Thursday, October 20, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
My overall preference is to have all files available on any device I choose to use. I use desktop and laptop running Windows XP, a laptop that running Ubuntu, and an Android phone on a daily basis.
For browsing on the PC's I prefer to use Firefox. Up until the release of version 4 last week, I have synced the different machines using Xmarks. With the released of the new version 4 I have set up syncing within Firefox on the Windows machines, but I am still using Xmarks to sync the Ubuntu machine. By syncing all the devices I can open Firefox on any machine and have the same user interface.
For file syncronizing, I found a great web based product called Dropbox. It runs under the Windows OS, the Ubuntu OS and even the Android OS. Any file that I put into the folder on my desktop will be synced with all the other devices. I have even used Dropbox to install an executable file from the Windows XP into my Droid.
There is one other option which I have tested but did not like called Jolicloud. It is an OS that runs on almost any hardware. I liked the concept but when I installed it on a duel booting Dell Laptop, Jolicloud was not able to find the WiFi hardware. I sent multiple emails to the Jolicloud support department but they have not replied back to me. If they can fix the installation and improve their customer service then this looks like a great OS for quick start up and running of cloud based applications.
I would be glad to answer anyone's questions about my experiences.
Links to the products mentioned in the blog:
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Friday, November 20, 2009
This is a great intro to the new Google OS. I envision this as the operating system for a new generation of tablet and netbook computers with constant internet access.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Shows. The person who started the discussion was interested in the effectiveness of trade
shows as a marketing vehicle. In this Blog I will talk about trade shows as one element of
the Sales 2.0 process.
What is a trade show?
Trade shows are meetings held in most major cities around the world. They are usually held
in large venues like convention centers and auditoriums, where exhibitors set up displays
showing their products, demonstrating their services. Over the last 28 years I have
attended or exhibited in hundreds of shows across the world. I have been to shows that have
focused on many diverse industries and fields. Some of the shows I have attended have
Motors and Controls
Surgery and Orthopedics
Vision and Inspection
Boston Local Businesses
As you can see from the list, the shows focus on many diverse topics. How do you select a
specific show and why should your company attend one?
The Primary goal of any trade show is to meet people.
I will repeat that again. The goal of the show is to meet people. Anyone who thinks that
the goal of exhibiting at trade show is to make sales either does not know what they are
doing, or is that Sham Wow guy.
The Secondary goal is to give people your 30 second commercial.
You do have a 30 second commercial don’t you?
This is one of the secrets to trade shows.
You need to think of a trade show as a way of delivering a very small message to a targeted
population. It can either be the people that are attending the show and walking around, or
the people exhibiting the show when they take a break. An example 30 second commercial may
go like this:
Good Morning! Do you use controls?
My company, Brand U, sells Programmable Logic Controllers with an integrated color touch
screen and 32 Inputs and Outputs all for less than $1200. And we give you the programming
software for free! But wait there's more! It can even handle analog inputs and outputs and
be expanded up to 156 Inputs and Outputs.
What brand of PLC do you use now?
Notice that I start off with a friendly greeting, and then ask an open general question. I
determine if this person is a potential customer based on their response. If they are a
potential customer I continue with the 30 second commercial. If they are not a potential
customer and are just walking around the show, I wish them a nice day.
Take a look at the 30 second commercial again, and notice that I have only said the basic
minimum amount of information with the key marketing messages I want to convey. I am not
trying to teach Surgery to the person walking by, just tell them enough to get their
attention. (Yes, I have been to surgery shows. Yes, they do have teaching displays with
real body parts. Yes, it was gross.) If you try to tell someone more information than they
want to hear, they will lose interest in you and your message, and then just walk away.
Prepare your message when you are selecting the trade show at the beginning of the process,
not while you are standing on the trade show floor shaking hands.
OK, so you have said your 30 second commercial, now what?
I ended the commercial with a question. How did the person answer? Based on that answer,
you can now take the next set to follow up on your quick discussion. Ask another question:
Can I send you more information?
This is really a lead in question.
Does this person standing in front of you have a need for your product?
Is this person the decision maker who will approve the spending of money to purchase your
When do they need your product? Immediately or are they thinking of the future?
Do they seem to have a grasp of reality or are they in Dream Land?
I ask these questions as I am walking the person over to the lead collection machine.
Always rent the lead collection machine. Always get the option to download the leads as a
CSV file. Always back up the leads in multiple locations. Swipe the person’s bar code or
mag card badge, and enter the answers to the questions you just asked. Save the data.
What I have been doing very subtly is prequalifying this person as a lead into my Sales 2.0
Remember back to my last Blog about Sales 2.0 where my best rep Dominic followed up on a
lead within a few minutes of the person looking at the web site?
In this Blog I am at a trade show, and talking to a new potential customer for the Rosie
Robotic Work Cell who is in Dominic’s territory. The potential customer mentions that he is
at the show to select a robotic cell to dispense sealant on a mirror that will be used in
the 2010 Cadillac CTS. He just had his budget approved for $50,000 to automate the process
and would like to have two work stations delivered within 4 weeks. Wow!
I swipe the person’s card, into the lead collection machine, and thank him for stopping at
the booth. At the first opportunity I have, I make a backup copy of the CSV data file from
the lead collection machine and import that file into my Sales Force Automation system, and
synchronize my local data with my main database. My good friend Dominic checks his system
regularly, and since he knows that I am exhibiting at a trade show, he does a search of the
“Source of Lead” field for the name of show I am attending. Up pops the prospect
information and Dominic calls him the next day to set up a face to face meeting, where he
closes the sale if the two Rosie systems.
