Thursday, October 29, 2009

B2B Cold Calling Campaigns; Do it yourself instructions

Many times small businesses can expand their business client base and revenue by cold calling or, perhaps it could be better called, warm calling. This is a strategy and tactic that will certainly work when you are in a hurry to get additional customers or clients right away.

First, let’s look at the limitations. Cold calling is a difficult process because you have to find a person who has a need for the product or service that you are trying to introduce and furthermore, they need to be aware of the need. This means that you must make many calls to businesses that do not need your products or services and only occasionally, you will reach a company with the precise problem you are trying to solve. Therefore, it is certain that you will get far more rejection than acceptance and it is important that it is not taken personally. Because of these reasons, it is important that you commit to this process and stick to the commitment. This means that a certain block of time must be set aside each day for this purpose.

It is precisely because of these limitations that this process should be given to an employee who has other duties as well but, has the personality and skills necessary to do the cold calling. While you can hire outsourcing services to do this, it is probably better to use an employee on a part time basis to make it as economical as possible. It would be better to outsource some training and coaching for your designated employee.

Pre-call Planning:
• You must have a precise view of your target and his or her wants, needs and desires. You should be certain what is causing them pain in the area that you can provide a solution for. It will benefit you greatly to spend some time brainstorming to make a list of these needs.
• You should have a warm offer and a good offer. This offer should entice the prospect to allow you to make a presentation to him or her. One of the best things to offer these days is knowledge. You can prepare a paper that will help the prospect solve a problem. If you are offering a free service make certain that it is a true value to the prospect.
• The person calling, whether it is you or one of your employees should go through ten minutes of mind preparation before picking up the phone. First, let go of anything that is on your mind that can detract from a positive attitude. It is imperative that you have a positive attitude during this activity because people can pick up on non verbal signals even over the telephone…I’m not sure how this works but I am sure that it is true.
• Be certain that you know what you are going to say before you make the call. It is important to have a written script but, you cannot read it on the phone so, you have to know the script by heart. You should practice it over and over until it is second nature to you. You should also be conversational which means that you need to take the conversation in any direction it naturally goes based upon the responses of the prospect.
• It is better to send out email’s with offers to the list of people that you are targeting. You can use email follow-up as a reason for the call but, I think that a strong offer is better, however, even if you have a strong offer I recommend and email first.

Finding and Preparing Your List:
Once you decide on a target market you should then try to find a database list that has names, phone numbers and email. To get this kind of list will cost you up to $5 - $10 per contact. This may be prohibitive for many businesses and, if it is, you can get company information for free from Yes, you can download all of the companies that jigsaw has in their databases in csv format for free; that’s right, no charge. With this, you can build your own database. You can call in to get names, email, etc. I will tell you that it is better to have the names of your target or the owners but, you can get a lot of information off the internet and Jigsaw has their web addresses in the company information. Basically, your budget and need will dictate what you do in this regard. If you only want company, owner and phone number you can get lists fairly reasonable at or

Making the Calls:
In making the calls, be sure to set aside a specific time to do it. You will want to make a minimum of sixty calls per day. Since many calls will result in no conversation at all, you should be able to make twenty to twenty-five calls per hour. It varies from industry to industry but out of the sixty daily phone calls you ought to be able to have between six to nine conversations. You can try to reach the prospect five to seven times before giving up. People are busier these days than they used to be so the call back four times rule should be replaced with a call back five to seven times.

If you continue this process you will find a certain number of people who happen to need what you are offering right when you call and it will result in additional business, clients and revenue

I would appreciate feedback on my articles. Please feel free to leave comments on my blog. I will read them and take them to heart. It can also create an important dialog that will benefit all of the readers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Time management an important aspect of marketing: Part III; Making time for social media -LinkedIn

When you begin to look closely at the time you spend and, which activities you devote that time to, you can then plan ways to market your business in areas that you may not have used before. A great way to build relationships if you are a business to business service business is through the social media. You can network with the people that would most likely be your target client or customer. It is very important that you network and take the time to do so. Remember the old cliché Rome was not built in a day and while social networking is not a quick fix it is a very effective one.

