The Honest Economy by Marcus Sheridan

Below you’ll find an email from my friend Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion (www.thesaleslion.com – great website, download his e-book, it’s amazing).  Marcus is a fantastic speaker and was recently selected to speak at a TED event and has received rave reviews for his talk – you can click on the link below to see the video.  In his comments below he mentioned 5 things you can do today to Embrace the Honest Economy and Change Your Business Forever – what are you willing to do?

 

From Marcus:

At this point, you and I have a choice. Be it the way we live our life or run our business, we can walk to the beat of the way “it has always been done” as well as the way “the other guys do it” or we can make a divergence in the road and clear our own path from this point forward.

When it comes to marketing you and your business, this reality has never been so true. Please stick with me for a second so I can explain…

As some of you are already well aware, two weeks ago I spoke at a TED event near Washington DC. As one who speaks a lot, this 11-minute talk was the hardest thing I’ve ever done on stage. I literally poured my heart and soul into it because it’s a message I so firmly believe in. I also know, without a shadow of doubt, that any business or individual who embraces this approach will positively change their industry, build their brand, and create more paying customers in the process.

I’m calling this movement “The Honest Economy ,” and it’s my hope you’ll consider joining the movement today-and also hugely benefit in the process.

And what is The Honest Economy? Simple, it’s one that’s not based on cheap sales tactics, poor financial practices, or slick ad copy. Rather, it’s fundamental core comes down to two essential elements: Great communication and teaching.

This is why content marketing is something I talk about so very much on The Sales Lion. When all is said and done, we’re just trying to be better teachers and communicators.

But to make this simple, I’m going to mention 5 things you could choose to do that not only are fundamentally based in truth and honesty, but will have an incredible impact on your business, brand, and bottom line. Here they are:

5 Ways You Can Embrace The Honest Economy and Change Your Business Forever

1. Answer every question-positive or negative-you’ve ever been asked by a prospect or customer. Turn each question into a blog post title, and then just answer it. Hold nothing back. Be real. Be consistent. Make this a culture.

2. Write a manifesto about something you seeing wrong in your industry, and then show it to the world. (Yes, this takes guts, but you’ll be amazed at the results.)

3. Make an offer to customers no one else in your industry is willing to offer. (Car Max did this with their 5-day money back guarantee in the used car industry and it worked out pretty well for them 😉

4. Make a section of your website called “Who we are not for.” (Believe it or not, it’s more important in your copy that you tell people who you’re NOT for (your product, service, etc.) than who you are for. I’m sure no one does this right now in your industry, but if you do, you’ll see the powerful psychological effect it has on customers and prospects.)

5.  Show your “secret sauce” by making a video explaining how you do what you do . As mentioned in the TED talk, if McDonalds showed the world how to make their secret sauce, don’t you think it’s time we showed ours?? Whether you offer a product, a service, are B2B or B2C-please consider showing the world how you make your secret sauce.

2 Requests that Could Change Your Life and Mine as Well 

I have two sincere requests on this day my friends.

1. Choose one of the above challenges . Tell me, by hitting “reply” to this email, which one you’re doing (or will do) and why. I ask this because I want to be a part of the journey with you.

2. I need your help spreading my TED talk. In order for the talk to be considered by TED.com (only 2% of all TED talks make it to the main TED.com website ) I really need to get the views above 10,000 by next week (currently it’s at 4,000 after the first two days). If everyone that receives this email just clicked on this link and watched the video once, we’d be way above that number. And if everyone shared that same video on Facebook or Twitter, the results would be astounding.

I’m not usually one to ask my readers and subscribers for favors, but today, I am. I do sincerely need your help and hope you’ll consider going to YouTube and at least watching the message-The Honest Economy.

As always, thanks everyone and I can’t wait to hear your responses to the 5 challenges above and see which you’ll choose.

Marcus Sheridan

Springboard Prospect Rant #2 – I Can’t Keep a Sales Person

Continuation of the Bob London of London, Ink “Customer Rant” posts, see previous posts for more information and the slide share of the presentation.

Springboard Prospect Rant #2– I can’t keep a SALES Person

Typically when a prospect finds us it’s because they’ve tried the traditional route and it just isn’t working for them.  They’ve hired 2-3 sales people over the last couple of years and they have either left or failed.  The issue may be the hire, or it may be in the process, the management of the sales person or in management altogether.   Here’s what we typically see:

 

  • They hire the person based off how they interview and their resume, not qualifications or references – interviews and resumes aren’t always 100% accurate
  • They hire the person who has spent their entire career doing something other than sales and yet expects them to be closing deals in 2 months – this is a person who requires training and mentoring
  • They hire family or friends where the challenge becomes accountability, how do you tell your child, your friend that they aren’t living up to expectations?  This can be an excellent idea but it can also have damaging consequences.
  • They hire without plans for tools, expenses or process of accountability.  Tools – tracking, Customer Relationship Management, communication.  Expenses:  mileage, phone, lunches, events, memberships, etc.  Accountability – who, what, when, how?
  • They want the professional who comes with a rolodex, who is on a first name basis with decision makers, who can shorten the time it takes to get in the door, who can frame them as experts in their field, who has a process for management and follow up and who can ask and have answered some challenging questions.   This can be an excellent hire and it can also backfire.   Former executive levels at times can fall into the trap of schmoozing with little follow up and execution – if you think about it, it makes perfect sense; they always had someone else to do it for them.  This would be a great person to partner with an in house program manager or business development manager.

