Infocusselling’s Blog

September 27, 2009

Putting Our Mouth in front of Your Money

Filed under: ACTUM Group — Educated and Aware @ 4:23 pm
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23% Off is one thing. 23% In is quite another.

Our belief in our economy has been proven over the past year. We are clearly rebounding due to good old fashioned hard work. Some segments remain pretty tough but no industry has disappeared. As our economy turns around, those who plot the right course now will grow during this blip and come out geometrically stronger than their competition—some of whom will not make it out at all. To grow a business now means taking market share from the competition. It happens every day and you can be on the winning end or losing end—it’s your choice.

We believe in ourselves. We know the last thing people are doing right now is looking for places to spend money, regardless of how bad their sales trend is. But the bottom line is your sales skills have never been more important. The more competition you have, the more you have to out sell them. Our track record tells us that when our clients show up, pay attention, apply and integrate new behaviors and tactics, amazing things happen. We’re confident that record will continue.

We want to believe in you. We are looking for up to 20 sales people, teams or individuals, who want to be high earning sales professionals but right now are more like struggling sales workers. If you want to be a successful sales professional, or if you want your team to be successful, we’re willing to let you go 23% in and we’ll earn the rest. That’s right. You invest only 23% of our normal training fees, and we’ll get paid more only if we can change your sales results. Email us at jeffbowe@actumgroup.com to find out how to get started

I bet you and your team get paid for results, why shouldn’t your sales trainer?

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September 21, 2009

The Myth of Busyness

Busyness is dangerous for business. I’ve heard repeatedly in the past 60 days that things have opened up. When so many businesses have gone as long as they have without being busy, this sudden surge seems overwhelming and distracting. Sales reps get bogged down, the now lean operations department gets stressed, and everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief that the worst is over. This is a big mistake. I’m about to spout some heresy so hang on.

It’s nearly October meaning we have only three months left to finish strong in 2009 and only three months to start feeding the 2010 pipeline. If you are experiencing a sudden uptick in business, that’s great and I’m happy for you. Now, work longer hours and keep selling. Forget about breathing easy and forget about smiling at how all your networking has paid off.

Right now you should be having two kinds of meetings: prospects who are prospects right now and prospects who are prospects for 2010. If someone is not a prospect, take them off your calendar. You don’t have time for fence sitters and wishy-washy people who “might do something” in a month or two, or who are “thinking it over” or who are “looking to see if it’s in the budget.”

Your time is incredibly valuable and you owe it to yourself and to your family to bring it home. Learn how to spot a true prospect from someone who has no chance of buying from you. Think about what those who became clients said during your meetings and compare it to what was said by those who never signed. As you meet new people, listen carefully and objectively but not optimistically. If you hear a fence-sitter, be polite but be specific. Find out if they are serious and if not, stop wasting time on them.

Before I get razzed for thrashing networking, I’m not saying that networking is not still part of the mix. It is, and you need to network. But networking meetings are different from prospect meetings in that networking meetings end with referrals and introductions. Prospect meetings end with either an order or a decision not to go forward. Either is fine; something in between is not.

You network to fill your calendar with prospect meetings. You meet prospects to fill your sales column. If someone does not fit either column, you’re too busy to meet and you need to focus on the sale right in front of you.

Click here for information on a nearly free workshop on Sales and Marketing in 2009 and Beyond sponsored by Business Ownership Initiative.

Personal Branding Message Lesson From My Car Doc

Filed under: ACTUM Group,INFOCUSSELLING BLOG,Other Sales Issues — Educated and Aware @ 11:27 pm
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The last time I saw a family doctor make a house call was on a black and white television. Aside from a large animal vet that came to our house one time while I was growing up, no doctor ever came to diagnose or treat me or any member of the family.

Meet John Cannon of My Car Doc, self proclaimed graduate of bad car repair companies. He knew after working for one that there had to be a better way to give customers respect and value.

How many hours a year do you spend waiting to get your vehicle fixed? Instead of making you schedule appointments at the repair shop and waiting in a dirty, noisy, and cramped waiting room for an unspecified amount of time, My Car Doc comes to your home or place of business to fix or maintain your vehicle. John says that most businesses allow him to do repairs in their parking lot because they realize the cost of unproductive time spent at a repair shop. Some of the local office parks have regularly scheduled days as an employee benefit for tenants.

Asking John about what he learned as a business owner, he reports, “I was surprised by how quickly I became recognized throughout the social circles as the face of My Car Doc. I was also surprised by how much people wanted to get to know not only about my business, but also about me personally.”

This is personal branding and is a key issue for any new business–you are always on. You are the face of the company and people will associate your business with how you come across in all situations. Regardless of the impact of social media—or maybe because of the impact of social media—people buy from people and any time day or night you might be in front of your next prospect. No amount of marketing replaces face to face contact and personal relationships for the small business owner. John has learned the power of networking and personally spreads the word about his unique business.

John also said that his customers changed his business. “Be open to new ideas and suggestions from your customers; what they want and need is what you need to know to stay successful.” Target marketing is important but we cannot forget that the market may be smarter than we are. The market gives us valuable feedback on our offering. Too many entrepreneurs are so wrapped up in providing their service from their lengthy technical background that they fail to listen to what the market is telling them. John’s suggestion is a good one–you have to pay attention to the market and you have to listen to your customers. Your best idea will be improved when you listen to what you can’t or don’t do and then add it to next week’s offering.

