Archive for April, 2011

How to Increase Sales Revenue – One Sales Strategy

Saturday morning has you thinking about the week’s past events and looking into the next week and month. You reviewed your marketing and selling activities last night. The week’s results (think marketing or sales goal) were Okay, but not what you wanted as you work to increase sales for this fourth month of the year.

Now your brain is back to pondering how to increase sales revenue for the forthcoming month.  What one sales strategy will catapult your sales?

With today’s market being global, there is probably no easy answer to this question nor just one “right” sales strategy.  However, by working on branding yourself through the use of keywords (think Search Engine Optimization – SEO) may help as they say achieved more than one business or sales goal.

By investing some marketing research time on those keywords (using Google adwords keyword research tool) over time. Google  that people use to find your solutions (think products or services) can deliver incredible results.  For example, one of the keywords I consistently use from my keyword research is “increase sales.” This has allowed my primary website and this sales blog to grow organically  (without the use of paid advertisements).

Remember in sales and in life, slow and steady wins the how to increase sales revenue race. Sure you can be the jack rabbit with your goal to increase sales high one month and not realized the next. These peaks and valleys are draining. However by adopting a slow and steady attitude along with a definite course of action such as the use of this sales strategy of keyword research to increase sales then you will probably have greater long term sales success.

Share on Facebook

Social Media, Buying Rules and Sales Objections – Friday’s Editorial

To increase sales begins with marketing as its purpose is to attract attention and begin to build the relationship. This first phase within the sales process when successfully executed allows for the second phase of the actually selling to take place.

Social media is one of the best marketing vehicles to attract attention and to build those critical and authentic relationships. When executed flawlessly, the 3 sales buying rules are recognized. Also this provides an opportunity to begin to put a lid on one if not more of the five (5) sales objections.

The key word here is “flawless” execution. So what does that mean?

Within the realm of social media, this begins with this one word acknowledgment. I must admit when I first started participating in Facebook, I failed “flawless” execution. Sure I posted links that had relevancy or value, linked to this blog or my weekly business column for the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana. Yet, I had failed to take this one action that being acknowledgment. However I had the opportunity to learn from one gentleman, Aaron Kominsky. Each time someone “liked” one of Aaron’s postings, he acknowledged that like with a personal “Thank You” along with using the individual’s name.

What Aaron was doing was flawless marketing. Here he was incorporating an education based marketing approach and then using the most powerful marketing tool available, a person’s name.  Most people like to hear or read their names. His marketing actions also were in alignment and consistent with his values.

When we remember people buy from people they know and trust (first of the three sales buying rules), then what better way than to build trust through the simple acknowledgment of a thank you along with the person’s name. Over in Twitterland, thanks yous for mentions and retweets along with #FF (Follow Fridays) are far more common. As the first of the sales objections is “You” as the salesperson then again by demonstrating gratitude along with providing value through your education based marketing actions, you have begun to put a lid on that sales objection bucket as you move along the path to increase sales.

Yes acknowledging all those “likes” and even comments may take some time. However as Rome was not built in a day nor is your branding or credibility. By investing your marketing time wisely, you can continue your education based marketing plan using social media as one vehicle while still realizing your ultimate goal to increase sales.

Share on Facebook

Enjoy Life and Increase Sales

When you have an overall written strategic plan that includes separate:
  • Marketing plan
  • Sales plan
  • Customer loyalty or experience plan
  • Growth and innovation plan
  • Leadership and management plan
  • Financial plan

Combined with a personal growth action plan, then enjoying life becomes far easier and simpler.

Today’s posting is brief because first it is my birthday and second I have plans to:

  • Meet a client
  • Conduct a workshop using the Attribute Index
  • Visit a friend who is recovering from a serious health challenge

Life is great. Enjoy it and you will increase sales provided you plan your work  and work your plan.

P.S. Thanks to all who have sent me Plaxo e-cards, Hallmark e-cards or wrote on my Facebook wall. Your warm thoughts and well wishes are so much appreciated.

Share on Facebook

Great Strategy to Ante Up Your Sales Communication Skills

To increase sales is still very much about you interacting with another human being.  Society has yet to evolve into robots handling the majority of transactions.

Since people buy from people they know and trust (first sales buying rule); buy first on emotion, justified by logic (second rule) and last not not least buy on value that is unique to them (third sales buying rule), then this does suggest your sales communication skills are critical to your ability to increase sales. Additionally, how well we communicate helps to overcome the basic five sales objections.

