Phone Sales Tips and Techniques – 8 Crushing Phone Sales Blunders Every Salesperson Must Avoid

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques – 8 Crushing Phone Sales Blunders Every Salesperson Must Avoid

If you think phone sales is dead, think again.

It’s become a trend for sales gurus and sales trainers to claim the telephone is a relic of the past.

I’m here to tell you that’s a downright lie.

In today’s economy, the phone is actually a jackpot of sales opportunity. But without the right phone sales tips and techniques, all those phone calls are useless.

After all, high-level prospects receive between 5 and 25 sales calls every day, and their goal is to get off the phone as quickly as possible so they can get on with their busy schedule.

If you make a mistake, the conversation can be over before it even starts.

What’s more, research by the Brevet Group shows that 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls to close the deal—but 44% of sales reps give up after just 1 follow-up call.

Persistence is key. And so are the right phone sales tips and techniques.

To help you eliminate your bad habits and implement a phone sales strategy that works, I created this video showing the 8 crushing phone sales blunders every salesperson must avoid.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques to Help You Become a Sales Superstar

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques- help you become a sales superstar

Top-performing salespeople across industries use these phone sales strategies.

When I talk to salespeople across the country about phone sales tips and techniques, I often get this question:

“Why is it so important to make sales calls nowadays? Can’t I just focus on sending emails and messaging on social media?”

The answer is simple…

Since so many salespeople have switched focus to emails and other online means of connecting with prospects, the telephone offers an incredible opportunity for you to stand out from the competition.

In other words, if you can master the best phone sales tips and techniques, you’ll blow your competitors out of the water.

Today’s top sales superstars already know this.

They use the phone with skill, finesse, and a clear-cut strategy for success.

Keep in mind that while your high-level prospects may still get up to 25 phone calls a day, that number is WAY down from what it used to be just a few years ago.

This gives you a tremendous opportunity to connect over the phone with your ideal prospects.

Superstars know this, and now you know it, too.

But even salespeople who recognize this opportunity often fall victim to the same crushing phone sales blunders, time and time again.

Now, I’ll walk you through the 9 crushing mistakes most salespeople make with phone calls, so you can avoid them from now on.

#1: Procrastinating your calls.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques- Procrastinating your calls.

Picking up the phone can be the hardest part.

Let’s jump right in.

This just might be the most important strategy of all the phone sales tips and techniques for sales calls that get better resultsStop procrastinating!

Do you suffer from “my-phone-weighs-ten-thousand-pounds” syndrome?

Many salespeople procrastinate making phone sales calls, so you’re not alone.

I’ve heard salespeople make up every excuse under the sun to justify why they’re not picking up the phone and calling on top prospects.

The only way to break through that dread and set more meetings is to pick up the phone and start dialing.

If you’re serious about implementing the best phone sales tips and techniques, then you need to simply decide what time you’ll start making calls, and then get to work.

#2: Making calls at 10am and 2pm.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques- Making calls at 10am and 2pm.

Smartly time your calls to get through to high-level prospects.

You come into the office, check your emails, drink some coffee, settle in, and then finally pick up your phone to get started.

This means you start making calls at around 10am—and then you start again after lunch at around 2pm.

Does this phone call schedule sound about right?

If so, you’re making one of the most common phone sales mistakes out there—and you’re certainly not implementing the right phone sales tips and techniques.

10am and 2pm just so happen to be the most popular start-times for office meetings. This means that your prospects aren’t even able to answer the phone when you call!

Instead, try making calls when your busy prospect is more likely to be available, such as early in the morning, during lunchtime, in the evening, or even on Saturdays.

Trust me: The data shows that there are specific times when it’s best to call on your prospects.

Listen to the data.

#3: Not following a script.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques- Not following a script.

Scripts will take your phone sales calls to the next level.

I meet salespeople all the time who think scripts will only make them sound fake—but if that’s the case, why does every successful movie use one?

A well-written script is crucial to keeping you on track and helping you accomplish more goals in less time on the phone.

In the end, using a script will help you dramatically improve your close rate. The secret to sounding genuine while using a script is simple: practice, practice, practice.

While using a script might be one of the more controversial of all the phone sales tips and techniques out there, I encourage you to start using one right away.

There are many different sales call scripts available to help you create the right one to connect with your ideal prospects.

#4: Using the same opening as everybody else.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques- using the same call opening as everyone else

Be distinct in the way you start your sales calls.

Nearly all salespeople start their call with the same opening—an enthusiastic “How are you?!”

This may not seem like a big deal, but this greeting is overdone and annoying.

When you use the same sales call opening as everybody else, you come off as salesy, untrustworthy, and disingenuous.

Instead of sounding like everyone else, take the time to craft a low-key opening that will break through the clutter of sales calls and catch your prospect’s attention.

For example, one of the best phone sales tips and techniques I ever learned was to open my sales calls like this: “Hi, Marc Wayshak here. Did I catch you in the middle of something?”

This unique opening is an incredible tool for standing out from the competition right from the get-go.

#5: Your sales voice gives you away.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques - Your sales voice gives you away.

Get rid of your “sales voice” for good.

Most salespeople immediately begin speaking louder, higher, and faster once their prospect answers the phone.

Don’t think you’re guilty of this one? Record your half of the conversation on your next call, then listen to it carefully. Most salespeople are making this mistake without even realizing it.

Seasoned prospects pick up on that salesy voice right away and immediately put up walls.

It’s time to change your sales voice to an authentic, human voice that doesn’t scream “salesperson” to every prospect on the phone. Use a lower, calmer tone, and pay close attention to the pace of your speech. You should be speaking slow and steady, avoiding the fast-talking stereotype of the average salesperson.

#6: You can’t resist the opportunity to pitch your offering.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques- you cant resist the opportunity to pitch your offering

Pitching your offering is the kiss of death.

This might fly in the face of everything you’ve ever been taught in sales…

But the fact remains that a prospecting call is never the time to pitch the features and benefits of what you have to offer.

If you pay attention to just one of the phone sales tips and techniques I’m sharing with you here, let it be this one.

One of the most common mistakes in phone sales is also one of the most easily avoidable blunders. You simply should not be using your phone calls as an opportunity to pitch your offering. This is one of the most crucial phone sales tips and techniques to remember.

No exceptions.

Instead, start by figuring out if it even makes sense to meet with prospects by asking value-building questions that also help you determine if they’re a good fit. If they are, then set the meeting and move on.

There will be plenty of time to introduce your product or service later. That initial phone call simply isn’t the time to do it.

#7: You don’t have clear goals for the call.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques- you don't have clear goals for the call

Clear goals are essential for phone sales success.

When you pick up the phone to call a prospect, what’s your end-goal? Is it just to chat? To see what’s new? To have a casual conversation and hope something meaningful comes out of it?

None of these are acceptable answers.

