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Why You Must Change Your Content Marketing Approach

Now that pretty much everyone on the planet gets the importance of content marketing it’s time to throw a wrench in the works. To remain effective with your content marketing efforts you must constantly evaluate, change and evolve!

I know you may not want to hear that, but content only provides value when it’s useful and the consumer always determines what useful looks like. As more and more content marketers experiment with content form, length, frequency, mode, delivery, and style the consumer pallet for content continues to mature and evolve and you must do so with it. content marketing

I’ve been participating in content marketing for about fifteen years now, long before we called it that, but I’ve always tried to stay in touch with the wants and needs of the reader.

My first efforts were articles placed in directories and shared in an ezine. (How’s that for some nostalgia) In 2003 I started blogging here and that’s driven a great deal of my growth for over a decade.

Over the years my email newsletter has become more of a place to filter, aggregate and share other people’s content in snack sized versions. I produced my first eBook in 2004 or so and now feature ten, including some I’ve licensed from other writers.

We now feature guest blog post two and sometimes three times a week and I contribute blog style articles to about a dozen publications on a regular basis. Social media has obviously opened new doors in terms of sharing and generating new forms of content.

I believe the future of content marketing, however, rests in our ability to evolve to a more personalized form of creation and delivery where the end reader participates in the curation and creation of the content they request from marketers.

This next step will require even more from content marketers if they are to continue to deliver value in an saturated field of more and more content. I reached out to some well-known content marketers and asked them to share how their content marketing thoughts had evolved over the last few years.

Their responses are both fascinating and informative.

Enjoy!

Online content strategy has changed over the last couple of years. The focus is still on providing value, but this has been honed even further. I see businesses being more strategic about the type of content they publish online, to build the communities they want. There’s more long term strategy in the content they produce. I see businesses blogging less often but with deeper content to create strong evergreen content relevant to their business. I see others sharing more thoughtful pieces of content to connect with the right people. A few years ago providing value might have been enough to get traction to impact your business, but it’s also very important to create the type of coherent online visibility you need to establish relationships. Combining the two is essential today. There’s just too much noise, too many people publishing the same thing. And of course you need a visual marketing strategy to go hand in hand with your written content if you want to really take advantage of social media reach today.

Cindy King
Director of Editorial
Social Media Examiner

Different people in your target audience (whomever that audience may be) have varying preferences for content format, platform, approach, etc. I always knew this to be true, but in the past two years I’ve really embraced the concept that there is no such thing as all-powerful content. No magic bullet. No reliable home runs. Consequently, I’m striving to create more and more content types native to more and more content platforms, so that there is something from me in the style and format that’s preferable to each person in my tribe. That’s why I’m doing more podcasting, videos, ebooks, slideshare and just about everything else. Instead of trying to do one thing extraordinarily well, I’m trying to do many things very good. It’s not easy, but content can’t fully succeed as the tip of the spear – you need the whole spear.

Jay Baer
Convince and Convert

In the last two years, I have changed my ideas about blogging. I used to do more video posts with tutorials but I’ve switched to posting very long text posts with a lot of screenshots as my primary blog post and then occasionally add in video posts. I’ve found that having a lot of screenshots is great for people who are scanners. Even though my video posts were usually around 3-5 minutes in length, not everyone wants to sit through them. My blog posts are typically between 1000-2000 words which is much longer than I used to write when I had written posts. I’m also focusing this year on posting 2-3 times per week on my blog rather than just 1 time per week. It doesn’t always happen but I do like when I can post more often because it allows me to post a little more variety of content. I can post one in-depth technical post about Facebook or social media, and then also post something slightly different about business motivation or more general marketing or even something more personal about my journey. I’ve found that people have really responded to my personal posts – they don’t always get the biggest amount of traffic but they definitely get the most comments and I think they are great for connecting with your readers.

Andrea Vahl

Over the last two years, I’ve attempted to add more contrast to my content. It has often been said that content is king. However, with so much content out there it can all start to blend together so I’ve been focusing on making contrast king. This way, my readers look forward to what’s coming next. There’s more anticipation and surprise and, as a result, more attention and conversation is produced.

