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Steve Marr Blog

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Category >> Getting and Keeping Customers
Sep 23

Negative Selling

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

I’ve never been a fan of negative selling. I recently encountered a sales pitch from a guy who writes advertising copy for websites. The sales pitch commenced by shredding current content and layering criticism after criticism. In reviewing the pages, some of the criticism was well-placed. However “Ken” was pretty angry about having his ad copy treated in such a brutal way.

Aug 22

You Didn’t Get My Email Address

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

I was buying several plants at my local nursery and as I completed the transaction I said to the owner “You didn’t get my email address.” “Bill’s” response was, “Why would I need it?”  I explained that he could send me an email reminding me in the spring what plants I should get for my yard or what items to pick up for fall cleanup or let me know what’s on sale. Bill agreed that it was a good idea, finished up with me and moved to the next customer. Bill will likely never act on developing an email list.

I don’t want to interject myself into Bill’s business without being asked. However, if he were to ask me I would tell him to collect email addresses and send out a periodic newsletter. He could write the letter in the winter when business was slow and Bill didn’t have a lot to do. Then he would have newsletters written in advance.

Perhaps Bill was concerned about how to develop content. Bill could summarize good articles from the internet in a brief paragraph and provide a link to the article for more information. Better yet, he could contact the author and see if he could have permission to reprint the entire article as part of the newsletter.

Jul 12

Create Testimonials

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Regular readers will know that a Unique Sales Proposition (USP) is critical for any business. When we are clear about our USP we are able to articulate the benefits of our business to prospective customers. I consistently advise businesses to lead with the benefits and follow up with the evidence.  Many businesses become clear about their USP and effectively focus on benefits to customers, but do not always follow with evidence. 

May 24

Don’t Market to Everyone

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

At times I review a client’s marketing materials. Frequently the sales pitch is too broad.  The client is trying to reach everybody in town. As a result they will likely snare fewer customers. I believe the issue is that the businesses failed to properly identify the target customer; therefore, they really have no idea who they’re trying to reach.  The result is wasted advertising and fewer customers.

My marketing strategy is to think through who my target customer is.  I need to identify the exact person I want to reach, the person who will buy my product or use my service. Then, I write my ad copy specifically for them. 

Living in Arizona I worked with an exterminator who told me that there was a specific part of town with a severe rat infestation which was annoying and destructive. “Nancy” was going to mail their standard brochure to this area in an effort to snag new customers.  I suggested that rather than send their regular piece, they needed to write something specific on eradicating pack rats and send it instead.  Prospective customers concerned about rats would not be as concerned about scorpions or other insects their service brochure addressed. Their target customer was those who have problems with rat infestation. After changing their brochure and sending it, the response rate was considerably higher than expected.  I believe the reason is because they effectively identified their target customer.

May 11

Paying for Advertising Results

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

A general rule I share with clients is that 50% of advertising cost brings little results. It means that business too frequently wastes advertising dollars.

I was talking to one business person who spent $450 a month on a Yellow Pages ad. That is $5,400 dollars a year, more than pocket change for most of us. I asked the business owner how many calls the Yellow Pages ad generated and how many of those calls resulted in business? After thinking through my question the owner acknowledged little or no business came from the ad.