The Competitive Advantage

September 21, 2021

Your Customers’ Experience (CX) with Your Firm Can Make or Break You!

I’m a bourbon drinker. But sadly, this blog post isn’t about bourbon… it’s about CX – the customer experience.

As a bourbon drinker, I have gotten into the habit of sending bottles of bourbon as gifts to clients. And I’ve been using a website called to do it.

It’s a really easy site to use… to find the particular product I’m looking for and to have it sent. But recently, I had a problem with a purchase there.

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September 14, 2021

Too busy for sales and marketing? Stop lying to yourself!

Most every firm I’ve spoken with of late is doing pretty well – business picked up in Q4 of last year and continues to be strong. And while some experienced a bit of the traditional summer slowdown this year, nearly all are expecting a very strong fourth quarter again. And that’s great! We should all enjoy and benefit from a strong business environment.

But there will be a downturn in business at some point… no one is sure when… but it’s coming. It always does. Are you preparing for it now?

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August 31, 2021

How Differentiation Can Help You Win the Competitive Battle

Do a quick favor for me and read through the following statements (taken from actual websites in our industry)…

  • “Every project that comes through our doors gets senior-level attention every step of the way.”
  • “[We are] committed to working with clients to identify the right solutions to their specific challenges.”
  • “[We are] a full-service custom research firm that develops long-term partnerships with its clients.”
  • “We know how to truly listen and collaborate – so you gain a partner, not just a vendor.”
  • “We consult with Clients to translate what consumers say and do into insights and actionable recommendations.”

I’ll bet I’m not going too far out on a limb to say that your firm’s website likely contains several of the same sentiments, maybe using almost exactly the same words.

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August 17, 2021

Knowing Your Competitors Can Help You Grow Your Business

There are three primary categories of information that impact your marketing & sales strategy… your Company, your Clients and your Competitors. The ‘3 Cs!’

If I were to ask you what’s going on with your Company… you’d probably tell me about your experienced team, your products and services, revenue numbers, industry trends, and so on. If I asked about your Clients, you’d probably tell me about the markets or industries you serve, how they’re using your services, who your Top 10 clients are and the buyer persona you target.

But when I ask about your Competitors… I’m likely to get a shoulder shrug. Or a comment like, “all firms in the industry are my competition,” which somehow – in your mind – absolves you of having the need for any real knowledge of what and who you’re competing against. That needs to stop.

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August 3, 2021

Hiring Your First Sales Rep? Follow These Steps. [Part 3]

Welcome to the third and final installment in this series on hiring your first sales rep. In Part 1, we focused on getting ready internally for the hire, with an emphasis on culture, structure and compensation. Last week, in Part 2, we explored the actual hiring and training of that new rep. In today’s post, we talk about how to best support your first sales rep – the investments you’ll need to make on their behalf and how to best manage them for maximum results.

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July 27, 2021

Hiring Your First Sales Rep? Follow These Steps. [Part 2]

Last week, in Part 1 of this series on hiring your first sales rep, we focused on getting ready internally for the hire, with an emphasis on culture, structure and compensation. In this post, we’ll explore the actual hiring and training of that new rep.

Hiring your first sales rep

Most importantly – and everything else pales in comparison – hire for selling skills and sales experience (communication skills, phone selling, presentations, proven sales success, etc.). You can train them on market research once they’re on board. Yeah, I know… that recommendation is going to rub a lot of folks the wrong way, but remember why you’re hiring them… to sell, not to do research. That’s the job of your ops team. If they have some market research background, great! But selling skills and experience are your first priority.

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July 20, 2021

Hiring Your First Sales Rep? Follow These Steps.

If you’re like 90%+ of the firms in our industry, your business development efforts are led by seller-doers… business owners, leaders and managers who, in addition to their primary job, have the added responsibility of growing revenue for their firm.

But if that’s not working out for you and you want (or need) to more proactively grow revenue, you might be considering bringing on a full-time sales rep… someone who’s only job is to grow revenue. If that describes you, this series of articles on how to best do that can help.

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July 6, 2021

Improve Your Sales Presentation… Get Rid of ‘About Us’

Take a look at your current sales presentation deck. If you’re like the [vast] majority of firms, it starts with slides labeled ‘About Us’ or something similar. And generally, not just one or two slides, but a bunch of them.

Here’s my advice… delete them all!

When you stand in front of the room – or the zoom – to deliver a sales presentation, never start with ‘About Us.’ Why not? Because no one in the room cares! They already know what you do. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t have been invited to present.

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