I believe that meditation is good for me. I tend to think a lot and talk a lot. Meditation is simply shutting down the thinking and talking and just…being. When I meditate, for five minutes or twenty minutes, I feel so much better. I am calmer, more relaxed. Happier.

So, why don’t I do it every day? I decided to get a coach, commit with a few dollars, and to practice until it becomes habit. I joined an online group that meditates together. There are scheduled times. All I have to do is show up…and be. I am loving it. My meditation coach is great. He shares sound techniques for getting present, moving energy and tuning in to intuition.

He offers is a “Question and Answer” session at the end of class. One of the students asked, “What can I do to keep my mind from wandering?”

My coach offered, “Imagine bringing your attention to the center of your head. Call your awareness back to you from wherever it is. Imagine it collecting in the center of your head, drawn there by your intention.”

“Ok,” the student replied. “Ummm. What else can I do? If that doesn’t work.”

I laughed. Sure, the instructions were perhaps a bit esoteric. Still, why not try it? You paid to learn from a master. Take a swing and see if it works. Then, at least you can come to the next lesson with some experience and result, or lack thereof. But, you should at least try it and see what kind of success you have. If it works, keep using that technique. How simple and effective is that?

We make things harder than they need to be. 

Take marketing. On a phone call recently, one of my clients was sharing his marketing strategy. “I am sending quarterly newsletters. We have ads in the Yellow Book and Yellow Pages. Of course, we give away magnets and hang flyers on doors. I am visiting with a rep from the radio station to put together an intensive radio campaign. Not sure if I should expand into cable TV, too.”

“Ellen, what do you think?”

“Well, what kind of results are you getting from all this action?” I asked.

Silence.

“Do you track your incoming calls? Do you know how your customer came to call you?” I pressed.

More silence.

“Would it help you make better marketing decisions if you did know?”

Sure it would. You could do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

How Many and at What Cost?

This isn’t an exact science. While countless volumes have been written on the subject, the jury is still out on why marketing works. We can measure whether or not it does work. At least to a “close enough” decision-impacting standard. Here are the critical statistics you need to make better, faster, more lucrative marketing decisions:

  • How many calls per Lead Source? (Al and I also call Lead Source “drivers”)
  • What is the cost per call per Lead Source?
  • And…BONUS…ROI or Sales generated by a Lead Source divided by the cost of the Lead Source.

Calculate these statistics for these time periods…

  • Per month
  • Year to Date
  • Since we started keeping track

Let’s define a few terms.

  • Lead Source…the marketing “driver.” Yellow Pages, Direct Mail, Yard Signs, Billboards, Radio Ads are Lead Sources.
  • Calls…the ringing phone looking for you to solve a problem.
  • Cost …what you spend on the expense of the Lead Source.

How many calls do you need? How much is an acceptable cost per call? Those answers are found by Budgeting…and assessing your statistics. At the very least, start NOW to get a baseline for these statistics. You’ll gather valuable information. Try it…and see what happens.

Apples to apples…

Make sure that you are referring to the current and consistent Lead Sources throughout your information and accounting system.

In your accounting system, create accounting in your Chart of Accounts to reflect your Lead Sources. You could use Sub-accounts under a header account “Marketing.” For example…

6-1000 Yellow Pages
6-1200 Direct Mail
6-1300 Pay Per Click Internet Referrals
6-1400 Welcome Wagon Program

Then, code your associated expense to the proper account. This will help you figure out the “at what cost?” statistic.

Get the CSRs in on the game!

Line up the Lead Source List with your Customer Service Software. When a call comes in, make sure part of your welcoming script includes this question…

“What prompted you to call us today, Mrs. Fernwicky?” (If your caller’s name is Mrs. Fernwicky. J)

Customer Service Software – Wintac, Bottom Line, Ergos, True Vantage, Successware, Service CEO – will have a Lead Source drop down box. Make sure this Lead Source list matches your marketing efforts and your Chart of Accounts.

Don’t have Customer Service Software? Use a columnar pad and hash mark the answers to the question, “Mrs. Customer, what prompted you to call us today?”

Take “Repeat Customer” off the Lead Source List. While it can make you feel good, it won’t tell us what pro