Sales Reps: NY, NY—If You Can Make It Here You Can Make It Anywhere

June 2, 2011 at 7:44 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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I’ve lived in NY for most of my adult (working) life but have had the opportunity to do my “thing” (sales consulting and training) nationwide.

Here’s what I know: NY provides exceptional opportunities with a robust and vast business population across most every industry segment. NY also has some of the best and the brightest and a rigorous competitive environment, and the people with whom you are trying to connect are inundated by messages and outreach from these very same talented people.

What’s a sales rep to do?

Well, assuming that you don’t intend to pack your bags and move to a small town in the mid-west there’s some clear and simple steps that are mandatory to making it here in NY:

1) Make certain that you are visible and occupy a spot on the playing field. Don’t allow your competitors to take over. Utilize the tools available to you (social media, email marketing, telemarketing, direct mail, PR, advertising, trade shows, networking, etc.) and obtain / maintain mind share.

2) Become an exquisite networker. The more people with whom you connect and the more people that you connect to EACH OTHER, the more influential you’ll become. Having “great networker” as part of your personal brand will win you recognition and ultimately, new contacts and business opportunities.

3) Make time management your best friend. People work hard in NY and the hours are long. You know that if you make a prospecting call at 6 or 7PM you have a good chance of finding that person in their office. We start early, end late and you must figure out your own time management scheme or you run the very real risk of burn-out.

Now, for the refrain…if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

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3 Easy Tips to Jumpstart Your Business

April 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

We all know that business development is a process whereby you plant seeds and nurture them and, at some point, you will start to see something blossom and recognize ROI on your business development efforts.

Some strategies take a long time to execute; others can be done much faster, and so for the impatient among you, here are 3 things that you can start to do immediately:

1. Start to prospect now. Be proactive. Don’t depend on the phone ringing and don’t expect that referrals will keep your pipeline as full as it needs to be. (Another good reason to prospect is that it helps you to keep your sales skills fine-tuned and sharp. Sorry, but living on referrals tends to make you a somewhat lazy business developer.)

2. Get “seriously” involved with social media and develop a social media plan of attack. (I don’t mean updating your Facebook and Linkedin status once per day.) I do mean learning how to use these tools to their best advantage, initiate and engage in conversations, utilize the “search” capabilities, showcase your firm and it’s capabilities, etc.

3. Reconnect with dormant accounts, follow-up consistently on all proposals and quotes and reach out to small, marginal accounts to cross-tell your other products and services. Sounds like common sense, right? It is but the sad truth is that many companies do not mine the gold in their existing account base. This should be started immediately.

There you go. The good news is that if you don’t have the resources to execute any of these 3 efforts there are resources out there that can do them for you.

You don’t have any excuse. Just do it.

Help, My Networking Isn’t Working

April 5, 2011 at 10:03 am | Posted in Adrian's Network, Networking | 4 Comments

I believe that networking can play a critical role in most people’s business building efforts, so much so that I have even launched my own networking community

Client Bullying

March 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, sales | 1 Comment

There’s been a lot of attention paid to the problem of bullying and, of course, most of the focus has been on children and teenagers.

We’ve heard the stories and experience outrage and bewilderment as to how and why this situation keeps occurring, and seemingly with more and more frequency. Parents and non-parents alike can feel the pain of the families going through this highly stressful experience.

But I’m going to address a different type of bullying. I don’t mean to compare them at all or imply that they are equal in the amount of pain and suffering that results from the bullying actions.

The bullying that I am referring to lies at the hands of “clients”.

Yes, client bullying.

It seems that this situation is also a bit more prevalent these days. The recession has caused pain, and clients are looking for ways to decrease their expenses and get the same services or products for less money.

They’re looking (or threatening to look) for the low cost provider, even when the client-service provider relationship has been good and the deliverables stellar.

And yes, they are asking, no demanding, that payment terms be extended.

This type of bullying wreaks havoc on small businesses, heck, most businesses who are trying to stay afloat themselves.

But when the client’s back is to the wall, they become the schoolyard bully and no amount of intervention really helps.

So, do you put up with it and potentially wind up losing money on the work that you execute? Or do you attempt to negotiate and find a middle ground AND if that doesn’t work, do you take your ball and exit the schoolyard leaving the bullies to find someone else to pick on.

Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do.

(Note: during the last 18-24 mos I have known many businesses knuckle under to the demands of the client bully. They are not happy BUT they have retained the business and some amount of positive cash flow.)

