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YOU are the Sale

17 Jul

In 2019, we are selling ourselves. It doesn’t matter what your position might be – frankly, it becomes more and more important the higher you are in a company. And as an entry level salesperson, you carry YOU forward – whether that’s at the same company all your life or more likely, whatever career is generated from your first few years in the workplace.

How do you sell yourself today?

1 – You have a kick-butt LinkedIn profile. Because that’s what professional people do. You also have other social media sites – at least Facebook – where you are community-facing on a regular basis. In the old days, networking happened in your neighborhood or at your place of worship or the grocery store where you knew everyone. Today, it’s on the world wide web.

2 – You operate every day with every person under the golden rule. People around you start saying (because you usually succeed at living the golden rule), “I wonder what that guy does…”. They won’t listen or remember – unless they ask with genuine curiosity. That curiosity only comes when they like you as a human being.

I grew up learning from people and many sales books that the buyer didn’t need to like you. It’s actually true – but then you can only be one thing – an expert with a perfect product or service. In case you aren’t the expert yet and/or your product service is only very good in a competitive field, genuine, trusting relationships go a long way in the ten years that I’ve been running my own business.

3 – You are authentic. Part of being likeable is being vulnerable. You have a couple warts and you talk about them openly.

For example, I don’t like golf. That makes me a bit odd in the business community, but I haven’t played a hole since my third child was born. Somehow, I’m accepted.

I’m also a spazz. My children and fiance definitely understand this. They also know they can say “shoosh you dumb bear”… and I’ll immediately realize that I might be talking an octave too high about something that probably isn’t that big of a deal.

4 – You strive to be the best in the world at something. It doesn’t have to be work-related because whatever it is, it makes you human and helps people remember you. I’m not the best in the world (yet) but my passions and talents are in writing. I’m a recruiter, consultant and salesman, so I decided to put off the fiction novel and pour my efforts into these blogs and business books until I’m 50 (then I write the novel).

If you have these four principles above well in hand, there are many directions you can go from there. It’s all about taking your passions and making you memorable – beyond the privacy of your friends and family...

You’re good at golfing… then represent your company at EVERY charity tournament this year.

You’re a juggler… then learn how to juggle EVERYTHING and tell everyone about it (think concise, short stories ūüôā ).

You love to travel… is your office covered with pictures from your vacations away? What’s the front-page screensaver on your phone? Buy a padfolio with photos on the cover. Start a blog for photos or writings.

You’re a pastry chef… then why isn’t EVERYONE at your office getting a birthday cupcake from you every year? Or maybe deliver some cakes to your clients? They will think you are nutty… but they won’t forget you.

You’ve got a heckuva story to tell… you don’t have to be a writer to be an author. What would be cooler than starting your own book? I can help you with that one if you reach out.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Blogs Written at a 5th Grade Reading Level are Better?

9 Apr

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Surprisingly, blogs (or any of your marketing materials) that are written at lower grade reading levels typically get the most attention. I’m failing. My last three blogs were written at 8th, 9th and 9th grade reading levels. This article is written at an 8th grade level. I’m striving for a 7th grade reading level.

The Wall Street Journal is written at an 8th grade level. My local paper, the Star Tribune (and probably most newspapers), is written at a 5th grade level. Hemingway wrote at a 4th grade reading level and Leo Tolstoy wrote at a 7th grade level. The Affordable Care Act is written at a college reading level! 

4 reasons why I think blogs written at lower levels succeed:

1. Your entire audience can’t read at a 7th grade reading level.¬†

There’s a book called What Makes a Book Readable that cites:

  • 1/3 of adults read at a 2nd-6th grade reading level
  • 1/3 of adults read at a 7th-12th grade reading level
  • 1/3 of adults read at college levels

If you write at a lower level, everyone obviously has a better chance at being able to understand it.

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2. Even the smart people need new material dumbed down a bit.

