Tips for Your Success with Effective Follow-up Emails



OK, businessperson, so you’re once again learning that an adage is true: “A watched pot never boils.” That’s especially true when hoping for positive information in business.

If you’re like many businesspeople, you’re experiencing stress waiting to hear back from clients or other associates. You’re wearing yourself out checking your inbox.

Ever wonder why you’re waiting nonstop for emails – why you’re unsuccessful after you send follow-up emails?

id-10099094So you start thinking about all the quotations about perseverance.

You’re motivated to think of excuses to send yet another follow-up email.

Wait.

First, think about how you feel when you get emails that don’t motivate you.

Many such emails are insulting because they’re annoying, right?

Here are common mistakes in sending follow-up emails:

1. “In case, my email went to your junk…”

Imagining your email recipient never saw your email is unproductive. Sending such an email is fantasy thinking.

Your intended recipient will likely think the same as you.

Worse, the person is likely to think you’re immature from being awkwardly impatient.

2. “Just following up in checking you didn’t forget…”

By sending such an email, you’re assuming there’s an irrational reason why the person hasn’t responded.

Actually, you’re insinuating the person either has amnesia or isn’t organized.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

3. “Because my email hasn’t been working well…”

By dishonestly trying not to insult the person, you’re sending the message that your email system is inefficient.

Scheming is not a virtue. Don’t send such an email unless it’s really true.

4.Realizing you’re really busy…”

Your recipient is likely to be insulted because you’re telling the person to make you a priority. That’s gauche. Put another way, it’s insulting.

Acknowledging the person is busy, but then to become an interruption in his or her day is unproductive and isn’t likely to be received well. You’re actually being dismissive of the person.

Solution

Forget the manipulations. Fake excuses will be obvious. They make you look like a dishonest amateur.

If you want an answer, show you have patience with true business acumen. Wait five business days between communications. Send truthful emails with value propositions.

By being patient – not needy – you’re far more likely to win. So don’t give away your power by being impatient.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are tips in the art of persuasion:

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.

25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing — If you want to accelerate your career or turbo-charge your business, one of your priorities should be good communication. Good writing is necessary in a myriad of ways, including letters, advertising copy and presentations. A lack of writing skills will hold you back or even hurt your career.

9 Tips to Connect with People after You Make Your Speech — Typically, in making a speech at a public forum, businesspeople hope to get a return on their investment — here’s how you can get a strong ROI.

Are You Hungry for Marketing Ideas to Expand Your E-mail List? — Bloggers and Web site owners can benefit from the same potpourri of strategies to attract visitors and to persuade them to join an e-mail list.

Business Etiquette Dos and Don’ts – Sending Holiday Cards — One of the best investments for your business relationships is to send holiday cards. It’s an excellent way to stay in touch and to show gratitude in your business relationships. But you must do it right.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau


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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 stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net


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.



Profit Margins: 11 Tips to Increase Sales and Minimize Markdowns



Imagine being able to sell your products at full or nearly full margins. How would you like a dream situation – not having to mark down your products?

It’s important to develop and implement responsive, multi-dimensional strategies to maximize your sales.

Achieving a decrease in markdowns probably sounds like an impossible dream. Whether you sell computer products or high-fashion clothing, you can realize stronger profits with best practices in sales.

Here are 11 sales tips:

1. Update your Web site.

Consumers are increasingly shopping online. Women are leading the charge in shopping more on the Web. Make certain you have a strong brand personality – from branding slogan and logo to value propositions.

Massage your content and merchandising. You need high quality and accuracy in images and descriptions. Consumers love environmentally sensitive businesses, so if you’re progressive learn the right steps to brand and market your company as green.

Security breaches at major companies have prompted consumers to rethink shopping the nationwide box stores, especially in the all-important fourth quarter. This represents a growth opportunity for smaller businesses.

2. Avoid lowering price points.

You can’t compete on price with the big box stores, but you can strategize to compete on other values. Eighteen percent of consumers will only buy from you if you lower your price. That means 82 percent respond favorably if you target the five value perceptions that motivate them to buy.

From my article, The 7 Steps to Higher Sales, here are the five value perceptions – what your customers sub-consciously must perceive – to motivate 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. Do know cause-related marketing can increase sales by double-digit percentages? So 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.

