Articles by Paul Doerfler

A hunting we will go…

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

We need more sales! This a shouting need I hear constantly from CEO’s, which in our new economy is easier said than done. Especially when their entire sales force has been farming (maintaining) existing accounts over the last several years. The old sales adage of hunters, those who bring home the bacon and farmers those who tend to harvest what has been planted, is more true than ever these days. So what do you do if you have great farmers and no hunters?

Here are a few ideas. First evaluate who in your organization you can develop to become a full time hunter. I say full time because it rarely works to have your farmers be part time hunters. There is an art and science to becoming an effective hunter and the tools to do so are widely available. Specific personality and skill assessment instruments exist along with sound sales training that focus on the skills of a hunter versus a farmer.

What are those skills you need to be a good hunter? Start with a good dose
of optimism. Let’s face it, going out to hunt each day and telling yourself
there are no bears in these woods is not a healthy start. Therefore, if you
have a tough time managing your frustrations around getting told no thank
you, then business development is not your calling. This ranks right up
there with being sociable, engaging and friendly. People will want to talk
with you about their problems and opportunities if you approach them with
enthusiasm.

Next, a strong curiosity helps greatly. You will need curiosity to uncover
needs in your research and questioning potential customer needs. The ability
to think abstractly and develop assumptions as to what a prospect may need
will create a positive environment to question and learn where your product
or service may add value.

This requires a certain amount of assertiveness. By expressing yourself
assertively, you appear confident and can easily relate to your prospect and
offer insights into their problems and needs. This is also accomplished
through smart questioning skills and a strong ability to listen for spoken
and unspoken needs.

The final skill set is the toughest, the ability to call high.
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Digital Technology: A Big Boost to Small Business Marketing

Friday, November 19th, 2010

The digital revolution has changed communication in big ways but think small for a moment. It’s now possible to market affordably to six area high school principals or to a woman in Kokomo who runs the little league fund drive. Some call it micro-marketing. Whatever your term, it’s big, and brings enormous new power to small business marketing.

Why Important?
Let’s face it; small businesses struggle to achieve consistent, effective, affordable marketing. For some, marketing barely happens at all, forced to the back burner by today’s urgent to-do list. For others, marketing is up-down, stop-go, with strategy determined by the effectiveness of dueling single-media sales people hawking their “right answer.” In either case, it’s far too common that the real purpose of marketing is lost in the chaos.

A Clearer Understanding of Marketing’s Strategic Purpose
A room full of marketing experts wouldn’t agree on much, but they would likely agree with this: The role of marketing is to systematically convert Strangers into Loyal Customers. Advertising may attract Strangers; giving us a shot, and that’s an important component. But there’s a long road between a browsing shopper and a client who becomes a word of mouth advocate.

Now let’s step up on the soapbox. Customer loyalty is crucial to long-term success. Harvard’s Fred Reichheld has proven it by rigorous study as presented in his loyalty book series. We can see the importance in live case studies all around us. And it’s just plain common sense that loyal customers buy more, quibble less about price, are easier to serve, and give us all important referrals.

A Major Hole in Small Business Marketing
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