5 Tips to Rock with Your E-commerce ‘About Us Page’



Your “About Us” page plays a crucial role in whether people will buy from you. It’s always an emotional decision.

While the potential customers will only see things through their perspective, it’s still all about you.

True, there are people who will only buy from you if you’re selling at the cheapest available price. Those are people to ignore, according to my firm’s research.

Eighteen percent of clients and customers are only motivated to buy at the lowest price. They don’t take into consideration other important factors — the benefits you provide.

But even when they buy, they are the most troublesome.

They’re not repeat loyal customers and they’re the most-likely to return their purchase.

Even if you leverage the reach of Amazon, you can still target the other 82 percent. That’s especially true for those who can be motivated to buy after reading your About page.

They want to know about your approach.

More than half of their motivation to buy hinges on they think about you, your spokespersons and employees. They like characteristics showing excellent integrity, judgment, knowledge and friendliness.

To a much lesser extent they want to be able to trust your image, your product or service utility, convenience and lastly – price.

Your About Us page should focus on five elements:

1. What you sell

Prospective buyers want to know you speak with conviction, and what and why you love doing it. But you must be succinct.

You only have a few seconds to create a positive first impression. This calls for an astute elevator pitch.

Only after you’ve hurdled this obstacle can you be more successful in providing more information.

Keep in mind, too, different prospects will see your About Us page at different stages of the buying process. Sometimes it’s early – right away. Sometimes it isn’t.

2. How and why you sell

A good prospect will want to know why you sell – what are your values and beliefs. You can help your cause if you talk about how you solve needs and problems.

Don’t just say you’re the best at what you do. But differentiate your company with an illustration of how and why so prospects get the picture.

In other words, don’t just make grandiose claims by telling them. Show them.

3. Build comfort

In other words, focus on building trust. How? Your visitors want to feel comfortable with your company. Show what you believe.

Do a self-assessment of your goals and how best can you explain them to build trust. Then, explain what’s important to you.

4. Explain your story

Connect with your visitors by sharing content that interests them – enticing them with a branding story about obstacles and solutions to save them time and money while increasing revenue.

Start with a powerful headline. Insert lifestyle images of real people.

To build trust and confidence in your business, explain how you’ve become successful.

5. Get a commitment

Visitors inherently expect you to ask for their business. So make it clear what you want and how visitors will benefit.

So very early decide on your objective, keep it simple, plan accordingly and ask for a commitment to buy whatever you’re selling.

From the Coach’s Corner, related information:

Marketing Psychology: Choose the Best Colors for Online Sales — Here are color tips to improve visitor experience and to capture customers – including a great infographic on 40 facts about the psychology of colors.

Best Sales Pipeline Tips: Content Marketing, Follow-up and Marketing Automation — Here’s how you can maximize your sales pipeline with effective content marketing, prioritizing follow-up and marketing automation.

Build a Strong Sales Foundation by Being Defense-Minded — Sports is a great lesson for sales growth — build a strong foundation by being defensive-minded. Protect your turf first. Here are five tips for sales domination in your hometown.

Marketing: Solving the Puzzle of Competition — Marketing strategies: Using political lessons as a metaphor to beat your competition.

Tips for Your Site to Capitalize on SEO Trends — How to stay on top of your search-engine optimization game; plus, a helpful infographic: 16 SEO facts we struggle to understand. 

“People like to buy things they need from people they like. And somewhere we screwed it all up by making it some kind of crazy thing. It’s simply, ‘What do you need? What are you trying to solve? Do I have it?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is it the right price?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Next.'” 

Irreverent Sales Girl


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




10 Red Flags Your Business Needs Strategic Planning



Many entrepreneurs are so busy putting out fires, they fail to take care of business in two ways. They fail to plan strategically and they don’t make marketing a priority each day.

Ironic isn’t it? Every entrepreneur wants to get ahead.

If they haven’t identified their best growth opportunities, they’re missing opportunities for growth in business development, product innovation or diversifying.

pakorn successTo compete, entrepreneurs either need to be strategically planning or rethinking their strategic plans – a clear, concise growth strategy.

There are multiple reasons for a strategic plan and its six key elements.

So it’s important to develop foresight and focus – a vision for action.

Firstly, be aware of the typical inter-related red flags:

1. You’re working harder, not smarter

Perhaps you’ve noticed you’re working longer hours but not seeing an increase in your return on investment in time, energy and money. This, of course, means you’re not growing.

For profits, entrepreneurs must learn how to manage their financials and performance. This also means it’s vital to know what drives profit. There are four drivers.

2. Little or no revenue growth

Your financials confirm revenue is stagnant. You must know what months, weeks, days and hours are weak in sales. What you need are solutions for a financial turnaround.

… entrepreneurs either need to be strategically planning or rethinking their strategic plans – a clear, concise growth strategy.

3. Profit margins are tight

You must know the actual costs of selling your products and services. Leverage technology to cover your costs. For higher profit margins, minimize your markdowns and optimize your prices.

4. Burnout has set in

Most entrepreneurs have periods of burnout. If you’re suffering from burnout you can’t afford not to get more sleep, rest for your mind, exercise and adequate time with your family.

In other words for top performance, reduce stress and plan to work happier.

