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Cast Your Vote for 2013 Growth

So…Election Day has past. Did you vote? Did you cast your ballot for what it is that you believe in? Did you put in the effort to understand the issues, the politics, and the possible outcomes of your vote? Did you go out of your way and stand in line to exercise one of the biggest honors and responsibilities that you have as an American? Do you understand that we have people fighting every day in foreign lands so that you can exercise this right? And now that the votes are all in and the results are all in place, are you happy with the outcome? Will you now take a stand to facilitate change that is necessary or will you complain about circumstances that are present?
As an entrepreneur, a leader/manager, or a sales professional you get up each and every day to cast your ballot. You make a choice every day (many times a day) to ELECT to do what is necessary to get the results that you desire. There are many people that every day follow the lead of others and ELECT to be told what they are due in this world…but not you! YOU decide the vote you will cast to make those extra calls. YOU decide the ballot spot you will mark in your preparation efforts before every meeting, sales call, or decision you make. YOU decide your strategy, your approach, and your follow through. Therefore, this election season, I offer to you, regardless of your party or politician of choice, a FIVE POINT PLAN for your the growth of your company, your team, and/or your personal book of business for the future:

1-Define it-Design it!
Right now, I ELECT to decide what my 2013 will look like. I will set my company, team, and personal goals by defining my VISION for results this year. My VISION will determine my mission and thus, the changes that I must make to accomplish that VISION. No longer will I suffer the dysfunction of the masses by letting things and circumstances decide my results. I will decide

2-Preparation Before Execution

Today I begin to start down the path of strategic thought before committed action.  I will spend at least 5 minutes prior to each sales call or each meeting deciding, in advance, what I have in mind for an ideal outcome of the meeting.  I will declare (and write-down) targeted take-aways prior to the meeting, forcing me to THINK from all perspectives and take into account all those involved in the sales call or the meeting.  I will always have a plan before I get into the battle.

3-Growth
I realize I cannot accomplish more than I have without becoming more than I am.  I commit to my professional growth this year by increasing my exposure to new ideas, new strategies, and new actions.  I must learn more than I know today and I must take paths that I have previously not taken.  The marketplace demands more from every sales professional.  Every sales team can grow sales and profits on the wisdom, guidance, and coaching of their leader.  And the marketplace certainly demands more from every sales professional.  This year, I will rise to meet those demands. I will read more, write more, speak more, seek more coaching, more mentorship, and never cease.

4-Visibility

In order for my organization, my team and/or my marketplace to engage more with me and thus, do more business with and/or for me, I must become more visible.  If I am not visible to those with whom I choose to grow, I am, in fact, IN-visible.  I will learn ways to network better and more often.  I will schedule specific visibility both physically and online every week.  I will add value though all of these efforts.  I will connect, engage, and offer assistance everywhere.  I will become known for these things and create a brand of excellence that is known to the masses.  I will become more than I am currently to all of those who know me and many that do not as of yet know me.  And I will define my brand.

5-Action

The greatest secret all accomplishment is ACTION.  With the focus of the Four points above, ACTION is the secret to ignite them all.  I realize that I do not have to be great to start, but in order to be great, I must START!  Every day, I will take a bit more action.  I will make 5 more sales calls, meet with 1 more employee (and listen to them), or offer a bit more coaching to my people.  I will not only plan my work but I will put more effort into working my plan!  I will get up earlier, stay a little later and truly be present as I morph myself and my team/organization into World-Class results.

As a professional today, you need to ELECT to follow a plan for a better future, if only for the upcoming year.  Cast your vote now to unseat the complacent, comfortable incumbent that resides in your office!  GO—BE—DO!

Personal Branding…What are YOU Known For?

TOP Salespeople use Personal Branding as a very special way to stand out in the minds of the market.  Most of them don’t even know that they are doing it!  Why do they do it?

  • Personal Branding gets your phone to ring.
  • Personal Branding separates you from all of the competition.
  • Personal Branding puts VALUE ahead of COST.
  • Personal Branding elevates you and thus your company/product/service in the minds of your customer.
  • Personal Branding, quite simply, creates more sales for you!

