5 Marketing Tips To Keep In Mind in 2017

You’ve heard the truism that “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. There are tons of content marketers right now who questioning their marketing strategy and given how easy it is to lose focus to the noise of the day, and pressure from investors who want a quick return, more and more marketers are increasingly looking to turn a profit fast and ditching their long-term strategy.

This pattern of trend chasing and the illusion to profit from today’s momentum is going obsolete. Originality, Innovation, and creativity are the drivers of growth. As a marketer, your goal is to create content that offers a solution, solve a problem and to keep your audience engaged.

Churning out a lot of contents without much substance is separating great marketer from mediocre. And come 2017 if your blog still resembles a generalist and does not align with your niche, you won’t get high-quality traffic or attract your desired audience.

The days of copying of someone else ideas are over. To be reckoned with, you definitely need to stand out from the pack by offering unique and profound contents. I’m not saying that you should reinvent the wheel but whatever you do, it is in best your interest that your audience finds them unique and not some cliche that everyone is already talking about. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind as we usher in 2017.

Inspire Your Audience

A great business always respond to change not react to it. Digital Marketing has come a long way and over the past decades, a lot has changed. As competition intensifies, it doesn’t stop new businesses from springing up every day. But opportunity abounds for smart marketers. when you build a business that inspires, excites and educates, it ripples across the whole social platform. People will talk about how great your service is, they will share it, promote it and they will remember you for being exceptional.

When you offer valuable contents you get noticed by search engines too, with content that ranked high, you are set for exponential growth and opportunity to reach more audience.

Have A Budget

Setting out a budget for your content marketing campaign will help you to make a monthly projection for your sales goal. And spreading your investment across multiple platforms will help to reach a diverse audience and attract new leads. It is imperative that you allocate your fund careful to help you stamp out a marketing strategy and tactics that are not working or getting the desired results. The use of automation technology in emails and social media is increasingly the most effective way to nurture your audience with fresh contents and personalized their experience. To provide any meaningful service to your audience, you need to fully understand them and be able to tailor contents according to the various stage of their buying journey.

Market To The Right Audience

The ability to reach more audience are enormous these days but running a campaign that reaches too far across-the-board can put you in the red and may not lead to sells or conversion. You must be specific with your marketing strategy by understanding who are marketing to. Trying to sell to everyone can amount to a waste of time, effort and doesn’t work but carving out a targeted content with your ideal audience in mind will yield a profound result and increase your bottom line. Yes, it can be painstaking to focus on specific prospects but it will be worthwhile in the long run.

Understand Your Audience

Most experts agreed that content marketing works better when you build up your audience persona profiles. Knowing your buyer’s persona is important and can help you to align your content strategy with most suitable service that will keep your audience engaged.

You can’t afford to waste your resources creating content for the wrong audience. You must find out who your buyers are, what makes them tick, their buying habit, what appeals to them and what turns them off. Understanding their background and why they buy will help you meet their needs.

Revisit Your Strategy

What your audience are saying about your business matters. Your success depends on it and establishing yourself as a leader in your niche will come naturally when you earn their trust.

On a final note, as marketing landscape are changing rapidly, so also is the growth potential. Clients will demand more from businesses and expectation will shoot up putting many businesses in an awkward position. Meeting these challenges demand that you constantly revisit your strategy by making sure they are updated as things unfold.

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Let Customers Do Your Marketing For You

You know about testimonials – those little blurbs from customers that tell prospects how great a product or service is.

But did you also know that over 70% of customers look at product reviews before buying? And 90% of participants in a Zendesk survey say they were influenced in their buying decisions by positive reviews.

According to research firm McKinsey, customers that come in through the advocacy of other customers actually stay longer and pay you more over time.

And it gets even better, because according to Influitive, customers who advocate for you will actually stay longer and pay you more.

Talk about a win-win-win, with YOU coming out as the biggest winner of all.

But getting testimonials can be a problem. Business people don’t want to ask for them or don’t know HOW to ask for them. And customers, while they might want to give them, don’t know how.

That’s why we’re going to show you exactly what to ask to get testimonials, how to use the testimonials to overcome the biggest objections of your prospects, and even how to get testimonials without asking.

First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – that is, the problem with 90+% of testimonials out there right now…

“I don’t believe it!”

The problem – and it’s a big problem – with testimonials is they tend to be too sugary. Too positive. Too… unbelievable.

“Since I bought the ABC Super Scooper Money Making Machine, I’ve made so much money I dumped my wife of 22 years and I married 18 year old super model triplets. I now own 16 homes, 83 cars and my own personal rocket ship to Mars. Plus my skin rash cleared up real nice and I’m about to buy a big yacht and an island and become president of a South American country. Let me tell you, that was the best $19.95 I ever spent!”

