lists.
Use different types of bullet points and numbers.
Use lines of asterisks to break up important sections.
Use subheadings to break up sections with longer copy in both letters
and ads. Again Ensure The First Letter Of Each Word Is Capitalised Like
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This and the subheading is in bold. On a full-page advert, you should use
3 or more subheadings and get them to tell a brief story on their own.
For letters, text must be left aligned and ragged at the right hand edge
as in this report.
Examples of a lot of this formatting will appear in each section of the
different types of lead generation tools.
Now go back over it to edit it. You are editing to advance, clarify and
strengthen the sales message, not to shorten. For example you can change
“we have many imitators but no one who matches…” to “our many
imitators can’t match…”
Replace weak words and phrases.
Avoid unnecessary adjectives such as exciting, fantastic,
Remove any unnecessary words
You can often remove anything before and including the
word “that”.
You can often remove the word “which”.
Check you have short paragraphs and sentences.
Check spelling and grammar.
Look to remove any unnecessary copy.
If you are ever not sure about a block of copy, the best rule is to delete it.
Then leave it alone
For a few days or a week if possible and then go back to it to re-read it and
improve it. The break does help but often you may not have time in the real
world. You can even show it to others for their opinion although it’s best to
show them more than one version without telling them which you prefer so
you get a more honest opinion about the one you prefer.
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Relevant gimmicks can work well when used with lead generation tools.
For example, enclosing an unsigned cheque for £50, which you’ll sign after
meeting with the prospect for half an hour if they don’t feel the meeting
was beneficial to them.
Look for the more interesting ones that will get talked about such as stress
balls that would be better than a calendar. Try www.hotlinegroup.co.uk for
some ideas.
Other examples…
Sending a letter with a teabag and the message “have a cup of tea on
me while you read this letter”
Sending a cheque payable to your store.
Fortune cookies.
Your own label wine.
Be Ready For The Response
You must ensure you are ready to handle the response from your lead
generation before placing the ad, sending the sales letter, etc.
Most response comes immediately and then there is a trickle effect.
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Section 19
How To Grow Your Small
Business With Advertising
“Half the money I spend on
advertising is wasted, and the
trouble is I don’t know which half “
Viscount Leverhulme 1851-1925:
in D.Ogilvy Confessions Of An Advertising Man.
Advertising Does Work
David Ogilvy in “Confessions Of An Advertising Man” writes …
“the difference between one advertisement and another, when measured in
terms of sales, can be as much as fifteen to one”
John Caples, another advertising genius said…
“I’ve seen one advertisement sell 19 – 1/2 times as much as another”
That’s how important it is to get your advertising right.
Now your going to find out what does work. Again, so few small businesses
know or use it. Follow everything you’ve already learnt in writing lead
generation copy but now you’re going to learn the extra secrets that will
work for all forms of advertising including…
Directory Advertising such as Yellow Pages.
Print or Display Advertising – in magazines, etc.
Classified Advertising – often seen at the back of publications.
Don’t dismiss it because it seems cheap & nasty – it can be a very
successful form of marketing.
If you want to see the best ads, look at the mail order ads in national daily
newspapers. The very best ads hardly look like normal ads at all. This is the
most competitive area and so the ads have to be outstanding. They are solely
judged on the results they pull.
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What’s more, it doesn’t take any special sales skills to write them once you
know the system to follow.
You should use direct response advertising that asks for a direct response
from your customers where you can measure how successful the advert is.
You must at the very minimum know how many leads that ad generates and
how many sales you make from those leads, to know how profitable the ad
is. Brand advertising won’t do this.
As a small business you just can’t afford to run ads that don’t cover your
costs. You need ads that will bring a serious return on your investment.
You can use the same principles for advertising when running recruitment
ads, not just ads for your product or service.
You’re going to enjoy this…
It’s not the only way that works but it’s a proven system that will work for
you better than anything you’ve ever tried before and it’s specifically for
small businesses with small budgets. It absolutely maximizes your chances.
Don’t listen to anything the advertising reps tell you. They’re in the game
for themselves, not you. This is what they’ll tell you…
You need to run your add about 6 times before it starts to get the best
results. Rubbish. If it doesn’t work the first time, it never will. In fact
response is only likely to fall.
You need to run large ads for them to work. Again rubbish. You’ll see
how small ads can produce stunning results. If a small ad doesn’t work a
larger ad wont either. If you want to try to disprove this theory it will cost
you a lot of money. Only place a larger ad once you know a smaller ad
How To Advertise In The Best Places
This is crucial. If you don’t advertise to the right people your ad wont work,
end of story.
Advertise to the right people and your ad will work to some extent but the
rest of the rules will determine the size of your success.
The publications to advertise in are those that your prospects read. It could
be newspapers, local magazines, trade magazines, association newsletters,
etc. Of course you should already have identified who your own target
prospects are likely to be.
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Two ways to find out what they read…
1. Ask them.
2. Get a media guide.
You can buy these or they are stocked at many libraries for reference. They
cost a couple of hundred pounds if you want to buy them so using the
library may be sensible….
Benn’s Media Guide http://www.cmpdata.co.uk/benns/
The UK volume has over 10,870 listings of media sources by including
broadcasters as well as newspapers and publications with advertising rates
in the 2005 edition. It is split into main subject groups with hundreds of sub
Individual contact names
Editorial profile
Readership profile
Willings Press Guide http://www.willingspress.com/default.asp
BRAD – British Rates & Data
The media guide lists all the publications in print that you ever likely to
need. Within the media guides they are classified in different ways but
you’ll get lots of information about publications you never knew existed that
may be just right for your target audience. You’ll get important information
such as the publishers contact details, the circulation, frequency details, how
large it is, if its free or not, the price, content details, a guide to who reads it
(invaluable), content details, and advertising rates.
Now you can pick out those publications you think are likely to be most
suitable. That is those aimed at your prospects. This could be by trade type
or consumer type that cover the geographic area you want.
Some publications are regional and some national. A national publication
may still be suitable even if you sell locally as the publication may have
different runs that enable your advert to only go in certain geographic areas
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or it may work anyway because your prospect in particular reads that
publication. In that case you’ll just need to make it clear the geographic area
you cover.
Once you’ve found those publications that seem likely candidates, contact
them and ask them to send their media pack. The media pack provides
more details about the publication including a copy of it. This copy is
normally provided free to potential advertisers even if it is a publication that
is charged for.
Look at the publication to check it still fits what your looking for and look at
the more detailed information provided about readership. If necessary, call
them to ask more details about the readership, as the target market is crucial.
You can see from the publication who else is advertising in it. If your
competitors are, don’t worry. It shows it may well be the right target
audience and what your going to do will beat anything they are trying.
With classified advertising there are categories so you can see if there is a
category to fit your product or service. Don’t worry if not, they will always
start one for you.
Prices of ads are normally either based on page sizes, such as an eighth,
quarter, half or full page or per single column centimetre (scc). If based on
scc, this is the width of one column that is 1 cm deep. This is common with
classified advertising and the number of columns on a page will vary
between publications. For example, if the scc rate is £10 and your ad is 2
columns wide by 6 cm deep, it would cost 2 x 6 x £10 = £120.
You are probably best by starting with a list of the publications you think
are going to be suitable to advertise in. You then need to decide which is
likely to be best.
You won’t know for sure which will be best but you have to start
somewhere. To help you deicide this on a logical basis follow a scoring
system along the following lines for each publication…
Who Reads It?
Your target market exclusively
Mainly your target market and others
Some of your target market and others
Circulation Figures
2 points for each 50,000 up to 300,000 and
then 1 point for each additional 100,000 up
to 1,000,000.
How To Make More Profit – The Complete Guide
How Many Competitors Advertise In It?
More than 6
The publication is charged for
The publication comes out at least weekly
The publication comes out monthly
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Start With A Small Ad
Large ads will generally work better than small ads but if they don’t work
small, they won’t work large. This means you should start small and only
get bigger when you know they work. To minimize your risk, only move up
one size at a time.
Easy to explain products will work better with small ads as will products
with a limited market such as false teeth. So what size should you start
For Print Advertising – 1/8 of a page. This is often the smallest size
and any smaller probably won’t allow you to get across the message
you need to.
Classified Adverts can be a lot smaller.
Yellow Pages ads don’t want to be smaller than a quarter column ad.
This is the most popular size promoted by yellow pages and often
has extra discounts.
Negotiate The Ad Price
The media pack will have provided you with the rate card price for the ads.
This is just the rate card price and it’s often very negotiable, but only if you
do negotiate. You can possibly get more than half off of the price, which
makes a massive difference to the return on your advertising.
Don’t forget, the publication wants you as a customer and they need you as
much if not more than you need them, so you’re in the driving seat.
It can help to negotiate on the basis of logic. Therefore you need to explain
to the sales rep how you do your advertising. This means explaining you run
direct response ads only where you track exactly the response and sales
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resulting from the advert. Then you know that it is worthwhile running
repeat ads. Let them know that based on your financial data and from your
likely response rates, the advertising is just too expensive. This is a bit of a
white lie as when using what your about to learn, response rates will be
With the point got across that you are asking for a discount on a logical
basis rather than just because you want one, you are more likely to be
offered one. Some publications just wont do discounts but the majority will
if you ask properly.
If you have to, agree to 3 insertions to get your discount. If it doesn’t work,
don’t do any more ads and you will be billed for the difference, which is
only fair. Other publications work by giving you the entire discount off of
the third advert.
Now you know the real price of your ad revisit your list of publications that
you have ranked. It can help to work out the cost per thousand of
circulation (cpm).
For example, if the cost of the ad is £400 and the circulation is 100,000 then
the cost per thousand is 400 divided by 10 = £4. This can now change how
you perceive the publications, as this is a better indication of the true cost of
an advert rather than the actual price. An advert the same size can be more
expensive in one publication on basic price, but when looked at as cost per
thousand, it’s cheaper. It can also be used in negotiating with the reps.
Now you can work out how many sales you need to make a profit from the
ad to check this is realistic before going ahead.
Decide which publication looks best and look to advertise in that one. Don’t
go doing more than the one at present. Making money with advertising is all
about small tests and then when they do work, to leverage this by doing
If it doesn’t work, try amending the ad or using another publication but only
try one at a time. When it does work, put it into other publications as well,
one at a time. Play safe and don’t over commit until you know it works.
And don’t forget remnant space…
This is space that the publisher hasn’t sold that needs to be filled at the last
minute. Remnant space is sold very cheaply. Here are 3 things to try:
Let them know you are willing to take any remnant space and you will
be offered it at very reduced prices. Make sure your artwork is ready to
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Provide your artwork before any remnant space is offered to get you to
the top of the remnant space list.
Give them authority to bill you or charge your credit card for a set
amount (perhaps only 20% of the full rate price) whenever they want to
run your ad until you say otherwise.
Send them a cheque for 20% of the ad price to cash whenever they want
to run your ad.
Negotiate The Position Of Your Ad
Positioning is part of your negotiation with the ad rep and this is what you
want to be confirmed in writing. Don’t just rely on verbal agreements as
they have a funny way of not always happening. We are talking primarily
about print advertising here.
This is what you want…
A right hand page
The earlier in the publication the better and definitely in the first
An outside edge for the ad as will become evident soon.
Higher up on a page is also better.
Try to get the ad away from other ads and near editorial content. It
also helps if you can advertise near related feature articles. Financial
products will do well in the financial pages and household products
will do well in the women’s pages.
The front page is the best and the back page is also good.
Being next to other pages that a lot of people read and keep is good
such as the TV pages.
How To Write Your Ad
Just follow all the rules of lead generation copy already covered but the
following is particularly relevant to advertising.
The easiest way to write an ad is to start writing an ad without thinking
about its size, even if you are going to end up with a small ad. Don’t be
limited or worry about size at this point, as this will come later.
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You Need A Headline that follows the rules discussed earlier on headlines.
If you are running a small ad, see if you can come up with a one, two or
three word headline that is meaningful. For example…
“Itchy Scalp?”
“Burn Fat Faster”
For larger ads you should have a pre-headline that leads the prospect into
the headline. How to format the pre-headline…
It goes above the headline.
It should be your serif font or the font used by the magazine in a print
It should be slightly larger than the body copy font but smaller than the
headline, in bold and italicised.
Capitalise The First Letter Of Each Word Again.
It should be left aligned.
Here’s an example…
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he first letter of the first line of your ad should be larger than the other
letters. It’s called a drop cap. This alone can increase readership of an
ad by 13%. Because you’ve used a drop cap you don’t need to indent the
first paragraph.
For larger ads, split the text up into columns, just like you get in
newspaper editorials. Try to avoid going over 40 characters in a column.
For print ads and directory ads your columns should be justified, but with
classified ads the text should be aligned left and ragged right.
You can get more into the ad by reducing the gap between paragraphs to 2
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A great alternative call to action for use in an advert is a Coupon,
especially in print advertising. A coupon will probably at least double your
response. These are the rules to follow for coupons…
It must have a code in it that allows you to track which publication the
coupon came from. For example. Accountancy Magazine March 2005
Edition could be AM0305.
It should be in the bottom right hand corner of the ad.
Put dashed lines around it.
Leave enough space for the prospect to fill in their details.
Add your name & contact details onto it. We haven’t even bothered
about your name at all so far. Remember we aren’t doing brand
advertising. Your name doesn’t even need to be in the main bit of the add
as your phone number can just be there should they need it after the
coupon is cut out. If you put your details, just put them along the bottom
of the ad in a small font.
Put a box in the coupon so the prospect can tick it. Involvement like
this is proven to help the psychological process of buying.
Have a large 0800 Freephone number.
If you’ve got space put a really tiny copy of the free brochure, video,
etc in the coupon with FREE printed alongside.
If the add is small and you don’t have room for a coupon, you can say
“tear out this ad and send with your name and address to …”
Putting a value on the coupon can help.
Retail stores can use coupons, the customer having to bring the coupon with
them. It could for example be a 2 for 1 coupon. The coupon should have an
expiry date or possibly be for 1 day only to generate immediate response or
it could be on a first come first served basis.
There are three main options for colour…
Black & white.
Spot colour – one colour (either set by the publication or any you want)
in addition to black.
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Full colour – whatever colours you want
Colour does increase response but normally not enough to justify the extra
cost. But the only way to be sure is to test your ad, but always start with
black & white to play safe.
Here is an example layout for a full-page ad. It’s the layout more than the
content, which is fictitious that you are looking at…
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- 139 -
Now we need to cut this ad down to size, lets say to an 1/8 page ad or even
smaller for classifieds.
Start by putting a border around the ad at least 2mm thick.
To make it smaller, keep the most important elements from your fullsize
The pre headline for small print ads but not classifieds or directories.
The main headline – keep this large and the rest of the ad can be
smaller. Don’t worry about using small font sizes. The body copy type
font can go as small as point 6. If the headline grabs attention, they’ll
read the ad. The headline can take up to a third or half of the ad if
The first sentence.
The call to action.
The business name, address & phone number.
Then add any of the following you can fit in…
Bulleted points
Testimonials or anything else that gives you credibility.
Any other body copy.
Then add any connecting words that are needed to make the add flow. This
may be needed because you’ve cut the larger ad down to size. Here are
some examples of smaller ads.
Here is a smaller ad example….
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Free Special Report For Driving
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Make sure you get a proof of the ad.
How Frequently Should You Run The Ad?
Apart from moving into other publications one at a time, you will want to
repeat it again in the same publication. These are the recommended
frequency times…
Daily Publications – No more than once a week.
Weekly Publications – Every 2 to 4 weeks.
Monthly Publications – Every month or every other month.
Again you need to test to find what works best for your ad. Often the first
ad will get the best response.
The summer months are generally not as good months to advertise in as
people are out and about more rather than inside reading magazines and
newspapers. Gift products do best in October to December. Non gift
products do well in January to March.
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If you can predict the weather, rainy days increase coupon response.
Sunday papers tend to out pull daily papers by around 40% but do cost
When To Stop Running The Ad
It’s obvious but many people don’t do it because they don’t monitor the
results. So stop as soon as it stops being profitable.
You can either try another ad or leave it a few months and try the ad again.
The best advice is probably to test other ads as only by testing can you
continually improve. You can always run the original ad again in a few
Classified Ads
There are some extra rules to apply for classified ads as follows…
The headline can be a bit smaller, even just 2 points bigger than the
body copy, but no smaller.
“The Headline Should Be In A Reverse Copy
Like This As With Cluttered Ads It Makes It
Easier For It To Stand Out”
You won’t have space for a coupon so you’ll need to put your name
somewhere else although your address isn’t crucial. The name should go
at the bottom of the ad and again be reversed out in a box using small
capitals and centred.
It should have a border around it to help it stand out. If you raise the
headline a bit as follows it will make it stand out even further.
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“The Headline Should Be In A Reverse Copy
Like This As With Cluttered Ads It Makes It
Easier For It To Stand Out”
Start with a drop cap and keep the text left aligned with a
ragged right edge as shown here. Don’t forget some formatting
tricks like underline or bold or CAPITALS for important
words. The headline needs to be reversed out as does your
name at the bottom. Notice how both the headline is laid out
and the name at the bottom is in small capitals.
Directory Advertising
In the UK the most important directory is Yellow Pages and this is the
main directory to concentrate on.
Directory advertising is different…
A higher proportion of people who open them up are more likely to
maker an immediate purchase as they are specifically looking for a
product or service. They are already interested in your product or
service. So you don’t need to convince them that they need the product
or service but that they need to choose you to provide it. This means
they need information so the more copy the better so long as it remains
Studies have shown that the average consumer looks at 5.3 ads in a
directory. You therefore need to grab attention and give them a reason
to choose you. Don’t forget all your competitors’ are in the same place
and this is where competition is strongest.
Research has also shown that you are wasting your money if you place
an ad smaller than a ¼ column. This is why yellow pages promote this
size ad over all others. You can’t get enough detail in a smaller ad, so
don’t use them.
With yellow pages and most directory advertising they allow you to
spread the cost of the payment over 10 or 12 months. Because the
advert goes in for a year it is harder to test and you need to make sure
you’ve got the best ad possible and spend more time getting it right and
planning it. Never let the directory people design the ad for you.
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They may call more than one supplier from the directory and your job
is to make sure they call you whether it is just one supplier they are
calling or five. You need the best advert, not the second best.
Your ad needs to have one main objective and be focused on this and
this only. It could be to get the prospect to call, to get them to come into
your shop but whatever it is, focus on that only. That way you get the
result you want. As they are already interested in your service this is a
time where it is more appropriate to go straight to a hard offer such as a
free consultation rather than a soft offer like a free special report.
Secrets To Get To The Front Of Your Directory
Look at how many people are in your category and what size ads they are
placing. If there isn’t a category for you it may indicate that directory
advertising isn’t going to be right for your industry but someone has to be
first and you could test it with a ¼ column ad, no bigger.
You need to be near or at the front of your directory listing, even more
important for sections running over several pages. You therefore need to
know how you get to the front. With yellow pages it’s based on the first
letter of your business name.
The computer of course recognizes that A comes before B, etc. However, in
the past the computer has recognised that numbers come before letters and
that dots... come before numbers. So in some sections of the Yellow Pages
that are very competitive such as insurance you will notice that all names
seem to be preceded by dots and numbers in a small font to help them get to
the front.
But the rules have now changed. No doubt the Yellow Pages people
thought this might start to get out of hand, so now Yellow Pages reps tell
have changed the rules. The computer no longer recognises dots or
numbers and so if you use them at the beginning of your name, you will
apparently end up at the back!
So what can you now do to get to the front. We suggest the following
approach may well win...
1. Put some A's before your name.
2. So that they don't stand out quite so much you can put them in lower
case - aaa
3. To avoid aaazebbedy & co where your name gets a bit lost, you can
still make use of dots by using aaa........zebbedy & co. The aaa's get
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you to the front so long as the dots don't precede them.
4. The Yellow Pages reps sometimes ask for evidence of the name in
the form of a letterhead, so ensure you have aaa's on the letterhead
you send to them.
The people at yellow pages will never tell you all about this but you
can’t afford not to take advantage of this knowledge.
For other directories, just ask the reps how the directory is ordered to know
what you have to do to get to the front.
Or use a service name
There's no need to have the listing under your company name. You are
allowed to go in under a service name, so you could have a service name
beginning with aaa's rather than your business name such as AAA
Gardening Hotline
Optimizing The Size Of Your Directory Ad
Apart from being at the front, you need a good size ad to stand out from the
others in your category. You obviously don’t want to hear that because the
larger the ad, the more it costs. However, if you are going to have the largest
ad in your category altogether, there is no need to go any bigger than one
size above the next largest ad.
You can also be more practical than this and keep your costs down by just
being the largest ad in your category on your page and the opposite page.
Now that you’ve applied the technique to get to the front, you know where
you are going to be in your category. The problem is you don’t know where
your category is going to start next year, so to play safe, look at all the ads
in the first 2 pages of your directory as wherever you start it won’t go over
2 pages to cover your page and the opposite page.
Now all you need to do is make your advert one size bigger than the biggest
on these pages, which may not be so big.
If this is still outside your budget, you’ll have to go down in size to meet
your budget but it’s worth investigating first. The nearer your ad is to being
the biggest the better. Don’t worry if you can’t be the biggest, you ad is still
going to be very successful as a good small ad will still beat a poor big one.
Layout Of Directory Ad
Follow all the usual rules for ad design but the following apply just for
directory ads…
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“The Headline Should Be In A Reverse Copy
In A Box Like This As With Cluttered Ads It
Makes It Easier For It To Stand Out”
You don’t use coupons with directory ads. Put your contact details – name,
address, phone no, fax, email, web etc, at the bottom of the ad.
Double column width ads should split the text into two columns.
The text should be justified so it isn’t ragged right.
With colour it helps but isn’t usually worth the extra cost. Using the white
knockout ads (where the writing is still black but the background is white)
are cheaper than colour ads and can be more effective.
Because you’ve designed the ad resist any attempt from yellow pages for
you to pay an artwork charge.
It’s probably best to forget about your own logo as people aren’t interested
in it and you can often need the space. However a trade association logo
that people know can help with credibility.
The Yellow Pages directories cover geographic areas that can be quite wide.
If you can service the whole area it helps to appear local. If you’re a shop
there’s probably not a lot you can do about this but if you provide a service
you can help your cause …
Let them know you’ll go to them.
Get different phone lines from BT with different numbers and then have
them all directed to your main office number. In the ad, you can therefore
put Area 1 Tel 012345678, Area 2 Tel 87654321, etc.
And drop your address
Yellow Pages no longer insist on having your address or phone number in
the advert. This means if you are based in one locality you can appeal to a
far wider audience by for example dropping your address from the advert
and use 0845 or 0800 Phone Numbers in your advert instead for different
Here’s an example yellow pages advert of double quarter column width
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“The Headline Should Be In A Reverse Copy In A Box
Like This As With Cluttered Ads It Makes It Easier For
It To Stand Out”
Start with a drop cap
You don’t use coupons with directory ads. Put 
 Don’t forget some formatting tricks like
your contact details – name, address, phone no,
fax, email, web etc, at the bottom of the ad.
Double column width ads should split the text into
two columns.
The text should be justified like this.
With colour it helps but isn’t usually worth the
cost. Using the white knockout ads is effective.
underline or bold or CAPITALS for important
 Three dots before the name helps to get to
the front your section.
 Go for a hard offer as they are already
looking to buy.
