3 Lies You Tell Yourself About Your Customers That Cost You Sales

image courtesy "Sudden Impact", Warner Bros

In my line of work, one of the most frequent expressed needs my technology clients talk about is new business development.  Sales have stagnated or dropped, and the CEO is seeking the classic Hunter.  This makes sense.  New business development is incredibly important.  But what about old business development?  I’ve found out that many business owners are kidding themselves about the business opportunities that come from current accounts and continue to believe some whoppers about the current state of their sales, and that belief is costing them easy sales.  Read More…

Comments { 0 }

Going Vertical: Discovering Target Markets That You Can Succeed In

Vertical markets, going vertical

image courtesy of Feelart @ freedigitalphotos.net

Business leaders are increasingly trading in their shotguns for laser-sited sniper rifles.  You may think I’m talking about a clever way to circumvent new and anticipated gun legislation, but you would be wrong.  Of course, I am referring to targeting markets; more specifically, generalist businesses bringing a focused attack to targeting customers to generate more, deeper and multi-faceted layers of customer relationships and sales revenue.

But how do you succeed in selecting the right target market, or vertical, and early stage execution without total, break-the-bank reinvention of your company? Read More…

Comments { 0 }

Becoming a Business Chameleon: Adapting to Change Before It Happens

image courtesy Predator, 20th Century Fox

We all remember in science class as kids the theory of Darwinian Evolution: survival of the fittest, or more simply, adapt or die.  Unfortunately, the fear of impending death is usually the case for action for adapting in modern business as well.  That’s what makes it so tough to reinvent business—when the pressure is on with the figurative gun to the head of the chief executive.  But what if you could adapt to change or anticipate the need for it before the hammer was cocked, before the competition?  You’d become a business chameleon, protected for self-preservation and dangerous to competitors, hitting them before they see you.  Heck, you’d be the business Predator. Read More…

Comments { 0 }

Committing Nicheocide: 3 Signs It’s Time to Kill Your Niche

business niche suicide, nicheocide, dead business niche

image in part by zirconicusso @freedigitalphotos.net

All good business leaders these days know that developing a market niche is critical to growing deep business development roots.  People want to be served by experts, particularly in the consulting or professional service spaces.  If you haven’t made a mark as a thought leader in your specific slice of the market, you’re breathing competitive tailwinds as you lead from behind, and soon you’ll be choking.  Or so says conventional wisdom.  I’m here to tell you that it’s not a one-size-fits-all world, and there are times when, for your own fiscal health, you need to commit Nicheocide and kill your business niche. Read More…

Comments { 2 }

Mental Aerobics for Salespeople: Breaking Through

brain aerobics, mental conditioning

image by marin/ddparumba @ freedigitalphotos.net

Sales professionals leverage their history, training and experience in their personal selling tool kits, making them available as needed to attack any sales situation.  This is good.  But what happens when it isn’t working, when you’re in a rut, and you just can’t seem to move the needle with that target account and you’ve exhausted all of your known tactics?  It’s time to change your approach, and that’s easier said than done when years of training and success have boxed in your brain with certain “realities”.  It’s time to hit the mental gym. Read More…

Comments { 0 }

Selling Technology to the C-Suite: Making the Complex Actionable

selling technology, selling the c-suite

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick @freedigitalphotos.net

We’ve all seen sit-coms showing nerds at Star Trek or Lord of the Rings Conventions, laughing at the esoteric, inside-baseball, goofy factoids that everyone in attendance knows about and the audience doesn’t.  That super-geek behavior is what makes it funny.  They’re talking their own special language of techie pop-culture, yet it is Greek to the rest of us.  If you’re company sells technology products and services, and that is a lot of firms these days, beware your sales approach to the buyer who isn’t as up to speed on the hi-tech bells and whistles as you have become.  You might seem just as alien as the Hobbits from the TV convention, except it won’t be funny when you end up losing the sale.

This happens more often than not when well-versed sales engineers get past the high-tech user audience and need to pitch to the C-suite.  Those real decision-makers speak a language of their own, and you need to learn it if you want them to start scratching out checks. Read More…

Comments { 0 }

Developing Your Market Game Changer

 competitive advantage, unique selling proposition, business uniquenessWhen the world is filled with apples, how can your business become an orange?  In the universe of modern business, getting your name out as a recognizable and trusted expert within your industry is the main task facing CEOs, CMOs, and Vice Presidents of Sales or Business Development.  Standing out in a world of sameness means coming up with a true competitive advantage and exploiting it for the favor of your company.  That’s easier said than done, especially in commoditized markets like IT services or 3rd party Logistics, and is one of the most misunderstood aspects of business strategy today.

But what if you could not only stand alone in your industry, but revolutionize it with new product, process or practice that would change the market and set a new standard that others were forced to mimic in order to survive?  That’s creating your market game changer, and it could change your business and your life in ways you never thought possible. Read More…

Comments { 0 }

Navy Seal Crisis Response: 3 Steps for Your Business

 navy seals, seal training, crisis responseThe United States Navy Seal program develops warriors on the battlefield par excellence.  These are men who are the very best at dealing with crisis situations that most of us can’t begin to contemplate and handling them with crack efficiency.  Unfortunately many of us reading this, myself included, never realize that game excellence until one or more of them make headlines by making the ultimate sacrifice for their cause, their unit, and their country.

But what exactly makes these guys so exceptional at what they do, and can those skills, or variations of them, be developed in people like you and I and used in our daily routines to make us the best in our own respective career universes? Read More…

Comments { 0 }

Business Speed Dating: The Right Way to Prospect Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn speed dating, LinkedIn prospecting

image courtesy of Grant Cochrane @freedigitalphotos.net

In my conversations with CEOs about white-collar business development, the topic of LinkedIn will invariably arise, with mixed opinions.  Some top executives tell me that their best salespeople use LinkedIn all the time to seek out and forge new relationships that convert into business.  Others think it is another social media waste of time and energy better spent knocking on doors.  So what is the truth?  Can your sales teams use LinkedIn for effective prospecting, and how? Read More…

Comments { 0 }

Rolodex Rainmaking: The Real Truth

rolodex rainmaker, business development

image courtesy of cooldesign @ freedigitalphotos.net

New business development, defined as new customers that are actually buying your products and services, is the lifeblood for most businesses, at least those that are trying to grow. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs, owners and CEOs oversimplify the business development process to what sales or BD person has the biggest Rolodex. That’s a critical mistake, and many top executives fail to learn from history and make it over, and over, and over…

So just how should CEOs be looking at new business development to actually get a real and sizable return on investment? Read More…

Comments { 0 }