 3. Focus on service.

Your best asset is personalized service. This is especially critical around the holidays, as consumers are coping with extra stress. Consider hiring extra staff during the holiday-selling season.

Be prompt when you get inquiries and other requests. Make sure everyone is schooled in listening skills and are liberal in their use of the magic words, thank you.

4. Stay open longer.

Brick-and-mortar sales still outnumber online shopping. Consider extending your hours, particularly for  Q4 profit after Thanksgiving.

5. Include some freebies.

Take a page out of Costco’s playbook. The chain knows that consumers like added value. You don’t have to be a food retailer to emulate Costco. With certain products, give something for free.

For certain products, boost sales with a coupon offer or cheap gift card.

 6. Consider providing free shipping.

Extra shipping costs are a pet peeve with most consumers. Last-minute shoppers will appreciate shipping deals.

The one caveat: To consumers, clearly communicate your deadlines and inventory levels. Use words consumers readily understand like selection instead of inventory.

 7. Fine-tune your planning.

Arrange for unique products. Display some pre-wrapped, grab-and-go products that will entice harried shoppers.

Plan your calendar to make sales through the New Year. Shoppers are still in a festive mood and are conditioned to continue shopping. Your marketing should include events, product unveiling, e-mails and more.

 8. Track external exposure.

For items with your best profit potential, keep track of your marketing initiatives. You should be sure to align marketing with sales. That means coordination of all efforts to capture sales of products you know are popular in the marketplace.

 9. Listen closely to your prospects.

The voice of the 21st century consumer is online reviews. You can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce.

Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

Beware of any negative reviews on your inventory errors or alleged Web site misrepresentations. Be sure to profit from online customer reviews.

 10. Be competitive with pricing from the start.

Once consumers shop you, you might not get a second chance. It’s a challenge but know your competition and customer buying patterns. Set your price points right the first time. On the other hand, don’t discount your prices too much.

You should manage the sweet spot – between your price-optimization and too-low pricing. For stronger profits, avoid typical pricing mistakes.

 11. Manage your inventory.

With proper inventory management, you can lower your expenses and increase your cash flow. For many businesses, that means taking a look at your inventory costs. When your products aren’t selling, obviously, it hurts. Products just lurking and collecting dust in your warehouse are costing you money.

If you mis-categorize products or over-stock items, you’re setting yourself up for markdowns. For the best cash flow, learn how to manage your inventory costs.

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

To Cope with Rising Costs, Review your Pricing Strategy — Increased costs weigh heavily on the bottom line. If you’re being pressured by costs, it’s probably time to review your pricing strategy.

8 Simple Strategies to Give You Pricing Power — If you’re struggling with pricing strategies, you’re not alone. Many big companies have struggled, too. By way of explanation, according to a 2011 study, almost 90 percent of executives in a global survey forecasted their continued growth. However, they anticipated implementing just minimal price increases as they continue to slash costs, or at least closely monitor expenses, for positive cash flow.

Groupon Will Give You a Migraine for Ignoring Pricing Principles — Whether you’re an investor, small-business advertiser or even a customer, daily deal sites can give you a major headache. Continually, there are red flags about Groupon.

You Can Creatively Manage Your Cash Flow 7 Ways — If you’re taking the pulse of your business, of course, the first thing to consider is your cash flow. If your cash flow is poor, you feel poor because you can’t pay the bills nor can you use money for what you’d like to do. Your image can also suffer with vendors or with customers, if you don’t manage your cash flow.

“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.”

-W. Edwards Deming 


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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.




6 Sales Tips for Successful Cold Calling



For most businesspeople in an increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s important to create new opportunities with successful cold calling. Yes, it’s necessary to concentrate more efforts to create new sales.

Merely attending 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. Develop and implement the right strategies. You’ll find yourself in the all-important groove for a happy buying environment.

ID-100223612 stockimagesA happy buying environment will create a sales utopia for you. Understand that all buying decisions are emotional decisions.

Once a prospect emotionally wants to buy, then she/he will start justifying the decision to buy with a list of reasons.

So use strategies to get enough face time with the right prospects.

