Saturday, July 02, 2011
We'll let Pat McGraw explain:
Posted: 20 Jun 2011 08:30 AM PDT
Back around 2004 or 2005, during a nice bubble, I attended a meeting on behalf of a client that was focused on developing distance learning within the D.C.-Maryland region.
I found myself seated next to a venture capitalist that was working with a $500 million investment firm and, somehow during the course of the conversation, we found ourselves talking about the need for a formal action plan. My position was, as it always will be, that a plan was crucial because we face virtually limitless opportunities with limited resources and in order to maximize the return on those resources, you needed to focus them on what they needed to do in order to succeed.
The VC gave me a rather dismissive look and offered his perspective.
We discourage plans because it prevents the organization from responding to opportunities.
A few years later, most of that particular investment firm’s start-ups were closed. Too much to do, too little to do it with. No money, no business.
Proof, as far as I’m concerned, that you don’t need a marketing plan…unless you want your business to succeed.
Today, I still run into that belief – that a plan prevents the organization from responding to opportunities. And between us, that’s crap. No plan should stop you from responding to opportunities – but it should force you down a path that helps improve your chances for success.
Your plan should help you respond to opportunities more effectively because you know what resources you have, what they are doing and how they are performing – so you can identify what you can redirect onto the opportunity and how it might impact the overall business. Additionally, it should force you to follow the same planning process so that you identify a specific goal and objective, determine strategies and tactics so you can measure performance and determine success (or failure so you can pull the plug and focus on other things).
A plan can be very simple:
- Where are we today? (situational analysis)
- Where do we want to be tomorrow? (mission and vision)
- How do we get from here to there in that time frame? (goals and objectives)
- How do we monitor performance in order to determine if we’re on target? (monitoring, analyzing)
from my email:
Daily Sales Tip: Work On Your Weaknesses
Some salespeople work on things they're good at and don't spend enough time trying to overcome weak areas. They can only improve their strengths so much.
Even if they do improve strengths, there's a good chance no one will notice, since slight improvements are hard to spot. Strengths will take salespeople only as far as their weaknesses will allow. Be grateful for your strengths, but work on your weaknesses.
Try to do a "weakness" audit each week. What situations in selling make you uncomfortable? Where does your sales manager suggest improvements are needed? Write them down. When you improve your weaknesses, the difference will be dramatic and visible to everyone.
Source: Adapted from How To Be A Sales Superstar, by Mark Tewart
Friday, July 01, 2011
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Some interesting insight from Chris Brogan:
Posted: 14 Jun 2011 03:58 AM PDT
I woke up not really feeling like talking about marketing. In fact, I didn’t really want to market at all. Sure, I want buyers, but today, I just wish they’d show up. Only, we both know that never happens, right? But on days you don’t feel like marketing, maybe there’s something else you can do.
On Days You Don’t Feel Like Marketing
Do customer service. Technically, I could stop the post here, and get my point across, but I’ll write a few more words, just to let it sink in. You see, this is the last thing on most marketers’ minds, and yet, it’s the first thing on your buyer’s mind.
Would I trade a clever offer for amazing service? Absolutely. Here’s an example.
A few days ago, I took my daughter to New York City for an adventure. As part of it, we picked out a dress at Bloomingdale’s and a pair of shoes at Payless. At Bloomingdale’s, we were given great service, and had no fewer than two people looking to help us buy a dress.
At Payless, we had a bored employee traipse past us, pretend to ask if we needed help, and then mumble that every shoe in the store is “buy one, get one half off.” We picked out the single pair of shoes we wanted for our efforts, brought them down to the register, where the same employee ignored us for a minute or so before telling us, “I’ll have to get the manager. I can’t ring on these registers.” So, we waited for the manager.
The manager arrived and said, “You know, every shoe in the store is buy one, get the next pair half off.” I said, “Thanks, I’m all good with this pair.” She proceeds to sigh, as if I’m the stupidest buyer in the world and how could I possibly pass up the chance to get another pair of shoes at half off. Then, she slowly (laboriously slowly) scans in my order, and finishes by asking me for four pennies so she can give me back a nickel, as she’s out of pennies in her drawer.
