Category Archives: Guest Bloggers
It has been a while since I have had a guest post on Sell Lead Succeed, but I am very excited to introduce Robyn Davis today. I have followed Robyn’s awesome content on trade shows and marketing strategies for well over two years now, and love what she is doing.
Many people can relate to the stress of business travel, as they leave the comforts of home, and still need to perform their roles at a high level.
In this post, Robyn outlines 12 tips to cope with the most common causes of travel stress.
Just click on the link below and enjoy!
Trade show expert, Robyn Davis of When I Need Help (WINH), advises executives and their teams on the specific trade show sales and marketing strategies that they need to generate more quality leads, strengthen relationships with key industry contacts, and make money while exhibiting. Contact Robyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her free resource website, www.HowToTradeShow.com, for more information and advice.
Sarika Periwal reached out to me about a guest blog. I thought it was a great idea to do a post on marketing, sales and service.
For any business to succeed keeping customers happy is essential. It is always more profitable to retain an existing customer who will come back for repeated purchases than to convert new potential customers for each sale that the company makes. Statistics exist to support the fact that the cost of acquiring a new customer can be six to seven times higher than retaining an existing customer. To this effect you need some strong policies which help the company to improve their customer retention rate.
The focus of these policies is to deliver a flawless customer experience when they deal with your company. It does not matter what you sell. It could be a physical product, a digital solution, a service that is offered in special circumstances, or anything else. There are three main areas where your customer or potential customer will interact with you. These are marketing, sales and service. They are also known as the three pillars of successful business. If you manage to get your act together for these three aspects you will have a thriving business model. Here’s how you can do this and benefit the customer and the company both.
All the marketing campaigns that you run are to get your customer’s attention. These all hope to make the right kind of offer to the customers at the right time to tempt them into making a purchase. Here the focus is to build on the trust that the company brand name inspires. To make the customer believe that they have the right solution to their needs and to provide the customer with the ultimate financial deal when they buy what the company is offering.
There is nothing as sad as losing a customer who would have bought from you but couldn’t find how to complete the sale. This pillar deals with providing the potential customer with the ease of buying the product in a quick and hassle free experience. You need to be able to provide the customer with many ways of buying the product. It could be in the shop, online or through partner vendors. There should be many payment options as well. A lump sum payment is easy for a small purchase, but arranging finance options for a larger purchase is a good idea. Also let there be the option of paying via cash, banker’s cheque or credit card. Each customer may have a preference for a specific payment mode.
When it comes to encouraging retention and customer loyalty to your brand it is the after sales service that is most important. Many customers feel that a company loses interest in them as soon as they make the final payment for their purchase. This does not encourage them to buy from the company again. What needs to be done is to make the customer realize that the company is just as interested in pampering them even after the sale has been completed. A well trained team can make this a reality.
Sarika Periwal represents KarmaCRM, an online CRM service for small businesses and individuals. Karma offers a powerful and feature-rich backend system with an easy user interface. This tool can help you manage all 3 areas of your business efficiently. Contact us for more details or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter .
Eve reached out to me a few weeks ago interested in guest posting on leadership. I was more than happy to oblige. Check out her incredible take on health and productivity!
The modern world is increasingly doing studies on the link between health and productivity. That is hardly a new concept. The phrase “A sound mind in a sound body” is quite old. In general, we all know that if you are sick, in pain, or under the weather, you will not be at your most productive. But what seems to not sink in is the idea that if you really want to excel at sales or in leadership, you really need to be working towards optimal health, not merely avoiding sickness.
Instead of talking in generalities, let’s take one person as an example. Let’s talk about actor, producer, and businessman Will Smith. He has made Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list. He is the first actor to have eight movies in a row bring in more than $100 million. He came from nothing and is now worth millions. He is viewed by many as an inspiration and role model for minorities. His list of personal accomplishments is quite long.
Focus on Will Smith
Will Smith has said “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might be more talented than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right? You’re not going to out-work me. It’s such a simple, basic concept. The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy who just gets that loose ball. The majority of people who aren’t getting the places they want or aren’t achieving the things that they want in this business is strictly based on hustle. It’s strictly based on being out-worked; it’s strictly based on missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”
More than an actor
As indicated above, everyone likely realizes that Will Smith is not just an actor but he is a leader in many ways: A producer, founder of I’m more than one company, community leader and so on. If you have ever seen him work the crowd at a red carpet event, you should realize he is also a consummate salesman. That is part of why his movies make so much money. So when he talks about hustle, he doesn’t just mean “work hard.” He also means you need to sell yourself. Constantly.
