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Top Secrets of Marketing & Sales

The Top Secrets of Marketing & Sales podcast provides tips on how to increase sales, improve profit margins and grow your business. Each week, we address issues related to important topics like targeting your ideal prospects, fine-tuning your messaging, attracting the clients you need, monetizing social media, the MVPs of Marketing and Sales and much more. From mindset to marketing and prospecting to podcasting, the Top Secrets podcast helps B2B and B2C entrepreneurs, professionals and salespeople get more of the customers and clients they need so they can do more of the work they love.

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The Importance of Taking Action

What do the most successful people have in common? The ability to make important decisions quickly.

5 Jul 2005

Rank #1

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How to Land Larger Accounts: Four Question to Ask Yourself

Part two of a six part teleseminar on landing big accounts, growing your client base and making more money in less time.


17 Aug 2006

Rank #2

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To Charge or Not to Charge: There’s No Such Thing as a Free Sample

In this excerpt from a live session, industry entrepreneur and business consultant David Blaise discusses how it is financially unwise to give away samples. In the promotional products industry you need to figure out quickly when and who to charge in order to keep expenses reasonable.


8 Jun 2009

Rank #3

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The Catch-22 of Experience: Why You’re Not Earning Up to Your Potential

In this excerpt from a live session, industry entrepreneur and business consultant David Blaise talks about the Catch 22 of experience.


23 Dec 2008

Rank #4

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Essentials of Consultative Selling: How to Have Clients Write the Ideal Sales Script for You

In this excerpt from a live session, industry entrepreneur and business consultant David Blaise talks about how to let your clients write your sales script.


13 Apr 2009

Rank #5

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What is Your Strategy for Growing Sales and Profits?

When it comes to growing your business, there are strategies and there are tactics. And this question is designed to deal with your strategy.What is your strategy for growing your business? Do you have a strategy for growing your sales and profits?Generally speaking, when we think of strategies versus tactics, the strategy is sort of the overall approach. The strategy is the overall game plan, whereas the tactics are the specific actions that you're going to take in order to have your strategy come to life.So your strategy, when you're putting it together, and if you're taking notes at this point, one of the things that you want to write down is you want to ask yourself, "what is my strategy for growing my business? Do I have a strategy? If so, what does it cover?"Need Help with This?Schedule a CallBecause essentially your strategy for growing sales and profits should cover things like who are you going to go after? Part of the strategy would be to say, "what types of accounts am I going to go after? Where or how am I going to find those types of accounts?" These overall types of decisions are going to be determining what your results are going to be, and they're also going to determine what specific steps you'll take or what specific tactics will help you to get to that.For example, you may determine that your strategy is to target companies with a certain number of employees or more, or companies that have certain gross sales. You may determine that you're going after companies that are located within a particular geographic area or in particular industries. So this is overall strategy type of stuff that everybody needs to do in order to accomplish what they're looking to accomplish.Your strategy might include establishing yourself as an expert with people, and if so, then you'll need to have specific ways of making that happen. It may include getting those people (that you've established yourself as an expert with,) to express interest in what you do, and your strategy might include following up then, only with the qualified prospects.So it's important to have that starting out, or if you didn't have it starting out, it's important having it going forward, so that you know essentially what you want to be doing everyday, what you want to be working on every day and what you want to be focused on every day. Without having a clear strategy in mind, it's easy to get bogged down and distracted and focus on various activities that are not helping you to produce a high multiple of what you want to be earning or what you want to be producing.So when you think in terms of your strategy, those are a couple of the things that you need to look at. Also, it's important to understand that your overall strategy, your business strategy, your strategy for growing sales and profits, it can and should change based on what's happening in the real world.If you have an inflexible strategy, you say "I'm going after a certain type of client in a certain market," and it turns out that group of clients in that market are not particularly productive at the moment, then obviously you have to be flexible enough to be able to change your strategy around so you can adapt it so that it actually works for you as well as possible.And then another important component of it is revisiting your strategy often. It's a good idea if you can bullet point out what your overall strategy is and tape it to your computer monitor so that you see it every morning and you can reconnect with it. Because what you'll find is if you do that, if you did something even as simple as that and said, "okay, this is my strategy, this is what I'm going after, this is where they are, this is how I plan to approach them." And you tack it up on your computer monitor and you look at it every day. I can pretty much guarantee that over a period of days, and certainly over a period of weeks, you'll end up changing it.