 

Essentially what we end up seeing is the person who should be producing but isn’t getting a very long leash costing the company far more than it should or the newer professional who needs in depth training, mentoring and time expected to perform like a pro immediately.  Sometimes it’s the hire, sometimes it’s the training, sometimes it’s the expectations.

 

What’s your Prospect’s Rant?

A few months ago I attended a CADRE luncheon (www.cadredc.com) where Bob London of London, Ink (an amazing and insightful marketing strategist) was speaking about the elevator pitch – or in most cases it’s something used to bore your prospect to death in 30 seconds or less instead Bob talked about the “customer rant”.  What is it that’s just pissing off your prospects?  The more you know about what pisses off your prospects the better you can communicate their challenges and the how you can help.  (Take a peek at Bob’s site for more info www.londonink.com and here’s the link for the slide share:

http://www.slideshare.net/londonink/do-you-know-your-b2b-customers-elevator-rant-14333736

The exercise that followed was pretty easy – our prospect rants about pretty much everything to do with sales because let’s face it sales can be a real challenge especially in today’s market.  The next couple posts are about the most popular rants we hear as it pertains to sales and business development and some real honest feedback to help deal with each one.

Rant #1 – The person I want and the person I can afford are 2 different people

I have $60k but the person I want commands $100-$150k in salary alone.  Clearly this is a problem.  Our clients want operators, true business development specialists, and yet they don’t have the resources to hire that person.  After salary, taxes, benefits and expense reimbursement they’re looking at a minimum $200k investment and they have $60k, it just doesn’t compute.  Since most of our clients and prospects are in the $2-30,000,000 revenue range, the CEO is still responsible for the vast majority of operations, client fulfillment, decisions made, hiring, etc. they simply don’t have time to train a more junior level business developer nor do they have the 1+ year waiting period to allow them to come up to speed.  Ultimately the prospect feels they are in a no win situation – hiring the junior level BD person in their mind is a recipe for disaster as they can’t dedicate the time and resources necessary to bring them up to speed quickly and they simply can’t afford the person they want.

Options:  If the CEO is the primary sales person, what functions can be transferred to others in the office to free up the time of the CEO to run business development?  This works great for the CEO who really loves sales (however not every CEO who loves sales is the best option so look around the office as well).  For those that don’t or for those whose presence is truly needed in the office it may be best to identify outsourcing options.  You’re looking for the expert in your target market/s at the price you can afford.

 

 

How to be a Business Networking Guru: Lessons Learned from the Cadre Community

A few weeks ago, at the end of September, I had tickets to a Baltimore Ravens game, and I decided to join forces with the other purple-clad fans and go to the M&T Bank Stadium to support my local team – even though it meant missing out on another great social activity: Cadre’s Event of Business Awesome. If you’re not familiar with the company, Cadre is dedicated to forging synergistic relationships between successful professionals to promote the networking of great ideas and skills.

Though I had fun cheering on the players that evening, I was also a little disappointed to be missing out on what was clearly going to be a stellar event – that is, until I read about a networking no-no that happened at the affair. Cadre’s founder, Derek Coburn, wrote about it in his blog post, “You want to push your services at my networking event? I don’t think so!”  I encourage you to read about it there, but here’s the recap: a non-Cadre member named Ajay Sagar attended the Event of Business Awesome, and his behavior was, as Derek writes, incredibly un-awesome. After getting a hold of the email addresses of all the attendees, he sent out a generic message in efforts to promote his own software.

The problem is, his approach here seems inauthentic: he wasn’t trying to do what Cadre encourages, which is to foster genuine opportunities for business professionals that make sense and unfold somewhat organically. Sagar was doing one thing and one thing only: pushing his own agenda. Though I’m sure he meant no harm, his attempts at self-promotion caused a cascade of negative events:

1)    He attended an event, probably at the invitation of a member, only to make him or her look bad because his networking did not align with Cadre’s mission to encourage genuine relationship building, trust, and advocacy.

2)    Although he did his research and found contact information – which is a good thing – he used the email addresses he found to send a canned message in which he claimed to have met everyone, and subsequently put them on a mailing list they didn’t voluntarily subscribe to!

3)    In so doing, he created a stir: people started talking about him, his company, his services, and of course, his tactics – and not in a positive light.

4)    Because Derek Coburn wanted to speak out on the issue after receiving numerous complaints from members, Sagar got his name and company published for all to see online – but not in a good way.

5)    Finally, since his actions were deemed unacceptable and counterintuitive to Cadre’s purposes, he was banned from a great organization that could’ve actually helped to create sales and business opportunities for him had he altered his approach a bit.

Were all those consequences worth pumping up his email list a little? I’m going to have to say no; my guess is his phone isn’t ringing.

How could he have better established himself as a valuable member of the Cadre community? My advice would be to follow up with the people he actually met, rather than claiming to have made contact with everyone at the event, which clearly would’ve been impossible. From there, he could open up conversations with people about how he could help them, either via his own service or through other people he knew that could be of value.

This would’ve put him on the path to becoming a valued member of the Cadre community, putting him and his company in high standing with other members. In turn, this would naturally create business opportunities for him while simultaneously demonstrating his ability to be a valuable resource for introducing amazing individuals to his contacts.

The bottom line? Be an advocate for others, learn to give, and do it for the right reasons – unselfishly – and you will be amazed at what sort of opportunities come back to you. I’m sure of it.

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