Monday, April 30, 2012

Warning Signs To Heed

Is a yellow light flashing in an account?  Don't ignore it!  Here are eight warning signs to heed.

  1. A new person comes on board.
  2. A trusted buyer leaves.
  3. No one calls like they used to.
  4. No one has time to go to lunch anymore.
  5. A new printer's name appears in the visitor's log.
  6. You bid on a job but few come through.
  7. You're asked to bid a job that would have just come to you automatically in the past.
  8. A buyer who is your ally confides they are unhappy at their job.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Servicing vs. Selling

Servicing and Selling are not the same thing.

Servicing: Making sure clients are satisfied on specific jobs and with the tasks related to them.

Selling: Making sure clients are satisfied on specific jobs and with the tasks related to them.

Think about that for a couple of seconds. When was the last time you went out to see your best client without a proof, quote or other material related to your job? When was the last time you prepared a list of smart questions and set up an appointment with that customer so you could increase your understanding of where their business was headed?

If it's been more than four weeks, it's time to make a "sales" call. Remember that's how you got this piece of business in the first place, and it's what your competitors are doing right now!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hunting For Prospects: Part 2

Here's part two of two places to hunt for prospects:

  • Spend an afternoon stopping by the businesses surrounding you. Ask if they buy (Insert what you sell here). Some will say yes.
  • Pick an office building. See who is listed in the directory. Call them.
  • Pick a catergory in the Yellow Pages. See who else is listed there.
  • Ask friends, family and clients for help. Get referrals or ideas.
  • Look at your mail, trucks on the road, signs on buildings.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hunting For Prospects: Part 1

This week I'll share a few different places to hunt for prospects. Good Selling!
  • Google. Type in Corporate Headquarters, My Town, My State.
  • Go to Pick a category like manufacturing. Go to advance search and put in your city and state. See what comes up.
  • Sign up for your local business chronicle's daily e-newsletter. Here in Atlanta we have the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
  • Buy a directory from the local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Look at want ads on and in the paper. See who's hiring.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Have a problem?  Use PACE to solve it!


Do you have any other recommendations of how you go about solving problems in the work place?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Have you heard about Gamification? According to Wikipedia:

Gamification is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts. Typically gamification applies to non-game applications and processes, in order to encourage people to adopt them, or to influence how they are used. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, by encouraging users to engage in desired behaviors, by showing a path to mastery and autonomy, by helping to solve problems and not being a distraction, and by taking advantage of humans' psychological predisposition to engage in gaming.

The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, filling out tax forms, or reading web sites. Available data from gamified websites, applications, and processes indicate potential improvements in areas like user engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, or learning.

See Gamification in action.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Business Letters - Final Thoughts

I often get asked if it is a good idea to include a date in the letter when the potential customer should expect the follow‐up call. The answer is yes—if you can guarantee absolutely you will follow up on that date. If you can’t guarantee you’ll make good on your promise, don’t include a date!
When you tell people what you do, be specific because specific information makes a more powerful impression than generic fluff.
Be sure you spell‐check.
Read your letter aloud before you send it out! Reading aloud helps you catch mistakes and identify confusing sentences.
Can you do anything to enhance the level of visual attractiveness? Your letter should please the eye and give the impression of competent professionalism.
Pay attention to echoing words because repetitive overuse causes words to lose power.

A good business letter helps you build awareness and make the right impression, and that helps you sell.

Good selling!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Business Letters - The Structure

A simple and effective business letter has three paragraphs.

The opening paragraph lets your reader know why you are writing.
The middle paragraph provides brief details on your offering and tells the reader why they should care.
The final paragraph thanks the reader for their time and explains what happens next.

Important! Busy people usually don’t read letters word for word. They skim information. Generally when we’re skimming our eyes follow the pattern of an inverted letter “L” or letter “F.” We read the first couple of lines in their entirety to find out what the letter is about. Then, we’ll scan the page by running our eyes down the left side.

