Archive for February, 2017

Marketing is a Mosaic

dan-1

One Ad is not Marketing

Marketing is important. If you want people to know who you are and what you do you have to market your company. Think about it, if people don’t know your name, if they don’t know what you do, if they don’t know how to reach you, how are you going to get any business?

Would you open a store on a busy street and not put up a sign?

Would you start selling sweaters on line without a web site?

Would you open up a new medical practice without an announcement in the local paper?

Would you start making PCB boards and not tell anyone? Oh, wait a minute that is exactly what you are doing if you don’t market your company.

And yes, unfortunately one ad is not a marketing campaign, in fact it is not marketing at all.

Marketing is telling your story and then communicating it to your marketplace, people who can use your product.

A good friend of mine Keith Robbins uses a perfect example of the difference between sales and marketing. Selling is putting your line in the water and hoping you will catch a fish; marketing is getting the fish to jump into the boat.

Marketing is telling and communicating your story in such a compelling way that people are going to want to do business with you.

Marketing is defining your business, your company and your product in a manner that not only explains who you are and what you do, but also why people should want to buy from you.

And most of all marketing is a mosaic. A good and effective marketing plan is made up of many parts all of them synergistically connected.

The message conveyed by your advertising is connected to the message on your web site which is connected to the message relayed by your newsletter which is connected to the message conveyed by your press releases, articles, white papers, interviews, trade show booth graphics, brochures and literature, signage and yes even your business cards.

All these things are ingredients of your overall corporate marketing plan, and it all boils down to the impression you want to deliver to your marketplace

So, you see one ad does not make a marketing plan. Anyone who puts one ad in a magazine and then expects to get business is fooling himself.

Here are five steps you must take to develop a good and effective marketing plan:

  1. Tell that story. This is the basis of all your marketing. Who started the company? Why did they start the company? What need does the company fill? Who needs the company? What makes the company outstanding? Why should people buy from the company and what company characteristics make the company distinctive? Use all of this information to draw up your company’s unique story. Make sure the story is compelling. Remember your goal is to get people to want to buy from you. As examples think of Tiffany’s, Nordstrom’s, L.L. Bean, Disney, and the best of them all Apple.
  2. Develop the ideal customers. This means you need to know who will benefit from your products and services? What kind of people and companies will like what you are selling? In short who will see value in what you are selling.
  3. Find out where these people go for thier information. What magazines do they read? What web sites do they visit? What trade shows do they attend? What other forms of media do they habituate to learn about products like yours. Once you establish this then use these venues for communicating your story.
  4. Develop a communication plan that will send your story out to all the right people using the information you learned in step 3. Make up a budget that will effectively and economical get your story out to the right people at the right time.
  5. Consistency is the key. Your message should be consistent and you should deliver it consistently. Marketing is a long-term ordeal. It is not something you do for a couple of months and then walk away. You should be constantly spreading the word about your company and your products and services. You should also study the results. Decide what media best suits you. What facet of your story gets the best results? Always be analyzing what works and what does not work and spend your time and money on what works.

And one more, in the spirit of under promise and over deliver. Establish a following, a tribe as Seth Godin calls it. Publish a value-added newsletter to your customers and your potential customers. Ask everyone you meet if they would be interested in receiving your newsletter and then make the newsletters compelling enough that these people, your tribe, will read every one of them. And, once you have their attention, one you get your readership up, you can start educating your readers first-hand on what you do and how it will benefit them. This is called “permission marketing” where your customers and potential customers are actually giving you permission to send them information about your company on a regular basis. Now that is marketing.

There is one simple rule of marketing and that is: people need to to know who you are if they are going to buy from you. It’s only common sense.

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Book Recommendation -Win the Customer: 70 Simple Rules for Sensational Customer Service

dan-5A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu:

Win the Customer: 70 Simple Rules for Sensational Customer Service

By Flavio Martins

Copyright 2016 Amacom press

Price $21.95

228 pages with index

What a great handbook for customer service!