What a great trade show!
Know your target population. If you have not exhibited at a specific show, attend the show
and walk around to get a feel for that show. Then exhibit the following year or at a
different venue. Notice the people walking around. Who are they? How are they dressed?
Where are they stopping? What is attracting them to a booth?
I watch the people's eyes as they walk past my display. You only have 5 seconds to catch
someone’s attention. People are overwhelmed with information and tend to filter things in
their brain. Displays that try to put all the technical specs about their product in size 3
font do not convey any information. Only put key points that will get people's attention,
and stop them. Then the human can do the 30 second commercial.
Think again about the target population. What problem do you solve for that target
population? What is your key point?
You are not that Sham Wow guy. Don’t overwhelm people as they walk by.
The majority of people that attend trade shows that focus on industrial products are male
engineers, and they are generally introverted. They tend to focus on tech stuff or give
away items as they walk around. Pens, flashlights, or squishy balls with your company’s
logo may sound like a great way to get your brand out there, but they all cost money.
The goal of a show is to meet people.
I bring bags of high end individually wrapped chocolates to shows. Everyone that walks by
my display, I greet, I offer them a chocolate, and then I ask the leading question. I talk
to more people than the booth next to mine who is giving out flashlights and pens. I engage
in conversations with more people than my neighbors, and I finish the show with a lot more
qualified leads to send to my sales channel. (Sorry for seeming self-centered.)
Wear comfortable shoes. Your feet and back will hurt at the end of the day.
Take breaks and walk around the show.
2. Meet and greet everyone
3. Ask your leading question
a. If they answer yes, then 30 second commercial
b. If they answer no, thank you for stopping by enjoy the chocolate
4. Ask follow up qualifying questions
5. Capture leads
6. Backup leads
7. Send lead to the field sales team for follow up
8. CLOSE SALES
9. Have fun
Do you need help with your trade shows?
Sales Management Consulting can help you develop a 30 second strategy or manage the
complete show for you. Call us to talk about how we can help your company grow.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Some of the trends that I will be talking about in this article have dramatically changed the focus of the selling process. Companies that are able to adapt to the change will survive. The companies that can not adapt will perish. I call this concept “Seth’s Theory of Business Evolution”. Just as Darwin postulated that Natural Selection caused animals to adapt to their environment or perish, business must also adapt to changes in the business environment or perish.
One of the problems with the old sales model, is the disconnect between a customer seeing your marketing message in a print advertisement, and the sales person making a face-to -face presentation. During the 1980’s the company I worked for would run advertisements in magazines showing their latest Servo Motors and Controls. When a potential customer, Bob the Engineer, saw the ad, he would circle a Bingo card and mail it back to the magazine publisher. At the end of the month, the publisher would compile a mailing list of all the people that were interested in my company’s motors, and mail them to us. We would take that list and type up letters to add to a printed catalogue, which was mailed out to the prospect. At the end of the second month we would send a pile of papers to independent sales reps across the country, with the names of the people who received the catalogues. When the sales reps actually called to follow up on the literature request, most often Bob the Engineer, who originally requested the information, had forgotten why he requested it! This system had a two to three month time delay between initial inquiry and the follow up by a local sales agent with a customer.
As time progressed the concept of mailing out printed literature in response to a request had been replaced with the Internet. It has become the Infinitely Big Catalog of Everything. Unfortunately there are a lot of companies that still have sales teams and management concepts that are based on the old outdated Sales 1.0 model.
New! Improved Sales 2.0! With extra power!
Let’s think about Bob the Engineer again, but now he is interacting with a company that is using the Sales 2.0 business model. Bob has a problem he needs to solve for his company who manufactures gears. He needs to increase the rate of his gear deburring, while lowering his cost per part. Let’s break down the sales process into a series of steps, that are focused on Bob the Engineer’s problem. I have included references to my prior Blog entries to highlight prior discussions.
1. Bob gets called into his boss Mr. Spacely’s office. The boss wants to reduce the cost of each gear and asks Bob for ideas.
2. Bob returns to his office, sites in front of his trusted computer, and types some keywords into Google: Gear, Deburring, Automation, Increase Production, Reduce Cost. Notice that Bob’s keywords describe his problem and are not the buzz words most manufacturers think of. This is the SEO, and Keyword Selection which I wrote about in a prior Blog.
3. Google then searches its index of web sites which have these keywords and comes up with some recommendations. At the top of the list are some highlighted listings. These are really paid advertisements using the Pay per Click technique I outlined in a prior Blog.
4. Bob sees a listing for a Robotic Deburring Cell and clicks on the link. It is really a very cleverly placed Pay per Click advertisement. Good job with that Google Ad placement!
5. Bob’s Firefox web browser opens up a new tab showing George Jetson’s Robotic Deburring Cells. He looks over the different sized cells and thinks the larger model, Rosie, will meet his goal of reducing costs and increasing throughput.
6. Bob clicks a contact request box at the bottom of the Rosie Robotic Work Cell page, fills in his contact information, and presses the enter key. This relates to discussions on Web Site Design in a few of my Blogs.
7. Immediately George Jetson receives an email with Bob the Engineer’s contact information. George also has set up a link which imports the data from his web site into his Sales Force Automation System.