19 Jan 2021

Rank #6

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Top 15 Countdown of What’s Most Important to Clients: #3

In this episode, we explore the #3 criteria most important to promotional products buyers.


15 Feb 2008

Rank #7

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How to Attract Larger Clients

Time after time when I ask our clients about topics they want to know more about, the subject of attracting larger clients comes up.  So, in this episode we'll tackle it head on and address the steps you can take now to attract the larger clients you want to have.David:                   Hi and welcome to the podcast today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be talking about attracting bigger clients. Welcome Chris.Chris:                     Hey David. Thanks for having me. Bigger clients, nearly everyone in business in sales just loves the sound of that. But sometimes our actions, David, they aren't geared towards getting those results, are they?David:                   No, unfortunately they're not. And a lot of times when I've had these conversations with clients and they talk about the idea of getting bigger clients and then we talk about what they're actually doing, what we find is that they're not in front of people who ever have the capacity to be bigger clients and so it's very easy to pinpoint the problems just right from the get-go.Chris:                     And that is kind of the function of starting in business and just taking anything that works. And then over time just not really doing the things that helped me to get there. But I also think that businesses in general have a hard time with this idea of, you know, how do I go to these people who have the bigger dollars, who are willing to buy from me? And how do I go through the process of positioning? It's a big question for people and I think it's not often well answered by business owners or salespeople, frankly.Schedule a Strategy SessionClick HereDavid:                   Yeah, there's certainly an element of fear in a lot of situations when it comes to approaching larger clients because we're afraid we're going to blow it. We're afraid we're going to say the wrong thing, and so in many cases we just don't even approach. It's like the Wayne Gretzky quote, I miss 100% of the shots I don't take. And so many people don't take those shots and as a result, they never get that business. So, I think a good step toward overcoming that fear is recognizing that buyers are human beings, no matter if they have the ability to buy a little or they have the ability to buy a lot.  They're human beings and so if you approach them as human beings and you see if you can provide them with what it is they're looking for, then regardless of the size of the business, regardless of the size of their purchasing power, they're going to be happy to hear what you have to say.  So, to overcome that is to identify, okay, who are some of these people? And maybe getting into conversations with a few of them, trying not to be intimidated, and some of them might be intimidating.  Some of them might just be rude or obnoxious or any of the other disqualifiers that we talked about in a previous podcast. It doesn't mean that that's all of them. You can have a very poor-quality prospect who can be rude and obnoxious and can come across as if they have a huge budget when they actually have no money at all and they're about to go out of business. So, you run into a lot of the same potential issues, whether you're dealing with a high-quality client or a low-quality client.Chris:                     I'd argue that in a lot of situations, those smaller clients, you're going to work a lot harder for a lot less versus larger clients where you're going to work well for an appropriate amount of income and enjoy the process more because you're dealing with somebody who's got good sales coming in, got a good income, and when you're dealing with these people, you want to think of it that way, that these are people that I can help and they can help me as a result.David:                   Yeah, some small clients are great and some small clients are terrible. Same thing with large clients. So it's really very much the same thing because again,


20 Oct 2020

Rank #8

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Making 2020 Your Best Year Ever

