Posts Tagged ‘ideal customers’

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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Automated Marketing Creates An Automated Response

Yesterday I received an automated marketing message via Twitter and it read as follows:

“We think it’s wicked awesome that you’re following us and hope you’re getting value from our perspective on leadership. If we can help you with your self, professional, or team leadership we would love to lend a hand. Not sure what leadership and management skills to improve? This download with 27 areas will help you decide (link removed).”

People in business receive daily automated marketing messages via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email. For most their automated response is:

“Ignore” or “Delete.”

If the purpose of marketing is to attraction attention, hopefully positive attention, the action of ignore or delete is not the desired result.

Of course SMB people have limited resources including time and money. The solution of an automated marketing appears to be doable.

This leads to the question of “How do I reach my ideal customers with these limitations and still use the benefit of today’s Internet automated marketing technology?”

Possibly instead of making a sales pitch, maybe a better response would be to ask to verbally talk with the individual. The use of a calendar scheduling technology provides an opportunity for the other person to verbally connect with you.

LinkedIn provides a canned automated marketing invite, but you can personalize it (at least from the desktop). The personalization should indicate why you extended the LinkedIn invitation.

When you accept an invitation, send a personalized message asking what prompted the outreach.  If the individual appears to be a potential sales lead to a center of influence, ask if a phone meeting is possible and provide some dates.


People buy from people they know and trust.  Just because people followed you or your SMB via a social media channel does not mean they know and trust you. Knowing and trusting takes time.  The last action you want a sales lead to take is to ignore or delete your marketing message.

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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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The Essence of Executive Coaching Is…

Executive coaching is becoming a recognized sustainable solution to improve the business leadership performance of individuals.  Yet, how often are people asked to explain the essence of this powerful solution?

executive-coachingHere is a statement that I make somewhere during the sales conversation with potential ideal customers or clients:

“Coaching be it executive, business or sales is about clarity through tools and processes beginning with assessments. These provide the information to ask the right or often unasked questions to get clear answers from you, the coachee, as to what is happening around you.”

The essence of coaching is clarity.  This is the same reason people seek out mentors.  It is not just the advice they are seeking, but gaining a very sharp, crystal clear picture of:

  • Where they are
  • Where they want to be
  • How to get to where they want to be
  • What is limiting their ability to get to where they want to be

Of course, sometimes executive coaching clients do not realize they have most of the answers within themselves. All the coach does is to ask the right or often unasked questions to have the “coachee” make that self discovery.

With business coaching and sales coaching clients, clarity is still the essence however the role of the coach may step into the role of consultant by providing answers.  Many new to sales for example do not have the tools or even sales skills necessary for sales success. The coach may provide those tools, additional knowledge and offer further guidance through role playing to reviewing sales scripts to prospecting activities.

Getting to where one wants to be is not easy especially when the path is not clear. Executive coaching helps clear that path.  Theodore Hesburgh is quoted as saying “No one can follow an uncertain trumpet.” That uncertainty is a lack of clarity.

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Sales Prospecting in the 21st Century – Part 1

Sales prospecting is job one for most sales professionals unless they have sales leads being fed to them. Until salespeople find qualified potential ideal customers to buy their solutions, they will remain pocket poor.

sales-prospectingToday, there are more sales prospecting strategies to reach those essential sales leads.  In the book, High Profit Prospecting, by Mark Hunter, he provides some great insight on how to prospect in the 21st century.

Within the 23 chapters and under 210 pages, Hunter provides an almost chronological order for prospecting. Some of the information is probably already known by salespeople yet there is quite a bit unknown. What I found very helpful was actual samples of telephone scripts, email scripts and even voice mail scripts.

One of the key points in Hunter’s perspective is to keep communication succinct and emotionally compelling. For example in the voice mail scripts, he suggests to use the person’s first name and then share the caller’s name and company. The next sentence is to provide a strong reason for the intended sales lead to return the call. Finally,  the last sentences repeat the sales lead’s name, the caller’s name (twice) and phone number (twice).

If time is finite, then keeping the message short and on point is essential especially if the sales lead is a high D. (DISC Index Profile) Many decision makers especially in the B2B world are high Ds. These individuals want the facts, want them in order and have very little time for small talk. Hunter’s scripts really work well for this type of buying behavior.

In his conclusion, Hunter reaffirms that sales is a calling and not just a profession. He encourages the reader to take one or two concepts and apply them.  Then add a few more if necessary.

