Archive for October, 2011

Marketing Myopia Madness

Credit www.sxc.hu

As today being Halloween, maybe it is time to discuss the marketing myopia madness that seems to have struck fear into the hearts and minds of crazy busy small business owners, professional sales people and even C Suite executives  not to mention all these marketing firms that sell their services and in many cases spread this fatal disease under the disguise to increase sales for their clients. This madness has been around for many years, but the Internet has changed the playing field and thanks heavens for that.

First marketing myopia is the affliction or better yet belief where a company looks to itself first when broadcasting its marketing message to increase sales instead of looking to meeting the wants and needs of the potential and existing customers.  This perspective creates a very narrow hallway of thinking. The cause of this madness is failure to ask this critical question:

What is the purpose of  business?

Believe it or not, all businesses share the same purpose.

To serve their communities!

For without communities and serving them, would you be in business?  The answer is simply no.  Now for some given the global marketplace, their communities have expanded from across the street to across the world. All of a sudden the hallway, the way of thinking is no longer small, long and narrow.

From purpose then the next question is:

What is the essence of your business?

Ray Kroc knew he was in the real estate business. Jack Welch said he was in the people business.  This leads to the next question:

How do I attract attention and build relationships in alignment

with the purpose of business and the essence of business?

How many marketing firms have ever asked the question about the organization’s purpose and “What business is the organization in?” No wonder there continues to be such an ego centered focus on marketing or what is called marketing myopia.

If you want to increase sales, then maybe it is time to review the purpose of your business and what business are you actually in.  This may help you step away from marketing myopia madness.  And what better day to start this journey than on Halloween?

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Sunday Work Life Balance and Sustainability Sales Tip #7

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Achieving work life balance is an ongoing struggle just as much is sales sustainability. One strategy or tip to lessen this struggle is through improved communication.

Many people work on communicating with others and that is a great self improvement strategy. However, effective communication begins from within each person’s brain.

What are you telling yourself?

For what you communicate inside of your head will determine whether you achieve your desire for that work life balance as well as to increase sales.

Sunday is a great time to quiet all that white noise in your head.  Much of that white noise could be self doubt, self incrimination. By taking the time for self-reflection, you have the opportunity to review the past week, to determine how clearly have you communicated your desires, your intent.

That self reflection should also extend to the results of all of your effective communication. By measuring those results, you can determine where you may need to change what you are communicating. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Using positive belief statements or positive affirmation statements may help you stop that white noise impeding your communication efforts.

Effective communication is a necessary self improvement strategy as well as sustainability sales tip. When you have the ability to keep the message in your head in alignment with the words you speak, you may find yourself with not only improved work life balance, but also increase sales.

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Kick the Can Leadership Behaviors – Friday’s Editorial

For the last 20 plus years and more recently the last several months, I have been particularly aware of the “kick the can leadership behaviors.”  These “leave it to the next generation of leaders” behaviors are particularly frustrating on so many levels.

Passage of Time Level

The passage of time potentially creates more wounds, problems. This is why the current leadership decided not to take action to deal with the problem.  Instead, they kick the can to the next group of leaders. The examples are so numerous from the governmental level of social security to businesses to local civic organizations that the list would be endless.

Costs Level

The direct and indirect costs associated with “kick the can” leadership behaviors stifle budgets.  Until the problems behind and directing the leadership behaviors are addressed, current budgets must deal with the issue. What this means is usually spending more dollars avoiding the issue instead of embracing Harry S. Truman’s well known statement “The Buck Stops Here.”

Innovation and Growth

When the focus is on past kick the can leadership behaviors, there is little opportunity to look toward the future.  Innovation and growth are hampered if not totally deadlocked by these truly non-leadership behaviors.

Values (Ethics and Beliefs)

This is the level that I find particularly problematic.  If people say they are value driven and are of high ethics, then how can they in all reality leave the problem to that next leader or leadership group?  Maybe it is the fear of not being liked that encourages “kick the can leadership behaviors.”  This may seem as a violation of some internal ethics and beliefs. Yet, ignoring the “kick the can” problems is probably violating the values (ethics and beliefs) of others as well as undermining the values of the organization as an whole. Again the examples in the real world are too numerous to mention.

