3 Tips To Increase Your Networking Prowess

March 25, 2009 at 7:15 am | Posted in Marketing, Networking, sales, small business | Leave a comment

Networking works. Or should I say that networking CAN work. We all know that it’s time consuming, often expensive and occasionally, not at all productive.

 

Here are a few things that you should do in order to make your networking efforts more successful:

 

1)    Have a goal. How many times have you attended a networking event and wandered around the room only to engage in just a few conversations before heading out the door. Or attended an event only to wind up spending the entire time talking to people that you already knew and walking away with nary a new contact or connection.  How can you ensure that this doesn’t happen? Before going to any event or meeting, take the time to investigate the group and the (potential) attendees. Is this the right place for you to go?  Will it be worth your time?  How many people would you like to meet? Do you expect to meet potential clients or referral sources? The more time you take checking it out, the more beneficial your experience. And don’t forget, if it doesn’t seem like it is the right place for you to network, don’t go. There are many other places to network.

 

2)    You know this sorry story. You have scads of contacts, cards galore and all sorts of names in Outlook.  Now, what to with them? The truth is that if you don’t stay on the radar screen of your networking contacts you will soon become a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. Touch point management is the key to getting return on your networking time.  How to stay on the grid?  Value-added email (that means links to articles and web sites of interest), cyber-introductions to other people that your contact might find valuable, invitations to events and meetings, snail mail, newsletters and more.  The most important thing is to stay visible and relevant and that means being seen as a resource and not a stalker.

 

3)    Patience is a virtue. Isn’t that what our moms taught us and we learned in school. The fact is that in networking patience is the only card to play. Networking takes time. While doors can be opened at events and meetings, relationships must be built before business can be earned and relationship building takes time. Beware of the networker that wants to get your business before earning your respect and trust. Don’t get caught up in a matching contest. Sure, you might find yourself on the lead “giving” side more often than on the receiving end.  Give it time and you should see something coming back to you (Remember that old patience quote!) But don’t get me wrong. If after a reasonable amount of time there is nothing coming your way it is perfectly okay to reach out to your connections and in a more direct manner, ask for their help in making introductions for you. What goes around comes around. It just might take some time.

 

So there you have it. Three quick tips to make your networking time more productive.  Now go out there and open some doors.

 

 

Shameless Blatant Promotion of Adrian’s Network

March 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Posted in entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, small business | Leave a comment
Tags:

img_8524 Visit http://www.adriansnetwork.com.  Why?

Cost-effective, time-efficient business networking without any BS. Make contacts and connections that lead to business opportunities. Enjoy communicating with fellow members through an active list serv, promote your services on Self-promotion Wednesdays and receive cyber-handshakes through the community facilitator—me!  Nothing to lose, everything to gain…check it out now.

Ode to Sales Reps Everywhere

March 22, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Twinkle twinkle little lead
How I wonder 
What you need

Looked in my PC
Looked in my Mac
I wish I knew 
What you lack

Probe I will
Probe I may
All to learn
What you need today

If I can
Do this well
I know that I
Will be able to sell

Quantity vs. Quality

March 20, 2009 at 7:07 am | Posted in entrepreneurship, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
Tags:

The age-old debate of quantity versus quality – Is one truly more important than the other? For sales professionals, the answer is unequivocally NO! Quantity AND quality are both important if you want to succeed.

We’ve all heard the “experts” drone on and on about the importance of “quality” when it comes to leads. Isn’t the concept of developing quality obvious enough? Of course, we’d all love to have only those leads in our funnel that turn into valuable customers. However this isn’t always the reality.

What is frequently neglected or downplayed is the necessity for quantity. Like it or not, sales is inherently a numbers game. If you currently have three “quality” prospects, but you need ten new customers this month, you’re not going to be successful. To reach your goal, a significant amount of time must simply be spent on gathering new leads.

To balance the demands of acquiring both quantity and quality in your sales funnel requires constant multitasking. Let one ball drop and your sales funnel will deplete. What do you need to do to maintain the balance necessary to keep the sales flowing? Here are a few helpful tips:

Regular Prospecting

Make it an absolute must to reach out to a set amount of new prospects each and every day. Let’s face it – The more calls you make, the more opportunities you will discover. It’s not rocket science!

Aggressively Network

As part of your regular routine to make contact with new prospects, networking must be a priority. You’ll need to do more than just attend the quarterly get-together for your friends in the industry. Seek out online and in-person opportunities with enthusiasm. Help others by generously providing referrals and introductions and take advantage of any that you receive, too!

Don’t Make Assumptions

Sometimes the best customers come from the most unlikely of places. Don’t dismiss leads or introductions because you think they have little potential for you. Value every opportunity and find out as much as you can before you drop contact with anyone.

Keep Organized

Leads are valuable, so keep track of them efficiently. Develop your own contact management system and stay on top of where each lead is within your sales funnel. Don’t let even one slip through the cracks because of an inability to manage the sales process.

 

 

Business Development: Don’t You Want ROT?

March 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Posted in entrepreneurship, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business | 1 Comment
Tags: ,

Business owners and accountants are constantly crunching numbers to determine their company’s return on investment (ROI). For many salespeople, this general accounting concept can be somewhat foreign. But, instead of ROI, ROT should be at the forefront of their minds. What is ROT? It’s short for ‘return on time’ and it’s a figure that must be considered with every customer contact and connection.

As salespeople, we all figure out ROT naturally in our heads each and every day. It’s just part of what we do. Prospects who quickly convert into customers have better ROT than those that require major amounts of hand-holding through the sales process. Customers who reorder without repeated reminders and follow-ups have more desirable ROTs than those who you end of calling over and over again for a sale. The concept isn’t difficult to understand.

