Start Working On Your Very Own Plan B

December 27, 2010 at 10:02 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Start Working On Plan B

I had a plan for today that included doing some prospecting for 2011, meeting a client for a sales skills training class and having lunch with a networking buddy and great friend.

A good plan, a pretty mellow plan for the day after the Christmas holiday weekend.

But nature got in the way and my plan was foiled by a blizzard that stopped business as usual.

Everything on my agenda got cancelled or switched about and now it’s on to Plan B.

I didn’t have Plan B when I started the morning but I have one now and it seems like a good one.

And that’s what this is all about…having a Plan B. Sometimes things don’t go as expected. You don’t win the project, an existing client bails or your best employee goes to a competitor. All problematic events I grant you, but still events from which you can surely recover…but only if and when you develop and start to work your very own Plan B.

So make sure that you have that all important fallback position, Plan B, when Plan A falls apart. Don’t sit and bemoan what has happened, get going and start working on the alternatives and maybe, just maybe Plan B will turn out to be a better proposition that you ever thought.

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Hit the Ground Running: 3 Things to Do Starting January 3rd

December 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Marketing, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, sales | Leave a comment

The countdown to the end of the year is winding up and soon we will be welcoming 2011. While flipping over to a new page in the calendar isn’t anything more than, well, flipping over to a new page in the calendar, we all know that somehow, it seems like a new beginning.

So with the idea that we’ve been given a clean slate and new start, here are three things that you should do to hit the ground running and ramp up business as fast as possible:

–Commit to connecting with no fewer than 10 prospects each day. Use phone, email, snail mail, text or any combination but make it a habit to do prospect outreach every day. And, if the day gets away from you because of other commitments, be certain to make up the contacts on the next day. By end of week you should have “touched” 50 prospects. (This doesn’t include existing clients.)

–Build a strategic networking plan. Look at your current networking activities and develop a plan that will better maximize the return that you get from time spent in networking initiatives. This might include scheduling more one-on-one meetings, being more proactive in asking for introductions, searching out new groups that are more aligned with your business and networking styles, etc. And yes, although this will be perceived as a blatant self-promotion, I encourage you to check out Adrian’s Network (www.adriansnetwork.com)

Explore the site, try it for free and see if this innovative and exciting community of networkers is something that you’d like to join.

–Make January the time to look closely at your marketing efforts. Is it time to update that website? How about social media? Are you really using it to your best advantage and could you be doing more? The last few years have been tough for many businesses and with the weak economy and resulting decrease in revenues, many business owners put their sales, advertising and marketing initiatives on hold. But you can do that for only so long. Cast a critical eye on what you have and look at some cost-effective enhancements that can be implemented quickly.

Lastly, make sure that your sales engine is tuned up and ready to go. If you think a tune-up is needed, do it now before you waste too much time and lose potential business.

No more excuses, no more inertia, no more fear. Make a plan, work your plan and believe that 2011 will be a good year.

Brrrr, Baby, It’s Cold In Here

December 23, 2010 at 8:29 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, meetings, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, public speaking, sales | 1 Comment


It’s cold in here. How can that be? I could have sworn that I was “invited” to this event but it just doesn’t feel that way and it’s not just my imagination.

You know the scene. You’re invited to a little networking gathering because the members have decided that guests are important. They say that they want to grow their group. You get there right on time because you understand the etiquette involved and want to make a good impression. You walk in, don your name tag, stand around for a wee while and then, well, nothing.

You spy folks clustered in little groups sporting name tags that show they are members of the group and not guests. You try to make eye contact but there seems to be none of that. There are few, if any, folks standing about on their own and so you decide to walk over and introduce yourself.

(Full disclosure at this point: I AM NOT an introvert and yet this situation has happened to me as well!)

The “clusters” look up, provide what is definitely just a perfunctory greeting, respond to your queries about what it is they do and then turn back to their conversation without actually including you.

Now while I know that seems pretty extreme and maybe I am being a tad over-dramatic this is not all that far from the truth.

I also know that I have painted a pretty grim picture and yes, it doesn’t occur all that often. But I ask you, why does it happen at all? What a strange and unbelievable trip it is to be invited to something and then to not be warmly welcomed. Dysfunctional, yes?

