Posts Tagged ‘sales’

WTH are you doing? Overcoming lost self-confidence in business

June 3, 2014

feeling disappointedA small business owner on Facebook recently posted a cry for help.  She said she was wondering “WTH am I doing?”.

Many business owners get the WTH “what the heck” am I doing feeling from time to time.  This probably occurs most frequently after getting rejected and the feelings of disappointment that follow.  You may lose some of your confidence.  It’s ok.  The bottom line is that it is a signal to stop, reflect, plan a strategy, and implement a strategy.

To overcome the feelings of lost self-confidence and anxiety, here is a simple five (5) step plan:

  1. Start by writing down your statement of purpose – Always begin with seeking clarity and with having a clear mission in mind. Reflect on your career and your life and ask write down the answer to this question: “What are you passionate about?”
  2. Next, do a Self SWOT to list your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  This will give you a quick Strategic Plan outlook.

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By Clovia Hamilton, MBA JD – President

Lemongrass Consulting

(c) 2014. All Rights Reserved. Lemongrass Consulting, Inc

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

Sales Women versus Sales Men – Empathy and Ego-Drive

July 24, 2011

Image via Google Images money.cnn.com

I recently bought the book entitled “Harvard Business Review on Sales and Selling”. I just read the selection called “What Makes a Good Salesman” by David Mayer and Herbert M. Greenberg. The authors advocate that great salesmen have both empathy and ego drive. The authors stated that the ego-driven salesmen see closing a deal as a conquest.

The article had me wondering how empathy and ego drive varies between women who sell versus men. I am active in many women small business advocacy groups. I am forever on a quest to find out how women business owners can increase their sales. On the face of it, I believe that we may lack the ego drive. Of course, I needed the scientific evidence to prove it.

The ego is our concept of self. So, if we are ego-driven, we see how our actions and accomplishments reflect on our concept of self. If we have high sales, then that is a direct reflection on our concept of self – i.e. we are winners.

Well, I did some digging and found a 2008 Newsweek article entitled “He’s Not as Smart as He Thinks”. The article reported the results of a study by British researcher Adrian Furnham, a professor of psychology at University College London. The study focused on how women and men perceive intelligence versus real IQ scores. Men had greater egos and thought they were smarter than their IQs indicated. Women perceived men to be smarter than women. Furnham attributed it to the “male hubris and female humility effect”. Men are more confident about their IQ; while on average, women underestimated their IQ scores by about five points.

If the male’s ego or self concept were the same in the sales arena, the men would be more confident and more ego-driven and would sell more. Women on the other hand tend to be more empathetic – but need to be more ego-driven and confident. Furnham wrote, “I think that many of the self-help gurus argue incorrectly that improved self-esteem increases performance. Helping people to perform better increases their self esteem.” In sales, besides the need for both empathy and the ego-drive, Mayer and Greenberg also advocated the importance of training.

A Sport Journal article entitled “Gender Differential in the Goal Setting, Motivation, Perceived Ability, and Confidence Sources of Basketball Players” noted results of a study of male and female players. The researchers studied the differences in goal orientation, perceived motivational climate, perceived ability, and sources of sport confidence. Male participants in the study recorded higher scores than female participants did for the sport-related confidence variables perceived ego climate, perfection of skills, and physical performance. Men had higher confidence in their skills and performance perceived prior to competition.

Similarly, I believe that women business owners can increase their confidence for sales competition with sales training in order to couple the motivational force of an ego drive with our empathetic, nurturing tendencies. Women simply need to want and need to persuade others and make the sale in every personal way. I still hear many women business owners state that they’ll do the work for free because they love the work so much and they want to help customers so much. These women are motivated by service. To be successful in sales, they need to be motivated by persuading others to buy their products and services. Perhaps women business owners with low sales should reprogram themselves and set aside child hood or other experiences that socialize them to be humble servants; and to not be assertive and persuasive. They have to change the way they perceive themselves.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.
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, intellectual property, and social media marketing strategic plans.

Connect with Clovia :
■ Phone: direct – 678.235.5901
■ 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

Recession Valentine Wish

February 13, 2011

Rather than chocolates, flowers, and jewelry, I want more clients and the ability to hire. I think most small business owners want the same. I counsel small businesses at the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center and I have been engaged in a variety of small business development programs for years. I have witnessed several business owners struggle in this economy. Our priority this Valentines Day should be to push, press, and prod for more clients, revenues, and the ability to hire others.

