Showing posts with label sales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sales. Show all posts

Your VIBE attracts your TRIBE in sales and social media

“Class is an aura of confidence that is being sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It's the sure-footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life. ” 
~ Ann Landers

However it may seem strange that I rarely have comments on my blogs, I am often invited to answer questions on QUORA (link below). 

 Sometimes I think about my answer, while other times I just let my mind go free and respond instinctively to what comes immediately to mind as in this case when I was invited to answer this question. 

Ironically, as well.  I spend the least time on InstaGRAM than anywhere else and yet it is the topic I seem to have grabbed the attention of some who value my opinion.  Thank you.  Happy to help.  Here goes:

Why do my Instagram followers keep dropping?

Hmmm, very curious question. My first immediate reaction was a question: “what could this person be posting if they are seeing their followers drop?” Without question, social media can sometimes seem fickle when it is really not. This question bodes a suggestion to examine what you are posting …. if you are only sharing your last meal, and you didn’t cook it or it’s half eaten, unappetizing-looking or just plain “gross”. Other considerations may be that others may find that you have constant posts that are self-serving or promotional :: aka “spam”. People tend to gravitate towards sincerity, ingenuity, originality, beauty and inspiration. That is only my opinion. However, I do believe strongly that your following is a reflection of what you are sending out.

Don’t despair. Being fickle can also mean you can reinvent yourself easily. I would advise you to decide what you want to be known for or identified with and setting out to do just that. Or, if you have a specific interest that is not career, family, friends or social oriented, this is a great way of gravitating towards that interest, sharing it, finding sources or resources on that topic and then share it … you can check for #hashtag popularity or observe what seemingly popular people are posting. If that seems to capture your interest, it could be good advice to follow them and observe them from a distance and see if you can pick up any great habits or even share that person’s content as a means to cast your own web to gather people who share the same vibe.

Caution: what may seem funny at 2 o’clock in the morning with your work buddies or friends may be more embarrassing at 2 o’clock the next afternoon. At your desk, avoiding eye contact with colleagues or worse if its a boss. Your online presence becomes your reputation. What doesn’t matter at 20, can be a nightmare at 40. So act your age if you must, but at least apply manners and a mom rule: if you can’t do it in front of your mother, or you risk being scolded by her, then it isn’t going to be appropriate for a wide, global audience. AND just because your mom likes the better parts of you, her opinion may be skewed …. be wary that others will like your stickmen as much as she does.

Be optimistic. There is a lot of great quotes, beautiful images, fantastic photography that are in style any time, any season. Be classy, be polite, be bold.

A visionary extraordinaire ::.... Philippe TREBAUL of Social Fave

Sometimes it's simply okay to be a fan or a Supporter.  I realized that unbiased and reciprocated respect is what makes one become an advocate for another person.  

The power and capability of social media is unstoppable, truly, as long as our imaginations continue to stretch and blend what is possible from the impossible.

The strength of character one needs to build a fantastic reputation, regard and respect can be captured in one person I've come to known, only communicating on social media, never a Skype or telephone conversation.  Where you have to be succinct in getting your words across, to be able to be snapped up, grasped and understood all at once.

I've meandered on here about how far you can stretch yourself to achieve new heights in your ability to discover who you really are.  How else can you lower your defenses and expose your true self, or explore the journey on figuring out who or what that means.

Along the way, you find people who just POP out of all the noise who you think:  WOWzers, this person REALLY gets IT!

_______________________________ ::......

Here we go .... here are some links to some incredibly visionary, explicit and wise to take heed to.  Philippe unravels a lot of the mystique of social media that is far too long put off by traditional advertisers and their advisers, like ad agencies, who cannot really possibly charge exorbitant fees when their are social media MARKETERS willing to step in and step up in a fraction of the time and fraction of the price.  After each article link, I will post my own comments to show how much I enjoy being a Supporter, cheerleader, advocate, enthusiastic optimist of their success.

