The Continuing Sales Leads Dilemma – Quantity or Quality

Sales leads are the life blood for any person selling.  For without those potential buyers, there would be no one to sell one’s solutions.  And we all know without sales we remain pocket poor.

With the recent emphasis on social selling, there appears to be a presumption that quantity is now more important than quality.  This belief is put enough sales leads into your sales funnel and eventually gravity will pull at least a few of them through. We can see this belief is real time when we hear this questions being asked:

  • How many followers do you have on the social media networks?
  • How many contacts do you have on LinkedIn?
  • How many social media sites do you actively engage in to reach more potential sales leads?

My personal sales philosophy has always been quality over quantity.  Since I believe sales is 100% first about relationships, developing key authentic relationships is essential for me to increase sales.

Additionally the quantity tactic is more than likely to catch a lot of unqualified sales leads (tire kickers) and it does take time to sort through all those leads. Being a people and process clarity strategist, I cannot afford to waste time sorting through all those tire kickers.

Imagine for a moment if you took all those business cards you have accumulated and started calling three to five people each day.  Then you could begin to sort them based upon some buying criteria including:

  • Decision maker
  • Want or need

Further contacts with each person may allow you to further sort them into:

  • Allocated budget
  • Urgency

Finally between the fourth and 12th contact, you may secure this final buying criteria: Commitment

When you have completed this process, you will probably see your pile of qualified sales leads is much smaller.  Possibly by redefining your sales prospecting process, you could have avoided a lot of those calls and redirected your limited time to quality sales leads instead of quantity ones.

Schedule your time, by CLICKING HERE, to speak with Leanne if you wish to increase sales.

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What Makes You Truly Amazing?

makes-you-amazingHave you ever asked yourself this simple question of “What Makes You Truly Amazing?” Probably not.  Yet it is a truly an essential question to be answered.

Recently I was having a conversation with Dan Waldschmidt (who is amazing).  He shared a conversation he had with a young woman who wanted to be like him. She wanted to speak and share her story. She was writing a book.  Dan simply asked her “What makes you truly amazing?” 

For Dan knew many people had stories to share, many had written books and many never reached that level of personal and professional success.  Until this young lady knew what truly made her and consequently her story different, she would not realize her dreams of success.

Each of us in our own way is already amazing. 

We just don’t know it.

Possibly some of that reason is we truly do not know ourselves.  We work against our existing talents and strengths.  We look to improve our weaknesses at the expense of those talents. We do not know what motivates us beyond mastery, autonomy and purpose.

Then we fall into the trap that this woman had fallen into.  She believed speaking, writing and sharing her story would be her success path.  Yes it could be, but more than likely it would be the success path of those selling speaking and writing services to even executive coaching services.

When we answer the question of “What makes you truly amazing,” we are taking a deeper dive into our own reality and not the realities of others.  We learn to appreciate who we are and what makes each of us truly unique beyond our DNA.

For some the answer may begin with discovering one’s purpose.  Why are you here at this moment in time?  Purpose is the North Star to each of us.  Knowing our purpose keeps us moving forward in the best direction.

So as you move forward this week, begin to answer this question.  Remember you are amazing as the person you are right now.  Your challenge is to be able to gain crystal clarity as to what makes you truly amazing.

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The Real Problem with Social Selling

Let’s stop with the Naked Emperor and speak the truth about social selling.  It isn’t selling. I repeat it isn’t selling. Now for some this is considered heresy.

social-selling

Credit www.gratisography.com

Social selling or social media selling whatever you want to call it is marketing using social media channels to deliver the message. This entire get on the band wagon for social whatever is sales quick sales fix for some and a quick opportunity to make fast bucks for others.

I will return to Peter Drucker who believe and said a business has essentially two functions:

  • Marketing
  • Innovation

He also said when marketing is done well, selling becomes almost effortless. (paraphrasing)

Yesterday I saw a social media post about “how to develop a social media strategy.” None of the answers went to the heart of the problem.  No one asked “Do you have a strategic plan?”  If so, then it is from that document you derive your marketing strategy.

Short cutting the strategic planning process is a proven recipe for failure.

