Tag Archives: sales

World’s Greatest Salesperson– Best of the Best in the World of Sharks: They– Dream It, Visualize It, Achieve It…

Share

World’s greatest salesperson; Three salespeople were bragging who is the greatest. The first said, that he is so good he sold a color television to a blind man… The second bragged he sold a HI-FI stereo system to a deaf man… The third said he sold a Cuckoo clock to a blonde lady… The other two said, so what? The third salesman added, but along with the Cuckoo clock, I also sold her one hundred pounds of bird seeds! According to Og Mandino in his book ‘The Greatest Salesman in the World’; rewards of success are great if one succeeds, but rewards are great only because so few succeed– if you are not willing to take risk, don’t expect much return… The world’s greatest leaders, in fact, are the world’s greatest salesperson– to be a great leader you must be a great salesperson… According to John Maxwell; a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way…

sales thV3VGSCC9

Think of some of the world’s most influential people, ever; Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Charles Darwin, Nelson Mandela, Julius Caesar, Adolf Hitler, Abraham Lincoln… even mythical character Jesus Christ, they all sold their vision and inspired others through their words, actions, salesmanship… According to Trent Leyshan; every day the greatest salespeople sell themselves on: Why they need to get out of bed with spring in their step. Why they won’t let challenges and setbacks consume them. Why their customers will buy from them and not their competitors. Why they will ultimately succeed, no matter what, at what they do… Hence, the ‘sell’ must always start with a meaningful, why? Be mindful, that without a strong why, no one will buy… It was said that we are all created in likeness of God… Well, he is without doubt the world’s greatest salesperson, ever…

In the article Why Dalai Lama is World’s Best Sales Person by Baldwin Beerges writes: Every year, Dalai Lama raises millions of dollars for the Tibetan cause. A gripping story about people who have been without a country since the 1950s… So, what makes the Dalai Lama the greatest sales person in the world? He doesn’t offer product, service… but, he manages to attract millions of dollars every year for what seems to be an impossible cause. Even though he is the top scholar of one of the world’s most complex philosophies, he clearly worked out way to resonate with most people. He tells powerful and compelling stories that get people emotionally involved. I don’t know about you, but this really makes me think hard about what the essence of selling is really all about… My personal recipe for great selling has three main ingredients: Useful + Genuine + Consumable = Authority… Apply it, as do the greatest salesperson:

  • Useful:  Even though we aren’t all Buddhists, the Dalai Lama still shares tips and ideas that can help us all live happier and more meaningful lives…
  • Genuine: We get emotionally involved by liking him because he is who he is. He lives a simple life and always practices what he preaches. He also has a refined sense of humor that is contagious…
  • Consumable: He shares the ideas that come from a complex philosophy in a context that makes it easy for all of us to understand his message…

In the article One Thing Greatest Salespeople All Have by steve denning writes: Six years ago, a major firm conducted a six-month double-blind study of its sales force. The goal was to determine what behaviors separated the top salespeople from the average ones… Selling with ‘noble purpose’ turns out to be not only more successful, but hugely more profitable… The salespeople who sold with noble purpose, who truly want to make a difference to customers, consistently outsold the salespeople who focused on sales goals, money… According to Lisa Earle McLeod ; ‘selling’ and ‘noble’ are of course two words that usually don’t occur in the same conversation, let alone the same sentence,but, the world is changing… We know businesses that engage in ‘customer capitalism’– focus on adding value to customers– tend to make more money, provide better workplaces, do more for customers than businesses that just aim to make money… When businesses see their sole purpose as making a profit, they tend to view the customers as ‘objects’… they are no longer human beings– they are anonymous targets and prospects whose sole purpose is to help the business make money… By contrast, purpose-driven salespeople understand their customers’ environments, goals… better than quota-driven salespeople do… Selling with ‘noble purpose’ is not about ignoring profits, but profits are a result, and not the goal… It’s  ‘True North’; it puts customers front and center of every conversation… The question that the world’s greatest salesperson always ask: How will this customer be different as a result of being engaged with your business? This answer should ignite a chain reaction that drives the greatest sales performance– you will change a customer’s life– make it better, make it different… as a result, it sheds a much different perspective on your selling activities…

sales thDEJ06Q22

In the article Greatest Girl Scout Cookie Salesperson, Ever by Zachary Crockett writes: Every year Girl Scouts sell about 175 million boxes of cookies. In a mere seven weeks, the program nets $700 to 800 million in revenue, making it third largest cookie company in the country. But the Girl Scouts’ sales force differs from that of its competitors; clad in iron-patched uniforms, toting wagons full of ‘Thin Mints’… over 2.3 million girls aged 5-18 take to the streets to peddle cookies… Over time, some of the youngsters have made national headlines, e.g.; one girl sold 117 boxes in less than an hour… others sold cookies thru online markets, such as– eBay, Craigslist… Most impressively, an 11-year-old from Oklahoma broke the single-season cookie selling record of 18,000 boxes (the average scout sells between 150-200 boxes per season). This accomplishment got us curious: How on earth does a Girl Scout sell 18,000 boxes of cookies? The answer took us back nearly three decades where a teenage, who became ‘Cookie Queen’– re-imagined the way the organization’s crunchy treats were sold. The little huckster was so successful that she sold to two U.S. Presidents and was hired to give speeches to salespeople five times her age…

This is the story of Elizabeth Brinton, the greatest Girl Scout cookie salesperson ever… From 1978 to 1990, Elizabeth Brinton sold 100,000 boxes of Girl scout cookies– a feat that, to this day, has never been replicated. During her peak season, she doled out baked goods to clients like– Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Sandra Day O’Connor… graced pages of Los Angeles Times, Washington Post… and was such a cultural staple that the TV game show ‘Jeopardy’ made her into a question… In one speech, at a sales convention, she revealed her keys to successful selling, she says: I believe that my success is attributed to the five basic traits of the professional seller– No. 1: set high goals… No 2: sell yourself and your products… No 3: know your product well and believe that your product is the best… No 4: know your territory and customers… No 5: accept the fact that some people will still say, no… More recently, Brinton’s 30-year ‘single-season record’ of 18,000 boxes was dismantled by Katie Francis, an 11-year old cookie mogul from Oklahoma City. In an eight-week period, the young lady unloaded 21,477 boxes– 384 boxes per day. At $5 per box, she raised $107,385… According to Katie; there are three ingredients to her saletime, commitment, and I ask everybody I see… However, she has a long way to go before selling 100,000 boxes but with her new mentor, Elizabeth Brinton, anything is possible….

