Posts Tagged ‘sales prospects’

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.

Share on Facebook

Hiding Your Sales Prospects Are You?

Salespeople invest a lot of time lighting up sales prospects and yet it appears many are hiding those sales leads. We know this to be true given how few times on average salespeople follow-up with new sales leads.


Sales Fact:

44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up (Source: Scripted)

Does it make sense to do all that work especially if you are a SMB owner in a firm of fewer than 20 employees or a salesperson employed in a similar SMB? How much time and time is money is wasted?

Sales prospecting is truly about providing light to people who are in the dark about:

  • You
  • Your firm
  • Your solution

Additionally, these sales prospects may also be in the dark about their own problems. Many in business cannot separate the symptoms from the real problems.  This becomes a competitive advantage for top sales performers.

Sometimes all those sales leads become stuck in the middle of the sales funnel or what I prefer the sales tunnel.  This is also akin to putting them under a bushel basket because in the middle of the tunnel it is very dark.  What helps to keep flowing through the sales tunnel is a proactive contact process.  A good CRM like Pipeliner CRM works with SMB firms as it does not require a CRM administrator saving the SMB thousands of dollars in salary and benefits.

Sales Fact:

63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.   (Source: Marketing Donut)

When salespeople understand their marketing is about shining a light, their light, they are able to attract sales prospects to them.  Then they understand the must keep this light shining until the sales prospects buy.

Consider signing up for this monthly newsletter that continues to challenge the status quo.

Share on Facebook

2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Create with Connect

The last couple of years in the word of sales training there has been a focus on sales behaviors specific to how salespeople create value.  I find this word “create” to be misleading and very much ego centered (All about me!).  What I suggest to my sales coaching clients is to replace “create” with this more emotionally intelligent word of connect.

sales-behaviorsNow I must admit to my own negative bias. I believe no one in sales can create value because value is unique to each decision maker, each buyer.  Why does one person like blue and another like red? If salespeople could create value, then the person would be sold to like red.  And most of us know no one wants to be sold. We could literally live in a world where everyone drove a Yugo, ate at McDonald’s and shopped at Walmart.

When we think, speak and write the word connect, we are actually engaged in more authentic sales behaviors.  As salespeople we are looking how to bridge the gap between the buyer’s position and our position.

Another advantage of the word connect is it implies a more level relationship where a good ego is present.  Create is a word that suggests a very strong ego and strong egos are not necessarily beneficial when it comes to the ability to increase sales.

Finally, the word connect works with the sales buying rule people buy from people they know and trust.  When salespeople work to connect with the other sales prospects, they are actively engaged in employing those essential soft skills as well as emotional intelligence.

The last several days this leadership and sales blog has focused on changing sales behaviors by replacing existing words with different words to enhance the sales relationship.  If you missed any of these postings, you may find them below:

2017 New Sales Behaviors: Replace Plan with Campaign

2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Help with Facilitate

2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Obstacle with Limitation 

My own personal mantra is “Change your words; improve your results.”  Please let me know if you have changed your words and if your new sales behaviors have improved your sales results.

Share on Facebook

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?


Share on Facebook

Surprisingly Need and Should Are Sales Conversations Losers

Read many social media postings or watch the aired television commercials and you will see or hear these two words “should” and “need.”  For those engaged in relationship selling, these are two words that doom most sales conversations from the get go.



The words need and should have an inherent, negative judgmental aspect woven within their meanings How many times did we hear our parents, teachers, bosses and even friends tell us “You need to do …(fill in the blank)” or “You  should do … (fill in the blank)?”

Do you remember how you felt emotionally?  Was there an almost surprisingly, instantaneous silent, negative mental push back of “No I don’t need to do that?” Possibly you  were even shouting to yourself with several Nos!!!!?

All sales conversations and especially those where the sale has yet to be earned (think closed) have their roots in emotional intelligence.  When we apply emotional intelligence our sales conversations or social media interactions, we have moved the exchange away from “pushing” our sales pitch to more “pulling” by the ideal customers.

