Ten Big Sales and Marketing Concepts To Grow Your Business

by David Meerman Scott

1) Buyers are in charge

The idea of mystery in the sales process is over. There is no more ‘selling’—there is only buying. When potential customers have near perfect information on the web, it means salespeople must transform from authority to consultant, product narratives must tell a story, and businesses must be agile enough to respond before opportunity is lost.

2) How to generate attention

You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (old school PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free: a YouTube video, blog, research report, infographic, Twitter feed, Facebook Live stream.

3) Educate and inform instead of interrupt and sell

You have the power to elevate yourself on the web to a position of importance. In the e-marketplace of ideas, successful salespeople educate and inform. They highlight their expertise by sharing videos, content-rich websites, social streams, blogs, e-books, and images rather than using the old sales playbook of information hoarding and letting it drip it out.

4) Convergence of sales and marketing

I’m fascinated by the convergence of sales and marketing. Marketing is when an organization uses content to reach many buyers at once while sales is curating that same content to one buyer at a time. Continue reading Ten Big Sales and Marketing Concepts To Grow Your Business

Olympic Service with Abundance

by Chip Bell

olympic torch

The owner answered the phone. “Are you still open?” I asked him incredulously. “Oh no, we close at 6pm. But, I call forward the store phone to my cell in case of a customer
emergency.” I explained my attempt to repair my aging pipe and the part I needed. “Why don’t you meet me at the store,” he said. “I can be there in five minutes.” You know the rest of this story. I still smile when I drive by his store and recall his abundant service.

Abundance is a self-less gesture that changes the calculus of service from miserly subtraction to Midas-like addition. It signals to customers their preeminent importance. It telegraphs a true customer-centric operation. And, it elevates customer loyalty into the stratosphere. Such service is often the subject of stories we share for years, not just through next week.

The sports world was uplifted in the 2016 Rio Olympics 5000 meter heat when Abbey D’Agostino of the USA fell, causing her to trip up Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand, a fellow runner she did not know. D’Agostino could have regained her composure and continued toward the finish line. Instead she worked to help Hamblin to her feet. But, D’Agostino’s injured legs buckled in the attempt and Hamblin returned the favor, helping D’Agosion. Neither runner resumed the race until both could successfully run. Because neither was at fault for the fall, both were allowed to race in the finals. “It is a moment,” said Hamblin, “I will never, ever forget for the rest of my life.” The cheering fans that watched the abundant gesture are not likely to forget it either.

Give to your customers the very best that you have; their best will come back to you. The ROI will not just be in the form of retention, revenue and recognition; it will be a customer that works very hard to take care of your brand. A friend raves about her favorite restaurant. She admits she tides up the lavatory after using their bathroom so the next patron will be impressed. How can you serve with such abundance that your customers work as hard for you as you work for you?

The New Rules of Sales and Service Now Out in a Revised and Updated Paperback Edition

by David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott

July 5, 2016, the revised and expanded paperback edition of The New Rules of Sales and Service releases in bookstores and online in North America. It will be available in other parts of the world in the coming weeks.

I’m so excited that after a year of work, the new edition is out. Like the first edition published in 2014, in this updated work I show how to use agile selling, real-time customer engagement, big data, content, and storytelling to grow your business

Continue reading The New Rules of Sales and Service Now Out in a Revised and Updated Paperback Edition

Service with a Magic Touch

By Chip Bell

The Platters were a favorite singing group of mine. They had forty songs that made the Top 100; four that were #1 hits. One of their top songs opens with the lyrics: “You’ve got the magic touch; it makes me glow so much. It casts a spell, it rings a bell, the magic touch.” Now, assume your customers were singing a song about their experience when dealing with you and your organization. What would it take for them to use similar lyrics in describing that experience.

The magic touch that makes customers glow is one that is more than a whimsical tease or a momentary cosmetic delight. It is enduring and memorable. It causes customers to remember their experience long after they have forgotten the outcome or product they came to you for.