Companies spend millions of dollars every year to burn their brand into the hearts and minds of their potential customers.  This is done with advertising, jingles, and repetition of their messages.  Nike built a brand around that “swoosh” logo such that its worldwide proliferation is staggering.  You cannot go anywhere in the world of sports without seeing the “swoosh.”  In fact, the “swoosh” has become synonymous with excellence in sports.  The result?  An empire of shoes, clothing and sports gear that commands top dollar in the marketplace.

Starbucks did it with coffee in a different way.   They chose to create a customer “experience” that is consistent throughout the world.  They created a brand and invested their millions into teaching us (through their employees) a different way to order and drink coffee.  They train their people (The Barista’s “Green Apron Book”) and invest in the customer experience that we receive in any Starbucks.  The result?  We will go out of our way AND pay a premium to “find a Starbucks shop.

What is it that YOU can do as a sales professional to position yourself and your company as THE CHOICE rather than simply A CHOICE?  Through the appropriate Personal Branding tactics, you can:

  •  Establish yourself as an expert (Don’t just be “in” your field…be perceived as the “best” in your field.)
  • Be known as a resource (Don’t be a “taker” of orders….be a “maker” of profits and success for your customers)
  • Create a demand for your product or service  (Customer’s will call you…instead of the other way around)
  • Build prospective customer’s trust in you and your company (People do business with whom they trust and know….get KNOWN to gain their trust!)
  • Differentiate yourself from the competition (If you don’t stand out, you don’t stand out!)

How can you create a brand for yourself as a sales professional?  Let’s look at some of the first steps that you must take:

  1. Clearly define the “brand” that your desire to create and communicate to your marketplace.  How do you want to be known?  What words or phrases will your customer’s use to describe you?  How will you choose to differ yourself from the competition?
  2. Establish  a “special sauce statement” that states what it is that you bring to the table in a way that nobody else does.  This should be from the customer’s viewpoint (benefit driven) not from yours (feature driven.)
  3. Create a list of no less than 10 ways to communicate this BRAND every day in every way to your prospects, customers, and clients.  You must walk the walk that you wish to be “known for.”  Consistency is absolutely the key.  Every move that you make needs to be preceded with the following questions: “Is what I am about to do consistent with the brand that I have created?”

Personal Branding is the key to greater sales.  It is often the difference between you getting the contract or the other guy.  More importantly, it is most often the main difference between you having to sell your product or service and people wanting to buy your product or service!

It has been said that in the profession of selling, it’s not who you know, but rather who knows you that counts.  Call our office today at 866-979-LAYO (5296)—yes, the phone number is part of my brand—and get enrolled for any of our upcoming events.  You can also go to www.GerryLayo.com and enroll  for any of these events online.

Remember, if you can’t name 2-3 things that you are KNOWN-FOR, how can you expect your customers to list ONE?

Want to build your fortune? Build your network first

Let’s wrap up our discussion of networking by covering the final three rules of how to do it right.

The eighth rule of successful networking has to do with following up. I remember this one like a little dog. It’s like a pup. It’s Professionalism, Uniqueness and Promptness.

Professionalism is a combination of your unique, prompt follow up. Whether it’s acknowledging the initial contact with a quick email or a handwritten note or a telephone call, whatever it may be, if you’re prompt and professional with it, you’ll blow them away. You’re opening doors down the road.

And, whether it’s email, a handwritten note, a letter, an article, a phone call, a referral, or a contact that you want to introduce them to, make sure you do it promptly. Make sure you do it professionally, and make sure you do it in a unique way, so that you stand out in the mind of your prospect. Make an impact, because you are one of the very few who did what you said you were going to do.

Make sure your follow up is there. Handwritten notes are unique. If there’s a guy carrying around a camera, taking pictures at these events, get a picture taken with your prospect and load it up into Shutterfly, and make a notecard out of the picture with you and them, and then send that picture over. Say, “It was great meeting you, looking forward to meeting you again.” Share a couple of things in that note about the conversational points that you had.

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You have seven minutes to plant a seed

My seventh rule of successful networking: Plant seeds not sales.

When you go to a networking event, you’re going to plant seeds. You’re not going to harvest. Networking is about meeting people. Stop going with the taker mentality.

“I want to take their time, I want to take their money, I want to take their order.”

Stop it. That’s not what networking’s about. It’s about planting seeds.

It beats the hell out of prospecting, by the way. But you need to do it with a measure of efficiency. I’ll call it the John Elway rule. John Elway was number seven. It’s the seven-minute rule: Do not spend more than seven minutes with any one person at that event. You’ve got seven minutes to make an impact.

