Archive for August, 2011

How A Double Sawbuck Can Increase Sales

Would you believe a double sawbuck ($20 for you younger folks) can have people wanting to talk to you and eventually supporting your efforts to increase sales?  Would this investment interest you if it also showcased your sales professionalism?

Recently I invested less than $20 to have a professionally produced name tag as part of my rebranding efforts.  Gosser Corporate Sales from Northwest Indiana that had helped with the redesign of my business cards also helped with the creation of my new name tag.  Earlier in the year I had The Oakwood Group located just across the stateline in Lynnwood, Illinois create my corporate name tag for ADVANCED SYSTEMS.

The reason I am writing about having a professional name tag is yesterday I attended a workshop and observed the majority (80%) of the business people did not have a professional name tag.  I have come to believe not having a professionally produced name tag is second only in poor business behaviors to not having business cards on you at all time. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Men in many cases have the advantage over women by wearing corporate logo wear embroidered with the company’s name and even their own names.

Now I must admit I had been guilty of this poor marketing behavior in the past.  I had two name tags and they became worn, the magnets fell off and like the magnets I fell away from the habit of wearing them.

Big mistake, what in the world was I thinking?

How many times have you attended a business to business networking event and literally had to squint at the person’s name on some peel and stick label?  And for those who have long names such as myself, you could only read the first name? How does promote a sense of sales professionalism?

Now I carry all three names tags (my third name tag is for a young person or student leadership program) on my at all times.  One of the advantages of having a purse. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  When you consistently remember to put the name tags in one place or to make sure you have extra business cards, you will not forget.  The human body is designed for conditioned (automatic) behaviors.

If we believe that the purpose of marketing is to attract attention and build the relationships, would you be more inclined if everything else was equal to talk with someone who demonstrates sales professionalism including the name tag or someone who has a written name tag you have trouble reading?

Given in the marketplace it is becoming harder and harder to be noticed, the double sawbuck investment truly appears to be, pardon the expression, a “no brainer.” If you want to increase sales, then support people in their efforts to read you name. Just think how many trees can be saved by no longer wearing those peel and stick names tags?

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Marketing Metrics – What Are Yours?

If you cannot measure the overall impact of your marketing metrics, then you cannot manage your marketing.  So this leads to what are your marketing metrics for both your online (inbound sales leads) and traditional (outbound sales leads)?

Each morning, I invest approximately 10 minutes to quickly grab some key marketing metrics to determine what has happened in the last 24 hours.

These measurements include:

A couple times a month I will do a Google search on the following to see any increase or decrease regarding Internet presence:

  • Leanne Hoagland-Smith
  • Leanne Hoagland-Smith + articles
  • “Leanne Hoagland-Smith”
  • “Leanne Hoagland-Smitj” + articles

At the end of each month, I compare overall Internet traffic.  These statistics are measured monthly and annually. Also I compare traditional base marketing metrics such as sales leads along side of my sales earned (checks received), sales proposed and sales collected.

What I have learned from these metrics of marketing is:

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Another key fact to be remembered is:

Leave Sprinting to the Olympics

Building both an online presence and an offline one require an education based marketing approach incorporated into integrated marketing plan with very specific objectives. To believe one can exist without the other is, in my opinion and from my experience, just plain foolish.

This past weekend I received a LinkedIn connection and learned that a professor in New Orleans, LA refers his students to my articles on business ethics and sustainability that he has found on this blog as well at Ezine Articles.  Over the years I have received similar comments and these remarks reaffirm that my education based marketing approach is working within my integrated marketing plan.

The results included securing new sales coaching and small business clients who fit my ideal customer profile of being crazy busy forward thinking leaders who want a new status quo without a lot of costly ReDo$.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Redo$ always cost dollars just like OOP$ cost dollars.

If you want to increase sales, then make sure you know what to measure specific to your integrated marketing and not just your overall sales revenue. Marketing is an ongoing process that cannot be left alone because sales leads do get cold at the speed of light and reigniting your marketing efforts is like pushing a 100 ton boulder up a steep hill. Invest a little time each day. You will find your marketing actions will spread and suddenly business will be blooming like you never thought possible.

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How to Increase Sales Tips & Snippets #10 – Positive Mental Attitude

Having a 100% positive mental attitude is a great how to increase sales tip. There has been so much written about having a positive mental attitude (PMA) beginning with Napoleon Hill in his Think and Grow Rich book.  I will not even attempt to walk down that path. If you want a quick PMA lesson, listen to Jeff Gitomer’s video.

