Author Keith F. Luscher
When targeting market prospects in your job hunt or for a targeted, value-based outreach, one of the biggest challenges is researching your prospect list.
Let’s say you are in B2B sales, and you want to reach out to wholesale distributors of durable goods with twenty to 250 employees, headquartered in your county and three counties adjacent. How would you find them? Perhaps your company subscribes to one of the many services out there, such as InfoUSA or Hoovers.
There are plenty of other research tools available on the internet, but I strongly recommend that the first place you check out is your metropolitan library. One of the best library resources is ReferenceUSA (the library division of InfoUSA). This is a database on millions of businesses and households which includes information on census, lifestyle, home values, industry codes and even D&B credit scores. It is access to the same data available commercially through what you may know as Sales Genie, minus the monthly subscription fee. Find out if your library offers it, and if not, find one that does.
Further, you will often be able to access this and other resources online from work or home with your library card. You will not need to make a trip to the library.
The ReferenceUSA database can produce a list of wholesale distributors of durable goods with twenty to 250 employees, headquartered in your county and three counties adjacent. You can narrow your search even further by any number of parameters (each record has data in up to 221 fields—we are talking detailed!). It all depends on what you are seeking.
This first step is unlocking a gold mine…and I am constantly surprised at how many sales professionals and business people I encounter in my own community who are completely unaware of this resource.
Let’s suppose your research yields a list of 28 companies. Which ones will you contact first? Will you start with the companies with the most employees, or the fewest? Will you further qualify by reported gross revenues or credit rating? Perhaps you want to start in your own county first, and expand outward.
Starting with your top priority suspects, begin researching the key decision makers. Depending on the size of the company, the data in ReferenceUSA will give you either just the owner or the entire executive staff and even the board of directors (It even identifies gender—quite helpful when targeting people with transgender names!).
Whatever you find, it is just a start. Their data is well researched and updated, but it is NEVER one-hundred percent accurate. To further identify who’s calling the shots, check out additional data sources (Hoovers for one). The company’s website may give you all that information up front, and may even include biographical information.
ReferenceUSA will even highlight stories in some media sources related to each company record, and even identify competitors. For further research, check out BizJournals online—the media company that publishes business weeklies in the nation’s top metropolitan areas and business markets. In your research, you are seeking any information that may prove relevant to your approach. Knowledge is power.
For further direction on what to do with this knowledge, learn the eight steps of WedgePower. Learn more at WegePower.com.
Keith F. Luscher, (Google Search) is a business development director for The Money Foundation, an independent investment professional’s think tank and production group operating within a broker-dealer. Prior to this he served professionals in the insurance and financial services industries as a management consultant. In that role, he advised producers on issues related to marketing and prospecting, and developed groundbreaking educational curriculum. In addition, Luscher is also a nationally known author, speaker, and expert in media, interpersonal communication and marketing.
As I was looking through my bookshelves for a particular reference, I came across my very first sales training book, How to Master the Art of Selling, by Tom Hopkins. I pulled it off the shelf and starting thumbing through it. I had gone to see Tom Hopkins speak and bought the book there. He even autographed it for me. I took that book home and studied it. I don’t know how many times I read it. Why? I wanted to master the art of sales. Even at the beginning of my career, I knew the key to success was being good at selling.
I haven’t changed my point of view in the decades since I read How to Master the Art of Selling. I’ve read other sales training books. I’ve gone to other sales training courses. But I find that I probably use more of Tom Hopkins ideas in how I sell day to day than anyone else. There are probably a number of reasons for this. But I think it’s because his ideas are easy to learn and easy to implement. That’s not to say they’re simple, just easy for you to say, “I can do this.”
For example, one of Tom’s key ideas is being aware of the language you use. Words can have a positive or negative impact, even seemingly innocuous words like deal or contract. Words trigger an emotional response. I’ve mentioned in this blog before that people buy based on emotions and justify with logic. By inadvertently using a word with negative emotions, you might kill the sale without ever knowing why. The first step is to stop using the word “deal.” Most of us think of it in the terms of a good deal. If the client has doubts about getting a good deal, they may back out of the sale and leave you hanging. A better word to use is opportunity. Opportunity connotes opening doors, new options. It’s filled with positive energy.
I’ve only talked about one word that can change the course of your sales. As a technology entrepreneur, you need to be aware of the words you and your sales team use. Are you moving clients along the process with your words, or turning them off? Use more positive words and you can increase the number of sales you close in record time.