Yup.

Uh-huh.

You believe that, don’t you?

Me neither.

Testimonials are a lot like resumes…

What happens when you hand your snazzy jazzy resume to a hiring manager? Sure, they read it. But do they BELIEVE it? Nope. If they did, they wouldn’t do all that digging into your past, your social media accounts, your previous employers, your college records and your references.

Why don’t they believe what they read in resumes?

Two reasons:

1. A lot of people ‘pad’ their resume, making themselves sound better than they are. And since they don’t know you, they just have to assume you’re padding until proven otherwise.

2. It’s all positive. Nearly nobody every puts anything negative on a resume. “That company canned me because I didn’t do a darn thing for 8 months but play video games on the computer and play with the company dog.”

And what does this teach us about why people don’t believe testimonials?

1. A lot of testimonials are fake, or at least people perceive them as being fake

2. The reason they think they’re fake is because they’re all positive – sometimes ridiculously positive – like the example at the beginning of this article.

With those two strikes going against you, how do you get real testimonials that people BELIEVE?

By getting believable testimonials.

Which brings us to the question:

What makes a testimonial believable?

If the testimonial starts out on a negative note, people’s defenses go down and they your credibility goes up. In fact, not only does a bit of negativity ring true and become believable, but there’s a second benefit as well:

Because the testimonial starts out negative, people are captivated into reading it from start to finish.

Let’s say a friend is recommending an auto mechanic to you. What might they say?

“You know that repair shop on 5th and Vine, the one in the tacky yellow building? Well I went in there the other day because something was wrong with my car.

The place came highly recommended, but I gotta tell you when I walked through the door, I wasn’t too sure. It didn’t look nearly as modern as the repair shop at the dealership.

But they took great care of me and my car. They diagnosed the problem in minutes, told me exactly what was wrong and how long it would take to fix it.

It cost way less than I thought it would, and they had me back on the road in 40 minutes. I was so impressed.

The last time I went to the dealership they tried to upsell me on a bunch of stuff and I know they overcharged for what I let them do. I’ll never go back to the dealership again.

That repair shop might look a little funky, but the mechanics are top notch, fast and friendly, and they don’t try to rip you off.”

Notice how different this testimonial is from most of the testimonials you see online. This one starts out negative, talking about “the tacky yellow building,” and “it didn’t look nearly as modern as the repair shop at the dealership.”

And near the close it gets negative again, saying “That repair shop might look a little funky.”

But there is no doubt the author of the testimonial is thrilled with the service he received and the price he paid.

THIS is a testimonial people will believe.

In fact, if you have several of these kinds of testimonials, half your job of selling will be done for you.

That’s because your customers will be overcoming prospect’s objections for you, in a way you alone could never do.

Just imagine, you haven’t written one word of your sales letter or sales video yet, and you already have half of your selling done.

How sweet would that be?

We’re going to teach you right here and now how to do this in your own business for your own products, with REAL life customers and real life testimonials composed by your customers.

Your prospect’s mindset:

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that your prospect is skeptical. She’s skeptical of your product, your claims and possibly even your industry. She’s been scammed before and she’s heard of numerous other people buying products that didn’t do what they said they would do.

In a word, she doesn’t believe you.

Not yet.

That’s why when you hit her with “This is the world’s greatest product ever!” type of testimonials, you’re not getting through to her.

You’ve got to start where she is in her thinking, take her hand, and lead her to where you want her to go.

And she’s thinking, “I don’t believe this!”

That’s why testimonials that start out with some variation of what she’s already thinking are so powerful.

“I was skeptical this could even work so imagine my surprise when… ”

“I had tried so many things before, I didn’t think this would work either. But it was the only thing I hadn’t tried yet, so I gave it a shot and… ”

“I was sure the investment was too high, but when I got the results I realized it was the greatest bargain I’d gotten in years… ”

“I thought the whole process would be too difficult for me, but once I tried it… ”

“I hated the product name, I didn’t like the way it looked, but the first time I used it I became a believer because… ”

So how do you get testimonials that answer the objections of your prospects?

By asking your existing customers a very specific set of questions. Here’s how:

Testimonial Questions:

Whether you’re writing to your customers or calling them on the phone, you’re going to ask them the following questions, in order (feel free to adapt these to your business as you see fit.)

