Archive for November, 2012

For Small Businesses Location Location Has a New Meaning

For years, small businesses heard to be successful was all about location location.  By strategically locating their establishments on Main Street or near busy intersections, they would receive countless exposure and increase sales.

location-location

Location location is still very important for brick and mortar stores. However as 98.2% of all small businesses have 99 employees or less and over 70% of those very same firms have 10 employees or less, being on Main Street has taken on an entirely new dimension.

Mobility!

According to some just released research by YP, local search is growing exponentially and changing the way for small businesses to market their solutions.  Tablets and smart phones are becoming the primary search tools especially for local searches. For example, those who are searching for retail stores, 4 out of 10 are seeking “hours of business.”

The local search market is projected to nearly double from its revenue of $5.7B in 2011 to $10.2B by 2016. Even though PCs still command the greatest number of local searches per week, when tablets and smartphones are combined they exceed the local searches by PCs.

What this means for small businesses is websites must be Search Engine Friendly and Mobile friendly if they truly want to increase sales. How quickly the site downloads, how easy the site reads on a mobile device, how the site looks on different search engines now must be added to the marketing strategies and moved to the top of the list.

Many small businesses are putting together marketing budgets for 2013.  If you are a small business owner, in sales management, then now is the time to move your marketing to the world of mobility.  By taking this action, you just may secure your small business a prime location location spot and even better yet increase sales.

P.S. If you are a small business owner or in sales management, this FREE workshop, 3 Dirty Words, may just support you in your efforts to expand into the mobile marketplace.

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Heuristic Sales Anyone?

Years ago I learned of this word “heuristic” and today after reading a couple of blogs regarding sales and selling including becoming the buyer’s assistance I was reminded of this word and how much it pertains to top sales performers in the small business marketplace.

Heuristic-Sales

Heuristic is from the Greek word “heuriskein” meaning to discover.  My handy dandy Webster’s 7th New Collegiate Dictionary expands that definition “to guide, discover or reveal.” If you are a small business owners responsible for sales or a professional salesperson, this word does aptly describe what you do when marketing and selling your solutions (products or services). What is even more interesting is in old Irish it is “akin to I have found.” Just an aside,  Thomas Edison was a heurist as well as a scientist.

Do we not think when meeting a new potential customers thoughts similar to “I have found” a new client, a new sales lead or a new opportunity.

By having crystal clarity specific to your role as someone who engages in the buying/selling or sales process allows you to truly stay focused.  If all you had to do was to remember your role is to:

  • Guide potential ideal customers or prospects to you (think attract attention and build relationships – marketing)
  • Discover potential customer’s value perception, wants and needs (think fact finding)
  • Reveal how your solutions connect to that potential customer’s value perception, wants and needs (think presenting the case to make a decision to buy in your favor)

Then do you think you would increase sales?

Of course, many people probably do not know of this word and it might confuse them.  However just imagine the look on someone’s face when you answer that all too common question “What do you do?” with “I am a heurist.” (Note: A heurist someone who engages in heuristic behaviors.)

Do you think they just might want to learn more about what is a heurist?

Who knows?

However it does sound a lot more interesting than I am a realtor, accountant, health care provider,  financial advisor, engineer, marketing consultant, small business coach, etc., doesn’t it?

P.S. Consider applying your heuristic behaviors to this FREE Webinar – 3 Dirty Words in Business.  Discover if these 3 words are keeping you from sales success?

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Dream A Little Dream

Have you ever taken the time to dream a little dream?

Or does reality set it and you rationalize dreaming is for kids, I don’t have time?

dream-a-little-dream

Credit www.sxc.hu

With the crazy busy schedules of small business owners to sales professionals, the ability to dream has been rationalized and put on the back burner because reality is more important. “Time is money” as they say. Some people actually consider dreaming a waste of time and they could not be more wrong.

Years ago I read a quote by Louie Armstrong who said “Goals are dreams with endings.”

Just think about that for one moment.

