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6 Tips for Better E-Mail Marketing

Filed under: Tip of the Day, Uncategorized

E-mail MarketingNot long ago I got an e-mail from my personal e-mail service thanking me for 15 years of dedicated commitment to their product. “Has it been that long?” I thought. Wow, I’m old.

Needless to say that in those 15 years, I’ve seen my share of e-mails, especially the marketing ones that have seemingly been around for as long as the Internet. Each day for the past several years I can count on some kind of offer in my inbox — usually from Old Navy, Barnes & Noble or Men’s Wearhouse — and I’ve become quite adept at separating the wheat from the chaff. Ninety-nine percent of all marketing e-mails I get go right into the trash, so the ones that I do open really have to be good for me to get all the way through to a transaction.

And as more people become e-mail savvy like myself, this behavior is the rule, not the exception.

So how do you succeed with e-mail marketing? This month’s Advantages magazine article titled “Rules of Attraction: Get Them to Commit” is full of great tips and advice on how to not only succeed with e-mail marketing, but with blogs, videos and social media. Read this article now, and in the meantime here are 6 great tips for better e-mail marketing:

  1. Subject line is critical: either pique their interest or get right to the point.
  2. Have a clear call to action: make it obvious what you want them to do.
  3. Drop the jargon and corporate speak; be human.
  4. Never send an e-mail with a “do not reply” address. Make sure you give people a chance to respond.
  5. Include images, but not too many. When e-mails are too visually cluttered, people can’t absorb it all.
  6. Maintain good segmentation of your e-mail list, with different lists set up to meet the needs of different clients.

5 Ways to Improve Client Retention

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Improve Client RetentionFact: Over two-thirds of customers who stop doing business with a company leave because of the treatment they receive from YOU.

With times as tough as they are these days, that’s a telling stat. Your competitors might be doing something better than you, but that’s not why some of your business is leaving you in the dust. This month’s Wearables “Business Toolkit” feature is loaded with tons of great advice on everything from creating effective and cheap content marketing to going retail. Check it out here, and in the meantime here are 5 ways you can improve your client retention:

  1. Distinguish between a bad client and a difficult client
  2. Listen to your customers
  3. Have organized systems in place
  4. Nurture the relationship
  5. Follow-up is paramount to success

Tip of the Day - 5 Worst 4th-Quarter Mistakes

Filed under: Tip of the Day

4th Quarter MistakesFrom “To Do Before 2012″ in Advantages’ September 2011 issue.

While following the to-do list is important, there are also some “to-don’ts” that salespeople should keep in mind. A few common mistakes:

  1. Letting your network get static. Harvey Mackey, author of Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, urges sales reps to make sure “your network is current and relevant to your career position today” and evaluate “whether you need to set a goal of building it more effectively in the new year.”
  2. Bringing business forward from next year. Sales reps may be tempted to boost their year-end numbers by getting clients to place orders earlier than they normally would. This can put strain on the client relationship and sets a poor precedent. 
  3. Avoiding year-end financial analysis. “A big mistake salespeople make in the fourth quarter is not doing a financial analysis and cleaning up your financial records,” says Mackey. “If you don’t, you won’t be prepared to set goals for the next quarter.”
  4. Saving heavy selling for the end of the year. “A lot of people try to use the holiday time to try and close their year strong, but that can come off a little desperate,” says CanvasPop’s Salamunovic. He suggests seeing the final month or two as a time to continue selling, but not to expect huge sales.
  5. Playing it safe with next year’s goals. Especially in the current economic climate, many sales reps might be tempted to lower expectations. “Safe is important in baseball, but in business you must be prepared to take some risks,” says Mackey. “To triple your success ratio in the next quarter, sometimes you have to triple your failure ratio.”

Tip of the Day - Fun Things to Do for Your Presentation

Filed under: Tip of the Day

PresentationEveryone loves samples, so take a minute to come up with some creative giveaways for your presentations. Not only will your prospects hear what you have to say, but they’ll also have a tangible item to help them remember you. Here are eight great ideas.

  1. Bring donuts and coffee – in a donut box imprinted with your information, of course! Take it a step further and give each team member you’re presenting to an imprinted mug.
  2. Give each person you present to a pen and notepad imprinted with your contact info, so they can take notes during your meeting. 
  3. Award a $25 gift card to the first person who correctly answers a question about something you mentioned during the presentation. 
  4. Start with a funny or engaging video about promotional products. 
  5. If you’re pitching to a client that is out of state, bring an imprinted food item that is famous in your city. 
  6. Showcase your success – bring a relevant item from a previous sale and describe how you hit the home run. 
  7. When you’re presenting a promotion about specific apparel items, wear them! 
  8. Have the prospect’s company information imprinted on something small – tapping into your own bottom line creates goodwill.

From Advantagesmag.com March 2011 issue.