1. What was your main concern when deciding to buy this product?

2. What did you discover as a result of buying and using this product?

3. What is your favorite feature of this product, and why?

4. What are 3 other benefits of this product?

5. Would you recommend this product to others? If so, why?

6. What else can you tell us about your experience with this product?

Let’s break down the reasoning behind each question:

1. What was your main concern when deciding to buy this product?

This is where you’re going to uncover the main objection the customer had to purchasing your product.

As you do more of these, you’ll likely notice a pattern of just a handful of objections buyers had. This tells you what the issues are and how to handle them in your sales copy. And it often provides you insights you may not have considered.

2. What did you discover as a result of buying and using this product?

This question is the flip side of the objection. “I had this (objection) but when I bought the product I discovered that the purchase was worth it because… ”

For example, “I thought it was priced too high, but once I got it I realized it gave me 10 times the value of any competitor. I’m amazed they don’t charge more.”

3. What is your favorite feature of this product, and why?

You want specifics here, which is why you’re only asking about that ONE favorite feature. For example, saying the product is great isn’t going to make any sales. But saying the secret revealed on page 44 made them an extra $1000 a week is going to sell your product like hotcakes.

4. What are 2 or 3 other things you like about this product?

You’ve got their favorite feature, so why not see what else they like about your product? You might be surprised by some of the answers you get.

5. Would you recommend this product to others? If so, why?

Now you’re asking your customer to put their own reputation on the line. If they’re willing to, then it’s clear to prospects they really do believe in your product.

6. What else would you like to tell us about your experience with this product?

This is a wild card because you never know what they’re going to say. They might reveal something that could be improved, a feature you didn’t consider important that they love, or a unique way of using your product that you haven’t even thought of before.

From the answers you get from these six questions, you can compile a testimonial that rocks. When you do, be sure to send it to your customer for their final approval. Yes, they did say every single thing you’ve compiled into the testimonials, but you still want to get their final approval to use it.

Answering Specific Objections

This is an advanced technique that is a slight variation of what you did above, and it goes like this:

Let’s say you keep getting the same objection from prospects – for example, your product costs too much.

You might already have some testimonials that cover this objection, but if you don’t, then you can go to your customers and ask them directly, “Did you think the investment in the product might be too high?” If they say yes, ask follow up questions. If not, that’s okay.

So let’s say they said yes, they initially thought the price was just too much. Ask them why they went ahead and bought anyway. Do they now feel it was worth the investment, and if so, why?Knowing what they know now and after getting the value or benefits from the product, do they still think it was too high, or did they make a good decision / return on their investment?And so forth.

In just an hour of phone calling or emailing, you can accumulate a half dozen testimonials that strike right at the heart of an objection. And you can do this for every single objection that you repeatedly get from prospects.

Do you see how powerful this is?

“But what if I don’t have any customers yet?”

The fastest way to get some great testimonials is to give your product away to people in your niche, in return for their feedback.

This doesn’t mean randomly giving it to every person you can find. Instead, hand select your ‘guinea pigs’ to try your product.

Ideally you want people whose opinions are respected and trusted. For example, if your niche is online marketing, you can go to established online marketers and ask them to review your product. Some will, some won’t, and that’s okay.

And if you need a specific objection answered – such as price in the example above – be sure to ask a question such as… “Do you believe this is a terrific deal, considering everything the customer gets for this price? Why?”

For those watching closely – yes, that was a leading question. We didn’t ask what they thought of the price, we asked if they considered it to be a terrific deal. Not a good deal, or an okay deal, but a great one. Remember, they are still free to answer any way they choose. But it doesn’t hurt to help them just a bit by pointing them in the right direction.

“HELP! I’m afraid to ask for testimonials. What should I do?”

First, if you go back to those 6 questions above, you might notice something missing. Never did we ask for a testimonial. Never. We are simply asking for feedback.

And if the feedback is positive, we’re going to use it as a testimonial. If the feedback is negative, hopefully we’re going to correct the situation and make it right with the customer. (Unless, of course, if the feedback is ridiculous. Like, “This $20 sweater didn’t get me an A on my algebra test!” or some such.)

So you’re not asking for a testimonial, you’re asking for feedback. If you like what they wrote, THEN you ask permission to use it as a testimonial.

That’s part one to my answer on how to get testimonials without asking for testimonials.

Part two is kinds sneaky, and it works like this:

Sometime in your product’s life span, there are likely some milestones built into it. For example, if it’s a course on how to build an online business, the first milestone might be to build a website.

Now then, how does your customer feel when they’ve reached this milestone? Probably pretty fantastic.

So why not build a questionnaire right into your course at that point that asks for feedback?

Simply ask them about their experience with your product or service.

“Hey Joe, congrats on building your first website… what’s your experience with (this course) been like so far?”