To create new opportunities with successful cold calling, here are six tips:

1. Position you and your company as being the expert

Do whatever is necessary — well thought-out action steps — to become the knowledgeable expert in your field.

Otherwise, marketing is a waste of time and resources. When you’re ready, develop the right public relations, business card and other sales collateral. You want to be seen as the best. But be subtle — without bragging and using gauche statements.

2. Demonstrate enthusiasm and passion

Selling can be a roller-coaster ride, so stay positive. You’ll be more creative and resourceful, and your customers will like working with you.

There’s a carry0ver effect. Your products and services will be seen as the best.

“The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph!”

– Marvin Phillips

3. Develop a system for maintaining a good prospect list

Know who they are and what they do, so you’re ready for the next steps. Make it a comprehensive list. As you get to know the prospects, prioritize them A, B or C.

4. Create a great elevator pitch, and develop benefit statements

That’s for each aspect of your services and products. You will ease the challenging aspects of selling, if you know you your products and services and how to align them with the needs of your prospects.

Further, if you use good benefit statements or value propositions, you’ll lessen the likelihood for objections about price.

5. Before you approach prospects, do your research

Understand their business and sector. Know whom to approach. My preference is to start at the top. Know what questions to ask.

6. Ask questions and listen

Be an active listener. Prospects don’t care what you have to say until they’ve had their say.

The best salespeople listen 80 to 90 percent in discussions with prospects and customers. In this way, you’ll know which benefit statements are applicable for your prospects.

From the Coach’s Corner, more best practices in selling:

The Lost Art – How and Why to Use Cold-Calling for Higher Sales — Are you lacking in sales? Do you get enough face time with the right prospects? Here’s how and why in-person cold calls will help you make sales.

8 Tips for Cold Calling By E-mail and Telephone — Since the advent of the digital age, cold calling went out of vogue. But in the lingering downturn – whether you’re in advertising or staffing services – cold calling has become the logical tool to use to generate clients or business customers.

Want More Revenue? Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling — Whether you are an established company or a startup, what you probably need most in this economic climate is a positive revenue stream. It’s possible with a higher-performing sales staff.

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.

You Can Get Bigger Corporate Accounts in 5 Steps — So your company needs to grow and you’ve decided to go after bigger fish. Getting bigger corporate accounts is easier, if you develop the right system. But not only must you have reason to be confident, you must position yourself and your company to instill confidence in your prospects.

“The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph!”

– Marvin Phillips


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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 stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Sales Lessons for Car Dealers and Other Retailers



Guess who makes most of the decisions for the family in buying cars? Seventy-three percent of moms say they’re the chief decision-maker .

Increasingly, as you might guess, moms visit Internet sites to shop for cars but want face-to-face meetings before buying, according to a 2014 study by C+R Research funded by Cars.com.

Even though Cars.com would seemingly have a conflict of interest, nonetheless the data appears to be accurate based on my experience.

ID-100234444 stockimagesWith consumers trying to cope with information overload – you’ll increase sales with long-term customer loyalty – if you build trust with consumers.

“There’s a lot for moms to consider when purchasing a new family vehicle, because their car is often tasked with hauling not only the entire family or carpool, but also all of the gear that goes along with them,” said Jennifer Newman, Cars.com’s Expert Mom.

Even though 71 percent of surveyed moms say research on the Internet is their preference, 68 percent want to negotiate in-person at the dealership.

Fifty-nine percent of the moms also say want to find a dealer with which they can have a long-term buying relationship.

Some disturbing information:

“More than 60 percent of moms surveyed said they trust the information they find online more than what they’re told from dealers, which means dealers need to go above and beyond to prove their authenticity and value,” said Jack Simmons, Manager of Dealer Training at Cars.com.

More findings:

— 90 percent of moms want the negotiation of the price to be as simple and easy as possible

— 71 percent of moms agree that shopping online for a new or used vehicle makes the process so much easier

— 66 percent of moms trust the information they find online more than information they receive from the auto dealer

— 62 percent of moms feel that most dealerships treat them like a valued customer

— 75 percent feel dealers are pushy and aggressive

From the Coach’s Corner, if you want more revenue, here are editor’s picks for maximum sales:

10 Tips to Optimize Your Web Site for Higher Sales — If you haven’t optimized your Web site for sales, you might want to reconsider. There are more and more indications that online shopping will continue to grow.

