Talk is cheap and great ideas without action are useless. Instead, here are 62 actions you can take today from 13 brilliant sales and marketing thought leaders.
If you missed one of the best eight-hour-marathon, virtual events of 2016, Amanda Holmes and her team at Chet Holmes International have summarized the key takeaways. Thirteen of the top marketing and sales masters reveal their secrets--from Ken Krogue, president of InsideSales.com, sharing his thoughts on reaching 4X more prospects to Tom Ziglar of Zig Ziglar on living a motivated life. You're going to want to bookmark this page and come back often.
But don't just read and absorb this content--make an action plan to implement this sage advice. As CHI teaches, "It isn't about doing 4,000 things. It's about doing one or two things 4,000 times." So pick one or two initiatives and, with pigheaded discipline and determination, follow through on them until they become habitual. Intellectual curiosity does nothing to help your business grow. Taking massive action on great advice does. So put yourself in a frame of mind ready to drink from the proverbial fire hose of sales and marketing wisdom. Enjoy!
Ken Krogue, president of InsideSales.com--Reaching 4x More Prospects
- Most companies average 1.5 phone calls to a lead before they give up. Standard procedure should be at least six to nine.
- Teach your reps to ask specifically for direct dial numbers from prospects (make sure your web forms do as well). You will reach prospects much more efficiently.
- Forbid your salespeople to ask prospects about the weather: Mandate they find three less generic rapport-building topics (it takes two minutes to do a Google-Facebook-LinkedIn search).
- Teach your sales reps to use "reverse customer referrals." Search the LinkedIn connections of prospects to find anyone they're connected with whom your company has already done business with. Now your reps can mention that common relationship to the prospect--you have instant social proof.
- Have your sales reps read these articles and turn their LinkedIn Profiles into little lead-generation machines: "Epic List of LinkedIn Profile Tips."
Chad Kirby, Infusionsoft--Seven Things You Forgot to Automate That Can Double Your Sales
- Know exactly who your customers are. Get specific: Write down descriptions of basic characteristics; pains, problems, and challenges; benefits they seek; why they buy from you; the most common objections; who is not your target customer.
- Once you know these traits, check whether your marketing messages appeal directly to these specific prospects. If you don't have educational marketing collateral, build it to attract these ideal prospects to opt in to your lead system (e.g., create a free white paper: "Five Ways You're [pain point of your target audience], and the Two Things You Can Do to [benefit of working with your company]").
- Look at the places where your leads might be falling through the gaps and create a lead-capture process for each of these potentially missed interactions:
- Web traffic that leaves your site
- Walk-ins who walk out
- Telephone callers who hang up
- Networking contacts who leave
- Tradeshow visitors who walk by
- Look at what you're doing to nurture your prospects (educating them, training them, building trust with them), and see if you can't procedurize those processes.
- Make templates for those follow-up emails (and automate them in a CRM like Infusionsoft)
- Stop wasting the time of a live person by answering the same customer questions over and over. Create a PDF with the answers to the most common questions your prospects ask. Automate the system so that enquiring or new customers automatically receive this PDF.
- If you can't guarantee that you're asking for a referral with every sale you make, you must automate this process. (It can be as simple as an email that says, "Is there anybody you would recommend our services to?" along with a contact form to fill out.)
Amanda Holmes, Chet Holmes International, with Shane Hurley--The One Strategy That Increased Appointment Setting 5.5X and Sales Conversions by 38 Percent
- If your company is self-focused, you're wasting 90 percent of your time, money, and energy. Stop with the me, me, me, me, me: "I want your business"; "I want to sell my product"; "My product is great!"
- Get the attention of the 90 percent of prospects that weren't thinking about your product or service by talking to them about what's interesting to them. For example: "Hey! This is a problem that you are facing, or this is something that you've been looking for. I can give you some information that will help you with that."
- Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal prospect. What keeps the prospect up at night? (It may have nothing to do with your product or service, but can you grab the prospect's attention by giving a solution to the problem or highlighting it?)
- Market data is way more motivational than product data. Example: Did you know that 75 percent of employees have stolen from their employers, and half of them steal repeatedly? (U.S. Chamber of Commerce). This market data creates a much more compelling reason to speak to Shane at Redfynn about protecting your assets than simply touting the features of his products and services.
- Create a presentation that educates your prospects about these pains. The presentation should also provide great solutions to those pains (hint: one, but not all, of these solutions is your product or service).
- Once this presentation is created, it becomes the ultimate vehicle for creating trust and rapport with your prospects before even pitching them on your product or service. Done well, such a presentation (CHI calls it a "core story") establishes you as an expert and authority while simultaneously resetting buying criteria in your favor.
