Monthly Archives: November 2010

Why B2B Sales People Should Be Working on Days Surrounding Holidays

If you’re a B2B sales person with even a modicum of experience you’ve learned that if you have a prospect or client that is tough to reach, a proven technique is to give them a call during off-hours.  Calling them early before their day hits full throttle or calling them after the end of the work day when they are less likely to be embroiled in the middle of a meeting or project give you greater odds of having a meaningful conversation.

If you do reach your contact, he will likely be impressed with your diligent follow up, which raises your credibility in the universe of sales people who are after him. If you don’t reach him – leave a voice mail.  He will still be impressed with your diligence.  You can’t really lose.

Same rule applies to the days just before and just after a holiday.This is one of the most successful sales techniques, in my experience.

While you may not reach your contact when you do this, you certainly won’t reach him if don’t.  As above, the odds are that he will make note of the fact that you are working when most people are not.

If you want to take it to the next level, just make a round of calls to your existing clients – just to wish them a happy holiday.

Some great times to reach out:

  • Mid-afternoon on the day before Thanksgiving
  • Late morning on the day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • December 26
  • New Year’s Eve
  • January 2

I’m not advocating that you give up all your personal time and work 24/7.  I am far from being a workaholic.  I think it is counterproductive. Having a balanced life makes you much more successful at your job.  What I’m suggesting actually takes very little time.  The fact is that you won’t reach most of the people you call – but if you do, the contact may actually have the time to talk with you with fewer distractions.

So if you spend an hour on Black Friday making a few calls – go in an hour late on Monday.

This is about differentiation.  I doubt that your competitors are doing this.

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Marketing Is Worthless If You Don’t Convert Leads

There are many different types of marketing, each having a specific goal. At a high level though all marketing has the same goal – To generate interest in your product. It is about getting people to raise their hands and acknowledge that they are aware of what you sell, and there is a possibility that they are interested in making a purchase.

There a soft value to putting your name in front of as many people as you can. Brand awareness can be critical to a company’s success. While it’s not a bad thing to increase awareness of your product or service the question becomes that in terms of ROI, marketing programs are often measured using circumstantial evidence.

The bottom line goal of every company is to increase profit.  That’s why profit is on “the bottom line” of a financial analysis.  There are only two ways to improve profitability – increase revenue or decrease expenses.  The prime revenue source for a company is sales.

Take a look at this sales results graph from a hypothetical company that launched a new marketing campaign in January and ended it in May.  “Sales Results” is typically defined as orders that are delivered and invoiced.

With complete certainty we can state that the marketing program was PROBABLY a driving factor in the sales increase that began in February, continued to rise until about 30 days after the program ended. We deem the marketing program a success.Are there other factors that could be the root cause of the increase in sales?  Of course there are.  Better inventory management, improved shipping measures, better invoicing procedures – just to name a few.

So how do you actually measure the success of a marketing plan if not on sales results. It depends on the objective of the  program.  The most common type of program for small and medium businesses generally has the objective of increasing the number of “Leads”, “Inquiries” or “Requests for information.”

So at the end of the day if the number of leads received during the run of a program went up, the program can be declared a success regardless of the sales results.   Sort of like a surgery that is deemed successful regardless of whether the patient lives or dies.

What exactly is the value of a lead?  I would submit that if you don’t do anything with the lead, it has absolutely no value.  Another way of putting it is this: “A Lead and $2.25 will get buy you a ride on the subway.”

Soooooo – acquiring the lead is important, but selling to the prospect is equally important.  If you don’t have a specific plan to follow-up and close as many of the leads as possible, the money you spend on marketing could be wasted.

As Jerry Seinfeld might say “You know how to GET the lead, you just don’t know how to SELL to the lead.”

Top 5 Cold Call Openings to Alienate Prospects

If you’re a regular reader, you know my thoughts on cold calling. For those of you who are new the neighborhood let me lay it out.

  • Cold Calling is a function of marketing – not sales.
  • It is not the most productive use of your time.
  • If you find that getting in the “cold call zone” works for you – knock yourself out.

If you do choose to prospect in this fashion, it’s pretty easy to alienate the prospect in about 3 seconds.  The commonality of these technique is that they from the the assumption that you can fool someone in talking with you before they learn you are a sales person. Trying to trick someone is akin to saying that you are smarter than they are – not the best way to begin a positive relationship.

Here are some surefire methods to alienate prospects instantly.


Number 5: Hi, my name is Felix. The company I work for is looking for a  top [profession] in your area to partner with us.

Number 4: Hi John, my company is in a bit of a bind. We’ve acquired some highly qualified sales leads and don’t have anyone in your town to work them. Could you help us out by responding to these hot prospects?

Number 3: Hi John, my company is doing a survey of people in [industry] and I was wondering if you’d be interested in being a part of it.


Number 2: Hi John,  Are you making the most money you can as a [profession]?


Number 1: Are you closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community!