No Reply

November 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As we head towards the end of 2011 I’ve been starting to review my sales results for the year, the clients that I’ve won, the ones that I have lost and the prospects that are in limbo.  It’s this last category “limbo” that causes me quite a bit of angst because I simply don’t understand why it has to be.

Let me clarify.

My prospects that are in limbo (aka unresponsive) are folks that I have met with and at the conclusion of the meeting asked me to submit a proposal for services. (Key into those all-important words please…they asked me to submit a written proposal as a follow-up to the meeting).

Now before I go on please understand that I am particularly rigorous in my “screening and qualifying” of potential clients. I want to make certain that there is a good fit between the services that I provide and the requirements that they have. I’ve been known to turn down a Request for Proposal. I don’t think that it is worth anyone’s time to propose something that you know you can’t do well.

And maybe that’s why I am particularly flummoxed by the prospects in my sales funnel that are MIA.

Of course I’ve attempted to follow-up and have used all sorts of methods to get back in touch. My voice mail messages are compelling, my emails well-positioned and still, nothing.

Why is that?

  • Are these folks feeling shy because they asked for a proposal for services but knew they didn’t have the budget? (I always inquire about budget before submitting a plan.)
  • Did they suddenly lose their decision-making power or did they fool me all along into thinking that they had that responsibility?
  • Are they particularly adverse to any sort of confrontation and do they perhaps think that by rejecting the proposal they might prompt a hostile response from me?

It seems that falling off the prospect grid happens a bit more often now even when I pay scrupulous attention to making certain that the proposals are truly desired.

And it’s not just me. I’m hearing this from more and more of my business colleagues and from my own clients as well.

Yes, there seems to be an increase in “no reply” and all we salespeople can do is just keep trying.

So remember that you can’t lose what you don’t have. Be persistent in your follow-up and don’t automatically “assume” that the prospect isn’t interested.

No reply isn’t no. You deserve an answer.

No Reply!

Have You Abandoned Your Social Media?

September 12, 2011 at 7:58 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training | 2 Comments
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I truly appreciate the following blog post by Julie Levitch, of SayCurrent but I feel the need to chime in with another “must-do”.

Even WHEN you have ongoing execution of your social media campaign and have captured the eyes of readers on Facebook, Linkedin, your blog and more, you MUST have a follow-up sales program in place or you will surely not recognize the ROI that you should be getting.  Sales is a people game. The social media cocktail party tees you up but YOU have to hit the ball!

From Julie:

Social media continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Multi-national corporations, local restaurants, and retailers of all sizes are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and blogs to engage their audiences and hopefully increase their sales. This is all good stuff!

But, what we’re seeing over and over again are businesses that have gone through the efforts to start social media campaigns, only to give up after a short while. We’ve even happened upon several large-scale companies that have all but abandoned their Facebook pages and blogs. What’s going on here?

We think we have the answer. Businesses spend the time and money for the initial setup of their online marketing efforts, but don’t consider the ongoing investment in maintaining them. Social media is not a one- time project! It’s a process, and the longer you keep it going, the more successful it becomes.

Part of developing a social media plan is figuring out who is going to execute it over months and years. If you have someone in-house to do this, then consider yourself lucky, and give them the time to get the work done! If you don’t know who is going to do it, find an outsourced social media provider who can become part of your team to generate the copy and manage the flow.

Neglecting your already established social media efforts is literally akin to paying for a space at a tradeshow and not showing up. There are huge opportunities in social media for those who take the time to generate fresh content and keep their online communities engaged. So, if you haven’t updated your blog in months and have no idea who is “liking” you on Facebook, it may be time to regroup and start again!

It’s September: Do You Need A Wake-Up Call?

September 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training | 1 Comment
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Wake Me Up When September Ends.

With all due respect to Green Day I hope that you’re not singing this song: wake me up when September ends.

September. It’s here now.

We’re in that last push for business so that we might end 2011 in as good a position as possible.

Flaky economy be damned.

No time to sleep.

–Network more and do it in a more strategic manner.

–Connect with clients.

–Reconnect with dormant accounts.

–Invest in some refresher training.

–Start to use social media exquisitely (Don’t know how? Reach out and get some help. There are scads of resources to contact.)

–Not getting the results that you want? Think creatively and do things differently…now

–Explore strategic alliances.

–Divorce “bad” clients.

–Stop blaming the economy, your employees, your bad luck.

–Think positively.

–Get/be healthy. You can’t work hard if you don’t feel good.

Got it? Do it…Now.

Getting Your (Business) Groove Back

September 2, 2011 at 8:28 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training | Leave a comment
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Summer’s over.

OK I know the warm weather is going to (hopefully) hang around awhile longer but officially and with the Labor Day weekend upon us, it’s over.

Back to school. The start of holiday planning.

And, yes that all important 4th quarter when you will know (for sure) if you are going to be able to make your “numbers” for this year.

Are you?

It’s not too late. Shed off the slower and more relaxed pace of summer and kick it up a notch.

Network more. Prospect more. Make it a point to call  2-3 existing clients each day with the intent of taking the pulse of the business. Make it an even bigger point of reaching out and connecting with dormant accounts. Can they be reactivated? When?

And, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Not shopping for clothes or cars or tech toys but shopping for more new clients.

Assertive, hungry and smart. That’s how you should be starting this Fall.

Shed the tan, grab the phone and get things going.

It’s not too late to pull through a few new clients or reactivate some old ones.

What are you waiting for?

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.

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