5. You and your associates are discouraged

If discouragement has reared its ugly head, you’re probably on a treadmill going nowhere. Don’t procrastinate.

Focus on the positive and give yourself a morale boost. Get busy identifying the issues and take appropriate action.

6. You can’t pinpoint areas of growth

It’s likely you don’t have any growth if you can’t identify the areas in which your company is growing. If that’s the case develop your instincts with competitive intelligence.

7. Cash flow is weak

If you’re unable to pay your bills and obligations, it’s because of poor cash flow. Your receivables are probably slow and your prices might be too low.

Poor cash flow means your image can also suffer with vendors or with customers. So learn how to creatively manage your cash flow.

8. Competitors are stealing business from you

If you’re working hard but losing sales to your competition, something’s amiss. Your prospects perceive more value from your competitors.

Start fixing it by measuring your brand’s personality.

9. Your products and services are no longer relevant for customers

It might be that your products or services aren’t meeting the needs of prospective customers. If your sales skills are sharp but you’re not selling well, customers don’t need what you’re selling.

To become an innovative leader, it’s vital to continually evaluating your organization and strategizing for success. Then, become an innovative leader.

10. You don’t have enough repeat business from loyal customers

For growth, turn your customers into fans for maximum referrals. That starts with customer retention. Implement strategies for maximum customer loyalty and profits.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies:

11 Management Strategies for a Successful Turnaround — When it comes to management strategies for a successful turnaround, a quote by financial-world wizard Warren Buffett is apropos. “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing,” Mr. Buffett said. My response: “Touché.” It’s all about capital mobility created by effective management.

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth — Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

To Realize Your Business Vision, 8 Best Practices for Setting Goals — Whatever your situation, to realize your vision, focusing on the right details is a skill conducive for strategically setting goals. Here are eight best practices.

Don’t let Minimum Wage Mandates Ruin Your Business — Your cash flow, credit access, pricing and profit margins are all directly or indirectly at-risk with the proposed mandates to increase the minimum wage. Workers should be paid well, if they’re good performers.

Risk Management – Making Best Decisions, Using Right Tactics — To prevent a crisis from interfering with the continuity of your business, you must strategically plan to manage any potential risks. That means avoiding the classic mistakes routinely made by companies, and making the right decisions for proactive measures to minimize any dangers.  But how can you best manage risk?

“Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.”

-Harper Lee

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of pakorn at www.freedigitalphotos.net

To Sell to B2B Executives, Upgrade Digital-Age Sales Skills



E-commerce is increasingly popular. But in B2B sales, research shows a salesperson’s skills are paramount when the buyer is an executive.

So to maximize your revenue, make sure your salespeople are prepared with advanced sales training.

The “SiriusDecisions’ 2015 B-to-B Buying Study” seems to confirm the supposition.

In fact, the research contradicts conventional wisdom that indicates the role and importance of salespeople is irrelevant.

Ambro b2bIn reality, it’s just the opposite. In an era of digital buying behaviors, executives want to deal with salespeople.

“While the cognitive buying decision process is linear and sequential, we found that how buyers consume content and interact with provider organizations is not linear – in fact, the interaction patterns are much more episodic,” says SiriusDecisions Vice President Marisa Kopec.

“For example, a buyer can perform a single search on Google or go to a sales meeting, and that one interaction might provide all the information they need to inform each of the decision gates they need to get through in order to make a decision to buy,” she explains.

The 1,000 responding executives in North America and Europe made “significant buying decisions for $500 million in purchases, and they said the salesperson was important.

“We found that buyers interact with representatives during every stage of the decision-making process at least half the time, and that the type of decision – or buying scenario – greatly impacted the number and types of interactions,” adds Senior Research Director Jennifer Ross at SiriusDecisions.

In an era of digital buying behaviors, executives want to deal with salespeople.

The study’s key findings:

—The price point of an offering affects the number and type of interactions that occur between a buyer and provider.

— As the price point of an offering goes up, human interactions between the buyer and the provider also increase. But even at low price points, there is evidence that human-to-human interactions occur.

— More than half the time, sales representative involvement starts at the beginning of the buyer’s journey. In complex buying scenarios, sales rep involvement starts at the beginning of the journey two-thirds of the time.

— The highest level of reported buyer/seller interaction for all buying scenarios occurred during the education phase of the buyer’s journey (the first decision gate in the purchasing decision process).

—Not only do buyers interact with a sales representative from the winning provider organization in all phases of their decision-making process, but they overwhelmingly describe those interactions as positive (in over 85 percent of the buying experiences studied).

As you might guess, SiriusDecisions sells what it calls the B-to-B Buyer Interactions Model. It categorizes every type of interaction a buyer can have with a provider, to help organizations understand the balance required between human and non-human interactions.

The bottom-line:

“The new way to think about b-to-b buying is that human interactions still occur and matter, and that the rise of digital marketing doesn’t mean those interactions go away,” says Ms. Kopec.

“It just means that buyers and providers are interacting in new digital ways. Just because buying behavior is done digitally does not mean that sales representatives are no longer required to instigate or facilitate a buying process,” she adds.

