Poking my eyes out

Have you ever wanted to poke your own eyes out during someone’s speech?

Last night I attended a professional association meeting where I was asked to stay for the presentation since I’ll be speaking there myself this year. The talk was given by a sales rep for a hardware company. The speaker was a very friendly and warm guy trying to do the best that he could with what little he was given. I (being the only marketing coach in the room) on the other hand, was busy writing this blog in my head, trying to catalogue how I could make his speech more relevant to us, the audience. Here are some pointers I secretly wish had been handed to him about an hour before his speech:

Start talking about me and NOT your product

The first thing that the poor speaker launched into was a catalogue of the features and benefits of the machine he was selling. What about me, the audience member? What about talking about what I care about? Instead of the goods he was peddling, how about mentioning what pain it would solve?

Connect as a human

The one good thing about the speaker was the single slide of a guitar he showed to share the fact that he was a guitar player and that his nails weren’t long because of neglect. I could’ve used more stories about him and why he cared about what he was doing there that night.

Tell me stories

The big point of the sales pitch was to move the professionals in the room from their current system to this new one. Why not tell stories of other practices who did it and what results they’re enjoying? How about a few video testimonials with real life characters to add dimension to the pitch presentation?

Get some interaction going

The lecture style speaking is so over, it belongs in a museum. All research shows that true learning is interactive. I really wish that the speaker could’ve engaged the audience by asking them about their stories related to the product or their experiences with respect to their pain around the product. At least it would’ve woken up some of the audience.

Don’t leave me hanging

While admirably sticking to his alloted hour, the speaker left the audience hanging because he didn’t offer a next step to connect or to sign on for more interaction. He simply started putting his projector away.

Throughout the hour, I debated whether I should share my thoughts with him. After all, he was a very intelligent, experienced rep doing what he knew how to do best. In the end, I decided to educate you, my own audience instead. If you are ever in any type of sales or presentation situation, I beg you to keep these points in mind.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Turn Customers Into Your Best Salespeople: 4 Tips

As a small business coach, I dream of the day when I no longer will have to lift even my pinky finger to market myself because my clients and customers will be doing it for me. Here are some brilliant ways to tap into your best kept sales and marketing weapons–your current fans, according to Bill Lee, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers.

1. Create an excellent product or service that customers truly appreciate.

If you skip this step, the rest of the steps won’t work.

2. Select one or more potential rock star customers.

Look for loyal customers who have a good story to tell about how your product or service helped them, and who are eager to tell it.

3. Turn your customers into stars by giving them what they want.

(Have) them write guest posts for your blog or creating case studies with them. Not only will that highlight the benefits of your product or service, but it also highlights your customer as an expert voice.

4. Whatever you do, don’t give them financial incentives.

It’s likely to backfire, leaving both customers and prospects feeling uneasy about what seem like bribes.

via Turn Customers Into Your Best Salespeople: 4 Tips.

If you think marketing and selling are hard or unpleasant, just look around you and see a sea of fans who are already working with you and who might turn out to be your best marketing strategy to get more clients.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

Shock yourself—make a decision

Indecision

Indecision (Photo credit: Bichuas (E. Carton))

A liability

One of the biggest liabilities of a small business owner is his or her inability to make quick and effective decisions.  In large corporations, unless you’re top management, this is less of a problem because there’s always someone else who’s got more authority than you. So if there’s a decision it’s usually not yours to make alone.

However, small business is different. You need to make a million decisions every day about who to call, what to say, how to blog, what to accomplish first etc. It is an endless stream of decision that ultimately affects your bottom line.

Why so hard?

How come decision making is so hard for most people? Renowned leadership author and guru Napoleon Hill said that most successful leaders of all walks of life are capable of quick and effective decisions. They decide and move quickly. Why is it then that I look around me and see a sea of indecision when faced with either a buying decision or a change to a business? The root of every inability is simple—it’s fear. Fear that the decision will be regretted.

Shake the bad habit

If your small business could definitely stand to grow, I challenge you to take small steps to get yourself rid of the indecision demon.  Make simple decisions everyday that lead to bigger ones as time goes on.

For example, decide and act on three new things you’ll incorporate into your business practice. (Like trying a new cold calling script or visiting a new association that you’ve never heard of etc.) Then the next week, you can graduate up to the bigger decisions like hiring a VA or refreshing your website etc.

