There are so many ways to generate new business today: lead generators, complicated email CRMs, sales funnels capturing new leads followed by a series of emails driving them into your product ecosystem at the end.

Each of these platforms and processes are competing for your marketing dollar so that you can attract new customers. And when you are building these platforms, you are busy and feeling productive.

But is it actually the best use of your time and money? So often, we keep ourselves busy to avoid doing the things which will be more effective, albeit sometimes a little bit uncomfortable.

You have probably heard this before, but it is worth repeating. The easiest business to generate is from existing customers. I know it, you know it, but do we spend the energy on it we should? Recently I have been investing a bit more of my energy in this area and it has been quite rewarding and satisfying.

I’ve set myself some sales targets and with some advice from a friend who specialises in sales, I was reminded about this truth.

So these are the steps to generating more business the easy way:

Step 1

Generate a report from your accounting package based on customer and dollar spend over the last few years. In Xero you can select a period and how many of the those periods to compare to. I then imported this into Excel and sorted it by who had spent the most with me over this time. This means you start with the top 20 percent. The ones who are generating the most business. The valuable ones.

Step 2

Set yourself a goal of 5 -10 calls per week. So that’s only 1-2 calls per day. It’s not that difficult. But it can be the most profitable way to generate more business.

Step 3

Find a reason to get in touch. This can be tricky. You don’t want to be calling up a client to say, “Hey, we did some work together last year, do you have any work for me?” People don’t want to buy from someone who sounds desperate. So you need to connect with your customer in a friendly, confident manner. It’s okay if they know you are keeping in touch because of business, but don’t sound desperate about it.

Some ideas to consider here are:
1. Follow up on the service or product you provided them. Ask how is it is working for them. Be interested to know if they are getting value from it.

2. Share stories about other customers and what has worked for them. Pass it on to see if it might be useful.

3. Is there something you’ve seen or heard recently that might apply to their business? Knowing that you are thinking about them is a good thing, especially if it something that can help their business.

4. Are there some insights relevant to your industry that are worth sharing? As a video producer, I see more and more businesses embracing the power of video. So I rang one of my previous clients to see if they were making any changes to their communication strategy to embrace video as a more regular form of communication, given everyone else is doing it? Hopefully it gave them something to think about.

5. Is there someone you can refer to their business? If you network enough, you will meet plenty of people. Helping people connect is a great way to build a relationship.

Step 4

Keep going. Not everyone will be in the time or place to accept a call from you, so don’t get disheartened if occasionally they seem less than enthused. That’s okay, because what you will be pleased to find is that quite a few are more than happy to hear from you. I know when I receive calls from previous suppliers I respect the fact that they are being proactive, especially when it can be scary to make such calls.

Step 5

Use the phone and don’t resort to email. Ask yourself, are you more likely to engage with someone you know who calls you or with someone who emails you. Email is easy to dismiss. Making phone calls takes confidence and people respect confident people. Even if you don’t feel confident, you will be respected for faking it until you make it :)


Next time you are playing with some complex sales funnel platform, ask yourself if this will build your business, or whether it’s distracting you from making calls which are more likely to generate more business. Sometimes, the easy money is right in front of you!


As someone who produces videos for a living, it still surprises me how often I come across people who are afraid of using video to help promote their business.

It surprises me for several reasons:

1. Video connects with people online

Given how effective video is for engaging an audience, retaining customers and generating leads, it just makes sense to be using it. Video enables you to build rapport and cut through the noise in our information intense environment in which we now live.

Businesses who use video are seen to be more engaged with their community. Buying decisions are easier and people feel more supported by your business. If in doubt of the effectiveness of video, check your Facebook feed. Video is dominating how people are connecting and communicating online.

2. Your competitors are using it

At some point you have to address the fact that even if you are trying to avoid using it, you will either work with it or walk away. Video is now the predominant way to engage with your customers. You can try to bury your head in the sand, but when everyone around you is using it you’ll just get trampled by those heading over to your competitors.

You are no longer ahead of the pack if you are using video, you are simply in the game.

3. Everyone can do it

Now I know that some people are saying “I look terrible on camera” or “I freeze when a lens is pointed in my direction”. Well that’s okay. You don’t have to be the focus of the video. In fact your customers should be the focus of the video. Any marketing you do should be about them.

Often to put first timers at ease I tell them, “Don’t worry if you do a terrible job, we won’t use it.” Surprisingly my little joke actually works. They realise you don’t have to nail it. It’s only video. If it’s not great, no one has to see it. They also relax and generally perform quite well.

4. Fear is not real (it just seems that way)

Trying to rationalise fear is like trying to say why I like blue. It’s not about logic, it’s emotional. But generally at the root of all fear is a lack of exposure and a lack of understanding. 95 % of things we worry about never happen.