Continuing on the topic of “state”—Are you in control of your state, or is your state in control of you? Successful people are masters of their states—and thus their resourcefulness at virtually any point in time. It is largely the cumulative condition of your thoughts and your physiology; your mind and your body.
When in a negative state, you can’t wait for change. You must change it yourself. For some of us, it seems impossible—indeed it is a skill I continue to work hard to develop myself (especially in the early mornings). Some days it’s easier than others. But like anything, it requires practice.
Let’s say you need to make follow up calls, but you aren’t in the mood. You are not feeling very successful or effective. You’re telling yourself: “What’s the point? No one wants to be bothered by me.” With that, you sit at your desk; your back and shoulders are slumped. You proceed to look around for other “busy” work to do to avoid what you should be doing. So how do you change?
1. Be aware of your present state. You know you are not in the state to do this effectively. You know that your present state—regardless of what caused it (lack of sleep, argument with another colleague, the weather, etc.)—is not going to help you produce the results you want. Objective awareness is the first step.
2. Decide—and imagine—the state you WANT. You have been in that desired state many times. Imagine how you felt, how you behaved, your posture and other body language, and your thoughts. Consider the last good phone session you had (or another example), and begin to relive the positive state you were in.
3. With these indicators, start with your body language. Self talk depends upon body language as much as do our thoughts. Get up, stretch out, and breathe more deeply and with intent. Straighten your posture. Feeling tired does not mean you have to act tired. If you want to feel more energetic, act more energetic.
4. Trade lies for Truth. The message you hear that you’re not worthy and have nothing to offer is a LIE. Don’t surrender to it. Know the TRUTH: that you are a person on an important mission to help people and to create a better world. Your phone call to each prospect is a positive impact on that person’s life—regardless of the outcome. Each phone call is a “pay it forward”—an outreach of service. Every appointment scheduled is medal on your chest for every five to ten calls you complete! Every call is an act of brotherly love and service to others.
5. Never, Never Surrender. This takes practice. It takes persistence. It is simple, but not always easy. But if you know what you WANT, commit to it. Further, you haven’t lost until you’ve quit. Sometimes you will change your state with greater success than other times. Accept this. It’s okay. Persistence is what sets you apart from the rest.
In effect, when you do this, you are acting. You are performing for an audience—and the most important member of that audience is not your prospect…it is you.
Keith F. Luscher, (Google Search) is a business development director for The Money Foundation / H. Beck, Inc. Prior to this he served professionals in the insurance and financial services industries as a management consultant. In that role, he advised producers on issues related to marketing and prospecting, and developed groundbreaking educational curriculum. In addition, Keith is also a nationally known author, speaker, and expert in media, interpersonal communication and marketing. Keith is also the author of several diverse books, including Prospect & Flourish: How to Conquer the “Weakest Link” in the Sales Process –a prospecting and networking guide for sales professionals and job seekers. He is also the author of Don’t Wait Until You Graduate, an widely acclaimed advanced career-planning book for college students that, in the past ten years, has become a part of the college landscape. It has also been translated into Chinese and is now in its second edition.
It’s the weekend, TGIF. Everybody’s working for the weekend, right? What if you didn’t? What if the weekend was an interruption to the things you really loved to do? That’s sounds amazing to many people. They can’t imagine wanting to spend more time at work. They go in, put in their time, and treasure every moment they’re not in the office.
But there are others, that special group of people that can’t wait to get to the office. They’re not workaholics, they just love what they do so much, they can’t imagine not wanting to do it. They dream about ways to improve and grow their businesses. That’s not to say they don’t have their issues, struggles or challenges to overcome. It’s just that they look at those same challenges with excitement and a willingness to grow, not as something waiting to beat them down.
So which group would you rather be in? It’s not the difference between owning your own company and working for someone. We all know the technology entrepreneurs who don’t have time for a sandwich at lunch before it’s time to get back to work. They work the same as when they had someone else as a boss. Other entrepreneurs seem to have everything under control. They work hard, but it doesn’t seem to consume them. They can take time off in the middle of the week to go see their child’s school play and not think twice about it.
How do you get that enthusiasm back? The thrill of owning your own company, made in your own image back again? I won’t say it’s easy, but you can do it.
• Start by identifying what you do each day. Are you putting out fires or developing a vision of what you want your company to look like?
• Once you identify what you do in the course of a day, determine if each task is something one of your employees can take over. If so, delegate.
• Develop processes and systems for each of the tasks completed in the office. Write them so you can give the instructions to a new person and he can complete the task with few questions.