Address, which is compulsory with Yellow Pages goes at the bottom of the ad
0800 1234567
Adding Pictures To Adverts
Whilst in small ads you may struggle for space, using pictures in adverts can
help your cause. It gets the reader to enquire what the ad is about and read
the copy. It’s attention grabbing, like a headline. A picture can tell a
thousand words.
Here are the rules to remember when using pictures…
1. The substance of the picture is more important than the form. If you
can take a picture, you’re on your way.
2. Research shows photographs sell more than drawings. Probably
because they are reality rather than fantasy.
3. Before and after photos can easily outsell a thousand words.
4. Pictures that show and tell the key benefits work well.
5. Photos with a “what’s the difference” caption are effective.
6. Pictures of people work better than say, a picture of the factory or the
product by itself.
When showing the product, show it in use.
8. You can even add pictures of people to their testimonials.
9. Good people pictures include famous people, people in odd costumes,
people in odd situations.
10. Other pictures that work – romantic pictures, animals, catastrophe
pictures such as road accidents, pictures of rewards that relate to the
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11. Interestingly, research shows photos of men attract men readers and
women attract women readers.
12. Pictures of brides and babies also attract women.
13. Don’t show an enlarged close up of the human face.
14. Something odd in the picture will always attract attention.
15. When using people, it is better if they are looking at you.
16. If using illustrations, keep them simple.
17. Never use a photograph without putting a caption underneath it.
People read the caption under a picture more than they read the body
copy, so make it a great caption.
18. Cartoons are an effective illustrative device.
19. Imitate the newspapers, which you’ll see means never putting your
headline above the picture. Put it under or to the side. Putting it on
top, reduces attention value by 19%.
20. Don’t use a picture that doesn’t add to the advert.
21. One large picture is better than lots of small ones.
22. You can test different pictures in split runs.
Inserts in publications, allow you to use both sides. They cost a bit more but
they do generally bring more responses. You can normally insert them by
postcode areas to hit your target market.
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Section 20
Sales Letters:
Sausage & Sizzle
“A woman seldom writes her
mind but in the postscript”
Richard Steele 1672 – 1729: The Spectator 31 May 1711
Sales Letters Work
Customers respond to letters more than any other piece of paper. Everyone
likes to receive a letter.
They can be used for testing and have many purposes. It probably only costs
60p a letter to cover the stamp and stationery, not much to communicate
with a targeted prospect.
However, many small businesses have tried sales letters and then stopped
because they didn’t work. Direct mail should produce between a 0.5 to 3%
response, although if sent to existing customers should be a lot higher.
The reason they didn’t work is not because sales letters don’t work but
because the wrong sales letter was sent. You only need to look at the mass
of sales letters sent out by large businesses to know they must work if
written correctly. Done correctly, a good sales letter will massively out
perform a poor one.
Changing a flyer into a 1 page A4 sales letter has been shown to improve
response by 10 times.
The prime objective of a good sales letter is to get the reader to act NOW. It
needs a direct response.
Start by following the proven stages for all written lead generation tools.
Now we’ll look at some matters specific to letters.
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Salutation Rules
Start by getting the name & address spelt correctly. If possible print the full
name and address on the letter and the envelope. However, there are times
for huge mailings on a tight time budget where this isn’t practical.
If you have the details its very easy to personalise letters with current
technology so that it is Dear Mr Smith.
If you don’t have the name just write to your target audience like…
“To the girl who wants to look beautiful”
“To the busy Estate Agent”
“To the concerned parents at No 52”
“To the person who must increase sales”.
Avoid “Dear Sir/Madam” and “Dear Mr/Mrs”.
“Dear Reader” is always safe or perhaps “Dear Colleague” for business
Use only the surname unless you have already spoken with them and the
first name is appropriate.
When sending to businesses, especially larger businesses write to the
position rather than the name as they often change.
Using “Hello Mr Smith” or “Good Morning Mr Smith” is OK.
You could start with “Dear Friend” and then open with something like…
“I say Dear Friend because six years ago, I was where you are now…”
Signing Off
Finish with “best wishes”, “kind regards”, “yours sincerely” but never
“yours faithfully”.
Sign in blue ink with a legible signature whenever it is practical to do so.
Put your full name and don’t leave any confusion over your sex.
The P.S.
Always add a P.S.
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The P.S. is the most read part of a letter because we always look to see who
it is from. It has been proven that the P.S. is read more carefully than the
rest of the letter.
Here are the rules for a good P.S…
Make it short and to the point.
End it with thank you.
Don’t put anything from your opening paragraph in the
P.S. as this is what they will read next.
The P.S. can contain any of the following…
A repeat of the USP.
A repeat of the guarantee
A call to act now.
A message to say “if the letter is not of interest, could you pass it
someone who it you think it may be of benefit to”.
It can add more value or an unexpected bonus.
A reminder of an important point.
More Top Letter Tips
Follow the usual headline rules with the only other point to note being
that the headline can go above or below the salutation or in what is
known as a Johnson Box, in between two lines of ********
Headline Goes Here
Letters to business owners should generally be on superior quality
paper and envelopes. Use good quality white paper.
Consumers prefer bright colours, pictures and involvement devices to
be included such as rub off cards.
Avoid graphics in the letter, to make sure it looks like a letter.
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Use all the formatting tricks to make it easier and more interesting to
Try to not to finish any page with a full stop, but finish mid sentence
or use transitions…
You can use simulated handwriting in the margins.
Coloured highlighting, like a yellow highlight pen over a key
sentence helps grab attention.
Include a reply device. Business Reply cards that don’t require any
postage are good.
Fold the letter so the copy is facing out when the letter is opened.
Make sure the headline is the first thing that is seen when it is opened.
Try to leave plenty of white space to make it easy to read. One trick is
to reduce it in size by 5-10% on your photocopier.
You should mail the letter to yourself first to see what it looks like
after going through the post.
You can use a series of letters, perhaps sending one out every 3 to 4
weeks. In each one, mention “In my last letter of…. I mentioned” and
now go on to add some additional benefits. After sending a few letters,
if there is no response, let them know in the final letter that it is the final
mailing and give them the option to stay on your mailing list. Perhaps
have a “just curious” box for them to tick.
You certainly need a campaign of letters following a request for
information such as a brochure. The letters should get progressively
harder selling. Make a phone call after the 4th or 5th letter, if not before.
Put a date on the letter.
Use your own personal style.
Letters look better when printed on a laser printer.
The Reply Device
The reply device with your letter is crucial to the success of the sales letter.
Ideally it should contain all the important parts of your sales letter
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The headline.
The offer.
The USP.
Other benefits.
The deadline.
The Guarantee.
The call to action
Here’s what else to do with reply devices…
1. Give it a good title. “Special Sign Up Opportunity” sounds
more interesting than “Order Form”.
2. Offer different ways of replying.
3. Use graphics such as an envelope graphic if you want the
reply posted to you.
4. Give them something to tick to create involvement and
make it easy to reply.
5. Give them different offers to reply to, both hard & soft.
6. Don’t ask for more information than you need.
7. You can possibly have their name & address already filled in
on the order form.
8. Ensure your contact details are on it in case it gets
separated from the letter.
9. Write “Thank You” on the reply device.
10. Printing it on different coloured paper such as yellow
11. Don’t add anything that isn’t contained in your sales letter,
except possibly an extra incentive.
12. Provide the payment options -for immediate purchases
How To Get Your Envelope Opened
Envelopes don’t always get opened. Some are thrown straight in the bin if
they look like a sales letter. If you can’t get your letter opened, it doesn’t
matter what’s in it. To get it opened you need to make it look personalised.
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So follow these rules whenever you want to get your mail opened…
Use Plain Envelopes (avoid window envelopes).
Try different size envelopes with different colours or textures to make
them look personal.
Have the name & not just the address on the envelope.
Handwrite the name & address in blue ink. If you are doing a mass
mailing and it isn’t practical you are better off using a laser printer to
print direct onto the envelopes rather than using labels.
Use real stamps rather than a franking. In fact if you use more than
one stamp, this works even better. You can even break down your first
class stamp into small denominations to do this. First class mail is more
likely to be opened.
If you write “Personal” on the envelope there had better be something
personal enclosed. Otherwise, you’ll just lose credibility, so don’t do it.
If in a mass mailing, it’s not going to be practical to make the envelope
not look like a sales letter, then you can try putting a teaser message on
the front of the envelope to generate interest to get it opened. Only by
testing will you know which works best for you.
Examples are…
“ Inside You’ll Find The Secrets The Taxman Doesn’t Want You
To Know”
“Free Offer inside”
“Limited Time Offer”
“Please Open Immediately”
“New Pricing Enclosed”
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Here is an example layout of a letter and reply device. The content is a bit
haphazard but it’s the overall impression of interest you are trying to create.
The HEADLINE Can Go Here Or It Can Go
Below The Salutation. It Can Go On More
Than One Line And Should Be Centred.
Dear xxxxxxx
Keep your first sentence short and use it as your first paragraph.
Use Sub Headings To Break Up Sections
For most products and services, the more you tell, the more you
sell. Long copy invariably outsells short copy. You are writing for the
buyer, not the non-buyer. So tell them everything they would want to know.
If using long copy you must be able to keep the customer interested.
If you can’t do this, short copy may well do better. Short copy is also more
suited to simple products that can be explained in a short letter.
If someone who is buying would need 16 pages to fully explain the
product or service to the, use them. If only 1 page is needed, use that.
Bullet points help to generate interest…
1. Expand on the most important benefit of your offer.
These should be the benefits particular to what you are
trying to get the prospect to respond to, such as the Free
Special Report.
2. Focus on a specific problem and generate anger, fear,
guilt, etc followed by your solution.
3. Get your USP message across.
Another Subheading
Forget the English teachers. Write as you talk in conversational
English. It has a natural enthusiasm that is infectious. A bit like a 10-yearold child telling you what they’ve been up to.
The body copy font should be your usual serif font. The font size
should be between 11 & 13. Indent the start of each paragraph like this.
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Sentences to be no longer than two lines and paragraphs no longer
than 7 lines.
Words in a list can use bold more often.
To keep the prospect reading, try to not to finish any page with a full
stop, but finish mid sentence or use transitions…
It helps to get the reader to move onto the next page and avoids
putting a barrier in their way.
Use some formatting tricks such as using bold underline italics
and/or CAPITALS for certain keywords. Don’t over use them otherwise
they will lose their effect away from your key words. A little sprinkle will
do nicely.
Setting key paragraphs in boldface or italic can break up long copy.
Use boxes with light shading for extra emphasis of
important points such as your guarantee.
Use different types of bullet points and numbers.
Use lines of asterisks to break up important sections.
Text must be left aligned and ragged at the right hand edge.
Use the present tense, second person – “you feel well dressed in a
Brown Brothers Suit” and not “a man will feel well dressed…”. Use “it
does” and not “can” or “could”
You Need A Call To Action
You must have a call to action to get the prospect to respond NOW. This
must be related to your primary objective such as to call for your Special
Best Wishes
John Smith
P.S. The postscript is the most read part of a letter
because we always look to see whom it is from. It has
been proven that the P.S. is read more carefully than
the rest of the letter. It can be in a script font.
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Priority Sign Up Form
“What Every Driving Instructor Ought To Know About
How To Pay Less Tax And Avoid Tax Investigations!”
Please either:
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Fax this sheet to: FREEFAX 0800 7654321 or
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FREEPHONE 0800 123 4567
Please quote Ref CFCADI7
Thank You!
Remember, when you request the Sign Up Pack to use us as your accountants before 31st March, you’ll get
the following …
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3. The ADI Select Mini Report on results driven “Profit Maximisation for Driving
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and an Information Pack. I understand both of these are completely without obligation.
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Postcard Marketing
Postcards can be effective for marketing as you don’t have to get the letter
open. Here are some rules to follow…
Avoid putting any vital information in the postal franking area of the
top right hand corner.
Use the space on both sides for your messages.
Bright coloured postcards grab attention. If they call about that bright
lime green postcard, you know its working!
Apply the usual headline rules, offer & call to action.
Give your company’s return address so any undeliverable addresses
can be removed from your database.
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Section 21
Fax Advertising
“And once sent out,
a word takes wing beyond recall”
Horace 65 – 8 BC: Epistles
Fax advertising is used for business-to-business marketing.
As always, the right list is crucial. If you are going to use a fax bureau they
will be able to help you find a list to meet your niche.
Selecting Your Fax Bureau
Using a fax bureau is far easier than doing it yourself and is not particularly
expensive and is far cheaper than sending direct mail through the post with
each one only costing a few pence.
Follow these rules for using fax bureau…
You need to know they have a good list so find out…
1. How can you select fax numbers from their list – by
geographic area, business type, employee numbers, turnover,
etc? This is crucial to only sending faxes to your niche
2. How many fax numbers do they have?
3. How often is their data cleansed, checked and updated?
4. Do they check their list against that of the Fax Preference
Service and how often. It is illegal to send faxes to those
numbers that are registered with the fax preference service so
you need to ensure compliance with this. You can find our
more about the Fax Preference Service at
5. Where anyone asks you to remove their fax number from
your list after they receive the fax, will the fax bureau do
this? You don’t want a fax going to those people again if you
use the same bureau again.
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6. Can you add your own list of fax numbers to that of the
What feedback do you get such as when were the faxes sent, how
many were sent and how many were received. It’s unlikely that much
more than 80% will be received.
What’s the cost and is it for faxes sent or received. This is normally
related to volume of faxes sent and whether they are sent at peak (9am
to 6pm weekdays) or off peak times. Don’t forget to negotiate.
What’s the minimum order? If it is say 2000 names but your list is only
going to comprise 1000 names, find out if you can send to the 1000
names now and then again in a few weeks to avoid not hitting the
minimum order level.
If you type “fax broadcast” or “fax bureau” into your Internet search
engine, many will come up.
Fax Format
Two proven formats for sending direct response faxes are either…
An editorial type fax that looks more like a newspaper article as
with the advertising we looked at earlier.
A personal fax that looks just like normal fax correspondence.
Use the personal style fax for your existing customers or for prospects
where you haven’t got a lot to say.
Use the editorial styles fax to prospects where you have a lot to say that
wouldn’t otherwise fit easily onto one page or where you want to use a fax
back coupon.
You follow all the usual rules for lead generation writing and format but
the following particularly apply to faxes…
Editorial Format
Follow the usual headline layout and also have a pre-headline as with
larger ads.
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Do not personalise it.
There is no fax header section as with personal faxes.
Use 2-point size font between paragraphs.
It should start with a drop cap.
Split it into 3 columns and break the paragraphs up with sub headings.
Justify the columns.
Look to add a fax back coupon. This doesn’t work with the personal
style because a fax coupon breaks the feeling of it being a personal fax.
However, as with print ads they are great for editorial style faxes. Follow
the exact same rules for the format of the coupon as with print ads and
put it in the bottom right hand corner.
So the editorial fax looks just like the full-page print ad shown earlier,
except that it would cover 3 columns on a full A4 page.
Personal Format
This needs to look just like a normal fax you use in personal
Put the headline in the “subject” or “re” section of the fax. Type the
headline but no bigger than a size 13 font. Again Capitalise The First
Letter Of Each Word but there is no need for speech marks, bold or
underline and keep the headline to one line only.
Personal faxes going to customers must be personalised with their
name but if going to prospects this isn’t normally worth the cost so you
can just put something like Dear Business Owner, Dear Friend, etc.
The personal fax will have the usual fax header section that is
completed for Date, To, From, No of Pages, and Subject.
Use a half line to full line between paragraphs.
The text should be left aligned and ragged right.
Indent the start of each paragraph.
With the personal fax, as you don’t have a coupon, put your contact
details at the bottom of the fax and the code so that you can identify the
fax beneath that.
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The personal fax should also finish with your name and signature and
have a P.S.
For both types of faxes, the body copy font must be a serif font and between
size 10& 12. After editing it needs to fit onto one page.
It is also sensible to write on the bottom of all faxes something like… “if
you wish to be removed from our fax list, please fax your request to (insert
fax number)”
Remember your editorial fax looks like the full page print ad we did earlier
but with 3 columns on an A4 page. An example of a personal fax layout
follows on the next page…
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Fax Message
No Of Pages: 1
Subject: Your Headline Goes Here
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dear xxxxxxx
Keep your first sentence short and use it as your first paragraph.
Use Sub Headings To Break Up Sections
The body copy font should be your usual serif font. The font size should be
between 11 & 13. Indent the start of each paragraph like this except the first
paragraph where you have used the drop cap.
Sentences to be no longer than two lines and paragraphs no longer than 7
Another Subheading
Use some formatting tricks such as using bold underline italics and/or
CAPITALS for certain keywords. Don’t over use them otherwise they will lose
their effect away from your key words. A little sprinkle will do nicely.
Use the present tense, second person – “you feel well dressed in a Brown Brothers
Suit” and not “a man will feel well dressed…”. Use “it does” and not “can” or
You Need A Call To Action
You must have a call to action to get the prospect to respond NOW. This must
be related to your primary objective such as to call for your Special Report.
Best Wishes
John Smith
John Smith
P.S. The postscript is the most read part of a letter because we always look to see
whom it is from. It has been proven that the P.S. is read more carefully than the
rest of the letter.
Put Your Company Name & Contact Details Here
If you wish to be removed from our fax list, please fax your request to (insert fax number)
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When To Send The Fax
The best time to send out your fax is normally Monday to Friday between
11am to 3 pm. Ask your fax bureau if they can do this. If they can’t do it,
ask them not to send it until they can and you’ll find that usually works.
Off peak is cheaper but apart from rare occasions, you’ll get far better value
by paying a bit more and sending at these times.
Don’t forget to test and don’t send one fax to your entire list to start with.
Don’t send to any more than 2000 on your first fax and then test this against
a different fax for another 2000 names from the list, but only change one
variable at a time.
Alternatively, if your list is only small, send one fax one week and then
another to the same list a few weeks later to test the difference.
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Section 22
Internet Marketing
“Progress Involves Risk. You can’t steal second
base and keep your foot on the first”
Direct marketing basics apply on the net just as they do everywhere else.
How To Build Your Web Site
The vast majority of Internet sites do it all wrong.
To start with you must get one. They’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,
365 days a year so don’t ignore them.
The Internet is continually growing and more people are starting to buy
online. The growth rates continue to be phenomenal. They can work for
businesses selling locally as well as nationally. As an online shop they are
excellent as they can be changed whenever needed – it’s not so easy with a
10,000-product catalogue.
What is more important is more and more people are turning to the Internet
for research purposes. If you don’t have a site, your prospects are not
going to be able to research you. They help to build credibility.
They help bridge the gap between small and large businesses, as it’s not that
hard to build a great looking and functional web site at very reasonable
Follows these guidelines in building your site…
Avoid using the company name or logo as the headline. 95% of sites do
this. Your headline on the first page should follow the usual headline
You don’t want a nice pretty site with no substance to it. Don’t worry
about having an ugly site if the content is fantastic. Good design does of
course help the prospect to start looking at the site but spend more time
and money on content than on beautiful design.
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Don’t focus on you – all about your history, how long you’ve been
going etc. The focus needs to be on the customer with “you” & “your”
rather than “we” & “I”.
Make sure your contact details are easy to find. Put them on every
page with various options and lots of links to email you. You need lots of
e-mail links to you in the site.
Your site must have a call to action. You must make it clear what you
want the prospect to do next.
You must promote your site. Although it’s an Internet site, you can use
conventional promotional means to publicise the site. Put the site address
on everything you produce.
If the pages take too long to download, they’ll be off somewhere else.
The front page should be no more than 20KB and other pages less than
50KB. Use JPEG images which load faster.
You must try to capture the prospects email address. It’s easy to get by
offering something for free such as your special report. You can then
keep in touch easily.
Ignore the techies telling you what your web site should look like. Use
them for technical input but use direct marketing methods for the
If you are offering a service, don’t give away the whole answer on the
web site.
Avoid building your site just for PR purposes. You need it to generate
direct responses as with all your other marketing activities.
Using an e-tip of the week or e-newsletter is an extremely effective
way of developing a relationship with prospects and customers and its
FREE to do. They do everything a traditional newsletter or tip sheet does
at no cost.
The design of a web site is more than the graphics. It’s about how they
are constructed. You need to know the site objective before you build it.
Focus on what the site is trying to achieve. If not pages become unrelated
and the user becomes confused and goes elsewhere. Keep the design
You can use web sites to assist with customer service. For example,
guidance on how to use a product or troubleshooting problems. This
could save an enormous amount of time spent on dealing with these
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problems on the phone.
How much you invest in web development should be tempered by how
much your target market is to be found on the web. However, the web is
rapidly expanding and can open up new markets for you.
Choose a domain name that people can guess if they are trying to
locate your web site. Avoid having a dash – as it makes this harder.
Using your company name rather than incorporating what you do such as
“printers” will make it easier for people to find you.
The site needs to be interesting to keep people there. It helps to have
interaction with the visitors such as letting them contribute, bulletin
boards where they can ask questions and let others answer. Ask for
feedback on your site.
Consider translating your site into other languages if you have a
worldwide audience, although English is the main language of the net.
If you have different target markets you should look to have a
different web site for each rather than a generic site.
To trade online you need a shop front and a means of accepting
payment online. A shop front can be provided either by a server based
subscription service for which you pay a set up fee and a monthly
subscription fee or a PC based store using an out of the box store builder
on your local PC.
A good place to start is with direct marketing’s oldest retailers. What
does a good catalogue do? It introduces with a personal message in the
form of a letter. It points you to the best deals and new offers. It keeps
everything plain and simple, using pared-down, clear language. And it
asks frequently for the order.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation is one way of helping drive traffic to your site
although don’t rely on it as the only way.
Every search engine has slightly different rules for what will get you to the
top. It is sensible to concern yourself only with the major search engines and
learn the rules for these only.
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Search engine optimisation is a massive subject in its own right that is
constantly changing and the following covers the very basics.
Use of the right keywords in your site is crucial to getting to the top. Here
are the places where your search engine keywords should appear…
Description META TAGS
Domain Name
Page Title - keep this to 5 to 10 words – Google only recognises the
first 66 characters.
Page Text – try to match keywords in the title
Alt Tags on images.
Hypertext links.
Between the “no frames” of framed sites.
Getting this right on the first page of your site is especially important..
Finding your best keywords…
To find the best keywords for your site, try these resources…
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Google Adwords, that’s the advertising program you see on the Google
search engine will provide keyword suggestions on Google.
Keywords should contain phrases as well as just words. Put them in
lowercase and avoid words like “a” which search engines just ignore.
Always use the plural of words, such as “horses” rather than “horse”.
Avoid putting large graphics at the top of your web pages, as search engines
can’t read them.
A nice trick…
If you do a search on words that people may use when searching for your
type of business, go to those who come to the top of the search engine. If
you then click on VIEW & SOURCE you will see all the HTML source
code for the page. Within that code you will see all the meta tags and
keywords that help get them to the top of the search engines, so look to use
these words.
The Importance Of Links
The more links you have from other sites to your site, the higher up you are
likely to appear in search engines. This is becoming more important. Have a
“Link To Us” button on your web site to encourage this.
For more help on getting to the top of search engines visit
More Web Marketing Ideas
It’s excellent as a tool for researching your competition. Subscribe
to your competitors e-mail lists to keep track of what they’re doing.
Join discussion groups and discussion e-mail lists relevant to your
business where your prospects are likely to be. They are normally free
to join. When doing this always be informative rather than blatantly
advertise. Before sending your own email or message, you must know
the netiquette used. It helps to watch first and definitely read the FAQ’s
about the group or list.
You could even start your own discussion list but it does involve a fair
amount of time input to administer.