Prior to this experience, I didn’t have high expectations for Payless. It is what it is: discount shoes. But, I never excuse a price point for poor service. That’s just not allowed in my vernacular.
Perform Exceptional Customer Service
On days you don’t feel like marketing, spend every possible moment thinking about customer service and how you can do it better. Retrain your staff, if you have customer-facing employees. Do something to perk up the experience. Do something to eliminate roadblocks. Whatever. Just do something to bring excellent customer service to your buyers and you’ll find that your marketing isn’t as important on those days.
The same is true for online customer service. Have you made it easy for your buyer to be helped? Look around your site. What are you doing to encourage a sale? I know that when I look around at this site, I’ve got some work to do. But when I look at what we’ve accomplished at Kitchen Table Companies, I see that we’ve done a lot and can do even more to make it a top shelf customer experience.
How about you? What are you doing to improve your customer service?Sphere: Related Content
From my email:Closing More Sales More Often
If you want to eliminate the fear of closing a sale then this sales closing tip may help. Getting over the fear of sales closing is paramount to earning more money in less time.
I've been with salespeople on appointments and watched the beads of sweat form on their foreheads. I've seen the lumps in their throats, witnessed their mouths turning to cotton, all a result of having to close a sale.
How feared is sales closing? Research shows that 63% of all sales interviews end with the salesperson not specifically asking for the order. Further, research from Dr. Herb True of Notre Dame reveals that 46% of the salespeople he interviewed ask for the order once and then quit; 24% ask for the order twice before giving up; 14% ask the third time; and 12% "hang in there" to make four attempts before quitting.
That's a total of 96% who quit after four closing attempts, and yet the same research shows that 60% of all sales are made after the fifth closing attempt. Since the percentage of salespeople not asking for the sale the necessary five times equals 96%, it's obvious that 4% are making 60% of the sales.
Much of the fear salespeople experience closing sales could be reduced or eliminated by proper preparation. Preparing for the situations that may arise and having a prepared and practiced response will decrease the fear when it comes time to close a sale.
Professionals in all walks of life practice their craft on a daily basis. Professional athletes practice every day, hitting buckets of golf balls, catching passes, spending time in the batting cage. Ten times as many hours are spent practicing than actual game time.
If you haven't thought out and written down what you're planning to say in every possible sales closing situation and then practiced how you will say it, over and over until it becomes second nature, you're probably part of the 96%. The time to practice is on the practice field, not on game day.
Source: Sales consultant Jim Klein (www.fromtheheartsalestraining.com) Sphere: Related Content
Thursday, June 30, 2011
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The debut of Mr. Peanut's stunt double. Believe in a better chicken. Let's launch!
Kia launched "Joyride II," a follow-up to its 2010 Super Bowl spot "Joyride Dream." Promoting the 2012 Kia Sorento, the 60-second spot marks the return of five lovable children's characters: Sock Monkey, Muno, Robot, Teddy and MR. X, as they embark on a road trip. The crew travels the country, visiting a beach, fishing, skydiving and learning how to line dance. Note to stuffed bear: watch out for that real bear! See the ad here, created by David&Goliath
Perdue launched its first national ad campaign using a new tag line, "We Believe in a Better Chicken." The documentary-style TV spots take viewers to Perdue Farms, where the brand's USDA Process Verified Seal is introduced. Chickens are fed a vegetarian diet, rather than a diet of steroids, hormones and animal byproducts. In the first ad, seen here, Perdue employees explain the chickens' diet and why it's important to consumers. Another ad shows the chickens raised in a cage-free environment and highlights the numerous generations of Perdue family members working in the family business. Watch the ad here. Deutsch NY created the campaign.