Every time you pick up the phone to call a prospect, you need to have a clear, obvious goal. Without this, you’ll be dead on arrival.

One of the most important phone sales tips and techniques out there is that the number one goal of making a phone sales call is to set an initial meeting with a prospect.

That’s it.

If you don’t have a clear goal like this before you pick up the phone, you will end up pitching your product or service. Again, this is absolutely not the time to do that.

Instead, remind yourself that the only goal for a prospecting call is to set a meeting. Get clear on your goal, and you’ll be far less likely to get distracted by trying to sell your offering too early.

#8. You fail to schedule your next step.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques- you fail to schedule your next steps

Clear goals are essential for phone sales success.

No matter how great your call is, if you fail to schedule a clear next step, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot. Never end a conversation by saying, “I’ll give you a call next week,” or “I’ll send you some more information and follow up to see if you have any questions.” Instead, decide on a specific time for your next call or meeting and send a calendar invite before you get off the phone.

This part is crucial. You need to actually send the calendar invite BEFORE you get off the phone in order to truly master this step.

This will ensure your prospect is ready and available for the next step so that you don’t have to start chasing them down all over again.

Phone Sales Tips and Techniques: Conclusion

As you’ve learned in this article, phone sales success depends on just a few systematic areas that can easily be improved upon. By stopping procrastination and just picking up the phone to make sales calls, you’ll be taking a huge first step forward in this process.

Standing out from the competition is easier than you think when it comes to sales calls, if you’ll just commit to calling your high-level prospects off-hours—namely, anytime but 10am and 2pm, when your prospects are the most busy.

And when you make your sales calls at strategic times, remember to always use a script. This is one of the most controversial phone sales tips and techniques in this article, but it’s also one of the most effective and powerful.

Make yourself stand out even more by avoiding the typical “sales greeting” that most salespeople use. Saying something unique such as, “Did I catch you in the middle of something?” will catch your prospects off guard and give you an opening right away.

Similarly, it’s important to get rid of your sales voice. Speak like a normal human instead of an enthusiastic salesperson, and you’ll win more business, guaranteed.

At the same time, never use your sales calls as an opportunity to pitch your offering. Instead, remember that the only goal of any sales call is to set that initial meeting with the prospect.

Finally, always schedule a clear next step before getting off the phone. This will totally transform the outcomes of your successful sales calls.

Which of these phone sales tips and techniques did you find most helpful? Which of these blunders have you committed? What was the result? Share your experiences in the comments below. For more powerful sales advice, check out this free special report on the 3 Closing Questions You MUST Ask.

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    Good Customer Service in Sales

    Good Customer Service in Sales

    Excellent Customer Service in the Meaning of Sales

    Good customer service skills don’t come from one department. The tone of great customer service should be prevalent throughout a company. Often, initial communication happens between sales representatives and prospects. What is customer service in regards to sales? Sales reps reap the benefits of customer service every day by maintaining polite communication and problem-solving for clients. In turn, prospects become clients, departmental customer service assists positive energy, great word-of-mouth ensues, and new leads are generated.

    When managing a sales team, it’s necessary to share a good customer service definition in a thorough and consistent manner for your team. Because sales reps are often the first people in your company to communicate with clients, having a descriptive customer service skills list to reference will help reinforce specific practices that apply to your company and its messaging.

     

    Customer Service Skills

    Providing excellent customer service for each prospect can be natural for some employees — they just get it — but not all employees. There’s ambiguity between knowing what is helpful to a prospect and what makes a sales rep pushy. Here are a few things to think about when setting an excellent customer service example. We suggest taking these concepts and whittling them into an amazing customer service guide for onboarding and ongoing training.

    • Sales team definition – Define the aspects of communication you want to focus on for each sales position. Those reps in a sales support role, like a sales development representative, are going to need more learning that’s revolved around email and phone communication — For example, customer service phone tips. The same goes for managing sales reps of an outsourced sales team. Providing excellent customer service from the sales side of things starts by designating certain traits to each role of the sales team organizational structure.
    • Initial and follow-up contact – Before jotting down the common industry practices with initial and follow-up contact, think about what worked for you in your career. That experience is relevant experience. Use those contexts to educate your reps. They can also be used in sales messaging as similar situation cases.
    • Presenting – Consider the communication differences when presenting in-person or over the phone. Technology is a big factor; screen sharing over a phone call and presenting with a projector are completely different, but both have benefits. How do you approach asking questions or organizing points for each type of format?
    • Customer service tips and sales manager tips – Incorporating quick tips and quotes into learning is a great way to retain information. The attribution of quotes to great customer service stories makes information memorable. Incorporate great customer service quotes into learning material. As time progresses you can update content on a whim to replace the customer service quotes with ones said from your own employees. Having an easily accessible document of go-to advice (tips) for reps to reference will eventually be referenced less and less and for good reason. Ease of organization and access to materials subtly encourages frequent reference. As materials are frequented, information is retained, and those go-to customer service tips become a habit.

    Make sure each of your reps is conditioned with customer service duties. Retaining this information takes initial and ongoing training. A sales team without it is an underperforming sales team.

    5 Customer Service Tips for Sales

    Sometimes sales reps are so focused on getting a customer to sign on the dotted line that they lose sight of the customer’s journey. However, the best sales reps embody key skills that are important for both sales and customer service. Because the customer’s experience starts with the sales team, it’s important to remember different types of customer service.

    Know…everything
    From products to the prospect, there are plenty of areas of expertise for a sales rep. First, it’s important to know as much as possible about the potential customers so the rep can deliver a custom demo or experience that addresses the customer’s wants and needs. Additionally, if a sales rep wants to earn respect and be seen as an expert, they should know everything about the products or services they’re selling. Potential customers will appreciate their level of knowledge which can be a difference maker between closed lost and closed won. 

    Follow up
    In sales, there’s a fine line between persistence and pestering. Continuing to call and email a prospect without knowing why they aren’t responding is ineffective. If you promised to follow up with a prospect but have yet to hear a response consider taking a different approach. When it comes to following up and the relationship between sales and customer service, it’s important to keep the customer’s preferences and communication style in mind.

    Shorten your response time
    According to customer service statistics 2019, 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they reach out to a company.  This is a link between customer service and sales. Just as they customer service team should quickly respond to a customer, sales reps need to be quick to respond to customer inquiries for greater satisfaction and higher close rates.

    Be honest
    Everyone appreciates honesty and a great way to turn a prospect into a buyer is through direct and honest conversations. For example, a sales rep could advise their potential customer not to purchase a service add-on, but then suggest something cheaper that would be better suited for their needs. This proves credibility and fosters and relationship of trust at the same time. 

    Say thank you
    Service should always be about the customer. It’s helpful to follow customer service phone tips and ensure that every phone call ends with a “thank you,” no matter the circumstance. This will leave a lasting impression and remind the buyer or customer that they’re valued.