This is really easy to do if you’re providing online courses. But in almost any form, there is a way to build it into the product.

And here’s the kicker – you might want to offer an incentive to get them to respond. In my experience, this will double and even triple the number of people who answer your questions.

Offer something that directly correlates with the product itself. Something useful that they likely want. And all they have to do is answer a handful of questions (six, perhaps?) and they get the reward.

Then you can repurpose their feedback into a testimonial. Remember to contact them to get their permission to use it in your marketing.

Simple Tips For Boosting Employee Engagement In The Workplace

Employee engagement pertains to a specific workplace approach with the goal of having the right conditions for each and every member of the organization so that will be productive and efficient and even more every day they are at work. It also aims to encourage employees to stay committed to their organization’s goals and values, remain motivated to contribute to organizational success, and have an enhanced sense of their own well-being.

As the leader of an organization, one of your top priorities should be to find ways to consistently engage and motivate your employees. By doing so, you will have assurance that your team is invested their work and not just going through the daily motions.

Although financial rewards and additional time off from work may seem like the best strategies to increase employee engagement, these two aren’t only the ways. Below are some simple and easy tips and ways you can follow or implement to improve employee engagement within the organization:

Consistently show your appreciation. Showing your genuine appreciation to your employees is an effective way of motivating your staff. In general, employees work harder and tend to care more about their jobs if their efforts are noticed and rewarded. Showing your appreciation doesn’t always have to mean giving gifts as well; a simple verbal or written note saying “thank you” is enough. The important thing is to express praise regularly, not just during annual reviews or holiday parties. Other ways of showing your appreciation also include making changes to an employee’s job description and giving him or her a well-deserved promotion.

Provide your employees opportunities to grow. In general, it is always difficult for employees to stay motivated when they feel like their positions are stagnant. As such, there should be a clear path by which employees can climb the ranks to greater responsibility and higher job title and compensation. You can show that you want to your employees to grow professionally by having one-on-one conversations about personal and professional goals and knowing how you and the company can help.

Help your employees identify the real meaning and value of their work. Make sure your employees still know the importance of all the work they do: to save lives, help the environment, or aid people in finding better career opportunities. If your organization is too sales-centric, your employees will be in constant danger of burnout.

Create a better, more positive work environment. Lastly, to improve employee satisfaction, the overall workplace culture and conditions should meet all of your team member’s satisfaction. All employees need to feel comfortable and free to express themselves. You can have a more comfortable workplace that encourages productivity by having soft lighting and comfortable workstations. You can also improve the workplace environment by developing a culture that underscores family, teamwork, trust, and passion.

Communication Leaks: The Roof Is Leaking

How do you rectify cybernetic malaise in your workplace?

How does your company build cyber security void of threats?

One of the discouraging and demoralising stances in the business world is to know that communication may not end in the organization. It is tagged disloyalty. A situation where employees trade company’s activities mostly confidential information with an unauthorized person, this is quite dispiriting.

Communication leaks: This is the divulging of crucial and confidential information to the public.

So there was a communication breach, that your company will not have repeated. Company’s confidential files were found outside the authorize zone, you have dealt with the initial hassles. However, you want to ensure that your company does not experience such mind-boggling issues again.

Cybersecurity?
What have you missed out in your cyber metric processes against information leaks? This article sheds light on cyber security tips your business can consider.

Precaution-Centric:
Employees know the hazard of information leaks and the consequences. So, knowing information leaks have happened must have mutilated most minds, aggravating the tension will totally be uncalled-for. Here the management should adroitly manage the situation less the adverse effects will breed anti-productivity.

“The atmosphere has become toxic, and that is not conducive to the work,” anonymous. (Reuters online)

The management has to know that it’s the precautionary process that has been breached and not all employees fall victims of this error. Creating unnecessary harsh ambience in the organization will be toxic to the work flow of the employees.

Managing Leaks without threats:

Policy:
Do you have a documented policy in relation to communication leaks? If you don’t have it documented, then it is time you document a policy that deals with such issues and have all employees involved in the creation and compilation of such document. Sometimes, it’s necessary to consult an expert to work with your staff. However, having a policy in place, does not certify compliance of such policy. Management must ensure the following steps.

Policy is not innately imbibed in the wrong ambience:
Management must creates an ambience that breeds loyalty in the heart of employees. When this is done, employees will give what it takes to ensure that information is not wrongly disclosed. Not only will they imbibe the policy but they would censure anyone that negates it. The policy should be coherently integrated into daily processes so that defiance to the policy can be checkmate on time. Get employees excited about the cybernetic policy of the company.

