Posts Tagged ‘networking’

SWOT and Sales Activities – Plan for 2014

November 21, 2013

business development, business strategy, entrepreneuralism, female entrepreneurs, networking, sales, self improvement, small business, strategic planning, women owned small business, Macon Georgia

ac·tion  noun \ˈak-shən\

:  the bringing about of an alteration by force or through a natural agency

:  the manner or method of performing

ac·tive  adjective \ˈak-tiv\

: doing things that require physical movement and energy

: characterized by action rather than by contemplation or speculation <an active life>

ac·tiv·i·ty  noun \ak-ˈti-və-tē\

:  the quality or state of being active

:  vigorous or energetic action :  liveliness

:  something that is done as work or for a particular purpose

strategy in business; sales leads; sales prospecting; SWOT; strategic planning; strategic management; sales executive; business and strategy;I had big fun at the Greater Macon Women Business Owners meeting last week.  We had a great taste of Italy at the Buca de Beppo restaurant in Macon, Georgia.  I gave a short talk about activities that women in business can plan to pursue in 2014.  We also talked about the importance of conducting a Self SWOT analysis and having a facilitated SWOT analysis of our businesses done.  I serve as a facilitator!  Lastly, I gave the ladies a worksheet for tracking Sales Activities.

I think that all too often business owners that struggle look to others to rescue them.  The owners pout and justify their poor performance by saying it simply is not their time or season; or they are upset that someone did not bring them into some work.  I bet if you really looked at how active they are in business development, their level of activity would be pretty low.  Business development activities need to be performed daily – – rather than when the work runs out and it is too late.  The level of activity needs to be vigorous, energetic, lively, and with the purpose of achieving real, measurable goals.  Read more and Get the SWOT and Sales Activities Worksheet!

 

by Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2005-2013 Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Approaching Sales with Positivity – Building a 10 Step Sales System

February 12, 2012

If you have been following my online posts over the years, you know that my least favorite thing to do in business is sales. My favorite tasks are marketing, research, writing, and customer service. But, there’s one thing we all know for sure. Without sales, there is no business.

Another thing I know for sure is that if we keep telling ourselves how much we dislike something, we will never learn how to do it and we will never see the good in it. So, this year I have a new mantra. This year, I am determined to be a better sales person. My focus is shifting because I am reminding myself that:

  • Sales is a way to connect with great folks and build great, long lasting relationships!
  •  These folks have needs that our products and services can meet!
  • Sales-Time is Fun-Time! Rah Rah!

The key for me is to make it a fun, social activity rather than drudgery.  This takes me back to when I was a kid and helped with a political campaign for a Chicago alderman.  I worked the phones.  I mailed things out.  What I enjoyed most was the whirl of activity and positive energy. So, I create a whirl of activity much like a political campaign room. Here’s how I do it:

  • First, I start with my contacts list.
  • Second, I visit the person’s website to see where we have synergy. I ask myself what products and services my firm offers that might help this person out.
  • Third, if I am connected with the person online in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, I reach out to them for an appointment.
  • Fourth, if I am not connected with the person online, I send them a friend request on Facebook, an invitation on Linkedin, and/or follow them on Twitter …and then, ask for an appointment.

Where’s the fun in this? The challenge is to “get in there”. Social media provides valuable access and a peep into my new friend’s world.

  • Fifth, I schedule two mailings. On this day, I mail out a post card. I also print a customized cover letter, relevant flyers, a brochure, and business card to mail out 2 days following the post card. I prepare it and lay it in my desk calendar on the day that it needs to get mailed. I use a desk calendar that has loose daily sheets in a 3 ring binder.

So far, I have completed about 3 touches with this person.

  • Sixth, I schedule a phone call for one (1) week out. The key for me is the scheduling. I use a form and list the folks that I need to call.
  • Seventh, if I have not talked to the person yet, I make the scheduled call. Yes, it’s a sales call. But, no – it’s not a “cold call”. Now, it’s a “warm call”. Now, I feel ok about it because we know a bit about each other. I’m getting further in there!
  • Eighth, I visit the person if they are local. I either meet them at their office or join them at a restaurant. I bring another packet of information and a promotional gift.
  • Ninth, I send a thank you note card.

Now, I have completed 6 touches with this person.

I keep the system physically very organized. I have a long sales table in my office. It contains a contacts binder with my contact list. My table contains address labels, envelopes, presentation folders, stamps, post cards, brochures, flyers, thank you note cards, business cards, and promotional items (small candy filled jars, tea lite candles, mini-calendars). I’m ready to crank it out!

