Posts Tagged ‘content marketing’

Challenging the Sales Leadership of “We’ve Always Done It that Way”

How many times have you heard those in sales leadership roles when given a new way of thinking state something like “We’ve always done it that way?”  This tunnel vision thinking fails to move the individual, the team, the organization and even the customers forward toward even greater success.

Those involved in continuous improvement hear this statement or something similar to this statement numerous times.  For example, a chair is in the corner of a room and has been there for years.  When asked why is the chair there, the answer is “because it has always been there.” The chair serves no purpose except requiring cleaning people to move it to dust and clean around it.

I remember a story about a young woman who questioned her mother why her mother cut the ends off a roast. The response was because that was what grandmother did.  The young woman asked her grandmother the same question.  Grandmother’s answer was to get the roast to fit into the pan.

“We’ve always done it that way” is being heard more in SMB sales leadership than ever before. This statement becomes a fallback position of complacency.

With greater emphasis on content marketing, social media marketing and changes in the buying decision making process, how the sales process is implemented may require minor as well as some major tweaks.  Yet, reluctance to let go of the status quo by many in sales leadership roles is still very much present.

Last night I heard a compelling presentation about how a local airport could be a dazzling economic gem. Beyond what appears to be considerable mismanagement, there also appeared to be an attitude of “we’ve always done it that way.”

For anyone in any sales leadership role including those on the sales team as well as all employees within the organization to be satisfied with the status quo of “We’ve always done it that way,” limits everyone within that organization. Human beings are designed to change.  Organizations are created by human beings.  Efficient and effective change is required to stay competitive in today’s dynamic business marketplace.

The questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you willing to be that change? – Your decision
  • What do you need to do to be that change? – Your critical thinking skills
  • How will you go about to ensure the change is positive and sustainable? – Your ability to execute
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Evergreen the Essence of Content Marketing

Content marketing is incredibly successful strategy and tactic for your buyers to begin to know you and trust you. To solidify this budding relationship requires fresh, relevant articles or what is called “evergreen.”

Can you bring a fresh and yet lasting perspective to what you are sharing?  What you don’t want is your marketing efforts to read or sound like the efforts of others or be seasonal as in the “best holiday marketing approach.”

Content Marketing Helps Buyers to Find You

Your potential buyers (think ideal customers) have specific wants and needs. In many instances, others have attempted to either meet those wants and need and have failed.  Their solutions were not sustainable.  The desired results were not achieved and probably not clearly identified during the sales process.

Your content marketing must demonstrate you have a fresh and sustainable perspective.  This is not the time for hot trends or the flavor of the month sales solution. Your ideal customers are seeking insight.

Evergreen marketing also relies on SEO. The inclusion of keywords not only in the article, but the rest of your website is essential.

How do you know if your content marketing is evergreen?  One way is to see how many times the article or blog posting has been viewed.  This article “My Best Referral Is Anyone with a Pulse” since its publication in February of 2015 has been viewed over 50,000 times and continues to secure monthly reads now 2.5 years later. LinkedIn is another marketing site that allows some limited statistics as do some article directories such as EzineArticles.

By reading and responding to comments from different sites where you have posted your articles, videos or podcasts is another way to learn if your content marketing reaches the evergreen status. The comments by others can provide you additional ideas in what your readers are seeking as well as what challenges are your readers facing.

Remember your content marketing efforts be them articles to videos to podcasts should have an everlasting quality to them. The question you may wish to consider asking yourself is “Will this perspective always be fresh and green like the evergreen trees or will it be green only part of the year?

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Realtors Who Want to Increase Sales Are on LinkedIn

Over the years I am continually surprised by the realtors who fail to leverage LinkedIn to increase sales. This is especially true for those selling higher value residential real estate to professional executives.

Now many realtors will tout the marketing advantage of Facebook to increase sales. Yet when it comes to sending traffic to your home page, LinkedIn substantially outperforms Facebook and Twitter.

