Thursday, April 10, 2008

Avoid Your Competitors

Look for some new niche markets you and your competitors overlooked. You may uncover a market you can dominate with little or no competition. One quick and easy way to find profitable new markets is to sub-divide your current market into several narrowly defined niche markets. Then customize your advertising to the unique needs of prospects in each niche market.

Tip: You can narrow the appeal of an existing web site without losing its effectiveness with your main market. Just create customized web pages for each market segment you want to target. Then add a link to each of these specialized pages on your home page.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Catch Someone Doing Something Right Today

Sales people aren’t only interested in money. There’s a lot of job satisfaction that comes with helping customers resolve their problems. And doing so requires a lot of hard work. As such, it is important that sales reps be recognized for doing their jobs well. Try to take a positive approach with reps and catch them doing things well. Let them know that you appreciate it. Make it a point today to look for sales reps doing a good job and give them the credit they deserve for doing so. Some managers have a very difficult time with this approach and will need to work on their style. Reinforcement of a job well done often reduces the frequency of mistakes and sub-par performance by letting sales reps know they are appreciated and that good work is recognized, even if they didn’t get the sale.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Monday, February 25, 2008

On-Line Customer Service Training Program

I am pleased to announce the availability of our newest training snippet, Customer Service Excellence. These snippets are short, on-line training programs that you can take any time, anywhere, 24/7, from your PC. And, you can take them over and over again, as often as you'd like. Please click on the following link to learn more about our new Customer Service Training Snippets.

This new on-line customer service training course is broken into 3 modules, running from 20 to 35 minutes in length. You can watch and listen to them at your leisure from your home or office PC and come back over and over to review what you've learned. All for one low package price.

These online Customer Service Training Snippets include lessons on:

- The Impact of Customer Service
- How Attitude Affects Service
- Understanding & Satisfying Customer Expectations
- Personality Types and How to Deal With Each One
- Listening Skills – Why Listening is Important & How to Improve It
- Caring for Customers
- Handling Difficult & Angry Customers
- Preventing Service Problems With Proactive Service
- Feedback – What to Start/Stop/Measure
- Telephone Techniques
- Improving Teamwork

If you're dealing with customers in a support environment, then you know how important it is to turn them into repeat customers by keeping them satisfied and making them loyal by providing excellent customer service. This training program will help you and your service team exceed your customers' expectations, increase repeat business and energize your employees.

To read the Press Release, please click on this link:

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Do You Really Need Another Sales Person?

It might seem that there is a need, but many times it is a result of poor management, bad processes/procedures, and low productivity from other sales reps or some other related reason. Before hiring another sales person, a manager should examine management tactics, productivity of the reps, processes and procedures and the overall quality of the people currently working for him/her. In some cases fixing one or more of these problems can help avoid hiring another sales person.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Avoid The Short-Term Fixation

Companies that focus too much on short-term bottom line performance often end up deteriorating the foundation of the business by not paying enough attention to important employee and customer issues. A fixation on the short-term can lead to customer service problems, high employee turnover, hiring less than high performers and an erosion of goodwill. Be careful to balance short-term performance with long-term viability. Stay focused on hiring good people, managing with accountability, delivering outstanding customer service and building strong sales and customer-orientated teams.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Shift the Product/Service Mix As Needed

Enhancing profits is often a case of changing or shifting the mix of products and/or services sold. Sales that are weighted more heavily toward lower gross profit items will yield a lower overall gross profit and, therefore, lower net income. Selling products or services that carry a higher gross profit can substantially help bottom line performance. In many cases, this shift can be accomplished by working with your sales force to change the way they sell. Many sales personnel gravitate toward selling items that carry a lower gross profit because they have conditioned themselves to sell based on price rather than on value. It is critical that sales personnel understand how to sell based on value delivered rather than on price.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What is Database Marketing?

Database marketing is the development of your customer and prospect database as a marketing tool. It is gathering information about your buyers and prospective buyers and using this knowledge to market on a more targeted level. Database marketing is mass marketing, conducted on a deeper, more personal level. Although you may never meet all of your customers, you'll identify their motives for buying, and apply these indicators to large populations to reach individuals or companies who display similar characteristics.

The result: You sell to a targeted audience. You get to know your customer's name and business. Your marketing database helps you develop a highly accurate customer profile. It helps you to better understand your customer's business. You'll identify the key contacts in your marketplace and focus your efforts on the decision makers.

Database Marketing is Customer-Centric Marketing. A well-constructed database gives you extra power and flexibility to support all your marketing efforts:

  • Relationship Marketing. It's knowing your customers in-depth. You address their specific needs and wants in your communications. You learn what, when and how they buy.
  • One-To-One Marketing. Capture detailed demographic business and technology data on an individual basis at both the site and enterprise. Reach key buying contacts by name and job function with a personal message targeted to their interests.
  • Database Integration. Once you know your customers’ needs and match your product to them, you overlay your data to other databases to find other customers with similar needs.
  • Loyalty Marketing. Create an ongoing exchange with your customers that carries beyond the sale. It instills confidence and encourages the sale of related products and reorders.
  • Targeted Marketing. Identify your best customers and treat them as individuals who deserve your special attention.

What's the Point of Database Marketing?

  • It's relevant to the customer. You reach customers who find your products and services relevant to their needs. Give extra care to service questions and new sales propositions.
  • It's informative. Targeted messages are read! You're not only selling a product, you're providing information specific to the customer's or prospect's market. If there's interest, there's no perception of an unwanted sales call or unwanted mail.
  • It's more efficient use of your marketing dollars. The money invested in creating a database will return dividends as you promote fewer “suspected” buyers and reach more “prospective” buyers. Customers tell you who they are and what their preferences are.
Good Luck & Good Selling!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

SUCCESS Magazine

Anyone interested in a magazine about the personal development industry will be interested in knowing that SUCCESS Magazine will be launching in March 2008. Below is the release with full information. I hope you find this useful.

Good Luck & Good Selling!


What Achievers Read

For Immediate Release CONTACT:

Rachel Levy Konik

212.255.8455 ext. 235

New Owners Promise to Deliver SUCCESS

Iconic Magazine Announces New Editorial Direction

~ Industry Veteran Darren Hardy Selected to Helm the Publication~

DALLAS— Targeting the red-hot $11 billion personal-development industry, SUCCESS Magazine will relaunch in March 2008 with a new owner and publishing team.