However, the aspect that is often overlooked is our own role in improving our personal return on time. Yes, we all play a role in this rate. How we follow-up and follow-through directly affects our ROT for every customer and prospect. Simply put, if you’re not taking the opportunities to stay connected with those who are buying or might be buying from you, you will never be in the position to get any return on your time.

Simple strategies for improving your ROT:

Research and Ask the Right Questions

Finding out about a potential customer early in the sales process provides ample ROT. The more you know upfront and the more you can gather directly from them before you invest hours of your time on presentations and sales calls will help you tremendously with fine-tuning your message and making a sale.

Be a Resource

Your ROT will diminish as more and more vendors appear on your prospects/clients radar. Don’t be “just another salesperson” who is trying to make a sale. Instead, invest in the time to become a trusted resource for information. By adding this to what you have to offer, sales come quickly as a natural part of your business relationships.

Cross Sell and Up Sell

Cross selling and up selling both provide better ROT than always chasing after new business. Look for opportunities within the organizations that you’re already selling to and probe for new avenues for making sales.

Don’t Stop

Finally, don’t stop once you you’ve made a sale. A little time investment will demonstrate that you are still attentive and available for when your customer wants to purchase again. You will always have the best ROT for those who become loyal, repeat customers. 

Diets Don’t Work & Neither Does Inconsistent Prospecting: A Primer on Business Development Techniques that Work

March 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Customer Service, entrepreneurship, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business | 1 Comment
Tags: ,

If you’ve ever lost weight on a fad diet and quickly regained the pounds as soon as you returned to your usual way of eating, you know that diets don’t work. What the weight loss gurus and diet book authors don’t want you to know is that the only effective way to lose weight is through behavior modification. There is no quick fix, just simple changes that need to be implemented day in and day out.

Like dieting, prospecting in fits and spurts is equally as ineffective. There is no secret strategy that can be rapidly learned and executed. Consistency is the only way that you will achieve sales goals. Just like switching your diet from junk food to healthy meals, prospecting requires discipline and a good, sound strategy for the long-term.

Set a Time for Prospecting

You are far more likely to put in the time for prospecting if it is scheduled for the same time every day. For most, mornings are the best. You’re probably at your sharpest before lunch, and you’ll have more luck with making contact with those who you are trying to call. If you feel tempted to put it off for another day, remember that prospecting is your most productive activity that can generate you the biggest return on your time.

Have a Daily Goal

Once you know when you’re going to prospect, establish a set goal that you need to achieve. Whether it’s five or 50 people a day, stick with it.

Get Organized

Effective prospecting requires excellent organizational and note-taking skills. Take advantage of useful lead management/sales prospecting software to help you keep track of who you’re contacting and where your prospects are in your sales funnel. Don’t rely on hand-written notes on bits of scattered paper, nor remembering details in your head. You’ll quickly get overwhelmed and will inevitably forget something. Organization is definitely a very necessary component to staying on track for the long haul.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Consistent prospecting is undeniably a big commitment. You will encounter ups and downs, and you will most certainly have those days when you’re tempted to not make your calls. However, staying the course and diligently doing what you need to do each and every day will help you find many new successes and enable you to better deal with the occasional defeats.

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow is Another Day…Not!

March 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Posted in Customer Service, entrepreneurship, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Certainly Scarlet O’Hara could bat her eyelashes and exclaim that “tomorrow is another day.” However, in this current economy, such blatant procrastination is not just dumb; it’s downright self-destructive.  

We have never experienced an economic period quite like this one where so many aspects of it are faltering. Companies are downsizing, budgets are being cut, and opportunities are being lost each and every day. Success now requires being smart, quick, and tremendously proactive. An attitude of complacency is no longer feasible for anyone who plans on making it through to the other side of this recession.

For those who are the “early birds”, the “busy bees”, and the all-around “go-getters” there are still plenty of opportunities. If you’re not a “Johnny on the spot” here’s what you need to do to become competitive in this increasingly challenging marketplace:

Make Prospecting Calls

Prospecting should be at the top of your “to do” list each and every day. While other aspects of your job are also important, prospecting is the task that has the greatest possibilities of bringing in money. So, make it your priority.

Network

Opportunities for networking abound – particularly during tough times. There are endless online and in-person events and get-togethers that can get you one step closer to a new client. Seek them out and make it a point to go to several each and every week. Help those you can with the contacts that you have and make new contacts with those you wouldn’t otherwise meet.

Call Existing Clients

You need to cross sell, up sell, and continue to remind your existing customers that you are still in the game. You’ve heard this all before, but now it’s more important than ever. Uncover every opportunity to serve your existing client base, and you’ll discover a multitude of new sales.

Develop Your Skills

Resting on your laurels just doesn’t fly anymore. You better be up to speed on the latest technologies, software, and lingo. Are you falling behind? Make it a point to keep learning and growing so that you’ll be ahead of the game. This isn’t the time to be deemed the old dinosaur who can’t use a computer.

Procrastination isn’t a life sentence. You can change, and yes, the change must begin today. Once you begin to make the necessary changes, you’ll quickly find that you’re getting more done and making far fewer excuses for your lack of productivity. As the famous Roman lyric poet Horace said over two thousand years ago, “Carpe Diem” – Seize the Day! 

Avoiding Quickbooks When Collections & Billings Are Down

March 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Posted in entrepreneurship, sales | 1 Comment

Here’s the thing. 

Collections are becoming more difficult. Billings are down as well.

I know that I should be attending to all this and developing strategies to help improve the situation.

But I’m not.

I’m doing the stuff that I like to do. Writing, Training. Speaking. And having a good time doing it.

And not attending to the admin stuff that is much more pleasant when the checks are coming in and revenues are up.

Runs counter to what I should be doing.

Runs counter to what I train folks to do.

Sometimes the trainer needs a trainer too.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.