By Referral Only – Wed Dec 30 event

8 Dec

If you’d like to learn more about building and strengthening your business 100% thru referrals then I highly recommend you attending this special event from a master networker and early Inquisix member, Rick Roberge.

Rick’s program, “By Referral Only” will be offered on Wednesday December 30th, 2009 from noon to 1:30pm US ET. You have two options of attending  – you can be there in-person in Westboro, MA, USA or participate via webinar.

But act fast, as the first 24 people who register for each event using “RR1230” as the discount code will receive a $50 discount when they register.

Pick your option but don’t do nothing!

Join in-person

Join online

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Your Prospect Tells You How to Sell to Them

30 Nov

Not often that your C-level prospect will tell you how to sell to them.  They’ll hide behind email spam filters and executive assistants but won’t take the time to tell you what you’re doing wrong.  Until this CEO opened up with their automated email reply telling you to do more than just call the vendor hotline at purchasing – a voice mail no one ever picks up.

Top ways to get noticed:

  • Let your prospect find you – ie Inbound Marketing
  • Get introduced by someone they trust – ie Referrals

Top ways to annoy:

  • Constant cold-calls
  • Mass emails to entire executive team
  • Trying to connect via social media

Thanks to Hubspot for the full article.

Follow-up Follow-UP

5 Nov

Ivan Misner posted on his blog – What Is the Number-One Trait of a Master Networker? this week and I thought, “Absolutely dead-on!”

Nothing frustrates me more than giving a referral to someone and then they DON’T FOLLOW UP. I’ve asked my colleague if they’d accept this referral to and now I have to explain why there was no follow up. This affects my reputation. That’s why Inquisix allows members to rate the referral in both ways – rating how well one party handled the referral and how well the other party gave the referral.

Inquisix – Business Relationships that Last

27 Oct

BusinessRelationshipsThatLast

I just ordered this book because that’s what Inquisix members do – they build business relationships that last.

If you’ve already read the book, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Learning from Previous Mistakes

19 Oct

Fabulous article about Hulu from Fast Company magazine. Great lessons for every entrepreneur, every growing company or company wishing they could grow.

Can Hulu Save Traditional TV?

Lessons to be learned for all on:

  • Improving user experience
  • Using analytics to figure out what users want instead of asking them (because they don’t tell you – think Edsel)
  • “Dinosaur” TV networks learning from a lesson (missing out on YouTube) and taking the appropriate steps.   RIAA needs to do the same
  • How to build revenue and market share.  Amen!

Yes, I know this blog post is not about referrals. But I’ve been reading Fast Company a lot lately and find so many of them to be well written and insightful.  Their articles should be required reading for anyone looking to grow in the new economy.  Maybe that’s why it’s called, “Fast Company”

hulu fastcompany

Sales Rant – Why can't your company handle an onbound query from a prospective buyer?

16 Oct

I called a division of Acme Industrial [name changed to protect the guilty] a week ago and asked to speak to someone in sales as I had some questions.   The service runs about $7500-12,000 per year, not an insubstantial amount of investment. The phone system asked me to press 1 if I wanted to speak to someone who “would be happy to answer your questions about our services.” The person I got didn’t know anything about the product at all, and said someone would call me back.  Already a bad precedent, I wonder how the sales rep covering my territory would feel about their inside team dropping the ball.

A week goes by. A week!

SalesRant

So I call back today and go thru the menu prompts again and again I’m told I’ll be transferred to someone who “would be happy to answer your questions about our services.” When they did answer, they said that they have no record of my call last week. They put me on hold for 4 minutes. They come back on the line and ask me for the same contact information I provided a week earlier. Didn’t ask any qualifying questions, curiously, like budget, timeframe, or even what 2-3 top questions I wanted answered. Said “someone will call you back.” When I asked when I would hear from them or who would call me, the rep didn’t know. I pointed out it had been a week and I wanted this information as soon as possible so I could make a final decision – would I get a call back today? “I’ll ask them to call you sooner rather than later.”

By contrast, their competitor took my call live on the first time I called them, answered my questions reasonably well, and sent me email today to follow up.

