Tag Archives: sales

Why Big Companies Don’t Do Business with You: 7 Steps for Fixing That

This article was contributed by Barbara Weaver Smith, The Whale Hunters

The Whale Hunters like to talk about the “aperture of perception” – that lens through which you focus your prospects’ attention and govern what they see and experience.

Everything that touches the whale (big company prospects) contributes to the buyers’ overall perception of you-for example:

* Telephone answering
* Website
* Location
* Communications
* Print materials and proposals
* D&B profile
* Testimonials

Whales are afraid of smaller companies; they feel safer with other big companies, like themselves. Yet they want the advantages that a small company can offer-undivided attention, innovation, agility, speed of decision-making. Trouble is, they won’t buy advantage when they’re fearful. So the key is to allay their fears by controlling the aperture of perception. Show them many signs that look like, sound like, and feel like “large.”

Here are seven steps to looking larger:

1. Brand

Brand your product or service, not your key person or people. The founding entrepreneur often starts our selling, delivering, and managing-especially in a professional services company. The sooner you can shift the customer’s focus from an individual to a service brand, the faster you will be able to grow and the larger you will appear.

2. Team

Even whales may have bios of their leadership team on the website. But these are professional and objective. On your website and in your literature, eliminate any references to hobbies, pets, and other folksy traits; use uniform head-shot or business casual photos

3. Location

If you are based in a small city or town and want to do business with big-city whales in other states, establish a big city presence in one or more of your target areas. This can be as simple as a virtual location through an executive center or other shared office space arrangement. A professional receptionist, find-me phone service, and local address will send the message.

4. Website

Make your website all about the buyers, not you about you. Who are you trying to attract and what will they be looking for? Some good whale websites are organized according to the size of the customer who is visiting – i.e. consumer services, small business services, enterprise services. Consider how your this kind of distinction could help your website achieve the right tone for both whales and non-whale customers.

5. Niche

Be careful how you present your niche in digital and print materials. WBE/MBE designations are a good example. They position you as a subcontractor and/or a company competing for set-aside projects. If that is the position you intend to occupy, then go for it. But if you also want to be a prime contractor and compete on an equal footing with bigger companies, you will find it extremely difficult to change a whale’s mindset about that pigeonhole in which they’ve placed you. In fact, it could be a reason to have completely separate divisions or companies, one marketed as a WBE/MBE and the other not.

6. Media/News Page

Write a press release each time you sign a new customer, receive an award, achieve a revenue milestone, appoint a new employee or give a raise. Post the releases on your website and maintain a news page with links to each. These press releases have little news value except to you, but they send a message that you are a company that sees itself as newsworthy. On your media page, offer contact information for how media people should reach your PR team-even if that is through your primary phone number and a PR@yourcompany.com email address.

7. Product/Service White Papers

Invest in preparing white papers to supplement your marketing copy. A white paper is a report that makes a business case or explains technical details. It places your products/services in a broader business and technical context. Promote these as free downloads on your website and include them as appropriate during a sale. The white paper is not primarily about your product or service but about what it helps the buyer to accomplish and /or how it works. Consider including industry white papers, written by others, on your website to help educate your prospects.

How to Make Your Business Fly: 3 Secrets to Revenue Resilience

Why do ducks walk when they can fly? Indeed, why do we?

I’ve never asked one, but I would guess that flying, especially the lift off, is hard work.

Yolanda Adams so soulfully sang, I Believe I Can Fly. If you haven’t heard it or just need a boost right now, check this out. It’s spine-tinglingly incredible.

Over the weekend, I heard someone say ‘We were born to win but we’re conditioned to lose”.

That may not always be true for everyone, but most of us suffered some ‘incident’ (or series of incidents) as children that limited the limitless potential into which we were born. Someone said or did something that shut us down and because we were little, young, inexperienced and/or trusting, we thought what they said was true.

We took on those limiting beliefs and, because we’re human, today as adults, we’re still dealing with, working around or succumbing to their impact.  Even if things are going well, we’re still shaped  by conclusions we drew when we were young and had less perspective and understanding of the way the world works.

It’s easy to fall victim to the doom and gloom of the economy.  It’s harder to go against the drift of conventional ‘wisdom’.  But just like flying, once you get started, it isn’t so bad.

You’ve probably heard people say “under the circumstances…” and then use that to explain or justify their current condition.

