Final RainMaker Sales Tip for 2011

Yesterday, I sent out my ‘thank you and good bye’ letters to my 4Q11 clients.

One of them replied with this,
“It’s been a real blessing and honor to have been coached by someone of your caliber and experience. It’s also been fun ans a privilege to get to know you. I feel like because of the timing here I was handed the keys to a Ferrari (your coaching) but never was able to take it out of the driveway. However, I can’t wait to get everything you’ve taught me out to the open road very soon. It’s all about compelling reasons. : )”
I was floored! I’d link back to him, but I don’t know if he would want his identity known, but I don’t think that I’ve ever felt as flattered as I did when I read his reply. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Interestingly, he is one of 4 partners. One of his partners took sick early in our engagement, but this partner stepped up and did what it took. I should tell you that when we agreed to work together, we agreed to work at quadrupling sales in 4 months. We tripled sales. All retainer work. All him!
So, the last RainMaker sales tip of 2011 is

Work through the pain. Work through the tiredness. Do it right. Keep improving.
One more thing. Want a kick start to 2012?
Happy New Year!

ROI of Inbound Marketing

Is your inbound marketing effort not working? Let me ask the question differently. Add up every investment that you’ve made into your inbound marketing effort.

Hubspot subscription………………………$15,000
IMC training/education/consulting………   2,500
100 hours of your time (@ $50/hr)…….   5,000
There may be more. Maybe you’ve been at it for years and your investment is a multiple of that. Maybe you’ve invested 100’s of hours of your time or you’re worth $2-3-500/hr. Regardless, you can calculate your own total investment into inbound marketing. What is the ROI on your investment? If you invested @22,500 into your effort, have you sold $22,500 over what you would have if you did not make the investment? Forget selling. How about profit? There’s direct costs. overhead, etc. associated with selling. Aren’t you actually looking for a profit? How much extra profit has your investment generated? If you haven’t generated more profit or at least more sales than you would have if you did not invest in inbound marketing,
“Why do you continue to make the investment?”
Seriously, why? How did you find customers before you started drinking the inbound marketing Kool-Aid?
Referrals? Have you compared the cost of a referral to your investment in inbound?
Trade shows? Maybe trade show traffic has been down and you haven’t been getting the ROI that you used to get, but has your investment in inbound helped or just drained your cash and time?
Yellow pages, media advertising, traditional 4 P’s, PPC, etc.? Ask the same question. Are you really better off with or without inbound marketing?
What is your real ROI?
Should you continue or start?
If you’re good with numbers, use the formula and figure it out, but don’t pretend. Be real.
If you’re not good with numbers or don’t trust yourself to be real or want a second set of eyes, contact your CPA, your Hubspot partner (not Hubspot itself) or
send me an email

. Make sure that whoever you call agrees to keep you real. No rose colored glasses!
Finally, get an ebook to address your specifc concern at SMARKETING EBOOKS.

Smarketing Ebooks

If you’ve been keeping up, you know that 2012 is the year of Smarketing. If you missed the informational webinars on 12/6 and 12/20, you’ve got two chances left. (That’s the hook. More later)

Smarketing is a 12 step process. Twelve is a wonderful number and to celebrate the twelve steps of Smarketing, I’ll be publishing 12 e-books in the first quarter of 2012. That’s right. 12 books in the first 12 weeks of the 12th year of the century.
Would you like to help me celebrate? Pick a topic. Ask a question. It’s gotta be about sales, selling, prospecting, qualifying, closing, integrating sales with marketing, business development or customer service. Here’s the offer. If we pick your question to answer or topic to write on, we’ll acknowledge you in the ebook as the person who inspired the book and we’ll provide a link to your website, blog, LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle or Facebook page. There’s no limit on the number of topics that you can submit, nor is there any limit on the number of times that we can give you credit. So, have at it. Use the comment section to make your submissions. They typically publish within a couple of hours.
You want a sample? My latest ebook, “3 Things You Can Do NOW to Get Sales in Two Weeks!” will be available by Christmas.
Send me an email
and I’ll reply with your free copy as soon as I get it.
Finally, remember that hook? If you missed the first two webinars on Smarketing, you can catch live performances on 12/27 or 12/28.
OK. Ask your question or suggest the topic in the comment section.

