Listen Up Photographers: Learn the Business Development Game…Or Else!

August 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Marketing, Sales Training | Leave a comment
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Hey all you photographers out there. Have you ever heard this: Wow, great shot, where did ya take that one! Of course you have, and other words of admiration as well. Positive affirmation of your creativity, skill and expertise. Yep, and those positive comments equals clients, referrals and revenue…NOT.

I wish that would be so but unless you also have a sales process, understand and can articulate “what makes you different”, are engaged in active business prospecting and networking and have exquisite, yes exquisite, closing skills, all of those nice words and “feel good” stuff will leave you penniless.

Once again those must-haves are:

Business Development Process
Business development is an ongoing and proactive initiative; it can never stop! You must create a process (sequence of tactics and activities) that enables you to gain recognition and awareness amongst your target prospects and referrals sources and then, even more importantly, stay on their radar screen until such time as a project comes along.

What Makes You Different
Being able to coherently state “what makes you different” can make you stand out from the competition that is fighting for the very same business. Think about it. In the era of massive choices and the ability to use the Internet to research and identify resources, you MUST be able to create a strong and desirable personal and business brand that yes, helps you to be different. (And of course this “difference must also be perceived as “better”.)

Business Prospecting….A Must-do for Everyone
Proactive business prospecting and networking should be part of your business development strategy. Whether you want to engage in these efforts yourself, or hire someone to do so, without proactive outreach you will find that your sales pipeline is rather empty and devoid of a sufficient amount of potential clients. And that equals insufficient cash flow and possible business failure.

Closing
While “closing” is not the ONLY competency that you must master in the game called sales, you must be able to ask for the business. And this is something that creative types often find difficult to do. If you’ve done the sales job correctly, closing is the next and most natural thing to do. In fact, if you don’t do it, the prospect might be wondering what is supposed to happen next or you might lose the job to a competitor that is comfortable with the closing process.

So, yes, even though you would rather devote your time and energy to the creative process, the sales process requires your attention and, well, a work plan. And if you don’t it, the only ones that might be seeing your photographs will be your family and friends.

Business Development Tips for the “Non-traditional” Business Developer

August 27, 2010 at 11:22 am | Posted in accounting marketing, Adrian Miller Sales Training, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment

CPAs and Lawyers…lend me your ears. Your respective professions have undergone major changes and business development (aka “rainmaking”) is now EVERYONE’S responsibility. Embrace it—it will not go away!

If you’re feeling less than sanguine about this entire matter, here are 3 tips to put to work immediately:

Add value to the relationship BEFORE there is a matter or retainer!
Business development in professional services is a lengthy and protracted activity. Potential clients approach the situation warily and slowly. Oftentimes, an introduction to a potential client means years of “staying on the grid” and trying to win the business. How terrific would it be if you were able to add value to the prospect before you were engaged in the business relationship? Talk about standing out from the competition!

How do you do this?

Well, consider the three I’s (information, invitations and introductions). By seeing how you can utilize one or all of these outreach attempts, you can, indeed, add value before your professional meter is ticking. By connecting and staying in touch with something of “value” like the three I’s, you are perceived in a much more positive light than someone that is merely trying to “touch base”.

Dare to be different. Think about how you can improve the prospect’s situation.
Let’s face it. If you look at the web sites of similarly sized accounting or law firms you will notice an amazing similarity in presentation and service offerings. Sometimes it is virtually impossible to tell the firms apart. (Trust me, I looked at 10-15 different accounting firm web sites and they were virtually identical down to template design, verbiage, newsletter, etc.)

How can a prospect make their selection when everyone looks the same? Yes, referrals and testimonials are critical but could you possibly present your firm in a somewhat different manner by examining what prospects want and not always what they need. These two things can be very different and want trumps need every time. (And if you don’t know what prospects really want, simply ask!)

How fast are you?
The most frequent complaint that clients have about their accounting or law firm is that they are slow to return calls or emails. Now understand that if I ask 10 firms they will all say that they are most assuredly responsive and never keep a client waiting for a return call or email. Funny but if that’s the case then who are these firms that clients mention. The ones that return calls 2-3 days late and sometimes not at all. (One of the most prevalent reasons that firms switch their corporate counsel is because of the firm’s lack of responsiveness.) If EVERYONE says they are responsive and timely, well….you know where I’m going with that line of thinking.

So there you have it. Three quick and extremely doable tactics that can help your business development efforts.
(And remember, business development is up to everyone.)

Do you Want Fries With That?

August 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Listen here:

Do You Want Fries With That?

The Dealth of Tele-Prospecting–Not!

