The Ole Phone Still Works!

Here's an article from Chris Cardell, a great marketer from the UK with the right idea about using the telephone in your business...

Telemarketing has a bad reputation, and that puts many Entrepreneurs off to using it in their business.

This can mean you losing out on a fortune. Because, approached correctly - and that means intelligently and sensitively - it is possible to use the telephone for sophisticated telephone marketing, which nurtures and grows your relationships with your clients and customers.

There’s the key word: relationship. If only more business owners would understand how important relationships are in business, it would make their lives so much easier, especially in difficult economic times.

It’s not unusual for a business implementing successful telephone marketing to see profits double within one to three years. It’s that powerful.

But organizing Telemarketing is not always so simple – so here are some guiding principles you may want to follow:

1. Integrate Telemarketing as part of your total strategy. Too many business owners see telemarketing as a separate activity from their other marketing.

And this is a big mistake, because experience has shown me time and time again, the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts when all the different strands to a marketing strategy are pulling together.

Your marketing strategy - if you pay attention to the marketing tips I've shared with you - calls for an integrated approach involving several media. Your marketing strategy has one purpose and one purpose alone: to make you money. To do that most effectively, it all has to be going the same way.

2. Follow up your mailing with a phone call. One of the mainstays of effective marketing is Direct Mail. But what isn’t generally known is if you follow up a mailing with a telephone call, you can improve results by 50 – 1000% (yes, one thousand percent - that’s not a misprint).

If you then get the prospective customer on the phone – (and we’re not talking about the hard sell here) and remind them about the mailing you can often take the order right then and there. One way of looking at it is to say that your letter “softened them up” for the call.

3. If you’re unsure how your customers will react to being sold to on the phone – don’t sell to them. Selling on the phone can be tricky. You can never be quite sure what your prospect is doing when you call, so even the lightest touch with the softest intent can come at exactly the wrong moment.

That’s why it’s important to make your approach as unobtrusive as you can. And if you really are not sure how your prospects, customers and clients will react to being given a sales pitch on the phone, no matter how gentle, don’t do it.

Instead, use the telephone call to ask questions, gather information and ensure their needs are being met. Everyone likes to feel important, and everyone likes to feel someone cares. And make no mistake: even if you call someone to just make sure they are OK, then they’ll appreciate it.

In fact, a very powerful way of upselling your customers and clients, and for getting referrals is to call after you’ve made a sale, just to make sure things are satisfactory and the customer is happy.

4. Use scripts, but also be flexible. Telemarketing scripts are useful, especially at the beginning of a call, because they set the entire “frame” of the conversation.

But you must also allow some flexibility because your Telemarketers and the people they’re talking to are human beings, not machines, and no two calls are going to be identical.

5. Realize that Practice makes Perfect. It sounds obvious, but don’t let whoever is making your calls loose on your customers cold.

Make sure they’re not only properly trained, but are also familiar with your marketing strategy, your business, the offers, and any scripts they’re expected to be using.

Practice might take some investment in time and energy, but it always pays off, allowing your team to become more confident and you to spot and rectify mistakes before you let them loose in anger on your valued customers.

The telephone is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have available to you because it taps in to our in-built and very human need to communicate.

What's more, so very few businesses use it effectively (if at all), you're going to put yourself way out in front of your competitors.

One other thought…I’ve used phrases like ‘Telemarketers’ here but don’t let that put you off. Ultimately we’re talking about the power of a human being picking up the phone and communicating to your customers. That could be you, could be a colleague, could be a temp working in your business a few hours a week. But however you do it – please test Telephone Marketing. It can be immensely profitable for virtually any business.

Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 05:08PM by Registered CommenterRPitz | Comments2 Comments

Top 6 Leadership Traits For The New Economy

A few months ago during the NFL playoffs Bill Cowher did pregame segment on CBS about creating the ultimate quarterback by selecting the most desirable attributes from the best QB's in the league.  He played mad scientist and came up with a Frankenstein-like super QB with Brees' leadership ability, Favre's grit and determination, Payton Manning's brain, Rothlisberger's arm and on down the line until he had his ideal player.