In the article What Does It Take To Become the Best Salesman, Ever? by Dean Cipriano writes: Take a close look at one of the world’s greatest salesperson, Joe Girard. During Joe’s selling career he sold 13,001 cars, all at retail. And, all of them one car at a time. He had no fleet sales, no multiple sales, and no wholesale sales. He personally sold more cars during his career than most dealerships sell in their lifetime. From 1963 to 1977, Joe sold more cars on a one at a time than anyone else in the world… On his best day he sold 18 automobiles. His best month, he recorded 174 sales. His best year… a total of 1425 vehicles. All in all, he averaged about 6 retail sales/day. An amazing accomplishment! All of Joe’s sales have been certified by ‘The Guinness Book of World Records’… So, how was he able to achieve such astounding heights? The key is being a master of follow-up. You know my motto: Follow Up Until They– Buy, Die, Or Tell You To Go To Hell! I know I sound like a broken record… But this is just more evidence that it works… Joe’s contacts almost considered him a member of the family, and when they thought about buying a ‘new car’ they immediately thought of Joe Girard… Wouldn’t you like your customers to think about you in the same way? The bottom line, to be the greatest salesperson you must stay in front of the customer…

sales1 imagesIORZ5YQS

What about you? What are you working for? What are your goals? Are they ordinary or extraordinary? Better yet, are they outrageously extraordinary? A great quote from an unknown source; if you don’t have a dream that’s so outrageous that you cannot possibly succeed, unless God Himself puts in a personal appearance– then, you are not alive… According to Brian Tracy; most successful, ambitious people see themselves as capable of being the– best of the best’, ‘greatest ever’… But, the most important first step is to make a commitment to ‘excellence’; make a commitment to be the ‘best’: Resolve today that you are going to be #1; become the most successful, greatest salesperson in your business, your industry, in the world… Keep learning new skills, abilities– each day, each week, each month– that moves you forward to being the greatest…

Among other experts, Zig Ziglar helped shape the modern vocabulary of great selling, in particular, he encourages salespeople to commit to a lifetime of learning, training… and to be extremely shrewd when it comes to– setting and exceeding goals, quotas… to maintain a heightened level of motivation by constantly visualizing success… Here are a few of his quotes: *Remember that failure is an event not a person… *You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want… *Expect the best: Prepare for the worst: Capitalize on what comes… *Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude… *If you can dream it, you can achieve it…

Share

World’s Oldest Profession– No, Not That One– Selling: Humans Are Born to Sell… But, What Does It Really Mean to Sell?

Share

What’s the oldest profession in the world? No, it’s not what you’re thinking: It’s selling! Nothing happens until something is sold, and that includes the ‘other’ oldest profession… Take a moment to think about what the word ‘selling’ means to you… According to Scott Marker; every time I ask sales executives to define– selling, I get answers like these: Selling is a process of persuasion to get a prospect to take an action. Selling is finding a need and filling that need. Selling is an exchange of goods or services for money. Selling is walking the road of agreement with the customer. Selling is an art. Selling is a science. Selling is a transaction. Selling is relationship building. Selling is a consultative process. Selling is hustling. Selling is all about trust… Everyone has a different definition of the word ‘selling’…

Once you define what selling is, the definition will influence how you sell. If you believe that selling is an art, then you will try to grow your art, and chances are that you will try to find creative ways to overcome all obstacles that stand in the way of the sale. If you define selling as a science, then you will try to deploy more scientific tools to achieve greater sales. If you believe that selling is all about relationships, chances are that you will focus more on establishing a meaningful, emotional and cognitive connection with customers… Everyone is a seller – someone who persuades others to take an action is selling – we’re all sellers… According to Kira M. Newman; sales has changed, but still, 1 in 9 workers are in sales, and the rest of us are also selling – not just objects but ideas, desire, techniques… We are persuading, negotiating, and pitching, like lawyers selling juries on their verdict or public figures selling their personal brand on Twitter. In fact, a study showed that people spend 40% of their work time selling something…

sell untitled

According to Trent Leyshan; what does it really mean to sell something? An idea, dream, our values, an opinion, or ones self interests? Selling is simply, a transfer of enthusiasm and trust in someone or something. With this trust is born a responsibility, commitment to honor that trust, and do so willingly, no matter how challenging… Sales is not a dirty word as some would have you believe. The act of selling is a powerful one, particularly when in the hands of honorable and good intentioned people. I’m not referring solely to the process of selling products, services… in business. I’m talking about selling yourself – your ideas, opinions, values, objections. There is little you can obtain in this world without the skills of selling or influencing another people first… Sure you can be successful without overtly selling, but if you look a little closer into every situation, there is always a seller and a buyer. From a sweaty palmed suitor, bending down on one knee to ask his unsuspecting girlfriend to take his hand in matrimony, to high-powered CEO trying to sway the board of directors to agree to a multi million dollar restructure. The undercurrent is always selling, or what some call, influencing. Whether in your face or not, selling remains a universal law and truth that gets thing done. Nothing happens until someone sells something!

In the article What Does Selling Mean, Anyway? by ‘the News’ writes: Selling is truly a respectable profession… So why do so many people view salespeople as kin to something scaly and slithering? One reason is that there are many salespeople who are not good at what they do. Consequently, they take an unprincipled approach to the profession, which often manifests itself in behaviors such as; badgering, lying… These salespeople not only show a lack of pride in their profession, but they have lost track of what selling is truly about. Selling is about– attitude, integrity, trust, reputation, ethics… Webster’s dictionary shows several different meanings for the word ‘sell’… For example, the noun ‘sell’ is the exchange of things for money; demand (for items); public exposition of goods… However, when the word makes a transition from noun to verb it gains additional interpretations… Then, the meaning of ‘sell’ becomes– to ‘dispose of” things for an equivalent about of money; to betray for money or other consideration… To ‘dispose of’ means to get rid of, persuade or convince… these definitions convey the idea that– someone (salesperson) is doing something to someone else (customer)… Even the phrase ‘closing a sale’ implies that something is being done to the customer… Hence is it any wonder that customers are wary when encountering a salesperson?

sell thLW949040

According to Geoffrey James; selling is not about pitches or closing deals. It’s something much simpler… Selling is simply ‘passion with a purpose’. Passion is what happens when you do something that’s truly interesting, exciting… Whether the passion is to change the world or just help people one-by-one, it’s that passion that does the ‘selling’… This is not to say that sales skills don’t exist or that they aren’t valuable, but sales skills are only ways to help communicate the passion, more clearly… So forget about ‘selling’– don’t even think about the word. Find what makes you passionate and then give that passion a purpose by engaging people to become a part of it… That’s what selling is really about…

In the article Nothing Happens Until Someone Sells Something! by Trent Leyshan writes: We all sell in some form every day in so many ways; not understanding this universal law renders a person incapable of truly understanding themselves or having the capacity to truly understand and influence others… To truly understand something you must first take an avid interest in it: Selling is no different… Whether in business or social setting, taking a genuine interest in someone, and genuinely attempting to understand them is showing ‘empathy’… Without empathy people are incapable of developing true connections and meaningful relationships with each other… Empathy is the foundation of selling, which is developing a genuine connection and understanding of the customer– and that produces a win-win outcome for everyone… Most important in selling is to uncover hidden underlying implicit motivators of customers, which is typically driven by emotions… If you can tap into the basic customer emotions, you will uncover a wealth of information, e.g.; who they really are, what they stand for, where they wise to go in business, what’s most important to them… With this knowledge a sales person is now empowered to effectively engage the customer’s hidden needs with the most relevant solution… Research has shown that sales people who demonstrate empathy with their customers can be up to 50% more effective than those that don’t… or sales people who lack the skills or abilities to genuinely connect with customers…

sell1 untitled

In the article How Do You Define What Selling Really Means? by Scott Marker writes: Sales managers often impose their beliefs about selling on their sales people… They try to turn every sales person into a ‘mini them’– Dress like them, act like them, speak like them, close like them… However, how sales managers think about– what selling means– isn’t helping anybody sell more… What we think selling means isn’t relevant… What we think doesn’t matter as much as what customers think, or their expectations…  At the heart of selling is value, the value as defined by customers unique situations… Now, with current technology, the dynamics of selling continues to shift and change, such that customers have the upper hand and, in fact, customers are now dictating– how you should create your business… Part of good selling is learning up front how customers want to buy… If customers buy online, you need to offer that choice… If they want simple transaction, then, don’t go through the relationship mating dance… If a customer maps-out a more scientific approach to their buying process, then match the selling style to customers buying style… If customers want more creative ideas that lead to an artful solution to their problem, then tap into your artistic side… Sell the way customers want to buy; and, if you have doubts about– what selling means– just ask the customer for guidance… then, listen carefully and you will begin to understand– what selling really means…