How many of your goals started out as dreams?

The movie The Bucket List put dreaming back on some people’s plates. Yet, very little action has been taken to turn some of these dreams into goals, into reality.

How many New Year’s Resolutions are failed dreams?

With my executive coaching small business clients, I actually include one ongoing assignment of writing down at least 5 dreams per week. Their M.A.P.™ (My Action Plan) workbook has a dream journal for exactly that purpose.

Of course, I also provide some suggestions to prime that dream pump based on my eight segment Life Wheel including:

  • Purpose – Where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years?
  • Ethics & Beliefs – How can you achieve more without sacrificing your values?
  • Mental – What do you want your self image to be?
  • Physical – What do you want your health indicators to be?
  • Financial – How much money do you want in the bank in 2 to 3 years?
  • Career – What do you want to know or do to strengthen your small business or professional career?
  • Family –  What do you want to do for your family?
  • Social – What 5 peo9ple do you want to meet in your lifetime?

Just imagine what would happen if you invested only five minutes a week and wrote down one to two dreams?

Why not try writing down your dreams?

Then let me know if in six months, if you have a little more energy, a little more happiness or satisfaction and possibly even much better results.

P.S. You may find this FREE Webinar on Thursday, January 3, 2013, Be True to You, a much needed start to make 2013 even better than 2012.

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Sales Leadership – The Talent of Self Esteem

Maybe no other sales leadership talent is more misunderstood and more needed than self esteem. In a competitive marketplace, having sustainable self esteem is essential. For without being able to accept ourselves for who we are, we cannot realize and appreciate our own unique self worth as good individuals first and great salespeople second.

self-esteem

Self esteem is 100% based on feelings generated from “internal factors, as opposed to external ones.”  These internal feelings of value allow them “to appreciate themselves based not on what they do, what role they occupy or what success they attain, but rather how they judge themselves based on who they know themselves to be inside.” (Source Innermetrix)

Just imagine how often those in sales may “beat themselves up” for failing to do this or that. These outside forces continually whittle away at even those with the best self esteem.

When we as small business owners, salespersons or business professionals demonstrate good self esteem, we have the capacity to view ourselves as unique entities apart from our current roles or ambitions. Additionally, we based our value on our “own internal standards.   This internal “happiness” with one’s self plays a crucial role in job performance and satisfaction.” (Source Innermetrix)

Unfortunately, when past or current experiences have us doubting our own unique self worth, poor self esteem may be created and may become a “major deterrent” to our internal growth. Our behaviors maybe viewed by others as:

  • Domineering
  • Unable to handle risk
  • A “perfectionistic” attitude
  • Overly sensitive to criticism

With low or poor self esteem, there is a tendency to gravitate to basing one’s self worth on what others or the culture has defined as success such as physical appearance, financial success, etc.

Marketing and selling with the sales process requires good self esteem because the opposite is not well received by potential customers, existing customers not to mention centers of influence.  Many other sales leadership talents or sales skills are directly dependent or connected to self esteem including:

Self esteem cannot be artificially created as some believe fake it to you make it.  This faking causes incredible internal stress that becomes directed outwards while consuming all the internal emotional, mental and physical energies of the individual.

Understanding and knowing one’s own self esteem along with other internal dimensional balances of role awareness and self direction may just help small business owners and sales professionals reach that next level of success including the never ending goal to increase sales.

P.S. To improve one’s self esteem begins by not fearing these 3 dirty words in business and being true to oneself.

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The Danger in Just Honing Small Business Sales Skills

With all the small business owners seeking to improve technical sales skills to increase sales, these efforts often overlook strategic thinking, processes and connectivity.

sales-skills

In a new book, Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success, the author Colleen Stanley, identified why specific sales skills such as asking leading questions often produce no results because these questions fail to be emotionally intelligence.  Emotional intelligence provides connectivity because people buy from people not conditioned sales robots always probing and failing to appreciate the buyer’s emotions.