     

    Customer Service Training for Sales Reps

    A prominent issue with any kind of training is how to motivate sales. Team dynamic is definitely important in the sales team structure. Think about having a competition incorporated into the training.

    With that said, it’s a heavy burden for a manager to come up with all this training material, especially when there’s already so many sales representatives to manage. But, it needs to happen. With Lessonly, we make it easy to create, organize, deliver, and track training. Simplifying these actions from the administrative side enable managers to create great content initially and pay more attention to the learning process and the employees involved. Simply put, Lessonly makes you worry less about managing the system and more about managing the people that will grow the company.

    On the opposing end, learners are able to take lessons on mobile devices before a due date. We know that a learning environment that works for one employee may not be the same for others. By using Lessonly, each individual can learn in their best environment. Corporate training can be very restrictive; imagine not being able to finish a module until a computer tells you you’re done? It’s discouraging and hinders the learning experience from the start. Lessonly is learner-focused, meaning we consider the platform’s use from the learner’s perspective before we develop the administrative side of things.

    In Lessonly, administrators can designate roles and assign learning lessons by scheduling or triggers. With role designation, admins can make managers in charge of a certain set of learners. Often, HR departments handle all departmental training, but that’s not the case with Lessonly. We find that many admins utilize the opportunity to let departmental managers, whether it be sales or customer service, take charge of learning for their department. This breaks up broad learning, making the content more focused.

    Scheduled assigning works just like it sounds. If you’ve created great material, but don’t need to deliver it to learners for another month, you can schedule it for that. If you need to repeat a lesson for ongoing training purposes, you can do that too. Triggering lessons allow managers to assign lessons in a certain order; when a learner is done with one lesson, they receive another lesson you queued up. Learners can even set reminders to review material themselves.

    No sales team member will learn information thoroughly the first time, but how to provide good customer service in sales is pertinent information to retain throughout a reps career. Lessonly allows you to set a learning foundation and path for effective learning. Learn more and get a demo today.

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      Customer-Content Fit: A Framework for Producing Content That Attracts Customers

      Customer-Content Fit: A Framework for Producing Content That Attracts Customers

      We recently worked with a company that is looking to attract engineering and IT executives at enterprise companies. They’re selling highly technical development services to them.

      These target customers are essentially, executives. They make important decisions for huge websites like “What backend architecture should we use?” and “Is our tech stack preventing us from hiring top talent?”. They get paid a lot. They manage huge teams. They are important, busy people.

      The company’s existing blog posts, though, had titles like:

      • 21 useful javascript tips and tricks…
      • 7 things to stop doing with jquery
      • 10 bootstrap alternatives

      Do you see the problem? No IT executive is looking for jquery tips. They are not coding in their job. They haven’t written code for years.

      This is not an isolated problem.

      For example:

      A high end, UI/UX design firm said some of their previous content included things like a “website launch checklist”. The only problem is that their ideal contracts are $100,000+ from multi-million dollar companies with a serious digital presence. Their management teams don’t need to learn how to launch a website.

      A B2B SaaS company we worked with had a solution to help enterprise CMOs at medium to enterprise companies get more testimonials. Their existing content included tips about how surveying customers is “important”. The problem? Their target customers came to them because they knew customer feedback was important, they just needed help getting more. They don’t need to be told that testimonials are important.

      If you’re the marketing executive or founder, this misalignment problem is mentally and emotionally exhausting. You’re working your tail off producing content month after month. From ideating, to writing, to graphics, to promotion- it’s all a lot of work. So when the management team asks you “How many customers are we generating from our content marketing efforts?”, it can feel like you want to throw something at a wall.

      It’s infuriating. We’ve been there.

      Introducing “Content-Customer Fit”

      We’ve seen this problem so often, across so many industries, that we’ve decided we need to formalize this issue.

      We’re calling this concept: Content-Customer Fit.

      The above examples are from companies that haven’t achieved content-customer fit. They have content. Their content may be really good, but that’s irrelevant. The problem is that isn’t written for their customers.

      So they don’t have a fit.

      We define a “working” content operation as driving useful leads or sales for the business

      And without content-customer fit, their content marketing operation isn’t going to “work”, which we define as driving useful leads or sales for the business. We don’t even care if it gets traffic or not. One of the examples above is from a blog that got less than 1000 visitors, another gets over 200,000 a month. It doesn’t matter, in both cases, the company decided to work with us because the blog wasn’t producing enough (or sometimes, any) useful leads.

      That’s why content-customer fit is so important.

      This term is, of course, a nod to “product-market fit”, which, I’m sure you’ve heard a million times. To pause and give credit where it’s due, according to Wikipedia “product-market fit” was defined or popularized by some combination of Marc Andreessen, Sean Ellis, and Steve Blank. In other words, some highly accomplished startup folks have endorsed (or created) it.

      There are clear analogies between customer-content fit and product-market fit:

      Customer content fit vs product market fit

      So, let’s discuss the 3rd item, how to achieve content-customer fit. Then we’ll look at a before and after example.

      Curious about having us do content marketing for your business? You can learn more hereIf you’d like to learn the content marketing strategy that we share here, we also teach our content marketing process in our course and community.

      Step 1 to Achieving Content-Customer Fit: Extensive Customer Research

      Steve Blank, one of the “product-market fit” gurus according to Wikipedia has this famous line:

      Get out of the building.

      He means startup founders need to start by talking to customers, a lot, over and over, before they start building.

      That’s exactly how we approach achieving content-customer fit for ourselves and our clients.

      content strategy

      Step 1.1: Getting the right people in the room

      Marketers typically don’t have direct contact with customers.

      When we start working with a company, the first thing we do is an intensive user research session. It’s typically a half day at their office.

      The session is conducted with way more than the marketing team. We usually bring in C-level staff, someone from the sales development team, account executive team (if there’s a sales org), customer support/account management team (if there is one), and any other employees that have direct contact with, or extensive knowledge of, the customer.

      The reason is simple, marketers often don’t have direct contact with customers (sorry, but we’re finding that to be true), so we don’t want filtered or “best guess” info, we want it straight from the people who talk to customers every day.

      Content marketers are one level removed from customers

      Step 1.2: Identify the best customer, not just any customer

      Then we’ll pull up the company CRM for quantitative data analysis and sort by 3 key metrics:

      • Account Value – the price the customer pays the company
      • Sales Cycle – how long it took an account to close
      • Retention- how long the customer has been with the company

      For service businesses, we’ll also ask the account managers which companies were the most enjoyable to work with.

      We’re looking to figure out who the absolute best, most ideal, if-you-could-wave-a-magic-wand customers are for this company.

      On the quantitative side, from CRM data, we begin to understand which companies have a high contract value, had a short sales cycle and have stayed with the company a long time. A customer that checks all 3 boxes is typically a great fit. We prioritize those companies.

