Selling Tips for 2009: Give a Listen

November 27, 2008 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A few more words of “wisdom” as we enter this last month of 2008 and are thinking about how to ramp up sales in 2009.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.The Blatant Truth About Sales

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More Tips for Sales Success

November 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm | Posted in sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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Podcast #2

Take a listen

2 minutes

Should be a reminder

Close some business!The Blatant Truth Sales Talk

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Networking?

November 21, 2008 at 8:19 am | Posted in Networking | 1 Comment


More than ever, networking has become an essential skill for every business person. Taking the time to meet others in your industry and discover ways to help them and how they can help you can be both rewarding and lucrative. Unfortunately, not everyone has learned how to network effectively, and yes, many out there are downright networking nightmares.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you forget to keep someone who has given you a reference in the loop?
  2. Are you neglectful in saying thank you when someone gives you a reference?
  3. Are you slow to follow up on introductions?
  4. Are you reluctant to reciprocate and give leads because you’re waiting for your contacts to specifically ask?
  5. Do you have difficulty in sharing introductions?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you need to polish your networking skills.

The art of networking requires much more than eating a muffin at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting. You need to know how to effectively communicate with others, build strong relationships, and make the most out of online and in-person networking opportunities. No, it’s not easy, and it’s certainly time consuming, too. But, the benefits of successful networking can be instrumental in growing your business.

How do you transform yourself from a networking nightmare into a networking pro? Here are five straightforward ways to help you improve your networking image.

Be Appreciative

You won’t keep a contact for long if you’re not showing your appreciation for their efforts to help you. If someone has given you a lead or valuable information, say “thank you” in a big way. Write a hand-written note. Take them to lunch, or send a donation to the charity of their choice. An email “thank you” is weak and doesn’t really cut it when the person has gone out of their way to be helpful to you.

Think Out of the Box

Don’t wait for someone to ask you for a specific referral. Be proactive. Mention that you have an interesting person for them to meet. Communicate the synergies that can be shared. Introduce influencers to other influencers. No, they might not be the end person who uses the product or service, but they can introduce the person to possible end-users.

Be Efficient

With online networking sites and emails, it’s so much easier than it used to be to introduce others. Use technology to your advantage and encourage those around you to do the same.

Set Up Small Informal Networking Events

You don’t have to depend on large networking organizations to plan your events. Take the initiative and plan your own networking breakfast or lunch for your contacts. Put together a regular get-together with a group of like-minded people and start expanding the circle to increase the networking opportunities.

Follow Up and Follow Through

Establish a timeframe for which you follow up with new contacts and follow through with helping others. If possible, it should never take longer than 24 hours to get back in touch with someone. This is particularly true for email and phone introductions which can become lost in the shuffle very quickly.

Tis the Season

November 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm | Posted in Customer Service, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

With the holiday season almost here, the time is now to give thanks to all of your “categories” of contacts. Of course, you need to thank the clients who buy from you. However, it’s just as important to express appreciation for your prospects, networking contacts, and vendors. In this particularly challenging economic climate, if you’re not remembering your entire list of contacts this holiday season, you’re running the risk of losing them to competition that does make the extra effort to give thanks.

So, what’s the most effective way to show your appreciation this holiday season? Here are a few tips to help you thank those who have been instrumental in your success.

Be the First to Give Thanks

Don’t wait until December 24th to send out your cards, make it your goal to be the first to say thank you. Express your appreciation before your competitors’ holiday cards, 2009 calendars, gift baskets, and miscellaneous other tokens of appreciation start flooding in. You’ll be sending a message loud and clear that you are not just thoughtful and appreciative, but that you’re also organized.

Personalize the Cards

Preprinted holiday cards can certainly save time, but they don’t really send a personal message that you’re thankful. Yes, it may take longer to write a hand-written message on each card, but your contacts will appreciate and remember the extra effort.

Give a Donation

Wondering what to give a contact who has been particularly helpful to you throughout the year? Instead of a box of calorie-laden chocolates or a wilting winter floral arrangement, make a donation in their name to one of their favorite charities. It’s a tasteful gift that truly shows you care about them and what they value.

Include Them in Your Holiday Celebration

Of course, cards and gifts will always be appreciated, but why not invite your key contacts to celebrate the season with your team? An invitation to a holiday party or office luncheon can be a great opportunity to say thanks and to connect on a fun, pressure-free level.