14 Steps 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. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

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.

5 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.

Checklist – 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. As a manager, if you want to improve your company’s sales performance, become a winning sales organization and review your recruitment techniques in hiring salespeople.

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

-Mary Kay Ash

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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 stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Capacity Management So Production Meets Sales Demand



In planning for your production capacity, have you considered every contingency?

Picture this scenario: Your demand and sales have been great. That’s the desired outcome for any business whether you’re a professional service firm, produce chocolate eggs or manufacture aerospace parts.

But if strong sales are the reason you’ve maxed out your factory’s production capacity, you’d have reason for concern. You need to know which direction to go.

After all, it’s not problematic when your productive capacity is limited by equipment maintenance. But it is, if sales is the cause.

morguefile4811263248597You don’t want unhappy customers nor do you want damage to your reputation.

Here are seven tips:

1. Analyze your situation

Consider all your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. That includes all kinds of issues from staffing to security.

Get input from the perspectives of finance, human resources, marketing, sales and operations.

Do you forecast continuing demand? You need to decide whether you’re having a temporary sales increase or will enjoy robust sales indefinitely.

Your sales forecast and capabilities will determine what steps you need to take.

2. Increase your number of shifts

Decide whether you can merely schedule overtime, find temporary workers, contract with a temporary staffing firm or hire permanent employees. For quality controls, you’ll need to be able to assign key staff to work another shift.

If you’re uncertain in forecasting,  like many industries you’ll probably want to hire temporary help. If you can contract with a temporary help firm, you can always arrange to hire away their best workers if sales demand stays strong.

You don’t want unhappy customers nor do you want damage to your reputation.

3. Increase your capacity

This might be the simplest solution assuming there are no obstacles.

Variables include whether or not new equipment will necessitate more workers, or whether you use the same equipment and merely add more workers.

4. Increase your prices

In general, the view on the law of supply and demand is that a low supply leads to a high demand. So, if your sales forecast is bright, it might be time to increase your prices.

5. Outsource the additional work

Consider the feasibility of subcontracting the work. Be certain you can trust the subcontractor will uphold your quality of standards.

6. License your work

It might be plausible for your competitors to produce products for selling to your buyers.

7. Focus on products with better margins

Avoid capital investments on equipment or hiring personnel. Why produce thin-margin products when your other products are more profitable? Focus on them first and consider producing other high-margin items.

From the Coach’s Corner, related content:

Vision in Setting Goals with 8 Best Practices — Whatever your entrepreneurial dreams, focusing on the right details is a skill conducive for setting goals strategically. However, if management doesn’t ponder enough on action-oriented details, goals are inordinately difficult to achieve.

Accounting / Finance – Why and How to Determine Your Break-Even Point — Uncertainty can kill hope in business. Best practices in management mean having the right information to alleviate uncertainty in business. For that you need the right tools. One important tool – know your break-even point (BEP).

For Profits, Manage Your Growth at the Right Pace — Entrepreneurs frequently try to rush their business growth. Certainly, growth is great but if you scale too fast, you’re looking for trouble. The key is to prepare.

Increase Your Business Value with 5 Basic BPO Strategies — For your company to achieve higher performance, you often need to enhance your business processes. In essence, this means turning your attention to business process optimization (BPO), which is a holistic approach.

Strategies for Manufacturers to Increase Profits – When it comes to revenue for capital-equipment manufacturers, the key pivotal factors are innovation and service levels. It might be an obvious conclusion, but it’s confirmed by the IDC Manufacturing Insights’ 2013 white paper on the global capital equipment manufacturing industry. 

“If the other fellow sells cheaper than you, it is called dumping. ‘Course, if you sell cheaper than him, that’s mass production.”

-Will Rogers 


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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.




Performance Gap Solutions for Consultants in Income and Image



How’s business? If there’s a disparity between your income goals and your current financial situation, it would appear that you have a performance-gap issue.  

That’s right. It’s time evaluate your processes. Recheck everything.

In most cases, a performance gap issue arises from three factors: An unfilled pipeline with ineffective prospecting and follow up. Solutions for the three indicators require discipline. 

