Archive for 29. January 2010

Small Business Help

sales forums everyone needs help eventually

I like the blog format that Corporate Sales Advice gives me to publish my ideas on sales training and sales consulting. Blogs like this are great resources for people learning about new subjects.

I read a lot of blogs and I make comments on a few of them (all sales related – imagine that). The blog format gives everyone a chance to expand the general knowledge of any subject.

I like to think that our Corporate Sales Advice blog will be filled with 1,000s of pages one day all related to expanding the sales profession.

There is another format out there that provides help. It is called a forum.

Sometimes people have specific questions about their business and they need knowledgable help. When you need to ask a specific question then a good old fashion web forum is still hands down the best method to get an answer to that question.

A few months ago I found a small business forum where I have been making periodic posts. The small business forum is attached to the Bank of America web site. The topics range from sales to HR, and legal to e-commerce. You can find this particular forum here:

http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/community/forum/salesandmarketing?view=discussions

It’s interesting to see the specific questions that small business owners need to have answered.  Blogs don’t give you that interaction that the forums provide. But blog writers do have the specific knowledge that the forum users need.

So keep writing those blog post but also visit your favorite forum as well. There  you have a chance to immediately improve another person business.

PS: These larger forums also help you with your individual SEO work as well as providing immediate help to the small business owners.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

You can follow me on twitter here: www.twitter.com/dpeterson101

Stop Wasting Time and Money With Your Article Marketing

Copyright (c) 2010 Bill Platt
the Phantom Writers
http://thePhantomWriters.com/

Online marketers are always arguing for or against the value of article marketing. Many will argue that article marketing could provide real traffic and sales to ones’ website, and furthermore, article submission has the potential to offer some serious SEO value to the marketers’ websites. Many more will tell you that article marketing is an utter waste of time and money…

The difference between those who do well with article marketing and those who do not is usually a matter of education, or lack thereof…

Those who succeed with article marketing generally know a few things that others don’t, and just as importantly, these people understand the nature of the article marketing landscape.

Those who fail with article marketing do so for a number of reasons, although most importantly, the reason for failure is rooted in a lack of knowledge about how to truly make article marketing work for them, and the lack of understanding about an always shifting landscape of article marketing.

Other reasons many online marketers fail with article marketing:

* They think that one article is a good test of the technique. Even the greatest baseball player in history (Ty Cobb) only batted .367, which is just a hair over one hit for every three “at bats”.

Even the professional article marketers, who have a track record of making hundreds of thousands of dollars with article marketing, do not produce winners at the same level as Ty Cobb provided hits… There are no article marketers who hit it out of the park every time… As with anything else in life, article marketing success is dictated by the Law Of Averages.

So consider this: If the professional article writers do not hit it out of the park with every article, what makes YOU think that your one article is a “good test” of the technique?

* People suppose that since article marketing is a method of advertising, then they should “advertise” in their articles. But, it does not work that way. People want information, so in articles, we give them the information that they want. All advertising should be reserved for the Authors’ Resource Box that follows the article – this is also where you will place your anchor text links, to influence your websites’ rankings in the search engines.

* Press Releases are for sharing news about your company. Articles are for sharing information that people want to know. In your press release, you should mention the name of your company / website inside the main body of text. But with articles, you should only mention your company / website in the Authors’ Resource Box.

* If people will not want to read your article, reputable publishers will not want to publish your article. The Always Shifting Landscape Websites that are willing to accept your articles directly fall into two categories:

* Those who will publish anything; and

* Those who have editorial standards and are very selective about the articles they are willing to accept from marketers…

Those who will publish anything generally find it difficult to attract repeat visitors… Therefore, they find that attracting visitors is a struggle that never ends.

This results in websites that do not provide profits to the website owner… How many websites do you own where you will keep pumping money into them, once you have come to the realization that those websites will never turn a profit for you?

New website owners will frequently prepay up to two years of domain registration and web hosting. As you can imagine, if after two years the website has never turned a profit, the site will close when its registration expires.

The other side of this coin is that if the website is not earning money, the website owner will frequently quit working on it, well before the website expires… So if it is an article directory, don’t be surprised when you realize that the website works, but no one is home to approve your article submissions…

Those webmasters, who do have editorial standards, find attracting and keeping visitors to be much easier… And as a result, they find that earning a profit is not only realistic, but it is a way of life…

Article Directories that have editorial standards, like Ezine Articles, will continue to be around for a very long time. Chris Knight has owned and operated EzineArticles.com at a profit since November of 1999, and so long as he continues to exercise his perogative to have editorial standards, you can bet that he will continue to attract repeat visitors and to earn a profit from his website.

Quality information is the key to the survival of websites and to writing articles that will stand the test of time, delivering a lifetime of traffic and sales.

Here Today… Gone Tomorrow…

If for one minute, you rely on websites that will publish anything, to make your article marketing campaigns work for you, then you will find that most of your article submission efforts will be wasted…

The owners of a vast majority of the Article Directories are not even approving the articles that have been submitted to them…

And even if they are approving articles, most of those websites that will accept your article submissions will close within two years, due to a lack of profits, resulting from a lack of editorial standards on the part of the website owner.

