Sales

Thoughts on Networking

Posted on August 25, 2013. Filed under: Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales, Social Networking | Tags: , , , |

Last week I attended two networking events.  Now the purpose of networking events is to meet new people, establish new connections, and hopefully obtain referrals for more business.  You would think that such opportunities would be treasured and explored.

Between the two events I collected about 60 business cards and had brief to virtually no conversation with most of the attendees, and talked in depth with about fifteen.  I followed up the next day by inviting each individual to connect with me on LinkedIn, and for those not on LinkedIn I sent a traditional e-mail.  Each individual received a personalized message commenting on what we had discussed, or an apology for not having but a brief interaction.  Some, those who had the potential of mutually beneficial referrals, I suggested we meet for more discussion.

Of those 60 e-mails about 24 replied or accepted my invitation to connect; two initiated the suggestion that we get together to learn more about each others business.  Not a single individual initiated an e-mail to me or a request to connect to them.

Only 40% of the networkers did anything.  And then only after I initiated the dialog.

How is that networking?  About 60% of the people ignored an opportunity.  Now I’m certainly not the best referral opportunity for some of those individuals, but you never know when I, or someone I know, might need a plumber, or painter, or Avon representative, or car, or whatever.

Networking is about staying in touch, but to stay in touch you have to acknowledge a person when they reach out to you.  You have to be willing to interact when someone approaches you.  Most that I met unfortunately didn’t bother.

When networking the name of the “game” is meet as many potential referral opportunities as possible, especially those in fields that would naturally feed into you.  But you keep in touch with everyone because you never know where that next big opportunity might come from.

Not one member even reached out to me and said “Thanks for coming, hope you liked the group and come back.”  Oh I got a packet of info at the end, and two lovely ladies talking up the group, and they did say “come back”, but they were part of the membership committee; none of the regular members said two words to me.

It just really saddened me to attend professional networking groups that aren’t interested in truly reaching out to prospective members or sources of referrals.  And quite honestly member interest and reaching out are qualities I look for in a networking group.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Thoughts on Networking

Posted on June 29, 2010. Filed under: Brock Henderson, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Marketing, Networking, Sales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I attended a networking event today that overall was quite enjoyable.  We met at a local Italian restaurant, had a bit of open networking then sat down to eat. 

After eating came a period networking that was “speed dating” style.  Half of us remained seated and the other half rotated from person/position to person/position every five minutes.  Got to meet a great many very nice individuals.  Some were competitors, but they were still nice people.

But I was struck by the number of individuals, (about four), that would hand me a business card with scratched out information and corrected information hand written on the card.

For one individual it was, in my mind anyway, excusable — she had only recently started with the company and they hadn’t gotten her business cards yet.

One individual had so much hand written on the card, and so much scratched out that it almost looked like he had simply picked up someone’s business card and scribbled his info on it.

Is that the kind of image you want to give as a business professional?  Computer generated business cards, while not top-of-the-line in image, would have been better than a card all scribbled on.

That business card is how people will remember you, and this gentleman will certainly be remembered . . . but not in a good way.  Oh, his profession?  Marketing Consultant.  What kind of marketing message does a scribbled business card send? 

To add to the image problem he wore jeans, while the rest of us were in business attire; and his body language screamed “I don’t care”.

It’s not unusual to form strategic alliances with competitors on occasion, but I saw no reason to want to form any alliance with this gentleman.  He certainly seemed like a nice individual, but his attitude, attire, and business card all said “unprofessional”.

In marketing you should be presenting a unified image.  All your marketing materials, letter head, staff, and everything else needs to be sending the same message about you and your company.  When they don’t match it sends an unconsious signal to your prospect that something isn’t right; and they become reluctant to do business with you.

Make sure you are sending the right message every time you step out the door.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Speak Up

Posted on May 17, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Life, Marketing, Public Relations, Sales, Self Promotion | Tags: , , , , |

I was talking to a friend of mine that owns a lawn service and the conversation came around to public speaking. 

He indicated that they were thinking about going to local groups and talking about lawn care and he asked if I thought that would be a good idea.

Yes!

However, I cautioned him not to make it a ten minute commercial about his business, but to make it an educational talk.

Give them insight as to when is the best time to prune trees or shrubs.

How often to sharpen your lawn mower blades, and how to do it.

When’s the best time to seed your lawn, or fertilize, or spray week killer.

Present yourself as the expert in your field … because you are!

Then when they need your services your name will be the first to come to mind as the person to call.

Make your presentation interesting and informative, but never about you.

Groups are always looking for guest speakers, just start asking around.  There are garden clubs, church groups, Optimist clubs, Rotary clubs, networking groups, and a host of various civic groups that you can approach.