Michael Port
Book Yourself Solid

1. Publishing on weekends – CMI now publishes posts on Saturday and Sunday, as we’ve noticed that the posts get a bit more attention with less competition on those days. 2. Audio/Podcasts – Last year, we launched our first podcast and have seen amazing results. In the anticipation of more opportunities to get access to iTunes (ala Apple CarPlay), we are in the process of launching a podcast network as part of our core content offerings. 3. More In-Person Events – A decade ago, we were under the impression that social media might lead to people less likely to travel to events. Actually, the opposite has happened. With more networking going on via the Internet, people are actually craving more in-person, face-to-face time. So over the past two years we’ve added an event in Asia Pacific, as well as five additional events in North America.

Joe Pulizzi
Content Marketing Institute

We’ve not really changed much at all with regard to our content during the course of the last couple of years. Since launching our corporate blog, we’ve always focused on just one thing: our audience. We try to write content for the blog that is informative, educational and which can help marketers (our audience) do what they do more efficiently, effectively and with fewer headaches. We try to stay on top of trends, tools, and must-know, must-consider things as marketers develop and execute their integrated marketing strategies. Much like you, we understand that relationships today are built with information, and by giving it away (information), people come to trust and rely on us as a go-to source for whatever it is they need. I use just one phrase as a barometer (and I use this when I’m on the road speaking as well): How do you know if you’re doing it right? Ask yourself just one questions: Is it good for people. If so, then you’re doing it right. I believe that applies to every facet of your content marketing and lead gen initiatives: website, landing page campaigns, blog, social, email, and is applicable both online and off.

Shelly Kramer
V3 Integrated Marketing

“At Social Media Examiner our approach to content has not fundamentally changed in the last five years with two exceptions. We still publish 1000+ word articles that are extensively edited by a team of at least 6 editors. However, the first major change is the use of images. We custom design Facebook open graph and Twitter card images for our high profile articles to help them appear better in social. This means we have a designer create a nice image with words that will compel more clicks and shares. Secondly, we have upped the frequency of our original content from six times a week to ten. This means publishing two articles per day on most days.”

Mike Stelzner
Social Media Examiner

The last two years have been a time when we’ve experimented a fair bit with our content on numerous fronts including: 1. we’ve seen our longer form content do very well so have experimented with what we internally refer to as ‘mega-posts’ that are more comprehensive guides to larger topics. These posts are generally 2000+ words (and have gone as high as over 5000 words). While this isn’t what we publish every day we’ve tried to throw them into the mix ever few weeks and have been rewarded with great sharing, traffic and comments. 2. I’ve experimented increasingly with repurposing posts in different mediums. This has included using content previously published on the blog as slideshares and republishing older posts on LinkedIn and Google+ (usually with updates). I’ve also done it around the other way by publishing content that was still in a ‘first draft’ format to LinkedIn to get reader reactions before publishing it to the blog. 3. On ProBlogger we’ve also slowed our frequency down slightly and have been experimenting with ‘themed weeks’ where we tackle a larger topic over a series of posts over 5-6 days. This means we’ve been able to dig deeper into topics and build momentum. These theme weeks have been very well received. 4. The other major change for me has been the way I’m sharing content. I’ve put a huge effort into Facebook (on Digital Photography School) where we’ve gone from auto-posing new posts to 5-6 manual updates every day. The results of this have been amazing for us – while others are seeing reduced results with Facebook we’ve seen significant improvements in our organic reach, engagement and traffic driven from Facebook.

Darren Rowse
ProBlogger

I’ve become even more convinced of the power of brevity.

Dan Pink
To Sell Is Human

I just made a change… this week! After 5+ years of writing two posts a week, I’m now publishing content every day. It wasn’t so much that I thought “more is better” — the old way was good for a while, too. But then it became stale and I felt like I wasn’t challenging myself. Just as important, I felt like I wasn’t serving my readers well. The new blog has a lot of more frequent, shorter content, as well as a new series of Reader Stories and Profiles to highlight some of the great people in the community. So far, I’m very happy with the change and I think the readers are too.

Chris Guillebeau
The Art of Non-Conformity

I tend to go to longer content in social media and shorter content in blogs and direct response. I’m not sure why other than I use stories in social media and those tend to go longer. I don’t know that I’m using content for just education about ‘how to’ — but education about who I am and how I serve, how I live and how I see the world.