VideoPlus, L.P., which acquired the rights to the title earlier this year, has named Darren Hardy publisher and editorial director. The new editorial direction marks a return to the magazine’s early publishing roots, providing entrepreneurs and small businesses with the tools and information they need to achieve their goals, dreams and ambitions.

Launched in 1891 by Orison Swett Marden as a personal-development magazine, SUCCESS has been informing and inspiring achievers for more than a century. Through the years, the publication has been led by several renowned personal-development authors and editors, including Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone and Og Mandino. The publication’s previous incarnation went head-to-head with general-interest business magazines at a time when the entire industry was retreating.

Under its new owners, SUCCESS will draw on a strong heritage and foothold in the personal-development industry. VideoPlus is the industry leader providing sales tools, magazines, videos and conferences to the direct selling industry.

“Thanks to champions like Oprah Winfrey and others, the personal-development industry has experienced massive growth during the last several years,” said Stuart Johnson, VideoPlus president and CEO. “Today, there are entire aisles in the book stores devoted to self-motivational titles, but there is no magazine exclusively devoted to the topic. SUCCESS will fill the void, providing readers with compelling editorial content and tools that give them a competitive advantage in achieving their personal and professional goals.”

Johnson selected Hardy to lead the SUCCESS magazine publishing team because of “his proven leadership and experience in interactive media and the personal-development industry.”

SUCCESS drifted off its core-value proposition the last decade or so,” Hardy said. “We intend to make SUCCESS the foremost trusted resource for new ideas, resources and inspiration for today’s striving entrepreneurs and small-business owners. With the expertise, brain trust and client base that VideoPlus enjoys in the personal-development industry, we are confident that we will be successful with the new SUCCESS magazine.”

Hardy brings top management skills and editorial vision to the magazine. Before joining SUCCESS, Hardy held executive positions at two personal-development-based television networks: He lead an affiliate of The People’s Network; and was President of, The Success Training Network (no affiliation with SUCCESS magazine). Hardy has been the President/CEO or private-equity investor in several other multimedia companies.

Hitting newsstands March 4, 2008, SUCCESS will retail for $5.95. It will be published bimonthly and distributed nationally by Curtis Circulation with an interim rate base of 100,000. Targeting well-educated professionals between 30 and 55, SUCCESS aims to make consumers more successful by providing personal-development content from well-respected names in the industry as well as leading CEOs and entrepreneurs who exemplify success through personal-development principles. Editorial feature sections will include Business, Relationships, Wealth, Well-Being and Making a Difference.

About SUCCESS magazine

SUCCESS, published bimonthly, is designed specifically to serve the growing entrepreneur, home-based and small-business markets. SUCCESS features personal development thought leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs and other achievers with practical advice, ideas, tips and training on leadership, goal setting, time management, selling, motivation and much more. All in one beautifully designed, easy-to-read magazine.

About Video Plus

VideoPlus, L.P., in Lake Dallas, Texas, a Dallas suburb, is a vertically integrated media and marketing communications company founded in 1987 by Stuart Johnson. It provides innovative, turn-key, concept-to-completion solutions for small- and large-business growth. Internationally recognized clients rely on its customized video, audio and print products to increase customer acquisition and revenue. VideoPlus, L.P., creates, produces, masters and replicates CDs, DVDs and DualDiscs and on-site full-color printing services. Its magazine division publishes several national newsstand magazines, including Success from Home and Empowering Women. Internationally, VideoPlus, L.P., delivers products in more than 15 languages in countries around the world and has a sales office in the United Kingdom and a distribution facility in Poland.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Do You Have Too Many People?

Many businesses have evolved without putting much emphasis on cleaning up processes to make them as efficient as possible or on hiring the best people possible. Both of these often lead to having too many employees because the company has had to deal with inadequate productivity by hiring more people to compensate. Look at your processes and your people and determine to what extent this has occurred or is occurring in your company. Having too many people is a significant detriment to the bottom line.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Focus On Doing Things Right

Too much emphasis solely on the bottom line can create an environment where bad decisions are made too frequently. An overemphasis on profitability can cause managers and others to focus so much on the short-term that the decisions they make are actually detrimental to the long-term performance of the company. Try to instill a mentality that calls for a balance between a focus on the bottom line and on the long-term health of the organization. Taking a pure bottom line approach to management has caused more than a few organizations to struggle over time. Don't get caught in a strong bottom line at all costs mind set.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ask Your Employees

Employees can be your single best resource for suggesting changes to the way things are done. Since they are the front-line contact with customers, sales people especially often know a lot about how customers view your business. And your sales people often have excellent ideas about how to make processes better and more efficient. Try to create an environment where employees are expected to make suggestions about improving things. Avoid suggestion boxes or do away with them since they rarely are effective and they imply that not everyone should participate in making the business better. Actively ask employees for their input about what is working and what isn't working. Ask them to provide suggestions about how they would make those things that aren't working better, especially as they relate to enhancing the customers’ experiences in doing business with your company. It is important to act on or respond to all suggestions. Obviously not all suggestions will be appropriate, but employees need to understand why their suggestions won't work. For the suggestions that are appropriate, take action and include employees in the process of implementing changes when possible. The important thing to keep in mind is that employees represent a wealth of potential ideas about how to make your business better.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Qualified prospects are worth their weight in gold

Prospects may not be consciously aware of their need for a product. A well-planned sales presentation can help your prospect determine his or her needs. If the need is already determined, this will obviously shorten the time you need to close the sale.

Of more importance is the size of the need or more precisely, the size of the potential sale. Not all prospects who have a need for a product are equal. A good prospecting system will determine this factor. Some method of sorting prospects must be employed when the number is too high for contacts to be made in a reasonable period of time. Is there money available in the prospect's budget? All too often this matter is not discussed until the sales presentation stage. Whenever possible, you should try to discover financial information. Often salespeople do not think of credit until they attempt to close the sale. Then the credit check kills it.

Does your prospect have the authority to buy? The prospects who have the authority to buy may be either hidden or inaccessible. This is the number one problem in prospecting medium- and large-sized firms. To discover who can actually sign the order may be very time-consuming.

You can develop your own strategies for identifying those with the power to buy. For example, you can paint a picture that puts those blocking access to the buyer, the receptionist or lower-level executives, in a precarious position. That is, suggest that if the person with authority to buy were to find out that you were denied access, they could be in trouble because the firm would have lost a significant benefit.

