The Single Most Effective Sales Strategy: Word of Mouth

Prospecting can be difficult. Ask any salesperson if they’re getting enough good, high-quality leads, and they are more than likely to say that they could always use more. A recent study on the state of B2B digital marketing reports that nearly half of marketers cite generating high-quality leads as their biggest challenge. The challenge isn’t getting any easier, either. With the inordinate amount of noise cluttering up our inboxes, voicemails, and overall mindshare, it’s becoming harder and harder for salespeople to break through to new prospects.

Delegation is an Art (and Here are 9 Simple Ways to Do It Better)

By delegating just 10 percent of your workload, you can grow your business more than 20 percent. Why not give it a try? When you lead others, it is important to know that there is an art to delegating. While some leaders think it takes too much of their time and attention to delegate work to their people, there's a big upside to this process. If done correctly, you will find that your staff are more productive and happier as a result. When your people know you trust them enough to delegate an important task, it boosts their motivation to get the job done.

How to Deal With a Habitually Late Paying Client

I’ve been fortunate over the last several years to have clients who usually pay on time. There’s only been two — that I can vividly remember — who have paid late consistently. Managing late invoices are a drag, and it can also be discouraging. If you put in work for a client, you would hope they would show appreciation by sending you the payment promptly. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Here’s how I deal with my habitually late payer: Bill Twice Per Month or Upfront. Early in my career I made the mistake of only billing once per month.

Five Major Ways B2B Companies Can Leverage Video Content

In 2018, you cannot deny the importance of video. Video clearly works for business to consumer (B2C) companies such as car companies, video game studios and Dollar Shave Club. But business to business (B2B) companies, whether in the accounting, insurance or content marketing fields, should make use of video content too, given that 70% of B2B researchers base some their buying decisions on watching brand videos. And if your B2B company is already using social media, it's even more integral that video should be part of your strategy since every major platform - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even LinkedIn - use video in some way.

Praise Your Employees: 5 Ways to Reward and Recognize

Studies show that people are far more motivated by positive reinforcement than by the fear of failure, yet many workplace cultures are still buzzing with the daily energy of “just not screwing up.” If you work in one of these offices, where employees are frequently distracted from the goals of the organization by anxiety about being called out for mistakes, what can you do? The good news is that no matter what level of leadership you currently hold, you can help to create a more positive workplace culture just by adding two words to your routine: Thank you.

The Real Reason Small Businesses Can Compete With Anyone

Smaller companies are often touted as having better customer service than their larger competitors, something I've found to be mostly true. When you have fewer clients, you can devote more time to communicating with them. Quality customer service is undoubtedly important. Still, it can be difficult to rationalize how it trumps being able to offer lower prices or a more recognizable name. Quality customer service doesn’t directly bring in more revenue, at least, according to its traditional (and therefore criminally vague) definition.

The Components of a Successful Management Training Program

Not every employee that a collection agency hires is going to be promoted. While many collection agencies look to promote from within, identifying the right candidates who might make good managers, supervisors, or even executives is not an easy job. How can a collection agency identify someone who is going to be a good leader? Someone who will be respected by the people who are now reporting up to him or her and no longer sharing smoke breaks together?

Focus on These 3 Things to Keep Competitors from Undercutting Your Business

Build up this crucial barrier against competitors by using these three tips from Harvard Business School's Mark Roberge. Starting a business is definitely tough, but many would argue keeping it competitive over a long period of time is even more challenging. That's where having a moat comes in handy. "The Moat" - also called an "economic moat" or "barrier to entry" - is the competitive advantage your company has over others in the same industry.

So, Like, How Can I, Um, Clean Up My Speech?

Our brains don’t like silence, so they fill in the gaps with words. But these “filler words” can make us sound unsure. Do this to keep your credibility. Have you ever been in a meeting and heard the speaker say something like this: “We need to, um, focus our attention, on aah, this proposal.” We often use filler words – um, aah, so, like – when we’re trying to think of the next thing to say. Our brains don’t like silence, so it fills in the gap with words.

4 Hiring Practices You Needed to Drop Yesterday (and What to Do Instead)

Today's job-seeker requires a whole new hiring strategy, and employers need to adapt. In recent years, the power in the hiring process has shifted to the job-seeker. From company career sites to employer-review platforms like Glassdoor, job-seekers have access to endless information about a company. As a result, they’re better informed and able to go about the job search in a new way. Employers? They have yet to adapt.

