Is FREE Still a Great Marketing Tool?

Is FREE still a great marketing and promotional tool or has it lost its luster? I have to admit, I’m on the fence on this one, and could really use some feedback from you.

Back in the “old days” it was a foregone conclusion that price = value. However, we all know market conditions have shifted drastically as a result of e-commerce and more aggressive global competition, to the extent that it is hard to recognize a good value when you see one today, particularly when shopping online. Continue reading…

Selling Beyond the Bid Process

Developing a bid response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the private or public sectors is time consuming, resource intensive and in most cases the end result will be a “no sale” unless you are the incumbent, or have established a strong business relationship with the decision-makers in advance.

If you did not write or help the client develop the bid requirements, your chances of winning are less than 20%. Why? Most bids, either directly or indirectly are biased toward another vendor’s products or services. Oftentimes, the incumbent plays a significant role in developing the bid specifications, or it is a bias on the part of the client’s internal team toward a particular solution that influences the bid specifications and the final outcome.

So, how do you increase your odds of winning when you are in a loss position before you even start to formulate a proposal response? The most effective way to improve your win rates in bid situations is to change the ground rules and sell beyond the bid process. Continue reading…

Are You the ‘World Wide Wes’ of Your Industry?

A couple weeks ago I happened to tune into the Mike and Mike in the Morning show on ESPN Radio while in route to a networking breakfast. Jalen Rose, retired NBA basketball player and sports commentator was a guest on the show to discuss where LeBron James will end up if he decides to opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But that was not the most interesting segment of the show to me. The most interesting part of the program was when the conversation shifted to William Wesley (a.k.a. World Wide Wes) and the influence he could have on the decision regarding LeBron James’ basketball future. I’m a big NBA basketball fan, but have to admit I had never heard of Mr. Wesley and neither had the radio show co-host Mike Golic, much to his chagrin, as he would discover a little later in the broadcast. Continue reading…

How to Turn Your Rolodex into Cash

One of my pet peeves is the use of a Rolodex. In many cases they are not utilized effectively as an important business development tool. And in the modern era, the Rolodex has been reduced to little more than an electronic repository for business cards.

Note: For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a Rolodex is a rotating file device used to share business contact information. However, to clarify for this article I consider the Rolodex, business card file and Contacts list interchangeably to mean the same thing.

For years in the corporate world, I listened to executives talk about their “who’s who” list of contacts and the size of their Rolodex, like this somehow made them more important. However, when it came to helping a sales team member with an executive introduction, closing a sale or resolving a customer problem, their Rolodex of business contacts was rarely of any value in helping move things along. Continue reading…

8 Tips to Put Fun Back Into Your Workplace

In the business world, we are notorious for putting fun last on our list of priorities and as a result, never getting to it. We’re so busy during the year trying to meet our sales, revenue, expense, quality and customer satisfaction goals that we don’t schedule time to have fun. That needs to change.

Are you having fun yet? If not, here are some things to consider in order to put fun back into your workplace. Continue reading…

Doing Business the R.I.G.H.T. Way

There is only one way to do business, the right way. But, what exactly does that mean for your particular business situation?

Don Hicks, founder of the Hispanic American Business Development Group in Fort Worth, Texas got me thinking about this topic recently when he posed the question “Would you do business with yourself?” to the group at a networking breakfast. It’s one of those great defining questions that every business owner should take time to reflect upon. Continue reading…

Starting a Mastermind Group – Part 2

Part 1 of this two-part article focused primarily on the pre-launch planning and preparation necessary to develop a successful mastermind program.

Part 2 will provide you with additional tips, suggestions and strategies to consider for both your pre- and post-launch planning endeavors as you and your new mastermind group participants begin to focus on the major elements of the program that will ultimately deliver business value to its membership.

A sincere willingness by all members to provide open, honest and respectful communication is an absolute must to enrich the mastermind experience. An open platform for discussion enables business leaders to engage in an active dialogue and information exchange, without reservations.

As participants become more comfortable with each other, the group will begin to function as a peer-to-peer Executive Board, offering expert knowledge, guidance, inspiration and support to benefit each member’s particular business situation. Continue reading…

Starting a Mastermind Group – Part 1

In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill described his concept of a mastermind group as, “A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one another to follow through with both plan and purpose.”

Today, like-minded professionals regularly come together through a plethora of available mastermind programs and related support groups to help each other achieve success, thanks in part to Napoleon Hill’s original idea.

Note: This two-part article is intended to offer you some valuable tips, suggestions and observations for those readers who are planning to start a mastermind group, or seeking to become an active member of a mastermind group in the near future.

Before starting a mastermind group, do your homework. Carefully select the topic(s), and solicit the advice of others who have started similar mastermind programs, so you know what to expect. Attend several mastermind group meetings to assist you in determining the appropriate structure for your group before proceeding.

Continue reading…

10 Basic Tenets of Great Companies

Is your company a “great” company today? What constitutes a great company? Are there established criteria, like the Good Housekeeping Seal, that all great companies must adhere to in order to be deemed great?

Each year Fortune magazine completes the most extensive employer survey in the corporate world and publishes its list of the “100 Best Companies To Work For”. The survey ranks the top companies in a variety of major categories including size, job growth, low turnover, no layoffs, women, diversity, etc. Continue reading…

Connect Your Message With Your Audience

Although it is widely stated that 93% of communication is non-verbal, getting the remaining 7% that is verbal right is essential in building credibility and trust with your target audience.

This year I have been speaking to various networking groups about “How to Improve Your 30-Second Elevator Pitch” as a part of our Back to Basics 2.0 business series. These presentations emphasize the importance of constructing the right message(s) in communicating your customer value proposition to a diverse audience, and building new alliances and business relationships. Continue reading…