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Business to Business Online Expos


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No internet allowed; in the internet department

internetdeptI used to be the Sales Director of the Internet Department at a car dealership. Just to clarify, the Internet Department in the auto-biz is a division of the sales force who specifically serve web clients that have been shopping through the internet. From referrals by buying companies to lead sources, email, text, etc., this team spends the majority of their days in front of a monitor. These employees are all over the digital marketplace chasing down customers.

One day, our genius [sarcastic] General Manager decided that he was going to lock down everyone’s computers to only include a few scattered links that they used every day for their email, customer management program and most pages associated with our brand. The rest of the internet–off limits.

ASININE

The prospects they talk to on the phone every day have full access to all their shopping options in a variety of places on the web. On the other hand, the sales team that needed to be competitive and informed about their competition was unable to stay efficient because a GM was worried someone was reading FoxNews.com too often?

Handicapping his staff, the department started seeing a consistent decline in monthly numbers. Captain Power-trip blamed other factors but truth be told, the new policy was not very smart.

The IT department had access to every key stroke the people made. If they were concerned about where their ‘internet employees’ were surfing, they could have run a report to see for themselves and determine if corrective action was needed. But to treat them like small children and take away tools they need to be successful is just ridiculous.

One member of upper management tried to defend the GM by saying, “He probably is trying to keep people off of Facebook and focused on their job.” Okay, smarty-pants, there’s just one problem with that theory. Social Media is an incredible way of building your customer base. When I was an internet salesman, 4-6 cars I sold per month were a direct result of frequent posting on these sites.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Do not take away your team’s access to social media!

Even if they don’t use it for work, a short amount of friendly interaction on Facebook can be beneficial to the overall production. Here’s the bottom line–they’re gonna do it anyway. Most of your employees have smart phones and checking their posts is part of their hour to hour lives.

Regulate it.  Give them a time window when they are allowed to take social media breaks.

Use it to your advantage. If your company generates revenue from the public, come up with contests and promotions that encourages staff to reach out to their power circle on Facebook and generate some new business.

You’ll keep your team happy and productive.

Go get ’em Tiger!

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Turn ‘Cold Calls’ into ‘Connect Calls’

coldcallI don’t think I ever met a salesman that enjoyed making cold calls. In fact, it’s usually the entry level gig to any major sales position with a company.

I’m a salesman. I’m not gonna lie. Cold calling sucks. However, the name Cold Call doesn’t mean that you have to be cold with the person you’re speaking with. Get off the script and find a way to connect. A first time phone chat has a much better chance of converting into a future deal if the focus is on the company and person you’re calling.

Meaning, don’t call to promote your product, call them to fill a need [with the help of your product]!

Lew Hoff, President of Bartizan Mobile Apps wrote a recent piece about this on TSNN. Hoff recommends using their profiles on social media as a tool. “If you use Linkedin and Twitter your cold calls don’t have to feel like cold calls because you know something about them and can possibly relate on a human level. The prospect could be a neighbor, went to the same school, have the same hobby. Be open with the people when you call about having looked at their LinkedIn profiles. It helps break the ice. Plus it shows you’ve gone to more trouble than 90% of the other salespeople who call them every day.”

Great points, read the full story here.

Lew says Cold Calls like this are considered Connect Calls. And that makes perfect sense because you are making a connection early which dramatically improves your chances of closing the deal.

Go get ’em Tiger!

 


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“Please say ‘yes’; my rent is due!”

computerAs a salesperson, I’m pretty sure that the words “please say ‘yes’ because my rent is due” have never come out of your mouth.  It would be pretty hard to close any deals with that kind of desperate, transparent approach.  I mean, you may find one or two peeps that would make a sympathy purchase, but most prospects would tell you to pound sand.

jebJeb Blount said on Quickanddirtytips.com, “Desperate people fail. You must get this emotion under control. Desperation is described by the Universal Law of Need. This law simply states that the more you need something, the less likely it is that you will get it. The Universal Law of Need comes into play most often in sales when lack of activity has left the pipeline depleted.”

So, what do you do? What do you do when you’ve been hunting for a job for so long that by the time you land one, you’re so broke, the guys at the end of the freeway ramp start handing you money when you pull up to the light?  What I’m saying is, thank God you got hired, but the reality is your circumstance has you feeling that if you don’t start selling immediately, your car is gonna get repo-d, your lights are gonna get shut off or worse yet, you’re soon to be living on the street.

Hang in there. Hang in there because you have no choice. Unless you decide to start selling drugs or become a stripper (not recommended–especially for some of you older hairy dudes), there’s really no immediate money available to rescue you in any job you get hired for. Salary, hourly or commission, you’re gonna have to wait till your next check, regardless.

That said, you have to shift your focus off of your need and push all that energy into focusing on their need.  Meditate on the solution for your prospects or potential customers. Learn the product that you’re selling, research the market and master the problem solving benefits that you will be bringing to the clients.

It’s really weird. The customer always seems to subconsciously know when you’re selling in desperation.  Even if you’re a solid sales professional, you ooze some kind of unpaid bills cooties, and they repel away from you like a mosquito dodging Citronella.

It’s not just individual sales peeps that struggle in this arena. Small businesses need to be aware that they will face the same challenges in sales if they treat every individual close as the one last chance to keep their doors open.

christinaChristina Mayer from Visitorz Targeted Traffic Booster posted a piece on LinkedIn called How to Sell Without Obviously Selling.  Below I listed a few points from her article that may help you reach your customers better (and faster):

  • Use social media marketing like it’s you, yourself, are using it – I get it that you and your brand are two different characters in marketing, but how can you be more engaging if you act as if you’re just a brand. As marketers, we already know the benefits of being “human” in marketing. And what is the best way to be human is by being human in using your social media profiles! But of course, you must have certain limitations to keep in mind when connecting through social media.
  • CTA does not always work like a charm – “Call to Action” buttons may trigger your audience’s minds to actually follow your command, but our audiences are smarter than what we think they are. For me, a button that, when I click, could cost me a couple of bucks shouldn’t be clicked at all. If you really want to engage conversions, state the benefits of your product. Tell them what they could miss when they do not patronize your product.
  • Use humor as an ingredient in “advertising” – This is one repetitive concept that I won’t stop from sharing. Putting in the “fun” element in promotion changes the message in greater depths. Happiness is one of the most enjoyable feelings that any customer could feel. And you know what they say, a happy customer is a happy buyer.
  • Create a big connection – One of the best tips that I learned from marketing is this. “If can’t advertise, let others advertise you”. Use your connections as your asset in marketing. Let them flaunt your stuff with grace. A buyer would most likely believe something if it came from another one’s mouth and from another brand’s mouth.

Good stuff. I encourage you to read her whole article here.

Bottom line:  I have found that honesty is the best policy, yes, even for sales people.  The truth comes with gifts of favor, referrals and longevity.

Lie-selling frequently yields instant success that doesn’t last long and could detriment your company or career long-term.

The best sales peeps are straight shooters who present the need and provide the solution.  Of course I am aware that companies pad numbers, stats and add fluff to things.  I’m not so innocent that I haven’t played into that or used some of their flow charts for my own gain.  All I’m saying is, a solid individual with integrity, who believes in the product they are selling–is unstoppable.

And…

It’s always nice being able to sleep at night.


Check out my iTunes Podcast “Trade Show On-Air” –  HERE