Sales Success on a Shoe String

August 31, 2011 at 8:21 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Revenues got you down? Sales funnel pretty empty? Don’t have lots to spend on marketing and sales initiatives?  What’s a person to do?

While it is more than terrific to have a fantastic marketing and PR plan helping you to build business and create and maintain awareness and credibility  (and the budget to support it), there are lots of tactics that you can deploy to ratchet up sales without breaking the bank.

Here are some things that you can start to do immediately:

  • Mine the gold in your existing database. Prospects that never turned into clients, dormant accounts and even marginal accounts represent your fastest return on investment and time. They already know you and have respect for your business making the sales cycle much shorter and potentially more lucrative.
  • Develop an informational webinar or telesession that will help to spotlight you as an expert and thought leader. Use social media to promote the program and at the very least, you will gain visibility for what you know.
  • Be a better networker. Give more referrals and make more introductions. You know the old cliché, “givers get”. Take that to heart and make it a point to make 5 introductions per week, or even per day.
  • Ask for referrals. Your satisfied existing clients can be an excellent conduit to more business. Most people don’t get referrals simply because they don’t ask.

Start today before you’re stuck in 4th quarter and businesses start using the “holiday season” as their rationale for not starting anything new!

Need feedback on any of these points. Give me a call.

Winging It: Hurricane Irene & How You Run Your Business

August 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training | Leave a comment
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Be smart. Be prepared.

That’s what lots of folks along the Eastern seaboard are hearing. And many, myself included, have heeded these words and have stocked the house with water and food, made certain that the flash lights are operative, filled the car with gas and on and on and on.

A bit tedious and maybe even a bit unnecessary…but then again, maybe not.

Just maybe this IS going to be as huge a storm as they’re telling us about.

And so tedious or not, I’m not taking any chances and I’ve put everything in order.

But that’s how I usually do things. Even when it seems tedious I’ll often take the time to prepare, learn my lines, do the research; in effect, get things in order.

How do you run your business, create sales, deal with clients?

  • Are you the type that takes the time to be prepared or are you more of a “wing it” sort of individual?
  • Do you take the time to learn about your prospect’s company before the meeting or are you certain that you can catch up and roll with the conversation once it’s underway?
  • How about your speeches? Do you practice and make certain that your timing is impeccable or once again, do you “expect” that it will all work out just fine?

Regardless of your personal style in business here’s hoping that you’ve taken the time to prepare today. In business it might mean that you don’t win an account; the consequences of not preparing for Irene are much much worse.

 

 

Why Social Media is Ruining Your Business

August 25, 2011 at 11:15 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales | 8 Comments
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I love social media and have a solid appreciation for all of the marvelous things that it does for our businesses including the following:

  • Helps to build awareness of our company and brand
  • Creates visibility and can generate and register attendees for events
  • Provides a (free!) tool for the gathering of business/marketing intelligence
  • Offers access to prospects and reconnection with dormant accounts

And yes more.

But, can social media do it ALL and by all, I mean bring in business. Now lots of you are shaking your heads and thinking that I am a bit nuts for even thinking that there are companies out there that believe that social media can save the day in their acquisition of new clients.  But here’s the truth…I am saying this because I hear it and see it each and every day as I go about meeting new prospects, working with clients and speaking with business people at networking events.

Business people are doing their status updates, scrolling through the news feed, engaging in “conversations” with Linkedin contacts and are actually neglecting things like picking up the phone and calling, yes calling, prospects and dormant accounts alike. Rather, they’re using social media and email (hey, it’s fast and convenient, right?) and forgetting the personal touch points that really do matter.

People like to buy, they don’t like to be sold and they like to buy when they have a relationship built on trust and respect. Social media can help lay the foundation but that’s all.

At the end, social media is part of an INTEGRATED marketing plan. It doesn’t stand-alone, it won’t save the day and it won’t close business. That’s sales. You close sales and unless you’re an internet business with no brick and mortar and not a human to be seen on the org chart, then you need to take a look at your marketing and sales programs for the remainder of 2011 and make sure they’re positioned correctly to bring in the business you want.

What to Do If and When Your Networking Contacts Don’t Reciprocate

August 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Networking | 1 Comment
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Here’s the situation.