      Then on the qualitative side, we get evidence from the stakeholders about their views on their customers. We ask questions like this to these different stakeholders:

      Account management/ customer success

      • Which of your customers see a ton of value in the product or service that you offer?
      • Which are the customers that you’ve never had any issues with?
      • Which of your customers do you think are the best fit for the company?

      Sales

      • Which of the accounts that you closed in the last 6 months to a year were the easiest to close, and why?
      • Which accounts had a huge pain point that your company solved for?
      • What were those pain points?

      Marketing

      • Which leads had the highest chance to convert to an opportunity?

      We get into a lot more detail and the conversations go in different directions depending on the company, but you get the idea.

      Step 1.3: Consolidate and Analyze the Data

      Then after going through this exercise, we compile the list of companies and do demographic research to figure out who the buyer in these companies were, and what similarities they share.

      For example:

      • Did the buyers have similar titles?
      • Did the companies that came up multiple times have similar revenue ranges? Employee counts?
      • What industries were these companies in?

      At this point we have a pretty damn good understanding of who. That is, who are the company’s best customers. We often start with a long list of potential customers, and narrow it down to a small example list of ideal customers.

      Best Customer research

      We are now are at a key milestone: We have the foundation to create a content strategy that is designed to target a specific group of ideal customers — not just any customer. These are customers that are easier to convert, fun to work with, pay the most, and churn the least.

      But, we can’t start creating content yet. We have one absolutely critical step left.

      Step 1.4: Learn everything about these ideal customers’ pain points

      After we’ve narrowed down a massive list of any random customer that may give us money down to the very best, we then try to learn everything we can about these companies/people that purchased.

      For example:

      • What were the problems the company was facing prior to them working with you?
      • How were those problems solved once they started working with you?
      • What other problems/challenges do these people face in their roles outside of the problem your company solves for them?
      • What publications do these people read? Who do they look up to in your industry?

      Usually, the company we’re working with doesn’t know how their customers would answer these questions. (In particular, the last question.)  So getting answers to these questions usually requires ongoing customer research on our part: emails, surveys, looking at customers service chats, talking to more people at the company.

      We also have a much longer list of questions, above is just an example set. Some more questions are discussed in this user research surveying article, and with clients we create a bunch more, custom, questions.

      Overall, this is a crucial step and the techniques are varied. I’m glossing over this in this article for sake of space but we go through it in detail in our course and with our clients. This step requires some creativity, and in previous articles we’ve harshly (but, in my opinion, correctly) just said:

      “You’re a marketer. This is your job. Figure out how to get it done.”

      After this step we’ve now figured out who the absolute best, most ideal customers are based off of real data instead of a marketers’ hunch (so our content strategy becomes focused instead of scattershot).

      Now we can finally move on to content creation.

      (This is analogous to a startup founder doing enough customer research to release their MVP in their quest for product-market fit.)

      Creating Content That Attracts Customers

      It’s kind of neat that once you do all of the user research steps above, ideating on content is not that complicated.

      Think about it:

      • You’ve narrowed the full customer list down to a subset based on actual data. Most companies just write for anyone in their general field
      • You’ve talked to multiple stakeholders in the company to make sure your reasoning and conclusions are sound. Most employees work in silos.
      • You’ve then started uncovering pain points by actually talking to real customers. Most marketers just assume.

      So now you just create content pieces that address the actual pain points you’ve uncovered for these ideal customers.

      In terms of making the content good, we’ve talked about that at length in several places (the curious reader can find even more in the content strategy section of our top content page):

      The best way to see all of this put into action is through an example.

      If you’re finding this post valuable, you’ll love our course. We go in even more depth about how to conduct user research and identify high converting blog topics. We also cover writing great blog posts, driving traffic to them, and more. Learn more about our course here.

      A Change In Strategy Based off of this Approach

      We gave a workshop to the VC firm FundersClub back in December and were lucky enough to have their VC partners as well as some of their portfolio companies in the room.

      workshop fundersclub wide 1000

      Giving a workshop at Fundersclub in front of VCs and founders.

      For those that aren’t familiar with Fundersclub, they’ve funded over 200 startups with names you might recognize such as: Instacart, Coinbase, Teespring, LeadGenius, RankScience, etc. They typically fund early investments in the Seed and Series A rounds.

      We ran through the best customer exercise with them and determined that the best companies for them to fund were:

      • Serial Founders
      • Had participated in the top incubators (YC, 500 Startups, Techstars, etc.)
      • Had previously raised a seed or angel round of funding
      • Showed significant traction (we defined what those metrics were in the session)

      This is a simplified version of the best customer exercise for confidentiality reasons, but you’ll still get the learnings from the profile above. In short the criteria is what you’d expect any VC firm to want.

      But when we looked at the content they were producing, we saw pieces like this, which we argued is mirage content:

      fundersclub miragecontent

      On the surface it looks like it would be a great article. It’s a checklist for companies trying to raise their series A round of funding. Knowing that Fundersclub invests in early stage companies, you’d think this would be a great article for their target audience.

      But…

      When we scrolled through this blog article, we noticed the advice given in the article didn’t match the audience who they identified as their best customers.

      For example: these were some of the bullet points in the article.fundersclub series a checklist

      If you scroll up to their best customer — someone who is a serial founder and came out of a well known incubator — it’s clear that they know these basics about how to raise series A, they know series A rounds “usually involve institutional venture investors”, they know they need to present their financials, they know they need to practice their presentation, etc.

      In fact, when we asked the Founders in the room (who were already funded) if this piece would be valuable to them, they all said no.

      Fortunately, this exercise changed the direction of their content marketing strategy and Fundersclub has produced a ton of great pieces that are extremely valuable to their target audience.

      Here are some examples:

      fundersclub specific content

      This post shares advice from technical founder who figured out how to sell inside of their company. This is a common challenge for technical Founders: how to also become a sales leader in the early stages in your company. It also uses an interview from someone experienced in the space, not just a content marketer Googling around and summarizing info.

      Here’s another great article that directly targets something on a Founder’s mind that’s in their target market:

      fundersclub keeping engineers happy

      For tech startups, hiring engineers and keeping them happy is something that’s always top of mind. They interviewed Founders and Academics to produce this piece on how to keep engineers happy.

      They also have a series of posts with opinions from experts which range from insightful to opinionated. These posts, by nature of being fueled by an expert’s opinion, avoid the pitfall of the “Series A” checklist where it’s clear the blog is out of sync with the needs of the reader.

      Grow and Convert Canvas 2 key

      Your Turn: Do you have an example of getting customer-content fit right (or wrong)?

      It would be fun to get a discussion going about more examples of getting customer-content fit right or wrong.

      Please share an example in the comments. If you don’t want to link to it, you can just describe it. It can be obvious or it can be subtle. It can be something you worked on or something that’s just driving you crazy.

      Regardless of what it is, showing many different examples will help everyone see how customer-content fit can come in different shades and degrees across many different verticals.

      Want to produce content for your business that has customer-content fit?