4 Social Media Tools to Get Marketers off the Treadmill

Great article, per usual Philippe TREBAUL .... not only will Social Fave be explosive in 2017, but its founder will be finally recognized as an extraordinary visionary of how far we can stretch social marketing to expand vastly and quickly.  Maybe I can learn how to become a better online brand, improved enough to generate an income ... eh?  Well, a trip to France at least to celebrate when you set the clock to end the free trials and it is sought after and paid for.  Distinguishing your current supporters from all others.  Wonderful writing.  Thank you ~ Jeannette Marshall aka @optioneerJM on Twitter as a fan

_________________________________ //......//

3 Tools to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Right Now!

FANTASTIC Philippe TREBAUL .... WOWzers!  What an informative article and so factual with knowledge based insight.  You, my dear innovator, are catapulted into the stratosphere as not only a visionary on where social networking can take us, but the practical academic approach you have.  So easy to understand, obvious to embrace and supported by all the data you've absorbed.  I hope to see the day when you are given your due:  and to think, we started on LINKED IN six years ago, which allowed some of us to step outside our comfort zone a little but allow our gregarious natures to expound, others like you, Philippe TREBAUL have demonstrated convincingly how great this world is that is unfolding.  Thank you, your fan and advocate, Jeannette Marshall 

A social experiment

"If you are not prepared
to step out of the BOX
~don't complain that
you're squared in."
~ Jeannette Marshall

No, the quote wasn't the main purpose of writing this blog.  I am always fiddling around in PAINT ..... or I'm looking for something, like you do when you have a recipe in front of you, looking to see if you have all the ingredients you want to place in your writing.  Or, something just pops out and I think, that is a quote:  I should go look for an image to use to create the environment to host the quote.  Then, I store them for rePOSTing later on other social media sites like Twitter or Facebook or Google.  I'm not a celebrity so they won't be famous or anything.  If they catch on and are used more than once, I'm humbled.  I plant them on Pinterest too.  Pinterest being my virtual storage of sorts.  A collection of "stuff".

The experiment I was on to was trying something different to see what happens.  It is as a result from not finding a source for checking in with my followers:  on Facebook.  I had over 500 views of my blog today, which is a nice jump, thank YOU!  I like to see if I can understand what people may like, what posts they're reading and what they're sharing, liking, reTweeting and from where?  The numbers showed me against a surge from #Brazil .... thank you BRAZIL!!  I'm trying to figure out where this surge originated from or by whom.  

HINT HINT:  Facebook or someone out there should create a follower algorithm based service that tells you who clicks, likes, comments, shares your content:  in other words:  who are your supporters.  (Only someone famous can call them "fans").  

I think this does source back to my former talent in sales:  I like to hunt.  I became more strategic as time progressed, depending upon what I was selling or to whom I was selling to.  That was something that was learning in the strategic sales arena, consultative selling, or selling to executives.  You really can't peddle your wares to important audiences if you don't get who they are, what they may be interested in or looking for.  Writing a blog or blending in on social media is kinda like that.  Your following will tend to gravitate towards things that matter most to you.  In my case, they would be:

  • social media CONTENT to share that others enjoy
  • CURATING beautiful images, art, photography
  • WRITING, blogging, growing audience
  • networking, MEETING others with similar interests
  • eventually PAID for what I am learning or writing
When reading the numbers, I look at the posts that have all of a sudden gained momentum, or others seemed to enjoy more.  That is suppose to be my guide on what more to write about.

I scale social media sites as a Queen does her empire (ooo, yeah, that's a quote to describe me that I will have to remember to fall back on and create an image to go along with it for sharing).

I started to go through doing clean up.  Since Facebook gives Google its money's worth by sometimes leading in driving viewers (and hopefully readers, rarely subscribers sadly).  I've talked about it before.  Sometimes it shocks me when people I would have just assumed would follow my Facebook Page haven't.

