Monday, January 30, 2012

Online To-Do: January 2012

Does your company have a Facebook page that you think looks boring and unprofessional?  Then check out ShortStack.  It's a great program to help you and your company design a better social media page.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ten Tips to Leave a Better Message - Part 2

A continuation from Wednesday, here are Tips 6 - 10 to help you be the message master.

     6.  Speak with positive enthusiasm.
     7.  Call with the right attitude. Or fake it until you feel it.
     8.  Expect voicemail and be prepared.
     9.  Rehearse three times to sound confident.
    10.  Single task when talking. Stay 100% focused on leaving a great message.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ten Tips to Leave a Better Message - Part 1

Voicemail is a fact of life. Be the message master with these 10 tips.
  1. Prospects and customers pay more attention to your tone of voice then they do to your words.
  2. Start messages by announcing who you are, the company you represent and your phone number.
  3. To state your name, say, "This is Linda Bishop," rather than, "My name is Linda Bishop."
  4. Be sure your message is 20 seconds or less.
  5. Be specific.
Check back on Friday for Tips 6 - 10.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fast Company: U R What U Tweet: 5 Steps To A Better Personal Brand

Another great article by Fast Company.  Scroll down to read the 5 steps to building a better personal brand online.  Good Selling!!

U R What U Tweet: 5 Steps To A Better Personal Brand
BY Amber MacMon Jan 9, 2012

If you take a look at the top 10 Twitter users you'll see a list of famous men and women, from Justin Bieber to Selena Gomez, who have used the popular platform to further expand their personal brands. Perhaps more interesting, however, is how everyday people are investing more time and energy into social networking for professional purposes.

Just over a year ago, a local 16-year-old high school student emailed me out of the blue, proposing that he join me as a guest on a TV show I host. Winston Sih didn't send along a resume, but instead included links to his website, Twitter account, Facebook page, and three relevant YouTube clips.

While there are plenty of examples of teens jeopardizing their digital reputation, with bullying and threats on friends' walls or late-night "I hate my job" tweets, Sih is a perfect example of someone who has learned how to use the web to his advantage--building a strong and positive personal brand before he even reaches his adult years (12 months into his brand-building exercise, he is already a well-known regular tech TV expert and blogger--and he's not even out of high school yet).

While few of us will ever have the celebrity factor to drive our online networks (or a PR spin team to protect us if we post something stupid), there is a lot we can learn from Sih and other personal brand-builders. In 2012, if you have a plan in place, smart social networking is the key to taking control of your professional life. Here are 5 steps to building a better personal brand online.

1. Have a home base online. While Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are excellent destinations to promote what you do, make sure that you also invest time and energy into your own personal website. Whether you take advantage of easy-to-use tools such as Squarespace or WordPress, a simple and clean online home for all your professional information and social streams is a necessity. Not only is it critical to build this home base, but it's also important to drive traffic back to this site to further educate visitors about what you do (or want to do) for a living. Finally, use a professional headshot on your site to give you that competitive edge (sorry--a cropped Facebook photo just won't do!).

2. Be a better blogger. Although online pundits regularly declare that blogging is dead, such as Jason Calacanis did at a tech conference toward the end of December, blogging has simply become much more diverse. It's no longer necessary to write multi-paragraph posts, but instead services such as Tumblr make it easy for individuals to share shorter entries or snippets of text that often include photos and other multimedia. A weekly blog update (or more frequent if you can afford the time) that includes some shareable content is a useful way to drive traffic back from social channels to your website (and to establish yourself as an expert on a topic).

3. Avoid mobile mistakes. In April 2009, we often referred to Ashton Kutcher as the King of Twitter. This past November, the actor posted a tweet defending Penn State's Joe Paterno (without realizing the sex abuse controversy surrounding the coach) that inspired a "hailstorm of responses" from Kutcher's many followers. Once again, this was an example of how 140 characters or less can immediately damage someone's reputation. Moreover, with more people posting from mobile phones, it's far too easy to make a real-time mistake like this--whether it's updating your status with an inappropriate comment or letting auto-correct do some digital damage. In other words, when networking on the go make sure you carefully review what you're about to push live or, perhaps a better idea, wait until you have a few minutes to review the update without so many mobile distractions.

4. Never stop networking. For non-celebrities who build themselves into well-known brands online, take a look at how frequently they interact. For example, social media author Scott Stratten has tweeted more than 80,000 times. If he's not sharing digital wisdom across his many online channels, he's responding to messages and reaching out to people to keep the web conversation going. If you don't know where to start, whether it's on LinkedIn or Twitter, find five new people to follow or connect with every day. Make an effort to share something these people have posted or, a simple task, reach out and say hello.

5. Adopt new services. When it comes to personal branding, there is a lot of emphasis on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but there are plenty of other channels to tell your story. Take a look at how well author Timothy Ferriss has used short YouTube videos to promote his 4-Hour mantra and other activities. Google+ is a solid new service for building a personal brand and apps, such as Path, will also allow you to network with people you care about connecting with on a professional level (keep in mind that the latter has a 150-friend limit). While it's not critical to jump on every newly launched service, it can help to choose two or three of the most popular services and then every few months try a new platform on for size.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fast Company: Reboot Nation


I came across this article in Fast Company last fall called Reboot Nation.  For those who have clients making changes to their brand, I encourage you to read it here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why Is Your Company Different?

Customers look at the benefits you offer, and compare you to your competition. They pay higher prices for higher value, and that results from differentiation.

What distinguishes your product/service from the other available alternatives?

Being able to proudly state your difference in a clear manner helps you close deals-if the customer cares about the difference.