With people already being negatively conditioned from all those “dont’s” and “cant’s,” the last thing we want to do as salespeople is bring those negative experiences and consequently negative emotions to the surface. Personally my hair stands on end when someone is talking to me and telling me “you need to.”

No I don’t need to! 

Why would I? 

I may not know you to trust you enough to know about what I need.

Then another stream of thoughts happen with “Who are you telling me what I need or should do?”  You are not my mother or father.  Again, our childhood experiences come back to haunt us.

What would happen for instance if someone changed their postings “you need to have this social media app” to “this is a must have social media app?”  The difference is direct versus indirect communication style.

By being direct with “you need,”  you are telling and potentially not engaging your intended audience (ideal customers).  The indirect statement where it has not been personalized with you creates some curiosity and works with engaging your sales prospects.

In sales, telling ain’t selling!

Finally it may be wise to remember today’s buyers are far more educated than in the past.  The snake oil salesman shouting in his sales conversations “you need this” is no longer heard by most of your sales prospects.

As I have written many times before, the words we think, write and speak have consequences.  In our sales conversations, we would like those conversations to have a positive result. Why place barriers between you and your ideal customers or sales prospects by writing or speaking words that generate a negative result?

* * * * *

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 219.5o8.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


Share on Facebook

My Clients Want to Work with Me Not the Queen’s We

Funny when starting out my executive coaching and corporate training practice,  I received marketing advice about using the Queen’s We because it made my sole proprietorship to appear bigger than a woman or one man show.  Now some almost 20 years later, I believe Me is far preferably than We.

my-clientsWhen I receive letters of recommendation, each of them has addressed working with me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, not working with Leanne Hoagland-Smith and others or We. These letters provide insightful perspectives as to why working with me is much preferred to working with we.

When I receive calls from potential clients, they do not ask for “We,” but rather “me.”  In many instances, they are surprised I actually answered the phone.

This week in speaking with a colleague she shared some constructive criticism of her website specific to the use of “I” and not the Queen’s We.  The person offering the constructive criticism appeared to lack knowledge of her industry as well as her role as a sole-proprietor.

With the increased movement to outsourcing through sole proprietors, use of the Queen’s We will probably see a decrease. Now for some this may be viewed as a detriment, but for others an opportunity.

When it is you and you alone, you are telling your sales prospects that you are responsible for the:

  • Deliverables
  • Quality
  • Results

Many of my now clients reached out to me for those very specific reasons.  They wanted to know what deliverables they were receiving. They wanted to know the solution would be of the highest quality. And most importantly, they wanted results.

By being a “me” not the “we,” they knew immediately who to reach out to if they had any concerns.  There were no layers of bureaucracy, no passing the buck.

Yes, sometimes in the past I have hired other independent contractors to help with corporate training. However, I realized that if I wanted to retain my clients, I was the best person to handle delivering the solution and I could make immediate course corrections if the client made any requests.  Since over 70% of all small businesses here in the U.S. are non-employed meaning single owner, being an I means I am not, in this instance, in the minority.

Now for those independent contractors who wish to grow and hire additional staff, then the “Queens’s We” probably is better marketing copy.  For me, I will stay with “I” or Leanne Hoagland-Smith and leave the we to others.

Happy Friday the 13th!

* * * * *

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 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

Share on Facebook

Marketing Secrets Your Sales Prospects May Not Even Know

Marketing secrets extend into the subconscious of your sales prospects if the data from a new report issued by Young & Rubicam is actually true.  The findings are indeed fascinating since the marketing research combined traditional methods with Implicit Association. This melding of the two types of research potentially provide incredible insight as to what we think we say we like and what we actually think.

marketing-secretsFor example here are three marketing secrets from this study.