Let's just say the ones I'm more shocked by are the ones I faithfully share their stuff.  It is like a nudge aside.  My stuff isn't important enough.  Or, they may assume that if I post it on my Facebook stream, I would also on my optioneerJM page.  But I don't.  I don't want people to think I'm spamming.

Which reminds me of my few blocks on Twitter:  the guy never said anything to me, just tweeted at me with his own blog.  Grrrrrr, he doesn't get it:  if you want people to notice you on social media:  share their stuff.  If you want to really connect, comment.  Geesh.

Well, to begin my experiment, I am going to carve back a bit.  In time for American Thanksgiving.  I want to give thanks to those that support me all the time and don't just acknowledge me when I'm doing the same for them.

Klout indicates that your influence rises as your ratio of following to followers ratio widens to a hearty gap.  We shall see.  I'll let you know if the opposite happens or a few people scaled back on will notice.  The reason is a positive one:  I want to be more focused on helping those that support me.

I'm selling my words here.  I'm not making any money.  At least yet.  I trudge on firmly in the belief that eventually it will mean something and even pay off.

I loved this cartoon shared by a connection on Linked In (name withheld because "she" is a PhD and unlikely keen on having her name shared .... if she did, I'd know her on Twitter, G+ and Facebook .... right?

A schemer and a dreamer; living in the land of me, me, ME

Monday October 24 2016

A net magazine
As I peruse and surf the stratosphere, I ponder and mull the idea of creating an online magazine.  I come across some pretty splendid ones.  This is not a unique idea or a new one.

If you don't know by now, you haven't been reading my blog much, or maybe not at all.  Fair enough.  You're here now.  That's what matters in the scheme of things.

You could call me a schemer and a dreamer.  I like to see what is out there and ready to unfold.  While working hard and pressing for self-improvement with focus on being a mindful practitioner.  

I've created a magazine.  I've launched one.  I've had it printed and distributed.  I've worked with ad agencies, ad agents, national, global affiliations with writers and freelancers around the world.  

Well that was let's say about 15 or so years ago.  But man, I loved it.  I was like my own world of Oprah.  Living in the land of me, me, ME.  

The search for cause and purpose gives me more energy than that someone of "my age" would normally allow.  Energy is not something that I've been accused of lacking.  In fact, it is when I seem quieter and relaxed, my familiar over reacts, thinking I may be becoming lethargic.  

Worry by loved ones is never a bad thing.  May everyone always have someone who cares that much for them, as you.  Unique as you are.

I will continue to blog in various genres to test the aptitude of my writing and attitude of anyone taking the time to read.  When one is ten times more than zero.  

I appreciate having you along on my various experiments.  One that is evolving almost by accident currently:  using Google's blogspot blogging platform to see if it makes a difference since they are driving search results.  

I have a blog on Word Press and the crowd seemed very cozy and supportive.  Not that that has driven any great volume to that blog.  There are a few that do.  But it is still a crowd of cheerleaders who will promote each other by popularity, politics and the normal high school power struggles.

Say it and share it

So, I've written it down.

I've shared it.

Now it is time to do it.


Not tomorrow.


Not later.


Not this minute.

Being mindful does not mean one has to fast forward from task to task, never taking the time to savor it.  Enjoy it.  There is only one of it.

That sounds like a poem:  I'll have to admit, searching, reading and sharing poetry with a purpose on The Publisher has expanded my horizon on poetry.  I tested myself to see if I could read poetry.  Not something that I have done.  Give it a try.  I think you will enjoy how it appeals to the senses as much as I.

Yes, I, I, I.