To enter discussions related to your business you can search for
relevant Usenet groups at http://groups-beta.google.com/
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Banner ads - You can join Microsoft’s link Exchange for banner ads
to get your banner to appear on thousands of sites, although there is less
control over where it appears…
Pay on a CPM (cost per thousand) or CPC (cost per click) basis for
banner ads. The only real ones to concentrate on are Google Adwords
and Overture.
You can get free banner creation tools at
Have a “Tell A Friend” Button on the site so that visitors can let
friends know about your site. If you want a script for this go to
Have freebies such as e-books that friends can pass onto each other
with your details on.
Use virtual postcards that friends can send to each other and they
come to your site to read them.
Internet Press Releases can be sent to online publications. These can
include links to you and e-mail links.
Affiliate Marketing is all the rage on the net. Very simply it involves
endorsing products on other sites and when your visitors click through
to their site and buy, you earn a commission. So you can earn a fortune
without having to do anything yourself! Don’t believe all the hype. To
get it to work you must have or create a site that attracts a lot of visitors
in the first place. If you can do this, affiliate marketing is a sensible
thing to add on to your site. Of course, you can use it the other way
round as well and set up affiliate programs whereby you pay a
commission to those who send customers to you.
E-mail Marketing
Top tips for e-mail marketing…
1. Your web site should have a privacy policy, informing users
how you intend to use e-mail addresses than you collect.
This will make them feel more comfortable in providing
their e-mail address.
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2. E-mail marketing is far more effective when it is permission
based and targeted. Not the e-mail lists of 3 million e-mail
addresses offered all over the Internet.
3. If an e-mail is requested then length is not an issue but if it is
sent unrequested, try to keep it short with a link to your web
site to do the rest of the selling job.
4. Plain text e-mails tend to work best as bells and whistles
may confuse when received the other end. How it appears to
you may not be how it appears the other end. Always send
one to your self first.
5. Use BCC so that no-one knows the details of everyone else
who is on your list. However, lots of BCC will look like
spam to an ISP and may never get through. Therefore once
your list gets to a certain size it will be far more sensible to
use list software. You can either purchase your own
software or your ISP may provide a listserv program. The
most popular program is probably listserv available at
6. List software will allow…
 Tracking of the e-mails.
 You will be able to personalise it with the persons
name in it.
 And will have a spam checker to check what you
are going to send won’t be rejected by ISP’S as
You can get free list software programs although they always
involve some advertisements inserted into the bottom of the
listserv messages. http://groups.yahoo.com/ offer a free
7. A sales e-mail should follow the process of lead generation
tools although should normally be shorter and avoid having
an ad headline in the subject section, as it will probably just
be deleted from an inbox without being read.
8. Always offer the option to get off of the list.
9. They can be used by ordinary businesses, not just high tech
businesses. For example a heating & cooling repairs
business could send e-mails covering the following topics…
Prepare For Winter Info
Insulating And Energy Efficiency Tips
Long Term Weather Forecasts
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Special Offers – perhaps a seasonal check up
maintenance plan.
New product information.
And when someone sends you an e-mail you should respond within 24
hours. People aren’t as patient when it comes to waiting for e-mail replies.
Always put your URL in e-mail signatures.
Autoresponders can be used to reply to e-mails or forms submitted on
your web site which allow automatic responses to standard requests, such
as a request for your Special Report. They also allow…
Responses to be personalised with the person’s name.
Automatic delivery of a series of emails so that an e-mail campaign
continues automatically and is personalised to the prospect who has made
an initial request.
Tracking of responses.
Getting Repeat Visitors
If your web site never changes it’s hard to get visitors to come back. Here
are proven ways to get people to come back to your site…
1. Have a “What’s New” page and get their permission to
email them to let them know when it changes.
2. Give away FREE Stuff that changes often.
3. Have coupons and discounts on the site that change
4. Have special promotions.
5. Have a calendar of events that is updated.
6. Have contests and competitions on the site that make
people return for the result and to enter more competitions.
7. Have a tip of the day on the site.
8. Use a “Bookmark Me Now” button to add you into their
favourites. To make your bookmark standout, read an article
at http://wilsonweb.com/wmta/bookmark.htm
9. Have games on your site.
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Fantastic Web Resources
Ade’s Web Masters Portal – this has loads of advice on all the software
out there to help with web sites. http://www.ades-webmasters-portal.com
Word Tracker – a site that gives you an insight into what people look for
in search engines compared to your own site. You enter some keywords and
they’ll tell you how often people search for them and how many competing
sites use those words. It’s free.
Clickz - http://www.clickz.com/ All sorts of helpful advice and data about
Internet marketing.
Web Position Gold – this is a software product designed to get your web
site to the top of the search engine results. There is a free trial download at
Pop Up Generator – can be used to generate pop ups to remind visitors to
take action. Use it carefully to avoid irritation.
E-cover generator - If you want to make your Special Reports look better
or sell e-books online, there is a great little piece of software that lets you
produce great looking covers in minutes. It’s simple and no design skills are
needed. You can produce books and two or three sided boxes.
The Logo Creator - To create great logos in minutes.
E-Book Generator -To get your book into pdf format
Alternatively get Adobe Acrobat at www.adobe.com
Dreamweaver – software to create web pages.
Fireworks – the companion to dreamweaver to produce web images, fancy
pull down menus, etc.
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Section 23
Telephone Marketing & Selling
“Friends, Romans, countrymen,
lend me your ears”
William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616 Julius Caesar (1599)
Telemarketing That Works
Telemarketing is a two-stage process normally attempting to get an
appointment with the prospect first whereas teleselling is a one-stage
process of making the sale on the phone.
The reasons for doing it are simple…
Response rates to telemarketing of 5 to 50% are possible, far better
than direct mail of 0.5-3% or the 0.1% response of print advertising.
You get the prospects undivided attention.
You get feedback with immediate responses.
You only need a telephone to do it.
The impact of sales letters is substantially enhanced if they are followed
up by telephone after the mail-out. It can increase direct mail response by
500-1000%. The best time to follow up is about 1 week after the direct
mail is sent out.
The phone can also be used to get referrals, for repeat business, reorders, to upgrade, for customer service, for surveys, etc.
However, you do hear the “No’s” as well as the “Yes’s” and it can be
demoralising if not done properly. You will get some people who are rude
or who just hang up on you. You have to not take this rejection personally
and accept that some people just don’t like getting sales calls.
You’ll also go through bad spells where you just seem to be getting
nowhere. However you feel about it, there’s no denying that if you do it,
you’ll get results. The more you call the more sales you make. Every
rejection you get is one step closer to success. That’s why some telesales
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centres will have £10 notes strapped to the telephone to remind everyone
that every time they pick up the phone, they are earning money.
Try to get away from the feeling and acting like a slick telemarketer to that
of a being a friendly advisor offering a customer service.
The calling doesn’t have to be done by the person who wrote the letter and
can be an assistant but you’ll get better results from someone who enjoys
calling and will enthusiastically “smile & dial”.
In terms of costs, you should probably be looking for products or services
where you can allocate around a third of the sale price to the telemarketer, a
third to other expenses and a third to you. The price of what you are selling
therefore has to be high enough to justify this.
You can outsource the telemarketing to a specialist agency although it is
unlikely they will ever know the product as well as you or have the same
enthusiasm for it that you do. If you do it yourself, you then hear any
feedback directly yourself.
Any leads should be followed up promptly by phone, as this is the time
when interest is at a maximum.
Getting Ready To Call
As always you need the right list to be calling from – get this wrong
and you’ll be wasting your time.
Have a reason to call, such as following up a sales letter.
You need the right equipment and space to work in. Many
telemarketers prefer to use headsets. By having a database software
package such as Goldmine, you’ll be able to dial through the PC by
clicking a button rather than having to dial every number. You may need
to get another phone line, so you don’t tie up the incoming lines.
Don’t let people interrupt you. Put up a “Do not disturb sign” if
Avoid background noise. Don’t ever do it with children in the
background, TV blaring, etc.
Dress as you feel comfortable.
Have a glass of water to hand.
Scripts – they are easier to test but they make you sound like a robot.
Avoid prepared scripts and use a simple, flexible friendly approach.
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Guidelines and notes are far better to follow.
Have a plan – how many calls are you going to make and what results
are you aiming to get.
Don’t do it for more than 1 hour without a break and not more than 4 to
5 hours in a day.
Pick a good time to call – when your prospect is most likely to be in
and least busy.
Organise your calls – do new calls and follow up calls in bunches.
Beating The Gatekeeper
Ways to get past the gatekeeper…
Call when they’re not there. For example 7-9am, lunchtime and 5-7pm.
Use Answer/Ask –answer their question and then ask a question before
they can ask another filtering question.
Use the words “Would you tell him…” whenever a question is asked.
For example, when asked who’s calling, respond with “Would you tell
him you have John Smith holding, please?” The natural response is to do
it rather than say “No, I won’t tell him”
If you get “And who are you with Mr Jones”, just respond with “Would
you tell him my company is ABC, please?” and continue like that with
whatever is asked.
Treat them right and get them to like you. Then they’ll go out of their
way to help you. Learn their name and put it in the database as well as
any other info you build up on them.
When asked “What’s it concerning?” try to reply with something
broad so that the secretary can’t say it’s not something their boss would
be interested in. If the secretary says “he wouldn’t be interested” try to
find out why. Try using the words “Just suppose….” As a way of
overcoming any objection to you being put through – “Just suppose I
could reduce his print costs by 50%” – this isn’t really for the secretary to
decide on.
If possible use “I’m calling on the suggestion of one of his business
associates” if you can justify this.
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If told your prospect is in a meeting and do you want to leave your
name and number, try to avoid doing this. If they call back you may not
recall why you called them or it may be inconvenient.
Say something like “I’d like to but I’m going out shortly. When do you
think he’ll be free?” You’ll get a response such as “10.30”. Then say
“Gee, I’ll be out by then. When should I try him again?” Always end
with a question. Never ask to have your prospect call you.
Voicemail – if you are put through to your prospect’s voicemail, leave
a message saying who you are and you will call tomorrow. Then when
you get the question “is he expecting your call?” you can honestly say
“yes”. If you get voicemail again, don’t leave another message
Identify yourself - Give your name and the name of your company.
When giving your company name, if it’s long or hard to get across,
consider abbreviating it for the purposes of the phone call if necessary.
Announce yourself – “Hello, I’d like to talk to Bob Jones. This is…”
State whom you are calling first and then give your name as this helps
the receptionist to direct the call and remember your name.
Give the reason for your call. Using the word “IDEAS” can help. If
Perhaps you have some ideas you want to discuss with him regarding his
printing. Only great minds have ideas!
Identify the decision maker -“who in you company handles widget
Ask the receptionist if it is Miss, Mrs or Ms. If you don’t know use
“Ms”. Whatever you do, don’t make a big deal of it. Ask for
pronunciation of difficult names.
Get to the most senior decision maker – even if it means
subsequently getting moved down to a lower person as you now have
their endorsement to do it this way.
Opening With Your Prospect
Your opening statement needs to be kept to no more than 30 seconds.
Work on your delivery – warm and friendly, not too soft or too loud, not too
fast or too slow. You need to be clear & enthusiastic.
Don’t apologise for your call in the opening statement.
Your attitude is crucial. Prospects pick up on your voice tone.
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Repeat identifying yourself and the reason for your call with the decision
maker. Give the reason why the prospect should be interested in what
you’ve got to say. Using the words “our customers tell us…” can help here.
Don’t use first names to begin with unless the prospect uses their first name
and then use it.
Two alternative approaches are the Benefit Script Statement and the
Prospect Need – Quantification Script
Example Benefit Script Statement
You: “Mr Jones?”
Prospect: “Yes, how can I help you”
You: “Mr Jones, my name is ….. and I’m a printing specialist with
SpeedPrint. Have you heard of us?
Prospect: “I don’t think so”
You: “We specialise in helping companies like yours producing quality
printing at a significantly lower production and printing cost than they are
now. Mr Jones, if I could show you how XYZ can maintain its high quality
and cut costs by 25% would you be interested in taking a look.
Prospect: “Well, how do you do that?”
You: “But first I need to know a few things? Do you mind if I ask as few
Note the following…
The word specialist or expert steers you away from being a
Asking “have you heard of us?”, avoid you going on in a monotone
voice and breaks it up.
The danger with the benefit script statement is that it may come
across as sales like and you may pick on the wrong benefit for the
You have to have an offer with specific benefits for the prospect
backed up by guarantees.
An alternative opening line using a benefit script statement is…
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“Mr Smith, my special reason for calling on you today is to show you an
idea that our customers tell us…… (details of benefit).
“Have you seen the remarkable new things that are being done…”. It asks
for the response “what new things?”
Example Prospect Need – Quantification Script
You: “Mr Jones?”
Prospect: “Yes, how can I help you?”
You: “Mr Jones, my name is ….. and I’m a printing specialist with
SpeedPrint. Mr Smith, are you still the manager at XYZ?”
Prospect: “Yes I am”
You: “Are you the person responsible for buying printing for your
Prospect: “Yes”
You: “May I ask you a question?”
Prospect: “Yes”
You: “Then let me ask you what would it take for SpeedPrint to do printing
for your firm?”
Prospect: “Cost is important but we’re mainly concerned with quality and
You can then talk about quality and reliability.
This script also qualified the prospect to make sure you’re speaking to the
decision maker. If not ask “can you tell me who that would be?”. When you
get through to them, say “I got your name from Mr Jones”.
If you can’t meet the need, it’s better to say so.
Try both approaches and see what works best for you.
Other opening tips…
Feel the prospect – if they sound hostile, perhaps because you’ve
interrupted something they were doing, you‘re better off moving on and
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trying another time, than pushing them further. If they seem pressed for
time, ask when would be a good time to call back and do it then. If you
push on, they will not really be listening to you or be in the frame of
mind to buy today. It can always help to ask for the prospects time to
begin with.
If they are neutral, don’t be too informal, just professional.
If they sound interested, slow down and be relaxed and friendly so that
you can have a real conversation.
Refer to their trade to infer you are interested in their particular type of
Let it be known that you really want their business.
Enquiry follow up script
This is for when the prospect has already made an enquiry, such as
requesting an information pack and you are now following up with a phone
You: Good Morning, is Mr Jones there, please?
Prospect: This is Mr Jones speaking.
You: Mr Jones, this is John Smith at SpeedPrint. I’m calling as a courtesy
follow-up to the recent note you sent asking for information on our printing
services. I’d love to tell you about our service and how we might be of help
to your company. Is this a good time to talk?
Prospect: Sure, why don’t you go ahead.
You: Before I do, Mr Jones, please tell me just a little bit about printing
services at your company right now, and what in particular prompted you to
inquire about our service?
Prospect: Well, for the last few months we’ve not been that happy with the
printing we’ve had done. There’s been a couple of mistakes and it’s taking
too long for us to function as we want to as well as prices seem to be going
You: Mr Jones, I’m sure we can sort your printing out and get it to you
when you need it at a budget that will suit. But may I make a suggestion at
this point?
Prospect: Sure
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You: I think I’d be doing you a much greater service if I could drop by at a
convenient time to you and analyse your needs in a bit more detail. That
would give me an opportunity to show you a couple of things about
SpeedPrint that are a little difficult to describe over the phone. Does that
sound reasonable?
Prospect: How much time would it take?
You: No more than 30 minutes. I could be out there later today, if you like
or perhaps I could drop by tomorrow – whatever fits comfortably into your
Prospect: All right, why don’t you come by at 3 o’clock tomorrow
Asking Questions
You need to ask questions to identify needs. You don’t want there to be an
endless list of questions and there needs to be dialogue back and forth.
If someone said, “Why should we buy from you?” the correct response is
really along the lines of “May be you shouldn’t. Tell me what you’re
looking for.” This shows you are interested and care about the prospect.
That’s what questions do, particularly open questions. Here are a few
examples of open questions to get you going…
“Tell me a bit about your current situation”
“What are you looking to accomplish with…?”
“What do you consider important…?”
There are a lot more examples of open questions you can use in the later
section on holding a sales conversion meeting where a similar approach is
Begin with broad questions and then build on the answers with feedback.
Don’t ask manipulative questions that insult the prospect’s intelligence such
as “would you like to make more profit?”
Show you’re listening to responses with any of the following…
“I understand”
repeat back “so what you’re saying is…”
“yes, so would you be interested…”
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“tell me more”
You can use close questions to gather facts, to start a conversation as they
are easier to answer, to clarify a point, to confirm agreement and to break
up open questions …
“ When does your insurance need renewing?”
“ Are you currently using the services of a…?”
Developing The Dialogue
People buy from people they like. So be friendly, polite, natural, nonadversarial, listen, show interest and help them.
Be positive, use friendly phrases and smile. Don’t use techniques and be
sincere. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel. Even if you
are rejected, still be friendly as you never know when their circumstances
may change.
Don’t force a rapport but if you’re a people person it’s likely to work well
for you. If there is some common ground, let them know it. For example, if
you hear children in the background, you could ask how old the children
are. They may mention last night’s football. If so, talk enthusiastically about
Be careful of how you ask “WHY?”. It can sound accusing or disapproving.
Alternatives to use are…
“Could you elaborate on that?”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Obviously you have a good reason. Do you mind telling me what it
“Do you mind telling me why?”
Be Direct
Don’t misrepresent yourself. Always be truthful and honest but present
yourself in the most favourable light. It can even work to be totally up front
and say something like “let’s not kid ourselves, I’m calling to sell you
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something. But, it’s good for you and if you give me 4 minutes I’ll tell you
why and prove it”
Get to the point – don’t let them think you are a slick telemarketer.
The Paraphrase
When you identify needs, paraphrase it back in your own words to bring
in unexpressed feelings and meanings without mentioning your product or
service by name.
Use the words…
“What I hear you saying is….”
“It sounds as if…”
Get agreement by following that with…
“Is that what you mean?”
or saying “Wouldn’t you say…”
For example if someone said “I tried to read that book, couldn’t keep my
mind on it and fell asleep”, the paraphrase could be “it sounds like the book
was boring, right?”
The Competition
If the prospect appears indifferent to their existing supplier, perhaps
satisfied but no more, try to find out more. Ask “what do you like most?”,
“why is that important?” and “what do you like least?” Use “just
Other Dialogue Tips…
Be conversational.
Give advice, don’t just sell.
When you talk, produce ideas, information and educate.
Be interested in them. Think of the customer, not yourself.
Change your tone according to their reactions.
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Be able to fax them testimonials if they want them.
Avoid the patronising type comment such as “Do you object to making
a profit?”
Name Magic - use people’s names whenever you can.
Try a preference sell, would you like A or B – “No” is not a natural
A good way to avoid sounding like it’s just your opinion is to use the
words “our clients tell us….”
Accentuating the negative can work – wasting money, customer
complaints, avoiding looking bad, missing out on profits, wasting time,
fear, etc.
Timing can be an essential element of telemarketing, so try to find out
about their buying habits. If they are not interested now, when are they
likely to be buying again. Put the details in contact management software
and make sure you schedule a call back for the right time and do it.
Speak naturally – avoid mumbling, raised voice and eating.
When stressing the benefits, stress the most important first. Speak
naturally and don’t overdo it with a benefit for every statement you
Don’t accuse the prospect of having a problem.
Keep the focus on your objective, which is normally to get an
Don’t ever argue.
Asking For The Desired Action
When trying to gain an appointment, the sooner you can arrange it for the
better. Always confirm the date, time, place and names and confirm it in
Try the following lines when trying to gain an appointment…
“Mr Prospect, I wouldn’t begin to tell you that you need what I have.
That is for you to decide. But I guarantee you will get enough
profitable ideas from our meeting to make it well worth your
investment of just thirty minutes. Can we do that?”
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“is tomorrow morning convenient or would you prefer the
Objections are great!
If you don’t hear them you can’t deal with them. To get objections ask “how
does that sound –good, bad or terrible?”
Then follow up with “what’s bad about it?”
If there are common objections that come up all the time on the phone, try
to over come them in your opening statement.
Try to narrow objections down and question them tactfully.
Try using FEEL, FELT & FOUND to overcome objections along the lines
of “I know how you feel, many of our customers felt the same, but what
they found was…”
However, this is seen as a well worn sales technique by many so try saying
it in a different way such as “It doesn’t come as a surprise, many of our
customers said the same, but what they realised was…”
Again the section on holding a sales conversion meeting has a lot more tips
and ways of overcoming objections.
Literature Requests
People are generally either interested on they’re not. Before agreeing to a
literature request that is often used to just get you off the phone, say
something like…
“Just so I don’t waste your time, would you mind telling me the
situation here?”
Or “is it something you’d be interested in?”
Follow Up
You should view your follow up system of following up on leads and
calling back people who said to call again in a couple of months, etc not as
sales, but as a customer service system.
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There is no need to be a pest. Just let the prospect dictate when they want
you to call them back. Use common sense but do persevere, especially for
good qualified prospects.
When asked if the prospect is expecting your call, always say “yes”.
You can use “we haven’t spoken in a while and I wanted to check in and see
if anything has changed.”
Or “I was wondering if you are still planning to buy this type of product”
If the prospect is friendly and receptive, match this enthusiasm back but
don’t exceed it.
If you are not certain if they are ready to take action say “what do you want
to happen next?” Only push gently.
If the prospect is now cool or neutral it doesn’t mean they are not interested.
You may just be interrupting their activity of the moment or there may
something personal on their mind. Ask “am I catching you at a bad time?”
or “I understand you’re busy. Do you have 3 minutes now?”
If there is a negative reception, also ask “am I catching you at a bad time?”
If they aren’t interested now, try to find out why. Sometimes the objections
can be overcome.
If told they are looking at other suppliers, get a timeframe and ask if you can
call back before they make a decision. Use the words “will you do me a
favour? Before you make a final selection, let’s talk briefly whether it’s us
or not”
If you are blocked by the receptionist when following up, it doesn’t mean
the prospect is deliberately avoiding you. You can try sending a fax to the
prospect with a few options on it for them to tick and fax back to you …
I’ve just been very busy. Try me on…
Now is not the right time. Try me on…
I’m no longer interested because…
An alternative is to ask the receptionist if she can help. Let the receptionist
know that he was interested in your services but you haven’t been able to
get through to speak to him and if he’s not interested you don’t want to keep
bothering him. Ask if she could find out if he’s still interested and if so
when would be a good time to call. Then arrange a time in a couple of days
when you’ll call the receptionist back. If you still get an excuse then, leave
it another 3 months.
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Your database system should record notes such as if the prospect went on
holiday so that you can refer to this to help build rapport.
Tuesdays to Thursday are the best follow up days for business products and
services. Mornings are also better than afternoons.
Closing The Sale
If you want the business, it helps to ask for it or at least ask for whatever the
next stage is. The following methods will help to get a sale…
Invest time with the prospect.
Act as if you’ve already got the business through your tone, mannerism
and words. For example “when shall we get started?”
Use an incremental close. For example, “you’d like your accounts
completed within 21 days?” Response is “yes”
“You’ll reconcile your bank account?” Response is “yes”
You continue asking questions in an incremental way to parts of the deal
until the whole deal is covered with “yes’s”.
When you make a sale, you need to then act fast.
The section on holding a sales conversion meeting has more ideas on
closing a sale.
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Section 24
How To Write Press Releases
“When a dog bites a man, that is not news,
because it happens so often. But if a man bites a
dog, that is news”
John B. Bogart 1848 –1921:
In F.M. O’Brien Story Of The (New York) Sun (1918)
Press Releases That Work
Press Releases are great because they’re free, they are more credible and
believable than advertising and they can have more impact.
