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Friday Guest Stars

Here are your guest contributors for Friday’s edition of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Week iPad Giveaway.

Read each of the five posts that follow and click our entry form link to match the guest star with their post.

Mahan Khalsa

Mahan Khalsa is the founder of the Sales Performance Group of FranklinCovey, the creator of the Helping Clients Succeed sales improvement program taught in over 40 countries and 10 different languages. He is currently a founding partner at Ninety Five 5 (Less Nonsense – More Sales).  He has consulted extensively with many Fortune 1000 companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, Accenture, Aon, Mercer, Motorola, HP, Dell, GE and others.

Michael Port

Called “an uncommonly honest author” by the Boston Globe and a “marketing guru” by The Wall Street Journal, Michael Port is a New York Times Bestselling author of four bestselling books including Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid, The Contrarian Effect and The Think Big Manifesto. For free chapters of his books go to BookYourselfSolid.com.

Jim Connolly

Jim Connolly specializes in helping small businesses to make massively more sales and boost their profits, through common sense marketing.  As well as having one of the world’s most popular marketing blogs, he has also contributed to programs on The BBC and ITV in the UK as well as CBS in North America. .

Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™, is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach. She is the author of the book, Cold Calling for Women. She has also created numerous self-study programs including Cold Calling College, The Miracle Appointment-Setting Script and Getting Past the Palace Guard.

Michael Schultz

Mike Schultz, author of Rainmaking Conversations, is President of RAIN Group, a sales training, assessment, and performance improvement company, and publisher of RainToday.com. Mike can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Mike_Schultz.

 

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling & Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers crack into new accounts and win big contracts. For more insights, download these four free sales tools.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 1

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Jim Connolly

Jim Connolly specializes in helping small businesses to make massively more sales and boost their profits, through common sense marketing. As well as having one of the world’s most popular marketing blogs, he has also contributed to programs on The BBC and ITV in the UK as well as CBS in North America. .

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 1

Many business owners attract sales leads, but feel uncomfortable converting those leads into paying clients. They are not salespeople and find the whole conversion process a little daunting.

If that sounds like you, fear not, (literally.) In this brief post, I’m going to show you a way to successfully convert leads and enjoy the process too.

The reason so many businesspeople hate selling, is that the typical sales process is pressurized. Prospective clients feel pressure because, as we know, people love to buy things but they hate being sold to. Businesspeople who hate selling feel pressurized, because they know they are about to encounter the pressure of “buyer resistance”, which the prospective client uses to protect themselves.

The solution?

To make this process as profitable and enjoyable as possible, simply be yourself – Not a salesperson! You’re an expert on your industry, your company’s services and how they help people, at least you should be. But you’re not a salesperson and that’s exactly what your prospective client needs to hear, so tell them! Let them know that you want to help them make the right decision, using your experience and knowledge.

Very quickly, the pressure evaporates on both sides.

You can now focus on sharing what they need to know, in order to make the right decision. Their buyers resistance dissolves as you earn their trust, by speaking with them, rather than trying to sell them. You then explain how your service provides exactly what they need, handle their objections and let them know you’d welcome the opportunity to look after their requirements.

Over the past 25 years, I have sold many millions of dollars worth of products and services using that approach. It’s a super-effective, low pressure and extremely enjoyable way to do business.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 2

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling & Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers crack into new accounts and win big contracts. For more insights, download these four free sales tools.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 2

Stop selling then – at least the way you think you’re supposed to. You’re rebelling against the self-serving, schmoozy, product-pushing peddlers image in your mind.

Let me offer you a different perspective. The word “selling” originated from a Swedish word that means “to serve.” As sellers, our job is to serve our customers by providing them with ideas, insights and information to help them do their job better.

So what does that mean you do with a lead? If someone downloaded information from your site, they likely have a business challenge they’re facing that can’t be addressed by their current product, service or solution. Same thing if they attended a webinar, requested a brochure, or even spent time visiting your web pages.

And, you have to realize that they’re crazy-busy. They have way too much to do, impossible deadlines and limited resources. They’re looking for someone (potentially you!) who can be a valuable resource to them.

Rather than getting on the phone to “pitch” your offering or blather about your company, you could call them up to:

  • Learn more about the business issue that triggered their action – and see if you could make a difference. You may or may not be a good fit. After sharing a bit about the business outcomes you’ve helped other customers achieve, see if it makes sense to continue the conversation. Remember, it’s about their business, not your offering.
  • Help them think about how to make the best decision for their organization. If your product/service is complex, most likely your prospects aren’t sure about all the factors they should be considering. They don’t know who to involve, the questions they should be asking, what they should be looking for.