Good for the goose:
If the cybernetic precautions have to work effectively in the organization, the policy has to be imbibed by the top management and the staff. Compliance is significant. Whatever rule that is good for the goose must be complied with by the gander. No one is exempted from complying with the rules.

Invasive metrics:
“the fear of getting caught in a leak investigation… is so acute that some officials will discuss issues only face-to-face rather than use phones, email, texts or other messaging applications,” anonymous.

Many companies decisive measures against communication leaks can be counter-productive. Some organizations have made it a policy that employees’ personal mobile devices are not officially allowed for usage. Therefore, they are either switched off or kept outside the premises. However, this might prove counter-productive, since it has been proven that employees work better on their personal devices than those officially given. However, this measure can be considered in an extreme case. Invasive measures ranges from digital software to monitoring device can be installed to prevent or rectify this malaise.

Sweep up and manage your domain:
It is essential that the organization investigate decoys and deal with them appropriately according to the terms and policy of the organization. By doing this everyone will be warned.

Training on cyber securities: merits & demerits
To effectively curb communication leaks several trainings need to be done, so as to effectively acquaint all employees about its merits and demerits. Staff must attend these trainings frequently to be well equipped to pick communication breach in a jiffy even among one another.

Sales Manager Responsibilities – Your First Goal Is To Know Your People

You’ve worked hard. You’ve achieved targets. As a sales person you’re at the top of your game. Then management comes forward and offers you a new opportunity – to be a Sales Manager.

After the initial excitement of being recognized and having the opportunity to be responsible for a bigger portfolio wears off, you sit back and think. What is it that a Sales Manager really does? What are your new responsibilities and how do you function in a way that assists your Team?

At first the shift from individual contributor to first line leader is a difficult one. You will be tempted to step in and ‘do’ things for your Team. In fact some members of your Team may expect you to do this. Resist this temptation. Your role is not to replace the salesperson or do their work, rather it is to provide focus and enable solutions.
What you will find is that the good Sales Managers are a combination business leader, coach, cheerleader, shield (blocking things from impacting your sales Team), analyst (reviewing targets and results), escalation point (for customers), and advocate (for your Team with senior management and product/finance/pricing Teams). Given this long list of responsibilities where does one start? Where should you focus to get the best results?

For me this has always been with the Team. It is important to understand each member of your Team and to know their specific strengths and weaknesses. It is important to understand individual motivations and desires as well as past performance. Motivations and desires will tell you where they want to go. Past performance will tell you what they have been capable of doing in the past and therefore it is reasonable to expect similar results in the future. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each person is extremely important as well – you will need to know these as you take each individual and build them into a Team.
Here’s a critical secret that may seem obvious but that beginning Sales Managers tend to forget. You don’t need to know everything all of the time. You will gain far more trust and support from your Team if you openly ask them for help. If you don’t know how something is done, don’t fake it; admit it and ask for help from your Team. Not only will this help you build your relationships with your Team in a genuine way but you will also have the opportunity to find pockets of knowledge in your Team that can be shared with all.

The bottom line is that in order to be truly effective you have to move your Team from working for you to working with you. Sales management is a partnership whereby the Sales Manager serves the salesperson as much as the salesperson is expected to provide results for the corporation. Not only is the Sales Manager the conduit of information from and to the senior management team, but they are also the partner of the salesperson. A Sales Manager is a resource that the salesperson has to know how to use as much as the sales manager needs to understand how to help the salesperson.

Todd Ramsey is a strategist, innovator and leader who focuses on developing leaders within his teams/client’s organizations – whether they are at technology, telecommunications, or energy companies. His success is built upon understanding the real issues in a situation and approaching these with integrity, passion, focus, and driving results in a professional manner where the client (internal or external) feels valued and respected.

How and When To Hire A Sales Agent in 6 Steps

When you’re ready to spur sales, you may be ready to hire a sales agent, representative, or team. Growing pains are very real for all small businesses, so it’s important that you be ready to bring on hired help and the repercussions of making this big decision. If you’re thinking about having a sales agent sell your services on your behalf, consider these helpful tips to know how and when is the right time to pull the trigger:

1) Know your business backwards and forwards

This may seem obvious, but your sales reps will only be as knowledgeable about your business as you are. Remember, you will be responsible for providing your sales agents with all of the information, knowledge, materials, and language to be successful in their sales efforts. If you can’t answer common questions from prospects, how can you expect your sales rep to? Ultimately, you need to be the expert on your business so that there is no question about what you can do for your clients. From the sales process through to on-boarding, and ultimately the retention of your clients, make sure that you and your sales team are prepared for new business.

