Archive for March, 2010

The reach of mobile technology is increasing at an unprecedented pace. Opera Software released it latest “State of the Mobile Web Report” http://www.opera.com/smw/2010/02/. There are a number of very interesting data points that businesses need to consider.

A point of real interest to business is that 50.5 million people used the Opera Mini Browser accounting for 26% of the market. One mobile browser alone, Opera Mini, accounts for 50.5 million people.  Think of the potential impact this has on your business. Now consider the reach of other mobile browsers on the market iPhone at 20.57%, Nokia 16.53%, BlackBerry 12.25% and Android growing at 5.83%.  These are incredible statistics.

Why is this important to business?  It’s important because this data demonstrates that a significant portion of mobile business, research, communications, reservations and purchases are driven over the Internet and a growing percentage using a mobile browser.

Consider further the following

  • 1.2 Billion smart phones were sold in 2009
  • Internet Web Page views since February 2009 grew 154.9% **
  • Unique user growth since February 2009 grew 103.4% **

Cleary the mobile trend reflects growth in both personal and business use. As Internet connectivity and mobile usage has become more ubiquitous across the globe your ability to drive business communication has increased.  Pondering the impact of these numbers I wonder, when is the last time a business management team held a strategy meeting to develop a plan to leverage mobile technology to improve their business?

Business areas you might focus on include:

  • Field Service
  • Inspections
  • Account Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Sales Lead activity, reporting and management

The beauty is that these business areas are inter-related. Businesses don’t have to eat the whole elephant. They can start with a small business segment – usually the one with most pain – and build from that starting point.

Businesses often speak in terms of “when” the time is right we’ll make our move. Well the time is here and quickly moving forward. Question is where are you in responding? Ahead of the wave, frantically paddling to catch up or oblivious to the fact your about to get run over?

Author; Jody Sedrick

**Source, Opera State of the Mobile Web, February 2010

Advertisements

What are you really selling?

Posted: March 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

This week I had the opportunity to visit with Rich Hersey of Red Line Recreational Toys http://www.redlinerectoys.com/. As I visited with Rich about some potential business opportunities I asked him to explain to me how the Red Line Programs are sold and managed with their customers.  In a nutshell they are selling fractional ownership of all the toys that you’ve ever dreamed of owning – jet skis, fishing boats, ski boats, ATVs and RVs.

I really like the concept. As I listened to Rich I realized that he isn’t selling fractional ownership in every recreational toy imaginable. He’s selling time, memories and a lifestyle.

Don’t believe me? Check out this quote from one of his satisfied customer….

“We joined RL last spring. We were having trouble providing a wide variety of activities that everyone in our blended family would enjoy. Suffice it to say my stepsons finished their summertime with us saying it “was the best ever”. You can’t put a price on that. I bet we can improve on that outcome this summer too. Thanks RedLine. We appreciate the variety you offer our family.”

Notice the satisfied customer didn’t mention anything about the incredible recreational toys. The emphasis, or value, was placed on the variety of activities and time their family could enjoy together.

Do you know what value your product offers your customer? What are you selling?

Are you stuck in the mode of selling features? Or are you selling the real VALUE of your product?

Perhaps you need to revisit this question from the perspective of the customer and it will give you insight on how to win more customers.

Stop! Quit selling me, I’m Sold!

Posted: March 12, 2010 in Sales

A few weeks I was in a meeting with an associate where we presented one of our product solution sets.  The meeting went very well. The customer was engaged. She was asking the right questions. She was listening. My associate was talking. She was listening. My associate talked some more. She kept listening. I tried to intercept because she was ready to buy. He talked some more.  Finally she said STOP! Quit selling me I’m sold.

Many sales professionals miss the close because they’re too concerned with finishing the presentation. They get trapped in the idea that if I wow the customer with my “awesome” sales and presentation skills, I’ll win the day.

Not! You’ll more likely annoy them.

Don’t miss the close because you’re still yapping.

Knowing when to ask for the sale isn’t hard. It all starts with listening.

You may ask what are you listening for? Here are a few “I’m ready to buy” clues:

  1. Can you explain those features again?
  2. How long will installation take?
  3. Can our team do the installation?
  4. Will we be able to do the same thing after training?
  5. What is your upgrade policy? And, what is entailed in upgrading down the road?
  6. Once I have the equipment in my hand…?
  7. How soon can someone be here?
  8. Any questions about warranty?

Obviously this is a short list. But you get the picture.

Remember this astute observation from Carolyn Shamis

A mediocre salesman tells
A good salesman explains
A superior salesman demonstrates
Great salesmen inspire buyers to see the benefits as their own


The past couple of days I’ve been thinking about a presentation that I saw on You Tube titled “The Mindset of Winner” featuring an interview with Seth Godin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBrRLI4ozag&feature=related. In this presentation Seth Godin mentions that no one talks about average. We always talk about the best or something that is unique. He gave the example of the barefoot carpet salesman. People talk about a barefoot carpet salesman. I can see the conversation “Did you hear about the barefoot salesman? No why is he barefoot? He sales carpet? That’s interesting and mememorable.

Dennis Rodman comes to mind. Prior to 1993 Dennis Rodman was just another basketball player in the minds of most americans – a good one – but another basket player. Plus he was up for contract negotiations.

In 1993 Dennis made a strategic marketing decision and yes it was a marketing decision recommended by his agent, to become the “bad boy” of basketball. We all know his wild antics dying his hair, piercings, tattoos and even wearing a wedding dress. He became the talk of basketball. He signed a contract. He was a fierce defensive player and became one of the best defensive players in history. But what he really did was market himself and thus changed his destiny earning celebrity attention, endorsements and alot of publicity for the Bulls

Now I’m not recommending you dawn a wedding dress and dye your hair. But ask yourself what are you doing to differentiate yourself as a sales professional? Are you average? Or do you stand out?

I’ve watched with great interest Nick Hession of MobileFrame. He’s carved out a unique differentiator for himself.  He doesn’t just present the software to his customers. In preparation for a meeting, he builds his prospect a sample application using the MobileFrame software. He then records a video of him using the application branded with the customer’s logos and then sends it to the customer. This generally takes him less than an hour. But what has he accomplished with this little extra effort?

  1. He’s engaged the customer in a unique way
  2. He’s presented the software in away that plants the seeds of ownership in the mind of the customer
  3. He helps the customer sell his vision internally to management
  4. He’s demonstrated his willingness to work for a customer
  5. He’s demonstrated his understanding of what the customer needs based on his understanding today.
  6. He’s prepared the customer for the actual meeting
  7. He’s taken one giant leap in earning the trust of his customer
  8. Out of the gate he has differentiated himself from the competition.

Question are you trapped in the dial for dollars mode? Just another average sales professional. Or are you looking for ways to differentiate you from the competition?