Here’s the first secret…

Don’t live under the circumstances!  Yes, we all have circumstances, but we have full choice about how to respond to them!

I don’t mean to sound completely non empathetic. Certainly losing a loved one can be traumatic: grieving is a process that takes time to unfold.

Yet, still we choose.

So how does this apply to your business and what are those secrets?

1.  Keep your big goal in front of you.
2.  Ask people what they need.
3.  Stay out of your comfort zone.

Here’s what I mean

1.  Keep your big goal in front of you.

No matter if the economy is flourishing or stagnating, you must have at least one big goal and you must constantly remind yourself what it is and why it’s important.  You must talk about it to everyone around you who is supportive and not a nay-sayer.

By keeping it front of mind and talking about it constantly, you’ll put your subconscious mind to work.  It will begin devising ways to make the goal a reality.  Your conscious mind will start noticing opportunities it might have overlooked previously.

You’ll stay motivated and focussed.  A client of mine once shared that, in her marriage to her business partner husband, she was the big goal thinker.  He was more, shall we say, grounded.  She likened it to a river rafting trip through surging rapids.

She thought about the calm stream they would eventually reach; he focussed on all the boulders along the way.  You need to pay attention to both, but forgetting that there is a big goal out there and only noticing the boulders, will depress you.

2.  Ask people what they need.

No matter what, you should always be sensitive to what your target market, clients and prospects need.  And don’t rely on your own judgment.  Ask them.

Perhaps you could tailor something you’re already doing to more clearly solve one of their current gnawing problems.  The more you are aware of what’s missing in your industry, the more likely you’ll offer something it needs.

Also, the more clear you are about people’s concerns, the more targeted your marketing efforts will be making it easier for people to say ‘yes’ to you.

3.  Stay out of your comfort zone.

We get lulled into complacency when times are good.  Almost anything we do works out.  When times are tight, it’s critical to branch out.  Try new things.   Don’t rely on what’s always worked in the past.  Learn new skills.

Reach out and touch more people.  Pick up the phone.  Call people.  Build relationships.  See how they’re doing.  Let them know what you’re up to.

Force yourself to do things you’re frightened mind tells you to do later.  DO THEM NOW! Stretch the limits of who you think you are. You’ll discover your own resilience.  You’re discover  the depths of your own strength.

You’ll uncover opportunities that weren’t there until you spoke up.  You’ll remind people you’re around and they’ll remember you when someone asks them ‘Who do you know who…?

So, that’s it.  Think big, do research, stretch out.  Those keys will keep revenue ‘flying’ toward you and your business.

Making Your Business Feel So Good

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to see Chuck Mangione who was appearing at one of the local casinos. He put on a great show and ended his performance with one of his most popular tunes, “Feels So Good”.

I started thinking about what it meant to have one’s business ‘feel so good’. Many business owners I know are working hard and yet, not quite feeling as satisfied as they’d like.

I believe there are five keys to happiness and success as it pertains to creating the business of your dreams.

1. Doing work you love
2. Working with clients you love
3. Having clients who love you
4. Making the amount of money you love
5. Having an impact you love

That may sound easier said that done. I’ve elaborated on these tips on to make your business feel so good.

1. Doing work you love

Most business owners go into business because there is something they are gifted at or love doing.  They then get consumed with running their business and it takes  over their life.  In the beginning, they wear many hats: service provider, sales person, bookkeeper, marketing strategist, administrative support.  They wear themselves ragged. If things go well, eventually they think about hiring someone to help.  But many people think they aren’t able to hire someone or fear that they’ll lose control or quality if they delegate and let go.

I’ve spoken about this before, but it bears repeating.  Stick with what you love.  Just this week, I made a list of things I found myself doing that drain my energy and brain power.  Yes, I CAN do those things, but doing so wears me out.  I’ll be searching for people to add to my team even if they only work a few hours each week.  Each of us have a gift and it’s better for us and for our business when we stick with spending our time exercising those gifts.  That will make us feel good!

2. Working with clients you love

In the beginning, we tend to work with ANYONE who is willing to pay us.  But the most successful people have taken the time to articulate who their ideal client is.  They know demographic information about their ideal client (gender, age, education, income, etc.).  They also know psychographic information (personality, likes, hobbies, temperament, etc.).