Here is a list of some of the social media networks that you can begin to use for marketing purposes with a suggestion or two on strategies and tactics for each one; first the list:
  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter
  3. Face Book
  4. ning

This is an excellent site for business networking and exchanging ideas. Make sure that your profile is completely filled out. The better people know you, i.e. the more detail you give about yourself, the more willing they will be to do business with you. You want to make sure that your profile is public. You want to be able to be found by anyone looking. You can choose who you connect with if you like but you want to be as accessible as possible.  Also, instead you listing your website as your company, give the hyperlink to your website the name of your business. In mine, I hyperlinked the words Small Business Marketing to my website so that there is and explanation of what I do right there in the hyperlink.
Your profile is just a small part of your strategy for LinkedIn. You should find as many LinkedIn groups to join as is possible and relevant to your business goals. Once you are a member of a group be sure that you take some time to participate in the discussions. I suggest that you have the group email updates sent to your outlook. You can sort through them and if you see a topic that interests you follow that discussion. You can use the discussions on LinkedIn groups to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. I have been able to network with many people as the result of this process.

Here is where time management comes into play. You have to have the time to spend on doing these activities. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. You can spend as little as a half hour a day with this process and you will find that you have expanded your network greatly. The important thing is to make this a part of your daily routine. Set a time aside in your outlook calendar for this activity every day. In subsequent posts I will show you strategies and tactics for the other social media networks.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time management: An important aspect of marketing; Part II

The purpose of time management is to make sure that you are utilizing your time to the max. And, as I pointed out in Part I, this will allow you to spend more time with strategies and tactics for marketing your business. If you do this, you will in turn generate new clients or customers and will most likely raise your revenue…Who can be against that?

I stated that there are tasks that are urgent and important and I also provided a way to decide which ones fulfill that description. I also began to write about ways to organize activities that are important but not necessarily urgent. Many of your marketing efforts will fall into this category. While I pointed out that marketing is both important and urgent it is not absolutely urgent, i.e., taking all your time urgent…unless you do not have enough customers or clients to survive. At that point it is pretty urgent but, you get my point. These time management tactics will help you to be certain that you make a lot of progress over time and making a lot of progress over time will reap great rewards in future clients and customers.

Marketing must be an ongoing activity if you are to continue to maintain and grow your business. Depending on what your business is, you should spend at least five hours per week on marketing strategy and tactics. Most entrepreneurs spend a minimum of fifty hours per week working (I know most of you spend much more) which would make five hours per week be ten percent of your time. This is really the minimum time you should spend on marketing efforts. It would be better if you spent fifteen to twenty percent of your time per week on marketing efforts. As I stated in Part I you should be using a calendar such as your outlook calendar to work as a guide. If you do this you will find that you will make a lot of really great progress.

Now for a word about tasks that are neither important nor urgent. How much of your time is spent with these activities. What are these activities? Well, one of them is socializing with those that will not add value to your business. I am not against socializing, especially on Twitter, Face book and, LinkedIn but, make sure that it is furthering your marketing strategies. Keep your friends away from your business activities. Let them know that you will take time to speak with them after business hours. In many cases this alone will free up ten percent of your time. Other activities that are neither important or urgent include the time that you take with people trying to sell you something. Delegate this to others. If you have someone else take a short time to find out what is offered, you can be sure that you didn’t miss out on the next greatest thing.

You should really stress this time management thing with all of your employees also. Calendars, to do lists, all work very effectively in organizing time and organizing time will help you to spend more quality time on things that are important and urgent.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Freeing Your Mind by Roy Heeley; A book review

I recently read an e-book written by Roy Heeley entitled Freeing Your Mind. It is an excellent read that will help you evaluate your thinking and provide you specific steps to alter your thinking which, in turn will help you have a more positive outlook and, will bring more positive outcomes into your life. Roy writes about “life sentences” which, is a play on words meaning that we often speak and think things that become self fulfilling prophecies that act like “life sentences” to us. These “life sentences” keep us bound in deleterious thought patterns that continue to manifest things that are not in our best interest and, end up causing us trouble in life.

Here is Roy’s own words about life sentences: “So what are these Life Sentences that I am talking about and affect our lives so significantly? Well as you can imagine from the name, just like a lifetime jail sentence, it’s something that that places you in bondage, holds you captive and controls your life. It’s every bit as confining and limiting as a jail cell but, resides in the confines of the mind, the sub-concious.”

He goes on to provide details that are very helpful in understanding this phenomenon. He helps you identify some of the “life sentences” that may be operating in your mind. Things that people say when you are a child often form these things very deeply. You may have been told that you cannot carry a tune, or you’re no good at math; they can be sentences that adults say to you that keep being repeated until they become a belief that your subconscious mind believes and acts upon.

