I Love Skeptics

And you should too. I love presenting to the skeptical, and if you don’t perhaps you need to analyze WHY. First, let me define skeptics – skeptics are not the same as naysayers. Those who are predisposed to doubt the validity of your product or service for no earthly reason other than they like being negative or are too scared to believe that anything can help them are not skeptics; naysayers are to be avoided at all cost and you need to be able to detect them in a matter of minutes so that you don’t spend precious time trying to convert them to no avail.

Skeptics on the other hand are usually smart, cautious and often successful already – before they meet you and your product. Skeptics listen with a partially open mind but are prone to playing devil’s advocate because they are not interested in telling you how wonderful your company is – you need to SHOW them how you will benefit their business in precise and succinct terms. Skeptics are also capable of changing their mind and buying in, and it’s a buy in that is almost always genuine and committed since they do nothing on the fly; their decisions are well thought out and measured. When they say YES to you, they mean it, and often become one of your favorite clients – committed fully to the project once you win their allegiance.

The reason I love skeptics is because I really believe in what I do, and they give me the opportunity to make them believe too. You see, I help companies build their sales funnel and broaden their reach. Sure, we’re a marketing company, but what we really do is help smaller companies find and embrace their voice through the internet and social media. I recently read Gary Vaynerchuck’s CRUSH IT, and there’s a sentence in the beginning part of the book that asks if you can speak about what you do better than anybody else. I still don’t know if I can say BETTER than anyone else, but I certainly can with speak with more passion and earnestness than anyone I’ve met because I truly believe in and am exhilirated by the empowerment Social Media & the Web has brought to small business; I really feel that I am helping a company profoundly when I open their eyes to what is now possible and how now THEY are in control of their own message, or at least can they can have a major voice in the conversation.

So give me a board room full of brilliant, successful business owners who are already wealthy and aren’t looking for me to throw them a life line. Give me an hour to tell them what we can do and what is possible, and I guarantee you it will be my best hour of the day. Love and believe in what you do and that can be every hour of every workday.

It Really IS ok to Sell Your Integrity…

Don't underestimate the power of video.

If you really have it, that is. I come across all sorts of business people in my work life – clever, not so clever, successful, driven, lost… and frequently enough I’m glad to say, I come across well intentioned business owners who selected their given path because they really believe in what they’re doing and they do it very, very well. It is not too uncommon for them to have competition that is, well, less than forthright in their advertising and/or selling tactics.

Nothing frustrates the honest business owner more than the dishonest one who is selling their prospects false hope and misinformation. Usually the honest business owner is smart enough not to blatantly call their competition out; they realize that advertising with negativity only works for politicians. The problem is, they just don’t know HOW to get the message out that they are honest and ethical – in the written word it can come across as hollow or disengenuous – who DOESN’T say they’re the honest one?

My simple answer: VIDEO. When you have the real thing, the GRAVITAS, it comes across loud and clear when your customers hear you speak. Sincerity is key to closing the deal in person. The problem is getting in front of your prospects so that you can convert them into customers; using video on your Website, your Blog, and your Social Media Campaigns is the next best thing to standing in their living room or place of business. And no, you don’t have to spend any time on ‘what the other guy says.’ Just focus on what YOU do, mention some of the “confusion” or “misinformation” and then spend time clarifying that for your viewer. This way you become the trusted advisor, the educator, someone they will feel comfortable asking for more information.

So yes, you are “selling” your integrity because it’s part of what makes your company great. Trust me, use video so that you can talk directly to your customer and they’ll ‘get it’ without you ever having to talk about the other guy.

Sell the Decision Maker

Usually my posts are marketing related, but all of the marketing in the world won’t work if the people or person in charge of Sales doesn’t close the deal. Marketing’s job is to peak interest; it’s the job of Sales to complete the transaction – to convert the prospect into a customer. In my company I usually wear both hats, and just like every other salesperson out there, I have to be vigilant and disciplined with my time.

Decision Maker

Are you meeting with the right people?

I’ve been working with a large client that I have a longstanding relationship with from the ground up; I started by working on a few small projects that led to medium sized jobs and I have a good report and reputation with the employees I’ve worked with. One of the mid level managers thinks I could do a lot for the company on a national level. As you would probably guess, I am not against this idea but haven’t yet had the opportunity to present my ideas to the DECISION MAKER, the VP of Marketing. He lives on the other side of the country and doesn’t come my way often, so the opportunity to meet in a more casual setting at one of the company locations has not arisen. The other day I got a call that he would be in New York at a conference and there would be the chance of meeting him if I could get down there next week; that mid level manager was sure he could get me the introduction. In my excitement at the prospect, I almost took the chance… until I woke up and realized one of the first lessons I used to teach my sales force: you’re wasting your time if you’re not selling to the DECISION MAKER.

An out of town trip on short notice is no small feat for me as I have packed schedule like everyone else. It means rearranging appointments with existing clients, finding day/night care arrangements for my daughter, ensuring that both of my companies are set up for a couple of days and my employees know what they’re doing while I’m away, in addition to time away from the daily avalanche of emails etc. that will need my attention. But of course it’s worth it, right? To meet the VP of Marketing for a large company? WRONG.

It would be worth all of the above IF I was having a meeting and the VP of Marketing understood that I was there to discuss his company using my services. To drop everything for the chance of saying hello, introducing myself and hoping to set up a meeting is a sorry waste of time.

This is the most difficult sort of discipline for the optimistic sales person, but it essential to avoid running around wasting time. The optimist in us thinks that we’ll be so impressive in that short meet & greet that the target will of course want more. But at some point optimism turns to foolishness. If your ideas are so significant, you should be able to LAND the meeting, the REAL MEETING, that will give you the time to sell your ideas to the person who can make the decision to buy. Discipline is the key to effectiveness; your time is limited, and you can waste mountains of it on chances. If that mid level manager is so sure of your services they’ll be able to get you the phone call and you can land the meeting yourself; the real meeting where you have a real chance of selling your ideas… the one it will be worth turning your office upside down for, because being as good as you are you’ll be able to close the deal, in the real meeting.