#1 – In the US, helpfulness is the number one conscious value, but is at the bottom at number 16 respective to unconscious value. The number one unconscious value is maintaining security.

#2 – Looking at popular brands, even though Google and Microsoft have a perceived high conscious value, they have a much higher unconscious value. In other words, are truly disliked more than most people realize even to themselves.

#3 – Mention the National Inquirer or Exxon and people consciously will display a negative reaction. Yet unconsciously, these brands are liked a lot more.

People buy from people. And since people are human beings whose minds are filled with plethora of conscious and subconscious value thoughts, there are probably many more marketing secrets yet to be discovered. What this means for crazy busy results focused salespeople is value is truly unique to each buyer both consciously and subconsciously and to make any presumptions such as we, the sellers, create value may be indeed dangerous.

P.S. Here are sine Implicit Association free tests offered by Harvard.

Share on Facebook

If Social Media Works for Passive Job Applicants, Why Not for Passive Sales Prospects?

sales-prospectsLocating qualified candidates with those critical workforce skills still is the number one challenge (33%) being faced by small business owners to C Suite executive. Those who have the skills may not be actively seeking new employment.

These passive behavior  job applicants in years past were difficult to reach. However times are changing as demonstrated through a study by Bullhorn earlier this year. Social media is now the primary marketing channel to reach those passive and reluctant skilled workers.

This study revealed three other interesting facts regarding the use of social media by recruiters:

  • 97.3% of the recruiters favored LinkedIn as their primary social media site in 2012
  • 98.2% of the recruiters used social media in 2012
  • 82.6% of the recruiters will use LinkedIn even more in 2013

These individuals still attend networking events and that has been fairly consistent for the last three years at around 60%. What is different is that social networking has grown from 42% to 59% and search engine marketing has dropped from 29% to 20%.

Recruiters are salespeople whose sales prospects are skilled qualified employee. Maybe a lesson can be learned by others who earn a living selling in today’s marketplace.

By engaging in eduction based marketing,  busy salespeople can employ LinkedIn in the same manner to reach their passive sales prospects. Through daily updates, discussion groups and a compelling LinkedIn summary, all are ways to attract attention and begin to build the relationship. If we believe, people buy from people, social media especially LinkedIn for business to business (B2B) allows your passive sales prospects to recognize you as an authentic person. And isn’t that a great first step?

To read more about this study, download the PDF from Bullhorn.

If you want to leverage the power of LinkedIn and reach some of those passive sales prospects, then this webinar LinkedIn Contacts Your Competitive Advantage may be of interest to you.

Share on Facebook
RSS Subscribe!
Coaching Tip

People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

What’s Happening?

Internal Results interviews
Leanne Hoagland-Smith
. Some of her answers may surprise you.

Check out this podcast on value creation between David Brock and Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Listen to Leanne Hoagland-Smith at Sales Scenario podcasts

Another list of top sales bloggers

Pre-order this great book How to Get a Meeting with Anyone. You may recognize a familiar name.

Top 100 Most Innovative Sales Bloggers Honored this blog is included in this impressive list.

Best Sales Blogger Award for 2014 Third place awarded to Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

NWI SBDC awarded Small Business Journalist of 2014 to Leanne Hoagland-Smith. Awards.

Expand Your Business Horizons
Sign up to receive monthly newsletter devoted to small businesses and busy sales professionals Beyond the Black
Be the Red Jacket
Seeking an easy and practical book on marketing, selling and sales? Read the reviews at Amazon and then order your hard copy or eBook.
Sustainability Expert
The Institute for Sustainability
Ezine Expert
Blogroll – Leadership, OD
Contact Coach Lee

Leanne Hoagland-Smith
219.759.5601 Main Office CDT
219.508.2859 Mobile CDT

Office located near Chicago, IL Main Website

Sales Corner

Tracking by The Sales Corner
Blog Rankings
Business Blogs - Blog Rankings
Blog Top Sites
RSS Search
Blog Log