Are You Ripping Or Weaving The Fabric…

Inspired by reading David Brooks: “The Second Mountain”

If you are ripping the fabric, your business development efforts will not be effective. If you are weaving the fabric, you’ve got a better chance. So what the heck is this fabric? It is the people, organizations, beliefs that knit us together. Within our teams, individual organizations, industries, etc., we are granted the opportunity to be weavers instead of rippers. The fabric is not woven by leaders from above. It is woven at every level, through a million caring actions, from one person to another. It is woven by people fulfilling their roles as good teammates, colleagues, and partners.

When I treat another person as if he were an object, I’ve ripped the fabric. When I treat other person as an infinite soul, I have woven the fabric. When I lie, abuse, stereotype, or traumatize a person, I have ripped the fabric. When I see someone truly, and make them feel seen, understood, and known, I have woven the fabric. When I accuse someone of something without evidence, I have ripped the fabric. When I disagree without maligning motives, I have woven it. The fabric is created through an infinity of small moral acts, and it can be destroyed by a series of immoral ones.

Relationships do not scale. They have to be built one at a time, through patience and forbearance. But norms do scale. When we take the time to create caring relationships, and do so repeatedly in ways that get communicated to others, then norms are established. I ask you: what are you doing in your own personal and professional lives, within your team, within your organization, within your communities, to weave rather than rip our fabric? What are we building, moment by moment, choice by choice – to get to where we want to go: individually, as a team, as an organization, and an industry, and as a society?

Asking For Referrals…

Inspired by an article by Mary Flaherty – Rain Group

In B2B business development, good referrals propel your prospective clients into new clients. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable when you first start asking for referrals. However, the more you practice your approach, the easier it gets. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Be referable. To use referrals as a tactic, you need to actually be referable. Be remarkable, trustworthy, genuine, and forthright. Deliver what you promise, when you promise. The people who will be referring you need to be able to speak about the value you provide.

Be clear and build a referral network. It’s important for you to know exactly who your prospective clients are and who within your network can help you get referrals to those prospects.

Ask for referrals. You get referrals if you ask for them.

Build confidence. It’s risky to refer someone. Let your referral network know about your business successes and the problems you’ve helped solve to build confidence.

Be consistent. As with any tactic, ask for and give referrals consistently.

Thank your referral partners. Express your appreciation for getting a referral.

Create other ways to recommend you. There are people who cannot or will not refer you, but they may be happy to give you a testimonial or participate in a case study.

Give a referral. It’s one of the best ways to get one in return.

 Go Grow!






Myth – Cold Calling Is Dead…

Inspired from Rain Today

Buyers Preference vs Sellers Actual Method of Outreach

Blogs and articles pressing on the idea that “COLD CALLING IS DEAD” get a lot of readers. Many sellers don’t want to cold call, so they want this to be true. It’s not. The phone is essential for prospecting, especially when you are selling to C-level and VP buyers. I know this personally because I’ve built my consulting firm around using cold calling as a tactic for the clients I work with. It’s one of the best tactics, especially if you are working from a highly targeted list matched to your positioning.

According to buyers in the research performed by RainToday, 70% of sellers connect with them and generate meetings using the phone. This is second only to email.

Sellers who prospect agree the phone is essential, including cold calls.

According to sellers, of the 15 most effective outreach methods we studied, using the phone represents three of the top five statistics, including making phone calls to existing clients, past clients, and new contacts.

Both buyers and sellers agree: cold calling works and it’s still one of the most effective ways to generate initial sales conversations.

 






Four Steps When Troubleshooting…

I feel lucky in business because I’m the one with the birds eye view on my clients’ organizations. It’s easier to see internally issues playing out when you aren’t in the “box” of their world. When you are internal to the organization, troubleshooting is one way to see more clearly and helps in identifying root causes and fixing them. You can think of troubleshooting as a particular mindset in which you ask a series of questions in an attempt to gain a new perspective on a business problem you may be having. It’s extremely helpful to be curious and open-minded, rather than quick to judge or show up in the “know it all” version of yourself.

Sometimes you find out what you thought was problem actually wasn’t at all. 95% of what we worry about isn’t even true. Our perception about an issue is often clouded and inaccurate. Meditation and yoga helps keep a clear mind… just throwing that out there! The troubleshooting mindset can be applied to all sorts of problems.