Sales prospecting is part of the marketing phase of the sales process. The goal is to make a friend and to be asked back for that coveted one on one meeting. Hunter’s book becomes your marketing guide to increase sales results.

I wholeheartedly recommend High Profit Prospecting to both novice and experienced sales professionals. My favorite chapters are 13, 14 and 15. If you decide to read this book, please let me know your favorite chapters.

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How Boring Are You to Your Sales Prospects?

Boredom is described as the “state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” (Merriam Webster Dictionary) Boring is the action that creates that state of boredom.  The last thing you want as a salesperson is to bore your sales prospects, yet many still do just that.

sales-prospectsOf course, these sales prospects may be more polite and not tell you they are bored. However with numerous sales leads not converting, there is some boredom happening within the sales conversations from the first marketing interaction to the actual sales presentation.

Same Boring Rapport Building Questions

Much is written about rapport building in sales.  Personally, I find that word, rapport, to be tiresome.  One can build rapport with a dog. What happens is the emphasis becomes on the behavior and not on the person.  We have all heard these boring rapport building questions and inwardly cringe when we experience them ourselves.

Same Boring Fact Finding Questions

“So what keeps you up at night?”  How many times has that boring fact finding question surfaced? Then there is the all too common “What problems are keeping you from moving forward?”

Same Boring Sales Meetings

Sales research from Forrester suggests 80% of sales meetings are a complete waste of time from the executive buyers’ perspectives.  My sense is much of that is due to boredom.

With human beings now having a shorter attention span than a goldfish (source Microsoft), keeping sales prospects and potential ideal customers engaged is truly not easy.  Yet with some due diligence, some risk taking, forward thinking salespeople can reverse that trend.  The question of the day is:

Are you ready to challenge your own sales behavior and stop boring your sales prospects?


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The Human Desire to Control the Sales Closing Question

So you reached the end of the sales conversation and now, drum roll, comes the ultimate sales closing question. This one is a sure fire winner. You speak and nothing happens. No reaction, no comment. Now you are scrambling as to what to say.

closing-questionWith today’s buyer’s being far more education,, possibly the tried and true closing question requires a little adjustment?  What worked yesterday may not work today.

For me, I unknowingly applied the Theory of Self Determination within my executive coaching and sales coaching practice. This intrinsic motivational theory developed in the 1970s by Deci and Ryan has three 3 elements. The most important one is autonomy or choice. Mastery and purpose as it relates to other people are the other two.

When we provide our potential ideal customers or qualified sales leads with a choice, there is a greater likelihood for the internal motivational driver to kick in. Of course, this does presume we as salespeople have addressed all  sales objections and uncovered as many stalls as possible.  We have also emotionalized the pain for not taking action.

Now with multiple decision makers within a complex sale this may not be the best sales closing question. However with single decision makers in the SMB marketplace, I have consistently applied this question for over 10 years with a 90% earn or close rate.

What concerns me is the more we attempt to control the end of the sales conversation, the greater the chance of the all knowing ego taking over.  If “sales is the transference of feelings” as noted by Zig Ziglar, then controlling the feelings of others suggests an overly strong ego or even insecurity.

Salespeople who have dotted their “i”s and crossed their “t”s with authenticity should not fear allowing their sales leads to have control.  This attitude works with the “pull sales strategy” where the ideal customer continues to pull you close to them.

If you are having unsuccessful sales efforts, schedule a quick call with Leanne by clicking HERE

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Where’s Your Sales Beef? – Part 1

In 2001, Wendy’s had a series of commercials asking “Where’s the beef?” These commercials highlighted the quality of Wendy’s hamburgers and to differentiate their hamburgers from their competitors.  Today in sales, quality and differentiation are even more important.



Within your solutions (products or services) where is your quality and how does your quality differ from your competitors is essential to know. More importantly when speaking to sales leads or ideal customers, this is one path toward being able to articulate the value of your solutions.

Sales Coaching Tip: According to sales research “Value Articulation” is a consistent barrier to increase sales.

Within this commercial series “Where’s the beef ?” became a simple and effective message of value articulation.

For me, “Where ‘s the beef?” is in every solution I bring forward.  I have developed a process – ACE Model for Forward Thinking Leadership & Sales Culture™ – to ensure consistency of quality and to differentiate myself from my competitors. Value articulation happens within the sales conversation beginning with Assessment.

