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The Competitive Advantage

tag: Relationships

November 13, 2018

Ignore the title on your business card… you’re in sales!

What is selling? Simply defined, selling is the process of influencing a buying decision. That’s it.

And guess what? Your sales people aren’t the only ones who do that. Everyone at your firm has the opportunity and responsibility to do that – particularly in regards to ensuring repeat clients.

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July 17, 2018

5 Times When You Should Turn Down a Project.

While we all have some level of responsibility to help grow our businesses – and for business leaders, there’s the added responsibility of keeping our employees employed – sometimes, as painful as it might be, there are projects that you just need to walk away from. Why? Because taking on those projects can do more harm than good.

Based on conversations with clients and my own experience, there are 5 times when you should turn down a project:

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May 16, 2018

Your feedback please: Are ‘thank you notes’ a good idea or a bad idea?

I got into a “passionate” discussion last week with a client about sending handwritten thank you notes, especially at the close of large projects.

I argued for them. I like the personal touch… and think that a handwritten note of sincere gratitude, thanking a client for their business is a good and appropriate thing to do. To my way of thinking, if a client spends $50,000 with you – or even $5,000 – I don’t think it’s asking too much to take five minutes out of your day to write and send a note.

For all the tools, techniques and technologies we employ, I believe we are still in the “people business.” And that well-written thank you notes (something, by the way, that your competitors are unlikely to do) are a real H2H (human-to-human) touch point.

One of my client contacts took the other side of the ‘discussion’… with equal fervor.

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April 29, 2018

Want to improve your sales results? Sell like a doctor.

For years, while working with providers of market research consulting and technology services, one of my pleas has been (and still is)… “Seek first to help… then to sell.” I believe it is THE most effective selling mindset for winning projects and – more importantly – long-term relationships with clients.

But recently, I heard that same sentiment stated another way… one that, I think, will resonate with most of us: “Sell like a doctor.”

I went through rotator cuff surgery last year. And in thinking back about the interactions with my orthopedic surgeon throughout the process, I thought about his “selling skills” and how they might translate in our industry.

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April 18, 2017

Former Clients + Coffee = New Business Opportunities

coffee5This morning, I met a former client over a cup of coffee. Though we haven’t done business together in a couple of years, we have stayed in touch… first, because he’s a recipient of our firm’s on-going marketing efforts (emails, social media posts, etc.), and second, because we take the time for an occasional meeting over a cup of coffee (once or twice each year).

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March 21, 2017

Why is ‘thank you’ so often ignored?

Wade 2I was in Memphis this past weekend. My son-in-law, Wade (that’s him with the cheeky sign), is wrapping up medical school… and it was “Match Day.” During Match Day, graduating med students from all across the country “open their envelope” at exactly the same time to find out where they will be doing their residency.

Wade ‘matched’ in orthopedics at the Medical College of Georgia… he and my daughter are very excited. And it’s at this point that the story gets interesting.

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January 25, 2017

Question: What percentage of your clients don’t return?

love1Answer: It’s a lot higher than you think!

Creating a “client for life.”

True story. I’ve been working with a large firm in our industry for the past several weeks… and one of the data-gathering projects we did early on was to look at Revenue by Client, for each of the past several years.

Of all of the insights that this exercise can provide, the most interesting – in this case – was that 40% of their clients only did one project with them… and then never returned!

We’ve done this “one-timer” analysis for many firms and the resulting information is ALWAYS a surprise… because the percentage of one-and-dones is ALWAYS higher than the client expected!

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September 21, 2016

Don’t ignore your ex-clients!

This week, I’m heading to Cincinnati to work with a new client for a couple of days. It’s a really nice shop and I’m excited by the opportunity. But they are not the only firm I’m visiting there. I’m making a sales call on a new prospect and reconnecting with an ex-client.

The good news about ex-clients is that they know you (and you know them) and there is an existing level of trust and credibility… something you don’t have with new sales prospects and an awfully good starting point for re-connecting (assuming the relationship didn’t end badly).

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