But like anything, the more exposure you have to it, the more comfortable you become with it and the better you become at performing. So the only thing you should be afraid of in regards to video is not using it.

Dip your toe in the water. Accept that you will improve over time. Putting yourself outside your comfort zone is where real success occurs.

5. There’s plenty of options

There are dozens of different types of videos you can be using to promote your business, engage with your customers, answer frequently asked questions and generally support your business community. Standing in front of the camera is just one of them. So if that’s not your thing, relax. There are plenty of powerful ways to use video that’s not about you.

There’s animations, there’s case study videos (when you film your customers), there’s products overviews, you can use a voice over or an actor to speak on behalf of your organisation and many more ways to use video effectively without having to be in front of the camera.

6. Lots of ways to learn

There are plenty of courses online and live workshops that can help you master the skills in video production. It has never been more important to use this readily available technology on a regular basis. Thinking I don’t know what to do or how to do it, is no longer an excuse. You might be surprised once you look into it, that’s its actually not that hard.

In fact, I’ve written a book “Shoot Me Now -making videos to boost business” which takes you through what you need to know to make impressive videos. Feel free to get in touch and I’ll send you a free copy.

Follow Geoff Anderson on Twitter @geoffsonic for more tips on how to use video to improve engagement with your customers.


Having a thick skin in business is important but so is having a soft side that is vulnerable.

If we operate in business with our defences up, we miss the learnings we can gather along the way. Such learnings can help transform our business as it grows and matures.

When a customer complains we often do one of two things:

1. Become defensive and justify why we did what we did.
2. Say sorry and try to rectify the situation

A third option and the one I’d like to explore is showing gratitude.

If we have undelivered to our customer they have a few options as well.

1. Walk away and never say anything and never come back
2. Bad mouth the business every opportunity they get
3. Take the time and effort to confront us to tell us why they are unhappy.

When people take the effort to complain they are showing that they still care enough to want to work on the relationship. It’s quite significant. If they didn’t, they’d just walk away. But they don’t. They stay and want to talk about it.

They want to give you a second chance. They want to help you improve your products or processes. They want you to listen.

That in itself is a gift, but here’s where your business can really impress them.

How you respond to that complaint can dramatically transform how they see your business and the story they tell about your business.

If you show them that you value their feedback and make amends that address their problem you can create an advocate for life. Your relationship can be significantly enhanced because of the problem and how you resolve it.

When you satisfy someone’s needs the customer experience is neutral. When you under deliver it is a negative response. When you over deliver they are excited and pleased.

In most business dealings we set out to satisfy our customers needs. It’s a neutral exchange. A problem or a complaint provides the opportunity to over deliver in terms of expectations.

What was once a negative becomes a resounding positive. The trick is to do it with grace and not resentment. Let the customer understand you are pleased they have bothered to let you know about the issue. That you are sorry it occurred and you are keen to rectify the problem.

Then do it.

Here’s an example I just had today after I started writing this article. I noticed on my credit card a debit for hundreds of dollars for a service I hadn’t used in almost a year. I logged in and realised I had left the auto renew option selected.

$234 for a service I no longer use or currently need. I was annoyed at myself for not deselecting the auto renew setting. It’s a trap for new players and I should have known better.

But still I didn’t want to have to pay for something that I wasn’t using. So I emailed their help desk. I explained that I haven’t used the service for almost a year, I don’t need the service and I’d appreciate a refund as soon as possible.

I received an automated response saying they had received my enquiry. Pretty standard. Then almost as quickly I received this email.

Hi there Geoff,

Thanks for getting in touch with us about the renewal, and I’m really sorry to hear if your account’s auto-renewal may have caught you off guard. We keep auto-renewal active on accounts after upgrading to ensure that your access won’t be limited during the middle of a project, and you can disable auto-renew any time. We mention this when you upgrade and in our terms of use, but I’m sorry if you weren’t aware. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but I’d definitely be happy to help you out.

I just refunded your payment method for the last Select Yearly plan renewal for your account, and turned off auto-renewal for your account so you can rest assured you won’t be charged going forward for this SurveyMonkey account.

It may take your bank up to 5 business days to post the refund in your account. Here are the links to your refund receipts, which you can also view from the Billing Details tab in My Account (LINK PROVIDED)

Your account is now on a free Basic plan. Please review this article for more information on how this affects your surveys and available features: http://help.surveymonkey.com/articles/en_US/kb/Limitations-of-the-BASIC-Free-Plan

I hope this helps you out today! If you do have any questions, please feel free to write in and I will be glad to help out! Thanks so much for your time and patience.

Best regards,

Jeffrey
Customer Engagement Representative

I was blown away. How good is that? They gently pointed out that I should have known better, but regardless they were not only going to help me out, they already had. They’ve turned off the auto renewal – without my asking and reassured me that all is good in the world again.