Being authentic, values and results driven leaders are not easy.  When “kick the can behaviors” are present, then qualified future leaders are less aptly to engage in leadership roles.

Who wants to disturb a hornets’ nest?

However until the hornets’ nest is addressed, then the potential of each individual and the entire organization is incredibly limited.

Finally, “kick the can leadership behaviors” require authentic, forward thinking leaders to say

“stop!”

to address this unacceptable behavior even if it means being disliked, hated and causes some internal distress.

There is an expression about “life is not fair to get over it.”  I would like to revise that to the following:

“Authentic, forward thinking,

values and results driven leadership

is not easy;

get over it and stop with the

“kick the can” leadership behaviors.”






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What Are Your Tail End Charlies Behaviors Actually Saying?

Some crazy busy small business owners and sales professionals appear to engage in a lot of “tail end Charlies” behaviors. They are so busy about their busyness to increase sales they truly do not care about others. Let me explain.

Earlier this week I listened to an assistant to the director for a local Chamber of Commerce. She was sharing with me about the demanding last minute small business owners (think “tail end Charlies” or last minute procrastinators) who were registering for the annual B2B tradeshow and business networking event that was only 4 days away.

Our conversation once again reminded me there are a lot of small business owners who truly do not care about anyone else. She was forced to listen to all their excuses or reasons for procrastination. These crazy busy professionals (I use that term very loosely) did not care that this lady had other tail end Charlies holding on the phone or other actions to take.  All they cared about was justifying why their reasons  for procrastination were valid.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  By having a clearly articulated written values statement may help you with your procrastination.

The hell with everyone else because it is all about me even though it was my responsibility to register for this B2B tradeshow and business networking event.

Many years ago back in my middle school education I read a quote or was told about “how an emergency on your part does not constitute a crisis on mine” or something to that effect.

Today’s business world is crazy busy. However that busyness should not interfere with others doing their jobs and does require personal accountability and responsibility for that crazy busy small business owner or sales professional whose behaviors are becoming more “tail end Charlies.”  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Having a written plan supported by written goals also works to avoid those past reasons for procrastination as well as to increase sales.

Technology allows an opportunity for advanced notification of many events. In some cases there is even an early registration notice that many include a cash reward for registering early.  This particular B2B tradeshow and business networking event to increase sales was actively promoted for over two months through various media from direct mail to social media to press releases.  To register at the last moment only demonstrated how uncaring and unprofessional these “last minute Charlies” actually are. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Your behaviors reveal what you value.

Small business owners must keep their reputations as trustworthy and as caring as possible. They must honor their commitments while not disrespecting (think caring) others with who have other responsibilities.  Those who engage in continued procrastination or who are tail end charlies are building a foundation of distrust. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Understand the 3 key sales buying rules.

Yes we all sometimes miss an event here or there.  If that happens, apologize when registering for the event. Then get off the phone. Do not share all your reasons for procrastination. Care about the other person first before caring about yourself.

Remember the words of Theodore Roosevelt:

No one cares how much your know until they know how much you care.

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The Value of Local B2B Tradeshows to Increase Sales

Many Chambers of Commerce offer yearly B2B tradeshows where members can showcase their solutions (products or services) with others within the community.  Yesterday I attended one here in Northwest Indiana. This particular B2B tradeshow was sponsored by three smaller Chambers of Commerce. What was particularly impressive was this business networking event was sold out with over 50 plus vendors.

As I interacted with visitors I had the opportunity to observe some very good marketing behaviors and some not so good behaviors.  There was indeed a lot of attracting attention happening as well as the beginning of some relationship building. Vendors and visitors appeared to be actively engaged in listening to each other. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  When attending any business networking event, remember to dress professional, have a professionally produced name tag and carry more than enough business cards.

