Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech used 1,666 words and is the most significant American political speech of the 20th century. While prepping for this article, I learned that Dr. King graduated from college a few months before I was born and he died a year before I graduated from high school. When I read the list of people that he acknowledges influenced him, I made a note that I should make the same sort of list. As I grow older, I appreciate him more.
Monthly Archives: July 2012
Sales 2.0 Tool Review: Postwire
Finally, a content management tool for sales- not marketing! (?)
If you are unfamiliar with what I am passionate about, it’s customer experience. I grew up in a family of generational entrepreneurs, from custom iron work for commercial properties, to real estate, to a winery- there is not much the members of my family have not done, or tried, as entrepreneurs. And despite the many different ventures, types of entrepreneurs, decade, geographic location, or target customer, there is one thing they all had it common (at least from my observations)
When it comes to your target customer, you better believe it is personal- to them. If they are not happy and delighted, you will have problems. Big problems. And it starts with the initial interaction, or sales approach, or as they say in plain English: the first impression.
If you are in sales, you know this (or you should). You also know how much time it takes to send individual, personal follow up emails that include links to content, or sales sheets, or videos- whatever it was that you talked about in your conversation and promised to send.
The last thing you want is for marketing to send one of their cutesy, automated lead nurturing emails to the prospect you just spent a few hours developing a personal relationship with. You are the customer experience for them.
What does Postwire tool have to do with customer experience? And why should sales people care?
Postwire allows sales people to send custom, visual, and collaborate email follow-ups. It can save sales people time, lost (or ignored) emails. It can tell you who opened, what they looked at, what comments they made. It helps you to get virtually engaged and stand out from every other sales email follow up that floods decision makers inboxes.
It can help you make the customer experience personal to your prospect, lead, client or customer. You stand out.
For a brief summary of the Postwire tool, check out this TechCrunch soundbite from their Disrupt conference in NYC.
Sign up for a Postwire account, you can get one for free. Cliff and Craig are keen for feedback as they build more and more functionality into the product.
One piece of advice, and this applies to any new technology that you might expose prospects to- give them a heads up first. Never assume they will know what to do, otherwise you are leaving their customer experience in the hands of someone else. Ask them, do you prefer the standard text email, or a personalized web page for you and your co-workers? Let them know they will need to sign in, but the info is secure, their comments are protected, and it will take less than 30 seconds.
When it comes to tools, or technology, if you don’t understand the
concept that it is all about your customer’s experience, you are dead in
the water. Floating around the ocean in a raft without a paddle, map,
or food, simply tossed about with the latest trend in the current.
If you are an entrepreneur who knows that the best way to grow a business is through word of mouth, you might be an inbound networker.
If you are wishing you had more people to send follow-up emails to in the first place so that you could use a cool tool like Postwire, then get on Rick’s calendar, he will know what to do.
For more about me, check out my musings on the Smarketing blog, watch my ADHD in real time on Twitter, or visit me on LinkedIn. Or if you prefer to speak, select a time on my calendar, I will do the rest.
Photo credit: creativereview.co.uk
Why I read….
I just read two articles.
send me an email.
Capital Punishment for Marketing Liars?
I wrote Should you fire marketing? a few days ago.
- I send them a direct message like, “Noticed the follow. What brought you by?” If they want to engage, that’s the time. If they don’t, I don’t do anything else and assume that they’re a stalker
- If they have stopped following me, I report them for spam. I’d rather use capital punishment, but that’s not one of Twitter’s choices.
“by invitation only”, “replace un-active members with new members” and “If you aren’t planning on sharing, you are wasting your time in this group”.
Should you fire marketing?
First, let me define “you”.
How to get to know your target customer- The New Way
I’m an “Old School” sales guy using new technology.
process of gathering information about your target customers using technology. (Did you read part 1?)
readily available. Potential customer intelligence is available through websites, blogs,
and online public documents. A little time spent searching these resources can give
you an edge to know what are the short and long term objectives and strategies of
the company. If you can connect those explicit or implied strategies with how your
product can help achieve them, you have an opportunity. And a similar analysis of your
competitors’ websites can help you evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
and job history. It also shows where he fits into his organization- the company as a
whole or his little corner of the world. LinkedIn allows you to figure out who else may
be an influencer or decision maker in your sale. Another feature of LinkedIn is that you
can see who is viewing your profile. You can assume that anyone who is checking you
out is probably interested in your offering.
interested in. Photos of family activities, hobbies, travel, and interesting news tell much
about a person’s inner workings.
went out for pizza.” Using the “Birds of a Feather Flock Together Principal”, you
can conclude that his twitter followers have some affiliation with him- likely to be co-
workers and business associates. By following the people he follows, you can stay
current on what they are thinking and discussing. This may be important if you want
to be part of their conversation. Remember, whenever possible, people want to do
business with people who have the same interests as them. They trust people in their
own “flock”. These same people are also likely prospects for you.
advantage that is so powerful it’s almost unfair. Once a visitor identifies himself by
opting-in, you can track every page he has visited and every download. This tells
you exactly why he is interested and which features are important to him. Using
that intelligence, you can craft an offer to him based on exactly what you know he is
interested in. If a car dealer sees that a customer has been on the site and has downloaded
every article about safety, the dealer should forget about promoting the sleek body styling
or the awesome new sound system. By searching his Facebook account you might find
a family with young kids of “car seat age”. It might be a good idea to make an offer that
emphasizes vehicles that are easy to load small children and have top safety ratings.
and wander around our website. They might just want to browse and explore for
themselves and not buy anything. But if they return, it’s an indication that they have a
need and we can nudge them along towards eventually becoming a customer.
activity from the IP address of a large competitor as they regularly visit our site. They
are watching our progress in the online pawn space and we are watching them watch us.
