Are You A Sales Manager Or A Sales Damager?

When salespeople are not selling; – look to the sales manager.
When they are not motivated to see customers; – look to the sales manager.
When there is no enthusiasm in the team; – look to the sales manager.Sales Managers don’t look to themselves in these cases, they blame the Salespeople and the Salespeople blame the Sales manager.The other evening, after a talk, a sales manager came up to me and told me that they were having a real problem with their sales team. “They are just not performing,” “they are not motivated,” “I talk but they don’t listen,” “there is no drive, no commitment, nothing happening.”Now, all of what’s missing in this team is actually missing in the sales manager!It all starts with the sales manager.This particular person who told me this has been with their company for over 30 years and has been the sales manager for just over 20 years. They have been doing the same old thing over and over and are now wondering why it’s not working. The answer is simple. The enthusiasm has died. Not the sales people’s enthusiasm but that of the sales manager! It’s not the salespeople who are bored and have no drive, it’s the sales manager.Only when sales managers understand that the success of their team is their responsibility, will they start to make some headway to improving the situation.The sales manager first has to manage and motivate themselves before they can manage and motivate the team.When the team is motivated it’s not a new light that’s been turned on. It’s a light that was always there and will continue to be there. But it needs the switch to be flipped before it comes on.”That makes sense but how do I do that?”By sticking to the simple basics of Leadership and Motivation and using “The 6 key elements” to keeping the Sales team motivated.1. Provide inspiration.
2. Build positive attitudes.
3. Show recognition.
4. Goal setting.
5. Motivation.
6. Build team spirit and create fun.Yes, enthusiasm and excitement are what the salespeople need more than any skills training. They need to be reminded of the basics but most importantly, they need their enthusiasm ignited.Enthusiasm is everything in sales!When salespeople are enthusiastic and excited about themselves and their profession, they will start feeling motivated and look forward to getting out there and seeing their customers.Skills or no skills, this is what makes salespeople successful. When salespeople are enthusiastic, nothing will stop them. The customer can’t help getting enthusiastic as well, it rubs off on everyone.Only when sales managers accept full responsibility for their team’s performance, will they realize that the buck stops with them.They need to be the role model, the manager, the leader and the coach; all in one. They make it happen!They set the tone. That’s their job. They get results through their people. Their success depends on the success of their people. They need to manage less and LEAD more!A good sales manager spends less time in the office analyzing everything and playing with numbers and spends more time out in the field with his salespeople and their customers.”Our sales are down. If we increase the call rate by 10% and close 1 in 4 instead of the current 1 in 7 we will achieve target” This may be the answer (On paper) but how do you achieve it? What has to happen to increase the call rate and closing ratios?”The salespeople must want to achieve this. The sales manager has to sell the idea to the salespeople. They have to get buy in from the team and this is where good leadership comes in. Only a good leader can get the team to work together to achieve a common goal, budgets, the sales targets etc.It is at this point where the sales manager usually fails. They stay in the office and spend their time analyzing numbers and coming up with all sorts of solutions – only on paper.A good sales manger will get out of the office and lead by example. They will spend a full day working with a salesperson, finding out firsthand what the problems are and how to fix them. They need to speak face to face with their customers to gain information that will help them to come up with ideas for increasing sales.By doing this they will get respect from the sales team and will get support for their ideas to increase call rates and closing ratios because they are talking from the point of being there and experiencing the situation first hand.YOU CANNOT MANAGE OR LEAD A SALES TEAM FROM BEHIND A DESK.By spending time out in the field with salespeople, sales mangers will experience what the salespeople are experiencing and can then coach them on how to improve and what to do to start getting more sales.Salespeople will perform for a sales manager whom they respect. And that respect will only come from a trust and belief that the sales manager can do what they are asking the team to do.The Sales Manager MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE!It’s all about enthusiasm and excitement. Sales people continually need motivation in order to sell well. They require Inspiration from their Manager to promote enthusiasm and drive.They need a Manager who leads by example and provides an exciting environment in which to perform. Salespeople should feel enthusiastic about making a sales call.Remind yourself that you are in the best profession in the world!Feel good about yourself and your profession and then get the sales team to feel the same way.So it’s no use complaining about the Salespeople not performing, not being enthusiastic and not listening.If this is the case, then you are not performing as an effective Sales Manager.Salespeople need a Manager who CARES!!!

