Shy in Networking? Here Are 4 Tips that Will Work for You



Good news if crowds make you nervous: The advantage in networking goes to introverts instead of extroverts.

“What? you ask. “Introverts have an advantage in networking at social events?”

That’s right. As an introvert, you have advantages in networking and also advantages in becoming a leader. Yes, that’s true.

Extroverts aren’t necessarily great in networking or qualified to be leaders. They’re not naturals in the art of persuasion, charisma, have boldness or in getting projects done successfully.

Introverted people are more likely to listen. Listening is an important quality for networking and leadership.

Moreover, extroverts are more likely to feel threatened if their ideas aren’t readily acted upon. They especially act with fear when questioned or challenged by others.

Conversely, this also means introverts can unobtrusively dominate at networking and other events.

Here’s how you can make shyness work for you:

Envision success by listening

During the 1970s and 1980s in my career as a young broadcast journalist, I learned valuable lessons about listening, negotiations and leadership when meeting two presidents – Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

While I was very nervous, they made me feel important in the meetings. They were fantastic listeners. Ditto, when I interviewed Nancy Reagan.

Then, there was a comment by another great leader in American history: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Theodore Roosevelt.

Of course, he was an American statesman, writer and the 26th U.S president from 1901 to 1909, 25th vice president, and governor of New York.

President Roosevelt knew success results from empathy and focusing on others.

So try to always ask open-ended questions, not closed-ended questions. By asking open-ended questions, you’ll get people to talk freely. (More on this later in this article.)

Many extroverts miss the point of networking. Networking should be all about starting and building relationships by listening well.

Take baby steps seeking quality contacts

It can be very entertaining to watch many extroverts and narcissists working at social event.

They’re so busy working the whole room and grabbing business cards, they’re not as successful in launching valuable relationships.

The trick is to be affable and likeable.

Quality prospects are not impressed by a narcissistic approach by someone running around willy-nilly collecting business cards without regard to the feelings of others in attendance.

Introverts, on the other hand, take the time to learn important information from a few people. This means they can make the most in chatting with the people they do meet, especially with other introverts.

Do this, and you’ll have a better shot at developing relationships.

Ask the most-advantageous questions

Extroverts get off on the wrong foot by talking about what they care about, which means they’re less likely to pique the interests of others.

So be a leader. Briefly reveal something about yourself so the persons will feel comfortable in answering questions. (People appreciate what psychologists have called “free information.”)

Then, don’t ask mundane questions such as “What do you do?”.

Ask questions that will prompt people to reveal important details, such as “What projects are you excited to be working on?” or “What interests you the most these days?”.

Read between the lines

Strive to be intuitive.

In conversing with a stranger, you also need to grasp what the persons aren’t saying. In effect, listen to what people aren’t telling you.

Success in sales is all-about creating opportunities for growth by finding needs to fill.

Once you entice people to talk about their interests or even their passions, you can anticipate their challenges and determine needs you’re able fill.

From the Coach’s Corner, additional helpful information:

Football Lessons for Business Networking, Partnering — Nine key steps for companies to become stronger by teaming with others. By combining resources, companies succeed in meeting the needs of customers.

Sales, Networking Strategies to Build Strong Relationships — Knowledge has always been essential for success. But the ability to sustain strong relationships was and is both gratifying and important for success. Here are tips for strong sales and relationships.

Listening Skills to Improve Your Relationships and Business Performance — What counts in communication? Listening skills for discernment and trust. Discerning people are the most successful and listening skills are important for discernment. That goes for athletes and management, alike.

Earn Profits via Innovation, Relationships and Local Marketing — If your company is struggling as a result of declining profits, at least three factors are responsible: The clutter of competition, management, and ever-expanding and head-scratching list of advertising options.

Tactics to be Memorable but Respected in Sales Calls — In this frenetic marketplace, creating a lasting impression on your prospects and clients – so they become loyal as repeat buyers – your approach should include seven tactics.

Sales Secrets for Getting by Receptionists, Gatekeepers — Getting past receptionists and other gatekeepers is a universal sales challenge. Successful salespeople, however, have the right insights and approaches for success. Here’s how they do it.

“Networking is rubbish; have friends instead.”

-Steve Winwood

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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.






Storytelling: Motivate Customers to Brag about Your Company

 

More and more in marketing, you hear buzz phrases about storytelling – advising you about the concept of telling your story. It’s good advice.

Your best opportunity in marketing messages is to inspire your customers to write testimonials about their positive experience with your company.

Certainly, you’ll profit more if you can entice your customers to tell your story about your products and services.

Positive run-of-the-mill reviews are great, but it’s much better if you can get your customers to provide inspiring details about you.

Unfortunately, businesses struggle to persuade their customers to give a complete and outstanding review.

However, , you’ll see a domino effect if you employ the right strategies for customer engagement, collect their impressions and distribute it to your customers.

Once positive testimonials entice other customers to buy, the new customers will be inclined to become your brand ambassadors, too.

Four strategies to motivate customers to brag about your business:

Daily prioritize your engagement throughout your business

Your immediate goal should be to promote your brand as the best – with optimistic, powerful testimonials.

Go beyond just using social media. Develop a foundation to collect your customers’ impressions.

Inspire and appoint your employees to collect, edit ad publish customer stories. Monitor the performance of the testimonials on your social media and site.

Ascertain what you need

If customers are unhappy, they will crusade against you. If they are happy, most people will take you for granted.

So, avoid lethargy and disinterest. Get customers to sit down and go to work as your brand ambassador.

Don’t be mundane by giving customers a basic text box to complete.

Create a structure in which you make it easy for customers to be comprehensive to enable you to harvest their all-inclusive testimonials.

Use an easy-to-complete template to motivate customers to write.

Ask customers to explain the purpose of their purchase, how they achieved their goal, why the purchase was beneficial, and how they now feel about the purchase.

Show previous testimonials

Consider a reality – most customers aren’t the greatest of writers. So, help them with examples they can emulate.

Customers love a happy buying environment. When possible, use humor to make buying fun.

That should include soliciting the desirable tone and length of their stories.

Show gratitude – prevent buyers’ remorse

If you succeed in eliciting great testimonials, you should prevent buyers’ remorse. So, reward such customers.

You can do it in a variety of ways:

Consider letting them see their testimonial before you publish it. Happy customers are often delighted to see their comments online.

Provide rewards points. Toss in even more reward points if customers provide a picture. It’s truly worth a thousand words.

If your products are spendy, send them a check. The higher the price, the bigger the amount.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant resources:

8 Strategies to Enhance Your Customer Service Image — Poor customer service is a salient reason why consumers aren’t loyal to businesses. True, today’s consumers are very demanding. It’s worth noting they’re demanding because they constantly encounter poor customer service.

Best Practices to Get Positive Customer Reviews on Amazon — Amazon has become the e-commerce destination where prospective customers can discover and buy anything they want. Here are four best-practices to attract great reviews.

Are You Attacked by Bad or Bogus Reviews? 5 Tips to Respond — Certainly you only want positive customer reviews. Internet-savvy shoppers read reviews to make buying decisions. Reviews can make or break you.

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.

14 Tips to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce.
 

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

-Robert McAfee Brown

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.

In 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 might even be higher than from the 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

Why Celebrity Testimonials Don’t Always Boost Sales — Biz Coach


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 TV testimonials for Chevrolet dealers in Washington state. His only remuneration was the use of two sport utility vehicles.

When his father, former Cincinnati Reds great Ken Griffey, Sr. played alongside him in 1990 and 1991, he joined him in TV commercials.

Despite their immense popularity, the testimonials didn’t boost Chevrolet 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

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