Silly robot, Carl's Jr. chicken sandwiches are for the humans that hand-make them to eat and enjoy. A mouthless robot returns home from work with a Carl's Jr. hand-breaded chicken fillet sandwich in tow. Eager to dive in, the robot remembers that he's just that, a robot, and slams the sandwich into his face to no avail. Angered, his eyes turn red, signifying laser mode, and he slices everything inside his apartment in half, himself included. See the ad here, created by David&Goliath
Dunkin' Donuts launched its first-ever TV ad with a movie tie-in. The movie is "Captain America," and the product is a delicious-looking Cherry Coolata. A construction worker springs into action when a runaway dog sets off a nail gun at a construction site. The man grabs a garbage lid to deflect and disarm the nail gun, then chases after the pooch. The dog spills a bucket of blue paint on the man, who runs through a wall to catch and return the dog to its rightful owner. And he did it all while holding his Coolata! See the ad here, created by Hill Holiday.
Nokia launched an interesting TV ad in the U.K. to promote its limited edition N8 Pink phone. The ad features a slew of blonde, Barbie-esque dolls sitting on deer, or wearing N8s as bras. I immediately thought of the Fembots from "Austin Powers" and expected the N8s to start shooting. Following a montage where plastic legs surround a phone, the plastic Fembots did shoot from their N8 boobs -- but pink laser beams only, and no one was injured. Watch the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy London and edited by Cut + Run.
Mr. Peanut has a stunt double, whose name is Peanut Butter Doug. He sports sunglasses and a goatee and sees himself as irreplaceable, judging by the hits he takes as a stuntman. Whenever he gets clobbered, he turns into a jar of Planters' newly launched peanut butter. The ad, seen here, will first launch on Facebook. Being NY created the ad, directed by Mark Gustafson.
"The intensity lasts a lifetime," says an ad for King Kong 360 3-D, a ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. A young boy catches his first glimpse of King Kong in 3-D -- and next thing you know, his braces disappear and he starts aging until he's a balding, old man with yellow teeth. Reminded me of that scene from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" when the man drank from the wrong chalice and aged until he was nothing but bone dust. See the ad here, created by David&Goliath.
Random iPhone App of the week: Lovebirds, you no longer need to wreck a tree by carving your initials inside bark. It's 2011, and there's an app for that. Country Living's Treemail app is available on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Users can carve their love into a virtual tree. It doesn't have to be just initials inside a heart, it can be quotes or messages, all of which can be shared through email, Facebook, and Twitter. Users can customize the thickness of the carving tool used and select one of 7 tree barks: American Elm, Balsam Fir, Magnolia, Palm, Red Cedar, Silver Burch and Sycamore. The app costs 99 cents in the App Store.
A repost from July 1, 2008:
Confused by the networking jargon? Take a look at this from Rainmakers.com written by our friend Scott, the NameTag Guy:
How to Nail Your Networking IntroBy Scott Ginsberg
Elevator Speeches. 60-Second Commercials. 30-Second Commercials. Personal Introductions. Networking Introductions. Defining Statements. Positioning Statements.
Ahhh! Which one do you use? And when? And with whom?
Tough questions, especially because since the early '90s tens of thousands of articles, books, manuals and guides have been written on the topic of networking. And all of them address various techniques on how to answer the question: "So, what do you do?"
To put it in perspective, consider these results from a recent Google search on the following terms:
- 30-Second Commercial – 135,000 pages
- Elevator Speech – 128,000 pages
- Positioning Statement – 106,740 pages
- 60-Second Commercial – 33,500 pages
- Defining Statement – 26,000
- Personal Introduction – 3,600 pages
Wow. Overwhelming, huh? Makes you wonder which one is right! Still, each of these techniques is some variety of your "Networking Introduction."
Unfortunately, you won't have it come out the way all the books and articles say it will. It's doubtful you'll ever tell someone what you do in an elevator; you'll probably never have exactly 30 or 60 seconds to do so; and the odds of you explaining it the same way each time are highly unlikely.
In real networking, you'll be rushed, caught off-guard and asked unexpected questions. You'll meet people on buses and in bathrooms. You'll address three strangers at a time, get interrupted mid-commercial, and sometimes, you won't get a chance to say a single word until the last five seconds of a conversation. And all the while, you won't have time to decide whether or not you should give your Elevator Speech, 30-Second Commercial or Defining Statement!
Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you there.
But it's true. Networking is unpredictable. And yet, we depend on it for the growth of our careers. According to a 2004 report from the Federal Bureau of Labor, 70% of our new business comes from some sort of networking.
