Marketing Consultant Graham McGregor on the surprising results of asking well known business experts for helpful ideas...

After 33 years in sales and marketing I'm astonished at how easy it is to get great business advice from well known experts just by asking for it.

I saw this when I decided to create a marketing guide called 'The Unfair Business Advantage Report'. I emailed sixty seven sales and marketing experts in five countries and asked if they would like to share their favourite sales improvement strategy for my guide.

To my surprise I had over twenty three enthusiastic 'yes' responses to my invitation. The end result was an excellent marketing guide with 302 pages of easy to use strategies to quickly improve sales.

Here are a few of the helpful marketing ideas I received by asking for them...

Richard Koch is the author of 'The 80-20 Principle' which has sold over 750,000 copies in 31 languages. Richard told me why it's critical to focus on and nurture the top 20 per cent of your customers (or products) which in most cases will produce 80 per cent or more of your profits. He shared how he bought a struggling business called Filofax that was losing around 30% on sales each year.

Richard got his team to concentrate on the most profitable products this company sold. Filofax was soon making around 20 per cent profit on sales and Richard saw the value of his investment triple.

Jeffrey J Fox is the author of 'How to become a rainmaker' which was voted one of the best 100 business books ever written. Jeffrey has a terrific strategy called 'dollarization' which allows any business to put a specific dollar value on the benefits of the products and services they offer.

This means they can charge higher prices and compete successfully against low priced competitors. One of Jeffrey's clients had an expensive machine they wanted to sell to a large Asian chip manufacturer. The machine cost 2.8 million dollars and their main competitor had a similar machine that cost only 1 million dollars. Before Jeffrey showed them how to 'dollarize' the benefits of their machine his client couldn't even get a meeting to see this manufacturer.

After dollarizing the true value of their machine they not only got a meeting, but walked away with three confirmed sales at 2.8 million dollars each!

Neil Raphel is the co author of an excellent business book called 'Up the Loyalty Ladder'. He explained why businesses need to 'change the game' if they want to succeed in today's much tougher business environment. Neil owns a publishing company. Many traditional publishers give a large advance to their authors and then pay them a tiny percentage of ongoing sales.

They often lose money on nine out of ten authors and plan to make enough money on the tenth one to recoup all these losses and make a handsome profit. Neil changed the game and actually goes into partnership with his publishing clients. They put up half the money to publish and promote their book and Neil's company puts up the other half. They both receive 50 per cent of all ongoing sales.

Neil now makes a great profit on at least nine out of ten books that his company publishes.

I've learned that when you ask business experts for helpful ideas you will be delighted at how many will say 'yes'. The simple secret is to start asking.

"If you don't ask, you don't get." - Mahatma Ghandi

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of The Unfair Business Advantage Report.