Learning Solutions magazine says that we forget 50% of what we learn within an hour.¬†The more complicated, the more likely we are to forget. Humans require immediate comprehension of the material to increase our chances of retaining the information; when reading an article, we are often reading about topics that we don’t know a lot about.

3333. We want it quick and fast. 

In the internet age, things get skimmed, not read. The most popular blogs are one of two types: Lists and How-to’s. The most attention any of my 100+ blogs have ever received was a recent post I did on the Top 50 Largest LinkedIn Groups (Largest Groups on LinkedIn). Lists are simple – and how-to’s tend to be quick lessons that can immediately be applied. It has been found that on screens, we read faster and consequently, understand less.

44444. Reading has changed.

With the younger generation clamoring to YouTube and Facebook for “news” and information – and communicating through short texts and emojis, the demographics have shifted to suit our shorter attention spans. As a writer or blogger, you should embrace this change versus fighting it. If you want to write the next Moby Dick, go for it! But recognize that half of your audience CANNOT comprehend it (granted, it is probably much better material than your average blog).

What is the ideal grade level for your writing? 

The answer is dependent upon your audience, but my overall point of this blog is that it is probably a few grades lower than what you think. A few suggestions for “improving” your score include keeping your paragraphs and sentences short, avoiding complicated and unnecessary words and breaking up your content. And a few pictures and bulleted lists go a long way in keeping the reader’s attention.

There is a measurement called the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Reading Formula to determine the level of any piece of writing. It was first published in 1948 and it relies on the structure of the English language taking sentence and word length into consideration in order to determine readability.

How to figure out the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level:

  • If you are a user of Microsoft Word, go to the Review option at the top of the screen and Check Document.
  • This will give corrections (like spelling, as you probably know) and other refinements; after running through those, the¬†Readability Statistics window will pop up.
  • Listed are the word counts and averages as well as the readability score which shows the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of your document. This will pop up after you run through the suggested corrections and refinements.
  • If you aren’t a Word user, you can also go to this site to measure the documents readability: https://readable.com/
  • Here is another site for editing lengthy and complex sentences: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/
  • Lastly, there are a few other formulas if you’d like to try them out: the Gunning-Fog Score, the Coleman-Liau Index and the Dale-Chall Formula.

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Now, my title is a bit deceiving… I don’t think 5th grade level blogs are “better”. But if our end goal is to garner attention and educate, we need to be thinking of our audience and cater to them. I personally need to do a better job of making it easier to read my material. It’s not about dumbing it down but rather making your point clearer and more concise.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew Schmitz

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

The Friendly World of LinkedIn

19 Mar

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In February, I wrote a blog that I thought had a shot at being featured on a channel of LinkedIn Pulse (link to article here: The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn). It’s not really an “article”, but a list filling a void that I couldn’t find updated anywhere on the world wide web. After publishing and getting some organic steam, I decided to drive as much traffic to my post as possible. I did some considerable research on the topic of getting featured on LinkedIn Pulse and certainly got a lot smarter along the way as I interacted with a lot of friendly connections…

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The primary way that my post received a lot of attention was by reaching out to my network one by one and asking for their support with the article. I certainly didn’t have time to invite all 14,000 of my connections, but I asked about 400 people and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support from my network.

I used the opportunity to reconnect with 100 people that I hadn’t communicated with in some time and I shared it with 50+ clients asking them for a ‘like’. Then I rolled up my sleeves over the weekend and really dug into mining my connections and asking the biggest influencers in my network for help.

Who were the last 250 people I asked?

lion1. LION’s aka LinkedIn Open Networkers. I may go a little overboard as a recruiter connecting with other LION’s (I have over 2,000 of them), but they have real value and I saw this in action. I didn’t invite all of them, given this was actually me doing the invites (I don’t let my virtual assistant touch my LinkedIn due to it containing many real relationships, so I don’t want them to feel spammed). Instead, I searched through the LION’s that were most active, the ones that had the most connections and the individuals that also wrote articles that I could help to cross-promote. LION’s typically have a lot of connections so their resharing value is exponential.