So, rather than put additional pressure on yourself by worrying about how many seconds you have, here are some key points for an effective, concise and memorable Networking Introduction.
Start from the Top
Because you never know how much time you'll have to introduce yourself, I suggest starting at the top with the following exercise. Take five pieces of paper. Assign one of the following sentences to the top of each sheet:
- Who you are?
- What you do?
- Whom you do it for?
- How you do it?
- What happens as a result?
Write down all the words, characteristics, ideas, phrases and the like that pertain to each of these areas of your introduction. Have fun! Spend at least a few minutes on each sheet. The whole point of starting with this activity is to understand the full scope of you and your business.
Back to the Bottom
Now that your mind is swimming with dozens of key points about your work, it's time to get down to the "Bare Bones Intros." These are pithy, one-liner type sentences that grab attention and intrigue the listener.
Now, since thousands of networking resources claim to have their own magic formula, I'll simply offer the technique I've found to be most effective in my own business:
- I'm a/an (your job title)...
- ...and I work with (your target customers)...
- ...who want to (become, increase, etc.)...
- ...so they can (some benefit or result).
You don't have to use this exact formula. Just be sure your Bare Bones Intro includes what you do, whom you do it for and what happens when you do it. So, write out different versions. Say them out loud. Share them with friends and colleagues. And eventually you'll be able to pick out the most effective ones.
In my networking workshops I make it a point to tell my audience members, "There is a time and place for networking: any time and any place." With that in mind, let's take the material you brainstormed from earlier and put it to use in possible scenarios (you might want to practice these with a partner too).
- You have five minutes at your local association meeting to introduce yourself via speech to 100 strangers in the audience. What would you say?
- At the sub shop you go to once a week, the teenage cashier says, "Hey there! It must be Tuesday again, huh? Good to see ya! And you know, you always come in here, but I don't think I know what you do..." What would you tell her (remember, the line is long)?
- You're participating in a rapid-fire-speed-networking-blitz type activity in which you have less than 30 seconds to introduce yourself to 25 people in a row. Go!
- You're dressing in a hurry in the locker room when the new guy introduces himself. He notices your briefcase and asks, "So, where do you work?"
- You email a complete stranger who was referred to you by someone in your network. She probably gets 100 emails a day, so you don't want to make it too long. What do you write?
- As you fill out your new credit card application, you notice two boxes. One says, "Occupation," and the other says, "Please explain in the space below." It's a small space. Better make it quick!
- Your spouse runs into her boss at Happy Hour. You shake his hand and he says, "Nice to meet you! So, what do you do?" (You think he's had a few.)
Nailing Your Networking Intro
All specifics aside, the most important part of a Networking Intro is: always be memorable.
In a July 2003 article from Entrepreneur Magazine, Ivan Misner, founder and CEO or Business Network International, explained, "The ideal introduction is brief and memorable - one that provides enough impact to arouse the interest of those to whom you're introducing yourself and get them to join your word-of-mouth team."
So put away your stopwatch. Forget about the elevator. And stop thinking about networking as a commercial. Networking is the development and maintenance of mutually valuable relationships. And those relationships are initially sparked by your ability to effectively, concisely and memorably introduce yourself when someone says, "So, what do you do?"
Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy," is the author of seven books and writes the #39th most popular marketing blog in the world. He is the creator of NametagTV, an Online Training Network that teaches businesspeople about approachability. For more info about books, speeches, customized online training programs or to Rent Scott's Brain, call 314/256-1800 or email email@example.com.Sphere: Related Content
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Click & Read...
Drew wrote about it recently:
Posted: 13 Jun 2011 07:22 AM PDT
…about what you wish I cared about.
Way too many brands chase the fad of the day, thinking they can jump on a swell of consumer sentiment and rise those profits into the sunset. No so fast, my friends.
For your brand to be effective, sticky and enduring — it has to be about what matters to your consumers. They have to genuinely identify with it/care about it. You can’t make them love you. (Nod to Bonnie Raitt) No matter how hot the trend is or how passionate you might personally be.
