Prospecting for new Clients!

February 25th, 2013

As you know, in Staffing and other industries, prospecting must come to occupy a primary place on your sales reps’ to-do lists if they’re to be successful. Here are nine techniques to pass along that’ll bring in a steady stream of qualified prospects.

  1. Make a commitment to being prospect-driven. Chances are some of your salespeople only take prospecting seriously during periods when sales are down. It’s then soon forgotten once the orders begin coming in. The goal must be to focus on uncovering prospective customers year round.
  2. Focus on finding the right prospects. Prospects must come before prospecting. It’s easy for salespeople to spend a lot of time chasing would-be prospects who have no interest in what they’re selling. The key is spending time determining exactly who fits the profile of your best customers and building a prospect list around that profile.
  3. Cultivate continuously. A major mistake is making prospecting an event, rather than a process. Prospecting is not an impulsive quick fix. It involves more than making a call and, if there’s a negative response, crossing the name off the list. The purpose of continuous cultivation is to build a relationship with a prospect, something some salespeople find difficult when the initial contact is negative.
  4. Look at former customers. Many former customers may be ready to buy again or try a new product or service. Try to mix in former customers when you’re planning your prospecting calls. Former customers may also be an invaluable source of new leads.
  5. Recognize resistance to change. Prospects have a natural resistance to change. They follow the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it philosophy,” which makes it difficult to open new accounts. When prospects raise objections, listen carefully. Ask for clarification. By asking the prospect to go into more detail about the objection, you’ll be in a better position to overcome it.
  6. Give prospecting the same priority as meetings with important customers. Salespeople who don’t call on qualified prospects in their territories are leaving the door open for competitors to do so. Once competitors get an opening with prospects in your territory and start making inroads, they may start converting your long-term customers, too.
  7. Take a close look at the competition. Are your competitors failing in areas that may be your strengths? Have there been any changes in your competitors’ staff or product line that may give you an opportunity? Companies in transition provide a great opportunity for salespeople who act quickly and creatively.
  8. Resist hitting a comfort level. Some salespeople become content with their lifestyle. They hit their own glass ceiling, calling on favorite customers and looking for an acceptable amount of new business — but not too hard. The entrepreneurial salesperson is never satisfied, always thinking and trying to grow and improve business.
  9. Try to learn what the prospect does and his or her objectives. Who are the customers and competitors? Get information with web searches, annual reports, people who work at the prospect’s company and press releases.

Source: John R. Graham, President, Graham & Associates, Quincy, MA.

 For more information or a complimentary confidential discussion on any Staffing M & A subject, contact: Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

 We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:    www.racohenconsulting.com

Research on women in the workplace!

December 3rd, 2012

In Randstad’s latest Engagement Index study, women’s insights and perspectives on work and employee engagement were highlighted, as well as how women viewed the economy’s impact on their jobs.

As the workplace continues to evolve, more workers are not only taking on additional responsibilities, but many are learning skills outside of their traditional roles. Thus, it’s not surprising that a newly released study today by Randstad US shows that flexibility and adaptability are two top skills women need to succeed in the workplace.

Just over half of women surveyed, 51 percent, reported these skill-sets as one of the top two most important, followed by knowledge of technology (selected by 37 percent) and teamwork (selected by 35 percent), respectively.

  • While 57 percent of women said they expect to grow their careers with their current employers, 48 percent of women still plan to explore other options when the job market picks up
  • Forty-one percent of women noted they would give a lot of consideration to a job offer given to them by a different company or organization

“Women are taking on leadership roles and advancing to the top levels of organizations faster than ever before.  It is, therefore, critical that companies not lose sight of what it takes to successfully identify, retain and engage high potential women,” said Linda Galipeau, Randstad CEO of North America.

