Posts Tagged ‘bad marketing’

I Have 13,000 LinkedIn Connections Now Justifies Bad Marketing

Bad marketing is rampant on LinkedIn. Yesterday after accepting a second degree connection, I received a message to read his article and get on the pre-order list for his book.  My response was:

So you reached out to me to make a sales pitch? Not the best use of LinkedIn. I will be disconnecting from you. Possibly next time attempt to establish a more personal relationship before the sales pitch.

He then said “The article is free.”  I responded “But the pre-order is not.” His comeback response once again reflected he is clueless about marketing:

Correct. I have over 13,000 connections. I have been forced to compress the “establishment of personal relationships” somewhat. No offense was intended.

Hmm, “forced to compress the establishment of personal relationships, somewhat.”  Double speak and makes sense since he teaches at the college level.

Real world translation is:

“I don’t have time for you to get to know and trust me. Just pre-order my book because I have 13,000 contacts.”

Personally I don’t care if this individual or anyone else has over 13,000 or 50,000 LinkedIn connections.  Plain and simple this type of email marketing is bad marketing.

Unfortunately social media has only worsened the problem of bad marketing.  People fail first to have a sales process and second fail to walk through that sales process without skipping steps. They believe they can send a sales pitch without developing any personal relationship.

The first phase of any sales process is marketing.  Here is where you as the salesperson get to know the sales lead and hopefully the sales lead is qualified.

If you are fortunate you are invited for a face to face meeting or even a phone call.  Now you are entering the second phase of the sales process – selling.

By listening and asking the “right questions,” you further learn the sales lead’s situation and may discover not only wants and needs, but more importantly what this potential ideal customer values.  Then you can connect your solution to his value drivers.

If you wish to increase sales, stop with the bad marketing (sales pitches), stop with justifying bad marketing and look to build real, authentic, personal relationships.

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Click to Download This List, Cheap, Bad Marketing

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



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

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

“Pure click bait!” Jeb Blount

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

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

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

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

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

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Faith in Sales, in You and Your Solutions

A colleague of mine, Elinor Stutz, shared an article on LinkedIn Pulse in which she discussed a sales tip about commitment. She then went on to articulate numerous actions to ensure commitment. I added in my comments that having faith in sales is also important.

faith-in-salesFaith in sales means you first have faith in your overall sales process.  Have you invested the time to hone your process including marketing, selling and keeping? In today’s market, many focus only on selling and end up making sales pitches before the marketing phase has been successfully completed.

Yesterday I received a LinkedIn invitation from a complete stranger who wanted me to review his book.  He shared he had hired a researcher to find people who reviewed similar books.  From my perspective, he violated the number one basic buying rule: People buy from people they know and trust.

Peter Drucker said (paraphrasing) when marketing is done well selling is effortless.  Bad marketing makes selling that much harder.

Do you have faith in yourself?  Have you invested the time to improve your interpersonal skills to sales skills?

Do you have faith in your sales solutions?  Are your solutions sustainable or just another quick fix solving a symptom instead of the real problem?

I am reminded of the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Jones had to take a leap or a step of faith to cross a wide and deep chasm that do not appear to have any bridge. Yet the bridge was there all along.  He just couldn’t see it.  In Stutz’s post she reminds us of the following:

“Progressing through the darkest tunnels leads to our brightest light.”

Faith in sales is what works with us to progress through those dark tunnels to lead to that bright light of sales success.  For without faith, we are truly lost.  Faith goes beyond confidence. Faith is something unexplainable because it defies reason and logic.

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Realtors – Time to Change the Sales Conversation

After having our home listed as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), I realize realtors have not changed their sales conversation for many years. They are quite alone. Now there are some real estate sales training programs that attempt start with changing the internal sales conversations and that is good.  However, what also needs to be changed is the sales conversation realtors  have with their clients.



Focus On the Buyers

In real estate because the paying of commission is still in the dark ages, the focus is on the buyers not the sellers even though the sellers pay the commission on both ends.  Yet, sellers of homes are also buyers.  The sellers of residential real estate must buy you as a competent salesperson who cares about them.

Embrace the 3 Sales Buying Rules

“People buy from people they know and trust” (first sales buying rule).  Much of this knowledge and trust is established within the marketing phase of the sales process.