You can also consider these other factors when qualifying prospects. Consider the level of service demanded by the prospect. Some prospects ask for special services far in excess of what their purchases justify. Keep a close watch on the sales figures. Some clients are barely profitable or even loss producers. You may choose to concentrate only on prospects with high-volume potential.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Friday, September 28, 2007

New Methods For Getting Introduced to Prospects

It has always both been a challenge and absolutely vital for salespeople to generate strong relationships. However, in recent years, this challenge has become even greater. Phone calls to prospects go to voicemail, direct mail pieces are immediately disposed, and unsolicited e-mails are deleted. The best way to approach a prospective buyer is unquestionably through an introduction. So how does one find the right person to introduce them?

Let’s say that a salt salesman wishes to contact snow plowing businesses. A tire salesman has a relationship with such a business. The salt salesman requests the tire salesman introduce him to that snow plowing contact. Once the introduction is agreed upon, the salt salesman pays a fee to the tire salesman and receives the proper contact. Wouldn’t a system like that be great? Well, the good news is that there are now new systems available that go beyond traditional sales lead portals.

For instance, Salesconx ( is the first-of-its-kind Web portal enabling sales professionals to monetize existing relationships and build new ones with key decision makers. With Salesconx, you can leverage your relationships to earn money and gain access to decision makers within your industry in three simple steps: search connections to grow your business, purchase connections to people you want to do business with and make money by selling your own connections.

Salesconx professionals will only introduce their contacts to sales associates who meet their standards. To ensure the reputability of contacts using Salesconx, members are subject to a qualification process. If you’re interested in finding another method for getting introduced to the kinds of leads you’re looking for, check out this new generation of lead sharing.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sales Reps Need a Plan

Selling requires a solid plan of attack. Most sales reps are not very good at developing and remaining focused on a plan that guides them through their sales year. An effective way to enhance the efforts of sales reps is to require an annual sales plan that focuses on current and prospective customers and how the rep will strengthen existing relationships and foster new ones.

Specifically, the plan should include the rep's sales and gross profit goals for the year along with a detailed listing of current customers and a plan for penetrating those accounts more deeply. In addition to current customers, it is imperative that such a plan address prospects as well. Again, the plan should list specific target accounts along with a specific plan of action for fostering a relationship with them. Also, sales reps are often their own worst enemies in terms of time management. A weekly time management plan should be a part of the overall plan and should include an allocation of the rep's time to the various activities required. It can even be as specific as allocating administration, face-to-face sales, telephone appointment setting and proposal writing to certain times of certain days. But keep in mind that it is difficult to stay on this schedule exactly and the rep will need to adjust accordingly. However, the point in developing such a plan is to force the rep to become more disciplined in his/her approach to selling.

If the rep is in a territory making calls, it is often helpful to create a routing plan that directs the rep through the territory on specific days and weeks. Again, there will be deviations from this plan, but it can help significantly in getting reps out of the office and into the field.

Without a plan, sales reps tend to wander aimlessly at times. With a good plan that has some discipline built into it by the rep, the chances for success increase dramatically. Sales reps are notorious for burning time in the office or in a car or airplane. Haphazard routing and poor time management contribute to this significantly.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bring Trainers In-House

When sending a number of employees to a specific training session, consider bringing a trainer to your location to conduct the training. Many companies that provide training services will be more than willing to send a trainer to your location if enough employees are involved. In some cases, this can be as few as 3 or 4 employees, but a more likely cutoff would be closer to 6 employees. There are at least two advantages to having the trainer come to you. First, the session can be geared specifically to your business and second you will save the travel expenses associated with multiple employees going elsewhere for the training. Of course you will be asked to pay the travel expenses for the trainer. When the training session is priced such that it is not significantly more than sending employees away for the training, you will realize significant savings.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lost Customers and Profitability

Losing customers is generally a symptom of problems somewhere in the organization that need to be addressed. Every customer that goes elsewhere takes a piece of your bottom line with them. We stress customer service so heavily because of this fact. Customer service is a bottom line issue. When management has the attitude that "we can replace that customer with another one" or "we have plenty of customers", the company has a mentality that runs counter to optimal bottom line performance. Do you track your customer base and look at purchase history and average length of tenure as a customer? Analyzing your customer base will often uncover problems that need to be corrected. Take every customer seriously and look at them as a piece of your bottom line. Keep in mind that businesses erode their bottom lines by not paying close enough attention to customer retention activities and the level of service provided.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sales Training in the Brief

There should be no question in a sales manager’s or business owner’s mind that sales people need to be trained, or even re-trained, in order to be more successful in their sales career. As time goes on, even seasoned sales veterans forget the basics or have never learned some of the newer techniques required in today’s challenging markets. The problem is that it’s difficult to find the time to sit through full-day training classes or long eLearning sessions when all that may be needed is a brief overview of a specific selling skill (i.e., how to cold call or how to close).

I just developed a set of training tools that can help solve this issue. I call them Sales Snippets and they are a set of 10 sales training modules each covering a different aspect of selling; including cold calling, listening skills, qualifying prospects, negotiating, handling objections, closing, and more. Each Sales Snippet is anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes in length and includes an automated slide presentation with training instructions provided by myself, Russ Lombardo. The best part is, the entire library of 10 Sales Snippets costs only $29.95, and you can return over and over again to view (or re-view) any of the training modules you'd like.

Just click on this link to learn more and, if interested, to purchase your Sales Snippets: There's even a free sample you can preview.

If you are new to sales, these sales training modules will serve as excellent primers to help build your sales career. If you are a seasoned sales veteran, then these modules will help as refreshers or as ways to introduce some new methods needed in today's changing sales environment. And, if you are a sales manager or business owner, imagine the benefit of offering your sales team these quick, simple and economical online sales tools to help them become more effective and successful.

Good Luck & Good Selling!


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Review Your Prices Now

This is a friendly reminder that your pricing structure should be revisited regularly. Too many businesses let prices remain unchanged without review. Keep in mind that your costs are increasing and at some point those increases need to be covered. Modest price increases are not very often an issue with customers as long as they are not too frequent or too large. And in some industries or markets, competitive pressures might be forcing prices down somewhat. Be careful not to panic and make drastic price cuts unless absolutely warranted. Usually modest reductions to meet a deteriorating price environment are called for. Look for true competitive advantages your firm might enjoy. If you believe that demand for your products or services will not be negatively affected by leaving them where they are or even by increasing them, don't feel compelled to reduce prices. Obviously you will need to understand your market and competition very well before making pricing decisions. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that your initial pricing strategy might have been incorrect. If so, price adjustments up or down will be in order.