You’re a diligent and thoughtful networker, trying at all times to help your networking contacts with introductions and contacts. When you can do so, you make direct introductions to potential clients; at other times, you help people get connected to other influential connectors and referral sources.

You’re fairly diligent about it, and not a week goes by without some sort of introductions being made.

And…you don’t EXPECT anything in return. Well, not really.

So, does this describe you?

Okay, if so, then you know that at some point you might want/need to be so forthright as to ask some of your networking contacts for specific introductions for yourself, maybe not to a specific company but perhaps to a suitable category of business.

Okay then. You make your request in person or perhaps through email or the phone. And nothing happens. The request is either totally ignored or the person says that they’ll “get back to you with some names and introductions”.

And again, nothing happens. What’s a networker to do?

I get asked this question quite often and this same situation has even happened to me causing me to ponder…well…next steps.

Here they are:

1. Make certain that you have made your initial request loud, clear and unambiguous. This is not the time to be coy; make sure that your request for contacts leaves nothing to the imagination.
2. Be sure that you haven’t asked for introductions or connections to folks with whom your networking contact has absolutely no involvement. Be confident that the person that you are asking does, in fact, have the desired relationships.
3. Give the person a wee bit of time. While we live in an era of “Internet time” not everyone moves at the speed of light and your request might languish for a few days or weeks until such time as it rises to the top of the ” to do” list.
4. If you have done the above and are still not receiving the introductions that you feel “should” be coming your way, you can do the following:

A. Make your request again and ask the contact for the reason/s that the intros are not forthcoming. Do this gently as it might be uncomfortable and even if you believe this person has not risen to the networking “occasion” they are still in your networking circle of contacts and you want to maintain a positive relationship.

B. Move on and forget about it, realizing that not everyone is as receptive to the idea of making introductions for others.

C. Think about if there are any unspoken or underlying reasons why the introductions are not being made. Does this person have a better relationship with someone else that does exactly what you do? Have they ever been “burned” by an introduction and therefore are very loathe to feel that vulnerable again? Do they not respect the quality of your work? Be honest with yourself!

Most of all, don’t let the non-responsive folks “get you down” and cause you to lose your enthusiasm and interest in helping others with introductions and referrals. While it might not always come back to you (even when you ask!), it’s still the right thing to do.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Sales Results are Suffering

August 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales | 1 Comment
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If your sales results are less than good (great?), please ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you “rely” on email for prospecting and reactivating dormant accounts rather than using the telephone to make personal contact?
  1. Have you slacked off on your networking efforts resulting in a greatly reduced volume of new contacts and connections?
  1. How much new business prospecting have you been doing? (Really!)
  1. Have you taken a good look at your product or service offerings? (When was the last time that you did an in-depth SWOT analysis?)
  1. Are you “depending” upon social media to do much of the business development work for you and are you thinking that your web site and marketing efforts are most of what you need to win new business?

What were your answers? Do you need to make some changes?  If so, move fast because the all important Fall selling season is upon us.

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg (Mmm, Perhaps)

August 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training | 1 Comment
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Ain’t too proud to beg.

Times are tough and there’s no need to belabor the point. We get it.

Our clients (and potential clients) get it too and so we’re all in this together, trying to keep our collective heads above water, go about our business and do what it is we do to keep our businesses afloat (dare I even say profitable!).

So if we’re all in this together then why is that some clients keep trying to extract that extra ounce of blood, get their project implemented at an even lower price, going over and beyond in all of their wants and needs and insisting that we simply acquiesce to their demands.

It’s difficult to be an agreeable sort, to provide extra value and be proactive when you feel battered and bruised when winning the business.

It sometimes seems that they want us to beg.

Note to clients everywhere:  Play fair. Provide fair compensation for worthy work, be honest and forthcoming and don’t try to get something for nothing. (Maybe I should write that into every client’s playbook!).

Unfortunately that isn’t the case and again, since times are difficult many companies have to cave in to the demands of their clients.

But I ask you to consider this when dealing with “these” clients:

–Are you LOSING money for every hour that you work on that client’s program?
–Is executing the project causing a major drain on morale?
–Is the client causing your staff to burn-out?