Keith Cunningham--Don't Get Big, Get Rich: How to Avoid Dumb Tax
- Stop tolerating "below the line" culture in your company. You get what you tolerate:
- Smack talking
- Studies have shown that if a company is $10 million or less, there is a 90 percent chance that nobody on the executive team is consistently looking at the numbers! If you do not already, you must start paying attention to your metrics:
- The accounting: balance sheets, income statements, etc.
- KPIs: How does my profit compare with my revenue? How does my profit compare with my operating cash flow? Etc.
- Make sure you're looking at the trends in these numbers over time. It is fundamental to running a successful business--trends over time tell you where you're succeeding and where you need work. Without an eye on the trends, you're just shooting in the dark.
- Stop making the same mistakes. Start keeping a log of lessons learned. Every time you make a mistake (or something goes better than expected), pull out the log and make a note of the lesson.
- Anytime you're thinking about trying something new with your business, ask yourself these three questions:
- What's the upside?
- What's the downside? (What could go wrong? What if I'm wrong? And how would that play out?)
- Can I live with the downside?
Brendon Burchard--How to Get Millions to See Your Marketing Messages
- Content is the new currency. If you aren't already, you need to start creating great free content for your audience. (Your only other option is to pay for every click.)
- You don't need to create something every single day.
- Try creating one significant thing a week.
- Make sure when you're creating content, you "particle-ize" it--that is, convert it to the proper format and disseminate it to all your media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.). You shouldn't waste your time creating unique content for each platform.
- Implement "circular viralocity" in your social media efforts. This means make sure all your platforms link back and forth to one another. This interconnectedness causes all your platforms to grow much more rapidly.
- If you are not using retargeting in your business, you need to start; it isn't optional anymore. You are blowing through leads and money if you don't have a strategic retargeting campaign running.
- Keep in mind that at the end of your life, you will probably reflect back and ask yourself these questions:
- Did I live?
- Did I love?
- Did I matter?
- Live each day with so much intention that when you get to the end of your life, you are happy with the answers to those questions.
Clay Collins--How Leadpages Went From Zero to 40,000 Clients in 2.8 Years
- Instead of going out and hiring salespeople, consider hiring content creators to own different marketing channels (e.g., someone just to operate your YouTube channel and someone just for your blog).
- Put your content creators on a quota like you would a salesperson. Define how much revenue you want generated from that blog or that YouTube channel.
- Make sure to turn literally every single piece of content that you create into a lead-generation opportunity.
- Measure the results of your content creators. Most companies underinvest in content, because they have no idea how to tell what the ROI is on that content.
- Here's where many companies fall flat: They fail to realize the value of creating unlimited budgets for things.
- If you have a machine that for every $1 you put in, $1.50 comes out, you should hire people to just feed dollars into the machine all day long.
- The key to doing this is measurement. You can't even think about finding these "machines" in your company unless you're measuring the results of what you're doing.
Stacey Hylen, Chet Holmes International--Best Buyer Strategy: The Fastest, Least Expensive Way to Double Your Sales
- Compared with all potential buyers, there is always a much smaller number of ideal buyers. So ideal buyers are cheaper to market to and yet bring much greater reward. These ideal buyers are called "best buyers." In some cases, this smaller group of best buyers account for the majority of a company's revenue. In spite of this, most companies market the same way to everyone. It's time to create a special initiative to specifically attract these best buyers.
- Determine who your best buyers are. Are you already working with some of these best buyers? They can act as a good example of what similar buyers will look like: What kind of businesses are they? What industry are they in? What size are they? Etc.
- Once you've determined what your best buyers look like, you should create a list of specific targets. (Don't be afraid to put some of the big scary names on that list.)
- Now build a plan for how you're going to market directly to these targeted buyers every month without fail. For instance, you might send them a cheap (extremely cheap--otherwise it may be construed as a bribe) but creative gift (such as a key chain) with a letter every month. Follow every letter with a call. Every month.
- Now you go after that list with pigheaded discipline and determination (#phd) until they are all your clients. You never stop.
Tim Paige, Leadpages--The Perfect Sales Funnel
- If you don't already have one, make sure you create a simple and free one-page PDF for your prospects to download from your website. This easy-to-make lead magnet will often outperform more complicated offerings.
- Use "content upgrades" to increase opt-in rates on all your free content (a content upgrade is something that enhances the value of that content, but in order to receive the upgrade, visitors must supply an email address).
- If you have a lot of free content online, look at your analytics and determine your five top performing pieces of content. Start by creating content upgrades for those pieces.
- Go through your website(s) and replace all imbedded opt-in forms with pop-up opt-in forms so that you force visitors to make a decision. Read this twice: 100 percent of visitors who do not make a decision whether to opt in on your website will not opt in on your site.