My business partner and I walked into a Starbucks in LA we had frequented a few times while working with a client. It had been a year since we crossed their threshold. The barista put her hands on her hips and said, “Where have you boys been? We have missed you.” And, then proceeded to make our drinks just like we had ordered them a year earlier. Now, here is the enduring part. That was six years ago and I am still telling that story—and I would drive an hour out of my way to get a tall skinny cinnamon dolce from that Starbucks.

Make your experiences as deep, personal and enduring, as they are fun and energetic. Look for ways to customize. Make it uplifting and filled with passion. Find approaches that light up your customers’ spirit and make their day special. When you cast a spell and ring a bell, you make your customers glow and your bottom line grow. Reach out to your customers with your magic touch.

Marketing Basics: The Story Customers Tell Themselves

by David Meerman Scott

Stories are universal. No culture has survived without them. They are widely recognized as an essential part of human cognitive development.

storytelling

 

As toddlers, when we listened to someone telling a tale, we built emotional bonds with others while developing empathy, encountering common cultural touchstones of morality and ethical behavior, and learning the ability to use language to express our thoughts and feelings. As social animals that crave connection with others, we find that stories—whether told orally, written on paper, or conveyed on film—are our most immediate way to enter the imaginative minds of others.

Business and commerce continue to be fundamental ways we interact outside of our family. And while we may not fully realize it, stories are an inescapable part of how we communicate professionally

Mastering the Art of Effective Storytelling for Business

Critical to an understanding of story in business is how customers tell themselves the stories that define them (their worldview) and how these relate to the products and services they use. Continue reading Marketing Basics: The Story Customers Tell Themselves

6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2016

by Kelly McDonald

For social marketers, 2015 was an exciting year. New platforms, software and consumer preferences brought about a host of changes and opportunities. As a result, social media—and subsequently your strategy—has evolved and will continue to do so.

It’s impossible to predict how the social media landscape will change over the course of a year, but here are six social media trends marketers should keep an eye on in 2016:

1. Real Real-Time Engagement
Social media thrives on real-time engagement, but each year the window for response becomes smaller and smaller. According to Search Engine Watch, 70% of Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to, and 53% want a response in less than an hour. That number jumps to 72% when they’re issuing a complaint.

In 2014, consumers complained about brands 879 million times on social media. What’ssocial_media-1 worse is that in 2015, brands still weren’t responding as 7 in 8 messages to them went unanswered within 72 hours.

One of the key strategies marketers need to implement in 2016 is faster response times. Thanks to advances made to social listening and automation tools, if you’re not quick to respond one of your competitors might be. Social media is moving fast, and if your business has a presence on any of the platforms then you’re expected to keep up.

Continue reading 6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2016

The Leader as Santa

by Chip Bell

Santa silhouetteFull disclosure with a hat tip to Clement Moore, the author of the famous 1823 poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” This is not intended to advocate obesity (“chubby and plump”) or smoking (“stump of a pipe”).  But, the holiday season and his poem provide a metaphor through which to examine the role of the leader.

The obvious connection to Santa is the message of generosity—always an important dimension of great leadership.  The holiday day season underscores the significance of compassion, peace and good will–all necessary cultural ingredients for a growing organization; especially one that recognizes competitive advantage comes from innovation.  But the poem provides us more than the typical festive messages; Santa, like great leaders, is also fun-loving, passionate, and humble.

Leadership is undergoing a metamorphous in our democratic culture.  As we shift from a brawn-based, manufacturing economy to a brain-based, service economy; and, as the values of Gen Xers and Millennials replace the influence held by baby boomers, there is an opportunity to rethink effective leadership.  The new leadership models are not determined by the age of the leader but by the attitude and values she or he brings to the role.

For our exploration through the Santa Claus lens, I have chosen two renowned leaders as examples:  Herb Kelleher, the founder and long time CEO of Southwest Airlines and Cheryl Batchelder, the CEO of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.  Each brings a unique expression of the tenets of effective modern day leadership.