 “We believe it is crucial for more executives, both men and women, to actively serve as sponsors for the next generation of female leaders. Not only is it essential for women to have access and visibility to senior executives, but it’s equally important for organizations to have a clearly defined strategy for developing women for the top roles while ensuring they are willing and able to throw their hats in the ring when the time is right.”

Other notable findings:

  • Sixty percent of women indicated that having their efforts valued and recognized is one of the most important elements. Only 63 percent feel that their efforts are, in fact, recognized and valued.
  • Also ranking towards the top, 53 percent of women indicated that one of the key elements driving their commitment to their jobs is enjoying going to work each day.
  • How can employers better engage their employees? Promotions and bonuses for high-performing employees, according to 39 percent of women surveyed. However, only 24 percent of respondents stated their companies offered such perks.

Where does your employer stand on these issues? Are women at your firm encouraged, supported mentored and promoted?

All food for thought or grist for the mill.

Our goal is to help you become better informed; for more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

 

4 Lessons from a Time Square Street Peddler

November 26th, 2012

A street hawker may seem like an unlikely teacher, but you can use their simple techniques to increase the power of your sales efforts. They follow the basic rules of selling.

With a few small editorial changes, the credit for this post belongs to the author Matthew Swyers*, who shares in his own words.

 I was recently in New York City for business and stayed in Times Square. If you spend any amount of time there, in addition to other landmarks such as the famous ball that descends on New Year’s Eve and, of course, the Broadway marquees, you will also notice aggressive salesmen roaming the streets selling their goods and services.

They go after almost everyone, especially tourists who easily identify themselves by constantly starring skyward at the tall buildings in the city.

Some may dismiss these modern-day barkers as annoying parasites, but I always stop, from a safe distance, and marvel at the skills these street salesmen have perfected.  Although often crude and in your face you can learn a lot from these salesmen who hock everything from umbrellas to theater tickets. So what can you take away from an afternoon watching these guys?  Here’s what:

1. Engage

The No. 1 rule of thumb is to engage your prospective customer. In Times Square these street merchants will approach anyone, anytime, on any corner. That is how they engage their potential customers. For you it may be picking up your phone to speak with an inbound lead or perhaps it is methodically going through a cold-calling list. Whatever the case you cannot sell if you do not first engage. You must be unashamed and outright about it. That is what you are there to do. Do it.

2. Get Them Talking

Perhaps the most underrated skill among salespersons is the ability to get your prospective customer talking. In Times Square, for instance, if you happen to be wearing a Chicago Cubs Jersey they’ll say stuff like “Go Chicago” or “How them Cubs doing this year?” All they need is eye contact or any form of response and they have you. “Are you from Chicago?”  “Well, welcome to the Big Apple.”  “So what have you seen thus far?”

They’ve engaged you and they are getting you talking. In any sales position you must get your prospective customer talking so you can learn what they like, don’t like, and need so you can fashion your pitch and your products to fit what they need.

3. Listen and Use It

The guys in Times Square are fantastic at listening to what people have to say and using it to get to the next point and the next point until they can get to their pitch. Let’s say you offer that you’ve seen the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square but that you just got into town. Bingo! You said the magic words.

 4. Pitch and Close

Once they identify the information that they need, those Times Square salesmen are masterful pitch men and closers. “You haven’t seen the Statue of Liberty?” “Wow, have I got a deal for you.” And here comes the pitch…all that from wearing a Chicago Cubs Jersey.

*Matthew Swyers is the founder of The Trademark Company, a Web-based law firm specializing in protecting the trademark rights of small to medium-size businesses. The company is ranked No. 138 on the 2011 Inc. 500. @TrademarkCo

Our goal is to help you become better informed; for more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

 Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:   www.racohenconsulting.com

5 Terrific Things Your Business Should Be Blogging About

November 19th, 2012

I believe that we are all living out a story. You play the hero. You have villains, allies and mentors. You face and overcome tragedy. You triumph and sometimes fall short. The poets among us have called this the “human condition”

I feel that marketing is about connecting the vision of a business with each person’s story and businesses succeed when they have won a role in that story.