Good Luck & Good Selling

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Valuable Source for New, Quality Sales Leads

Finding leads is a tough task. Finding quality leads is even more challenging. I want to share with you a service that you might find very useful for yourself, your sales team and even your business. It's called Jigsaw, and is a very unique way of finding leads that were created by other sales people, like yourself. So you know they are good.

Jigsaw is an online business directory that allows users to find, collect and trade business contacts through a subscriber built database. This directory has proven popular with recruiters, marketers, and sales professionals looking to expand their business contacts. Jigsaw makes for a kind of electronic rolodex, assembling information found on most basic business cards, including corporate email addresses, business address, and in some cases, direct phone numbers for individual contacts. To date Jigsaw has compiled 6 Million complete business contacts through the user community of 235,000+ mostly sales and marketing professionals. The Jigsaw community adds 10,000-15,000 contacts each day.

The directory also offers company information like address, website and phone numbers. Users can also search for companies by industry and geography, number of employees, and by Fortune 500 or 1000 ranking. The site’s fans see Jigsaw as filling a valuable niche, allowing sales professionals to bypass gatekeepers to contact prospects directly. Aptly named by Inc Magazine as “The World’s Biggest Rolodex.” Jigsaw is helping address the data concerns of companies and individuals. Whether it be avoiding single thread deals by mapping accounts, cleaning current CRM databases, or generating a list of target customers, Jigsaw is helping professional execute more efficiently through higher quality data.

The pricing is very attractive as well. You can either Play (earn points for every lead you post on Jigsaw) or Pay (for as little as $25. per month). You can even earn points by referring other users and challenging data that you believe is incorrect or not current. Not bad for access to over 6 million business contacts.

For more information on Jigsaw, click HERE.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sales Compensation

Compensating sales personnel in a manner that rewards them appropriately and that truly provides an incentive to stretch to higher levels of performance is sometimes a difficult balancing act. Some business owners and managers are reluctant to structure sales compensation plans that could allow sales reps to earn significant incomes. I believe that it is important to build sales compensation plans that reflect the effort expended. For example, to pay sales reps a straight salary, with a small bonus or none at all, doesn't really take into account the rep's effort. But paying sales reps for achieving certain thresholds or targets and creating a significant payout for exceeding reasonable, but demanding, expectations provides for a direct relationship between effort expended and compensation. It is important to avoid paying sales reps on a "coupon clipping" basis (this simply means that reps are paid handsomely regardless of their performance). Developing a sound sales compensation structure is dependent on the type of business you operate. But don’t be afraid to pay sales personnel for overachieving. And avoid over-rewarding sales reps that don't stretch to reach high levels of performance.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Focus On Numbers and Relationships

Often times sales people do not do an effective job of generating enough sales calls and/or developing relationships. Selling, in its simplest form can be broken down into these two elements. If sales personnel fail to call on enough prospects, there is little chance for sufficient growth. And if they fail to work hard on developing strong relationships with customers, there is little chance of any sort of loyalty from the customer base. It is important to focus on and manage the number of calls being made as well as the development of strong, long-term relationships.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sales People Must Be Directed

Too many sales representatives are left to "manage" their own efforts. It is critical that sales efforts be directed and that very clear expectations and goals be established for sales personnel. We observe far too many sales people "doing their own thing" and determining how they will best attack their assigned territories. In too many cases, there is little or no organization, limited calls being made on prospects and too much time being spent in the "comfort zone" of existing customers. It is vital to establish call requirements, sales and gross profit requirements, territory coverage expectations and methodology in terms of selling techniques (aka selling skills).

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Put Some Structure into Your Selling Efforts

Sales are a critical function in most organizations and there should be some structure built into the selling efforts of the organization. Setting a minimum number of calls to be made, routing sales reps through their territories to maximize coverage and having a systematic selling methodology are but a few of the things that should be in place in order to get the most from your selling efforts. Sales people are typically not as organized as they should be and putting structure into their daily activities will help keep them organized and focused on what is important.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Is Your Marketing Approach Stale?

Sometimes businesses do something for so long that it becomes habitual. Marketing is one area where there is a need for constant evaluation of what is working and what isn't. Do things that used to work well not seem to work so well anymore? Perhaps they need some fine-tuning or they need to be scrapped and replaced with something that is more effective. Look at your sales approach. Is it keeping up with changes in the market? And look hard at your promotional efforts. In today’s ever-changing world, promotional techniques can become outdated almost overnight.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sales is a Function of Numbers and Relationships

There are at least two critical factors in selling more.... increasing the number of contacts and strengthening the relationships with customers. The sales game tends to be a function of numbers and relationships. The more prospects and current customers contacted and the stronger the relationships, the more gets sold. While this is not always the case, it certainly holds true in most cases. Of course the quality of the contact made is important. Also, the service delivered to the customer has a lot to do with the strength of the relationship. Nevertheless, sales people have a lot to do with both the number of contacts made and the viability of the relationship. Managing contacts and relationship development is an important function. Is your company focusing on both?

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Place Minimum Call Requirements On Sales Reps

In part, developing accountability among sales people means putting some minimum number of calls expectations in place. Simply put, sales reps should be expected to make a certain number of calls each week. While selling involves a lot more than making numerous calls, there is a definite correlation in most cases between the number of calls made and sales generated. We find that businesses too often either don't have minimum call requirements or they set the number too low. Establish a minimum that is achievable, but forces the rep to "stretch".

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Treat Every Customers As If They Are the Only One

Some businesses believe that, because they have many customers, they can deliver a level of service that is unacceptable. This attitude seems to prevail in larger businesses, but can certainly be found in small businesses as well. Every customer should be treated as if they are your only customer. Treating a customer as if they are disposable because they are one of many is a sure-fire way of chasing away good customers. Pay close attention to how your employees are interacting with customers. What kinds of messages are they sending them?