2) Examine your sales process

If you’re ready to hire a sales person, you’ve probably already acquired some customers. You may have secured some of those sales from prior business or personal relationships, but you at least should have some idea of what it’s actually going to take to sell your product. Think about where you excelled and struggled when making a pitch to a lead and make note. This knowledge will help you to understand what you need in a sales person and in crafting an appropriate job description.

3) Write the right job description

After steps one and two, you should have a sound idea of what characteristics an effective sales person requires. Put this information to paper and draft a job description that will attract the right candidate for your business. In writing your job description, try to be as specific as possible in the position’s description as well as your expectations. For example:

  • “The job requires telephone cold calling, generating at least 10 sales leads a day.”
  • “The job requires travel to prospects places of business for the purpose of presenting and closing sales.”

4) Create a compelling compensation plan

Commission-based employees work hard for their paycheck. Do not underestimate the effort that goes into selling your products. If you are able to provide a sound base salary with an enticing commission, your sales agent will have the right amount of motivation and drive to close sales for your business.

5) Find the perfect fit

You have everything ready to bring on a sales rep, now go out and find the right one and bring them in for an interview. Some ideas for places to find the right candidates may include:

  • Your own personal and professional networks
  • A local business school
  • Post your listings to job boards and classified sections

And look for person with the right characteristics and skill set you are seeking:

  • Industry experience in the same or similar industry you are in
  • Experience in working with a start-up so they know what they are getting themselves into
  • Self-reliance – the ability to pull together the information and resources that they might need to present and close a sale
  • Familiarity with your buyers. If you’re in the business of selling to mom and pop shops, try finding someone who knows how to do just that
  • Ability to fit in and cooperate with you and your team. The last thing you want is a contentious relationship with an employee.

6) Try a Trial Period

Even with all of the due diligence you can muster, you don’t know if a sales agent will work out until you’ve given them the opportunity to perform. With that in mind, try setting a trial period for your sales person to see if they are good fit for you and your company and vice-versa. When taking this approach, make sure that you have clear numerical measurements that determine success. That way, once the trial period is up, you are able to point to those figures whether you decide to hire full time or not.

Hiring a sales representative can help you to take your business to the next level. When you find the right agent to sell for you, you’ll not only be bringing in new revenue, but you’ll have the bandwidth to focus on retention and devise new plans for future growth.

Learn 2 Things for Successful Sales Leadership

The secret to learn and become successful sales leaders involves a few capital basics, that only smart learners can perceive quickly and use for own advantage. Thus the purpose of learning universally is growth as we all know; unfortunately people experience it at different levels.

This contribution does not only focus on the worse, but revealing that other’s worse can be an opportunity for another to discover the secret of professional success.

The point is, salesmen have been taught all sorts of things and told stories during their training sessions and profession. We all had experienced different types of leadership, and had accepted all those instructions at 100%. This is actually according to my personal experience and the things I went through.

Failure and mistakes are naturally human characteristics, and these things are normal to be found within you. But one obvious thing is that, sales coaches, trainers or mangers are also human beings like you. Mistakes are normal to be identified in them, and they are great leaders today simply because they were able to correct past mistakes for better. Still the process of perfection is a never ending journey, reason why until now they never reach full perfection.

Moreover the process of sales training, coaching, development etc… have two side effects that you and I should not ignore. That is why when you find yourself in a position as sales trainee, realize that the learning process has double side effects: because not only you learn from a positive side but from the negative side too.

Use the failures and mistakes of your sales leaders for your perfection. The sums of slip-ups sales leaders do are always invisible, but a good observer and analytical salesperson can identify them. Make sure to apply the following exercise to learn from the negative side of your sales coach; Assess back all the instructions and recommendations your sales leaders experiment on you.

On the other hand, apply the bright sides of your sales leaders with full commitment to make a better you. Sales training developments are created for taking salesmen to move from the failing level to good, better and finally become a great sales leader. Becoming the best salesman ultimately means surpassing the level of your sales coach or trainer.

However, give yourself sometime for self-examination and acknowledge your own mistakes and failures. Complaining and blaming over dissatisfaction will take you to nowhere but into stagnation. Instead focus on finding the damage and fix it for own advantage.

Weaknesses are the tiniest behavior that we hardly see from our leaders, also partly known and unknown to them. Nonetheless, the main focus of salesmen should be to learn as much as what sales trainers provide for them. But learning from both sources of knowledge is a turning point to make a difference.

To end, I just want to encourage all trainees salesmen to not only look at their own weaknesses. Make an alt as well, watch also your sales leaders’ feebleness, learn from them and use them as tools promoting your professional sales success.