As the new year begins, it's a good time to reflect back on the good and the bad. The friends we've made, the people we've lost and what to do next if we want to make 2020 our new best year ever.David:                   Hi, and welcome to the podcast.  Today, co-host Chris Templeton and I will float a few ideas that you can use to make 2020 your best year ever. Welcome back, Chris.Chris:                     Hi David, thanks for having me. Let's talk a little bit about this because I've always thought about it in terms of growth of the economy. When is it ever too much? When do we say, as a business, “Gee, I've got to where I want to be and I don't need to make the year better than the last.” Is that realistic to have those kinds of expectations?Need Help with This?Schedule a CallDavid:                   That's a good question. I don't know. I imagine there are people who get to a point where they're doing the type of business they want to do. They don't really feel the need to grow, but even in those situations, if you just want to maintain; you tend to have to have a growth mindset anyway because there're going to be clients that are going to go away. There are going to be clients that go elsewhere, or something happens. So I think in business, if you're going to remain in business, there is always a process that involves thinking in terms of next steps, thinking in terms of advancement, thinking in terms of replacing clients who are no longer with you and that sort of thing. And there are some people who are more motivated than others. There are some who want to start out the New Year and they're like, “Okay, I want to double my business in the next year.”  And there's some people who say, “I'd like to maintain the business I have. I don't really want to grow anymore because I'd have to hire more people.” And it's an individual thing. So for different business owners, for different salespeople, the mindset is going to be different. The approach is going to be different. But just thinking in terms of what does that even mean to me? In other words, my best year ever might not have anything to do with the volume of sales I do. Maybe it has more to do with spending more time with my family. Maybe it has to do with spending more time with my friends. So your best year ever is going to be different than my best year ever, or somebody else's best year ever. And that's going to be part of what we need to identify is: What does that even mean for you? And as they said at the beginning of the podcast, making it your new best year ever. Cause ideally each year we always want our next year to be better than the last. That sounds like an Irish blessing or something. You know, may your next year be better than your last. I don't know. It seems like it should be if it's not, but it's just a good thought. It's the idea that we want our lives to constantly get better and we want things to evolve and continue to grow and become more wonderful.Chris:                     I know this wasn't in what we're going to talk about, but this is why I truly love doing this podcast with you, David, because it's so easy for people to fall into this idea of, well, I'm going to have my best year ever. What, what's that mean? Well, it means I'm going to make more money than I ever did. And you, and what you do is always about a work life balance and I just think it's so important that in this day and age, more than any, we take a little bit of time and make sure that that balance is there.  And you've really done a fine job of consistently making that a priority, and it can be tough to do can’t it?David:                   It can.  I mean, I think some people are more focused on it than others, and when we talk about best year, like I said, it means different things to different people. For some, it might just be a matter of if somebody has been dealing with health issues,


31 Dec 2019

Rank #9

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Calling Yourself a Consultant Doesn’t Make it So

Why calling yourself a "promotional consultant" doesn't make it so. An industry professional talks about why she didn't want to spend money on training. We wrap up with the song parody Promotion #5.


15 Feb 2006

Rank #10

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If I Gave You $1,000…

If I walked up to you and handed you $1,000, what would you do with it? Take just a moment and think about that, because the answer will tell you a lot about the way your business is structured.It's been a while between episodes, which is pretty unusual for me. But I've been spending a lot of time working with my Total Market Domination clients, creating training modules, answering their questions and helping them to create top of mind awareness and dominate their markets.For quite a few years, I've been talking about cutting back on the travel and the free training and focusing more time and resources on helping our active clients. In particular, our AIM SmartEQP, Inner Circle, Makeover and Total Market Domination clients.In fact, the way I've been spending my time recently is what lead me to ask you the question that I started with.If I were to hand you $1,000, what's the first thing that leaps to mind for you to do with it? Would you buy yourself something fun? Pay off some bills? Buy some holiday gifts? Invest it in the stock market?Or, would you invest it in the growth of your business?Most people work hard for their money, and even those who don't, probably tell themselves they do. Even those of us who aren't engaged in hard, physical, manual labor fancy ourselves quite busy and hard working.But when we earn money, particularly extra money, what do we do with it?We spend it, we save it, we invest it in the stock market (which is essentially investing it in other people's businesses, rather than our own.)One year, when the stock market was tanking and I saw my investments going down, I asked myself, why am I investing this in other people's businesses instead of my own? I mean, Warren Buffet is a brilliant guy and all, but when we have our sales processes dialed in, shouldn't we be able to make more than single digit or low double digit returns on our investments each year?And what about our time? Same thing there. If we're not making back a high multiple in revenue of the time we're putting into our businesses and sales careers, then why are we doing it in the first place?Sometimes, particularly in the early stages of a business, we have to invest a lot of time, energy, effort and resources to get things going. But... if you've been at it for years, and you're still putting in more time, energy and effort than you feel you're getting back in revenue, that's a screaming indication that something isn't right.One of the primary tenets of our Total Marketing Domination course is the idea that if you’ve been in business for any length of time, and you’re STILL not hitting your desired levels of sales and profit, that indicates a real problem -- the kind of problem that time is unlikely to fix.Because if time hasn't already fixed the problem, why would that change in the future?Instead, we need to change our actions.Over the years, I've invested a lot of money in my own training and education. I've purchased books, tapes, CDs, DVDs, printed reports, digital audios, videos, training programs, online courses, memberships and anything else I thought would help.Not all of them were gold, but I can tell you without a doubt, that the money I invested in my own training and education produced a far higher return on investment than any other financial investment I've ever made.I remember telling Michael Gerber, the author of the business classic The E-Myth (and The E-Myth Revisited) that after reading his book, I developed more systems and processes, restructured my environment, grew my sales and profits, and started, built and sold several different businesses. Then I told him that buying his book was the best eleven bucks I ever spent.When you think about the huge leverage and high return on investment we get from investing in our own training and education, it makes other purchases, or even just saving, seem somehow irresponsible.


