Are you going to fail?

Last week, a friend of mine scheduled a conference call with a new business owner and me.

Here’s the business owner’s background.
  • Franchise owner for 10 years
  • Didn’t renew franchise because they weren’t making a living and because they didn’t think the franchisor was doing a good job marketing.
  • Started company to deliver same services as franchise
Here’s what else I know about the business owner.
  • They didn’t show up for the scheduled call
  • They attended “Double Your Sales Using the Internet Without Blogging or Buying Expensive Software” and when my friend asked, “So what did you think of the webinar?” The business owner replied, “I understood his demonstration and how it can help a global sales effort by connecting with more people. I’m not sure how this would apply to a local walk-in business like mine. I want more people in my community to know about my services.”
All of you people that use your smart phones to search locally are probably LYAO right now!
Clearly, this business owner is way smarter than the franchisor, my friend and most definitely, me.
BTW, if you missed the webinar or have a friend that wants to grow their on line presence without a blog, here’s a link to the recording.

Why You Can’t Grow a Following!

Isn’t it all about reach? Why do some of you reach thousands and others reach 12? Don’t get upset with me, but it’s because you don’t understand people. 
You don’t understand their business. You don’t know what issues they’re dealing with or what their priorities are. You don’t get why they follow who they follow. All you care about is me, me, me, me, me.

Still there? Let me explain. What do you blog about? What’s going on in your industry and how awesome you are, right? Then you tweet a link to the post and send it out to your subscribers. You also probably ask people to RT your links.
What else? You probably also tweet stuff from your industry. Financial managers tweet WSJ articles. Marketing people tweet Hubspot programs.
How about client/prospect contact? When do you contact your prospects and about what? When you have a new offering, or you want to follow-up, want a referral, or you want something else that benefits you. Fair?
Here’s my point. You blog and tweet because you hope that your remarkable content gets somebody to buy from you. You share industry stuff because you hope that someone realizes that you can help with that. You contact when you want something that benefits you.
Here’s an example. I invited an insurance guy and a marketing person (among others) to this webinar. Both replied that they couldn’t attend and wondered if there would be a recording available. Neither of them promoted the webinar to their followers. Why? Because it didn’t directly benefit them. They’d like to attend to get help growing their business, but they can’t fathom that any of their followers might want the opportunity to learn how to grow their business.
Here’s the closing. People that read you get your message and file it. If they need you, they may or may not call you if you’re still in front of them. If you make information available that doesn’t necessarily benefit you, but may be of interest to a reader, aren’t they more likely to keep checking you out?
Am I wrong?

Proper use of LinkedIn

I shared my LinkedIn status with a LinkedIn group to let the group know about this free webinar.

I received this email in response.

Hi Rick,


I came across your LinkedIn profile recently and it looks like you provide great services and advice to businesses, small businesses and startups. I am part of a new online business community that helps people launch, run and grow their businesses, called mosaicHUB.

You would be a great addition to our community and I think you would benefit from connecting and networking with our growing community of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

You can create a free account by going to www.mosaichub.com, and signing up with your LinkedIn account.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information. Here’s to building better businesses!

Cheers,

Stephen Fiedler
Notice in the first paragraph that he gets to the point. He strokes me. Tells me that he gets me. Tells me that he may be a conduit to my market.
Paragraph 2 – I’d be a “great addition”! “connecting and networking”
Paragraph 3 – Simple call to action.
Paragraph 4 – Leave the door open and a great toast!
Great job Stephen Fiedler!
Three other things:
  1. He didn’t ask me to connect. Great. We don’t know each other well enough, yet.
  2. He didn’t register for my webinar. Does he think he couldn’t learn anything?
  3. I wonder if he told his group and connections about the webinar. They may want to attend.
Any other thoughts?

A Sales Lesson from Carly Rae Jepsen (AIDA)

Last week I saw Colin Powell sing “Call Me Maybe” on a morning show. It probably won’t go down as one of the best performances of the song, but today’s lesson is in the lyrics of the chorus.