8. Dominic the Rep, George Jetson’s best sales agent, who also happens to be in the same city as Bob the Engineer, logs into his web based Sales Force Automation system four times per day. When he logs in, he sees that there is a new inquiry for the Rosie Robotic Work Cell from a Mr. Bob the Engineer. Dominic calls Bob right away to set up a face to face meeting, and visits Bob later that day.
9. Dominic reviews Bob’s needs and goals, and then confirms that Rosie Robotic Work Cell will solve Bob’s problems. Bob and Dominic present Rosie to Bob’s boss, Mr. Spacely.
10. Mr. Spacely likes Bob the Engineer’s idea to use the Rosie Robotic Work Cell and is so impressed with Dominic’s presentation, that he approves the capitol expenditure while Dominic is in his office. The sale is made, and the order is booked using Dominic’s laptop on the spot!
11. Everyone goes home happy at how much that have accomplished that day.
Reviewing this story, we have seen how our efforts using Search Engine Optimization techniques, Web site design with customer data collection, and the integration of a Sales Force Automation system have dramatically shortened the sales cycle. Compare the immediate solution to Mr. Spacely’s problem and Dominic’s presentation that same day to the Sales 1.0 Company. These techniques have also boosted the perception by the customer and his boss about our Robotic Company. We have also improved the perception of our company by our sales agent Dominic. He happily follows up every inquiry he receives from George Jetson’s Robotic Company, because he knows that they are all hot leads. The sales leads he receives are from his other principals, who still are following the outdated Sales 1.0 business model, and are usually 2 to 3 months old by the time he receives them. Even with all of Dominic’s efforts, the Sales 1.0 Company has a low closure rate and often complains about how bad the economy is. The typical Sales 1.0 Company response is to cut their advertising budget to save money for their company, rather than look at ways to improve their operation, shorten response times, and close more sales.
I hope that this story has given you some ideas of how Sales 2.0 techniques can provide your company with measurable improvements in the sales process which will lead to increased sales of your products.
Sales Management Consulting is available to partner with you to grow your sales. Please call or email.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
If Facebook Was A Country, It Would Be The World’s 4th Largest
Video: UMID shows off faster, cheaper, Windows 7-packing mbook M2
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Friday, September 11, 2009
I used Microsoft Office Live to set up my web site last year. I selected Microsoft Live based on the low cost of entry and the easy development tools that Microsoft provided. At this time I feel that I need a more complex web site with embedded HTML codes. When I embedded Google’s tracking code into my site last week, Internet Explorer could not open the site and crashed. I am sorry to any readers that had a problem. When I tried to contact Microsoft for support, I found that the toll free phone number was no longer available. I am planning to switch to a different host next month that supports embedded HTML codes for tracking. If anyone has suggestions, please post them in the comment section.
When I set up my site, I filled in the Keyword section with every possible key word I could think of. As I started to monitor my site, I noticed that only a few of the Keyword were driving traffic to my site. Website Grader also recommended that I reduce the quantity of key words. I also set up Google Adwords with an advertisement for “Outsourced Sales Management”, as a test to look at which keywords are effective, and to drive traffic to my site. Based on a very short test I was able to review which Keywords were generating traffic for me. I then went back to my site and modified the Keywords. Following these changes I have noticed an increase in the daily web traffic.
It has been about 4 weeks since I added Google Ads to my Blog at this Blogger site. Google Ads provides me with daily information showing how many people have read my Blog. In the last 4 weeks, over 1200 people have read this Blog. I also look at the Microsoft Office Live Reports. So far in about one week, almost 200 people have read the Blog on the web site.
I mentioned last week www.websitegrader.com . It is a tool to review your web site which recommends improvements to increase your ranking. I have used this tool for a few potential clients who were unhappy with the effectiveness of their web sites. I very quickly was able to suggest modifications to the potential clients which should improve traffic to their sites.
Overall I have found that these simple SEO techniques have been very successful expanding my brand, increasing web traffic on my site, and driving client to my consulting company. I welcome any questions or comments your may have.
Thank you for reading my Blog!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Set up web site
Set up Google Adwords
Select keywords to trigger your advertisement
Monitor results and web site traffic
Adjust your keywords and pay per click amount
Monitor traffic to see effect of changes made
Add more pages and start all over
This week I will focus on the tools to monitor your web site. I have been using these techniques in real time as I have been outlining them on the Blog. Since August 1st over 1000 people have read my Blog, with the readership growing following each entry. I have also seen a steady growth in the traffic to the web site, and an increase in leads for my Business Develop and Outsourced Sales Management Consulting services. There is a clear connection between my Blog postings and activity on the web site. Thank you for your support.
I use these web sites evaluation tools on a daily basis:
This is a free tool from Hubspot. You enter your web site into this tool, and it will review your web site automatically. It gives a clear review of your site in a simple to understand format. You can then make changes to your site and see how your ranking improves. I found this tool after talking to a very helpful sales person at Hubspot about their complete fee based offering, and I have used it a few times already this week. It very quickly evaluated why one of my clients was not generating any hits on his web site, and I immediately made recommendations to him for improvements.
My web site is hosted by Microsoft Office Live, which has a selection on your home page of Web Site Statistics. I use this feature on a daily basis to look at the traffic on my web site. One of the tools that I think is extremely useful is the “Add an event” box. When ever I do an activity that I think will generate traffic to the site, I enter it into the event log. This puts a red line on my daily traffic graph, and allows me to correlate specific events to changes in traffic. As I mentioned at the beginning of this Blog, I am constantly looking for measureable results. This report gives me the feedback I need to generate more web traffic and grow my company.