Do you want to be a better leader? Learn how to sell… Do you want to influence others? Learn how to sell… I’m not talking about manipulation;  I’m talking about building relationships and leading– leading and selling is relational– learn how to create a culture where selling is natural, not pushy… According to Dave Ramsey; selling is one of the oldest professions and we all have something to sell. No matter what you do, you are always selling… Selling is about connecting and so is leading. Make the connection and magic happens. Fail to make the connection and you may not get another chance… Great sales people and great leaders have many of the same traits… they understand the power of relationships and connecting… for example: All great leaders sell. e.g., themselves, their vision, goals, strategies… It’s all about connecting on an emotional, relational level… and it starts with a leader’s compelling story that sells the reasons why they should be given the opportunity to lead…

According to Dan Pink; capacity to sell isn’t some unnatural adaptation to the merciless world of commerce. It’s part of who we are as humans… When you go to sell people you should ask the following two questions, as a bench mark: If the person that you are selling to– agrees to buy; will their life improve? When the selling interaction is over, will the world be a better place than when you began? Everyone sells– when people spend a great deal of time persuading, influencing, convincing… trying to get other people to act in some capacity, that’s selling… In a study called– What do you do at work? by Gallup– it was found that most people devote about 24 minutes per hour attempting to– move-influence other people… Without question; most people are selling something to someone, most of the time…

Share

Building Winning Sales Teams– Fallacies, Training, Mentoring, Coaching, Replacing: Competence that Delivers Big Results

Share

Building winning sales team: The world of sales as we know it is undergoing significant change. Organizations are being forced to reevaluate the way they sell. Empowered customers and trends, such as; mobile, cloud, social, big data… are major changes agents; sales organization must reevaluate their sales– process, people, tools… Although, sales process and tools are critical for success– it’s important to keep in mind that at the heart of all successful businesses are people who make things happen. The most successful sales organizations have impassioned and inspired individuals who are committed to win… According to Joseph Miller and Patrick Longo; old methods of building a top sales team just don’t work anymore… Sales is the most important function to any enterprise, but management has no idea how to hire great salespeople and build an effective sales team. Many often hire salespeople based on their work experience at large corporations or hire salespeople based on ‘feelings’… These common mistakes often are the reason businesses fail to meet sales goals… It’s neither fair nor logical to exclude someone based merely on the amount of work experience, and the assumption that the number of years of work experience is a good indicator of one’s ability to do the job, well; maybe just a ‘experience fallacy’… According to Adamson; companies need to sit down and figure out a map of the behaviors (e.g., salesperson and customer…) that drive success before doing any hiring… If you’ve got a profile of the behaviors to drive success, then you’ll make sure that people are more likely to be aligned… But when all else fails, you may have to come to grips with trimming the sales team of dead weight. Data collected by the Corporate Executive Board show that companies tend to spend too much time coaching the top 20% of performers and trying to improve the bottom 20%. But focusing on the core middle 60% of the sales team it is the best way to improve sales…

team th

In the article Stop Hiring Under-Performing Experienced Sales People by c. j. Ng writes:  When most companies hire sales people the major criteria usually includes– having some years of experience selling in the same or a similar industry, and good track record of  sales results. However, if you were to look closer, these are not the critical success factors that will determine if the sales person will deliver results… One key reason is that markets are constantly changing: Customers are getting more demanding, knowledgeable; competition is getting more intense;  things that you sell are getting more complex… In some markets, changes within just  few years are so drastic that they are beyond recognition… So if you are hiring based on past experience, how do you know that what worked in the past is going to work in the future? The same factors that gave you success in the past are getting less relevant for today’s and future’s challenges… What about a good sales track record, you might ask:  Surely, if a sales person has been consistently producing great results the odds are that they will still continue to produce great results… However, the burnout rate among sales people tends to be very high and the best years may be behind them… This is not to say that having the relevant experience and a good track record is not important for a sales person. It just means that having some years of sales experience is not necessarily a good indicator of future performance…

In the article How to Find and Hire Great Sales People by Doug Dvorak writes: Building an effective sales team should be aimed at hiring the best, brightest, most talented sales professionals… and sales success hinges largely on the proper selection of sales people… Paying enough attention to selection of sales people, implementation of a relevant sales process, and supported with appropriate sales tools are the key factors for successful selling… Smart sales people are adept at highlighting the strengths of the product or service… sales professionals are experts in spotting prospects and swift in overcoming objections… they sell well even in the face of adversity and cut throat competition… Also, great sales people have the internal drive to succeed, great sense of urgency to achieve sales objectives, even when conditions are tough. So how do you spot such sales winners? Look for passion: It doesn’t matter if the sales person is a ‘rookie’ or a seasoned sales professional, everybody on the sales team should have that spark. The ‘fire in the belly’ should be felt through the eyes… Selling is dynamic and competitive, and it has no place for sluggish sales people who can’t deal with rejection and stress… Active and self-motivated people make good sales people. Sales people should love their profession, and body language will speak volumes…

Screening sales people on the basis of years of service alone is a dangerous practice: Many sales people have 10, 15… years of experience which could actually mean just 1 year of real experience multiplied over 10, 15… times. There are many qualified sales people who are just average performers, and an equal number of unqualified super sales performers. Talent, achievements, and passion can take precedence over qualifications when hiring experienced sales people… Probe deeply as to whether the person can adapt to your sales organization, business culture… This requires matching the person’s expectations:  Sales people with a strong, independent streak are more likely to desire a sales culture that fosters and engenders a sales culture of independence, freedom… They may be good performers but there is a high likely that they will leave sooner… Also, some sales people are so set in their sales skills and behaviors from their last organization that it becomes hard for them to shed old habits and adapt to a new sales organization, business culture…

team Sales-Stage-Challenges

In the article Value of Hiring Experience by Michael Alter writes: Some things just can’t be taught in a class room. You can read all about great selling techniques, process, tactics, strategy… but until you actively engage customers, you really don’t know anything about effective selling, customer demands, expectations… Experience teaches problem-solving, people management, leadership skills… Unfortunately, ambition and intelligence aren’t enough without real life, head knocking sales experience… It’s not that 21-year-old person who is sporting a hoodie and torn jeans couldn’t very well be the next Mark Zuckerberg. But, Zuckerberg is an outlier and taking a chance on inexperience can lead to more headaches, than it can to hip ideas that will actually help the business… If the situation allows someone with little experience to– grow, learn… well, that’s great. If not, place the bets on the person with the experience, insight… to get results, quickly.

