“You can’t steer a boat that’s tied to the dock”

Boat to dockYou’ve heard the story of the man who prays continually about winning the lottery. He’s resolute in his prayers, but nothing happens. He doesn’t win. He doesn’t even come close. After many months of praying a loud voice from heaven speaks to him. “I can help you, but first you must buy a lottery ticket.”

As a business consultant and marketing strategist, I’ve seen how businesses get so bogged down in planning and the what-if process they never launch, never take action.

They’ll argue about this or that. They’ll discuss options and debate opinion after opinion with their team members and inner circle. They’ll discuss what would or would not work without ever setting it adrift so the marketplace can speak and respond to them.

It is only when you untie that great plan or idea from the dock and add some forward motion, some momentum, can you modify your course, restate and improve your value proposition, rewrite your offer, or reach out to an entirely different market segment. Continue reading

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Join me at Marketing Week NYC, June 15, 2016

MW logo4The New York Public Library, Science, Industry & Business Library invited me to be a guest speaker during Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming MarketingWeekNYC.

My topic is Boost Profitability: Connect The Dots Between Marketing And The Sales Process. I built my presentation to be a highly interactive workshop that helps business owners develop and define specific strategies for their business and to help them close more business and more profitable business in less time.

Save the date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 — 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Click the link below to learn more.

http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2016/06/15/boost-profitability-connect-dots-between-marketing-and-sales-process

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Big advantage for small business

I don’t know about you, but almost everywhere I look these days the quality of service (aka customer service) seems to be declining. (Perhaps plummeting is a better word.) This is especially true in the mega corporations.

For many major corporations, the quest for increased revenue and record profits forces red carpet33corporations to look for ways to cut corners. Too many times they determine customer service – or service in general – is an easy place to cut.

There are, of course, a few exceptions. L.L.Bean provides exceptional customer service. So does Amazon, Chick-fil-A, Southwest Airlines, Marriott, and Zappos. But they are far and few between.

I believe this not only opens the door to a huge advantage for smaller businesses, it rolls out a red carpet.

The reason is smaller businesses are typically closer to their customers or clients. There’s more direct contact and communication. Or, at least there should be.

Smaller businesses can use this proximity to create a culture of exceptional service. In my book, How to Close More Business in Less Time, I refer to this not only as service or customer service, but as creating an “exceptional experience” from beginning to end. Continue reading

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What’s your business’ personality?

As a business and marketing strategist I freely admit to being considerably more than a little critical of the way businesses do things.

Mature car salesperson talking with young couple.Just as people have only one opportunity to make a first impression, so do businesses.

Case in point. Yesterday afternoon I dropped off my car for service. I walked from the service area into the dealership showroom. While I was waiting to be picked up I kicked a few tires. Then I went outside to kick a few more.

During my entire visit lasting about 15 minutes, not one team member in the dealership looked at me, spoke to me, smiled at me, or asked if they could help me. I was completely ignored by salesmen and staff.

When I arrived home, I looked in the mirror. Perhaps it was me. I was dressed casually, but definitely not dirty or homeless. What was it that made me invisible to everyone in the sales department? Continue reading

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Are your clients really coming first?

I’ve seen this scenario too many times.

I’m visiting with one of my clients. The mail arrives. There’s a signed contract and a big fat check from a brand-new client. The boss is thrilled. The entire team is celebrating. It’s a festive time for everyone who worked so hard on landing that new account.forgotten customer

In the same batch of mail there’s another check. It’s about the same dollar amount as the one that arrived from the new client. However, there’s no celebration. No jumping up and down. In fact, it’s a real yawner.

The sad part of this story is that the long-time client isn’t recognized for the value he’s brought to the company throughout many years. Month after month the checks arrive. But there’s never a celebration.

To make matters worse, while everyone was working long hours to create a truly electrifying proposal for the new prospect, work on behalf of the long-time client often slows to the point where they are calling.

In my book “How to Close More Business in Less Time” I outline the typical steps in a sales process. While most people think the process ends with making the sale, I explain the Continue reading

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“I just don’t know how to close the sale.”

