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

Using LinkedIn to Grow your Business..one in a series of LinkedIn basics!

November 12th, 2012

This post was written by Prialto who gave us permission to reprint some of it here hopefully furthering our desire to keep you be better informed.

Upgraded users of LinkedIn (Premium Members) can see a full history of who has viewed their profile.

Relationship-focused sales executives invest a lot of time identifying new prospects.   While many executives browse new prospects for outreach through LinkedIn, a lesser known tactic exists to quickly and more easily identify prospects.

And whether you’re aware of this or not, these particular prospects have already engaged with you.

Identify prospects

An intriguing aspect of LinkedIn is the opportunity to see each contact that has viewed your profile.

To enable this feature, you need to allow others to know when you view them as well.  With the free version of LinkedIn, you are restricted to seeing the last five contacts–for a more comprehensive view, monitor activity frequently or upgrade to a paid account.

Fundamentally, contacts viewing your profile have indicated interest in you.  If your profile is viewed by contacts you haven’t yet engaged with, this presents you with ideal prospects.

 Research prospects

With a quick assessment of the contact’s profile, you can assess whether they would be a good match for your business.   Then, you may quickly research these prospects on publicly available databases (look for Prialto’s forthcoming guide to prospect research).

As you research these prospects, add their email, phone, and LinkedIn profile to your CRM for outreach.  Alternatively, delegate the process of monitoring and researching to an assistant as many Prialto members have done.

Outreach strategies

Once you have identified these new prospects, there are a number of effective outreach strategies Prialto has helped members develop:

  • Wait a few days, then cold call:  Since these prospects viewed your profile, they are likely aware of your company.   One effective strategy for outreach is to schedule a cold call 7-10 days after your profile has been viewed.   When you call, the prospect will often remember their interest in you and engage quickly in dialogue.
  • Send an email:  Another approach is to send a note to the prospect with an eye catching introduction such as “I don’t normally do this but I saw you viewed my profile and wanted to reach out…”  Break the ice by sharing a mutual interest, or a specific desire to know more about an aspect of their experience.
  • Leverage an introduction:  Asking for an introduction from a mutual connection with the prospect is a great way to allow others to feel generous in doing a favor for you.  This is a great way to paradoxically grow your network by using it. Similarly, include mention of your mutual connection in the email outreach approach above.
  • Engage on social media:  If the approaches above don’t fit your situation, and the prospect has listed another social media account–like twitter–you can follow them and work to engage them in a more casual dialogue.Prospect research doesn’t need to be time-consuming or stress-inducing.  By incorporating some or all of the approaches above with your LinkedIn profile views, you can create a consistent outreach pipeline of prospects to help grow your business.            http://www.prialto.com

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

Why Some Mergers Will Fail…but only if you let them!

October 29th, 2012

In an acquisition, people may be overwhelmed by a tsunami of change. If you’re managing the acquisition, you’re probably expecting some talent run off. However, it doesn’t have to happen; your involvement in the integration can make all the difference. But here’s what you’re not expecting.

The Predictable Dynamics of Change

It’s where the buyer misses the point. You’ve studied the target, opportunistically going after them because the target looks inexpensive, or a good value. Maybe this competitor looks good to you because they’re not growing as fast as you are, in this  economy. So buyers say, “They’re in the same space as we are, the same industry, we’ve competed for decades, we use similar suppliers and understand the same customers, why not consolidate now, reduce our costs and take advantage of volume discounts and share suppliers?” It certainly sounds good on paper.

What buyers miss is that the organization must still go through all the predictable change dynamics – the change curve. Any change that you make, anywhere, in any organization – family, church, or business – will always cause a bit of bruising.

The same thing occurs when you switch exercise machines during your workout. Your muscles go through what’s called a change-up: they’re not as effective initially as they begin to adapt from one change to another. Blood flow is not as efficient. It takes time to integrate what you’re doing.

The same thing happens to organizations going through an acquisition. Their business may not be going as well as yours is, that’s why you were interested in the first place.

But buyers think that their acquisition can somehow do the same business, service the same customers, do everything the same during the transition, when they are actually going through this change-up. The predictable dynamic is that organizational chaos begins. Much of this confusion can be avoided by communication and more communication; inherited employees must understand their role, why they are valuable and needed and why they have an ongoing role in their new organization. Make them feel secure if not, you will lose the best ones first and a downward morale spiral will set in like a dark cloud.

Otherwise, here’s what it could look like. The acquisition just can’t seem to get traction; acquired employees can’t understand their new role, even though you tell them time and again, even though they’re selling to the same customers and servicing the same way. Why?

Each person in the acquisition still doesn’t understand what the transition means to them personally and their “me-issues” surface. Often their allegiance is to the previous organization and now they are part of the competition, which they were selling against before.