This one is a keeper, not only is it chock full of tips, yes 70 of them at list it is also a great primer of what customer service really is and what it means to your business.

Martins talks about how customer service is free and he is absolutely right. Customers will keep coming back to you based on your customer service; based on the way you treat them both in good times and particularly in challenging times.

He has one section for example about loving your angry customers. Think about that for a minute…it might not be fun at the time but relationships with customers are made, or broken during tough times. Customers like things to go smoothly, they do not like problems and they do not like complaining about problems, frankly they consider it a hassle to call up and complain. They also dread it because it could get unpleasant. But if when they call with a problem the person on the other end of the line is helpful, attentive and most of all pleasant and yes of course solves their problem they go from being angry to being delighted and this ladies and gents is what customer service is all about.

I think the world would be a better place if everyone read this book and adhered to the principles that are laid out here.

Some gems from this book:

“The best customer comes from people, not systems.”

“Service is not want you want for the customer it is what the customer wants from you.”

“Customers value good service more than fast service.”

“Customers love personalization and will often pay more for it.”

Yes I could not agree more especially with that last statement. If you deliver a great customer experience customers will not only pay more for your products and services they will not only be extremely loyal to your company but they will also become very loud customer advocates for your company. Don’t believe me? Need examples? How about Apple, Nordstrom’s or L.L. Beans. All three of these leading customer service companies do not always have the best products or the best prices or are always problem free but the way they treat their customers, their overall customer experience the offer creates loyal customers for life.

This book is easy to read, easy to understand and is to appreciate. You will learn from this book and if you keep it around and refer to it periodically it will become your own personal customer service trainer…and it will inspire to provide great customer service to your customers.

Please buy this book and read it and pass it around. The world will be a better place for it.

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How To Interview Potential Sales Reps

dan-6The problem with finding and hiring the right sales person is that, well they are sales people, they know how to sell, they know how to talk a good game, in fact so good a game that it’s hard to figure out if they are in fact really good or just great talkers!

So you have to dig a little deeper when hiring sales than say, if you were hiring people for operations or engineering. Generally those folks know their stuff or they don’t and that doesn’t take long to figure out.

Sales people on the other hand, well…

So here are some interview questions that I like to ask when I am interviewing a sales person for one of my clients.

  1. How well do you know your customers? Give me a specific example.
  2. What would your customers say about you? Name a least three customers and tell me what you think they would say about you if I were to call them.
  3. Tell me about a time when you’re company really messed up and you had to go in and save the account. What did you do?
  4. It’s the third week of the month. A lot of product is due at the end of the month and your company’s plating line goes down and just about all of your boards are going to be delayed for at least five days. What’s your plan? What are you going to do?
  5. What process do you use to find a new customer? Take me through your entire process from lead generation to that first order.
  6. They say that you have sell a new customer twice. First you have to convince the customer and then you have to convince your own company. How do you do that?
  7. What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced as a sales person?
  8. What is the biggest success you have ever had as a sales person?
  9. We do not sell on price. How will you sell around the price issue? Please give me an example.
  10. How do you plan your day, your week, your month your year?
  11. How do you forecast? You do forecast right?
  12. We like our sales people to “own” their territories. What does that mean to you? How do you own your territory?

These are all very legitimate question designed to give you real insight into what kind of sales person you are hiring by the way she answers these questions.

For example if the candidate sales that she does not believe in forecasting and then gives you five reasons why forecasting does not work you’ve got a real problem and it’s a huge indicator that this person will not work out for you.

Here are some other possible answers that wills signal a red light to their hiring:

  • Listen carefully to the person’s answer to the question about selling on price. This is the ringer in all of these questions. A great sales person will answer this directly and clearly using all of your company’s assets to demonstrate how to make the sales (which means that he has completely checked out your company).
  • The answer to the question about lead generation and prospecting. There are a great many sales people today especially with the more “experienced” sales people who will claim that lead generation and prospecting is dead. This means that they hate cold calling always have and are not going to start doing it for your company. Sales is all about contacting someone you don’t know and convincing them to buy something from you. If your candidate is not willing to do that he is not a good candidate move on.
  • When you ask them about how they plan their day, week, month and year they’d better have a great answer. Sales is all about planning. It is all about the homework and this questions is designed to indicate whether or not the candidate is a professional.