I love blogging because it is the purest way for a business to audition for a role in their customer’s story. Taking the metaphor a bit further I figure that the business blog needs to “nail” 5 lines to win the part of “friend.”

Here they are:

#1 Being Vulnerable: Vulnerable businesses are captivating. It’s nice to see Apple screw up every once in a while. It’s compelling when a consultant says “I was wrong. Let’s try another way.” Every once in a while, share your businesses bloopers reel.

#2 Being Sentimental: Every business has a sappy side that celebrates little things that mean a great deal. I once worked for an agency that burned to the ground. It’s employees watched it burn from the parking lot.

The next day, employees met in houses and coffee shops determined to not miss a single deadline. The day the newly rebuilt agency opened its doors, the employees received a sweatshirt with a match on the front. I still have that sweatshirt 14 years later.

Being sentimental isn’t weak. Its special and you should blog about it.

#3 Being Heroic: Sometimes it’s difficult to dream big. Our institutions have done a great job of training heroism out of us. Every once in a while a business does something heroic. Most likely someone in the business decides to dream big and pull the rest of their colleagues along. These times are special.

When was your businesses heroic moment? Tell your customers about it.

#4 Being Selfless: When was the last time your business did something truly selfless? Google pays the spouses of employees who’ve died up to half their salary for ten years and their children get $1,000 a month until they are 19. Amazing, now I want to hear more about Google.

Your small business or large business probably does amazing selfless acts like this too. Your readers should hear about them. It makes them proud to do business with you.

#5 Being Foolish: Some things don’t make any sense.

I’m not sure why Google wants to build driverless cars. I wish I understood why Jeff Bezoes is committed to mining asteroids. Why in the heck does Richard Branson own Virgin Galactic? None of these things make sense. They seem foolish. But they do remind me that real people with crazy dreams run these businesses and I want to hear more. How about you?

There isn’t a Formula for You to Copy-Sorry.

You know I’m incredibly practical about blogging. I’m sure you were looking for a nice template to follow.

The only nugget of wisdom I can give you is this…

Pay attention to the drama playing out in your readers’ lives. Look for the drama playing out in your own business. Find ways to connect the two.  This post was written by Stanford.

About Stanford: I’m Stanford and I want to help you stoke your passion, spread your message, and help your blog get noticed and promoted. Take a look in the archives.

Our goal is to help you become better informed; for more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com 

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at www.racohenconsulting.com

Rejection can be a powerful learning tool… if we use it to help us grow!

November 5th, 2012

Rejection can transform failure into a powerful tool for success and help your team develop the skills needed to deal effectively with adverse situations.

Here are some more critical points to help overcome rejection.

  • Use rejection as a form of feedback for self-improvement. What when wrong? What could’ve been done to prevent it?
  • Break challenges into incremental steps so that any failure is minimized.
  • Channel anxiety into a creative force for achievement so that, when frustrated, we become more productive.
  • Most salespeople will succeed only to the extent they are willing to suffer though many disappointments.
  • Being ready for the unexpected increases our chances of succeeding.
  • Whether we experience failure or success is unimportant; what is important is the way we deal with the experience.
  • If we can’t accept failure, we will quickly lose our enthusiasm.
  • Believing we have a chance to succeed sharpens our mental vision.
  • We resolve our fears by taking risks.
  • By breaking out of our comfort zone, we expand the arena of our opportunities.
  • When we avoid failure, we’re also avoiding new challenges and opportunities.
  • Recognize that failure is the ultimate learning tool. Every disappointment teaches a positive lesson — we just have to look for it.
  • It’s in times of adversity that we usually grow the most.

Adapted from the book The Courage to Fail by Art Mortell.

For more information or a complimentary confidential discussion on any Staffing M & A subject, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com

 Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

15 Barriers to Sales Success

October 22nd, 2012

Don’t let these barriers hinder your Growth!

