Every week there seems to be a shiny new marketing tool or tactic. It's incredibly tempting to drop what you're doing and go play with that new toy. After all, creating yet another marketing email is so boring compared with the fun features of Vine and Instagram.
And if your CEO catches wind of the new tool and demands, "We need to use that, too!" the pressure is even greater to jump on that marketing bandwagon. It's what the CEO wants, so you should do it. Right? Not necessarily. What matters most is if the tool or tactic works—if your buyers use it, if it attracts prospects, and if your clients interact with you using it.
It boils down to whether your marketing delivers a return on the investment, says Debbie Qaqish in her podcast interview Are Your Marketing Efforts Contributing to Revenue Growth? Will your marketing efforts generate revenue?
When you don't win a sale or a client leaves you for a competitor, it's tempting to put the whole thing behind you and move forward. "You did the best you could," you think. "If they don't see I'm the best option, then good luck to them."
But wait. Did you really do the best that you could? Is there a gap in your strategy? Was there something more you could have done?
To prevent more lost sales and keep more clients from walking out, you owe it to yourself to look at how you handled the sales process and the client relationship. Here are three questions you can start with:
You don't think of trust as an equation or something you can be taught. Trustworthiness is a personal trait, your nature, your way of being. It doesn't come from a math class.
The truth is trust can be taught, and your level of trustworthiness can be determined using the Trust Equation, according to Andrea Howe, co-author of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.
"I don't believe being trustworthy is a function of your personality," said Howe in a recent interview. "I don't think it's something that you're born with or not. Being trustworthy is a function of two simple things. I boil it down to awareness and practice. That's it!"
We like to think RainToday is a great sales and marketing resource. Goodness knows we put a lot of work into it—publishing articles, podcasts, webinars, and other content to help B2B service professionals grow their businesses.
But it's only when we find out others also think it's a great resource that we know we're doing our jobs well. This week we received such acknowledgement when we were nominated for Top Sales and Marketing Resource Site for 2013.
Not only that, but RAIN Group (our parent company) received two nominations:
It may seem obvious or even cliché, but you are the source of your success. There is no secret, magic wand, or silver bullet to create success for you.
The thing is many people forget or don't realize how much they have to do. Whether it's generating leads, developing client relationships, or leading a sales team, each requires commitment on your part. Each requires you to take the lead, not wait for someone else to do it—or for it to happen on its own.
Here are a few sales situations in which your lead makes all the difference in the world:
It might be your ego that causes that feeling, your position in your company, your education level, or your experience. Whatever the reason, telling someone it's your way or no way, hurts relationships (with clients, prospects, co-workers, peers, etc.) and hurts your sales and business.
When you collaborate, however, everyone benefits. In fact, recent research from RAIN Group found collaboration was one of the top five things sales winners did compared with second-place finishers (see Success Guide for Maximizing Sales in 2014).
Collaborating gets the buyer involved in the process, says John Doerr in his podcast interview 5 Steps for Collaborating with Buyers and Increasing Sales. And when you get someone involved, they own it more and will want to pursue it. So, rather than your trying to sell something and convince the buyer of something, you're working with them to show how they will benefit.
Sometimes my loyalty is based on the quality of the product. I am a Bounty paper towel, Dawn dish soap, Ziploc plastic bag, and Lays potato chip loyal buyer. I have tried generic versions because of cost and not been happy. (Don't get me started on the Kirkland brand paper towels that now fill my pantry.)
Sometimes, however, my loyalty is based on a company's overall service and community. Consider airlines, for example. About five years ago I decided to fly only JetBlue unless the option is unavailable. The first time I flew that airline I'm sure it was based on price, plus they had TVs at each seat. And when you're traveling with a child, TVs can be magical.
When you talk with clients, are the conversations quick and sometimes cut short because they're afraid the conversations will show up as exorbitant fees on the bill? Does that same fear prevent them from picking up the phone and calling when they have a question or a problem?
If so, you could be hurting them and the project more than you're helping. You could also be setting the stage for a difficult client relationship that causes them to look for a more flexible arrangement.
Hourly rates more precisely determine how much work you've done, but they can also create walls and prevent you from growing a single project into a long-term and trusting relationship.
It might be both, but to become number 1 you have to put customers first, says Lisa McLeod in her podcast interview Money Isn't the Best Motivator for Long-Term Sales Success.
You need a noble sales purpose, she says. And when you decide your noble purpose is to improve the customer's condition, more customers buy from you—putting you in the number 1 spot and earning you more money.
"We discovered that the salespeople who sold with what we called a sense of purpose—who were truly focused on improving their customers' condition—actually wound up driving more money and hence getting more commissions than the salespeople who were just focused on the money," McLeod says.
Lots of thoughts go through buyers' minds when they're evaluating service providers. Do the people at the company understand my problems? Do they care about my challenges? Have they helped similar organizations in my industry? What's their level of expertise?
And the first place they stop to try and get those questions answered is your website. That means you must have information on your site that answers them, says Jill Konrath in her video 5 Things Prospects Expect to Find on Your Website.
The top three things on her list include:
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