Continue reading The Leader as Santa

Lighting the Pilot Light of Service

by Chip Bell

It happens in my house every year around the first frost. The pilot lights for the gas logs in the fireplaces get lit in preparation for winter. It signals that leaves will be falling, layers of clothing will be increasing, and the den and living room will soon be turned into a wonderland of nurturing warmth, dancing light, and rustic scents. It is the season of holidays.

The parallel in the retail world is the season of sales. Holiday shopping is punctuated by days bantered as black and decorations that seem to be put on display earlier every year. Layaway plans are in full force. We get constantly reminded of the number of shopping days remaining. Buyers are getting in shape for competitive shopping, wish lists, credit card receipts, long lines in stores, and countless “click to purchase” messages! It is the season of spending.

Will you be ready for the onslaught of customers who sometimes put wrangling over etiquette and show unfiltered greed despite the message of the holiday carols playing in the background? Will your frontline be ambassadors of a joyful experience or just indifferent automatons counting the minutes until closing time? What should leaders do to prepare for the season of burnout, sellout, and freak out? It starts with solid preparation by lighting the pilot light. Here are three ways to get your employees ready.

Talk About The Mission, Not the Chore

The task is typically clear to frontline employees struggling with grace under pressure. But, sometimes the mission can seem only like an arithmetic target…increase sales by 32%, gain 21% more revenue, or answer 27% more calls. Bricklaying is still just bricklaying if only the task is known. However, if the focus is on cathedral building it alters the calculus of commitment. Employees need clear assignments and expectations with realistic goals. But, talking about the mission of the enterprise and tying daily tasks to that grand cause enables employees to better weather the pressures of being on stage in front of a sometimes angry audience.

Continue reading Lighting the Pilot Light of Service

Are You Selling When Buyers Are Ready?

by David Meerman Scott

SALES STRATEGIES, NEW RULES OF SALES & SERVICE

Today, buyers are in charge.

Google is our first stop during any shopping excursion. We check out a company’s site and blog and YouTube channel before considering doing business with them. We fire up LinkedIn an hour before an initial business meeting. We check out the CEO’s Twitter feed to see what she is up to.

Most companies are still selling as if it were 1999

For decades, centuries even, selling has been about pushing a product or service at people and trying to get them to pay attention.

Selling has traditionally been conducted on the seller’s timetable. Companies had sales campaigns. They staged sales “events” when products were offered at a discount. Salespeople had quotas tied to the end of the month or end of the quarter.

Can you see the pattern? All of these reasons to sell are company focused, not buyer focused.

Continue reading Are You Selling When Buyers Are Ready?

And They’re Back!

by Kelly McDonald

Living with one’s parents, once a stigmatized state of cohabitation, is now an acceptable state of location, in part due to the sheer number of individuals who are now doing so. Members of what is being referred to as the Boomerang Generation, since successfully leaving the nest have, in recent years, returned and stayed.

Is this Boomer-Boomerang household the new marketing demographic? On the whole, the return to the nest has had an interesting impact on segments of the economy, in particular on real estate and the offshoot markets that spring from home ownership. Washers, Dryers, knick knacks, and other items for living are dropping in sales because Boomerangs simply don’t need them – they use their parents’ items. If Boomerangs are the newest consumer group to whom marketing campaigns are looking to reach, then to which member of the household should marketers be advertising? The parents or the kids?

This begs the question: when the two previously separate homes combine, who becomes the principal consumer?  Both the Boomer and Boomerangs have brand loyalties and though many overlap, several won’t. So when the two merge, who becomes the purchasing decision maker? Previously, parents of the Boomerang Generation have looked to their offspring for advice on new products, new websites, and in particular, new technology. Due to their influence in these categories, these young adults have substantial say when it comes to what products are purchased and when. That said, even though the Boomerangs have a strong influence in many of the retail areas, it does not mean that the Boomers are without substantial input, as they tend to be the party with the funds to actually make the purchases.

Given this balance of power, how do you think companies can best market to these two demographics who have now become one?

Have you noticed any campaigns that are specifically marketed to this group?