Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Holiday Wish

Well, the holiday season really snuck up fast this year. But then, the years are flying by for me these days…how about for you? All of the favorite Christmas movies and programs are on TV and, the house smells like sweet potato pie and peach cobbler. There are fruit baskets, candy dishes and assorted nuts all over the house…yup, the holidays have arrived!

My wish for this holiday season is a really outstanding 2010. I am hopeful and I really believe that a great recovery is just around the corner. I think about the law of attraction and I wonder what effect positive thinking by the masses would make? I really think that it can make a big difference. How about we turn off the cable news, avoid the nightly news broadcasts and stop reading the news blogs for just a month. If people would suspend their daily diets of bad news then perhaps, just perhaps, positive thinking would create real recovery and change.

Well, that’s my holiday wish how about yours? I’d love to read your comments!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Exellent tips on how to use selling skills as a way of life

I remember my sales trainer days like they were yesterday. Whenever I think about the anatomy of a sale I think about how it has application value for all aspects of life. Using salesmanship and selling skills in all areas makes a lot of sense and, it can get buy in for projects, goals and relationships. It can be used at work or home in all types of settings. The anatomy of sales is as follows: 
  • Establishing Rapport (building relationship)
  • Needs Probe (discovering motivation, wants needs and desires)
  • Presentation (presenting the features and benefits with the emphasis on the benefits)
  • Trial Closing (asking for a commitment)
  • Overcoming Objections (refining rephrasing and offering new information)
  • Reaching Agreement

Each of these stages can be modified to work in almost all situations.

Establishing Rapport

Whether you are meeting someone new or dealing with a person familiar to you developing rapport and relationship is an important skill to hone and use. Social media marketing shows the importance of building relationship and rapport. In fact, nothing is ever accomplished between co-operating parties without first establishing some kind of rapport. The old cliché that you get more flies with honey than with vinegar is a testimony of the utility of establishing and building rapport.  Therefore, in all things you do keep this in mind and keep your demeanor words and, actions geared toward building rapport and relationship. Think about how you are appearing to others and gauge the effect that you have on building relationship.

Needs Probe

I am full of clichés today so forgive me…smile. I have heard it said that we have two ears and one mouth for a specific reason. It is to make it possible to listen twice as much as we talk. In using selling skills as a way of life this step is important indeed. The more you can know about what makes others the way they are, the more you are armed to appeal to them to get the compromises you want. As I think back to the dating days, I remember that the needs probe, discovery or, whatever you call it was a very important part of the relationship process. Understand that the more you can know about the needs, wants and, desires of other people the more able you are to relate to them and the more you can relate to them the greater are the chances of getting them to do what you want or to compromise in ways beneficial for each of you.

Presenting the Benefits

Only after you have established rapport, relationship and, have done a thorough job of discovery can you begin to present ideas and benefits that will elicit a desired response and action. Whenever you are presenting an idea or asking for a person to do something, it is important to stress the benefits. In other words explain the benefit to the person. I think that it is wise to use the word benefit in the presentation. I can remember as a sales manager for Color Tile, I would ask my sales force to use the word benefit in their presentation. They were making fairly high dollar complicated sales and a lot of selling skills went into a successful sale. It was important to convince the prospect of the benefits they would receive from making a purchase. This can be translated into day to day interaction and will work very well in all situations. Whether you are trying to get an employee, loved one, friend to do something, it makes sense to point out the benefit. It may be a benefit to them or it could be a benefit to someone else or even yourself but, explaining the benefit is important.

Trial Closing

After steps one, two and three have been utilized it is time to ask a closing question. It may be that you are asking your teenager to do something. You have already established rapport, you understand the motivation, wants needs and desires of your teenage child, and you have presented the benefits as best you can. You still may find that you get push back. Whenever you get push back in any situation it is time to try overcoming objection techniques.

Overcoming Objections

Once you have push back now is the time to refine, rephrase and offer new information. Many times it just means that you have not done one of the other steps correctly or thoroughly. So when you get push back ask a question. “You don’t want to do this?”…”can I ask why?”

Once you get the answer rephrase it. Show that you are listening. In the teenager example it could go like this.
“So you don’t want to go with us to grandmas because you will miss Sean’s
Christmas party is that right?”
“Well, what about if we don’t leave until the next day would you be willing to go then?”
The answer will likely be yes and you have overcome the objection through compromise. If that is impossible it may be that you have to explain that leaving before Sean’s party will benefit the family and ask them to make a sacrifice for the good of the family and offer a benefit for doing that. It is just good negotiations. The overcoming objection stage should always have a closing question attached to the new information stage. In the above case the new information was postponing the trip a day but it could be anything. The new information answers the objection.