      • Our Agency – You can learn more about having us run your content marketing here.
      • Our Content Marketing Course – Individuals looking to learn these skills and become better marketers, consultants, or business owners can join our private course, taught via case studies, here.

      Author:

      Grow and Convert

       

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          9 tips to give yourself the best shot at sticking to new year’s resolutions

          9 tips to give yourself the best shot at sticking to new year’s resolutions

          For many cultures, the dawn of the new year is marked not only with celebration, but also the opportunity for personal reflection and growth.

          But as the year progresses, our initial drive for self-betterment can falter.

          The good news is our tendency to give up can be circumvented. There are various ways we can strengthen our commitment to our new year’s goals.

          A mismatch between aim and actions

          In early 2020, my colleagues and I surveyed 182 participants to study personal goal factors which promoted well-being and sustained people’s pursuit of their most important new year’s resolution.

          We found 74% of participants listed their most important resolution as the same, or nearly the same, as in the previous year.

          More than half of the resolutions focused on either “diet” (29%) or “exercise” (24%). This suggests health-related goals tend to get rebooted each year — perhaps because New Year’s Day follows plenty of end-of-year festivities and feasting.

          Furthermore, despite the participants reporting a strong commitment to their listed resolution, about two thirds gave up within one month. Other studies have shown similarly high rates for not sticking with new year’s resolutions.

          Generating meaning to sustain effort

          If you’re wanting to set yourself a resolution for 2021, a good place to start is to reflect on the year that was.

          Our personal reflection on 2020, and the key lessons we took away from it, will help determine our hopes and visions for the year ahead.

          Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was marked by prolonged lockdowns, isolation, loss and shifts in opportunity. But personal growth and strength can stem from such experiences, as past research has revealed.

          Living though difficult and stressful times can pave the way for a greater appreciation for life, deeper self-understanding, and increased personal resilience (which means being able to bounce back quicker).

          When setting resolutions, it’s important they’re linked to meaningful goals and values that can sustain motivation.

          For example, the resolution to “lose five kilos” will more likely endure in the face of obstacles, difficulties or other competing resolutions if it’s linked to higher personal values, such as beliefs about one’s health or appearance.

          Sticky note with various popular new year's resolutions
           
          If you’re wondering whether your motivation to reach a certain goal will dwindle later on, look at why you want to achieve the goal in the first place. What does it really mean to you? Shutterstock

          Our study also found “goal flexibility”, which refers to being able to adapt to various situations, was positively associated with mental well-being. In turn, this was associated with a greater chance of sticking to new year’s resolutions.

          So being adaptable in the process of meeting your goals will not only improve your general well-being, it will also help you pursue your new year’s resolutions.

          Tips for setting your 2021 new year’s resolutions

          When it comes to sticking to resolutions, insight gleaned from psychology research can be distilled into several practical and easy-to-apply tips.

          1) Set resolutions that match your deeper values

          Your personal beliefs and hopes have a key role in sustaining your motivational impetus and keeping you focused. This form of motivation is associated with increased personal well-being.

          2) Try to set “new” resolutions

          This is preferable to recycling old ones. If you still want to pursue a resolution from last year, try to be more specific in your approach.

          3) Set resolutions as specific plans

          These should account for factors such as time, place and people. Specific plans provide the mental cues needed to stick to our goals.

          This is because they’re also less mentally taxing than more vague or generic plans that require further thinking. For instance, consider this resolution:

          I will walk for at least 30 minutes around the nearby lake with my friend Sam on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

          It already sets a framework that provides plenty of mental cues and strategies on which to follow up. Also, including another person in the plan also sets a greater sense of responsibility, accountability and social enjoyment — compared with a more vague resolution such as:

          I’ll go on more walks this year.

          4) Identify and imagine your desired positive outcome

          Visualising your goals will help keep you focused on identifying the specific resources your resolution requires. It will also help mobilise a sustained pursuit of the goal.

          5) Reward small gains along the way

          Enjoying small progress gains is not only pleasurable, it will also help to motivate you.

           
          Taking stock of how far you’ve come in the process of achieving a goal can provide the internal drive needed to see it to the end. Shutterstock

          6) Set resolutions you want to pursue, rather than those you think you should

          Research consistently shows pursuing freely chosen goals that are internally motivated enhances well-being. Meanwhile, goals that are externally motivated are associated with psychological distress and are less likely to be achieved.

          Examples of external motivation include doing something because the situation demands it, because it might please someone else, or to avoid shame or guilt that may arise if it isn’t done.

          7) Be flexible

          If your resolution isn’t working for you, reset it or adjust it to make it more meaningful and/or achievable.

          8) Be realistic

          The more realistic your resolution is, the more achievable it will be and the less likely you are to set yourself up for failure.

          9) Learn from past failures

          Instead of engaging in self-criticism and negative self-evaluation, a positive attitude towards failed resolutions can help you do better next time.

          Author:

          The Conversation

          Beth Daley

          Editor and General Manager

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          Snowflake CEO says Covid has shown old approach to working at the office is ‘nonsense’

          Snowflake CEO says Covid has shown old approach to working at the office is ‘nonsense’

          Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman told CNBC on Tuesday he believes the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered the role that physical offices will play for corporations going forward.

          “This whole notion that the office is your workday home, we realize that is nonsense,” Slootman said on “Squawk Alley.” “Offices … need to be there for specific purposes — for events, for training, for meetings, specifically — but not a place to hang out 9 to 5. That’s definitely changing. It’s really going to reduce the real estate footprint that companies have.”

           

          The advent of the Covid-19 outbreak last spring ushered in widespread remote work for many white-collar employees that has continued for months. It has proven to be “almost like a wake-up call that is just opening our eyes to the opportunity,” said Slootman, a longtime tech executive who in 2019 took over at Snowflake, a cloud database company. It went public in a massive IPO in September.

          Snowflake and other cloud companies are beneficiaries of the shift to remote work. For example, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy told CNBC in December he believes “the pandemic will have accelerated cloud adoption in the enterprise by a few years.”

          Slootman said he understands people might be eager to more freely leave their homes once long-standing public health restrictions are eased, potentially wanting to return to pre-pandemic routines of commutes. However, he said his San Mateo, California-based company does “not have a yearning to go back to where we were.” Slootman added, “From a business standpoint, there’s a lot of positives to the shock to the system that we received.”

          One positive could be the ability to recruit potential employees from a larger geographic region. Indeed, Okta co-founder and CEO Todd McKinnon said “a war for talent” that is being fought beyond just Silicon Valley helped catalyze the company’s embrace of remote work. “And the more broadly we can appeal to people, in terms of letting them work from anywhere and … letting them contribute at a high level from anywhere, that’s our plan,” McKinnon told CNBC last month.

          Slootman also pointed to companies such as Oracle, which is moving its headquarters from California to Texas, as evidence of how the coronavirus pandemic is recalibrating approaches to work. In announcing its decision, Oracle referenced its implementation of a more flexible work policy.