Marketing Fact: LinkedIn sends nearly 4 times more people than Facebook or Twitter to your home page (Source: iQ Investis)

Specific marketing demographics on LinkedIn provide additional insight (source: LinkedIn):

  • One out of every three executives are on LinkedIn
  • 56% of members are male
  • 44% of members are female
  • 13% of LinkedIn users don’t have a Facebook account
  • 59% of LinkedIn users don’t visit Twitter
  • 13% of millennials use LinkedIn
  • 41% of users visit LinkedIn via mobile
  • LinkedIn users spend 26% of their time on LinkedIn using the mobile app

Of course, these marketing demographics mean nothing if you lack an Ideal Customer Profile.  This profile is the result of a thorough and complete strategic plan.  Unfortunately, many realtors and other small business owners engage in the role of Captain Wing It by spraying their marketing messages all over the wall and then praying something will stick. This spray and pray approach will not increase sales, but rather drains limited resources of time, energy, money and emotions.

Industry insights is the most in demand content by six out of 10 LinkedIn users. (Source: LinkedIn)  What this means for realtors is executives who are buying higher value residential real estate want to know what is happening within the industry or industries of where they are seeking real estate to purchase.  Writing articles or just posting updates  (content marketing) about school performance, taxes, community activities, etc. all provide insight these potential high value buyers are seeking.

One Quick Tip to Improve Visits to Your LinkedIn Profile

Beyond having a headline that goes beyond “realtor” but provides some insight as to why you are different, having a photo secures 21 times more profile views.  Also those LinkedIn Profiles with photos get 36 times for LinkedIn messages.

If you are a realtor and want to increase sales for those higher value residential real estate, then it may make sense to invest some time on LinkedIn just by using the free account.

Want to speak with Leanne to learn more about how to increase sales? Just CLICK HERE to schedule a FREE 30 minute strategy session.

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So Many Sales Conversations Singing the Same Old Song

Be honest with yourself right now.  Are your sales conversations like all those other salespeople?

Maybe the reason for your inability to increase sales is because your words are dust in the wind.  What you are saying has been said before.

Your words are singing the same old song. 

And you have refused to see how ineffective your words truly are. Then as the lyrics go to Dust in the Wind, “we crumble to the ground.”

People buy from people they know and trust.  Great salespeople understand how to build knowing and trusting relationships through the power of the spoken and written word. This is why content marketing continues to grow as a marketing channel.

Sales prospects have become inoculated to all the typical sales conversations.  They want to hear something different, something that connects to them emotionally first and foremost. This connection goes beyond that dribble of building rapport because you can build rapport with a dog and how does that increase sales?

Your sales leads want a for real, honest to goodness, ever present person first.  They want someone who will listen and provide them with insight they have not heard from others or through of by themselves.  In today’s world, we call this being an authentic thought sales leader.

Ask yourself what makes you buy from others?

  • Is it their great open ended sales questions?
  • Is it their ability to overcome sales objections?
  • Is it their price or their delivery?

No probably what matters first is their ability to relate to you as a person.  More than likely this relating to you is mostly subconscious as 80-90% of all our thoughts are subconscious.

Maybe the person smiled or just quietly listened to you.  Possibly he or she directly answered your questions without any additional hyperbole.

How many sales conversations are not really conversations but more like one way communication with the salesperson continually flapping his or her jaws?

If you truly want to increase sales, then invest some time to listen to your sales conversations so they are not the same old song and do not turn to dust in the wind.

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Are You Missing this “A” in Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing has truly been a blessing for 97.7% of all U.S. businesses with under 20 employees. These SMBs with limited resources (people, time and dollars) can now take advantage of grabbing the attention of their sales leads and beginning to build a relationship.

Content marketing further allows these sales hungry professionals to further educate and differentiate their businesses from their competitors.  Yet, these same forward thinking sales leaders are forgetting this essential “A” in their 21st century social media marketing.

So what is that “A?”

Amplification

The plethora of social media channels allows for one message to be shared (think amplified) and this amplification costs nothing. Unfortunately, the super majority of SMB owners and sales professionals fail to build amplification communities.

Imagine for a moment you have 1,000 twitter followers.  The average number of followers is 707. Then consider the impact of building an amplification community of 10 other liked minded professionals who have at least 1,000 followers. Your message has now been amplified 10 fold.

LinkedIn allows people to follow you and becomes a potentially “de facto” amplification. Here other professionals can share your updates to your LinkedIn articles.  Sometimes you may need to encourage others to share your postings through a direct request on an article or through internal LinkedIn emails.

Facebook and Google Plus also allow for your postings to be shared.  The challenge is how to get others to share your marketing message. The answer is to build your own amplification community.  You may have several different communities depending upon your target audience and your solutions.