To create a magazine:  I will be the Publisher 
(check, blog started)

To produce a creative theme:  I will have to assemble a cast of talent                                                        (started)

To have words written that people enjoy:  I will continue to observe the best I can discover.          (started)

To earn income that encourages growth and improvement:   I will have to persevere, be dedicated with a strong commitment and disciplined effort.                                                                                      (get started)

CHECK OUT my selection
 of Halloween Poetry:  

NOTE (meaning)

Shaka sign

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Shaka (disambiguation).
The "shaka" sign is a common greeting in the Hawaiian culture, subsequently also used in surfer culture.
The shaka sign, sometimes known as "hang loose", is a gesture of friendly intent often associated with Hawaii and surf culture. It consists of extending the thumb and smallest finger while holding the three middle fingers curled, and gesturing in salutation while presenting the front or back of the hand; the hand may be rotated back and forth for emphasis. The shaka sign was adopted from local Hawaiian culture and customs by visiting surfers in the 1960s, and its use has spread around the world.

Meaning and use[edit]

Hawaiians use the shaka to convey the "Aloha Spirit", a concept of friendship, understanding, compassion, and solidarity among the various ethnic cultures that reside in Hawaii, lacking a direct semantic to literal translation. The shaka can also be used to express "howzit?", "thanks, eh?", and "all right!" Drivers will often use it on the road to communicate distant greetings and gratitude.
In American Sign Language, the shaka is one of the two signs used to refer to surfing.[citation needed] In California, the shaka sign may be referred to as "hang loose" or "hang ten"—both associated with surfer culture.[1]

Powerful points on PowerPoint

I had captured the above image of Bugs Bunny a few weeks ago.  I can't remember how I came across it, but I did capture and save it to my PC.  I think I was considering using it for a powerpoint presentation I was creating as a proposal of sorts and was going to use it for the final slide.  As in "that's all folks".  

I didn't use it because the slide deck I created used the same image consistently throughout.  That's my style, a clean look with powerful images that convey what I think the .ppt conveys.

In this case, the audience was launching a social media presence for its corporate identity:  they were in operation, they had subscribers to their service, with zero social media presence.  I related it to climbing a mountain to reach the top, the goal defined as reaching out to vast audience in a crowded industry -- not unlike climbing a daunting mountain.

I ended up using the slide for social sharing, now wishing I had made the     right corner type smaller and more underwhelming 

If you read and observe the best presentations on SLIDE SHARE (a wonderful extension of Linked In) the common thread is that strong graphics and minimal words seem to be the most identifiable and powerful.

I wrote a few years back about presentations.  If you are in sales in any form:  selling a product or service or selling your company, you use .ppt to create a dialogue with an audience of one or many.  It is like a memorable guide to what topic you are covering.

I've had Eugene Cheng on my side gadget under recommended reading for a few years.  He really is talented in creating powerpoint.  Check out his website and see if you agree: | |

It looks like Eugene rebranding and extended his reach under a new umbrella @High_Spark ... as is always the case, when I discover a talented individual, I like to keep them in my folder of idea enhancers, people who resemble the #bestofeverything there is to offer as talent, creativity, knowledge, exceptional learning.

I did initially upload the .ppt to SLIDESHARE and I have to say that the reaction and reception is a disappointment.  That isn't too surprising since I have used SlideShare as a resource and source for feeding my knowledge junkie habit.  

It takes confidence to consider that others may be interested in what you have created.  It can also trample it if the reaction is minimal or slight.  Then again, creating .ppt presentations hasn't been an area I would consider myself defined as worth sharing.

That is where the challenge comes in.  I force myself to be honest and then challenge myself to become better.

Why? Because if you are a CEO or sales professional, presenting .ppt is something you should become strong at.  

Most CEOs have a marketing department or communications professional to create their .ppt for them.   All they have to do is create and rehearse the notes to avoid reading off of them or reading from notes.