          “The whole notion of a headquarters is pretty much evaporating in front of our eyes,” said Slootman, who previously was president and CEO of ServiceNow from 2011 to 2017. “We’re no longer operating with a physical center of the universe. We’re completely virtual. We’re connecting as needed, and we’ve been operating for the better part of a full year without headquarters and it’s just fine. … It’s just a concept whose time has gone away, and that’s very profound.“

          To be sure, the pandemic’s long-term impact on the office is not yet known and some companies have indicated permanent remote working is not in their future. For example, while Google has delayed its employees’ return to work date to Sept. 1, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a company email last month that they will eventually be expected to work in person for at least three days per week.

          Author:

          CNBC

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          As South Florida’s housing market booms, signs of a slowdown have agents worried about a bursting bubble

          As South Florida’s housing market booms, signs of a slowdown have agents worried about a bursting bubble

          Eight months in to the pandemic and the housing market in Broward County has been booming for those selling single family homes.
          Eight months in to the pandemic and the housing market in Broward County has been booming for those selling single family homes. (Carline Jean / Sun Sentinel)
           

          The housing market in South Florida has been booming for much of 2020 — sparked by low interest rates, high demand and low inventory — but real estate experts say they consider the trend a bubble that probably won’t last.

          Single-family homes have been spinning on and off the market at a fast pace, with many sellers getting offers above asking price from buyers who are taking advantage of historically low interest rates, real estate agents say.

          In Broward County, single-family home sales in September were 24.9 percent higher than September 2019, and the median sale price rose 15.6 percent to $425,000, according to the Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Association of Realtors.

          Outside of Broward County, the story is much the same. A study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University found that eight out of 10 key metro markets in Florida — including Miami, St. Lucie, Orlando and Tampa — are overpriced relative to their long-term trends with some approaching their historical peaks.

           

          That has some in the industry feeling a sense of deja vu.

          “We’re in a huge bubble type thing right now,” said Teri Arbogast of Keller Williams Partners Pembroke Pines. “I already put a house on the market, and I already got a full price offer and I haven’t even shown it yet. The last time I saw this happen was in 2004, 2005.”

          Dawn Williams Bobo with Prag Realtors in Tamarac said she also sees buyers leveraging the low interest rates to make overpriced offers.

          “It’s enabled a lot of buyers to be in a position to purchase more than what they were typically approved for due to the adjustment in the interest rate,” Williams Bobo said.

          When buyers are spending as much as $15,000 over the asking price of a home, Arbogast said, they risk ending up under water — owing more than their homes are worth if the market declines.

          During the peak of the housing collapse 12 years ago, close to half of all homes with mortgages in South Florida were under water.

          And the boom of 2020 is starting to show signs of slowing down. According to a weekly report from Zillow released Friday, the rapid sales of single-family homes over the past several months has led to a lack of inventory, and a normal seasonal slow down is on the horizon. Inventory in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market is down 1.4% over the past month and 15.4% year-over-year, pointing to a looming slow down, the Zillow report said.

          In Broward County, some neighborhoods are especially popular right now as buyers seek more space for home offices, back yards and good schools.

          “What I’ve seen is that everybody looking to buy a house was upgrading, and more importantly, the fact that you could have this space if you were quarantining, so you wouldn’t feel stuck or get cabin fever,” said Gianpierre Giusti of the Meza Group in Fort Lauderdale.

          Coral Springs and Parkland still remain popular choices, especially for their high-quality schools and recreational spaces. But new hotspots are emerging, too. West Broward High School is drawing buyers to west Pembroke Park and more space, affordability and big-city amenities are making Sunrise popular, according to recent ratings by Yelp.

          With the current trends, Arbogast said that while now is a good time to sell a home, she is advising clients to hold off on purchasing a new home. Instead, she says rent a home for the time being to see if the market moderates.

          The condo market in Broward is favoring buyers for the moment, with sellers willing to make more concessions. The condo market has only increased slightly year over year — about 6 percent — which agents say is probably due to pandemic-related concerns over shared amenities such as elevators and gyms.

          “It’s pretty shocking to see houses fly off the shelve and condos just kind of stay stagnant,” Giusti said. “It’s a market where people will over pay for houses and under pay for condos.”

          But going for a condo or a rental does come with advantages for a buyer. Data from Yardi Matrix, which provides analysis and services for the multi-family real estate industry, shows that at least 20 percent of rental units have offered credits and price discounts for buyers looking to do renovations.

          Rental markets in Oakland Park and Deerfield Beach are especially hot and areas such as Tamarac and East Fort Lauderdale are popular for people are renting by necessity.

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            Are Top Salespeople Born or Made?

            Are Top Salespeople Born or Made?

            My last post on the “Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople” was based on personality tests administered to 1,000 top business-to-business salespeople. The test results indicate that key personality traits directly influence top performers’ selling styles, and, in turn, their success. However, the study also raises the perennial question, “Are top salespeople born or made?” In other words, must top salespeople be born with the prerequisite sales instincts, or can someone learn to become successful in sales without them?

            Based upon my research, experience, and observations, I estimate over 70 percent of top salespeople are born with “natural” instincts that play a critical role in determining their sales success. Conversely, less than 30 percent of top salespeople are self-made — meaning, they have had to learn how to become top salespeople without the benefit of these natural abilities. In addition, for every 100 people who enter sales without natural sales traits, 40 percent will fail or quit, 40 percent will perform at near average, and only 20 percent will be above average (These figures vary by industry and the complexity of products sold).

            Based on the figures above, the real question that should be asked is, “What determines whether or not a self-made salesperson will become successful?” While it’s easy to recite a laundry list of general reasons for success (hard work, persistence, intelligence, integrity, empathy, etc.), my experience in the field and the research I’ve conducted indicates four key factors that determine the self-made salesperson’s destiny. They are language specialization, “modeling” of experiences, political acumen, and greed.

            Language Specialization

            The first differentiating factor between the success or failure of the self-made salesperson is language specialization. While all competent salespeople can recite their product’s features and business benefits, very few are mavens who can conduct intelligent conversations about the details of daily business operations. Every industry also has developed its own technical language to facilitate mutual understanding of terminology and an exact meaning of the words used throughout a business. The technical language consists of abbreviations, acronyms, business nomenclature, and specialized terms (for example RAM, CPU, and flash drive in the consumer electronics industry).

            Successful self-made salespeople possess domain-area expertise and speak the corresponding business operations language, or have deep knowledge of the industry’s technical language. These languages are the yardstick by which customers measure a salesperson’s true value and greatly influence their purchase decisions. Lesser-performing self-made salespeople are not as fluent in these languages, so they tend to focus on likability and friendliness with prospective customers.