This individual was confusing strategy with tactics as many do.  The strategy comes from a comprehensive strategic plan that looks at both internal and external strengths, limitations, opportunities and threats.  From this data another result is the completion of the ideal customer profile or profiles.

Whatever social media channels are selected (tactic) is based upon where the company can find their ideal customer.  Of course with all the data about the traffic and deliverables about social media, no wonder people can get easily confused.

The best analogy is fishing. Those who successfully fish go to where the fish they want to catch are not vice versa.  One doesn’t go to the ocean expecting to catch a walleye pike or one doesn’t fish a mountain stream looking for red snapper. Also one doesn’t use a fly to catch a sunfish.  The bait is your message.

Fish Where The Fish (Sales Leads) You Want Are

Use the Right Bait (Message)

I understand all the hype about social selling.  I also know a lot of SMBs have spent lots of profit dollars with little results.  Yet they are “sold” this lie that social selling will increase sales.  No good marketing will increase sales provided you have the right message and use the most effective channels.

P.S. There are no quick fixes in sales, leadership or success.

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Dust Covered Strategic Plans Reveal Failed Leadership

The thick dust on most strategic plans is quite common.  Even though strategic plans are a valuable tool for SMB owners, executives and even salespeople, they continue to be filed on shelves collecting dust. Then executive leadership appears to be suddenly confused because results are not being achieved.

Now many SMBs don’t have these forward thinking documents and retreat to some isolated bogus marketing plan which usually ends up creating more misguided decisions resulting in more misdirection. Their excuse is usually “I don’t have time” or “I don’t need one.”

What these leaders fail to realize is the wisdom in the words of President Eisenhower “Plans are worthless, planning is everything.”  The act of planning through intensive thinking provides a competitive advantage because the majority of the competition has also refused to engage in this important act of strategic planning.

What also happens is executive leadership looks for the quick fix to have some outside consulting firm do a survey or a “town hall” meeting. Having this input is part strategic planning process, but should not be the first step.

The first step in creating strategic plans is looking at the goals or results achieved.  Then internal assessments are undertaken. After the values and the vision statements are constructed, the mission statement is created along with the critical success factors or critical goal categories.  Unfortunately some in leadership roles jump to critical success factors that only create more misaligned actions and become an abdication excuse for leadership when results do not materialize.

Dust covered strategic plans reflect a lack of commitment to make real change, to reach higher and achieve what is necessary to stay a viable and thriving businesses. As one of my coaches David Herdlinger said:

“If you don’t have the time to do it right,

when will you have the time to do it over?”

Schedule a time to speak with Leanne about how strategic planning can help your SMB achieve its desired results by CLICKING HERE.

 

 

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Blaming an Auto Responder for a Bad Email Speaks Volumes

President Truman said “The buck stops here.” I guess that does not apply when receiving a bad email.

Yesterday I wrote about how a poorly written email headline may send the wrong message as well as giving my brief analysis about the marketing message. I responded to this email and then received an answer from the person who allegedly sent the email.

“Hi, Leanne, Your first line cracked me up. I like the rapid reply, although this email was automatically generated, not a (insert person’s name) original sadly.”

Well that is a new one.  Blame an auto responder for bad email marketing.

Maybe AI (artificial intelligence) wrote the message and then applied this person’s name? 

My return email was “Then I would rethink my auto message responses. Thanks for the fodder for my blog today.”

Here is my quick response to the first email message I received yesterday.

Your subject line FYI is a 100% turn off unless you are advertising for dates.

Please remove this email from your database.

Regardless if the message was automatically generated, your name is on the message. I could care less how it was generated.  Your name, your role and your contact information is what shows not “auto-responder” or “AI Robot 010.”

So if this was automatically generated, who would I really speak to, you or the AI Robot?

Give me a break.  Blaming the auto responder is beyond sad and lazy and speaks to the lack of integrity within the organization and potentially within the person who allegedly sent it.

Taking responsibility for a bad email shows integrity and personal accountability.  Had this person accepted the responsibility, I might have entertained a telephone call with her or him.

As it stands the response shows this is not a company I want to know to want to trust.  Yes people buy first on emotion justified by logic.  The reverse is also true, people don’t buy on emotion and justified that no buy decision with logic.