I sent them different versions of this message (within LinkedIn):

Hello Susan, I’m trying to get this article featured on one of LI’s Pulse channels. Is there any way I could get you to reshare it and/or comment on the article? Let me know how I can return the favor. Many thanks! ~Drew

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2. The Busy Bees. I asked people that were more active on LinkedIn. I view my newsfeed almost every morning, so I’m aware of who is most involved in using LinkedIn. These connections certainly got an invitation.

3. Recruiters and HR Professionals. They use LinkedIn probably more than any job title. All of the recruiters and HR folks that I know well received a message from me.

4. Groups. These weren’t individual people I messaged; I went to almost all of my LinkedIn groups and posted my article there. In turn, this generated a lot of visibility from 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Since I do not promote very often in my groups, I don’t think any took down my post. A lot of them were listed in the article, so it was certainly relevant material.

I assumed I’d get help from 1 out of every 10 people but that ratio ended up being closer to 1 out of every 4. The number of reshares was my biggest surprise and more than not, they reposted with a nice plug on the blog post and me. The comments were awesome as well and many of them came with thoughtful questions and meaningful feedback.

thumbsblogOngoing, I realized who in my network could help again if I asked. I’m guessing half of the aforementioned connections would be annoyed if I asked for another “favor” this month, but the other half offered to help anytime. These 75 or so connections (you know who you are) recognize the enormous value of a supportive community on LinkedIn. I will be liking their posts, reading their articles (and reposting if I like the material), joining some of their groups and likely asking for their help in the future.

As of today, I have over 800 views of my article, 168 likes, 47 comments and 97 reshares.¬†Woo hoo! Of course, it never got featured on a channel of LinkedIn’s Pulse, which was my original objective… but it did garner a lot of attention, my answer on Quora is on the first page of results when you Google “largest LinkedIn groups”, I have a meeting with a new prospect and last Friday, I got a call from a radio host that wants me to be featured on his program.¬†Listen to me live on¬†Cover Your Assets with Todd Rooker on ESPN 1500 AM 8:00-9:00 am on April 13th!

I have been loudly reminded all over again of the utility of LinkedIn and the value of my 1st degree connections. The key is to actively engage with them on a regular basis. We all have only so much time… but I don’t think you can afford not to comb through your relationships and communicate with them on a regular basis. Thank you, Microsoft and LinkedIn, for your imperfect but valuable social media site. A thousand thank-you’s to my network for your ongoing support!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

P.S. Can I still get featured? If you like this post, please give it a thumb. If you benefit from reading my articles, please go here and give me a like, comment or reshare: The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn

 

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/friendly-world-linkedin-drew-schmitz/

How to Maximize LinkedIn Groups

5 Mar

alone

This is my 6th entry in a 7-part series about LinkedIn. Feel free to check out my previous posts at: BlueOctopus. Next week, I’ll finish this series by covering recommendations.

Last August, LinkedIn updated the group section of their site and now have a dedicated team of engineers to support and focus on it. For a while, many of us were wondering if they were abandoning groups altogether – but even though their changes were subtler than I’d prefer, it’s a great sign that LinkedIn is now recognizing the importance of groups.

There are 6 primary reasons to join a LinkedIn group:

  1. Find a group that is specific to your industry.
  2. If you are looking for your next job.
  3. You are hiring.
  4. Your organization sells something.
  5. You’d like to lead a niche group (specific to your industry or otherwise).
  6. Discover various learning opportunities outside of your industry.

Searching groups on LinkedIn is a bit clumsy but can be done one of two ways:

  • Go to Groups by clicking on Work in the upper right. At the bottom of the page of your groups, you can click on Search other trusted communities that share and support your goals.
  • Otherwise, just use the normal search box in the upper left. Then you will have to define your search under More and change to Groups.

