What’s Wrong With this Picture?

May 29, 2009 at 7:57 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Branding, Customer Service, entrepreneurship, Marketing, sales, small business | Leave a comment
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Joanna Meurer, President of ID Concepts (http://www.id-ny.com) is a long-time associate of mine and she and I (almost) always see eye to eye on marketing, branding and sales…..yes, there is a difference:)

We have a potential client that we will work on together and we were discussing the firm’s web presence, or lack thereof.  Joanne picked up the ball and wrote the following blog post (http://idconcepts.wordpress.com/) which I agree with totally and I’ve reprinted it here for all to read.  And just for the record, a fabulous web site and marketing materials are not enough to close the deals. You must also have exquisite sales competencies and service to bring in, retain and grow the business.

Recently I had the opportunity to talk to someone about their website. It was an interesting conversation so I thought I would share. It was clear from the onset that this business had been burned, but even they were not sure how. They knew one thing, they were dissatisfied with the results,  but they could not quite put their finger on WHY.  This is VERY common, so here is my answer to WHY.
When you hire a web company in most cases their only concern is the execution of the mechanics of the site. It is kind of like going straight to a surgeon before you find out from your primary care what exactly is wrong with you. When working with this type of company they simply ask you to provide the material and then ask you where you want it to go, then a wonderful team of technitions will do exactly what you ask. Seems right, but here is the problem. What if you do not KNOW what should be there. What if you are not clear on who you are talking to? Do you even have a clear plan about your marketing objective first, because if you do not have that, then you cannot even expect to have a fully functioning and highly effective web presence.

As I have said time and again, your web site is part of a package that includes everything about you. Your brand, your story, is what makes you different from your competition. Every single business has a value to another, and that message must be captured clearly and concisely in everything you do. Your web site should reflect that both asethetically and in message, no matter your budget.  If you are not working with a company that can provide that, you are wasting a whole lot of money with no results at all.

It is my goal to get people to think about these things when they go out there and create tools for the promotion of their business. Think it through, everything works together, and must be thought of in that way. When you plan it out, the results will be evident, and after all that is what we all want. Effective tools that help us close the deal.

Birthing Adrian’s Network

May 27, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, small business | 1 Comment

How This All Started
Just like you, I’ve devoted too much time, energy, and money trying to make connections at networking events. Trust me. I’ve experienced firsthand the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to these get-togethers.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in the power of networking. We all should be interested in expanding our competencies, exploring strategies, and participating in mastermind sorts of efforts – together. But, I began to think that there must be a more productive and less expensive way to accomplish these things.

As I began searching for a better way to network, I discovered that many others were looking for alternatives to traditional networking events, too. So, I conducted some formal and not so formal focus groups and found literally thousands of other professionals, who just like me, were searching for a cost-effective, time-efficient way to make some quality business connections in a results-oriented, online environment that bridges the gap between virtual and reality. Thus, Adrian’s  Network was created for you and me and the countless other professionals who want to help themselves and others grow their businesses.

What Can You Expect at A’s Net
No, you can’t order happy hour hors d’oeuvres and a glass of Chardonnay at this networking destination. But, what I can offer you is far more satisfying:
• Quality connections
• Cyber introductions to help facilitate connections with others
• A low cost alternative to traditional networking events
• Time efficient business development opportunities
• Exposure to new skills and technologies
• And, lots of fun  (CHECK IT OUT: http://www.adriansnetwork.com)

My commitment to You
At Business with Adrian, I’m dedicated to success – yours and mine. And, I’m committed to providing each and every member:
• Real-time, real-world introductions
• Highly targeted virtual networking sessions
• Success driven strategies

The Ten Ways to Suck at Networking

May 27, 2009 at 7:36 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | 3 Comments

Of course, everyone knows that making a lucrative connection can happen at a networking event. Yet, many of us continue to unknowingly suck at networking and then wonder why we aren’t having any “luck” at meeting key people.

The majority of these “unlucky” souls are simply guilty of committing one or all of ten common mistakes made at networking events. Try correcting the following faux pas at your next networking event, and you might just find that your networking luck has made a dramatic turn for the better.

1. It’s All About Me
Nothing is more of a turn-off to fellow networkers than the person who only wants to talk about him or herself. Instead of being egocentric and self-important, remember that conversation is a two-way street. It’s not all about what someone can do for you. Instead, ask relevant questions that show you’re listening. Then, from their answers, determine if and how you can possibly help them. You will inevitably have the chance to share what you do or what you are looking for, but give your fellow networker the first opportunity to share their information. You will not only appear to be more engaging and friendly, you will also dramatically up your chances of finding people who truly want to help you.

2. Dump Out of a Conversation
Are you guilty of unceremoniously and abruptly ending a conversation with someone because you’ve deemed them unimportant to your networking goals? Yes, you can and should politely disengage yourself so that you can meet other people if a conversation isn’t productive, but the key is to do it in a civilized and professional manner. You would be surprised how quickly a reputation of bad manners can follow you and hurt your networking opportunities. Remember the golden rule and be gracious to everyone. As well, don’t make quick assumptions. That franchise owner or sales rep you think can’t help you might very well have an unbelievable collection of well-connected friends who he or she might be willing to share with you if you take the time to find out.

