Showing posts with label sales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sales. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Don't Be A Tool, Be A Resource


With all the tools we have at our disposal, the greatest one lies just behind your eyes and between your ears. Your thinking self. Your mind. Your mind provides you with the ability to transform thought into memory, and long term memories into constant resources.

Taking this all a step further, we're not only resources to ourselves but to others as well. Our ability to think interpersonally helps drive us to be all we can be. We weave ourselves into the tapestry of our lives and our business. 

In business though, it's not enough to want it, you have to sell it. You have to ask:  Am I a tool or am I a resource? Am I acting for the sake of what somebody wants or expects, as quickly and long forgotten as a unitasker, or am I the resource:  the person always remembered for contributions to peers, to the industry, and ultimately, to the world-at-large.

Be a resource for your peers.


Helping them understand a different point of view, helps everyone. And since not everyone learns the same way, read, write, & explore new ways to envision the world around you. 

Be a resource for your business plan.

Walking the straight and narrow is a helluva lot easier than making waves, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't splash around. Take an innovative approach to your business model.


Be a resource for your customers and clients.

Today's customer may want a quick fix, but that's not all they want. They want to know more. They want to be more. They want to inspire and be inspired. And since you're the customer too, help others be the game changer you want to be.

Be a resource for your industry.

Profit keeps the business model alive. Given. But when you put money first, you've burdened the industry with the chore of ignoring you for fear you're always trying to sell something. When, in fact, all you're trying to do is be the change you want to see in the world.

Be a resource for the World.

We live, every moment, with each other. And at the end of the day, we can sell for the sake of profit or we can sell whatever makes the world a better place to live in, now and in the future. Reinvent sales and change the story.

Be a part of the story. It's your story. And whether you choose to or not, it doesn't matter because you're already a part of the world around you. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself. Ready. Set. Go.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Online Engagement: A Brief Sales Perspective

I was recently asked how I leverage Linkedin as a sales tool. Since we all sell something, I realized that a lot of my thoughts could relate to most online engagement. Here are some highlights when leveraging online engagement as a sales tool: 

Feeling Comfortable Online
It's important to have a particular comfort level with both social media engagement and even social media marketing in general. I have been leveraging the finer attributes of many social media platforms for a few years now, and so I am able to easily stay up to speed as they evolve.

Transparency in the Marketplace
I believe you can be 100% transparent in your personal convictions while maintaining a positive professional demeanor. This is more of a delicate art on Linkedin than the often crude, unforgiving nature of facebook or the relentlessly rolling feeds on Twitter, but it can be done.

Creating New Relationships
With social media, it’s not about connecting with who you know that’s important - that’s the easy part. Developing new relationships is lot more challenging but unquestionably more rewarding when interacting with individuals, businesses, groups, and organizations on a professional level. 

I like to think that there is a road between Marketing and Business Development and Sales. Somedays, I just wear my Marketing hat, while other days I might start out in the Business Development land but end up in Sales city. But no matter where I start, online engagements help me travel between each.

How do you leverage online engagements to improve your sales strategies?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Marketing: The Common Thread of Every Business Tapestry

From Advertising & Business Development through Sales & Customer Service, Marketing plays a huge part of business growth. It is an integrative thread woven in and out of the overall business model. It links together information that can be reviewed, assessed, and evaluated to determine future growth strategies.

Marketing is as much about the individual as it is about the collective whole. It touches every staff person, subcontractor, vendor / supplier, and customer. The public perception of your business is defined by the interactive color tapestry that bleeds bright with each momentous achievement and can fade just as easily with each misstep.

Every threaded needle starts somewhere. For Marketing, it all begins with ownership and executive leadership. An owner is responsible for the size & scope of the tapestry and the breadth of colors that a business projects. Even the smallest business can shine as bright as a corporation when a leader weaves a design people like.

The next interwoven piece is Internal Marketing. Internal Marketing essentially is the process of marketing a business' mission and vision to all of its employees in order to improve morale, core competencies, and, ultimately, customer relations. This involves everyone, from office administration through sales & service personnel. The mantra of effective Internal Marketing is: support the staff that supports the business and business will grow.

Finally, the Marketing thread weaves it's internal formulated pattern through the various arms of your Business Model that touch each customer, business relation, and the general public. These might include:
  • Business Development
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations / Publicity
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
Each of these business components can change the overall business tapestry. When one or more is stained or frayed, changes will be needed. Since Marketing is the common thread of business, you can change the color or direction of the tapestry by taking away what works and what doesn't. The marketing thread is responsible for breathing life, adding color, and changing the direction of how every business grows.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Business Development: The Bridge Between Marketing & Sales

How do you define Business Development?

Whenever I talk or write about Business Development with small (or even medium sized) business owners and representatives, they frequently ask: what is business development? It's amazing to me how many business folks, from owners to managers to sales & marketing representatives, have varying opinions on what it is and what it means.

The term has been explored by the always insightful marketing guru, Seth Godin, and even Forbes over the last few years, but even they refer to it as business puzzle yet to be fully realized. Perhaps it's because Business Development is a relatively newer term. Or maybe it's that there are few books or college courses that even address what it can mean to any business in any given market or industry. What is certain is that Business Development has moved beyond just being the latest buzz term. It has planted itself firmly in Marketing efforts, Sales Cycles and, ultimately, Business Plans regardless of the unsolved mystery of what it really means.

In it it's simplest form, Business Development is the bridge between Marketing & Sales. Most of this transition has been made easier with our online communications and especially CRM (Customer Relationship Management) resources. With CRMs - even the free options - Sales representatives can record their activities as leads migrate from traceable Marketing & Advertising efforts.