Case in point — a recent study done by OgilvyEarth (I’m pretty sure David Ogilvy rolls his eyes from the grave on that one) shows that most consumers aren’t buying the whole “green movement.” In particular, men are not motivated or swayed by green marketing messages. It turns out that their perception when they hear green is “more expensive.”
So playing to the trend is actually hurting those brands who hoped that men would be moved to pull out their wallets based on the green movement marketing position.
Time to do your own brand check. Are you trying to force an idea, value or belief at your core audience? Or…do you know yourself and your core audience so well that you know what brings you together?
And before you are quick to answer…be ready to tell me this. HOW do you know that your brand is what truly resonates in the hearts of your core audience?
Hat tip to Kami Watson Huyse for tweeting the Ogilvy link.Sphere: Related Content
It's only failure if you think of it that way.
I call it a lesson.
From my email:
Daily Sales Tip: Learning From That Sale You Lost
My mom always used to tell me how we learn more in life from our failures than we do from our successes, yet for too many of us in sales this concept doesn't seem to sink in.
I've lost plenty of sales in my life. If I wanted to get really down on myself, all I'd have to do is take a piece of paper and start writing down as many as I could remember. If I wanted to go into a complete state of despair, all I'd have to do is to write down next to each sale I lost the amount of commission I failed to receive because of the lost sale.
For this simple reason, too many of us in sales choose not to dwell on what didn't happen. Instead, we merely move on.
It's much easier to move on than dwell on the past, and I'm a firm believer that dwelling on the past doesn't do anyone any good. If you want to damage your sales motivation, go right ahead and dwell all you want.
As much as we can't dwell on the past, we do need to spend a few minutes doing an autopsy on the lost sale and learning from it. If we don't learn from each sale we fail to close, then we're committing ourselves to a pattern of losing more sales.
The key I've found to the process is to do the autopsy on the failed sales call right away. The sooner you can do it, the sooner you can apply what you've learned to the next sales call.
The only downside to doing it quickly is you have to make sure you're in a stable frame of mind. I'm not meaning to be rude with this comment, but you can't think clearly if you're so hot emotionally over losing the sale. If you are worked up over the lost sale -- wait till you calm down. Then do your autopsy.
Ask yourself the following questions:
-- Was I able to get the customer to state their key needs and desired benefits?
-- Why specifically did the customer choose not to buy from me? How do I know that?
-- What were two things I know the customer appreciated about me?
-- What did the customer ask and how did I answer? What can I learn from the questions?
-- What were all of the customer's objections and how did I respond to them?
-- Did the customer clearly understand my value proposition? How do I know that?
-- What closing technique did I try? How specifically did the customer respond to it?
-- What did the customer agree with me on? How can I leverage this for future sales?
-- What is my next step with this prospect/customer?
Take the time to answer these questions. Doing so will provide you with key information you need. Also, never hesitate to go back to the customer after they've turned you down and ask them why they didn't select you. Be sincere in how you speak to the customer and be appreciative for what they tell you.
This is not the time to be defensive or attempt to convince the customer they've made a dumb decision by selecting someone else. Your ability to be professional and appreciative in listening to what the customer shares with you will do more than anything else to help ensure you have a good relationship going forward with that person.
It's been my experience both personally and professionally that by doing this process right, you can position yourself to become the salesperson these individuals turn to in the future.
The beautiful thing about this entire process is you come away with two major outcomes.
First, you find out things you can do differently to help you with other customers. Second, you deepen your relationship with the customer you weren't able to close, setting yourself up to potentially close with them next time around.
Source: Sales consultant/speaker Mark Hunter
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Oops, forgot to post this.
Hope the world is still spinning.
Click & Read:
A cursory survey of these younger Boomers quickly reveals their primary financial fears and concerns: retirement, the stagnant stock market and falling housing prices. These are compounded by common life challenges, such as potentially aging/sick parents and kids' college bills. It's a tough squeeze, and if there are radical changes to Medicare, younger Boomers will be the first to feel the inevitable cut backs. Additionally, it appears that working past 65 may be the reality for those with lower incomes and people who did not start saving early. They know this, and they are looking for answers, but financial and investment firms aren't offering them, at least not in their marketing messages.
