Leaping Lizards – I’m All In!

Pop quiz…You see a slimy lizard crawling on the forest floor.  Do you:
a.) Run away, or
b.) Grab it and see how COOL it looks close up? 

I recently spent the week at Shawnee National Forest with my family over Spring Break.  Getting lost in the wilderness  was wonderful (our National Park system is truly a treasure), and I was reminded of a valuable life lesson that often comes from spending extended time with children.  It’s an attitude I call – “I’m All In!”

I am happy to say that my wife and I have raised 3 kids (1 boy and 2 girls) who are only too glad to grab the varmint and ask questions later.  In fact several creatures, including the one pictured above, came back to us for inspection during our trip.  Kids have this impulsive and inquisitive quality that I think we tend to lose as we “grow up.” 

And so it can be with selling.  You start out with a fire in your belly, eager to take chances, lean into the wind and be aggressive.  You go out and grab that new client,  working a bare new territory into results,  whatever the situation calls for – You’re All In.

Over time, there is a tendency to grow cautious.  Sometimes for good reasons, after all you don’t want to chase any unqualified opportunity that comes along.  But sometimes, it’s just plain old complacency setting in.  Before you get involved, you want the “Glengarry Leads,” safe and predictable.

Get out of your comfort zone!  Remember that child-like instinct and just go ahead and grab that creepy crawly.  You can always put it down later if it’s too gross.  But it might just turn out to be that big deal you’ve been searching for.  I’m All In!


$100k Hiding Right in Front of Your Face

That’s right, I said hiding right in front of your face.

There’s a lost art in sales today called eagle-eye prospecting. With all of our sales and marketing automation, conference calling, web leads, emails, social media, etc. – sometimes some good old-fashioned field work wins the day.

Here’s how I landed a $100k deal this week using this technique.

On Tuesday I had one scheduled meeting when my daily goal is two. I needed that extra meeting.

While visiting my first client, I checked out the surrounding area and found that I was very near a new prospective client. I gave her a call to see whether I could ‘”pop by to say hello,” and the rest is history.

She said “yes, that will work well this morning.” We refreshed a conversation about a project that we were discussing in November that had just been green-lighted and I closed it on the spot.

How many times do you do your first meeting and then go back to hide in the office hitting the phones, emails, or administration tasks?

In sales, we make the biggest difference when we are face to face and belly to belly.

My new client’s direct quote? “…sometimes these spontaneous meetings work better for me than trying to schedule one anyway.”

So take a minute to do a search in your CRM by zip code, or just eagle-eye a new prospect while you’re out.  Then challenge yourself to snag that extra meeting.

You could find $100,000!

Marketing, Sales

2010 = Rearview Mirror – How To Start on 2011…

 According to Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the Retail Email Blog, as of Oct. 29, 57% of top online retailers had begun their holiday email marketing campaigns.

The holidays are upon us.  Retailers are in full swing.  People are making final Thanksgiving preparations with their guests. 

If you are in B2B marketing or sales, and you don’t have active opportunities rolling deep into your sales funnel by now – you’re too late for 2010. 

Whether or not you hit the mark this year,  you need to be building your base for 2011.  In B2B sales and marketing, this the time of year to book your last deals and focus on building a foundation for January and beyond.

So what do I recommend?

1.  Lock down schedules.  For any business that you book between now and yearend, time will get tighter by the week to get things done for the executives, legal departments, and other parties to your deals.  Get your calendars locked with confirmed calendar responses so your time remains sacrosanct.

2. Say “Thank You.”   Press the flesh.  Take this opportunity to say thank you to your good clients and even your solid prospects for the good business and future business.  Schedule some time for coffee or lunch to cath up and discuss next year.  Buying is an emotional decision, This does make a difference.

3.  Execute holiday campaigns flawlessly and ferociously.  While it may seem counter-intuitive, messages arriving during this time can have a higher hit-rate because your clients in B2B businesses have the same lull now.  Their in boxes are quieter over the next 2 months, and they are in the office more.

4.  Plan your marketing calendar for Q1 and Q2 2011.  Do it now, so you can spend your time January on execution , not dallying with a plan.

5.  Clean House.  Use this time between the holidays to catch up, clean up, and focus. Toss old files, clean out (and back up) your hard-drive.  Do all the things you never have the time to get to during normal business months.

That’s All, Folks!   On to 2011!


Is Your Follow Up Ferocious?

We’ve just crawled out of one of the toughest patches in business that any of us can remember.  Thankfully, things seem to be stabilizing and even slowly beginning to grow again.  However, every opportunity will be harder fought – tougher to find, tougher to close. 

Yet, I see the cardinal sin being committed –  A lack of priority follow-up on business leads.

In this fragile recovery, you must execute strong follow-up – no – Ferocious follow-up.

In his fantastic sales blog, Sales and Sales Management, I recently discovered this post from Paul McCord in which he explains that he has experienced the same.  He says, “…A quality lead has a very short shelf-life—whether we’re talking about the retail situations above or a long sales cycle, sophisticated product or service.  Someone–you or your company–has paid good money to get the phone to ring, to get a lead card mailed back, or get a form filled out on the internet.  Every minute you wait to contact a prospect is a minute you’re giving the competition to close the deal before you even get there…”

Get Ferocious.  You competitors are!