Technology is a friend to entrepreneurs… but too many aren’t sure how to use it to best effect, and build it into a communications plan. Glenda Nevill asks Scott Cundill, founder of integrated communication, lead management and CRM software platform, Majestic3.com, what budding entrepreneurs what they need to know.
Cundill says within South Africa’s small to medium businesses there is “considerable range” in how technology has been adopted, “very few companies are communicating outstandingly well”.
“One could argue that ‘established markets’ like the UK and the US are ahead, but that is actually seldom the case. South Africans should not look up to overseas markets as if they are better than us and instead focus on doing an outstanding job themselves,” he says.
Cundill says while South Africa has an “outstanding entrepreneurial base in terms of ambition, commitment and desire” many don’t understand the basics of communication. “Software like Majestic3.com can certainly help them in this respect, but software is not the foundation of great communication,” he says. “Entrepreneurs need to learn that communication is about authenticity and trust. It is about teaching, not selling. It is about timeliness and attention to detail. And, above all, it is about the personal touch. If entrepreneurs do not understand this, no software system can help them.”
The ‘communications journey’, Cundill explains, is a “series of communication episodes that position you as an expert. You have to stop selling and start teaching. People respect those who give advice, opinions and help make your life better. When you generate respect and trust, then the sales will come. A communication Journey or ‘FaFing’ (see the video at www.fafster.com) is the most powerful way to communicate as long as it is done well.”
Cundill says generating revenue is a volume game, and businesses to continually communicate with thousands and tens of thousand of prospective customers. “This is not possible without some kind of communication software,” he says.
“Referrals are the best source of business and real, authentic relationships will win the day. How do you build sustainable and authentic relationships? Well, that’s an art as much as a science,” he says.
It’s not just the costs involved in setting up the kind of software a business needs to generate awareness and sales leads, but also about learning how to use it properly, says Cundill. “I wish I could say there was a piece of software out there that could do it all without help but the reality is that you have to work with a communication mentor or consultant to get it set-up and working for you. If you don’t have a bare minimum of R3 000 per month to spend, then you are going to have to do a huge amount of research and climb the steep learning curve to do it yourself.”
But he does have three steps on how to go about learning to communicate so as to drive sales.
Step 1: The first step is to imagine that you are contacted by the editor of a prominent magazine in your specific industry. The editor asks ‘Listen, I want to put your face on the front cover of my magazine. However, I need a really powerful headline to go next to your name. Something so powerful that readers say WOW! Who is this guy?’
Now write down 12 possible article headlines that you would submit to the editor. Out of these 12, three will be powerful. Take the best three and write the full article. Then go to fiverr.com and ask someone to take your articles and copywrite them nicely for you.
You now have three super powerful articles that you can use in Step 2.
Step 2. Create a Journey of communication, which is a series of episodes using the above articles. Each episode should be about a week apart. Send your journey to your entire database – don’t mention a product, service or a price. Remember, you are a ‘teacher’ now, not a salesman.
Step 3. At the end of the third episode, build an online form and ask everyone in your database to complete it. If your first three episodes / articles are good (and they should be) many people in your database should fill out the form. Use the feedback form to work out who you can do business with and contact them.
“I have yet to find a technique that comes anywhere near the kind of success from the above,” he says.
Cundill says the only real way to educate entrepreneurs on how to use technology is one-on-one. “You can play around with YouTube videos, seminars and even books, but one on one is still the best way to get the message across,” he says.
And his last word of advice to entrepreneurs? “We are often told that entrepreneurs need to take risks in order to be successful,” he says. “This is an example of an entrepreneurial illusion. Most successful businesspeople that I know are smart individuals who actually minimise their risk. In my experience very few entrepreneurial risk takers succeed.”
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