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Small Company Marketing Consultants – Why You Need One And How To Select One

Having spent many years working with small and midsized B2B and B2C organizations on their marketing and marketing communications strategies and plans, I believe I’ve got a good sense of the issues facing them. Generally, at the top of the list, is the lack of a real marketing plan. How is it possible that something so basic is missing? My conclusion is that, despite possessing the skill sets that drive their organization’s success, founders and/or management simply do not have:

Time to think about marketing at all, because there is always something “more important or urgent” that needs their attention;

A real understanding of the power of marketing and how it can significantly improve profits and return on investment (ROI);

The resources, budgets and people available – marketing and marketing communications is “unfamiliar and scary”, and there are always other areas that need support first;

The knowledge of how to seek out and evaluate professional marketing help.
These are concerns regardless of the type of organization – start up, early stage or established companies, and even nonprofits for that matter. And, without real planning upfront, many brands are operating with a “Ready, Fire, Aim” reaction to the marketplace.What Will Hiring A Marketing Or Marketing Communications Professional Do For You?In order to accomplish short and long-term objectives you need to develop a meaningful marketing strategy and an integrated marketing communications plan and tactics. At its core, having a professional marketing program will improve a brand’s profitability and ROI. This task is often outsourced, frequently with a part-time Chief Marketing Officer.The process starts with the outside consultant learning about the brand – its strengths and weaknesses, competition, distribution, business plan objectives, existing communication materials, employee involvement. During this learning period, the consultant also avails himself of any pertinent primary or secondary research. Most important, this period is also the time for establishing trust between the organization and the consultant.While some tasks may be completed directly during this learning period, an outside professional would use this knowledge to prepare:1. A marketing and marketing communications strategy, along with a positioning statement. The positioning statement is a succinct description of the core target audience to whom the brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how the marketer wants the audience to view the brand.Sound simple? Take a minute and answer these four questions about your brand:

The target audience, in very specific detail?

The category in which the brand competes, and its relevance to customers?

The brand’s benefit and point of difference?

A reason for the customer to believe – the most compelling proof?
The positioning statement is the credo for the brand to live by. All marketing and marketing communications should flow from this positioning and be understood by all employees, agents, partners and management.2. An integrated and holistic plan with tactical expressions – media programs; creative executions, including new and/or traditional advertising; public relations; content marketing (social media, articles, blogs, white papers, video); packaging; point of purchase; employee engagement; and, events.The use of internal or external staff to create the above will be directed and evaluated by the consultant or, if necessary, specialists may be recommended.3. Recommendations for primary or secondary research when clear cut answers don’t exist on specific subjects. Marketing depends on a complete understanding of the customers’ “wants and needs” as well as how they relate to your brand and competition. Not just what your staff thinks; rather, information. Facts beat opinion every time.4. A procedure of measurement and evaluation of the objectives of the agreed upon plan, as well as the established objectives to be accomplished with each target audience and marketing communication task. Benchmarking and on-going analysis is key to successful marketing programs, allowing for change or refinement as you proceed.5. A format for informing and discussing the reasoning behind the marketing planning, so that everyone in the organization understands why the specific strategies, plans and tactics were developed and implemented. The consultant becomes a “teacher” and the entire organization becomes brand advocates.Marketing consultants have increasingly become members of the C-Suite because of today’s turbulent and rapidly changing environment.What Talents Should A Marketing Consultant Have?Look for a consultant, full or part-time, who is:1. Willing to learn your business from the ground up and doesn’t have a “one size fits all” mentality;2. An established professional, with extensive experience across industries and brands in B2B, B2C and nonprofit organizations, large and small. Expand your horizons and don’t settle for experience in only your niche or industry;3. Media neutral and willing to embrace analytics to develop a variety of programs as well as to measure them. In today’s complicated marketplace, a consultant must understand new and traditional media, the difference between efficiency and effectiveness, “likes” vs. “sales”, the dangers of digital ad fraud, etc., etc.;4. Apolitical and willing to tell it like it is, so candor will flourish in your relationship. Having your consultant free to demonstrate the discipline of marketing and marketing communications will build trust and a meaningful partnership;5. Has an established network of marketing communications specialists who can be called in to provide solutions when necessary.The marketing and marketing communications strategic and tactical challenges of today are growing exponentially. But, as with our uncertain economic and political environment, putting your head in the sand isn’t a viable response. As Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

