I find it amusing how certain events that happen in business serve to remind me how necessary it is to stick to the protocols I have set, and how those events are quick to get me back on the right track. Recently I had a discussion with a long-time friend who asked me if Webvantix could build a web site for her as an individual real estate agent. She was upset that another individual in her office, who she has once trained, was now leading the office in sales, and that the new salesperson had her own web site that was yielding her a great amount of sales leads. My response was that we could create a beautiful site for her, and that it would be substantially better than her associate's site. As this was a friend, Webvantix set out on creation of the site right away--no paperwork, no deposit. Big mistake. You can guess what happened; after we put in several hours of work she backed out, leaving us holding the bag, not sure if she was doing the right thing.
This type of thinking quickly reminded me of two separate but similar stories. A few summers ago when we were inundated with rain, and the creek near my house ran up over the bridge that crosses it, a friend who lives in New Jersey was having the worst day of his life. He had been having a problem with a leaky roof, and had actually gone through the process of interviewing and getting bids from twelve different roofers...obviously this took some time. Believing the bids were too high, he decided to fix the roof himself, as he was a former engineer, along with his brother's help. Of course the job never got started, and you know the rest. That same Saturday morning my creek was flooding, he literally had a waterfall in his son's room --and no flood insurance. Along that line, playing college lacrosse we had a great team, but as our coach used to say "you guys dance around the crease all day, but never shoot--pull the trigger." Once we stopped over thinking, we started to shoot, and we started to win.
As most everyone in business is in some form of sales, we all run into those who suffer with Paralysis By Analysis
. It does not matter what you do for a living, not for profit fund raising, furniture sales, home construction, financial sales, real estate sales--avoid those who cannot make a decision like the plague, as they will never be good customers, and they waste your very valuable time.
There is a reason the newer salesperson is leading that real estate office, she pulls the trigger!
Thanks for reading my rant...
Back on track next post.
Being in the working world for almost...er, 20 years now, all of them in either financial or technology sales and marketing, I have come to learn that the constant to the business universe is the objection
. Unfortunately I have no clear cut understanding of why various individuals throw out the objections they do, but here I will not only list some of my all time favorites but I will also discuss objections and what they really mean and perhaps a bit about how to handle them.
I will go all the way back to my early days of sales during the fall of 1990 when Iraq had invaded Kuwait and the world was holding its collective breath wondering what was going to happen...my job was to convince people they should be investing their money...
Objections Through The Ages:
There is going to be war with Iraq (The market skyrockets the day the actual bombing begins)
The market is too high (It went higher)
The market is weak and stocks are crashing (The market corrected and went back higher)
A very recent conversation:
"Preston, Bear Stearns is being purchased for $2 per share, things look terrible, when is the market going to crash?"
(Looks like it already did--as Warren Buffet has said: "Buy when there is blood in the streets." Unfortunately most don't and instead they buy when things are at their best and euphoria is high. Bad idea.)
Let's examine some objections I hear when discussing web sites with business owners...
Things are too slow, let's wait until they pick up. (You must plant before you can reap)
I have enough business, what do I need a web site for? (Not for long, besides, tell that to Coke, Microsoft and Apple)
I'm computer illiterate. (Your customers are absolutely not)
I don't go online. (Your potential customers do)
My customers don't go online, they're too old. (What's the fastest growing Internet demographic? Seniors!)
I will have to hire someone new to handle it. (What's wrong with more business than you can handle? A tank of gas is $100!)
I'll get too much business. (Awesome!)
I don't have enough business. (Perhaps you need to market your business more effectively? You can no longer just wait for customers to walk through your door)
And my all time favorite:
We already have a website. Yes, and it looks like it was done by a three-year old!
This came from a house painter, who had a site that was so bad that it must have turned potential customers away, as it even had horrible grammatical errors in the text! I would not hire him to paint a doghouse.
Remember, a bad website for a professional can cause the opposite of the desired reaction, which is to motivate the potential customer to engage the company. Would you hire a lawyer or accountant, or a web designer who had a poorly designed site that was difficult to navigate? How does that reflect upon their business?
My response to these objections is simple: Understand what they are really
saying. According to sales trainer extraordinaire Tom Hopkins
"Objections are the rungs of the ladder to sales success." Usually objections are due to a single question: cost (the secondary concerns about web site creation are almost always due to the about the amount of time and work necessary to create the site itself ). For more on working with objections, I highly recommend Tom Hopkins' classic How To Master The Art Of Selling
, pp.187-197. (Selling itself seems like a four letter word, but being "sold" a product or service that is needed is a good thing--not a bad thing. I believe it is the selling of items or services that are not necessary that has truly given salespeople a bad rap.)
