Marketing, Sales

Voicemail or eMail?…The Answer is Yes!

Let’s face it.  Most of us are in meetings (even if some are virtual – phone/web) most of the day. 

Reaching someone live between the hours of 8am-5pm in today’s business world has become a near impossibility.

Just for fun let’s say you do get someone to pick up the phone.  Odds are, you have just distracted that person from a task they believe to  be a priority over whatever it is that you have called about.  Just think of your own experience.  How long does it take you to pick up an inbound call when you do not recognize the caller ID?  Don’t hold your breath, right?

It is for this reason I now almost always leave BOTH a voicemail and email message when contacting a client or partner, particularly if this subject is important to them.

Try for a live discussion via phone first, of course.  When you get their voicemail, leave a brief message and tell them that you will also send an email if that is a more convenient mode of communication for them.  Then, send the email with “My Voicemail” included in the subject.

But don’t take my word for it.  Marketing firm CCSI has this to say in their recent blog post…”Lead generation strategies that put e-mail and direct mail before telemarketing may be putting the cart before the horse and missing out on the optimal impact of each vehicle….”  The gist of their post?  Leave a voicemail before sending email.

Doing both has increased my response ratio significantly.


Friday Strategy: Make it a 10-Point Day

It’s the end of the week.  Depending on how yours went, you either have 20 pounds of sand and a 10 pound bag and you’re wondering how your going to get it done, or maybe you are at the end of a long week and wondering if you have the steam to keep going and finish strong. 

Either way, here’s an idea:  Make it a 10-point day.

Give yourself a weighted value for key activities accomplished.  Specifics may vary here, just make it a stretch.  For example: 5 points for a contract, 3 points for an executive meeting, 2 points for an executive phone conversation, 1 point for any buyer touch-point like a nice email/voicemail combo.  Now, try to  reach or beat a total of 10 points today.

Hope you need a calculator!


Sales Lessons from The Blackhawks? You Bet!

For Chicagoans,  last night’s Stanley Cup victory by the Blackhawks was an incredible end to an incredible season. When you win your first championship since JFK was in office – it’s a big deal.  We’ll be celebrating for a while here.  But can you take away any sales lessons from this team?  You bet…

1. You can’t score if you don’t come out shooting.  These guys were firing at the net the entire game, and the entire season for that matter.  You have to be playing offense, always focused on the next play, or your competitors will take the momentum.

2. Defend your goal.  Antti Niemi was awesome this year.  He made some incredible stops (as a rookie!) . Without him shutting down the opponents, the wins would not have come.  Are you protecting your existing clients as ferociously

3. It’s a contact sport.  If you’re playing it right, you may even lose some teeth!  You need to know your strengths and play them hard to give your clients outstanding service – bump the competitors out of play.

4. The refs don’t always see it your way.  There were a few tough calls on Chicago last night (goaltender interference? – I don’t think so!),  but you have to roll with it and play with the calls delivered.  There is no such thing as reality – only your clients’ perception counts!  You can think you’re doing great.  What do the refs (your clients) think?

5. You’ve got to win the home and away games.  The Blackhawks had an awesome record on the road.  Hockey is a tough game to win when you’re not on your home ice.  Remember, to win over the long-term, you need to win with existing clients (home) and net new clients (away) as well!

6. The cup is worth the fight!  It sometimes seems like the sales battle is getting the best of you.  But if you give it all you have – and then give some more, truly serving your clients and stunning them with results, then you may get to kiss the 118 year-old trophy!


Folks, This is a “Pens-Down Moment”

I’ve had it with people who don’t take notes in client meetings.  In fact, unless you have a miraculous photographic memory or a tape recorder, if you’re not taking notes in a client meeting, you should probably not be having one.

Note-taking is a lost art.  I had a CEO in a prior life who was minted at Xerox.  He understood this principle and tried to pound it into our heads.  During critical meetings with staffers, he was famous for calling people on the carpet and literally saying, “Folks, this is pens-down moment!”  Translation:  “You idiots, you should be taking notes.  Otherwise, I have no idea that you are understanding the importance of what I’m saying.”

If you are sitting through critical client/prospect meetings taking no notes, isn’t this what your clients are thinking too?  Will you really remember all the action items, much less the owners or due dates without notes?  What if you learn some key information about the alma mater of that key executive, or how many kids they have, or their pet (and budgeted) project coming up in 6 months?  Will you remember the critical details?  I don’t think so.

You’ll never catch me without my Moleskine notebook and a nice pen ready to jot some key take-aways.  I can still hear Paul, “…Folks, this is a pens-down moment…

Take copious notes in client meetings!