When you work with clients you don’t like, they rob your energy and make you dread ‘going to work’.   If you have clients that are draining you, fire them!  Identify your favorite clients then resolve to fine more just like them.

3. Having clients who love you

When you work with clients you love, you’ll be at your best.  You’ll understand them, serve them.  Dote on them even.  You’ll provide an extraordinary level of service and delight them with your efforts.

As a result, they will love working with you.  The relationship will continue to blossom and grow.  It will be easy to be happy around them.   They will treat you well.  They will tell their friends.

4. Making the amount of money you love

Clearly, having sufficient business revenue and profit levels to enable you to pay yourself consistent with the lifestyle you envision is the key.  When you focus on doing work you love, you’ll excel at it and will become a client magnet.  When you work with clients you love, they’ll love you back and recommend their friends to you.  When those things combine, voila! Revenue goes up.

Make sure you’re investing money in products and services that will help you grow your business and run it more efficiently.  If cash flow is an issue, barter for services with others who are willing to do the same.  Get the help you need.

Ramp up your perception of yourself.  Don’t undervalue what you provide your clients.  If you have doubts about your value – get over it.  Ask you clients what they love about working with you.  Listen to what they say and incorporate their feedback in your marketing and sales efforts.  Offer new products and services that highlight your gifts.  Then look for clients who can afford to pay you what you’re now coming to realize that you’re worth.

5.  Having an impact you love

Nothing does more for your confidence than delivering your gift to your target market (or anyone for that matter) and receiving feedback that it helped transform someone’s life.  But first, you must know what your legacy is: what impact you want to leave on the world.

When you’re clear about that legacy, it will shape the conversations you have.  It will guide your actions.  It will lead you to populations that need your gift.  You will be fulfilled.

When you accomplish these 5 things: doing work you love, working with clients you love and who love you back, making the kind of money and impact you love, your business will “Feel So Good” and so will you!

Peacocks, Power & Prosperity

It’s critical in this economy to find attractive ways to communicate the value you bring to your organization and what your organization brings to its clients (internal and external). We should always be in marketing mode and this is especially true when times are tough.

Prosperity arises when people find what we have to offer attractive enough to either part with their money or give us resources we need.

This beautiful peacock sculpture from the lobby of the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas symbolizes the importance of packaging.  During mating season, the male peacock struts in front of his target female, fanning shaking his beautifully colored tail plume.  If you’ve ever seen this courtship dance, you’ll know how dramatic it can be.

Some of you might be loathe to be so shameless in your self-promotion, but it’s a big mistake to assume that if you just do good work, that you’ll get the promotion, contract  or deal you’re hungering for.

You must communicate your value and make it attractive to your audience.  Here are some ways you can (not so obnoxiously) do that.

1.  At the end of a successful project, write a synopsis of what was accomplished, what was learned and how the project benefitted your department, company or client.
Quantify it if possible articulating cost/time savings or revenue dollars earned.

2.  Ask your clients (internal or external) what they most value about your service or product and use what they say the next time you need to ask for more budget or headcount.

3.  Similarly, ask your clients for testimonials that you can use. If nothing else, you can have them ‘recommend’ you on LinkedIn or other social networking sites.

4. Buddy up with someone and make a pact to promote each other whenever you’re not together. Getting good press from someone else will add more credibility than you patting yourself on the back.

5.  Make sure you know what other people value, are concerned about and are motivated by. When you talk about what you do, couch it in terms that they are already thinking about.  Your message will be more easily heard and received.

By taking on a peacock mentality and implementing these tips, you’ll build confidence, get out of your head and into the worlds of the people you’re attempting to influence.  They’ll respond more favorably and you’ll enjoy more power and prosperity.

Sales Calls In Person Reap Revenue

According to Ed Alberts, owner of the S.A. Alberts Co., personal customer visits open doors, especially in today’s tough economy. He acknowledged that they take time, but found that meeting with customer’s on their own turf was very successful and highly fruitful.

“Customer visits are one of most basic sales techniques.  Modern markets have gotten so that many salespeople sit back on their computer with e-mails and the phone and get lazy. Not meeting the customer in person is a trap. People want to see us face to face.”

So push back from your computer, get out of the office and connect with your customers and prospects to reap the reward of higher sales.

Read full Business Journal article titled “Global trade questions now mainly center on dwindling demand” at tinyurl.com/den387.