Has this ever happened to you? I know that this experience has made me an even better networker finding it ever so important to be certain to welcome, introduce and follow-up with folks that attend my events.

But I believe that I am in the minority.

What’s been your experience? Am I alone here or are there others that have had this happen as well?

This Little Light of Mine

December 20, 2010 at 8:52 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

The Light at the End of the Tunnel Seems to be Just a Wee Bit Closer & a Wee Bit Brighter

I don’t know about you but it seems that things have eased up just a tiny bit. Maybe it’s because companies are either trying to use up every single dollar of their 2010 budget or maybe it’s because some folks are really and truly getting those proverbial ducks in a row for 2011 but whatever it is, there has been a bit more activity happening right now.

Of course it’s not all super duper, at least just yet.

My clients are still hurting and recalibrating their businesses after a woeful few years.

But the optimism is growing and my suggestions for them are simple:

–Keep doing what is working, re-invent what is not and enter 2012 with a business development growth plan that is well conceived, is executable and can be started immediately.

–Be bold. This is the time to exploit and leverage your core strengths.

–Don’t scrimp on marketing, PR, networking, advertising and all the tactics that keep you out there. Be creative, look at what can be accomplished inexpensively or even for free, and as your business grows you can invest in it even more. But don’t become invisible now or run the risk of losing your place.

I hope you’re experiencing some the upturn yourself.

Holiday Cards: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

December 17, 2010 at 9:28 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, holiday, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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Please don’t call me a grinch but I am really starting to have negative thoughts about the holiday cards that I have received that are nicely engraved with the company name, and sometimes even the sender’s name, but have absolutely no personalization at all.

I mean not even a signature and, of course, the card comes in an envelope that has a computer-generated address label affixed to it.

The sentiments included in the cards are always lovely. Peace and happiness, health and joy but sad to say, they leave me cold.

It’s pretty apparent to me that my name has appeared on some impersonal mass database and hence I have received the card.

Do I know the people that have sent me these cards? Sometimes I do (and that feels even worse) and, of course, sometimes I have absolutely no idea with the sender is.

But in all cases the printed message in the card runs counter to its impersonal presentation.

My suggestion: send fewer cards and take the time to sign them and perhaps, in some special cases. include a brief personal message. (And I do mean sign them by hand, not a computer generate signature!)

No time for that you say. Start the process earlier in the season; heck, start now for next year. Perhaps you should whittle down your list altogether. Maybe the folks that get the
“generic” card shouldn’t get a card at all, especially if it looks as if there was no thought behind it.

I preach the importance of “touch points” and staying on the grid of your clients, prospects, networking connections and referral sources but you must make certain that you are staying on the grid in a way that supports your brand and what you stand for.

And really, do you stand for something that is cold and impersonal? If so, bring it on. There are boxes of unsigned cards waiting for their address labels.

To Confirm or Not to Confirm, That is The Question

December 12, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

We all like to feel important, valuable and memorable. And we surely like to think that our business appointments are desired, anticipated and yes, remembered!

So if that’s the case, and our appointments are set with care and are not “drop-ins”, are confirmations really necessary?

I ask this question because I didn’t confirm a meeting last week and I was left waiting. I realize now that it remains to be seen whether or not the appointment itself was actually definitive enough. I certainly thought that it was and clearly the other person did not and that leads to yet another potential problem and that’s perception.

We all communicate in our own unique manner and what seems definitive to me might not be so definitive for you.

So when you factor in the chance of differing perceptions on how “definite” is the appointment coupled with the complex calendars that most of us are forced to keep, then perhaps a meeting confirmation is really in order.

It surely seems that way when you find yourself waiting in vain.

Getting Divorced Or How I Learned That Some Clients Just Aren’t Worth It

December 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Customer Service, entrepreneurship, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business | 1 Comment
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When I launched my business 23 years ago it seemed like any client was a good client or maybe even a desired client or, at least, a name to help flesh out my very thin roster of business.

Over the years my philosophy has changed and I no longer think that all clients are desired and, in fact, recognize that in some cases I am far better off getting divorced.