Essentially when answering these web site objections, all this boils down to is the expense and time involved worth it?
There is a simple, yet objective, answer I can offer: According to Forrester Reasearch:
"More than 70% of U.S. homeowners use the Internet to make purchasing decisions."
What can be extrapolated from this statement? If you own a business, no matter what type, your potential customers are researching your product or service online, period. If you're not up there or you web site looks unprofessional, your competition is winning, and very simply, you've lost--and in this world where gas is going to $4/gallon, and milk is already past that point, we all need every bit of business we can get!
As people who read this are primarily business owners, we all deal with these types of objections. It, of course, is easiest for the person we are selling to, to do nothing, just let inertia take the lead. Yet, by not making a decision, they ARE
making a decision. A tragic example of this involves family friends who were in their late 30's and had children. The husband out of nowhere had a heart attack and died. Unfortunately they did not take the time to plan properly and therefore had no life insurance. I'm sure that with today's marketing an insurance flier, or commercial had passed right in front of them.
Remember, life and business are dynamic; move with them and you and your family will prosper, fight against them and you will be left behind.
The next post will discuss marketing your business and how to reach more people!
Thanks for reading, best of luck in all endeavors!
A recent post on Mark Cuban's Blog here
talks about the Internet being "dead" and a "utility," that actually can be a "hindrance to productivity in the workplace." Wow, that's quite a statement. Though I agree that the Internet has become a stable entity, and yes, even a utility, can we imagine business without other utilities such as electric power, or the telephone? Cuban goes on to say that pundits had in the past stated that technology will carry us through our economic doldrums, but not this time, as they are not to be found by him.
While Web 1.0 may have enabled larger, deeper pocketed companies to capitalize on the sheer innovation of the Internet, perhaps Web 2.0 is better suited to drive economic growth from a smaller standpoint. As technology trickles down to, for example, instead of reactive selling, where a merchant waits for a customer to enter their store, the merchant who properly positions and markets his company, can reach out to customers world-wide, fueling economic growth at a grass-roots level. Speculation? No, reality, that we as a web development company see every day. Therefore, the Internet, used properly, is a tool that fuels the economy. Remember, e-commerce only comprises 2.6% of total U.S. Retail Sales.
The business is out there, you just can't wait for it to jump in your lap any longer, it's online and you have to go get it--or your competition will.
What ACT Needs
Over the years many people have asked me about the technology I employ. One of the constants that keeps me on top of everything is Act (www.act.com). I’ve used it, and quite simply, it has helped me win business without question. Outlook as a Contact Management tool is worthless. I use Act in many different ways, and link it to my Blackberry by using the program Companion Link (sounds like a dating service, I know) www.companionlink.com.
Unfortunately sometimes I think Act is programmed and run by people who are not in sales and seem unconscious when it comes to attributes that need to be incorporated into their program. Therefore, here is a list of needs as I see it—though this list can be added to and suggestions are welcome. As a sidebar, as I’m not a Act expert as some are, if any of these capabilities are in fact part of Act already, I welcome the correction!
The current dashboard looks like it was created for someone with too much time on their hands. Act needs to create a Daily Dashboard that has more real and usable info and is highly customizable. Email should be imported from Outlook along with email files and can be viewed from dashboard.
Dashboard also has work week schedule view, along with separate or combined task list, with the capability to have each type of task in its own column. For instance, Call List, Email list, To Do, Meetings, etc., all visible on the Dashboard. The idea is to remove the gimmicky nature of the current dashboard, and incorporate something with real applicability and usability.
Automatic Roll Over of Scheduled Items
Every night at Midnight Act 6.0 would query the user to “Roll Over” items that were not completed, and that were set up to roll over. Now, in the current version, the user must close Act and re-open it in order to roll over schedule d items.
Scheduling of Database Maintenance
Again, Act 6.0 offered this feature and it kept the user on top of this much needed function. This should be a part of every Act version.
Act should have a button that enables the user to “Quick Schedule” an item to the “My Contact,” this would save several steps when you just want to quickly schedule something.
Ability to quickly and seamlessly import a V-Card into a new Act Contact.
The ability to schedule an email just like a call or a meeting. Also with the capability to create an email and schedule a time in the future for it to be automatically sent.
Is anyone tired of looking at these people when they open Act? Have the splash page be just the Act logo with the version number.
Scheduling should have customizable radio button capabilities to increase speed, instead of drop downs which make for additional click, and therefore waste time.
The Act Dialer should have the ability to dovetail with one’s daily call list imported from the Task List. This therefore will enable the user to create a call list that the Dialer automatically dials, therefore speeding the ability to move through one’s call sheet (example, call sheet is imported onto the Dashboard and the user has the ability to use the dialer right from the Dashboard).