Monday

3 Tips to help you get massively better sales results


Here are 3 tips, to help you get massively better results from your advertising, email marketing, mail shots and blog marketing messages.
Let’s go!

1. Get your message right

No matter how great your product or service is, unless it’s marketed with compelling copy (wording), you will struggle to achieve the sales results you want. People need to read your message and then feel inspired to take action; to buy from you, call you, email you, visit your store, etc.
Pedestrian copy lacks the impact required to motivate readers to do anything. Either learn how to write great marketing messages or hire someone, who already knows how to. Don’t let your business be one of those, which loses a fortune in sales needlessly, because of ineffective copy.

2. Get your audience right

So much marketing fails, purely because it doesn’t get in front of the right people. Once you know who your prospective clients or customers are, you need to think about the best way to target them, so they see your message.
If you use email marketing, are you certain that your ‘list’ is highly targeted? Also, if you purchased the list, there’s a good chance that the people on it have had their email address sold to thousands of other businesses and were getting deluged with relentless spam. These people often either set up a strong junk mail filter, allowing only white-list emails through – or they will have abandoned the email address completely. As a result, you may think your email marketing messages are reaching 10,000 people, when they are only being read by a small fraction of that number.
If possible, and it’s always possible, build your own email marketing list.

3. Get your timing right

Great comedy and great marketing have one thing in common… Timing! So, here’s a great question to ask yourself, when planning your marketing: ‘How relevant is my message, at the point where people connect with it?’ For example, it’s harder to sell certain products on the 3rd week of a month, than at the very end of a month, because of people’s monthly pay cycles.
Know your market and learn when they prefer to buy. Then focus on getting your marketing message in front of them, at the best possible time.

Saturday

Building Trust & Credibility In 7 Steps

Interest in scaling social media sales has increased significantly over the past year and in 2013 it be even more so. Organizations of all types and sizes are coming to terms with the need to better monetize their investments and one of the most compelling opportunities to do so is through helping sales leadership develop their personal brands online.

It’s understandable why: A recent study reported on by eMarketer indicates that 67% of BtoC marketers and 44% of B2B marketers saw leads generated through social media channels.

Many companies are investing in social media listening for things like buying signal keywords to engage with prospects and creating content specifically to address the kinds of questions that lead to inquiries. However, there’s only so much a community manager or social media strategist can do.

In situations where organizations have sales teams that are not kept entirely busy by the marketing department, (shame on you!) some of the more enterprising sales and account executives will create social profiles and even blog.

Establishing an online presence to build their personal brand amongst a community of prospective customers can help them stand out and attract new business. For the right kind of sales person, building up individual brand can be instrumental for creating awareness that lowers barriers and facilitates reputation, credibility, trust that result in shorter sales cycles and an increase in inbound inquiries.

When sales organizations can facilitate this activity so that it helps individual sales executives build their online footprint at the same time as building trust in the overall brand, then it’s a win all around. People buy because they like you and what better way to communicate personality and “likeability” than through useful social media engagement?

As our agency works more and more with companies on content marketing strategy that impacts revenue, interest in helping sales executives undertand how content and social media can increase individual sales has become increasingly important. Here are a few steps to consider for doing that.

Understand the importance of a social presence in your industry – Leverage social media monitoring, customer surveys and industry research to get a broad view of what role social media plays in the brand and prospect relationship. Talk to social savvy sales people to get their first hand perspectives and identify what’s working.

Conduct a self-assessment – While marketing should have a benchmark for the overall brand, it’s also important for the sales organization to determine the current social and online content participation of individuals. Who has profiles and how are they using them?

Embrace a model to attract, engage and convert – Provide sales teams with the “why” of using social media and content. Set expectations for time investment and time to see a return. A model that shows a path for social sales development and what that means for individuals will be instrumental for identifying training and successful implementation.

Identify tools – Efficiency and scale are essential for effective social selling, so identifying tools like blog publishing platforms, social media monitoring and promotions will be important.

Understand social audiences – Social listening and community participation will provide insights but helping sales executives see both short term engagement opportunities as well as long term nurturing will help avoid scenes like the biscuit in Tommy Boy.

Being useful is the most valuable sales tactic on the social web, not explicit sales pitches. By figuring out how your target audience discovers, consumes and acts on information through the social web, you’ll be able to connect and build trust more quickly. This kind of connection is about being genuine, relevant and timely to build trust.

Create a personal brand content plan – With an understanding of why and what, the how for building a personal brand online is an important next step. Think about what you stand for. That’s your brand promise. Then follow through on that promise with useful, relevant and timely content. Doing so will build trust that’s contagious

Practically, the hub and spoke model works as well for individuals as it does for companies overall and making a connection between personal brand building and that of the overall organization is key. This plan covers topics, keywords, types of content, social networks, promotions and engagement tactics. It also identifies the content that the brand can create to be repurposed by sales teams for congruent messaging and efficient content marketing.