11 Dec 2018

Rank #11

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Markets Worth Dominating

Members of our Total Market Domination course focus on initiating contact with markets worth dominating -- this means reaching the specific people in their markets who are likely to spend the most money with them. It's not about dominating everyone in a market, because many don't have two nickels to rub together. Instead, it's about totally dominating the segment of the market where all the money is... where all the value is.Markets Worth Dominating: An OverviewOne of the biggest complaints I hear from people who are not members of our Total Market Domination course is that they just think it's impossible to dominate a market. They think it will cost too much or take too long, or that it just isn't possible at all, and so they dismiss it.Well naturally, this is music to the ears of those of us who already know, without a doubt, that market domination is not just a possibility, it's a necessity. Because if you're not dominating your market, it means that someone else is. Or that someone else could. And that "someone else" would much rather that you just continue to think it's impossible and not take any action at all to change it.The truth is that maybe 2% to a maximum of 10% of ANY market even considers the idea of leading or dominating. Most are content to just be in business... do the day-to-day... and just exist.Well maybe they're not content, but they're also not motivated enough to change their behavior.So they tread water, paddling around in circles, in a blissful state of unawareness and business as usual. They fail to take any of the actions necessary to lead or dominate, because they don't think of it, and even if they did, they wouldn't know what actions to take.That's why it's only ever a choice few who actually do the work and dominate their markets.Market Domination doesn't mean you're targeting everyone.In fact, far from it. Many market segments are unworthy of domination. One of the skills I teach my clients is identifying markets that ARE worthy.Much of the world mistakenly targets unpleasant, unmotivated, low value, low karma, non-buyers -- the people you don't want anyway. Deadbeats! Why do they do that? Because they don't know there's a better way.That's why members of our Total Market Domination course target the specific people in their markets who are likely to spend the most money with them. They focus on dominating the segments of the market where the money lives. Because that's where the value of the market resides and it's the only segment worth dominating.Want to Know More about Markets Worth Dominating?If what I'm saying makes sense to you, and if you'd like me to help you accomplish it, then you should register now to check out my web presentation Programming Clients to Choose You, and schedule a complimentary strategy session where we can talk about your plan for market domination. Go to topsecrets.com/choose.If you're tired of flat or declining sales and losing business to your competitors, be sure to check out my latest web presentation entitled Programming Clients to Choose You. Who are your very best prospects currently programmed to buy from? Is it you? Or someone else? If you want it to be you, visit topsecrets.com/choose and register for the free presentation now. That's topsecrets.com/choose.Whenever you’re ready… here are the five primary ways we help promotional product distributors: Just Getting Started? If you (or someone on your team) is just getting started in promotional products sales, learn how we can help. Need Clients Now? If you’re already grounded in the essentials of promotional product sales and just need to get clients now, click here. Want EQP/Preferential Pricing? Are you an established industry veteran doing a significant volume of sales? If so, click here to get End Quantity Pricing from many of the top supplier lines in the promo industry. Time to Hire Salespeople?


14 Jul 2021

Rank #12

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How to Build Value into Your Sales Process

In this excerpt from a live Top Secrets teleconference, industry entrepreneur and business consultant David Blaise talks about the importance of adding value throughout your sales process...