There is a Google tool that your can use to monitor web traffic called Google Analytics. I have set up an account for this tool but have not yet used it. Google requires you to insert a HTML code into your web site. If you have access to your site and are comfortable copying and pasting HTML code then Google appears to be a great tool.
This is a very useful site that brings up info on any web site. It shows your sites clicks per day and also reviews the keywords. It is real strength is to compare your site to a competitor’s web site. Spyfu reviews your ad words and gives pay per click information. It provides a lot of feedback which allows you to make informed decisions.
This is an add-on to the Firefox browser. I added it in a few days ago and have only just started to use it. It seems to have a lot of very useful functions. I recommend that you just try it out.
I hope that these reviews of SEO tools are helpful. I welcome any comments or feedback on my blog, and any recommendations you may have for future articles.
Seth Frielich, principal of SMC has over 28 years of experience in industrial sales. Sales Management Consulting was formed in 1998 to bring that experience to clients and help them to grow. His business plans and management techniques have resulted in consistent growth in sales for his clients since SMC was formed. We are looking for new partner companies. We act as the Sales Manager for your company on retained basis, to set up a highly focused team of professional sales agents across the United States, at a fraction of the cost of an in house sales staff. www.salesrepusa.net
Thursday, September 3, 2009
You have put together a mission statement below, that has a lot of Buzz Words. No on cares about buzz words.
What problem do you solve?
Who is your target customer?
Who is your target customer’s target customer?
Why should that person hire you and not any of the other million web site developers?
How are you going to connect with the person in the United States that will make a decision to use your company, and sign a check to pay you?
Once you have answered these questions, you can then start to look at expanding your market.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Take a look at this link: www.Adwords.google.com
Now the fun part!
When someone types the keywords I selected, the bidding takes place over the placement of my advertisement. I can control which keyword triggers the display of my ad, and a range of how much I want to bid to get the ad placed on the screen. Since I just turned the pay per click on last week, I am still looking at this as a test to see which keywords get interest, and which drive traffic to my site.
Google Adwords includes a lot of analytic functions which allows you to view the quantity of hits that each keyword receives. You can then decide which words you want to trigger your advertisement and how much you are willing to bid to place them. I recommend that you start small and then increase your bid based on the number of clicks each of your keywords receives.
The Microsoft Office Live web site development tools offer a report function to track the traffic coming to your site. The tool allows you to look at the volume of traffic, the referring source, and the keywords that drove the person to your site. Wow!
Keep in mind that this is an ongoing active process:
Set up web site
Set up Google Adwords
Select keywords to trigger your advertisement
Monitor results and web site traffic
Adjust your keywords and pay per click amount
Monitor traffic to see effect of changes made
Add more pages and start all over
By monitoring the web traffic and its sources, you can adjust your keywords and advertisements and maximize the hits on your site, and grow you company.
I hope that this two part blog has helped you gain some insight into the tricks of the Wonderful World Wide Web!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Free SEO Tools, Internet Marketing Tools and Backlink Checkers.
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Monday, August 24, 2009
I have been researching Search Engine Optimization and recently set up a way to advertise my consulting company whenever someone searches for the terms I select. This is a very powerful tool to attract new customers. The goal of this Blog entry is to share what I have learned and help you the readers set up your own web sites.
First we need to define what are keywords?
When you set up a web site, you can select specific words and groups of words which will lead potential customers to your site. For example, I have selected the term “Outsourced Sales Management” as one of my keywords. I use Microsoft’s web site development tools which are part of Office Live Small Business to host my web site. For each page you set up on your web site, there is a Properties selection. When you click it, you can then enter you keyword into a box. Microsoft refers to the keywords as Metatags, and gave this description:
Metatags are invisible bits of code that search engines often use to index Web sites. These metatags can help search engines return the most relevant results for a particular search. The two important metatags are the keyword tag and the description tag.
Meta keywords should be keywords and phrases that your customers would likely use when searching for your page. Each word or phrase, usually between 5 and 10 words, should be separated by a comma or a space.
Try to think like your target customer.
What are they looking for?
hat is the problem that they are trying to solve?
Make up a list of words that prospective customers will be looking for that. These are the keywords to enter on your site.
The major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are constantly searching the internet for new web sites, and creating indexes of the keywords. They use software robots called Spiders to search the web for these works and then update their databases with the results. When your potential customer types a term into Google’s web site, Google searches over its index database to find web sites that meet the search criteria, and then display the results.
Now the secrets!
There are ways to move your web site up to the top of the listings! If you have a new web page or only a few keywords, you may be on the 47th page of results that Google displays. Usually people only react and use the search results on the first or second page, so your website is lost without any traffic.
By placing the keywords on your site the robot spiders will find your site and move you up towards the top of the results. This technique is also called organic search results.
Next Chapter in the Blog will be about targeted advertisements called Pay per Click.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
How to Use Google Insight for Search Engine Optimization
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Blogging and SEO, a Beginner`s Guide
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Torben Rick writes about Business Improvement, Change Management and Turnaround
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009
In my business of creating and designing customer newsletters, I spend a great deal of time writing. Like most things, practice makes perfect. As I may have mentioned before, I read also read many books. Reading also makes one a better writer.
While most of my feature articles tend to focus on what you should do in your newsletter, in this week's newsletter I'm going to focus on a few things that you should absolutely avoid as you produce your own customer newsletter.
Here are Four Critical Mistakes You MUST Avoid!
Not providing contact information--It's hard to believe, but I have seen this too many times. If you're going to take the time to create a great marketing tool such as a customer newsletter, don't forget to tell your readers how to contact you, and preferably more than one way!