It's not enough just to record your Marketing & Sales efforts. Businesses, large and small, have to monitor their Business Development activities, analyze the data, and provide reports with meaningful information for Continuous Improvement (another fashionable buzz term.) Continuous Improvement is the underlying link between creating improved customer relations, employee satisfaction and work habits, and Business & Marketing Plan development. Or in simpler terms, Business Development on the front end and continuous improvement on the back end.

Implementing Business Development strategies is a key to maintaining an effective revenue. It is the gateway transitional element carried forward from your initial Marketing & Advertising efforts to give purpose, meaning, and structure to the Sales Cycle. It is because of Business Development that successful businesses are able to move and think beyond the Business Plan for purposeful Continuous Improvement.

What Business Development strategies have worked best for you?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Social Media: A Sales Perspective

I originally wrote this piece from Market Integration's website as:

Social Media - A Salesperson Perspective

posted Aug 23, 2011, 3:51 PM by Stirling Morris   [ updated Dec 12, 2011, 3:12 PM ]


We're all salespeople.  Whether you're a mom trying to explain to your child why practicing good hygiene is important or you're a CEO out to lunch with a new investor prospect, we all have something to sell.  Some of us are really good at it and some of us aren't.  But most of us don't even realize we're selling until our client (or child) agrees or disagrees with whatever we've pitched.

No matter who you are or what you do, social media is a not only a tool for networking but for selling.  Unfortunately, not every company has learned this lesson.  I actually had a General Manager of a sales company in the construction industry once tell me, “Networking must be limited to assure it does not take any time away from selling.”  I don't think he realized the power of social media in sales and networking.

I was asked by a Retail Sales Manager within the same company for advice regarding networking; particularly through social media.  After spending years as a sales / product representative in the construction industry, here are some of the finer points I offered:
  • In addition to joining professional organizations, social media is the key to business relationships for tomorrow to keep you informed when you can't be present or just to stay up-to-date with industry activities
  • Connecting and engaging with individuals and businesses on facebookLinkedin, Google+, and Twitter is vital to a successful, long-term relationship with tomorrow’s customers.
  • Most importantly, actively participating (e.g. joining groups, asking questions and giving answers) is the best way to make social media successful and you potentially seen as a Thought Leader. You can’t just create a social media profile / page and expect customers to come knocking. If people don’t see you engaged, they won’t follow back. And, if you only promote yourself, your business, or your services, you are committing sales suicide and will often be hidden or blocked by your customer's (or potential customer's) social media feeds.
Social Media helps us grow as people by creating interactive dialogue when a phone call or in-person visit or meeting isn't feasible.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Needing a Marketer Is Like Needing an Accoutant

For a business to grow and be successful, you have to hire specific people to do specific tasks.  This means hiring full or
part-time staff to manage key areas of your business operations.  But, sometimes outside assistance is needed.  Tax accounting is a great example of this thought.

When it comes to accounting, you can manage your accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll internally.  However, when it comes to tax accounting and financial reporting, we hire or contract with a professional.  Marketing isn't that different.  

Marketing is how we tell our story to our customers.  Sales are dependent upon it.  Your base operations would not exist without it.  And, just like tax accounting, marketing is often performed best by a professional.  

There are two primary reasons you should consider hiring or contracting with a marketer:

You can't do it.  You don't know how.  You don't have the time.  Name your reason, give your excuse, but the bottom line is we hire certain team players because we don't know how to do it.

You don't want to do it.  Could you do it?  Sure.  You could stay abreast of all of tomorrow's marketing trends and the paths to get you there.  You could add yet one more business operations task to your daily activities calendar to keep you up at night.  You could study to be a CPA too.  But, do you really want to?  Yeah, me neither.

You need a Marketer like you need an Accountant.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Determining The Value of Seminars & Presentations

When it comes to presentations and seminars in your market or industry, some are free and some cost the same as a great used car.  Some last all week and others can be given as a one hour lunch and learn. The worst are those that have great marketing to get you there, but offer absolutely nothing of value once you sit down. With so many options, how does anyone determine the value of seminars & presentations?

I've heard this question asked multiple times from individuals, businesses, & organizations, big and small, and there doesn't appear to be one answer.  There are so many types of seminars & presentations and these are further distorted by market and industry.  Through my career presentation experiences (giving and receiving), I have found there are two common denominators in determining the value of presentations & seminars - an enlightening presenter & a willing audience.

An Enlightening Presenter

I have heard many people say that a charismatic speaker can carry an audience no matter what the topic, atmosphere, or setting.  There are many things that make a speaker great, including charisma.  But when it comes to seminars & presentations, I want to be enlightened not charmed.

An enlightening presenter demonstrates as much, if not more, innovative thought as knowledge.  Don't spin and dance around what I already know or can read by myself.  Inspire me.  Most importantly, by the time the seminar or presentation is finished I should want to inspire others.

A Willing Audience

The value of an education is dependent on the work we put into it. I think a lot of adults forget this and look at education as a means to an end.  This is a huge mistake when it concerns the value of a presentation or seminar. The audience has just as much responsibility to enlighten themselves before and after they participate, if not just on a surface level.

Let's take marketing, for example.  If you plan on attending a Marketing seminar that is going to focus on how to integrate Google+ as a social media marketing tool for your business, show up having already registered for and experimented with the platform.  If you don't, this will only cause frustration for you.

Information and knowledge are not synonymous. A great seminar or presentation is lost on an audience unwilling to educate themselves before the event and then use that knowledge to further their education after.
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Learning always comes with a price if not just in the form of your time.  The value of a presentation or seminar depends just as much on your eagerness to be inspired as it for the presenter to be inspiring.  If this type of inspiration is present, then the cost becomes inconsequential - well, almost.

What are some examples of seminars or presentations that have inspired you?