From the Coach’s Corner, in order for you to successfully sell to executives, here are related tips:

The 7 Steps to Higher Sales — Secrets for sales success – seven steps to higher sales, five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy, and the three-step process for overcoming sales objections.

To Sell Ideas to Senior Executives, Tap into Their Emotions — If you want to persuade a senior executive, polish your soft skills. Whether you’re trying to sell your ideas to your CEO or you’re trying to sell to a key decision maker at another company, big data is important. But data isn’t the most important factor in persuading senior executives.

7 Tips for Strong Results in Setting B2B Appointments with CEOs — As every salesperson knows, face time with B2B prospects gives you a foundation for sales success.  Execution in the appointment-setting process is, of course, is key to being successful.

Big Ticket Sales – Prevent Buyer’s Remorse with 4 Precautions — In big-ticket sales — from consulting services to information technology — customer emotions run high. Buyer’s remorse will cost you a big sale. To prevent buyer’s remorse, you need to be a calming influence in order for the customer to understand you’re providing value.

Top 18 Attributes of the Best Salespeople — What’s needed to be effective in sales? Merely having a gregarious personality will no longer cut it in the 21st century. Here are the top 18 attributes of the best salespeople.

“I think the biggest mistake that salespeople make today is that they try to pretend they’re not salespeople.” 

-Irreverent Sales Girl 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Marketing Tips via Mobile Devices, Reviews, Coupons



Digital marketing opportunities keep growing and growing.

For instance, 70 percent of consumers research product reviews while they shop in stores. Ninety percent are relying on their mobile devices as they make in-store buying decisions.

The percentages sound high but they’re from a 2015 PowerReviews study, Mobile Wearable Tech and Hyper-Relevance: Transforming Consumer Behavior and Retailer Opportunities.

ID-100301086 adamr“In-store and online shopping experiences can no longer be viewed independently,” said Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews.

“Today’s consumers want access to ratings, reviews and other product information whenever and wherever they’re making purchase decisions – whether online, via mobile device or in store,” he added.

The study indicates many consumers prefer paying via one-touch from wearable devices.

“Technologies like wearables, near-field communication and beacons are creating more ways for retailers to deliver this hyper-relevant and authentic information to shoppers, which will enhance the shopping experience, driving sales and creating passionate brand advocates,” he explained.

So there are emerging essentials in digital marketing:

— Your app-store description should be succinct and have a unique value proposition and be effective by encouraging opt-in.

— Inform users about your app’s functions with good illustrations, again be sure to promote opt-in capability, and ask customers to opt-in.

— Indicate to your users how they can set up their preferences.

— Create in-store collateral or signage to cross-promote your app.

— Leverage the potential of e-mails to promote your app with a capability to download it, and encourage your e-mail recipients to opt-in.

— Use your Web site and mobile Web site to promote your app.

– Track your users viewing habits, and give them relevant messages.

Don’t forget about digital coupons.

“It’s amazing that in 2012 92.2 million U.S. adults redeemed online coupons and by 2016 this figure is expected to rise to 124.4 million,” said Chris Landry, managing director at Colourfast Printing (www.colourfast.com).

“Also, 85 percent of these people like personalized offers based on previous purchases so this is something worth considering for all businesses,” said the marketing professional who provides the following infographic.

From the Coach’s Corner, here is related information:

Tech Trends to Watch in BYOD, Mobile Apps — If you’re like many businesspeople, you’re constantly identifying the trends with the most staying power that will benefit your company. Here are trends to watch in BYOD, an acronym for bring your own devices, and mobile apps.

Your Mobile Site: 7 Precautions for a Top Google Ranking — With the skyrocketing sales of smartphones and tablets, comes a warning from Google. If you don’t have a mobile site, you should. And if you do, make sure it has what Google calls “mobile friendliness.” Here are seven precautions to take.

How Mobile Strategies Are Most Effective with Cross-Channel Marketing — Businesses are increasingly using mobile apps to sell products, but the most successful know how best. They use cross-channel marketing tools.

You Risk Sales If You Don’t Use This Mobile-Web Strategy — You know, of course, strong brand perceptions and emotional engagement drive sales. You also know your mobile-site strategy should be a priority, as a  result of the skyrocketing popularity of mobile devices. But here’s a question: Is your mobile site actually hindering brand perception and emotional engagement?

11 Tips for the Best Business Mobile Web Site — If you operate a retail business, it’s increasingly important for your Web site to be easy-to-use for mobile users. The use of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing, especially among Millennials — young adults aged 32 and under. Studies also show the majority of mobile aficionados use their devices to access the Internet. Such data continually changes — mobile sales and use of the Internet is consistently rising.

“In today’s modern world, people are either asleep or connected.”

-Janice H. Reinold


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of AdamR at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Do Celebrity Testimonials Really Boost Sales?



Celebrity testimonials have been common throughout marketing history. Some testimonials, work, but some don’t.

In local or regional markets, your company doesn’t have to have a large marketing budget to attract celebrities to be your spokespersons.

Many athletes love to be seen as spokespersons on TV. Often, it’s possible to have a famous jock to do your testimonials for a nominal rate.

As a Seattle Mariner, Ken Griffey, Jr. did testimonials in the 1990s for Chevrolet dealers in Washington state. His only remuneration was the use of two sport utility vehicles.

