Monthly Archives: August 2011

If Client Trust Isn’t Your #1 Priority, You May Want to Turn in Your Salesman’s Badge

Part One of A Two-Part Rant On Integrity

If you think that your well rehearsed sales techniques, good looks, charm, firm handshake, thousands of Twitter followers,  a flash intro on your website, a full color ad, or the magnetic sign on the side of your vehicle will close a sale for you – think again.

It’s all about building relationships with clients.  Whether it’s a personal relationship or a business relationship, there are three elements to building and maintaining something strong and enduring.

  • Trust
  • Trust
  • Trust

Earning trust starts from day one. It can be as simple as actually thinking about what you say – which is all too rare these days. When  someone first asks if your product or service can help them, the most common answer is something like,  “Absolutely.  You’ve already missed the mark.

The answer, of course, should be in your own words but the message absolutely must be   Read the rest of this entry

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The Networker’s Lament – A Doggerel on Mishandling Leads

I met her at a network group.
We chatted over onion soup.
Her business seemed to need my stuff.
Her current stuff? Not good enough.

We said we’d chat in a couple of days,
Exchanged our cards, then parted ways
I stacked her card with all the rest.
Gave it a star, ‘cause it was best.

I really planned on tweeting tweets
And setting up some real life meets.
I’d like her page and she’d like mine.
Our businesses would soon align.

When morning came, I had some tea.
I knew the task awaiting me.
My laptop squarely in my lap,
I’d enter names in my contact app.

First, I’d make a call or two,
Then out the door, with things to do.
The stack of cards just shrank away
To the far, far back of my action tray

Strong leads they were. I know I missed ‘em.
I never put them in the system.
“It’s okay” I sighed, with a droop.
“There’s always another network group.”

If you’d like to discuss setting up a process so this doesn’t keep happening to you, please reach out to me.

How Vilfredo Pareto Might Be Limiting Your Sales Team

Vilfredo Pareto

Somewhere around 1906, economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of its citizens.  Sometime later he noted that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pods.   Thus, the well-known 80/20 rule was born.  During his career he studied this as it relates to distribution of wealth and income. As a side note, his work was very controversial during the rise of Fascism

In the 1940s, Management Consultant Joseph Juran applied this principle to business. “80% of our revenue comes from 20% of our customers” and so on.

Today it is primarily a “given” that 80% of the sales come from 20% of the salespeople. A debate crops up from time to time regarding the best use of a sales manager’s efforts.  Should he nurture the top 20%, the middle 60% or the bottom 20%.  Several schools of thought exist as to the best answer.

Here’s the rub.  Many people consider the 80/20 rule as a truth.  It may be a truth but it most assuredly is not an absolute truth.

The best example of truth Vs. absolute truth I have heard is this:  Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Confuse Social Media with Content Marketing

Conventional wisdom tells us that most businesses have created accounts on “the sites”.   I’m not going to list all of the social media platforms here – that’s another topic for another day.

There’s been much hype over the last few years about successes that have come from posting updates and all the sundry add-ons.  This encourages people to believe that engaging in social media will help grow their business.

That’s a good thing.  Social Media does work when it’s done right.   Is that all there is though? Read the rest of this entry

The Secret Place Where Marketing Ends and Sales Begins

The larger the company, the more of a bright line exists between sales and marketing. In fact, in most large companies there is a probability that your sales and marketing folks enjoy membership in a mutual dis-admiration society. This dysfunctional relationship costs the company money.

This is in area where large businesses should take a page from the smallest of small businesses. They know the secret: If marketing and sales functions are executed properly, no one should be aware where one ends and the other begins. Read the rest of this entry

Why Are We Having This Meeting Anyway?

Did you ever attend a scheduled meeting or phone conversation with one agenda item and you end up talking about something completely different?

It’s not always a bad thing if a new, more urgent topic comes up and you choose to address it.  If that’s what happens, it’s fine – as long as the original issues doesn’t fall by the wayside.

One way to avoid this, is simply to open the meeting with a statement of purpose.  It can be one sentence but once you put it out there, you and the other guy(s) at the meeting are starting on the same page.  If another topic is suggested and you want to deviate from your plan, that’s fine as long as you all set another time to discuss the stated topic.

It goes along with an older post I wrote about Inverting Your Phone Calls. 

Pretty simple stuff but if you do it, you’ll be making much better use of your meeting time.