And if you follow the rules, small businesses can use them just as
effectively as larger businesses. The media, especially the local media need
stories from you to survive.
The only downsides are it takes a little bit of time, you can’t guarantee when
or if the article will appear and sometimes your contact details won’t be on
the story or the story will be re written by the editor in a condensed format.
As with all marketing, target your releases on the publications that reach
your niche market. If you are trying to sell as opposed to just raise
awareness, you need to try to get your contact details in the release. Media
can cover radio and TV especially locally as well as publications.
To find the right publications you need to find whom the right media are
just as you did when deciding where to advertise, so media guides again
come in handy with all the details about the market the publication is aimed
at and the contact details.
Those that you are interested in writing in, you can call and ask for the
Media Pack in order to get a free copy of the publication to see what type of
article may work best. You can then also write in the style of the
You will need a hook, an interesting story to tell. Good newsworthy items
are timely such as…
Something new about your business.
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Something that will tie in with other current news stories – Accountants
press releases around budget time linked to saving tax are an example or
April Fools for a mechanic on how not to get fooled by a cowboy garage.
Something different about your business.
Free seminar being offered.
New partner or staff member joining.
An event such as open house or reception open to the public.
Awards received by staff or owners or the firm.
Involvement with a local charity.
Special research conducted by the firm or anything related to trends.
Someone receiving special training.
A story that solves a problem.
Sponsorship your business is doing.
Controversial stories – love, sex, money, fear, gender differences,
health/weight, politics, etc are all good bases for stories. Being eccentric
will help.
You can also use tip sheets as the basis of a release– a list of tips
relevant to the readers is informative.
Free Reader Offers such as a Free Special Report would also be a great
release. On Special Reports give some advice in the article to get a feel
for the report.
Avoid just writing blatant promotional material.
Format Of The Release
1. Type on plain white paper preferably or you can use your
2. Type “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” on the top.
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3. On the right-hand top side type “For Additional
Information Call…”
4. Give your contact name, business name, address, phone no
& email. An out of hours contact number will help as
journalists often work unconventional hours.
5. Put a date on it.
6. Directly under the date type the release number, which can
be the date, your products initials, plus T for trade
publication or C for consumer publications. Do this even if
you only ever do one press release.
7. Write a catchy headline and type it in capitals and centre it.
Make sure it is centred on the type of readership such as
8. Write in the third person, news style.
9. Explain the facts in the opening paragraph -what or who it
does or is and when, why & where it all happened.
10. Try to twist the news to how it affects your prospects and
how you can help them.
11. Use quotes where appropriate – perhaps from your
managing director, a customer or even a celebrity.
12. Be factual in your wording and avoid unnecessary
13. Bring out the details in the next paragraph(s) and build
14. Finish with telling the readers where they can find out
more or buy but keep this bit short. No more than two
15. If you refer to others then give the editor the contact details
he needs to double check the information with them.
16. Double-space the rest of the release, with wide margins of at
least 1 inch.
17. Format should also have indented paragraphs, left aligned
with ragged right text, font size 12.
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18. It should be well presented to add credibility to your story.
19. Include the important parts of the release in the beginning as
editors cut from the bottom.
20. Try to stay within one page in length, and end with the
marks # # # or *** centred on the page.
21. If it runs longer, type “MORE” on the bottom of the first
page and continue with a new paragraph on a second sheet
of paper.
22. Send it in plenty of time. You can put “FOR RELEASE
MAY 2005” but the journalist may disregard this and will
use it whenever they want.
23. If you are only sending the release to one publication, let
them know with “For Immediate Release Exclusive To….”
Proof read the release.
Your Press Kit
Send it with a press kit and a “Thanks for publishing our release” letter in
one envelope to the editor. The press kit includes…
A sharp 5” x 7” black and white photo of your product preferably in
use or people (headshots). Don’t clip anything onto, or write on the
photo. Identify the photo by writing what it is about, company name,
address and phone number on a mailing label and then taping it to the
photo. Don’t write on the back of the photo because they won’t be able to
use these as the writing shows through.
Send it on disk as well so that copy & paste can be used to make the
editor’s job easy.
A one-page summary of you or your business or both with the most
important things you would want a reader to know about you – make it
interesting and use the third person with full sentences. The same may be
appropriate for the subject matter.
You can also include but not compulsory…
Other angles for stories.
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Other subject matter such as other press releases you’ve had published
or press coverage of you, your brochure, testimonials, etc.
How Else To Make Sure It’s Published
There’s no reason why you can’t send the same release to different
publications but you’ll get the best results by slanting each one slightly
differently depending on the readership.
To improve your chances even further, call the editor before sending the
release and let them know it’s coming. Just ask “are you the person I should
be sending a press release to?”
Send it with a short covering letter summarising your story addressed to the
relevant editor and you can try to help your positioning by saying “it is for
the column entitled….”. It can also help to say you enjoyed reading the
If you get a follow up call, return it immediately as journalists are always
on a deadline and will use another story if you don’t respond quickly.
Immediately send further information by fax or email if requested.
Ask when the piece may appear.
When it is published, send the editor a thank you letter or call and say
“thank you”. This will vastly improve the chances of your next release being
If you don’t get published first time, don’t give up, just keep trying.
An alternative to press releases could be trying to become a regular column
Now Leverage…
Keep copies of the press releases and use them in your sales presentations
and display in reception area. You can put them onto A4 sheets with the
publication header pasted above. Later on, you can remove the date. Then
have them printed, even in gloss for extra impact.
Even if you don’t get printed you could still send a copy of the release to
your prospects saying “this is a press release that’s just been sent out”.
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Example layout of press release…
For Additional Information Call: John Smith
ABC Ltd Tel: 0800 1234567
Out Of Hours Tel: 0800 7654321
Email: [email protected]
22 London Rd, London SW6 4EY
Date: 01/05/2005
There’s no reason why you can’t send the same release to different
publications but you’ll get the best results by slanting each one slightly
differently depending on the readership.
To improve your chances even further, call the editor before sending
the release and let them know it’s coming. Just ask, “Are you the person I
should be sending a press release to?”
Send it with a short covering letter summarising your story
addressed to the relevant editor and you can try to help your positioning by
saying “it is for the column entitled….”. It can also help to say you enjoyed
reading the magazine.
If you get a follow up call, return it immediately as journalists are
always on a deadline and will use another story if you don’t respond
Immediately send further information by fax or email if requested.
Ask when the piece may appear. When it is published, send the editor a
thank you letter or call and say “thank you. This will vastly improve the
chances of your next release being published. If you don’t get published first
time, don’t give up, just keep trying.
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Section 25
Presentations and Seminars
“I do not object to people looking at
their watches when I am speaking.
But I strongly object when they start shaking
them to make certain they are still going”
Lord Birkett 1883 – 1962: In Observer 30 Oct 1960
Why Seminars Work
Seminars can be a great way of attracting new customers. Inviting them to a
seminar on an interesting and helpful subject…
Can show you as an expert and builds credibility.
Enables you to present your service or product to many
people at one time.
Enables you to meet prospects face to face where there is
no commitment required from them.
You can qualify prospects.
Once you’ve put the work into developing a seminar, you
can run the same one over and over again.
Apart from the prospects in the room, they may also lead to
However the downside is they require a lot of work to prepare. If they are
done badly they will do you more harm than good and many people don’t
like public speaking. Research shows that Public Speaking is the No 1 fear
with people, compared to Death which is at No 6!
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But don’t underestimate your expertise. Just because it’s obvious and well
known to you, it’s not to everyone else.
Again you need to target the right audience (your niche) and it needs to be
helpful and relevant to them. If it’s a subject you are passionate about this
will show through at the seminar.
Presentation skills are also needed for team briefings, training sessions,
sales presentations and product launches. Seminars can also be used for
existing customers to introduce new products and services. They all need
careful preparation.
Finding Your Audience
Ways you may be able to find the right audience are as follows…
Run your own seminar. If you charge a small fee for the seminar the
prospect will be better and more likely to turn up once having booked a
place. The seminar is likely to be perceived as having more value than a
free seminar.
Associations and other business groups or large companies are often on
the look out for speakers to present to their members or employees.
A joint seminar with another non-competing organisation can be a
good idea where you have similar customer profiles.
The seminar doesn’t always have to be directly to your prospects. It
could be to people who would be good referral sources such as bank
managers would be for accountants.
Promoting Your Seminar
A seminar can be promoted in most ways that you would promote your
product or service directly such as
Through direct mail with phone follow up.
Fax broadcast.
Press Release.
Apply all the usual methods and rules when using these mediums. All that
has changed is that the offer is now the seminar.
It helps to say “this is not like your usual free seminar” if it is free.
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All presentations/seminars require preparation, an introduction, a
development and an end.
Preparing The Seminar
Proper planning is needed. To start with you must know what your
objective is from the seminar and focus on that.
Here’s what to consider before the presentation…
What’s the title of the presentation – make it catchy. It’s just like a
headline so follow the rules for creating headlines. “How To…”
headlines are often good for seminars.
You should write a compelling description of the seminar to use in your
marketing material for it. Also make it clear who is going to benefit most
so that the right type of prospects attend.
Ideally try to keep the seminar to less than 2 hours. Most presentations
are too long and the message gets weakened. If it is 2 hours, have a
break in the middle. Up to an hour would be good for seminars without a
break. Breaks are a great opportunity to network and meet your
prospects. You must make sure the seminar keeps to time. Practice will
help do this but you can also have filler sections to put in or take out
depending on time.
Arrange the seminar for a time when your prospects are most likely to
attend. Avoid business hours if possible. Breakfast, lunchtime and
straight after work are good for business people.
Research your audience – know how many, where they are from, what
they expect, etc.
You’ll need to think about and have a checklist for what you’ll need
with you on the day…
Directions to venue.
Business Cards.
Water bottle.
What equipment do you need?
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Have you got a spare bulb if using an overhead projector?
Do you need spare fuses?
Pens, pencils & paper for you and the audience.
Do you need extension leads?
Spare flip chart pad?
Name cards for the audience.
Name badges.
Shoe polish & duster.
Prizes for any competitions.
Mirror and comb.
Stop Watch or small clock where you can see it.
Emergency contact numbers.
Plain paper, Paper clips, rubber bands, safety pins, scissors,
ruler, stapler.
Needle and thread.
Throat lozenges.
List of attendees.
Any handouts that you will use.
Have an agenda to give out to everyone.
You’ll need to have considered and arranged the following…
Who is going to meet and greet?
What time do you need to arrive? Arrive early.
What are the sub topics? It helps to build your seminar into
defined topic areas.
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What will you wear and what colours?
How will you make your entrance?
Do you need a technician present for any of the equipment?
What lighting do you want?
Is there any information you need to send out prior to the
What are the refreshments during and post presentation –
these will be perceived as a reflection of you.
Prepare answers to likely questions.
Are you going to call the audience the day before or send a
Check out the venue before you go or at least phone to find out about
How large is the room?
How far will you be from the audience?
Will you need a mike?
Lighting and air conditioning.
How will any messages to you and the audience be
Where are the toilets?
Are there extension cables, screen, flip chart, etc.
How many chairs & what layout do you want – theatre,
boardroom, etc.
Practice your presentation beforehand. The opening and closing in
particular are very important. You should do this out loud and in front of
the mirror. Even try a video camera or tape recorder.
On the day…
Check all equipment before you start.
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Check clothing, shoes & hair.
Eat beforehand.
Go to the toilet beforehand.
Set up room including display table.
Check you don’t have lots in your pockets that bulge in odd places
Pace yourself and have comfort breaks.
You will need a plan of what you are going to say, not a full script as this
sounds like you are reading it out and loses spontaneity but a thorough
bullet point list will help.
Equipment Tips
Flip Chart Tips
Best for smaller groups (up to 50)
Use 3 coloured pens but avoid orange or yellow, as they are
hard to read. Don’t use green.
Write large.
Miss every other page to avoid pens leaking through the
Stand in front when writing or get someone else to write.
Don’t talk when you have your back to the audience and
don’t worry about the silence.
You can use pencil notes in the margins to help you if you
want. You could even pencil in what you are going to put on
the flip chart, as your audience won’t see the pencil marks.
Use symbols like circles and triangles to keep the page
Keep to no more than 8 lines per page.
Use tabs to locate specific pages.
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Overhead Projector Tips
Use one idea per vu-foil with a maximum of 6 lines and 6
words per line.
Use an 18 point font or larger.
Clip art & cartoons will add appeal.
Carry blank transparencies in case you need to explain
something further.
Focus the projector before you start.
Turn it off when no longer needed.
Other Aids To Consider
Slides – apply the same rules as presenting with a projector.
Sound Systems
CD Rom
PowerPoint – generally follow the rules for overhead projectors.
With all aids, make sure they are legible and the background is not
If you use technological aids, have a plan for what to do if they don’t work
for any reason. Whatever you do, don’t panic. The audience will be on your
side and want you to recover.
Controlling The Nerves
Nerves are natural and every public speaker gets them, no matter how
experienced they are. Here are the top tips for controlling nerves…
Visualise in your mind what you are going to do and go over it in
detail many times so that on the day you know what to do. You can get
the visualisation down to just a few minutes and a lot of professional
athletes use this method.
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Talk positively to yourself, telling yourself what a success you are
going to make of it.
Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose and
out through your mouth fully. Start by counting to 4 as you breath out,
then to five, then to six and so on up to ten if possible.
Try to recall a pleasant experience.
Remember the audience wants your knowledge so they will forgive
any presentation flaws.
The audience know public speaking can be nerve wracking and will be
on your side.
Never apologise for being nervous.
Proper preparation.
Get there in plenty of time.
Walk around to use up nervous energy.
Get good nights sleep the night before.
Eat well beforehand and avoid caffeine. Fruit will give you energy.
The more seminars you do, the less nervous you will be. Even then
you’ll still probably be nervous for the first few minutes.
Circulate and get to meet your audience beforehand.
Press your thumb and middle finger together for three seconds and then
let go.
Your Introduction
It can help to make a great impression by having someone else introduce
you. Here it is helpful to give them a script so that they get introduce you as
you want them to. However, don’t show off.
It should not be too long and just explain why you are qualified to talk on
the subject, what they are going to learn and of your special
If giving handouts at the start, put them on the chairs before the audience
arrive. It can help to leave handouts until the end as they can be distracting
to the audience.
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Let people know about toilets, breaks, smoking areas, when to ask
questions, turn off mobiles and any seminar rules.
You need a positive opening to get the seminar off onto the right track.
Good openings can include…
A relevant joke or story.
A compelling question with a show of hands.
Attention grabbing statistics or facts.
A quote or challenging statement.
State your objectives.
Then move onto something like “Let’s start by looking at…”
If it is a small group of say 10 or less, get the audience to introduce
themselves as an icebreaker.
Get your body language right – no hands in pockets or arms crossed and
make sure you smile when first introduced.
Don’t fiddle with pens, etc
Your voice – don’t use a monotone, speak too fast, too slowly, too loud or
too soft. Aim for 125 words per minute in an average conversation but
always speak at a pace to suit the audience. You’ll find your pace increases
the more stressed you are.
This needs to be written down in bullet points but it helps if you’ve written
it out fully first so that you know what you are going to say and haven’t
missed anything.
Using mind maps where you put the topic in the centre of a piece of paper
and then write down any related points radiating out from the centre will
help you to come up with ideas.
Use at least an 18-point font for your notes with underline, bold symbols,
etc for important points and words.
Put time checks on the notes so that you can make sure you run to time.
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Don’t overload your audience with information, you want them to contact
you for more information and want more information.
Summarise your main points as you go through.
Take regular sips of water to help your voice.
Project your personality and speak honestly about what you feel.
Keep it interesting. You can use…
Group Exercises. This could be breaking up into small group
discussions or role-play or brainstorming sessions.
Stories and anecdotes – make sure they are relevant to the topic.
Personal stories in particular create interest and show you in a great light.
Quotes – but not too many or too long.
Jokes – particularly about yourself.
Comparisons and analogies.
Case studies.
Pause occasionally.
Get the audience to fill in blank forms.
Audience questions – ask them questions and ask if they have any
Install humour with packs of Smarties given out for smart questions or
gobstoppers for those who talk too much. You could have prizes such as
beauty treatment (bar of soap).
To help build credibility, you can drop in names of important customers
and show work you have done. Keep your integrity at all times.
Avoid jargon that is not understood by your audience.
Bringing along an existing customer to say how you have helped them
would be extremely powerful. This is a live testimonial.
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Asking Questions
Asking questions helps to engage the audience. Use open questions and
nominate someone to answer. Use names wherever possible.
Listen carefully and clarify any response before replying. Make sure the
whole audience have heard.
If you get the audience starting to ask questions of their own accord it shows
you have engaged them. Answering a question with a question is good way
of getting the audience involved.
If you don’t know the answer say so but let them know you’ll find out the
When answering a question look at the person who asked it 20% of the time
and the audience 80% of the time. Attempt to look at everyone throughout
the presentation but if the audience is too large choose a person mid-way on
the left, someone in the middle and someone on the right to look at.
The End
End with a summary of your main points and a call to action. It should be
related to your opening objectives.
Always end on a happy point and thank the audience. If you have
particularly enjoyed them let them know.
The end of the seminar is when to make your sales pitch. Although the
seminar is a tool to gain new clients, be careful not to over promote as this
can turn prospects off. You have by now built credibility. Let them know
you would like to work with them and explain what it is you are offering
and what the next step is for them to do to become a customer.
Make sure they there is a handout that describes what you offer with your
contact details and a business card.
Ensure all handouts are professional looking and are of benefit to the
attendees. Put your contact details on all these. Encourage the audience to
take an extra copy for their associates.
Make sure you are around after the seminar to deal with any of your
prospects questions. If there is a queue, make sure you keep it moving and
don’t get stuck with one person. Have a diary handy so you can make
Use feedback forms to evaluate the seminar. Then you can take action to
improve the next one. The feedback form must provide for their name and
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contact details. You will need these especially if it wasn’t you arranging the
seminar. Have a space to ask for the most important things they learnt and a
box to tick to use any comments in testimonials.
Other ways to catch the contact details…
A prize draw of business cards at the end.
Get a list from the seminar organiser.
Collect the details on check in.
Look to offer a free next step such as a free consultation, discount voucher
for limited time, etc.
Give out some promotional items with your name on.
Follow Up
Start by reading the feedback forms.
Aim to contact all attendees after the seminar with a phone call – thank
them for coming, ask them if they have any questions or make them a
special offer.
You can also send follow up sales letters, fax, etc. Ensure you keep in
Now Leverage…
Why not make an audio or video of the seminar to send to other prospects.
You could even sell it.
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Section 26
Networking Magic
“He (Bernard Shaw) hasn’t an enemy in the
world and none of his friends like him”
Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900:
In Bernard Shaw Sixteen Self Sketches (1949)
Or “notworking” as it is known to some.
The reason it doesn’t work for them is simply that they are not approaching
it in the right way, not that it doesn’t work.
Networking is all about giving and not selling. It’s not about selling and
badgering friends, neighbours, colleagues, associates, etc. You need to
build trust. It’s not necessarily about selling just to that person as they will
have lots of other contacts that may be excellent referral sources.
The more you give, the more you will receive back and you need to be
prepared to give first.
The type of giving we’re talking about costs nothing except time.
It’s about building relationships so that both parties win out of it. Running
around collecting loads of business cards and talking about yourself, trying
to make a sale, is not the way to do it.
These are the rules to follow…
Join organisations, clubs and associations where your best prospects
and referral sources are likely to be found. You could ask your best
customers what groups they belong to and attend these. Try to join
networks where your prospects are. For example, a caterer may be
better off joining a network of professionals rather than of other caterers.
You can also go to seminars or talks on the service you provide – lots
of the people there will be prospects for you too.
Have an effective introduction. When you are asked what you do,
don’t just say “I’m an accountant, solicitor, estate agent, etc” but give
the benefit of what you do, such as “I help businesses substantially
reduce their tax bills using proven tax planning strategies”.
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If it’s someone you’ve met before you might not remember their name
and they may not remember yours. To put them at ease just say
something like “Do you remember me, I’m John Smith from… I believe
we met at…”
Of course it helps if you can remember their name. You can help
yourself here by listening carefully when people give you their name,
looking at name tags, look at their business card again at the end of the
day, and enter their details into your contact management database. It
also helps to write down other details about them, perhaps just on the
back of their business card.
You want to get the conversation started so you need some
icebreakers. Think of some you can use relevant to where you are. You
want to try to use something that you can develop into a conversation.
Examples are…
“What did you think of the speech?”
“Which of these meetings have you been to before?”
“How did you start getting involved with…?”
Perhaps you can have your own badge with a picture of your own
book on it. That would give people something to get talking to you
Develop the conversation by asking questions so that you listen rather
than talk. They help build a relationship. There are many example
questions in the later section on meeting a prospect. Just 2 or 3 open
questions will suffice.
A great networking question is “How can I know if someone I’m talking
to is a good prospect for you?”
If you find the answers are short, you can say “really, tell be a bit more”.
Show you’re listening and avoid being confrontational or disagreeing
strongly with anything that is being said.
The key is to not look to make any kind of sale at the networking event
but to see it as just the start of a relationship and to follow up after the
event. You need to make the follow up giving so you can…
Give referrals to them.
Send a letter saying it was good to meet them. Thank them for
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If you see any articles about them, write and say “I enjoyed reading
about you…” or “congratulations on…” Personal handwritten notes
on pre-printed cards with your details on can be a very effective way
of doing this.
Send Christmas Cards, or even Birthday cards.
Send anything that may be of interest to them.
Let them know who would be a good prospect for you.
Send them copies of any Free Special Reports or Tip Sheets that
may be useful to them or people they could refer.
Look to expand your network by putting your entire network contacts
from the past and enter them into your database. These could be past &
existing customers, personal contacts, association contacts, suppliers,
etc. Then let them know who your best prospects are, your USP, your
offer and what you would like them to do – refer.
Look to improve your prospects and referral chances further by giving
a talk yourself at an event.
Any contacts you do make may move onto another company. If they
do this, be sure to get the details and make contact there and with their
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Section 27
How To Write Newsletters
“Small Earthquake In Chile. Not Many Dead”
Claud Cockburn 1904 – 81: winning entry for dullest headline
competition at The Times; In Time Of Trouble (1956)
Newsletters are great for many things including…
Building your credibility.
Keeping you in the minds of your prospects and
Getting prospects to spend more time reading
them as they are not as sales like.
Giving to customers and prospects without
Adding value to what you offer.
Getting referrals.
Don’t ever use a standard industry prepared newsletter. Write your own and
they will be far more effective.
They are editorial in nature and when mixed with the focus being on the
customer they are very effective. The focus must not be on you and your
needs but that of your customers. They need to tell, not sell. That way they
get read.
The newsletter should fit in with your overall marketing strategy and you
should decide what the objective of the newsletter is. It could be to build
existing customer loyalty or to get new customers or a combination of
several objectives. Either way, you need to know this first before you can
write it. Then you write it to fulfil that objective.
It could be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.
Techniques to help get the newsletter read…
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Make it look editorial like a newsletter, with a nameplate, columns,
headlines, etc.
Give it an interesting name such as “Monthly Tips For Helping Your
Garden Grow”
The various headlines need to grab attention, as these will be scanned
first by the reader.
Use fun graphics and photos. Cartoons can be used to get messages
across. Here’s an accountants one…
Use captions with pictures.