Here is a quick activity. Using the letters within the word attitude, give each one a numeric value based upon its position within the alphabet.  For example A would equal 1 and T would equal 20.  Then total up all the values and what is the sum?

A =_  + T = _  + T =_ +  I =_ +  T = _ +  U = _ +  D = _  + E = _  = ___%

Now some will encourage those to have a 105% positive mental attitude and let’s be frank, can something exceed 100%.  Not really, because 100% is complete, it is the whole.   When someone states 105% what it means is you have 100% + 5%.

This can be easily proven by using the common phrase Bull _ _ _ _.  Again for each letter give a numeric value based upon its place within the alphabet. The letter B would equal 2 and the fifth letter S would equal 19.  Total them up and what is the sum?

B = _ + U = _ + L = _ + L = _ + S = _ + __ = _ + __ = _ +T = _ = ___

Many salespeople believe they have a 100%+ positive mental attitude and yet I truly wonder if that is the case especially given the ongoing emphasis on how to increase sales. Here are some questions that may help you determine your PMA:

Do you wake up each morning, 365 days a year embracing the day? (Flu and illness days excluded)

Do you actively seek new opportunities with an abundant mentality?

When asked to do something, are your first or second thoughts, something like “I can’t do that” or “Why did the sales manager ask me and not …?” instead of “Sure, I let me give it a go”

Having a positive mental attitude is not just between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday.  This is a belief that stays with you 24/7 and is demonstrated through all of your behaviors including those beliefs circulating in your head both consciously and unconsciously.

Thanks to Laura Novakowski for reminding me of this activity.

Sales Cartoon

Sales Quotation

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman –

not the attitude of the prospect.”

W. Clement Stone

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Embrace Abundance Mentality Over Scarcity Thinking – Friday’s Editorial

Steve Jobs’ resignation seems to generating a lot of scarcity thinking instead of abundance mentality.  People seem to be either wringing their hands in angst or looking for that next deep black hole for Apple.

I have read a plethora of stories and many of them looked to the scarcity of him leaving the office.  Unfortunately, very few looked to the abundance of the future. However, I did find one somewhat positive article discussing succession leadership.

Yes his resignation was news, significant news as he has been the front line leader and visionary for Apple.  However why not look to the future with a positive mental attitude instead of wallowing in the muck and mire of negativity?

We should not be surprised by the scarcity thinking as human beings are negatively conditioned.  The mass media regardless of ideology (left or right) continues to focus on all the negative because “bad news” sells newspapers, radio spots and TV commercials. Good news or abundance mentality (positive mental attitude) appears to keep at least the media pocket poor.

Most US drivers have experienced the “curiosity crawl.”  This is where traffic comes to an almost standstill as drivers crawl by a recent accident with their necks craning with curiosity to see “the accident.” This is scarcity thinking.

How many people wake up each morning arms wide open to embrace the day?  From my experience far fewer than there should be. The “can’t do it attitudes” appears to be in far greater numbers that “can do.”

Each day presents new opportunities to make today better than yesterday.  However if the blinders of scarcity thinking are covering our eyes, we can only see darkness to our sides and the future path looks much as the same as the path of the past.

The last several days have yield incredible abundance for me.  And this morning one of my clients who is a virtual assistant sent me an email with the following updates as to her results:

And now the good news:

  • A Clients – 3
  • B Clients – 6
  • C Clients – 18

Acquire 7 new C Clients and I reach my goal or acquire 2 new B Clients and I reach my goal or acquire 1 new A client and I reach my goal.

My goal – $100k/year biz.  Rock on with the coaching strategy.  Been awful busy with collections on a couple “non-payers” and big projects and reading your posts on FB and Twitter on a regular basis.

This client’s abundance mentality has her reaching further and securing greater results than ever before. She hired me for two reasons:

  1. She was tired of the status quo
  2. She wanted a new sustainable future

During that process, she has left the scarcity thinking that sometimes overtook her daily beliefs (attitudes) and now her actions support her abundance mentality.

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Mother Theresa were just a few historical figures who continually embraced a positive mental attitude and demonstrated abundance mentality. One of my favorite quotes is by Ford who said:

If you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.

As you finish the work week and look to the weekend, remember the Little Red Engine that said:

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

!

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How to Assess Awareness for Increase Sales Force Productivity

Sales management to small business owners continue to explore how to increase sales force productivity from the use of the carrot stick to actual incentives. Yet many times they fail to take this first crucial step – assess awareness for each team member.

