Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Leaving Voicemails -- A Question From The Manta.com Forum

Leaving effective voicemails increases your sales credibility.It's been an interesting year and we have had the good fortune of partnering with outstanding people working at some wonderful companies. One of those partnerships is with the good people at ECNext, the creative minds behind the business portal, Manta.com.

Amongst the Manta community, members have the ability to ask questions regarding sales, small business operations, and management. They can also review prospective companies and update information on their own corporate profiles.

Over the past few months we've seen a host of questions from the Manta community. There's a definite pattern of concern raised by sales peopele on how to increase sales effectiveness--no doubt a direct result from the current economic climate. Here is one of the questions from the community regarding effective use of voicemails:

Screen Name: Manta Member

Question: After leaving 25 voice mails and sending several emails, how do I get a reply from my sales prospect?

Manta Member,

It depends on the timeframe that you have sent these 25 voicemails. If you have made 25 different voicemails over the span of a year, then it’s time to become more aggressive. Increase your calls and mix in some direct mail (email or USPS) along with some personal appearances.

On the other hand, if you left 25 voicemails to the same person within the last week, then you’ve probably moved into the realm of being an annoyance. It’s time to scale back on quantity and focus on quality.

In both cases, knowing what the person wants is crucial. If you don’t know what they want, then your voicemails, as well as your overall sales and marketing effort, will be useless. It’s like shooting arrows at a target that you can’t see and have no idea where it is located.

Once you know what the person wants, then you can use a creative opening that will get their attention. I’ve seen people create out-of-the-box openings that grabbed a client’s attention and yielded a response. I’ve seen sales reps use the curiosity approach effectively and get responses. I’ve seen sales reps leave compelling complements and get responses. The key here is that they all know something about the prospect and they tailored the message to what they wanted. If you are leaving voicemails like I used to: “Hi, my name is Larry Prevost from ABC company. Call me at 408-555-1212”, I can guarantee you that you will not get a response. That’s not a voicemail, that’s a birth announcement. It does nothing for grabbing the client’s attention and there is no compelling reason for them to call you back.

On the other hand, something like, “Bob; 20% of car dealerships won’t weather the current economic crisis. Two of our clients, however, have taken steps that, in the last month, have put them in the top 10% producers nationwide. I’ll call you on Thursday to discuss what they did and see if this will work for you. Larry Prevost, ABC Company, 408-555-1212.” Now, if this is an owner of a car dealership and they have even remotely been following the news, you have their attention, you have their curiosity, and at the very least, they will be expecting your call. On the other end, they may just take it on themselves to call you.

Again, I emphasize that you need to know something about what your prospect wants.

One more point to emphasize. Contact multiple people within the company. If you have them, now is the time to work them. If you don’t have them, now is the time to get some. I can’t tell you how many times that I have had something going with a prospect and everything is going well. Suddenly, all contact with my prospect stops. After leaving 10 to 12 voicemails with my prospect, a call to the gatekeeper or the front desk reveals that my contact has had a stroke [or some other debilitating ailment] and no one knows when, or if, they will be back.

So to recap, make sure that you know something about what your prospect wants, and make sure that you are visible to multiple contacts within the company.

For more information on Manta.com or to become a member, go to Manta.com and create your online account today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

From The Desk of Ed Eppely

A message from our senior leadership team.

Dear clients and friends,

I think we can all agree that this has been a challenging year for everyone. As the stock market continues to waver, the credit markets remain frozen and the government continues to it's effort to repair the current economic condition, here's what I don't know about the situation confronting our mutual businesses:

  • I don't know how long the economic uncertainty will last.

  • I don’t know how well the government's efforts will work.

Here's what I do know:

  1. You can't "expense your way to victory" in soft or declining markets. In fact, most businesses can't cut enough expenses to remain viable in prolonged down markets.

  2. These unusual conditions are forcing companies to make choices about marginal performers that should have been made months or years ago.

  3. Likewise many of these same companies are being forced to decide whether they will operate their business in a manner consistent with their stated values. It’s interesting to see how senior management responds to short-term problems vs. prolonged significant gut-wrenching strife.

  4. Right now we all want leadership from our boss, our spouse, our pastor, priest, rabbi, mullah, governor and president. Employees, vendors and customers want to see the senior management of every company lead their organizations. We all want to know that those in charge have a credible plan to help us navigate these uncertain times.

Having experienced at least three downturns of this kind before, here's what I would tell anyone who asked for my opinion on how to survive and thrive right now.

  1. Make a list of the things you/your department, company or family can control vs. the things you can't.

  2. Set at least 2 quantifiable goals (outcomes with dates) for each thing you can control that when accomplished will make some kind of progress. Then ruthlessly pursue those goals.