SUPER GROUPS.¬†The largest groups have the most activity. That doesn’t always translate to being the best options, but it’s a great place to start. Here is a list of the biggest LinkedIn groups as of 2019: Top 50. By joining some of the larger groups on LinkedIn – including some specific to your industry – you give yourself further exposure to others.

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GET A JOB.¬†If you are looking for a job, there are some obvious groups to join. If you aren’t looking for a job, you probably will be in the future, so joining a job group still isn’t a bad idea.

Here are three options for you: Linked: HR, Hub.Careers & Engineering Jobs Worldwide. These are larger group options but don’t forget to find smaller ones in your area and industry (LinkedMinnesota, Minnesota Job Seekers & Minnesota Jobs.com are examples in my home state). Also note that any and all groups can help a job seeker. They usually allow openings to be posted and can be extremely supportive for someone promoting themselves for work.

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RECRUIT YOUR NEXT HIRE. If you are hiring, there might not be a better place to find your next hire than on LinkedIn. The Recruiter.com, The Recruitment Network and HR Jobs are great for full time recruiters and HR professionals. Also, join the three job groups mentioned above. And again, find a niche group to your industry and look for those specific to your area.

Image result for catching fish

LAND A NEW CUSTOMER.¬†If you’ve read my past articles, being active on LinkedIn as a salesperson is a no-brainer. Figure out where your prospects hang out and join all those groups. Worst case scenario, join all of the largest groups as this will allow you to directly message more people.

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FIND INDUSTRY & NICHE GROUPS.¬†If you are in marketing, social media or just curious about this industry, join SocialMediopolis, Digital Marketing, Marketing CMO Social Media Business Digital, Marketing Communications and Media & Marketing Professionals Worldwide. These are huge groups because marketing folks are among the most active on LinkedIn for obvious reasons. But if you are a project manager selling SaaS software, join a project manager and SaaS group… if you are fascinated with cryptocurrency, join those groups.

Niche groups are wonderful for everyone. Join a few and determine which ones are the most active. Even the smallest can be wonderfully effective depending upon their activity (and the manager that runs the group).

Image result for lincoln color

BE A LEADER.¬†You may want to consider starting and running your own LinkedIn group. As a promotional tool for you and your business, this is a great way to build awareness, position yourself as an expert, showcase your company, generate interest and nurture relationships. You may also be a part of a smaller group of people that you just want to “collect” for internal discussions (I’ve done so for two alumni groups). Just make sure if you start one, that you are actively leading the group and contributing to discussions at least on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. For more detail on starting and managing your own group, here is a resource: https://buffer.com/library/linkedin-groups.

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GROW YOUR BRAIN.¬†Sometimes the benefit of LinkedIn isn’t a job, a hire or a new client. LinkedIn is a great place for educating yourself about the latest and greatest trends in business, technology, your industry/interests and other happenings in the world. There are people like me that post articles but within groups, there is all sorts of additional content – and you can post questions to the group. People love helping people and LinkedIn can be a great example of that.

If you want to join groups privately: 

  1. Click the Me icon in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown.
  3. Click the Communications tab at the top of the page.
  4. Under the Channels section, click Change next to Email frequency.
  5. Click the Right icon to the right of Updates from your groups.
  6. Check or uncheck the box next to the group you’d like to receive updates from.
  7. For more detailed control, click Manage to the right of the group name.

Once you’ve joined a few groups, you can message other members directly, post new conversations within the group (like “I have an opening!”) and comment on others’ posts without requiring a first degree connection.¬†

I highly recommend doing some work searching and joining groups. There are too many benefits, so join a few more this week!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn

26 Feb

hugepublishable

Over the past month, I’ve been trying to find a way to cull a list of the largest groups by searching on LinkedIn and the web… apparently, it’s not that easy. There hasn’t been an updated list (that I can find) since 2017, so I’ve assembled the 50 LinkedIn groups below and would like to share them with you. There is an asterisk next to my title as it required a lot of inefficient hunting and pecking, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve missed a group or two or three that tops 300,000. If you know of one, please make a comment (or email me) and I’ll get this updated!