In the article Hire Salespeople Who Are Exceptional by Dave Lakhani writes: Building and effective sales team requires people with passion to succeed, and demonstrated track record of succeeding despite adversity… they are people who are intensely interested in people, and they are interesting themselves… people who are more interested in serving than being served. Great sales people may have huge ego but they also are very interested in creating a relationship and experiences that leaves a mark… People who can handle hard questions, rejection, changing thoughts in mid-stream and come back to task, who know when to take charge and when to sit back, who push back a little, and ask good questions… The days of handing someone a phone book and telling them to start prospecting are over… when you get a great salesperson, treat them well, develop a reputation as a company that love their salespeople. Celebrate wins with them and share the wins with the whole team… Sales people are the lifeblood of your business: Choose them well, treat them well, let them sell…

team imagesD500I2XB

In the article Improve Your Struggling Sales Team by Tim Donnelly writes: If you are trying to get sales team back on track… forget pep-talk: You must be proactive and use  effective sales management and training techniques that can improve sales… According to Brent Adamson; at the end of the day, people don’t leave bad companies… they leave bad managers… What do you do with struggling salespeople?  It’s a problem that’s vexed multi-national corporations and start-ups; managers, presidents of boards… It’s simply hard to know when to pull the trigger on removing underperforming team members when it could be that they just need a little guidance, encouragement, training… to get back on track. A little professional nudge in right direction is a more economical choice over the time-consuming and expensive process of hiring replacement… Many sales professionals would rather give struggling sales people a chance to improve, and bring the results up to company standards… So while you’re trying to figure out whether-when the sales team can get back on track, try some of these strategies to lift the sales team out of the sales gutter:

  • Install a Great Sales Manager: You can’t have someone overseeing your sales team who is nothing more than a glorified cheerleader… You need to employ a manager who is not only willing to engage the team, but to also identify weaknesses and work      directly with sales people to overcome their challenges.
  • Implement One-on-One Coaching: Talk directly to the team to find out what struggles they are facing. What makes their jobs difficult? What could they do better? What could they be provided with to do better?
  • Put Your Team on a Sales Diet: Like anyone leading an unhealthy lifestyle, a sales team sometimes needs a ‘sales diet’ of sorts to get some perspective on challenges.
  • Looking to the Future, Hire Smart: It’s an obvious piece of advice, but one worth      repeating, the best way to handle lackluster sales person is to not have them in the first place, or to at least identify them early. Stay on top of the sales person’s performance, intervene before they become worse, significantly underperforming.

Building an effective sales team is real challenge, for example; it’s critical for the business and it also has highest people turn-over rate. It’s never-ending sales management cycle; developing relevant sales process, strategy, tactics… selecting the right people, training, mentoring, coaching, and replacing non-performers. In most companies, 80% of the sales seem to come from 20% of the sales team. While the objective has always been to try to clone the top 30%, that really never seems to happen… maybe the sales team is fine just the way it is; or, maybe not… How can you tell? Evaluating the sales team is an important step in the process of deciding– how, where, when… to make sales team, sales process, sales tools… adjustments… However, some experts suggest that most of the time the real problem is not the sales people or sales tools, but the sales process  (i.e. how you sell…) that determines the results you get… Different companies have different sales processes for different customers in different regions who are buying different product lines… sales processes can get very complicated… But still other experts say, selling is a people thing… According to Eric Herrenkohl; don’t hold your nose and hire people because of their resumes alone… the intangibles of employee motivation, drive, and cultural fit almost always trump experience in the end… It sounds funny to say, but don’t settle for someone just because they have great experience. Make sure that they are the kind of person you want in the organization… Great salespeople are few and far between, and to find the best people look for these special characteristics: prepared and insightful, collaborative and connected, quick and mobile…

 

 

 

 

Share

Power of Large Numbers–Driving Force or Fallacy: Do More–Succeed, Do Even More–SuperStar, Do Even More–Legend

Share

Law of large numbers; the hundreds of unsolicited emails in your inbox is an example of the law of large numbers… Noted Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, in early 1700s, described the large numbers this way: In any chance event, when the event happens repeatedly, the actual results will tend to be the calculated, or planned, resultsThis law originally applied to matters of science and mathematics but, along the way, crept into the business and personal development arenas: For example, according to Michael Jordan, the great basketball player; I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots, I’ve lost almost 300 games, twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed, I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeed… There are those who advocate the law of large numbers with the mindset of; throw enough stuff against the wall and something is bound to stickThe law of large numbers is a principle of probability and the basic premise that large numbers provide– more accurate predictions, less deviation from the expected, greater credibility in the outcomes… Casinos have the law of large numbers working in their favor: Management of casinos know that while the outcome of any single game is unpredictable, the outcome of many rounds of that same game is entirely predictable… In other words, in a group of six players, only one, on average, will be a winner. The casinos then structure their payoffs or ‘odds’ slightly in their favor so that the money paid out to any player who wins will be more than offset by the money taken in from the five players who, on average, don’t win. Note that casinos don’t need to cheat the individual gambler, as long as they keep their doors open, the odds settle in their favor… Insurance companies use similar principles to set premiums. They spend a great deal of effort and resources calculating the odds of certain catastrophes, such as a house fire, then multiply this value by the payoff they would give in such an event. This amount is how much the company can expect to have to pay, on average, for each person that they cover. They then set their rates at levels that cover this ‘expense’ in addition to providing their profit. The policyholder gets peace of mind because the insurance company has effectively mitigated the risk of potential loss in a given catastrophe. The insurance company gets a flow of regular payments in exchange for a massive payoff in the unlikely event of a big claim… The law of large numbers is a powerful tool that enables us to say definite things about the real-world results of accumulated instances of unpredictable events… According to wisegeek; simply stated, the law or large numbers is the best explanation for why larger samples are better than smaller ones…

numbers entrepeneur imagesCAQAKLEP

In the article Work the Law of Large Numbers by Dr. Gary S. Goodman writes: If you don’t try, you can’t win. Try more and more, and even more… and become a performer whose feats are celebrated forever.  Having said this let me temper the law of large numbers with this admonition: It only takes one to succeed! This is a critical corollary to the law of large numbers. Yes, you have to make many attempts, but if you sink that final shot at the buzzer; just that one shot– you’ll come up a game winner. The key is to stay in contention long enough to be competitive, to spot your opening when it occurs and to seize the chance– these are the things that position you for winning… For example, let’s say that you’re a salesperson and you’re in a slump period. How do you dig your way out? Repeat this phrase: It only takes one! However, finding the one is the challenge. This involves– the three E’s: Exposure, Encounters, Exclusivity. The law of large numbers gives you ‘exposure’, puts you into those situations where you will be ‘in play’, available to see and be seen… To arrange ‘encounters’, you need to work on your ‘approach skills’, learning to get the attention of the specific people you want to know better, as well as practicing ways to start and sustain conversations… To gain ‘exclusivity’, you must showcase your uniqueness and develop a plan for enticing the people who interest you into spending one-on-one time together… The law of large numbers, almost without exception, leads to– It takes only one– opportunities… Working together, these two principles create symbiosis and the desired results by combining– quantity and quality… That’s why it’s so important to wed– the law of large numbers with ‘it only takes one’ thinking: The realization that success may be just ‘one’ smile, ‘one’ sale, ‘one’ phone call away…