25 Apr 2011

Rank #13

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Five Early Symptoms of a Seriously Struggling Business

Uh oh. Sales have dropped off a bit. Not a huge decline, just a few percent. Well maybe, four, six, eight, something like that. No big deal, right? Well, it could be no big deal, or it could be one of the Five Early Symptoms of a Seriously Struggling Business.I have conversations all the time with salespeople and business owners who are dealing with various issues in their businesses. Maybe it seems like a small issue. Maybe it's a few small issues. Or maybe it's one BIG issue that indicates there might be trouble ahead.So today, I'd like to outline Five Early Symptoms of a Seriously Struggling Business.1. Undiagnosed Sales Decreases. Maybe it's just a percentage point or two. Maybe it's more like eight to ten percent or even more. Regardless of the numbers, if your sales are declining you need to know why.Sometimes, a decrease in sales means nothing. But if you don't know WHY your sales are going down... If you don't have the knowledge or experience you need to fix it... If you don't know what's causing the decline, or more importantly, if you're not completely clear on the specific actions you need to take to turn it around, then it could be an indication of a serious problem.In some cases, an experienced salesperson may see a drop in sales because they lost a single account. That's not catastrophic, unless they were entirely dependent upon that one account for the bulk of their sales OR if they don't have a tested, proven system in place for replacing that account. If your sales are dropping, there's one or more reasons for that. You need to identify those reasons and address them as quickly as possible.2. An Unpaid or Underpaid Owner. In the early stages, many business owners either can't or don't take a pay check. If that's you, don't be okay with that! Yes, it may be necessary for a short period of time, but if it starts to stretch out at all, that's a serious indication that you are doing things wrong. In business and sales, excellent performance is its own reward. When you're doing it right, it pays. When you're doing it wrong, it doesn't pay. So if you're not getting paid, it means you're not yet doing it right.3. A lack of urgency in addressing issues. Complacency is a killer. Waiting to see what will happen is a death sentence. Imagine you have nothing but a big plot of dirt for your front lawn. Someone comes by an offers to plant some grass for you. You say, "no thanks, I'm going to wait to see what will happen." Is it likely you'll end up with a beautiful, manicured lawn? Probably not. Inaction almost always leads to a decline into chaos and disorder. Waiting for your problems to go away on their own is often the worst possible course of action.4. Counting on others to fix it. I've talked with countless business owners who think they can hire the "magic salesperson or employee" who can turn it all around for them. But here's the problem. Let's say such a person exists, and let's say you happen to find that person. And let's say you even have the money to pay them. How can you possibly help or assist that person, let alone manage them, if you don't understand the problems your business is facing yourself? In our work with clients, we help them understand the issues they're facing so they can address those issues head on and provide intelligent, thoughtful guidance for all those they employ.5. Failing to learn what actions to take. Trial and error in business is inevitable. But there's no need to make it your business model. Monthly overhead costs are incessant. They eat away at businesses a little at a time. It's death by a thousand paper cuts. So while many people think they're saving money by not investing in the solutions that would actually help them to grow their sales and profits, they are actually hemorrhaging money every month on rent, mortgage, payroll, utilities, car payments and other overhead costs that don't contribute one thin dime to their growth or profitabilit...


24 May 2021

Rank #14

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Not Hitting Sales Goals? That’s a Problem…

If you don't hit the sales goals set by either you or your employer, that's a problem. In this podcast, business growth expert David Blaise explains why.If you're just starting out and you're not yet hitting your sales and profit goals, maybe you're lucky. Maybe it's just a timing thing and eventually, you will.But if you've been in the industry for any length of time and you're STILL not hitting your desired levels of sales and profit, that indicates a real problem. In fact, it indicates a problem that time is unlikely to fix. Because as the saying goes, if you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting.Let's look at the reasons we set sales goals in the first place. Very often, businesses set at least minimal goals for their salespeople. They know how much the salesperson needs to generate in order to just pay for himself or herself. And that's before they're ever profitable to the company. Some companies are more patient than others. But let's face it, when salespeople can't do the one thing their hired to do -- sell -- it's unlikely they're going to remain employed in that capacity."You had one job!"The fact of the matter is that in most businesses, everyone's job ultimately depends on the company's ability to sell it's products and services. Because if nothing is being sold, no one is getting paid. At least not for very long.But beyond company goals -- the goals required to simply remain employed -- as individuals we also tend to set personal goals. These are the sales goals that will actually allow us to achieve our own desires and objectives. "If I generate x dollars in sales, I'll earn y dollars in commissions. After taxes, this will allow me to pay my bills, live in the home I want, drive the car I want, pay for college for my kids and provide for myself and my family in the style to which we'd like to become accustomed."When it happens, it's great! But in our industry, even those salespeople who manage to hit their company goals often fail to hit their personal sales goals again and again, year in and year out. They continue to put in more time and effort, but they still can't hit the numbers they want. They sacrifice their time, energy, health and quality of living and still fail to hit their numbers.It's a tremendous source of frustration. And it's confusing because so many of us have been taught that it's hard work that leads to success. But if you continue to target a level of sales for yourself that continues to elude you year after year, please don't delude yourself into thinking that time is going to fix it. It won't.What Can You Possibly be Doing?My business partner, Rick Drake, was talking to a distributor who was frustrated with her sales volume. She told him how hard she was working -- putting in eight to ten hour days five or six days a week for years without achieving the level of success she was looking for. When he asked her sales volume, she said she was doing $20,000 a year in gross sales. He was shocked. He blurted out "What can you POSSIBLY be doing for ten hours a day, five or six days a week to only generate $20,000 in sales?"It was a blunt response, but it's a great question, and it was absolutely the best possible question he could ask her.Really, what WAS she doing with those hours? And what are you doing with yours?It doesn't matter if the number is $20,000, $200,000 or $2 million. The chronic inability to hit your own desired sales goals indicates a serious problem that time alone will not fix.Naturally, I'm not talking about people who set sales goals, achieve them, and then set new ones. All of us should constantly strive to exceed our previous successes and shoot for new heights. But frustration, stagnation, and lack of achievement require different actions.MisconceptionsIn sales, our biggest problems often come from misconceptions. We think we have a better grasp of things than we really do.


