Best 5 Blog Posts: Social Selling

social media sellingSocial media is far more than a distraction or even a networking tool. Your network may be one of the most valuable resources you have, and it’s time to dive into the realm of social selling (if you haven’t already!). Odds are you’ve been doing social selling for some time, even if you haven’t realized it. Harnessing social media to reach out, share your expertise, and touch your prospects is a phenomenal method of marketing and nurturing.

Here are our top 5 blog posts on social selling:

Social Selling: Step Up Your Game

Social Selling: 1 Big Idea to be 38x More Effective

A Foolproof Approach to Social Media Selling

Social Selling for Sales Leaders: How Social Selling Works

1 Hour a Day = Social Selling Success!

Best 5 Blog Posts: Traditional Sales Funnel vs. the Customer Decision Journey

sales funnel customer decision journey CDJ“Is the traditional sales funnel dead? Is it obselete? Is there even a structure to follow anymore?”

The old sales funnel may not be recognizable, but there’s still a framework for marketers and salespeople to use as a guide. It is important to understand that the thought process a potential customer goes through is no longer one directional and linear, but rather a web of potentiality.

To start off, here is a useful tool we’ve found:

The Customer Journey to Online Purchase

And here are our pick for top 5 posts on the subject:

You Can’t Own Your Customers’ Decision Journey, But You Can Try

The Dim Light at the End of the Funnel

The Sales Funnel is Dead

The Buyers’ Journey Demystified by Forrester

Social is Responsible for 57% of Your Sales Funnel

And finally, here is our take on it:

How Social Media Affects the Customer Decision Journey

Time to Nix the 40-Hour Work Week?

40 hour work week job sizingHow many hours do you work in a week? Most likely at least 40 considering many businesses have the standard 8-hour working time with a half hour to an hour extra for lunch. This could be 7 am to 4 pm, 8 am to 5 pm, 9 am to 6 pm, or somewhere in between. Who takes a full hour for lunch? 10 minutes? Are you even away from your desk? And do you really only work 8 hours in a day?

With computers and devices connected 24/7, most of us don’t work 40 hours. Working more than 40 hours a week has even become a badge of honor. Or has it? One of my colleagues admitted that in the first years of her career, she’d stay in the office later in hopes it would win points with the boss. It never did. Raises and promotions didn’t come faster either.

The start of the 40-hour work week

So where did the 40-hour work week come from? According to “Bring back the 40-hour work week,” Henry Ford set up eight-hour shifts at his plants in 1914. He did it because research showed productivity peaked after eight hours. Simply put, the longer you work past eight hours, the slower and less effective you become.

In “Why Working More Than 40 Hours a Week is Useless,” Jessica Stillman writes, “On average, you get no more widgets out of a 10-hour day than you do out of an eight-hour day.” By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal came out in the 1930s, decades of studies and data led to the 40-hour work week becoming standard.

A look at research

Let’s put this in perspective. How would you react if you see a surgeon or a pilot drunkenly stumble on their way to the operating room or airplane? You’d want him or her to go home and recover, right? Nelson B. Powell, DDS, MD, co-director of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center, has found that the performance level of the sleep-deprived matched those who have blood alcohol in their systems.

Powell’s study compared people who have sleep apnea with those who slept well for three nights. Researchers took a baseline of those in the latter group. Then, they had well-rested group drink alcohol, stopping at three different set blood alcohol levels.

The researchers compared the two groups on seven measures. The sleep apnea group performed as bad as or worse than the legally drunk group on three measures. This is just one study. Search for others and you’ll find more with similar findings.

Doesn’t it make more sense to check out of the office on time, enjoy your time after work, get a good night’s rest, and return the next day fully charged ready to put in a solid day’s work? This as opposed to stretching your days to more than eight hours, constantly tired because you rush home to do your personal tasks that eat into your critical sleep time.

Why do we need a 40-hour work week?

Research shows that working more than 40 hours doesn’t make sense. But what about the “standard” 40-hour work week? Do most jobs really take 40 hours per week to do? Maybe not.

What if we were to size jobs differently?

Suppose we said a “job” was 20 hours a week …

As an employer or project manager, when you change your approach to size jobs based on your current needs you gain access to a large, talented workforce whose needs are not met by 40-hour work week jobs. You save money when you build a pool of high quality, loyal talent and tap into their services when you need it.

A full-time, 40-work week experienced marketer could earn $60,000 per year (rates differ by location, etc.). Some projects may not take 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year (taking a standard two weeks for vacation). A small business may not need a full-time employee to do marketing. A $60K annual salary equals $1,154 per week or $28 per hour. That doesn’t include benefits, such as insurance, 401K, paid vacation and sick days.

But what if you only need marketing services for an average of 10 hours a week? Instead, you could hire a highly qualified marketer who charges $50 an hour.  It costs you $25K per year and zero for benefits. This is less than half the cost of a full-time employee with benefits. Even someone with a $100 per hour rate can be cheaper than a full-time employee.