I must have heard that three times this week –– from a client, a prospect, and a long-time friend.

There are many reasons business owners who are in a selling mode and even professional where do i signsalespeople are insecure about closing. They don’t want to experience personal rejection. They’re concerned their price is too high. They need the deal badly and are afraid to ask.

Unlike the climax in a movie, closing the sale isn’t a grand singular event that occurs at a certain time in the sales presentation. It’s not something that you do when you get to the perfect spot in your pitch. At least that’s my opinion.

Closing the sale is something that happens throughout the entire sales presentation. In my book “How to Close More Business in Less Time,” I outline the steps in a typical sales process.

I work backward from the box on the chart labeled “closing the sale” by asking, “What could I do earlier in the sales process (or presentation) to assure a favorable outcome (hearing the work ‘YES’)?”

My motto is “Close as you go!” I’m looking for little buy-ins –– for mini-closes. For example, when you’re gathering information about a prospect’s business and challenges, Continue reading

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Price doesn’t need to kill the deal

I talk a lot about points of constraint in my book How to Close More Business in Less Time, and for good reason.

Knife5A point of constraint is a roadblock –– something that gets in the way. It can slow you down or bring you to a complete stop. Think in terms of a highway. You’re driving down the highway. Traffic slows. You find yourself inching along.

In time, three lanes become two. Two become one. Then you discover the problem. It’s roadwork on a bridge. Two of three lanes are closed. That’s a point of constraint.

Points of constraints are lurking in every sales process, too. That’s why one-call closes are often so few and far apart.

One of the primary points of constraint in a sales process is price. The prospect is all in and eager to jump onboard until he hears the price. When he sees or hears the price, the sales process slows. Perhaps it stops. And you… you’re back on the street. Continue reading

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Fearlessness

Bruce Hurwitz, volunteer extraordinaire with Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the host of The Voice of Manhattan Business, has invited me to be his guest on his upcoming Gil audiopersonal Podcast on Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Bruce asked me what I wanted to talk about. I responded “fearlessness.” Listen live or at a later date to learn why I abandoned my favorite topics of marketing, sales process, and profitable growth!

Here’s the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bhp/2016/03/17/fearlessness

It’s early enough in the day that you won’t miss the St. Patrick’s Day Parade or your first green beer.

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Think reinvention

Reinvent: To make major changes or improvements to (something), to present (something) in a different or new way.

People reinvent themselves all the time, often without being consciously aware they are doing so.Reinvention 2

Businesses reinvent themselves, too. In fact, in business, reinvention is essential. Reinvention is about new products and services, new value propositions, new benefits, new markets, new deliverables, and new pricing strategies. It’s also about a new name and new branding –– a whole new look.

It’s tough to close the door and start all over. So mostly reinvention starts by building on what you have –– making it better and more relevant to the market.

The way I see it, knowing what needs reinvention requires listening, stepping outside the box, and determining where the market is headed and what you need to do to keep pace and outstrip the competition. Continue reading

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ArmoreFitness.com goes live!

armore fitness screenI am pleased to announce The Strategic Marketing Team’s launch of ArmoreFitness.com, a new product launch and marketing website for Armore LLC of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Steven Cersonsky, inventor or the Armore™ wearable arm exerciser, told me he invented it for himself. He said, “Between spending so much time at his desk and not finding the time to work out at a fitness center, the wearable arm exerciser was his personal solution.”

The arm exerciser exoskeleton weighs only 7 ounces but emulates pressing up to 50 pounds. It can be worn all day and, if desired, under clothing. So it truly is the use it anywhere, anytime exerciser!

From the initial business and marketing strategy and planning to the development of a fully-functional marketing website that includes video, testimonials, extensive photography, and much more, along with a highly aggressive Facebook advertising campaign, ArmoreFitness.com not only launched last week, but started booking business on day one!

You can follow Armore Fitness on Facebook and you can support Armore LLC financially through Indiegogo.

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