Despite his immense popularity, his testimonials didn’t boost sales.

So while it’s an ego-boost for a celebrity to offer testimonial services, it’s not always a good idea. That’s right. Celebrity testimonials don’t always work.

Here’s why: Success depends on the product, the celebrity, and choosing the right media for your target audience in creating the right impressions to motivate people to buy.

Buying perceptions 

In tight marketing budgets, it’s important to understand why people will buy from you – remember it’s always an emotional decision.

Admittedly, about 18 percent of customers – blue-collar and professionals, alike – will only buy if you’re selling at the cheapest price in the marketplace.

Assuming you’re selling products of value, avoid those people. They are the most troublesome.

Even if they buy, they’re more likely to show up the next day demanding to return their purchase. Even if they keep the purchase, they complain the loudest and longest.

For the best results, focus on people who are motivated by value. That means using the right celebrity.

My firm’s research shows the five value perceptions of what your customers sub-consciously think in motivating them to buy from you:

Spokespersons and employees – 52 percent. The key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. Remember, about 70 percent of your customers will buy elsewhere because they feel they’re being taken for granted by your employees. And customers normally will not tell you why they switched to your competitor.

Image of Company – 15 percent. They are concerned about the image of your company in the community. Cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image. So is cleanliness and good organization.

Quality of Product or Service Utility – 13 percent. The customer is asking the question – “What will this do for me?”

Convenience –12 percent. Customers like easy accessibility to do business with you. That includes your Web site, telephoning you, and the convenience of patronizing your business.  

Price – 8 percent. Price is important, but it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

For more information on this data, see What are the Secrets for Success in Advertising? Creating 5 Perceptions.

Meantime, a Canadian company, Signarama (signarama-toronto.ca), has created an interesting infographic on the successes and failures of celebrity endorsements:

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles:

9 Tips to Evaluate Online Advertising Options — Are you at a point at which you want to advertise your company on the Internet? But you’re unsure which sites are the best for you? The options are endless and can be confusing. The last thing you want to do is to market a product or service that doesn’t reach the right people.

How to Best Profit: Word-of-Mouth Advertising, Customer Service — To increase your sales revenue with word-of-mouth advertising, here are 10 tips.

Best Practices for Online Ads to Dominate Your Competition — You don’t have to be reminded about the dynamic new technologies that seemingly evolve all the time, and the clutter of competition in marketing and sales. But forecasting can be tricky, especially with the global demographic changes as young people come in the workplace. The first dynamic you can anticipate – constant change – both positive and negative.

For Top Sales, 5 Rules for Targeting the Right Prospects — If you target the right prospects, you’ll save time and money and increase your revenue. There are five rules to follow. They’re developed for B2B but work for B2C, too.

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

-Mark Twain

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

For Top Sales, 5 Rules for Targeting the Right Prospects



If you target the right prospects, you’ll save time and money and increase your revenue.

Later in this article, you’ll find the five rules to follow. They’re developed for B2B but work for B2C, too.

Firstly, remember that once you find the right prospects and turn them into customers, your goal should be to provide them with enough red-carpet service so they become loyal.

men meetingOnce they become loyal, you benefit from built-in automatic revenue increases, opportunities for an exponential increase in referrals — in other words, a cost-effective marketing investment.

So a priority is to cut through the clutter to get your message across to the right people.

Make sure they’re the key decision-makers.

A second priority is to develop relationships with them by creating an environment for them to buy with a professional selling process.

That includes a criterion for matching your prospects with the right products and services.

Here are five rules for targeting your best prospects:

1. Lay groundwork for a long-term relationship

You need to find a need to fill. Moreover, your prospects need to be likely candidates who need what you have to offer for many years.

Research each prospect for long-term potential – a lifetime relationship of repeat business.

You need to ask the right open-ended questions. Take precautions to build trust. Plan to provide the right value.

2. Research their marketplace environment

Maximize your resources to lessen your sales opportunity costs – consider more than just opportunity to sell to customers. Assess their entire environment – all their stakeholders – their competitors, customers, and strategic alliances.

Note: The bigger their marketplace environment the bigger your opportunities for growth.

3. Ignore dying sectors and companies

Put on your visionary glasses – forecast the growth potential of your prospects.

Watch for trends in technology and the tastes of businesspeople and consumers who want value, convenience and mobility. All you have to do is to consider the newspaper, dry cleaning or video-rental sectors.

For instance: It’s unfortunate but people don’t read newspapers. Those who want to be well-informed visit Web sites. Strange but true, people aren’t dressing as well as other generations and they’re wearing washable cotton sweaters — this is why dry cleaners are going out of business. Technology has changed how people watch movies.

To see if a sector or a company is in a growth mode, here’s a simple tip: Check to see if there’s an increase in hiring, and how it compares to other businesses and industries.

 4. Focus on value-minded prospects 

Capitalize on the five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy. About 18 percent of customers – in B2B or B2C, alike – will only buy if you’re selling at the cheapest price in the marketplace. Yes, one in five prospects will be hardcore — they always insist on paying the cheapest price — no matter what.

Avoid those people. Screen them out in the qualification phase in your sales process. They are the most troublesome.

