Become a creative contrarian

What do Judy Wald, JD Powers and Fred Segal have in common? These 3 highly successful entrepreneurs were contrarians.
Contrarians are creative thinkers who turn accepted ideas on their heads to create highly successful products and services.
I discovered this creative trio, thanks to Bob Hagerty of The Wall Street Journal.
Judy Wald turned the talent agency business on its head by not charging the talent but the ad agencies that needed the talent. She charged larger fees to ad agencies.
JD Powers made a fortune by telling automakers what they did not want to hear: What their customers think of their cars.
This led to improvements in US automaking and he branched out into surveying customers of other products and selling his findings to those who made and sold them.
Fred Segal saw something in blue jeans no one else had: Jeans could be more than work pants. He took lighter-weight denim and turned it into hip-hugging fashion statements with rhinestones and other touches. Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and other celebrities became his best customers.
What’s the Big Business Breakthrough in their examples? What traditions in your business or industry could you turn on their heads and make your own fortune?
We share such field-tested ideas and strategies in our book “Million Dollar Strategies of Maverick Entrepreneurs.” For a copy email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.
Next: Successful negotiation secrets
Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Create loving messages for your customers

Our friend Bill Edmonds checked into a hotel and found a message in his room.
“Sure, life can be messy. That’s why I’m here. Don’t worry about a thing. Just make yourself at home, have fun and enjoy your room. I’ll clean it all up. If you need anything, just press “0.” -Your Housekeeper.”
This refreshing message captured his imagination. The words were inviting, soothing and friendly. The message sounded like something Jesus might say.
When was the last time you sat down and wrote a thank you note to someone who did you a good turn? When was the last time you wrote a thank you to your customers for doing business with you?
A friend of ours was in the hospital with a cardiac scare and the nurses, doctors, and technicians treated him like royalty.
He’s written the hospital CEO a letter of commendation naming all who took good care of him. He also autographed 16 copies of his books for each of them.
Want to bet they will remember the patient in room 324 for a long time?
Let me suggest you take 3 steps today:

  1. Call 3 of your customers to thank them and see how you might help them.
  2. Write 3 others a thank you note.
  3. Buy and give a motivational book to your 3 best customers to say thank you
    We share such field-tested ideas in “Uncover Your Inner Sales Genius.” For a free copy go to JerryBellune.com.
    Next: Keep your customers comfortable
    Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Ads that ring your cash register

Bob Bly and I are direct response apostles. It’s the best way to advertise.
Bob says if we embrace direct response ads in print and online, the greater our response, RoI, sales and profits will be.
Direct response ads only goal is response and sales. Here are its principles:

  • Instead of pretty designs and clever copy, give offers and sales enticements backed by extensive proof and facts.
  • Forget brand building. Your goal is more inquiries, leads, orders and sales.
  • Irresistible offers are carefully thought out, worded and easy to find.
  • Appeal to emotions not just logic. Offer to solve pains, help realize dreams.
  • Use the words “free” and “guaranteed.” These words guarantee response.
  • Calls to action should appear in the opening and closing of the ad. This catches the eyes of your Ideal Customers and tells them how to place their orders.
  • Sell more additional products to customers who bought a 1st product. Have back-end offers of added products and services.
  • Be a tightwad. Be careful what you spend. If a campaign costs too much, you won’t make much money with it.
  • Test all ads. Ask where buyers received your offer. Repeat what gets sales.

We share such field-tested strategies in our “Uncover Your Inner Sales Genius.”
For a free e-copy, go to JerryBellune.net
Next: Send loving messages to customers
Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Why ads should appeal to our emotions

Consumers rarely buy on the facts. 

Even the most analytically minded. They buy with emotion and justify it with logic.

Think about your last purchase, why you bought it and how you justified it to yourself or your partner.

Our friend Bill Edmonds says Southwest Airlines most effective ad appealed to our emotions in 3 words: “Wanna get away?”

Their commercials depict people caught in awkward blunders. The individual does something embarrassing, then a voice asks, “Wanna get away?” while the character wallows in self-inflicted humiliation. 

The solution? Buy a “Wanna Get Away” ticket from Southwest and fly far, far away, leaving your shame behind.  

Bill says he’s convinced the campaign was popular because we identify with the feelings of the commercial’s protagonist. 

We know what it is like to want to run away from our latest blunder.

Research has found that feelings of humiliation and shame are more intense than those of happiness and anger.

What emotions do your own ads appeal to? A sense of need, such as “I need a new car” or of want, such as “Can I afford to go to the Caribbean this year?”

We share such field-tested strategies in our CD “Why Advertising Fails & What You Can Do About It.”. For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Retain your loyal customers for life

When loyal customers’ friends ask who they use for what you offer, they not only mention your name but tell them about something special you did for them.

When customers need to call you, they have your number in their cell phones, on refrigerator magnets or type your company’s name in their search box rather than a generic search for your types of business.

They know, like and trust you to take care of their needs and wants.

You and I know how important customer loyalty is but here’s the good news: 69% of our competitors don’t know loyalty is critical or how to gain and retain customers.

Here are 5 ways we have built loyalty:

1. We know our most loyal customers, what they want and need and how often.

2. We are selective. We go after prospects like our loyal customers. Their needs and wants are similar and we know how to make them happy.

3. We constantly look for ways we can help them in addition to the products or services they buy from us.

4. We refer business to them.

5. We touch them often when we have ideas or offers of value to them.

We share such field-tested strategies in our CD “Why Advertising Fails & What You Can Do About It.” For a free copy, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com

Next: Your customers’ best friend.