By engaging in a series of  proven assessments, I have the capacity to identify the real problems facing the individual or organization. Many other firms advance solutions that solve leadership and sales symptoms while failing to address the real problems. This is one reason many individuals and SMB businesses experience repetitive problems.

From these assessments, the client and I engage to Clarify the results of each assessment and to now work together to gain clarity as to what and how to proceed. This requires understanding and consistently employing a proven goal setting process reinforced by The Results Tool™.

Finally, it is time to Execute.  Given execution is where many salespeople, executive leaders and businesses fail, by investing the time to assess and clarify, consistent and results driven execution is much more likely to achieve.

Then when something new happens or something stops working, we return to assessing the situation, clarifying and then executing. This circular improvement process is ongoing.  Due to its simplicity, clients always know:

  • Where they are in their improvement efforts
  • What actions to take next

If you are in sales, then consider answering the question of “Where’s the beef?” Possibly by answering this question you will gain greater clarity around how to communicate value articulation to your sales leads.

Tomorrow’s blog posting will look at “Where’s the sales beef?” from another perspective.

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Simply Speaking Email Marketing May Turn Off Sales Referrals

Being connected within the sales community, I receive a lot of emails.  This past week I received an email from a colleague who was seeking either my direct business or sales referrals.



The content of his email (see below) took me by surprise because we had actually spoken.

While I don’t know yet if our training methods are right for you and your company, I thought the best place to start would be a short conversation, allowing me to get to know you better.

My initial thoughts upon reading his words were:

  • “Get to know me better”?
  • Did we not talk?
  • Do you not know what I do?
  • Is this how you treat people you know by making irrelevant sales pitches?
  • What would you do if I sent you some sales referrals?

Emails such as this are quite common in the realm of cold calling through email marketing.  Personally, it is not a practice I engage in, but I do know if I believe the sales research this marketing is quite effective.

If the goal is to fill the sales funnel with sales leads, then this suggests to be far more judicious in the actual email content.  Mass emailings have the potential to create more distrust than positive attraction especially when they are worded poorly.

#1 Sales Buying Rule

People buy from people they know and trust.

I so believe in this #1 sales buying rule. Your ideal customers or clients must begin to know you and begin to trust you. This is why content marketing such as this blog, LinkedIn Pulse or other social media sites are so popular.

Sales referrals along with daily prospecting are necessary sales activities.  The goal of both is to work with the #1 sales buying rule not against it. My marketing and selling suggestions today are:

  • Review your email list before sending out a generic prospecting email
  • Tailor your message to your prospective sales leads
  • Get a second opinion on your message to ensure you are not building distrus

Listen to some of my thoughts about SMB sales at Sales Scenario’s podcasts.


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Value Articulation Maybe Your Only Sales Obstacle

Simplicity for top sales performers is to remove every sales obstacle before it becomes an impediment to a successful sale.  So, I was not surprised of these findings regarding this sales obstacle of value articulation:


  • For the last four years, sales leaders agreed the number one barrier preventing sales quota achievement is the inability for salespeople to articulate value. (Source: SiriusDecision)
  • 66% of executive buyers feel salespeople cannot articulate value. (Source: Gartner)

I am presuming these barriers happen after the sales leads have been qualified or even partially qualified.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on constructing a value proposition statement and infusing part of that statement into the elevator speech.  Yet my sense is if the SMB salesperson does not know how to be agile when it comes to connecting the value embedded within his or her solution, then it is no surprise these sales results happen:

  • 99% of sales leads do not convert (Forrester)
  • 87% of sales leads do not convert (LinkedIn)

This leads to this question:

How do you articulate value when speaking with ideal customers or sales leads?

To be able to answer this questions does require to have:

  • Knowledge
  • Attitude
  • Skills
  • Habits

Year ago my coach David Herdlinger constructed the KASH Box and I updated it to the KASH Box for Sustainable Change.  I have discovered this simple graphic brings me clarity respective to value articulation. During a sales conversation, I keep this mental model in my brain to ensure I am:

  • Sharing the necessary knowledge from the sales lead’s perspective not yours
  • Having the right attitude by being present and leaving your ego at the door
  • Demonstrating the correct people skills and sales skills
  • Keeping my behavior habits consistent with my knowledge, attitude and skills

Yes there is more to value articulation. However with each SMB and the solutions being offered, there is no one size fits all approach or answer.  What is important is knowing the importance of value articulation and working to create a compelling sales conversation so you can clearly communicate that value to your sales leads.

Want to talk about a sales obstacle?
Click HERE to schedule the time that works best for you.

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