Even if they buy, they’re more likely to return their purchase and demand a refund. Even if they keep the purchase, they complain the loudest and longest.

They’re unlikely to be profitable Centers of Influence — providing excellent referrals and influencing customers your way. Focus on people who are motivated by price and value.

Here are the five value perceptions of what your customers sub-consciously think in motivating them to buy from you:

Employees, Spokespersons – 52 percent. The key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. Remember, about 70 percent of your customers will buy elsewhere because they feel they’re being taken for granted by your employees. And customers normally will not tell you why they switched to your competitor.

Image of Company – 15 percent. They are concerned about the image of your company in the community. Cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image. So is cleanliness and good organization.

Quality of Product or Service Utility – 13 percent. The customer is asking the question – “What will this do for me?”

Convenience –12 percent. Customers like easy accessibility to do business with you. That includes your Web site, telephoning you, and the convenience of patronizing your business.

Price – 8 percent. Price is important, but it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

5. Be astute about the differences among advertising, engagement and just spinning your wheels.

Just because a prospect engages you, it doesn’t always lead to revenue. It’s an art to avoid the tire kickers while discerning which prospects will buy.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources of information:

Prevent Buyer’s Remorse with 4 Precautions — In big-ticket sales — from consulting services to information technology — customer emotions run high. Buyer’s remorse will cost you a big sale. To prevent buyer’s remorse, you need to be a calming influence in order for the customer to understand you’re providing value.

6 Tips to Create New Sales with Successful Cold Calling – It’s important to create new opportunities with successful cold calling. Attending mere networking events or depending on a high marketing budget aren’t sufficient for strong sales. OK, cold calling isn’t always easy, but you must if you want to dramatically increase sales in double-digit percentages.

7 Tips for Strong Results in Setting B2B Appointments with CEOs – As every salesperson knows, face time with B2B prospects gives you a foundation for sales success.  Execution in the appointment-setting process is, of course, is key to being successful.   The ideal situation is to get sales leads via networking and referrals.

Is Your Company Underperforming in Marketing / Sales? Evaluate Your Culture – If you’re dissatisfied with your revenue, it’s time for an assessment of your culture’s operation. Why? Superior cultures drive business performance.

Top 18 Attributes of the Best Salespeople – What’s needed to be effective in sales? Merely having a gregarious personality will no longer cut it in the 21st century. Here are the top 18 attributes of the best salespeople.

“In sales, it’s not what you say; it’s how they perceive what you say.”

-Jeffrey Gitomer 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





How Businesses Can Make More Sales Revenue with CRM



Conclusions from sales and marketing research are head-slappers. Many global businesses aren’t meeting expectations of online customers.

Increasingly, businesses are using customer relationship software (CRM) but they’re not using it for maximum revenue. That’s the conclusion from a Velocify study, study “The Impact of CRM on Sales Lead Response.”

The 2014 study concludes that many companies that use CRM were following up on leads via e-mail and phone more effectively than Fortune 100 companies.

But the rub is that the companies are still responding too slowly to prospects’ inquiries – they’re not meeting the expectations of their potential customers.

This, of course, means the businesses’ sales opportunity costs are too high.

Worse, considering businesses invest an aggregate of $20 billion in CRM, 13 percent of customers never even hear from a sales rep.

Even if they do get a response, another 19 percent of prospects wait days or even weeks before they get a response.

“There is no denying CRM solutions have made a significant impact on the effectiveness of sales organizations, however, this study provides evidence that CRM solutions alone aren’t enough,” said Nick Hedges, president and CEO at Velocify in a press release.

“This study found a clear gap exists at the initial point of contact with a prospect. Even the savviest of CRM users are letting ripe leads die on the vine by failing to respond, waiting too long to contact an inquiring buyer and giving up too soon,” he added.

Secret shoppers

Velocify conducted a secret-shopper study. The shoppers recorded how quickly the businesses responded by phone and email. The shoppers also tracked how many response attempts were made in the subsequent 22 days.

More on the study’s findings:

— No response  13 percent of leads received no response of any kind to their online inquiry – not a single email or phone call.

 — Slow response via phone – The average buyer wait time for a phone call in response to a sales inquiry was 2 days. Previous Velocify research [2] found that attempting to contact a lead within three minutes of a web inquiry being submitted increases the likelihood of that lead converting into a paying customer by 98 percent.

— Slow response via email While the average email response time was better, with nearly 35 percent of inquiring buyers receiving an email response in under an hour, previous Velocify research [2] would suggest room for improvement, indicating the optimal time for email follow-up is 20 minutes.

— Lack of persistence  Only 57 percent of inquiring buyers received at least one phone call and one email in response to their inquiries. Previous Velocify research [3] found the optimal number of call attempts is six and email attempts is five. Only 13 percent of leads received close to the optimal number of follow-up calls, receiving between five and seven attempts.

Comparisons:

— Companies that used sales CRM solutions sent email responses on average three times faster than Fortune 100 companies (studied earlier in 2014) and were nearly twice as fast to call up inquiring buyers.

 — Sales CRM users were more persistent on average than Fortune 100 companies, making 23 percent more call attempts on average and sending 29 percent more emails on average. As a group, however, CRM users are still a long way from best practices.