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Just Make Sure Your Email Headline Is Marketing to the Right Sales Leads

Today I received this email headline “You’re breaking my heart.”  First thought was “Great, now I am on a porn or foreign dating service distribution site” and my second thought was “Why didn’t my spam program catch this?”

So curiosity had me open the email given it did not have a virus. The email was from a digital firm marketing their social media analytics product. Wow, I never would have thought.

For me the headline after reading the rest of the message turned me off. My analysis follows each sentence.

Hi, Leanne Analysis: At least this person used my first name, but I didn’t know him or her.

I’ve had trouble getting in touch with you, but wanted to reach out one more time to try to connect. Analysis: Hmm we are both on LinkedIn and since you had my email address you could have reached out to me there or even call me as a quick search will give you my phone number.  The reason for your trouble is your email marketing, pardon the expression, sucks.  I wonder how much you paid for this marketing garbage?

If you are not ready to talk about how (insert product) can make you’re life easier, that’s no problem. Analysis:  No stated facts as to how this product claims to do what it does. Inserting some return on investment might have me somewhat interested.

You can always just watch a quick demo (url link) at your own convenience. Analysis: Why would I waste my time watching a video when I don’t have any motivation to watch it.  This email marketing message has not created any urgency on my part to take action.

Are you free later today to connect? Analysis: Most business people schedules are jammed pack.  Marketing and sales research also suggests Thursday is the best day to call sales leads.Since you have not created any urgency, again why would I want to connect with you.

And if there is someone better I should reach out to, please put us in touch. Analysis:  This shows you have not done your ideal customers and sales leads research.  Very bad.

Each day I could share a really bad email headline or email marketing message.  My advice is to just be careful and do not give your sales leads reasons to increase their sales objections before you even verbally connect with them.

 

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Are Sales Negotiations Overlooked Sales Objections?

Sales negotiations are part of earning the sale.  Yet I am beginning to question if in some instances the reason for the negotiation is because specific sales objections were never reconciled. For example if price requires negotiation, then this might suggest the salesperson failed to do all of her or his homework regarding the budget, the return on investment, etc.

Sometimes to earn the sale or close the deal does require an adjustment to the delivery of the solution.  Had the salesperson explored the urgency dictating the consideration of his or her solution possibly there would not be a need for any sales negotiations?

Of course not all sales negotiations happen because of unreconciled sales objections. Yet I believe the reactionary behavior to engage in negotiation may reflect some miss steps in the selling phase of the sales process.

If for example a new decision maker enters into the sales conversation and starts requesting changes to the offered solution, my question would be “Why didn’t you know about this person?”  One of the most basic questions to ask is “Is there anyone else involved in this buying decision?” Yes sometimes there are surprises, changes within the organization.

These changes can be addressed by this two-fold question during the presentation of the sales proposal. “Has anything changed since we last met or are there any changes coming that may impact this solution?” Usually buyers have a good idea of what is happening within their organization.  If the buyer responds yes, then the salesperson returns to sales fact finding to determine if said change will affect the offered solution.

Depending upon the new facts, the salesperson has the opportunity to reschedule the sales presentation so he or she can address these new facts in his or her sales proposal.  By taking this action reduces future sales negotiations.

From a sales coaching perspective, maybe it just may make sense to revisit past sales negotiations and determine the why behind the negotiation.

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When Your Sales Tank, What Do You Do?

sales-tahkMany tines when sales tank salespeople have a tendency to blame the economy, the marketing department (no sales leads), sales management, competition or even the potential customers? Yet maybe this is the time for inward reflection and realize they have potentially violated the first sales buying rule.

People buy from people they know and trust.

Possibly, your sales leads do not know you and do not trust you.  Yes this is a rather simplistic answer to when your sales tank because the focus is now on the buyer and not you the seller.

Yesterday I received a follow-up call from a webinar I attended. To say the seller was a bit aggressive is an understatement.  Since I did not know her and truly did not know the presenter, I did not trust her.

