Sep 01 2011

Generalist? Priceless. Specialist? Worthless.

Marketing, advertising,

 

PR and sales

                                  

industry-specific 

 

experience?

                  

Worthless.

 

An Opinion 

SALES

Give me a guy who can sell ketchup, propane, decorative plants, dental insurance, or rubberbands any day over a techie geek to sell your iPads, TVs, Wii programs, or Kindles. Geeks sell geeks. Sales pros sell people. Why think small when your opportunities are big? The geek market is small. Find people who are experts at serving customers, and teach them product/service knowledge.

Looking for an exceptional salesperson for your new snack products? Stop looking in the snack product industry. Find someone who sells railroad cars full of dorm furniture to universities. Surgical supplies? Get your search engine out of the med school dropout arena and find a classy cosmetics presenter with a sparkling, eager-to-learn  personality.

Oh, and remember that great salespeople don’t make great sales managers. Only great managers make great sales managers.

                                                 

PR

Find a freelance writer who has some psychology background and who can write some slam-bang persuasive headlines and sentences for all kinds of products and services– someone who is tenacious in follow-up efforts. Forget about established, specialist PR firms and groups who tend to be more interested in their names than yours. 

The public relations field is a breeding ground for con artists. I’ve seen top PR firms charge $25,000 a month and produce zero. If they can’t make what you have to sell be exciting, you lose. If they can’t follow up fanatically to get writers, reporters, editors, producers, and publishers pouncing on your story, you lose. You can teach someone with diverse quality PR experience about your industry media. 

                                            

ADVERTISING

Skip right over any provider who claims expertise in your field, unless you’re willing to spend lots of money to make no impact. Hospital advertising is a great example. It’s pathetic. Does “Excellent People” and “We Care” float your boat? Hospitals and banks are the perfect examples of advertising waste.

Get a person or small team on board who want to help you make a difference, who know how to ignite and cultivate creative thinking applications that get results. Just because something looks nice and is clever or informative doesn’t mean that it works. It may only mean that the agency is seeking to win a design award.

Don’t settle. Do your homework and due diligence. Then teach her/him/them about your business and industry.

                                    

MARKETING

Not “marketing” like healthcare people think: physician office visits with armsful of popcorn, candy, 6-foot subs, sports and concert tickets. That’s called payola, as in bring ’em gifts and they’ll prescribe or recommend or buy your products. It’s also called bribery, and it borders on STARK Law and other ethical violation issues. 

And not marketing like Fortune 500 companies hellbent on analysis paralysis before even considering a potential packaging design, pricing structure, promotional flyer, merchandising gimmick or ad headline. Part of why big companies have too much at stake to be entrepreneurial has to do with the astronomically wasted expenses involved in frivolous product and service development and meaningless market research.

You don’t need an army of “experienced (Fill in any specialty here) marketing pros.” You need a person or small team who have a proven track-record for producing results in a variety of fields. Diversity, flexibility, and common sense abilities to work with an Objective/Strategy/Tactics framework in all types of media are what count more than “industry-specific.”

P.S. Beware “Social Media Marketing Experts” who don’t understand marketing. There are plenty of them. 

                                    

THE KEY

It’s easy to teach experienced marketing/advertising/sales/PR people what they need to know about your product or service to most effectively represent it. But it’s nearly impossible to teach industry and professional practice-specific experienced people how to market, advertise, publicize and sell.

                                        

Specialization Closes Minds 

                                        

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  Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

  Open Minds Open Doors 

   Thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Aug 21 2011

LEADERSHIP=RESPONSIVENESS

No good examples from

                    

the White House, but

                 

  small business excels.

 

 

 My last post here, A Sense of Urgency,” raised hackles among some visitors I heard from who all seemed to express the notion that “Standing Still” and former idealist President Woodrow Wilson’s failed “Watchful Waiting” policy toward Mexico should be dictating business and politics today. 

Don’t take it personally, but that’s sick thinking.

                                                                        

Doing nothing, as the White House appears to relish, has never been –nor ever will be– a policy or guideline for small business success. Standing still and watchful waiting may deck the halls of Congress and the Oval Office, but they represent the anthisis of what needs to happen to grow business and military strength.

Small business and military strength must be grown to preserve and protect the freedoms we enjoy in America, and to revive and revitalize our still sinking economy.

                                  

The government and big business continue to prove every passing day that not only do they have no answers to this incipient 2nd Great Depression (“The Obama Depression”), but –rubbing salt into the wound– they give nothing but lip service token talk to proclamations of supporting small business. Truth? They HATE small business! 

Small business hangs on in spite of the formidable clout corporations and the government have in tow — PRECISELY because small business owners, operators, and managers are responsive to market needs. There’s no time wasted studing market share and shifts, or testing stuff to death. A sense of urgency is ever-present.

As small business owners, we must –first let Mr. Romney know that it’s not just “Corporations” that “are people.” Small businesses are (to a FAR greater degree) “people” too! (And, BTW, DNC Chairperson Debbie Schultz in protesting even the “Corporations=People” equation simply demonstrates that her ideology is dumber than dirt.

Of course “businesses are people.”

ALL businesses.

Next, we need to teach responsiveness by

example within our business enterprises.

                                                                       

Acting responsively and responsibly with every interaction –customers, other employees, suppliers, even what may appear to be disintersested inquiries– means instilling and reinforcing awareness that EVERY person’s needs and wants are the most important in the world, with never an exception. 

Translation:

Cultivate respect and an action attitude.

                                                            

Sales professionals know this instinctively and typically make a practice of attacking problems before they become disasters. Stop looking to Washington for guidance. Take a page from sales pros.

The US Government 

is presently leaderless.