ID-100208147stockimagesFor many professionals, networking efforts aren’t sufficient in this economy, and so prospecting must play a bigger role. 

That’s affirmative. How else will you fill your prospect pipeline? 

First steps to zero out the performance gap 

You must have something to offer clients. A personal development plan is vital, including a curious mind and a continual search for answers to problems.

Moreover, you need a strategic vision plan. 

You must be sure you have laid the groundwork to enable you to build trust with clients.

Instead of worrying about sales results, focus on becoming a value creator. Be prepared to provide innovative ideas and exemplary client service. 

Once you’re ready to proceed, focus on your prospecting footwork. To zero out the performance gap, become more efficient. 

Review your sales approach. Merely having a gregarious personality doesn’t count. Suffice to say the best-selling consultants have 18 attributes. 

They know the five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy, they know how to overcome sales objections, and they know how to close sales by following a professional sales process. 

Generate a suitable number of leads. Seventy-five to 100 is an excellent starting point. Contact 15 per day and disqualify the companies that aren’t suitable for you. Replace the disqualified leads to keep your pipeline full, and start your sales process. 

Business-development follow-up

Once the business development process starts, the lack of follow up causes failure. Despite great marketing and targeting prospective clients, many professionals morph into oxymorons because they fail to follow up.

Professionals follow up consistently with respect to build an ongoing relationship with an attitude of service and gratitude. They follow up with people who can authorize signing of a check – whether it’s prospects they meet at events or with people who inquire about their services.

They follow up on a regular basis depending on how they prioritize prospects. Priority A prospects are contacted each week. Priorities B and C are contacted every two to four weeks or in a longer duration.

The priority is determined by the size of the company, their needs that need to be filled and their importance to you.

“Dress how you want to be addressed.”

-Bianca Frazier

Savvy professionals use a myriad of follow up approaches – event invitations, a note with a relevant article, telephone, e-mailing newsletters, and the best-of-all approaches – an in-person visit.

Along the way, it’s important to ask open-ended questions, listen intently, provide value and have something relevant to say.

My first client relationship in the 1980s evolved after weeks of meetings for coffee chats – and listening to the executive’s challenges whom I knew from a previous broadcasting employer. There was a myriad of marketing and management issues.

My only motive was for something productive to do as I was looking for opportunities, but had no idea the coffee chats would lead to a client after I provided helpful advice. After returning one morning from a six-mile run, I found a message on my telephone answering machine inviting me to solve the challenges.

After you create a business relationship: Never create the impression that you’re indifferent – by only to contacting the client when you want to sell something.

Professionals keep records. You can use a CRM system or a simple spreadsheet to track your calls and to check it each week to set up your call list each week.

The moral: Do the right things for yourself and in building relationships, and you’ll avert the performance gap.

From the Coach’s Corner, more consultant tips:

Profits: Size Doesn’t Matter but Image, Professionalism Count – Appearances and professionalism can make your small business seem huge. If you look as though you’re substantial and that you can handle anything thrown your way – your odds for success improve dramatically. That’s especially true in this economy. 

Tips for Building Long-Term Client Relationships with Effective Meetings – How are you faring with your clients? Not sure? To be certain you’re doing well, you must ask yourself three key questions. 

Consultants – Helping Clients Deal with an Emotional Crisis – No matter what kind of a consulting practice you have, it’s sometimes necessary to help clients deal emotionally with a business crisis. If you’re a management consultant and you’ve branded yourself well, the clients see you as a trusted confidante and visionary. 

Valuable Secrets for Profitable Deal-Making with Clients – If you’re in professional services or consulting, many times you’ve heard the phrase: “Give me a proposal.” 

“Dress how you want to be addressed.”

-Bianca Frazier


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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 stockimages at  www.freedigitalphotos.net

Marketing – Have You Considered the Potential of e-Newsletters?



There are several benefits if you include e-Newsletters in your marketing mix. The most salient is that they’re a great way to achieve top-of-mind awareness with your customers.

Further, as a form of content marketing, they’re a favorite of B2B marketers.

Why? You can control your message and be a leader in your marketplace by cutting the through the marketing clutter with your very own advertising medium.