Can you even AFFORD to take on this project?

Sometimes we have to just say “no” and turn-down and walk away from a client, and it’s a tough thing to do, especially when winning new business is as difficult as it is. You want to win and retain business based on mutual benefits. Begging, caving in and being beaten down by a client’s unreasonable demands should not be acceptable.

Content is King…Not!

August 15, 2011 at 7:13 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales | 2 Comments
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Content is king. Mmmm, perhaps so but really, will your awesome blog post, catchy headline and pithy commentary close the deal?

I’m afraid not and although these words (yes we used to call “content” words) might help pave the way to credibility and recognition and bring prospects to your door, they will not, let me say that again, they will not close the business.

YOU do that.

And so at the end of the social media tunnel there needs to be a sales person waiting to take those prospects by the hand and lead them carefully, strategically and skillfully to the sale.

So just when you are thinking that the day is done with a blog post loaded, status updates completed and a tweet or two under your belt, you are really just getting started.

Pick up that phone and reach out to a few new prospects, reconnect with some existing clients and dormant accounts and start the real dialogue. Ask questions, learn new facts, present value,  I n t e r a c t.

All I’m Asking For Is A Little Respect

August 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Sing it Aretha!

Respect. One of the basic human wants and needs. We all want respect, crave it in fact and will often work hard to obtain it.

But ask yourself, do you respect your clients? No really, don’t answer quite so quickly. Do you R E S P E C T your clients? Here’s what I mean:

Do you return calls and emails in a timely manner and for that matter, do you know what “timely” means to your clients vs. what YOU consider to be timely? (Hint, they’re often not in sync.)

Do you keep your clients apprised of what’s going on with their project and do you do this proactively or simply wait for them to “check in” with you for a status update?

Do you promise the world and then scramble to do the job while the scrambling results in a less than stellar work product?

Do you provide your client with out-of-the-box thinking or are you pleased that they will accept “just what you give them”?

Do you miss deadlines?

Do you change the budget and do so without ample warning?

Do you do ANY of these things?

Yep, it’s all about respect.

If You Don’t Know Me By Now

August 8, 2011 at 9:05 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Is this the tune being sung by your prospects and clients? Have you neglected to ask (and continue to ask) the kind of questions that enable you to woo, win and wow them….um, in other words, get and retain their business?

Prospecting are you? Why are you asking if they can meet with you on Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon (pulling out that ages-old “alternative choice” close) rather than taking a few moments for them to reveal their situation / pain, wants and needs? Do you think that you’ll “lose the appointment” if you “waste” too much time on the telephone. In my 24 years of experience this has rarely been the case. Rather, prospects appreciate the consultative approach and provide the kind of input that makes for a qualified and more beneficial in-person meeting.

Always have a slew of questions in your sales toolbox and use them appropriately. Ask insightful questions whether speaking with a new prospect or an existing client (after all, circumstances change and you must be on top of the client’s change/s lest you get left behind).

Here’s a good rule: make sure to learn one new piece of information whenever you are in a prospect or client conversation, in-person or on the phone. For existing clients you may simply say “I want to make sure that I’m entirely up to date on your account so that I may be a better resource for you. Can you tell me ___________ and then ask your question/s.”
It’s a tad easier with prospects but even then many sales reps seem to move right past the information gather / screening and qualifying stage and get right to sell, sell, sell whether they’re selling the appointment or the actual product or service itself.

So take a few minutes to create 10-15 questions that you can use in your sales conversations and be confident that the time you take for this exercise will provide payback.

Sha la la la la Live For Today

August 5, 2011 at 8:39 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Oh boy. Sha la la la la la live for today.  Love those words. Can’t say that I live those words entirely, but yes, I do appreciate the sentiment.

But here’s a fact, sales reps that live for today (and only for today) might find themselves in a bit of a quandary.

Living in the moment can be magical but well, there’s tomorrow to consider.

Sales reps must have a pipeline of business prospects and opportunities to nurture and feed and (hopefully) ultimately harvest at the right time.

And sometimes that isn’t today.

So unless you are living like Scarlett O’Hara (“After all, tomorrow is another day”), you need to maintain a consistent flow of prospects so that your tomorrow can and will be profitable.

 

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