Sales Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

What Are You Waiting For?

The best referral efforts I’ve seen happen by design, not by accident or wishful thinking.  Many business people view word of mouth somewhat like the weather: “Sure, it’s important, but what can I do about it?”

Referrals and word of mouth can be planned and nurtured.  Anyone, including business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives, staff employees, even individuals serving in a volunteer capacity in any field, can accomplish plenty with a well-structured and systematically executed referral plan for a business.

All too often I have seen business people waiting for business to walk through the door.  They think because they are good at what they do, people should be flocking to them. I’m afraid the truth is, it doesn’t work that way! You have to take charge, no matter what business you’re in or how good you are, and bring the business in to you.

I once saw a cartoon strip of two large, ravenous-looking vultures perched on a tree limb, overlooking a dry desert plain. After quite a while, one vulture turns to the other and says, “Wait for something to die? Hell, let’s kill something!” So it is with word-of-mouth marketing. You can’t simply wait for people to come to you. If you do, one of your competitors who also provides good customer service will most likely find them before they show up at your door-step.  If you want to succeed, you have to go get your business, or better yet, have someone else get it for you through referrals.

So . . . don’t wait around.  Do something!

The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret–4th Edition

The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret–4th Edition

The first edition of my book The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, which details how to build business by referral, was released back in 1994 and went on to become an international bestseller.  I am excited to announce that the 4th edition of the book was just published and my co-author Mike Macedonio and I have substantially rewritten the book and added a significant amount of information.

Here is just a brief sample of what is outlined in the new book:

  • The best way to grow your business
  • Referrals and referral marketing, networking, word of mouth, buzz, and viral marketing
  • Networking vs. direct prospecting
  • Communicating your brand
  • Making your network stronger
  • Fifteen ways to promote
  • Forecasting sales from referrals
  • Tracking and evaluating results
  • And much, much more . . .

If you’ve read any of the other editions of The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, I invite you to leave a comment here letting me know what some of your top takeaways from the book were; and, of course, if you’ve had the opportunity to read an advance copy of the 4th edition of the book, I would absolutely love it if you would leave a comment about what you think of it!

The new 4th edition is not yet available on Amazon but you can get an advance copy of the book now by CLICKING HERE.

How’s Business For You in 2011?

BNIBusinessIndex.com has had a facelift.  Check out the new site.

This is a website that gauges the pulse of entrepreneurs from all around the world through a very simple quarterly survey.  If you have a few minutes, look at the site and take the current survey.  It only takes a couple minutes (really)!

To take the current survey, CLICK HERE.  Note – you can get a FREE copy of one of my books (some rules apply) by taking the survey.

When you check out the site, please leave a comment here about what you think of the results from last quarter and how you think the results for this quarter might change from last quarter’s results.

The Referral Process–Step 8

Today is the day big day that those of you who’ve been following my blog series on the referral process have been waiting for . . . the day I’m going to talk about the final step–the step we all anticipate most:  Step 8–Closing the Deal.

By the way, feel free to catch up on the previous steps in the easy, eight-step referral process at any time by reading my blog entries about steps 1 & 2; step 3; step 4; and steps 5, 6, & 7.

  • Step 8.  Close the Deal

Now that you have your proposal done and you know all the details, go back to the prospect and close that deal! Once that’s done, don’t forget to implement your referral thank-you program to inspire your source to continue referring business to you.

You’ve probably been told that you have to contact most prospects 20 times or more before they will buy.  That may be true in ordinary marketing strategies, but in the eight-step referral process, the sale happens in as few as two calls.  Didn’t close on step 8?  No sweat . . . just repeat steps 5 through 7 until it’s a done deal.

The eight-step referral process is a formal procedure that is simple and comprehensive at the same time.  It includes every single step you might need to take in order to fully and properly develop a first-time referral. Keep in mind, many referrals, especially those you make with established contacts, are much simpler; for example, some don’t involve a referral source and thus require only a couple steps.

Have you tried any of the steps in the referral process yet?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and the results you’re getting.  Please feel free to comment!

“Sales Success Now”

My friend, sales expert Dr. Donna Ligda, has just released a new e-book called Sales Success Now which features 10-minute interviews with leading experts who spell out their single best sales strategy or tactic and explain how to easily implement it.

I’m interviewed in the book about how I’ve leveraged trusted relationships to open over 5,000 chapters of my organization worldwide and, because of my contribution to the book, Donna has offered to make a free copy of the book available to my blog readers!

To get your free copy of the book, simply send an e-mail to DonnaLigda@ComCast.Net requesting the free e-mail version of Sales Success Now which was mentioned on Dr. Ivan Misner’s blog.

The book includes interviews with:

  • Chris Lytle, President of Sparque, Inc.
  • Mike Bosworth, best-selling sales and marketing author
  • Keith Eades and Robert Kear, international marketing experts
  • and many more . . .

After you get your free copy by e-mailing a request to DonnaLigda@ComCast.Net, come back and let me know what you think of the book.  I think you’ll be impressed!

Generate More Business by Offering Value-added Advice

It’s no secret that we all want to do business with people whom we know and trust.  So, how do you build rapport and create trust with new contacts at networking events?  By offering value-added advice–solid, helpful information provided out of a genuine concern for another person.

Let’s say you’re a real estate agent talking with someone at a networking event who, although not ready to buy a home today, is heading in that direction.  You could say something like this:

Well, I know you’re not interested in buying a home right now.  But, when you’re ready to start looking, I highly recommend checking out the north part of town.  A lot of my clients are seeing their homes appreciate in the 10 to 20 percent range, and from what I understand, the city is thinking about building another middle school in that area.