  • Tenth, I send a retainer agreement. This is the 7th touch. I let them know that there is no obligation or pressure, but I would love to help them out. I list the products and services that are relevant to what we discussed.

My contacts database has about 7500 people and it grows whenever I attend trade meetings and other events. It also grows when I work on a sales campaign idea and build or buy a list of contacts that are ideal to pitch to. The key for me is to not feel overwhelmed by the numbers. I spend a few hours each morning on sales. I am usually up at 3am. I will buzz about, have fun, and plow through my list until coffee time at 6am. I do not really have a numbers goal. I just do as much as I can in 3 hours – which is pretty substantial.

The old saying is customers first, then sales first, then marketing. I am most energetic first thing in the morning. So, I do sales first. I reserve the 9 to 5 for work. Most of my marketing is online using social media and I do that at night from my bed. I write all of the government contracting bid proposals that are due the upcoming week on the weekend. I pick 3 to 5 to submit each week. Know your biorhythm and implement routines that work best for you and your lifestyle. But, be consistent and work on it every day. Having a sales system in place is also critical if you want to scale and grow. Now, you can easily train others to pitch in, follow your system, and help you with your firm’s sales.

What is your sales routine?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and has served as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including organizational assessments, government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services.

Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/lemongrass-consulting-inc.
■ Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans

■ LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LemongrassConsultingInc

How to improve your Influence?

January 17, 2012

My Klout score was 46 and is now 36. It dropped to 32 at one point. I wanted all of the bloggers’ posts that I routinely read to appear on my twitter site. So, I used twitterfeed to rss feed the blog posts. Well, my Klout score went down. What was even more frustrating was that only one of the bloggers that I essentially promoted did thanked me – referral sales guru Bob Burg. Well, when my Klout score dropped I started joining Twitterchats and it went up by 4 points.

I also posted my wordpress.com blog on my Twitter page to try to increase reads and comments on my blog posts. I think this hurt my Klout score. I have since changed that wordpress url to my firm’s website url. I will report on whether that makes a difference.

The topic of clout or influence is trending. It has had me reflecting on what truly makes a person influential. It makes me wonder if I am an influential person with clout; and who in my network has clout and influence. I also wonder if entrepreneurs like me are using social media to increase marketing, visibility, and sales; or are we really trying to become more popular, gain influence, and increase our personal clout.

I’m an academic analytic. With all of my research, I begin with definitions.

Merriam-Webster defines clout as pull or influence. The dictionary defines influence as power, force, and the exercise of command:

 an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
 an emanation of spiritual or moral force
 the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command
 the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : SWAY

I like the word “emanate”. It makes me wonder what is emanating from me – what’s springing out, coming out, and coming across to others? I suppose one way to find out is to ask folks. We could ask image consultants. We could ask folks in our networks. I collect feedback I get online. All of it has been positive. Here are examples:

 You really get me going. Great motivation.
 Im so inspired by you & all that you do I’m inspired
 Happy Thanksgiving Clovia! You inspire me:)
 Dear Clovia, you always post value on Twitter and on Facebook. You are an example to follow.
 We need more people like you.
 Thanks for all you do!
 Thanks for your input. You are so very helpful.
 You have great style and the ability to communicate on the entrepreneur’s level.
 Thanks for the encouragement to stay focused!
 Thank you for the daily inspiration.
 I really enjoy your Social Media post. Thank you so much!!
 Clovia, I just followed you on twitter and checked out your website. Impressive…Thanks for connecting
 I follow you closely. I love what you are doing.
 You really do have it right and I’m glad that there’s someplace like Lemongrassplanning.com around to help people who realize that they need to set and manage goals, but maybe don’t know how.
 Thx for the free book. Lots of great insights & I didn’t know about Ping but am using it now!
 Happy New Year Clovia! Thanks for all the inspirational & motivational quotes.

If you are not studying what folks are saying about you, you probably should start. Collect the feedback and use Google alerts to see what might be stated about you that is not sent directly to you.

Lets get back to sales. Folks buy from who they come to know, like, and trust. So, perhaps you can influence a sale if you can get someone to if you cause someone click on a link and read an article; to comment on what you post; to click LIKE on your facebook business fan page; to click the + on the Google plus link; or to retweet and share what you post on Twitter.