To pinpoint differences that matter, fill in the blanks below.
One important benefit we offer our clients is _____________________.
This makes us different from the competition because _____________________.
This difference matters to our customers because _____________________.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Never Underestimate Easy

It's hard to get organized for a marathon cold-call session where you dial 20 prospects. It's easy to find the time to call one person. 
Sure planning is important, but sometimes the smartest way to outsell the competition is to do more by doing what's easy.

Who should you call right now if you want to sell more? Don't over think. Do make the call. It's easy and it works.

Friday, January 13, 2012

5 Ways to Start a Conversation - Part 2

Today, part 2 of 5 ways to start a conversation.

4.  Problems Solved-Start by stating a problem a customer recently had.
-Explain how you solved it.
-State the outcome for the customer.

Example: Hi Barbara. Recently we had a client who needed a complicated job with five different components produced in only three days. We met the schedule because we have extensive production facilities and a dedicated team. The client was happy because the deadline was critical and they needed a partner they could rely on.

5.  Upcoming Event-Explain what's coming up.
-Let the client know why you're excited.
-Tell the customer how it benefits them.

Example: Hi Steve. We will be holding a lunch and learn for customers next week. We have a great speaker and a great topic. I hope you can attend because you will get great information along with a free lunch.  

Last Thoughts - Focus on sharing one piece of news. Keep your message short and leave out boring details.

End with a call for action. Ask for meeting. Ask for a return phone call. Ask them to let you know if they're interested in knowing more via e-mail.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Ways to Start a Conversation - Part 1

Most prospects hate it when salespeople call and say, "Hi. I represent Widget World and I was calling to learn more about your widget needs."
If you want more meetings, be more interesting on the phone. It's easy when you pick one of these five topics for a selling conversation.

1.  New Hires in Key Positions-Tell who is new.
-Share one or two facts positioning the hire as an expert in their field.
-Tell the prospect why this benefits them.

Example: Hi Bob. I thought you would be interested to know we have a new vice president of manufacturing. His name is Greg Thomas. He is a long-time veteran of the industry who graduated from Purdue University. Our company is always looking for new ways to manufacture more efficiently and help customers like you. Greg will definitely make a difference in our efforts.

2.  New Products and Services-Explain what is new.
-Be a company cheerleader and tell why you're excited.
-Let the prospect know how it helps them.

Example: Hi Susan. I thought you would be interested to know we're offering a brand-new type of widget. I am excited because many customers have requested bigger widgets in the past and now we can offer them. This new widget is supersized and the largest widget available anywhere.

3.  New Equipment-Explain what is new.
-State why you're excited.
-Explain the benefit to prospects and customers.

Example: Hi Fred. I thought you would be interested to know we have just installed a brand-new widget cutting machine. I am excited about this because it increases our production capacity by 50%. For customers, that means faster production cycles.

Check back Friday to learn the last two ways to start a conversation.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Prove Competence and Ask Questions

The 2 for 1 Method for Better Results

Good salespeople ask questions to gather information. Great salespeople take it one step further. Before asking a question, they disclose a morsel of information. That small step helps three ways:
  1. It helps to position the salesperson as an expert.
  2. When the tidbit includes a customer name, it offers proof to potential customers that current clients are happy with your product or service.
  3. Sharing information helps build trust because solid relationships are built on mutual disclosure.
Here's a scenario to illustrate. You're discussing a new service with a prospect, and it costs $5,000.00. You want to know if the prospect thinks the price is reasonable, so you say, "We just set this service up for WidgetWorld, one of my long-time customers. They spent $5,000.00 because it solved a major production problem for them. Do you think $5,000.00 is a fair price for the benefits?"

In the second scenario, dropping WidgetWorld's name lets your potential customer know other companies bought the service and used it to solve their problems. Psychologists call this "social proof."

It's a powerful persuasion technique and it will help you sell.

Friday, January 6, 2012

10 Before 10

Does this sound familiar? You're very busy. Most of your time is spent servicing current customers. Often a day or a week whirls by and you don't find time to make prospecting calls.

This concerns you because you know:
  • 10% to 15% of current business vanishes every year for reasons outside a salesperson's control.
  • 20% of customers are loyal and 80% of customers are satisfied. Satisfied customers will shop.
  • When the funnel is relatively empty, new sales run dry.

To ensure you prospect every day, adopt Thought Transformation's "10 Before 10 Plan." It's simple and effective. Here's how it works.

-Get out your list of prospects.
-Call 10 of them every day.
-Do it before 10 a.m. 

Calling 10 people takes approximately 30 minutes. By accomplishing an important task before 10 'clock, you'll feel better all day and sell more by prospecting consistently. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reality Marketing


Happy New Year!  To start off the year, I wanted to share a great marketing campaign.  Tommy Hilfiger has created a spoof on reality TV families—I’m sure we’re talking Kardashians here—and created a series of ads based on the Hilfiger family.

They have Youtube videos, and they are very clever.  Here are other reasons why I think this campaign is smart:
  1. The videos show this large, ethnically diverse family of beautiful people wearing the clothes.
  2. From the hair lengths, choice of apparel, you get a sense of the diverse personalities—and they are able to demonstrate that Tommy H’s clothes fit everyone.
  3. It taps in nicely to a fairly universal desire to be one of the super-rich, (sure money can’t buy happiness, but it might be more fun to be unhappy in a pricy Mc’Mansion than in a run-down trailer).
Any way, this is good fodder for selling conversations.

Click here to read an interview from Ad Age with the new Tommy Hilfiger Chief Marketing Officer.