See how it’s possible to offer some value-added advice without being too salesy?  A statement like this acknowledges that your prospect is not currently in the market (first sentence) but still demonstrates your expertise, so he will remember you when he’s ready to move.

This model works for consultants, CPAs, accountants, financial planners, coaches–just about anyone in a service-based industry in which knowledge is the main product. If you’re concerned about giving away your intellectual capital for free, look at it this way: few people are going to sign up to do business with you if they’re not sure you can do the job.  In the absence of a tangible product, you have nothing but your technical expertise to demonstrate that you have the goods.  And when you think about it, that makes sense.  Whenever you’re ready to buy an automobile, it doesn’t matter how much research you’ve done on a particular model, you’re probably not going to write your check until you’ve taken the car for a test drive.

The same is true for your prospects.  Give them a little test drive to show how it would feel to do business with you. If you’re a marketing consultant, give them a couple of ideas on how they can increase the exposure of their business.  Don’t go overboard; maybe offer a technique you read in a magazine or tried with one of your clients.  Just give them something they can try on to see if it works.

Not only will this open up a good conversation with new contacts while you’re out networking, if you play your cards right, whom do you think they’ll go to when they’re in need of your kind of service? 🙂  When it comes to building rapport and creating trust, nothing does it better than offering value-added advice.

My ‘Apple’ Experience

It was a few days before Christmas and the malls were incredibly packed.  My eldest daughter needed a new Apple laptop for college and I was going to get her one as a Christmas gift.

Apple’s in-store customer service is legendary and I would soon experience it firsthand. I went to Victoria Gardens, an outdoor mall near my home in Southern California.  I walked up to the entrance of the Apple Store and the first thing I saw was that the place was wall to wall people. No, really – I’m not exaggerating – it was literally wall to wall people.  I think if there were any more people in that store the Fire Marshal would have had to empty the place.

I stood at the door and was dreading the idea of going into this packed store and waiting forever for service. I took a deep breath and walked through the entrance.  I was no more than two steps into the store when I was greeted by an Apple employee. I expected her to instruct me where I needed to go in order to take a number and wait for service.  Instead, she said, “how can I help you?” I was a little surprised but, I told her what I was looking for.  While standing in the middle of the store she paged someone from a mobile device.  She told me he was the expert and could set me right up with what I needed.  After a few moments Chris was standing next to me answering my questions.

Within minutes of walking through the door I picked what I wanted.  Chris swiped my credit card with his telephone and instantly sent the receipt to my email address.   The entire transaction was done in a fraction of the time I expected in a store that was busier than I thought possible.

A good friend of mine, Stewart Emery wrote a book called “Do You Matter?” A major premise of the book is the idea that customer service is all about the “experience” people have in the transaction of business.  I’ve been to the Apple store a few times now and I can say with conviction that each time has been an amazing experience in customer service.

Another thing Stewart talks about in his book, which the Apple company seems to truly understand,  is that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  The Apple culture of customer service is light years ahead of any other computer company I have done business with – period. No computer company has come close to giving me such great customer service (some other computer companies even rank amongst the worst service I’ve ever had).

Well done Apple.  I will be back again… and again, and again.

If you’ve had a similar customer-service experience, I’d really enjoy hearing it.  Please leave a comment and tell me about it.

What’s the Payoff for Developing an Effective Word-of-Mouth Strategy?

Developing an effective word-of-mouth strategy that results in a strong referral-based business takes endless time, energy, effort and, above all, commitment. The actions and steps necessary to create a successful referral-networking campaign are simple, yet far from easy; they take tremendous dedication and drive, and results can be a long time in coming.

So why should you put forth the time and effort to develop a word-of-mouth strategy for your business?  Because, if you commit to doing it right and don’t give up, the payoff can be unbelievably high.

In fact, many businesses have become so adept at referral marketing that they get most of their sales through referrals and spend little or no money on advertising — and they never have to place cold calls. Some of these businesses hire most of their employees through referrals, manage complex financing arrangements and even procure necessary products through referral contacts they have cultivated for many years.

But a referral-based business can reward you in ways beyond those measured in dollars. Dealing with people you like and trust is a better way to live and work than sparring with strangers all day long. You may even find the relationships you form with your referral sources more important than the dollars your new customers bring you. Such relationships are central to both the referral-generation process and the satisfaction you derive from your work.

So, the next time you find yourself doubting whether your networking efforts are really worth it, remember: If you don’t give up, and you continually devote yourself to working on making your word-of-mouth strategy better and better, the payoff can be enormous both financially and in terms of happiness in business and life.

Bob Burg’s 10 Networking Questions That Work Every Time

My good friend, networking expert Bob Burg, has 10 questions he personally uses when networking that he believes every networker should memorize.

Bob explains that these questions are not designed to be probing or sales-oriented in any way; they are all friendly, fun to answer, and will tell you something about the way the person answering them thinks.  You’ll never need or have the time to ask all 10 questions during any one conversation but, still, you should internalize them.  Know them well enough that you are able to ask the ones you deem appropriate for the particular conversation and time frame.

Here are the 10 questions:

1.  How did you get started in the (______) business?

2.  What do you enjoy most about your profession?

3.  What separates you and your company from the competition?

4.  What advice would you give someone just starting out in the (______) business?

5.  What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?

6.  What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?

7.  What do you see as the coming trends in the (______) business?

8.  Describe the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your business?

9.  What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?

10.  What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?

Like Bob says, you’re not going to get to ask more than a few of these questions during an initial conversation,  so don’t worry about sounding like you’re conducting an interrogation. These are feel-good questions people enjoy answering, and they are meant to establish an initial rapport.  So next time you’re at a networking event, try using a few of these questions and then come back and leave a comment about how using them worked out for you; I’m more than willing to bet you’ll be pleased with the results.

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