The vast majority of websites, which accept articles from the public, stop approving articles within just a few months…

Thereafter, when the domain expires, the website and your articles on it will disappear into the dust bin of history…

In Conclusion…

If you focus only on you or your products / website in your articles, then you will have no one to blame for your failure, but you…

But, if you focus on providing your readers information that they can use and will enjoy reading, then your article marketing campaigns could provide the level of success to you that you seek, just as it has provided success to the many authors, whose names you know and websites you recognize by name…

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My name is Bill Platt. If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, then you will love my newest ebook titled,
“How To Use Article Marketing To Positively Impact Your SEO Efforts”. It is 70-pages of hard-hitting information about how to make your article marketing truly profitable. http://thephantomwriters.com/ebooks/article-marketing-seo.html Or, you can get warmed up with my free “Article Marketing: Beyond The Basics” ebook at: http://thephantomwriters.com/ebooks/advanced-article-marketing.html

Learn To Close

It amazes me that a “salesperson” can work hard all week driving a prospect to a close and then never ask for the order.

One of two things is happening when I recognize this situation.

  1. The sales representative actually thinks that they have asked for the order.
  2. The sales representative is afraid of asking for the order.

When coaching sales reps after a call I focus a lot on their closing statements. I try to drill down to what the purpose of the call was and how does the rep think that the call went.

I especially like to drill down on closing statements when the call appeared to be moving in a positive direction. If it sounds like their should have been a close to purchase then I will definitely turn my attention to that piece of the sales process.

When dealing with situation #1 above I’ll replay the tape or just sit and discuss what happened on that particular call. The reps typically think that they did ask for the order. They all say the same thing… “Yes I did close the call, here’s exactly what I said.” About 15 sentences later they end up agreeing with me, there was no close. What they end up saying  is that they beat around the bush but they did not use any one of a thousand different closing statements.  Bottom line – they never asked for the business.

When coaching on situation #2 above… “The sales rep is afraid to ask for the order” I have to go a little deeper into the psychology of the sale with the salesperson. Here the sales rep is really afraid of losing the order. In their mind the best way to lose an order is to ask for the sale. They believe that since the conversation is going so well with the prospect it is just a matter of time before that prospect asks to buy the product from them.

Don’t laugh, I you are a sales rep then you have probably in your career done both #1 and #2 above. I have listened to too many phone calls to believe this is not happening.

My mission statement says that I will provide “…immediate positive sales results…” How do I know that? Because when I am conducting an Atlanta Sales Training class I focus on the things sales reps need to do and I know that one of the things they are not doing well is closing.

Here is what 25+ year of experience tells me:

When you email, mail, drop off or hand your prospect your contract that contract will not magically start talking to the prospect.

The person handing the contract to the prospect has to close the sale by asking for the business or the contract remains another pile of paper on the prospect’s desk.

Don’t forget to ask for the order! Just that one sentence… Asking for the order will provide immediate positive sales results. Add to that all the other things that are actually in the sales process and you can see why sales reps need sales training.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting. You can read about David’s  Atlanta sales training classes here: http://www.atlantasalesandconsulting.com/sales_training_atlanta_georgia.htm

Web Based Sales Training

There are so many different types of sales training classes available. On site, off site, during team and annual sales meetings. There are many choices and all of them are effective with the right sales trainer.

All of the ones I have either hosted or have participated in have been really good. I have at least one ah-ha moment in each training class that I attend or teach.

The online or web-based sales training is just now catching on. Certainly it has been around for a very long time, but most of the training has been pre-recorded and or pre-rehearsed.

It’s hard to get excited about training when you are just watching slide after slide while the presenter drones on.

What has really helped Web Based Sales Training as an industry is the online Universities like the University of Phoenix. Universities have led the way by not only offering but in a lot of cases requiring that training be completed online.

As long as the classes are interactive and lively then this type of presentation will work for sales training as well. Not to mention… You can do it from home.

Sharpen your sales skills by attending a Web Based Sales Training class on a computer near you today!

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

ACS offers Online Web Based Sales Training – Click Here!

Look at all of these prospects

Georgia Sales Consultant: CRM and ProspectsThis is an excellent topic to write about, especially since it is the beginning of the New Year.

Is your CRM so full of prospects that you don’t know who to call or why you are supposed to be calling them?

Or even better did your sales manager make everyone “clean” out their personal CRMs just before the holidays started?

Something tells me that both of those 2 scenarios happened or are happening today.

As a Georgia Sales Consultant one of the 1st things I look at when visiting a client is their CRM tool.

Salesforce, Saleslogics, ACT! and a host of other CRM types of tools are terrific but… it goes back to garbage in, garbage out. Leads, prospects, opportunities, customers, and vendors are great titles but if you don’t know who’s who in the zoo – well then you may want to start applying a little discipline to these tools.

You know I’m talking to you. Experience tells me that your CRM is having the same problem as the person sitting next to you. You both have about 15 “prospects” to call today but you really have no idea why you placed them as a call today.

In fact since you don’t know why you placed them as a call today I bet you are just going to advance them to a call tomorrow or next week sometime.

Here’s some professional advice from a professional sales consultant (you get this one for free):

Always close for some action. That action may be the actual deal closing or it may be just setting up the next call. But never, never ever leave a prospect dangling. This just leads to confusion.

For a prospect to remain in the sales process we have to know where they are in the process. Otherwise you have to start the process all over.

So if you opened up your ACT! this morning and saw 15 prospects to call and you can’t really remember any of them maybe you should reclassify these as leads and start over.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

Georgia Sales Consultant