Color Me Purple

One thing I have learned to love and appreciate is the importance of planning.   Usually I start my business planning for the next year in Nov.  Then, I work on the finer details of my plans in Dec.

Now that December is here, I am ready for the next level of my plans. Business growth plans and the marketing plans which go along accordingly.

People who see me out and about usually comment on my organization of everything I do. In part, day plannerit starts with an old school approach: I simply use a good old fashioned weekly calendar.  I actually hate spending money on a calendar (I think they charge too much)… but, each year I am glad I invested into one. In fact, I get a good one (so I spend a bit more.) 

With all the technology out there- I know I could be ‘up with the times’ but a physical calendar works for my kinetic learning style. Also I never have to worry about a battery going out and losing all my data.

My calendars need to have a very good cover as this is used daily and it travels out and about with me.  This years calendar I chose is a nice lavendar covered one. The store did not have preferred deeper purple… so lavendar it is.   I know this is goofy- but I have to like looking at the calendar since I use it every day. 🙂

I must say, I was pleasantly treated to a good upsell at the check out counter. Rarely do I see a sales rep do a good upsell so it was a treat for me to be the recipient of a perfectly excuted one!!  LOL!   The gal checking my lavendar calendar out at the cash register said “Since you have such a nice purple calendar… you need a purple pen to to with it.  I just happen to have one right here. ”  I smiled and asked her if it had purple ink.  She said “Yes!” and did a perfect demonstration. She then handed me the pen and paper to write on. I did, and I bought.

She had no way of knowing that I used to always write important things in purple ink. It had been a long time since I had a pen like that.

So- how does this tie into my year end planning: its’ simple.  I now have my purple calendar, my purple pen to go along w/ my purple glasses, desk lamps and other accessories.  Although purple is my personal favorite color- you will find that I actually love many colors that are jewel toned. I use color very wisely – depending on my need and environmnet.

To wrap up: if you love purple, here’s what some say about your personality. This one fits me pretty well:

Purples are highly individual, fastidious, witty and sensitive, with a strong desire to be unique and different. Temperamental, expansive and artistic, a Purple person may become aloof and sarcastic when misunderstood. If you chose Purple, you tend to be unconventional, tolerant and dignified, likely to achieve positions of authority.

Have some fun and be sure to pencil in time before the end of the year to do your planning. Good leaders and good marketers know how valuble this quiet time is. It’s an investment into your future.

If you need help with marketing planning so what you do is effective, I can help. I’ve done simple 6 month at a glance ‘yellow pad’ plans- along with agency level 3,5, 10 year and exit strategy plans.  Businesses need to plan now more than ever before to create profitablity short term and long term.

Happy Planning!

Debbra

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Pet Peeve Rant- A Stand for Integrity

I  don’t often air my pet peeve’s publicly, but today I have to.   I have to stand up and speak about the breakdown of the moral fabric of integrity that I see going on around us.  Oh, I know. It’s always been there-but over the past few years, it can be seen that this breakdown has been happening faster and with increased lack of concern for the consequences.

One area in particular were this lack of integrity showing up more and more is in business. A few years ago, people were asking me when I was in and do a radio show about morality and integrity.  These questions came about right after the first couple airings of the show.  At that time wasn’t quite ready to take on this subject.  It’s a big one.

Don’t get me wrong. I have always done my best to walk with integrity,  to live up my life with consistency, to be honest in my speech and intentions. In our business, from day one, we have always served our clients with honest communication, our best foot forward, and we followed through on what we said we would deliver.

Part of why I feel the need to rant today is that over the last couple of weeks, we have been talking to many businesses that want and need our online and offline marketing services.  In our discovery conversations with them (our prospective clients)  the talk lately ends up being around their website, and how to promote it effectively for long-term results.

One of the biggest differences about our company, is that we take the time to truly research and do our homework before we work with a client.  This becomes very important in the planning process that we do.  We know, and our clients have told us, that part of why we are able to get great results for our customers is the research and planning, we do.

So after these conversations with potential clients we did our homework.  This is where we kept seeing (over and over) that these potential clients had been lied to and deceived by companies that presented a contract for services that ultimately were complete waste of time, effort, and money for the business owner (our potential client).

It’s one thing to see a bad contract, shoddy work, and have insight and knowledge from a place of integrity, knowing that what our potential client is paying for was not what they were getting.  It is another thing to see some of these same companies offering services doing this type contracting for each of their clients. The advertising companies are simply ripping off these business owners!  The clients have been manipulated, and the companies that wrote the contracts did business without integrity.

I’m not sure why I have such a passion to serve people and help them succeed.  My heart has always been to serve and to do things that are best for others.  I find reward, knowing that it is possible to do great work, deliver what you say and have moral values intact. I also find reward in watching other people discover a sense of hope and belief knowing that they have found a person in the company who has consistency, integrity and moral values.

As we cascade faster into the time where technology drives us, and people have become laden with more responsibilities  to work longer in order to provide for  themselves and their family, a return to core values, first by individuals, and right alongside it, by companies, is needed.

A consistency that appeared during the Depression and has been seen over the past few years, is that people did not necessarily stop spending money, however, they are much more cautious as to where they do spend the money.  People want good service and value.  It is disheartening to see business owners today gun shy and scared, because they’ve been burned too many times by businesses, who all too easily will lie and manipulate just to make a buck.