• Test your written processes by giving them to someone that doesn’t do the job and see if they can complete the task, using only the written guidelines.
• Take control of the planning in your company. You’re the boss, decide what YOU want to do.
As I said, it’s not easy, but the difference between working with passion and just having a job is how you approach Friday.
In the two previous parts of this article, Brian Tracy talked about the myths of communication, as well as the communication process and the elements of face-to-face communications. This part focuses on the importance of preparing for your communications. As a leader, your communications need to influence and persuade the people you come in contact with. For example, you need to create a vision of the future your employees can understand and strive to achieve. You need to explain your purpose and value proposition to clients, bankers and others that support you financially. How well you do as an organization is dependent on how well you can communicate the goals of your company. Are you getting your ideas across? Read on to find out how to maximize your ability to communicate.
Getting Your Ideas Across, Part 3
By: Brian Tracy
So your choice of words is important, but even more important is your tone of voice and your body language. The better you can coordinate all three of those ingredients, the more impact your message will have, and the greater will be the likelihood that a person will both understand it and react the way you want him to.
You’ve heard the saying that God gave man two ears and one mouth, and in conversation, you should use them in those proportions. Truer words were never spoken. The best communicators are excellent listeners. The worst communicators are continuous talkers. In fact, often the most important part of the message is the part that is conveyed by the pauses you make between thoughts and ideas. The message is conveyed in the silence that takes place during the lulls in conversation. All master communicators have learned to be comfortable with silence. Remember that a person can absorb only a certain amount of information, as ground can absorb only a certain amount of water. If you pour too much water onto the ground, it will form into puddles instead of soak in. A person’s mind is very much the same. If you don’t give someone an opportunity to absorb what you’re saying, by pausing and waiting quietly and patiently, he will be overwhelmed by the continuous stream of thoughts and ideas, and often will distort the message and miss the point.
One of the most vital requirements for effective communication, especially with important messages, is preparation. Preparation is the mark of the true professional. The late Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant of the University of Alabama football team was famous for saying, “It’s not the will to win but the will to prepare to win that counts.” In all communications, the will to prepare in advance of talking and interacting with people is the key to achieving maximum effectiveness.
Remember that in communicating, people do things for their own reasons, not for yours. Everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM, which means “What’s in it for me?”
The more important the communication, either in business or personal life, the more important it is to prepare for it. Think through where the other person is coming from. What is his or her point of view? What are his or her problems or concerns? What is he or she trying to accomplish? What is his or her level of knowledge or information about the subject under discussion?
In getting your point across, perhaps the most important word of all is the word ask. The most effective people are those who are the best at asking for what they want. They ask questions to uncover real needs and concerns. They ask questions to illuminate objections and problems that people might have with what they’re suggesting. They ask questions to expand the conversation and to increase their understanding of where people are really coming from.
You get your message understood by getting out of yourself, by putting your ego aside, and by focusing all of your attention on the other person. You get people to do the things you want them to do by presenting your arguments in terms of their interests, in terms of what they want to be and have and do. You prepare thoroughly in advance of any important conversation. You think before you speak, and you think on paper. You can say almost anything if you say it, or ask it, pleasantly, positively and with courtesy and friendliness.
The ability to communicate is a skill that you can learn by becoming genuinely interested in people and by putting their needs ahead of your own when sending a message or asking them to do something for you. When you concentrate your attention on building trust, on the one hand, and on seeking to understand, on the other hand, you’ll become known and respected as an effective communicator everywhere you go.
If you missed the first two parts of this article, go to HighGrowthBusiness.com to see the article in its entirety.
About the author
Brian Tracy is a legendary in the fields of management, leadership, and sales. He has produced more than 300 audio/video programs and has written 28 books, including his just-released book “The Psychology of Selling.” Special offer: To receive your free copy of “Crunch Time!, just visit www.briantracy.com and click on the Crunch Time! icon. He can be reached at (858) 481-2977 or www.briantracy.com.
I had the good fortune to attend the Get Motivated Seminar, presented by Peter Lowe, and featuring a great roster of speakers. I noticed that most of the speakers, whether talking about leadership, perseverance, or achievement, all spoke about the importance of doing the right thing and having the reputation of doing the right thing. Always doing the right thing leads to trust, and trust leads to leadership.