One of the best strategies to improve how well the words you speak are received is to understand your emotional intelligence (EI). Years ago Howard Gardner established through his research different intelligences  including Interpersonal (People Smarts) and Intrapersonal (Self Smarts). Daniel Goleman through his worked combined these two into what he called Emotional Intelligence.

Golemna’s research which he shared in his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, revealed that high EI is a great predictor of leadership success.  In sales you first must be able to lead yourself before you can lead others. When you can recognize and manage the emotions of others and yourself, this provides you the opportunity to be even more successful.  Additionally, high EI also suggests that you are better at motivating yourself. In the role of salesperson, motivation is key because what you communicate to yourself will either keep you going or trip you up.

One of my personal mantras is “Change your words; improve your results.” During the last several years, I have made a very conscious effort to be selective in the words I use both in writing and speaking. From those efforts I have been able to increase sales. One of the major reasons for this success is by improving my sales communication skills I have avoided many of the sales objections that I realized in the past.  I  My sense is that during this time my overall emotional intelligence (EI) has also improved even though I never had taken an assessment until recently.

The Greek philosopher Socrates had his own emotional intelligence assessment through the use of  these three (3) filters:

  1. Is it (what you say) kind?
  2. Is it truthful?
  3. Is it necessary?

Sales Training Coaching Tip:  The use of the 3 filters is a great strategy to immediately begin to improve your own emotional intelligence.

However today there are other sales training coaching assessments that help to determine one’s EI. The crucial element is a baseline  should be established.  This benchmark provides a starting point and some direction in which areas one needs to improve.

Sales communication skills are critical to success of any salesperson.  Knowing your emotional intelligence is one great strategy to ante up those sales communication skills.

P.S. To help you, in case you are interested, I am offering the opportunity to learn your emotional intelligence for an investment of $77.00 until May 31, 2011.  This includes receiving the EI through an Online Assessment as well as a 45 minute debriefing conversation.  Remember just taking the assessment and not thoroughly understanding it may not be beneficial to your goal to increase sales.  Visit this page on sales training coaching assessments on my website if you are interested.

Share on Facebook

The New Competitive Advantage – Business Sustainability

Some may read this headline and think of course business sustainability has always been a competitive advantage. If your organization can outlast everyone else, so much the better for you. Now tell me something I don’t know.

Credit: www.centertadvisors.com

However business sustainability today involves more than just longevity.  There are several new elements in the mix.

Possibly this is why business sustainability is considered a megatrend as I explained in my weekly business column at the Post Tribune of Northwest Indiana.

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to be certified by The Institute for Sustainability. This certification allows me and my firm ADVANCED SYSTEMS to be ahead of the flow specific to business strategies especially in today’s global marketplace.

Business sustainability looks at 3 key areas:

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Environment

Within these areas, there exists  three overlaps

  1. People/Process
  2. Process/Environment
  3. People/Environment

All of these areas converge in the center where Sustainability exists in terms of:

  • Long-term growth
  • System Thinking
  • Profitability
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Stewardship

By uniting people, process and environment allows for greater profitability and hence this is why this is the new competitive advantage.  In the past the environment and probably people did not have the same importance as they do today.

For my firm that unlocks results in people, processes and strategies, business sustainability is a natural extension as this has always been part of the solutions I deliver.  The key difference is in the language of environment and how it now is integrated into the strategies of people and process.

Many of the Fortune 500 companies have embarked on the creation of sustainability plans. Yet given most businesses are small (under 500 employees), there is a tremendous opportunity for these organizations to get a jump start on their competitors (beyond the status quo) through the understanding and then adoption of business sustainability plans.

The new competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace is 21st century sustainability.  And what is so great is any firm can achieve sustainability with in many cases just some better alignment, awareness and clarity.

Share on Facebook

Increase Sales By Sharpening Up Your Elevator Pitch

To increase sales requires you to be noticed or what I call Be the Red Jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits. Beyond all those known competitors, your greatest competition as many have said including Jeb Blount in his book, People Buy You, is the status quo. Your marketing goal is to move that potential ideal customer away from his or her current comfort zone and toward you.

Credit www.sxc.hu

Listen to any elevator pitch and it will probably sound flat or ineffective.  Meaning the spoken words do not create any action except a stifled yawn.  What would happen if you sharpened those few words so that they do grab someone’s attention and more importantly emotionally resonate with your intended potential ideal customer?