Divorcing a client can be painful. Oh, not as painful as divorcing a spouse but painful nonetheless. And just like divorcing a spouse can leave you in a certain amount of financial turmoil, so can shedding a client, even when you know that it is for the best in the long run.

So how do you recognize when you should (must?) divorce a client. There are several key indicators and these are:

–There is no longer a match between what the client wants/needs and what you can/will provide.
–The client is asking you to do something that is unethical. Conversely, the client themselves is doing something that is unethical.
–The client is being unreasonable in terms of their demands and despite your best attempts to negotiate and reach an understanding, they are unwilling to budge. (note: these clients usually take up a significant amount of time and your ROT {return on time} is rarely what you deserve)
–The client treats you or your staff in an abusive manner.

Clearly, no one likes to get divorced and it is in your best interests to try and retain the relationship and stay married. Still if nothing you’ve done has seemed to work, it just might be in your best interest to sever ties.

So how do you divorce a client with the minimal amount of acrimony:

–No matter how negatively you might feel you must maintain a professional demeanor. When you tell your client about your decision you don’t want to burn your bridges or make enemies.
–Don’t leave a client in the lurch. Attempt to find a replacement for the services that you provide and help to make a smooth transition.
–Give your client ample warning to make the necessary adjustments.
–Leave the door open. You never know how, if or when the situation will change
–Make certain that you have adequate business to fill the revenue gap that is precipitated by the divorce. Take steps to fill the gap BEFORE the divorce.

And, of course, make certain to explore all of the options and ask yourself if you have done everything that you could do to salvage the relationship. But, once you know it’s time to go, be strong, be confident and be ready to do the deed.

A NY Sales Trainer is a Member of the Clean Slate Club

December 6, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, small business | Leave a comment

It’s an interesting thing about the New Year. Turn the page on the calendar and presto, you have a clean slate – a new beginning, one in which you can make it better, achieve more, change things up. What a cool idea—bogus, but cool.

What often happens is that the change lasts for just a short while and then, for most, it’s back to the same old, same old.

Think about it–diets, exercise, the vow to prospect everyday! For many those good intentions last but a fleeting time.

So why not be different? Why not make a sure that the promises that you make to yourself have a real chance of sticking? Make a plan, develop action steps not just a wish list. Get help where you need it and set a timetable.

You know what…the best time to start is right now before you turn the page. Get started on the steps that you need to take in order to make your wish list a reality.

I Hate to Say It But I’m Burned Out On Networking

December 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Marketing, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Oh, not me…I’m not burned out. I’ve taken my own advice and have emerged on the other side of burned out and now find myself in a comfortable and frankly, beneficial networking “space”.

So, how can YOU stave off the burnout that seems to really ratchet up this time of year:

1. Recognize that not every group or event is right for you. Pick and chose carefully. It’s not quantity; it’s the quality of the activities in which you are immersed. And while we’re on the topic make certain that you are networking in places where you’ll find your prospects OR excellent referral sources. If they’re not there, why should you be wasting your time?

2. Give it your best shot but be prepared to move on. What do I mean? Well, once you join a group it’s in your best interest to get as involved as possible. Attend meetings, initiate one-on-ones with individual members; in essence, work it to the best of your abilities. But if nothing happens and by that I mean there are no leads, contacts, connections or anything at all that can be construed as a benefit to your business existence, then cut bait and leave when your membership period has ended.

3. Be attentive and proactive with all of your introductions but if someone doesn’t reply after several attempts by email and phone you should move on. The exception to this “rule” is if/when you know that there is a tremendous amount of potential to be realized and you intend to use dogged persistence to make contact. But…if this is a networking introduction and they are still not getting back to you I might surmise that the potential is just not going to be realized.

4. Start a group. That’s the best way to ensure that you are surrounded by highly referable and good networkers!

5. Not enough reciprocity for ya? Sometimes you have to truly reach out and ask for those introductions that were promised to you. You might hate to that but in the networking world there are some people that don’t remember that introductions should be reciprocal. Be proactive. Sometimes the other person doesn’t even realize that you’d like to meet some their contacts too.

Networking is time consuming and takes consistency and fortitude. Burnout can easily occur but if you follow these steps you’ll be better able to keep burnout at bay.

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