Forgetting it's not about you--There is always a big temptation when you start writing your newsletter to write about what is on your mind or what's important in your world. WRONG! If your customers are going to read and enjoy your newsletter, and therefore read it again and again, it must contain information and content that is important to them. My mantra for many years is that your customer newsletter needs to be fun, informative, and entertaining - to your customer.
Not enough pictures--One of the quickest ways to get your newsletter NOT READ is to load it up with a lot of text and no pictures. I often joke with my clients about my patented rule of thumb for readability. Here it is: if people look at your newsletter and quickly determine that it can be read in ten minutes or less, chances are it will probably get read; otherwise it won't. It will likely go into the pile of things that someone intends to read but probably never will.
Lack of distinctive personality--The kiss of death for any newsletter is being boring. People get enough boring marketing messages thrown at them every day. It is essential to give your newsletter some personality. Make your readers feel they are a part of something fun and unique. Trust me on this; your readers will look forward to every newsletter if they can learn something, are entertained, and know they will end up smiling.
By the way, pardon the shameless plug, but if you're looking for the ultimate resource of fun, entertaining, and informative content, then check out my wildly popular and successful Success Advantage 2.0 newsletter. This is the absolute best 'Done-for-You' No Hassle Newsletter program available, period! If you can "cut and paste," you will love Success Advantage.
Jim Palmer is known internationally as 'Newsletter Guru, the go-to resource for smart, effective strategies for maximizing the profitability of customer relationships. Jim is also the acclaimed author of The Magic of Newsletter Marketing - The Secret to More Profits and Customers for Life. Jim's most popular 'Done-for-For' No Hassle Newsletter program is called Success Advantage 2.0.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Now to some ideas!
I have found (with a help from my friends) two other web sites that link to Twitter:
ping.fm is a site that broadcasts your message out to multiple social networking sites like Twitter. There are currently over 45 sites that ping.fm connects with. Think of each one of those sites, as a mini advertisement with its own target markets. When you setup a ping.fm account you can select as many of those sites as you want. At the main screen on ping.fm there is a box where you enter your message and it is then posted to all the social sites that you have selected. One entry is then sent out to many social networking sites.
klout.net is a web based tool that ranks your Twitter postings. It has a very interesting graph showing how you compare to other people in the world of Twitter. I am listed as a Connector in the over all ranking of Twitter accounts. You can also compare your Tweets to other peoples Tweets.
There is a series of tabs on the right. The next tab is Stats, which gives you an overview of your Twitter activity. The Stats lists: Engagement, Reach, Velocity, Demand, Network Strength, and Activity. The Content tab lists specific activities like questions and answers, and retweets. Use this as a guide to your Twitter activities keeping the goal of building up your followers to build your brand identity. Finally there is the last tab for Network which shows a world wide map with an overlay of your influence. My map shows that I influence people in the United States.
This web site is a new tool for me so I will have to update you on the trends that I observe. I look at klout.net as a way to measure the effectiveness of my marketing message, also know as Buzz. The more these indicators grow the more Buzz my effort is generating. My goal of all these tools is to increase paying clients for my Outsourced Sales Management Consulting practice. The more Buzz and traffic on my site I can generate, the higher probability of closure of new accounts. I am also targeting new clients that are based outside the US. Based on the map on klout.net I need to focus on connecting to people outside of the US.
I hope that this helps you and gives you some tools to increase your Buzz. Please post your comments below. If you are looking to increase your company’s sales, please click through to my web site for my contact information.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I want to establish some definitions so we all have some common points of reference.
First the definition of Marketing. Marketing is the activities which attract potential customers to your company’s product or service. Marketing can take the form of a number of activities such as:
o Blogs and other Social Networks
o Printed literature
o Trade shows
o Word of mouth
o Video postings
In each case the goal is to deliver a message to a specific target. In classic marketing terminology there was the Shotgun and the Rifle approach. The concepts are still the same; you can choose to target a wide range of potential customers with a broad general message, or a very narrow range with a specific message.
So using the examples above we can see that Blogs are a way to send a message to a broad range of potential customers or clients. I sent out about 2500 notices that I have updated this Blog, and look for a fraction of the recipients to reply back to me, looking for my consulting services to grow their business.
I have a friend who does direct mail for his clients. He uses a more targeted approach. He mails out offers from a cable company to people who have just moved into a new home. The message targets a specific potential customer at the exact time when they are deciding on their phone, internet, and cable TV needs.
Now the Second Definition: Sales. Sales are the exchange of products or services for money. Profits in a company are derived for the sales of products or services. Marketing is an expense that causes the Sales to occur. The two go hand in hand. Without actively marketing you product or services you will not get sales.
Now on to the main topic: Polls.
A Poll is a way of asking a series of questions to a potential customer or another target group. I have used polls to ask a number of interesting questions, for example:
• Looking for feedback about my company’s technical support
• Asking reps what types of products they would like to sell
• Looking for the next topic for this Blog
In all cases, I had an idea of the questions, and the potential answers I was looking for.
Polls are easily available on Linked In, Blogger which is a Google product, and Constant Contact. In each case you can very easily set up a Poll to ask one question and offer a range of potential answers to select. Try to think about the goal of the Poll and ask the questions in such a was as to gain useful information from your potential customers.
Remember in every case your goal is to gain information about you potential customer, and move them to the point of closing the sale. Why did Ronald McDonald always ask “You want fries with that? “ It was an easy way to Poll his customer at the exact time of the decision, and move the decision process in favor of closing a sale.
