Posts Tagged ‘business cards’

Don’t Forget Your Business Cards When You Innovate

Business cards are prime marketing space. Yet how often are they forgotten when it comes to time to innovate.   If innovation is all about change, the question is:

“Does your business card reflects your own innovation?”

Has your tagline changed?

Have your sales prospects changed (think ideal customers)?

Is the marketplace the same today as it was when you first started?

Business cards are inexpensive compared to other forms of paid marketing.  They provide an incredible catalyst for engaged sales conversations.

Where there is the opportunity for greatest innovation is on the back of your business card.  Here is prime marketing real estate.

Now some will say leave it blank to write for others to write notes.  My question is:

How do you know they are writing notes about you and not someone else?

Think of the back of your business card as an opportunity:

  • To tell a story, your story
  • What makes you different, the Red Jacket in a Sea of gray suits?

Your story should focus on what is happening in your marketplace and how you can make a difference to your sales prospects.

As I have recently moved, I am changing, innovating, my business cards.  Beyond having an address change, I have redesigned the back of the card. Gone is the QR Code that was popular in the past and now a new graphic is present – one without a title. I intentionally left off the title because I wanted an opportunity to explain the graphic.  The Formula for Sustainable Results is still present as well as a simple call to action.

(b) › [A+S+K} + (m&m)wG = PBC = IP IR

Business cards reflect you, your professionalism and even your attention to detail.  Heavier card stock, glossy paper, clean and easy to read font give others a sense of who you are.

If you are thinking of innovating, consider starting with changing your business cards.  You just may be surprised as to how much you and your business have really changed.

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No Cluelessness in Real Estate Sales Is Not a Youth Thing – Part 1

Yesterday on another social media site, a colleague asked why real estate agents do not leave business cards when showing a home.  A younger real estate agent asked this question: Why does it matter in real estate sales in leaving a business card?  He then stated his reasoning for not leaving a business card.

real-estate-sales

#1 – The listing agent should have electronic documentation on who has set a showing for the day. Follow up is a mouse click away. 

#2 – If the owner of the home is concerned someone didn’t show the house then he or she should talk to your listing agent. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if they showed your house or didn’t if there’s no offer to buy.

#3 – Maybe this is a youth thing,  but business cards cost me money. If I’m handing them out I should be receiving business. What’s the rational of dropping something that costs money in a scenario that will not produce any money from that action?

As we are currently relocating to another state and our house is up for sale, I found this posting extremely insightful about real estate sales and selling in general.  For solo-entrepreneurs, independent contractors as in real estate or SMB owners, there is still a lot of “cluelessness” in sales.

What first grabbed my attention was his third point number “business cards cost me money. If I’m handing them out I should be receiving business.”

That is full blow scarcity mentality and probably the quickest way never to increase sales.  Business cards are marketing.  For those selling in B2C or B2B, business cards are the cheapest real estate outside of social media.

From my perspective I hand out business cards to attract attention and ultimately build relationships, not to receive business. I have no expectation of a sale when I share a business card.  The sales process is time driven because it takes time for those sales leads or potential sales referrals to get to know and trust you as a salesperson.

Last year, the National Association of Realtors published a report entitled “The Danger Report.” This report is broken down into five sections with the first section focusing on real estate agents.  The number one danger is:

“The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical, and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry.”

In speaking with an executive of the local real estate association here in Northwest Indiana, he shared with me his surprise of how many real estate agents have not read this report.  Less than 10% of the realtors I know were even aware of the report.  This cluelessness returns back to a deep knowledge gap as well as a significant self-improvement gap.

Bottom line in real estate sales, always have business cards on you and be willing to share them especially if you are showing a home.

Tomorrow’s posting will look at the second reason about “no offer to buy” while Friday’s will address the first reason.

Want more real estate sales, more time and less stress?

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Push Your Brains, Not Your Brawn in Sales

There is a lot of pushing going on in small business to Fortune 500 sales.  Hungry, sales starved small business owners to others use their brawn to push their business cards, their elevator pitches instead of using their brains to push toward their desired end results such as increase sales or sustainable business growth.

salesFor the sake of argument, I am defining brawn as those common, repetitive sales activities where non-thinking energy is applied.

Brawn is automatic pilot (conditioned response) doing while brain is intentional thinking (unconditioned response).

In talking with an executive sales coaching client who was sharing her meeting with a potential client, she asked a question about what was happening within this particular organization. The sales lead jumped all over her by saying “you should know what is going on here.”  Keeping her cool, she used her brain not to overreact but to demonstrate she had done her research and was just attempting to learn were there any additional challenges.  In our executive coaching debriefing conversation, she realized that in the future, by placing a clause before her question to indicate she had down her research might possibly avoid a repeat of this particular situation.

