“If you’re like me, what you’ll see are business communications that are self-centered, braggart, loaded with unnecessary information, and just plain ineffective marketing tools,” Robert Imbriale writes on his Web site, www.ultimatewealth.com. He lists 10 expensive mistakes business make when trying to convert prospects into clients:

1) Focusing on your company, rather than your prospects. They’re only interested in what you can do for them. Focus on their concerns first.

2) Not understanding your prospects and their problems. When you understand what your prospect needs, it’s easier to convince them you’re the person to help them.

3) Not knowing your product well enough. What are the benefits of your service? Focus on true “benefits” to the prospect rather than listing features.

4) Failing to qualify prospects before spending money on them. Before you direct your marketing at a prospect, make sure they are interested in your services, are able to afford it, and have a need for it, whether now, or in the future.

5) Attempting to reach too broad of an audience. Focus on a specific prospect and describe how your service will make his or her life easier.

6) Not taking advantage of your headline. Begin your marketing piece with a strong statement to capture your prospects attention. Imbriale recommends backing up your headline by stating the cost of not solving the problem immediately.

7) Not giving your prospect a compelling reason to act immediately. Once you get a prospect’s attention, motivate him or her to take immediate action. Use special offers and discounts to encourage them to take the next step.

8) Not including testimonials in all your marketing. To prospects who may have never heard of you, testimonials from others who had similar problems is the most effective way to gain their confidence, Imbriale writes. Anytime you get positive feedback, ask if you can quote the client. Keep such feedback on file and pull it out when you need it.

9) Failing to offer a guarantee of satisfaction. “Your prospects will be converted into customers more easily and will be less likely to return your products because your guarantee implies faith in the product or service by your company,” Imbriale writes. “This may be the final step in getting many stubborn prospects to commit to purchasing your product.”

10) Making the purchasing process too hard. Provide contact information so prospects can easily get more information and make orders. When appropriate, provide a postage-paid envelope.

“We are a people accustomed to immediate gratification and it is not only necessary, but it is expected,” Imbriale points out.

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