Credit www.sxc.hu

During the last several years, I have discovered or confirmed that the majority (well over 90%) of sales people or individuals in any other role do not know their strongest attributes or talents. These highly skilled individuals believe they know their strengths and truly are unaware of their existing talents as measured by the Attribute Index. Sales training coaching tip:  This assessment tool, the Attribute Index,  is one of the few that delivers real time results.

What is also every interesting, is these same individuals have greater awareness about their weaknesses or their lesser talents. This should be not be surprising as human beings are negatively conditioned and have been trained to look to their weaknesses to improve their performance.  Of course, this goes against why winning sales teams win. Sales training coaching tip:  If you disagree with this statement, give me a call.

Just think of this scenario for a moment.  Coach Vince Lombardi directs all his recruiters to scour the land for the weakest football players.  Such a scenario is ridiculous and truly hard to envision. Winning sales teams win because of the united and combined attributes or talents of all team members.  Each team member knows what he or she does well and this clarity drives execution.

In preparation for my book, Be the Red Jacket, I did some research on Coach Lombardi and learned he had a limited number of offensive running plays. Any opposing team could easily observe these plays and overcome them. However this was not the case.  The difference was in flawless execution.

Flawless execution is a direct result of assessed awareness.

To increase sales force productivity is truly not as difficult as some sales training coaching consultants or coaches make it out to be.  However, traditional sales training coaching programs fail to assess awareness and start building on a cracked or flawed foundation.  What happens then is a lack of sustainability and another new sales training coaching program is instituted within 6 to 12 months.  Sales training coaching tip:  The Flavor of the Month is learned behavior from the K-12 experience.

Successful sales people or any other individuals from small business owners to C Suite executives have confirmed knowledge of who they are.  This knowledge comes from awareness that has been generated from self reflection. In other words, these individuals know how to lead themselves continually forward (self leadership) and hence they can then lead others. Sales training coaching tip:  Individual self-leadership comes first, sales team leadership second, sales force productivity third.

So for those in sales management who wish to increase sales force productivity, consider the first step that being to assess awareness.  Then use that information to build a much stronger and winning sales team.  How knows, maybe you can be the Vince Lombardi for your organization?

P.S. If you are in sales management and want to assess awareness of your team, give me a call at 219.759.5601.

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Social Media Band Wagon Reveals The Seriousness of Small Business Owners

Small business owners have jumped on the social media band wagon to show everything from their marketing savvy to their seriousness about how to increase sales.  And each day many of them reveal just the opposite.

For example, someone sends you a Twitter invite.  Now maybe you have an automatic system. I don’t because I want to check out each person individually to see if they fit my target market. My next step is to click on their website link.  And guess what, the website is under construction.

Now does this make sense to any reasonable small business person

who understands the purpose of marketing?

What is even more insane, many of these individuals claim to be marketing experts or sales coaches who can help you increase sales.  Give me a break. Sales Training Coaching Tip: After engaging in education based marketing for the past six years, one thing I know to be 100% true is marketing is about slow and steady wins the race.  Leave the sprinting for the actual Olympics.

When people jump on any business band wagon thinking it is the latest and greatest gimmick to increase sales, they usually only fool themselves.  Then what is even worse they tick off potential customers.

Anyone who uses social media and does not have a working website is, excuse this judgement, stupid. If you are a marketing expert or sales coach, make that doubly stupid.

Yes I am being harsh, but I am saying what is, is.  Not having a website is almost as bad as not bringing professional  business cards to a business networking event.  Even after 15 years in business, I still cannot believe people fail to bring professional  business cards.  What this behaviors tells everyone else in the room is this person is truly not serious about:

  • Business
  • Being a professional small business owner or salesperson
  • Wanting to increase sales

The lack of a website also strongly suggests a lack of planning, This person is engaged in the role of Captain Wing It. He or she sprays his or her actions all over the place and then pray something sticks.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Spraying and praying are not productive or profitable business behaviors.

So before you send that first tweet, make that post on Facebook, comment on LinkedIn or Google Plus, please have your website up and running.  If you want to be viewed as a viable and serious business, then demonstrate you are by having all marketing in alignment and working together. And do not connect with me until that happens because I will not follow, connect or accept your invitations as I support crazy busy forward thinking leaders not reactionary quasi leaders seeking the magic from the social media marketing band wagon.

P.S. My apologies if this sounded like an editorial as I usually save editorials for Friday and not mid-week.  After receiving 10 invites today from Twitter with five (5) that had a web site under construction not to mention attending a couple of networking event last week where people failed to have professional business cards, I am very discouraged by the lack of seriousness from small business owners and sales professionals.