Sales is far more about thinking than even speaking or picking up the phone to talk to a sales lead. Engaging in industry or company specific research is an example of pushing one’s brain. Reading and self improvement are two others examples of pushing the brain. Thinking what you will say to that sales lead before you pick up the phone so you do not sound like all those other vendors wanting the same business.

Having a written sales action plan is another example of pushing the brain.  Far too many sales people are in the role of Captain Wing It pushing their brawn by spraying their actions all over the place and then praying something will stick.

Yes doing is needed in sales, no doubt about that. However without intentional forward thinking, the brawn will almost always lose to the brain.

If you truly want to increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days

Consider giving her a call especially if what you have tried has not worked and you are ready to challenge and then change the current status quo.

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Please Put Your Business Cards Back in Your Pocket

“Let me see who else I can pass business cards to”  was said at a recent business to business networking event. I did not know what action to take first toward this small business owner:

business-cards

  • Shake her
  • Scream at her
  • Just accept her total lack of marketing and general business etiquette

How many times do small business owners to sales professionals think passing out a plethora of business cards to absolute strangers will increase sales?

And worse yet these over eager business beavers fail to realize they have potentially tainted the prospecting seas.

Business cards should be exchanged after mutual agreement has been established. Passing out business cards without permission is very much like a the push sales strategy instead of the much more effective pull sales sales strategy.

And after several encounters with the same people, the pass out as many marketing strategy will be noticed and overall your credibility as a professional salesperson, small business owner will be greatly diminished.

This poor business networking and marketing behavior ranks about the same as when another small business professional asks you to pass out their business cards.

If you wish to increase sales, then scheduled a no risk, no cash 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session where you will receive:

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by at least 20% in 60 days

Call Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CDT if what you have tried has not worked and you are ready to challenge and then change the current status quo.

 

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Monday Malady Captain Wing It Sales Behavior – Sowing of Business Cards

The Captain Wing It sales behavior that begins the Monday malady is the sowing of business cards like grains of wheat with the expectations that business, new sales leads or increase sales will actually be the results of these efforts.

Credit www.sxc.hu

How many times do sales people attend a business to business networking event and there is at least one person there who passes out his or her business cards to every single person?  These crazy busy salespersons never truly stop to engage people.  In fact some are so audacious, they will give multiple cards in each passing and then tell, not ask, the recipients to share these cards with others.

This Captain Wing It sales behavior is just one example of what I have deemed “spraying and praying.”

“Business people from sales to the small business owners to the C Suite spray their actions all over the place and they pray something will stick.”

Now does this truly make sense? 

Maybe this does make sense if you believe in numbers such as pass out 100 business cards and get one to three responses. However, in this process of being in the role of Captain Wing It and demonstrating this questionable sales behavior the question to be asked is:

“How many people have I turned off by creating negative attention?”

The two-fold purpose of marketing within the sales process is to attract attention and begin to build a relationship.  Sowing of business cards to every Tom, Dick and Harry, every breathing business person, in the short term and long term is not in alignment with the purpose of marketing. Actually, the only results are lot of wasted paper (business cards) and you are a little more pocket poor from the costs of all those sown business cards.

How can you build a relationship when you demonstrate you do not want one?  Your sales behavior clearly showcases your business to business networking is all about you and not about the other people in the room. Sales Training Coaching: #1 sales buying rule: People buy from people they know and trust.

Imagine for a moment that you became very intentional about who you handed, note handed not shoved, your business card to. Your goal would be to learn a little more about that individual.  Determine if there was value in the actual exchange of contact information.  And possibly, the other person might ask for your business card first. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Think quality not quantity of reaping new sales leads.

Engaging in business to business networking does require the mindset of a farmer who understands where the richest land (think ideal customer) is, who recognizes the grain of wheat must be planted to truly take hold and then watered with continual contacts. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Most sales are made between the fourth and 12th contacts.

Consider treating your business cards as precious grains of wheat and taking care to whom you present them will in both the short term and long term build strong relationships, yield valuable sales leads and increase sales.

P.S. Each Monday morning for the next few weeks, other Captain Wing It sales behaviors will be discussed.  Also remember to check out my weekly business column over at the Post Tribune.

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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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How to increase Sales Tips and Snippets #7 – Lose the Wimpy

There is a lot of wimpy in sales and business today.  Let’s see where do I start?

Wimpy Handshakes – Don’t you love those handshakes that feel like wimpy, wet noodles?

Wimpy Business Cards – Those are the cards received at those meet and greet business networking events that have not been updated in the last few years and have missing information or worse yet wrong information that is crossed out.

Wimpy Elevator Speeches or 30 Second Pitch – You know the ones that begin “I’m a (fill in the blank) and I help (fill in the blank).  So you are just like everyone else. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Stop using the word help as all the other wimps use that verb.

Wimpy First Impressions – Besides being the Flipper and Flapper, the pump and dump, the spewer of the 3Ps virus as noted in Be the Red jacket, these are the folks you want to run away from at those business to business  networking events.