What may not be obvious is that in order to have the attitude he has, the first thing he needs is the physical stamina necessary to run you into the ground or die trying. If you have seen him in “I am Legend”, a movie filmed in his late thirties, you have seen with your own eyes the kind of phenomenal fitness he has. Similarly, he trained for months to put on the muscle necessary to portray legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. People who are not super healthy don’t do things like that. They simply can’t.
Health and fitness
So if you want to be a great sales person or leader, you first need to be the best that you can be. And that starts with being as healthy and fit as possible so you have the physical energy and mental focus to out-work others, to recognize opportunity when it presents itself and quickly take action, and to be as presentable and attractive as possible. The reality is that both sales and leadership are about influencing other people. Someone who is healthy and fit is far more personable than someone who is not.
Think about this: Shaking hands is a basic symbol of both friendliness and deal-making. People have to touch you to shake your hand. No one wants that if you are ill. Even if you are in good health generally but know there is room for improvement it can be a good idea to take a medical test to highlight where best to prioritize, be it diet or fitness levels. A routine lab test can highlight any problems or deficiencies you may have meaning you can take measures to address these under the advice of a medical professional.
So get cracking. Watch what you eat. Take your vitamins. Hit the gym. Get on that treadmill. Make sure you are healthy enough to be the last one to get off it when you are up against the competition. In other words: Every day.
If you are interested in having Eve guest post on your blog or website she can be emailed at: email@example.com
I had debated coming clean for a while and getting personal about my battles with stuttering throughout my life on this blog. I finally took a leap of faith and developed a post about it last week. It ended up being one of my most popular to date, and I wanted to thank everyone for their support. In case you missed it, here is the link again:
It caught Daniel Francis’ attention, and inspired this guest post. I have been connected with Daniel for many months now, thanks to him initially reaching out on Facebook. His content is inspiring, well thought out, and incredibly interesting to read. I am enjoying his book “The Cold Calling Bible” now.
Daniel was living a good life, but not a great one for 10 years doing what he thought he should in trying to achieve massive success and live what he thought were his dreams. A reality check and some tough times ensued; but once he figured out what he was really good at, his life changed.
Check out his inspiring story, and try to relate. Are changes perhaps in store for you as well?
We live in a time when more is accessible to us than ever before. More information, more stimulation, more stuff. Dream it, and the world may well offer you a crack at it, but have you ever chased the wrong dream? I have, and I’ve lived to tell about it.
Like many people, I wanted to live “the good life”, but my definition of “the good life” was, upon reflection, pretty selfish. In fact, I spent a decade chasing the wrong dream for the wrong reasons. What did I dream about? A Lamborghini. Luxury condos in New York and Berlin. Life in the fast lane: travel, women, adventure. You might call it Fortune 500 or James Bond 007 signed, sealed, and delivered.
My persona in those days was definitely that of a smart-ass. I was living and working in The Big Apple, the ultimate corporate pressure-cooker. My employers and clients seemed to think I could do it all, and they threw it all at me. I never flinched, I just took on more and more — even things that I simply am not good at. Now let’s be honest. There are things we do well, and there are things we don’t. Wisdom would have it that we eventually learn to distinguish between the two.
For ten years, I chased my dream with the enthusiasm, dedication and passion that I do everything – all the while creating expectations I could not fulfill because they involved doing things I am simply not good at. I was living beyond my means, above my limitations, offering more than I could actually deliver. You might say I had become very adept at flying by the seat of my pants. The problem was that I felt like I was walking on eggshells all the time – balancing – and terrified of falling. Of failing. Everyone, and ultimately, myself.
Eventually, my life came tumbling down around me. Burn-out led to depression, with all the troubles, sorrows, and self-reflection that entails. It took some months and a lot of work before I discovered the secret to a successful life and healthy dreams: Focus on what you are really good at, therein lies the key to happiness.
I am the Cold Call Expert. I can get you in the door of corporate decision-makers faster than anyone. My friends and colleagues had told me this for years, marveling at how easy it is for me to get through to the CEO with a single call. I love it. I’m great at it. It’s what I do really well, and best of all, the people I call upon enjoy it too. More than once I’ve been told, “This was the best sales call I’ve ever experienced. Thank you!” I am a connector and I teach others how to connect.