Possibly, you may be thinking IAKT (I already know that!). Tell me something I do not know. Well if you know that then why isn’t your elevator pitch sharp and achieving the ultimate end result to increase sales?

For example, this past week I attended a very busy business networking event with another colleague, Rick Gosser of Gosser Corporate Sales. Beyond having a divide and conquer meet and greet plan, we both had the opportunity to hear many elevator pitches and most could have benefited from a little sharpening. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Team up with a strategic partner when attending a larger business to business networking event.  Share names or contacts after the event.

When people asked me what I do (given that I expected there to be many sales coaches, business coaches or many change management consultants), I simply respond with:

“I make people uncomfortable.”

This statement always gets a “tell me more” response along with a smile or laugh.  Additionally my answer is short and emotionally engaging which helps people to remember what I just said.

Your elevator pitch must be memorable even for just a few short minutes. When you have the ability to infuse emotions into your spoken words, this helps to begin to build a relationship with your potential ideal customer.

To sharpen your elevator pitch consider beginning with the end in mind as Stephen Covey has been so often quoted.  By separating the what of your solutions (product or services) from the how of your solutions is the first step and the most difficult one.  Sales Training Coaching Tip: Most people address the how of what they do instead of the what of what they do.

When you focus on the end results or the what of what you do, then you begin to travel the better marketing path.  As you hone your message, you attract even more attention and yes you also increase sales. Of course, you may need to change your elevator pitch as others may “swipe” it.

Share on Facebook

A Time of Rebirth – Happy Easter

Today is Easter for those who are Christians.  This is a time of rebirth and joy where new hope replaces discouragement and disillusion.  Today’s posting is very short.

Enjoy the day. Celebrate with family and friends even if you are not celebrating Easter. Recognize that spring is a time for new life and the resurgence of all that energy that has laid dormant during the winter months. Share your inspiration with others.

Share on Facebook

Who Me, Need an Ideal Customer Profile, Pish Posh!

This week I attended a LinkedIn Event in Chicago and it was a very positive experience.  This business to business networking event was well attended with numerous roles and industries represented.

In speaking with one young woman business owner, when I asked her who was her ideal customer, she responded honestly with “I don’t have one because everyone can use my services.” Yes as a financial advisor there are probably many people who can benefit from her expertise.  The question is really two-fold:

  1. Is there a better way to maximize your resources of?
  2. Is your ability to increase sales where it needs to be?

When I wrote Be the Red Jacket, I asked a dear friend, Bill Napolitano, for permission to reprint his story of Captain Wing It. Not to repeat the entire story, but the essence is not having a written business action plan is simply folly.  To grow a business requires numerous detailed action plans:

  • Marketing
  • Selling (sales)
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Management and Leadership
  • Growth and Innovation
  • Financials

Each of these action plans have been developed through extensive external and internal research.  By understanding external factors of market trends to internal factors of repeat customers all help to create cohesive actions that work together to increase sales.

The ideal customer profile comes from both external and internal research and analysis. Those involved in marketing refer to this information as demographics. Yet it goes beyond the standard metrics of age, gender, etc. and needs to look at psychographics (why people people).  The why is very much associated with value.

If you truly believe you do not need an ideal customer, then continue with that belief. However, if you wish to increase sales, leverage your limited resources and truly have some time to enjoy life, then invest the time to determine who is your best potential customer.

Share on Facebook

Start With Abundance Thinking – Fridays’ Editorial

Credit www.anamspirit.com

Especially during this time of the year with early flowers blooming and trees budding, there is a feeling of abundance in the air. Yet for some people in sales, in business and in life, their scarcity thinking keeps them from seeing what is truly before them.

Abundance thinking is an attitude, a belief, a mindset of possibilities.

Years ago I read of a story, not sure if it is true, but one that highlights the difference between scarcity thinking and abundance thinking.

Two parents took their overly positive son to a child psychologist.  The parents feared that their young son’s overly optimistic attitude would be harmful to his overall development. The psychologist had him slowly walk by one room full with shiny, bright, new toys and with another young lad playing there.  Then the doctor showed the boy a room filled with horse manure and left him in that room.  Shortly the parents and the psychologist heard sounds coming from the room. They saw clumps of horse manure being flung all over the room with the boy digging feverishly, his elbows deep into the brown pile and with a big smile on his face.  The adults ran into the room and asked “What is going on?” The boy replied with a smile from ear to ear “With all this horse manure, there has to be a pony hidden somewhere.”

