Great to see everybody last week for our monthly get together in Poringland. We had a packed agenda as ever, designed to offer small business advice and tips to include the following topics.

We reviewed how Frequently Asked Questions are a great opportunity to answer all the unspoken queries a prospect may have, everything they may want to know before engaging with us.  All too often people use FAQ’s to focus on the boring, mundane stuff – whereas in fact you should use to say why deal with us, what make us different, how we handle things if they don’t go well, etc.

We quoted the example of an online suit company which had a FAQ basically saying what happens if I don’t like the suit when I see it?  Their answer was this has only happened twice – and that was it!  Most strange to pose their own question and then not answer it. Daft really.

We ran through some good examples posing and answering relevant questions such as – ‘Aren’t all businesses like yours the same?’ ‘Why shouldn’t I go for simply the cheapest?’ The best small business advice is dare to be different and be bold in your questions, and of course answers too!

Revisiting the great book ‘They ask – you answer’ and the underlying principle that prospects research you before engaging, using Google in particular – we looked in detail at a recent mailing sent by a large firm of estate agents.

They had posted a letter and leaflet enquiring if I was interested in selling my house – a general speculative marketing ploy, and nothing inherently wrong with it.  Not much right with it either.

The leaflet was out of date by 4 YEARS!  We know that because a simple Google search tells you the company was sold in 2014 and is no longer part of the national chain it claims to be.  Stupid decision to use old printed material merely because you don’t want to waste it – prospects aren’t daft.

Their letter claimed to have two cash buyers simply referred to as Mr A and Mr F looking for properties in the area and prepared to move quickly- we worked through how this potentially important selling point could be made stronger.  They should have given a lot more information regarding these buyers to make them believable and painted a picture.

In addition being able to move quickly is double edged – as it means I would have to move quickly too!  What everybody wants is a quick exchange of contracts and they should have addressed how a long floating completion date was possible and/or help me find somewhere to live as well.

They had space on their letter to do this, as they had failed to use even 20% of the available space and yet had paid the postage for a letter of its size and weight.

Top small business tip – never ever assume prospects (or customers) won’t do their own research before engaging, therefore make sure what you are saying is accurate and relevant.

We talked a lot about what information we would want to know if we were thinking of selling our house using their services – easy things for the estate agent to provide in fact, such as how many homes they sold in the last year, what percentage of the asking price was achieved, how many viewings before an offer was made, how long was property on the market before an offer was made, all factual stuff to demonstrate their expertise.

They also had no Google reviews on their website and the front page of Google showed a recent article about them looking at going into administration – hardly confidence inspiring stuff.

It is easy of course to criticise others, especially estate agents such as this one, but the trick is to look at our own offerings – are we as guilty?  What do our prospects want to know and are we 100% sure we are telling them the answers?

Other areas we discussed was our need to share each other’s posts on LinkedIn.  We know form the excellent LinkedIn training we had recently, that shared posts are treated seriously by LinkedIn and hence are seen by more people.

We don’t help each other enough at the moment, for a variety of reasons, to include not everybody is sure who our members are – good point and Paul Young has since posted on our Facebook Community page a solution using Google Sheets which could work well – I would urge you to have a look and get involved.

Our podcasts continue to perform well – only last week I was told by a member that a prospect had listened to their podcast and then got in touch, which fits entirely with how prospects react nowadays – they do their research first.

Finally we talked about the TSB debacle – believe it or not over the last quarter they lost 26,000 clients but gained 20,000 (be fascinating to know what thought process these people went through) so a net loss of only 6,000!

The big question is why so low a figure? It isn’t because changing bank accounts is difficult, although appreciate it is a pain.  I think it is because we generally regard all banks as basically the same and trust none of them.

There is a very important message here for all of us involved in B2B, especially if not in a well regarding sector – it takes a lot to get people to trust us more than the others, which means our message has to be bang on the money to stand a chance.  Otherwise they will think why bother!

That’s why you should all be using the BGC modules, packed full of small business tips and help designed entirely for businesses of our size.

Next meeting September 11th again at both 8 am and 11 am for the late risers 😊