That takes practice.  The flow between slides and narration is a lot harder than it looks.  I've played with various tools to become stronger.  It was critical to get better after doing a presentation to a leadership evaluation for a senior project management role within my organizations.  As a self-critique, that is realistic and forms my own evaluation on how I could have been better (see if any of this strikes a cord with you):

  • The time for the presentation, including Q&A (questions and answers) was scheduled for an hour.
  • The amount of slides was too many to cover the Q&A period.
  • After the dismal, unprofessional set up of the room for the video conference, I was scattered but not shattered.
  • I read more off the slides than narrated them.  That was a disaster.  I could have just emailed the .ppt and been done with it.
  • Reading from notes or directly from the slides makes the narration stilted and boring.
  • While reading off of slides or notes, you are not engaging with your audience.  
  • When your eyes are on the slides, reading from them or the notes, your eyes are on the slides, not with your audience.
  • When you are not looking, scanning your audience, you are not feeling out their interest.  Are they smiling or looking bored or planning their grocery list for dinner that evening?
  • When your intent is to impress, you can do yourself an injustice on what you are capable of doing.
I was lucky.  The leader did give me feedback.  It was direct and a little brutal:  telling me that in that position, I would have minimum 10 minutes to report to an executive.  My presentation was way way wayyyyyyyy too long.  

The second .ppt I did, was not asked for.  Not directly.  I was asked to present how I, personally, would launch a digital marketing program for this corporation that had no presence.  Fortunately, I had been reached out to by the Founder of the organization.  Unfortunately, it was a group decision.  Instead of being asked to present to the founder and his partner, I was invited to meet with two key players on the team who's input would be deciding votes on my being hired.

My takeaway?  Well, the two audience members had a list of questions they wanted answered.  However, I had my own agenda because I had spent the time preparing the powerpoint that would answer a lot of the questions.  I could tell by the age of the lady in my audience, by her attire and attitude, that she was a driver and really couldn't care less about the intricacies of social media or me.  She had a multi-page questionnaire that she wanted to follow.  Her own agenda.  

I didn't inquire about the room setting for the meeting, nor about the technology available.  Maybe I wanted it to be a nice present surprise that I was so professional and prepared.  

I had saved my presentation on not one but two flash drives, along with emailing it to the meeting scheduler.  However, the room wasn't set up and at least 10 minutes was wasted getting it up and running.  10 valuable minutes that could have been spent on building rapport with a stilted audience.  

I had learned from my previous presentation that I needed to shorten my presentation, avoid reading the slides, and rehearsed enough so that the narration was smoother once I got started.  Yet, the fumbling over getting technology going and the resistance from the one audience member that she just wanted her questions answered.  The second team member was the organizer who let the other person dive in and drive the meeting.

My first horrific executive presentation was about 15 years ago.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.  My boss and I were invited to present to an executive as to why our company should consider our proposal to be awarded the vendor of choice.  

My boss and I had rehearsed:  in so that we knew who was going to do the speaking and who was going to do the clicking of the powerpoint.

I was unprepared for the executive's response:  after barely 10 minutes he jumped in with direct, pertinent questions, that made me stumble and falter.  Needless to say, we weren't awarded the contract.  In all fairness, it wasn't only because our .ppt had failed to impress them, it had a lot to do with the incumbent being the favorite.

My husband and I review some of his own presentations with his own executive team.  He is tasked with saving money for the company in the oil-shorn city of Calgary where falling oil prices are taking thousands of jobs and companies are in survival mode.  

I listen and pay attention.  That's because my husband is an ops guy who doesn't have a lot of time to waste on meetings and being wined and dined to buy from his suppliers and vendors.  He works with a talented young fellow who is a pro at Excel and .ppt.  He often says over and over:  

Just give them the facts and have the backup to support it.
He seemed to be bang on, stating that the executives just wanted the bare bones numbers, without the fluff.  The executives had specific questions on how the numbers were determined (aka back up).

I want to get better at this.  Some would say that I'm not nearly as bad as I tear myself up over.   I would say that there are some critical nuances you have to keep in mind when preparing and presenting. 
> Don't spend more time on creating your powerpoint than preparing the facts.

> Know the facts: details, how the numbers were arrived at, where the source came from.

> Back up your numbers by knowing them intimately, have them on the top of your head 

> Substance over style: it isn't so much about the pretty .ppt as a direct hit on message

> Be succinct in your narration.  (I have a weakness for being too wordy which is a disadvantage that needs to be excelled at).  Don't read the slides or off of your notes

> Know your numbers: spend more time on how you are going to explain your numbers in your preparation.