Carrie Wilkerson
Barefoot Executive

I stopped sending newsletters monthly that were long and had multiple subjects to it. I found that they were not getting read. Now I send brief single subject emails weekly with very enticing titles to get open, click thrus and shares. This has resulted in much better open rates and easier content generation.

Barry Moltz
barrymoltz.com

More Long Form Content We are gravitating away from shorter more informal “blog” posts and are investing much more in creating lengthier, more authoritative articles. There’s a glut of blog content of the short style, and while it may be shared on social media widely, it also tends to have a short shelf life. Longer, more in-depth pieces on evergreen topics tend to deliver a better ROI on the investment (time or money) in an article. In other words, if you’re going to write an article, you might as well make the extra effort to make it rich in detail and fantastic! It’s not unusual for Small Business Trends to publish pieces I’ve personally written or we’ve commissioned from others, at 1,500 – 2,000 words each, several times per week. (We publish around 50 articles per week, since we are an online magazine.) We don’t have a steady diet of long pieces, but we do a greater percentage of them today than two years ago. Here is why we do more long-form content. We find that people AND search engines tend to favor well-written, in-depth pieces. For instance, Google recognizes Schema markup for in-depth articles. But even if you don’t know what Schema markup is or don’t want to bother with it, you may just find that longer content helps your site’s engagement because (a) people tend to spend more time on your site reading longer pieces stuffed with useful information; and (b) they are more likely to explore the rest of your site, not just consume a short snack and immediately go away. Also, a page with a lot of quality content on a specific topic tends to naturally rank well in search because of the sheer quantity of information for the search engine spiders. That means more people may find your article — and your site — via search. And perhaps hire you or buy from you. However, everybody has their own style, and every site is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all. I recommend that people experiment. See if long-form content works for you.

Anita Campbell
CEO and Publisher
Small Business Trends

My approach is much different now than in years past. When I first started out with my blog in 2006, I posted ten to twelve times per week, then a few years later, I brought on contributors in order to scale the blog, while I focused on writing for business media outlets. Now, I rarely publish on social networks and only write articles six times each year when I have new research I want to push out to the marketplace. Part of this is because I believe the marketplace is changing and part of this is because I burned out from posting so much. I have so much going on now that I would rather focus my content production when I need to get something out there rather than random articles.

Dan Schawbel
Author of Promote Yourself

The biggest change for me has been that there are more outlets to share my content on. Specifically I think of Instagram. In the past the only way to share what I was seeing out in the world was in a blog post. Flickr has always been around as someplace to upload photos, but that is where it ended. There was no real community. But, using Instagram I can take a photo, tag the location and then write as little or much as I want and share it out to all other channels. I love having that flexibility and functionality right in my pocket anywhere in the world. I no longer have to take out my laptop to create and share.

C.C. Chapman

“Social media has changed the way I approach the content I create. Twitter, Facebook, et al have reduced our attention spans and at the same time increased the amount of “noise” we have to wade through, in order to get to the “signal.” As a result, I am creating more visuals and making any written content more succinct. I’m using images to gain attention, graphics to convey my message, and even my new book, Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation, is just 194 pages, spread out over 30+ concise chapters. In short, less truly is more.”

Andy Beal
CEO of Trackur

I’ve changed it all. I write once a week or so for chrisbrogan.com, instead of once or twice a day. Instead, I write my newsletter once a week, and write for private communities multiple times a day. I’m sharing a peek from outside, but only the faithful gets the payload.

Chris Brogan
Publisher of Owner Magazine

So, if you’ve made it to this point why not share thoughts on how your content marketing is evolving!

Why You Must Add Visual Content to the Mix

Look around these days and you’ll find it’s hard to miss the growth of sites and services that rely on the more visual aspect of our senses growing rapidly.

Sites like Pinterest and The Fancy rely on lots of pretty picture to tell stories and attract visitors.

Infographics and visualized data still attract lots of interest.

It’s a well documented fact that images get much more engagement on social networks like Facebook and Google+.

Even Twitter, land of 140 characters, has introduced a visually based service called Vine in an effort to grab a greater share of the eyeball.