He also offers techniques that will help to free you from these life sentences ergo, the title Freeing Your Mind. The method that he recommends and uses as a life and motivational coach is EFT by Larry Craig. If you are inclined to look at books like the Secret, The Power of Now and A New Earth, you will do yourself a favor by reading Freeing Your Mind. You can find it here and you can check out Roy’s blog and website. Thanks Roy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Time management: An important aspect of marketing; Part I

If you are a busy entrepreneur…(is there any other kind?) then you will find that one of the main keys to improving your marketing effort is to improve your time management. I personally do not think that this is emphasized enough these days. You will be able to increase your output significantly and will be able to make sure that you take time to do marketing. I realize that much of what you do each day is marketing, but I am writing about the specific activities that will increase your marketing effort in two key areas. What are they you ask? The answer is strategic and tactical activities. Yes, I am referring to making time for strategizing and implementing tactics.

The first thing to do is analyze how you currently spend your time and devise a method for setting priorities. You can look at all of the tasks that you regularly do in a day and place them within one of three criteria
1. Tasks that are urgent and important
2. Tasks that are important but not urgent
3. Tasks that are neither important or urgent
The first question you should ask about each activity that you do is how urgent and how important is this? Things that are both urgent and important need to have your attention. I know, a lot of people think that everything is urgent and important so here are some additional questions to help you decide objectively. Always ask yourself the question what will happen if I don’t do this? If the answer is that your world will not fall apart or your business as you know it will not end, it is *not* both urgent and important. Urgent and important things are things that will impact your business negatively immediately. You may find that some of the things that you have self labeled as important and urgent are neither or at the very least only important.

Tasks or activities that are important but not urgent can be handled by allotting a certain amount of time daily to accomplishing them. I suggest that you use a calendar to plan your day even when you do not have meetings. Outlook is a good way to do this if you are working in front of your computer because you can get alarms to remind you when your allotted time for a specific activity begins and ends. When the alarm alerts you that it is time to begin a task, ALWAYS stop what you are doing unless it is absolutely urgent and begin the next planned activity or task. Likewise, when the alarm comes up for the next task; stop. I suggest a five minute alarm, i.e., five minutes before the next activity is to start have the alarm alert you to the next activity.

This will help you methodically monitor the time you are spending on each activity each day and it will make it easy to get the most out of your time. Hopefully this analysis will allow you to make time for marketing activities as they are both important and urgent.

In the next post of this series we will look at how you can eliminate many of the tasks that are neither important or urgent and, also. how you can begin to delegate activities and tasks and, incorporate this same method of time management with your employees.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What do basketball stars have in common with your sales force

Okay, you ask, what do basketball stars have in common with my sales force? The answer is simple.  Both need coaching.  Yes, an important element in the performance of a basketball superstar is good coaching.  Guess what, likewise an all-important element in the performance of a sales superstar is good coaching. 

The reason for needing a coach is fundamental.  When one is caught up in the heat of the game it is impossible to see all that is going on around.  The coach has a different stake in winning and sees a larger picture.  The coach can see things that are hidden from the view of the player as he moves up and down the court.  The coach can tell when it is beneficial to pass the ball so that a score can be made.  So, you get it, you see the analogy.

What are the obstacles that prevent a coach and a basketball superstar from benefiting from the relationship they have with each other?  Well, one of the biggest obstacles is ego.  Who’s you ask? The answer is both.  The ego of the coach and the ego of the superstar stand in the way of making the relationship beneficial.  In fact, there are many instances where a perfectly good superstar is traded and the team suffers loss because of the conflict of egos between the player and the coach.  How many thousands of companies have traded sales superstars for the same reason?

Five practical activities for building good relationships between coaches and salespeople are as follows:
  1. Affirm and acknowledge the need for coaching often
  2. Reassure the salesperson that coaching is not a criticism of skills but rather is a method for making the very skilful even better
  3. Affirm and acknolwedge the skill level that is already developed in the sales person.
  4. Carry on continual dialogue concerning the reason for coaching
  5. Save teasing and joking for other areas of the work place.  Never belittle or embarrass the salesperson.  Be sensitive to the ego of the salesperson.

It is a natural human tendency to get complacent.  Familiarity with the job and the repetition of tasks and approaches over and over, tend to bring a person to a place of being mediocre or run of the mill.  This is where affirming the need for coaching is critical.  When a sales staff is accustomed to the coaching aspect of ongoing training and preparation, there is room made for real growth and the sales person can remain vital.  The sales person must have internalized the idea, that no one gets to the point of knowing, past which, there is no additional learning.  It has been said, “the enemy of learning is knowing[1].”