Wimpy Sales Follow-Up – Sales research suggest almost 50% of all sales leads are not acted upon, followed up.  Talk about wimpy behavior.

Wimpy Marketing Messages – How many messages do you hear, see or read that emotionally engage you?

Wimpy Cold Calling or Emailing – These are the messages that all start the same way.  Wimpy not to mention boring to even aggravating.

Wimpy Sales Presentations – Due to the existing “wimpiness” (not sure if that is a word), the sales presentations are like viewing a “dead fish.”

Wimpy Speaking – From those who speak to others to just speaking one on one, wimpy reigns. Originality is dead, long live cut and paste!

Wimpy Solutions – Whether products or services, these are the solutions lacking sustainability.

I am sure there are more “wimpies” (again not sure if this is a word) in sales and business.  Please add yours to the comments below. Note: Spammers will be deleted.

Sales Cartoon

Credit: www.funnysalescartoons.com


A Quote to Sell and to Buy

Those who market well will not have to sell as hard.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith,

The Sales Coach for Craxy Busy Forward Thinking Leaders who want a New Status Quo (Think Increase Sales)

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Business Cards Value Versus Cost Savings to Increase Sales?

Many crazy busy sales people and small business owners believe business cards are a dime a dozen.  Slap your name on them, upload a generic graphic or even your logo and Wha La, Presto, your business card is born. With so many sites offering business cards for free except you pay shipping, why not take advantage of those cost savings especially when you are pocket poor?

My initial business cards many years ago were professionally produced by a printer. Then as I was working on re-branding my executive consulting and sales coaching business I did utilize the services of an Internet site with 250 cards costing about $.10 each. After seeing a business card with a QR (quick response code), I decided to return to the professionally produced path.  Working with a local vendor, Rick Gosser (who had been a past client in full disclosure) of Gosser Corporate Sales, we crafted a new card.  So far, the comments have been positive because for this one reason:

First Impressions Count!

Beyond your professional attired image, your business card is the first impression someone has about you or your company. A well designed card can help to begin to overcome the first two of the five sales objections you and your company.

Additionally, people refresh their wardrobes so why refresh your business cards?   And here is the second reason to use a professionally designed card:

You May Never Get A Second Chance!

The value of the professional card should exceed the investment made.  When comparing card stock, printing quality, customization, the discounted business cards actually were not that much of a value.  From my calculations, I saved maybe $20 if that much by purchasing the less expensive, generic cards. And that card still had the potential to be copied by other sales persons or small business owners. Now I once again have a unique card. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Using sites that offer free is good for beginning entrepreneurs who are still finalizing their marketing message especially their Logo.

Also you can expand that value by using the back of your card.  Not using that space is lost marketing and advertising property.  Please do not share with me the argument I leave it blank for someone to write on.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  How do you know that person is writing about you and not someone else such as your competitor? If you have this thought you are hoping to increase sales.

Bottom line is you can be cheap with your cards or make an investment to create a unique card that will leave a lasting and positive impression.

What do you think will increase sales?

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How to Increase Sales Tip – Remember Your Business Cards

During a discussion with the South Shore Business Networking Group, I asked this question:

What is one thing you can do during the summer months to increase sales and improve your business results?

One member immediately shared her recent experience while attending a social event at the Indiana State Dunes park.  She had her phone, driver’s license, keys and cash. Everything else was left in her purse at home. Given this was a social event with old high school buddies, she did not think to bring her business cards.  However, many of her old high school friends asked what she was doing and she then realized her business cards were in her purse sitting on the kitchen counter.

How many times have you attended a business networking event and meet someone who has no business cards?  Then there are those folks who cross off old phone numbers or email addresses on their business cards and scribble usually not legibly the new information.

Being without a business card is like eating soup with your fingers.

How to increase sales is difficult, but not having business cards (please note this word is plural) on you whether it is a business networking event or even a social event is like broadcasting you are not:

  • Professional
  • Concerned about meeting other individuals
  • Focused on growing your business

Remember this how to increase sales tip by:

  • Placing them in your car
  • Putting them into your jacket pockets
  • Having them in your purse or wallet
  • Keeping them on your desk (to stuff into envelopes)
  • Placing them into your briefcase, portfolio, etc.

Business cards are your first impression besides your overall physical appearance, your smile and your handshake.

Make that first impression memorable not forgettable!

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No Email on Business Cards, What Gives?

In today’s technology driven and global business marketplace, having complete information on your business card is a must especially if you wish to increase sales.  However, for the life of me I cannot understand why sales professionals to small business owners still fail to include an email on their business cards.

Since business to business networking is about connecting with potential new customers, strategic partners, centers of influence (think referral partners) and ultimately being able to increase sales, then ensuring that you can be contacted is critical. Not to have your email address on your business cards is simply foolish and more importantly tells others you are not serious about business.

P.S. Always make sure you have business cards on you. Failure to do so again suggests you are not serious about business.

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