Four steps when troubleshooting:

  1. Is there an actual problem? Before you start solving a problem, make sure that the thing you are are solving is actually a problem. You can do this by defining and clarifying the problem. Is it simply annoying? Not necessarily a problem. Is there a clear threat to your business future? Definitely a problem.
  2. Isolate all distinct parts. After you’ve determined that you definitely have a problem, it’s time to isolate all distinct parts. Hats off to engineers – they typically are very good at this kind of stuff! In my business world, I often see clients reluctant to do certain things – adhering to an annual plan or budget and networking are often reoccurring issues when working with clients. The isolated parts on networking would be: pressure to be on billable projects, not seeing the benefits of networking, having fears about networking, preferring to spend their time in a different way, expecting other colleagues to do it, etc.
  3. Testing. This is about taking each isolated part and testing it. In my example above, I’d be asking my client to be honest about their resistance in each component. We would narrow down what they are specifically having issues with. From there, we see the root cause – let’s say it boils down to feeling pressure to be on billable projects. We see they could delegate more to their junior staff, and that then frees them to network occasionally.
  4. Course correct. Finally, we continue to course correct on a regular basis to ensure any other issues are properly addressed at the root level.

Rather than make assumptions, it’s good to implement the troubleshooting process in any area of your business or life. You get to the root cause on issues and can then take the right steps to modify. It becomes easier the more often you practice.






Presentation Skills – 10 Points To Consider…

I recently heard these percentages about what’s important during presentations:

55% – how you look

38% – how you speak (delivery style)

7% – your content (what’s on your slides)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether these are accurate, we all can attest to remembering the presenter and not necessarily their slide deck! Here are ten points to consider prior to your next presentation:

  1. Set the stage. How do you enter the room? Are you positive, grounded, confident, engaged, and attentive to your audience?
  2. Body Language. Stand firm, grounded, but not like a statue. Don’t be small – don’t fold into yourself. Offer a big presence with minimal ego. Don’t intimidate. Open up your body/language. Gesture and hold the gesture. Don’t be frenetic/fast. Have purposeful movement – move, then stand and maintain balance.
  3. Facial Expression. Your face is prime real estate. Use it! Don’t be expressionless. Don’t be afraid to let your emotions show! And if you get nervous, breathe and fake it until you become it.
  4. Voice. Find YOUR voice. How do you say what you say? Project your voice for authority. Lower your pitch (especially some women). Be careful not to up-speak, where you sound like you are asking a question at the end of your comment.
  5. Eye Contact. Make connections with your eyes. Connect with each person in your audience if you can. Don’t allow your eyes to graze the room. Don’t read from your power point. Be natural. Don’t lock eyes, but do pause and connect. Remember – eye contact = point of trust!
  6. Energy. (I’m a yoga instructor too – of course I’m going to slide in something on energy…!) Find your natural energy – attune to your authentic energy. Show off your own personality and human-ness. Find the best version of yourself. Confident. Positive. Excited to win the project/etc. Don’t be too serious because you’ll end of being robotic. Remember being serious doesn’t mean that you’ll be taken seriously.
  7. Power of the Pause. Nothing commands the listener like the appropriately planned pause! Pauses are highly respectful towards your audience, allowing them time to absorb content. Pauses give you the opportunity to gather your thoughts.
  8. Content. Less is more. Spoken communication has a weight limit – like a bridge between you and your audience. Don’t overweight your message. Tell stories – and tell them in a way where everyone can visualize the meaning and depth of the point you are trying to convey. People remember stories because they relate to stories.
  9. Q & A is where selling really happens. This is where you become very credible. Embrace the questions! Prepare for the questions – as yourself what questions you do not want to be asked and be prepared to answer those! Your answer should address “why hire me/us?” Offer tight, concise answers and send any supplemental information as a follow up after your presentation. Tight answers show you know your stuff.
  10. Last but not least… Breathe! Be Yourself! and Have Fun!

Go Grow!

 






What’s the Best Format for Email Marketing…

I thought I’d share this recent post by Ian Brodie, as I tend to agree with him. What have you found to be the best way to format your email marketing campaigns?

By Ian Brodie – http://www.ianbrodie.com/blog/

“What’s the best format for emails?”

My email marketing system provider, Ontraport, recently added a whole bunch of fancy new templates for emails to their system.

I don’t know how much time and money they spent doing this, but the problem is that almost every test run on email formats has shown that fancy formatting hurts your results.

The classic test was done by MarketingExperiments a few years ago. They discovered that:

  • Emails that use lots of graphics and formatting got 34% fewer clicks than plain text emails.
  • Emails that had a little bit of formatting: the occasional underline or bold text and highlighted links got 55% more clicks than plain text.