The Power of Positive Sales Habits

While habits are often seen in a negative light, as those bad habits you want to break, successful sales professionals have learned how to create effective, positive habits that help them to be very good at what they do.

These habits are easy to incorporate into your daily sales routine. Since they focus in on what you should be doing and what you do well, building on these habits is creating a strong sales plan that is proven to drive sales and boost your qualified leads.

Positivity By Design

Positivity also creates confidence and easy to recognize attitude that properly sets the tone for the business meeting. This positivity comes from being prepared, knowing your buyer and having confidence in yourself and the products you are promoting.

Some of the most positive and proactive sales habits to cultivate and develop include:

  • Planning – plan how you want the meeting to occur. This includes everything from your greeting to your choice of clothing and the specific sales approach you want to use. Top sales reps also have a Plan B, a backup if you like to deal with possible challenges you see as possible out of the meeting.
  • Build personal relationships – networking and checking in on connections either through social media sites such as LinkedIn or through personal interaction is a very positive habit to develop. Not only does this build connections for qualified leads but it also allows you to become a trusted source of information.
  • Scheduling – a very positive habit to cultivate is the ability to structure and schedule your day. Schedule in cold calls, follow up calls, time to spend networking and time to update records and make notes on meetings. While new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) makes this easier, it still has to be completed on a daily basis.
  • Incorporate healthy lifestyle choices – getting 8 hours of sleep, eating healthy and balanced meals and managing to get in some physical activity every day is another positive habit to embrace.

By feeling healthy and creating a work-life balance, you will be more motivated, more creative and better prepared for the demanding job of being a successful sales professional. Healthy habits start out one day at a time and are tough to develop, but once your actions turn into habits, they can take you to places you have never been before!

Positivity and successful sales habits go hand in hand.

How To Present Your Sales Proposal Like a Professional

Learn how to present your sales proposal like a pro. Here are 9 tactics that the best sales professionals in the world commonly use while presenting their sales proposals.

Know Your Audience
Your presentation should speak specifically to the industry, company and personal needs and interests of your client. Research your prospect before you present. Remember what makes them unique, learn their mission statement and values. Learn their products and services and how your solution helps them specifically.

Personalize Your Presentation
Recognize your audience by their first name. It personalizes the meeting which with all else equal, will improve your chances of winning the business. Learn about their positions in the company and who you are talking to. Always make eye contact throughout your presentation.

Set the Pace
People have a limited attention span. You must set the pace and keep your audience intrigued by presenting the critical information they are seeking. If you must present other information that is not critical, try creating a video or a PowerPoint to make it more interesting. This can help to hold your audience’s attention until you transition to your next critical key point.

State the Objective
Clearly state what the objective of your proposal is at the beginning of your presentation. Review the objective in the middle of your presentation after key points to reinforce the purpose of your key points. Finally, review your objective while concluding your presentation. Tell them, tell them what you told them and then remind them again.

Elicit Participation
It is a good idea to get people involved when they are deciding whether or not they are going to invest with you. This can help them learn more about your product, service, and company, which will build trust and confidence behind the decision to move forward with your proposal.

  • Ask questions
  • Invite them to ask their own questions
  • Ask them to relate to a scenario
  • Ask them to recall something
  • Ask their opinion
  • Ask their approval

Present Value
When people see value in a product, they are likely to purchase. Do not assume your audience sees the value, they don’t! Your proposal and presentation should show the client why this is important for them, what they will gain, what advantage this gives them and/or how revenue will increase or costs will decrease. A statement of value should be placed carefully throughout your presentation, at the beginning, before or after every key point and at the end.

Be Real
A genuinely caring attitude is the most important thing you can bring to a presentation. You must care about and pay attention to the people you are presenting to. Always be honest. A prospect will respect your honesty and feel more comfortable doing business with you even if the a piece of information you give them is not in their best interest. If you have prepared properly, you will have plenty of information that is in their best interest and disclosing information that is not will build the trust that is key to cultivating a relationship and making a sale.

Thank You!
Do not forget to thank your audience for their time, participation and consideration. You should thank them at the beginning of your presentation and at the end of your presentation.

Follow Up
Ask them when an appropriate time is for you to follow up. By doing this, you can take the guess work out of it. When you know they answer, you will know you are following up at the right time. You will not have to worry if you are following up too soon and being seen as pushy or anxious or too late and perhaps losing the business to someone else.

7 Effective Strategies on Marketing Your Business Locally

When I was studying for my business degree and before my company was formed, I was in need of an outlet to be around other like-minded women. Years previous I was a member of the local Valley Women’s Network so revisited their luncheons.

