How Laws and Mandates Create and Disrupt Markets

Laws and mandates have major changes on the products and services that we use. Markets for goods and services are created and disrupted. An example of this is the Prohibition era in the United States. Prohibition was a time when the sale of drinking alcohol was made illegal by States and the Federal government. The logic behind the ban was that quality of life would improve because the consumption of alcohol would decrease. But did this happen? Nope. Instead the sales of alcohol skyrocketed. Bootleggers became rich by selling alcohol. All Prohibition did was disrupt the traditional alcoholic beverage market into a black market. People were able to make a business out of selling illegal alcohol.The same could be said for the sale of illegal drugs.

The auto industry also created a new market for the energy conscious with the release of the electric car and the hybrid. These changes created jobs in the green economy.

During my time the dental industry, I noticed a surge in product sales of Amalgam Separators. This occurred after an environmental law was passed across the United States; barring Dentist’s from pouring amalgam(mercury) used in fillings down the sewer. Amalgam had to be separated into a separator and disposed of through special means. Think of commercial waste.

If you want to see what markets will be created and disrupted; look to the laws and mandates of the government.prohibition-ends-daily-mirror-nyc1

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Increase Sales by Firing your Worst Customers

Everyone has that customer that is a late payer, nasty  and/or a time waster that they wished they could fire. In previous posts, I have discussed how to deal with difficult customers, sociopaths and how to get customers to pay on time. However, there are some customers that need to be fired. The question is how to determine which customers to fire. As Dr. Tony Alessandra puts it, the good, the bad and the ugly. He goes on to describe how companies rank their customers and fire the bottom level of customers. You want to keep the good, try to convert the bad into the good group and fire the ugly.

But how do you determine which customers need to be fired? During my time in outside sales, I was faced with this very dilemma. I had the slow payer, the nasty customer, the customer who always ordered something and returned it. To properly assess which customers to give the ax to, you need to determine how much business they provide you with and how much of your time they take up. As a Sales Rep, or Business owner, time is money. You want to spend most of your time with your good clients, try to improve the relationship with the bad customers and fire the worst customers or the ugly ones. Once you have this list, you want to get to work on firing the worst customers by removing discounts and giving priority to your better customers. I always asked my good customers if they had colleagues who might need my services. However, I would wait until I have them delivered value with my products and services before asking for referrals.

By focusing on the best customers, improving your relationship with the bad customers and firing the the worst or ugly customers; your sales will increase dramatically. My numbers improved a lot when I used this method.

How has firing your worst customers increased your sales?

 

Did Mobile Kill the TV Star?

Everyone remembers the popular song Video Killed the Radio star, which was a song about how the technology of television made radio and the radio star obsolete. As mobile devices and social media have become more prevalent worldwide; access to video content via video search engines/sharing services such as YouTube, Hulu and Netflix have disrupted how content is accessed. Prior to this shift, television/cable networks have controlled how video content was shared and distributed. Today the alternative content sharing methods I described above, have changed the format of television. As more and more advertising dollars are being shifted to mobile from television, the way television is run has to change.

Back to my original question, will Television suffer the same fate as Radio? Well not exactly.Television has embraced new technology. Content has been made available on mobile devices, Tablets Laptops and PC’s.Television networks have developed a strong presence on social networks. Every Television network and their shows; have their own branded social media channels. Video content is made available instantly via on demand programming for premium cable subscribers.

Dual Technology is used by television networks by allowing viewers to live tweet with characters of their favorite shows and television personalities via computers/mobile devices. Television networks use of Twitter is an example of dual technology. Live tweeting has proven to be a successful engagement strategy for television networks; engaging with millennial and baby-boomers alike. An example is tonight’s live Blue Bloods Actors chat via CBS’s branded BlueBlood’s Twitter handle.

Another marketing strategy, employed by television networks is to make the actors in their shows use products from advertisers. This is a shift from traditional advertisements; as most people are turned off by many traditional ads. Many Auto, Telecom, Clothing, Luxury Brands and even educational institutions use this form of advertising. It does not seem like an ad if it is part of the show. This is what television networks and advertisers are banking on.

Did Mobile kill the TV star? Not exactly but it killed a culture of television and cable monopolies. Although television and cable have changed to adopt to the shift to mobile, they still face threats from Apple, Intel, Google and Sony who attempting to offer television content via internet TV delivery platforms.

All of these changes that I mentioned above, will shift the power from the Television and cable networks into the hands of advertisers by driving down rates. The general public will also be able to access programming much cheaper but this is a discussion for down the road.

Did Mobile kill the TV star? You decide.

The Power of The Screen Shot & The Hash Tag: How Marketers Can Connect with Customers & Amplify their Reach

Screen-shots and hash-tags are an invaluable tool for marketers to reach and sell products to their audience. The old adage is that a picture is worth a 1000 words. As the fields of Marketing and Advertising shift to digital and mobile formats, the power of the image to tell stories and get your message across are the new tools of the 21st Century.