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Expect Employees To Be "Team Players"

In some organizations, employees are allowed to be openly negative and critical. While managers and owners cannot mandate how employees feel about their jobs or employer, they can expect employees to work well as a team and keep criticism of the Company and fellow employees to a minimum. Negative talk and uncooperative attitudes must be discouraged and managed. And in a sales environment, it doesn’t take much for a customer to get wind of a sales rep’s negative attitude, which yields negative thoughts about your company. In other words, employees must clearly understand that, regardless of their feelings, they are expected to work well with others, have a positive attitude as they go about their jobs and keep criticisms to themselves or only discuss them with their manager. They must never express negative feelings to customers or prospects. Employees that are allowed to remain negative and uncooperative will have a negative influence on those around them, as well as your client base. If an employee simply cannot stop being negative and uncooperative, it might be best if they looked for employment elsewhere.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

View Sales Reps as Profit Centers

An approach that can work well in assessing how effective sales personnel are is to maintain a profit and loss statement on each sales rep. Generally, this is not a complex thing to do. Each rep generates sales and gross profit. And each rep has expenses such as base salary, commission, benefits, bonus, office expenses such as rent and utilities, telephone expense, support expenses such as a portion of secretarial and clerical employees' wages and benefits, travel and entertainment, etc. By tracking sales, gross profit and expenses for a sales rep, you will be able to determine how "profitable" a particular sales rep is. This is valuable information in evaluating the effectiveness of sales reps and marketing efforts. The danger in evaluating only sales and gross profit numbers is that some sales reps are much more expensive than others depending on compensation and spending habits. Beware, however, that excellent sales reps sometimes are more effective because they spend more on things such as cellular telephones in following up with customers and travel and entertainment due to more proactive contact with customers. Others are wasteful in how they use both of these "tools". And still others do not use these "tools" enough. Tracking these expenses on an individual profit and loss statement can uncover many of these issues.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Customer Service Assessment

A business needs an occasional check-up much like a human needs one. Assessments of various elements of the business help to identify problems and create opportunities for improvement. Nowhere is an assessment more important than in the area of customer service. How well customers are being served is of utmost importance to any business. It is important to look internally at processes and procedures that directly impact customers and the people serving the customers. And it is vital that customer feedback be obtained in order to identify problem areas that might not be uncovered by an internal review. We believe that an ongoing customer feedback process such as post-sale/service follow up is best, but even a regularly scheduled survey of customers is generally adequate. The point is that assessments of how well your customers are being served are critical to the long-term success of your business. To what extent are they currently being done?

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Is Your Market Strategy Still Effective?

Things change. That's a well known fact and many businesses do an effective job of shifting their market strategies when they do. Others fail to recognize and/or react to market changes and continue to do things as they always have. In many cases, this is nothing more than a reluctance to change. In others, it is a matter of not being strategically astute. It is not uncommon for market conditions such as competition, the economy, customer preferences, alternative methods of distribution, pricing and the like to shift significantly. This generally calls for some sort of adjustment in the way a business goes to market. Failing to recognize these shifts can sometimes be devastating to a business. Timing is important since it can take time to affect change within the organization. If a business waits too long to recognize the shifts, it could be too late. We stress the importance of keeping track of competition, alternative product and service offerings, price shifts, economic changes, customer perceptions and preferences and other market related factors. By doing so, a business can identify the need to make changes early.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Call a Customer Today

It is critical to know how customers feel about your business and the service being delivered. Most businesses do a horrible job of following up with customers on a regular basis to find out how they perceive the way they are being served. We recommend a process that, very simply, involves picking up the telephone and calling various customers at regular intervals to ask about their level of satisfaction with the way they are being served. Speaking directly with a customer can often reveal things they probably wouldn't share otherwise. Dissatisfaction can sometimes be uncovered allowing for the problem(s) to be addressed. Does your business take the time to contact customers to better understand how they perceive your company?

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Price and Perceived Value

Knowing how customers and prospective customers view your products or services is important to your pricing structure. Customers will generally only pay a price that they believe closely reflects the value offered by the product/service. Most of this is based purely on perception. Perhaps they had an experience with your products/services and related customer service in the past and have established some mental threshold in terms of what they will pay for your products/services. Or, through word of mouth or some other means, they heard about your company, products or services and have formed an opinion about value. Maybe they have seen ads or some other promotional or information piece and have been influenced in that way. In any case, perceived value is important to the level of pricing established. If the value is perceived to be less than the price, sales will suffer. And if price and value are in line or value is perceived to exceed price, sales should be strong. The key is understanding how customers and prospective customers view your company and its products and services. Market research is the best way to determine this. Do you know how customers "value" your products or services?

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Attributes Of Successful Long-Term Businesses

We believe there are attributes that are common to successful businesses. While there are probably others, we feel that the twelve attributes below represent the most important:

1. They are focused on the customer and gather feedback and input from the customer on a regular and consistent basis.

2. They understand the concept of relationship development, both internally and externally and they work hard at forming new relationships and strengthening old ones.

3. They are externally-driven (customer) rather than internally-driven (operations).

4. They have a high percentage of talented and high performing employees.

5. They understand how to apply their resources in a manner that maximizes their opportunity for success.

6. They have a high level of morale and teamwork and foster that kind of environment.

7. They do not constantly shift and change priorities.

8. They have well defined and simple, efficient processes.

9. They have a long-term mentality.

10. They have a long-range plan with goals that all employees understand.

11. They spend money wisely and are not afraid to spend money to the benefit of the organization.

12. They have strong and effective communication taking place consistently and regularly.

Good Luck & Good Selling!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Use Your Web Site To Handle Routine Tasks

More and more businesses are finding that the Internet can be used to reduce costs and free up employees' time to work on other activities. The primary way that many small businesses are using the Internet it to direct customers to their Web sites for information they used to mail out. Estimates put the cost of processing, handling and mailing informational packets at $7.00 per packet. Not only are businesses using the Internet to save these costs, they free up the time of the employees who were processing these requests. Another example of the way the Internet is being used to free up time is automatically sending the information entered on your web site’s registration forms (e.g., requesting more information, asking for a quote, subscribing to your newsletter, etc.) into your CRM system for subsequent processing. This removes the need to manually re-enter all the data, which takes up valuable time and is prone to entry errors. Yet another example is the display of product pricing and availability information. Many customers and prospective customers call in for this information - taking employees away from other tasks. By putting this information on the Internet, customers/prospects can simply check the Web site for the information. Obviously the next step is ordering and many businesses are putting this function online as well. Look at the various ways that the Internet can potentially save time and money for your organization. You might be surprised at what you will find.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Not All Customers Are Good Ones