The luncheon was also another opportunity to increase sales.  Each table of 10 guests was given 2 minutes (timed) per person to share the following:

  • Name
  • Name of business
  • Years in business
  • Solution
  • Why do you like doing what you are doing?

For the most part, everyone respected the two minute marketing opportunity. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  If you are given a 2 minutes and it is timed, then stop when you hear the watcher of the time say “stop.” To continue speaking beyond another 5 seconds only demonstrates that you value your ego more than you value the next person’s opportunity to share what he or she does.  This is not a good way to increase sales because you have failed to establish trust.

Towards the end (the last 30 minutes) of this business networking event when many small business owners had packed up their booths, I had the opportunity to reconnect with someone I had not seen in several years.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Do not pack up early when exhibiting at B2B tradeshows as sometimes this is the best opportunity to meet a potential customer and consequently increase sales.

With the majority of small businesses being sole proprietors, attending local B2B tradeshows to increase sales is a viable marketing strategy and allows you another opportunity to expand your brand even if you do not exhibit.  Of course this does presume one of your ideal customers is the small business owner.

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Behind, With or Ahead of the Social Marketing Flow

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To go beyond just surviving to actually thriving in today’s global market place suggest you may need to determine if you are behind, with or ahead of the social marketing flow. A recent survey by Chief Marketer indicated from 2010 to 2011 the integration of social marketing campaigns into the overall marketing had increased from 64% in 2010 to 73% in 2011. Forty-five percent had increased budgets within this same time frame and  the average budget expenditure was $166,000.  In 2012 this average budget expenditure is expected to drop to $5,000.

Why the rush to social media?  Simple answer is that is because where the consumers, customers or clients are regardless if your solutions are for Business to Consumer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2B).

Even though driving traffic to the website is the #1 reason by 66%, sales leads generation and branding are a close second at 48% and 47% respectfully.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  A blog that provides values and is marketed through social media can quickly increase unique visitors.

The one constant challenge is how to measure the effectiveness of social media or the return on investment.  One measurement is actual increase in website traffic by unique visitors while another is actual new sales generated. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Use a 5 to 10% monthly increase goal for unique visitors. Over the course of one year you can double unique visitors’ traffic.

Facebook is still the main social media website by 91% compared to Twitter at 77% and LinkedIn at 68%. Demographics of the potential customer determines where to run the campaign.

Personally I have found cross pollination so to speak within social marketing to be the most effective. By posting this business and sales coaching blog on various social media sites allows me to reach different target markets. As in any marketing action, consistency remains the key to overall success. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  To ensure consistency requires a goal driven marketing action plan aligned to the overall strategic plan.

From the data within the Chief Marketer survey, now not later is the time to integrate social media or social marketing into your overall marketing plan.  Remember the purpose of marketing is to:

Attract Attention

Build the Relationship

Social marketing does just that provided as in all actions you do it well.

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How to Increase Sales Tips & Snippets – #15 Stop the Insanity

Insanity appears to rule for many crazy busy small business owners and salespersons as they look to how to increase sales.

They continue to do what they have been doing and

then hope for different results.

(Definition of Insanity)

The role of Captain Wing It supported by spraying and praying actions is still very much alive and maybe even growing.

One of my small business owners and sales coaching clients met me several years before she actually hired me.  She thought she could increase sales by herself.  However, she was unable to reach the level of success she envisioned for herself.  Now two years later she is on track to double her sales revenue and has set a plan to increase sales in 2012 by 150%.

In my book, Be the Red jacket, I discuss the importance of beginning with positive core values, understanding the difference of marketing and selling within the sales process along with the ability to consistent set and achieve goals in these 6 key areas:

  1. Revenue
  2. Self Leadership
  3. Time Management
  4. Productivity
  5. Continuous Learning
  6. Personal Life Balance

When working with new sales coaching clients, my first action is to begin with a diagnostic to assess their awareness of their talents or strengths and how they make decisions.  One of the talents that is assessed is “realistic personal goal setting.”

For if you cannot achieve your personal goals,

how can you achieve your

business, corporate or sales goals?