Remember in the last Blog we profiled Bob. You can use the Poll to ask Bob questions and then expand your profile of him. The more you know about Bob, the easier it is to influence his decision, to purchase your product or service.
Here are some specific guides to setting up Polls:
On Blogger.com, select Dashboard, then Layout, then Add a Gadget. Polls are in the Gadget section. I have selected to add the Poll Gadget to the right side so that the Poll would not be lost at the bottom of the Blog page.
On Lined In, select Applications, and the Polls follow the installation instructions to get the Poll set up. Once the Poll app is set into your Linked In you can select it and then the Create a Poll tab at the top of the main section.
On Constant Contact, select Surveys and then create a Poll or a Survey. The Survey in Constant Contact is a Poll with more then one question. The poll is sent out the same way as a newsletter to your target population. Constant Contact has a great feature that lets you track who took the survey, and look at the responses. The Survey was so easy to use, even Ed could fill in all the answers.
Next Step: Create you own Poll!
To grow you sales in the United States contact Seth!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This is a continuation to my prior Blog entry where I was talking about the 60 mile comfort zone. In the last Blog, I asked some questions for you to think about. In this Blog I want to ask some additional questions:
How does this potential customer (as outlined in the prior Blog) purchase products?
What is the key factor to that customers purchase decision?
In the last Blog I listed some statements of the target market of companies. For example:
“I am looking for the manufactures that use precision machined parts made out of Titanium any where in the US”. This is the target customer of the Titanium R US Company.
Let’s think of the person that makes the decision to purchase Titanium parts from the Titanium R US Company for a moment. What drives their decision?
In this scenario, Bob Robert’s is the VP of Engineering at BobCo, who is making the decision which vendor to select for his company’s Titanium parts.
Let’s try for a moment to profile Bob:
What is Bob’s background?
What is the capacity of Bob’s company?
Are they looking at Make it vs. Buy it?
Are they checking out other vendors?
What is Bob’s biggest Fear?
What makes Bob Happy?
What are his personal interests?
Once we have profiled Bob as a typical customer of our company, we can then determine how our company can best meet Bob’s needs. At this point we can now look at Sales Channel Development. The needs of the target customer should determine the sales channels needed to expand your company outside of your 60 mile comfort zone!
In the Industrial Sector companies have used sales agents, and distributors to meet the needs of their customers. In the Retail Sector, companies have sold product through stores to consumers. Keep in mind that you can develop more then one channel to meet the needs of Bob, and the other potential customers profiled in the prior Blog. For one client I identified 6 different target populations, and then set up unique distributors across the United States that targeted each of these markets sectors. In every case I also had only one distributor in any given geography for each of the 6 targeted markets to avoid channel conflicts.
Let’s go back to Bob Roberts again and fill in some of his information as an example of how to develop a channel. This example information is based on my experience in the industrial sector.
What is Bob’s background? Bob is an engineer who likes to work with other engineers. He feel that they “Speak his language”, and he respects another engineers opinion.
What is the capacity of Bob’s company? Bob’s company has internal manufacturing capability but they do not have the expertise or machinery needed to work with Titanium.
Are they looking at “Make it vs. Buy it”? Bob’s company does not want to make the investment needed to bring Titanium manufacturing in house.
Are they checking out other vendors? Yes they always check out multiple vendors.
What is Bob’s biggest Fear? That the project will be behind the schedule and his company will need to delay the shipment of a critical component to their customer.
What makes Bob happy? Not having to worry about meeting his goal. Being able to leave work at a reasonable time, since his vendor is supplying him quality component on time.
What are his personal interests? Going for long fast bike rides.
Wow! By talking to Bob and asking him a few questions, we are able to understand his needs and develop a plan to win him as a customer. Using this plan we can then expand our sales team to meet the needs of people like Bob across the country. Let’s look at Bob’s answers and generate a Sales Channel Outline to meet his needs:
Our Sales Person needs to be an Engineer who can establish credibility in his relationship with Bob. Bob want to know that his components are being built in a timely manor so he does not worry. The Sales Person needs to communicate with Bob the status of his parts on a regular basis.
Based on these goal we can set up either a team of independent sales representatives, or direct employees, who are degreed engineers to address Bob’s needs. Independent reps offer an advantage of having long term established relationships with target companies like BobCo and providing Bob Roberts with a range of solutions to his problems beyond his need for Titanium machined parts. With either option, the sales person must keep in touch with to make him feel comfortable and happy.
Friday, July 10, 2009
It is great to have a group of friendly customers who you work with on a regular basis, but how do you take the company to the next level? If you are dependent on one group of customers then you are subject to the same economic cycles as they are.
Jumping out of The Zone
To grow a business past this initial stage requires a Sales and Marketing Plan. Some of the topics which should be addressed in the plan are:
Who is the new target market?
What are there needs of this new market?
Where are they located? Are there test locations or are you looking to expand nationally?
How do you find the clients in the new locations?
This seems fairly simple but I am surprised how many small businesses struggle with these few basis questions.
At this point in the Blog I will make an offer to any company who would like advice about taking the next step to grow. I will talk to you for 23 minutes about ways to expand your company into the larger US marketplace. I only ask that you jump to my web site and fill in the contact information. I will send you back an email with a time for you to contact me. You pay the phone call and I will talk to you for 23 minutes.
Who is the new target market and where are they located?