How to Go From Good to Great (as a Networker)

February 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

I’ve been doing this networking thing for a long time and I keep hearing about people that are “great” networkers. I am often introduced to these folks and I must admit that while sometimes I am in full agreement with the pronouncement of greatness, there are times, well, I am a little more than under-whelmed.

So how do you stack up? Are you a great networker? Ask yourself these 5 simple questions and arrive at the answer yourself.

• Are you truly proactive in your networking connections or do you tend to be reactive and wait until one of your contacts asks you if you happen to know a FILL IN THE BLANK before making an introduction (i.e. needs-based connecting)?

• Do you pre-qualify the folks with whom you have been introduced before having a phone or in-person conversation? Do you frequently make assumptions that someone might not be “good for you” because they are not “logical” connectors for your type of business, or do not seemingly have access to the types of contacts that you require?

• Do you go beyond the obvious and make connections based on more “sophisticated” indicators. For example, if you know people that get most of their business introductions from a specific type of referral source, do you introduce them to each other even if they would have no other way for them to do business or network together?

• Do you make connections on a regular basis, perhaps even establishing a quantitative goal for each week?

• Do you ask the people that make introductions for you if they would like to be kept in the loop or if it would be okay to follow-up without keeping them included in the email thread? Do you say thank you?

Unless You Can Sing Like B.B. King, Don’t Sing the Blues

February 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, meetings, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, small business | Leave a comment

I went to a networking event the other night and as you do at these types of events, I engaged in conversation with many of the attendees. Bad idea! It seemed as if every other person with whom I spoke was “singing the blues!”

“Sure, business is better now but with last year’s debacle, I don’t know if I’ll ever catch up”

“I don’t know why the paper says the recession is over because I’m not seeing too many improvements”

And so on. You get the idea. Singing the blues. To me. Not to one of their trusted advisors, not to a colleague but to me, a business person unknown to them and perhaps, a good referral source or, still better yet, a potential new client.

Despite my best efforts to turn these conversations around, many of the blues singers persisted and, of course, the conversations turned dreary. And of course I was thinking: would I wish to refer or do business with theses folks if, as they revealed, things were so bad?!

What does singing the blue accomplish? It’s nice to vent and share feelings and situations with folks with whom you have a business relationship. But strangers? Somehow I don’t think that’s such a smart idea.

So next time you find yourself singing the blues to persons unknown, get a grip and simply stop yourself before you create a negative first impression.

You know what they say: you don’t have a second chance to create a first impression.

Make certain that you create a good / positive one.

The Marriage – Um – Divorce Between Marketing and Sales

February 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Branding, Marketing, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We all know the story that marketing and sales go hand-in-hand. I mean it’s a fact right? You can have a pretty terrific marketing campaign that might even win awards, gets recognition and all that good stuff and STILL not get you the ROI that you want (read that as increased new business).

Equally true is that a sales person should always be able to get better results when they have effective marketing materials to help them tell their sales story.

This is all very simple.

Then why is it that so many marketing campaigns are created without much of a thought…ok, real thought to what comes after the marketing.

What happens if and when the sales reps following up on the marketing campaign are just not able to close the business?

I’ll tell you what happens.

• The company decides that the marketing program wasn’t “really” effective.
• The marketing firm gets put on notice and bad-mouthed for not producing new business.
• The company decides that marketing stinks and is irrelevant to their success.

One or all of the above.

And if just isn’t true.

I’m a sales trainer and I see marketing campaigns from a different perspective.

I see campaigns started without a thought to what is going to happen afterwards and when results are poor everyone seems confused and unhappy.

And of course the lack of response could have been avoided if only if the sales portion of the campaign was in place BEFORE the marketing efforts were deployed. YES—what happens after the mail is dropped, the website goes live, the email is sent, the ads appear, the telemarketers generate interest…that’s where sales jumps in.

Heck, let us be part of the plan!

All of you marketing firms out there—wouldn’t your clients be even more satisfied if you made certain that the pieces of the follow-up sales game lined up and ready to go. Sales process? Check. Lead follow-up procedures? Check. Sales reps trained and skills refresher provided? Check. CRM and touch point management strategy developed? Check.
You get the idea.

Don’t start one more campaign without talking to your client about their sales follow-up. They’ll thank you for it!

