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Sales Tip of the Week – Imprinting Techniques

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

retailLooking to spruce up your product? Advantages magazine says take a cue from retailers.

It’s a trend seen frequently on T-shirts and bags at major department stores – combining screen printing with a dash of embroidery and a few sparkles for good measure. Consider multiple imprinting techniques for a single promotional product, particularly if your target audience is young and hip.

Sales Tip of the Week – How To Deal With Objection

Filed under: Sales Tip

objectionNot sure what to do when you receive objections from your prospects? Advantages magazine shares tips on how to stay positive.

View objections as your prospect simply needing more information to make their decision. Listen well and address each objection specifically, rather than trying to override them. Be unflappable: Always stay positive and show your enthusiasm for what you’re selling.

Sales Tip of the Week – How To Get New Clients

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

clientsLooking for new clients? Advantages magazine shares some easy tips on finding hot prospects.

Ask your current clients who they know. Find out their top three suppliers and top three customers. Going two or three degrees away from customers can generate similar additional clients.

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

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