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Home Based Business Tax Benefits: The Top 5

Did you know owning a home based business has considerable tax benefits? The idea that only the rich have access to tax benefits is a myth!The first step is to own a home based business and run it with the intention to make a profit. The important word there is “intention”. You don’t really have to make a profit to take advantage of these benefits. Now, you can begin a home based business for little cost and can run it part-time from your home while having a full-time job.In time, and with some effort on your part, you will be able to leave your day job and work from your home full-time and take advantage of all of the benefits a home based business has. The best part is you can take advantage of the home based business tax benefits as soon as you start your new business!Owning a home based business allows you to deduct some personal expenses you wouldn’t usually be able to deduct. These things include but are not limited to: dining out, a new computer for the office, dental and medical expenses, and some vacation related expenses. The money you can deduct for operating a home based business is not insignificant and can amount to well over ten thousand dollars.Here are the top five deductible expenses for Home Based Businesses: 1. Vehicle DeductionThis IS the most complicated home based business tax benefit you get. It is also where most people get into trouble with the IRS because they didn’t correctly document their vehicle related deductions. If you are going to use vehicle deductions, I can not stress enough that you MUST document everything properly. Keeping a diary or travel log to track mileage, maintenance costs, etc. will save you time and many headaches.How does the vehicle deduction work? Basically, you determine how much of the time you use your vehicle for your home based business as a percentage. You are then permitted to take that percentage of time and apply to the cost of operating your vehicle. For instance, if you use your vehicle 60 percent of the time for your home based business, you are permitted to deduct 60 percent of the costs of operating the vehicle.2. Meals and Entertainment DeductionFirst things first, in order to take advantage of this tax benefit, you must have proper documentation. This primarily means you need to save your receipts and record who you spoke to about your home business. Normally, you will be able to deduct up to 50 percent of the cost, but make sure you check beforehand.As long as it is related to your home based business and document the costs properly, you can also deduct up to 100 percent of the expenses of entertaining people in your home. You may come to realize the tax benefits are much greater if you entertain in your home instead of taking someone to your favorite restaurant.3. Home Office DeductionThis one of the more intricate home based business tax benefits, but it has the potential to save you thousands of dollars every year you own your business.To claim the home office deduction:1. You must render significant administrative or management activities for your business out of your home. For example, you do your paperwork, make calls, do your training, and perform other business functions out of a set area in your home.
2. You have no other office where you conduct significant management or administrative activities for your business.
3. You must use a specific part of your home exclusively for business. It doesn’t need to be an entire room though. A particular section will do.
4. You must use this designated section regularly for at least 45 minutes a day, four or more days a week. The work hours must not be occasional or sudden.What can you deduct? You are permitted to deduct part of your home, utilities, and part of the interest and taxes you pay that are related to owning your home. You can also deduct office supplies like new computers, printers, phones and furniture used for your home business.4. Travel DeductionDid you know the Internal Revenue Code (Section 162) allows you to deduct “traveling expenses…while away from home in pursuit of a trade or business…”? As the owner of a home based business, you can visit family and friends all over the world and deduct some of the expenses associated with the trip. You just have to make sure at least half of the days of your trip are “business days”. Essentially, as long as you plan ahead and document properly, you can deduct a lot of the costs associated with traveling and vacationing… Every year. How is that for a home based business tax benefit?5. Medical Expenses DeductionIn order to take advantage of this home based business tax benefit and, you will need to employ your spouse and cover them with a comprehensive family medical plan. This allows you to deduct all of the costs associated with the your family’s medical expenses. But, there two important requirements in order to take advantage of this deduction.The first is you must have proof your spouse has done actual work for your home based business. The second is you must establish a legal document called a “Self Insured Medical Reimbursement Plan.” Do a search on that phrase in Google to see what that entails. It’s pretty straight forward.That’s it. Utilizing these five strategies correctly will allow you to take full advantage of your Home Based Business Tax Benefits and can save you thousands of dollars every year. The best part is they are completely legal and ethical!If you are not sure how to do anything mentioned in this article or have any other questions, please consult a tax professional. Do not assume what you are doing is correct until you speak with a tax professional.

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