- Consider creating an automated email lesson or video lesson series so that people who opt in to your web forms start receiving something of value from you immediately.
Gene McNaughton, Chet Holmes International--Secrets to Hiring Sales Superstars (Do this one wrong and it'll cost you on average $60,000)
- The very first step to finding superstar salespeople is to make a commitment that you're only going to hire superstars.
- Write sales job ads so that a "hungry" person will feel like that ad is speaking to him or her. No: "Sales representative wanted." Yes: "Our top performers make X." (Look at what your top performer is making. If your top performer is making $80,000, $100,000, $200,000, put that in the headline.)
- Quantify what it costs you to take people through your hiring process. You will likely be shocked at how much you're really spending as a result of not getting the right person.
- Your ad should challenge those who read it ("Superstars only. Must have a burning desire to succeed," etc.). A good ad will weed undesirables out.
- Try putting this in your job ad: "If you feel like you're a superstar, call us and leave us a voicemail that's two minutes or less and tell us why you're a superstar. If we contact you, then that means you've made it to the next round."
- Half of these voicemails will be terrible: Boom, you've eliminated half of your candidates.
- At the end of an interview for a sales position, reject all candidates regardless of how they did. Those who continue to sell themselves are worth a second interview. Remember, how they sell themselves in the interview is how they'll sell your product or service. Somebody who folds after the first no will not be a star salesperson.
Guruji Sri Sri Poonamji, Divine Bliss International--How to Do the Same Work in Half the Time With Less Stress
- "Be aware that stress and even depression are a result of attaching yourself to an illusion or a dream."
- "Failure happens when you are limiting yourself to the somebody else you want to become. When you simply are yourself, there is no failure."
- Upgrade your intellect; start working through your super conscience (the 97 percent of your brain that you're holding out on and not using currently).
Ari Sherbill, PowToon.com--Six Genius Video Hacks That Generate Leads on Demand
- We live during a crisis of attention. The average attention span has dropped from 12 minutes (1988) to eight seconds (today). Your audience operates in three learning modes (visual, auditory, and kinetic). Your best chance at capturing this fleeting attention is to appeal to all three simultaneously.
- Consider animated visuals for your marketing. Animation abstracts the meaning of what you're communicating and can thereby enhance the entertainment and attentional value.
- You can use a simple video creation software like PowToon to create video templates for your salespeople to personalize and send to each prospect (with that person's name and specific pains to be solved). The novelty of a personalized video is such that people must watch it. It's great for follow-up strategies.
- Can you use a simple animated video to liven up your Thank You page (or any of your webpages)? Remember, 55 percent of visitors to your website only stay for 15 seconds, on average. By simply adding a video, that jumps up to two minutes!
Ryan Deiss, Digital Marketer--Three Proven Email Marketing Campaigns You Can "Swipe and Deploy" in Your Own Business
- Using a flash sale campaign (no more than once a month and preferably once every two months) is a great way to create a buying frenzy from your email list.
- Can you create a targeted reminder (Are you still/Have you yet) email campaign? Here is an example:
- Prospect opts in and downloads a PDF: "Six Easy Steps to a Six Pack."
- Every month you can now send an email with a little copy and the subject line, "Do You Have That Six Pack Yet?" Chances are, he or she doesn't. You can proceed to offer the person your assistance in the email and repeat this every month.
- A great way to increase the engagement of your email list is to send out a faux quiz or survey.
Tom Ziglar of Zig Ziglar--How to Close More Prospects, Increase Productivity, and Stay Motivated
- For setting a goal,
- Write down everything you want to be, do, or have.
- For each thing you wrote down, ask this question: Why?
- If you can't answer the "why?" it's not your goal or dream.
- Check and make sure you haven't confused your "what" with your "why."
- Are you specific about your goals? If you're not, it's time to put a lot of furniture in that goal (e.g., if your goal is to buy a house, what does it look like? Where is it located? What color is it? What's in the house?).
- Once you have this goal, now you want to get really deep into the benefits of that goal. The longer the list of benefits is, the more likely you'll stick to the goal.
- Take stock of your bad habits: The fastest way to success is to replace bad habits with good habits. Every week, pick a small bad habit and replace it with a good habit. Do this for 52 weeks and you'll have the best year you've ever had.
- A great way to motivate employees is to find out what their dreams are and then help them attain those dreams. Tie those dreams in to their success in your business.
If you found these action ideas useful, I encourage you to check out the full recording of the day. Chet Holmes International has made it available here. While I can attest that this list provides an overview of many of the concepts covered, the full sessions take you a great deal deeper into these powerful concepts, strategies, and tactics. And again, remember, insights without action are useless. It's what you do with this information that will grow your business.
By Bill Carmody