Even though funds were very tight at the time, it was important for me to have some human interaction – even if only once a month.

Little did I know, going to these meetings ended up being the catalyst for our birth.

During this time I connected with women entrepreneurs who were either eager to start a new business or take their business to the next level. Being the former webmaster for the Vancouver Sun and Province, it was a natural thing for them to ask me questions about branding and websites. I was more than happy to share my knowledge.

Eventually conversations evolved into them hiring me so they could get the help they wanted with their marketing presence.

The next thing I knew I was in business as a web developer!

That was over 12 years ago and I’m proud to say a handful of those women are still clients today.

I have to smile when I think about it because I really had no intention of starting my own business. I was going back to school with the idea of landing a CIO position somewhere.

Turns out my calling was much more important than that – helping business owners realize their dream.

The Many Benefits of Attending Local Live Events

Fast forward to present day, I still value the connections made when attending networking and other similar events.

Recently I was in Vernon attending the WOW-Woman of Worth Conference where I had an opportunity to get to know many incredible women I would never have met otherwise. (I was inspired to write these networking tips while there.)

I am also a member of the Business Professional Women’s Group and attend meetings in Langley and Abbotsford.

The connections found at events like these have been invaluable – not only professionally but also personally.

Social Media and Online Marketing is Not the Only Way to Generate New Business

Sometimes with Social Media and online marketing being so prevalent we forget about our own back yard and the opportunities available to us. All we have to do is simply step away from the computer and check them out.

My business was literally created by connecting with people locally.

And just because Social Media has taken over the online networking landscape, doesn’t mean there’s any less value in building your business at that grass-roots level.

Do you market your business in your hometown?

If hiding behind your computer has become the norm for you, I encourage you to explore local opportunities to get better known in your home town.

Here’s seven tips, ideas and suggestions on how you can take advantage of generating business through local efforts:

1. Network where your target market is hanging out. First be clear on WHO that target market is and then do some research on where they gather.

This is an easy one if you are a B2B business like mine; there’s plenty of networking groups available tailored for that crowd.

But you might have to look at other shared interests. For instance, if your target market is very health conscious, join a popular yoga group and get to know those people who attend.

2. Volunteer at community groups. Volunteering in community groups are a great way to boost your visibility. Not only are they a great way to give back to your community but also an excellent way for you to showcase your skills and expertise.

Do a search for groups that could use your skillset. A great example is if you are a bookkeeper or accountant – volunteer to be the bookkeeper for the group.

3. Create your own Meet-up. Setting up local, more casual events on a subject you know would be of interest to your target market is a great way to build your brand visibility.

These types of gatherings can be very beneficial to the attendees where you can offer something of value to them and showcase your expertise at the same time.

4. Set up a trade show booth. Many trade shows have thousands of visitors. They are a great way to build your brand visibility and bring more awareness to your business offerings with the local crowd.

Set up a professional display and strike up conversations with those showing interest in what you are offering.

Be sure to have a way for them to get onto your mailing list by offering a draw or free giveaway. Just be sure they check off a box giving permission to receive your regular newsletters.

5. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. Even if your target market is not business owners, there are still plenty of great reasons for you to get to know other business owners in your area by joining your local chamber.

Not only can they be a great referral source for you, but they are still people who could be interested in what you have to offer at a personal level.

6. Nominate others for awards. We had the honour of being nominated for, and won the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence award in 2016 in the home based business category.

I was also nominated for a WOW – Woman of Worth award in the Business & Prosperity category. The amount of free publicity and exposure we received for each of these awards was priceless.

I encourage you to nominate someone for similar awards. Not only is it very gratifying to make someone else’s day, you also gain a lot of exposure from being the person who nominated them. Another option is to be an award sponsor, again bringing you great satisfaction and business exposure.

7. Don’t forget your business card! While some may poo-poo this, I’m still a believer in the value of business cards.

Get professional cards designed and printed. Use them wisely – always ask the other person you’re talking with for their card first and reciprocation will ensue.

Your business card is a first touch-point that person will see your visual brand so ensure you give off the right first impression with a professionally designed one.

Aside from getting out there and getting involved in local community activities, you could also take advantage of various paid advertising opportunities. Newspaper advertorials, radio ad spots, sponsorships and even billboards can all be taken advantage of at a local level.

Don’t Forget About Your Website

No matter what kind of activities we are doing when trying to drum up new business, don’t forget the importance of your website.

With every potential customer you meet, assume they will be heading to your website to check out you and your services. They might even do it right there so ensure your website is mobile friendly and shares the right brand messaging that will compel them into action and hire or buy from you.

Always be seeking opportunities where you can build your business expos

Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.