There are many people out there that think they’re doing the right thing, particularly when it comes to their employees, but you may be surprised how your employees feel about that. One of the speakers, former Microsoft chief Rick Beluzzo told the story of his first management position. He thought he was doing all the right things, but by the end of the month all eight employees he managed revolted, going to his boss to say they couldn’t work for Rick any more. This got me to thinking about a boss I once had. My wife and I were always trying to figure out what he’d do next. Hi behavior seemed to be very unpredictable. One day at dinner, I was telling my wife the latest story and she pointed out that my boss’s behavior was very predictable; he always did what was in his own best interest. Once I realized that, his behavior was very easy to guess.
So what does doing the right thing mean? Doing the right thing means different things to different people, but most people agree on the following:
• Recognizing when someone has done a job well
• Caring about people inside and outside the organization
• Creating an environment where people feel free to share their ideas
• Being open to feedback and willing to accept it
• Working with honesty and integrity
Doing the right thing doesn’t cost any more that doing business the way you always have. But people recognize when you are trying to treat people well and respond positively to it. So, before you do what you’ve always done, think about how you can benefit others by your actions. Think how much the world would change if each of did that every day.
Marketing, target marketing, and lead generation get a lot of press these days. Do a search on Google for lead generation, you get over 13 million results. I work with software and technology companies to get the most out of their marketing, so I know how much emphasis there is on getting the customers or clients to take the first step and contact them.
That’s why I’m constantly amazed by the experience most people encounter when they finally approach some companies. I recently went into a very large chain bookstore. Two of the clerks were standing at the Customer Service desk, deep in conversation about an issue one of them seemed to be having. I waited politely for several minutes, waiting for one of them to acknowledge me, before I finally broke up their conversation asking for help. After finding for the book I was looking for in the computer, I was vaguely waved in the general direction of business books and then the two went back to their conversation I so rudely interrupted. I won’t say the name of the bookstore because on another occasion, in another branch of the same store, the clerk bent over backward to help me out. She looked the book up on the computer, took me to the section of the store, checked for the title, and when she couldn’t find it on the shelves, checked the back room. Ultimately, she found that book for me.
And it’s not limited to one or two businesses. Just the other day, I took my wife out to dinner at another chain restaurant. We were the only two people in the restaurant and they seated us in the bar area. Our server was not more than 10 feet away, chatting to the bartender. I drained my soft drink and was trying to figure out how to get the server’s attention without sounding like my dad (he would knock the salt and pepper shakers off the table to get the servers’ attention). Finally, my wife suggested shaking the ice cubes, that trick worked. My question is why did I have to do anything? The server just had to turn her head to check our table. The bartender was looking right at us, why couldn’t she say something?
This blog sounds like a rant, but that’s really not my intention. I’m sure anyone reading this has their own personal customer service stories from hell. The point I’m trying to make is that both of these chains spent a LOT of money on marketing and advertising. They are essentially generating thousands of leads, by encouraging people across their markets to come in and spend money with them. The marketing may be working to get people to take the first step, but the experience is so bad once they’re there, the marketing spend is wasted, because they’re not getting repeat business. Unhappy customers are also much less likely to refer other customers, so they’re losing word of mouth sales.
Is your customer service sabotaging your marketing? I’m not suggesting that you stop marketing and start stressing customer service. But I am saying that you have to do both. Because just getting the client isn’t enough. You have to follow through to give clients a great experience every time they deal with your company.
In my years teaching people to be successful, I have seen that basically people break their lives down in to two major parts: Wealth-building and the rest of their lives. Having done a lot of reflection on these two topics – wealth and life – I am coming to some new conclusions about how to perceive the two.
Until recently I thought that there was a significant difference in how we should tackle the two areas. In fact, I thought that the two topics should be addressed in almost opposite fashion.
You see, wealth-building is just math. While life — Life is art.
Think back with me to high school. Most of us were required to take math and most of us probably took art as well.
Now, think about your final exams in the two areas. Your math paper was graded on hard facts:
Ten times ten is always one-hundred
Thirty divided by three is always ten
Seven plus seven is always fourteen
Fifty minus twenty-five is always twenty-five
There is always just one answer in math. The answers are hard fact, set in stone. Math is a science. It is formulaic. You can know the outcome before it happens, every time.
But what about your final art project? Art is much more subjective.
“Beauty,” they say, “is in the eye of the beholder.” There is no one right answer.
Think of the different styles of the famous artists:
Renoir. Monet. Picasso. Rockwell. Warhol.
Different people find different styles beautiful, and that is what makes art, art.
So how does this fit with Wealth-building and life? Wealth-building is like
If you add $1000 to your retirement account each month and gain seven percent interest over twenty years, you can know now how much you will have then. It is math. If you buy a rental property for $200,000 now and it increases in value by three percent a year, you know exactly how much you will be able to sell it for in ten years. The beauty of math is in the knowing. You can work the system, set it on auto-pilot and the math does the work for you, and you know the outcome.