3. Don’t Follow Up
This is a no-brainer, but, surprisingly, many of us never follow up on the leads that we obtain during an event. Gathering names will do you absolutely no good unless you take that next step to reach out to them. Don’t wait for others to call you. Be proactive!

4. It’s All About the Food, Isn’t It?
It’s hard to meet and greet if you are juggling a drink, a plate, and have a mouthful of food. Your goal is to connect with others, shake hands, hand out cards, and take notes. It’s true that the drink and buffet lines are great places to meet people, but don’t forget that this is a networking event, not the time for a five course meal.

5. It’s Party Time
Many networking events involve getting together over drinks. One cocktail or glass of wine can certainly loosen up conversation and may help many individuals feel a bit more relaxed. However, downing multiple glasses of anything alcoholic is a recipe for disaster. Not only will you begin to lose the ability to communicate effectively, you will also appear to be someone who is unprofessional and not networking-worthy. Save the shots of tequila for when you’re out with close friends and don’t go to a networking cocktail social on an empty stomach.

6. Hang Out With Your Buddies
If you’re at an industry networking event, you will inevitably run into some old friends. Sure, it’s great to catch up, but the purpose of the get-together is to meet new people. If you want to congregate with your friends, make plans for when you’re done networking.

7. Exaggerate
Networking events are rife with exaggerators. Many feel insecure and think that they need to beef up what they do and what they can offer if they’re going to be successful at making new connections. Unfortunately, telling tall tales almost always backfires. No one is going to believe your Bill Gates’ closest confidante, and you’ll look like a fool for making such a claim. Stick to the truth, and you’ll be respected for being who you are.

8. Be a Downer
Sure, the economy sucks right now. We all get it. However, do you need to whine about it to everyone who turns your direction? Probably not! Keep networking conversation positive and upbeat. Talk about what is working for you and how you are weathering the economy effectively and you’re bound to have plenty of people who will want to listen to what you’re saying.

9. Blow the Joint
Networking events are not all created equal. Some are rip-roaring affairs with hundreds of people dressed to the hilt. Others are quiet, subdued, and under-attended. However, you can’t assess if it will be productive for you until you participate. It’s easy to walk in and immediately walk out; dismissing it as a useless affair. But, the best networkers wouldn’t let any opportunity to meet others slip through their hands. If you’ve committed yourself to going, at least stay there long enough to gather a few leads.

10. Give Up
Have you attended a few events and haven’t received any new business? Are you threatening to give up altogether on networking? Not so fast. Before you hang in the towel, take a closer look at why you’re not having success. Then, refocus your energies on helping others instead of just trying to grab business for yourself. It will definitely give you a different and more positive perspective.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm (Er, the Business)

May 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Customer Service, entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment

In this fast paced, technology-driven world, how fast is fast enough?

No doubt, the business executive who has a sense of urgency and follows up in a timely manner has always been more likely to acquire and maintain business than one who has a laissez-faire attitude. However, what was once considered to be an acceptable response time is now being deemed too slow by a growing number of people who expect everything post-haste.

Due in large part to the growth and advancements of the Internet and mobile devices, immediate response has become the new standard for conducting business in many industries. Those who consistently lag in returning calls or who aren’t easily accessible risk being replaced by someone who is more proactive.

Simply put, we are all increasingly making buying and referring decisions based upon response time, and if you’re the one lagging, you’re risking the possibility of losing valuable business. How can you ramp up your speed so that you’re the bird who’s getting the worm?

Establish a Communications Policy
The first step to improving your response time is to create a communications policy that you will follow. Establish how quickly you promise to return calls and emails. You should definitely be responding to inquiries, prospects, and clients either immediately or within a few hours. By waiting days, you will find that many will lose patience with you quickly, deem you slow, and move on. If you are prone to procrastination, write out your communications policy and keep it in a location where you will be reminded of it on a daily basis.

Make It Easy for Your Contacts
Give your contacts several ways to reach you to maximize their ability to receive a quick response. Consider adding to your business card your office and mobile numbers, email address, and IM address.

Invest in the Latest Technology
Are you still using an old phone or a substandard mobile phone service that frequently drops calls? Is your computer or internet speed slower than snail mail? If so, a few hundred dollars spent to acquire the latest technology is a smart investment in your future business development. Consider an iPhone or a Blackberry that allows you to phone, email, and text. Take advantage of the free or inexpensive services of a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) provider that enables you to make and receive free phone calls on the Internet and provides instant messaging capabilities with a presence indicator to let your contacts know when you’re available.

Respond Even If You Don’t Have the Answer
Lagging responders are frequently slow because they are simply reluctant to call or email someone when they have bad news to report or if they don’t have an answer. This is never a smart strategy.

Once you’ve established your communications policy, you need to stick with it – even when you don’t have good news or the necessary information. It’s far better to say “I’m sorry” or “I don’t know” than it is to be unresponsive.

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