They also take the opportunity to remind me of the limitations of the free account, in case I change my mind.

Now at present I don’t need their service, but if I do down the track I will most likely come back to Survey Monkey given how they have handled this issue. And I’ve just shared this story with everyone who reads this blog.

This is great example of how to turn a complaint into a gift. When have you been able to turn a disgruntled customer into a raving fan?


Running your own business can be great – lots of activity, lots of people to meet and help, lots of money flowing through the till.

But what happens when it all goes quiet?

I’ve been running my video business since 1993 and there have certainly plenty of busy and quiet times. In fact it’s been a regular roller coaster over the years. I’d be too busy to bother about marketing and then the work would slow down and I’d realise I’d need to do the marketing. Then the work would pick up again and so the cycle would continue.

But what happens when it goes deathly quiet? I remember it happening back after the Global Financial Crisis in 2009. I even questioned for a second if I should look for a job – literally for a second. Then I remembered I love the benefits of having my own business too much – the freedom, the variety, the control.

Of course that comes with a price – you have to generate the work, even when there’s no work around.

So what do you do? How do I generate work and find clients when it all goes quiet?

The epiphany I had back in 2009 was – what did I do when I started the business? I had to create work somehow and that was before I had hundreds of clients, a solid reputation and years of experience.

I rang people.

I proposed concepts that would solve a problem and create work for me. It was hard work at times, but it had to be done.

So I reminded myself to get over it. There was work out there. There were people who needed my services and I just had to go back to basics. I had to pull my finger out and get on with it. Make calls, talk to people and generate business.

The other realisation I’ve had is recognising where work tends to come from.

For me a lot of work is generated from referrals. So the more people I mix with the more work I seem to get. This means networking groups are an important part of my strategy. Which is good because I quite enjoy socialising so it is relatively easy for me to do.

I’ve learnt over the years networking works best when you are not trying to sell.

Being interested in what others have to offer and what they are trying to achieve is more useful than trying to convince someone to buy from you. Desperation is not a powerful sales strategy :). More often than not, after being interested and being good company, people tend to want to know what I do and how they can work with me.

For others their sales might be through a strong website with effective SEO. It might be through a dynamic social media strategy or email campaign. Check where your work comes from and keep it in mind when determining where to focus your marketing energies.

When you think back to how much effort you put into your business when it started, it’s funny to think a quiet patch could be a threat. You’ve already overcome worse and know how to cope now. Go back to what has worked before and do what is required. You know what you need to do. Get on with it!

 

Featured image photo credit via photopin (license)

 

Geoff Anderson

Geoff Anderson is the Managing Director at Sonic Sight a Sydney based video production facility; author of Amazon Bestseller “Shoot Me Now – making videos to boost business” and a presenter on using video for business.

He has been working in TV and Events production for over 20 years.

Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Videos are the best way to engage with your audience in today’s online world. It has never been easier to create videos and share them to the world, and, specifically, to your audience.

Businesses who use video are perceived to be more engaged with their audience – it’s a short cut to building rapport with your current and prospective customers.

But how do you get into the habit of being a prolific video creator? Here are 5 ways to easily generate video content to enhance your brand.

1. Make it easy and replicable

Firstly,  you need an easy process for creating videos. The more complicated you make this, the more of a burden it will become, and the less likely it will be that you will bother.  It needs to be easy to set up and quick to do.

Unless you have a spare few thousands of dollars lying around, make use of the surprisingly effective recording device you carry around with you – your mobile phone.  With reasonable lighting conditions, your phone can produce quality videos with little fuss. You can pick up a simple stand for the phone or use a selfie stick (but don’t hold it – attach it to something).

2. Get the audio and vision right

You’ll be more inclined to share your videos if they look and sound okay. The first and essential item is a microphone. You can get a good quality phone lapel microphone for $50. Viewers will forgive poor vision, but not poor sound. Don’t rely on the inbuilt microphone. You will sound distant and amateur.

You should also find a spot that has some decent lighting. It can be sunshine, or just a well-lit room. Bouncing bright lights off a wall or the ceiling will soften the impact and diminish harsh shadows. But once again, keep it simple. The easier it is to do, the more likely it will be for you to maintain the momentum.

3. Streamline your systems

There are a few elements you can create once, and re-use for consistency and branding. For $5 on Fiverr.com, you can commission an animated logothat will immediately give your videos a professional look.

Keep any intros short – no more than 3 or 4 seconds. Your audience is there to be informed by your content, they shouldn’t have to endure a long opening that is just to promote your brand.

Also you can find royalty free music on YouTube and iTunes that you can use for your video openers.