Businessman using laptop Free PhotoYou need to connect with prospects and customers, and continually stay in touch with them. Typically, customers don’t buy until they receive five favorable messages about a company.

Once someone buys from you, e-Newsletters are unique as a tool to build customer loyalty in that customers have to opt-in to receive them.

In effect, they’re a form of permission-based marketing, which means customers want to hear from you.

e-Newsletters give you a competitive advantage for growth because of the multiplier effect.

You can easily insert a social bookmarking service, such as the AddThis toolbar (www.addthis.com).  With the social media and e-mail forwarding buttons, you can easily go viral.

It’s a cost-effective strategy. It’s affordable compared to other advertising options.

But remember to comply with the CAN Spam Act.

Capitalize on your competition

If you’re a novice at this, research your competitors online. Pick an impressive Web site of a company in your industry that targets your ideal prospective customers, particularly a site that offers a newsletter signup.

Analyze why the newsletter is successful, and take notes for your later use – not to plagiarize or copy — but to use for ideas when you start your e-Newsletter.

Some of the big, credible companies have newsletters that include advertising. Consider buying an ad.

Note: Other than quality value propositions or benefit statements – why customers should buy from you – repetition is the key to success in marketing. Remember the “five favorable messages” principle?

And because you’re buying an ad in a newsletter from a company with a good reputation, you’re likely to gain automatic trustworthiness.

Launching your e-Newsletter

By launching your own e-Newsletter for which people sign up, you’ll start generating a list of prospects. You’ll be getting their e-mail addresses.

More on e-Newsletter benefits:

  • They’re a marketing-clutter communication tool to increase your prospects to convert into customers.
  • Your brand image is enhanced.
  • Like your big competitors, you might be able to launch an additional revenue stream by selling ads.

Keys for success

Remember the suggestion to take notes from your competitor’s newsletters? One should be quality content. Excellent content is important to build trust. For more, see: 9 Content Traits of the Best Blogs.

This means you should include insightful, well-written articles authored by you or a trusted employee. Employees are a great source of information because they deal daily with customers and are more likely to be familiar with their chief concerns.

To save time and build your image, you can also accept pieces by guest writers. Even better, articles written by loyal customers and business associates would be a great feature.

You must also make certain to have a system to manage your list. You can get a great free system via MailChimp, www.mailchimp.com.

Moreover, you can customize your approach with MailChimp’s designs, and get a simple analysis of your customers. You can leverage your social media, too. “With MailChimp’s Forever Free plan, you can send 12,000 emails a month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers.

As you grow and develop a budget, MailChimp offers more features for a price. There are other vendors you can consider, such as Constant Contact, www.constantcontact.com, which was the largest the last time I checked.

If you try these ideas, good luck, and give us some feedback on your experiences.

From the Coach’s Corner, more strategies:

Want to Start an E-mail Marketing Campaign? 6 Tips for Small Business — There’s a reason why many companies launch e-mail campaigns. They realize sufficient returns on their investments. So, it’s a popular topic here at The Biz Coach. I’ve written about the latest trends in e-mail marketing, and why e-mail marketing goes better with social media.

5 Free Tools to Operate, Market Your Business — Are you on a really tight budget, but need to run and market your business?  Ordinarily, I’m big on appearances – creating professional first impressions. But some free tools can suffice well.

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. The key to Internet dominance is to think integration – naturally, the first steps include a quality Web site and synching it with your social media, business listings, inbound links and other elements.

The Key to Internet Dominance: Think Integration — Whether you’re a new or established business, it wasn’t that long ago that a strong Internet presence meant having a great Web site with a top ranking. Partially, that’s still true but the competitive marketplace continues to rapidly change daily, which means the No. 1 objective should be a vibrant, integrated presence.

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

-Peter Drucker


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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.





Get a Running Start to Win the Race for Revenue Today



At least half a company’s obstacles to revenue success are actually internally driven. Are you struggling to keep your focus on revenue growth? You’re not alone.

Successful businesspeople get in slumps and experience a lack of self confidence in their quests for revenue. You can regain your confidence by changing your approach in business.

Operating a business is like running a marathon. You need toned muscles, and to re-discover your skills.

