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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?

Are you Just DUMB ENUFF to Believe?

Well, here we go!  I was recently asked if I would like to join a group of Sacramento business leaders in a quest to train for and ride in “America’s Most Beautiful Bike-Ride” which is a 100 mile ride around Lake Tahoe.  The event is on June 3rd and my first training ride EVER with a group is this morning and will be about 35 miles.  Actually, it will close to 45 by the time we ride to the starting point.  Now, this may sound fairly logical to you as we are shooting for 100 in a few short months.  But here is what you need to know:  I have NEVER ridden more than 20 miles!  Nonetheless, I have no doubt that I will be able to do this, and keep up with the majority of the group. Call it blind faith or dumb stubbornness but I see this belief in many entrepreneurs every day…just like this group!

What does it take to have the blind faith to begin a sales career?  There rarely is a curriculum that one gets exposed to extensively until they are “up to their necks in it.”  There is often very little training for the new salesperson outside of product knowledge.  And rarely does someone working their way through high school or college ever state, “I cannot wait to pass this final exam so I can get out into the marketplace and SELL SOMETHING!”  Often times, a sales career is stumbled upon…as are (unfortunautely) many of the skills necessary to excel.  Most times, it is the blind faith and enthusiasm of the new salesperson that gets them started and carries them through the initial period until they woirk their way into a few opportunities or a few sales, thus justifying or validating their decision.  I like to say that often new sellers are “just dumb enuff to believe they can do it”…so they do it!

Think about it:  When you started your career or your company, did you do so with a clearly laid out plan and a strong confidence that you knew exactly what you needed to do and where this thing was headed?  Or did you follow the “leap and the net will appear” philosophy?  Sometimes a decision needs to be made FIRST before anything of value can be craeted.  I have seen many people of considerable talent that wait and wait, pause and ponder, stall and analyze before they even make a move.  They face the curse of the Perfection Trap!  Sometimes, you just need to dive in!

I am a huge fan of preparation and strategy in business and most things.  In fact, I spent 3 hours (and a small fortune) at the bike shop yesterday asking questions about nutrition, hydration, equipment, and other topics.  I have purchased and read 3 books on cycling in the past two weeks.  And I have joined a team (Team In Training) that has massive coaching and support as well as a very thorough training plan.  All that said, I have to DIVE IN for what will be a 45 mile ride this morning!  Am I scared?  A little, yes.  And that is exactly the motivation that I need to get this program under way and hit this goal.  In then end (and I will keep you updated here on this blog) I am positive that this 100 mile ride through the mountains and around one of the country’s most beautiful lakes will “go down” and I will have a wonderful set of memories and a few awesome pictures.  I am just DUMB ENUFF to believe that and thus I will accomplish that!  But for now…..I gotta go get started.

**Post blog post…Although I am posting this today (Monday) I wrote this blog post yesterday morning (pre-Super Bowl) and accomplished the ride yesterday in a much better time and condition than I (or any of the other riders) expected.  Although I was a sore unit last night (and a bit still this morning), I feel awesome.  And…..I am still just “dumb enuff to believe” that I can make to 100 mile ride around Lake Tahoe!  Have an awesome week!

Are you selling smart?

If you’re a sales professional, you probably woke up one day and said, “How do I make $250,000?”

I’m sure you didn’t wake up and say, “I can’t wait to do an email marketing campaign.” You didn’t wake up and say, “I can’t wait to do some more paperwork.”

You could wake up and say, “I’m a sales professional. I rock. I am awesome when I’m in front of customers. They like me. They like my products. They like my prices. The more time I can spend out there with them, the more time I’m going to spend at the bank making deposits.”

Whether you’re going to define success monetarily like I just did, or you’re going to define it by saying, “I have more success because I can make the money that I’m making today and work about 60 percent of the time on the right things instead of having to work these 70 and 80 hour weeks doing at least 30 hours of those doing non sales work.”

What’s your highest and best use? Where do you thrive? For most of us it’s not banging the phones, not on paperwork or filling out reports, not the Excel spreadsheets. For the majority of us in sales, that’s working smart to get deals moving down the field.

Working smart means doing the things that are going to grow the relationship and add value to those people who are doing business with us today.

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The three keys to success in sales

There are three main things that as a sales professional you need to focus on every day.

Here’s the first thing:

Doing the things necessary to get in front of qualified prospective buyers.

Most people say, “Well, he means picking up the phone and prospecting.”
Well, that could be a small part of it, but cold calling into a marketplace that doesn’t know you is a lesson in frustration. If you’re doing that, you need to identify the companies or people you want to go after. Identify them, profile them, find out what they would be willing to pay for, find out what they find valuable and then write blog posts about that and make sure they see them.

I’m talking about doing the things necessary to get in front of prospective buyers and  becoming visible in that marketplace. That’s prospecting to me.

Here’s the second thing:

Understand your sales cycle.

When you’re prospecting, let’s get down to a defined set of potential customers. Let’s define them in advance and let’s dial or let’s walk in the door. Let’s not do it without a purpose. Let’s make sure that we’re clear on our purpose on every single call.

If we’re going to be leaving voicemails, let’s make sure that we’re prepared with the voicemails that we’re going to leave. One of the biggest errors in sales is not necessarily the things you’re doing, it’s the things you’re doing half assed.

Like dialing and smiling and winging it until voicemail picks up and leaving a 10-minute message. Or leaving a voicemail message that says “Ma’am, I’d like to take a moment of your time and… ”

Those calls don’t get returned.

Or when a live voice picks up, hell we’re not even expecting that because 83 out of 100 calls that we make ends up with a voice mail. We hem and haw our way through there. We need to get very focused on the things that we need to do to get in front of customers.
Now, speaking of voice mail for a second, the only purpose of leaving a voice mail is to get a call back. You’re not selling jack over the phone on a voice mail.

So, on a voice mail, leave just enough to get them to call you back. Don’t worry about giving information. I like to use a simple rule, the Michael Jordan rule: 23 seconds, no more. In that 23 seconds, you’ve got to leave your name and your phone number twice, once at the beginning and once at the end, slowly.

When you get them on the phone live, the purpose is not to sell your product or service; it’s to sell the appointment. And then, when you get there, go sell your product or service.

Stop worrying about selling on the phone. Tell them just enough, using the old AIDA theory from marketing:
•    Grab their Attention
•    Get their Interest
•    Create Desire
•    Have a call to Action (and that’s to set the appointment).

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In sales? Two things you must guard with your life

You know what’s amazing? Most businesses achieve more sales at the end the quarter, or the pay period, or at the end of a contest, or a fiscal year.

Why is that? Because the urgency level is higher, of course. The focus is on getting things done. But why wait until the end to get it done? Customers sure don’t buy differently at the end of your quarter. Their buying cycle trumps your selling cycle all day long. But we have the tendency to focus on the right things when our backs are against the wall.

Here’s the thing: What kind of results could we achieve if we focused on doing the most productive work all the time, versus the busy work we get caught up?

You see, there are two things that you as a sales person must guard with your life: your time and your attitude.

These are your two most valuable assets, more so today than ever, because we are in this “got to have it now” world.

There’s overnight shipping, the Internet, and access to all sorts of information 24/7, so our customers want us to be able to provide the same thing. And like it or not, we’ve got to be there.

Now, because of that, we find ourselves putting put a lot of fires. We find ourselves not being sales professionals, but being firefighters. We’re jumping from task to task. But it’s important not to confuse activity with productivity.

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