4. Learn some new skills

Invest an hour or two in getting your head around the editing software that comes free with your computer. On a PC there is Movie Maker and iMovie is on a Mac. Editing is actually quite fun, although it does tend to take longer than you’d think.

As the business world embraces video production, you will need to be creating content to compete. It is worth taking a couple of hours to get your head around the software so you can easily create, edit and share videos for your audience.

If all else fails, find a secondary school kid (got any lying around the house?). They’ll be able to show you what to do!

5. Look out for topics to generate

You will have moments of creative proliferation. The ideas will come thick and fast and you will be able to record those videos easily.  Of course, there will be other times when you’re busy, tired and the ideas just aren’t flowing.  Keep looking for ideas.  Jot them down on a note in your phone so you can check in on topics when you are stuck.

You should also build up a library of content that you have in store to release during the busy periods. You can add them to your YouTube channel as unlisted files and then make them public at the appropriate time.

Video is not going to go away. It is here to stay and it is one of the most effective ways to connect and engage with your audience. The sooner you embrace the sooner you can benefit from its power.

You can check out some technical mistakes to avoid here

 

Featured image via Geoff Anderson

 

Geoff-800Geoff Anderson

Geoff Anderson is the Managing Director at Sonic Sight a Sydney based video production facility; author of Amazon Bestseller “Shoot Me Now – making videos to boost business” and a presenter on using video for business. He has been working in TV and Events production for over 20 years.  Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


The power of using video to boost business amazing. Many businesses are jumping on board to make videos. I’ve been making corporate videos for nearly 25 years and I’m seeing a lot of people making some avoidable mistakes in their rush and excitement of becoming YouTube stars.

Waste thousands

One of the common mistakes for people who are making videos is they rush out and buy expensive video equipment. They fork out thousands for a camera they don’t know how to use. It doesn’t have the functionality they need and they use it once and then leave it sitting it in the corner staring at them – making them feel guilty for the unrequited attention.

I recommend you hire the equipment you need if want to go down that path. Try it first. It will only cost a few hundred dollars for broadcast quality equipment. See what works for you. Learn what you need and what you don’t need. Then if you find yourself using it often you could look into buying something suitable. By this time you will have a better idea of what you need.

If you want to use your own equipment, then start out with your phone. The quality of the cameras on the phones these days are remarkable. With some decent lighting, you can create some useful videos.

Alternatively work with a camera operator who already owns his or her own equipment. They know how to use it, they know about white balance and depth of field and framing and lighting. Ask yourself do you want to be a video business or do you want to add value by doing what you do well?

Look stupid

It’s never been easier to make video content. It’s also never been easier to make videos that do damage to your brand. My advice is don’t release videos that make you look dodgy.

The first mistake people make is poor audio. We can tolerate poor quality vision, but we won’t tolerate poor sound. If you do make one purchase, make sure it is for a microphone. If you choose to dabble with your phone as a camera plug in a lapel microphone. You can pick up a decent one for $50.

When framing your image keep the head at the top of the frame. I often see people centring the subject’s face in the frame. They leave all this empty space above the head. Look at the entire contents of the frame and be aware of what is in it and how it should look.

Be aware of the lighting. You want to make sure the light is in front of the person being filmed and not behind. If you have it lit well, it look can great. If you have the light in the wrong spot, you can look silhouetted  like you are on the witness protection scheme – not a great way to build credibility.

Wobbly shots are also not a good look. It is easy to get a tripod or even a little stand for your phone to ensure your shot is steady.

And if you are using your phone please, please hold it in landscape mode. If you hold it vertically you will end up with a thin video and big black bars on either side. That screams amateur to me. It might look good on your mobile phone Facebook feed, but that’s the only time.

Other common mistakes

When thinking of what to talk about, I see businesses wanting to focus on what they do. When meeting with my video clients I explain some harsh realities of business – your audience doesn’t care about you and what you do. They care about how that makes their life better.

You need to quickly relate your service or product to a better outcome for them. Keep asking yourself why does this matter to my viewer. Amateur business video makers can become bogged down explaining their processes and systems. They talk about themselves. In this transitory viewing world, you need to quickly engage your audience and let them know why they should be excited about your offering.

Another common issue is videos that are too long. For promotional videos they need to be under 90 seconds. If you have more to say then make a series of short videos.


So slow down, take a breath and ask for some professional help so that you don’t waste your money or damage your credibility.

What mistakes do you see business owners making with videos?

Geoff-800


Geoff Anderson
 is owner of Sonic Sight, a corporate video production company. He presents on using video in business and is the author the Amazon Bestseller “Shoot Me Now – Making videos to boost business”. To find out more about Geoff and to learn about the 5 Mistakes to avoid when making videos, visit www.sonicsight.com.au or visit www.geoffanderson.com.au