 — Tech companies performed 60 percent better than non-tech companies in following optimal contact strategies.

— Sales teams using one of the five CRMs included in this study significantly outperformed all other sales CRM users. Details can be found in the study here.

Velocify is a top provider of cloud-based intelligent software. Obviously, Velocify has a possible dubious motivation to conduct such a study, but my sense the conclusions are valid. (This portal does not receive any remuneration for articles.)

My sense regarding the issues raised by study – there are relatively simple solutions:

The study’s conclusions serve as an indictment. Companies need to use best practices in lead response. Savvy customers today want a better buying experience. The companies that provide it increase their revenue and get a stronger return on their CRM investments.

Sales managers need to manage by plugging the holes. Sales reps should be poised to jump on any such leads. And they should be persistent in their follow-up.

[1] Gartner, Forecast: Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide, 2012-2017

[2] Ultimate Contact Strategy, Velocify, 2012

[3] Ultimate Contact Strategy, Velocify, 2012

From the Coach’s Corner, here are sales-management solutions:

Is Your Company Underperforming in Marketing / Sales? Evaluate Your Culture — If you’re dissatisfied with your revenue, it’s time for an assessment of your culture’s operation. Why? Superior cultures drive business performance. Specifically, two key elements of culture – innovation and responsiveness – have a direct impact on your company’s sales success.

Critical Fundamentals to Build the Best Sales Staff — The crucial question: How can a company develop a top sales crew? Short answer: Start with a premise — if it were so easy then everybody would be doing it. Long answer: Some companies are achieving stellar sales results in complex global situations by adopting best practices.

Sales Management: Motivate Your Staff in 10 Seconds — All too-often when sales managers are busy, they’re task-oriented. Not to be critical, but they’re focused only on what’s at the end of their noses. For effective management and revenue, the trick is to guard against it.

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers.

You Risk Sales If You Don’t Use This Mobile-Web Strategy — You know, of course, strong brand perceptions and emotional engagement drive sales. You also know your mobile-site strategy should be a priority, as a result of the skyrocketing popularity of mobile devices. But here’s a question: Is your mobile site actually hindering brand perception and emotional engagement?

“Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.”

Thomas J. Watson Jr.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula



There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. That includes the right branding slogan and logo.

Unless your targeting upscale consumers, many consumers prefer value marketing — not cute, which doesn’t necessarily mean selling at a lower price than your competitors.

Hyper-consumerism is history. Humor is great, but more importantly, traditional values with a purpose are in vogue. Why? Consumer attitudes are changing.

ID-10061404 AscensionDigitalPlanning

Broadcast advertising is all about frequency, reach and cost per thousand. Internet advertising is concerned about cpm, pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, and cost-per-action.

Yes, despite what you’ve heard about social media, TV, especially TV news, remains the most powerful of mediums. Radio is still strong.

But marketing is not simply creating a radio, TV or Internet advertisement or harnessing social networking tools. Advertising is merely one component of marketing.

Marketing pertains to the big picture. Marketing is the understanding of your target audience for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

It’s a systematic development, coordination and implementation of a myriad of initiatives – proactive events to establish a dialogue – not just a bunch of advertisements.

Orchestrate your message

Make certain to orchestrate and synergize your advertising with public relations, videos, word-of-mouth and social media. Thanks to the Digital Age, consumers are in charge. Set up a dialogue, not a monologue.

For example, if you’re targeting young adults or teenagers, it’s sad to say, but they are getting their “news” from their social media.

Your communication plan should contain timelines. Press kits are helpful, but in this green age, they are not necessary. Regarding relationships with journalists, here’s a hint: Reporters like to deal with experts. So portray yourself as one.

Choose wisely. Insert and distribute effective videos and provide the right motives for people to share. The right content has to be presented in right place.

Follow the trends to see how to get the most attention. For example, Digg.com can be helpful but remember it’s mostly a young audience – big on tech and off-the-wall stories.

Just like reporters, every generation likes experts and stories. Storytelling holds great power for you. So tell a good story, write a good headline, deliver on your promises, and cite outside participants for proof in your claims.

Marketing is the understanding of your target audience for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

Value perceptions

People base their buying-decisions on emotion. Following are strategies with business in-mind, but are applicable to political advertising, too.

Some 18 percent of people, whether blue-collar or white-collar in B2C or B2B situations, buy products and services solely at the cheapest cost they can find (according to my consulting firm’s research since 1992).

Avoid this target and using daily deal advertising, such as Groupon. Such consumers complain the most and they’re not loyal – they return only for cheap deals. Further, an HR concern: Many companies, such as restaurants, find it more difficult to retain their most-talented workers in such an environment. They tire from such customers. Plus, their tips from such customers are much less.

Companies that focus on selling at the lowest price either struggle unnecessarily or worse – they fade away. Companies are advised to target the other 82 percent.

The 82 percent is comprised of the most highly prized prospects – customers who are value conscious – value vis-à-vis cheap. Such customers have “five value-motivating perceptions” – emotionally, how they feel and what they think – that motivate them to buy.

The five value-motivating perceptions stem from emotions:

1. Employees, Spokespersons (52 percent)– What consumers think about a company’s spokesperson and company employees. Key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. But listening skills and empathy are of paramount importance to customers.

