Category Archives: Sales

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business connections

Business Connections Mean Little, or Everything

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One hundred years ago when you wanted to telephone someone it wasn’t as easy. Today it is different. Do you believe that you have good business connections? What is the value?

In the early 1900’s it seems that business networking really wasn’t a thing. Commerce was very localized. You had stores and markets in town, and you typically wouldn’t travel far to get essentials.

Certainly, there were gatherings at public events, county fairs, and perhaps a traveling circus. Train stations were still serving many expanding cities and towns.

Instead of waiting a few seconds, a minute, or an hour, for some electronic mail, people waited days, weeks, or longer for a hand written letter from an acquaintance far away.

The perception of the world was likely smaller, or maybe larger. Your people network wasn’t as vast, and for most purposes, outside of a few close neighbors or friends, a network would have probably seemed unnecessary.

Business Connections

It is different today. Business is moving faster and faster. Quality and efficiency still matter but patience often seems lost.

Expectations are driven by speed and complimented through convenience.

What is quick, easy, and affordable seems to hold higher interest when compared with waiting, of substantial quality, and worth every penny.

People amass hundreds of social media connections, some attain thousands, and some hundreds of thousands or more.

Commerce happens. It is often about your network.

Need a job? Who do you know?

Need a roof repair, a lawn mower fixed, or a custom-built cabinet? Who do you know?

If you don’t know anyone, you search the internet.

Your choices are greater and the options feel riskier.

Everything seems bigger now.

Word of mouth has transformed to World of mouth. What happens in Tennessee is known about in California and Vermont in seconds.

Lost in the Hustle

You can also easily get lost.

Perhaps you shout but no one hears you. You create a website, or a social media group or page, and everyone can find you, or no one does.

One hundred years ago businesses had a connection. It happened through people.

Today, a lot has changed, only nothing has changed.

If you are doing business, your connections still matter the most.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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desperate hustle

Desperate Hustle And The Path It Leaves Behind

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Are you good at hustling? Are you assertive and spring into action conquering sales and navigating corporate environments in a single bound? The desperate hustle may leave behind some unfavorable consequences.

Businesses like people who can make things happen. It is a good trait. Sales and marketing professionals often thrive on the hustle. A good hustle, not a crafty snake oil bait and switch. Just a good hustle.

The hustle often has positive effects. Bringing in revenue, building the brand, and weakening the position of the competition.

Desperate Hustle

Then there is the desperate hustle. This often develops after a period of sleeping, complacency, or internal change where the biggest hustle becomes a version of hustlers, who are hustling for a new job with a new employer.

This desperation or corporate push means that people are in fear of their job, their livelihood, and how they’ll support their family. They become desperate.

The consequences of this behavior can have very negative long-term effects. When the mindset is divide and conquer without worry or concern about what or who is in the way. Watch out.

The mindset may become, as long as I’m winning, I don’t care.

This is dangerous and a sign of faulty leadership.

Future Outcomes

Sometimes the workplace objective is met, yet the path of destruction in its wake is devastating.

Clients get burnt, vendors hosed, and interpersonal workplace relationships may be damaged beyond repair. After the revenue is counted, the future actually becomes bleak.

Being a strong hustler is good. Leaving behind a path of destruction is not.

Find the balance. You’ll do your best work there.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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sales relationships

Sales Relationships Still Matter The Most

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The most important element for your success in sales or success in your career are your sales relationships. Even transactional sales may be conditioned, or not, by the relationship.

People Influence Sales

When you ask a friend about a new barber or hair stylist you’re really asking about their brand. Are they reputable, will they do a good job, or will they botch me up?

The barber with no reputation is a barber of high risk.

Barbers often build relationships with the customer. Those relationships mean that not only is the customer a living example, they also are able to influences future sales.

A haircut is really not a transactional sale. It is a consultative sale. When you treat it like a transaction you limit the possibility for future sales. In other words, “I can get my haircut anywhere.”

This logic still matters across nearly every platform.

Amazon is a close example to transactional selling. You browse the website and place an order for a commodity product. Done.

Yet there is still a service side. How will it be packed, shipped, and delivered. Does a relationship still exist? In some ways, yes.

Sales Relationships

Today even face-to-face selling is different. You spec your new car on-line first, you check out the restaurant menu on-line, or you search the web for customer reviews.

The relationship still matters for many. It especially matters for consultative selling.

You may not always have to be face-to-face, in fact, in some cases perhaps not at all. Yet, being considered for, or earning the sale will often have to do with what someone else has to say.

Build stronger sales relationships, it may be how you earn your living, or how you get the promotion.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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building connections

Building Connections Is More Than a Tactic

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Are you building connections? Friending someone on Facebook is a connection, yet it is does not ensure a human relationship. Who makes up your network and why?

People Connections

People attend business breakfast meetings, luncheons, and evening mixers. What is their reason or motive? In part, it may be to build relationships.

Why do people come away from the conference or convention feeling motivated and pumped up? It probably has something to do with the connections made or relationships built.