A picture immediately lights our emotions and initiates a complex cognitive process that is a true wonder in the world of science.

The rise of the popularity of images in marketing and learning, however, may have less to do with the brain’s cognition powers and more to do with the reality of our own information possessing load.

Visual scanning has become a key web decision and filtering routine due to the sheer weight of what we attempt to consume.

Marketers must now use visual content strategically to invite those visual scanners to the party and simplify and illustrate more complex concepts.

visual content
An example illustration from Book Yourself Solid Illustrated by Michael Port

Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid, recently re-released his popular book as an illustrated guide – Book Yourself Solid Illustrated. The book takes the core concepts explained in oh so many words and turns them into pictures that “show” the concepts.

I think the work is brilliant and certainly pushes the bounds of a “how to” book to new places. Look for others to follow suit.

Every marketer should get this book and embrace both the concepts and the way the concepts are presented as a key demonstration of the role of sight in communication.

As with all things, however, balance is still crucial. It’s tempting to look at a site like Pinterest and think all you need are images. The fact is you still need a healthy blend.

Images are bit like pastries. They are very attractive and taste very good, but you can’t live on them.

How often have you heard these words uttered? “The book was better than the movie.”

Or as many rabid baseball fans will attest, a good radio broadcast of a game beats the television version any day.

The fact remains that words and sounds can paint a far more visually and emotionally appealing picture when used evocatively than, well, even a picture. The key is that pictures tell the story immediately, while words take far more time and effort.

It’s the careful fusion of words, sights and sounds that draw in all the senses and tell the complete story that marketers must strain to build.

Adding visual content as a strategic component of the marketing mix is now a must!

5 Things Your Referral Sources Desperately Want to Know

Marketing podcast with Michael Port

referral education

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

Most marketers are clear about targeting their marketing and advertising messages. but when it comes to referrals it seems that notion is no longer valid.

The thing is, we all want referrals, but what we really want are referrals and introductions that fit, that match what we consider our ideal client profile.

And here’s the other thing, our referral sources often are equally enthusiastic about providing referrals, but when we don’t help them understand how to do this in the best possible way, we make their job that much more difficult.

You need to think in terms of an education process for referral sources, be they clients or strategic partners, just as you think in terms of educating prospective clients.

On this week’s episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visit with Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid and upcoming Book Yourself Solid Illustrated, about this very thing.

Michael has consistently advised an approach that mandates that you get very, very specific about who does and does not make an ideal client for your business and during this conversation we talk about how to bring your “red velvet rope policy” to the generation of referrals.

Your referral sources need to know the following five things.

1) How would I spot your ideal client?

Describe your ideal client in such detail that most would have a hard time not identifying at least a handful of people that fit perfectly. Or better still, identify several actual prospective individuals or companies to use as examples. The more detail, including the types of pain or challenge they might be facing, the better prepared your referral sources are to make the right introductions.

2) How would I best describe why they should hire you?

Hopefully you have a very clear understanding of this first. I often refer to this as your value proposition or why us. Give your referral sources the actual words to use to describe how you are different from everyone else that says they do what you do.

3) What are some common trigger phrases I should listen for?

Whether you sell siding or software people probably don’t sit around with friends and discuss how they long for some siding or software. You’ve probably discovered that people talk about the problems in their lives and you’ve got to be good at translating that into the need for what you do. So, someone might say, “I sure hate painting my house every other year” or “my accountant is all over me because we can’t ever produce accurate sales reports.” These are what I call trigger phrases and you should produce a solid list of the actual things a hot prospect might say and provide this list to your sources.

4) What is your follow-up process?

Go ahead and tell your sources exactly how you intend to follow up and exactly how you would like them to be involved. This helps turn a lead into an introduction and set their mind at ease that you have a professional and valuable follow-up process rather than a hunt and kill approach.

5) What’s in in for me?

This last one may take many forms and only in rare instances would I suggest some form of monetary incentive. It is a good idea however to reinforce two things – why this is a valuable thing for them to do and how much your appreciate it. Often times connecting referral generation with non profit support or allowing them win something related to your business makes a lot of sense and can add some fun to the process.

You can create a one sheet document, web page or just informally address each in a meeting, but the key is to make it easy for your referral sources to do what they quite naturally want to do.

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