The Competitive Advantage

June 23, 2021

Stop These 3 Bad Social Selling Habits Today!

Social selling using LinkedIn has been part of the sales landscape for several years, but it has exploded over the past year because of the pandemic. For many businesses, the cancellation of conferences and trade shows has meant the loss of one of their primary lead generation opportunities. So, they turned to social selling on LinkedIn. The problem is that it’s being done badly… too many people in sales have taken their old, bad sales habits and just moved them over to this new channel.

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June 15, 2021

If You’re in Sales, Your Job Is Not to Sell!

Yeah, I know… sounds kind of wrong, doesn’t it? But let me finish that statement. Your job is not to sell… it’s to help buyers buy.

This philosophy is based on the premise that ‘people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.’ Think about your last car buying experience. There’s nothing that feels quite as good as driving off the dealer’s lot in a beautiful, brand new car. But leading up to it, you dreaded going to the dealership because of the pushy salespeople. You didn’t want to experience that sort of pressure or be forced into buying something that wasn’t quite right.

Now think about your role as a sales rep or a seller-doer. If you make a sale, that’s good for you… you win. But maybe it’s not what’s best for the client. However, if you help the client make a good buying decision, that’s a win-win.

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June 1, 2021

Creating a Sales Culture is Critical to Success

Firms in the Market Research industry are, by nature, operationally-focused. You manage your businesses around delivering services to clients, almost always one project at a time. Virtually everyone on staff is there to contribute to the projects. It’s what you do and who you are. New clients come to you as a result of the good work you do and word of mouth.

Then you make the decision to become more ‘proactive’ with your sales effort. Maybe you bring in a full-time sales rep… or designate a couple of your senior staff as “seller-doers.” Either way, the chances of success with your new sales efforts are dramatically enhanced if you can help to create a ‘sales culture’ within your organization. Without it, you’re likely to stir up rumor, speculation and a lot of resentment.

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May 18, 2021

Thinking About Putting on a Webinar? Do it!

For years, webinars have been a very popular channel for communicating and connecting with the marketplace. And as webinar software platforms have become easier to use, filled with amazing new features and stay very affordable, there’s never been a better time to include webinars in your marketing program.

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May 11, 2021

A Sales Pipeline is NOT Just About RFPs

Nearly every firm we speak with says they’re using a sales pipeline as part of their business development process. But they’re really not.

Too many firms think that a sales pipeline is only about what’s at the end of the pipeline (or ‘bottom of the funnel,’ depending on your hardware preference). These firms are concerned only with ‘proposals out in the marketplace’ and the status of those opportunities. And while RFPs are certainly important, focusing on them is a little nearsighted. RFPs are more about the now. What about the future?

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May 4, 2021

Get Your Sales Meeting Right… Or Lose the Battle in the Marketplace

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been asked to sit in one several of our clients’ weekly [online] sales meetings. It’s been really eye-opening.

Like the vast majority of seller-doers in our industry who have no real sales background, the sales managers in Market Research (with actual titles like President, Owner or Practice Lead) also have no real background as sales managers.

Which, unfortunately, leads to bad sales leadership and guidance and can have a dramatically negative impact on your sales efforts.

To help, here’s a menu of ideas/topics to help you prepare for your future sales meetings…

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April 20, 2021

Why Former Clients Are So Important

One of the on-boarding activities that we do with all new clients is to take a look back at their business for the past five years. And one of the things we inevitably see – and our clients seem to have forgotten – is the large number of former or lapsed clients. [Or maybe they remember, but just don’t like to be reminded of it.]

What’s really interesting about these former clients is that they stay former. That is, it’s extremely rare to see any of them come back into the ‘current client’ category.

I think this happens for three reasons…

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April 13, 2021

Stop Using Lousy Salespeople… They’re Killin’ You!

This morning, I participated in a Zoom chat with the senior team from one of our clients… there were five of them on the call. At one point, the CEO mentioned that he was receiving sales calls from this particular West Coast fieldwork firm. And before he could finish his comment, two of his colleagues jumped in with comments of their own.

One of them said, “They call me all the time.”

The other said, “They are ‘relentless!’” [And he didn’t mean that in a good way!]

Then the CEO chimed back in, “The kid calling me was obviously new at this… he was so bad that I almost felt sorry for him.”

Nothing was said about their professionalism, helpfulness, that they shared good information, that they had something new to talk about, etc. Just that they were selling hard and pretty bad at it.

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