Persistence Pays…

Inspired from Author Napoleon Hill….and a few other folks!

Persistence Amy Johnson OrganicabrandLack of persistence is a weakness common to business developers and professional services firms. It is a weakness that can be overcome by consistent effort. Conquering lack of persistence is fully dependent upon the intensity of the person or organization’s desire to reach their goal(s). Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.

If you find yourself or your organization lacking in persistence, build a stronger fire under your desires. Annual planning helps – set simple and clear objectives, goals, and take consistent and persistent action. Keep looking at your goals, keep taking action toward those goals.

You may find it necessary to “snap” out of your mental inertia. Be persistent no matter how slowly you may, at first, have to move. With persistence will come success. There is no substitute for persistence. It cannot be supplanted by any other quality. Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they continue to pick themselves up after each setback and keep on trying. They receive, as their compensation, attaining whatever goal they are pursuing. Without persistence, you will be defeated, even before you start. With persistence, you will win.

Go Grow!


Why Follow Up On Proposals and Fee Quotes…

After months and months of asking a client to follow up on a fee proposal we had sent out through my client’s firm, I decided to call the prospective client myself. I had talked with the prospect initially so it wasn’t entirely odd for me to follow up. Unfortunately, the prospect had already hired a different firm several months prior and questioned why we hadn’t stayed in touch. He didn’t think we were interested in the project because we never called to follow up. Hmmm.

I recently read a statistic that blew me away. By following up on your fee proposals and quotes (in a timely manner), you will increase your win rate as much as 20%. Prospects are often “on the fence” about who to hire – and if you follow up on your proposals and show some additional interest – this often (apparently) tips the scale in your favor.

What would it look like if you were able to increase your win rate by even 5-10% – just by following up in a timely manner on the fee proposals you spend so much time preparing?

What kind of effort does it take to pick up the phone or resend the email – and touch base and follow up?

This is LOW HANGING FRUIT….isn’t it? Tighten your process by a smidge – Follow up on your proposals and fee quotes. Go Grow!


Five Ways To Improve Making Your Point…

Inspired by an article by Scott Ginsberg 

Whether you are networking, presenting, or conversing on the phone, consider these five tactics to make your point faster and better:

  1. Use plain language. The less jargon you use, the more engaging you become. When writing, shorter sentences get read. When speaking, shorter sentences get heard. Think like a writer. Watch those long and cumbersome sentences. Don’t overload people’s brains. Don’t spew one idea after another. Keep your message lean and free of nonessential words. Are your messages simple and insightful?
  2. Demonstrate commitment. Tell one brief story about how you went overboard on your commitment. In sharing, you intentionally stretch people, you force them to turn inward, confront themselves and start wondering how far they’d go. People rarely forget conversations like that. Point made. How are you letting people bond with your level of commitment while simultaneously challenging them to reexamine their own?
  3. Hanger words. Hanger words are conversational hooks that attract people’s attention by building excitement around what you’re going to say next. Examples include: Here’s the deal… Let me ask you this… Think of it this way… Yes, and here’s why… I have one observation… Here’s the difference… I have one question… Two secrets to using vocal hangers: watch your tone so you don’t come across “salesy” …and… pause ever so slightly before you deliver the goods. This heightens the level of anticipation and energy into the conversation. The more you practice, the more natural they will sound. How do you elicit rapt interest?
  4. Reflect their reality. Take notes during a conversation. Select something in particular from these notes, turn the piece of paper around, then ask the other person to read the passage. More often than not, people are shocked when they hear themselves speak. This feedback process offers a verbal mirror. It reflects the other person’s reality and helps people see themselves as others see them. What’s more, there’s no greater way to make a point than to mirror people’s own words. How are you using note taking for point making?
  5. Stories trump resumes. Facts are retained – stories are retold. Which one are you using to prove your point?

Shifting the Vetting – To Your Prospect…

David Baker consults with ad agencies and graphic designers – and his message is easily relatable to architectural and those in the A/E/C world.

Most of you would like a prospect–in the early stages–to assume that working with you will be a fit. Then you want the opportunity to move them along during the sales process until the check clears. You don’t want them making any early decisions on their own, deciding that it’s not a good fit, possibly, and looking for a different firm to work with.

We know this is true by looking at your website, which is welcoming, friendly, and sometimes full of those faux tests that help a prospect determine the fit. “Here, take this four question test and see if we should work together: First, do you want a true partnership. Second, do you want good value for your money. Third, do you want quick results. Fourth, do you want lasting results.” And then, after a drum roll, they learn that it’s a good fit! Surprise, surprise.


Why You Should Help Prospects Vet Themselves

Your website should help a prospect make an honest decision about whether it’s a good fit to work with you, and they should do this on their own, before they ever talk to you, for these two reasons:

  1. They will be more honest than you will. You cannot be trusted to not compromise when you smell opportunity. This is why you might encourage your teenager to describe an ideal mate before they meet that person; otherwise the list looks suspiciously like the person they just met.
  2. It will save you time. One of the biggest dangers in business development is wasting time chasing prospective clients who are just kicking the tires, and in the new business process there’s one thing that you are always seeking at all costs, and that’s the truth. In this context, data is always your friend. So if the new relationship is not meant to be, the sooner you find that out the better.


How Your Prospects Can Vet Themselves

If you agree with these two reasons and want to help your prospects determine a fit on their own, it’s going to take some courage on your part. If the process is going to be meaningful, some prospects are never going to contact you and you’ll have to be okay with that. This aligns with the notion that sales isn’t about convincing or manipulating a prospect, and it assumes that you are offering something valuable and worthy and for which there are few viable substitutes.