  3. Make mistakes of commission, not omission. Swing the bat! Throw caution to the wind. Now more than ever you have to get outside your comfort zone.

  4. Exercise hard at least three times per week. Now more than ever you need to find an emotional release. You'll sleep better, you'll feel better.

  5. Confide in your spouse, seek the counsel of those who have been through tough times. Our significant others want to help us. Give the gift of letting them do so. So often we think the good old days never saw anything like today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Someone smarter than me said many years past, "every generation must beat out anew the truth."

Finally, remember we tend to fear that which we don’t understand. There is a Cycle of Change that every company should explain to their people right now. This Cycle helps people understand what they currently have or what they could experience emotionally. Helping our employees become aware of what they feel doesn't make their emotions go away. But it dramatically changes their attitudes when they learn that it is predictable.

I don't have all the answers. But I do know that these trying times create amazing opportunities for those who fight the right battles and don't fall prey to a victim mentality.

Best wishes to you and your families from all of us at Dale Carnegie of Ohio & Indiana.

Ed Eppley,
Senior Vice President, Dale Carnegie Training of Ohio and Indiana

DcarnegieTraining is Back Online

After overcoming some mighty challenges, the team at Dreamhost finally got the dead server replaced and all of the data either restored or transfered to other servers.

This means that our seventh site, DCarnegieTraining, is operational again with all of it's content in place. I'd like to say that we got lucky. But when you dig past luck, you typically find a group of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly and creatively to make things happen.

This event was no different.

They may not face the same physical challenges as the the guys that go out in the cold to repair power lines or the crew that goes out in the middle of the night to repair water mains, but when your infrastructure is down, somebody is under pressure to bring it back up. When you take into account the size of some of these servers, and the complexity of the configurations, you get a better appreciate of what some of these guys have to go through.

So here's to all of the guys in the back office who work tirelessly to keep our front offices running, but typically get no recognition or appreciation for it.

Thanks guys.

Once again, you can access the Dale Carnegie Human Relations Principles here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Internet Explorer Exploit Update

Here is an update on the Microsoft Internet Explorer Security exploit mentioned earlier.

If you are running Internet Explorer, you are strongly encouraged to install the patch.

You can find it on the Sales IT Tech blog.

Happy Browsing

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Training and Event Updates for December 17 2008

Have you ever wanted to manage the learning and professional development programs that your members of your team take?

Do your team members undertake various programs and courses to satisfy your in house compliance programs, but you have no idea of who has taken what courses, how far along they are in their certificate programs, or what expertise each member has that the entire group can leverage?

Do you assess the capabilities of your team members on a regular basis as a prerequisite to determining the types of training and coaching that they will need?

These are a few of the questions that we'll be answering in the coming year. Come back to our blog and our sites often. We'll have announcements in the coming weeks regarding these changes.

Meanwhile, here are the program updates for personal management, productivity and communication coaching programs in the Midwest states of Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Central Indiana.

Interpersonal Communications, Leadership and Public Speaking

Dale Carnegie Course: Effective Communication and Human Relations

Strictly Business: The Dale Carnegie Immersion Seminar

Sales and Sales Communication

The Sales Advantage

Make Sales: How to Jump Start Your Selling Career

Leadership and Management

Leadership Training for Managers

The Leadership Advantage

Group Communication, Public Speaking, Presentation and Platform Skills

High Impact Presentations

Supplemental Events

Coming soon. Stay tuned.

Internet Explorer Exploit

For all of you sales reps out there.

Just posted about a security hole in Internet Explorer that could leave your system vulnerable to intrusion.

Since most of us use browsers to access our online tools like salesforce.com, linkedin.com and Google Apps, it might be a prudent precaution to stay alert to this security flaw.

Details at Sales IT Tech

Monday, December 15, 2008

System Outage

I guess it was bound to happen at some point.

One of our web vendors (Dreamhost) had a file/web server blow up making some of our material unavailable (www.dcarnegietraining.com). They are working on replacing the system as we speak.


We’ll keep you posted on when it will be back. More details on Sales IT Tech.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Increase Laptop Security And Peace Of Mind With These 3 Ideas

Greetings...

Ignorance may be bliss, but it can also be costly and damaging. Second post on laptop and desktop security to prevent the average technical joe from getting access to our sensitive data.

Laptop Security Part 2: Keep Information Private With 3 Simple Technical Adjustments

Monday, December 1, 2008

Change We Can Use

Greetings!

Yet another change implemented. We have upgraded our look as well as our title.

Email me at larry_prevost@dcarnegietraining.com with your ideas on future developments.

Good Selling.