Hey, I just met you,
and this is crazy,
but here’s my number,
so call me, maybe?
Two weeks ago, I published “Don’t Rush. Slow Down. Make it special.“. Read those lyrics again. Doesn’t it remind you of meeting somebody at a networking event that shoves their card in your hand and says, “Call me.” (or worse, asks you for your card so they can call you)?
Or how about on LinkedIn, when you get involved in a discussion and someone decides that you’re a prospect. So, they send you a link to what they want you to buy along with their contact info (or worse, they call you)?
My point is that salespeople forget that there are four distinct steps in the AIDA process and that the Attention step must be totally complete before they move on to the Interest step. 
Hey, I just met you,” is the beginning of the Attention step and Carly Rae is right when she says, “and this is crazy,” because it’s way to early to say, “but here’s my number, so call me, maybe?
OK? Incidentally, don’t feel bad. It’s difficult to hold back. It takes practice. Lots.
Copied from MetroLyrics.com

Growing Sales in a Small Business

Yesterday’s post didn’t do it for me. When I read it this morning, I felt like I made it too much for professional salespeople and not for the business owner. I didn’t make the point that I wanted to make which was that I think that a blog is a sales tool that should be used by people that are looking to sell something rather than a marketing tool used by a marketer.

OK? Clear? Great.

How can a sales guy build blog traffic?

As most of you know, I’ve been blogging for a while, but I’ve been selling my whole life.

Let’s look at my blog. The table below lists the ten most recently published posts. If you check my blog, you’ll notice that the first 4 articles were published last week. The second 4 the week before and the last 2, the week before that. If you look closer, you’ll notice that the first two and the sixth articles were guest posts, written by somebody else. Why would they do that? Remember that there are almost 800 articles on this blog. Notice that the 10 most recent articles only accounted for 7,650 views. That means that the rest of the almost 800 articles accounted for 5,075 views. Each of the guest authors has a link to their website on my blog. My readers will have the opportunity to visit them. Why do I encourage it? My blog averages 1,000-ish views/day. Kelly’s post brought 2,644 views over a weekend and Don’s brought 1,180 during the same time. They told people about their article and new people had the opportunity to visit my site. One last thing about guest posts. The sixth one down, “Sales Experience Can Make a Difference” was published 11 days ago and has been viewed 986 times and is still ticking.
Other thoughts:
Who would expect “I’m Not a Salesperson”, “I hate sales. And I loathe salespeople.” on a sales blog mostly written by a sales guy?
When Don says “I’m an “Old School” sales guy using new technology.”, doesn’t that ring true with millions of salespeople that used to make cold calls, do trade shows or follow up on yellow pages leads?
And if you read the articles that I write, you’ll realize that they come from everyday life. Who did I talk with? What did they say? Look at “Asking “IS” Control“. 181 words. Lots of white space. Taken from real life. They don’t have to be long.
If you have other suggestions or ideas, please share them in the comments.
If you are a sales guy person or business owner that is looking to make the transition from tough, uphill outbound selling, to an integrated 21st Century Inbound Sales process,
Send me an email
.

I’m Not a Salesperson

Today’s guest blogger is Kelly Ward. Kelly is the owner of Digital K. Digital K is a professional web design company. Kelly loves web design, web development, online marketing and much more. She does not, as you will find out, love sales. You will love this post!


One more thing. Kelly has the opportunity to win a $250.000 grant to help her business. If you liked this article and want to help, please vote for her company here.

I hate sales. And I loathe salespeople. Like the lawn care technician yacking my ear off about aerating my
lawn. I despise the Best Buy HDTV salesman gauging my reaction to his prattling so he can plan his next
canned line about HDMI cables. I resent the Pottery Barn decorating consultant interrupting my 5-year-
old’s thoughts on My Little Pony hairstyles. And I detest the emails from SEO “gurus” telling me I really
need their service when clearly they have no clue that I offer that same service. 

I never wanted to be in sales. But I’m a business owner and I need clients for my business to survive.
I don’t have a dedicated salesperson; so it’s up to me. And I really don’t want to be that salesperson,
making my potential clients loathe me. If they feel like they’re on the defense fighting me off, this is
uncomfortable for them – and for me. Now what?
Much of my web business comes from referrals. The rest comes from leads my website generates.
When a potential client asks about my services, we have a conversation. I ask about their business and
their goals. I listen and determine if and how I can help them. I love those conversations because my
role is to help them. I’m not focused on persuading them to hire me. This is within my comfort zone
because I don’t have to sell anything – at least, that’s what I tell myself! But in reality, there is always a
sale involved.
Whether we sell products or services, we still need customers or clients. We still need to make the
sale. But our approach sets us apart from our competition. Are we listening to our clients and solving a
problem? Or are we simply trying to get the sale? Are we selling – or are we advising?
Some would say this is simply semantics – all sales people advise their clients. But there is a difference.
The best advice comes from those who listen. I’m an advisor – not a salesperson. And that’s how I sleep
at night.