In the article Law of Large Numbers by Russell Anderson writes: In selling, the law of large numbers is simply a reference to the fact that achieving a targeted sales result requires that enough effort be spent at each stage of the sales process to achieve the desired outcome. From experience, sales people learn the ratios of how many prospects it takes to achieve the results at each successive stage of the sales process, for example; assuming the sales target is several tens of units of whatever you’re selling, and it may take several thousands of mail pieces to develop a few hundred responses, and from that yield you might be able to close the several tens of units sales target… In other cases for example, it may require hundreds of thousands of email blasts to develop several thousand prospects… and from those you might yield several hundred of prospects that respond favorably. The point is that you must understand ratios of numbers and their impact on sales at each stage of the process, in order to implement an effective sales program… A large numbers methodology can produce predictable results on a consistent basis. A good rule to walk away with is that, with all variables being equal, the more people you reach, the more products you will sell.

In the article Law of Large Numbers by Brad DeLong writes: Law of large numbers tells us that the sample average you compute will converge to the true value at a frighteningly rapid speed. The standard demonstration of this is to repeatedly flip a coin and count the excess proportion of heads over tails. We know that– with a coin flipped and caught in the air– the population average taking all coins that have ever been flipped of the excess proportion of heads is zero. How many observations do we have to take–how many coin flips– before the sample average converges to this population average of 0% excess heads? Let’s see. Here’s one run of 1,000 flips from Excel’s internal random number generator:

aaa numbers1

Here are ten more: You could have a population of 295 million flipped coins. Yet you don’t need to look at hundreds of millions of them to determine what is going on. Looking at 1,000 will do.

aaa numbers2

The law of large numbers describes the result of repeating the same experiment multiple times. According to the law of large numbers; the average value of the combined results should be close to the expected value, and the average value will become closer to expected value as more trials are performed. According to John Care; most business problem comes down to a single number. Either that number is too small and needs to be larger, or is too large and needs to be made smaller… According to Deepak; the law of large numbers does a very good job of helping us predict the seemingly random events in the future and it has a very good reputation of being right most of the time… the random events over a period of time always form a pattern… According to Gary S. Goodman; business people who adopt a large numbers mentality typically take on the ‘toe in the water’ syndrome—and that means they edge up on opportunities– they are very tentative about making commitments… the consequence of being tentative means becoming a follower… but followers don’t win when committed to a large numbers campaign, you must be a leader to be successful… According to Jason Bloomberg; in our old ‘small number’ world, we were careful what numbers we collected in the first place, because we knew we were using tools that could only deal with so much data. But now, it’s all about large numbers! As the large numbers grow and our tools improve, we must never lose sight of the fact that our ability to understand what the technology tells us is a ‘skill set’ we must continue to improve. Otherwise, not only are the numbers fooling us, but we’re actually fooling ourselves… According to Calvin Coolidge; nothing in the world can take the place of ‘persistence’. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has always solved problems…

Share

Challenge of Cross-Channel Marketing: Few Marketers Understand It, Yet It’s Essential for Driving Sales Growth

Share

Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy: Large numbers of marketers (78%) believe that cross-channel marketing is either important or very important for driving sales growth in their business, according to a study; increases efficiency and improves marketing campaign return on investment and customer relationships. And yet, it’s surprising how unprepared most marketers are to actually implement a cross-channel marketing program… Cross-channel and multi-channel are often used interchangeably but there is a difference: multi-channel marketing refers to sending out the same message to your audience using a variety of different channels (e.g., email marketing, direct mail, mobile…). The channels in multi-channel marketing work independently and are generally not coordinated; more of a silo approach. Whereas, cross-channel marketing still uses multiple marketing channels but it’s much more coordinated, orchestrated, personalized approach: One message reinforces the next message and leverages the benefits of the specific channel by driving audiences to action, as opposed to just repeating the same message. It’s much more tightly integrated and looks at the interactions holistically– not only how customer is receiving the communication but also how they’re responding to it; which it takes into consideration before sending out the next communication… According to Forrester: In a nutshell, cross-channel marketing is about making all media channels work together to drive better results and provide a better experience for today’s customer. For customers, a better experience means– meaningful outreach by brands based on customer’s demographic; where they want to connect, where they are, and what they care about… For marketers, better results mean– increased sales…

cross cross_media_500In the article Study Reveals Marketers Continue to Struggle with Cross-Channel by Campbell Phillips writes: According to new research only 14% of marketers understand cross-channel marketing… but despite that 42% are intending to increase their technology investments in this area over the next 12 months… Cross-channel marketing is often heralded as the future for brand and product managers, enabling organizations to adapt and tailor campaigns in real-time to changing customers behaviors in any platform. As such, marketing becomes more tailored, personalized for each customer and therefore more effective… According to Glasner; the customer’s path to purchase is becoming increasingly complex, making it more difficult for brands to cut through the noise… to be successful in this environment, marketers must have access to real-time data, interpret it and than respond quickly, confidently and appropriately. However, research indicates 91% of marketers are unable to maximize the insights from their data in order to accurately affect marketing strategy. Further insights from the research:

  • 57 % of marketers say they have no clear strategy when it comes to cross-channel marketing.
  • 42% say there’s a lack of knowledge among their team on what cross-channel marketing is or how to analyze relevant data.
  • 38% admit that a lack in their budget is restricting their ability to perform.

In the article Paradigm of Cross-Channel Marketing by Aniruddha Bhattacharya and Laukik Desai write: Multi-channel marketing operates channels in silos. Cross-channel marketing, on the other hand, leverages the benefits of a channel then hedges drawbacks by use of alternate channels… The main purpose of cross-channel marketing is to coordinate efforts across channels and to drive a consistent message for marketing campaigns. Cross-channel marketing uses different channels; as a function of time, targets, or message it carries… and it ensures an enhanced ROI by optimizing channel usage and higher interaction among the channels at regular intervals. The decision to pursue a cross-channel marketing strategy is an outcome of various factors, primarily; market forces, product maturity, customers profile… and these elements drive marketers to choose this approach… However, it’s the optimum value creation opportunities that cross-channel execution offers– versus the multi-channel approach– that propels the decision for its use more than any other factor. Instead of looking at marketing as only providing message to customers, one must look at it as providing customer experience. Also, marketers should have a storyboard of customer experiences across all possible touch points. Before finalizing strategy, all options must be considered by reorganizing the frames of the storyboard to ensure that all the interactions present a uniform marketing experience to the customer, and drives home a unified message. With lines between channels fading, marketers should not invest in overlapping channels without a clear-cut strategy. Measuring and analyzing customers’ path through the marketing experience helps in leveraging different contact points, and structuring measurement metrics. It also puts the product in a context that is familiar to the customer. For a cross-channel marketing strategy, it’s imperative to have response attribution systems that can give insights into the effectiveness of a channel. Hence, for a successful cross-channel marketing strategy rollout it’s imperative that the organization align three pillars of its organization with the cross-channel strategy:  process, technology, people…

cross thCA12HCZO

In the article Cross-Channel Campaign Management Trends by Suresh Vittal writes: We surveyed over 150 marketers and customer intelligence professionals on their use of cross- channel campaign management solutions. While some of the findings were not a surprise, the study revealed many interesting data points that are worth revisiting. Some of the key trends the study revealed were:

  • Marketers focus on longer term relationships– over 40% have stayed with the same provider for more than 3 years.
  • Marketers focus on just a few key channels like email (84%), direct mail (66%), and web site (55%).
  • Integration capabilities and costs are the key selected drivers when it comes to cross-channel campaign management solutions.
  • Despite the renewed focus on retention; few marketers can claim to be skilled at managing customer churn.
  • While the majority of the respondents were not net-promoters, few were actually inclined to switch providers.
  • Marketer satisfaction and dissatisfaction is hard to pin down. Marketers were all over the map on their thoughts about their solutions. Broadly, the highest levels of dissatisfaction were with contact optimization, online/offline integration as well as inbound/outbound integration.

Never have marketers been more challenged to find the right mix of messaging and media. Customers have only short bursts of time throughout the day and with limited attention spans they can easily ignore marketing messages. Also, they put more trust in their online communities than in marketing messages and many customers are willing to pay more for a product or service, if the purchasing process is more convenient… These and other changes in customer behavior warrant the need for an integrated cross-channel marketing strategy. Marketers must touch the customer at multiple points throughout the day with different media-channels to extend reach and build frequency. These touch points must include a strategic mix of email, social, search, online display, direct mail, mobile, content marketing, and traditional media… Most critical in cross-channel marketing are two fundamentals: Consistency and Metrics. Consistency in a cross-channel marketing strategy means not only carrying the brand image and vision throughout the messaging but using each channel to reinforce each promotion or seasonal marketing initiative. Use each channel as an opportunity to move the customer further into the buying funnel… Metrics is where the real magic happens. With an integrated cross-channel marketing strategy that includes all digital marketing elements–  you can better track customer behavior over time and improve your messaging, timing, and channel integration. It’s also a really good way to show return of investment (ROI)… The first step is to set measurable goals for each cross-channel campaign; identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most important to the success of your business, e.g., awareness, leads, new customers, transaction counts, revenue… Then, set up your campaign strategy to measure these KPI’s at each stage in the consumer’s interaction with your messaging…

cross the_socially_engaged_customer_journey-620x485

Traditionally, connecting with customers was executed through single-channels like email, mobile, catalogue, web… Then you moved into multi-channel marketing because it allows for improved communication by producing targeted strands of campaigns that suited the individual circumstance. But how do you execute effective and consistent campaigns across all channels? Enter cross-channel marketing: As you move towards integrating your marketing teams, you must ensure that your customers receive consistent messaging. Make sure that your entire team is on board with same information and not just offering customers information on products they’ve already refused: 84% of customers walk away from a company that don’t link up or understand or responsive to their engagement across channels; the best approach as a brand is to cover as many touch points as possible across all your channels… Effective cross-channel marketing techniques allows you to have a complete understanding of your customers– their intentions, purchasing habits, social community engagements and web visits… According to Ron Person; building a cross-channel marketing organization requires three processes: 1. Create a cross-channel marketing strategy: Build the brand. Be cost-effective. Strive for customer intimacy. Be a leading edge innovator. Focus on the niche. 2. Integrate cross-channel activity: Having a single point of integration brings all your marketing results together in one location. Make the results from email, marketing automation, social campaigns, webinars… culminate in a sale… 3. Measure a common cross-channel metric (i.e., engagement value): Metrics are critical; for example, measuring how engaged customers are no matter which channel they use… and by tracking the accumulation of engagement value– for each marketing channel, each campaign, or each asset, you can easily identify the marketing approach that adds the most value. When you know the value attributed to each channel, you know which one produces the greatest return to the business. When you know the value attributed to each campaign, you know which campaigns, no matter the type, that produced the greatest results… When marketers are able to pull together these data points and access a more unified view of the customer experience, over time, then they can begin to see the true lifetime value of each marketing channel and optimize the experiences that work… Cross-channel marketing is not simply new technology; it’s a new approach to marketing that requires newer and smarter technology. Customers are already expecting to communicate with a brand on their terms; they are– always-on and channel agnostic. If marketers wants to connect with customers, then customers demand relevance and meaning based on not just where they are, but who they are and what they like. The transformation of customer behavior is result of widespread adoption of mobile, social, web technologies integrated into their everyday lives. As result, conventional marketing strategies are disrupted; simply adding channels to the strategy is not enough– marketers must think about how these channels can work together to drive more value and better information…

 

Share

Dr. Seuss’ Art of Selling, Salesperson’s Manifesto: Selling Technique as Practiced by Dr. Seuss’ Character, Sam.

Share

Dr. Seuss (pen-name of Theodor Seuss Geisel) is one of the most famous writers of kids’ books, and much of his philosophy has relevance to selling and selling technique. So, move over business experts– Michael Porter, Jim Collins, Clayton Christensen… make room for Dr. Seuss… According to bloggy; Dr. Seuss’ tale Green Eggs and Ham says a lot about selling technique — it’s a unique look at learning how to sell through the character, Sam– Sam I Am, I Am Sam… In the tale Sam asks: Do you like green eggs and ham? Would you like them here or there? Would you like them in a box, would you like them with a fox? What is interesting about the tale is the connection it has to selling… Sam is trying to sell a product to a seemingly uninterested customer, and yet it doesn’t deter him from engaging the customer and asking for the sale… Sam consistently offers the customer choices, when trying to close the sale, and refuses to give up; he is very persistent. No matter how many times the customer says, No; Sam keeps offering the customer other alternatives… What can we learn from Sam’s approach? First, it doesn’t matter how uninterested the customer may seem, you should always– ask for the sale. Second, always offer choices and options when you are trying to sell something. Third, never give up; it doesn’t matter how many times the customer says, No; you should always come up with other options-alternatives that can provide real value to the customer. Of course, don’t pester the customer when they are clearly uninterested or unwilling to engage or discuss the sale. But, whenever you see slightest possibility to serve the customer with a product that can provide real value… then you should never (or, almost never) give up. According to Dr Seuss; always speak clearly and be persistent…

dr seuss imagesCASZW5PG

In the article Be Like Sam by John Greathouse writes: Many voluminous books have been written about sales– some technical, some strategic and some tactical. However, there really is only one book that you need to read on the subject of sales, and that book comes from a very unlikely source; Dr. Seuss. Without realizing it, Dr. Seuss drafted a salesman’s manifesto in the tale– Green Eggs and Ham. If you have average salesperson’s intellect, like myself, you will find the book especially appealing, as it only utilizes 50-distinct words, 48-of which are only one syllable… There are a number of practical sales lessons that we can draw from this opus, including the following:

  • Persistence: As every selling textbook says, there is no substitute for persistence. Sam exemplifies this truism. It appears that Sam has no chance of success, but Sam never loses hope, and never gives up.
  • Research: Sam’s persistence is not born of ignorance. His knowing smile indicates that he is highly confident that his product is right for the customer and that it’s his duty to ensure that the customer fully understand the degree of fit between the product and the customer’s needs…
  • No Drama: Sam knows that the product will deliver real value to the customer and that the customer will ultimately thank him for introducing him to the product, once he validates the value proposition…
  • Affability: Sam remains affable throughout the entire sales process. Even when the customer personally attacks him, and is downright rude, Sam realizes that the ultimate payoff makes dealing with the short-term discomforts bearable.
  • Listen and Adapt: Sam listens to his customer’s objections and adjusts his tactics to best suit an evolving situation. He probes to better understand his customer’s needs with questions like; would you like the product in a box, with a fox, on a train, in the rain, with a mouse… In each instance, Sam actively listens to his customer’s responses, and attempts to satisfy all of the customer’s needs…
  • Manage Expectations: Sam does not tout product features and he avoids puffery and overselling… Sam manages customer expectations…
  • Humility: Sam remains humble and committed to customer satisfaction throughout the sales cycle… Sam’s objective is to form a long-term relationship with the customer, which must be based on good rapport and mutual respect…

dr seuss imagesCA1VTFA1

In the article Dr. Seuss’s Selling Technique by Kelley Robertson writes: Many people have read Dr. Seuss’s tale– Green Eggs & Ham… but, what’s most interesting about this tale is its relevance to selling. Dr. Seuss demonstrates his selling technique in the tale through the character, Sam; and the selling technique includes 3-steps: 1. Sam is selling a product and although his prospect is not initially interested, Sam doesn’t let that deter him from asking. 2. Sam consistently offers the prospect choices when trying to close the sale. 3. He refuses to give up: No matter how many times his prospect says, No; Sam keeps offering alternatives. In fact, he offers fourteen options before finally closing the sale. However, I am not suggesting that salespeople pester customers; but, most salespeople give up too early in the sales process. We hear a few No’s; then we decide to turn our attention elsewhere… However, if you have been effective in listening-learning about a customer’s specific needs and presented the appropriate solution to them, then you have earned the right to ask for the sale. Here is a selling technique that will help you reach this point:

  • Tell Me More: Avoid launching into lengthy discussions on what you can do for the customer until you thoroughly understand what business challenges they face. Use open questioning to gather this information and avoid jumping to conclusions, too quickly. Listen carefully to what they say and clarify anything that is not clear. Ask them to elaborate by using prompts, such as– uh-huh, tell me more, and what else?
  • Many Options: When it comes time to present your product or service, try not to limit the prospect to one option. Provide choices of solutions that meet their specific concerns. Explain the benefits of each option, and when necessary, discuss the drawbacks of each alternative. However, do not present too many options, such that the decision becomes overwhelming. Be prepared to advise the customer which option best suits their needs, if they ask.
  • Speak Easy: Speak in terms that the customer can understand, avoiding the use of terminology they may not recognize– try to avoid having the customer ask– what does that mean? Be very cautious on how much jargon you use in presentations and make sure the customer understands what you are saying.
  • Objections Are Common: Recognize that objections are a natural component of the sales process. It’s common for a customer to express several objections, before they make a final decision to commit to the purchase. Don’t take their objections personally, and do not assume that it means that they are not interested in your proposal. Understand that the customer will have specific concerns about making a decision, and it’s your responsibility to mitigate their concerns…
  • Dig Deep: Clarify objections to uncover the true hesitation– do not hesitate to probe deeper to explore the real issues preventing them from making a decision. In most cases, the customer will give you the information you need providing you keep the approach non-confrontational and neutral. Learn to handle objections in a non-argumentative manner. When you uncover their true objection keep your response brief and to the point. Talking too much can sometimes talk yourself out a sale, if you aren’t careful.
  • Ask For The Sale. As long as you don’t pressure the customer into making a decision, they won’t be offended by your request. Develop the confidence to ask for the sale in a variety of ways and begin asking all of your customer contacts that are influential in the sale for a commitment. Recognize that often  the customer needs-wants to be given permission to make a decision, and often look to a salesperson for that permission.
  • Use Polite Persistence: Take a lesson from Dr. Seuss’ Sam and learn the importance of polite persistence. The most successful sales people ask for the sale seven or eight times and they don’t give up at the first sign of resistance…

The tale, Green Eggs and Ham is one of Dr. Seuss’s beginner books, written in a very simple vocabulary for beginning readers. The vocabulary of the text consists of just fifty different words, which was the result of a wager between Dr. Seuss and Bennett Cerf (Dr. Seuss’s publisher) that Dr. Seuss (after completing the tale The Cat in Hat using 225 words) could not complete an entire book using so few words. The fifty are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you. According to Dave Tedlock; Green Eggs and Ham offers valuable lessons in selling: In the tale, Sam tries more than 20 times to make the sale, and in 17 different ways: Really! First, Sam tries to sell green eggs and ham by just asking for the order. Then, he tries three variations; here, there, anywhere. When these don’t work, he tries different selling environments; house, mouse, box, fox, car, tree, train, dark, rain, goat, boat. That’s 11 more times he asks for the order. Then, in the middle of this creative selling spree Sam stops, and asks again and  again for the order… After the 17th sales effort, Sam goes with the time-honored; product demo trial– use it– offer; try it, try it… Finally, Sam gets the sale and better yet, the customer actually thanks Sam for being so persistent… In the tale, Dr. Seuss gives three clear-cut pieces of advice: Don’t give up, even with unfriendly customers. Create new places and ways to build relationships with both new and existing customers. Ask for the sale, over, over, over… again: 17 times should do it…

Share

Flipping the Sales Funnel–Bottom Side-Up: Turn Customers to Advocates to Salespeople– Shift Funnel Priority-Prospective

Share

Flip the funnel– turn strangers into friends, turn friends into customers, turn customers into salespeople. ~Seth Godin

Funnel: It costs roughly five-to-ten times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, and yet companies continue to disproportionately spend their budgets on the ‘wrong’ end of the funnel, e.g., the mass media, awareness side… According to Joseph Jaffe; we haven’t paid enough attention to the ‘right’ end of the funnel, the word-of-mouth component that essentially acts as a multiplier for future business. The economic impact of an active, engaged, and loyal customer is tremendous. When you consider customer acquisition for your business, think about this question for a moment: How much of your sales come from repeat business versus first-time customers? Now contrast that against how much money you spend against each segment. If you are embarrassed by the gaping disconnect, don’t worry; you are not alone. But, what if you did something about it? What if you turned everything on its head and instead of ending with a customer purchase, you began with it? What if you focused the lion’s share of your effort, energy, and budget on keeping customers versus attracting them? What if you could correct this imbalance and, in doing so, not only get your customers to keep coming back for more, but they tell others to do so as well? According to Joseph Jaffe; do 180 on everything you thought you knew about sales and transform your existing customers into your best salespeople…  Selling is a funnel: You put undifferentiated prospects in the top… some of them hop-out; unimpressed with what you have to offer… others learn, hear from peers, compare offerings, and eventually may come out the bottom; as customers. If you’re like most salespeople, you’ve been trying to shovel more and more attention in the top of the funnel… Here’s a different idea: What if you flip the funnel and turn it into a megaphone? What if you could figure out how to use the Internet to empower the people– who like you, who respect you, who have a vested interest in your success…There’s little doubt that technology has changed things, the way we are influenced and how we influence others. Social media isn’t old-time marketing– it’s different… Here’s what you need to know… Successful businesses understand that customer engagement does not end with the sale, but rather it begins with the sale (i.e., bottom of traditional sales funnel)… Traditionally, we prioritize limited resources and time on trying to find and convert new prospects (i.e., top of the funnel), whereas keeping those hard-earned customers (i.e., bottom of the funnel) has often been an afterthought. That’s because, until recently, there was little we could do to keep existing customers that was drastically different from the tactics used to attract new ones. Historically, the best you could do after turning a prospect into a customer was to provide a great customer experience and just hope they come back to buy more– and, bring their friends with them. However, technology, e.g., social media, email… has changed the game. Social media is about recognizing that existing customers are your best assets. Also, technology enables us to influence consumer behavior, both before and after the sale by reaching out to existing customers… as easy as clicking– share or tweet buttons