Tip of the Day - 5 Ways to Grow Your Business in 2011

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Michelle Yurcak, president of Premium Event Services in Michigan, says 2011 will be a growth year for many and gives these five key strategies for getting there.

1. Educate yourself and your clients. “It is critical that companies not only continue to educate themselves in the industry they are in, but that they are educated about their clients, and educate their clients,” Yurcak says. “Commit to attending at least two educational events specific to your industry, reading publications focused on your industry, and keep up to speed on your industry’s latest trends. Additionally, educate yourself in the culture of your area and its people – I promise you that they have a lot to teach you. Ask yourself, what are some of the idiosyncrasies unique to your area? When you educate yourself on issues important to the people you are attempting to do business with, you win over many clients; when you speak with authority on your own industry as you are building these client relationships, you seal the deal.”

2. Don’t be afraid to say “no.” “It’s easy to be tempted to take on work that is not a right fit for your company, but seems financially rewarding in the immediate future. “Analyze what is your core business, and who are your core clients,” Yurcak says. “Many people might also be watching you to see if you’ve been tested and proved before they choose you – are you picking the right clients so you can shine appropriately?  Not all business is good business – make sure you are comfortable turning down business that does not fit within your mission and core capabilities.

3. Be confident. “To grow in any industry, you must be confident in your expertise, and have the nerve to tell a client that their ideas may not produce the most successful results,” Yurcak says. “I have found that some clients will have a theme in mind for an event and after qualifying all of the demographics, objectives and logistics of the event, their ideas or suggestions are all wrong for them. We help them understand that, and give them an event that truly accomplishes their goals. Once you are confident that your ideas and creativity will produce the desired results your clients envision, you can begin to create that sense of expectation from a client that will give you the open door to advise them what works and what doesn’t for their specific situation.”

4. Be relevant. “It is imperative that any part of your company output is no longer status quo,” Yurcak says. “When your goal is to create an experience every time you come in contact with a client, growth follows, especially because not every company can create and deliver a true client experience. Stand in their shoes for a moment – what will he appreciate; what is she hearing me say? How can I avoid wasting any of their money?”

5. Know your competition. “I may be going away from conventional wisdom to say this, but give your competitors a pat on the back. For us, ours is a small industry, and having allies over enemies shows that we support the growth of our entire industry and not just our own business,” Yurcak says. “We maintain that we can’t be all things to all people, so if we lose a piece of business, maybe we weren’t the right fit; we believe that another opportunity is sure to follow. Grow right, grow wisely.”

From Advantages magazine, January 2011.

Tip of the Day - 20 Ways to Master Your Time

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Promotional products salespeople can easily fall prey to time-consuming detail work, from product research and placing cold calls to filling out purchase orders and chasing payment. Here are 20 tips to make sure
every minute is maximized profitably.

  1. Clean the Client Closet.
  2. Analyze Product Profitability.
  3. Make the Most of Market Expertise.
  4. Encourage Repeat Business.
  5. Create a Time Cushion.
  6. Know Your Clients’ Business Cycles.
  7. Educate Yourself.
  8. Learn on the Run.
  9. Purchase Quality Equipment and Software.
  10. Be Accurate From the Start.
  11. Think Quantity and Repetition.
  12. Group Up.
  13. Practice a Clear, Articulate Message.
  14. Track Your Time.
  15. Create Habits.
  16. Set a Meeting Agenda.
  17. Live by the Four Rs.
  18. Watch Out for Hassle-Makers.
  19. Reduce Travel.
  20. Work With Preferred Suppliers.

Read more in the Advantages 2010 November issue.

Tip of the Day - Break Into New Markets

Filed under: Tip of the Day

MarketingHere are five steps to take to ensure your sales and marketing efforts to new markets will be successful.

STEP 1: Evaluate the Local Market
Before deciding on a specific new market to target, you have to be certain that It’s going to be worth your while, according to Ken Thoreson, president of consulting firm Acumen Management Group. “Number one, are there enough opportunities, enough companies in that market sector within your geographics?” he says. “For example, if I want to sell to chiropractors, are there going to be enough to go after? If I find there are only three companies in my territory, I may not want to go after them.”

STEP 2: It’s all About Research
Once you decide to go after a new market and have identified potential opportunities in your area, the next step is ramp up research efforts, according to Mark Ziskind, COO of Counselor Top 40 distributor Caliendo Savio Enterprises (asi/155807), who uses Counselor’s State of the Industry report (www.StateOfTheIndustry.com) to learn which industries are big purchasers. “We’ll look at that info and ask, “Is this consistent with our client list?” You then mirror that with your contacts and your geography,” he says.