It’s a fact that up to two-thirds of clients will leave a business if they feel that their patronage isn’t appreciated. The holiday season is a prime opportunity to say thanks and create ongoing bonds with all of your contacts. Times are certainly challenging, but it’s still necessary to recognize and say thank you for all of the business and help that you’ve received throughout the year.

 

How to Not Slip Up on Networking When You Slip

November 14, 2008 at 8:13 am | Posted in Networking, sales, small business | Leave a comment
I slipped on an oil slick in the garage at the Baltimore Marriott. Reacting quickly—and wildly—I decided that saving my laptop was far and away better than saving my body and so I lunged forward with my left leg to catch myself and landed with a thud as the ankle gave away and turned aggressively to the side.
 
Eight hours later, leg propped up, ice bag at the ready for the prescribed 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off and best of all, feeling some relief from the painkillers, I embarked on my plans for the following day.
 
Slip notwithstanding there were emails to send, calls to make, snail mail to send. Prospects to reconnect with, clients to follow-up with and networking connections to pursue. I wouldn’t be running anytime soon but that didn’t mean my fingers, brain and mouth could not be engaged.
 
Out of sight, out of mind.  Let yourself fall off the grid and you can be certain to not get any ROA from your business development efforts.
 
Can you spare a day or two or even a few? Sure you can.
 
But too many folks allow themselves to fall off the radar screen and then wonder where the business has gone or why it isn’t being landed in first place.
 
Happy Friday.
 

My Maiden Podcast Voyage: The Blatant Truth

November 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Fun and games as I catch up to the rest of the tech-knowledgeable world. Good podcast…just a couple of minutes of some down and dirty sales techniques, tricks and tips.  Give a listen.

 

The Blatant Truth Sales Talk

Ever Wonder What to Do After the Lunch is Over?

November 5, 2008 at 8:01 pm | Posted in Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

It seems simple enough. “Let’s do lunch and talk some business.” But without a plan of action on how to follow up after you’ve taken your last bite, you might end up with a prospect who falls off the grid.

 

A business lunch is a great business development tool, but it should be only one step in your sales process. Most clients are not going to be won over with one meal. Expect to be in it for the long haul. It may take months, if not years to cultivate and win a client.

 

Once you’ve had the opportunity to plant the seeds of a relationship with a business lunch, it’s crucial to nurture them to make them grow. Consider the following:

 

  • Stay in regular contact with your prospect by using a contact management system.
  • Find ways to stay on their radar that may be slightly “out of the box” such as sending invitations to unusual events (gallery openings, fundraisers, sporting events).
  • Demonstrate that you’re thinking of them by emailing articles and links that might be of interest.
  • Be a conduit to other people that might be of interest to your prospect. Facilitate introductions, so that you are viewed as a valuable resource.

Be patient and understand that persistent and intelligent outreach that is value-driven and not merely “touching base” will ultimately help you to convert a prospect into a client. 

 

NOTE:  We’re launching a new program that will enable sales professionals, business owners and solopreneurs to network with each other, uncover more business opportunities and share ideas and strategies, all in an extremely cost effective and time efficient way. Email me for more information about how you can join.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping

November 3, 2008 at 8:40 am | Posted in Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Of course, some of us see these shaky times as a prime opportunity to get some new business by shopping. Yes, that’s right. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping for new business.

Shop for Contacts and Connections

This is prime time for making contacts and connections through targeted networking and prospecting. Just because business might be slow doesn’t mean that there is no business to be had. In fact, you just might find less competition (thanks to downsizing) out there in the marketplace. Remember, even in a down economic period, purchasing still occurs. Many prospects might be unhappy with their current suppliers and looking for better pricing and customer service. Don’t get discouraged by the news. Be encouraged that that’s there are new customers out there waiting for you to find them.

Shop for Knowledge

Do you have a little extra time on your hands because business has been slow? Well, instead of dwelling on the negative, sharpen your skills and improve your abilities. Invest in some low cost webinars and teleclasses to upgrade your knowledge base. Take the time to get up to speed on your industry and competitors. And, fine tune your technology skills to improve your ability to sell and serve your customers.

Shop for Exposure

Rather than complaining about what’s not happening with business, develop new ways to increase your exposure within your industry. Research speaking opportunities at upcoming conferences and tradeshows. Offer to write an article for a publication that’s read by your customers. Teach a class at the local library or college. The more your name is out there, the more business you’ll generate – even when times are tough.

 

 

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