August 19, 2010 at 6:46 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, entrepreneurship, Marketing, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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There have been countless articles written about the death of tele-prospecting. In this era of voicemail and caller ID, the process of initiating the sales process by phone has certainly evolved.

For individuals who never developed true marketing skills and simply relied on the element of surprise to get potential customers to pick up the phone, tele-prospecting is probably dead. However, for those who pay careful attention to list development, script, strategy, and execution, it remains alive and well.
If you’re finding prospecting to be increasingly challenging to accomplish on the phone, you need to evaluate your process. Here’s how you can do it well:

Pay Close Attention to Your Prospect List

Have you identified the best companies for your product or service? If you haven’t done your due diligence, you will inevitably be executing a doomed calling campaign.

Know with Whom to Speak

Finding out the name and title of the decision maker should occur in advance of the call. You MUST know who to speak with or you might inadvertently deliver your message to the wrong person rendering your call useless. Start with a list-building effort to acquire these names before you begin to make a call.

Practice What You’ll Say

Plan your words with infinite care. Be prepared for every question, objection, and stall that may arise. Practice and master what you’ll say before you dial. Your verbiage is critical to success and should be evaluated on an ongoing basis. If you’re not getting the results you desire, modify it based upon the responses you’re receiving.

Quantify Everything

You won’t be able to determine your level of success without tracking the number of dialings, conversations with decision makers, messages you leave, and results of the calls. Without accurate stats, you won’t have the data you need to determine your effectiveness or evaluate your strategy.

Develop a Program and Stick with It

Tele-prospecting is a numbers game that requires ongoing, consistent effort. Make sure to establish a set number of calls that you are going to make each day or week. Ideally, allot yourself at least two hours each time you sit down to make calls. This will help you to build momentum and improve your skills.

Pay Attention to How You Sound

Your voice can literally make or break your tele-prospecting success. Tone and inflection can dramatically affect how your prospects respond. To keep your voice in check, record a sampling of calls and listen carefully. You might be surprised by what you hear, but this will enable you to determine where you can make improvements and refine your delivery.

Overcome Your Reluctance

If you have call reluctance, join the club. Tele-prospecting is not everyone’s favorite task. But, if you take the time to carefully craft your program and practice your calls, you will be prepared and positioned for success. And, if you just can’t bring yourself to making these calls, you can consider outsourcing them to a third party. However, you have to be very careful that the person or firm is on point and delivering your message in the style you want to present. If you’re not sure, monitor their calls or ask for a tape recording so you can be confident of what they’re saying and how they’re saying it.

With the benefits of voicemail and caller ID, prospects simply aren’t going to pick up the phone when they think it’s someone trying to sell them something. While that fact does change how tele-prospecting must be accomplished, it doesn’t negate its efficacy as a key sales strategy. With a well-thought out plan of action and a polished message, it can still remain the most direct and effective path to reaching the decision makers of a company.

A Perfect Playground for Being Obnoxious

August 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Marketing, meetings, public speaking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Many of us participate in meetings and training sessions on a regular basis. They can be helpful, informative, and conducive to growing bonds with colleagues. However, they can also be breeding grounds for those blatantly obnoxious individuals who you would just like to muzzle.

You know the type – the person who never shuts up, disagrees with everyone, and hogs the attention. They’re typically oblivious to the fact that everyone around them wants them to shut up. But, there are also those who are aware of what they’re doing and thrive on being antagonistic and annoying.

So, how can you control this idiot? Here are a few tactful tips that can work almost as well as a muzzle:

DON’T rise up to their level of obnoxiousness. You certainly don’t want to be pegged as someone with similar bad behavior, nor do you want to give any ammo to the idiot to attack you personally.

DO acknowledge them sweetly and say things like “that’s a good point”, “interesting that you bring that up”, and “I understand why you think that”. You would probably rather gag than say such niceties, but sometimes acknowledging them is all they need to tone it down.

DO call for a break if they are getting increasingly out of control despite your attempts to rein them in.

DO pull them aside and speak to them privately to express your concerns.

DO try to get them on your side and ask for their support on certain issues that you will be discussing in the class.

DON’T hesitate to ask them to leave the session if they refuse to participate in a productive manner.

It’s an unfortunate reality of life that there are certainly obnoxious individuals among us. And, meetings and training sessions can bring out their worst behavior. However, by beating them at their own game and not tolerating their ego-focused nonsense, you can effectively minimize their ability to irritate you and your fellow attendees.

Top 10 Mistakes People Make With Their Website

August 2, 2010 at 7:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The following post is from my good friend Jerry Allocca

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