8 Feb 2022

Rank #15

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Do Bad Suppliers Want to Hurt You? And How did April Grow Sales from $169K to $700K in a Year?

A quick comment about "bad suppliers who want to hurt you." Then we'll talk with distributor April Stremming who increased her sales from $169K in 2004 to $700 in 2005. How'd she do that? She'll tell us..."


22 Dec 2005

Rank #16

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Is Your Social Media Too “Salesy?”

As social media has evolved, so have the ways that people are selling. From Facebook to Twitter, to LinkedIn, to whatever comes next, we all have to be on the lookout now for when social media conversations turn salesy and every conversation is suspect.David:                   Hi and welcome to the podcast. Today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be discussing the idea that as more and more poor quality sales-people turn to social media, nearly every conversation we have becomes suspect. Welcome Chris.Chris:                     Hi David. You know it is a growing trend, isn't it? You post a question or a comment on social media. People essentially start spamming you as a result with pitches for their products, that sort of thing. Where do you draw the line between helpful content and a blatant sales pitch if you're on the delivery end of that type of thing?Need Help with This?Schedule a CallDavid:                   Yeah, it's a great question because as salespeople and as business owners, we know that we want to have conversations online that could potentially lead to a sale but we don't want to do it in a way that is just us being obviously self-promotional. So there is a fine line there, and I've really noticed this recently over the course of the past really month or two. Particularly even in the past few weeks I've become more and more aware of it. And as I have, I've just noticed it everywhere. It's like that thing where you buy a certain type and color of car and then all of a sudden you keep seeing that.I've been seeing this on social media all over the place lately. Someone will post a comment and in fact, a situation I had recently was I had asked a question on social media. I asked if people got their leads primarily online or offline and I had some people who came in and they said, “I get most of my leads online,” I got some people who said, “I get most of my leads offline.” And then I had somebody who just posted an ad for their place because they help get people leads online. So essentially they hijack the thread and they're sort of spamming people with a response. And I thought, it's so foolish and shortsighted to do that because if they had actually responded and said something like, "Well, you know, we used to get them online, but now we get them offline and we've developed a few strategies that have helped us to do that." Then they could at least start planting seeds without being obvious about - here's my link, go click and buy from me. And I think that's where people are getting a little more skeptical.Chris:                     One of the things that I always noticed, I was in web development for many years and the thing that I loved in web development was people that had bad web developers that would come to me, because of the bar was so low that really exceeding expectations was so easy. And I think that this is exactly the same thing where you've got somebody who doesn't have the presence of mind to say, hey, how can I help somebody to understand or have a different perspective on the question that's being asked? Like you asked and talk about solutions that work without it being a pitch and still make it clear that that's what you do, but it's more informational. And I think that this just creates this great platform to exceed people's expectations. But that's a great way to knock people's expectations about you down to pretty much the basement, don't you think?David:                   Yeah. And so much of it is just about being a decent human, you know, it seems so simple. It's like that book, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten or something that was out had a long, long time ago. But that idea just sort of be nice to people, treat people well. It's all such basic stuff, but it's basic for a reason... because it's important. And I had a situation recently on LinkedIn where when somebody new would connect with me,


3 Feb 2021

Rank #17

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Where Do Your Best Leads Come From?