            Modeling of Experiences

            Modeling is the mind’s ability to link like experiences and similar data into predictable patterns. Salespeople continually learn through the ongoing accumulation and consolidation of information from their sales calls and interactions with customers. From this knowledge base, salespeople can predict what will happen and what they should do in light of what they have done in the past.

            Modeling can be thought of as the engine that drives sales intuition. For example, let’s say a salesperson is asked by a skeptical, analytical, financial-oriented prospective customer how his product is different from his major competitor’s. His answer would be based on previous experiences with similar circumstances. Modeling can be thought of as trying to find the what, when, where response — what you should do when you are in a particular circumstance where you have to act.

            Successful self-made salespeople have an effective methodology to store and retrieve all the verbal, nonverbal, factual, and intuitive information that occurs during sales calls and sales cycles. This results in a greater proficiency to win business than less-successful self-made salespeople who do not learn from their past mistakes and instead repeat them.

            Political Acumen
            Unfortunately, many under-performing self-made salespeople take a textbook-type approach to sales and concentrate solely on the procedural aspects of the sales cycle. They don’t take into account the human nature of sales and how people and politics determine the outcome.

            Politics are based upon self-interests. Therefore, customers do not readily reveal the internal machinations of their decision-making. Political acumen is the ability to correctly map out each decision maker’s influence and motivations. Successful self-made salespeople consider this their top priority. Political acumen drives winning account strategy whereas strategic planning without political acumen is a losing proposition.

            Greed
            We normally associate greed with a corrupt character or miserly scrooge. While this may be society’s definition, in sales, “greed” takes on an entirely different meaning. In sales, greed and self-respect are closely intertwined. Greed can be thought of as the desire to be fairly paid for one’s time. Time is a salesperson’s enemy because time is finite. Time is the governor that determines how many deals can be worked and where effort should be focused. Salespeople are on a mission to learn the ultimate truth, “Will I win the deal?” Greed compels the successful self-made salespeople to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and ask difficult qualifying questions while continually pushing for the close. Conversely, the lesser successful self-made salespeople do not possess this inward drive.

            Are top salespeople born or made? The true answer is that the overwhelming majority of top salespeople are gifted with innate talents. However, many others are self-made successes who have learned how to apply their language specialization and build their intuition. They know what accounts they should spend their time on and always navigate to powerful decision-makers in order to create the opportunity to persuade them to buy.

            View the highlights from the recent HBRchat on “Becoming a Top Self-made Salesperson.” The HBRchat happens every Thursday from 1:00p-2:00p EST. To join in, just log on to Twitter, follow @HBRexchange, and search for the #HBRchat hashtag. For more, visit the HBRchat homepage.

            Author:

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            Steve W. Martin teaches sales strategy at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. His new book is titled Heavy Hitter I.T. Sales Strategy: Competitive Insights from Interviews with 1,000+ Key Information Technology Decision Makers.

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            You are here Home Sales and Marketing Feature Why Social Media Is Key to Your Pipeline

            You are here Home Sales and Marketing Feature Why Social Media Is Key to Your Pipeline

            You know all too well that being a real estate agent is about more than just open houses and closing tables. Most real estate agents have to fill many different roles in order to have a successful business.

            Heather Elias, founder of the Loco Real Estate Team at Century 21 Redwood Realty, says the importance of marketing is one piece of the puzzle that’s often overlooked by agents, especially when it comes to the day-to-day work of making new connections with consumers.

            “I don’t think enough agents run their business like a business,” she says. “They don’t think about how much outreach they need to do on a week-to-week basis or stick to it. It’s a lot of work.”

            Of course, these days one of the key ways agents can make new connections with buyers and sellers is with social media. But many real estate professionals aren’t using these tools to their highest potential.

            Why Agents Should Use Social Media

            The Pew Research Center estimates that around seven in ten Americans use social media to connect with others, and many see it as part of their daily routine. As more and more people become active on social media with greater frequency, the number of opportunities for real estate agents to make new connections grows exponentially.

            “Second only to personal referrals, social media brings my highest number of connections with new buyers and sellers,” says Melanie Voss, CRS, with Farm & Ranch Realty in Colby, Kan.

            Elias combined her background in public relations and marketing with her real estate business when she started using social media. She says social media offers new ways for agents to connect with consumers.

            “Instead of having to go to a cocktail party or PTA meeting, or volunteering in your community to be able to meet people, there are ways to connect with like-minded individuals using social media, and that will grow your business,” she says.

            Besides the obvious advantage of bringing in more buyers and sellers, real estate agents can use social media in other ways, too. Voss uses social networks as a way to demonstrate her expertise in real estate by sharing tips, data, and trends impacting property sales in her area.

            “I enjoy the opportunity it gives me to engage with people of all ages and areas,” Voss says. “It also helps empower my buyers and sellers with market information.”

            Which Social Media Networks Should Agents Use?

            Although social media has been around for many years (Facebook was founded in 2004!), the way it’s used and how it impacts people’s lives are always changing.

            “It’s grown and changed as more of our consumer base is using it, and the way people use it has changed,” Elias says. For example, Elias used to depend much more on Twitter to connect with people, but now she sees more opportunities on Facebook and Instagram. The popularity of these platforms is reflected in the data, too. Pew estimates that today, some 68 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook, with 74 percent of those users logging in at least once per day. Though the overall audience for Instagram is smaller, they use the image-driven site at nearly the same frequency.

            Voss is reacting to similar trends in her market. “The popular social media trends are fluid and changing. I use what seems to fit the people in my area of Kansas and what I’m comfortable with,” she says.

            Elias stresses that it’s important to know where your audience is spending time online. Examine both what’s popular in your geographic area and which platforms are most successful with the niches you want to serve, since they may be different depending on where you’re situated.

            “Every agent needs to look at where their consumers are located. Find your audience and then go to them,” Elias says. “It’s not up to the agent to decide. You have to go where they are.”

            The fact is, you can’t be everywhere online, and quality over quantity is an important factor to consider. “An updated, active profile on one or two sites is better than poor engagement everywhere,” Voss says.

            The Bottom Line

            Being active on social media is key for any business to connect with new people and strengthen bonds with existing contacts. It’s a free way to market your business, build personal connections, and share resources that will help buyers and sellers get to know you before picking up the phone.

            “With social media, contacting me is easy,” Voss says. “If you don’t have my cellphone number at your fingertips, you just search a social media site and my number is on every post and picture. That’s why I use social media.”

            Author:

            REALTOR® Magazine

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            Kayla Sloan is a freelance writer and contributor to the Quicken Loans Zing Blog. She focuses on sharing personal finance tools and information that encourages readers to take control of their life and finances. For the latest news and information, visit RealEstate.QuickenLoans.com or call 866-718-9842.

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              Why Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle

              Why Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle

              Sometimes, being identified as a hustler can have a negative connotation.

              Hustlers are often thought of as crafty, manipulative schemers who take advantage of others.

              Why Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle

              But there are also many positive traits associated with those who are distinguished as hustlers.