Now here a few more bonus questions. This group is designed to really give you some insight into the true passion of the candidate for her profession:

  1. How to you keep up with your profession? What courses do you take? What seminars do you take part in?
  2. What is the last book you read about business? Tell what you thought of that book?
  3. Who is your favorite business writer?
  4. Do you watch any business shows on Television?

And finally the last group of questions; these are designed to discover how up to date and forward thinking your candidate is:

  1. Are you on LinkedIn? How many connections do you have?
  2. What are your thoughts on social media in general?

And that’s about it. Obviously these are recommended questions and certainly you can come up with some of your own that will be at least equally as good. But I would urge you to take these questions very seriously and then take the entire interview process even more seriously. Hiring a sales person is one of the most if not the most important decision you have to make as a sales manager so make sure you take all of the time it takes to find out everything you can about your candidate. An extra hour in the interview process could save you weeks if not months or even years later on…not to mention thousands if not hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in lost sales in the future. It’s only common sense.

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Getting The Most From IPC Apex 2017 Part 2: Five Ideas For Keeping The Conversation Going

dan-6You went to IPC Apex last week. You visited with a lot of old friends and caught up with what they were doing. You visited with your current customers and made sure they were happy with your products and services. You scouted out potential customers and told them about your products and services, hoping that you would be able to sell them right there and then on the show floor. If you couldn’t do that you did the next best thing and convinced them to let you get in touch with them at a later date so that you could continue the conversation on your way to convincing them to buy your products.

So now the show is over. Everyone is back home and all you are left with are a stack of leads to follow up. What’s the next step? How can you turn these leads into gold?

Here are five steps to make sure that you do just that:

  1. Time is of the essence: Make sure that you do not let even a day go by without following up with everyone you met at the show. That’s right everyone, even your old friends and your current customers. Send them all a follow up email. But for the potential customers you need to do much more.
  2. Send potential customers an email and follow that up with a thank you note that you send through snail mail. That’s right snail mail. Look, the world has changed. It is now so much of an email world that real letters sent in stamped envelopes are a rarity. So much of a rarity that people cannot resist opening them. Send those new potentials you met at the show at hand written envelope with a hand-written thank you card and they will remember you for years.
  3. In that hand-written note make sure that besides thanking them for their time, you also remind them of the points you made and the follow up actions they agreed to. This will go a long way towards making you clearly outstanding in their minds.
  4. Phone them: Once you are sure they have received your note, call them. If they do not answer leave them a message. If you have done everything correctly so far, they will call you back. Yes, you have made that much of an impression that they will call you back. During that phone call, review what you have discussed and get their acknowledgement that they agree with the points you are reviewing. Make sure that one of those points was that you would send them a complete package about your company including a special introductory offer, so that they can try out your product or services. Tell them that they will be receiving this package in a few days and that once they have had time to absorb it you will call them to discuss how you can proceed to work together. The important thing now is to set the date and the time when you will have that talk. Yes, make that date right now.
  5. Send the prospect a complete package about your company. Include a cover letter that once again (yes this will be the third time) reviews the points you discussed. In the cover letter also point some of the more important things they should look for in the package they are receiving. The package must include your company brochure, your capabilities sheets, your registrations, and qualifications and instructions on how to place an order. The package should also include a call to action. This is a special offer to get them to take that first step and try out your product.

And one more, there is always one more under promise and over deliver, right? Include a hand-written invitation asking them to buy your product. Yes, that’s right a hand-written invitation as in “what do you need, a hand-written invitation? This is sure to not only drive your point home to the buyer but also get a smile out of her as well.