About 70 percent of customers will buy elsewhere if they feel they’re being taken for granted – it only takes from one to five bad experiences before customers are gone forever. And customers normally will not volunteer why they switch to a competitor.

2. Image of the organization (15 percent) – Prospective customers prefer to do business with companies that have a good image. Running a green business, cleanliness and signs of good organization are important to them. In addition, cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image.

3. Quality of Product or Service Utility (13 percent) – The customer is subconsciously and sometimes verbally asking a question similar to this: “What will this do for me?”

4. Convenience (12 percent) – Customers like convenience and accessibility. That includes all experiences such as their ease in navigating the company’s Web site and making a shopping-cart purchase, a happy buying environment at a store, making a telephone inquiry, and convenient bricks-and-mortar locations, and the level of service after they buy.

5. Price (8 percent) – To value-minded customers, price is important, but note it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

Seven marketing elements

Once you understand what motivates the customer to buy, there are seven steps you must take for creating a happy buying environment. Fear is a great motivator. But Americans are tired of negativity and comparison ads. Yes, the marketing process goes a lot easier if you can make buying fun.

For marketing in a downturn or not, every PR or advertising message should – as much as possible – contain these seven elements:

1. FEE. This is an acronym for establishing a common ground for a foundation using the principles of event and empathy. Every purchase is an event in the life of a customer – no matter how big or small.  In a down economy, it also helps to empathize about the average consumer’s budget.

2. Research/focus groups on attitudes. Use tools to get the consumer to think about buying.

3. Agreement on Need. Get the consumer to agree on the need to buy a product or service.

4. Generic Value Proposition or Benefit Statement. Here’s where you explain your value proposition. Remember the difference between features vs. benefits to answer the basic marketing questions, such as the acronym, WIIFM , “What’s in it for me?” or the “So What?” question.

5. Fill Prospect’s Need. Depending on your marketing channel and audience, use more specific benefit statements.

6. Getting a commitment to shop. Ask for the consumer to give you a shot using a non-threatening, closed-ended question.

7. Seal the Deal. This final step has three components –

— When feasible, use the magic words:  “Thank you.”

— Prevent buyer’s remorse – remind your audience of the benefits they’re receiving.

— Look for an opportunity to provide unexpected, perceived added value without hurting your bottom line.

From the Coach’s Corner, more marketing tips:

10 Strategies to Shine and Make Ad Designing a Breeze — Designing simple banner ads without strategic planning no longer suffices. The click rates have declined significantly, especially in B2B. To shine in the clutter of Internet advertising, there are at least 10 tips to keep in mind.

Insights – Why Marketers Should Show Moderation in Digital Communication — Businesses will decrease their chances for customer loyalty and repeat business if they don’t act with more self-control in digital marketing, according to a study. Consumers have become more and more discerning. 

Marketing – Insights for Attracting Millennial Customers — Marketers from fast food to cars are struggling to understand an important demographic – 59 million young adults, aged 23 to 36, according to a published report. Other observers believe there are 80 million Millennials, but in a slightly narrower age group. Either way, companies are obsessed with targeting Millennials for good reasons.

Insights for Exhibiting Success at Trade Shows — Attendees at trade shows would rather chat with marketing and sales staff as opposed to managers. A study released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) says 56 percent of trade-show visitors prefers meeting with salespeople.

Winning in Branding, Sales – The 6 Key Characteristics of a Logo — One key element for a company’s branding and sales that often gets short shrift is a great logo. Whether you’re an entrepreneur entering a brave new world or an established company needing profits, a great logo helps ensure top-of-mind awareness. A great logo can make the difference between winning and losing in a competitive marketplace.

“Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.”

-Seth Godin

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Photo courtesy of AscensionDigital at www.freedigitalphotos.net

PR Is Nearly 90% More Valuable Than Content Marketing — Study



A Bill Gates’ quote is famous: “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” Certainly, there’s validity for his philosophy. Even if you go to the competing Google News, you’ll typically find 50 million results for the key word, Microsoft.

Now we learn public relations is 88 percent more efficient than content marketing, according to a 2014 Nielsen study underwritten by inPowered.

Ostensibly, the study demonstrates the power of earned media as a center of influence. A positive news report is quite valuable for credibility to build trust.

“With so many companies spending so much money on content marketing, we wanted to clarify what kind of content is actually impacting consumers and helping them make their decisions,” said Peyman Nilforoush, co-founder and CEO of inPowered.

“This isn’t about disproving any particular type of content, it’s about identifying the most effective blend of content types to help effectively educate and inform consumers,” he added.

The study indicates the news media still has more credibility than branded content and maintains a strong influence on consumers.

Moreover, it means a greater return on the marketing investment in the consumers’ perceptions in the decision-making to buying cycle.

“It became clear throughout the study that, while exposure to each type of content did provide a lift across different categories, credible content from experts was the only content type that performed consistently across all stages of the purchase process,” said Tommy Cheng, vice president of Nielsen Content Innovation Solutions.

The study featured the responses of 900 consumers.

They were exposed to three types of content:

— Earned media (PR)

— Branded content (advertising)

— User-generated content (online consumer reviews)

“When it comes to determining which content to utilize to best educate consumers, it is not an either/or proposition,” said Mr. Nilforoush. “But by beginning with a solid foundation of trust built on trusted content from credible, third-party experts, all other content will have a greater impact.