What inspires or motivates people in your workplace? It probably has something to do with the people, the environment, and the culture.

Building Connections

On-line or in-person people are often seeking a community. Communities of like interests, hobbies, or professions. People who have something to give, share, or gain from the interaction. It doesn’t make them fake. It makes them real.

The statement often is, “Everyone is in sales.”

Yes, it is true. We’re all probably selling something. Sometimes, more often than we realize, we are selling ourselves. That doesn’t mean a forced activity, it means building relationships.

Connection is more strategy than it is tactic. The tactical approach may be the literal part of a technological connection. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or many others. Friends, followers, and social networks. Your connection count is a tactic.

Think more strategic and less tactically.

In order to connect, you have to find other people. You have to arrive, engage, and take risks. You have to look for the opportunity in misfortune, adverse conditions, and economic challenges. Celebrate wins, good fortune, and growth.

Building connections are part of the strategy for growth.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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sales distraction

Sales Distraction Inhibits Goal Achievement

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We all sell. Even those who are not officially in a sales role, sell. What sometimes seems like prospecting may be exactly what is causing a sales distraction.

Movement and motion are important, yet results are what matter the most.

Motion Isn’t Selling or Buying

People browse the internet, watch videos, and search eBay or Amazon. They don’t always buy; the activity of the search is a distraction. It’s window shopping.

In the summer, in suburbs or rural communities, there are often yard sales. People scatter their junk on tables and under canopies. The neighborhood gets involved, often there are cardboard signs, parking problems, and rubberneckers.

People who engage often don’t spend much, but they have some fun browsing. It gets them together with a friend or two, doesn’t cost much, and is more of a distraction rather than buying.

The same is true for many festivals, auctions, and community fairs. More of a distraction than commerce.

Those selling have a different role. Their strategy is to move the product, make a dollar, and improve their situation.

It may be for charity, to remove some clutter, or even a hobby business.

Sales Distraction

In the workplace, when trying to sell people sometimes seek an excuse or a distraction.

They claim they are prospecting, knocking on doors, and making calls. Yet, performance data still illustrates a pattern of coming up short.

There is blame towards a lack of collateral, the outdated website, or unfavorable economic conditions.

Sales tactics can become an activity. Check the box, do the labor, fulfill the role.

Have the goals been met?

Boxes checked are not always the same as goals achieved.

Rocking in a rocking chair gets you moving, yet you really aren’t going anywhere. It’s just motion.

Don’t get distracted.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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making connections

Making Connections in the Connection Economy

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Many have labeled our current economic climate as a connection economy. Considering that is a fair label, are you making connections?

So often we are focused on the product, the service, or other tangible aspects of our business. Build the best product. Have the best quality. Deliver the best service.

We do it in our careers too. Get more education. Have the most credentials. Achieve the best title. Make lots of money.

Business or personal, all these things are important. Yet, many businesses and people struggle to close the sale, struggle to get recognized for superior service, or struggle to find a new job or get that all-important promotion.

Questions to Ask

The questions may become:

“In a connection economy what makes growing companies grow?”

“In a connection economy what is important for the new job, career change, or advancement?”

The best answers may be as simple as it seems. Connections.

Many people suggest that society is shifting. Heads down, many stare at a small device held in the palm of their hand. A technology prayer.

Yet, humanity still seeks connections. In-person, or through technology, the social interaction often drives what happens next.

Making Connections

It becomes about who we think of when we need a new employee. It becomes about the brands and products we choose in a sea of possible selections.

The fastest growing companies on the planet are doing more than making things, selling stuff, or delivering exceptional service. Again, all those things matter but what matters in a connection economy is building strong connections.

Make good stuff, deliver great service, be the best you can be.

Be sure to connect.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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competition

Do You Understand Your Competition?

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Every day we are competing. We’re competing through our business, competing to close the sale, or competing to achieve a promotion or get a new job. Do you understand the competition?

We may or may not know who the competition is with, but do we understand what we’re competing on?

Parameters of Competition

If you are focused on the size of the cake or the presentation of the dessert, how it tastes may be an afterthought.

The most durable laptop computer probably isn’t the most slimmest. The fastest car probably is the biggest or even the most comfortable.

What are the parameters of competition?

Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Service: When we compete on service our focus becomes about the delivery. Time, speed, and satisfaction.
  • Trust: We work hard to illustrate examples of trust. We work to show loyalty, commitment, and perseverance. Promises kept, not broken.
  • Image: While often very subjective our time and energy are spent on what you see.
  • Credentials: The focus of the card punch. Are the educational degrees attained? The certifications valid and current? Are they issued from a reputable source?
  • Price: Value is the afterthought, everything that matters is based first on price. If it is available everywhere at the same spec, price is the only differentiator.

Competing on What?

Understanding your competition is important, but you must first understand what you are competing on.

In the best scenarios you’re competing on what matters most to you. Your passion drives the focus and results. However, what brings you to the forefront of your offering may not be what the customer is buying.

A focus on quality may mean a higher price. An abundance of effort on image may drive questions about what is under the veil. Questions about credentials may signal a lack of trust.