These mounting financial concerns offer financial and investment firms' insight into the type of messaging that will resonate with Boomers, and therefore a wealth of marketing opportunities. But instead of addressing these clear-cut needs, financial marketers consistently rely on tired tactics. You know the ads: handsome older couples, straight out of central casting, riding their bikes across Europe or setting up that photo studio, or bed and breakfast, they always dreamed of. Is that the reality facing today's typical 50 year old? Not so much.
The good news is that because financial marketing has been so slow to adapt to media changes, the simple act of addressing and speaking to their audiences' fears and concerns can actually become a great market differentiator. Want even more good news? According to Maxymiser's recent white paper, "Taming the Fickle Financial Services Customer," banking and finance customers are up for grabs, as their loyalty is directly tied to the good deals and value these institutions offer them. All of this is to say, it's a blue ocean out there for the marketers and companies that can effectively target, speak to, and entice hungry customers who are facing a stagnant and stubborn economy as they head into a critical 10-20-year time period before retirement.
Here are some marketing strategies that may engage younger Boomers to build relationships with financial services firms:
The idea is not to put your services at the forefront of your messaging; it's to convey that you have the fact that you have the answers to their problems ... which implies that you know what their problems are. So, instead of waxing poetic about your online transaction solutions and research capabilities, produce meaningful and useful content that helps customers navigate through life's trickiest dilemmas. Instead of touting all of your features, provide tools, calculators and how-to-type advice. There are numerous content topics that can be covered to help establish the firm as a trusted partner. For instance:
- How to budget and manage your debt while saving the proper amount for retirement
- How to save for college with 529 plans and other instruments
- Estate planning for aging parents, and tips for the lucky few who will be inheriting sizeable sums from their parents
- Health and wellness best practices. After all, the best way to minimize healthcare cost is to maintain your health
- Since many will need to keep working past 65, how about some ideas on second careers or even advice on how to start your own business?
This type of content on a website that's personalized and customized for a targeted consumer is a recipe for success. Personalization can be achieved by modeling past behavior or creating a predictive model based on how a visitor comes to your site. The act of serving up custom, relevant content will increase engagement and time spent on the site. When this is coupled with a strong call-to-action, the odds of capturing a lead or new customer is increased significantly.
Additionally, financial firms must acknowledge that Boomers are far down the road of making social and mobile media part of their everyday lives. Instead of relying heavily on TV and print ads, financial marketers must embrace new media as a place to distribute content, engage customers and spur conversations. And of course, this segment needs its own messaging and outreach and should not be lumped in with efforts targeting Millennials or Gen X.
In summary, younger Boomers are facing unique and difficult challenges as they look at their financial well being over the next phase of their life. This is due to both market forces and the very nature of being in their early 50s and late 40s. There is a real opportunity for financial marketers to capture new customers by speaking to these unique needs with personalized and useful content and advice.
|Gordon Plutsky is the director of marketing and research at King Fish Media.|
Excellent Advice from Pat McGraw:
Posted: 22 Jun 2011 08:37 AM PDT
Here’s a simple 7-step process that you should consider whenever your searching for ways to improve the performance of your sales team.
Couple of terms to be defined here – a “lead” is a potential buyer that hasn’t been qualified yet; a “marketing qualified lead” requires marketing to examine the information provided by the “lead” and to determine if it meets certain established criteria so that the lead can be either handed to sales or placed in the nurturing process; a “sales accepted lead” is a marketing qualified lead that is sent to for review and it is determined that the lead should remain with sales; and a ‘sales ready lead’ is one that is asking for proposals and in the buying process.
Their web forms and telephone scripts asked for this information, and it was captured in their database for automatic scoring. If the lead scored above a certain level, they were considered ‘marketing qualified’ and were sent to sales. Below a certain level, they were placed into the nurturing campaign so we could continue to develop a relationship and attempt to gain more information that impacted the score.
Hope these help – let me know what you think and if you have used other approaches that have worked.
Monday, June 27, 2011
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