Picture this change curve in a U shape. At top left is betrayal, lower down is denial, and at the bottom of the curve is an outright identity crisis. As the U shape rises on the right, there begins a search for solutions, and eventually, acceptance. We all go through these change dynamics whenever we go through any major changes in life.

The concept of emotional stages was first developed by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (death and dying stages) and in business, the curves are the same. If individuals go through it, why wouldn’t organizations go through it too?

Be prepared and you can avoid failure, act early, communicate constantly and warmly welcome your acquired employees to create a happy ending.

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

 

5 Steps for Integrating Companies Successfully!

October 9th, 2012

Over the 18 month course of an average transition, there is extensive organizational “bruising” with unaddressed people, culture and process problems. Many companies drift toward improvised solutions and makeshift answers, relying on a crisis management style that keeps anxieties high and morale depressed, a recipe for sales collapse and executive flight.

It is possible to alleviate the stress of blending two distinct entities. One of the first steps is to anticipate likely scenarios instead of hoping that they don’t come up. Do not simply hope that there is a chance for success – instead, leave nothing to chance.

Establish Clear Direction

Usually a key executive receives the job of operationalizing the deal. He or she should focus on developing a 24-month strategy and vision for going forward. The first instinct is to cut away redundancy, deal with overlaps and release surplus employees. Instead, focus on engaging both organizations and evaluating core processes for synergies. You’ll have your chance to reduce one-time and recurring costs.

Make a Solid Plan & Process to Implement

Engineering the integration of core processes is the most important planning you’ll do. Often the buyer comes in and simply institutes their policies and procedures by fiat. This top-down model fails to unlock synergies from the ground up. It is counter intuitive to allow synergies to emerge rather than getting everyone on the same page, fast. But it is a critical phase that releases the true value of the deal. With new processes identified, link the new structure and budget to them, not the other way around.

Engage, Engage, Engage

People are not processes. It’s tempting to put them into a mass category and feed them platitudes, coffee mugs with slogans and t-shirts about teamwork, but your people are watching to see if your words match your actions. If you act incongruently, they will cease listening. They are the team that will carry out and implement the new vision. If they’re on board, you’ll see things move smoothly; if they’re not, resistance, balking and negative talk can torpedo your efforts. Engage them on every level.

Leverage Predictable Dynamics and Timing

Two IT departments or two marketing departments are not going to get along well, there is too much competition. Recognize the realities of the situation and develop strategies for leveraging heightened competition and an expanded knowledge base. Anticipate reactions at each stage of the merger and you’ll be way ahead. Shock gives way to uncertainty which gives way to acceptance and new development challenges.

 Lead with Courage & Persistence

Leading this initiative, you’re in the cross hairs. Supporting policies and procedures have to be developed to reinforce direction, structure and processes. Many voices, interest groups and individuals will attempt to influence your judgment. Managing an M&A transaction is the time when you tap into your leadership potential and rise to the challenge. Nothing less will do. Especially when it means the difference between success and failure. 

Our thanks to Merger Coach for many of the concepts expressed in this article.

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

7 Stages of Stagnation

September 24th, 2012

Businesses do not start to fail all of a sudden. Especially those firms that have found success over the years. Often, when a business starts to shrink or become less relevant it is more like a death of a thousand cuts.

Sometimes, this is only apparent in retrospect as often, while you are in the middle of all the activity, there is so much fire-fighting that one doesn’t always have the time to step back and analyse why business is declining.

When the ship starts talking on water, morale is generally lower, it’s hard to feel good and remain proud of a company on its way down. Typically, your best performers will pick up the signs earliest as they are more attuned to the success of the past. They may be more invested in the business being a great company and more sensitive to its current lack of growth. Part of who they are requires them to feel successful and to be associated with a successful business.

Should the declines continue, they may be among the first to brush up their resume and call their favorite recruiters.

What signs are there that the business may be starting to stagnate?

Look out and listen for these warning signs, when staff or management say things like:

  1. 1.   We’ve never done it that way.
  2. 2.   We’re not ready for that yet.
  3. 3.   We’re doing ok without it?
  4. 4.   We tried it once and it didn’t work out. I actually heard a Branch Manager telling Corporate that very statement when he was referring to sales, as if sales were an event, not a process.
  5. 5.   It costs too much, we can’t afford it.
  6. 6.   That’s really not our responsibility; and lastly
  7. 7.    It will never work.

If you hear words or thoughts such as these, it sounds to me, like you’ve got some co-workers, management or new hires that have excused themselves from all responsibility as if their actions couldn’t possibly have any impact or that there is no solution to the decline and they just have to stay afloat until general economic tides will raise all ships including their own.

These are serious warning signs and if these attitudes prevail what direction would you expect the business to take?

 At a certain point, you may have to take actions to preserve your job and your future if no one at your firm is prepared to take some bold steps toward improvement of the status quo.

 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 a:  www.racohenconsulting.com