> Planning should equal preparation: ask the meeting organizer if the room will be set up to allow for a powerpoint presentation.

> Technology can defeat preparation and planning, thus a backup plan is critical (i.e. printed copies of the presentations)

> Establish the agenda:  are they expecting you to have a powerpoint to present or do they have a sheet of paper with questions they want to scribble on?

> Keep time on your side:  confirming the meeting time is typical for professionals.  Sticking to the allotted time is critical to a favorable impression.

> General rule of thumb:  Divide your Agenda by 0 or 20 minute segments if your meeting is 1 hour.

> Understand expectations:  What decision will result by this presentation?  

                   * Award/awarded contract
              * Sell service or product
              * Be hired (contract or employee)
              * Performance review
              * Report on business
              * A proposal for funding, endorsement, sale
              * Brainstorming ideas

> Read your audience:  Maintain consistent eye contact, watch body language.  Active gestures like shuffling papers is a sign that they're getting impatient, looking at a watch demonstrates a concern over schedule, exchanged looks from audience (rolling eyes, aka here we go again).

> Define the rules:  for instance that you will be presenting a .ppt that should take no more than 10 minutes, with the remaining time on answering questions

> Who's in charge?  in most, if not all cases, your audience is in charge.  Define within the audience who is a decision maker or supporter or recommender.

> Next steps?  Should always be asked at the end:  it will tell you the decision making process and by whom the decision will be made.

> Married to the agenda:   You can't assume your own agenda.

> Cultural missteps:  Sometimes having a .ppt will communicate your superior communications skills, your imaginative powerpoint slide creations, or comfort using technology.  It isn't always welcome.

> Cultural acceptance:  A lot of major organizations use .ppt as a form of conducting meetings.  Others not so much. 

> Rehearse, rehearse, rehearsal:  Knowing your presentation inside out and backwards is the best way on a path to guarantee success.    There are a lot of ways to practice and test yourself:

* Videotape yourself presenting
* Present to your bathroom mirror
* Practice by presenting to a colleague 

In hindsight, I goofed around a lot doing my research.  I tend to struggle between having a solid understanding of the company I'm presenting to and its industry and competitors.  That is not such a bad thing.  Yet, my takeaway is I can be too committed to my presentation than meeting the expectations:  winning the sale, being hired, being considered as a vendor, selling your company, and so on and so forth.

The biggest takeaway I have learned from observing and learning from talented presenters within companies I've worked for or outside influence:


have an AGENDA
>  what are you going to talk about? i.e. topics

how are you going present? i.e. present first and allow for Q&A at the end, or more informally 
questions accepted by interruptions throughout?

by having an AGENDA, you are asking your audience if anything is missing or if there is anything else they would like to add to the AGENDA?

> confirm the time for the presentation because someone could have been late and your allotted time may have shrunk by 15 minutes because someone was late or technology was disruptive or someone was supposed to log on as a teleconference

There are a lot of other things you can determine before you go to all the trouble and effort that you put into the actual data, creating the powerpoint, and practicing its presentation:

> who is going to be in your audience?
> what is the role (or roles) of your audience?
> what is going to happen after the presentation? (i.e. next steps)
> is what you are presenting second nature, instinctive and something you are comfortable with?  (if not, add more practice time)
> what sort of industry are your points about?  You can showcase your research or authority if you hover around this area.
> what position will the audience take?  being informed? judgemental? receptive? analytical? 
> feedback if time allows may give you a gauge on how you did

Murphy's Law

Applies every and all times you plan, rehearse, confirm, define, prepare:  the one thing you didn't expect or account for happens.

You can always surf through You Tube, Ted Talks (which I've been meaning to check out for a while) to see which style matches your own.  Don't try to be anyone else.  Be yourself.  Allow the viewer to gain a strong sense of who you are and who they can expect for months or years after being part of your audience.