How to increase sales starts and ends with the ability to achieve goals by having a written plan of action. Unfortunately most people place far more value in the common, everyday written grocery list than they do for their businesses or their current professional roles.

What happens when you forget that written grocery list?

You know, you been there, done that.

So why would you keep all those business goals

and sales goals locked in your head

and not on a written piece of paper?

Is it not time to stop the insanity?

And unless your employees are mind readers, how do they know what you want, where you are going, what needs to be done first, second, third?

If your business is not performing to your levels of expectation, first make sure you have clearly written goals aligned to a written business action plan.  Do not blame your employees or even yourself if you are not where you want to be.

Stop the Insanity, right now, not later.

P.S. If you truly want to stop the insanity, you may wish to consider Triage Business Planning as an affordable solution but in time and dollars.

Sales Cartoon

Credit www.funnysalescartoons.com

Sales Quotation

All sales objections fit into one or more of these 5 buckets:

#1 – You

#2 – Your Company

#3 – Your Solution (product or service)

#4 – Your Price

#5 – Your Delivery

And in that order!

LeRoy C. Hoagland

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Where Are the Forward Thinking Leaders? – Friday’s Editorial

After being around for over six decades and actively engaged in higher level thinking skills thanks to my father for 4.5 of those decades, I continue to wonder where are the forward thinking leaders?  No I am not talking about the every day common names we hear such as Steve Jobs,  Bill Gates, but rather the local individuals in each community who can propel incredible greatness.

Credit - www.sxc.hu

Sure there are many who consider themselves leaders and naturally believe that means forward thinking.  Yet, from my observations they truly are not forward thinking leaders. They are more like those who praise the other leaders in their “new clothes.”

One of Peter Drucker’s earlier quotes about leadership was:

“Leadership is all about results.”

This is a somewhat narrow and restricted viewpoint which Drucker later expanded to:

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights,

raising a person’s performance to a higher standard and

the building of a person’s personality beyond its normal limits.”

The later definition implies or presumes the individual doing the lifting is demonstrating positive core values and is a risk taker willing to stand up for what he or she believes is right. However, I would prefer having those presumptions to be more clearly articulated.

For the most part, local politicians are not forward thinking leaders because their only thoughts are “how do I stay in office longer.” The wink and the nod behavior continues allowing corruption, graft and criminal activities to flourish.

In other cases, community and business leaders continue to protect their own turf.  This results in duplication of efforts and further segments the counties or communities.

How do these actions bring

sustainable results to any area?

Now there are a few forward thinking leaders in each community. However if they are not part of the accepted community leadership or if they present contrary, forward thinking ideas, then they are discouraged from speaking

because you know if you do talk like that

you may lose business.

Of course some of these outside forward thinking leaders truly do not care because they realize if the accepted leadership hasn’t bought their solutions in the past why would they (accepted leadership) buy those same solutions in the future?

As they say, “change is good, you go first.”

What they don’t say is

if it works then maybe I’ll endorse it

provided I can get credit for it.”

So often we hear Einstein’s definition of insanity being quoted by many of the same people who believe they are forward thinking leaders. However their results are the same.

“No one is truly pushing the envelope.

No one is developing leaders as

Peter Drucker envisioned.”

If you disagree, then look to the results of the current public education system K-16.

  • The lack of high school graduation rates
  • The unacceptable levels of reading
  • The inability to apply higher order thinking skills
  • The majority of full time college students taking 6 years to earn a 4 year degree
  • The increase of cheating and non-ethical behaviors

If looking at the public education systems makes you uncomfortable, then look to the business world where:

  • Majority of employees (75%) are not actively engaged in their work roles
  • Wasted time is at a all time high
  • Personal accountability and responsibility are at very low levels
  • Business corruption in spite of all the rules and regulations is still happening
  • Businesses cannot find good workers or employees

One of my organizational consulting and sales training colleagues, Dan Waldschmidt, is truly a forward thinking leader. However, he is often criticized by those sales training coaching industry experts around him because he challenges the status quo.  He makes what is presumed to be outrageous statements (actually truthful statements) that make the other organizational development consultants and sales trainers very uncomfortable.