Diversify or Suffer the Consequences

Many industries have businesses that suffer from client concentration. The company lands a desirable client, gains more market share, picks up additional business lines, and before long, that client is generating a disproportionately large percentage of the company’s overall revenues and profits. The company is now at risk. What if the client changes things suddenly and without warning? Will your company weather this storm or will it suffer irreparable harm because of it?

6 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Up Your Sales

Identify your customers' individual needs and prove your value. Regardless of what line of business you are in, your company is unlikely to flourish if you can't drive strong sales. But where do you turn when your best tried-and-true sales methods are leaving you cold? How do you convince potential customers that your product is the one they've been looking for? Below, six entrepreneurs share their best out-of-the-box techniques to close the deal and keep clients coming back time and again.

Don’t Bet the Farm on Brainstorming

I can tell you with some precision the moment I first doubted group brainstorming. This was many moons ago. A medium sized media firm that wanted to grow much larger had engaged my consulting services. They held a company-wide powwow, flying most of the managers and yours truly to corporate headquarters in Darkest Peru. The CEO was a good speaker. He shared his vision for the company in broad strokes. He then invited us to help build on that by filling out post-it notes and placing them all over the room – grouped by category and recorded via camera phones for future use.

Why Talented People Don’t Use Their Strengths

If you watched the Super Bowl a few months ago, you probably saw the coaches talking to each other over headsets during the game. What you didn’t know is that during the 2016 season, the NFL made major league-wide improvements to its radio frequency technology, both to prevent interference from media using the same frequency and to prevent tampering. This was a development led by John Cave, VP of football technology at the National Football League. It’s been incredibly helpful to the coaches. But it might never have been built, or at least Cave wouldn’t have built it, had it not been for his boss, Michelle McKenna-Doyle, CIO of the NFL.

Make it Easier for Prospective Clients to Buy

To simplify the buying process for B2B customers, sales reps should guide them through the complexities that precede a purchase. Customers and buyers have changed in the new, digital environment. B2B customers have access to more information, have to gain more buy-in internally and have a growing number of options to evaluate. By the time these customers interact with sellers, they have a slew of questions and demands. Sales organizations then respond with prompt information and answers and adjust offerings to better meet customer needs.

Why Employment Probation Periods are Ineffective

Can you ever imagine HR ever uttering these words, “For the crime of agreeing to work for us, you're on probation"? Well, it happens every single day. The concept of the employment probation period is a corporate carry-over from days long gone, but it's time to shut it down. Before the pro-probation enthusiasts attack, let me be absolutely clear - I get it, hiring the wrong person can be costly, and those costs are climbing. A 90-day employment probation period is a sensible safeguard that ensures a new employee is the right fit, but if she's not, the manager and employee can just shake hands and part as friends, right?

Want to Keep Your Employees? HR Pros Share Their Best Defense Against Turnover

Hiring great employees can be a significant challenge for businesses. Even more difficult is keeping those employees around. In the current landscape of talent wars and job-hopping, retention can seem like a nearly impossible task, but it's one that must be prioritized: Employee turnover can cost organizations tens of thousands of dollars per year. If you've noticed a couple of team members submitting their resignation, don't panic. There are steps you can take to defend against turnover and keep your staff happy and comfortable enough to stick around.

Dealing with a Manipulative Person

Manipulative people are challenging and terrifying to deal with. They prey on fear, insecurity, and uncertainty to get what they want. Deception isn’t out of bounds for them. Dealing with them requires you to change the game. We’ve all encountered or dealt with a manipulative person at some point in our career. These people induce fear, anxiety, and stress. In some cases they will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Deductive vs Inductive Reasoning: Make Smarter Arguments, Better Decisions, and Stronger Conclusions

You can’t prove truth, but using deductive and inductive reasoning, you can get close. Learn the difference between the two types of reasoning and how to use them when evaluating facts and arguments. As odd as it sounds, in science, law, and many other fields, there is no such thing as proof — there are only conclusions drawn from facts and observations. Scientists cannot prove a hypothesis, but they can collect evidence that points to its being true.

How to Recruit and Promote Effective Managers

Promoting your best salesperson to a management position is no guarantee the individual will be an effective sales manager. The same goes for promoting any top performer to management. You just never know. Management requires certain skills and not everyone has them, high performers included. Recruiting effective managers, either by promoting people from within the organization or by going outside, can be a difficult task and sometimes those appointments wind up as colossal failures.