Consider colour and paper texture.
Make sure you have at least 3 articles starting on the first page so if the
reader isn’t interested in one they can quickly move to another.
Follow the layout you see in newspapers such as…
Serif fonts with minimum size 10
Text left aligned and ragged right edge
Indent the paragraphs
Short sentences and paragraphs with varying lengths
Use transitions…
Column width between around 40 characters
Don’t waffle.
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Write personally (you, your & I) and in the present tense.
Avoid jargon.
Write how you would speak.
Mix up the articles about you and those that are tips.
Don’t make the articles too long.
Information you can include in newsletters…
Customer case studies
How to use your services or products
News about your business
News about your industry
Special offers
Forthcoming events
Customer questions and answers
Customer surveys
Your benefits
Ways to respond to offers you are making. If making an offer have a
reply device in the newsletter on the outside edge of a page. Follow
the rules for reply devices.
Separate inserts such as a sales letter, order form, special report, tip
sheet, other company endorsements, etc.
You can reduce the cost of the newsletter by providing advertising space
but keep this limited. Also, look to put your own advert in the newsletter.
Make sure your phone number and contact details are on it and easily
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Never charge for your newsletter.
They can range from one page to eight pages but remember you have to fill
the space continually so start small and see how you get on. You can do
them yourself with a desktop publishing package.
Send them to customers, prospects, employees, suppliers, media and other
The most read parts and therefore where to put your most important
Front & back pages
Top right of pages
Right hand pages
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Section 28
Proven Referral Systems
“If you want customers to talk about you,
give them something to talk about”
Just hoping your customers, contacts and friends will refer customer s to
you is not enough. By putting in place proven referral systems you can
massively improve referrals to you.
To get your referral systems to work follow these guidelines…
1. Make sure you continually let your customers know of the
benefits of using you and why it’s good for them. They are
then more likely to refer.
2. As with all marketing, test different referral strategies to see
which work best for you.
3. Always say thank you for the referral, even if you don’t get
any business from it.
4. Give a reward for the referral. It doesn’t always have to be
money. It could be a ticket for the theatre or a football match
or even just a thank you letter. If you are not allowed by the
ethical rules of your profession such as accountants are from
paying money, you could make a donation to charity. If you
know your customer well a gift associated with their hobby
may have more meaning.
5. Be prepared to do something in advance of asking for a
referral – give first.
6. Make sure all your staff know about your referral strategies
and encourage them to refer.
7. If a referral doesn’t become a customer initially, keep in
contact with them.
8. Let your customers know who would be good referral for
you. Even type up the details of who is a good prospect.
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9. Think of who can refer these prospects to you.
10. Let your customers know that referrals keep down your
advertising costs and time spent on that which in turn helps
them. Don’t beg for referrals. Let your customers know you
particularly want referrals from them, as they are your best
These are proven referral methods…
When you receive a referral and are invoicing the referral, give them a
small discount of say £30 and let them know you are also sending £30 to
the introducer. They will now be primed to refer themselves. Not only
will they earn out of it, but they know they will look good in the eyes of
whoever they refer.
Offer a free invite to a seminar if they bring a friend.
Give your customers some cards with a free offer on. On them is space
for the name of the customer and the referral. When the card is filled in
and the referral buys, both the customer and the referral receive the free
Swop your list of dead of prospects with your competitor’s list of
dead prospects. You could even write a letter endorsing each other’s
Just ask “do you know anyone who could benefit from our service or
product?” Say how much you would appreciate referrals.
Give your business card to introducers and just tell them to write their
initials on the card and for the customer to hand it in when buying to get
a special discount.
Run a cross promotion with another business that has similar
customers to you. For example, a cinema gives a 20% off voucher to a
restaurant. The cinema looks good and adds value to the transaction and
the restaurant gets more business.
Add a referral question to your questionnaires and surveys “Would
you provide us with the names of 3 people who may benefit from our
Ask for a referral whenever you gain or lose a customer.
Use referral vouchers that offer a discount or something else.
Give referrals to others first and they will be encouraged to give back.
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Think of where other people benefit from what you do but aren’t the
customer, such as a caterer at a christening. You agree with your
customer that as part of your offer to them you’ll write to all the other
guests and offer them a discount on any of their catering orders.
When trying to obtain a new customer and there is a price objection,
you could offer to reduce the price in exchange for a referral or an
endorsement letter.
Display a board in your reception area, with the names of customers
who have referred work to you in order to encourage others to do so.
Example Referral Thank You Letter …
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
Thank you very much for your kind referral of me to…………… at
……………. I appreciate it.
I don’t take referrals lightly, or for granted. A referral means that
you thought enough of my skills to recommend me as a professional,
and thought enough of me as a person to recommend me to a friend.
I appreciate your trust – and assure you I will always act well within
the framework of fairness and good taste, and will strive at all times
to provide exceptional value.
Thank you again for the privilege of your referral, the opportunity to
be of service to your associate, and your trust.
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Section 29
The Power Of
Endorsement Marketing
“Anyone who thinks customers
aren’t important should try doing
without them for 90 days”
Hosts & Beneficiaries
Endorsement Marketing is all about host-beneficiary relationships and
capitalising on the strength of the relationship that other non-competing
businesses and their customers. It relies on trust and honesty and you must
be truthful to make them work.
The idea is to use all the time, effort and money that others have spent in
developing relationships with their customers. They are the host. Using this
can cut your cost of attracting new customers to you, the beneficiary.
It works by you getting another non-competing business to recommend you
to their customers. Because of the trust already built up by the customer
with this supplier it is a very powerful recommendation.
It can change the response on a direct mailing from 0.5% to 2-10%
Examples of other endorsement marketing include Visa & the Airlines,
Disney & McDonalds.
To think of who would make a good host consider the following…
Who else sells to your customers before and after they buy from you?
For example, with accountants it may well be a printer who supplies
initial stationery before the customer looks for an accountant. A carpet
cleaner could link with an estate agent.
Who else benefits when you grow your business and who would you
benefit from if their business grew?
What businesses have similar customers to you? Going through the
business categories at the back of the yellow pages is a simple way to do
this. For example, you may sell high value items such as antiques and so
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interior designers or stockbrokers may also service your target market of
more affluent people.
Think if any of your own business customers fit into any of the above
categories as they would probably be easier to set up endorsement
relationships with, as they already know how good you are.
The Start Up Business People
A new start up business can be useful sources of new business so think of
who is involved with businesses when they start up who may be able to
refer to you…
Bank Managers
Estate Agents
Insurance Brokers
Any local colleges and business links offering business start up
For personal consumers, local Estate Agents and Conveyancing Solicitors
will be one of the first on the scene.
You could at least give these people free special reports, discount
vouchers, etc to hand out. It will add value to what they do and bring you
new work.
From the above, then decide which you think would be best to approach
and get the details of the owner or most senior person in each and write to
them with your endorsement offer.
The Endorsement Offer
You now need to decide what you’re offer is…
What incentive are you offering? Figure out what you can realistically
afford that is going to be attractive to the endorsement partner. By
calculating your lifetime value you may appreciate you can offer more
than you originally thought. Also, calculate how much this would save
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you compared to using other marketing activities. Typically 25% of the
profit may be given to the endorsement partner but even if you give
99% away you may still be making more than you were without them.
The endorsement partner may well want to be able to verify that their
income is correctly calculated and paid. You may therefore want to give
them the opportunity to control this by the enquiries being routed
through the endorsement partner and even receive the money or have
a separate joint bank account.
A simple contract may also help and make sure any enquires that come
directly to you are reported to your partner as soon as they arise.
They may not want you to have access to their customer list so you
could offer to let them send out the marketing material so that you never
know whom it went to. You can warrant not making their names
available to anyone else.
You may offer an extra incentive to the customers just because they
are a customer of the proposed endorsement partner. This is often critical
in a good host-beneficiary relationship. It could be a larger guarantee
rather than a price reduction and it should be presented as if the host has
negotiated it. This will reflect well on the endorsement partner. It could
be a discount, free report, free initial consultation, etc.
Try to get a guarantee that if it works, the arrangement is
automatically renewed and you have an exclusive agreement.
However, if you are the host, you may not want this agreement.
You can offer to repackage what you offer as the host wants.
Try to give them options, perhaps a profit share or £x per customer or
even a fixed fee.
You can tell them to use it as a test to see how much market leverage
they have with their customers. They can then set up other relationships
and you’ll help them.
In addition, if you are offering a service or product that is going to be
beneficial to your partners customers, then this will also reflect well on
your partner for pointing out the product or service and increase the lifetime
value of their customers.
The letter you write to the endorsement partner is just like sales letters so
follow the format for them. It will of course mention…
1. You are non-competing.
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2. It increases their profits.
3. Costs them nothing.
4. You will produce and pay for all the marketing materials.
5. You fully guarantee your product or service and indemnify them.
6. It’s ongoing.
7. You must also tell them all about your product or service.
8. How they get paid.
9. The sales letter should contain the key phrase…
“if my projections are correct, I expect to give you a cheque for £x
six months from now”. Also add “and if it works out, this much
every six months forever”
Here is an example of how you might start a letter to a prospective host…
“I am a highly respected landscaper in our community. I would very
much like to forge a joint venture with you. The reason I’d like to do
it is that I realise that you have spent an enormous amount of time,
effort, emotion, energy, and expense building goodwill with your
clients. Those clients – when they’re done transacting business with
you – may have nothing else to bring you in the way of new business
for many, many years. But there is a way – an ethical, valuable way
– you could reclaim the time, effort, and expense that you invested in
that relationship and do your client an incredible service.”
After sending the letters you can follow them up with a phone call to
improve response even further.
How To Operate The Endorsement Arrangement
Once you have your endorsement partner on board you need to write a sales
letter they can send out to their customers. You can start with a small
sample to test to see if it will work.
It is either…
1. A letter from them on their letterhead, not you.
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A letter from them endorsing you and a sales letter from
If it is just from them, it needs to be a sales letter and must include the
The relationship between your endorsement partner and you and the
benefit of that.
Your USP & other benefits.
Your guarantees.
The special offer for them – link it to a deadline.
This letter must be agreed with the endorsement partner. It can be followed
up with a phone call, further letters etc as you normally would.
How Else To Use Endorsement Marketing
1. Endorsement marketing is a win-win situation for both
parties. Therefore you should also think of all the other
businesses whose products you could endorse for you to earn
from. Possibly even do contra deals where it costs you both
nothing to approach each other’s customers.
2. If you have competitors that offer premium services, they
may only convert 1% of their leads because they are very
expensive. The other 99% aren’t going to buy from them,
but may from you. So when they can’t sell their own
services, they sell you or just give you the leads. It can
course work the other way around as well.
3. If your endorsement package works, why not sell the same
direct mail package to similar businesses outside your
geographic area.
4. If you don’t have a business at all, you could possibly still
take advantage. You can become a middleman and arrange
all these relationships. Approach one company and say you
want to market their product by approaching other
businesses and you want 25% of the profit. Then approach
the host saying you want to bring extra products to them to
sell and you want 25% of the profit.
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Section 30
How To Write Special Reports
“A man may write at any time if he will set
himself doggedly to it”
Samuel Jackson 1709-84: In James Boswell Life Of Johnson (1791)
A FREE Special Report that you make available for your prospects is an
extremely powerful lead generator. For many small businesses it is often
the most powerful tool to help generate leads and they are even more
powerful because so few small businesses use them.
You could alternatively refer to it as a mini guide or a booklet.
The Report is simply your guidelines or advice produced by you to help the
They are great because…
It helps give you credibility as an expert. You can refer to yourself as
the author in all sorts of other material.
It shows you in a very giving way. The more you give, the more you’ll
get back in the way of new customers.
They generate prospects that are interested in your product or service.
They can used in many ways: in ads, sales letters, fax broadcasts, as a
give away on your web site, as a seminar hand out, as the centre of a
press release article all about the FREE Special Report (ending with
details of how to get it) and as giveaways to new and existing customers
to impress them. Also give them to contacts that can refer to you.
It is important that they are only given out where you get the prospects
details in exchange as they are only the first stage in the sales conversion
process. You may need to follow the prospect up and all you’ve done by
giving out the Special Report so far is increase their interest.
It can be anything from a few pages to a 100 pages. This report actually
started out as a lot smaller Special Report.
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The obvious downside is you need to put some time into creating them but
once they are complete you can use then time and time again.
So if you want to create one this is what you have to do…
Choose your subject. It wants to be a subject that will interest and
benefit your prospects that they would want to read about. It is important
it is for the benefit of the prospect and will help them. Don’t worry about
giving lots of information away so long as it doesn’t enable the prospect
to totally do without you. Examples could be…
Gardener – How to keep your garden looking good in winter.
Accountant – 50 Ways to save tax
Mechanic – How to look after your car
Toy Shop – How to interest your children in educational games
You get the idea and you could probably come up with several ideas for
your business and have more than one special report.
Give it a title. If you follow the headline rules for creating a headline
you won’t go far wrong.
Your front sheet can be printed on your letterhead and will need the
title, your contact details and a copyright notice such as © Copyright
XYZ & Co.
You should also put a small price on the report to help the appearance
of value such as £19.99 but still give it away for free. Don’t go over the
top in the amount you put on it.
You can add your logo to the front cover or even better you can great
piece of software at www.ecovergenerator.com that produces stunning
book and box covers for you that you can add to the front page to make
it look even more professional. This isn’t critical as it’s a report you are
giving away for free but it can help make you appear even more of an
expert. This is the software that created the picture on the front cover of
this report in just a couple of minutes.
Split your report into well-defined sections. Plan this at the beginning
and it will make it easier to write.
Write for your reader, not you, which means avoiding jargon.
Write in a personal way, with lots of “you”, “your” and “I”.
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Don’t forget how to use fonts & formatting tricks to make it more
interesting and readable for the reader.
Give it a contents page.
Finish with where they can find out more information such as other
books, internet sites, etc but make sure you let the prospect know all
about how you can help them, including your USP & other benefits.
When it’s finished it can be binded to improve presentation quality.
If it is a very large report, think about putting it onto a CD in pdf
format to send out in the post or that can be e-mailed. If you do this
make sure you tell the prospect it is best to print it out for them to read.
If you don’t want to write your own Special Report, you often find that
manufactures provide information that you could use as an information
booklet. For example. a roofer may be able to get a booklet on “How To
Roof A House” from the supplier of roofing tiles.
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Section 31
The Competition Busting
Special Report
People want their enemies dead – but I don’t; I
say give them the gout, give them the stone!
Lady Mary Worltey Montagu 1689 – 1762; quoted in letter from
Horrace Walpole to Earl Of Harcourt, 17 Sept 1778
This is a special report all about how to choose whatever you are. For
example it could be called…
“How To Choose An Accountant That’s Right For You
And Avoid All The Mistakes Most People Make”
You can use it in the same way as other special reports but it’s even
better because it is designed to get the prospect to choose you without
even considering your competition.
It should give useful and helpful advice and be written from an
impartial perspective in order to build trust but it will be slanted
towards you. In addition, your competition hasn’t been so helpful, so
you are already ahead of the game.
You should try to find out if any of your prospects are considering a
competitor. If so, offer to send them the report. It creates a positive
feeling towards you rather than the competition.
If you’ve put in place lots of the points in this report, you will now look
so impressive, your competition are just going to be blown away.
Here’s how to structure the report…
1. Start with telling them why they should read the report and that
by doing so they’ll be able to make a more informed choice.
2. Tell them what makes a successful partnership between a
customer and your type of business. When doing this explain
how you do this.
3. Tell them they need to make a list of 5 or 6 suppliers. Tell them
where to look, such as yellow pages or wherever you market
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yourself and what to look for in the adverts (of course this will be
biased towards you). To make it appear more impartial, you can
also add some other marketing methods that you aren’t using.
4. Explain how best to make to contact with the suppliers. Again,
whatever will suit you best. It could be by phone, letter, etc and
to request further information. You’ll have a brilliant further
information letter that will stand out far and above your
competition when they do this.
5. Tell them to then choose 2 or 3 to meet with. In reality they may
now only choose to meet with you. Tell them what to look for in
the information that is sent out in deciding who to choose.
6. List the questions they should ask at the meeting. Again this will
be tailored to you.
7. Discuss how your industry charges but try to emphasise that the
cheapest is not always the best deal.
8. List the major problems people encounter when using suppliers
from your industry and how to overcome them.
9. Finish with a summary of what makes a good supplier in your
Apply the same format as for other special reports.
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Section 32
Tip Sheets
“I always pass on good advice. It is the only
thing to do with it.
It is never of any use to oneself”
Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900: An Ideal Husband (1895)
Tip sheets are again a method of demonstrating your expertise and
building credibility as well as being a very giving exercise.
They are a bit like a short special report on one subject with a list of tips.
So you can follow the rules for special reports but they are only designed
to be 1 to 2 pages in length. They are therefore abbreviated tips rather than
full instructions. Because of this they are easier to produce.
They are used by sending them regularly, say monthly to your prospects
and customers.
In addition you can use them as the basis of a press releases and seminar
Again you need to choose your subject that is going to be beneficial for the
reader and choose a title by following headline rules.
Follow these guidelines for writing the tip sheet…
Have just a couple of introductory paragraphs.
List your tips and make them short. Bullet points are great for this.
Putting your tipsheet into 2 or 3 columns on a page like a newsletter
can make it appear more interesting.
Write personally with “you”, “your” and “I”.
Avoid jargon.
Add your contact details.
Add an offer at the end of the tip sheet.
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Section 33
Information Packs
“Now, what I want is facts.
Facts alone are wanted in life”
Charles Dickens 1812 – 70: Hard Times (1854)
An Information Pack or Kit (the same thing) will replace a brochure. It will
be far cheaper and will work far better. Ideal for the small business.
Information Packs can be used in a similar way to Special Reports asking
prospects to call for a Free Information Pack about your product or service.
They can also be used when people simply ask for further information
about your business.
An information pack is simply a sales letter with a reply device. So just
follow all the rules for both of them, with the following being particularly
relevant for information packs…
The salutation should be Dear Mr Smith or Mrs Brown, etc. Whilst not
perfect it is recommended if you don’t know whether it is Miss, Mrs or
Ms that you use Ms. Don’t get too familiar with the first name at this
stage in the process.
Rather than starting with a headline, your opening sentence &
paragraph should just be along the lines of “Thank you for requesting
this information pack”. This straight way lets the reader know it is
something they requested.
The next paragraph needs to tell the prospect what your objective is.
As always, it’s important to focus on just one objective. If the next stage
is to get an appointment this is what you need to focus on, not the order.
However because it is information that has already been requested, the
prospect is already warmer and unless you are selling a very high value
product or service, it may be best to go straight for the order in this
instance. The information kit becomes a replacement of the sales person.
So for example, you could say…
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“I want to get to the point. The reason for giving you this information is
to give you the confidence to order the (product or service name). You
will see that it is fully guaranteed. To order please simply complete the
enclosed order form or call the orderline on 0800……….
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Section 34
Generally don’t do it. They cost more and actually make less of an
impression than an Information Pack. There is really only a need for a
brochure if your prospects really expect one. It’s hard to get that excited
about them and it’s doubtful your prospects will be either.
If you have to have one, make it more attractive by offering information and
tips that are valuable to the reader.
Follow these rules…
Put a headline on the front cover.
Every product within the brochure should have its own headline.
The copy should be interesting, informative and educational.
Use high quality photos and add a caption to each featuring a benefit.
Use high quality print.
Use your usual fonts.
Always send it out with a covering letter.
Include a tear out or separate order or appointment request form.
Brochures allow more space for features but they must be followed
with benefits.
If you are stuck for money, an alternative to a brochure, is a Data Sheet
often produced by manufacturers which just has added to it “Order
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Section 35
Catalogues will be more useful for product businesses but service
businesses could also catalogue their services to make them more tangible.
1. Make them chatty, friendly and frank. They should be like a
good salesman in a shop.
2. Try to make them different. They shouldn’t be impersonal as
if produced by a computer.
3. They should always be sent with an introductory letter.
4. The order form should be obvious and attached to the
5. The cover is a prime selling spot for selling your best items.
6. You can fit a lot onto one page if it is properly planned out.
7. Keep the catalogue in line with your usual style.
8. Use photographs.
9. Frequently show the “ways to pay”.
10. Always put prices next to the items.
11. Have relevant tips and information throughout.
12. Try using contest and sweepstakes to create interest within
the catalogue.
13. Use good copy words.
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Section 36
Mad Marketing Ideas
“Though this be madness,
yet there is method in’t”
William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616: Hamlet (1601)
Here are a few examples of some more off the wall, out of the box type
thinking marketing ideas. Try to use them as a basis for your own ideas or
as inspiration to come up with your own. Being unusual or eccentric will
often pay dividends…
A restaurant owner could get in a taxi, talks to the driver all about his
restaurant and end up back at his restaurant without going anywhere. He
gets the undivided attention of the Taxi Driver for just a few pounds. He
can then offer him a free meal. Taxi drivers are an excellent source of
referrals for restaurants.
On a wine list, have humorous description such as “What To Drink
When Lost In A Desert”.
Hire assistants for the day to make your office look busy.
Send your own label wine as gifts.
Send a mini tape and a cassette player with your sales message on.
When you use tapes or videos to send a sales message they can’t be skim
read like sales letters and they have to listen to them in the order you’ve
recorded them.
Create your own holidays or special days and you can even enter
them into Chases Calendar Of Events. Go to…
Put signs advertising your business up in front of your house and ask
all your friends if you can do the same. You can probably get away with
doing this for a short period and end up with signs all around town. They
should at least let people know what you do and have your phone
number on.
Ring all of the competitors in Yellow Pages looking for any phone
lines that are now disconnected. Then ring BT and ask for the number to
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be allocated to you, which you then put on divert to your normal line.
You’ll then pick up any prospects looking for your type of service.
My Accountant Thinks I’m Crazy Sale
This is a tongue in cheek sales letter that talks about your annoyance at
your nagging, domineering, penny pinching, scrooge-ish accountant.
How he bullies you, pushes you around and watches you like a
hawk…but now he’s out of town on vacation for the week and you’re
going to have some fun… with the wildest, most generous offers in the
history of your business…
We accept Burger King Coupons and give double value.
Offer to take over certain segments of a business not fitting in with a
competitors client profile such as small clients and vice versa. You
don’t want trouble clients so look to lose them and even better if you
can lose them to competitors!
And A Final Few Ideas For Lead Generation…
Always thank suppliers when they do a good job.
Offer to accept trade ins to make people think they are
getting value for their old items. For example, a health club
selling memberships could accept old exercise equipment.
Celebrity appearances – outlets in a shopping mall could
club together.
High value items such as a car, you can offer to buy back at
market value.
Let charities use your office for their meetings.
Sell coupon book of services at a discount.
Give all staff a business card.
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Section 37
How To Convert Your Leads
Into Paying Customers
“Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice”
A Conversion System
So far we’ve looked at numerous ways of generating leads. However,
there’s no point generating loads of leads if you don’t convert them into
sales, so you need a system for doing this. You may be happy with the sales
you make but think how many more sales you would make if you also had a
proven conversion system in place.
Your conversion system starts from the moment you get the first enquiry all
the way through to becoming a customer and beyond.
During the conversion, you need a system to keep in regular contact with
the prospect. This is because your prospects interest must be raised to a
certain level before they buy and the more you keep in contact, the higher
their level of interest rises. Contact could be by a meeting, phone call, letter,
fax, email, etc.