Another colleague, Laura Novakowski, is also a forward thinking leader. She is actively volunteering to help her community rebuild after the devastating floods in northeastern Pennsylvania. Beyond those efforts, she is working to develop leaders in all of her organizational consulting or coaching solutions. She too is willing to challenge the status quo with actions that make others very uncomfortable.

Being a forward thinking leader is very much like being a Red jacket in a sea of gray suits or like being a peacock in a land of penguins. These folks indeed are few and far between because the majority of government and business leaders engage in “ogling” the Emperor’s New Clothes because they (the majority) do not want to lose their “leadership positions” that bring them local recognition.

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Match Business Ethics and Values to Increase Sales

If people buy from people they know and trust, then maybe it is time to match your business ethics and values with your potential customers (prospects) as you look to increase sales.  Sharing high business ethics and values have been an important criteria for me in my executive corporate consulting and small business coaching practice. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Know the three basic sales buying rules.

David Logan author of Tribal Leadership addressed this issue in a recent blog over at BNet. Even though his posting is more about internal customers (employees), the same applies to external ones.

There are some clients who have a high PITA factor either from the very beginning or actually due to be spoiled by the salesperson’s attention the PITA factor grows.  Now depending upon the profit margin, some PITA customers are worth keeping while with others their are no dollars that can justify having this customer. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  PITA – Pain in the _ _ _

One of my clients, Rick Gosser, shared with me he recently fired a client.  I asked him how he felt about this and his response was great.  He further stated the client was a nice person, but this person’s values and his values were clashing after the second order. The grief and aggravation was not worth the nice profit margin. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Discovering this early in the sales relationship is far better than discovering it later.

Over the years I too have had to fire a client.  Thanks heavens those firings and have few and far between.  What I have learned is that I accepted the client because I wanted to increase sales or that I had not invested enough time in learning about the client’s core positive business ethics and values.  From these firings, I have added this qualifying sales criteria:  Must be committed to taking action.

Sometimes even with the best due diligence, salespersons secure “stinky,” demanding over the top clients.  Nothing is ever right.  Continued redo’s and additional solutions are expected without cost to the customer. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  By spelling out what you are going to deliver in your statement of work or proposal helps to avoid what is called “scope creep.”

One of the first actions to take before meeting with a potential client is to do some research regarding his or her business ethics and values.  By checking out the customer’s website, reading the corporate values statement, looking at some social media sites such as LinkedIn, all help to understand the prospect’s surface business ethics and values.  Then after meeting him or her you can better determine the extent of his or her business ethics and values.

Yes times are tough and no one wants to lose a client. However, sometimes by ensuring your business ethics and values match your potential customers’ will not only help you to increase sales, but may potentially help to reduce stress and stay even more focused with those customers that appreciate you.

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National Evaluate Your Life Day Really?

Today if you did not know it is “National Evaluate Your Life Day” created by Well Cat and not by the good people of Hallmark. So what is the point of this day?

Credit www.sxc.hu

I am not sure what the Well Cat people intended, but for me this should be part of everyone’s day and not just once a year hyperbole.  In the book From Values to Action, the author Karry Kraemer discussed the critical necessity of self-reflection and that it should be practiced on a daily basis.

What would happen if each day you asked yourself these 3 key self reflection questions:

Question #1 – Did I honor my word to myself and to others by doing everything I said I was going to do?

Question #2 – Were any of my behaviors disrespectful in that I failed to honor my word, to demonstrate my positive core values and to be an authentic caring human being?

Question #3 – Where could I have done more for myself, those I care about, my business and my community?

Yes everybody is crazy busy from the person who works to keep the shelves stocked to the C suite executive making those decisions that will allow everyone to keep working. However, unless time is spent in self-reflection, self evaluation, then there is the opportunity for insanity to continue and for all individuals to realize the same results they have been achieving. To secure better results demands time spent in self reflection each day and not just today national evaluate your life day.

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People come first; sales numbers come second or third
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