There are other tools to help with your amplification such as Hootsuite or Hubspot. These sites provide the opportunity to make multiple postings of the same content marketing message.

Remember, there are thousands of SMBs seeking to grab attention.  By understanding how to amplify your social media marketing messages will increase sales.

 

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Need, a Word to Be Banished from Your Content Marketing and Sales Conversations

Just this morning in my news feed, I read a content marketing and sales headline “These are the skills you need to have.” The following thoughts quickly surfaced in my mind:

marketing and sales

  • Really, I need to have these skills of (leadership, sales, management, etc.)?
  • What if I don’t have these skills?
  • Will I be less successful without these skills?

The word “need” is filled with judgment and is probably one of the least emotionally intelligent words people in sales and marketing use on a daily basis. One can’t blame salespeople after all they are trained to “uncover wants and needs” in most sales training programs.

Return to a moment n your childhood and think about your parents or an adult telling you any of the following:

  • You need to go to bed
  • You need to make straight As
  • You need to go to college
  • You need to find a good job
  • You need to visit your relatives
  • You need… (the you need list is endless)

Every time I read about “you need” to do this or have this when it comes to SMB, sales, marketing to leadership, I inwardly cringe.  For the last 10 years, I have attempted to remove this word, “need,” from my own executive coaching engagements, content marketing and sales conversations.  I also encourage my clients to replace this highly emotional word with other phrases such as “Have you considered?”

Emotional intelligence is critical to successful marketing and sales.  Jeb Blount founder of Sales Gravy is releasing on March 20, 2017 a book, Sales EQ: How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal, dedicated to emotional intelligence specific to sales and one I recommend purchasing.

Of course changing an existing behavior is not easy. And for time strapped marketing and sales people having to speak a few extra words may prove frustrating. My advice is just remember how you emotionally felt years ago when you were told “you need” to do whatever.  That memory should be enough to prompt you to change your behavior.

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To Engage or Not to Engage, the LinkedIn Quandary

LinkedIn for B2B professionals does matter.  For the last few years I have been conducting my own private research and learned, at least for me, the top 5 reasons why people ask to be connected.

LinkedIn

 

#1 Engagement

The super majority of people (nearly 60%) send me invitations because I have engaged with them or with one of their connections.  Since LinkedIn changed its groups policies, these engagements are overwhelmingly from update posts.  Prior to this change, the invitation outreach was through groups.

Additionally within this reason for connection, I have included those profiles I have visited.  When a second or third degree connection has visited my profile, I usually return the visit.  In quite a few instances, I will then receive an invitation to connect.

#2 LinkedIn Pulse Articles

Even with all the people publishing on Pulse, my articles still continue to drive a significant amount of invitations to my In Box. Right now approximately 25% of all LinkedIn invitations are because of these articles. What I have also observed is quite a few people within this community will follow me first and then extend an invitation to connect.  Content marketing for B2B is a proven marketing method for attracting attention and beginning to build relationships.

#3 Direct Outreach

Sometimes either through a personal one on one meeting, I will receive an invitation to connect or I will send an invitation.  These invitations represent around 7%. Also within this group are those who are connected to one of my first degree connections and believe it may make sense to connect with me as well.

#4 Referrals

As my network has grown, I have begun to see an increase in referrals from other colleagues.  Those within my existing contacts also have made suggestions for others to connect with me. Where in the past this percentage was nominal, today it also hovers around 5%.

#5 Suggestions

Finally, around another 3% of my connections now originate from LinkedIn’s suggestions to connect. This is the smallest percentage. And for me has always been the smallest percentage.

For those engage in social selling or better yet social marketing, then it makes sense to be engaging on LinkedIn.  Share the update posts of others.  Comment on those posts.  My other suggestion is to keep track of those who visit your profile, research their profile to determine if an invitation to connect is warranted.

P.S. Please make sure your LinkedIn Profile is complete and engaging.  Many profiles turnoff more sales leads or prospects than they turn on. And no you do not have to accept all invitations.

 

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Plagiarism Goes Beyond Intellectual Dishonesty

Yesterday a colleague, Mark Hunter, came across one of his articles being plagiarized by a fairly well connected LinkedIn member.  He notified a group of other sales coaches, sales consultants and colleagues about this plagiarism.  The group responded and not even 24 hours later, this particular article as well as all other articles under this person’s name were removed.

plagiarismI too have suffered from plagiarism.  A sales training company in Texas took one of my website pages one for word and copied it to their own website.  When I notified the CEO, he called and said he was unaware, apologized and the copy was removed. The CEO blamed the web designer. Over the years I have discovered other blog postings copied and have called out the authors.