In the article Flip the Funnel: Are Your Existing Customers Working for You? by Bienalto writes: Companies must see existing customers in new light, and turn the old model of customer acquisition on its head. For example, instead of focusing all energy – and budget – on acquiring new customers, spend more time nurturing existing ones… Too many organizations under-serve existing customers– using automation, offshore call centers, technical solutions… as quick-fixes that don’t ultimately satisfy customer needs. These organizations become complacent once a customer has jumped on board, and leave them to fend for themselves. However, the buck doesn’t stop once the sale is completed; rather the work is only just beginning. There must always be room for both; acquisition and retention… It’ about having conversations with customers, getting involved in community hubs, boosting customer referrals… call it– commendations, contents, conversations… According to Joseph Jaffe; flipping funnel expands the number of customer connections, conversations, potential conversions– through repeat purchases and referrals– due to new shape of the acquisitions process that widens instead of narrowing at the bottom of the funnel …Retention-New-Acq_08-23-11_b

In the article Magical Marketing Funnel by Peter Cervieri writes: Companies spend a lot of time and money to acquire new customers, as evidenced by the hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year on print, radio, TV, billboard advertising… Once a customer is acquired, however, the company pleads poverty, and not much time or money is spent on servicing a newly acquired or lifelong customer. However, over the next decade, business will be held accountable and judged no longer by ‘what they say’, but in fact ‘what they do’; no longer by ‘promises they make’, but by ‘promises they keep’. And in this scenario, marketing’s role will be one of collaboration, partnership, unification… There is a shift from campaigns to commitments and flipping the funnel, and transforming sales from an uninvited guest to a welcome and invaluable one. According to Joseph Jaffe; we funnel all these people down to handful who might purchase our product/service, but we never ask: What the hell are we doing? That is, why do we spend all of our time with people who; a) don’t know about us, or b) don’t care about us knowing about them? Its nuts because it’s not only outmoded, it’s actually doing us harm. Instead of spending millions trying to funnel the universe down to a handful, we should focus on that handful and use our creativity to figure out how to make the most of them. A successful business today isn’t built on idea of one transaction per customer. It’s built on idea of multiple transactions from multiple customers. This may sound insanely obvious, but how many companies operate that way?

In the article Flip Traditional Marketing Funnel by Stan Phelps writes: If you subscribe to the principle that, 80% of your results are generated by 20% of your efforts, then I respectfully posit the Phelps corollary: 80% of traditional marketing efforts will net you 20% of the results. According to Joseph Wanamaker; half the money spent on advertising is wasted… the problem is that we don’t know which half.  However, I think 50% is an understatement… however, there is a huge flaw when you focus the majority of your sales efforts on the purchase funnel: That flaw is ‘the revolving door effect’. If the majority of sales are mainly focused on prospective customers, you may only be adding 10% to 25% of new customers per year: But, many companies might say, well that’s great; sign me up right now for an increase of 10% to 25% of customers per annum. But, the big issue is that most businesses have huge problems with retention: It may not be uncommon to lose 10% to 25% of the customer base in a given year. The net effect is that you might negate all of your gains, and in essence create a ‘revolving door’ by ignoring existing customers. The overwhelming traditional view of sales is mainly about acquiring new customers. Eighty to ninety percent of marketing budgets are aimed at getting new customers in the ‘purchase funnel’. We’ve become so preoccupied about generating ‘awareness and interest’ that we forget about our most important asset– existing customers. We must be change; ‘flip the funnel’, but first heed Pareto’s Law and ensure that the existing 20% is generating a strong ROI. Once you’ve earmarked that vital 20%, it’s time to put the other 4/5ths to work by ‘flipping the funnel’ and putting the focus squarely on existing customers. By putting the focus on existing customers, you can generate three benefits: Reduce attrition, Increase profit, Promote loyalty.

In the article Purchase Funnel is No More by Robin Grant writes: The ‘purchase funnel’ is one of the main tenets of marketing theory, but we’ve intuitively known for a while that it no longer holds true– if it ever did. According to McKinsey Research; examining purchase decisions of almost 20,000 consumers across five industries and three continents, and came-up with what they call the ‘consumer decision journey, which says: The funnel concept fails to capture all the touch points and key buying factors resulting from the explosion of product choices and digital channels, coupled with the emergence of an increasingly discerning, well-informed consumer. A more sophisticated approach is required to help marketers navigate this environment, which is less linear and more complicated than the funnel suggests. We call this approach the ‘consumer decision journey’. Because of the shift away from one-way communication– from marketers to consumers– toward two-way conversation… marketers need a more systematic way to satisfy customer demands and manage word-of-mouth. The most important thing is to make sure that marketing activities– are aligned with consumer’s behavior– how they research and buy products… companies need to look at their messaging in light of where they have the greatest opportunity. The key touchpoint that most influences consumer’s decision is consumer driven– word-of-mouth, e.g., talking to friends, internet searches, third-party sites

Most businesses spend roughly five-to-ten times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, and yet companies continue to disproportionately spend on the ‘wrong’ end of the funnel, e.g., the mass media or awareness side. What they haven’t paid enough attention is the ‘right’ end of the funnel, e.g., the word-of-mouth component that essentially acts as a multiplier for future business. The economic impact of an active, engaged, and loyal customer is tremendous… same is true of opposite scenario, namely, the impact of angry customers and negative word-of-mouth or referrals. Using the flipped funnel model… transforms existing customers into your best salespeople. According to Steven Noble, Forrester; the funnel model’s value as a framework for sales is finished and a new model; the customer life cycle provides a better fit: It puts customers at the center of effort, involves the entire brand experience, and describes an ongoing relationship… The customer life cycle transforms how you talk and think about the digital world… According to Seth Godin; Every business has its 1%: Every business has a group of customers so motivated, so satisfied, and so connected that they want to tell the rest of the world about  you and what you do. Your challenge is to give these people a megaphone. To switch your view of the market from a vertical funnel (i.e., attention at top–sales at bottom) to a horizontal one, in which ideas spread from each customer to another… it’s the funnel for the digital age… 

Share