The time is now to stand for, a sense of moral righteousness, humility, honesty, integrity, and strong core values that lead to a positive influence and deliver value and a true sense of purpose. It has been said that it takes one person to stand up and take the first step for change.  I have made a commitment to myself, to my family,to the company,  to my clients, and ultimately to God to stand for His truth and righteousness to be a representative of how we CAN be honest and successful at the same time. All this can be done based upon principles with good strong moral ethics and values. If I have to be that one person to now stand up for others- I am ready.

For those of you who are reading this that have a business and have been burned by other marketing and advertising companies — if you’re looking for a solid company to work with will take care of you with the integrity, you deserve, know that you have to look no further.  My door is always open, and I would be happy to speak with you to find out your needs, your situation and your business goals this next year.  Connect up with me and let’s talk.

Here’s to standing for the truth!

May your day be blessed and prosperous,

Debbra Sweet

 

P.S. In case you’re not clear on the definition of integrity, it is here:

in·teg·ri·ty

1.adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2.the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.
3.a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition: the integrity of a ship’s hull.

Relationships when Selling – understanding the game todays

I found this post yesterday and thought is was of high value in understanding how people have transitioned in their lives and in their way of thinking.  For those who have to lead in life, lead in business, lead in selling, this snippit brings some clarity to help us keep patience and understanding in how to work with others.

Enjoy!

Debbra

http://www.sweetmarketingsolutions.com

Is Relationship Selling Dead?

Doyle Slayton | Jun 02, 2010 | Comments 37

Written by Jill Konrath, author of
SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

It sure feels that way today! You rarely reach your prospects on the phone and when you do, they quickly brush you off. When you’re in meetings, they want you to get right to the point.

Sometimes they’re so busy multi-tasking, that you’re not even sure if they’re paying attention. Even your long-term customers fail to return your calls for months, making you wonder what you did wrong.

Welcome to the new normal! Your prospects are suffering from Frazzled Customer Syndrome, a debilitating condition brought on by increased expectations, excessive workloads, unrealistic deadlines and fewer resources.

They’re good people who are doing their very best to survive in a frenetic workplace. Their calendars are overflowing, they’re constantly falling behind and they feel powerless to stop the escalating demands on their time.

The truth is, they don’t need another “relationship.”

They barely get to see their best friends anymore. They even eat lunch at their desk everyday so they can get more done. It’s all work, work, work. New relationships are a low priority.

But you want a relationship! Of course you do. You’re a relationship seller. Your best customers love you. They value your work. They refer others to you.

And, you love them back even more and take great care of them. Working with people like this feeds your soul – and pays well too!

Wanting to replicate these strong relationships is natural. But establishing that great connection can be a real challenge when dealing with stressed out people who seem more intent on pushing you away than inviting you in.

Here’s the good news! Underneath all that rude, brusque behavior are normal human beings who desperately want relationships with people who they can trust to help them achieve their goals.

That person could be you. But first, you need to understand what’s going on in their mind in order to create the connection you want.

What Your Prospects Think

Whenever you deal with frazzled prospects their brains immediately start firing off alert signals: “Warning. Pay attention. Salesperson.” While you may not see yourself that way, they do and that’s what matters.

They evaluate your voicemails, emails and initial conversation to determine if having a more in-depth conversation with you is worthwhile. They make lightning-quick decisions to allow you access to them based on these criteria:

  • Is this aligned with what I need to accomplish?
  • How big a priority is it? What’s the urgency?
  • Does this person provide value?
  • How simple is it? Will it take lots of effort?

Unless you can convey all this very quickly, you won’t get your foot in the door. But it doesn’t stop there. To retain or grow a relationship, you have to keep your focus on these decision-criteria at all times too.

Relationship selling today goes far beyond the warm fuzzy feelings that you get from working with people you like and vice versa. It’s about creating partnerships where you’re a contributing team member, working towards your client’s short- and long-term success objectives.

SNAP Rules Change the Game

You need to follow the new SNAP Rules to be successful with the “new” relationship selling. Here they are:

Rule 1: Keep It Simple
Your goal is to ensure maximum simplicity in everything you do. That’s going to require you to look at all aspects of your interactions with your prospects to see where complexity can be eliminated or minimized.

When you keep it simple, you make it easier for your them to buy from you.

Rule 2: Be iNvaluable
Today’s crazy-busy prospects want to work with sellers who “know their stuff” and bring them fresh ideas on a regular basis. Perhaps you’ve never even seen that as your role. But today it’s essential to turn yourself into the competitive differentiator.

When you become invaluable, people choose you over competitors, are less price conscious, and remain loyal.

Rule 3: Always Align
This is all about relevance and risk. At the onset of your relationship, clients need to see an immediate connection between what you do and what they’re trying to achieve. As they move through their decision-making process, they need to know that the alignment extends into core beliefs they value in the people they work with.

When you’re aligned with their critical business objectives and core beliefs, clients want to work with you.

Rule 4: Raise Priorities
It’s an absolute imperative to work with frazzled prospects on their priority projects. With their limited capacity, that’s all they can currently focus on. Because your prospect’s priorities are constantly shifting, you need to be alert to what’s going on in their organization.

When you raise priorities, your sales process goes much faster and you get the business with less competition.

Relationship selling isn’t dead. In fact, it’s more alive than ever before. You still need to connect with your prospects on a personal level, but it’s no longer sufficient.

You have to earn the right to have a relationship with them first.

They want your expertise focused on their priority business objectives, issues and challenges. They want you to continually bring them fresh ideas and provocative insights. They’re looking for you to simplify the complex and make their life easy.

When you do this, they’ll be friends forever.
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Want to learn more about the new rules of selling to crazy-busy prospects? To get four FREE sales-accelerating tools and download two chapters of SNAP Selling, visit www.SnapSelling.com