Being sensitive to the salespersons ego is paramount to a successful coaching relationship.  This is why sales managers are not necessarily good candidates for sales coaches.  The sales manager is in the position of authority and ultimately is responsible for discipline action all the way through termination of the salesperson.  This is seen as a conflict of interest by the salesperson and stands in the way of allowing the sales manager to truly fulfill the role of coach.  The coach must reassure the salesperson often that he/she believes in his/her worth as a sales professional.  This opens the door to conversation that can focus on improving the selling skills, delivery and methods of the salesperson.  The salesperson is much more open to accept coaching input if he/she realizes that they are valued by the coach.  The best way to build this rapport is to concentrate on catching the salesperson doing something that is praiseworthy. Everyone likes to know that they are appreciated and recognized for their efforts.  This step is an important part of coaching.  This affirms their value as a salesperson and equips them with the ability to take correction from the coach.

Speak often about the need for ongoing coaching; Dialogue about the ways that coaching is improving production.  Once the sales superstar can identify the benefit of coaching in his/her commission checks and added recognition, coaching will be an accepted part of their selling regimen.  Coaching is especially profitable when the sales cycle is extended.  The coach can help with strategizing in all aspects of communication with the prospective client.  Remind the sales people that focus is an important factor and a good coach helps focus efforts with a closing sale in mind.

There is an age-old cliché that states, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  This is never truer than in the case of working with sales superstars.  Embarrassment and teasing is a poor motivator.  Sometimes it is easier to use this method than the tried and true method of having difficult discussions in a forthright manner.  This is the job of the sales manager and the coach.  The coach’s honest communication should be given in a non-threatening way with the purpose of changing unproductive behavior.  It should be given in private so that the sales person is not put on the spot.  The sales manager can save the tough dialogue for the disciplinary encounters that can be handled no other way.  This is always after the individual has refused to be coached.

Winning teams are teams that have great superstars and great coaches.  When they work together for a common goal they become unstoppable.

[1] Selling For Dummies pp. 90; Selling For Dummies, Tom Hopkins, IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., Foster City, CA 1995

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Marketing Coach; Why you may need one?

The purpose of a coach:

First, let’s take a look at the function of a coach in general. According to a coach is a person who trains and instructs another, as in an athlete, singer or actor. But, the definition is more than that. All of the really famous and memorable coaches were also great motivators. Therefore, it is fair to say that a marketing coach is a person who trains, instructs and motivates one in marketing.

When looking at coaching in athletics, the function of a coach is to keep an eye on the game, whatever that may be and, to see outside and beyond the heat of the competition. Players are caught up in the game and a coach is watching from a sideline vantage to see all that is going on. The coach can see things that the player misses and can make suggestions that will help the player adjust his or her game in a way that will make winning easier. Likewise the coach can offer encouragement when it is needed to urge the player to participate harder; this is where motivation comes in. It does not stop there however; a coach also helps the player be more accountable for execution of skills necessary for the game. It is obvious that even with the most seasoned professional athletes a coach is still necessary. The reason is that the coach can see the needs of the team and help direct the players to work together with strategies meant to win. Without a coach it is easy for the players to become obsessed with their own skills and situation at the expense of the performance of the team as a whole. A coach can spend time studying the latest skills and methods and become an expert instructor that helps the natural athlete improve his or her skills. It is obvious that there are many reasons that coaches and coaching are imperative to successful athletics. The examples could go on for many paragraphs but I think the point has been made.

A marketing coach:

Now let’s look at a marketing coach. A marketing coach can gain knowledge of your current situation, what you are doing to market your business now and, can begin to make suggestions for ways that you can improve your marketing efforts very similar to the way the athletic coach does. A coach can research best practices around your industry and help you implement those best practices which can add to your revenue. A coach is not in the heat of the game so to speak, that is, not in the day to day struggles and accomplishments of your business routine and, can see things that are obvious to an outside view but difficult to see from within. A marketing coach can offer motivational support to be certain that correct habits are being built. During my sales management and coaching days, I found that much of the time, sales people would revert back to their ways of comfort after learning new techniques that improved the selling skills even when they improved sales, because it is easier to go back to something familiar than it is to develop new habits. A marketing coach can provide the accountability necessary to ensure that new practices are implemented. A marketing coach sees the big picture and is aware of techniques that are working for others that you may not be aware of. Finally a marketing coach can provide this kind of support in a relatively short time, that is, from one or two hours per week to one to two hours per month. In short, it is a very affordable way to impact your revenue.

You can find a coach at rijMarketing

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Building your brand; How is it developing?