If you can personally provide this type of value to your leads, they’ll want to work with you. And when that happens, you won’t hate selling anymore because it truly is service. You know what you do matters.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 3

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Mahan Khalsa

Mahan Khalsa is the founder of the Sales Performance Group of FranklinCovey, the creator of the Helping Clients Succeed sales improvement program taught in over 40 countries and 10 different languages. He is currently a founding partner at Ninety Five 5 (Less Nonsense – More Sales). He has consulted extensively with many Fortune 1000 companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, Accenture, Aon, Mercer, Motorola, HP, Dell, GE and others.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 3

If you hate selling, don’t do it. Forget about it altogether. Put it out of your mind. Just focus on helping people be successful in a way you can both feel good about. When you first talk with “a lead” forget about “converting them”. However vaguely or reluctantly, they have raised their hand and signaled that they may need some help. Can you help?

If there is a good fit between what they want , need, value – and what you do well, then it likely makes sense to keep talking. If there is not a good fit, it makes sense to find out quickly, declare victory, and allow both parties to move on to things that are more productive. Which is the case?

The challenge is that people don’t often start out with clear definitions of success – of what they want, need, or value. They suggest that they may want a product or service such as you provide – a solution if you will. “A solution to what?”, is the question. Solutions are only motivating to the extent they solve some problem(s) that people care about or provide some result(s) they highly desire.

If you want to help someone be successful, first find out how they define success. Diagnose before your prescribe. What are all of the problems or results they would like to address with the requested solution? Are some more important that others? How do those problems show up today and when they do, what are the consequences, both economic and intangible. If they apply a solution, what results do they expect? How will they define or measure success? If they get success, what is the payoff to them?

If the value of success is considerable, what do they feel is a reasonable investment of time people and money to realize that value? Does that fit with what you feel is necessary?

With good understanding of what they truly want to accomplish, let them know at a high level how you and your solutions might help. Together, answer the question, “Should we keep talking?”

If the answer is yes, sketch out a series of steps you could mutually take to conclude whether working together makes sense – or not. Each step should have a clear Go/ No Go decision and ideally be low risk, low investment for each party. And no is OK. If it is a good fit, then together you can do good things, have fun, and make some money. If not, it’s painful for everyone.
So stop selling and start helping people succeed. Stop converting and start conversing about whether working together can produce the results and relationships you both value.

Is that so hard?

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 4

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™, is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach. She is the author of the book, Cold Calling for Women. She has also created numerous self-study programs including Cold Calling College, The Miracle Appointment-Setting Script and Getting Past the Palace Guard.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 4

I looked up the word “sell” in the dictionary. This is what it said:

“To persuade (another) to recognize the worth or desirability of something.”

This definition assumes value. The concept of value, worth and desirability is inherent in the definition.

Unfortunately, in our culture, the word “sell” no longer simply means to persuade someone of the value of what you are offering. Instead it carries the baggage of distrust, dishonesty and manipulation.

Too many small business owners buy into this stereotype which stops many of them from taking action. It causes them to say, “I hate selling.”

“I hate selling so how do I convert leads?” is the wrong question. The correct questions are:

1. Do you believe in the value of your products/services?
2. Do your products/services provide a benefit to your customers?
3. Are you doing the best you know how to ensure that your customers get what they need?

If you have answered “yes” to the above questions, then you are proceeding with integrity. You are not manipulating, you are not being dishonest or untrustworthy.

If you want to convert leads, look at what you believe about what you are doing. Small business owners need beliefs that support their ability to be successful. The belief that selling is a negative activity is not a belief that supports success.

Let’s reclaim the word “sell.” Let’s redefine it to mean, “to persuade and convince with integrity.” Let’s remember that value is inherent in the definition. Then everyone would understand that as long as they proceed with integrity and as long as they believe in the value of what they are selling, selling is an ethical and moral act. Then more small business owners would no longer “hate selling” and would be able to convert more leads.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 5

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Michael Port

Called “an uncommonly honest author” by the Boston Globe and a “marketing guru” by The Wall Street Journal, Michael Port is a New York Times Bestselling author of four bestselling books including Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid, The Contrarian Effect and The Think Big Manifesto. For free chapters of his books go to BookYourselfSolid.com.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 5

This strategy works! Of the 93 percent of my clients who successfully book themselves solid, all of them use it in one form or another.

People generally hate to be sold, but they love to be invited. You thought I was going to say buy, didn’t you? Nope, I said invited—as long as the invitations are relevant and anticipated.

When I started my business, I offered a teleseminar event each week on the same day, at the same time (I still do). The purpose is to help people think bigger about who they are and what they offer the world (and, yes, to get more clients as well).

Participation is free. If I meet someone I think will benefit from the call, I simply invite her to join. Also note that there is no selling on this call.

The folks on the call get the opportunity to participate in something that adds value to their life and test me out at the same time. And I get the opportunity to offer really great value at no risk to them.

I’ve calculated, that roughly 80% of the people who attend this weekly call more than 3 times, buy my products or services within the next 6 months. How do you like them apples?

You might worry that if you give away too much of yourself or your content for free, then no one will buy what you sell. Wrong—as long as you have other compelling products and services to sell, products and services that solve specific problems and produce specific results, then you’ll stand in the service of your clients AND build a brilliantly booked solid business.