There is a rule in sales that says on average you need 7 positive contacts
before a buy occurs. This number may vary between business types but it’s
true for all businesses that the more positive contact you have the more sales
you will make. Normal marketing techniques completely overlook this basic
point and if you have a system in place to deliver these contacts, you make
it easy for yourself.
As always you need to test your sales conversion system to improve it and
you therefore need to know what your conversion rate is at present, such as
20% of sales leads turned into paying customers, before you can know if
other ideas will improve it.
The Quality Of Your Lead
You need to know this so that you can decide the appropriate amount of
resources to invest in converting the lead.
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You determine the quality of the lead by asking qualifying questions…
“Where did you hear about us? – Remember this is crucial to
your testing.”
Once asked a question, your prospect has been moved to a frame of mind
ready to accept more questions. You need to know who is a good prospect
for you so that you know the right questions to ask. All of these should be
on an enquiry sheet. Examples of qualification questions include…
“How many employees does your business have? (it gives you an
indication of size and is less sensitive than asking for their sales
“Are you a home owner or tenant?”
“What is your position? – you want the person who makes the
decision or is close to them.”
“Who else has the prospect contacted regarding this product or
service? The more, the less quality the prospect is unless those that
have been contacted are your weakest competitors.”
“When are you looking to make a decision?”
“Were you recommended? If so, they are normally a better prospect.
“Are they happy with their present provider?”
“What is their address? Many small businesses only sell locally or if
selling high value items, prospects from affluent areas are likely to
be better.”
The exact questions will depend on what you are selling and to whom but
you get the idea. Remember, the only purpose of asking these questions is to
qualify the prospect so if it doesn’t help do this, don’t ask.
You could then give them a score of how good a prospect they are.
If they are just not right for your product or service at all, be as helpful as
you can be and thank them.
A poor prospect may just be sent a future contact letter saying you’ll
contact them again in a certain number of weeks or months.
An average prospect may just be sent some further information to help
move them up to become a good prospect.
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A good prospect may be one you want a meeting with. If you can sell to
them directly over the phone, by e-mail, on your web site or in your shop,
qualification questions will be less relevant and you go straight to a selling
meeting that is just taking place in some other form.
Meetings take time and time is money so you may do without face-to-face
meetings with…
Simple products and services that can easily be explained over the
phone or don’t require any customer discussion.
You are going to be making a low value one off sale.
When your prospect doesn’t want a meeting.
Someone is already ready to buy.
The prospect is too far away to be worth your while travelling.
It’s normal in your industry for sales to be made without meetings.
This is more so now with Internet & email development.
The meeting doesn’t have to always be a formal sales meeting; it could be in
a retail shop. A lot of what follows regarding a meeting could be applied to
such situations as well, although it is based on the conventional sales
If you get a meeting you need to send a “sowing the seeds letter” which not
only confirms the meeting it also lets the prospect know what to expect in
order to increase their interest.
Sales Conversion Letters
These are the letters you’ll be using in the sales conversion process…
Future Contact letter
More Information letter
Sowing the seeds letter
Sales Conversion Letter
Buyers Remorse letter - for after you’ve made the sale.
Follow these rules for every letter…
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Start with saying thank you – people like to be thanked and it will
make them think better of your business
Name & address – check all spellings are correct.
Personalise the letter. Don’t put “Dear Customer”. Using their name
again during the letter can also help.
Thank them again at the end of the letter.
Sign in blue ink personally. Never PP your letters if at all possible.
Send them out immediately – never wait longer than 24 hours before
sending the letter out.
Apply a few formatting tricks as usual to make them more interesting.
Future Contact Letter
This is the letter you send to your prospect who isn’t ready to buy or move
to the next stage of the sales process yet.
By doing this, you’ll appear friendly and polite, ready for when they are
ready to buy.
You just need to confirm when you’ll next be in contact.
There is no need to include details of your USP at this point as the prospect
isn’t in buying mode.
Here’s an example letter…
“Thank you for contacting us regarding (name of
your product or service). As discussed, I will contact you
again in 3months time.
If you need any help or assistance before then, please
call me on FreePhone 0800 1234567.
Thanks again for your interest”
More Information Letter
This is simply your Information Pack we looked at earlier which is your
sales letter with a reply device.
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The purpose of this letter is to sell. Whatever you do, don’t send a brochure
out on its own or with a simple letter saying something like “here’s the
information you asked for”
So this is a sales letter that must only focus on what the next stage of the
sales process is. This is often to raise their interest to the level where they
want a meeting.
At the end of the letter, let the prospect know when you are going to call
to check they’ve received the information. You need to keep in control of
the process as much as possible so don’t leave it to the prospect to call you.
Sowing The Seeds Letter
This is the letter you send to your prospect to confirm the meeting you have
with them and to increase their interest.
Just by doing this, you’ll show how much ahead of the competition you are,
as many don’t do it.
This is what also to include in the letter…
Confirm the meeting details – time, date & place.
Introduce your main USP & other benefits but not too much – this is
just a taste of them to raise interest.
It will probably be 1 to 2 pages long.
Here’s an example letter layout …
“Thank you for calling me to do. It was good to talk
with you about….
I confirm we’ll meet on Friday 4th June 3.00pm at
your premises to discuss how we can help you.
Before we meet, I thought it may be helpful to list a
few of the benefits that our customers tell us they find…
Now List The Benefits In Bullet Point Form with just
one or two sentences on each and bit of bold
formatting on important words.
I think you’ll find the meeting very worth your while.
It is of course totally without obligation and FREE.
Thank you and I look forward to meeting you.”
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Sales Conversion Letter
This is the letter you send after the meeting to the prospect if you haven’t
yet got the business.
Just by sending a letter you’ll be doing better than many but by sending the
right kind of letter, you’ll be so much better than your competition. It’s
designed to move them to be ready to buy.
This is what also to include in the letter…
Include your USP and other relevant benefits.
Provide your guarantees and the reason why.
Include testimonials.
Introduce some fear and tell them what they’ll be missing out on if they
don’t use you.
Deal with any remaining objections and repeat the solution to any you
still think may be worrying the prospect.
Add a call to action.
Let them know when you’ll be in contact again.
Sign in blue ink personally and don’t PP it.
Add a P.S.
This letter could well be a few pages long and follows the same process as a
sales letter you saw earlier but just tailored specifically for that customer
after you’ve met them, now with just a one stage hard offer of the sale,
adding your “thank you” at the beginning and end and definitely letting
them know you’ll be calling them. It doesn’t need a headline. Don’t worry
about it’s length. If your prospect is interested, they’ll read it. We are
writing for those prospects that are interested, not those who aren’t.
It can be sent by fax or email as well as in the post to increase speed of
delivery and to hit them twice. If you don’t get the business now, you may
at least have got yourself up to number 2 on the list for when things go
wrong with their current supplier.
The Buyers Remorse Letter
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After a sale is made, the buyer may have doubts about their choice. The
doubts are clearly larger for high priced products and services but they exist
to some extent for all. What you don’t want is the customer cancelling on
you or coming back for a refund.
The buyers remorse letter is a letter you send reassuring the customer they
made the right choice. This helps avoid cancellations, creates a relationship
that can turn into repeat sales, gives the opportunity for you to sell add ons
at this time (e.g maintenance contract for the product) or to gain referrals.
You may be able to use it to up sell the customer to a more expensive
product or service specially offered to them at a discount for say 14 days as
a result of their first purchase.
This is what also to include in the letter…
Repeat your USP & other benefits.
If there’s another stage in their relationship with you, which is
particularly relevant for service businesses, tell them what’s happening
Tell them about additional products/ services.
A good length would be a couple of pages.
Here is an example format for the letter…
“Thank you very much for choosing us to look after your affairs. We
are all looking forward to working with you.
I just wanted to summarise all of the benefits you will receive so that
you can see what a good choice you’ve made…
Now List The Benefits In Bullet Point Form with a bit more
detail than was in the sowing the seeds letter on each and a
bit of bold formatting on important words.
If you have any queries at any time please call me personally on
FreePhone 0800 1234567
Thank you again for your business and I look forward to seeing you
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The Sales Meeting
Many people hate sales meetings, appointments, demonstrations,
consultations or whatever you want to call them. It produces images of the
slimy salesman and who wants to be one of them?
There can be a fear of lack of skill, poor self-image and the need for
approval. Many expect a negative response, when in reality most responses
are fairly neutral.
It helps to think of the worst thing that can happen if you go into that
meeting when you’re sitting outside in your car waiting to go in. They’re
not going to beat you up and leave you for dead. Probably the very worst
thing is you are told they are not interested and don’t want to see you. Of
course if this happens it’s because you haven’t qualified the prospect
properly in the first place. However, even if this happens think about where
you are now. That’s right, your back in your car, just where you were
before you went in. So it can’t really be that bad, can it?
For most of us, we need to make the appointment more enjoyable and to do
this it helps to focus on how you can help the prospect rather than on sales
technique. Some people can sell on pure sales ability but they are a very
rare species.
Using a simple structured system that naturally helps the prospect get the
most from their time with you will help. See yourself as an advisor in your
own mind first. Remember, you know your product or service inside out,
and whilst we often think our prospects do too, that’s just not so in the
majority of cases.
By the way, if you charge for an initial consultation or meeting, you are
putting a major barrier in the way of getting new customers. Don’t forget
their lifetime value we looked at earlier before you do this. You should only
do this if you have enough customers already or are such an expert that
customers are prepared to pay.
If you get a really tough prospect that is verbally aggressive towards you,
try to look at it as their problem and feel sorry for them. Bully’s act like that
because they are insecure inside. However, they must buy goods and
services. If they are really out of line, try saying “Mr Prospect, have I
offended you in any way?” This helps to bring them back to reality.
Think about who from your business should go. This may vary depending
on the prospect that is being seen. Having the right attitude to the meeting is
important so you don’t want someone who doesn’t want to do the meetings.
Attitude is about having an enthusiasm for the process, being flexible,
making the effort to fit in with and accommodate the customer’s needs.
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The Preparation Stage
Read the notes on your enquiry sheet.
Get directions or map to where you are going.
Do background research. For businesses this may for example
include looking at their web site or sites in their industry to get a
feel for their business. You can also do a search at Companies
House to get more background information.
Check you have any visual aids you use.
Check you have business cards and any other promotional
Check you have all the forms you need if you use these when
taking on a new customer.
Don’t be late. If you are stuck in traffic have the courtesy to
ring ahead and let them know you’re running a bit late. This all
counts towards the impression you will make.
Consider the type of car you are going to arrive in. This makes
an impression. Does it need to be a top of the range BMW or a
sensible Mondeo? There is a mortgage broker who works from
home with his wife who turns up in a £260,000 Rolls Royce. He’s
very successful and it fits in with how he operates but it could be
the death of you. So just think about what is right for the
impression you are trying to make. If you have the wrong car, you
can always park round the corner.
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You should put together a standard pre-meeting planning checklist to ensure
you don’t miss anything….
Pre Meeting Planning and Points to Consider
Meeting with:
Confirm in writing time and place of meeting
Review enquiry sheet

Obtain directions to meeting
( http://www.multimap.com is a useful site)
Try to view website

Obtain any background information for the trade
Produce list of key questions to ask

Print and take “For your Notes” sheets and hand to customer at meeting
New Customer Forms

Assemble Promotional Material to take to meeting. Choose from the
following as appropriate:Information Pack
Testimonials (copied from testimonials folder)
Special Report
Tip Sheets
Business Card
Press Releases

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Greeting The Prospect
Before you meet the prospect, sometimes you’ll meet someone else first.
Perhaps the receptionist or the wife and it’s important to create a positive
impression with these people as well as they may have some input into the
final decision. Always smile at the receptionist.
First greetings are simple & obvious and yet they still don’t always get
Firm hand shake.
Make eye contact.
Say something like “ Hi Bob, I’m John Smith from Widgets R Us.
Thanks for tasking the time to meet with me”
The Chit Chat
This comes down to some judgement on your part with who you are
meeting but it can help to try to talk with the prospect about something
other than what you are there for.
There are often clues around as to what the decision maker may be
interested in such as something to indicate he likes a particular football
team or often pictures of his children. A quick chat about these can help
build rapport. This isn’t an essential stage but if it’s appropriate, use it.
A useful tip for when meeting a husband and wife and wanting to know
who the real decision maker is amongst them it to look at neither
particularly and ask the question “where do you folks like to go on
holiday?” Whoever answers will be the main decision maker 9 times out of
Asking Questions
Please, please, please don’t start the meeting with a sales presentation.
There is no way you can offer the right product or service to the prospect
without understanding their needs. To do this you need information, which
means you need your prospect to talk initially.
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The only time this may not be correct is when selling a very high value item
that requires two meetings and it may be more practical to start with an
overview of what you can offer.
To move the appointment into a questioning mode, it can help to clarify the
purpose of the meeting. Something like…
“What I’d like to do is find out how you might benefit from my
product, so it would help if I can just find out a bit about what your
needs are by asking a few questions. Is that ok?”
Alternatively, just say, “May I ask a question?”
Then you’re into questioning mode. This gets the prospect to talk and you to
listen which helps the prospect to think you are interested in them and are a
good listener. You are now in control. The questions you have will be
specific to your product or service but you need to get all the vital
information you need to be able to understand their needs.
You need mainly open questions. They are those that lead to the prospect
giving you detailed information as opposed to “yes/no” or very short one
word answers. It is generally thought that questions beginning with Why,
Who, What, Where, When, Which & How will do this but it is not always
so. For example, “what’s the time?” is a closed question.
Here are some ideas to get you going…
What difficulties do you face at present with…
What are your major concerns?
How do you think I may be able to help you?
What would you like to achieve?
Nobody’s perfect, if there was one thing you would change about your
existing suppler what would it be? This helps to open up your prospect.
Tell me about your business
What is your role in the business? Clearly you want to be speaking with
the decision maker, although sometimes in larger businesses it is
necessary to have a preliminary meeting with somebody else who advises
the ultimate decision maker.
How do you work at present?
Is price your most important consideration?
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If money were no object, in an ideal world what would you like from a
service like ours? This is a dream question, which takes away the barrier
of price to try to find out what the client really wants. After all, may be it
isn’t as costly as they think.
Who else are you considering?
What will you want to see a year from now to know that you’ve made
the right decision about using our services?
Where will your biggest challenges come from?
How would I know someone I’m talking to is a good prospect for you?
– this shows clear interest in their business.
There are also those questions that are going to help you overcome any
objections the prospect may have. If you think about it, you’ll come up with
all the common objections to your product or service. The actual objections
will vary for different businesses but the common ones include…
How can we be sure you can deliver on what you say?
Do we really need this product?
I can’t be bothered with the hassle of changing supplier?
Once you know what your objections are likely to be, you can ask questions
that either provide you with the information you need to overcome them or
help to remove them in the first place.
Take the price objection as an example. If you ask questions designed to
identify the value of how much they would benefit from the product or
service and this can be quantified in pound notes, and this is higher than the
price, it then becomes easier to overcome price objections. Perhaps your
product will save them one hour a day in labour costs, and at £5 an hour that
equates to £1825 per year. If your product costs £400, this is a powerful way
of overcoming the objection.
Part of your preparation is having a list of questions ready. You probably
want to have at least 10. You can adapt them as the meeting progresses. It’s
also not a problem to have them written out if you need to as this will just
show you are organised.
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As you ask the questions, the client will talk and it is important to listen.
You have 2 ears and one mouth for a reason. Questions are more important
than answers - in fact they are the answers. They enable you to keep just one
step ahead of the prospect.
Whilst listening, you want to show signs that you are indeed doing that. “Uh
hah”, “yes”, “I understand”, etc will do the job or you can feed back
highlights. Also, if your prospect gets off the point, don’t just interrupt but
find a point to say something like “I understand but can you tell me…”
If you don’t understand anything, it’s best to ask.
It helps to take brief written notes as memory joggers for when you get
back to the office or you speak to the prospect again in a few weeks time.
Make sure you are listening, not thinking of the next question or some other
idea you have. By having your questions written down this will help and if
any ideas come to you, briefly jot them down so that you can keep your sole
focus on understanding your prospect’s needs.
Now It’s Your Turn
It’s now time for you to present your solution to the prospect.
By the way, you don’t know exactly what this is before the meeting and it is
going to be tailored to this specific prospect.
You can use aids such as a laptop or paper format presentations. These are
effective but remember they need to be flexible so you don’t go over points
that aren’t relevant to this prospect.
Because you’ve prepared properly, you should know 99% of what you need
to say automatically and know the answers to objections.
If you get asked a question you don’t know the answer to you can only do
your best. Worst case, say “that’s a good question, I’ll need to find out. I can
call you with the answer just as soon as I get back to the office.” It’s not
perfect but it’s better than “I don’t know” or lying.
So these are the things to remember when it’s your turn…
Keep the prospect involved, Use “you” and “your” a lot in
the language you use. Avoid “I”, “Me”, “We”, “Us”.
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Don’t skip things. Make sure you get your full message
Only mention the services and benefits that are relevant to
that prospect. It is particularly important to concentrate on the
benefits rather than the features of your product or service.
Using the words “which means” can help move you from
features to benefits.
Provide testimonials or case studies that are relevant to the
product or service the prospect wants. You should have these
to hand. Also talk about how you’ve helped other clients in
the same circumstances.
Give away useful information to demonstrate you are an
Avoid the use of jargon.
Be confident.
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Don’t discuss the price until you fully understand the client’s
needs and have explained the benefits. However, try to make
sure price isn’t the very last thing discussed as if the prospect
doesn’t like it, the meeting will end on a negative point and
you won’t have as much time to overcome the price
objection. It is normally better to provide a price face-to-face
if at all possible as it provides the face-to-face opportunity to
discuss it.
Don’t waffle.
Concentrate on what the prospect is going to get out of the
Try to avoid sitting on the fence if asked an opinion. There
may not always be a definite right answer but using the words
“if it were me…” can work.
The “does your existing supplier…” theory can help. This
is where you spot various areas where the existing supplier is
probably not providing what you can. You then bring 3 or 4
of these points into play during your presentation but not one
after another, “does you existing supplier provide next day
delivery?” When you achieve 3 or 4 areas where the prospect
has said “no” it helps to undermine the existing supplier
without being seen to directly criticise them.
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Overcome The Objections
Objections aren’t people saying “no” but often a reason why they aren’t’ yet
ready to say “yes”
When dealing with objections…
1. Never enter into an argument. You may win the argument
but you won’t win the customer.
2. Say “I understand what you’re saying but have you
3. Have a helpful and positive attitude.
4. Repeat back the objection to the prospect so they know you
5. You’ll need to show the benefits outweigh the costs.
6. Use testimonials & case studies to overcome them. You
need testimonials that cover all different objections.
Some objections are real and some are more of a smokescreen objection
when they simply don’t want to make a decision now. Smokescreen
objections can always be overcome but some objections are so real that you
wouldn’t be a good choice for the prospect. This could be because their
needs fall outside what you really have to offer. If that’s the case, you’ll
gain more by saying so and pointing the prospect in the right direction.
They’ll remember and come back to you when they do need what you offer
or will refer people to you.
If you sell the wrong thing to them, they won’t buy from you again and
people love to tell others about bad service far more than they do good
The number one objection is price. It’s often tempting to say “Well OK,
I’ll do it for £X” in order to make the sale”. This may be sensible if you
desperately need the sale to make ends meet but in most cases the price
objection is raised simply because the customer doesn’t see the value or
they want to check there not paying over the top. Hopefully with everything
you have already done, this objection will occur less but it will still occur.
By sticking to your price, your prospect is more likely to see that they are
Other ways to overcome the price objection and stop it arising in the first
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“I understand, I can’t really do it for any less but what is
your budget?” Once you know this say you tell them what
you can do for this amount.
“ So is price the only thing you’re interested in?”. The
prospect will then often explain other issues, giving you the
chance to demonstrate what you offer that your competitors
“ I understand but have you found when you’ve gone for the
cheapest before, you’ve often been disappointed”
“ I understand but I do get a lot of work putting right what
has been done by cheaper suppliers.”
Describe your price as an investment rather than a cost. If
you can calculate the value of your product or service to
them, you can show the return on their investment.
Give them an estimate early on of say between £800 to
£1200 that you’ll be able to confirm exactly once you
understand their needs more. You could also say you are
rarely the cheapest. If they say they are not going to be
interested in these prices, find out what they are going to be
prepared to pay and decide if you are going to be able to help
them or not. Better to know early on if you are wasting each
other’s time.
Trade a price discount for a referral.
“If we take X out of the package we could do it for…”
“If you do... we could do it for £X”
Good, Quick & Cheap – you can only have 2, which would
you prefer?
Other objections…
Possible Solutions
Existing supplier has offered to
reduce their price.
Are you receiving a credit note for
all previous overcharges?
You can anticipate this by advising
the prospect the existing supplier
may do this when presented with
your price.
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I need to think about it.
Is there anything in particular you
are concerned about? Try to draw
the real objection out. Agree a date
& time to follow up.
Our existing supplier is in the middle
of doing some work for us at present
so changing now would not be
Consider the lifetime value of the
customer and offer to take over any
existing work and redo what needs
doing to get to the same stage
without charge.
We don’t want to upset our existing
How do I know your prices won’t go
up substantially next year?
Your prices are low. I’m not
convinced of the quality.
This is an emotional objection and
hard to overcome as it is not based
on logic. Play down the importance
of changing, people change suppliers
all the time, there is no need to tell
them personally, etc.
Offer them a guarantee.
The reason are prices are low is that
we systematise our business to make
it easy to supply customers in a very
efficient way. We pass these
efficiency savings onto our
I need to discuss it with my partner.
Try to meet with all decision makers
in the first place wherever possible.
Offer to meet the partner. Arrange a
date & time to follow up.
Your business is too small.
People deal with people and it’s
people who deliver the
product/service. What matters is that
the person who you will be dealing
with, not the company size. If you
get the wrong person from a large
company, it’s no help. You get a
more personal service tailored to
your needs from a small business.
I don’t want a business that works
from home as a supplier.
The business is the same but the
overheads are lower which we pass
onto our customers. We are available
out of normal hours. We are forward
thinking and with technology
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improvements we have moved from
business premises to home as all you
need is a phone line and a PC.
My existing supplier is a friend.
Possibly review your lead
qualification as this is a very
difficult objection and is based on
emotion. Is the friend doing less than
they should because of the
friendship connection?
We are looking to sell the business
and so not a lot point in changing
suppliers now.
Keep in contact and be the first
when the new business arrives.
We’ll contact you if we want to
change supplier.
I’m too busy to deal with a change
of supplier at the moment.
Do you think you are likely to
change? Is there anything that would
make you change supplier now.
When will be a good time to call
back. Why not talk to them about
systematising their business.
Showing interest in their business in
a giving way will be remembered.
The Close
There’s no point in doing all the work you’ve put in so far if you’re not
prepared to close.
Closing isn’t always getting an immediate sale. It could be…
The person you are meeting can’t make the final decision
today; perhaps they are not the final decision maker, so just
agree on when you can call for a decision.
The prospect still has other competitors to see, so again
agree a timescale to call back. Ideally ask if you can speak
before they make a final decision, giving you a chance to
address any new issues that have arisen. It of course helps if
you can arrange to go last.
Closing is therefore getting agreement on moving to the next stage in the
sales process, that’s all. Its purpose can also be to draw out the objections
to allow you to deal with them before you get the “yes”.
This is a closing system where it is possible to make the sale today…
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“ Are there any more questions you would like to ask?”
Deal with any and then move onto something like…
“When would you like to go ahead?” or “would you like to
proceed?” Note how one is presumptive and one not.