Individuals who plagiarize the intellectual capitol of others demonstrate from more than dishonesty within their business ethics.  They also reveal they are lazy, lack creativity and are stupid to think eventually they will not be caught.

A recent study by the University of Missouri revealed the financial impact of dishonesty by CEOs. Unethical behavior does translate to the bottom line to a measurable 4.1% loss in shareholders’ value.

In today’s social selling world where content marketing has become a viable sales leads generating channel, being a plagiarist just does not make good business sense.  The reason is simple, in spite of how large the world is, it is still a small world.  People are connected to other people.  Software programs can find duplicate content with the stroke of a few keys.

One of the more simple ways to avoid even unintentional plagiarism is to Google the title for any content marketing in quotes.  This way the you can quickly determine if another person has written a similar article. Also this same tactic can be used to learn if your titles are being plagiarized by someone else.

In sales, people buy from people they know and trust.  Swiping the intellectual capital of others will not increase sales.

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How Sales Pitches Keep the Reticular Activator on High Alert

Social media is one of the primary reasons for the increase in sales pitches.  All these usually free social media channels now have conditioned sales leads to be very wary of any inbound marketing messages.  What has really transpired is all these prospecting activities have put the sales lead’s reticular activator on high alert.

sales-pitches

Credit www.pixabay.com

Just as a quick review, the reticular activator is really a system within the human brain that essentially stays on high alert.  The actual name is “reticular formation” and it is located at the core of the brain steam between the medulla oblongata and mid brain.

What happens is the sales lead’s brain first recognizes sales pitches. Then the brain is now on high alert. These marketing messages are immediately discounted.  This might explain why messaging may require updates and changes as people become overly aware or sensitive to certain marketing messages.

The more the salesperson engages in sales pitches on social media the greater the chance to turn off all sales leads.  This is probably why education based marketing now considered influence content marketing continues to grow.

No longer is the salesperson or marketing person sending out buy this or buy that updates, but rather these individuals are  providing interesting, informative and relevant content with the intent to educate and ultimately influence a positive emotional reaction. From this emotional reaction, then a more logical action is taken such as sending a LinkedIn invitation or following the person on Twitter.

Possibly this may also explain some other behavior such as why people are reluctant to leave LinkedIn Pulse posting when directed to click on a link to read the rest of the article.  Their conditioned behavior of being aware has them potentially jaded as to what they may encounter if they leave the LinkedIn posting.

The goal of marketing is to create awareness and begin to build a relationship. Understanding how the human brain works including the reticular activator will support forward thinking salespeople to avoid sales pitches in their marketing and sales conversations.

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The Trick or Treat of Sales Advice

Yesterday I received my weekly email from a colleague, Anthony Iannarino, entitled How to Avoid Bad Sales Advice. This posting was quite accurate given there is so much sales advice out there and yet people still are unable to achieve sales results.

sales-advice

Credit www.picjumbo.com

Sales advice is much like Halloween, 365 days a year.  It is either a trick or a treat.  For many it appears to be more of a trick than a treat.

The marketplace is changing, continually evolving because of technology.  Today’s buyers are more educated and less susceptible to trickery.  One would think salespeople would also be less susceptible, but that does not appear to be the case.

Pressure from sales managers to SMB owners to increase sales, meet quotas, expand marketing may be part of the reason for all this trickery. Additionally, there is the “quick fix” belief held by many because they waited until results were so bad they needed something quick to fix a long term, usually systemic problem.

All this bad sales advice presumes everyone is suffering from the same people or process problems.  If we examine the sales statistics, we learn that most people are not ready to buy when meeting a salesperson.  We also know people buy from people they know and trust.  This is called relationship building and is helped through nurture marketing via content marketing be it a weekly email or monthly ezine. 

In many instances, the reason for poor sales is not because of salespeople’s actions but rather from executive leadership which lacks clarity and thus creates misaligned and misdirected actions.  As Theodore Hesburgh said “You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”

People need leadership and uncertainty is a killer when it comes to the goal to increase sales. This is not the time to engage in trickery or treats that are still tricks. Be authentic, be present and remember people buy from people they know and trust.

Happy Halloween!

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