So I'm going to put on my mad scientist lab coat and come up with the top 7 leadership attributes for business leaders in today’s emerging new economy.  Many of the traits and characteristics required to be successful in today's economy are the same traits needed for great leadership in any economic environment, but the priority of the traits I'm about to share have changed.

1. Pay Attention To Your Mindset

The world is changing, you need to be willing and open to change with it.  That means being open to learning new ways of doing business.  Keep tabs on your rational for making decisions - are your business choices to expand, sell and market your services being driven by a mindset of scarcity or prosperity?  A scarcity driven mindset is reactive, based on fear of loss, low risk tolerance, limits control and will limit your opportunity to grow.  A prosperity driven mindset is pro-active, based on opportunity of gain, requires higher risk tolerance, puts you in control and opens the door to growth.

A great quote I recently heard related to mindset goes like this, "if you think the way you've always thought you'll always get what you've always got."  Okay, so how do you change your mindset you might ask?  In many ways how you think and the basis for your thoughts and decisions is intrinsic to you and naturally ingrained.  Changing the way you think requires on-going, sometime uncomfortable repetition and practice.  Which is why people normally don't change.

This means reading more (turn drive time into learning time), associating with new people and applying strategies outside of your industry to your world.  A great line by famous speaker Guy Kawasaki related to this topic:

"Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant." In other words, (1) get out there, meet people, consume knowledge like crazy, attend seminars, etc. (birds eat a lot!). And (2) spread the knowledge, information, and contacts that you gained around, share of your time and talent (elephants are good at...well you know).

2. Lead From The Front

I'm not going to say too much about this because, it should be common knowledge but isn't always common practice.  Think about Emanuel Leutze's painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware river. Every time you find yourself at a tough decision or an obstacle, think of this image and ask yourself, "am I leading from the front on this."  You must be willing to show your team you're not asking them to do things you're not willing to do yourself.  That doesn't mean you have to do their job, but your actions on the frontlines will have more influence than delegating orders from the rear.

Which leads us to the next trait...

3. Immunity To Criticism

There's an old line, "People who lead from the front tend to get arrows in the chest and the rear."  Or another Southern saying, "The further up the pole you climb the more your ass hangs out."

It's an absolute unavoidable truth, if you're in a leadership role you will be criticized.  If you aren't being criticized by someone most likely you’re not leading as well as you should be.  This isn't to say your mission in life is to aggravate employees.  But, if you're trying new ways to grow the business (see trait 1.) and pushing people to be successful, particularly in a time when staff may feel there a lot of excuses for failure, you may not be loved and adored by all.

So other than drinking kerosene and eating nails for breakfast (kidding, this will only make you sick don't try it), how can you toughen' up?  Great leaders seem to have a natural ability to deflect criticism.  I think this comes from an emotional shield (consciously or subconsciously) developed from certainty and confidence.  The more certain you are about your direction, goals and potential outcomes the more confidence you will have.

But for many businesses the last few years have been and still are uncertain times, so how do you develop a sense of certainty?  It's actually a loop system that goes like this: Behavior (take action) > Outcome (positive or negative result) > Belief (confidence or lack of confidence) > Certainty > Influences Behavior

Be sure not to confuse confidence with arrogance.

4. Take Responsibility

The more you're willing to take responsibility for your success or failure the more you can control.  Excuses, off loading responsibility, superstition, and blame eliminate your ability to control the outcome on any business venture.  Surely you may fail from time to time, but taking responsibility for your failures will allow you to move forward.  I call this failing forward.

5. Zero Tolerance For Entitlement 

Your job as a business leader is not to provide jobs.  Your job is to produce a profitable business.  Entitlement has become an accepted social norm that has crept into the workplace.  The "inmates are running the asylum" in many businesses.  Owners are held hostage by employees who steal time, abuse resources and complain about compensation.  Meanwhile there are hundreds of thousands of people who are unemployed and eager for job opportunities.  Business is not the little league game where everyone gets a chance to play, no one's keeping score and everyone get a trophy regardless of how they played.  That's called Communism.  So score keeping is a requirement.