STEP 3: Make In-Person Visits
Ziskind warns that you shouldn’t do all of your new market research remotely. “You might go visit them,” he says. “Talk to them and ask, “What would you like to see in a supplier?” Or, go to the kiosks in the mall and ask, “What makes you push one phone model over another?” All you need to do is stumble onto one gold nugget of information to get a better understanding of the tools you need to go to market.”

STEP 4: Get Specific Information
After you’ve gathered general data about a particular market, you’ll want to drill down to find out as much information as you can about specific company targets. Going to corporate websites and making calls can be your sources of information here, says Thoreson. “You can pick up the phone and just ask for sales, or ask the receptionist if he or she can mail you information about their company,” he says. “Typically, if you’re selling to small businesses, you can’t go online or to The Wall Street Journal for information, but if they have press releases on their website, read their latest press releases. All that kind of information can give insights.”

STEP 5: Make a Sales-Call Checklist
When you decide that you’re prepared enough to make that first sales call to a company within your new market, Thoreson suggests the following checklist for sales reps:

From Education Adviser, vol. 32

Tip of the Day - Run a Successful One-Person Business

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Seven steps to successfully running a one-person business.

Step 1 - Be Flexible. The key is serious organization and immense flexibility.

Step 2 - Be Selective With Suppliers. Part of the secret to being nimble is to pick a handful of trustworthy suppliers and work with them repeatedly to build a rapport that can be called upon in times of need.

Step 3 - Build Efficiencies. Of course, seamless order processing and drop shipments save time – a critical move for solo distributors who often need every minute of the day to get their jobs done.

Step 4 - Outsource Your Weaknesses. Adrian Miller, president of Adrian Miller Sales Training in Port Washington, NY, says distributors should outsource tasks that they either aren’t good at or don’t like.

Step 5 - Make Every Move About Money. “The important thing is to do things that generate revenue,” Miller says.

Step 6 - Work Your Contacts. For distributors selling on their own, selling deeper into existing accounts and leveraging contacts within a few key industries is often a smarter sales strategy than spending hours cold-calling new clients in new industries.

Step 7 - Lose The Dead Weight. Like larger businesses, it’s vital for one-man businesses to consistently evaluate their client base for revenue and profitability targets.

Read the complete article this month’s in Counselor magazine.

Tip of the Day - Smile Your Way to Sales

Filed under: Tip of the Day

The human brain prefers happy faces. So says Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., president of Kinsey Consulting Services and author of The Nonverbal Advantage. When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way. Here are three reasons smiling can get you more sales, all backed up by in-depth research.

  1. You’ll be unforgettable. Research from Duke University proves that we like and remember those who smile at us – and shows why we find them more memorable. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the Duke researchers found that the orbitofrontal cortices (a “reward center” in the brain) were more active when subjects were learning and recalling the names of smiling individuals. 
  2. You’ll encourage collaboration. According to a report by the British Psychological Society, positive and negative emotional responses systematically alter the use of language. Speak to a positive listener and people will likely use more abstractions and subjective impressions. But if people talk to a negative listener, they’ll probably stick to the relative security of objective facts and concrete details. Researchers speculate that this is because the smiles and nods of a positive listener are interpreted as a sign of agreement and understanding, encouraging the speaker to provide more of their own opinions and speculations. By contrast, negative listeners provoke speakers to adopt a more hesitant and cautious thinking style. 
  3. You’ll improve your productivity. Charles Garfield, author of Peak Performance, once coached the Russian Olympic weight-lifting team. Garfield noticed that when team members lifted to exhaustion, they would invariably grimace at the painful effort. In an experiment, he encouraged the athletes to smile when they got to that point of exhaustion. This seemingly minor difference enabled them to add two to three more reps to their performance. No matter the task, when you grimace or frown while doing it, you are sending your brain the message, “This is really difficult. I should stop.” The brain then responds by sending stress chemicals into your bloodstream. And this creates a vicious circle: the more stressed you are, the more difficult the task becomes. When you smile, your brain gets the message, “It’s not so bad. I can do this!”

From Advantages magazine.

Tip of the Day - 10 Surefire Door Openers

Filed under: Tip of the Day

10 TipsSteal some ideas from real reps who put persistence and creativity to work to win their prospects’ business.

  1. Tell a Great Story - “There was an old grandpa who drove an old Chevy…”
  2. Buy Something From Them - “Might I buy your products back?”
  3. E-mail a Value-Packed Video - Re-establish a personal connection.
  4. Consider Yourself “Awesome” - It’s all in the attitude.
  5. Suggest a Product/Slogan Tie-In - “We’re a cut above.”
  6. Send a Bouquet - “Take some time to smell the flowers.”
  7. Add a Signature Touch - Signed artwork sealed the deal.
  8. Drop a Line - Don’t leave a notepad naked.
  9. Team Up - Help others help you sell your services.
  10. Do What You Love - Use your personal passions to connect with prospects.

Read the complete Advantages story here!

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