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Free PR The Increase Sales Secret Sauce

Credit www.sxc.hu

“How do you use free PR to increase sales?” is one question I ask my client.  The responses to this simple question include:

  • What do you meany by free PR?
  • No, I don’t have time.
  • That doesn’t work

Free publicity not only includes word of mouth, but traditional print and Internet marketing vehicles.  For businesses that understand and practice education based marketing free PR is one of the key marketing actions. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  This education based marketing tactic is self-reproducing and works with viral marketing.

Of course, one challenge is to move away from the traditional belief of PR being just a press release.

Boring!

In today’s global market place, Press Release is more like a Personal Recommendation where you provide personal insight and make recommendations.

Exciting, Engaging, Energizing

Last week, I responded to a request by a reporter for HARO.  The individual wanted some expertise on what made for a good business card. Since I had just updated my business card, I decided to respond.  Yesterday, I received notice that my business card was selected as America’s Top 35 Business Cards.  And the investment was less than 5 minutes of my time.

Another bi-monthly opportunity for Free PR is The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.  Usually twice a month, there is an opportunity to provide a quick sales training coaching tip on business, customer service or marketing. Since 2009 I have been participating at TPE, my responses have secured a 98% publication rate. Again the usual time investment is around 5 minutes. Update:  Just received notice of another TPE success – Most Important Small Budget Marketing Move.

Free PR not only is an opportunity to showcase you, your expertise and your company, but it supports the 3 sales buying rules and works to overcome those nasty sales objections.  Also there is the Internet advantage of having more links and improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO) leading to more traffic to your website or blog.

Additional Free PR opportunities including sending announcements about you or your company to the local newspapers or other media outlets.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Always send a professional photograph of you when sending your press release to local media outlets.

Writing book reviews over at Amazon is another personal recommendation opportunity.  The only caveat is you must have made at least one purchase from Amazon.  Yes, I know there are other sites where you can buy your books at a better price.  However, make one annual purchase, suck up the additional few dollars because those other sites do not allow you this Free PR opportunity.

Another strategic and competitive advantage by using Free PR is to help others.  Now you may be thinking I have hardly time to help myself. That might be true. If you believe in the “giver’s gain,” philosophy, then taking 5 minutes out at least once a week to share a Free PR opportunity with a client or strategic partner only reaffirms your positive core values. Again the purpose behind education based marketing is to educate, to share, to showcase why you should be the “go to person.” Get over the tight shorts as my husband would say and start supporting others. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Having a written core values statement is critical to sales success.

Imagine for a moment that you have a secret sauce that was so delectable everyone couldn’t wait to eat more and more of it.  Each day you spend 5 to 10 minutes spreading this secret sauce over your education based marketing plan.  As the sauce gently flows, you begin to notice more traffic to your website, people making comments like “you are all over the Internet,” or the phone actual ringing. And the best thing is you did not have to sell a single thing.

Sales Training Coaching Tip:

Market well and Increase Sales Flow

Remember the purpose of marketing is not fancy, glossy brochures that win awards for the marketing firm, costing you big bucks and that usually end up in the circular file, but to attract attention and begin to build a relationship. Free PR does that and so much more and that is why it is the secret sauce to the increase sales flow.

Update Monday August 29, 2011  Since this column, I have secured several free PR opportunities.

Thanks to www.Mo.com for this great interview.

Business2Community.com included one of my Tweets (#27)  for Business Sustainability

Book review posted at Amazon for Pitch Anything

Toliet Paper Entrepreneur comes through and includes my another one of my tips.

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Brain Research and Buying: The Link to Increase Sales

The goal to increase sales does not happen until a buying decision is made.  You may have the best sales skills from the sales training coaching of  Zig Ziglar or any other noted sales guru, but all sales come after the buyers have at least bought you, bought your company and potentially bought your solution.

Now technology and  brain research now reveal how those buying decisions are made.  From books, like Buy-0-logy, Pitch and Get Out of Your Own Way among many others showcase how people make those decisions to buy you or your solutions.  As a sales professional not to understand the ramifications of this brain research is simply silly.

Additionally, books such as A Seat at the Table support brain research allowing you to work with the buying brain of your potential customers or prospects instead of working against it.