What company can afford to put themselves in this situation? How many other calls did they handle this way? Sales live by the numbers, but this team isn’t doing themselves any good. And with marketers scrambling to justify their existence and their budgets based on closed leads, its clear that getting the metrics right is only part of the equation. What does this experience communicate to me as a prospective buyer about what it may be like to work with these guys? I felt a lack of accountability, lack of concern for me as a customer, and a very low service experience.   Guess who’s product I purchased?  And that Acme Industrial sales rep handling my territory never even knew what they lost.

Thanks to Malay Pharma Sales Rep Rant  for the picture.

Free Up Your Time to Do the Important Stuff

10 Oct

2 great tips for freeing up a bunch of your time – from the in-box and out-box side of your desk.  First tip is from the out-box side on how to decide whether to respond to an RFP or not.  It’s tricky to tell if it’s a real RFP because they can just take SOOO much time.  What’s worse, coming in second or not having it awarded?  The second tip has really freed up my day to tackle my to-do list instead of read and respond to trivial stuff.

  • How To Avoid Deals Where No Vendor Wins – Really enjoyed this post from Geoffrey. In discussions with other sales reps in various industries, there seems to be an uptick in RFPs being issued but two items stand out –
    * RFP decisions are pushed out out out. The company wants the RFP response back in 2 weeks but the decision drags drags drags. Hence the timeliness of Geoffrey’s post
    * RFPs in purgatory. In addition to new RFPs being issued, old ones are getting dusted off and sent out again. When you ask, “Why” the answer boils down to, “We’re getting ready JUST IN CASE…”
    Always a challege for a small company responding to an RFP from a F500 company when there’s no real good understanding (or belief) in whether the RFP’s really real or not.
  • Improve Your Connect Rates – Absolutely spot on commentary. Emails are so easy and cheap to send that readers are bombarded by them. Therefore, they don’t read them or at best, scan thru them. I’ve even set up my BB to only accept emails from people who are already in my address book as all other emails get saved on my PC. Guess how many of them are read on my PC?

    Jim’s critical point – call & leave a message pointing out the details in your email. I’ve had a much higher connect rate when I both call (leave a message) and send an email. And as he says, “Persistence is key.”

That "SEND" button causes mischief and unintended response

5 Oct

Ever hit the “send” button on your email too quickly and then wished you could pull it back?  And if you try Outlook’s “Recall Message…” all it really does is highlight to the recipient that you made a mistake.

Here’s a perfect example of not proofing before you email.  And this was a cold call email blast to me from someone I don’t know.  Think I’ll be responding to this email with anything but “unsubscribe?”

ContactFirstName

Quick sales tips & reminders

2 Oct

There were a bunch of quick and valuable reminders and tips on the web this week on improving your sales process.

  • Making You Suprisingly Unforgettable To Your Customers – Loved this post – in these days of too many competitors and too many choices offered to our prospects, here’s some great tips make yourself unforgettable. How many of you think of Nat & Natalie Cole when you hear the word, “Unforgettable” like I do?
  • Three Tiny Changes That Drive Success – Nice reminders to help get you out of a sales rut. Don’t forget Dale Carnegie’s, “21 Days to Making it a Habit” as you try these changes. Assuming you don’t do them already!
  • Quiz: How To Bypass a Gatekeeper – Real good quiz on bypassing the Gatekeeper when you just can’t get in. Interesting decision by Geoffrey on which department you should call into to ask for the transfer. Other ways:
    – try Jigsaw for direct dial # of executive
    – try Inquisix for a referral to the executive by someone they know.

Geoffrey’s idea is manipulative but sometimes you just have to try it. But only after you can’t get an Inquisix referral or JigSaw is not coughing up the direct dial numbe

Dig It's Great Quote of the Week

18 Sep

“You can’t have a better tomorrow if you’re thinking about yesterday.” — Charles Kettering

Quote of the Week – Great quote that should strike a chord in any sales rep, manager or business owner bemoaning their poor 2009 sales attainment. Sales people are usually very good at moving on whether the last month was a win or a dud but for anyone needing a reminder, read and internalize this quote. Now go get them!