Identifying and embracing my true strength changed my life. I stopped trying focus on skills that are outside my limitations. I recognized that I do, in fact, have limitations. I work healthier now, less intensely, but with greater passion. I earn a good salary, have a good life, and dream realistic dreams. I traded in my elusive Lamborghini to drive a reliable Volvo, and as I sit here writing, I am thoroughly enjoying a fresh slice of bread with chunky peanut butter. Simplicity, balance in work and recreation, and enjoying what I do each day makes for a truly great life.
If you are tired of chasing your tail, oops, I mean, your dream, look again. Maybe you are pursuing an unrealistic dream. Learn to focus on your true strengths. A better life is sure to follow.
Daniel Francès, author of The Cold Call Bible and experienced Cold Calling Trainer, was born with sales running through his veins. While other boys daydreamed of becoming firemen or famous soccer players, Daniel knew instinctively from the age of seven that he aspired to sell. Beginning his career in New York, he became first acquainted with the phenomenon of cold calling, and was intrigued and inspired. He immediately internalized this form of marketing as second nature.
After studying, fine tuning and practicing his craft, Daniel became a master of the Cold Call. In 2010, obsessed with training others to master the Cold Call, he established The Cold Call Company dedicated to the art of cold calling. He now custom designs and delivers corporate cold calling training programs and is an adviser on how to gain new business using cold calling.
Leanna Dindal and Kevin Rae from http://www.theleagueofchampions.com reached out to me last week, and I am so glad that they did! We agreed to guest post on each other’s blogs, so I am very excited to present their contribution on Confidence. Have a read; I am sure that you will like it as much as I did!
Confidence is like money – everybody wants more of it. And, just as we’d like to lessen our working hours while simultaneously increasing our cash flow, is it possible to gain more confidence in just a short time? We think so.
Try the “One-Day Confidence Course” below and see if you agree.
1. Get up in the morning and work out – 1 hour
Not only does exercise increase your serotonin levels, you’ll feel great knowing you’re doing something for your health. What better way to increase your confidence than feeling good about yourself? Be sure to pick a form of exercise you enjoy.
2. Think of something you believe in and find references to back it up – 15 minutes
Everybody needs reassurance. When it comes to things you’re really passionate about, that you really, desperately want to be true, it’ll boost your confidence if you know that other people are on your side. A few minutes and a quick Google search will take care of this.
3. Buy some new clothes – 2 hours
This doesn’t have to be a full-blown, redo your whole wardrobe shopping trip. Just go out and try on a couple of things. If you look in the mirror and think, “I look good in this,” then other people will think you do, too. You’ll feel more confident knowing you’re bound to catch a few eyes.
4. Go to lunch at a restaurant alone – 1 hour
Think of this as a gift to yourself. You’re worth it, so you’re taking yourself out to lunch! If it‘s outside your comfort zone to say, “Party of one,” then good! Your confidence level will jump up because you’re doing something different and because you’re validating yourself.
And, since you’re there……
5. Learn some new fun facts – 5 min
While you’re waiting for your food, pull up the internet on your phone and learn a few things you didn’t know. The next time you strike up a conversation, how great will it be to confidently share those interesting topics?
6. Make a connection with your server – <1 minute
We so often treat people we interact with as robots, like they’re only there to serve a function. Other people are humans too, and if you recognize them, they’ll recognize you. Bolster your server’s confidence by giving them a personal compliment or taking the time to ask them how their day’s going. They’ll probably do the same back – reciprocal validation.
7. Share your expertise or take a class in something you’ve never done before – 1 hour
When you teach other people, your confidence in your skill grows. When you have to act like an expert to help them learn, you’ll probably realize you are an expert. Alternatively, trying your hand at something new by taking a class will prove to yourself that you’re smart and adaptable. This one will take some pre-planning, so scope this out prior to your confidence day.
8. Go dancing or do some karaoke – 3 hours
Dancing and singing are two things a lot of people fear, especially in public. But you’ve got to break through that barrier of self-consciousness to achieve ultimate confidence. Commit to it, even if it’s uncomfortable at first, and you’ll reap the rewards. You may even have fun.
And while you’re at it…….