Please see my blog series on the LinkedIn topic at: blueoctopusllc.wordpress.com. I go into further details about selling, recruiting, job seeking, groups and recommendations.

There are many groups that have 200,000-300,000 members but the list below contains all that currently surpass 300,000 (note you can click name to link to any of the groups listed):

  1. SocialMediopolis.com (1.9 Million members)
  2. Software & Technology Professionals (1.8 Million)
  3. Digital Marketing (1.2 Million)
  4. Harvard Business Review (1.1 Million)
  5. Linked: HR (969K)
  6. Finance Club (900K)
  7. Forum VAGAS.com  (894K)
  8. The Project Manager Network (865K)
  9. The Recruiter.com Network (833K)
  10. Marketing CMO Social Media Business Digital (743K)
  11. Dubai Recruitment (715K)
  12. Marketing Communications (700K)
  13. On Startups (638K)
  14. Telecoms Professionals (599K)
  15. Media & Marketing Professionals Worldwide (582K)
  16. Lean Six Sigma (572K)
  17. Pete Asmus’ Real Estate Networking¬†(565K)
  18. The Recruitment Network (543K)
  19. Sales, Marketing, Social Media, Advertising and Technology (542K)
  20. Future Trends (534K)
  21. Retail Industry Professionals Group (525K)
  22. Engineering Jobs Worldwide (515K)
  23. Banking Careers (504K)
  24. Finance Plus: Private Equity Venture Capital and M&A News (481K)
  25. Consultants Network (468K)
  26. Digital Marketing: Social Media, Search, Mobile & more (464K)
  27. Cloud Computing, SaaS & Virtualization (460K)
  28. Oil & Energy Recruitment (453K)
  29. Oil & Gas People (445K)
  30. Hub.Careers (423K)
  31. Cloud Computing (410K)
  32. Information Security Community (399K)
  33. Event Planning & Event Management (379K)
  34. Project Manager Community (379K)
  35. Procurement Professionals (374K)
  36. MarTech Advisor BD Guild (368K)
  37. Vagas & Jobs (368K)
  38. Pharmaceutical Jobs (351K)
  39. SAP Community (351K)
  40. Big Data and Analytics (348K)
  41. Executive Suite (333K)
  42. Java Developers (326K)
  43. Information Technology, FinTech, Blockchain and Bitcoin (326K)
  44. Oil & Gas Industry Professionals (316K)
  45. Marketing Pros РLargest Marketers Group (312K)
  46. Sales Best Practices (310K)
  47. Sales Management Executives (310K)
  48. Business Development Рthe Missing Link (309K)
  49. International Export Group (307K)
  50. .NET Developers (302K)

thumbsblogWho did I miss? Let me know!

If you enjoyed the post and are a LinkedIn user, please do me a HUGE favor Рclick on this link to the Pulse article and reshare or give it the thumbs up icon: LinkedIn Pulse article Thank you!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedins-35-largest-groups-drew-schmitz/

#linkedingroups #largestlinkedingroups #linkedinrecruiting #linkedinsales #sales

Sales Neutrinos

5 Feb

Cover Neutrinos

To those of you who have consistently read my blog – ¬†or “stumbled” into it recently, I have finished an eBook called Sales Neutrinos. If you are interested in a free copy, please reach out. I’ve told everyone that it will cost you in 2016 but I’m giving it out complimentary in 2015!

Essentially, the book is an organized version of my blog – laid out in a linear manner with some new content. I would love to have you take a look. The forward is below…

What is smaller than an atom?

Recently, scientists have identified subatomic particles called neutrinos – they are so miniscule and weigh so little that no one has been able to measure their mass yet. Yet neutrinos are among the most abundant particles in the universe and by finding them, we are able to learn a great deal about the structure and the history of the universe.