How to increase sales begins with being ahead of the flow as I have written before. This is a belief or attitude and works with the salesperson’s professional devevelopment action plan. Always working in the business makes for a dull salesperson or small business owner. Also this attitude of “In” instead of investing time to work “ON” the business or “ON” oneself creates a working harder mentality or mindset.

For the past two years I have been committed to learning more about the brain and its relationship as to what makes for successful buying decisions. From this ongoing research, I created the Three Sales Buying Rules (two of which I adapted  from my father) and the third one is 100% mine. Also by understanding how the brain perceives value works with overcoming those notorious sales objections.

Truly ahead of the flow professional sales people will become even more educated on brain functionality.  This knowledge can only support them in their efforts to increase sales and truly Be the Red jacket in a sea of gray suits.  Maybe now is the time to invest in your own sales training coaching by reading one of the books just mentioned.  As it has been said,

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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How to Increase Sales Tips & Snippets #9 – Preparation

Preparation is another key in how to increase sales.  If you disagree, then how many times have you attended a business networking event and you experienced?

Someone with no business cards?

Someone who verbally stumbled during introductions?

Someone who appeared clueless?

Wise people have said you have one chance to make

a positive impression.

So how come so many people still blow it?

Being prepared does take a little effort on your part. Yet the results can be incredible.

For example, my marketing is centered 100% around the concept of education based marketing.  In preparation for business to business networking events, I always make sure I have one new sales training coaching tip on how to increase sales.  Usually this is truly a marketing tip, but the confusion around marketing, selling and sales is still very much present in today’s marketplace as I discuss in my book, Be the Red jacket in a sea of gray suits, the Keys to Unlocking Sales Success. The result from this preparation usually is someone wanting to talk to me, instead of me having to talk first.

By embracing this attitude of preparation, I am perceived as value adder to any conversation.  People begin to buy me first and I truly do not have to sell.

Preparation is also part of being ahead of the flow.  My new business cards, thanks to Rick Gosser of Gosser Corporate Sales, are not only part of re-branding part of my executive consulting and business sales training coaching practice, but also demonstrate that I am prepared to be ahead of the flow.

From my observations, there is a very minute percentage small business owners here in Northwest Indiana who have a QR code (Quick Response Code) on their cards.  My sense is this is probably true for the majority (over 50%) of the US small business owners.

If you are seeking how to increase sales, then consider adopting a preparation belief or attitude demonstrated through your behaviors.  Make sure you monitor your results.

P.S. Please always remember this #1 Preparation Small Business Rule

Never, I repeat, Never

Leave Your Office

Without Your

Business Cards!

Sales Cartoon

Sales Quotation

To succeed in sales, simply talk to lots of people every day.

And here’s what’s exciting – there are lots of people!

Jim Rohn

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If Tries and Wishes Worked Everyone Would Increase Sales – Friday’s Editorial

Credit www.sxc.hu

Have you ever heard any of the following from small business owners to sales people who wish to increase sales:

I’m going to try to do this or that fill in whatever?

I wish I could do this or that?

If I was Queen for the day, I would ban the word “try” from everyone’s vocabulary.l  As Yoda, one of my favorite philosophers has said:

Do or do not, there is no try!

Almost every week I speak with or hear another entrepreneur enter the crazy busy small business owners marketplace.  Their conversations are sprinkled if not saturated with the “try” or “wish” words.  To increase sales is all about specific predetermined actions usually based upon the WAY SMART goals setting and goal achievement criteria.

Also this does suggest that small business owners MUST have a well research strategic plan especially a goal driven marketing action plan.  To enter the highly conpetitive marketplace without such a plan is simply foolish.  Beyond being foolish, it is stupid. Let me repeat that:

To enter the global marketplace without

a written business action plan is

STUPID!

Trying and wishing to increase sales is a waste of the precious resources of time, energy, money and emotions. Stay where you are because you will probably join the ranks of all those other small business owners who failed to be successful.

If you believe a simple written grocery list has value (and most people do even those in business), then where is your written business plan as well as a personal written plan?  For without such plans, you will not increase sales and even sadder yet, you believe shopping for groceries has more value than the rest of your entire future. Again, this is stupid!

P.S. If  you enjoy being on another’s plan such as the grocery store owner or manager when you enter the grocery store without your written grocery list, then so be it. Do I need to repeat this is not smart behavior? Personally, for me I would rather be on my mine not yours or anyone elses.

A special thanks to all who regularly come by and read this business and sales blog,. Your continued support has resulted in this blog achieving an Alexa.com ranking of under 200,000 as of today.

The actual ranking is 197,649. Your support is truly appreciated.

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