Barney Frank & Moving On

A couple of weeks ago, Barney Frank announced that he would not run for re-election. I’m not in his district. So, I’ve never had to decide whether or not to vote for him and I really don’t know if his constituents are happy with him, but I really related to him when he made this comment.

“I will miss this job and will have tinges of regret. … But one of the advantages of not
running for office is that I don’t have to pretend to be nice to people I don’t like.”
My cell phone rang today while I was on one of my morning coaching calls. It was a local photographer that I’ve seen around, treated politely, but never appreciated or referred. I sent him to voice mail. I ran an errand. While driving I listened to the message. “Hi Rick. ____ _____. Can you give me a call?” The only time that he’s ever called me is when he wants an introduction, or information or free advice. So, it was natural for me to think, “He wants something.” and I deleted the message.
For some reason, I used caller ID to call him back as I was driving home. He did some small talk, then said, “I’m calling to be the bad guy. Kurlan owns the license for your profile picture.” I told him that I’d take it down and hung up. I was immediately upset that I’d returned his call. I changed my profile picture. Unfriended him on Facebook and disconnected on LinkedIn.
……and that, readers, is why Barney Frank is my new hero.

Selling Retainers

How much time does it take you to ‘land’ a new customer? How do you get your prospect’s attention? Inbound marketing? Traditional advertising? Networking? Trade shows? Cold calls? Count that time.

How much time does it take to do the ‘buyer-seller dance’? You know…First call to schedule appointment. Break appointment. Reschedule. Have the meeting. Do a proposal. Voice mail jail. Finally get them. Handle stalls and objections. Close or lose the deal.

Then do the work.

It’s not unusual for the sales process to take longer than doing the work that you actually get paid to do. Especially, when you start looking at your sales process truthfully. Truthfully means understanding that the average practitioner ‘forgets’ to count time with the misses. How many networking contacts before I get a customer? All that time. How much time at how many trade shows, following up with how many leads? All that time. How much time writing blog posts, lead nurturing, etc.? All that time. (Incidentally, I’d put a lot of this paragraph under marketing, not selling, but that’s a different post.

Truthfully also means that we have to know our critical ratios. How many phone calls do we have to make before we schedule our first base appointment? How many first base appointments get to second, then third? How many get proposals and how long does that take? How long does the decision process take? What percentage of proposals have to be modified? What percentage never close?

Don’t be surprised if you don’t know all the answers. Many don’t. This is where I usually start. How many new projects did you get in the last twelve months? What’s your hourly rate? How much did you bill last year? How many hours do you work a week?

Watch this math. 50 new projects. $100/hour. $60,000. 50-60 hours/week (we’ll use 50 hours and 50 weeks). So, if you billed $60K and your rate is $100/hour, you did billable work for 600 hours. If you work 50 hours/week for 50 weeks, that’s 2,500 hours. That leaves 1,900 hours for selling. But wait, you do your own billing, your own IT, you pay your own bills and fix your own screensaver, plus you have strategic thinking time, number crunching time and getting ready time. Let’s say that all that takes half your time. That leaves 950 hours to sell 50 customers…So, an average of 19 hours per project.

Watch this math. Hire an administrative person. Pay them $20/hour to do the billing, IT, pay the bills, etc and you put that 950 hour into selling to new customers and doing that work. Now you have 950 additional hours in your life. You could do like I do and go to the beach, or you use 582 hours to get 30.6 more projects and use 368 hours to do their work and bill another $36,800. Pay your admin $19K and have another $17,800 in your wallet.

You don’t have to be better to do that. You just have to be smarter.

Do you sometimes do more than one project for the same customer? Do you sell them one at a time? Have you ever thought about selling them on a retainer basis? What if every sale you made included three of your services, i.e. three projects? or 12?

Watch this math. 50 new retainers @ 3 projects each. Same $100/hour. Now billing $180,000 for the year. Now, you need to do billable work for 1,800 hours and you’ve only got 700 (of 2,500) hours to sell AND do the billing, IT, etc. So, you must do at least two of the following:

  1. Hire an admin
  2. Increase your hours
  3. Learn how to sell retainers

If you do the math for including 12 services/projects in a retainer, you should realize that you’ll need to hire more people to do the work and you will be the rainmaker.