There are many ways you can set up this kind of always-have-something-to-invite-people-to-offer. You are limited only by the scope of your imagination. However, there are three important factors that make an always-have-something-to-invite-people-to offer successful.

1. It’s consistent. Consistency builds trust and earns credibility.

2. It’s frequent. Once a year may be consistent but it won’t help you stay top-of-mind to the people you want to serve; monthly is good, weekly is great.

3. It brings people together. You’ll leverage the power of communities. When you bring people together, they create far more energy and excitement than you can on your own. Your guests will also see other people interested in what you have to offer, and that’s the best way to build credibility.

If you create a consistent and frequent always-have-something-to-invite-people-to-offer that brings people together, you’ll be viewed as a really cool person. Seriously. If you’re known in your community as someone who stands up and make things of value, you will build your reputation and increase your likeability, an essential component of getting booked solid.

Finally, to make this work in a big way…please remember to give away so much value that you think you’ve given too much, and then give more.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 6

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Michael Schultz

Mike Schultz, author of Rainmaking Conversations, is President of RAIN Group, a sales training, assessment, and performance improvement company, and publisher of RainToday.com. Mike can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Mike_Schultz.

I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads 6

Q. I Hate Selling, So Now How Do I Convert Leads?

A. Green eggs and ham.

Green Eggs and Ham Sam i am Jesse Jackson

Many people love selling. They find themselves in careers that allow them to sell. They make a ton of money. They’re happy doing it.

They will do it in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.

Other folks – professionals, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders – find they love things other than sales, often choosing careers for the simple fact that they won’t have to sell.

They do not like selling.

They could not would not on a boat. They could not would not with a goat.
Not in the dark! Not in a tree!

Their anxiety and fear will not let them be.

Those that turn their sales fortunes around stop hating it.

I wish learning to love sales would be as easy as telling you, “Try it! Try it! And you may,” but it typically takes real work to lose the “I hate selling” baggage you carry around with you.

Conversations make the difference in sales success. Mostly, these conversations take place between you (the seller) and someone else (the buyer).

Before you start succeeding in sales conversations with others, you must succeed with the most important conversation of all: the one you have with yourself.

If you hate selling, this conversation starts with examining why you hate selling, where the hate comes from, and how you can turn it around.

Everyone must make take their own first step in this conversation, and find the path that works for them.

But the path always ends in the same place.

I do so like green eggs and ham!

Thank you!

Thank you,

(You)-I-am.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

The Abusive Math of Cold Calling

If you are emotionally attached to cold calling, you might want to stop reading this post now.

mathAt a recent conference I heard Mahan Khalsa, co-author of Let’s Get Real of Let’s Not Play share the following statistics. (I don’t have the source of the data, but my experience tells me it’s pretty accurate.)

Cold calling results in about a 1-3% success rate for getting an initial appointment and it’s generally abusive to both parties. When that same call is made with a referral, the rate jumps up to 40% and even much higher when that referral comes from within the company.

The conclusion anyone should make from the gap in these two points is that you should never leave the office or get on the phone to call on a prospect without some form of a referral. In fact, if you’ve got a hot prospect, you should probably wait to find someone who can refer you or you might just waste any chance of getting in the door.

So, let’s do some simple math – if you have a list of 1000 names to cold call, you’re looking at getting 30 appointments as doing quite well (who knows if they are the right 30, but we can use this for conversation sake.) Now, let’s say you drill down and do enough research to find 250 prospects on that list that are very well suited to your business. Then you do further research using social media to locate information and contacts that would allow you to get referral introductions and recommendations to most on that pared down list. Experience tells me this approach is likely to turn up 75-100, well qualified prospects willing to discuss your ideas further.

Make fewer calls, get better results – that’s marketing math you can live with.

A referral into a prospect can come from one of three places, your current customers, your network, or a strategic partner. It’s important to mine all three of these groups as you build your prospect list.

A key aspect of this concept, of course, is that you are constantly developing a hot prospect list. In other words, a list of customers you would like to do business with. When you have this as your starting point you can target your referral sources for specific requests. When you go to a customer or strategic partner and ask if they know anyone on your list, it’s much easier for them to help.

Now, here’s where social technology can really be your friend. Once you have a prospect list, connect with them in social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. When you do this, not only will they tell you a lot about what’s important to them and what their challenges and opportunities are, they’ll probably show you who their peers, friends and network members are. They may actually identify for you the best way to get to referred into them.

Do this with your existing customers as well because it will make it easier to identify the ones that are influencers, who participates at a high level in social media, and who might be great candidate to refer you to your hot prospect list.

The last piece of this tactic is that you also have a plan to educate your referral sources. If you find that you are just one LinkedIn connection away from a hot prospect and you would like someone in your network to make an introduction, make sure that you take the time to teach them how and why to introduce you. This assures you don’t waste anyone’s time and your referral source including that of your referral source.

This approach obviously takes more time and planning. You must develop a prospect list, research using social media, and plan for referred introductions. The end result, however, is a success rate that any sales and marketing person would be envious of.

Image credit: stuartpilbrow