Monday, February 15, 2010

Blogging works....

For those of you who want to get a message out there, blogging is a great way to do so.  I never even considered it until a few weeks back when some well-respected peers of mine strongly suggested it to me.

You see blogging allows you, as an individual or as part of a company to share thoughts and ideas with others.  Firstly, it lets others know a little bit more about you as a person and lets people read about the things that are important enough for you to write about. Secondly it strikes a good, bad or indifferent chord with the people who take the time to read it; and thirdly it helps give you exposure on search engines.  Generally, people take the time to read about topics that are of interest to them and will either agree or disagree with the subject matter or simply smile.

So as Alec Baldwin says in Glengarry Glenross, "Go and Do Likewise" and start blogging.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Prospecting to Old Fashioned Way....Face-to-Face!

For the many people who know me well, they know that I have spent many, many years in the sales training industry and although I don't want to make this blog focused on that topic too often, I find that many of the topics are helpful to business people so I will take this opportunity today to touch upon a topic that came up with a very close friend of mine just yesterday.

Just to keep his identity protected, let's just call him Bob (His actual name is Bob - HA HA).

Anyway, he is in the appraisal business and he called me up because he also knows of my 20 years experience in the website development space, and said "My website sucks and nobody can find me". I paused, said "Ok, what would you like me to do about that?" He paused and then started shuddering because he either didn't know what he wanted from me or he knew exactly what he wanted from me, but didn't want to come out and ask me. In any case, I told him I would give him free advice and would certainly help him in any way I could, but if he wanted a professional site which would take time away from my actual income earning career, he would have to pay me for it. I spoke straight to him and hopefully he appreciated it.

But I also told him that if he was expecting the phone to ring because he had a cool website or he came up higher in the search engines, that he is kidding himself. That is only one spoke in a wheel full of spokes when it comes to sales and marketing. I asked him how his last lunch went with the decision-maker at Citizen's Bank who gives him almost all of his business and what were some of the concerns he/she had. It was as if I had asked him how the earth was formed. There was complete silence and then he responded with "I don't do that. He/she probably doesn't even know who I am. I don't want to waste his/her time."

Wow, what a sad statement. Talk about self-limiting beliefs. He'll get exactly what he expects. And what he expects is nothing. He said I need to connect with more local banks. I asked him how his walk-ins to banks with some confidence and a plan are going. He said he doesn't do that. He doesn't want to cold-call. Well I think Steve Martin said it best....Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me! Come on Bob! Why are you wasting my time and asking for help if you don't actually want help? If you aren't open to make a change you never will.

Now I'm not big on handing out business cards for the sake of doing so, but if someone qualifies to have a card of mine, I will give them one. Here's what happened today:

I had to visit my son's doctor for a quick visit. I was in the common-space lobby of a medical facility and certainly small professional offices are a good prospective customer base for my business. While waiting there, I stood up, walked into the neighboring office and said to the two women sitting at the front desk, something to the affect of: "I wouldn't be surprised if you had zero need for what my company does and your computers are most-likely running like well-oiled machines, but in the off chance that that isn't the case, I just wanted to let you know that I own a company that works with offices like yours to eliminate the headaches of computer problems." I smiled, paused and asked them if they would like me to leave. Funny thing was, they didn't want me to leave. They started rattling off all the aggravation they currently experience. I had to jump out of there to go to the appointment, and when I came back out, they literally called me back to their office and asked me how they could get started with my company and if I had more time, they would have told me their specific issues they face on a daily basis (hence building more rapport).

Is there a moral to the story? OF COURSE THERE IS! Even though I have very little respect for a particular ex-boss I had (as a human being), this guy Jim used to say "Make It Happen" and he was right. The only one that will make it happen is you. You just have to want it badly enough. There is still nothing better than having a conversation and building rapport the old fashioned way.

Sending gift-baskets is LAME! It's cookie cutter. It's been done a million times. It's cliche'. They even have the Michael Scott character in The Office delivering gift-baskets as a sales move on the TV show. Why you ask? Because the brilliant writers on that show are poking fun at the absurdity of it all. It's sort of funny because for years I would profess to stop being traditional when you sell, but things like looking at someone face to face, regardless of how "old-school" it is, is still the BEST WAY TO SELL!! Just be different than everyone else when you do that.

So "Make It Happen"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Good Video on Negotiation

This is on the GoDaddy Blog and I thought it would be useful.  I agree with most things in this video.