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

Strong Growth Forecast for 2013

January 28th, 2013

Long-time Staffing Industry Observer and respected Commentator Jeffrey Silber of BMO Capital Markets – US Equity Research News tells us that his group is projecting a 6%-8% increase in temp usage for 2013 and 2014. While this is slower than the (9%) growth the industry experienced in 2012, it still represents solid growth.

The staffing market and economy both face uncertainty, whenever business people perceive uncertainty they tend to be reticent to make significant expense commitments (like hiring more direct staff, more contractors/temps will be used) until the dust clears and there is more clarity. The uncertainty is caused by several factors including the political/economic landscape in the US and Europe, the costs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; (PPACA) and the growth of real GDP and the general direction of the economy.

New Unemployment claims are down well below the cautionary 400,000 mark according to Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) Reports. Employment in most States is growing and contractor/temp wages have softened a bit which is a two-edged sword; while, it is easier to find needed workers it is harder to maintain higher margins as the supply strengthens.

For more information on Staffing M & A or a quick and accurate complimentary Valuation of your business or a 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 140 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

You know you’re an Entrepreneur if….

August 27th, 2012

Are you really living the entrepreneurial life? Here are a few ways to know for sure.

Making money is serious business… until, of course, it’s not.

Entrepreneurs should be able to take themselves a lot less seriously than their businesses; that’s the assumption of Kirchner Private Capital Group (KPCG) a traditional merchant bank for early and mid-market companies.

So they put together a short humor book, How do you know …if you are an Entrepreneur, with one-liners and illustrations you can use to determine whether you’ve truly lived the entrepreneurial life.

Below are some of my favorites. You know you’re an entrepreneur if:

  • Your kids report their academic performance to you on a grades versus forecast basis
  • When someone says, “Good question,” you know they don’t have a clue what the answer might be
  • Most of the experience you’ve gained came right after you needed it
  • Two steps forward, one step backward is a great day
  • Most of your daily calories come from eating humble pie
  • You look for pessimists to borrow money from… since they are less likely to expect to get it back
  • You consider Red Bull a corporate sponsor
  • Being disruptive sounds like a good thing
  • You feel well paid… until you calculate it on an hourly basis
  • Your child thinks heaven must be a very rich place because angels give you money

It’s a fun little book, one that also makes KPCG sounds like a fun place to work. Proceeds go to the Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping enrich the lives of people with cognitive, emotional, and physical challenges.

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

 

How to Be Happy at Work-Part 2

August 7th, 2012

In Part 1 we discussed that the way we set things up in our minds indicates whether we will allow ourselves to be happy or miserable most of the time.

We learned that happiness and unhappiness (in work and in life) result entirely from the rules in your head that you use to evaluate events.  Those rules determine what’s worth focusing on, and how you react to what you focus on. If you need a copy contact us.

Make Yourself Happier: 3 Steps

The saleswoman who had breast cancer was happy, too, and this is the method she used to make herself happy:

1. Document Your Current Rules

Set aside a half-hour of alone time and, being as honest as you can, write down the answers to these two questions:

  • What has to happen for me to be happy?
  • What has to happen for me to be unhappy?

Now examine those rules.  Have you made it easier to be miserable than to be happy?  If so, your plan is probably working.

2. Create a Better Set of Rules

Using your imagination, create and record a new set of rules that would make it easy for you to be happy and difficult to be miserable.  Examples:

  • “I enjoy seeing the people I work with each day.”
  • “I really hate it when natural disasters destroy my home.” 

Don’t worry whether or not these new rules seem “realistic”–that’s not the point.  All internal rules are arbitrary, anyway.  Just write rules that would make you happier if you really believed them.

 3. Post the New Rules Where You’ll See Them

When you’ve completed your set of “new” rules, print out them out and post copies in three places: your bathroom mirror, the dashboard of your car, and the side of your computer screen.  Leave them up, even after you’ve memorized them.

Having those new rules visible when you’re doing other things gradually re-programs your mind to believe the new rules.  You will be happy at work.  It’s really that simple.

Oh, and by the way … That saleswoman? She was my mother.

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

How to Be Happy at Work-Part 1

July 30th, 2012

If you’re unhappy at work –or anywhere else, for that matter–it’s possible you’ve made yourself unhappy without being aware of it. There’s an easy way to change that.

Credit belongs to Geoffrey James for this article who writes the“Sales Source” column on Inc.com.

Let me (Mr. James) start off with a little story.

I once knew a saleswoman–young, divorced–who got a diagnosis of breast cancer.  She had to work and raise two kids while fighting the cancer. Even so, she managed to be happy at work, noticeably happier than her co-workers.  In fact, she not only won her battle with cancer but subsequently became one of the top salespeople at Bristol Myers.

She was not, as it happens, naturally cheerful.  Quite the contrary.  When she started full-time work, she was frequently depressed.  But she turned it around, using the techniques I’m going to provide you in this column.

That saleswoman once told me: When you’re unhappy, it’s because you’ve decided to be unhappy.

Maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision; maybe it crept up on you while you weren’t looking–but it was a decision nonetheless.  And that’s good news, because you can decide instead to be happy. You just need to understand how and why you make the decisions.

What Are Your Rules?

Happiness and unhappiness (in work and in life) result entirely from the rules in your head that you use to evaluate events.  Those rules determine what’s worth focusing on, and how you react to what you focus on.

Many people have rules that make it very difficult for them to happy and very easy for them to be miserable.

I once worked with a sales guy who was always angry at the people he worked with. The moment anything didn’t go the way he thought it should go, he’d be screaming in somebody’s face.  He was making everyone around him miserable–but just as importantly, he was making himself miserable, because just about anything set him off.

For this guy, the everyday nonsense that goes on in every workplace was not just important, but crazy-making important.

I once asked him what made him happy.  His answer: “The only thing that makes this! $%$#! job worthwhile is when I win a $1 million account.”  I asked him how often that happened.  His response: “About once a year.”

In other words, this guy had internal rules that guaranteed he’d be miserable on a day-to-day basis, but only happy once a year.

One of the other sales guys at that firm had the exact opposite set of rules.  His philosophy was “every day above ground is a good day.”  When he encountered setbacks, he shrugged them off–because, according to his internal rules, they just weren’t that important.  When I asked him what made him miserable, his answer was: “Not much.”  When I pressed him for a real answer, he said: “When somebody I love dies.”

In other words, the second sales guy had rules that made it easy for him to be happy but difficult to be miserable.

I’d like to be able to write that Mr. Positivity regularly outsold Mr. Negativity, but in fact their sales results were similar.  Even so, I think Mr. Negativity was a loser, because he lived each day in a state of misery.  His colleague was always happy.  He was winning at life.  He was happy at work.

Next week we will publish Part 2 with some practical tips on making you a happier person.

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