Those of us in business know there is no direct correlation between the two. But, how much of a correlation is there between online social activity and sales?

Should there be a score for being inspiring, encouraging, motivating – rather than influential?

 

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including organizational assessments, government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including organizational assessments, government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Follow us on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/lemongrass-consulting-inc.
■ Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans

■ LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LemongrassConsultingInc

 

10 Tips for Biz Card & Networking Savvy

October 7, 2011

I dusted off a card scanner to begin scanning biz cards as a form of therapy (a light duty, stress free, painless, easy, no brainer). I began to scan away at about 700 business cards. Many were great and many woefully planned and designed. I also made some awful mistakes when networking. Here are 10 tips I jotted down while scanning away:

1. Do not take a business card that does not have the person’s name on it. Read the card before they get away. Write down their full name.

2. Write the date you met the person and the event on the business card. I had some cards where I put a partial date (forgot the year); put the date and not the event; or put the event and no date.

3. Have a business card that can be scanned. Some of the business cards in my stack were made of thick plastic; the same as a credit card. Some were all black and the text could not be scanned. One card was made of a weird vellum paper and it would not feed into the scanner.

4. Be sure to get the person’s cell phone number. Be sure to put your mobile phone number on your business card.

5. Think of us forty-plus something business people when you choose a font. One of the business cards was in a 4 point font. I could not read it without a magnifier. Luckily, the scanner could scan it. Nevertheless, be sure people can read your card without squinting.

6. If your company name is inserted in your logo, have it typed somewhere else again without the graphic. Company names in graphic logos did not scan.  I put it on the back of the card. Be sure to scan the front and back of business cards you collect.  Make great use of the back for listing your licenses, certifications, tag line, etc.

7. Choose paper that folks can write on. You cannot write on plastic or vellum or slick glossy paper.

8. Save a list of your notes from the business cards you collected into a word document. It will remind you of your marketing journey – all of the events, all of the networking. Study the list and ask yourself which events resulted in work, teaming, or other collaborations.

9. Ask yourself, which events are you drawn to? My firm is 6 years old. I looked back over the past 5 years. I am primarily drawn to small business development events such as trade fairs, match making/ partnering events, and government vendor outreach sessions. Next, over the years I have made my rounds to visit with decision makers in government agencies – procurement staff, program directors, department directors, project managers. Third, I lean toward urban planners, civil engineers, and economic development specialists. So, I have attended their trade meetings (annual conferences, luncheons).

10. Lastly, use this intelligence to develop your marketing plan for 2012. Plan out the entire 12 months. Make your rounds. Attend trade meetings, conferences, etc. What will it cost to participate? Registration fees? Travel transportation and hotels? Budget for it now!
By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

Do you Tweet? Part Two.

May 15, 2011

This time last year, I wrote an article called Do you Tweet? I completed two Social Media classes in 2009 and decided to use social media online marketing as an affordable way to build my network. It’s working. My network has steadily grown. I went to a trade conference recently and folks recognized me when in many cases, I did not recognize them. Online marketing increases your visibility and helps you achieve “presence of mind” when it comes to getting referrals. This article serves to update you the new tools and techniques I am trying.
Last year I wrote how I spend a minimum (and usually maximum) of 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night each day. Now, I spend more time. I usually devote a few hours on Saturday or Sunday. Here’s what I do with Twitter now:
You get followers by following others. If someone does not follow me in about a week or so, I stop following them.
How do I find followers and get folks to follow me?
1) I still get great twitter connections from my linkedin and facebook groups.
2) I upload a *.csv (comma separated value) file from linkedin into twitter to make sure I am following my Linkedin connections out on Twitter – and to encourage them to follow me back.
3) I look at every new Facebook connections’ information page to find out if they have a twitter account – if so, I follow them and email them to request that they follow me back. I also check out their website. I always do my due diligence to find out whether a Facebook invite or recommended connection is a good fit in my circle or space.
Why do I love Twitter?
1) It helps me direct traffic to my website. We have had an increase of website visitors as per our Google Analytics reports. I review our analytics monthly.
a. With each twitter follow, I use the Twitter Direct mail feature to send them an email:
i. thanks 4 the follow! I look forward to getting to know u! Free ebook gift for u: 25 Small Biz Tips: http://tinyurl.com/35rtl7e
ii. please support our Facebook biz page by clicking on the Like link & Join My List link – http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o
b. Each week I usually post a blog post and convert the post into articles. I then tweet the new arrival of a blog post and use auto notifiers to post the articles. This helps drive traffic to my website.
c. I have begun to post videos via YouTube, and photos using Twitpic.
How do I save time?