                                      

Consider the total lack of urgency and response to The Gulf Oil Leak; Mid-West Floods; Moammar Gadhafi; Japan’s Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster; Illegal Immigrants Pouring Across US Borders EVERY night; The Debt Crisis; and 20 more calamities. 

Your business would fold if you practiced such laxadasical “take another vacation” attitudes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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  Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

  Open Minds Open Doors 

   Thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Jan 04 2011

YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS! Nine. Eight. S

TEN  SECONDS !

                                               

Front burner food for thought

                                  

for every sales and

                               

leadership encounter!

First, recognize that every form of leadership gets its salt and pepper from the world of professional sales, and particularly for spicing up the first ten seconds of every encounter, which is the amount of time used to “size up” a leader or a sales pro.

Second, since everybody seems to love acronyms (especially all those tax-dollar-paycheck-justification head-cases in government and big corporations), here’s another acronym to write on the palm of your hand . . . or on your knee, perhaps, if you wear skirts:

TEN SECONDS

(I hear your brain ticking away as we speak.)

T

TONE— Set the TONE by being on time with your neat, clean appearance (from clean shoes and clothes, to deodorized skin, clean nails and teeth, and neat hair — briefcases and pocketbooks count too!). YOUR VISUAL APPEARANCE consumes second #1 of being “sized up.” The same dynamics apply to email and text messages that appear crisp and friendly, that don’t assume too much with abbreviations and attitude.

E

EVERY — EVERY smile :<) is a free gift you can give to others. Make it genuine (people can tell, even by phone, when it’s not). It consumes second #2. And E is also for EYE CONTACT (neither probing or riveting stares, nor sideways glances). Keep in mind that people can also tell when a phone call connection is distracted. Ask if you’re interrupting. Offer to call back.

N

NUANCE — Your handshake (neither bone-crusher nor fish fillet) takes up second #3 and either confirms and reinforces the first two seconds, OR raises a mental-red-flag cause for doubt about you and the products/services/ideas you represent.

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, Tick-T. . .

S

START — START with a friendly clear greeting and question.

E

EACH — Remember that EACH of the first ten seconds that passes will make or break your sale or degree of leadership acceptance.

C

CONVERSATION— Begin with a brief (“elevator speech”) summary that “BILLBOARDS” what you have to sell: Use emotional triggers. Tell a story with a beginning, middle, and an end, and that’s persuasive . . . all in seven words or less, then ask for the sale (since it takes 5-6 attempts to close a sale, you can’t start asking too soon).

O

OPEN — OPEN your ears and listen with care. Ideally, you’ll listen 80% of the time after these first ten seconds, and speak 20%.

N

NOTE — NOTE what’s said (and what’s not said) right from the git-go. Actually write it down. Ask the speaker to slow down so you can jot a couple of reminder notes of what she/he says. Ask for examples. Nothing flatters like an attentive listener and note taker.

D

DECIDE — DECIDE if the prospect is worth your time and energy (especially on a trade or professional show or showroom floor) and politely dismiss yourself from window-shoppers and tire-kickers when you’re busy. When you’re not, get engaged and practice!

S

SELL — Too many salespeople (!) and leaders forget to sell!

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931.854.0474 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Jun 08 2009

SALESPEOPLE YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS

“Ja’hear how to catch a rabbit?”

                                                                

     If you want to be a great writer, you need to be a great reader.If you want to be a great actor, you need to be a great theatre-goer. If you want to be a great doctor, you . . . well, no, I don’t want to be urging you to be a patient (but I’m told by many doctors–especially those specializing in proctology and colo-rectal surgery(!)– that it certainly makes a difference to have been on the receiving end!).

Great salespeople are great customers.

     What makes a great customer?

  • You make firm purchase decisions and rarely return what you buy [Unless, of course, it’s __Defective; __Inoperable; __Clashing color; __Missing parts; __Wrong size; __Bad hair day; __Decided my father can’t afford it, or any of those other wonderful escape reasons you’re offered on the “Reason For Return” checklist that comes with most catalog or online sale shipments].   
  • You exhibit enormous patience with and are empathetic and understanding toward an over-burdened clerk or salesperson[Even though it may be your bad fortune to have bungled into the dimmest human being to ever comb his hair with a fork… inevitably someone in possession of an IQ that’s just a few notches higher than a piece of scrapple, who is totally preoccupied with removing bubblegum from his shoe with your credit card].
  • You use your great sense of humor to occupy waiting time and even cheer up other customers in line.[“Hey, Ja’hear how to catch a rabbit?” (Empty looks) “HA! Ya hide behind a tree and make a noise like a rabbit! hahahaha.”]
  • You don’t whine, moan, bitch or complain about a company’s false, misleading or deceptive advertising [because you know they need to survive in a tough economic marketplace and it’s understandable that they might need to exaggerate the quality or price issues. You’ll write them a wussy letter asking them to let you return the merchandise or get a re-do of the faulty services. They laugh.] Seriously, you hopefully confront the boss, then file reports if the response isn’t appropriate. 

     Truth is sales professionals ARE often the best customers. They ask relevant questions. They have more engaging personalities than most non-sales-oriented customers. They do their homework ahead of time on major purchases—they know what they should pay and how to pay for it; they know what the warranties cover and what kind of performance is to be expected; they buy on impulse only when it’s affordable, and/or when they like the business or the store or the sales rep.

     In fact, many professional salespeople PREFER to sell to other salespeople. If you don’t, and you’re in sales (and you are “in sales” if you own or manage a business of any kind), you may want to re-examine the image you have of sales, the approach you use, and the attitude you project to others… especially to other salespeople, who can often be your best customers!  

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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