So, how are we going to get there? In the Dec 2009 Businessweek slideshow entitled “Advice from Renowned Business Founders – Lessons from Women and Minority Entrepreneurs”, David Chang of the Momofuku restaurant was cited stating “you can work harder! You can push yourself to the limit. You have to if you want to succeed. I know you could put more hours in. Whatever you think you can do, you can do more. You can do more and you can do it better. Whatever standard you set, you can exceed your expectations and you can be your harshest critic.” I absolutely love this!

The bottom line is that we all need to do more. We need to work smarter rather than harder. We need to operate more strategically. We need to quickly draft or obtain strategic action plans and then quickly implement them. Let’s move out troops!

In order to revenue our way out of this, we need to up our marketing and sales games. It is time to build stronger relationships with prospects and clients; price our products and services where they are affordable and appealing to the masses; and increase visibility. We can turn this down economy around. I have Faith, Persistence, Positivity, and Optimism!

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 go Grassroots with Sales: Sure we can Talk!

August 8, 2010

All year, I have been connecting with like business minds out on Twitter, Linked and Facebook. I know there are folks out there with 5 to 10,000 followers. I am proud of approaching 1,000 out on each platform. It takes work.

Usually when folks ask me to talk by phone, I immediately think I don’t have time for that and I will limit my correspondence to email. I also assume that they are going to try to sell me something that I do not need or want.  However, this week when someone asked I thought “why not? What would be the harm?”

(c) Pamela Perry. Pamsclipart.

Sure we can Talk!

Most of my connections are in the business of selling products and services.  So am I.  So, why not find out more about each connection that is willing to share.  If I do not want to buy from them, I don’t have to. There’s no gun to my head.

I can check them out and tell others in my network about what they are selling.  I can ask my new friend to do the same for me.

To survive this down economy, we need to make time to get back to grass roots. In 1912, Senator Albert Jeremiah Beveridge of Indiana, was quoted stating that the Progressive Party had “come from the grass roots. It has grown from the soil of people’s hard necessities.”(Posted on Wikipedia courtesy of Eigen’s Political & Historical Quotations “Beveridge, Albert J.”. 2006-05-20).

We need to plant seeds and grow roots in the soil of our hard necessities. These are tough times we live in!

I like the term “Lemongrassroots”. Lemongrass because it’s an herb that used to relieve stress, stimulate, refresh, invigorate, energize and relax. Combine that approach with good old fashion grassroots tactics, and you are cooking with steam!

Here are some good old school grassroots movement tactics used by activists and political campaigners that are trying to sell others on ideas…trying to convince, persuade, influence, organize, lobby:
1. mobilize letter-writing, phone-calling, and emailing campaigns (…hmm sales campaigns)
2. host meetings or parties
3. put up posters (we do this online now with our Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin profiles)
4. talk to folks on the street (get out into coffee houses, trade meetings)
5. gather signatures for petitions (akin to getting followers on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin)
6. set up information tables (have exhibits at trade shows)
7. raise money from many small donors for political advertising or campaigns (why not sell online and rsise your revenue?)
8. organize large demonstrations (demonstrate what you can do by giving away free articles and ebooks)
9. ask individuals to submit opinions to media outlets and government officials (ask for testimonials and comments)
10. hold get out the vote activities (this reminds me of simply asking your followers to tell others about you)

With respect to sales, I have bought services that were not originally on my shopping list.  For example, I saw a Facebook ad by Moriah Diamond for a tweetimage and facebook badge.  I checked out my connection’s website, liked what I saw, and placed an order. It turns out, she is a great graphics designer and I have a new graphics design supplier to turn to.

Here are two (2) more important reasons to take the conversation offline:
1. This person could be a great teaming partner.
2. This person could need to buy your services or products.

If you do not carve out the time “offline” to talk to folks you meet “online”, you will miss out on some great opportunities.  Here are some time management tips:

1. When you are a solo or small operation, market during the day and work on your client’s tasks in the afternoon and evening.
2. Set parameters on phone calls with prospects. Set certain days, certain time blocks – and always schedule the calls.

Here is a neat example of time management and meeting parameter setting that I received from a small business liaison at a military base:

“If you would like to meet with me or set-up a telephonic conference call please provide two dates and times of your choosing beginning with the week of 09 Aug 10 based on the following guidelines:

(1) No meetings/conference calls on Friday
(2) All meetings/conference calls will be one hour in duration beginning in the morning at 9 and ending at 11
(3) Afternoon meetings/conference calls begin at 1:30 and end at 3.”

Use the Linkedin or Facebook email features and request phone conversations or accept offers to talk offline. Of course this example will not fit in a 140 character Twitter message. So, in the Twitter instance, get the prospect’s email address and send this type of response by email.

Let’s get our very own “lemongrassroots movements” going and prosper!

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