Certainly, inPowered is credible as a PR-minded company, as I discovered after downloading the report.

Here’s an excerpt of an e-mail from the company:

“I’m Pirouz Nilforoush, Co-Founder and President of inPowered. I wanted to reach out and thank you for being one of the first to try inPowered and see if you needed any help getting started.”

True, it was a computer-generated response but it was a nice touch — a well conceived approach that a lot of companies should emulate.

It’s worth noting PR is valuable but that’s not to say content marketing is worthless. PR should be part of an integrated set of strategies to build trust with consumers.

That includes B2B and not just B2C. After all, 82 percent of B2B marketers prefer content-marketing strategies according to a study.

Either way, building trust is paramount.

From the Coach’s Corner, related PR tips:

For a Bounce in Revenue, Try Strategic Press Releases — Ever wonder why some companies are always in the news or how they succeed on the Internet? It’s a good bet they have a good PR consultant or have mastered the art of writing press releases. You can level the playing field with effective press releases.

Need PR, But No Budget? Here’s How to Leverage News Media — Social media is OK for promotion. But if you need blockbuster publicity, use best practices in marketing. Play a trump card — leverage the news media for public relations.

Inspiration from Raymond Loewy for the Best Business PR — A lady, sitting next to Raymond Loewy at dinner, struck up a conversation. “Why,” she asked “did you put two Xs in Exxon?” “Why ask?” he asked. “Because,” she said, “I couldn’t help noticing?” “Well’, he responded, “that’s the answer.”

How Some Companies Get Creative in Customer Service for Great PR — As you no doubt know, it’s increasingly competitive and costly to attract customers. It’s also a challenge to hang onto to customers while adding more for your business growth. Typically, consumers react favorably to marketing after receiving five positive messages.

Best Practices to Manage Your Global Brand, Web Reputation — As you no doubt know, the digital age has brought new challenges and opportunities. Best practices are critical in order to maximize your Web presence and to manage your online reputation.

News crew photo courtesy of jdurham, www.hotodaisy.blogspot.com

5 Essentials to Win Brand Loyalty from Millennials



How do Millennial consumers — ages 18 to 33 — view brands? What’s necessary to win their brand loyalty?

The answers to these questions are important because Millennials have $600 billion to spend.

If you win them over now — depending on your goods, services and industry — you might also create customers for decades to come.

woman office teacherSo it’s important to understand their attitudes and their preferred media channels.

Millennial study

Many of the answers are provided in a 2014 study of 2,000 American Millennials by Adroit Digital.

In querying respondents who own both a computer and a smartphone, the firm recommends that marketers consider new advertising strategies.

“For brands and agencies seeking to gain the trust and admiration of Millennials, the secret to success will lie in their ability to select the right partners, employ the right strategies, leverage the right technology and be prepared to constantly turn and pivot,” said Scott German, General Manager of Adroit Digital in a press release.

“Through the wide array of ad tech available today, they’ll be able to open the dialogue of engagement and lay the foundation for earning the loyalty of Millennials,” he added.

The firm’s key findings:

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree: When it comes to brand loyalty, 64 percent of Millennials surveyed feel the same level of or greater brand loyalty than their Baby Boomer or Generation X parents, with 24 percent feeling more brand loyal than their parents.

Social is Challenging TV for Influence: 60 percent of Millennials said that social advertising has the most influence over them in how they perceive a brand and a brand’s value, compared with TV at 70 percent.

In contrast, traditional media outside of TV falls flat. Radio, billboards (OOH), and magazines finished last in the sphere of influence, with mobile and online — both display and video — comfortably in the center.

Maybe Mother Doesn’t Know Best: While many Millennials have brand loyalty identical to or surpassing that of their parents, 77 percent will use a different set of criteria in selecting brands to which they’ll be loyal.

No One Wants a Bad Reputation: In the new age of branding, having a quality product is no longer enough to secure loyalty. 47 percent of Millennial respondents said they would change brands if their current brand were found to have bad business practices.

Keeping it Real: Moving forward, brands will need to sit up and listen in order to remain relevant to Millennials. Over half of the survey respondents, 52 percent, said that for brands to maintain their relevance, they need to be willing to change based on consumer opinion.

Forty-four percent expect brands to engage in open dialogue through social channels and 38 percent want brands to be more about the consumer and less about the brand.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks:

11 Tips for the Best Business Mobile Web Site — If you operate a retail business, it’s increasingly important for your Web site to be easy-to-use for mobile users.

Insights into How Twitter Users Can Forge Opinion — If you want to influence public opinion on Twitter, the trick is to get your message out early. Once your message is stabilized on the social medium, it’s too difficult for your competitors to overcome your lead according to research released in 2014.

Social Media: 5 Ways to Use Instagram for Revenue — Now that marketers have learned Instagram is a potent force in social media — a study shows it beats Facebook, Twitter and Google+ — you might want to learn how to capitalize on it for revenue, too.

“Youth is when you blame all your troubles on your parents; maturity is when you learn that everything is the fault of the younger generation.”


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.