Hash-tags are also valuable tools because they allow marketers and everyday people to share their content with people who are out of their network. Hash-tags allow users on social networks to index their content. For example, if I share a blog post or an image with the tag #marketing, I can reach everyone who searches for that tag on a social network. My reach expands exponentially as a result. This is very powerful. Hash-tags started on Twitter then spread to other networks much like the like button on Facebook. Think of a hash-tag as a social network search engine like Google.

The screen shot is a great way for marketers to reach their audience and beyond. As the number of computers and mobile devices multiply worldwide, more people will capture everyday images of their lives and share them via Social Networks such as Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn etc…

Screen shots can be taken with both computers and mobile devices. This allows individuals, and small brands alike to market and reach potential customers via storytelling through screen shots. Fortune 500 brands have tapped into this marketing goldmine by soliciting everyday people to take pictures of themselves using the products that they love. Think of this as a picture version of a LinkedIn recommendation. It’s social proof.

Screen shots can also be used to share accomplishments and to advocate your love for your favorite brands. I have used screen shots in all of the ways that I have mentioned above. Recently, I was featured on Twitter’s Ads Blog for my endorsement of Verizon wireless.

When screen-shots are used with hash-tags, this is a marketing goldmine because marketers can share their story with billions of people worldwide and go beyond their regular followers. As a result, brands have potential to sell more and connect with people worldwide.

How have you used screen shots and hash-tags to sell and market your products?

Build your Brand with a Blog

Blogging is a great way to build your brand and market your products to the masses. Writing a blog allows you to demonstrate your expertise through writing. Blogging helps to provide prospects and customers with valuable information. Providing valuable information helps to position you as an expert and a resource.

Popular blog posts formats are: How to’s, book reviews, interviews, analysis of trends in your industry and best of’s. I was approached by many people as a result of my blog. Now you are asking the question, “How did you get the idea to blog?”

I decided to write a blog while working on an assignment in the education field. This assignment required me get other people to work on their writing. One of the prompts I used asked the question, “What do you know a lot about?”

Make a list of topics, choose one and write a research paper on this topic.

This writing prompt made me think about the topics that I knew a lot about. The topics were Sales, Marketing, and Social Media. As a result, I decided to put my thoughts on these topics in writing.  I launched Dan Galante’s Sales and Marketing blog in November 2011.

A blog is very easy to set up. The major blogging platforms are WordPress and tumblr. Both sites allow users to register for free. If you want to choose a custom domain name there is a fee. WordPress directly offers domain names for sale on their site. With tumblr, you will need to go to an outside provider and redirect the site to tumblr.

The WordPress and tumblr platforms have many features of Facebook and Twitter. You can re-blog an article. Re-blogging is sharing someone else’s content on your blog; similar to a retweet. Your fellow bloggers can also like your post and comment on it, similar to Facebook.  These features are great for engagement. Articles can be tagged with relevant terms. You can then search out these terms to see all posts on that topic. This is similar to a hashtag on Twitter or SEO.

WordPress and tumblr allows bloggers to share articles on various social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. You can use badges and plugins from your social networks to build a following and community. I have used this method to expand readership.

Guest blogging and syndication is another way to share your content. I am now syndicated on The Strategic HR blog.

Once you decide to start blogging, stick with it and publish quality content. Try to set up a writing schedule to maintain consistency. I shoot for once a week.

Blogging is a great way to get your message out. This is how you can build your brand with a blog.

Market Your Expertise with Paper.li

Blogging is a great way to establish and market yourself as an expert. However, there is only so much you can write on a topic in a time period. This is where content curation comes into play. Besides writing, experts share articles and opinion of others in their field. This can come in the form of a retweet on Twitter, like on Facebook, +1 on Google plus and various other forms of re-sharing. However, if you want to curate content from multiple sources, an online newspaper comes in handy. This is where Paper. li comes in.

I use Paper.li to share content on sales, marketing and technology. This is a great way for me to engage my followers with the content and opinions of others in my field.  People who are included in my papers frequently retweet the paper and mention me on Twitter. 

Paper .li is a great site to publish online newspapers on your area of expertise. The site allows you to sign up using your Twitter or Facebook account.  Papers are generated from your Facebook or Twitter feed. Setting up is easy. Once you go on the site, you will be asked to login with Facebook or Twitter. When I started, I decided to sign up with my Twitter account. Once I granted Paper.li access to my Twitter account,Image,

I was prompted to create my newspaper. You will need to create a title and subtitle for the paper along with how often you want your paper published. Paper. li provides publishers with three options: daily, morning +evening and Weekly.

Once you decide on the paper you want to create, you have the options of choosing hashtags from Twitter, RSS feeds, certain Twitter top accounts in the news, business, entertainment, tech and science, sports and leisure categories.Once you create your paper, you can schedule the time you want it to be published to Twitter and Facebook.  