In a more recent test here, WhichTestWon tested a graphical sales email vs a plain one and found the plain email got a 195% increase in clicks and a 304% increase in sales.

Although we can never know exactly why, I reckon the reason simple, lightly formatted emails do so well is that they look like the emails we get from people we know and trust. Friends and business colleagues.

Graphics heavy emails look like advertisements and so when we read them our self-defence mechanisms kick in.

Fancy graphics often play havoc with mobile devices too. At best, they make the text appear tiny. At worst, the email is unreadable.

So my advice: stick to simple, lightly formatted emails.






Use Targeted Lead Nurture Programs To Cultivate Prospects…

Author: Webmarketing123

Shockingly, 65% of B2B marketers have yet to establish lead nurturing campaigns. This is especially shocking given a previous study that demonstrated a 35% lift in lead generation ROI by marketers that employ lead nurturing programs (MarketingSherpa). Nurturing can take shape in many forms. (Webmarketing 123) recommends leveraging the power of marketing automation to track and score your “not-ready-yet” leads, and send triggered emails based on demographic and behavioral information. Behavioral information includes website visits, whitepaper downloads, webinar registration, and similar activities that indicate interest in your products. Long and complex B2B sales cycles make nurture programs a must to stay top of mind and to guide prospects towards a purchase. See all 8 Online Lead Generation Best Practices

 






Positioning Thought Leadership Requires Quality Plus Exposure…

By Mike Shultz & John Doerr

Exposure MINUS Quality – You want to be known in your market, and you have fabulous market exposure and reach…but something’s missing, and your audience knows it. Most empty speeches, empty books, and empty suits get judged correctly and are set aside.

Quality MINUS Exposure – If a great white paper falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? You may be the real deal when it comes to your quality ideas and relevance within your market. But if you’re known by no one, you’ll influence no one. The “leadership” part of thought leadership implies that there are people who follow your action. Without the followers, you’re out of luck.

Quality PLUS Exposure – Your ideas are relevant and helpful. When people engage your “real deal” thinking, it makes a positive difference in their businesses. You’ve connected with the market, broadened your sphere of recognition and reputation, and marketed your packaged ideas in a way that allows your ideas and contributions to disperse among the people in your market. You win.






8 Simple Tips To Help You Feel Comfortable Networking – when you don’t…

Networking is absolutely critical for your overall business development efforts. But it’s an uncomfortable activity for many people.  If this is the case for you, change your perspective about what networking is all about! Networking isn’t about working a room, collecting as many business cards as you can, imposing yourself upon people, or force-feeding people information about your business. Networking is about creating lasting meaningful relationships and gives you the opportunity to have incredible conversations with a wide variety of people. A few tips to help you feel comfortable networking:

  1. Be yourself. Authenticity always has an audience.
  2. Be a magnet. Have a positive mental attitude and keep your conversations positive.
  3. Be a listener. Understand the different between talking and creating a conversation.
  4. Be personal. “Get real” and create a real relationship.
  5. Be a resource. Educating, inspiring, and informing cannot be understated.
  6. Be on time. Show your dedication, commitment, and reliability.
  7. Be visible. Participate and add value to organizations you are passionate about.
  8. Be true to your core. If you don’t have good chemistry with someone, don’t waste your time (or theirs) trying to nurture a relationship.

Go grow!






Kick-Start Your 2014 Business Development Efforts With Cold-Calling…

I often hear from architects and engineers and other b2b business owners that cold calling doesn”t work for them. I sometimes hear it is a dead tactic or an old-school tactic. Those are true statements if you don”t develop a strategy and stick with your efforts. Cold calling works – ask any of my clients who have worked with me to develop and execute their efforts.

Effective cold calling takes:

  • Building the right list, with multiple key contacts.
  • Developing positioning credit report free annual does have a termination date, right? credit report free annual is just the promise to deliver money at a later date. statements.
  • Building a “series” campaign that builds credibility and awareness about your firm.
  • Using a touch schedule to keep you on track.
  • And using both calling and emailing as part of your overall efforts.

Cold calling generates meetings with prospects, aids in your fact-finding, research, and lead generation efforts. It can help you “connect dots” and add significant value to your company”s business development efforts.  Cold calling can become a major factor in your firm”s growth and success. Take time to develop a straightforward cold calling strategy and implement your strategy using a team member with the right skill set and personality. Develop a process to streamline and organize your efforts and simultaneously keep track of information. Salesforce is a great tool, and if you are on a budget Outlook can be extremely effective.

If you need help, reach out – I do this type of work for clients all the time.

Go Grow!






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