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The three Ps of effective networking

We’re powering our way through the 10 keys to effective networking, and here are the Three Ps that will enable you to take advantage of the next networking even you attend: Plan, prepare, practice.

How do you plan for a networking event? Think about the questions you are going to ask: What do you want to know? How are you going to ask them?

You want to ask questions that cannot only carry the conversation, but can also provide the information you need.

Think about it: You are telling a story through the questions you ask. It will be obvious if you know your industry real well. So know the industry of the people that you’re talking to. Have some timely information to offer. Be flexible. Adjust to the person. Adjust to the opportunity. Adapt.

In short, be a professional.

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It’s not who you know – it’s who knows you

The next step to networking success is brand you. Not brand new, brand you.

You need to create your buzz. How you want to be branded? How do you create the impression you want? What do your business cards look like? Your email signature, what is that buzz phrase, that catch phrase behind you?

We say, “Coaching companies to increase your sales and profits.”

I’ve got a couple others. “Make an impact” is one, my impact phrase. I’ve got another one that says: “Attitude plus skills, plus activity equals success.”

Anybody who’s gotten an email from me knows that that’s in my email signature line. What’s in yours?

How visible are you? How are you branding yourself?

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“How do you do that?”

When you’re at a networking event, you’re going to be asked the question, “What do you do?”

Are you prepared to answer that question?

Because they don’t really care what you do — funny as that sounds. What they’re really asking is, “What could you possibly do that might provide some sort of value to me?”

So, how’s your elevator speech? When somebody says to me, “So you’re with Sales Coach International, what do you?” Well, I don’t say, “We’re speakers and trainers and so forth.”

What I say is: “We coach companies to greater sales and profits.”

The next question that comes out of their mouth is: “How do you do that?”

Now they’re saying, “Oh, OK. I’m curious. You now have my permission to tell me more. I’m interested, and I want to know how you coach companies to greater sales and profits.”

And this is a whole different conversation, isn’t it?

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Networking? Look sharp and be sharp

What kind of first impression do you want to make going into a networking event?

Everybody is there for the same reason, for business. How will you be one of the 10 percent who gets business out of every event?

Here’s how: Look sharp, be sharp. People decide 10 things about you within the first 10 seconds of meeting you.

“Why should I potentially do business with you?” Every prospect asks that question.

You need to define what impression you want your customers, your prospects to have of you. What word would you use to define how you want them to describe you?

How about:

  • Professional
  • Outgoing
  • Enthusiastic
  • Passionate
  • Knowledgeable
  • Curious
  • Interesting
  • Interested
  • Focused
  • Helpful

Once you define the impression you want to have, you can start to design it.

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How to work a networking event

If you’re going to be an effective networker, you need a networking toolbox.

What’s in this toolbox? Business cards that stand out from that of the competition. Maybe some handwritten notes that you’re going to use to stay in touch with those people afterwards. Some giveaways,  different things that you’re going to hand out.

I’ve seen people hand out business cards that say: “The top five telephone numbers you need to know.” And the first name on the card is the President of the United States, the White House, and then it’s got the number of the White House.

The second one is the Queen of England in Buckingham Palace and the phone number. And then, the third one is someone else, and the fourth one is, maybe, Tiger Woods, golf professional, and another number there. And the fifth one is your name and your telephone number on it, and then there’s a little asterisk, and it says, “Please note, only one of the above will return your call.”

And people think, “Oh, what a cute card.” I’ve sees sales people take it to another level with a simple tool like that. Because some of the people you hand that card to are going to be impressed by it. When they are, make a note of it. And then, send them a box of a hundred of them, with their name on the bottom of it as the only one that will return their call.

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Step one to more effective networking

How do you make the most of your networking opportunities, whether it’s a trade show, a mixer, a client get-together, an association meeting or whatever?

First, you must commit to making networking a vital part of your written business acquisition plan. How else are you going to grow your book of business? This is not about maintenance – it’s about growth.

We are here to grow:

  • Accounts
  • Opportunities
  • Commission checks

Where are we going to find that growth? There are two options. We’re going to prospect and find people we’ve never done business with before. Or, we’re going to penetrate existing accounts, relationships or networks to which we belong.

So, we need to be clear:

  • Who is your market?
  • Where does that market meet?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Where do they meet? Read more