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Making your case to high level executives

Searching for a better way to sell

It’s easy to get discouraged with the lack of response when trying to connect with executive level contacts. Understanding how they function and what catches their eye is essential in successfully landing an in-person meeting or even just getting them on the phone.

In most sales scenarios, the process starts with targeting low to mid level employees — most of whom aren’t decision makers  – hoping that they relay your message to the top and do it accurately. Using a bottom-up approach is a multi-step system that usually leads to prolonged games of phone tag, inaccurate or secondhand information and, more often then not, your original sales pitch or value proposition being destroyed as it moves up the rungs to the eventual decision maker.

So how can we simplify this process and make it more efficient? read more…

Why smart sales people don’t need to throw money around

No capital? No problem.

When I launched a few of my first ventures, we had to bootstrap everything. We had very little startup capital and needed to make our dollars go as far as possible. However, I also subscribed to the idea that people do business with people that they like. Often, to get people to like you, you have to do more than just sales meetings and conference calls. Face-to-face is still one of the most important ways to bond in business.

I knew I couldn’t compete against my peers that had huge expense accounts and bottomless Amexes but I didn’t even want to run that race. I thought there must be a better way to make an impact and to make prospects and clients feel valued and special besides dropping big stacks at the five star restaurants. read more…

Staying in touch with business school connections

Keep in touch with your thousands of “friends”

During the first-year of my MBA, I met at least 500 people for in the span of just a few months (everyone from fellow students, faculty, other professionals, recruiters, guest lecturers and many more) .  Many of these people have been added to my facebook and linkedin networks, but that’s pretty much where the interaction ends.  With so many demands on my time (homework, class, studying, partying, recruiting, extracurriculars), it has been quite difficult to keep in touch with so many people.  This can be quite frustrating as one of the key selling points for the MBA is the “network” that you can develop while at school. read more…

How to turn a busy person into a mentor

“You need to find a mentor,” my parents once told me.

While I figured this was one of those classic things that parents say to teenagers, in the same category as “Just wait until you have to pay for college,” it stuck with me. But what did this mean exactly? When I think about the word ‘mentor’ I still see a boy in the early 19th century hammering boots as an blacksmith’s apprentice. So how does it apply today? read more…

Nobody ever said getting referrals would be easy

Don’t be a robot — treat your referral provider like a human being.

Everybody wants more referrals, right? Well, get in line. I mean, literally, there is a line of people waiting for a referral from the busy, important person you just sent “HEY, HOW HAVE U BEEN?”

Getting an answer — and eventually, a referral — isn’t necessarily about timing, or how important you are, or even how often you communicate (although all those things help). Sometimes it’s about standing out, and in today’s overworked, too-busy-to-stop-texting-while-I-plow-through-this-crowded-library-parking-lot world, just talking to another person like they’re a unique individual is a pretty good way to stand out.

For all the cynicism about social networking, “liking”, and everything else (shared by me, of course), one of the good things about today’s connectedness is that it’s easier than ever to learn about what makes people tick. Some people like board games, some people have kids, and some people are really interested in a local charity. If you share one of these interests, they can be a great way to connect with someone in a meaningful way. You know, like an actual relationship, instead of a purely transactional one. And who are you more likely to refer — the person who emails you the most, or the one who’s connected with you in a meaningful way?

Contactually’s Tony Cappaert recently presented his system for building meaningful, relevant follow-ups at RETSO, in the hopes of helping RETSO attendees foster better, stronger relationships with the people they reach out to every day. He also walked me through it, and I thought I’d share it with you. Here we go! read more…

Why Best Buy couldn’t convince me to buy a better TV (Drip Campaigns, Part 2)

{Ready to get started building a drip campaign in Contactually? Remember, if you weren’t with us last time and want to learn the what & whys of drip campaigns (or just need a refresher), you can review Part 1 of this series here.}

What we need

If we follow the definition of a good drip campaign from our introduction post last week, we’re going to need a couple things in order to create our own.

  1. Process (the steps of our campaign that tell us which content to send and when)
  2. Content (the actual stuff we send people at each stage of the campaign)
  3. Management (some kind of mechanism for keeping track of who has been through the campaign, opted-out, etc.)

Today, we’re going to look at how to do #1 — figure out how to structure your campaign. You’ll need to do a little planning here, and figure out the story you’re telling with your campaign. Time to put on your storyteller hat, your empathy shoes, and probably some pants, just in case. read more…

How to write the best follow-up email (now, in poster form!)

A public service announcement from your favorite CRM

If there’s one thing we know at Contactually, it’s how to have a productive conference call with a bunch of dogs barking at each other in the background. And if there’s another, it’s email follow-ups.

In our never ending quest to improve the quantity and quality of useful email correspondence, we’ve spent time in the past talking about how to do a lot of things better. Organize contacts. Automate common tasks. Streamline your business processes. And of course, write and send better, more consistent follow-up emails.

“But Contactually”, you say. “I can’t remember all of this information. It’s just too valuable and informative, and I’m too busy. I’M NOT A MACHINE.”

We understand. And to help, we’ve assembled a handy, dandy infographic, which you can grab below.

Infographic1 How to write the best follow up email (now, in poster form!)

Share this Infographic On Your Site

Does this rich, multi-colored exploration of communication principles inspire you to dig deeper? If so, I highly suggest taking a look at Ouzy’s original post on writing great follow-ups, which was the original source of the wisdom above.

Now there’s no excuse to write crappy emails! Simply print out our four step guide, stick it above your desk, and attack your follow ups with newfound zeal. You’re welcome, Planet Earth.

One step towards better contact management

Simple answers can take down big problems.

It’s hard to fix bad habits in one fell swoop. The last couple of months, I’ve been getting ready to dive back into a recreational basketball league, and amazingly, after not really playing basketball for nearly two years, I have a few holes in my game. Holes like… shooting a basketball, which I used to be pretty good at. read more…

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