In reading the book, Conversations With Marketing Masters, by Laura Mazur and Louella Miles it occurred to me that each of us, especially with the web as it is now, are in the process of building our brands. All of these marketers spoke of building personal and corporate brands. It used to be that when one thought of brands and brand awareness that you automatically thought of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran or Honey Nut Cheerios, Budweiser Beer, or Coca Cola. Brand building was most obvious on Television, Radio and in the News Paper and when one thought of the term brand they generally thought of large national brands that had become everyday household names.

Of course the term brand originated with cattle branding. One would put the name or symbol of the ranch on cattle by burning a brand into the hide and would thereby show who owned the animal when they ran on the open range. A brand was the way to separate and identify. In marketing the term has come to mean the identification of a company, person or product. For example, corporations with famous and trusted brand names make sure that they include the corporate name in the product or service name.

When you stop to think about it, even before the internet, (are there any readers that remember that time?), in small towns across America, companies and people were known for their brands. A local hardware would be known through out the county, for example Smith’s Hardware Supply…. and along with that went a connotation about the business. It may have been that Mr. Smith was noted for having a large inventory so that you could find anything you needed or, it may have been that he was always ready to give you tips on doing projects…but whatever it was it was a brand that was known by many people in the community. It was not thought of as a brand and was not described that way but, still it was a brand. Along with the identifying name of the business went spoken and unspoken understandings that were built up over a long period of business experience. That very simply is a brand.

You see where this is going…right? Today, with access to the internet and all of the social media websites, yahoo groups, blogs, company and personal websites, people and companies are building brands every day. This brings up the title of this post and the question in it. What is your brand and how is it developing? Is it developing in ways that set you apart as a trusted advisor, the go to person? …or is it developing the idea that you are a spammer, shallow with little to offer? You can decide. You are in control of the content that you offer and the methods that you use. Remember that once you have begun to develop a brand it is very difficult to change. First impressions are lasting impressions all too often.

This is why it is necessary to take it slowly and, I am preaching to myself as much as to others. Using social media to build your own personal brand awareness is an endeavor that should take a lot of thought and time. In fact, I cannot think of a single thing that would be more important. Make sure that when you participate you are offering something that has value to someone…you’re building your brand after all.

You can always reach me at rijMarketing

Friday, October 2, 2009

SMART and SWOT; Two ways to stay focused

Large corporations often use academic style tools to improve their processes and it should be even more important to small businesses. These big companies have such a large pool of customers and opportunities that there is actually greater room for error without noticeable effect and yet, large corporations are far more inclined to fine tune through analytics than small businesses are. Let’s face it, small business owners are time strapped and often too busy just trying to tread water, especially in tougher economic times. So let me remind you of some little things that you can do that will help you and your employees regain focus.

Most all motivational speakers and self help experts emphasize the idea that goal setting is critical to achieving success. It helps you focus your efforts and, focus after all, is a key ingredient to success. This is where SMART goals come in. But, before we look at SMART goals, let’s take a look at another acronym, SWOT analysis. The reason is that doing a SWOT analysis is a great way to think about discovering and framing your goals. The SWOT analysis is a way of examining where your company is functioning at a specific time. It allows you to view your strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats at a specific moment in time and, then, you can build your goals around further development of your strengths, ways to overcome your weaknesses, becoming strategically aware of your opportunities, and thinking about how to minimize your threats. A SWOT analysis can easily be set out in a four cube matrix. In the upper quadrants you list your strengths and weaknesses and in the lower two quadrants you list your opportunities and threats. Once you have analyzed the situation and have a clear understanding of it, you can then begin to formulate your goals.

This is where SMART goals kick in for you. The acronym stands for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and, time framed. In other words, these are goals that will cause a change if met and, further to the point, they are goals that can be met. First, they should be specifically designed to improve on the situation as lined out in your SWOT analysis. They should be goals that specifically deal with each of the four quadrants. Secondly, they should be goals that you can measure, a certain number of new customers, or a goal of additional revenue. Next they must be achievable that is, goals that you can really achieve and then they must also be realistic; in other words, goals that you are likely to achieve if you apply yourself to them. Finally, they must be goals that have a deadline; goals achieved within a specific time frame.

Now that you have done this exercise, it is important that you make sure that every employee is aware of their part in achieving these goals. The more they buy into the idea the more likely you are to achieve the success you want.

SWOT analysis
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

SMART goals:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic and Relevant
  • Time Bound.

If you are an individual that would benefit from a coach, someone who will hold you accountable to implement these ideas don’t hesitate to contact me. rijMarketing.