Customers should be valued and catered to. They are the lifeblood of any business. But many businesses have a customer or two that simply are more trouble than they are worth. These are the customers that beat you up constantly for lower prices, they demand more than is reasonable and they generally make you and your employees' lives miserable. In many cases, these customers are costing the company more than they are bringing it. A judgment call needs to be made in terms of whether a customer of this nature is important enough to the overall goals of the business to continue to have a relationship with. In some cases, it is justifiable for the business to terminate its relationship with a customer. While not common or recommended for most customers, the few that are truly too much trouble and too costly to deal with might need to be asked to buy elsewhere in a very tactful and professional manner. But think through any such decision completely and carefully before making it. Some relatively new customers that are difficult and not profitable grow into very profitable ones. And in some cases the customer simply needs to have someone work closer with them to develop a better understanding of pricing and service issues.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Don't Just Sell More

It is far too common to find businesses that focus so much on selling more of whatever it is they sell that they lose sight of doing it in a profitable manner. The employees of these businesses talk a lot about growth in sales. That's appropriate as long as there is equal focus on profits. Many times businesses that get hung up on selling more tend to decrease prices to stimulate faster growth rather than doing it in a manner that calls for enhancing relationships, customer service and product/service quality. There is so much short-term focus that these businesses often make bad decisions in order to meet sales growth goals. When looking at sales growth, consider how that growth will be accomplished. Will slashing prices do it? Or will it be done with hard work, better promotional efforts, better customer service and stronger relationships? Remember that price-cutting is a short-term solution that can sometimes set unreasonable customer expectations about future pricing.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Track Sales By Customer

It is important to understand the degree to which your customers continue to buy from your business. Customer retention is a critical factor in profitability. When a customer leaves to buy from a competitor, there is usually a reason or set of reasons why they left. In many cases the customer goes elsewhere without a hint there might have been a problem. It is important to track sales by customer so that trends in buying can be spotted. When a customer begins to buy less, it is important to find out why. Sales reps should have first hand access to data that provides these trends. When a customer begins to show signs of buying elsewhere, the rep or someone else should be in contact with them immediately. Obviously, in some cases, the rep is the problem and management will need to deal with that issue.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Deliver Value

Customers are increasingly interested in value when buying products or services. Value has more to do with the level of service and quality of the product or service than it does price, although price is certainly important. Value can be defined as the usefulness of the product or service relative to the price paid. In the customer's mind, the business that understands how to deliver the highest level of usefulness at a price that is perceived as being fair or appropriate will have an edge when they make their decision about which business to buy from. We stress the importance of delivering outstanding service because customer service is directly related to perceived value. Businesses that truly deliver outstanding service are perceived as adding value to the product or service in some way. Value is also added by the quality of the product or service involved. Products and services that are perceived as being of high quality and reliable are usually thought of as providing value. Many businesses fight the value/price gap that is defined as the perceived difference between price paid and value received. If the gap is too wide, sales will suffer. It is important to focus on ways to enhance value for your customers. How does your business currently add value?

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Avoid Fat, Dumb and Happy

It is not uncommon for sales people that have had some success to rest on their laurels. They become somewhat complacent and lose the discipline and intensity they need to sustain success. Bear in mind that success can be very short lived. It is important to develop a discipline about managing your sales and territory whereby accountability remains strong, processes are not allowed to become inefficient and disorderly, and customer service is consistently outstanding.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Grow With Caution

The emphasis in many businesses is on selling more. Increasing sales is important. However, growing sales when there are fundamental problems or barriers can be disastrous, especially when the growth is rapid. A number of businesses have significant problems with people and processes. In terms of people, they either can't find enough qualified people and/or they have too many marginal managers and employees already in place. As far as processes are concerned, there is inefficiency and chaos surrounding them leading to mistakes, slowness in delivery of products or services and/or internal strife. Increasing sales puts more strain on both of these areas. As a result, there is the danger of deteriorating customer service levels, which could lead to loss of customers that might never come back. It is a good idea to deal with people and process issues prior to launching any major promotional effort that could lead to dramatic or fast increases in sales.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Do You Know What Sells?

An important measurement in a product-focused business is what sells and what doesn't. And what is likely to sell and what isn't. Sounds simple doesn't it? But it's surprising how many businesses simply don't or aren't able to track sales and gross profit for each specific product. Making decisions about what to promote, products that no longer warrant a place in the warehouse and abandoning plans for spin off or new products should be at least partially contingent upon historical sales and gross profit data and/or market research data. To what extent does your business track sales and gross profits as well as market trends and preferences? If the answer is anything short of "to a great extent" it is time to rethink how product decisions get made.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Buy Sales Consulting Expertise When Needed

Even though there is a cost associated with bringing in outside consultants, there are times when it is necessary. Good consultants can help you take a step back and look at your company differently. There are times in any business when certain expertise does not exist internally. In these cases, going outside to hire a consultant makes sense. It is important, however, to find a consultant or consulting firm that has a strong hands-on background in running a sales organization. They have been through what you go through daily and have made mistakes and learned from them. They can then transfer that knowledge to you, your managers and your sales team. Be careful when hiring consultants. Cheaper is usually not better. There is usually a reason that some consultants fetch big hourly rates. Even with a high hourly rate, they will often have a much bigger impact in less time than someone less experienced charging a lower rate. Don't rely solely on consultants. Learn from them and assimilate what you learn into your day-to-day management activities.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Strive To Gain More of Each Customer's Business

We must be almost evangelistic about the importance of developing and maintaining extraordinary relationships with customers. This is done in many ways. But the main point is that the degree to which customers buy more and more from you is largely dependent upon how well you manage that relationship. A primary objective of any business should be to achieve higher levels of penetration across its customer base. The extent to which a business focuses on selling more to each customer can go a long way towards determining the level of profitability. Theoretically, as a relationship grows and customers buy more from a particular business, price tends to become less of a factor in the buying decision. Therefore, the deeper the relationship with a particular customer, the more likely the customer is to buy more at higher gross profit levels. Obviously no business should take advantage of a customer relationship by charging unrealistically high prices. However, stronger customer relationships often allow the business to compete based on the strength of the relationship rather than price.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Training Expense and Profits

It is essential that money spent on employee training be spent wisely. Far too much money is wasted on unnecessary or inappropriate training. In some organizations, there is no training plan, no training budget and/or little understanding of what training is most important to the success of the employee and the business. Does your business have a training matrix that shows what training is needed for each employee based on gaps in their skills? Or does your business paint all employees with the same brush and put them all through the same training? It is important to understand that not all employees need the same type of training. The impact on profits is twofold; 1) excess money is spent on unnecessary training, and 2) the employees are not trained to enhance performance in areas they are weak in. Look closely at how you are spending money on training. Is there waste? Is the training applicable?