Many repairs can be done in your driveway or parking lot if you have the know-how and tools and they aren’t messy—serpentine belts, air conditioning, alternators, brakes can all be done with nothing more than an open hood and maybe a simple floor jack which looks like a tire change. While the value of time is high for so many people, My Car Doc charges less than the traditional car repair shop due to low overhead.

“When you boil it all down, helping people is what My Car Doc is all about; it’s why I started this company and why we charge less than most shops in town for the most convenient service possible in Indianapolis.”

At the end of the day, you must be perceived as valuable business. What are you doing that is truly unique and what is the market telling you?

Click here for information on a nearly free workshop on Sales and Marketing in 2009 and Beyond presented by Business Ownership Initiative.

For more info on My Car Doc visit MyCarDoc.com.

August 11, 2009

Selling Today is Simple

I made this comment while speaking at a Rainmakers event and I got some raised eyebrows from some very tired salespeople. I said that selling involves three simple steps, and I believe that to be true. Here are the three steps.

First, meet more people. By meet, I don’t mean LinkedIn or Facebook friends. I mean meet more people face to face. When you are growing a business, you are the brand whether you are the owner or a salesperson. You are the face and your face needs to be everywhere. The more people you meet, the more people will know you and your company, and the more people who will be prospects for your offering.

Second, meet with more people. By meet with, I mean face to face, one on one, in a location where you can have a serious discussion without interruptions. You cannot have the type of discussions you need to grow your business in a room full of people, or over the telephone, and definitely not via email. Get out of your office—and your comfort zone—and have sales appointments. Sales is a contact sport so get make contact with your prospects.

Third, have simple conversations with the people you meet. Too many business owners and sales people talk about their business using techno-jargon that doesn’t mean anything to the prospect. Forget terms that mean something only to an expert like you. You must be able to break your business down to a simple result statement. “We help our clients become filthy, stinking, rich.” It doesn’t get much simpler than that! Ask simple questions and use examples that any high school graduate should be able to understand. “What about your computer bothers you the most?” I can’t tell you about DRAM and registry errors but I can sure tell you that taking five minutes to boot up is a real pain in my day. Build your credibility by asking questions that only an expert would know to ask, and by providing answers in a way that anyone can understand.

Selling today is simpler than ever. Let your competitors focus on being part of the noise. You need to take the path they have forgotten—meet people, meet with people, and have simple conversations.

Business Development Today Goes Way Beyond Sales

Business development is often a nice term for a job that involves finding new customers from lots of prospecting and cold calling. Without a doubt, business development involves sales.

Business development also has bigger and more important definition. Business development is the process of creating a successful and profitable entity that has value for the owner which goes beyond the income that is made from sweating it out year after year. Business development requires many successful activities beyond just sales.

To successfully develop your business, you must capitalize on your strengths and find a way to work with your weaknesses, and build a business model that can work without you there 24/7 or even 12/6. Too many people spend too much time working on their weaknesses. The problem is the time and energy it takes for small improvement on a weakness is better spent on making your strengths even stronger.

When we work on activities that use our weaknesses, we end up emotionally and mentally drained and our business suffers. Your best approach is to outsource your weakness or hire someone who has that skill or task as a strength. For example, if you are chronically bad at accounting and it drags on you, don’t ruin your day and put yourself in the wrong attitude for other critical activities. If marketing is time consuming, hire a marketing expert—they are available from free to very expensive and can make your life easier and more profitable.

Clients pay for A+ performance. If you have a strength in the B range, practice, take classes or find coaching to get to an A or better level where you can command more money and higher margins. Business development is finding where you can maximize your profit per hour.

 Over the next months, we are going to profile company owners and successful professionals who figured out what they were good at and how they built their day and business around it, while dumping what they were bad at to someone else. If you read enough of the stories, you’ll probably find someone who describes themselves yesterday like you are today. Feel free to steal their strategy and call me. I’m always looking for good stories for next month.

Making the Telephone your Secret Weapon

Converting Phone Time to Profit Time

If you are calling people who are not waiting by the phone for you to call, then you need to attend. This workshop is for you!

Cold calling is nothing more than calling someone who is not waiting by the phone for your call. Ever call a referral or someone you met last week and they have no idea who you are? Not a great way to start the call! This workshop is for you!

Warm calling is calling when you think you have a referral, but find out that the referral is not as strong as you thought. Not a cold call, but darn near. This workshop is for you!

“Jeff helped me with some great phrases to improve my telemarketing skills.” Beth in Staffing

We’ll cover…

  • How often do you call?
  • When do you call?
  • What do you say if they answer?
  • Do you leave a message if they don’t?

We’ll also cover gatekeepers (a.k.a., the first decision maker), call reluctance (a.k.a., I’m not hitting my numbers and this isn’t working), working through blocks and obstacles (a.k.a., asking the wrong person for an appointment at the time), reading personality type from voice mail (a.k.a., why I prefer to reach your voicemail), and how to get appointments when you want them (a.k.a., your time is as valuable as theirs).

Basically, if you use the phone to contact prospects to get the sales appointments you need to book more business, this workshop is for you!

You will walk out with ideas, action plans, approaches, responses, and new ways to convert phone time to profit time.

September 2, 2009   2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

“Jeff is an excellent speaker and coach. His seminar on telephones has greatly boosted my confidence and has made me better prepared.” Angela in Office Furniture

Registration is FREE, but please RSVP so we can reserve a space for you as our seminars fill up quickly!

RSVP to: seminars@actumgroup.com

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