6. Be Willing To Make Others Look Good

I know a lot of the traits I've pointed out up to this point may seem hardnosed. This is a little softer, but very hard for people do to.  Great leaders champion the success of their team and are willing to give credit to others for group success.  In larger corporate environments this becomes more difficult as there are more layers of management and people are jockeying for position in the company.  Those leaders who are able to rally a team of devoted staff around them and publicly credit and reward team members who perform well will earn true loyalty that can endure tough times.  Crediting others develops your authority as a leader. People will respond to you because of who you are not simply because you're the boss.

Tear this article out and hang it on your wall and refer back to as often as you need.  When the time comes these 6 leadership traits will help give you the perspective you'll need to make the right decisions about your business.  This article will serve as a reminder of the core leadership traits required to be successful in the current economy.  If you have other traits or characteristics of great leadership that you think should be added please let me know.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Posted on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 10:28AM by Registered CommenterRPitz | Comments3 Comments

It Almost Got There

I first heard the line, "little hinges swing big doors" from Dan Kennedy.  He was talking about the subtle nuances of marketing and sales that have a tremendous impact on results. The little things that make a huge difference.

So this line,"little hinges swing big doors." is a great way to talk about call tracking and the importance of using it.  The challenge a lot of businesses have is they don't realize the revenue and opportunities that are being lost over the phone because they're not paying attention to their phones.

Here's a story to illustrate my point...

Last week I was waiting on an important package that I needed for a trade show.  Timing on this package was crucial, so I had the package sent directly to my house via FedEx.  I had the tracking number and I was fevorously checking the packages arrival online.  So I knew almost down to the hour when my package was going to arrive - I even started looking out the window.  Sure enough, I saw the FedEx truck coming down my street.  This was perfect, I would get the package and head on my way.

But instead of pulling up in front of my house the truck stopped two houses down across the street.  I watched as the deliveryman dropped off a package on the front step of my neighbors house (several houses down).  Immediately, I thought "oh well that's just a coincidence, surely he'll stop by here next."

No - instead the deliveryman drove right on by.  I really needed that package, so I ran down the street and walked right up to my neighbor's stoop and looked at the box, and sure enough it was my package.  In the deliveryman's hast he had dropped the package off at the wrong house.  Fortunately for me, I was so eager to get the package I was at my house watching the road for a truck, so I saw the whole mishap unfold.

So what's the point of this story and how is it relevant to your marketing and sales...

Well, I did everything I could to get that package to my door - delivery was critical, timing was critical.  It had to be the right stuff at the right time or I was going to lose a lot of money.  FedEx has spent billions of dollars perfecting a masterpiece of logistical engineering and transportation to successfully deliver packages (computer technology, planes, software, trucks, distribution centers, etc).  And in my case all of those tools, people and logistics came together to deliver my package to my door.

BUT, right at the point of contact where the package was within 50 yards of my door the ENTIRE system failed because of a minor mistake.  When success/fulfillment was "within inches" the machine broke down.  So all of those resources, all of that time, all of that technology was ALL FOR NOT.

Whether you admit it or not or realize it or not this is the same type of scenario that happens with your marketing and sales activity. 

You spend countless hours coming up with new ways to generate leads for your business, you work on your website, you invest money in advertising, maybe you pay an ad agency, you do social networking, PPC, SEO, direct mail, networking, you go to all the major trade shows, you buy equipment to handle sales and if you're good, all of your hard work on marketing pays off and you actually generate leads.

But you're not done yet... You pay salespeople to take inbound calls, to field emails and internet inquires, to follow-up with good leads, you invest in sales training, you devote weekly meetings to coach your sales team, you pay commissions and salaries - and then of course you have to fulfil on whatever it is you're selling.

So YOU know all of THAT stuff, right.

But here's what happens under your nose...