“I am looking for the manufactures that use precision machined parts made out of Titanium any where in the US”
“I am looking for Chief Learning Officers, of Fortune 1000 companies, located in the Metro Boston or Metro Providence area”
“I am looking for builders of large rotating machines that have require extreme life and reliability”
“I am looking for OEM builders of Automation Machines with between 16 and 128 inputs and outputs, anywhere in the US”
“I am looking for CEO’s of small to medium sized companies that recognize there own need for a coach to help them”
By specifically analyzing your target customers, you break up the overwhelming large potential market of the United States, into a specific target that you can point your finger at. Be detailed and specific to define the target. You can always define more then one target market, and establish a plan to target each one.
I like to do this as an exercise in my Sales Rep Training Classes. I go around the room and ask professional sales people, who their target customers are. Usually it takes one or two them to start talking before the others student’s brains turn on and they come up with ideas. I like to use the old fashioned method of writing on a flip chart in front of the class, and freely share the ideas with everyone in the class.
I had one independent sales rep based in Chicago, who thought his customers were anyone breathing in the northern hemisphere of the planet…… He went out of business.
What are there needs of this new market?
The sales strategy must address the needs of the customers. If you are selling a low cost commodity product, then set up a low cost method to sell the product to the customer. Apple is a great example of a paradigm shift in the selling of software. Software was sold to customers in colorful boxes on shelves of stores, like CompUSA and Egghead. As the internet developed, there was a shift to downloading of the product from the developer’s web site. Apple changed that model with the App Store for the iPhone and iPod. Now you can just touch the desired software and it is automatically be delivered and installed in your device. Apple now has total control over the distribution of all the software products for this niche market, and collects a fee on each App sold.
On the other extreme are custom designed automatic assembly machines, designed to increase production and lower the cost of manufacturing products. Each machine is designed to meet the needs of that one specific customer exactly. Since each customer is different each machine is also unique.
In the case of Apple there are no sales people involved in the purchase of the App software. In the case of the custom machine, the Sales Engineer works closely with the customer throughout the entire design process. The custom machine builder’s sales process is entirely based on building up a long term relationship between the sales person and the customer.
In both of these examples the structure of the sales team should be selected based on the needs of the customer.
More about how do you find the clients in the new locations, in the next entry.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The United States is not Europe.
We do some things differently here in the US compared to other countries. One fundamental difference is that in the US, business is conducted using credit. A product is purchased by a company using agreed payment terms. For example, when a distributor purchases a product from a manufacturer, the distributor pays for the product 30 days later. Most companies do not pay at the time of order for inventory, or pay but wire transfer which are common with European customers.
A second difference is that our standard size of literature is 8 ½ inches by 11 inches, and not the European format of A4. People here do not know what to do with a piece of literature that is A4 size. Since this size does not fit into a file drawer, people do not know where to store the literature. What is the message that a non US company is trying to give to an American potential customer? By using A4 sized literature, the message is that the manufacture does not care about the American customer. This is not a good place to way to build new relationships.
The United States is really big!
Even though the US is one big county, we can look at it like a lot of smaller countries. Each state or region has a different culture. To develop and grow business here in the US, you must be aware of this uniqueness, and work with the local culture. Again companies should not try to force a sales plan that works in New England onto a distributor in Arkansas. You need to find out his local needs, and the needs of his local customers in order for the plan to be successful.
People grow business, not web sites.
Web sites, blogs, social networks, and Twitter, are all tools to connect people with other people. It is the person that is looking into your eyes, and shakes your hand that makes a decision for his or her company. To grow a company you must get a message across to that person.
Are you able to present your company’s product or service and answers these questions:
Does your product or service have a value to the person sitting across from you?
Does your product save them money compared to their other chooses?
Can you improve their life? Will selecting your product or service, give this person more free time?
Does the customer know the local sales person?
Does the customer know your company?
By presenting your company in a way that addresses these questions, you are relating to the needs of that local customer, rather then shouting at him the features of your product.
Business is grown one person at a time.
If you are not helping someone do something, then what is the goal of your company? I highly recommend Jeffrey Gitomer’s books including his “Little Red Book of Selling”. Look on page 7 for the reason “Why People Buy”. Please post your comments if you have read this book to share with the other Blog readers.
I have a wonderful product or service. Will you sell it in America?
I receive about three emails every day from very nice people around the world that ask me this question. I always answer them back the same way, by asking them if their company is ready, and if they have the funding to expand into the US.
Sales of products or services do not just happen, in the industrial or business to business sector. Companies must invest in their future by advertising, marketing, setting up and then training field sales people. I have looked at the sales of many companies over my career. I have tracked the results of specific activities to the overall sales of the company looking for success factors. One great example was the sales agent training programs I presented annually for one of my clients. Within 30 days of every training class I would see a spike in the monthly sales. There was always one sales person who attended my class, and then used the sales tools I taught him to close a new major account. Since ending my training classes, sales at this former client have fallen off dramatically.
The economy in many sectors is not doing very well. In my opinion we all need to increase our level of investment, and activity to get things moving again. I welcome your comments and would be glad to help you in any way.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Twitter and Linked In and Blogs…. Oh My!
Twitter and Linked In and Blogs…. Oh My!
Sometimes it would be great to ask the All Knowing Wizard of Oz to tell you what to do with these new marketing tools. Since he is not available, I hope that I can answer some of your questions.