Lead generation is a critical part of every business because without an adequate supply of leads, it's impossible to maintain a business. So where do the bulk of your new leads come from these days and where do your best leads come from? Online, offline, or both?David:                   Hi and welcome to the podcast.  Today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be talking lead sourcing, meaning where your leads are coming from. Welcome Chris.Chris:                     Hi David. Interesting point that you made in the introduction, which is that you may get the bulk of your leads from one source, but your best leads from somewhere else. And it does happen that way sometimes, doesn't it?Need Help with This?Schedule a CallDavid:                   Yeah, it actually happens that way quite a bit. And there's a very often a big difference between the quantity of leads that we get and the quality of leads that we get and they don't always go together. The places where we're getting the most leads might not be the best quality leads. I know a lot of times when I'm talking to salespeople and business owners and I ask them where their best leads come from, almost inevitably they say referrals. You know, referrals are their primary source of leads and while referrals are a great source of leads and very often a very high quality source of leads, they're not always the most prolific. In other words, you don't always get as many of them as you want. So recognizing that there's a difference between the bulk of the leads that are coming in and the quality of the leads and the fact that those are two different things can be helpful.Chris:                     How do we go about the process of balancing that quality/quantity equation of leads?David:                   Well, it starts with testing the quality of your leads with a consistent approach to the leads that you get. In other words, whenever we get a lead, we want to make sure that we're treating them exactly the same because if we get 10 different leads and we treat each of them differently, then we're not going to know if they closed because of the approach we took or if it was the lead itself. So we want to first start out by having a consistent approach to the leads we get in. If we get 10 leads in, we want to try to treat them as close as we possibly can to exactly the same way, then you can take a look at who closed and who didn't. And that will help you to determine which ones are good and which ones are bad. And at that point it's easier then, to start to work to get more good leads and you can also potentially work to improve the conversion on the bad leads or the ones that didn't convert. So, it's sort of a balance looking at quantity first and saying, “Okay, if I treat them all the same, which ones close?”, and then say, “All right, if they close, then that makes them by default good leads.”, and then looking at that and extrapolating from there,Chris:                     I think you bring up a really good point, which is not said specifically, but you know, if you ask most business people about where their leads come from, their best leads, they're going to say referrals. But I'm not convinced that all businesses are doing all that great a job of tracking leads. Are you?David:                   No, I'm not at all. And basically, it's because when I ask them, they'll tell you that.  They'll say that they know they need to do a better job of tracking their leads, but they just don't. I think most businesses do have a reasonable idea of where their leads are coming from and very often, they know that they wish there were more leads coming in. They might have, you know, one or two primary sources that they're getting leads from and those could both be reactive. And that's one of the issues that we have with referrals alone because referrals alone are very often reactive unless they have a specific procedure in place that is designed...


9 Feb 2021

Rank #18

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Turning Client Comments Into Active Marketing Tools