Sales managers, consultants and trainers were asked to list the worst mistakes new salespeople make. Here are the top 15 responses:

  1. Talking too much and not listening enough.
  2. Failure to ask good questions or phrasing them improperly.
  3. Trying to sell products or services while customers look for solutions.
  4. Confusing prospects and customers with too much information.
  5. Poor after-sales service.
  6. Failure to try to regain lost business.
  7. Reluctance to sell against established relationships.
  8. Failure to respond properly to customer complaints.
  9. Failure to convert first-time buyers into long-term customers.
  10. Failure to get more business from existing customers.
  11. Setting goals too high or too low, or improperly trying to attain them.
  12. Selling features and price rather than value and benefits.
  13. Exhibiting a poor attitude when calling on prospects and customers.
  14. Failure to build trust in prospects and customers.
  15. Not taking full advantage of selling time.

Source: Ted Barrows, a sales consultant based in Bristol, RI.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

14 Ways to Overcome Phone Rejections

October 15th, 2012

Rejection can transform failure into a powerful tool for success and help your team develop the skills needed to deal effectively with adverse situations. This can be an effective reminder for us “old pros” as well.

Here are some more critical points to help overcome rejection.

  1. Use rejection as a form of feedback for self-improvement what when wrong? What could’ve been done to prevent it?
  2. Break challenges into incremental steps so that any failure is minimized.
  3. Channel anxiety into a creative force for achievement so that, when frustrated, we become more productive.
  4. Most salespeople will succeed only to the extent they are willing to suffer though many disappointments.
  5. Being ready for the unexpected increases our chances of succeeding.
  6. Whether we experience failure or success is unimportant; what is important is the way we deal with the experience.
  7. If we can’t accept failure, we will quickly lose our enthusiasm.
  8. Believing we have a chance to succeed sharpens our mental vision.
  9. We resolve our fears by taking risks.
  10. By breaking out of our comfort zone, we expand the arena of our opportunities.
  11. When we avoid failure, we’re also avoiding new challenges and opportunities.
  12. Recognize that failure is the ultimate teaching tool. Every disappointment teaches a positive lesson — we just have to learn from it.
  13. 13. It’s in times of adversity that we usually grow the most.
  14. 14. Every rejection brings you closer to success.

Adapted from the book The Courage to Fail by Art Mortell.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com. Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com

 

Positive Thinking: 7 Easy Ways to Improve a Bad Day

October 1st, 2012

Don’t let a bad morning ruin your entire day. Use these mental tricks to change your momentum.

Had a difficult morning? Are things looking grim?

Credit for the post belongs to Geoffrey James who writes “Sales Source” for Inc.com.

Not to worry. The rest of your day need not be a disaster. It can in fact become one of your best, providing you take these simple steps:

1. Remember that the past does not equal the future.

There is no such thing as a “run of bad luck.” The reason people believe such nonsense is that the human brain creates patterns out of random events and remembers the events that fit the pattern.

2. Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophesies. 

If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what’s already happened, then rest assured: You’ll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true.

3. Get a sense of proportion.

Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you’ll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.

4. Change your threshold for “good” and “bad.”

Decide that a good day is any day that you’re above ground. Similarly, decide that a bad day is when somebody steals your car and drives it into the ocean. Those types of definitions make it easy to be happy–and difficult to be sad.

5. Improve your body chemistry.

Your body and brain are in a feedback loop: A bad mood makes you tired, which makes your mood worse, and so forth. Interrupt the pattern by getting up and moving around.  Take a walk or eat something healthy.

6. Focus on what’s going well.

The primary reason you’re convinced it’s a bad day is that you’re focusing on whatever went wrong. However, for everything going badly, there are probably dozens of things going well.  Make list, and post it where it’s visible.

7. Expect something wondrous.

Just as an attitude of doom and gloom makes you see more problems, facing the future with a sense of wonder makes you alive to all sorts of wonderful things that are going on, right now, everywhere around you.