 Man running marathon Free PhotoTake steps to get out of your comfort zone, routinely practice being assertive and document your successes.

Get better at your job by becoming fearless, and decide whether you want to be a leader or a mere care-taking manager.

Here’s a checklist:

1. Put aside your distractions. You’ve probably been putting out fires – reacting instead of acting. Stop what you’re doing. Put your phone and pen down. Move away from the computer.

Take deep breaths. Clear your proverbial table for the right mindset – so you can focus on what matters to dominate in your marketplace.

2. Record and analyze how you’re spending your time and energy. Are you being productive? Start evaluating your situation. Don’t let complacency kill your focus. Time management is a key.

Bosses usually fail because they let distractions manage them. And they’re the folks who usually complain the most about not having enough time. So get organized to reduce your stress and save money.

3. Stay positive. Look for things that are positive. Focus on the 90 percent that’s working well in your company, career and family. Don’t let the negative 10 percent dominate your thinking. Treat every obstacle as an opportunity for growth.

Don’t let stress prevent you from working happier for for top performance. If you think positively you’ll perform better. Practice smiling. People around you will smile more, too.

4. Contemplate the big picture. Get out your goals. Are they still relevant for your company’s situation? Review what you’ve done to be successful for your objectives. Determine what needs your attention for the short and long term.

Work on developing your vision for goal-setting.

Are you in a turn around predicament? If you need to turn your company around, it’s a stressful situation. So, be diligent in following the right step-by-step solutions.

5. Take baby steps. Chances are you’re feeling burned out. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t try to do it all at once. Block out some time – an hour or less for each project. Set deadlines for each. If expenses are too high, be careful – don’t rush into it.

If you must cut costs, avoid making reactionary decisions.

Take a break to celebrate after you’ve finished a project. Reward yourself in a small way. There are all kinds of ways. Take a walk (my favorite). Telephone your life’s partner. Grab a snack. Meditate.

6. List ways you can delegate. Avoid frustration. Not everything has to be handled by you. Develop your staff for the welfare of your organization.  Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth.

Managers show a form of leadership, if they’re effective in employee delegation.

7. Consider opportunities to compromise. Learning to compromise without giving away your personal power will lower your stress. Give your associates a reason to smile. The ability to compromise is an important ingredient in successful negotiations.

8. Budget time to exercise your body and mind. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be in a better position to take care of your business. That’s because you’ll feel better with more energy.

Exercise doesn’t take up your time, as much as it makes more time for you.

9. Strengthen your business relationships. If you work for someone else, start with your boss. You’ll build a stronger career foundation, if you invest in your relationship. Better yet, learn to manage your boss.

Regarding employees, savvy employers know how to profit from their human capital – a powerful weapon for high performance in a competitive marketplace.

So engage your workers for higher morale to propel profits.

Make it a regular habit to motivate your employees to give you profitable ideas.

As for sales, build long-term client relationships with with effective meetings. If you’re a retailer, make certain your supply chain meets the expected standards of customers.

If you need better service from your suppliers, take steps to fix your vendor relationships. 

10. Consider coaching or mentoring. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A great coach will help your confidence and will help you to perform better. Look for someone with qualities you want for yourself – it’s the best investment to sustain your career.

Oh yes, don’t forget your employees. Be prepared to coach them. Explain the principle behind every tip you give employees so they’ll be able to pass it on when they get the chance.

11. Engage in public speaking. What you say is often as important as how you say it. Public speaking is good for you – it leads to more skills in communication and confidence. Create opportunities as a guest speaker.

If it’s a weakness, work on improving communication with others.

12. Let others challenge you. Hire smart people to complement your vision. You and your business will get stronger, if you discuss ideas.

Keep the focus on principles and not personalities. Behind every successful businessperson is at least one savvy devil’s advocate.

13. Be due diligent, but don’t be afraid to take risks. Paralysis from too much analysis is the true risk. Unless an idea is unethical, if an instinct plants a seed in your mind, chances are you need to act. You don’t need to know every minute detail.

Just get busy. As for fear of making mistakes, don’t be afraid. A mistake doesn’t represent failure – if you learn from it.

14. Unleash your passion. All great achievements have been accomplished with hope and enthusiasm. Develop the “contagious” disease – enthusiasm is working catching. Make sure everyone catches it. The multiplier effect from passion leads to profits.