I’m a bit obsessive about the root of a word, cause, movement or ideology. I want to understand the reason behind why certain salespeople overachieve while others flounder. Hence, my sales book gets the title Sales Neutrinos. We’re here to uncover the sales truths at the core!

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

Blue Octopus LLC

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

A Free Social Media Dashboard

22 Jul

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I wanted to share one format that can tremendously help your social media attack and overall lead generation ability in less time.

Blue Octopus’ secret to volume of social media activity and organically getting to the top of Google after four years of work is a composite dashboard. This is the covert ingredient to what many social media companies are doing for their customers besides outsourcing offshore to cheaper labor (which I’m not opposed to FYI). If you decide to hire a social media partner, be sure they know their stuff and can teach you tips on Google Analytics (many of them do!).

What is a social media dashboard?

  • It allows you to write one post or tweet and have it go out to several social media sites (I key in on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ as they “own” 90% of the market).
  • Dashboards let you to schedule future posts (for the rest of the week… rest of the month)
  • And much more…

Here’s a list of 9 of your options:¬†http://socialmediafuze.com/9-social-media-dashboards-to-manage-multiple-social-media-profiles/

I haven’t used all of them, but I have used several and I’ve returned to Hootsuite. I like it because the first five social media sites you link are free – and it’s as easy to navigate as any of them (don’t be fooled by the elaborate look). All I currently use it for is posting to multiple sites and writing future posts. It has a lot more features than that.

If not Hootsuite, just pick one and use it. In my opinion it’s like a sales CRM; any of them are better than not using one.

I apologize for the lack of blog entries this summer. It’s been crazy busy between work and play but I intend to get back to writing weekly sales blogs in August.

That’s your free tip for the day! If I can help in any way, please reach out.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Octopus-LLC/176668965728096

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

8 Tools for Sales Jedi Knights

3 Apr

Belt prototype

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”¬†–Yoda

A few years ago, I came up with the idea of the Sales Jedi Knight. He or she is so much more than just an aggressive extrovert with a good head on their shoulders (see an older post on Jedi Mind Tricks: http://wp.me/pYm3V-eX). A Sales Jedi Knight is always learning; they are both aggressive and patient; they listen with both their ears and eyes; they pay attention to the big picture as much as the nitty-gritty details; they embrace technology and relish the change ahead¬†–¬†and thus, the Sales Jedi Knight was born (at least in my head). This is the salesperson of the future whom Blue Octopus is always seeking!

Beyond the light saber, Jedi Knights always carry a few pieces of technology in their tool belt. Similarly, Sales Jedi Knights must be equipped with a few items of their own to help make their life run a little smoother.¬†Today, I’d like to offer you some ideas that can make a big difference! ¬†

Every Sales Jedi Knight should be using:

    1. Two Monitors: About three years ago, I set up a second monitor at my desk. If I could clear the left side of my desk, I would add a third monitor. Your average flat screen monitor costs about $100 – what are you waiting for? I don’t know how I ever worked without this setup.
    2. A Headset: I began using a headset at my desk many years ago. The delight of simply having both hands free! Even better, once people see it on your head, they tend to leave you alone so you can focus on getting to your prospects and clients (and out of the office by 5:00!). I’m still looking for one with a light on it (to show you are on a live call).¬†Send me your suggestions!
    3. A Bluetooth: I’m not encouraging you to drive and talk – but if you must, please get a Bluetooth for your cell phone. What about using it on that walk to the car? How about during your time in between appointments? Or as you walk around the office? I would highly recommend a LG HBS700 headset¬†(which also works great for listening to music).
    4. A Silent Keyboard: Most laptops will accomplish this but often you are probably at a PC. For $20-30 you can get a 4-5 star silent keyboard on Amazon.
    5. Voicemails to Email: If you aren’t currently using a voicemail system that converts your messages to texts or emails, it’s definitely time to consider this. I use Google Voice for free.
    6. A Loaded Cell Phone: Ladies and gentlemen, it ain’t just a telephone. It’s really a computer in your pocket. As much as you need a laptop or tablet, you need a cell phone loaded like its your old PC. Download¬†Salesforce or your CRM (mainly for contact look up), social media apps like LinkedIn and anything related to software that you need to access at work. I also use¬†four cloud storage drives in order to share documents that I’m using between my iPad, desktop computer and cell phone: OneDrive, Dropbox, Cubby and iCloud (all free with at least 1 Gig of storage). And don’t forget about your camera – it’s essentially a scanner so you can photograph receipts and documents as a backup option – or a way to get rid of the paper altogether. I try to download and try one new app every week. Share your favorites with me!
    7. An Assistant:¬†Ha – a real administrative assistant isn’t in the budget?! For $10 an hour you could hire an assistant in India who can be doing your research, correspondence, documentation, proofing and more while you are sleeping. I’ve used virtual assistants to recruit for me when in a pinch and to set up appointments for me. Google “virtual assistant India” and interview a few companies.
    8. A Streaming Media Player:¬†This is a fun one. For $35 you can get a¬†Google Chromecast HDMI plug that can transfer anything from a phone, tablet or laptop to a larger monitor. Need to run a presentation on the overhead? Want to unwind to a Netflix movie back at the hotel? You are going to like this dongle! If you aren’t a Google fan, here are some other options for accomplishing this:¬†http://learninginhand.com/blog/5-ways-to-show-your-ipad-on-a-projector-screen.html.

Other than a Virtual Assistant, my list above will cost you less than $300. Put something new into your work week. Good luck Jedis!

Make every day count!

~Drew Schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Octopus-LLC/176668965728096

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

Sales Persistence

18 Mar

Now that we've eliminated all the possibilities... Let's get started!

Now that we’ve eliminated all the possibilities… Let’s get started!

I don’t want salespeople to be pests, but if prospects don’t remember or know who you are – they will not/can not buy from you. So give yourself a real shot and believe in the math. If someone is a target, then knock on their door many times until qualified. If things would happen by themselves, there would be no need for sales people.¬† The art of making thing happen and being persistent (in a non-intrusive manner) makes the difference.

If you “knock once” – you’ll succeed, on average, 1% of the time.

Knock thrice – you’ll close about 6% of those prospects.

Knock six times – you’ll dramatically increase your odds.

SALES REPETITION:

The National Sales Executive Association has conducted a survey on how many sales you can get depending on how many times you contact your prospects. Their statistics show that most sales are made from the 5th contact through the 12th contact.

Here is the data they compiled:

2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
80% of sales are made on the 5th – 12th contact

With these statistics in mind, structure the mix of your calls to maximize success. The first calls require 50 attempts to succeed while fourth contact calls require only 10 attempts to succeed. This is why you need to make your 10-20 sales calls every morning. This is why you need to follow-up your calls with emails. Your consistent follow-through will drive results.

MARKETING REPETITION:

How many times must a prospect see a marketing message to take them from a state of total apathy to purchase readiness? Following a year-long study, the researchers concluded that a marketing message must penetrate the mind of a prospect a total of 9 times before that prospect becomes a customer.

That’s the good news.¬† The bad news is that for every three times you expose your prospect to your marketing message¬≠ via ad, sign, monthly direct mail advertising, whatever¬† it gets missed or ignored two of those times. Hence, the marketing world came up with the “Rule of 27”. After all, people have more important things to do than pay attention to your marketing. So you’ve got to put out the good word about your company a total of 27 times in order to make at least nine impressions.

The first personality trait of the successful sales & marketing pro is patience. The second is persistence!

Make every day count!

~Drew Schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/131nqty

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

8 Tools for an Efficient Salesperson

22 Jan

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Normally, I focus on specific sales methods, but today I’m sharing some ideas that will make any salesperson run a little faster in 2014. As a manager, you can help your team use all of these methods. As a salesperson, I encourage you to hit up your manager for these tools that will make you more efficient and effective.