"You can't always win the sale or get the job, yet you can always influence leaving a lasting, positive impression."
~ Jeannette Marshall

Powerpoint Resources:

SOURCE:  Powerpoint Templates ~ Slide 

SOURCE:  Pinterest 

SOURCE:  Pinterest PRESENTations BOARD

So you say you wanna sell ........ REALLY?

Are you saying YOU want to sell ?

People think they want to sell all the time.  They may say they want to "get into real estate" but what it really means is they are going to have to sell.

An entrepreneur with a brilliant idea

is still nobody when nobody is buying your product or service.  You should know the basics when you start out because you are responsible for selling your company.  

You may decide to hire sales professionals.  Yet it is your responsibility to ensure you have minimal organizational structure figured out along with basic tools that allow others to be successful, for example:
  • A CRM (customer relationship management) system that anyone who is customer facing can log who they contacted, when, their contact details, what was discussed, level of interest, follow up required; a CRM allows you to keep track of active customers or close to closing prospects so that if you have turnover (people quit) you still have captured the pertinent details.
  • Value proposition:  Answers the why:  what benefit does your service provide?  what are people loving about your product or service? 
  • Business cards:  as soon as you hire someone, you should get on it right away.  Having a business card that is hand-written filled in or a name scratched out and your new pro's name penned in.  You could be doing more harm than good if you don't have this cued up and ready for Day One.
  •  marketing material (a clean one pager that is meticulously created and professionally presented (no typos, grammar errors, inferior  low resolution images);
  • a professional website with the ability to manage inquiries, respond to inquiries
  • tools to do the job:  cell phone, computer, email address, business cards, a desk or office, a board room to host client meetings
  • a presence on the web:  website, Linked In company profile, leadership team, about us, what you sell/offer/suggest

If you can't have the minimum, or the company you may be considering selling for doesn't have the resources or cash to get you started, you may want to reconsider.

Establish expectations
How will you decide the arrangement is successful?  You don't need fancy metrics that larger organizations itemize to allow them to differentiate between the producers and weak links.  However, if you are selling a service that needs your customers to buy a specific product, prioritize it.  Understand yourself first what you are asking others to.

Define the territory
Are you selling something locally, regionally, nationally or internationally?  I suggest you have it mapped out.  

What is the prioritization or focus?
 New customers? Increased revenue (can be from new or existing).  Specific numbers, specific audience, specific buyers, specific prospect pool?

Value proposition
What value or benefit do you provide? Once you've decided what the value proposition is, you may want to reflect on where the best customers can be scooped from.  

Yes, I know you are hiring a sales pro because they should know how to sell.  However, you still need to be available or accept responsibility to field questions and filter priorities.  Things like pricing models, volume discounts, are wise when ironed out early on.  Be clear and specific on empowerment limitations or approval processes.  Who is able to sign a contract?  Does it need to have sign off and by whom?  What should be the realistic timelines on approval by hours or by days?

Do you know what the idea customer looks like?  You know what problem you solve, but do you know who or where they may likely be?  Either geographically or a specific buyer (i.e. IT versus Marketing) in mind.  In other words, to increase traction and maximize success in the quickest timelines, you may want to identify what the low lying fruit is.  Establish time goals (first month, quarter, year, 2 years, etc.)

Low Lying Fruit
Do you have contacts or ideas on who may be the easiest to close or sign on?  How do you define them?Are they prospects (potential customers) who are the most likely to buy in or you know will buy within a certain period.  Is buying a seasonal or year-round activity? A seasoned pro can determine this if they have the right historicals.  

Who are your competitors?
When I was asked to take on the sales launch for a new voIP (voice over internet) teleco (telecommunications company), the CEO was really passionate and in tune with what our strengths were and who we needed to beat at their own game.  He wanted to go over a national telecommunications carrier.  He understood their appeal and their limitations.  He knew who they were and where they were or what areas they were covering:  local, regional, national, global.  