When clients have positive feedback for you - or better yet, when they write it down; you have a potentially powerful marketing tool.  In this podcast, business growth expert David Blaise explains how to leverage these to your best advantage.If you've been selling for any length of time, it's likely that at least a client or two has said something nice about you, something positive. At least I hope they have!Maybe they complimented you on your creativity or let you know how much they appreciated the way you handled a time-sensitive order. Maybe they told you about someone in your organization who went above and beyond for them.In any event, when clients say nice things about you -- or better yet, when they write them down-- be sure to say "thank you," of course. But don't stop there. Ask if it's okay with them if you quote them.Over the years, I've received many notes, letters, emails and texts from happy clients. When this happens, I will often write back and say, "thank you so much for your feedback. I appreciate it. Do you mind if I quote you in my marketing materials?" If they say yes, you're good to go. And in my experience, at least nine times out of ten people will say yes.In fact, I've found that even the one holdout will very likely allow you to use their quote if you agree not to use their name.And while client testimonials are far more effective when attached to a real, credible, verifiable human being, even the occasional anonymous quote can be helpful when it's surrounded by lots of other verified testimonials.On my websites, I use a combination of video, audio and print testimonials to make the case for my products and services.Video testimonials can be extremely powerful, because you get to see and hear people tell their own stories in their own words. Audio testimonials are good because you can actually hear the person, but in those cases, I also like to show a picture of the client who provided the testimonial so people can put a face with the name and the voice.Print testimonials can also be very persuasive, whether physically printed or reproduced digitally on a website. These are particularly effective when accompanied by a strong headline and a photo of the person providing the testimonial.The More Specific the BetterI've seen people use testimonials without providing names. Just a bunch of unattributed quotes. That always looks a little shady to me.Some people use just first names and cities for their testimonials. For example, "Bill from Chicago." That's a little too broad for my taste -- too easy to make something like that up. First name and last initial isn't much better. "Bill R from Chicago." Could be a lot of those. So generally speaking, the more information you can include the better. If you can use first name, last name, company name, city, state and a picture of the person, that's far more credible.Specificity also helps a lot in the comments themselves. If I see something that says "You guys are great! Bill R from Chicago," it doesn't tell me much. But if I see something that says "The promotion you recommended generated 12 new accounts in the first month," that seems a lot more specific and therefore a lot more credible. Particularly if it's followed by Bill's full name, company name and city.These Days It's Easy to Use Video and Voicemail to Gather Customer CommentsWhen I meet a client at a tradeshow who says something nice about a result we were able to get for them, I'll very often say, "Hey, can you say that again? I want to shoot it on my phone and put it up on our 'wall of fame?'"Our wall of fame is a testimonial page on our website where we showcase client comments. If they say yes, I just ask them to give their name, their company name and then talk about the experience they had with us. More often than not, the results are fantastic.If the video doesn't turn out well or if the customer is not happy with it,


8 Aug 2017

Rank #19

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No Secrets = No Value in Business

Show me a business that has no secrets and I'll show you a business that has no value.Over the years, I've taken some heat for our brand Topsecrets.com and for my belief that it's our business secrets that create the most value in our organizations.Still, there are people who say, "there are no secrets in business." Some just state it as fact with no attempt to explain or justify it. Others claim the only secret to business success is "hard work." Wow. I really hate that one! Still others say there are no secrets because everything you need to know is already out there.Fair enough. But even if all the secrets to business success are really "out there" -- and I don't believe for a moment they are -- if you don't know them, they're still a secret... at least from you.Business SecretsI think it's ridiculous to believe there are no secrets in business.Some of the most obvious examples of secrets that create value would be Google's search algorithm, the formula for Coca-Cola or the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken.In each of these cases, the secret itself is responsible for much of the value of the business. Lots of restaurants offer fried chicken, but only KFC can offer the Colonel's famous recipe.The most important business secrets are often protected legally as "intellectual property." This means that even if the secrets themselves were divulged, they would still be protected legally from unauthorized use by others.So what do business secrets have to do with selling or small business ownership?I think it has everything to do with that.What's the secret sauce behind your business? What's the thing or two that sets you apart and allows you to achieve results your competitors could never achieve?Do you have a proven system in place for creating awareness of yourself, your brand and your business among the very best prospects in your market for the products and services you offer?Are you able to consistently create sequences of clear, compelling communication that make prospective clients actually want to initiate contact with you, interact with you, and do business with you?Do you have a process in place that allows you to disqualify poor quality prospects quickly, so you're not wasting time on those with no need, no desire, no money, no budget, no willingness to spend with you?Do you have a tested, proven procedure in place for bringing new customers through the door like clockwork?If not, how much do you think secrets like that could be worth to the success of your business?Some people squander months or years trying to figure it all out for themselves. They hemorrhage tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even more in wasted time and botched opportunity cost. And since they're not even aware of the clients and sales they're missing out on, they have absolutely no idea what operating without these secrets is really costing them!Can you do business without learning these secrets and putting them into practice in your organization?Sure you can. It's likely you've done so to date.But are you leaving enormous amounts of sales, profits and good old fashioned cashola on the table, if you keep doing business without these things? I'm going to say "yes." Big time.But of course, that's just my opinion.If you'd like to have a candid, one-on-one conversation about if or how any of this applies directly to your business, give us a call, toll-free, at 1-800-494-2721.I've set aside some time in the next 48 hours to speak with you personally, to help you get really clear on the realistic growth potential of your current business over the next twelve months, the type of prospects and clients you'd need to have to get there, and what you'd have to do better and differently to make it happen.If you're a serious business professional willing to do what it takes to create the results you want in your business,


4 May 2021

Rank #20