Remember, everything that comes, eventually goes, don’t get too caught up in it, it’s not worth the energy.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:

www.racohenconsulting.com

6 Interesting Sales Factoids

September 17th, 2012

If you are involved with selling to new or existing customers here are some interesting statistics that have held virtually constant for 3-4 decades now.

  • 80% of all sales are made after the fifth call
  • 48% of all sales people give up after the first call
  • 25% of all sales people give up after the second call
  • 12% of all sales people give up after the third call
  • 5% of all sales people give up after the fourth call
  • 10% of all sales people keep calling after the fifth call

 And to those persistent 10%  of all salespeople, go 80% of all sales.

 Why do we expect that prospects should buy from us after meeting us a few times? Then we give up if they don’t buy right away, thinking we are wasting our time and theirs.

 When you are buying something, wouldn’t you want to know that the sales person was committed enough to you and the business you can give them, to come back consistently and show some patience to earn your confidence and trust?

 To show some reliability and determination, to earn your business. Would they value it as much if they didn’t have to earn it by gaining your trust? There a lesson here, don’t give up so soon, hang in there for the rewards you seek.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact: Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

 We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

 Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions. Visit our website for more articles and information at:

www.racohenconsulting.com

 

Time Management

August 20th, 2012

When you draw up to-do lists, set schedules, make appointments, and so forth, chances are you may be wasting your time. So why even try?

Can any of us really manage time or can we at least keep time from managing us?

Turns out there is a mathematical law called the Pareto Principle* which says that (in most situations) 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

The most famous example of this is the oft-repeated factoid that in sales groups 80% of the revenue comes from 20% of the team.  (There are dozens of other examples, ranging from wealth distribution to damage from natural disasters.)

The Pareto Principle holds sway for most work efforts that aren’t purely rote.  Most people obtain 80% of their actual results from 20% of their actual effort.  If you really think about it, isn’t this true for you? It’s certainly true for me.

Rethink Your ‘To Do’ List

Unfortunately, most time management involves “to do” lists, which tend to treat the 20% of your work that really matters as equal to the 80% of things that don’t.  Having a simple list of things to do almost forces you to waste time doing stuff that doesn’t really count.

That’s true even if you prioritize according to importance. Plenty of important things take so much effort that, in the end, they’re not worth actually doing.

Here’s how to use the Pareto Principle to manage your time more effectively.

When you make a “to do” list, prioritize each item by the amount of effort required (1 to 10, with 1 being the least amount of effort) and the potential positive results (1 to 10, with 10 being the highest impact.)

Create a New Ranking

Now divide the potential results by the amount of effort to get a “priority” ranking.  Do the items with the lowest resulting priority number first.  Here’s a simple example:

  • Task 1: Write report on trip meeting.
    Effort=10, Result=2, Priority=5
  • Task 2: Prepare presentation for marketing.
    Effort=4, Result=4, Priority=1
  • Task 3: Call current customer about referral.
    Effort=1, Result=10, Priority=0.1

See your new priority-based order? You do Task 3 first; Task 2 second, and Task 1 last–if at all.

This simple method ensures that the 20% of your effort that really makes a difference always gets done first.  As for the 80% that doesn’t really matter, it’s automatically postponed, and possibly tabled forever.

I know this all sounds pretty simple; even simplistic, however it has helped lots of us focus on our highest earning activities instead of just being busy. 

  • Not to be confused with the Peter Principle that says many employees will be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle

For more information on Staffing M & A or a complimentary confidential discussion, contact:

 Bob Cohen at 416-229-6462 or Sam Sacco at 910-509-0691.

 We can also be reached at bob@racohenconsulting.com or sam@racohenconsulting.com.

 Sam and Bob have successfully completed over 135 staffing industry transactions.

Visit our website for more articles and information at: www.racohenconsulting.com