SMART analysis
You hear often and is usually required for a business plan or anywhere financing is needed:  banks, investors, shareholders, etc.  This is a roll up your sleeves, get out a flip chart or white board and draw/scribble it out.  

If you toss your sales pro out into the field and simply say "Go sell now" you should ensure that you have the people and capital to deliver on the promises made:  value proposition gains traction, new customers.

Savvy investors, even sales pros have information sources at their fingertips:  have you been involved in any court proceedings?  (been sued for false promises, failure to deliver, etc.) Have you filed for Chapter 11 protection (US) or bankruptcy before?  Have you been sued for anything, even non payment (credit bureau, media, news).  Are you noted for having a lot of turnover of sales reps in general or with recruitment firms?

Don't be so passionate about what you have that you fail to see some weaknesses.  If you are open about challenges, that is great.  Much better if you can communicate what is being done about it.  

Working capital
Anyone who has ever worked for a startup, even long standing company, knows how important it is to being paid.  However, paying your suppliers is important too.  You hardly want a sales rep to go out and sell a new customer, to only find out that part of the sale requires a certain service, but your account is delinquent and frozen.

Regardless of the size or scope of your offering, you have to ingrain in your culture that everyone is a sales rep for your company.  If you are proud of what you offer, who you work for, the talent assembled, it will be easy to be an evangelist singing the praises.

Some organizations start out with a referral program - a quantifiable dollar amount or fee for every referral someone sends your wave.  Define and distinguish referrals and how they are rewarded:
  • First try free
  • Discount for BETA testers
  • A warm lead versus a hot prospect?
  • A sliding scale discount that increases as the referrals grow
  • A one time spiff:  free tickets, a free t-shirt or a company pen?

Rewards & recognition
  • Discover what motivates your people?  
  • Most people like cash bonuses but others may like a free trip or a free product
  • How are you, as an organization, getting the word out there?  
  • Do you do anything that would generate leads?
  • Do you have everyone actively sharing information?
  • Who is responsibility is your social media awareness?  If it is the CEO who doesn't get around to it or has no time, that's not going to help.
  • Do you spend a percentage of revenue to apply to advertising, online banners, sponsorship of events?
Once you have at least these basics mapped out and in place, you should be ready to sell, or hire someone to help you.  

How do you sell?
First answer and address all of the above, and then we'll get on that.  Think about it.  It may involve more cashola or resources than you thought, bring up issues you haven't intentionally ignored because you may be ignorant of the requirements, avoided an honest assessment of your ability to support the sales process and the integration of new customers, haven't drawn out a process map (how do you get from point A SOLD to point Z PAID).  Sometimes you can get lucky and hire the right sales pro who you may think is being demanding, while they are just challenging you to have the basics required for you, your company, the sales pro, the buyer and the customer to be successful.

with yourself and align your expectations with what you have to give.  You don't have to take a defeated attitude, you just have to be realistic.  

white boards, flip charts, to get ideas flowing.  BUT write them all down.  You may not know there is a golden nugget sitting there that could solve a problem but because it was as high of a priority now, it could be later on, and it shows you've already covered that.  

by as many people as possible requires feedback.  Do you have a process to get feedback?  How do you really know if you are hitting the mark if you are not involving other people?

A great example of an organization that is mapped out, knows it purpose, understands and can clearly communicate its value proposition.

I hope you don't have a headache from this assembly of a great big TO DO LIST.  If anything, it will just remind you that not having all the answers is reasonable and natural.  However, if you ski in the Swiss Alps during the winter, have you equipped those selling with minimal information or empowerment if they can't get a hold of you?

"A map to where you are going, is more easily defined once you decide what you need to get started."                                          ~Jeannette Marshall

We will keep the dialogue open and help you break it down into bite size pieces to avoid being overwhelmed.  I don't want to discourage anyone from launching a new business, I just want to assist with what may be a reasonable level of must do and must haves before you get too far ahead of yourself. 

 Feel free to ask me any specific question or help on addressing an issue and I will do my best to get answers.

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