  1. You invest in advertising and it doesn't work, but you don't know what isn't working and those advertising dollars go into the "sunk cost" category (meanwhile you're losing out on winning opportunities because your money is tied up)
  2.  Your website produces lots of visits but no one calls you and if they do call you don't know what prompted them to call
  3. Good prospects call your business and go straight to voicemail and never get a return call
  4. Good prospects do talk to a salesperson but don't buy (you could easily get this sale, but you can't personally take ever call)
  5. Good prospects talk to your salespeople and buy, but your company loses money on the deal
  6. Good prospects are turned away right at the point of buying because of lackadaisical and indifferent employees

This IS happening in your business - all businesses have a case of the it-almost-got-there-syndrome.  The great businesses are able to minimize and control these gaps, which is what our call tracking solution is all about.  Give us a call: 866-231-9355 we can help you identify and pug these gaps in your business.  You just have to be willing to accept the reality that there is a NEED for accountability and to take responsibility for those missed sales opportunities that are costing your business hundreds of thousands of dollars, that could easily be saved.

 

 

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010 at 02:43PM by Registered CommenterRPitz | Comments2 Comments | References1 Reference

A.I.M. Marketing®

I was sitting in one of the many marketing meetings I've attended over the years and came up with this acronym that defines our client base and our prospective cutomers who are aspiring to achieve exceptional marketing and sales results.  Hopefully this little acronym can help your business.

When it comes to marketing  there's so much misinformation and crap being sold that a lot of businesses lose sight of the core goal of their marketing.  So here's a motto to live by when it comes to your marketing or sales:

A.I.M Marketing®:

Aggressive - you will need to use multiple channels to reach your customers and prospects and you must be willing to stand appart from the crowd.  Your market is over run with competitors and using timid, glossy, same ole marketing will not work.  Directly targeting your customers and prospects is the best approach.

Intelligent - instead of wasting money on advertising that does not produce a response or truly further your cause, identify those strategies and tactics that work best.  Be smart about how, where and what you say to your prospects so that you get maximum response and revenue from every communication.

Measureable - with out measurement tools in place you have no way of know if your marketing is truly paying off the way it should be.  By measuring your activity you can optimize your ad spend and more accurately target your best customers.  As I've said before, "marketing without measurement is madness."  The same is true when it comes to your sales activity.  With the right mindset toward accountability and the right tools you can make good decisions about your marketing and sales.

This is a feedback loop system (follow how this works)...

Aggressive - you're aggressive and you try a bunch of different stuff to get customers and you're not afraid to be different.

Intelligent - you match the right message, medium and targeted prospects for maxium response and revenue.

Measurable - you track and measure your marketing and sales effort.  You then take that infomation to make good decisions about your marketing which then allows you to be MORE aggressive and MORE intelligent.

If done correctly this cycle will go on and on and on...

To learn more about A.I.M. Marketing® and to get a free 15 minute consultation about your business call: 866-231-9355 or email: info@newcallsolutions.com

 

 

 

 

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 10:43AM by Registered CommenterRPitz | Comments6 Comments | References2 References

I Wanna Track My Sales Team’s Outbound Calls

I hear this all the time (in reference to the title), actually, I don’t hear this all the time...I hear this occasionally from smart sales managers who understand you can’t simply hire sales people and expect them to sell without holding them accountable.  The rest of the VPs, Owners and Sales Managers think that somehow holding your sales team accountable, particularly with regard to their telephone work, is punative or demoralizing and that they simply can't ask their sales people to record and track their phone calls.

I'm sorry, but this is absolutely outrageous!  That line of thinking, is counter productive in many ways: 1.) By not being willing to hold your sales team accountable you create a culture of entitlement (even if your sales people are awesome people and have the best intentions) 2.) Without measurement tools in place like outbound call measurement you will always have more dramatic peaks and valleys in production. 3.) You will not be able to develop a scalable sales force from the stand point of retaining and promoting existing sales people and more importantly orienting and training new sales people. 

Tracking and recording your outbound sales calls provides critical insight into how your sales process truly functions and this information should be organized and used as part of your day-to-day performance evaluations, and then used as a benchmark for training and rewarding.  This is called "in-prossess evaluation" as opposed to "end-result evaluation."

You can start using outbound call tracking within a matter of minutes and get your staff using it with about 30 minutes of training. Run the program for 30 days and have THE most productive sales meeting you've ever had.

Posted on Friday, January 8, 2010 at 12:08PM by Registered CommenterRPitz | Comments7 Comments | References64 References
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