9. Let a moment of silence pass <1 minute
You’ll enjoy the previous step more if you take someone with you. So, during your conversation with this person, allow for some time without words. People who are comfortable with each other are okay with sitting in silence, and it’s also a good way to feel more comfortable with yourself.
10. Talk to strangers – 5 minutes
Engage in conversation with people you don’t know while you’re out on the town. Doing so means you’re worth commanding their attention, and your confidence has no choice but to increase.
Total time spent: about 8 hours
People underestimate what they can accomplish in a day, or even a lifetime. Grow your confidence and get in your own corner so you never underestimate yourself.
What have you done outside your comfort zone today?
The League of Champions was founded by two friends, with the intention of empowering people to achieve their own, personal definitions of success. Together, Leanna Dindal and Kevin Rae developed a systematic way to change their lives, and to help others do the same. The League focuses on unlocking creativity and finding the inner strength to be a Champion. Find out more at: http://www.theleagueofchampions.com
Michael Boyette from the Rapid Learning Institute and The Top Sales Dog blog reached out to me last week, and I am so glad that he did! He is giving me the incredible opportunity to post content on his website, and wanted to contribute to Sell Lead Succeed! as well. I love his take on the “Discomfort Zone”. Initially it looks like a place we would not want to be, but upon further evaluation, it is very clear that we all need to take a leap of faith and “get uncomfortable”. Enjoy!
Your sales career is “doing okay.” You’re in the groove and your boss isn’t tormenting you. But something is missing. You know you can do better. Fact is, it may take a lot more than you think to get to that next level. Top sales achievers understand this, and recognize that growth comes only by setting stretch goals. And that the rewards come after the risk, not before. In order to sell, lead, and succeed, you must first escape your personal comfort zone.
Strategies for Escaping Your Comfort Zone
1. Commit to your vision of where you want to be
People change only when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of changing. So the only way to escape a comfort zone is to feel discontent with it. The first step: daydream. All meaningful, lasting change begins by fantasizing about where you really want to be (i.e., not in this comfort zone). If you vividly imagine yourself busting through sales barriers, being excellent rather that just average, eventually that picture makes its way into reality. When it does, the old comfort zone is unacceptable and we feel the need to change it. That compelling urge to change is what drives us to do things that make us uncomfortable, but lead to the rewards we want.
2. Write down what you need to do
When it’s on paper, with quantifiable tasks and deadlines, you make it urgent. Writing things down is the best antidote for procrastination, which is a defense mechanism that keeps us in our comfort zones.
Example: By the end of next week, I will make 50 cold calls in the new market, and set up five sales calls that will lead to one sale.
3. Recognize – and resist – the urge to crawl back to the comfort zone
Entering a discomfort zone is stressful. At the first sign of failure our impulse is to return to where we never fail. You’re going to feel that way. Expect it and resist it.
4. Just do it
Fear dissolves through participation. Think of bungee jumping. Most people are terrified of it, can’t sleep the night before, break out into a cold sweat when the ropes are tied to their feet. For many, it’s utter agony. They then jump and the fear is over. All they feel is the intoxicating high of having broken through a personal barrier.
The same is true of public speaking. How many times have you seen speakers who seemed nervous at first – which means that deep inside they were terrified – but became increasingly confident? We all overcome fear by doing.
5. Don’t fall into a new comfort zone
So you’ve broken through that first barrier; now you can relax, right? No. High achievers use their comfort zone to rest in, not to live in.
In the early 1990s Bill Gates was the richest man in America and Microsoft Windows had established itself as the dominant operating system. Gates could have become complacent. But he didn’t. He lived in utter paranoia that networking would put Windows out of business. By 1995 he was convinced that the Internet could destroy everything he’d built. Gates’ refusal to retreat into a comfort zone explains why Microsoft still dominates the software market, and the Internet, today.
A Final Thought
Successful sales leaders and entrepreneurs are not necessarily more competent, but they do look for ways to grow and stretch. They willingly expose themselves to new things by venturing into their own personal discomfort zone.
Michael Boyette is the executive editor of http://rapidlearninginstitute.com Rapid Learning Institute’s Selling Essentials elearning site and editor of the http://rapidlearninginstitute.com/top-sales-dog Top Sales Dog Blog. He’s also managed marketing and PR programs for DuPont, Tyco Electronics, and US Healthcare. Connect with Michael via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @TopSalesDog