For small business owners and sales professionals within the marketplace, the sales process begins with marketing not selling. Since 98.2% of all small businesses have 99 employees or less, most of these firms cannot afford their own marketing departments. They must rely on their sales people to attract attention and build relationships.

Additionally, support processes must be in place otherwise even the hardest working salesperson will not be successful when billing or shipping fails to do what they need to do to complete the sale. Sales Coaching Tip:  Misalignment between departments and within the organization drain critical small business profits and productivity.

Finally, strategic thinking goes beyond each earned sale.  By knowing the big picture of the organization (the vision), the current mission (key goals for the current year) and the values (accepted and agreed non-negotiable behaviors), allows those who sell to focus on the right type of ideal customers to increase sales as well as profits.

Even though many small business coaches, consultants not to mention all those authors focus on the technical sales skills, until the relationship has a solid emotionally intelligent foundation, then and only then, will the goal to increase sales with any sustainability will happen.

P.S. If you haven’t already registered for this FREE webinar, The 3 Dirty Words in Business on Thursday, December 6 from 12-12:30pm CST, please consider taking that action right now.

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Maybe It Is Time to Face the Truth?

Funny thing about people, they continually surprise you. This past week a potential client did not have any resistance to my small business sales coaching fee, but was somewhat fearful of my approach that being one of internalization.  She appeared not to want to face the truth about her talents.

face-the-truth

Then I just quickly read one chapter of a book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone –  Especially Ourselves,  by Dan Ariely and he discussed the theory of the Simple Model of Rational Crime (SMORC) as advocated by Gary Becker. This theory is essentially a cost benefit analysis specific to human behavior.

I wonder if the inability to face the truth is much more aligned to the results from years of negative conditioning than rationalization? In the book Dune, the hero faces a life or death experience and repeats to himself “the only fear is fear itself” as he feels a plethora of negative experiences all happening to his hand that he willingly placed into a small black box.

What I know is many people are so much more aware of false truths than they are the real truths when it comes to their talents, what they do well. My sense is this false awareness may potentially affect their ability to face the truth because so much is tied to the internal belief system especially self-esteem.

Until individuals have the opportunity for a valid assessment that removes subjectivity such as the Attribute Index as constructed from the works of Dr. Hartman, then they may continue with their internal fears and resist the necessity to face the truth.

Yes, the words of Shakespeare still ring true today as yesterday:

To Thine Own Self Be True

We cannot be true to ourselves until we know ourselves.

  • Know what we do well
  • Know how we make decisions
  • Know our levels of optimism and pessimism

If you truly want 2013 to be better than 2012, then invest some time and some dollars to know yourself allowing you to face the truth.  This investment can potentially yield an incredible return to you so that in 2013 you work even harder because you are now far more smarter.

P.S.  This FREE webinar on Thursday December 6, 2012 from 12-12:30pm CST, helps small business owners and crazy busy sales people to face the truth about these 3 dirty words in business.

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Egos and Sales and Marketing Oh My

After reading hundreds of blog about how to increase sales to what are the the best marketing strategies, I realized ego is quite prevalent in sales and marketing.

sales-and-markting

This realization reminded of the scene from The Wizard of Oz Movie when Dorothy (Judy Garland) is walking through the evil forest with the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Straw Man. They begin to whisper “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My.” This whispering becomes louder and louder as they hurry through this very scary forest.

Imagine you are Dorothy, the sales person who is attempting to walk through the scary forest or marketplace.  Those Tigers are your competitors and the Bears are some potential customers. Now the Lion is the your ego or the egos of   your competitors, your customers or even some sales coach, sales consultant or sales trainer.

During the end of the year, there does appear to be an increase of those lion egos.  Some sales people are desperate and attempt to outshout their competitors to even bully their ideal customers.

Having a good ego is necessary especially for those engaged in selling as a good ego is truly reflective of self esteem. However an overly strong ego that steps on the emotions of others may not secure those end of the year or quarter sales goals.