Make it clear that you aren’t giving a sales presentation, but are talking about your industry in general. 

It’s informational, nothing else.

Different groups will have different time constraints, but expect to be given five to ten minutes for your presentation, with a couple of minutes for questions afterward.

 That’s my 2 cents.

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Don’t Quit

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Life, Marketing, Sales | Tags: , , , , , , , |

According to Herbert True, of Notre Dame University:

44% of all salespeople quit trying after the first sales call.

24% quit after the second sales call.

14% quit after the third sales call.

12% quit after the fourth sales call.

60% of all sales are made after the fourth call.

That means 94% of all salespeople are missing out on sales because they quit too soon.

Other research has shown that most sales are closed between the 5th and 7th sales call.

Are you one of the 94% that has given up?

I have said this before, and I say it again.

It is better to approach one prospect seven times, than to approach seven prospects one time.

Persistence counts so much more than you realize.  Keep at it.

 That’s my 2 cents

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Action

Posted on November 30, 2009. Filed under: Business, Life, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”  – Abraham Lincoln

You’ve heard the old adage “action speaks louder than words”; and it is action not words that leads to success.

I have known a number of various sales people in my life, and regardless of their industry, (Real Estate, Insurance, ad specialty, technology, investments, or whatever), it appears to me that they fall into two general categories.

The first, (and most successful), network at every opportunity and are active in multiple community and industry activities.  They rub elbows at every opportunity engaging potential buyers and actively seeking opportunities.

The second group come in the office and sit waiting for someone to call saying they wanted to buy.  They network little; they just sit waiting for someone to walk in and say “Here I am”. 

Obviously the significant difference between these two types is action.  The first goes out seeking opportunity, and the second simply waits for opportunity to come to them.

Success is out there, and it is all around, but it is up to each individual to go out and look for it.  It is up to you to search it out, and to seize it.

Your success is up to you.

 That’s my 2 cents

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Learn to Fail

Posted on September 18, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Failing is a fundamental part of sales, you simply will not close every sale.  It isn’t humanly possible.  So don’t let it get you down.

 You’ve given a wonderful presentation, but the prospect said “No”.  That isn’t saying you’re a lousy human being, it is simply saying that, as presented, they aren’t interested in your product or service.

 Don’t walk out dejected, (yes, I know that’s hard not to do), but review every inch of your presentation.  What did the prospect seem to react favorably to, and what did they react unfavorably to?  What questions did they ask?  Was there any one point where you seemed to lose them?  Did you ask the right qualifying questions?  Did you establish a need for your products or services?  Did you find out who they are currently utilizing and what they liked and didn’t like about them?  Did you research the company and their industry sufficiently to really understand what their problems and needs are?

 Identify every instance where you could have done something different and ask yourself what could I have done?  How might they have reacted if I had said this over that?

 Put yourself in the prospects shoes and try to see your questions from their perspective.  The better you can understand why people react the way they do, the better you will be in sales.

 “No” doesn’t always mean no, sometimes it means you didn’t do your job properly, and you didn’t solve the real issues perceived by the prospect.

 And sometimes, it simply means no.

 The critical element is that you review each sales presentation, both successful and unsuccessful, to identify what you did right and what you might have done wrong.

The important thing is that when you fail, you should learn from the experience.  You now have one more way not to do it.

Thats my 2 cents.

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Why Should I?

Posted on September 7, 2009. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Networking, Newsletters, Public Relations, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Why should I visit your web site?  Why should anyone visit your web site?  And once they have visited, why should any of us return?

So they come once and that’s it.

But you want people to come back multiple times; you want to keep your name and your products and services at the forefront of their mind.  To do that you must be doing things that entice people to return.

What’s so new, so hot, or so great that would entice anyone to return time and again to visit your web site?

Probably nothing.  In which case you need to fix it.

Jeffrey Gitomer has published five small books, (about $20 each), and throughout his books you are directed to his web site for an additional “Gitbit” of information.

The same for his weekly newsletter, there is always some morsel that directs you to his web site for further learning.

If you publish a newsletter or a blog it is an excellent way of driving customers and prospects to your site, and remind them of your expertise.  You are absolutely correct, I have been missing out on that very important marketing technique.

That’s going to change!

Starting immediately each monthly edition of my monthly Business & Marketing Newsletter will direct you to my web site for additional marketing, business, or motivational insights and information. 

It may be to finish an article, or it may an entire new article, but it will be a link to a special page on my web site. 

While this is just for subscribers of my newsletter, I’m letting you get a taste of what my bonus page offers.  Just click on the word “Bonus” below and you’ll see what kind of additional information I include.  And if you like what you see, then click on the banner and sign up for my FREE newsletters.

Bonus

 That’s my 2 cents.

