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John Graham

Selling in a broad swath of industries is arguably more difficult today than at any time in the last half century. No matter what the optimists may say, competition for customers is horrendous. Ask any salesperson. As one said recently, “I have never seen anything like it.”

Along with everyone else, those in sales constantly look for signs of hope from the latest economic reports, whether it’s relevant or not. Like everyone else, salespeople are faced with doing their job whatever the economic conditions. read more »

 
CAUTION!

If you’re in sales, you know the feeling. It’s the middle of the night about two weeks after starting a new job. You were enthusiastic and could hardly wait to going. Now, your head is full of doubts. You try to shove them aside, but they don’t go away. “Everything is new,” you tell yourself. “I just need to give it a little more time.” But the doubts keep coming back.

The gap between what you were told about the job and what is actually happening gets wider by the day. After about three weeks, you finally ask yourself, “Have I made a mistake?” read more »

 

Trying to get fish into the boat before catching them sounds crazy, something that wouldn’t make sense to experienced fishermen. Even so, it’s the most common error salespeople make and accounts, more than anything else, for lost orders and prospects who never become customers. That’s what happens when you try to get the order before you have a customer.

What salespeople are doing makes perfect sense to them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t compute so well with their prospects and customers. They are so focused on making the sale, they don’t think about what’s going on in the customer’s head and what they often say tells the story. They like to brag about “wrestling the big one,” even though “the big one” often gets away. read more »

 

It’s easy for just about anyone in business — including companies, salespeople and marketers — to fall into a “pattern” when dealing with customers. We all develop shortcuts and “templates” to help simplify our daily routines, which also make it easier to manage the work load. With more to do and less time to do it a smoother routine is appealing.

While such an approach may help us get through the day, it can also be dangerous, particularly when the competition is waiting for even the slightest opening that may get them through the door. read more »

 

Out marketing competitors is easy if you do it right. It takes a combination of work and savvy, but the results can be positive. Frankly, the competition often makes it unusually easy. They talk about what they are going to do, but never get around to doing much. They’re successful at missing marketing opportunities.

But not everyone. For example, a 44-store dry-cleaning chain responded to requests for submissions for family business of the year and the other for community service. Detailed proposals were prepared and submitted and the company took top honors in each one, which brought widespread recognition and additional opportunities. read more »

 

It’s what we don’t want to think about that always gets us. The CEO of one of the nation’s largest banks thought the Board of Directors was behind him, when they were actually going behind his back in finding a replacement. How could he have been caught off guard?

Being caught off guard may be the most pressing business issue of the day. Just when we think we have our arms around something, particularly when it comes to marketing, we’re not only surprised, but also embarrassed.

Here are eight issues that constitute a short course in avoiding marketing stupidity: read more »

 
How to get a head start on the competition

People are breathing a little easier and optimism is up. Some “experts” tell us, “The worst is behind us.” Yet, spending time convincing ourselves that the “cup is half full” is both an irresistible and totally dumb exercise. It wastes personal and business resources, doesn’t change anything and diverts us from taking positive action.

It you want to get a head start on the competition in the year ahead, here are nine tools that will help you make a difference in 2010: read more »

 
How to Get a Head Start on the Competition

People are breathing a little easier and optimism is up. Some “experts” tell us, “The worst is behind us.” Yet, spending time convincing ourselves that the “cup is half full” is both an irresistible and totally dumb exercise. It wastes personal and business resources, doesn’t change anything and diverts us from taking positive action.

It you want to get a head start on the competition in the year ahead, here are nine tools that will help you make a difference in 2010 read more »

 

This is about the three most important words in business today - marketing, selling, and most importantly, customers.

The scenario is simple: customers have changed, while marketers and salespeople are struggling to figure out what’s happened — and happening. read more »

 
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