If they ask for time to think about it, you should strongly consider doing
just that rather than continuing to try to make the sale. You don’t want to
offend your prospect and you’ll have a great follow up sales conversion
letter still to come.
However, do get their agreement to call them in a few days. Before you do
this you will be sending your sales conversion letter within 24 hours.
Other points to remember when closing…
It helps to say nothing after you’ve asked for the business.
The prospect has been asked a question and so will have to
speak first. This may seem like ages but avoid starting to talk
again and moving away from the close.
Use either/or. Is Thursday or Friday best for you. Note there
is no option for “no”.
Whatever the next stage is, do it within 24 hours. This
usually involves putting it in writing with your buyers
remorse letter, getting the contract signed, the cheque etc.
Even if you have a verbal agreement, make sure you send a
buyers remorse letter.
If you get the “yes” don’t forget to ask what else you can
help them with or who else they know who could benefit
from your service.
Try the question “On a scale of 1 to 10 how interested are
you with 10 being YES you want to proceed and 1 being a
definite No”. If you get a 1 or 10 you know where you are but
if you say get a 7, you then ask “What would I have to do to
move you from a 7 to a 10”. The prospect then tells you
exactly what you have to do to make the sale.
If you can create some urgency for a decision this can help
make the sale. Deadlines for magazine publishing are a good
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If you’ve promised something, never under deliver on it. It’s always better
to under promise and over deliver so your customer is never disappointed,
only pleased.
Be prepared for customers who want confirmation in writing before
committing. For straightforward products and service you can use preprinted order confirmation forms that you take to the meeting with you.
Take something. If the client says yes, by taking something away to work
on, review, etc you can help avoid the client changing his mind. An
accountant may for example, take away some books & records.
If you make the sale following the close, you send your buyers remorse
letter and if you don’t you send your sales conversion letter.
The Follow Up – making 3109% more sales
Despite all that you’ve done so far, you may still not have the business.
The prospect may have decided “no” but its also quite possible they haven’t
made their mind up or aren’t yet ready to buy. If this is the case, you need to
start your follow up system.
Follow up is keeping in contact with the prospect until they are ready to
say “yes”. So few people do follow up correctly.
Research suggests that 73% of prospects say “NO” at least 5 times before
saying yes but 92% of businesses give up before the 5th “NO”. If you do the
numbers, this means the 8% who go beyond the 5th contact make 3109%
more sales than those who don’t.
The following would all count as contacts and can be used as follow up
Call the prospect – as often as seems comfortable for your prospect.
You must do this at least once, usually within a week of sending your
sales conversion letter and then keep in contact as appropriate.
Sending regular tip sheets – one a month.
Sending special reports.
Sending interesting and relevant articles you come across.
Sending copies of your press releases.
Sending newsletters.
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These all add value to your prospect.
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Section 38
The Re-Selling System
“You miss 100% of the
shots you don’t take”
Why Use Re-Selling
It’s easy to see business growth as getting new customers but it’s often far
easier to sell more to existing customers than it is to get new customers.
Studies have shown it costs 8 times more to get new customers than it does
to sell to existing ones. Your existing customers are a valuable asset who
already trust you or they wouldn’t use you in the first place. And when done
in conjunction with getting new customers, you have an awesome sales
Re-Selling Has 3 Aspects…
Increasing the average order value from each prospect.
Increasing the frequency of purchase.
Increasing the length of time the customer remains a customer.
Let’s say your customers have an average order value of £100, they
purchase twice a year and they stay with you for 5 years. Their lifetime
value is £100 x 2 x 5 = £1000.
If you could increase the average order value by 10%, get them to purchase
one more time a year and stay with you for one extra year, this increases
their lifetime value to £110 x 3 x 6 = £1980, nearly a 100% increase. If you
do this to all your customers, you could grow your business by this amount
without any new clients. That’s how important it is.
This is why customers are assets, not problems. Try doing without them
and see how you get on.
The effect also only works if you work on all 3 aspects. They are so much
more powerful when combined. This also excludes the effect of more
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referrals from regular happy clients who buy from you more often and stay
Research has also shown the following…
68% of customers want more information from companies
they deal with.
60% of customers are more likely to buy from a business
that stays in touch.
67% of customers move just due to indifference or lack of
contact from their existing supplier.
The average new business never hears from 96% of its
dissatisfied clients and the average dissatisfied customer tells
9 to 20 other people about their dissatisfaction.
These facts demonstrate how important re-selling is.
Re-Selling Tools To Increase The Average Order
1. Increase your prices - see section on price setting for how to do
2. Get a referral with each order.
3. Package two or more products or services together to create a
larger sale.
4. Up sell to a superior product or service. For example, a better
computer than the one they were going to buy.
5. Cross sell an additional & complimentary product or service. For
Shoe polish when a pair of shoes is sold, perhaps at half price.
A “How To Play The Guitar” book with a guitar.
Even when you buy online with Amazon, they’ll let you know
what other people who bought your book, also bought and 30%
of people buy another book.
Always look at the end result the customer wants or ask the right
questions to find out and how you can help achieve that. Someone
who buys a guitar clearly wants to play it well.
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6. Special offers of the day - Viking always has special offers of the
day to offer you as well. They say, “Would you like to hear about
the special offers we’ve got today?”
7. Offering bulk quantities at a discount to encourage large
purchases. You see this in all the supermarkets such as “3 for the
price of 2” or McDonalds “Go Large” You can do this with
anything, even cosmetic surgery – get your nose & face done and
have your breasts done for free. Always focus on the increased total
profit, not the lost profit.
8. Re-packaging your product or service so that it appears to be of
higher quality.
9. Give customers different options with different combinations of
your products package together.
10. Offer a deluxe version.
11. Consider adding delivery charges, insurance and installation
fees that aren’t in the headline price.
12. Have minimum order sizes with surcharges below that.
Many of the above can be done at the point of sale and can be assisted with
point of sale materials.
Re-Selling Tools To Increase The Frequency Of
1. Regular contact with your customers. Again, tip sheets, special
reports, copy press releases, newsletters and phone calls all help.
2. What else do your customers buy that you don’t supply? Endorse
other companies’ products in return for a share of the sales price.
Think of what they do after they’ve bought from you. For example,
a solicitor doing conveyancing work could introduce a moving
3. Offer price incentives to get them to buy more often.
Develop related products and services to sell to your customers.
5. Offer additional related items to the original purchase 30 days
after the initial purchase.
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6. Offer automatic renewal options. For example, turn a one off
lawn mowing request into a Summer package of having your grass
cut once a week. Or sell on a “Till Further Notice” basis.
7. Consider selling under licence as opposed to outright sales.
8. Have pre-printed order forms for customers for the items they
purchase most often.
Re-Selling Tools To Keep Your Customers
1. Always exceed your customers’ expectations and what your
competitors are offering.
2. Get customer feedback to find out what your customers want and
what their problems are.
3. Use incentive schemes. Supermarkets have taken the lead with
reward points to help keep customers loyal. There’s no reason why
small businesses can’t use this.
4. Make contact with your inactive customers. Many stop buying
just because they haven’t heard from you. Even if you did
something wrong, unless you contact them you’ll never find out
what or be able to put it right.
5. When you do something for nothing for a customer let them know,
for example put it on an invoice and say “no charge”.
6. Stay in regular touch. Use personal thank you notes and
personalised mail.
7. Send postcards when you go on holiday.
8. Do things quickly for customers.
9. Send birthday or anniversary cards (all the dates are in your
database, aren’t they?) Christmas cards are perhaps now a bit
10. Arrange customer competitions and special events.
11. Make special anniversary offers to your customers each
anniversary after they first became a customer.
12. Have a “Gold Club” for customers who spend more than say
£1000 per year with you. You can even combine this with other
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non-competing businesses. It could entitle them to a free lunch
once a month, advance announcement of sales by 1st class mail,
unadvertised specials, free gift-wrapping, birthday gift vouchers,
Viking have a Premier Hotline number for certain customers who
get free delivery on all orders of whatever size that they seem to
offer to most businesses once they’ve been with them a while and
spend a certain amount.
13. If you are a tradesman such as an electrician, when doing the first
job, put a sticker with your details on the fuse box so that they
automatically call you when something goes wrong again.
You don’t have to use every re-selling tool but you should choose some to
implement. Just be careful with not bombarding customers all at once with
everything. It should be phased in as appropriate.
Reactivating Lost Clients
80% of customers leave for a reason that can be rectified. Even those
who’ve have gone to a competitor.
Re-contact them either by phone or letter and be truthful. Say they haven’t
been buying from you for quite a while and you sense something is wrong.
Make sure this conveys a genuine concern for their well-being.
“is anything wrong?”
“have we done something wrong? If so it wasn’t intentional. Is
everything OK with your business, family, health, etc”
You want to find out how you can fix it. Be sincere and give a personal
apology for anything wrong. Ask if you can you fix the problem? Make
them a special offer or is a free gift needed, perhaps a £20 coupon? If so, do
it unconditionally. Don’t insist it’s done on the basis they buy from you
Here’s some example wording…
“…even if you only take advantage of our make-good offer but
never do business with us again, it’s important to us that your last
transaction with out company be a positive and satisfying
experience. So please give us this chance to see that that happens for
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This stops people holding a grudge, will stop them saying bad things about
you and may earn you referrals as well.
Whatever the feedback, act on it to prevent it happening with other
If the customer won’t return, still thank them for identifying weaknesses in
your product. This can even sometimes have the effect of making a
breakthrough and getting them back.
The Windows Of Opportunity Chart
This is a simple chart developed by Peter Thompson that uses a system to
maximize your cross selling to clients. It helps to ensure all your customers
know about what you sell and lets you know which products or services
they’ve bought.
Mr A
Product 1
Product 2
Product 3
Product 4
Mr B
Mr C
Mr D
In the top triangle you can tick it when you’ve told the customer about the
product and in the bottom triangle tick it when the customer has bought that
product. These Window of Opportunity charts can of course become
massive and be broken down into sections.
Unless you inform your customers of what you do, they’ll never purchase.
You could even add other people’s products and a referrals column.
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Section 39
Finance: Managing The Money
“Few have heard of Fra Luca Pacioli, the
inventor of double-entry book-keeping: but he
has probably had much more influence on
human life than has Dante or Michelangelo”
Herbert J. Muller 1905 – Uses of the Past (1957)
Many small business owners lack an understanding of how to manage the
money in their business. The books can seem like a chore to do when you
get a spare few minutes and you possibly have no understanding of the
accounts that are produced for your business.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it. This is why you need a system
to deliver the figures you need to control your business.
The Accounting System
Your system should be developed with your accountant so that it provides
information to you as well as for the Tax Authorities. It helps to write your
books up regularly so it does not become too much of a daunting task.
An accounting system should…
1. Collect data and organise it effectively.
2. Maintain the bank accounts.
3. Monitor sales and other income.
4. Monitor purchases for resale and overhead expenses.
5. Monitor amounts you take personally from the business, whether
in the form of cash, cheque or goods in kind.
6. Monitor all amounts you put into the business from your personal
7. Monitor purchases and sale of assets used in your business.
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8. Provide private proportions of mixed business and private
expenses such as motor expenses
9. Monitor who owes you money and for how long?
10. Monitor who you owe money too and for how long?
11. Provide values of stock and work in progress at the year-end date.
In addition in should have a system of checks and balances to ensure no
sales are made without being paid and that you receive value for everything
you spend.
The Bare Minimum…
Exactly what you need in your accounting system should be discussed with
your accountant and the exact bookkeeping system will depend on the type
of business but as a minimum it would normally include…
1. A Cash Book.
2. A Petty Cash Book.
The receipts and payments should be analysed and many stationers will
stock these books.
For small businesses, analysing of receipts is normally easy, often having
one column for sales and another column for any other receipts (such as
money introduced by you, or interest received). There are more different
types of expenses and you will need different columns for different types
such as goods for resale, purchase of assets, personal drawings and
overheads. The overheads will normally require analysis in different
columns (e.g. motor expenses, rent, telephone, stationery).
More complex businesses may also require the following…
Sales Day Book – to record details of sales invoices raised when selling
on credit.
Sales Ledger – to keep track of what each customer owes you.
Purchase Day Book – to record details of purchase invoices received
when purchasing on credit.
Purchase ledger – to keep track of what you owe to suppliers.
Wages Book – showing gross pay and tax and national insurance
deductions for employees.
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Stock records, especially an end of year stock take.
Nominal Ledger – the hub of a double entry bookkeeping system that
brings together all of the accounting records and from which a profit and
loss account and balance sheet can be produced.
As well as the records, you need to keep your cheque stubs, paying in
books, bank statements, invoices and VAT returns.
To be more specific you need to consider the following about your
accounting system…
Does the system produce reliable information?
What do you like and dislike about the system?
Is the information produced helpful in managing the
What other information would you like that you don’t get at
Do you use the principle of segregation of duties
throughout the financial system to reduce the risks of fraud?
For example, is the person who signs for deliveries or
approves purchase invoices different to the person who
writes out the cheques? Of course, if you’re the owner doing
both, that’s OK from a fraud point of view.
Are the accounting records kept up to date?
Computerised Accounts Packages
There are many products on the market suitable for small businesses. The
more transactions you have, the more use a computerised system will be. An
accountant will then be able to offer more business advice. However
remember that Garbage In = Garbage Out. Among the front runners are…
TAS Books
Quick Books.
You need to consider…
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Do you and any staff who use it know how to operate it?
Is a hard copy kept of the audit trail in case of back up
Are there passwords or security procedures needed to
access the package?
Are proper back up procedures in place?
What if it goes wrong? Are there any back-up plans?
Are credit checks done on new customers and references
Are credit limits imposed, reviewed and a system in place
to ensure compliance.
Is there a system in place to ensure no transaction is not
Is there a system in place for raising invoices?
Are all credit notes approved at a senior level?
Are overdue debtors regularly reviewed and put on stop
until the account brought up to date?
Are the list of debtors reconciled regularly to the sales ledger
control account and any differences appropriately dealt with?
Are persistently slow payers identified and procedures put in
place to deal with them.
Are debts chased in accordance with a set system.
Are disputes with debtors resolved quickly?
Are statements and remittance advices sent to customers
on a regular basis?
Cash Receipts
Does more than one person open the post?
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Are there segregation of duties between the cashier and the
sales ledger function?
Are there clear banking procedures?
Is a bank reconciliation prepared on a regular basis?
Are there procedures to ensure all purchase orders are
Are all purchase invoices checked and approved before
Is the purchase invoice checked to the delivery note and the
purchase order?
Is the list of purchase ledger balances regularly reviewed and
reconciled to the purchase ledger control account?
Is there a payment policy for suppliers?
Is there more than one supplier for key goods and services
to minimize any risks of over reliance?
Is the market reviewed regularly to ensure the best prices
are being obtained?
Purchase Payments
Are there adequate cheque signing procedures?
Are there supporting documents for all payments?
Are the supporting documents always seen by the cheque
When more petty cash is needed is the petty cash book
shown to the cheque signatory?
Is there supporting evidence for petty cash payments?
Wages & Salaries
Is there evidence in support of time worked, piecework and
calculations of gross pay?
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Are all changes to wages rates authorised by a
Are PAYE deductions correctly calculated and paid over
Is stock physically controlled and identifiable for stock
Are regular stock checks undertaken?
Is there a system for identifying obsolete and damaged
Are stock levels controlled?
Are goods received checked against delivery notes?
Management Accounts
The profit and loss account shows all the items of income and expenditure
over a period to identify if you have made a profit.
The balance sheet shows all the assets and liabilities of the business on the
last day of the accounting period.
Your profit and loss account and balance sheet are prepared at least
annually for tax purposes but you may need more regular preparation for
your own information in the form of management accounts or for the
purposes of providing this information to lenders.
Are they produced on a regular basis and when you need
Do they include all the key performance indicators?
Are there comparisons between actual & budget?
Are variances between actual and budget explained?
Is there a costing system that allows you to measure the
profit on each job to ensure unprofitable jobs are not hidden
by profitable jobs?
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Internal Controls
As your business grows and develops you will need to put in place more
controls to ensure all sales are recorded all amounts spent are for goods and
services actually received.
Management Information
To manage the business you need to know your…
Key performance indicators – what pieces of information are key to
understanding how the business is performing. The key indicators will
vary between businesses.
Examples of key performance indicators…
Gross Profit by product
Profit and Loss Account
Key Financial Ratios
Current Ratio
Acid Test Ratio
Assets to Sales
Debtor Days
Creditor Days
Net Profit %
Return on capital %
Return on assets %
Operating Profit
Your accounting systems should monitor more than just your
money and these may well be part of your key performance
indicators. For example…
The number of customer complaints.
Orders delivered on time.
Conversion of sales leads to customers.
Quality control rejections.
Staff turnover.
Breakeven point – at what level of sales do you breakeven and how
does this work out on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. You should
build into this the level of profit you need to live.
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For a business selling products, the breakeven point is calculated
Total Overheads
Gross Profit Margin
The overheads are all the costs of running the business such as
motor expenses, rent, staff costs, etc.
Gross Profit Margin is sales less costs of the actual product. If you
sell for £100 and the product costs £70 this is a £30 gross margin
which as a percentage of the sale price is 30%. This is different to
the mark up %. The mark up is still £30 but it is a percentage of the
purchase price, being 30/70 = 42.86%.
For example if your overheads are £50,000 and the gross margin is
30% the breakeven level of sales needed is 50,000/0.3 = 166,666.
For a service provider who doesn’t have products there is no gross
margin to worry about. The service provider will know what level of
overheads they need to cover and how much profit they need to
make to live. If these two figures were £10,000 and £30,000
respectively, he knows his sales need to be £40,000 per year. From
there he can work out his minimum hourly chargeout rate. For
example, if he works for 47 weeks of the year and can work for 30
hours per week, this gives 1410 chargeable hours per year. The
breakeven hourly rate is therefore 40000/1410 =£28.36 per hour.
Remember those people running a service business cannot charge for
every hour as they also spend time on admin, marketing, etc.
The minimum charge out rate just to cover the cost of employing
extra staff is calculated as…
Gross Salary + Employers NI
No of chargeable hours
Projected operating budgets and cash flow forecasts. They need to
be updated regularly.
What If Questions
Once you know all the above, you are in a powerful position to be able to
ask “what if” questions about the business. You can now measure the
impact on your key performance indicators, breakeven point and
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For example…
What if you increased prices of certain products by 10% and
the quantity sold fell by 10%?
What if you could sell 2 more units a week at the existing
prices by spending £1000 on marketing?
What if your employees worked 2 more hours per week?
What if your staff costs rise by 3%?
What if you took on another employee?
What if you raised your chargeout rates by 10%, how does
that change your breakeven sales level or number of weeks
you need to work?
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Section 40
Cost Controls &
Expense Minimization
“Take care of the pence and
the pounds will take care of themselves”
William Lowndes 1652 –1724:
In Lord Chesterfield Letters To His Son (1774)
Cutting costs will not necessarily improve profits if the quality of what you
offer suffers. However a good financial information system will provide you
with relevant information to help you make cost cutting decisions. The
following are proven ways to control costs and reduce expenses…
Sometimes, a high volume profitable business could make cost savings
but the volume of their business actually hides that fact that there is
room for further cost savings. You need to measure in detail, not
globally in order to identify all areas you can save costs.
It is sometimes necessary to spend money in order to save money in
the long term. For example, investment in machinery or redundancy
Controls can help to reduce costs. For example, portion controls, stock
controls, cash controls.
Measuring the efficiency of individuals or departments can identify
where there is room for improvement.
Having budgets helps to identify when costs are out of control of
something is going wrong. The best way to budget is not “what did we
spend last year and add 5%” but by starting from zero and deciding what
you should be spending in each area.
The lowest price isn’t always the best price when quality suffers.
Changing the sales mix, for example in a restaurant can reduce wastage
of products with a limited lifespan. A limited menu will help sell more
of those items.
Consider joining a buying group in order to take advantage of
consolidated buying power.
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Review all your standing orders and direct debits. Unless these are
reviewed on a periodic basis, some can continue that you no longer
When making capital expenditure are all sources of finance considered
including grants.
Never sign up at the first meeting. Take time to consider however good
the deal looks.
Always ask for a free trial.
Do research to make sure you buy the right product.
Always read the small print on order forms.
Try to reduce frequency of purchases.
See if any items can be outsourced or a subcontractor used to save
Weigh up the costs and benefits of all items.
Take advantage of free consultations from professional advisors.
Offer to settle bills early in exchange for a discount when you buy.
There are hundreds of grants available for businesses to offset against
expenditure. Check you’re not missing any. Business Links are a good
source of information on grants.
Many government agencies offer free or low cost business advice when
you are starting out.
Are the advantages and disadvantages of buying outright, HP or
leasing capital equipment reviewed before each decision?
And For Some Specific Expenses…
Labour costs can be controlled by controlling overtime with planning
and scheduling, labour saving equipment and improved layouts (e.g.
drive through windows). Improved employee retention reduces
recruitment costs.
Move employees onto yearly hour contracts to improve productivity.
For example, rather than 48 weeks, 5 days a week, 7 hours a day, change
the contract to 1680 hours a year. Then you can use staff more in busy
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periods rather than paying overtime. It gives staff blocks of time off and
they don’t have to sit around doing nothing and being bored.
Can any of your staff be moved onto a self-employed basis to save
employers national insurance costs as well as holiday pay, sick pay and
maternity pay costs?
Phone costs – least cost routing can reduce phone bills by as much as
A small business could do way with a separate fax line and use a fax to
email facility whereby faxes appear in your email. Type “fax to email”
into a search engine and many providers will come up.
Advertising – send camera-ready artwork with a cheque for 20% of
the rate card price and a letter authorizing them to cash the cheque and
run the advert whenever they have space. Many publications have space
left they need to fill and something is better than nothing.
Consider an appeal against your rates assessment. Many are higher
than they need be.
Rents can be negotiated in times of property crashes. You could ask
for a lower rent in exchange for a longer lease.
Bank charges and interest payments reviewed for accuracy. There are
software programs that will do this and consultants who offer a checking
Leasing and interest costs should be reviewed regularly to see if
better terms can be obtained.
Bank Charges…
Always negotiate the charges with your bank.
Use BACS – charges will be cheaper than paying by cheque.
Don’t have more accounts than you need.
Most banks offer free banking for at least a year and maybe 18
months to small businesses. Have you considered a change of
Finally, the largest expense is often tax so use a great accountant who
will slash your tax bills.
Whilst fiscal responsibility is OK don’t waste all your time looking for the
pennies on the ground.
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Stock Controls
The costs of holding stock are…
1. The money spent on it that is tied up and could be used
2. The risk of the stock reducing in value if it becomes obsolete or
is perishable.
3. The risk of theft or damage.
4. The cost of storage.
5. Having to manage and organise it.
Stock levels need to be minimized without running out of items so that
you can’t supply what the customer needs. You therefore need a stock
control system to get the balance right.
The best stock level to hold is normally one that keeps the level of stock
necessary to support your normal level of trade. By doing this you will be
able to supply what your customers want most of the time without the
stock costing you too much. The following tips will help with stock
Produce sales forecasts so that you know what stock levels to hold to
meet that demand.
Speed up your production process as much as possible by
developing good supplier relationships.
If you never run out of stock, you’re probably holding too much.
Form reciprocal relationships with non-geographically competing
businesses to supply each other if you run out of stock.
Monitor your re-order levels.
Reduce duplication of stock holding that occurs with multiple stock
holding locations. Try to keep stock in one place as much as possible.