Incomplete means indecision

If you look at anything incomplete in your life and business you’ll see that it’s because of indecision.  Take stock and make some decisions today, then you’ll start to see true transformation everywhere you look.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

10 Dumb Sales Tactics to Avoid

When you’re a small business owner trying to grow her business like me, you are selling 24/7 to everyone you meet all the time. At least it feels that way sometimes. So here are some really sound tips to avoid:

1. Answering Objections the Customer Hasn’t Surfaced

Fix: Never start any sentence with “You may be wondering …” or “Perhaps you’re asking yourself …”

2. Leaving the ‘Next Step’ to the Customer

Fix: Keep the ball in your own court. Try substituting a closer like this: “I will call you next week to discuss whether it makes sense to discuss this matter further.”

3. Selling Features Rather Than Results

Fix: Figure out why a customer buys your product, rather than somebody else’s. Then sell that result, using the features to buttress your ability to deliver that result.

4. Faking Intimacy

Fix: Remain personable and professional–but no more–until such time as you actually forge a friendship, which typically takes weeks.

5. Writing a Sales Proposal Too Soon

Fix: Only write a sales proposal after you’ve got a verbal agreement.

6. Talking More Than Listening

Fix: In your mind, redefine selling as a passive activity that consists mostly of listening, considering, and reacting to what the customer does and says.

7. Wasting Time on Dead-End ‘Opportunities’

Fix: Within the first five minutes of your first conversation, ask questions that will reveal whether the customer has a real need–as well as the money to satisfy it.

8. Failing to Follow Through

Fix: Get religious about your to-do list and scheduling specific events. Only make commitments that you’re 100% certain you can keep.

9. Treating a “Close” as the End of the Process

Fix: Always aim for long-term relationships rather than short-term revenue. That way a “close” is the beginning, not the end, of the process.

10. Asking for a Referral Too Soon

Fix: Only ask for referrals after the customer is delighted with the products or services that you’ve sold.

via 10 Dumb Sales Tactics to Avoid.

Everybody buys, fewer people sell. Even fewer are good at it and even fewer than that actually crave it to be happy. It is however, a solid fact of life that if you own a business you have to attract and sell to other humans. Learn from those who are good at it and stop making dumb sales mistakes so you can earn the respect and liking of those humans you’re trying to attract.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!

The Stupefying Simple Way to Pick Your Niche

 

stupefyingTough nut to crack

Picking a niche has been the bane of every entrepreneur’s existence. If you are a small business owner and recognise that to grow your business, you need to focus your marketing efforts on 1 target market (WHO) and talk to them about only 1 product or service (WHAT), then you might still be struggling with HOW to pick them.Here’s a simple and proven technique I’ve devised to decide for once and for all, what your niche is.

Criteria

There are really only 3 basic things you need to consider in picking a niche:

  1. Fit for you—your personal preference, skill set, experience and background
  2. Fit for the income you want—how many of this group x how much price you would charge per person
  3. Access—your ability to reach your target and how accessible they are to you in large numbers

Rate Them

Give each niche combo of 1 WHO and 1 WHAT a score of desirability from 1-10. 10 Being the best fit.  Then, choose the niche combo with the highest rating to base your marketing plan on.

Example

Here’s the exercise I actually went through for my own business when I left my full time marketing job exactly 1 year ago this month!

  1.  Fit for your personality, skill set, experience, background and preference
  • Leadership coaching to CEOs:  Score 8/10
  • Marketing to entrepreneurs:  Score  10/10

2.   Ability to generate the revenue you want

  • Leadership coaching to CEOs:  Score 10/10
  • Marketing to entrepreneurs:  Score 8/10

3.   Access

  • Leadership coaching to CEOs:  Score 2/10
  • Marketing to entrepreneurs:  Score 10/10

Total Scores

  • Leadership coaching to CEOs: 20
  • Marketing to entrepreneurs: 28

I guess by now you know that I teach marketing to entrepreneurs and have been very successful with my niche. I’m living proof that this stupefying simple way to pick your niche works!

You too can do this simple exercise and move on towards the light where your marketing plan and consequently more clients await.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!