Here was a child with abundance thinking.  Seeing all that horse manure did not send him into scarcity thinking, but actually propelled him forward to seeing other possibilities.  Marcel Proust said:

“The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes but seeing with new eyes.”

My husband has a couple of  expressions that I have borrowed over the years to describe people who think the worst before they see any good.  What he says about these types of folks is “they would complain if you hung them with a new rope.”

Then there are those individuals who have “tight shorts” or probably the  older expression “their knickers in a knot.”

Regardless, these individuals are scarcity thinkers.  They attend sales training coaching workshops or seminars always looking to complain about what they did not receive instead of what was presented. These are the individuals looking for the quick fix be it learning something or actually earning new sales.

Or they are the people who are always complaining about the weather “It’s too cold,” “It’s rainy,” or “It’s cloudy.” If you doubt me, read the plethora of posting complaining about the weather on Facebook. There are very few nice days for these types of individuals because every cloud has a dark and dreary lining instead of a silver one.

Success begins and ends between your ears (think your thoughts).  Abundance thinking as well as scarcity thinking is a matter of choice.

Which one you choose is up to you, well that is up to you.

P.S. To my Christian friends and colleagues, enjoy this holiday season of Easter with peace and abundance.

Share on Facebook

Why Does Executive Leadership Fear Communicating with Their Customers?

For the last 24 hours, my Internet, courtesy of my provider Frontier, was down due to terrific storms here in the Midwest.  After having the problem solved, I spoke with a nice and pleasant woman in customer service.  My suggestion was that Frontier should communicate to their customers know of their updating and modernization plans.

Credit www.sxc.com

She responded that there is a fear in such a communication not to mention the all the issues with legal and lawyers. I was told that modernization was to be complete by another customer service person by January 31, 2011. Guess that came and went.

Fear is usually false evidence appearing real.  So a few of your customers leave because the updating of lines and servers is not happening fast enough.

Yet how many customers are you ticking off by not letting them know what is going on?

How many potential customers after reading the various uncomplimentary remarks within social media such as Twitter and Facebook will continue to stay with their poor customer service providers because why exchange a devil (bad service provider) for another devil (bad service provider)?

When we deliver honest and effective communication to our customers, there is a greater chance of maintaining some customer loyalty.  Of course the organization needs to back those communications with updates because “life does happen.”  Major infrastructures can experience unexpected problems from storm damage to even fires. This is why ongoing and effective communication is critical by the executive leadership team within customer service and to build customer loyalty.

Failure to communicate or even poor communication to both external and internal customers only increases customer distrust and eventual migration to another solution provider.  As was written in the book Dune,

the greatest fear is fear itself.

The executive leadership team needs to be forthcoming with your customers when you communicate customer service issues. Let them know when there are problems.  You just may be surprised as to their ability to understand.

P.S. This does not mean for the executive leadership team to fool them with false promises and then blame customer service for not developing customer loyalty. Effective communication is top down driven, not bottom up.

Share on Facebook
RSS Subscribe!
Coaching Tip
People come first; sales numbers come second or third
What’s Happening?

Internal Results interviews
Leanne Hoagland-Smith
. Some of her answers may surprise you.

Check out this podcast on value creation between David Brock and Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Listen to Leanne Hoagland-Smith at Sales Scenario podcasts

Another list of top sales bloggers

Pre-order this great book How to Get a Meeting with Anyone. You may recognize a familiar name.

Top 100 Most Innovative Sales Bloggers Honored this blog is included in this impressive list.

Best Sales Blogger Award for 2014 Third place awarded to Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

NWI SBDC awarded Small Business Journalist of 2014 to Leanne Hoagland-Smith. Awards.

Expand Your Business Horizons
Sign up to receive monthly newsletter devoted to small businesses and busy sales professionals Beyond the Black
Be the Red Jacket
Seeking an easy and practical book on marketing, selling and sales? Read the reviews at Amazon and then order your hard copy or eBook.
Sustainability Expert
The Institute for Sustainability
Ezine Expert
Blogroll – Leadership, OD
Contact Coach Lee

Leanne Hoagland-Smith
219.759.5601 Main Office CDT
219.508.2859 Mobile CDT

Office located near Chicago, IL

www.processspecialist.com Main Website

Sales Corner

Tracking by The Sales Corner
Blog Rankings
Business Blogs - Blog Rankings
Blog Top Sites
Plazoo
RSS Search
Blog Log