But life? Life is art. And that is the beauty of life. You do not know how it is going to turn out. Life, like art, is always changing. Different people provide different colors. When you make a mistake you can go back, erase it or even paint right over it. You can change the scenery. Life, like art, is ever evolving, and what looks good to one person is of no interest to another. And that is what makes life beautiful.
Another lesson I think we can draw is that in life we should do our math, of course, but life isn’t made up of just wealth-building. Wealth-building should serve our ability to live our lives. Jesus, the master teacher, said that our lives are not made up of the abundance of our possessions. He didn’t mean that possessions aren’t good, just that wealth isn’t what life is all about.
So let me ask you: Are you spending more time on your math or your art? Do your math. Everybody should do their very best at their wealth-building plan so they can take care of themselves and their families.
But life is about the art. What does your canvas look like? What kind of picture are you painting? What kind of pot are you creating? What kind of statue are you sculpting? Take your time, make bold strokes, use brilliant colors, and make of your life the most beautiful masterpiece that you can.
In other words, do your math so you can focus on your art.
To Your Success,
To read previous articles, quotes, and Q and A from the Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine Archives, or to get a complete listing of Jim Rohn’s books, audios, videos and seminar schedule, or to place an order; please go to: http://www.jimrohn.com or call 800-929-0434 M-F 8:00-5:30 CST.
Extraordinary Partnerships take place all over in the technology and software business, between you and your suppliers, you and your distributors. The most important partnerships are between you and your customers. How do you create and sustain extraordinary partnerships with your customers? Through targeted marketing.
Targeted marketing isn’t a new idea; it’s been around for years. Despite its longevity in the marketplace, many technology or software companies are hesitant to use target marketing. Many companies are afraid that if they identify and serve specific market niches, they’re leaving money on the table. They think that by marketing only to a particular group, they’re losing everyone else that might possibly buy their product or service.
Let’s take a step back and think about this. There’s an old marketing adage that says if everyone is your prospect, then no one is your customer. If you try to market to everyone who might possibly have a need for your product, you’ll go broke long before your sales take off. People don’t respond to generic marketing. When was the last time you responded to a letter addressed, “To Whom It May Concern?”
Everyone wants to feel special. Everyone wants to be part of an exclusive group. How are you using that basic human desire your marketing? Do you send out generic branding pieces and hope to get a bite? Or, have you taken the time to identify the ideal customer profile for your product. Have you looked at your best customers and listed the traits and characteristics they seem to share? Have you written this down and shared it with everyone on your team, so everyone knows just who you’re looking for as a customer?
When you identify your ideal customer, you know just who you’re talking to in your marketing. You can take the time to develop a relationship with people that match your ideal customer profile. If your ideal customers are over 40, experienced buyers in the industry, you’ll talk to them very differently than if they’re just out of college and new to the job. Open a conversation with them. How? Follow them on social media. Use a social CRM product, such as Xeesm, to see what they’re talking about, what their concerns are, what they’re interested in. Use that information to address their concerns in your marketing. This increases your trust and credibility in the eyes of your target market.
When customers trust you and see you as a credible source of information, they’ll look to you for information and ultimately, buy from you. But this process isn’t going to happen overnight. The first step is to figure out your best customers, and then see what most concerns them. The answers are out there, you just have to ask the right questions.
Most businesses are feeling a change in lead generation. Many factors are impacting lead generation:
• A flat economy
• Social media
• Spam regulations
• Limited resources
• Increasing postage
Some say lead generation has changed. Others are saying lead generation is dead. What’s happening with your lead generation efforts? Are getting as many leads as ever? Are your conversion rates holding steady?
We Want Your Opinion
We want to know if your lead generation has changed in the face of so much economic uncertainty. We’re conducting a survey to get your input. This short, 15 question survey will take about 5 or 10 minutes of your time to complete. Your privacy will be completed protected. Survey results will only be reported in aggregate.
Click the Link Below to Begin
To take the survey, click the link below. It will take you to the first page of the survey. For each of the 10 questions, select the answer that best describes the lead generation system used by your business. There are no right or wrong answers.
Then Sign up for a Free Teleseminar to See the Results
You have several opportunities to sign up for a free follow-up teleseminar to find out what the survey says. How does your company compare to others? Sign up for both a copy of the survey results and a free teleseminar to learn what they mean to you.