What are you competing on? What matters most to the buyer?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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commodity services

Commodity Services And The Race To The Bottom

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Everyone wants a good price. In fact, everyone wants the best price. It is seldom that someone wants to spend more than their neighbor or competition for a similar product or service. Have you ever felt like commodity services are really a race to the bottom?

Price Strategy

Many selling efforts consider the basic economics of price. Sell more at a lower price and we’ll get more money. Sometimes this may make sense.

Selling services has some differences when compared with selling raw materials or products. The value of the product is in the spec. Anything meeting spec may only come down to one thing, price.

Services have some differences. Businesses that treat services like raw materials or products, pushing vendors for the lowest price as compared to spec, may get less than they expected.

Race to the Bottom

When you are selling a service that is based purely on spec you may be selling commodity services. Yet your value will be judged on the expected quality.

It will need to meet spec which includes quality, but the quality of a service subjective.

This is even true for most jobs. When you negotiate a salary, it typically starts with spec. Ultimately though you will not only be evaluated compared with spec but your performance will be compared with price.

One of the challenges for the service provider is to apply enough margin to consistently exceed expectations.

While everyone is racing to the lowest price and trying to sell more, the intuitive path seems to include cutting operating costs to keep margins. Service quality often declines. Promises are broken.

Commodity Services

One trouble spot with services is that they often aren’t remembered for price. They are remembered for the feeling after the service.

The best lawyers, surgeons, and accountants may have to meet spec, but spec isn’t that relative to price. The service promise and the resulting expectations have more relevance.

If you were in trouble legally, would you hire the cheapest attorney? The spec may be, have the credentials to practice law. The promise is to keep you out of jail.

Here is a promise. The cheapest service may meet spec, but it will often be remembered as an inferior product.

A race to the bottom.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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speaking the truth

Testimonials and Speaking The Truth

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Not so long ago I was on a telephone call with a potential client. During the call, the client was clicking through some of the features of my website and specifically wanted to see customer testimonials. It causes me to wonder, are testimonials really speaking the truth?

Wanting Testimonials

As we talked on the phone, she was saying aloud the features she was seeing. “Okay, here is your seminar list. Oh and here are your blog posts. Okay and I see your speaking topics. Do you have any testimonials?”

Testimonials are valuable, certainly. They also have their own dedicated page on my site.

I wonder though, are written testimonials, the kind we see on a business web page real?

I don’t mean to suggest that anyone makes them up. Although, of course, someone could, what I question is how authentic these testimonials really feel to the reader or potential customer. Is this written word really speaking the truth?

Similar to references on a job application, would anyone knowingly list a reference that would say something bad, I don’t think so.

We live in a funny World. People cite in a negative sarcastic tone the perceived lack of authenticity related to online data, articles, and social media posts. There is a tremendous social atmosphere (movement?) which many people have labeled as, fake news.

Therefore, it may beg the question, “Why do people believe in testimonials?” How many businesses would display a comment that expresses disappointment with their product or service? Unless it is some paradoxical shift, I believe none. Zero, no one would do that.

Speaking the Truth

Testimonials may be one of the most intriguing inspirations for a call to action. They matter. Every marketer will tell you that. People believe in them. Psychologically, they move people to action. Are they fake news, maybe?

Perhaps the real truth exists in the number of clients or customers served, years in business, or when a friend of a friend provides a real spontaneous and unsolicited referral. I’m not saying that testimonials are fake news. They are probably real on most websites. What I am saying is what makes people so sure.

What did I tell the potential client? I directed her to my testimonials tab.

She was satisfied.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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handling rejection

Handling Rejection, or Processing the Right of Refusal

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It is often why people claim they do not like sales. They say it is the rejection. Are you handling rejection in the right way? Is it rejection or really just a refusal of your offer?

We may be living in a cynical world. Some social media channels offer the option for a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. Some posts get many clicks and some get few or none. Harsh comments, nasty or angry posts, and people just looking to pick a fight.

How do you accomplish your best work? What happens when your work is rejected? Imagine if you are not the successful candidate for the job, or the big sale you were attempting to close was given to someone else. What do you do, or how do you feel?

Brutal Truth

Often the brutal truth is that your work, your skills, or your offering is right for someone, it just isn’t right for them.

Another possibility, but much less of a probability, is that they don’t understand your work. Your work was exceptional but they misunderstand it. You were the best candidate but you weren’t compelling enough. Perhaps, they couldn’t make an emotional connection to your offer.

Yet another possibility is that everything was perfect but that they were already leaning towards someone else.

Some of these things are fixable. Some will not matter regardless of any effort or repair.

Handling Rejection

What may be most valuable and most important is that at least now you have an answer. Answers are rare today. The cynical world sometimes clashes with the legal world and while silence feels vain, it is all you will get. Sales professionals will tell you, “The client went dark on me.”

What is the best way of handling rejection or a refusal of your offer?

Say, “Thanks so much, I really appreciate you letting me know.”

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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