When people are skimming they won't think too hard to figure out what your letter is about. Write for ease of comprehension. Eliminate unnecessary words in sentences.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Business Letters - What Should You Say?

We all receive mass mailings. Most of those letters are tossed into the trash because they aren’t relevant. Either we didn’t care about the problem the letter promises to solve or don’t see value in the solution.
The success of your letters is determined by how well they address your audience’s concerns. Before writing a letter you should know: 

The job title of the recipient.
An important problem they need to solve.
The benefits of your solution.

Most companies solve multiple problems for customers. Limit yourself to ONE important problem and one good solution per letter.

Focusing on one important problem makes a bigger impact because the customer clearly grasps how you can help them. Customers won’t sort through laundry lists of products and services to find valuable information.

When you overshare in a letter, you unsell!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Business Letters

Business letters are effective low‐tech sales tools that communicate more than ink‐on‐paper information. Writing a letter offers tangible evidence to potential customers that you view them as important and worth an investment of time. Letters demonstrate your understanding of customer problems and how you can solve them.

Opening a letter is a tactile experience, engaging our senses. Opening a letter and touching a sheet of paper helps to create and strengthen memories—particularly if the information in the letter is relevant.

Letters build awareness. Readers read them in their own way and at their own speed, aiding comprehension. Well‐written letters leave readers with the impression that you’re professional, intelligent and you understand their problems, and that’s why they help presell you.

Learning to write a good business letter is an easy skill to acquire and it pays off. Keep checking back over the next few days for the tips and tricks to writing an effective business letter.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mark Potter: I Do

Because we just can't get enough of our good friend Mark Potter, here's another one of his insightful messages included in a recent issue of CANVAS Notes.

A member of the CANVAS team took a huge step this past weekend.  Our marketing manager popped the question and much to his relief she accepted.  They are very much in love and have been together for a couple of years now and I am sure will have a long and happy marriage.

I think it is interesting to note that these young adults went through a process that took some time, confirmed their feelings, and cemented their affection.  They realized that beyond their initial attraction there needed to be substance in order to truly connect.

I also find it interesting that most organizations in the modern world think of marketing as some sort of sales support tool or promotional arm that needs to be validated immediately.  What they don’t realize is that marketing is about creating long-term, sustainable relationships with specific groups of clients. 

In other words, in order for a market to accept your hand in business, then process and time must be prevalent.

Marketing is very much like dating.  First, you need to be where they are.  You can’t be sitting at home playing Xbox if you would like to meet someone.  Subsequently, you cannot be spending all of your time and money on print conferences if you want to truly engage a market of your own.

You need to create an initial attraction and that can only occur with excellent design and style.  Just remember, you cannot keep their attention without first grabbing their attention.  And, trust me a cold call won’t inspire anyone.

If you are lucky enough to get their attention with the flash of a smile, a corny line, or a spanking new pair of shoes, then that is when the hard part starts.  There must be substance and substance is rooted in them not you.  In other words, they want to know if you run in the same circles, know the same people, are genuinely interested in what they are saying, and can you make them laugh. 

How much are you truly part of the markets that you aim to serve?  Are you where they are?  Do you truly understand them?  Can you converse with them? Do you really care?  If you can say yes to all of these and make them laugh then chances are that you have invested the time that is needed for a real relationship.  If you have this kind of connection with a market then you too might be ready for the big commitment.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

LinkedIn Questions

I'm a firm believer that when used properly LinkedIn works. It can help you promote your personal brand and is a powerful prospecting tool. The thing is, it seems a lot of people are confused and have questions about how to use this social media tool. Here's your opportunity to get your LinkedIn questions answered. 

Send any question you have about LinkedIn to before April 18th. The Thought Transformation team will compile a list of questions and answers and post them to the blog later this month.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Online To-Do: April 2012

Need help sprucing up your resume?  Check out Loft Resumes.