People don’t do business with companies. People do business with people.

Our guest author is Don Battis, a savvy entrepreneur, businessman and financier that has a great story to tell about experienced salespeople using new technologies. He is currently the CEO and founder of Pawntique, an online pawn shop and serves as a director on the board of Great Island Technologies a Value Added Reseller for Box.net, Hubspot and Shopify.

I’m an “Old School” sales guy using new technology.

My first sales job came about when my boss asked me to do a market research study. I
was working as an engineer for a big company that started as a small metal fabricator,
but had expanded into several proprietary product lines. My boss asked me to, “Find
out if there is still any market for the custom metal products.”
There’d been no new customers for years and no one cared because the company had
plenty of other growth opportunities. But the 71-year-old Division product manager
was talking retirement and my boss was trying to figure out whether to replace him or
just exit the business. The marketing plan consisted of a listing in the Thomas Register-
a 33 volume printed industrial directory that was sent annually to every purchasing
office in corporate America. It was the pre-internet version of Google Search and it was
where companies searched for new suppliers. This ancient Inbound Marketing plan
provided a steady stream of request for quotes (RFQ’s), but no new orders.
It occurred to me that the companies requesting quotes from us might be a good source
of information for my study. So instead of mailing a quote that had been requested
by the Kodak Co., I picked up the phone and made an appointment with the engineer
who sent it. I climbed on a plane and flew to Rochester, NY where I not only met him,
but also got a tour of the facility where the new parts would be used. Over lunch, the
engineer told me that the RFQ quantities were actually understated because that order
would repeat 19 times over the next several years. And by the way, “Your prices are
fine. When can I get delivery?”
I called my boss from the airport and asked, “What do I do now?”
The short answer to that question is that I got the job as the new product manager
and grew that custom metal fabricating business from $1 million in annual sales to
$75 million. I stuck with my method of face-to-face meetings and racked up plenty of
frequent flyer miles nurturing personal relationships with my customers.
Fast forward to the present day. I’m the CEO of Pawntique, an online pawn shop.
We launched this family enterprise last year after drinking the HubSpot, Inbound
Marketing “Kool-Aid.” The strategy is to bring the traditional pawn shop customers
online through Inbound Marketing. Then, we convince them to put their valuable
jewelry and Rolex watches into a FedEx package and send it to us with the promise that
we will send them money.
Since launching last September, we’ve seen steady growth in website traffic, leads, and
new loans. Our Inbound Marketing program was doing just what we expected. We
are on the first page of Google Search for several of our keywords and steadily climbing
up the rankings for several others. The information required to make offers to our
customers came almost entirely from a calls-to-action, landing page forms, and email
follow-ups.
Recently, an article was posted about Pawntique on the Yahoo Finance news blog. That
resulted in a spike in website traffic and a flood of new leads from our APPLY NOW call-
to-action and landing page. We received more leads in that 24 hours than we had in the
previous month!
Knowing that it would take several days to process all the new leads using our standard
email process, I did what I’ve always done. I picked up the phone and started calling
people. The results were amazing!
Although they had visited our website and in many cases downloaded eBooks and
information kits, the prospects seemed eager for further reassurance and clarification
about what to expect. As we chatted, they shared information about themselves, their
personal financial situations, and why our service attracted them. Some just wanted to
be “courted” a little before they went ahead. Several asked if they could add-on more
items to their request or give our phone number to relatives. 
Many of them called back a few minutes after we hung up with follow-up questions that
had occurred to them. 
The net result was that the conversion rate of leads to new customers increased
significantly and the size of the loans were often larger than originally requested
through add-ons. The phone conversations were an effective way to build trust with the
potential customer, answer questions to speed up their decision-making, and increase
the size of the sale. Although our Inbound Marketing program can generate leads,
there’s nothing better than a personal interaction to actually close a sale.

Inbound Marketing, Referral Networking, Prospecting or Inbound Networking?