Well, last year I was using ping fim to post each morning. Now I use Hootesuite and schedule about 50 posts each week. I post about 7 times per day. I set up 2 or 3 posts in the morning, noon, and night. I use the ping fm feature in Hootesuite to distribute my posts to a number of social media outlets – myspace, linkedin, my personal facebook page, my company’s facebook like page, and other pages. I love the schedule ahead feature in Hootesuite.
Last year, in my Do you Tweet article I listed a number of news outlets that I subscribe to in order to read and cull out content to share online. This year, I have finally graduated to using Twitterfeed to share posts from my favorite blogs. At first I used their default of posting every 30 minutes. One of my cousins advised me that it seemed like I was posting on Twitter every minute and that was annoying. I went from about 7 posts per day to who knows what. So, I had to go back into Twitterfeed and adjust the settings.
I signed up for Gist and have begun to see dossiers on folks in my network. This helps me decide who to conversate with. But, I honestly lean more toward the Hootesuite mention feature to see who retweets my post or asks me questions. I can then easily respond. Gist is more comprehensive since it will show me my online connections’ posts in several outlets. But I will have to hire someone to help me make the most of that. It would be neat if all of this could be rolled into Hootesuite so that I could see everything on one website. If you know of a way, please let me know.
The key is to continue to try new marketing tactics. Post diverse things and use a variety of tools to stay fresh and interesting. No matter how much we small business owners do, we can always do more. You cannot get frustrated and quit. You simply build the empire one stone at a time with patience and persistence.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

How to Get the Most out of Conferences

July 5, 2010

How to get the most out of conferences

July 5, 2010 by Clovia Hamilton

Lemongrass Consulting advocates strategic planning.  I lead this charge and I advocate strategic planning in all things that we do – including conference attendance.

As a procurement counselor at the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC), I give vendors notices about upcoming business to government (B2G) conferences routinely.  I also give advice on how to prepare for conferences and for following up after a conference.

Recently Beth Goldstein posted an article “To Get the Most Out of Conferences, Follow Up” in Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s smallbiz tips.  Beth states that the goal is to make solid connections.  Beth advocates that conference attendants should:

  • Thank the connection
  • Send the connection an article
  • Invite the connection to an upcoming event
  • Send the connection a copy of your newsletter
  • Introduce the connection to your other connections

The topic of what to do with business cards has been underway in the Linked in Woman 2 Woman Business Group.  Here are some suggestions that I like from this discussion:

  • Use a virtual assistant to help you add names into a contacts database (Jennifer Dixon)
  • Write a note about the person, the date, and the event on the business card (Eileen J Kennedy, Nanci Benefiel)
  • Follow up with the person you met the next day or within the next few days (Eileen J Kennedy)
  • Use Microsoft Outlook contacts and sync your Blackberry to Outlook (Eileen J Kennedy)
  • Scan business cards into your email address book as Vcards (Louise Leduc)
  • Invite your connections to Linkedin and your newsletter (Diane S Turner)
  • Keep business cards in clear plastic sheets (Gwen McCauley)
  • Select a few networking groups that you attend routinely (Nanci Benefiel)
  • Send the connection a greeting card (Gayle McKearin, Mary Kathryn Ewart, or Send Out Cards per Nanci Benefiel)

I noted in this discussion the importance of leaving white space on the back of your business card and do not use glossy card stock that cannot be written on.

I do all of the above – and I sort cards by the first name of the connection and keep the clear plastic sheets in a binder with alpha dividers A thru Z.  I also make copies of cards of potential teaming partners and keep them in a binder sorted by dividers labeled for each type of potential teaming endeavor we might pursue.

Try to connect with everyone or just a few?

Stephanie Robertson and Diane Turner stated that she usually only has 2-4, or 3-5 people that they connect with.  I have been advised by mentors to set a goal for 3 people.  This approach is to promote quality over quantity.

While the 3 people goal may be productive and may keep you from feeling overwhelmed, I have learned over the years that you will never know where your next lead, prospect, or referral will come from.  So, I try to meet as many people as possible. I do not devalue anyone.  I try to connect with as many folks as possible.  This is not really shotgunning – because out of the batch, I will target a few to follow up with immediately.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o