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The Competitive Advantage

November 24, 2020

Generating Sales Leads is a Waste of Money… If You Don’t Follow-up

Sales leads are the lifeblood of any growing business. In the good ‘ol days… they came from networking at a conference, meeting visitors at your trade show booth and cold calling. Today, they come from hosting webinars, leveraging LinkedIn connections and creating downloadable gated content.

But here’s the problem (today and back then)… the vast majority of those sales leads are never followed-up on. It doesn’t matter if the guilty party is a full-time sales rep or a part-time seller-doer… this is where the sales process breaks down. Happens all the time! I don’t know if it’s because the sale rep gets lazy, gets distracted or gets busy.

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November 17, 2020

Your Sales & Marketing Focus Is All Wrong!

current clients

When you think about sales & marketing, what comes to mind? For most business people… it’s about acquiring new clients – about building awareness in the markets or industries they serve, then generating sales leads that lead to new business.

And that’s wrong!

The fact is, when you think about sales & marketing, your first priority – the primary focus of your strategies and planning – should be to maintain and grow your current client base.

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November 10, 2020

The Hardest Thing To Do When Selling

proof sourceWhether you’re a professional, full-time salesperson or a newly-minted seller-doer, it doesn’t take long for you to figure out that the hardest thing to do when selling is convincing a company to do business with you the very first time. That is, to acquire a brand-new client.

Think about it… first, you’re ‘stealing’ them from a competitor, one where they presumably have had a pretty good relationship for a period of time. And two, your sales pitch – by definition – is basically, “I know you’ve been working with my competitor for a long time and have a good relationship with them, but I want you to forget about that and take a chance with us… a company you have absolutely no history with!” OK, I’m exaggerating… but not by much.

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November 3, 2020

How to Define Sales Territories for Larger Sales Teams

sales territoriesI started my career as a technical sales rep for the DuPont Company (a long, long, long time ago). Back then, the de facto way of structuring a sales team was to give each sales rep his/her own territory. And those sales territories were almost always built around geography… whether the company was selling regionally, nationally or globally. It made it easy for ‘road warriors’ to visit a lot of clients and prospects on a single road trip.

But today, with so many geographically-dispersed companies working virtually – and so much selling being done by phone and on tools like Zoom™ – defining sales territories by geography is not your only option. It’s also likely not your best option.

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October 28, 2020

Sending cold emails? Then take the time to do it right.

cold emailI received a cold email this morning from a company pitching its products. It happens all the time. But this one was especially bad.

First of all, it was like so many of the other cold emails I’ve received over the years – selling products or services I simply don’t need. This happens so much that I started writing about this phenomenon as early as 2016 (read the first post here). This salesperson was just lazy. They likely found my name on an industry list somewhere and assumed I needed what they’re selling. Uh-h-h… no!

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October 20, 2020

Should You ‘Pivot’ During the Pandemic?

pivotIf your firm is like 99% of all other firms, your business in 2020 is not what you thought it would be when you were planning for it a year ago.

Clients are placing a ‘hold’ on projects or canceling them altogether. Some of your clients might have gone through layoffs and are not spending a dime. Perhaps you work in a certain industry vertical that has taken a real hit this year (travel, restaurants, etc.).

And when that happens, as business leaders and managers, we are obliged to take a step back and ask, “Should we pivot and be looking outside of our core business for other opportunities?”

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October 13, 2020

Stop the Typical Capabilities Presentation… You’re Wasting the Buyers’ Time

We’ve been in business for 8½ years… and in all that time, I have never given a single capabilities presentation. Why not? Because every prospect already knows what we do. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have been invited in to present. How do they know? Simple… they’ve been to our website, downloaded our materials and checked us out on LinkedIn. They already know who we work with… it’s on our website. They know the areas where we’re subject matter experts. You guessed it… also on our website. So, if they already know all of that, why would we waste their time (and ours) re-presenting it to them?

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September 30, 2020

Stop Selling… Start Helping!

I generally empty my spam folder every day, but for some reason, I had skipped a few days… and had a mountain of emails to be deleted.

As I was looking through them and getting ready to hit the ‘delete’ button, I noticed a consistent theme across all of them. Other than a couple of “I’m a barrister in Dubai I need your help to claim $20 million,” every single one of them was a hard sales pitch: SEO services, website design, app creation and so on and so on. And most from companies I had never heard of.

Even though this was my spam folder, I think there’s still a lesson here… if you want someone to take notice of you – in an email, over the phone or in person – stop selling and start helping. Or as one of my clients likes to say, “bring value to the relationship.”

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