Sales Can Suck: How to Get Your Groove Back

February 1, 2011 at 9:47 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

Sales can be a challenge and sometimes it seems as it there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Days of cold calls that go nowhere. Networking events at which you stand around clutching your glass of wine like a life preserver and seemingly no “good” people to meet, endless rounds of meetings that end with “we have to think about”–well, you get the idea. Challenging, right?

So how do you get your groove back and recharge? Here a few simple things that you can do:

1. Take a bit of time to stand back and assess the situation to see what you can do differently to get different/better results from your sales efforts. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. We all know that yet lots of us get mired in inertia and ultimately do the same old thing the same old way and guess what…get the same old (bad) results.

2. Seek the advice and counsel of your trusted advisers. We are “in the frame” and therefore cannot see the picture. Seek some clarity and guidance.

3. Do something that “feels good” and which gives you pleasure. Take some time to rejuvenate and stop beating yourself up. Sometimes a day away from your office and work can help you to get on the right path.

4. Work on a project on which you know you will succeed. There is nothing worse than having a long string of failures. Your confidence gets undermined and a success will help to raise it up again.

5. Keep things in perspective. Everyone in sales has their highs and lows but if you take the time to understand what you might be able to do differently, the circumstances can and will change.

I Know There is Business to be Done But STILL, Stop & Smell the Roses

January 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, New York Sales Trainer, sales, small business, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I don’t know about you but for me 2011 has started with a bang.

Lots of companies have recently woken up and have seen that they are still in business despite the economic horrors of the previous few years. Sure business might still be down but the doors well, they’re open, and work is getting done.

And with the revelation that they were able to withstand the rough times, there seems to be a renewed interest in improving sales competencies, revising sales strategies and in general, coming out from under the covers and investing in the growth of the company.

And that means business for me.

So it’s busy. Very busy and that’s a great thing and after the last few lean years the inquiries and new projects are most certainly welcome.

Couple the “doing the work” along with the never-ending networking and business development that must ALWAYS go on and this entrepreneur has one very busy schedule.

7 days a week; 15 hours a day busy.

And while it is more than okay for right now, it isn’t sustainable for the long haul.

There are just too many other things that should be done. Exercise, taking time for friends and family, indulging in a hobby or personal interest…these all matter to me.

And here’s the point, I’ve learned that it is okay to stop and yes, smell the roses and indulge in these other activities.

But in order to stop and not recognize a huge fall-off in business opportunities, we all need to take some things into consideration. For instance:

1. Are you recognizing results from all of your business development and networking initiatives? Which ones haven’t been so productive? Perhaps you should eliminate doing some of these less successful activities as they are taking away precious time and energy (which can then be put into other, more rewarding efforts and activities!) You’ll find yourself gaining some valuable time.

2. Do you have to do EVERYTHING or can some of your work be assigned to a virtual assistant or intern thereby freeing you up for other pursuits.

3. Cast a very critical eye as to how you are spending your time. Recognize that time management might not be one of your strengths and perhaps engage a time management or organizational consultant to help you find those extra hours in your day. Rest assured, they’re probably there but just hidden away somewhere.

The bottom-line is that taking the time to grow as a person can only help you in your business.

So take the time, smell the roses and you and your clients will be better off.

Don’t Be Like the Jets: A Case of Too Little, Too Late

January 24, 2011 at 8:21 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Networking, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

I watched the Jets last night. I’m not really a big football fan but I am a huge fan of New York and so my interest was drawn to the game.

It wasn’t real fun to watch with the first half being pretty dismal and the second half, well, a case of too little, too late.

Sad really. So much work, so much anticipation.

Too little, too late.

Watching the game I started to reflect upon some of my clients and the situation they found themselves in when they called on me for help.

They were gung ho and pumped to get moving. Sales reps were hitting the phones, hitting the streets, networking their hearts out.

But ya know that, in some cases, it was just too little, too late.

Starting to get back in the game when the competition has your back to the wall is not the very best time to take action.

The game has to be played right from the very beginning in order to have some reasonable assurance that you’re going to be able to win.

Now I know that the Jets staged some fairly miraculous comebacks this year, pulling out a win when everyone thought that they had lost.

And business people can do that as well.

But really, isn’t it better to start playing your hardest and smartest right from the get go?

For the Jets there’s always next year.

But for many businesses there isn’t another year to be had. Employees get laid off, profits disappear, businesses close.

So take a good look right now, here at the very beginning of the New Year. Are you playing your hardest and playing smart?

Can you do something differently to ensure a win for this year?

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