Keeping the Faith—OR—Do Something To Make Certain Those Dormant Accounts Find Their Way Back To You

June 6, 2011 at 7:26 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training, small business, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Faith is a wonderful thing and yet having it, in great quantity or not, will do little to help you regain business from dormant accounts.

You know the situation.

The project is completed and there is nothing left to do. You did a good job and the client is more than satisfied but you heard me, there is nothing more for you to do.  (And yes, you’ve explored ALL of the tangential projects as well.)

Yes. It’s over and time to move on to other projects and clients however although you are moving on, must you really get “divorced” from your previous, and now, dormant account?

The answer is a resounding no. Separation perhaps, but not divorce, because there is always the potential of a renewed relationship on yet another project further down the line.

But just how will you get that next project / renew the relationship?

Might it be by “keeping the faith”?  Definitely…NOT!

While faith is fab it does little to renew business relationships. You have to continue to add value to the business relationship even when that relationship is in a hiatus period. You want to maintain a connection but you must do it in a way that provides a benefit. That means sharing information and invitations. Extending worthwhile introductions. It doesn’t mean “checking in” or “touching base” and other overtures that will waste your (inactive) client’s time.

Yes, maintaining the relationship in such a manner that your reach-outs are desired.

So feel free to keep the faith but make certain to deploy sound sales and marketing tactics too. Then, and only then, might you see that client again.

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.

How Much is That Doggy in the Window? The One With the Waggley Tail.

May 23, 2011 at 10:08 am | Posted in Branding, entrepreneurship, Marketing, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Sometimes I feel just like that doggy.

Prospects asking about fees BEFORE they ask about much else. Clients (even ones that are doing just fine) attempting to change the fee structure and reduce the cost of what they agree has provided for positive and beneficial business gains.

How much indeed?

Now, I get it. Times are / were difficult and everyone is looking very closely at any and all expenditures.

But sales consulting. Really.

Sales consulting and training are measurable and when shown to be effective does it make any sort of sense to consider these activities discretionary and start to nickel and dime the arrangement.

Cutting in the areas of sales, marketing, branding, advertising & PR have been shown to have a long-term disastrous impact. It’s simple: looking at cost BEFORE examining benefits, value and ROI is poor business. You’re not buying a doggy; you’re protecting and growing your livelihood.

Beware of Marketing That Doesn’t Deliver

May 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Posted in Marketing, sales, small business | 1 Comment

These are tough times. Sure they’re saying that the worst of the recession is behind us but really, does ANYONE have a client that isn’t more concerned about cost, more conservative, slower to pull the trigger than the were pre 2008. Does anyone have their hands up? Not me.

My prospects and clients have emerged from being “frozen” and that’s terrific but still, they are extra cautious about every penny spent on marketing and sales initiatives.

As for me, I keep telling them that an integrated approach is probably best, that if they deploy best practices in marketing, branding, PR, social media AND sales techniques that it will all work out just fine.

But some of them have been burned. Their social media campaign opened doors but did not close business. Their new brand got them increased recognition but again, signed, sealed and delivered business did not ensue. And you know that new website. Looks great and is optimized just right and the inquiries are increasing. But once again, the volume of business that was expected…no counted on…did not materialize.

Why? Well, a few things for starters.

A well-defined sales strategy was never created and sales processes, well, they were non existent too. As for sales competencies, they hadn’t been refreshed or enhanced in some years with sales reps remaining in a comfort zone of mediocrity.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer in the power of brand, marketing, PR, advertising and social media. But I also know that if these efforts are not integrated with exquisite selling operations then they will not bring in the optimum ROI and ultimately, we will fail our clients.

Drill Baby Drill

May 19, 2011 at 10:23 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales, small business | 1 Comment

Nope, I am not channeling Sarah Palin nor do I have any sort of contract with the oil companies. The drilling that I’m referencing is down deep into your own database wherein lurks dormant accounts, untapped and untouched prospects and referral sources that have fallen off the radar screen.

Drill baby drill.

Most of us are sitting on a potential goldmine of new business and here’s the crazy thing. This “new” business can come from past clients with whom you already have a relationship and track record of success.

There’s no need to establish credibility; you already have it, earned at some earlier point in time when you did your first project/s.

We’re all out there searching for new business but while you’re searching perhaps you need look right in your own contact list. That’s right. Drill baby drill.

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.

Curiouser and Curiouser

April 4, 2011 at 8:35 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Marketing, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business, The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success | Leave a comment

Curiouser and curiouser. So said Alice when she started to change shape. Yes, strange things can happen when you least expect them. But is that how you want to ensure your success…getting business when you least expect it?

One of the big issues these days seems to be the overall uncertainty about the flow of new business. Peaks and valleys can seriously impact work flow and profitability and sales reps must be mindful of the following action steps to minimize the situation.

1. Make certain that you are doing enough prospecting and that your sales pipeline is as full “as it needs to be”. Everyone has a different “close rate” and depending on what you project will come through as new business helps you to determine just how many prospects need to be in your pipeline at the same time.

2. Ask questions. Be curious! If you ask the right questions prospects will tell you what they want, when they want it and what they will pay for it. Don’t be afraid to initiate a dialogue. Uncovering exactly what a prospect WANTS can help you to close the sale.

3. If you’re not opening new accounts be certain to ask yourself if you are fishing for prospects in the correct / best pond. Do your prospects perceive your offer to be of value? Is your product or service priced appropriately?

And finally, are you patient, persistent and persuasive? If you can’t answer “yes” to each one of these qualities then you are probably leaving business behind.

Time to Have A Life

March 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, entrepreneurship, sales, small business | 2 Comments
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Like lots of folks I work very hard, often putting in 12-15 hour days. I do my work with energy, enthusiasm and passion and I must admit that sometimes I even find it difficult to disconnect.

I also have a family. A book club group. A gym membership. A love of movies, travel, music, friends and photography and time to indulge in each.

Yep, I have a life.

So why is it when I am pecking away at my laptop on a Sunday or emailing at 10PM I am often “accused” of not having a life or of not having a good work-life “balance”.

For me, I feel totally in balance. I don’t whine and moan about the time at my computer, nor do I feel unhappy when I “check in” while on vacation.

Both of these facets of my life seem to work in sync and I don’t find myself engaged in one pursuit while wishing that I was doing something else. In combination they all serve to keep me energized and happy; removing one or some feels like there would be a void.

If anything I merely wish for more hours in the day to do more of what I am doing. I don’t wish for more hours to solely spend with my kids or at the gym or even on vacation, or more hours at my desk or in work pursuits. If possible I would want to divvy up those additional hours and spread them around. But we all get the same 24 hours, no more, no less. How you choose to use them is up to you.

It’s all fine thank you very much. This is my life.

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.

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