When I politely told her I was not interested in what she was offering, she said to me “So what is standing in your way?” My response was “You are.  I don’t know you and therefore I don’t trust you.”  This was not a sales objection she had heard before due to her immediate silence.

Attending one webinar that I left after 20 minutes because of the numerous “minnie sales pitches” as well as the ongoing “look at me (self promotion)” comments did not build my knowing of this person and my trusting of this person. In reality, this webinar diminished any potential trust I had for this individual.

Sales Coaching Tip: Self promotion comments do not build trust.

If your sales have tanked, maybe the issue is not your lack of sales skills, but you are rushing the knowing and trusting aspect of the buying process.  Sales research suggests it take five to 12 touches before someone is ready to make a buying decision and that is provided they meet the sales buying criteria so these sales objections are avoided.

Sales as Zig Ziglar stated is “the transference of feelings.” This is the foundation for building a sense of knowing and trusting. Maybe it might be wise to reconsider your own behaviors before you start blaming everything and everyone else for when your sales tank.

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Click to Download This List, Cheap, Bad Marketing

If good marketing is to attract attention and to begin to build positive relationships, then bad marketing is just the opposite.  One very common bad marketing strategy is to build a list such as Top Salespeople and then have others click on the list to download.

bad-marketing

Credit www.gratisography.com

Several of my colleagues were recently recognized as being in the top 100 sales people (I did not make that list). Those who downloaded the list were immediately called or received a generic email.

Jeb Blount, founder of Sales Gravy, identified this as a lead generation campaign to get these top salespeople to share this so called recognition and status award with others so this lead generation tactic would capture more sales leads.

“Pure click bait!” Jeb Blount

Many SMB owners, sales professionals and entrepreneurs invest tremendous time in content marketing and building their own lists.  These lists should be guarded and not randomly shared with lazy SMBs that fail to understand the essence of marketing and look instead to the quick fix solution.

And for heavens if you are going to email someone who downloaded your click bait list then at least use that person’s first name.  To send out generic emails only reaffirms you are 100% into bad marketing.

These individuals who did click to download and left their email addresses will be continually bombarded with additional sales pitches even though they may not be the ideal customer. Each day I receive easily an hundred emails to which I never subscribed.

The use of permission based marketing through double opt in feature is rare these days. Those who are marketing appear to believe as long as I have your email address I can email you my sales pitches.

If you want to increase sales, then engage in good marketing.  This may mean you may actually have to pick up the phone and talk to someone directly.

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No Purpose Leads to Bad Decisions and Consequently Bad Results

A colleague of mine S. Anthony Iannarino, discussed in his weekly email about how changing one’s decision changes one’s trajectory.  I agree with him because there are a lot of bad results happening because of bad decisions.

bad-decisionsYears ago I read this book The On Purpose Person by Kevin McCarthy.  He rendered down purpose to being a light switch.  When the light switch is on, you are on purpose.  Conversely when the light switch is off, you are no longer on purpose.

Many bad decisions are the result of not having clarity around one’s purpose.  This is true for any professional in any role from sales to leadership and everything in between.

So what is your purpose?  Have you taken the time to answer:

“Why are you here right now in this moment in time?” 

For example the purpose of young babies is to eat, sleep and dirty their diapers.  As they grow older their purpose changes to playing and asking all those “Why” questions.  In later life for many, the purpose again changes to being loving and engaged grandparents.

When we lack clarity around our purpose, we then unintentionally make bad decisions.  These bad decisions create bad direction or trajectory as Iannarino alludes to in his posting.

Additionally the lack of purpose may help to explain why so many people reside in the Land of Indecision.  As I have said countless times “Indecision is a decision not to take action.”  Others have been quoted as saying “even a bad decision is better than no decision.”  How do you know if the decision is bad until you actually execute it?

In working through your purpose, this tip may help.  How would you answer this question?

What gifts do you bring to the table of life?

By identifying your gifts, you probably have unintentionally also identified many of your positive core values. Is not being understanding of others a gift as well as a positive core value?  How about creativity or honesty?  Many of our gifts, our talents, are rooted in our belief system and reflected as positive core values.

Investing time to commit your purpose to writing will save you time down the road because you will make better decisions and receive much better results.

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