If you’re interested in making 2012 your year, why not finish 2011 strong? Check out this free 30 minute webinar. “Three Things You Can Do NOW to Get Sales by the End of the Year!

Sales Lies

Do we HAVE to lie to get through life? Are there lies that are OK? Here are examples of some of the more common lies. Why we feel they are justified and how we can handle them if they’re being used on us.

Inbound marketing is all you need.” Brian Halligan said this at his presentation at the 2010 MIT/Sloan Sales Conference. One of the people in the room said, “You can’t possibly believe that!” He tried to ignore her, but she was persistent. He finally answered, “Look, I was polarizing. If you don’t polarize, you don’t get anywhere in this world!” You should know that I think Brian is really smart, sharp, well-educated as well as being a hard worker and good leader, but did that person get him to admit an exaggeration? Is exaggeration or polarization really lying? Do salespeople do it to you? Do you do it to your prospects? Is it OK?
Do as I say, not as I do.” My father used to have stock brokers calling him all the time ‘suggesting’ that he buy a particular stock. His response was always the same. “How much did you buy?” and when they said, “None.”, he sent them away. Consultants are sometimes the same way. Telling you what to do, but not doing it themselves. They might jokingly say that it’s case of “the cobbler’s shoes” trying to say that they’re too busy to do what they’re telling you to do. In reality, it could be that they’d rather experiment on you or that they don’t have the money or…… How would you feel about a Ford salesperson that drives a Toyota? an inbound marketer that’s a spammer? a salesperson that waits for his phone to ring? How would you feel about hiring a consultant that claims to be able to help you build your organization, but can’t build their own? Someone who claims that they can get you dozens of clients, but they work with one or two at a time? Do YOU walk the walk or just talk the talk?
OK, enough picking on salespeople. How about prospects? Did your mother teach you that you could lie to a salesperson and still go to heaven? It wasn’t really a lie? That it was expected and might even be necessary as a consumer? So, prospects tell you that they have an open mind because they want to pick your brain. They tell you that they like what they see while they’re shopping your competition. They tell you that everything looks great (but they’re saying that to all of your competitors). I’m not telling you that prospects are always lying or that you should assume that they’re lying, but they’re not always telling the truth. So, you should test what they’re telling you. We’ve got a solution for that, but that’s not what this is about.
Speaking of lies…Do you have any others? Feel free to share in the comments. BTW, how about the seasonal lies? Let’s revisit this next year or how about after the holidays? If you’re having trouble with these, check out “Three Things You Can Do NOW to Get Sales by the End of the Year!!!” Get the e-book. See the webinar! Attend with a friend.

Selling, Spelling and Math

I have a friend that can make any piece of junk look like art. I have tools, but…..

I have an insurance man, a financial adviser, and a doctor. I understand some thing about insurance, money and the way my body works (or doesn’t), but…..
A builder built my house and used an electrician, plumber, etc for their end of the work. I can use a hammer, wire strippers, and a torch, but…..
That’s why, when I read Frank’s post, I thought, “Isn’t it easy to understand?” People can’t do anything that they don’t have the natural talent to do or haven’t taken the time to learn how to do it properly?
The answer to every one of the buts above is that I’m not predisposed to do it myself. In some cases, I don’t have the talent that I need. In others, I don’t want to do what it takes to learn how to do it. (Go to trade school, med school, etc.) Same thing with selling. Some don’t have the Crucial Elements that are necessary to sell well. Others don’t have the incentive to correct the weaknesses that they need to overcome. Some may not want to invest the time or money. Doesn’t matter what the reason is, but if you don’t have what it takes and your livelihood depends on it, do you really want to screw it up?
Let’s tease Frank… Take a look at the url for his blog post. “yes-seliing-is-harder-than-other-jobs”. He hit ‘publish’ before he hit ‘spell check’. Frank is very humble and real and doesn’t mind being teased, but we all know somebody that thinks they can spell. but can’t and won’t use spell check or a proof reader.
How about math? Who do you know that is math challenged or math scared? Have they ever sought help, or did they just give up and say, it’s the way I am?
So, if you don’t sell as well as you should, is it because
  • You don’t have the crucial elements?
  • You don’t want to learn?
  • Or you’re so good at something else that you make enough to hire somebody to sell for you?
Or, is it that you need better leads?