And okay just one more, another one, and that is to send the package express mail. This way you will know exactly when the prospect will get your information. This will also enable you to set the date of the next phone call as mentioned in idea number three. And once again sending it express mail guarantees that the prospect will open it. We’ve already talked about how no one can resist a hand-addressed envelope more, that goes double for an express mail envelop, there is nobody on earth who can resist ripping into that baby.

If you follow these steps very carefully and even come up of some of your own, you will attain a much higher percentage of customers than you ever have before from any trade show. It’s only common sense

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Book Recommendation – The Scorecard Solution: Measure what matters and drive sustainable growth

dan-3A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu:

The Scorecard Solution: Measure what matters and drive sustainable growth

By Dan E King

Copyright December 2015 Amacom

Price $29.95

277 pages with index

It’s about time for a book on this subject

Many years ago I learned the adage that goes “it you can measure it you can improve it” and I have tried to live by that for many years. I have done my best to come up with charts and graphs and dash boards and daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reports to help me do that measuring. Some of them worked and well some of them didn’t but I kept on trying. I just wished I’d had Dan King’s fine book all those years ago.

This is the one book on the subject that really hits home. The “scorecards he has developed are right on the money. The playbook he shows the reader how to develop is the most effective demonstration of measuring and modeling that I have seen.

“The truth unveiled by the scorecard translates into great power for s leader. Simply knowing where the business resides on the organizational Prowess scale will give you confidence to act. You’ll also know what to act on and how to prioritize your actions.”

The scale King is referring to is the scale he developed that when measured properly reflects the four levels of organizational competence:

Agile: 80 to 100 points – Your Company has the enviable speed to market, a culture of innovation, and exceeds financial targets.

Resilient: 60 to 70 points – Your Company typically achieves the revenue target but overachievement is elusive. Existing capabilities make stretch goals impossible.

Vulnerable: 30 to 59 points – Your Company regularly misses financial targets, suffers talent erosion, and has minimal innovation.

Lagging: 10 to 29 points – Your Company has a passionless culture and doesn’t innovate. Without changing its survival is in doubt.

Then by evaluating the parameters, the company characteristics reflected by these scores you will have your improvement roadmap. You will know what areas to work on and what priority on which to work on them.

Mr. King then goes on to describe in clear and concise detail how to improve the company through measurement if it needs improving and how to sustain your performance if you are at the top of the scale.

He program is particularly effective when he describes how to develop the improvement implementation team, and how to motivate and lead that team to a successful future.

Speaking of the future this is a definitely a book of the future. The good news is that it is available right now.

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Nine Tips To Get The Most Out Of IPC Apex Expo This Week

dan-6So, you’re in San Diego attending the IPC Apex Expo. You spent money on a plane ticket, you’ve spent a fortune on a hotel room as well as the car and the meals and everything else it takes for you to spend a week in San Diego. You’re also taking a week away from the office if you’re in management or off the road if you’re in sales so now you are really under the gun to make this investment pay off for you. And that’s if you’re there alone. If you have brought other people for the company it gets worse and the pressure mounts for you to get some sort of ROI out of the show. So, this is what you have to do. You have to attend the show with purpose. You have to make every minute count. You have to make sure that you squeeze every ounce of value from that show.

So, this is what you do. Here are nine tips to make sure you yield the absolute highest value possible from IPC Apex Expo

