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The Competitive Advantage

tag: sales

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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October 16, 2018

Case Studies: Your ‘Proof Source’ for Closing Deals.

This past week, I sat in on a webinar entitled, “How to Engage and Sell Today’s Corporate Research Buyer,” hosted by GreenBook. It was the presentation of data collected by GreenBook, Collaborata and David Harris. In it, a lot of really good information was presented, but one of the recurring themes – directly stated by the buyers themselves – was the value of ‘case studies’ and their role in the buying decision.

Some content – eBooks and checklists, for example – are used to generate interest and awareness… to get prospects into the “top of the funnel.”

Other content – for the middle of the funnel – is used to educate and inform (and showcase your Subject Matter Expertise). Think webinars, blog posts and infographics.

But at the bottom of the funnel – at decision time – your prospective buyer wants proof. Proof that you can do what you say you can do… and that’s where case studies come in to play.

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August 21, 2018

Marketing is Not a Substitute for Sales

For years, I’ve said that ours is an industry that does not embrace sales & marketing. And even for those firms that employ marketing, rarely do they have anyone dedicated to selling.

Forgetting for a minute the incorrect assumption that, “Selling doesn’t work for a firm like ours,” when asked about it, the response is often, “We don’t need sales… we do marketing.”

Seriously?! Let’s think about that for a minute…

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July 24, 2018

5 Ways to Say “No thanks” to a Proposal

Twice in the past few years, I’ve written a blog post about the frustration that I (and all people involved in business development) feel when not hearing back from a potential client after submitting a proposal… a proposal that they requested. I wrote about how any answer – even a ‘no’ – is better than being ignored. With a clear answer… at least I’ll know how to move forward.

Sadly, the practice of ‘responding with silence’ from potential clients continues to this day.

So, on behalf of all small business owners who do the selling, seller-doers and professional salespeople everywhere, I’ve taken the liberty of writing out actual email scripts – based on several different scenarios – that you can use when responding to proposals you don’t want to accept. I hope these help:

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July 3, 2018

The Perfect Sales Commission Plan! Sorry, it doesn’t exist.

But these 10 guidelines can help you get close.

A few weeks ago, I met with the President and Senior Sales Executive for a firm in Dallas. They were looking for an objective assessment of their sales commission plan. Here’s what I told them…

After 30+ years in sales & marketing – and after seeing literally hundreds of different plans in a variety of industries – I can say, with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, that there is no one perfect sales commission structure.

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June 19, 2018

How Many Times Should a Sales Rep Follow-up? Here’s the REAL Answer…

With over 30 years of sales and marketing experience, I have seen countless articles and graphics detailing what the author thought was the ’right’ number of sales follow-up touches. They write as though success is inevitable – if (and when) you get to that “magic number” of follow-ups.

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June 5, 2018

Avoid these 8 Rookie Mistakes with your Next Capabilities Presentation

Whether you’re an introvert who hates public speaking – or an experienced presenter who thrives in front of an audience – there are a number of common mistakes you must avoid to give yourself the best chance of success with your next capabilities presentation.

#1. Lousy PowerPoint slides. Come on… you know you’re guilty of this. These are the slides with 6-8-10 (or more) bullet points, each one in the form of a compete sentence. As an attendee, they’re just miserable to have to sit through. And as the presenter, they’re impossible to remember… so what do you do? Turn your back on the audience and read them verbatim! UGH!

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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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