I hope this will give some food for thought and as always I appreciate feed back so feel free to comment. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

How to Write Marketing Email Copy That Gets Results

People are busy and they jealously guard their time; especially with the economic downturn. People have been laid off and, jobs have been eliminated which makes the remaining work force busier; more time strapped. So, when someone receives an email they want to be sure that it is worth their time. This makes email copywriting all the more important.

In most of the jobs that I have worked over the years, much of the email writing was left up to the sales person or business opportunity development person to do. You may reach a contact on the phone only to have them tell you to send them an email and then… if they are interested after reading it, they will set up a meeting. This puts a lot of pressure on writing the email. It is imperative that it communicates the value proposition in a clear and concise way and, that it spurs the person on to action.

Give it a compelling subject title

It is important that you promise an important benefit in the title. This has to be an obvious benefit that you are certain the prospect will be interested in. I recently read an article that explained that small businesses were trying to save money by outsourcing their IT networking services. Here is the subject title that resulted in action from the recipients. “Many companies are outsourcing IT services to save money; We can help you take advantage of this trend.” The article cited a study that showed that there was a forty percent increase in IT outsourcing to save money. The email was targeted toward small business that provided IT services and, it was designed to encourage them to take advantage of this trend in a marketing campaign.

Make the body of the email clear and concise

Again, remember that you are emailing people who are busy so you should respect their time. They will appreciate it. Make the writing conversational. Write it as though you were carrying on a conversation with them and make it as simple and short as you can while still getting your message across. Use a bulleted list to break up the copy. Here is the example of how the email went forward:

"An AMI Partners study shows that there is a 40% increase in companies seeking to outsource IT to save money.

You can increase your clients and revenue even in a slow economy. There are many ways that you can effectively and affordably market your company and, sometimes all you need is a little help. Let us see if we can help you maximize your marketing efforts and spend. Free thirty minute marketing consultation; there is absolutely no obligation. rijMarketing Offer

  • Be found on local search through local search engine optimization
  • Be listed in 70+ directories
  • Get positive reviews on local directories
  • Enjoy the benefit of Pay Per Click marketing
I can assure you this will be a beneficial thirty minutes. Call today (Phone Number) or reply to this email for a no obligation evaluation."

Call to action

It is very important that you include several opportunities for the prospect to act. There should be a link to a landing page that calls for action. There should be a phone number that calls for action. Do not take anything for granted. You should be directing the prospect at every turn. If you do this you will craft emails that will end in results.

I appreciate any feedback so be sure to comment!

Friday, December 11, 2009

3 Compelling Reasons Small Businesses and Non Profit Organizations Should Blog

With social media marketing increasing in importance, blogging is taking on the same importance for small businesses, small non-profit organizations and, churches. In fact, blogging is an important component of social media marketing for the following three reasons:
• It helps establish thought leadership and expertise
• It helps to build a brand
• It drives traffic to the business or organizations website over time
This becomes especially important to businesses and organizations that do not have large budgets to build brand recognition and awareness with other types of media advertising. Over a period of time, blogging will achieve each of the above mentioned outcomes at a much lower cost.

Establishing thought leadership

Blogging regularly, by this I mean at least six times per month, will provide content that can and will gain a following, if the content is well written, interesting and, of benefit to the readership. This is the way in which the business or organization establishes though leadership and expert status. This is true of any business or organization that offers a product or service that is in demand. It could be anything from a computer networking company, a small accountancy and, a medical practice, to a food bank, homeless shelter or community active church. The target customer, participant or member will dictate the nature of the content. For example, a community outreach church would provide content that would interest community members who would like to become an active participant in the outreach. An IT computer networking company would provide content that would help a small business or organization understand the basics of maintaining their computer network and server system. Or, a food bank would provide content that would educate people in the community about the effects of hunger.

Brand Building

Good content will develop loyal readership over time and, loyal readership will translate to brand awareness. This is a very economical way to build brand awareness. You can use the social media sites, twitter, face book and LinkedIn to promote the blog content. This is where social media and blogging become productive partners. I use the term over time often to emphasize that this is a strategy and tactic that does take time. It will not yield fruit overnight but, it will yield great results with patience. So many of the social media marketing guru’s are promising a quick result and while that can happen when something remarkable goes viral it is not the rule. The rule is that it builds slowly over time but, it also builds steadily and build is the important term.

Driving Traffic

The more interesting and remarkable the content, the faster you will drive traffic to your business or organizations website. The search engines respond well to new content, updated often and, when a blog is a link in your website it gives added importance to your website in the view of search engines. Likewise, great content will be tweeted, re-tweeted and linked to from other websites... which will provide back links to your website and, in turn, will raise the authority of your website in the view of the search engines and will drive more and more traffic to your website.

Hopefully you have seen that you should begin blogging today. I appreciate comments and interaction with my posts so feel free to comment on this blog post.