  1. LinkedIn & Social Media: Please, I’m begging you… it’s 2014 – if you don’t have one, create a LinkedIn profile and expand your network. Today, I have over 4,000 LinkedIn contacts and in Minneapolis, I can mine the names of anyone in the Twin Cities and reach them using LinkedIn Inmails. These Inmails have a much higher response rate in comparison to standard emails.
  2. Email Discipline:¬†I’m a huge believer in this Timothy Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week technique: don’t constantly answer email. Unless you are instructed otherwise, I would suggest only reading your emails at the beginning, middle and end of every work day. At first, I thought it sounded ridiculous but I decided to give it a try and fell in love with being there for people daily, but not hourly. Phone calls and texts are urgent. Emails are important – if you respond to the important ones within four hours, no one is likely to complain. If you have clients calling you throughout the day because of fires, you aren’t a salesperson, you are an Account Manager. This is not your excuse to let emails pile up in your inbox. Every email use D.R.A.F.: delete, refer, act or file it away. If you are going to prospect, block off a half hour three times a day for email – and save the other 6+ hours for selling.
  3. Personal Free Time:¬†If you are the typical salesperson, you not only have a job, but a family 30+ minutes away from work. You run like crazy Monday through Friday, “relax” on Saturday doing chores around the house (or worse, chasing your kids around at odd hours who are participating in sports). On Sunday, you might spend half of your day attending a religious service in your community. Then after the football game, you eat dinner and start worrying about your bills or work on Monday. Sound familiar? Escape the rat race once a week. Take time to celebrate the victories! SCHEDULE some “me time” to unwind and figure out what drives you¬†(and trade this time with your spouse so that they get the same opportunity). I can’t tell you how freeing this has become for me on Thursday nights. No one is a priority but me that night – and it allows me run that much faster throughout the hustle and bustle.
  4. Work Planning Time: People always complain because of the scenario above, that they don’t have enough time. Well, there is enough time if you have a little discipline. Stop watching television or playing solitaire on your computer and carve out just one hour a week for planning so that you are as efficient as possible. The first hour of the work day should be spent on the important and urgent items. Do the worst activities first (like the 10 phone calls to prospects), so you can have a fulfilling work hard/play hard lifestyle.
  5. Testimonials: The proof is in the pudding. You can talk about your offering all day, but prospects want to hear the stories from your happy customers. Even better, share stories from your happy customers with prospects that are in the same industry.
  6. Referrals and Warm Leads: Cold calling is dead. The best way to get referrals are to earn them.  Give people in your network who are relevant to your business a referral first and then ask nicely for one in return.
  7. Optimism: A good attitude, determination, confidence or whatever you want to call it – salespeople need to be excited about what they are doing. You need to believe in your product or service and be borderline overconfident in offering your solution to prospects and customers. I believe I am helping people. Do you feel the same way about your work?
  8. A Sales Book:¬†Always carry one with you. Read it on the road, over lunch and in between appointments. If it’s inspiring, talk about it with your prospects and customers. Buy the good reads for your best customers. I’d rather have a salesperson give me a random business or sales book versus another brochure.¬†Doesn’t everyone look smarter with a book under their arm?

A few book suggestions (of course 8 of them!):

  • Sam Richter’s¬†Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling
  • David Kurlan’s¬†Baseline Selling
  • Jeffrey Gitomer’s¬†Sales Bible
  • Maxwell & Dickman’s¬†Elements of Persuasion
  • David Mattson’s¬†The Sandler Rules
  • Martin Seligman’s¬†Learned Optimism
  • Tony Hsieh’s¬†Delivering Happiness
  • Marshall Goldsmith’s¬†MOJO

Order a book and start using all eight tools next month!

Make every day count!

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/131nqty

Twitter: @drew_schmitz