As you work towards reaching those end of the year sales goals, it may make sense to remember in sales and marketing to refrain from allowing your ego to control your behaviors. Who knows such restraint may just increase sales?

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Happy Thanksgiving Is An Attitude of Gratitude

Today here in the US is Thanksgiving a Day of Gratitude for what we have as citizens of this great country.  When we are truly grateful for what we have received, we are indeed happy. This is not just one day of having an attitude of gratitude, but one of 365 days.

attitude of gratitude

So as you enjoy your time with families and friends, be grateful for today, for yesterday and for tomorrow.

And remember, an attitude of gratitude makes each day a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

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Small Business Leadership Roles Continue To Change

According to the US Census Bureau in 2010, 98.2% of all small businesses are small business with 99 employees or less. Gone for right now are the big corporations commanding the majority of the booths in the marketplace.  This transition has dramatically changed the small business leadership roles.

small business

sxc.hu

Today’s entrepreneurs must expand their small business leadership roles to include more awareness and knowledge about the sales process including marketing and selling within the now what is called the social marketplace. With around 70% of businesses today having 10 employees or less, these firms cannot afford to have separate marketing and sales departments.

In a recent article by Debra Murphy, she identified 6 marketing trends for 2013 and one of them included Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as the responsibility of the small business owner. Yet many small business owners still have static websites without blogs and are not as knowledgeable about inbound marketing as they must be to stay at least with the flow of the marketplace.

Additionally with qualified workers becoming harder and harder to find, the role of human resources has also fallen onto the already burden shoulders of the entrepreneur. Today creating a high performance organization goes beyond to just having the right people in the right seats.

The challenge for those in small business leadership roles is much of what is written, much of the sales training to organizational development, much of the marketing campaigns, is based on the 1.8%.  This disconnect potentially spells disaster for those firms who are looking to run lean and mean while having less resources including budgets, people and experiences to implement such change initiatives.

For those in small business leadership roles who recognize these responsibility changes, they will stay and eventually be ahead of the flow of business. However those who continue to ignore what the 21st century marketplace looks like; where it is located; and how people get there will find their small businesses falling further and further behind.

small-business-leadership

P.S. If you are seeking a good book and easy read on creating a high performance small business, then Fail-Safe Leadership fills that desire.

 

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Sales Leadership – The Talent of Self Management

With the holidays demanding more from those in sales leadership roles to increase sales, this talent of self management is probably what separates the successful  crazy busy sales people and small business owners from the not so successful. During hectic times, if  an individual cannot manage his or her self, then he or she is potentially disaster doomed.

self-management

According to Innermetrix, self management is a leadership quality and “this capacity measures a person’s ability to marshal similar abilities toward managing themselves.” Within this sales leadership talent, there exits multiple factors including “empathy, understanding, the ability to gain commitment and various other leadership qualities.”

Those small business owners and sales professionals who excel applying this talent of self managment “will be able to objectively and accurately assess their own strengths and developmental needs, and tend to be realistic in deciding what they are capable of doing and in what time they can do it.” (Source Innermetrix)

Conversely, those who find this sales leadership talent of self management a challenge “may have trouble applying these capabilities towards themselves.  This is not to say that they do not posses the proper tools to ‘manage.’  Rather, that they simply may not be very practiced at internalizing such efforts towards themselves.  Without properly analyzing their own abilities they may fail to maximize their abilities to their fullest potential.” (Source Innermetrix)

When effort is applied to those sales skills or sales leadership talents that focus on internalization, then significant and measurable performance improvement (increase sales) is a much greater possibility. 

After issuing over 500 talent assessments that measure this talent of self management, there exists a very strong correlation between this talent and realistic personal goal setting.  Additionally self management is considered from my experiences to be a “Power Talent” and by improving this talent can “kick-start” other sales leadership and personal leadership talents as effort are applied to increase sales.

P.S. Self management is ingrained within each of the 3 Dirty Words in Business. Attend this FREE webinar on Thursday December 6, 2012 from 12-12:30pm CST.

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