  1. Set goals; know exactly what you want to get out of the show. Make a clear and concise list of what you want to accomplish. This way you will eliminate all distractions and purposely do what you set out to do.
  2. Know exactly who you want to see and why you want to see them. If you’re smart, you’ll set up appointments in advance so that by the time you get to the show you will know exactly who you are going to see and when you are going to see them and yes what you are going to talk about.
  3. Know where they are located. Think how much time you can lose walking up and down those long aisles in search of booths and people. Use the handy little directories that IPC hands out when they give you your badge. Or better yet put the show APP on your phone and then then use it. You will be surprised at how much time you’ll save. One of the things I like to do is look at the end, and get the booth numbers and locations for everyone I have to meet with. It’s easy and save a ton of time.
  4. Here is a good one. Scout of the convention center and find a good and quiet isolated spot to meet people. A place that is away from the maddening crowd, a place that provides privacy when you need to have a confidential discussion with someone.
  5. Wok from morning until night. This is the one time of the year that just about everyone you work with in the industry is in one location. Use breakfast, lunch, and dinner and after dinner for meetings. Take full advantage of every minute you are in such close-proximity of the people you do business with.
  6. If you are running a board shop or assembly company, you should be talking to your equipment vendors to not only see any new equipment they are highlighting this year. By the way a show is a great time to buy that piece of equipment you have been considering. The vendor has brought it to the show and he is going to have to ship back home anyway, she would much prefer to ship it to your facility that back this his. Great deals are made at trade shows and along those lines it looks good to have your name on a sign indicating that you have bought this particular piece of equipment. You get the bragging rights and everyone knows you are investing in your company.
  7. Review: always be reviewing. Are you seeing the people you want to see? Are you checking out the equipment you are considering buying? Are you taking time to check out new equipment as well?
  8. Leave time to meet new people? This is a great time for you to seek and find new opportunities.  Make sure you are on the outlook for those. If you are not getting at least three business opportunities from a show you are wasting your time.
  9. Follow up as soon as possible. Once you get back to that unbelievably expensive hotel room Review all your meetings and send -emails out to those you met; thanking them for their time, summarizing the meeting and setting up the next meeting. Make sure you do this every night before you go to bed. This is the most important thing you can do. This is the action that will assure you a great ROI in the end.

And one more always under promise and over deliver, right? Write up a review of the show. Complete a detailed evaluation of the show. What you got out of it and if it was worth it and if you are going to attend next year. This is also a good time to make a list of what you learned this year and what you will differently to improve that value of your attendance next year. It’s only common sense

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Book Recommendation – Unlimited Sales Success: 12 Simple Steps for Selling More Than You Ever Thought Possible

dan-3A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu:

Unlimited Sales Success: 12 Simple Steps for Selling More Than you ever thought possible

By Brian Tracy and Michael Tracy

Copyright 2016 Amacom

Price: $22.95

Pages: 259: With Index

This is another book by the great Brian Tracy (and his son Michael in this case) that everyone remotely involved with sales should read. Dealing with everything from how to select the right prospect to spend your valuable time with; to what to say when the customer wants to talk about your price; to closing techniques this book is a virtual sales primer.

I was especially interested in the chapter getting your first-time customers to that second and third order which is in my opinion one of the greatest challenges sales people face today.

One on chapter the Tracys talk about the “new model of selling” which is based first of all on creating trust which as they say is the glue that holds relationships together. Then on developing a completely understanding of what the person/company wants and needs this is critical. And finally the thirds part of the “new model of selling” which is properly presenting your products or services making sure to match them perfectly to your customers’ needs. As they say, “Like a hand in a glove, your solution should fit their expressed needs.

The one part of the book I found very intriguing let’s say was the description of following the Japanese technique of jujutsu which means the “gentle art” or “flexible technique” for handling objections:

  • Do not use objectionable terms

  • Anticipate and address objections: if they get used to you calling attention to points of contention they will let their guard down.

  • Use the structure of your presentation while interlacing answers to common objections as you go along. The idea being to skip objections altogether whenever possible and go directly to the close of the sale.

Very interesting indeed.

There are action exercises at the end of each chapter that do a very good job of not only summarizes the chapter but asking questions designed to make the reader stop and reflect upon what she has just read.

The section dealing with price objections is priceless. The authors provide a series of questions to ask the customer when he says that your price is too high.

  1. Why do you say that?

  2. Why do you feel that way?

  3. Is price your only concern

By using these questions and then practicing the art of listening you will be able to take the customer through a process that will allow you to demonstrate the true value of your product over you competitors. Try it, I did and it works.

Get this book it will serve you well.

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