First, I apologize to subscribers that this appears to be my third post of the day. The other two posts were published when I worked at Kurlan & Associates and when I left, Dave Kurlan decided that he wanted to delete my blog. I saved the articles, and republish them when I need to link to them. I needed to link to the other two articles today.
You may remember that in 2010 and 2011, I spent a lot of time developing and delivering a sales development program for Hubspot Partners. Pete Caputa was the driver behind that program. During that time, I wrote “How to Grow Sales by 1,600%“. Pete is now famous and has recently started the Inbound Networking movement.
So, what’s the title mean? Most people don’t know that I am a card carrying lifetime member of the Sandler Sales Training President’s Club. In the mid-80′s, I signed up and paid for the training myself. My employer did not reimburse me. A few years later, I noticed that most of the people taking the training were employees of companies where the company was sending and paying for their salespeople to be trained. Why is this relevant? The Sandler franchisees recognized that most (80%?) of individuals don’t think of themselves as a business and therefore won’t invest in themselves.
I’m mentioning the President’s Club for another reason. We met weekly for two hours. 50-ish minutes of training, 10-20 minutes where we met our neighbors to determine if they were or knew a potential customer (We called it Prospecting.) and we wrapped up with 50-ish minutes of training.
20 years later I met BNI. At my first meeting, I recognized that Referral Networking was very similar to what I called Prospecting.
I published my first blog article on March 18, 2006. Pete Caputa was my blog coach and he taught me about links, html, yada, yada. I owe him big, but he used to make fun of me because I built my readership by face to face networking. I’d go to BNI and chamber of commerce meetings, business expos, anywhere there was people and ask them to read my blog. 38,362 visitors stopped by in the last month. More than some. Less than others.
Here’s the point. When I was prospecting and/or networking, I never got in front of 38,362 people in a month. One other point. I’ve never thought of myself as a marketer. I’m a salesman and always will be. I’m always nurturing (until I don’t want to know you any more). I’m always qualifying. Some feel it. Some don’t.
Sorry. I’m long. Bottom line is I think that Pete has something. It’s not fully cooked, but with the right 20%, it’ll be great.
Stay tuned. There will be a lot more on this. Feel free to subscribe, comment, link, tweet, or whatever to spread the word and/or get more points of view.
Last thing. If you’d like to see more, and have the time, read:





How to Grow Sales by 1,600%

As you may know, we’ve developed a Special Sales Development Program for Hubspot Partners. They’re kind of a busy group. They’ve got their own LinkedIn group. They talk a lot. Recently, I sent an email to the group and talked about the 80/20 Rule. It started a conversation and I wanted to share some more info with them, but I was surprised that I’d only mentioned it in one post.

So, first, let’s set the stage. One of the partners just closed a $2,500/month retainer. Great. He’s using what he’s learned. He still has 14 customers that pay him $100-200/month. He could get rid of all of them and make the same money as he did before he closed his new deal and save himself a lot of time every month. Or, he could find himself another good customer. If you really want to grow your business, you always need to be replacing your worst with your best yet.

Let’s go back to the 80/20 Rule again and look at some examples of the rule in action.

I remember Bob Jiguere telling me that his employer fired the bottom 20% of division managers every year. Didn’t matter if you grew. Bottom 20%…Gone.

Have you ever noticed that most of your customers just go along. No problems. Pay their invoices. 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your problems. Have problems with your billing. Make up their own payments terms. etc.

How many customers do you have? Look at the biggest customers. Are the top 20% biggest customers responsible for 80% of your revenue? Even if you sell a set price unit, you’ll find that your most important customers give you referrals, buy again, etc and are responsible for more than their share of your business.

So, let me show you how to grow your sales by 1,600% (That’s 20 times today’s sales.) using Dave Kurlan’s 100/0 rule. First, figure out which of your customers make up the top 20% and what they look like. Then replace the bottom 80% with more customers like the top 20%. When you finish that process, your business will be 4 times the size that it was when you started.

Unfortunately, the 80/20 Rule will kick in and you’ll have a new top 20% that will represent 80% of your business. As a matter fact, your top 20% will actually be 4 times the size of your original top 20% and when you replace the bottom 80%, your business will be 16 times where you started. If you want help with the math or the doing, let me know.