We have a complete history of all visits, page views, and downloads.
determine their interests. When a lead returns to our website, we get an email
notification. We then can gently reach out with an email that might refer to the pages
they visited. If they downloaded our eBook, The New Rules of Small Business Finance,
then we might mention how pawn loans have helped small businesses. If they have
downloaded our Pawning 101 Kit, we might mention our online chat capability that they
can use to ask questions.
understanding their customers and their true interests. It is also much faster and more
efficient than the old face-to-face sales calls. A pipeline of leads from a wide geographic
area can be managed efficiently using the new tools.
getting new sales?
Should You Outsource Sales or DIY?
If you look at my bio,
you’ll notice that I spent 20 years in the debt collection industry and I’d
like to think that I was pretty good at it. One of the questions that I would
ask prospective clients is, “Why don’t you just do it yourself?” I’d typically
get one of three answers.
“I don’t know what to do.” Many small business
owners don’t anticipate a deal going bad. They assume that because they’re
honest, everybody’s honest and when a customer turns out to be dishonest, the
business owner gets emotional, takes it personally and loses control. Even if I
told them how to collect the money, they probably couldn’t do it.
“I know exactly what to do, but it’s my busy
season and I don’t have time to deal with it.” Let’s face it, when it’s your
busy season, you usually have a hard enough time keeping up with filling
orders. You don’t have time to send letters, make calls or go to court.
Finally, it didn’t make good business sense. Bad
debt was a very small percentage of sales. The company was good at finding
business and delivery. Why throw good money after bad by chasing small money.
Think about it. Which would you prefer, to write the bad debt off without
putting any time or resources into collection or to put significant time and
resources into collection and still not collect it? So you still have to write
off the whole debt.
As I think about outsourcing sales, I can’t help but wonder,
“Don’t you have to answer the same question?” and aren’t your answers going to
be similar? I wrote “Collection
Problems = Sales Problems” almost exactly six years ago. Many of the links
in the post are no longer valid, but if you try to DIY sales and you’re not
good at it, you lose twice!
One more thing, our ego sometimes tries to convince us that
we can do something that we have no business doing. If your ego is telling you
that you can sell, but you’re not sure, contact me for an evaluation. It takes
an hour and you’ll know for sure.
Thanks for reading!
How to get to know your target customer- The Old Fashioned Way
I’m an “Old School” sales guy using new technology.
describes the process “back-in-the-day” and the 2nd post will talk about how it’s
to be clever to develop the lead intelligence you needed to make the sale. I’m
not talking about the stated specifications that were written on the Request For
Quote. I’m talking about the needs of the person controlling the purchasing
decision. Until you can understand what motivates and guides them, you can’t
successfully sell them.
prospect’s office a few minutes early for your appointment. You “chatted up”
the lobby receptionist, who often was also the switchboard operator. If you had
promotional items, like pads of paper or key chains, you shared them generously.
A few minutes of small talk could yield valuable information about your prospect’s
schedule and work habits- is he an early bird? Does he stay late? Does he
answer his own phone after hours? Is he casual and outgoing or formal and
difference of whether or not your future calls got put through.
could reveal the names of your competitors and when they had called on your
scene. What do the things in the office reveal about your guy? A golf trophy, a
picture of the family at Disney World, a crayon drawing of the World’s Greatest
Grandpa, a framed award from the company, a photo of your guy with his CEO,
a cluttered desk, —all of these give you clues as to his personality and how to
relate to him as-a-person. Not only were these potential conversation starters,
they gave you the chance to empathize with him and establish mutual interests
that it was logical after finishing our business to say, “What do you say we run
out for a quick sandwich someplace?” This was a good way to get the buyer
out of his business environment where he was playing his official role and into
a setting where he was more relaxed and willing to share personal information
and “off the record” business info. Often this revealed which features were
important and how the buying decision was really going to be made- not the
official process. Maybe it was being made by someone in Engineering that you
needed to convince in order to close the sale.
customer. If you know what the company needs, and what the individual
decision makers need, you can present your offering in those terms. You can
show how you and your company can satisfy those needs. One of the benefits
of this face-to-face process was that it ALSO provided the opportunity for the
customer to learn about you and come to trust you. That personal trust is critical
to any sales situation.
People don’t do business with companies. People do business with people.
Dale Berkebile created this graphic to help business owners begin to understand the steps that a customer goes through before they become a customer.
Fun Friday Posts
If you’re on Twitter, you may know that they have this thing called #FF (Follow Friday) and I’m always flattered when somebody mentions @RainMakerMaker on their #FF, but as you know, I don’t work much on Friday, so I often miss them. Here’s my idea….