There are many things you can talk about to help prospects do this, but some are difficult to express well. In the end, you probably should stick with just a few, and here are the most useful ones.

  • Explain what size the first project would be, ideally, and how that number fits into the larger relationship you want with the client. Your reasoning is because relationships of this scale allow you to be effective and profitable.
  • Describe the typical mix between strategy and implementation in your work. Must you do strategy at the outset or would you go straight to implementation to get a foot in the door and then swim upstream later.
  • What payment terms work well for you. If you require a significant portion of the fee at the outset, explain why you’ve come to that policy.
  • You’d word these in your own, friendly way and then relax instead of thinking that selling is a fragile process. You’re in the expertise business and not the service business.

Clients Buy From People They Trust, Like, and Respect…

Clients Buy











Clients and customers buy from people they trust, like, and respect. It’s that simple.

Are you in any of these sticky-type situations with your prospective clients…

  1. They find an excuse not to talk with you.
  2. They appear busy and disinterested during initial meet/greets.
  3. They seem closed when you ask questions.
  4. They don’t refer you to the decision makers above them.
  5. They use delay tactics – “we will reach out when we have a need.”

These behaviors indicate you need to build more trust if you want to turn the prospect into a client.

Here are 8 tips to help gain the respect and trust from your prospects.

Sales Strategy – Pursue The Business…

This is one of the 4 sales strategies Michelle Davidson, editor of Rain Today, recently wrote:

Pursue the Business

One of the things salespeople don’t do that they know they should is follow up on quotes and proposals. For those who don’t follow up, not knowing is better than being rejected, says Alex Goldfayn in his podcast interview 3 Tactics to Grow Revenue and Not Sound Like a Pushy Salesperson.

The thing is, if you follow up on those who don’t respond, you will close on average 15% to 20% of them, he says.

“The simple act of following up on quotes and proposals is one of your lowest hanging fruits for revenue growth,” Goldfayn says.

It works because you are showing interest. When people are considering multiple providers, the business goes to the person who acts interested in getting the business—even if it isn’t the lowest price.

“So, be interested in the business,” he says. “Again we’re not imposing, we’re not stepping on toes, we’re not taking up time. We are expressing to them that we want this business.”

See her full post here.

Be Proactive In Your Marketing & Business Development…

What are your objectives and goals for 2016?

discipline02Top organizations and teams are proactive in their marketing and business development efforts: They don’t wait for RFPs. They identify the clients they want to work for and develop effective strategies to capture them. Once they have clients, they don’t let them go. Principals/Partners stay very close to their clients and endeavors to know their business better than the clients themselves. Their goal is to establish such a strong relationship with clients that they get 100 percent of their clients’ work wherever in the world it occurs. (Source PSMJ)

Happy Healthy Peaceful Purposeful 2016! I hope this message inspires you to hit the ground running, both personally and professionally. Let me know if there’s a way to be of service to you – I’m an incredible coach – business development or personal development (private yoga).

Go Grow!

7 Habits of People With Great Reputations…

  1. They get things done.
  2. They take ownership of mistakes.
  3. They are generous.
  4. They listen to other points of view.
  5. They’re decisive.
  6. They don’t sacrifice principles.
  7. They’re resilient.
See full post at Fast Company.

The Quest for Collaboration…

By Ago Cluytens, Rain Group Blog

In internal research from sales training consultancy Rain Group, they discovered that the number two factor that makes buyers decide to work with one firm versus another is because “the seller collaborated with me.”

Today’s buyers are well-educated and often aware of the various options available to them. They tend to have a clearly articulated opinion about what it might take to address the challenges they’re facing.

What they seek, therefore, is not simply information, which they already have in abundance. They’re looking for a sparring partner—someone who can help them find the best way to move forward, and cut through the complexity of the decision making process itself.

In today’s market, sellers who win have a broader “bird’s eye” view of the situation, and can act as external, independent advisors to counterbalance the buyer’s own views.

If you’re still holding onto a command-and-control take on the sales process, I encourage you to see things differently: today’s buyers fiercely resist any attempts to control them, instead seeking collaboration and peer-to-peer exchanges.

Keep It Simple In Your Business Development Efforts…

We seem to have an insatiable appetite for the “shiny new toy” – chasing the new things, including hot new business development and marketing tactics that hopefully attract new clients. Sometimes, the shiny new tactic fragments our efforts, other times it really helps. Regardless, being “old fashioned” in your approach can help you stand out as authentic, genuine, and sensible. These days, it’s almost refreshing to be on the receiving end of a simple tactic. As you apply your shiny new methods, keep some of these tried and true tactics in your toolbox:

  1. Telephone – even if you end up in their voicemail box, leave a polite and short message. Your prospect will hear your name, which builds awareness.
  2. Letters – and better yet, personalized and well-positioned letters.
  3. Speaking – yes, you! Develop presentations that are relevant and insightful and inspire your prospects to think of you the next time they are in need of your services.
  4. Publications – online and in print – find ways to get your name out there consistently and build some buzz for yourself, your projects, your firm. Develop an annual plan to help keep you on track.
  5. Share Articles – you hopefully are aware of what’s on your prospects mind – if you see an article or report that would help them, send it along to them.
  6. Meet Face-to-Face – What companies and clients do you want to be working with in the next 12-24 months? Those are the people you need to get face-time with. Coffees, Lunches, Dinners, Networking Events, Conferences, or at your office or theirs.

Keep it simple! Go Grow!

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