Another great feature of Paper. li is the editor’s note. The editor’s note allows you to market your product and services. This feature also let’s you provide background about yourself. I share both text and links to my various websites and blogs.

Another feature that I like is the Twitter feed under the Editor’s note. This a great way for readers to follow and engage with you on Twitter. 

You can also search for people and content on the site. Readers who really like your paper can subscribe to your paper by email as well. This is similar to blog subscriptions via email. 

Paper.li also offers a premium service where you can publish newsletters. 

I recommend that you give Paper. li a try. It’s free!

Top 10 Most Viewed Articles

As the year is winding down, I wanted to share with you the top 10 articles from my blog. Based on the readership the honors go to:

#1 Four Basic Things Every Person in Sales Needs to Do to Be Successful

Selling is a very detailed process. There are four basic things that every person in Sales needs to do to be successful. These four things are: belief in your products and services, knowing how to prospect/knowing your target market, knowing how to engage prospects and customers with a message that is compelling and the ability to persist in the face of rejection and knowing how to get past objections. ….

#2 How to Deal with Difficult Customers

In sales, we all have to deal with difficult customers. Today, I am going discuss how to deal with difficult customers. In a previous post, I discussed how to get customers to pay on time. Before I can discuss how to handle difficult customers, the situation needs to be put in context. In other words, why were the customers being difficult? Were they being difficult because you screwed up their order or service call? Are they just miserable people? Does the customer constantly cancel their orders? What kind of relationship do you have with this customer? How important is your customer to your bottom line or monthly quota. …

#3 How to Make a Cold Call

Whether you are a veteran or if you are new in sales, you will have to make cold calls to build your customer base. Many sales people dread making cold calls.

However, if you approach it the right way; cold calling can be a great way to develop your selling skills and forge great relationships with your future customers. …

#4 The Basic Principles of Marketing have changed or have they?

Marketing in the digital age has shifted from content to context. Up until recently, many brands created the content that was used to market their products. Consumers were expected to like their products just because they looked cool or were hip. With the rise of social networking with sites such as Facebook and Twitter, this started to change. …

#5 How to Build Your Business & Brand Using Facebook Pages

In my last post, I discussed about how to build your personal brand on Facebook. Today I am going to discuss how to brand your business using Facebook pages. Remember Facebook is the largest Social networking site which means that your customers and prospects are on the site. Your job as a business and a brand is to engage with fans, prospects and customers. The goal is to convert this engagement (marketing) to product sales. Facebook pages are a great way to do this. …

#6 10 Things a Sales Leader Needs to Do or Have to Be Successful

Deciding to go into sales management is a very big step for a sales person. Recently, I received an offer to serve as a sales trainer or de-facto sales manager; based on my time in field sales and my blog.

What are a VP of Sales, Sales Director and Sales Manager? …

#7 How to Generate Leads for Your Business

Lead Generation is an essential building block for businesses to find potential buyers who are interested in their products and services. In previous posts, I discussed how to prospect and identify your target market. In this post, I will discuss how businesses can find leads and what mediums can be used to obtain leads.

Many mediums can be used to obtain leads. These mediums include: Direct mail, Email, Marketing, Surveys, Advertising, Social Media, referrals from current customers, business networking, trade show marketing. …

#8 How to Handle the Objection: “call me after the holidays”

The holiday season is upon us. Everyone is in holiday shopping mode from Black Friday, Cyber Monday and many other things. Also, everyone is thinking about going to parties. So the last thing on your customers and prospects mind is to make a year-end purchase; unless they receive a year-end tax advantage. As a sales rep, you are under pressure to close deals so you can earn that bonus.  Unless your customer is in a buying mood, you are going to hear the objection “call me after the holidays”. If you have done business with this customer, you will have an easier time than if you are making a cold call. …

#9 How to Get Customers to Pay On Time While Keeping their Business

When we deal with customers, it is important to get them to pay their invoices in a timely manner. What a timely manner means is dependent on your company’s payment policy. Are these customers C.O.D or are they net 30, net 60, net 90 or longer? This payment structure is based on the length of the sales cycle.

What can we do to make sure that customers pay their invoices on time? …

#10 How to Overcome Sales Objections & Stalls

In sales, everyone has to be able to overcome objections in order to be successful. The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them. This can be done by providing a thorough sales presentation that covers all the information about your products and services. Also it is imperative that you address any questions the prospect has immediately. However, objections will come up from time to time. Some of these objections are real buying signals and others are just stalls to put you off. As a Salesperson, you need to be able to tell the difference. This will come with experience and by reading situational cues in each selling situation. Remember the prospect is buying you. In other words, you are part of the offering. Below, I have put together a comprehensive list of objections that I encountered and overcame as an outside sales representative in New York City.

Handling Objections & Stalls from Prospects…

Thank you for reading my blog, I appreciate your support. There are more articles to come in the coming weeks. Feel free to send me your comments, questions and suggestions.

Have a great holiday season and a wonderful 2013. I will see you soon!

Happy Holidays