Monitor success and optimize performance - Leveraging social media monitoring tools, web analytics and the sales performance data that comes from marketing automation services can all provide crucial feedback for social sales performance optimization. It boils down to: knowing your target audience interests/pain points/goals that are solved by the solution you’re selling.

Be the “best answer” for information on those topics in a way that attracts mentions, social shares, links and discussion. The result will be prospects seeking you out more than you scrambling for where your next customer is going to come from.

There’s a lot more to a framework for enabling sales organizations with individual content and social media plans that are good for both individuals and the overall brand, but these are some important considerations to get started. Everything from where to find the time to create content and engage on social networks to addressing the fear of a sales person publishing things they really shouldn’t can be addressed with the right plan and resources.

Here are a few practical social media tips for sales people that want leverage social media to build their personal brand online.

Every organization will have a few cowboys (or cowgirls) that go off and do their own social media thing. But a smart and adaptable social content plan plus good training can empower entire sales teams to scale a company’s social media sales efforts and boost performance of both individual sales executives and the overall brand at the same time.

Does your organization enable sales execs with blogs, or social media sales training? If you work for a business in a sales executive capacity, does your company support social media and content publishing by the sales organization?


Lee Odden

Friday

14 Quick steps to self-appraisal

It is necessary to appraise oneself to assess our path in life. Here are some of my guidelines to make sure you are on the right track.

Welcome to also email me at willem@willemtait.com with your suggestions or questions.

Self-appraisal is a necessary activity for navigating a course through life. A conscious assessment of our goals, our behavior, our relationships, our performance in all domains ultimately enables self-improvement. It allows us to expand our options in life.

It does more. It’s another way of leading the examined life. You deepen the experience of the life you have.

Coming clean with your errors and learning to forgive yourself for them can become a lifelong habit. Through it, your relationship with yourself gets better and better.

After all, to whom does one go for self-help?

But self-appraisal can be a treacherous enterprise. Most often, we avoid honestly assessing ourselves. There are several reasons. We tend towards inertia. Or we too easily allow ourselves to be distracted.

Further, we mortals are not really designed to objectively appraise ourselves. It can be painful, especially if we do it improperly. In the course of doing it, we definitely feel miserable. Add in the risk that we can overly self-appraise and get stuck there, endlessly evaluating everything we do.

Still, I recommend that you push to overcome inertia so that you can confront yourself. Only then can you seriously work to change what you can.

The things that are amenable to change normally include:

• How you spend your time and with whom,

• The quality of the time you spend with others

• Other choices you can make about your self, such as how you eat and how you drink

• Your performance in general and your performance towards your goals.

So, welcome to the art of self-appraisal.

As you push yourself to overcome inertia, you need to work against the tendency to feel discouraged and hopeless. Here are some action strategies that are geared toward success.

• The trick is to assess your behaviors and traits honestly—but not rate your inherent worthiness as a human being.

• Focus on corrections. Cognitively reframe correction as just that—corrections, rather than as failings.

• Look upon self-appraisal as identifying a new path for yourself and persistently trotting down it.

Psychologists describe relearning, or changing your emotions and behavior, as similar to retraining a horse along its route. If you ride a horse the same through a path every time, he will only reluctantly go down a new path. And every time the horse gets to that juncture, he will hesitate. It’s only with consistent stopping and guiding the horse down the path that he will unlearn the old and relearn the new.

• Talk sanely and forgivingly to yourself. Do not beat yourself up.

• Recognize the difference between yourself and your behaviors. Too often people make the error of thinking that because they beat themselves up, it’s better not to critique their performance at all. You won’t beat yourself up if you focus on the things that you do, not what you are.

• Pay attention to the labels you apply. The labels we use are often convenient symbols, but they don’t connote your entire existence.

Sometimes we allow a person’s whole being to be summed up in a label like “alcoholic,” even if the last drink he had was 30 years ago. Then, if he has a drink today, he’s seen as a failure, rather than someone who might be successfully controlling his behavior.

• Notice how you unwittingly label yourself when you are down and discouraged—but don’t let that mean lightening up on criticism of your performance. The worst thing you can do is let yourself slide and not engage in self-appraisal or label yourself as a bad person. Instead, aim for a third dimension—critiquing your performance while accepting yourself.

• Recognize that even bad performance is not totally bad.

• Don’t overvalue acute pain. Be aware of acute temporary feelings that bad events are permanent and awful.

Acute pain is commonly given undue weight. But often chronic persistent errors lead to far more pain in the long run. If, for example, you keep on gambling, that behavior will lead you to have more and larger problems than if you sat through the acute pain of changing now.