Good Luck & Good Selling!


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Price For Long-Term Relationships

There are many factors that enter into relationship development. One of those is pricing. If a customer feels that you are constantly trying to sell them something at an inflated price, there is a good chance you will eventually lose that customer. In their zeal to pad their commission checks, sales people will tend to go in one of two directions; 1) quote a price that is too low, or 2) quote a price that is too high. It is important to have a set of consistent pricing guidelines for your sales force and anyone else quoting prices. While sales people shouldn't overprice to take advantage of a relationship, they shouldn't under price either. Under pricing establishes a bad precedent in terms of their expectations for future purchases unless they clearly understand it is special pricing of some sort. Also, under pricing negatively impacts your gross profit. Prices should be established in a market/customer-driven manner with an eye toward generating reasonable gross profits.

Good Luck & Good Selling!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Do you have a product or service view of the world?

Do you view the world from the standpoint, "I sell (product or service) and I want to sell more of them." Or do you take the viewpoint, "I want to acquire and retain loyal customers." If your objective is to retain customer loyalty, you must ask yourself three questions:

1. How do I organize my marketing plans to achieve this goal?
2. How can I provide customers with what they want and need?
3. How can I solve customer problems and deliver value to them?

Developing a Customer Perspective

Effective marketing programs start from the customer's point of view. To operate an effective, customer-centered marketing program, you must:

- Know your customers. Develop the capability to record and store customer information, starting with a customer profile on what their environment looks like, who they are, where they are, what they buy, and what they plan to buy.

- Address your customers’ specific issues.

Segment your top customers into targeted categories that allow you to address their specific problems and interests.

- Talk to those who will listen. Prioritize or score your database to make sure you’re contacting those customers or targeting those prospects that have the most potential.

- Qualify prospects for interest. Don't just purchase any list or lead for prospecting. Be selective; match it to your customer profile. You increase the efficiency of your marketing dollars and sales time when prospects are more qualified.

Good Luck & Good Selling!


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Principles Of Knowing Your Customers

There is no 'typical' customer. Each customer is a person or a business with individual needs, buying pattern and history. You must develop individual relationships with each customer.

Know your customers from your contacts with them. Marketing information goes deeper than marketing surveys or general market analysis. Database marketing provides detailed information about your customers and their business on an individual businesses, such as:

- Business name, title and job function, size and number of employees, phone number (enterprise-and specific site-based)

- Demographic, econographic and technographic characteristics

- Past product purchasing behavior and planned purchases

- Installed systems, equipment, software, etc.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Develop A Long-Term Relationship with Your Customers

Satisfied customers provide long-term, profitable buying relationships. By using the information available to you from an effective marketing database, you can:
1. Solve your customers' problems. Purchase histories, transactions and relevant statistics allow you to offer more than a product. You offer your customers a solution to their problems.

2. Communicate with your customers personally by name. Database marketing allows you to be more knowledgeable about your customers' buying frequency, dollar value of their business, and other factors that influence immediate and future sales.

3. Add value to your customers' purchases. Expand sales through additional services such as training programs, related products and services and automatic updates.

4. Develop, enhance and expand your relationship. When customers trust and depend on you, they look to you for help in solving their problems. They look forward to doing business with you and want you to service more and more of their needs.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Creating A Database Attitude

Successful operation of a marketing database requires a change to a marketing culture. A marketing culture demands:

  • A marketing approach rather than a systems approach. Marketing is customer-centered and all systems need to be created and managed to support customers. Ask, "How will this add value to my customers: experience and use? The technical nature of database management cannot supersede the need for marketing and customer support.
  • A willingness to invest. Marketing databases require systems composed of hardware, software and experts to operate them. Loyalty programs require strategy and time to succeed. All are vital investments that are required before a database marketing program will succeed.
  • Accountability and a return on investment.

Marketing promotions need to be considered as investments that require a return on investment. Reports and calculations need to be made for all decisions, and the decisions need to be accountable to show a required return on investment.

Good Luck & Good Selling!


Monday, May 15, 2006

Customer Service and Your Bottom Line

Over the long haul, there is no question that providing outstanding customer service benefits a business significantly. It strengthens the relationships with customers, provides a solid foundation for additional account penetration and keeps customer attrition to a minimum. All of this benefits the bottom line. And outstanding customer services help avoid the additional work associated with mistakes, problems and inappropriate treatment of customers. Focus heavily on your customer service levels and instill a real discipline about how customers are served. Over time your bottom line will reflect the enhanced emphasis.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Improve Efficiency With Processes

Inefficient processes can have a profound impact on your bottom line. Bad processes lead to more hours than necessary being worked which translates into more overtime or more people. And bad processes can have a detrimental impact on customer service. Look at your processes and isolate those that seem to be the most inefficient. In a simple and straightforward manner, flow chart each step in the process and critique each of those steps in terms of whether it is necessary and/or whether it is being carried out in the most efficient manner possible. If it is not necessary, eliminate it.

Good luck & Good Selling!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

CyberSelling Book Reviewers Wanted

You may have noticed the new item on the menu bar on the left of this blog. It simply says "CyberSelling Book Reviewers Wanted". What is this, you may ask. Well, quite simply, it's your opportunity to help me write my new book called, "CyberSelling - Using CRM Technology to Help You Sell." To learn more about this new book, click HERE or send me an email ( asking for your free, Members-only login account.

As a free Member, you'll be able to read each and every chapter as they are written, provide your comments, and reply to other members' postings. In doing so, you will get free, advanced reviewing of my new book and be able to provide your comments and opinions, thereby helping me to make sure it addresses my readers' best interests.