15. Keep it going. Just as you work out at the gym to keep toned, you have to exercise your business muscles on a daily basis. Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, more tips:

“The key to winning is poise under stress.”

-Paul 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.

Unhappy with Your Marketing-Sales? Assess 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. You must be a top innovator to beat the competition, and your teams have to respond and execute strategic planning with cohesion.

They “have to work in tandem…to drive performance,” says George Chressanthis, a professor of healthcare management and marketing, and the lead author of a Temple University study.

argument-238529_1280He was joined by assistant professor Eric Eisenstein, PhD, and doctoral student Patrick Barbro in the study: “What is the Role of Commercial Operations Effectiveness on Improving Pharmaceutical Company Business Performance?”

True, it was aimed at the pharmaceutical sector.

But the lessons and applications are universal – the study’s authors provide the empirical documentation in the link between revenue and culture.

“We studied company self-reported data on their own commercial operations, totaling 26 biopharmaceutical firms in the U.S. for the period 2005 to 2011,” wrote the authors. “The sample of companies included large, medium, and small-sized pharmaceutical companies, and specialty and biotech companies.”

They said the “sample included companies that are headquartered in U.S., Europe, and Japan.”

Sales value

The report shows that the average company that improves its cultural innovation by just a .5 standard deviation of improvement is huge – a 17 percent increase in sales – $314,000 for each sales representative.

In a zero-sum game environment, the implication for under-performing companies is dour. Sales will go down every time a competitor achieves higher sales performance.

The study is ongoing and will take into account other variables, such as product differentiation.

“This will help us understand what, if any, changes we need to make in our analysis before submission of our work to an academic peer-reviewed journal for publication consideration,” explains Dr. Chressanthis.

For example, the study’s results have salient repercussions in the biopharma sector. In particular, he referred to companies looking for merger opportunities because they’re worried about their expiring patents.

Such companies should be investigating their target companies for evidence of a strong culture for a healthy merger ROI.

What if such a jewel is found? “What you don’t want to do is disturb that,” advises the professor.

Conclusions

“A commercially successful pharmaceutical industry is crucial to society for the future development of new drugs to address unmet medical needs,” wrote the authors.

“This research demonstrated the importance of executives being concerned not only about the level and placement of resource investments, but also in formulating a strategic vision that creates and fosters cultural organizational attributes necessary to sustain peak business performance,” they concluded.

And that’s true for any sector in business.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for strategies to fix your culture and sales issues:

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture. Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion. Usually, it necessitates an outside participant to assess your culture and to facilitate the changes.

6 Rules to Keep Your Pipeline Full for Continuous Sales — It doesn’t matter what type of business you have. Even if your sales are great today, there will come a time when sales will crawl to a halt unless you take precautionary measures to keep your sales pipeline full. Yep, that’s right. Never take sales for granted — when it comes to sales keep on truckin’. Never stop marketing. Take good care of your customers, but make marketing your top priority — every day — to prevent a roller coaster ride of profit and loss.

6 Tips to Create New Sales with Successful Cold Calling — For most businesspeople in a lackluster economy, it’s important to create new opportunities with successful cold calling. Yes, it’s necessary to concentrate more efforts to create new sales. 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. Develop and implement the right strategies. You’ll be in the all-important groove for a happy buying environment.

Four Tips to Motivate Employees When You’re Facing Adversity — Effective bosses have antennas to alert them over looming challenges. If they don’t have such an antenna, it’s important for them to develop one for multiple credibility reasons. Even the bosses of small companies can suffer from image problems externally and internally. Either one or both will adversely affect profits.

Overcoming Obstacles for Business Turnaround — 13 Steps — For a successful turnaround of financially troubled businesses, there are usually two obstacles to overcome. They include the ego of the business owner or CEO, and poor advice by the lawyers. It’s difficult for a business owner or CEO to accept the need for a turnaround specialist. Most often, they’re in denial about the company’s prospects or they don’t believe an outside participant can come to their rescue with restructuring services. An ethical turnaround specialist will do the right thing.

“If your culture doesn’t like geeks, you are in real trouble.”
-Bill Gates


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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.