What we can learn from Walt Disney

When you think of being visionary, compare your vision with Walt Disney’s vision for Disneyland 65 years ago:

“Physically, Disneyland is to be a small world in itself. Encompassing the things that were good and true in American life… dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America.

“I don’t want the public to think about the world they live in when they are inside our world created for them. Beyond physical places, we want to bring people along into an entirely different world, with our philosophies and ideas, our characters, our stories, our past, present and future, so they are a part of it and never want to leave.

“At age 12 or at age 62, we want them to feel curiosity, wonder, awe, fascination, joy, and attachment. Within this world, we want them to experience discovery and adventure, fun and entertainment, education, participation, and recognition. They will not just come to visit our places or to the theater to see our films. They will bring us into their homes and into their hearts. We will never settle for having customers or fans — they will be Disney people. This world will never be completed. It will always be under construction, expanding, diversifying, playing more and more roles in peoples’ lives.”

Our thanks to Rick Houcek for sharing this visionary document.

We share such field-tested strategies in our 3-CD “Make Yourself a STAR (Someone They Always Remember).” For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com

Next: With vision, you flourish

Early Christmas gift – make it their idea

When our friend Mac Toole was serving as a SC lawmaker, he had a wise strategy.
He would set out to convince one of the top leaders to introduce a bill his constituents wanted. It was easier to convince one leader than 123 other legislators. 
The leader would get the credit, Mac’s constituents would get what they wanted and everyone was happy. You can get a lot done in life if you don’t hog the credit.
I learned that early in peddling Watkins Products door to door in college to keep gas in my car. My best selling product was a lemon pie filling that was out of this world. My mother used it all the time. 
She said it cut a half hour off the time it took her to make lemon pie – and it tasted like she made it from scratch.
When I called on the ladies of the houses in my territory, I would ask if their families liked lemon pie. 99% said yes.
I would tell them how fast and easy it was for my mother to make lemon pie. 
I would offer them a bottle with the guarantee that if they didn’t like it, they would get their money back. It then became their idea that the lemon pie recipe was theirs. I used it to open doors and sell them other household products.
Always let your prospects think that whatever they buy was their idea.
PS. All of us at our little newspapers wish you and yours the happiest of holidays and the best in the new year.

Next: Take care of the pennies in 2021.

How to get high email open rates

Have you heard marketers or bloggers brag about the high number of addresses on their email lists? I heard a blogger claim more than 5 million. It makes me wonder how many actually open his emails and what it costs him to mail to thousands of addresses that don’t open his messages.

A good open rate for your emails is only 15%. In other words, 85% of the people you email don’t bother opening them.

This should be a concern. The more email addresses on your list, the more Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or whatever service you use will cost. You’re paying to mail to people who don’t want your email.

To keep our open rates high, our tech whiz Katie Ritchie segments and prunes our lists to keep our costs down and avoid emailing to those who don’t open them.

The more dead weight Katie deletes, the higher open rate we get because we reach those who want our information.

Our news web site has almost 20,000 visits a day. Our Writing Tips have a super high 45% open rate because readers specifically asked to receive those emails.

That’s the special sauce for open rates. Delete the non-opening addresses.

We share such field-tested strategies in our 60-minute CD “Why Advertising Fails & What You Can Do About It.” For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Ignore your balance sheet at your own risk

Do you only check your profit and loss statements? Your balance sheet tells you much more than your profit and loss statement, says our friend Ruth King. It actually tells you how profitable your company is.

Your balance sheet shows your current assets divided by current liabilities.

Current assets are cash, accounts receivable, inventory and prepaid expenses.

Current liabilities are accounts payable, taxes payable, deferred maintenance revenue and current part of long term debt.

Increasing current ratio means increasing profitability. Decreasing ratio, most of the time, means decreasing profitability.

Your balance sheet also tells you if:

  • You may be running out of cash
  • You have a collection problem
  • You are taking on too much debt or too much inventory.

Your balance sheet is your weather vane. It gives warning signs of impending problems so that you can take care of them before they become major crises.

If you want more information on how to understand your balance sheet, order Ruth’s book, The Courage to be Profitable: Get and Stay Profitable in Less than 30 Minutes a Month. It’s available on Amazon, on Audible, or if you want an autographed copy, call her at 770-729-0258.

Sign up for Ruth’s complimentary newsletter at rking@profitabilityrevolution.com

We share such ideas in Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.

For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-331-6695.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Use covid-19 to strengthen your team

Retired university professor Preston Hardy wrote us the other day with the story of a boy in rural Ohio who became the first human survivor of rabies. 

His doctor lacked the training to deal with such a devastating infection where everyone else had failed. Instead of treating his young patient for rabies, which he did not know how to do, the country doctor treated each symptom as it appeared. 

He knew how to treat a patient with high fever, or one experiencing kidney failure or one who had swollen limbs. 

The tireless doctor treated each symptom that arose. Finally there were no more symptoms. You don’t actually have to “cure rabies,” to cure rabies.

A crisis like we’re experiencing is a great time to use the doctor’s example for team building. A series of short-range goals can help unite your employees while demonstrating to all of them that an overwhelming catastrophe does not have to be overcome all at once. It is more effectively dealt with in small steps. An added advantage of team building is enhanced productivity.

We share such field-tested ideas in “Million Dollar Strategies of Maverick Entrepreneurs.” For a $10 copy of the $20 book, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Next: How to survive covid-19 nonsense.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.