It's free and easy. I will even email all Members whenever a new chapter is posted. I hope you take advantage of this special offer. Thanks.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Don't Be Afraid To Charge Higher Prices

Some businesses are afraid to charge prices that reflect the value of the product or service offered. They feel that charging a lower price attracts buyers they might not otherwise attract. In some cases that is true. However, if a product or service is reasonably priced, customers generally won't balk at paying a price based on perceived value. Only when there is a disparity between perceived value and the price is there reluctance or refusal to buy based on price. Ask yourself how your product or service stacks up against your competitors’ product/service. Is it of higher quality? Are you adding value to the process in some way that might warrant a higher price? In short, don't be afraid to price your products and/or services at levels that reflect their quality and value.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Spend Money On Training, But Only The Right Training

Training is an important element in sales development and filling skill gaps. There has been an increasing emphasis on training, but many companies spend money on training that has little or no chance of making a difference. Evaluate what skills are critical to each sales individual and position in your organization. Put a training plan in place that addresses critical skills against skill gaps of sales reps. But before committing to specific training programs make sure you evaluate the effectiveness of the programs. Among the most effective types of training are individual and team mentoring programs designed to provide hands-on training tailored to the specific skill gaps of the individuals involved. Additionally, the trainer must have personal experience in sales and sales management to be effective and believable. Don't settle for just book-smart instructors. Understanding what are needed and fitting programs to those needs is very important.

If you'’d like to determine the ROI of your sales training program, click HERE for our free Sales Training ROI Calculator.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It Usually Takes More Time Than Expected

When implementing any sort of change, new program or sales process, it is important to remember that it generally takes longer than expected to get them in place. This means that it is important to have a well thought out and clearly communicated plan of attack. And it means that anticipated bottom line benefits might not be realized until well after the initiative has started. Putting off initiatives that are designed to bolster or pump up your bottom line or sales results could mean an erosion of profits. Anticipate what needs to be done, prioritize which things need to be done first, second, etc., put a plan in place and apply resources to make it happen. Avoid letting things pile up so that too many initiatives are required in a hurry.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Do You Really Want To Lower Your Price?

Sometimes a competitive situation will prompt a sales rep to think about lowering price and competing strictly on a price basis. But is it always necessary to lower a price to secure the business? Not always. This will depend largely on two things; 1) the depth of the relationship with the customer and, 2) any added value your product, service or organization brings to the deal. Lowering price has an immediate and direct impact on the bottom line. It should not be a routine matter to lower prices to match competition unless you are in a true commodity business, and even then there could be ways to differentiate.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Some Customers Might Be Worth Losing

Losing a customer now and again might be in the best interest of the company. When would we want to lose a customer? In some cases, a customer requires so much attention and has negotiated such favorable pricing that the gross profit generated from that customer doesn't justify the time and energy devoted to maintaining the relationship. The resources are often needed to build your customer base and develop stronger relationships with more profitable accounts. But before "running off” a customer, do your homework. Are there other reasons to maintain a marginally profitable account such as increased buying power that brings down overall product or input costs?

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Observe A Process Today

Take the time out of your busy schedule to spend time watching and learning about one of the critical processes occurring in your company. This means getting right in the middle of it and following the process by sitting with employees involved in it and asking questions about the specific activities surrounding it. Since productivity is essential in enhancing profitability, understanding processes and how they have evolved will help identify those that have extra steps in them and/or where there are efficiency and productivity issues. In short, spend time actually doing the steps in various processes and you will learn a lot about them. Sometimes things have been added or changed without your knowledge.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

To Travel Or Not To Travel

Much of today's business travel is unnecessary. It seems that business people have gotten into a pattern of jumping on an airplane to travel to sales calls, meetings, workshops, conventions, trade shows and other events when much of that travel is unjustified or unnecessary. With the various electronic means of communicating available today, much of the activity that takes place in face-to-face settings can be handled via email, teleconference, fax, the Internet or videoconference. Before deciding to travel, ask yourself if that travel is really necessary. If not, don't go since traveling can be very expensive. It's safe to say that in many companies travel expenses can be reduced by a third or more simply by using alternative means of communicating or by foregoing unnecessary meetings or other events. However, in sales, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to build trust and develop a relationship. Just make sure you balance these important in-person meetings with more economical alternatives.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Don't Over Promise and Under Deliver

Through promotional campaigns, sales presentations, conversations with customers and other ways, many businesses seem to promise more than they can possibly deliver. This can come in many forms. The promise of excellent product quality often turns out to be nothing more than a promise. The promise of excellent customer service rings hollow with many customers. The promise of expedited delivery or performance of some type often falls short. It is a dangerous and unwise practice to tell customers and prospective customers that your business and its people can do something when there is little chance that it will actually happen. Pay close attention to what you and your people are "promising" your customers and prospective customers. Can you actually deliver on those promises on a consistent basis? If not, stop and rethink what you can deliver. It is far better to exceed expectations than to fall short of them.

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Don't Fall Into This Trap

It is amazing that so many businesses profess to deliver excellent customer service when, in fact, the vast majority are delivering very poor service to their customers. In fact, it appears that the level of service being delivered to customers is falling off somewhat dramatically in many businesses. There is a trap that many businesses fall into that begins with a lot of lip service being paid to customer service, but little or no real action being taken. These businesses fool themselves into thinking their customers are receiving excellent service when, in fact, they are not. In many cases, the service is shamefully poor. It is important to avoid this trap at all costs. Having a false sense of security about customer service can lead to the downfall of a business. While the business believes its customers are happy, those customers are quietly leaving and talking to others about the bad service. Does your business suffer from a false sense of well being regarding customer service?

Good Luck & Good Selling!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

How Morale Affects Profits

Success in business is primarily a result of the quality of people employed. It is well known that productivity is a key factor in the level of profitability attained. Productivity is a result of a number of factors, but none more important than the morale of the employees involved. Many managers and owners fail to recognize that maintaining high levels of morale generally translates into higher levels of productivity and, therefore, higher profit levels. Morale is affected in many ways, but primarily by how the employee is managed, developed, coached and treated. Too many managers treat their employees as commodities that can be disposed of and easily replaced. Others don't take the time to foster a strong enough working relationship with their employees. And most don't set clear expectations or enforce policies consistently. In short, employee morale has a direct impact on productivity. It takes time and effort to achieve high levels of morale within an organization. How much attention does your business pay to achieving and maintaining high levels of morale?

Good Luck & Good Selling!