I really hope it helps. Welcome to email me at willem@willemtait.com with your suggestions or questions.

psychologytoday.com


Monday

The Number One Mistake People Make When It Comes To Referral Marketing

Everyone loves referrals, but let’s face it – the real point of a referral is a customer. If you’re getting plenty of referrals, but few are turning into new clients, it’s time to change a few things about your approach to referrals.

The number one mistake people make in the business of referral generation is to ask for leads or referrals when they should be asking for introductions.

So many people seek referrals by simply asking clients, or anyone that will listen, if they know anybody who needs what they do. If the referral source can come up with a few names we’re often tickled to have some new “leads” to go chase.

But, what do we really have? Something less than cold call – maybe. Sure, we can name drop, “Bob said I should call you.” But, we’ve all been on the other end of that call and know how that usually ends up.

If you want to make referral generation a significant part of your marketing success you need to start asking for introductions and not simply a list of names. You need to build the trust and leverage that would allow you to ask a client to introduce you to three others that could benefit from the value you bring.

The key to generating introductions is to make it as easy as possible for your referral source to do so. Offer a list of specific prospects you would like to meet and see if they know anyone on the list. Offer to host an informal educational workshop and allow your best customers to bring a friend or two. Take a handful of customers to lunch and ask them each to bring a guest.

Cates mentions a former client that would ask his clients to introduce him to two colleagues who would take his call just because they asked them to.

Getting your customers or contacts to rise to the level of engagement required to make introductions or bring a friend to lunch requires a level of value that few can muster. This is the key to making this idea work. You must bring value to every interaction, conversation and setting.

When you can do this, people will gladly introduce you to others. When you change the context of a referral to that of an introduction you automatically raise the stakes for all parties and that’s the place where you can do your magic.

John Jantsch

Thursday

My 6 tips for Effective Sales Pitch to an Investor


FACT: Any great invention or innovation needs financial backing.
Here are some of my tips to insure the highest probability of success. Use it, it works!
Entrepreneurs who have a great idea are often mortified by the prospect of professionally presenting their ideas to a panel of prospective investors.
Think about the process you go through when you buy a stock. Will you buy a stock that has unclear growth prospects, muddled financial records and unclear margins? Or will you buy into a company with a clear business plan, focused customer base and a strong, organized financial plan for the next few years? Organization is key in presenting to prospective investors, and the devil, which can be clearly visible to astute investors, is in the details.
  • Organize your business plan. Explain how your product will make money, and what operating margins are forecast to look like. Investors like high margins, regardless of sales volume, as long as they are reasonable. Detail your prospective customer base and target demographic. Keep it short – one page is the accepted norm – and concentrate on three things: focus, clarity, uniqueness.
  • Prepare a comprehensive financial plan. This should naturally flow from your business plan, but investors like solid numbers. Explain how much funding you need to get your idea off the ground, and how much ownership stake you are willing to surrender to investors. Show investors solid math – they need to know the amount of time it will take before their investments become accretive to earnings, and when the company will start to turn a profit. Show a five-year projection of revenue and earnings growth, and be realistic with the risks involved.
  • Provide a realistic forecast based on macroeconomic conditions. Turmoil in the markets has shown us that at any time, any number of economic risks can sink a product’s profitability. Rising commodity costs can sink multiple products – raw materials and fuel can adversely impact your product’s projected margins, depending on the components. You should outline your financial plan realistically, based on your knowledge of the world markets. This shows foresight and preparedness for turbulent times ahead and will reassure investors.
  • Outline the impact of prospective competitors. Are there any products in the market that are similar to yours, and how is your product different? What makes your product stand out from the rest of the pack – such as better cost, design, or function? Investors need to be reassured that your product isn’t entering a crowded, fragmented marketplace where it will be pronounced dead on arrival. Investors also like products which have high barriers to entry, which are hard to be replicated by just any Chinese factory. Patenting your product can instantly set up high barriers.
  • Create a Prototype. If your idea is a physical product, investors will want to see a working prototype, rather than fancy sketches. Having a working prototype will give investors hands-on experience with the product, letting the experience speak for itself. You can also detail the costs of the components of the prototype, breaking the cost down section by section, and the savings to be attained through higher volume mass production.
  • Outline a PR and Advertising Campaign. Investors will want to know how your product will be marketed to the masses. Present it to them as if they are the target audience, and make them want to buy it. A catchy logo or slogan can also help reinforce the image of your product as a complete one, and attract them to your product.
Last but not least, stay professional. Investors – especially venture capitalists and angel investors – are offered products all the time. Make sure you maintain the image of someone who they can trust their money with. Be realistic with your projections and don’t exaggerate – professional investors will see through inflated numbers instantly, and your presentation will come off looking like a poorly conceived infomercial.
businessdictionary