Bad marketing builds distrust and may display the ignorance of the realtors. For example, a local husband and wife real estate team sent me a direct mail piece in which they stated “we pre-qualify all interested buyers…Call us to hear even more benefits”

This marketing message established distrust because:

  • Realtors do not pre-qualify buyers; lending institutions do that
  • Pre-qualification is not a benefit; it is a qualifying criteria (budget)

“People buy first on emotion; justified by logic” is the second sales buying rule.  What are the emotional triggers within the buyer?  Those emotional triggers in many cases happen within the marketing phase of the sales process. Unfortunately as I have written in great detail, much of the real estate marketing frankly sucks. Glamour shots (self portraits), retreating to price first to not engaging in the necessary sales lead research all reflect very bad marketing.

The third sales buying rule is “People buy on value unique to them.” What attracts one buyer to a particular home may not attract another buyer.  Value is not necessarily money.  Value can extend to other features including low taxes, low crime, good schools, friendly neighbors, less car traffic, accessibility to shopping, low maintenance, etc.

Lately some sales experts content “salespeople create value.”  That is plain hogwash.  What good salespeople do is to connect to the existing value drivers of the buyers.

For me one of my value drivers is dealing with professional salespeople. I have been in sales for over 30 years.

  • So please do not send me copy of a copy marketing flyer that is not personalized
  • Remember to thank me for allowing you as a real estate agent to view my home
  • Demonstrate your sales expertise beyond being a host or a hostess for an open house or scheduling viewings

Be Top Performing Salesperson

“Sales is the transference of feelings.” (Zig Ziglar) Ask yourself are your sales conversations transferring feelings?

To be a top performing salesperson you must demonstrate professional behaviors such as:

  • Professional communications
  • Professional dress
  • Professional follow-up

Finally, the sales conversation requires two people.  If you do not answer your phone, that sales conversation can never happen.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Marketing Is Connected at the Hip to Company’s Brand Value

Marketing is connected at the hip to a company’s brand value. This realization became ever more crystal clear after I read this posting on CBS Money Watch of 10 Companies with Insanely Bad Marketing. Note:  CBS News recently acquired the former website of BNet.  The  actual posting on bad marketing was Okay, but one comment specifically revealed how connected marketing is to a company’s brand and brand value.


One of the commentators raised the point that initially the CBS takeover (merger and acquisition) of BNet was no big deal. But now, there has been a change in perspective regarding the brand and the writer talked about the “demise of journalism” and “we’re moving closer to the day that journalism and entertainment are indistinguishable.”

I had to agree with him or her because I too very rarely read much from this former BNet site.

Seth Godin, author of many great books, probably has the best definition of brand that I have found.  He defined brand as a noun meaning:

“set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”

After reading Godin’s definition of the word brand, I crafted my own regarding the word “branding:”

“Verb: Are the authentic actions to connect to those expectations”

Marketing then demonstrates those “authentic actions. In my book, Be the Red Jacket, as well as many other articles I have written about the two-fold purpose of marketing.

  1. Attract attention
  2. Build a relationship

However after reading this very critically thought out response to the CBS posting on “10 Companies with Insanely Bad Marketing,” I realized there exists two additional and very subtle purposes or shadows behind the initial purposes of marketing those being:

  1. Introduce the brand
  2. Maintain brand value awareness

When CBS acquired BNet, the brand already existed that being articles and information about various aspects of business written by some noted business experts without the entertainment factor.  All CBS had to do was to maintain the brand value.  However, it made an executive decision to change the brand (the expectations) and probably accepted a lost of a few readers. Yet, the loss to brand value I believe has been far greater when looking at the absence of comments.

In a  merger and acquisition this abandonment of the brand is all too common and why most M&A fail. Companies are purchased because they are profitable. Then decisions are made to “bring the newly acquired company into the fold.” However, the brand value of this acquired company is probably subtly different than the brand value of the acquiring business.  Customers recognizing their expectations that were previously met, are no longer being met leave the now “merged business” taking their dollars with them. Many research reports estimate the M&A failure rate to range from 70-90%.

The lesson learned here might be “be careful,” “step lightly” when  looking to change your marketing because it may affect your brand.  If your brand has already created expectations by your customers or clients, your new marketing should reinforce those expectations if you truly wish to increase sales (the end result of effective marketing).


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