People who work the hours that best fit their needs are happier. Happier workers mean better quality deliverables. They’re hired to deliver exactly what you need without wasting a single second.

Maybe we should reconsider the 40-hour work week, and start thinking about what exactly needs doing and how long it takes to get it done.

Build Trust Online

building trust onlineBuyers don’t just look for a solution. They’re also looking for a business partner and someone they can trust.

The foundation of any business relationship is trust. It’s easier to build trust when you can look someone in the eye and shake hands. It’s harder to do online.

But there are techniques you can use online to make it easier to build trust and develop a deeper relationship. When you do those things systematically and strategically, you can arrive at a position of trust faster. Making the effort to do this will bring a big difference to your business success.

Three things make up the basis for trust. You want to show people that you are:

  • Reliable,
  • Likeable and
  • Competent.

Most people emphasize the last one, but the world is full of competent people. It’s being reliable and likeable that really makes the difference.

Of course, you need to be authentic. If you aren’t actually reliable or competent, you don’t want to pretend you are. (We know you’re likeable!)  But assuming that you are competent, reliable and likeable, how do you show that? How can you make it easier for people to see that you are trustworthy online?

Here are five ways to build trust online:

  1. Make and keep a promise. This is a simple way to get a relationship off to a strong start. Don’t just promise you’ll call or email. Add specifics to the promise – and then follow through. This shows you’re reliable.
  2. Use social media. Social media provides a forum for showing others you’re the kind of person they want to do business with. Transparency is one of the building blocks of trust, and social media — with its history of your actions and interactions with others — makes it possible for people to see at a glance who you are and get comfortable with you.
  3. Stay in touch. Staying in touch in a predictable and personal way allows you to make strides to build trust online. It can be done simply and inexpensively, without investing in pricey marketing automation platforms.
  4. Show you care about them. No doubt, you want to make the sale. But pushing hard to close can backfire. When you show you care by taking a genuine interest in their work initiatives, favorite sports teams and hobbies, you let them see that they matter to you as an individual, not just one step towards a quota.
  5. Make them (your clients and prospects) look good. If someone compliments you in front of others, doesn’t it make you feel warmer towards them? You can do little things like forwarding recent news about a competitor that they can share with their coworkers and bosses. It’ll make them look good.

Some people use trust as a tactic, but it won’t come across as sincere. Buyers can sense a difference between someone whose main objective is winning and someone who puts the client’s interest first. “When your only focus is to win, customers become objects, tools for achieving that goal. And customers don’t care to be treated that way,” writes Charles H. Green, author of Trust-Based Selling.

If you follow the steps above, in an authentic way, you’ll find it easier to build strong business relationships online, and easier to make sales and get referrals.

Building Trust Online: Make Your Clients Look Good

building trust online clientsI subscribe to emails from a client’s competitor to stay in the loop on what the competitor is doing. In an email, the competitor announced receiving rave reviews from a website that provides impartial coverage of its industry. Curious, I went to the website to search for my client’s product. Nothing. So I contacted the site’s editor to consider reviewing my client’s product.

I forwarded the competitor’s email to the client with a note that I contacted the editor. When the editor replied, I updated the client. Because I subscribed to a competitor’s email, I found two excuses to stay in touch with the client and made her look good as she took the valuable information to her boss.

Move from me-focused to client-focused

One of the principles of building trust online is client focus. To do this means listening without any distractions, allowing the client to lead conversations and asking questions for deeper insight. In doing this, you’ll better understand your clients’ concerns and learn more about the projects they’re working on.

I take notes during client calls, and then enter action items into our CRM, along with tags to identify topics and companies of interest to the client. (Some people prefer to make their notes after they finish the conversation with the client, so the client knows they are listening 100%.)

For example, the client mentions he’s working to find the right marketing automation platform. When you return to your desk, you search for articles and objective reports comparing marketing automation vendors, such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. Forward those to the client. Now the client has valuable information to take back to the team and boss. Result? You helped make him look good.

Ways to make your clients look good

Here are seven ways you can make clients look good:

·         Search for recent news and insights on your clients’ competitors.

·         Dig up stats that support the work you do or what clients need.

·         Find articles and reports that help clients in their jobs.

·         Deliver complimentary tickets or VIP access to an event.

·         Provide a report on results your company got for the client to show coworkers and bosses they made the right decision hiring you.

·         Let clients know about something that hasn’t gone public.

·         Share information clients will want to re-share with others in the company.

What can you do for your clients that allow them to show others they’re on top of things? What can you do to help them show others they’re respected?

Another time, I found a great report that was right up the client’s alley. The client liked it so much that she wanted to buy the report to send it to her mailing list. Little things like this show clients that you care about them and their success. It builds trust and gains favor. Zig Ziglar explained it best: “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

What other ways can you make clients look good?

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  • Why this Blog?

    I have been running a marketing and PR firm since 1994. I love marketing and I love helping people grow their businesses. This blog lets me share what I've learned about marketing to help you generate more leads and sales for your company.
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    Phone: 1-703-824-8482
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