 

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Posture

Posted on August 15, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , |

We all know that body language gives clues to the prospects attitude towards our sales presentation, but remember that we give off clues as well.

As a child I was often reminded by my Mother to “sit up straight”, and “don’t slouch”; in the military it was “chin up”, “shoulders back”, and “pull that stomach in”.  All of it was excellent advice.  Our posture tells the world a lot about how we are feeling, our attitude, and outlook on life.

When you don’t have good posture you look beaten down, discouraged, without hope, and alone.  People will give you more space because you look worn out and would rather take a nap than be where ever you are.  When selling with poor posture the sale is much more difficult because you simply aren’t selling yourself, and if you can’t sell yourself, you can’t sell the product.

Walk into a prospects office with your shoulders back and level, and your head up and you convey a positive image.  One of confidence and self-assurance; but enter with your shoulders forward and you immediately signal that you are unsure and wary.

When in a clients office or even out in public stand tall and erect, don’t slouch, and keep your head up so you can make eye contact with those around you.  Having a positive posture at all times invites people to make contact, and possibly become customers, or offer great referrals.

Good posture will cause you to walk more confidently and give off the aura of success, and everyone wants to associate with a successful individual . . . even customers.

That’s my 2 cents

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Adversity

Posted on August 14, 2009. Filed under: Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Sales, Self Promotion, self-help, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , |

Recently I was reading when I came across an interesting way of viewing trouble.

The author said that when faced with adverse winds, use your imagination to make them work for you, rather than against you. 

“Even a kite rises against the wind.”

What a great way of looking at adversity.  Don’t fight it, turn it to your advantage.

Airplanes take off and land into the wind.

Sailboats, with proper adjustment of their sails, can sail into the wind.

Alexander Bell, (you remember him, he invented the telephone), had a sister who was deaf.  He wanted to overcome her adversity and find a way for her to hear, and in that process created the telephone.

How many successful businesses were started because the founder got fired or laid off?  No job.  Little or no money.  Yet they took the adversity of being terminated as the opportunity to start their own business.

In the middle of the Great Depression in 1930, (unemployment reached a high of 25% during the depression), Harland Sanders opens his first restaurant.

Up to 25% unemployment so people weren’t eating out much; businesses failing all around him; and he opens a restaurant … in a small town, in the front of a gas station no less.

That’s going up against some tough adversity, but from those early beginnings came the KFC we know and love today.

Adversity, (though it may not seem like it at the time), is an opportunity to grow, and learn, and succeed.

By facing adversity head on and accepting the challenge of dealing with it, we grow stronger and more self confident.

Every situation has more than one possible solution.  Some of those possibilities may be awkward, some may be easy, some may be unique, and others may be horrific.  But there is always more than one option, you just may not like all of the options available to you.

Over the years I have counseled many individuals who were faced with difficulties to which they saw only one solution.  In every instance I was able to provide one or more alternate solutions for them.

Sometimes my alternate solutions weren’t palatable, but it helped the individual to see their situation in a different light, and allowed them to come up with even more possibilities.

Sometimes a solution has short-term negative consequences, but long-term positive benefits.  Be sure you think every possible solution through to the end.

Use your imagination and try to think of every possible way of dealing with the situation.  Be creative.  There is no telling what you might come up with.

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Extra Measure

Posted on July 16, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Sales, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

When dealing with a customer do you give exactly what they expect, or do you give more? Do you give that extra measure of service that isn’t required or expected? People often talk about the value of “word of mouth” advertising, but always leave out the part about how you get people talking about you in the first place.

One way to get people talking is to give that extra measure of service to every customer every time. Yes, it takes some extra effort and time on your part, but people will show their appreciation for your extra measure by talking about it to friends and family. Sometimes they will even praise you to your boss. Like all good things, giving that extra measure is a habit that you have to learn, but once you have it ingrained in your psyche you will find yourself giving more in all situations, not just when with a client. And that’s a good thing. It reinforces your personal and professional image as someone worthy of dealing with in any situation.

My insurance agent is like that. Oh, we get the obligatory Birthday Cards, but I know that when he reviews our insurance needs he will include coverage on things that I didn’t think of. He doesn’t just sell me insurance, he takes care of my insurance by seeing to it that I have exactly what I need; and that’s a big difference.

Take a critical look at every aspect of your relationship with your clients and see where you can do a little more for them. Your one small act can make a big difference to the customer, and ultimately to you.

The concept of giving an extra measure goes beyond business, and extends into all daily activities.  Do that little extra when helping your children and spouse, give more help at church, at any volunteer activities.  Everything you do deserves that extra measure mentality.  The rewards you will receive in return can’t be measured in dollars and cents, but it will come back to you many times over.

And that’s my 2 cents.

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