Try to buy stock on sale or return, which will allow you to hold more
stock without any risk or cost. Having a preferred supplier may make
this more possible.
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Apply Pateto’s 80/20 law to stock – concentrate on the 20% of stock
lines that probably make 80% of your sales.
Only go for bulk discounts if they are beneficial after considering the
cost of holding the extra stock.
Regular stock takes on the same day each week can help to determine
usage levels.
Purchase Orders Controls
Use purchase order systems to ensure all purchases are authorised,
delivered and the correct amount invoiced. The system of purchase orders
should cover…
Who can place orders?
The limits of the orders.
Having pre-numbered purchase order sheets.
Look to specify on the order “time is of the essence” so that
delivery on time is contractual matter.
Check the delivery.
Check the invoice.
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Section 41
Using Barter To Reduce Costs
“Money speaks sense in a
language all nations understand”
Aphra Behn 1640 – 89: The Rover pt.2 (1681)
Barter is the process of trading your products or services into products or
services your business needs or wants. It can allow you to do things you
couldn’t or wouldn’t otherwise do.
For example, a plastic surgeon may charge £4000 for facelift but it only
costs him £400. He could barter this against hard goods from another
supplier. A lawyer could barter legal services against marketing services. A
software supplier could exchange software that has a negligible cost to him
for services or products that he really needs.
The barter doesn’t always have to be for goods of equal value. For
example, a car is a low margin product that is likely to buy more in value of
higher margin items.
Make a list of products/services you want and then propose a direct
exchange with those suppliers. You can offer an unlimited time during
which your product or service can be taken if they don’t want it now.
Surplus goods are ideal as a barter tool. The other party may know
someone they can sell them onto at retail value.
Triangulation can be used to make better use of bartering. For example a
restaurateur may want a car but the car dealer doesn’t want food. However a
newspaper may use a restaurant to entertain sources, and the car dealer may
want advertising space in the newspaper. You therefore set up a triangular
You could even start your own barter business acting as a middleman
arranging all these deals. You could offer to take 15% in cash or 30% in
barter credits for making the arrangement that are assignable that you sell
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Section 41
How To Make Sure
You Get Paid
“You can’t make a profit out of customers
who can’t or wont’ pay”
Never forget that customers who can’t or won’t pay are no good to you.
The exception that proves the rule is of course if that customer refers stacks
of business to you.
The very first thing to consider is do you want or need to supply on credit at
all. Only 20% of businesses pay on time. Cash on delivery avoids the need
for debtor controls. Perhaps you need to start offering credit card facilities to
make this possible.
That said, it is still necessary in many businesses to supply on credit if you
want to maximize your sales.
If you offer credit for sales, the starting point is to have pre-printed credit
enquiry forms. They should collect the following details…
Name and address of proprietor.
Type of trade.
Length of time in business.
Banker’s name & address.
Two trade references name and address.
You must follow up the bank and trade references supplied. Let them know
that amount of credit involved. It can often be a case of looking out for
what is not said.
For larger amounts of credit, you should also carry out a credit check or do
a search at Companies House. Dun & Bradstreet can be a good source for
credit checking.
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To then ensure you get paid as soon as possible and have no problems,
follow these types of proven procedures…
Early settlement discounts rarely work and even slow payers start
deducting them from their payments.
Set a low credit limit to start with and the review it as necessary.
Be careful of dealing with Ltd Companies. If there is lots of money at
stake try to get a personal guarantee from the owners.
Get the order in writing.
Have written business terms. You must bring your terms &
conditions to the customer’s attention before the contract is made. It will
be the contract even if they are not signed if they are not rejected.
Have a contract that covers the following…
Payment Date
Description of goods/services.
Right to interest.
Name & address of the seller and buyer.
Status of seller and buyer such as Ltd Company, Sole Trader or
Date of the contract.
Title and risk in the goods –the customer owns the goods as soon as
a contract is made unless the contract has a reservation of title
Exclusion of liability clause – it must be reasonable to stand up in
A contract can be verbal but there is nothing like having it in writing
for evidence.
Get proof of delivery or get the job signed off.
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Get the invoice correct when you raise the invoice. A wrong invoice
can be an excuse to delay payment.
Put a stop to anyone over the credit limit you set them.
Invoice as soon as you make the sale.
It helps to find out your customer’s supplier payment policy. Raising
an invoice 1 day earlier can mean you getting paid 30 days earlier if
they only have a cheque run once a month.
Ask for staged payments on larger jobs.
If there is a dispute, try to agree a % of the invoice to be paid now.
You need an accounting system that records your debtors that you
review on a weekly basis and act quickly.
Always send a statement out first. Some customers only pay on
Start with a phone call after the statement.
If there is a problem, look into it. Remember that an estimate is just
that but that a quote is actual.
Chase debts around once every 10 days.
For the obstructive debtor who you can’t get hold of, ask for a call
back at a time agreed by his firm. If it doesn’t happen, move to a letter.
Letters should be professional and polite but firm and getting firmer
the more letters you send. This will help you with any court action
taken. Some people only pay when they get a debt collection letter.
If you are told the cheque is in the post and it doesn’t turn up, the
force of the letter should increase.
The approach you then take has to be decided on a customer-bycustomer basis. If the customer has no money, you need to consider if
it is worth taking the case to court. You do have six years within which
to take court action.
If the customer makes you an offer for less than the full amount, you
should write “without prejudice” on any reply when negotiating. This
cannot then be used against you in court.
If the customer can’t pay, you could negotiate a payment schedule.
Get it agreed in writing and look to get post dated cheques or a standing
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order set up.
Don’t threaten anything you won’t carry out as they will never take
you seriously again.
Keep a log of conversations had with the customer when chasing the
debt. You can refer to these in subsequent conversations.
It can help with large customers to let the user of your product or
services within the company know you are having difficulty being paid.
They may be completely unaware and can put pressure on the payment
department to process payment.
When taking court action against a partnership, all partners are joint
and severally liable personally. This means they are all individually
fully liable for the debt should the partnership or any one of them not
It makes sense to check out the debtor before proceeding with court
action to know if they are likely to have the ability to pay when you get
judgement. You can do this by using an enquiry agent who amongst
other things can carry out a land registry search, land charges search,
DVLA search, CCJ search and attachments of earnings orders against
Always send a letter before action.
Small claims of less than £5000 can be dealt with in the Small Claims
Court, which are held in the local County Court.
At the hearing it is important to be prepared. Have all necessary
documents available and act professionally.
When you obtain judgement, you still have to collect payment if it is
not forthcoming. There are various methods to help with this although
none are guaranteed to get you your money, especially if the debtor
doesn’t have the funds to pay you…
Enforcement by an enquiry agent, Court bailiffs of Sheriffs
Attachment of Earnings for employees
Charging orders on property owned by the debtor.
Third party debt order.
With individuals you can proceed to issue bankruptcy proceedings
against them if they do not pay and with Limited Companies a Winding
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Up Order. However, these procedures do involve significant costs on
your part that you may not recover if the debtor really can’t pay.
Interest – since the Late Payment Of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act
1998, small firms have the legal right to charge interest to large firms who
exceed their credit terms. Since November 2002, all firms are able to charge
interest to any other firm.
What If You Can’t Pay?
It happens, often through no deliberate fault of your own.
If you get into a position where you can’t pay, try to pay what you can
when you can and keep in touch with your creditor. If you do this and they
stick by you it can lead to an even more rewarding relationship for both
parties when you recover.
If you get into difficult times, look to cut back to get through and survive.
Cut staff, cut your square footage, cut back on everything and negotiate with
suppliers. Pay the suppliers you need most first.
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Section 43
Minimizing Your Risks
“I am convinced that He (God)
does not play dice”
Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955: letter to Max Born, 4 Dec 1926
Your business is always at risk from various angles. You need to try to
minimize the risk of the following and have procedures and crisis plans in
place to deal with them.
This is a list of the most important risk aspects to consider…
Reliance on key staff.
Reliance on key customers.
Reliance on key suppliers.
Is there a partnership or shareholders agreement in place?
Is there an IT strategy and does it cater for IT developments, viruses,
system failures, back up procedures and Data Protection Registration? Is
there insurance cover for an IT disaster?
Do stock levels cater for peaks & troughs in demand?
Do you need insurance for…
Public Liability Insurance - against claims from members of
the public
Are major business assets insured?
Keyman insurance – against the death or absence of a key
employee or director.
Building Insurance – if you own the freehold. This should be
for the rebuilding cost, not market value.
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Business Interruption – to cover you for loss of profits if
something happens and your business is interrupted through
no fault of your own, such as a fire, theft, etc.
Credit Insurance – against bad debts.
Directors and officers insurance against any claims made
personally against them for breach of duty.
Employer’s Liability – this is compulsory if you have
Engineering Insurance – against mechanical and electrical
breakdown of machinery.
Fidelity Insurance – against employees’ theft or dishonesty.
Fire Insurance – and other risks such as flood, storm
damage, etc.
Plate glass insurance – for shop fronts.
Goods in transit insurance.
Legal expenses cover – to cover legal fees in disputes.
Product Liability – against claims arising from defective
Professional Indemnity – against claims for negligence.
Typically applies to many professions such as accountants,
solicitors, architects, doctors, etc.
Travel insurance – against business travel by you or your
Working from home.
Permanent Health Insurance – to compensate you for loss of
income if unable to work.
You can approach an insurance broker to discuss what
insurances are going to be applicable to your own situation and
how much cover you require.
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Section 44
How To Raise Finance
“A bank is a place that will lend you money if
you can prove you don’t need it”
Bob Hope: in A. Harrington Life In The Crystal Palace (1959)
Start Up Finance will be needed for…
Goodwill if purchasing an existing business
Installation of utilities
Legal and professional fees
Advertising and publicity
Stock for resale
Wages of employees.
Then as you expand, further finance may be necessary to support any of the
above that may increase before you make the sales and get paid. Businesses
that are profitable can go bust if they don’t have the appropriate finance
arrangements in place to deal with expenses that need paying before their
customers pay them.
You may have cash flow difficulties caused perhaps caused by needing
working capital for debtors and stock or seasonal business variations.
You need to try to match the appropriate source of finance for what you are
trying to achieve. Generally, long term finance for long-term investment and
short-term finance for short term working capital requirements.
How To Get Your Bank To Say “Yes”
Banks are the major source of finance for small business in the UK. When
applying for finance from you bank it helps if you follow these
Always produce a business plan. The main areas that need to be
covered in a business plan are…
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o The management team background with details of
qualifications and experience.
o The type of business.
o Previous trading history.
o Details of the market in which you are going to trade.
o Likely extent of the competition.
o How you will market your business.
o A cash flow forecast for at least the first 12 months that
demonstrates you can meet the loan repayments and a project
profit and loss account and balance sheet.
o Your break-even point.
o A SWOT analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities
and Threats.
o Details of any expert advice you have sought.
o How much you want to borrow and over how long.
o Commitment from the borrower.
o What other sources of finance you will be using.
o Security being offered.
o What savings, investments and other assets you have.
Produce a 2-page summary of the plan.
Ask for a 25% longer repayment than you need and 10-20% more
money than you need.
Send the plan to banks with an invitation to visit your premises.
Prepare before meeting the bank manager. Think of the questions that
are likely to concern him and have your answers prepared.
Always negotiate the interest rate and terms after the offer has been
made, not before. There is normally an arrangement fee of at least 1% for
bank loans.
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Offer a charge on assets rather than personal guarantees.
Try to avoid personal guarantees but if you have to give them ensure
they are limited to the amount of the loan.
Do not agree to too much security – only agree to the bank’s
maximum exposure to loss.
Get the agreement in writing.
It helps to keep a good relationship with your bank and you can do this by…
1. Keeping to agreements made – making payments on time, not
going over your agreed overdraft limit, etc.
2. If you are going to go over the limit or default on payment, warn
them in advance.
3. If there is bad news, let them know and let them know what you
are doing to do to remedy the situation.
4. Supply them with any information they require on time.
5. Try to prepare the bank in advance for requests for additional
6. Borrow for the right reasons.
Overdrafts are normally reviewed annually.
Bank Loans may be secured or unsecured. Secured loans are just like a
mortgage with repossession of the secured property possible in the event of
default. The property could be your home. The loan may be used for a
totally different purpose to the property on which it is secured.
The security may be a second charge on the property meaning that another
lender has the first charge and the second lender only has the rights to any
sale proceeds after the lender with the first charge. A lender with a second
charge is therefore likely to charge a higher interest rate as would a lender
of an unsecured loan.
Mortgages are the usual way of financing the purchase of commercial
property with the loan being secured against the property, giving the
mortgage company the right to repossess the property in the event of you
defaulting on mortgage repayments. They tend to be for 10 to 25 years in
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Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme
Where you have insufficient security to satisfy the bank to qualify for a
bank loan, the Government have a scheme whereby they guarantee up to
85% of the loan up to £250,000 for businesses trading for over two years
and 70% of up to £100,000 for other businesses. The lender makes the final
decision. In return for the guarantee, a fee of between 0.5% and 1.5% per
year is charged on top of the banks normal arrangement fees and interest.
Loans are available for most business purposes although there are some
Factoring is offered by banks and finance houses. The factor buys the debts
off of you, paying you a high percentage such as 80% up front and then the
balance when the customer pays the debt in full. They of course charge a fee
for this. They are likely to charge 2-3% over base and a service charge of
between 0.5 – 3% of your turnover, making them a potentially very
expensive source of finance.
They can also provide other services such as…
Taking over the sales ledger administration.
Assessing credit risks.
Exporting assistance.
Invoice Discounting
Credit protection – for a further fee the factor guarantees 100%
protection against bad debts. This is known as “non recourse”.
Factoring your debts can be a good source of finance for those businesses
that really need the money to help them grow. Viewing them as a finance
source of last resort is probably the best approach to take.
Invoice Discounting is similar to factoring, but all that is supplied is the
finance facility against the invoices. There is no involvement with the sales
ledger administration and the customer does not know the invoices are being
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Hire Purchase & Leasing
With hire purchase you obtain the goods or equipment and make
repayments (normally monthly) under a hire purchase agreement to cover
the cost of the goods plus interest over a period of time. You own the goods
or equipment once all payments have been made. The interest rate is often
higher than for bank loans.
Leasing – there are two types, purchase leases which are in essence just like
hire purchase and operating leases. With operating leases you pay a rent for
the use of an item and sometimes at the end of the lease there is an option to
purchase the item or extend the lease with a reduced rental. Every lease is
different and you need to look carefully at it. Leasing is available to higher
risk cases that an unsecured loan may be because of the collateral of the
Trade Credit
Trade credit when you buy from other suppliers is generally an interest free
form of finance unless the supplier is prepared to offer a discount for
payment up front. It therefore makes sense to take advantage of it.
However, always bear in mind good supplier relationships are important to
the success of your business and paying them on time or even in advance
will contribute to this.
Equity Finance
This is not a loan but the person providing the finance becomes a part
owner in the business, who may or may not be involved in the running of
the business. It is important to fully understand the terms of the arrangement
with an equity partner. It could be by giving shares in your Limited
Company or by a partnership arrangement.
Venture Capital
The British Venture Capital Association www.bvca.co.uk represents
companies offering venture capital. Apart from finance, the venture capital
firm provides strategic support to the business, often with a seat on the
It is generally a higher risk type of investment where the Venture Capitalist
is probably looking for a 300-500% return on their investment over a 4 to 5
year period. The amounts tend to be for over £100,000. Most investments
take the form of equity capital.
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Business Angels
Business Angels are private individuals who invest on their own or
sometimes as part of a syndicate for larger amounts. They rarely have a
connection with the company before they invest but often have experience
of its industry or sector. They look to invest both money and their business
Business angels usually invest between £10,000 and £250,000 in an
investment. Business angels invest across most industry sectors and stages
of business development, but especially in early and expansion stage
businesses. Most prefer to invest in companies within 100 miles of where
they live or work.
The National Business Angels Network which maintains a register of
Business Angels can be found at:
The Department of Trade & Industry www.dti.gov.uk is often the best
source to find out about grants that may be available to you. Grants are often
available for…
Assisted geographic areas.
Research and development activities.
Business start up support.
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Section 45
Choosing Your
Business Structure
“The corporations cannot commit treason, nor be
outlawed, nor excommunicate,
for they have no souls.”
Edward Coke 1552 –1634: Reports of Sir Edward Coke (1658)
The following gives you an outline of the different business structures you
can trade through. The tax effects of each are not covered in this particular
Limited Company
A limited company is a separate legal entity from its members. These are
the basic facts…
The business is owned by the limited company, not you.
You are the shareholder who owns the business and with small
businesses, the director who runs it.
It must have at least one shareholder.
It must also have at least one director and one company secretary
but if there is only one person, they cannot be the same person.
The shareholders do not have to be directors. Directors are employees
of the company.
The company pays corporation tax on its profits.
They are governed by company law.
Main Non Tax Advantages of using a Limited Company…
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1. A Limited Company may appear more credible and substantial
although in reality this is not necessarily the case.
2. The Liability of its shareholders is limited to the amount of the
share capital issued and so offers protection to personal assets. In
the event of company failure and not being able to pay its creditors,
your personal assets are protected. However, banks, landlords and
others when dealing with a Limited Company will often require
personal guarantees.
A Limited Company has better borrowing potential as it can use
current assets as security by creating a floating charge over its
4. You can use shares to enable different people to have different
shares of ownership that they can pass onto the next generation.
5. You can have different classes of shares with different rights,
such as non-voting shares for someone who wants to invest some
money into the company but doesn’t wish to take part in the
Main Non Tax Disadvantages of using a Limited Company…
1. Your annual accounts have to be filed at Companies House and
are available for public inspection as is other information about
the company.
2. Directors are personally subject to regulations and can be fined or
found guilty of a criminal offence for failing to comply.
3. A company is more complicated to wind up.
Generally involves higher accountancy fees as there is more for
the accountant to deal with.
A partnership is two or more people carrying on business together with a
view to making profit.
The partners are all joint and severally liable for partnership debts,
although this does not apply to personal tax bills based on partnership
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It is advisable to have a partnership agreement to document the agreement
between the partners. However, the partnership is often between husband
and wife and there is no agreement.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
LLP’s are treated like a normal partnership for tax purposes but have the
protection of Limited Liability.
A LLP is a separate legal entity and can enter into contracts and deeds, sue
and be sued. With normal partnerships every partner has to be party to
certain documents and litigation.
Floating charges can be granted over its assets in its own name, which
normal partnerships can’t do. As with Limited Companies, there is public
availability of accounts.
Sole Trader
This is the simplest form of business to start where you carry on business
on your own account. You are liable to income tax and Class 4 National
Insurance on your profits. You can employ people including your spouse for
work done.
Your business format is not set in stone forever and you can change
between them. It is fairly simple for a sole trader to take on a partner and
become a partnership and for a partnership to become a Limited Company.
There are however more complications with changing from a Limited
Company to a sole trader or partnership.
With a franchise, you own the business (the franchisee) but the style and
name of the business is dictated by another business (the franchisor).
Franchises are normally run to a particular format and you have the
advantage of using proven systems, support and training. It is in the interests
of the franchisor for you to be successful. You do however, pay the
franchisor for this, normally by means of an initial up front payment and an
ongoing payment, typically a percentage of your sales.
You can carry on the franchise as a sole trader, partnership or Limited
Company. A good source of information is The British Franchise
Association (BFA) http://www.british-franchise.org/
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It makes sense to check whether the franchise is a member of the BFA.
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Section 46
How To Find
A Product To Market
“The biggest mistake is often the
fear that you’ll make one”
If you’re raring to get going but haven’t got a product to sell, here are some
ideas that may help you to find it…
Think of your hobbies and passions and see if there is anything
associated with them. If you enjoy what you do you are far more
likely to be successful. Also, what are you good at? Then think if
there are any other products you could also market to the same
Try the Patent Office. Patents are good for up to 20 years. After
that, the idea is up for grabs if it hasn’t been used. Sources of
information are…
Patents Databasehttp://www.patent.gov.uk/patent/dbase/index.htm
Inventor Groups http://www.thebis.org/clubs/
Can’t wait 20 years – ask the patent holder if you can have a licence
for the product. They are inventors, not sales people who have no
interest in the marketing. You may well find they will be happy with
2-5% of the sales revenues. Something is better than nothing at all.
Approach manufacturers and ask to market any products that they
have that haven’t sold well. You’ll often get a very good price. Ask
for special licensing and marketing rights.
Get media kits and look at the adverts – does it give you any ideas
for better products?
Go to trade shows and see what is on offer.
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If you see something on a shop shelf and you like the product,
approach the manufacturer. The smaller the manufacturer, the more
likely they are to want more outlets.
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“Just Do It”
Dr Denning & Borrowed By Nike
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Recommended Reading &
Information Sources
A lot of the inspiration and ideas for this report have been taken from the
sources below…
Must Read
The E-Myth Revisited (Michael Gerber) http://www.e-myth.com/
Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got (Jay Abraham)
All Power Marketing Strategy Products (Steve Hackney)
Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless (Jeffrey Gitomer)
Uncommon Marketing Techniques (Jeffrey Dobkin)
The Ultimate Sales Letter (Dan S. Kennedy)
Sales Letters That Sizzle: All the Hooks, Lines and Sinkers You'll Ever
Need to Close Sales (Herschell Gordon Lewis)
Tested Advertising Methods (John Caples)
Confessions Of An Advertising Man (David Ogilvy)
Gung Ho – How To Motivate People In Any Organisation (Ken Blanchard
& Sheldon Bowles)
Successful Cold Call Selling (Lee Boyan)
Who Moved My Cheese (Dr Spencer Johnson)
101 Ways To Promote Your Web Site (Susan Sweeney)
Should Read
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People (Stephen R Covey)
How To Out-Sell Out-Market Out-Promote Out-Advertise Everyone Else
You Compete Against (Paul Gorman)
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The Ultimate Marketing Plan (Dan S.Kennedy)
How To Write Sales Letters That Sell (Drayton Bird)
Commonsense Direct Marketing (David Ogilvy)
Secrets Of Successful Telephone Selling (Robert W. Bly)
High Five – Of The Magic Of Working Together (Ken Blanchard &
Sheldon Bowles)
Other Recommended Reading
Off-The-Wall Marketing Ideas (Nancy Michaels & Debbie J Karpowicz)
Direct & Database Marketing (The Institute Of Direct Marketing)
The Complete Small Business Guide (Colin Barrow)
Useful Web Sites
Business Link www.businesslink.org
Companies House www.companieshouse.gov.uk
Customs & Excise www.hmce.gov.uk
Department of Trade & Industry www.dti.gov.uk
Health & Safety Executive www.hse.gov.uk
Inland Revenue www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk
British Franchise Association www.british-franchise.org.uk
Federation of Small Businesses www.fsb.org.uk (offers a free legal helpline
as part of membership)
Bizwise www.bizwise.co.uk
National Business Angels Network www.nationalbusangels.co.uk
Working From Home www.wfh.co.uk
Advertising Standards Authority www.asa.org.uk
British Venture Capital Association www.bvca.co.uk
Direct Marketing Association www.dma.org.uk
Financial Services Authority www.fsa.gov.uk
Institute Of Chartered Accountants In England & Wales www.icaew.co.uk
Princes Trust www.princes-trust.org.uk
Shell Live Wire www.shell-livewire.org
Benchmarking Index www.benchmarkindex.com (compare your business
against 23 performance indicators)
Marketing Guild http://www.marketing-guild.com/
Small Business Sites
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