I started to try out Twitter a few weeks ago as a way to expand my connections. My goal is to find small companies that are ready to expand their sales and marketing efforts in the US. I then help them to connect with sales people and customers across the country and the world. The way I think of the social networking sites is like a TV commercial. I am sending out a very small message to a large pool of prospective customers. The focus of the message is my brand, me, and where to find more information as a fellow up. For example, books that I am reading, updates to my blog, meetings I am attending and that I am looking for sales people to sell my client’s products.
How does this tool fit into my sales strategy?
Think about the classic sales model of a big funnel. The inputs into the funnel are raw unqualified prospects. In the old days of the 1980’s the inputs came for responses to advertisements. The outputs of the funnel are customers that purchase something from you. The challenge in this model is to mover prospects through the selling process from raw leads to closed sales. The Social Networks are a way to get people that are interested in your specific message and then drive them to the next step in the selling process. In my case the Twits drive traffic to the Blog. The Blog drives traffic to my Web site, which gets people to send me an email requisition more info.
Who is reading my messages? For me it is a lot of people that I do not know. My goal for now is to let the network grow. The bigger the audience the higher the probability that my commercial with hit the one person that I am looking for.
If I post someone finds interesting, great!
If they read that leads then go to my Blog, Wow!
If they read the Blog and then contact me, Hurray!
Some people commented on my Linked In postings that Social Networks do not have a good ROI. I learned from Bill O’Leary in the early 80’s that ROI is Return On Investment. What is the investment in a Blog? What is the investment in a Tweet? Nothing but my time! The ROI for only one hit is huge and worth my investment in time.
I hope that you found this interesting. Please post any comments or questions, and please add your name to the followers list.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I set up a Twitter account a few weeks ago to test it out.
At first it seemed pretty cool to have all those people following me, but then I realized that the system sends out an overwhelming amount of junk. A message sent out to an infinite number of people that do not read it has no value. So I have been trying to filter the junk out of Twitter.
I am Following people. Ideally these are people that have a message that I am interested in. I am constantly reducing this amount to keep the messages manageable. Twitter will automatically attach people to my Following list, even though I personally did not request them. Watch this list, as it grows you will be overwhelmed by the junk messages.
People are Followers of me. They have either selected or were attached automatically to my Tweets. I broadcast out a message to these people. My thoughts are that the messages I send out are going out from One person (me) to Many people (my Followers). Just like an advertisement in other medium such as TV or Radio.
Settings and Controls
Twitter has options to allow you to select who Follows you. I found this option after about two weeks of uncontrolled expansion. Select Settings at the top of the page and then at the bottom of the Account Tab, there is a check box to "Protect my updates". Check this box and hit save. When someone wants to Follow you, you will get a notice on the right of your home page. When opened you can select who Follows you, and in turn who you are Following.
As I am reading the Tweets that come in and I notice a junk Tweet, I right click on the name of the person sending the Tweet, and select open in a new tab. I then click on that tab on my browser to open the unwanted Tweet Sender's page. On that new page there is information about the Tweet Sender, which I review to see if I really want to follow this person. For the Junk Tweet Sender I then click on the Following box on the left and select Remove. I also click on the block selection on the right, just under Actions. This one is hard to see, so you need to look for it. A new page will open asking if you are sure that you want to block that Tweet Sender, I select OK and close the tab on the browser.
By using this process, I have noticed a dramatic drop in the Junk Tweets I am receiving.
My goal is to use Twitter as a marketing and communications tool to send out messages to a target audience, by controlling my followers I am selecting the target of my message. By controlling the people I am following, I filter out the junk messages. This allows me to focus on the messages coming in from the people who I choose.
I hope that the use of Bold has made the Following and Followers clearer. Please let me know if this helps you.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Here are some tips for using Linked In to expand you network:
- Fill in all the info that Linked In asks for. It makes your profile look professional and complete. Post a photo of you in a professional setting.
- Ask people that you work with for Recommendations.
- Join 50 groups the maximum that Linked In allows. I select two classes of groups; one for me to look for new target clients, and the second to reach out to new sales agents for my existing clients. Select the groups that help you achieve your goals.
- Start Discussions. Ask the group questions in a way that will help you achieve your goals.
- Reply to Discussions. Each time you post your info is listed on Linked In and it will be found by the search engines.
- Once you are a member of a group, you can invite other members to join you Linked In network. Some groups post open forums for people that are looking to expand their network.
- On the Profile page there is a section under your name where you can put any message that you want. This is the message people see when they view your profile. Think of this as you short marketing message.
- One of the most useful features is the blank box on your home page. Seth is..... This is a free bill board that delivers your marketing message to the connections in your network for free!
- Put a link to your web site in the status message or in the box under you name to drive traffic to your site.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Building Brand Identity
There are a number of inexpensive ways to build up brand identity for a product or service. One method which I have used successfully is to e-mail news letters out to the sales force on a regular basis. The goal is to gain mind share of the sales force by presenting them with a consistent message:
Our Brand of product is better, stronger, and faster! Here is why.
I found that I received a lot of positive feedback for the team when the stories were quick to read, and easy for them to relate to. A popular story is how another agent helped a customer solve a problem, which then resulted in increased sales of the product.
Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com) is a great web based tool for managing an internet based e-mail marketing campaigns. It is very easy and inexpensive to use. First you upload you contact’s e-mail addresses. Then you do use there templates to design the newsletter, and import your text. Finally you sent out the newsletter. The real power of this concept is to look at the statistics after the newsletter has gone out. You can easily see how well your message was received, and who clicked through to your web site.
If any one has specific questions, I would be glad to answer your emails on this topic.