              For instance, in business when we think of someone who hustles, we think of someone who stays busy, thinks quickly, seizes opportunity, has a great sales pitch (the gift of persuasion), can take on any challenge, makes things happen, and gets things done!

              A hustler is someone who just plain and simple makes a way when there’s NO way.

              A hustler will never take “no” for an answer.

              They are individuals who more often than not, find themselves on the winning side – succeeding and achieving at just about everything they take on. 

              Repeatedly, we find that good things come to those who hustle and those who are not willing to accept less.

               

              We find that those who just keep hustling ultimately get the results they desire.

              It is not a mere coincidence that hustling leads to positive results.

              We can clearly see from example and experience that a successful result is tied to one’s ability and willingness to work harder than anyone else.

              So, let’s look at the useful and positive traits required to be a successful hustler and turn losing into winning.

              While each one has their unique style or method for winning, there are a few staples that every hustler keeps in their tool bag.

              These characteristics are always handy and accessible in ensuring that good things come to those who hustle.

              Why Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle

              1. Time and Effort

              Why Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle

               

              Sacrifice, hard work – the never-ending grind – is the modus operandi of a true, dedicated hustler.

              There is NO defined schedule (no 9-5). Instead, a hustler puts in as much time as they deem necessary to grab hold of what they want. Hustlers don’t allow themselves to get boxed in by routines and time limits.

               

              There is a labor of love.

              They find joy in exerting the energy needed to accomplish their vision.

              Hard work, long hours, multiple assignments, risky business, are all sweet-sounding descriptions of time and effort (from their view).

              You see, every hustler knows that laying around hoping or relying solely on faith without action will never turn a dream to reality, or transform hope into real possibilities.

              2. Determination

              Courage, willpower, and guts – these are the foundation of a hustler’s game.

              Every hustler has a vision, a goal, or a desire they see in their mind’s eye.

              They are willing to go after it regardless of the potential challenges.

              So they set up a solid basis for achieving greatness.

              They understand that they will encounter pain, get turned around, and fall countless times. But they never focus on the negatives and always focus on the positive.

              No matter the obstacle or issue that comes their way, they fight past it and pick up their pace.  

              Good things come to those who hustle because they can outlast every storm and survive disasters to begin anew.

              They operate in the spirit of never giving up, and persevering against all odds. Hustlers outplay and outlast all contenders.

              3. Preparedness

              Why Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle

              A hustler stays prepared. First, they pack the right tools and bring the right supplies. They know what the adventure entails so they bring the physical items and tune their minds and emotions accordingly.

              But they are also flexible enough to change direction, adjust their timing, or reconfigure their plan without getting frazzled.

              They are quick to sense an opportunity or see a new angle they could go after without much hesitation. 

              A hustler is like a chameleon – they become what they need to be given the time and space they are in. A true hustler never misses the train, plane, or bus. 

              They are first in line to claim that prime seat.

              They are never left behind because they are always ready, always prepared to claim the prize.

              When opportunity knocks, the hustler is right there to snatch it.

              4. Persuasion

              If a hustler needs to convince others to follow them, act on their ideas, or assist them, they must be emotionally tied to their vision.

              They must have no doubt in the validity of that vision.

               

              Then, they must utilize their mastery of communication to get their message across in such a powerful manner that listeners buy-in with little to no hesitation.

              They pump us up and get us committed to their goals and desire.

              Before you know it, we are their advocates, supporters, and contributors working hard to help them reach that pinnacle.  

              A good hustler knows nothing is ever handed over on a silver platter.

              They realize that they will often have to negotiate and bargain to acquire what they want.

              They understand that the ability to effectively persuade others is critical to accomplishing their goals. 

              Think about it: if a hustler can manage to get people from all levels of society, with a variety of talent and a pool or resources in their camp, how can they lose?

              This is why good things come to those who hustle.

              5. Network

              Why Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle

              Nobody makes it on their own. Regardless of what people are willing to admit, the right connections and contacts play a significant role in getting us to the place of success.

              Hustlers will link with those in their field, as well as those who have resources or access to assets and people who can help them to advance.

              They pull from the best of the best, combine those pieces, and churn out something special.  

              They not only form relationships with knowledgeable individuals but also create valuable partnerships. They glean information from those who have already found success.

              In doing so, they gain easy access to direction, examples, and mentorship. These all help to lead them down the road to greatness.

              Hustlers make things happen.

              Yes, good hustlers are calculating. But, more importantly, they plan, strive, and go after what they want with NO reservations.

              They invest time and effort, display fierce determination, operate in a state of constant preparedness, nurture, and use their gift of persuasion, as well as snatch every networking opportunity.

              Hustlers are neither afraid nor ashamed to stake their claim. They stand ready to reap the fruits of their labor.

              As winners, they know that in the end, good things may come to those who wait – but, truly good things come to those who hustle!  

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                What Customers Want … And Don’t Want – A Special Article For Customer Service Week

                What Customers Want … And Don’t Want – A Special Article For Customer Service Week

                 

                October 5-9, is National Customer Service Week. This “holiday” has had a special place in my heart since I learned about it back in the early 1980s. Since its inception, the focus of Customer Service Week has not been so much about customers as it is about employees. The idea is to celebrate the good people on the front line who do amazing work. That said, I want to take some liberties with the intention and expand it to recognizing the importance of an amazing customer experience. This is information you can share with everyone during this important week.

                Customers want a good experience. A big part of that is exceptional customer service. Don’t confuse the two. The experience is everything from navigating a website, to how easy (or difficult) it is to reach a salesperson, to the way a product is packaged (think about how cool iPhone or iPad packaging is), to the availability of parking spaces, to how friendly the employees are, and beyond. It includes everything. And while many people think of customer service as a department that reacts when the experience goes wrong, my definition is much broader.

                Customer service is philosophical. It’s part of the culture. Everyone, from the CEO to the most recently hired employee, is part of customer service and, for that matter, the customer experience. Every single employee has impact on either the outside customer, an internal customer, the experience the customer receives—or all three. I thought it would be interesting to get a deeper understanding about what customers want—and don’t want.

                In our 2020 Achieving Customer Amazement research report, we surveyed more than 1,000 people and asked them about what influences exceptional customer service. First and foremost, people want to be treated like a valued customer. That was the top response with more than 65% of respondents in agreement. That means treating people with respect and dignity. A customer is not just an account or transaction number. Customers are people.

                When it came to contacting what people often refer to as the customer service department, respondents appreciated when agents demonstrated knowledge and expertise. We’ve learned that there are two levels of knowledge. The first is that customers want agents to know about the products and services the company offers. They want answers to their questions and a quick fix to any problems or issues they have. In addition, customers want agents to know who they are. With all the technology available today, there is no reason that every agent—or any other customer-facing employee—can’t have access to basic information about the customer that would enhance the experience. Just knowing a little history about customers’ past purchases, buying patterns, issues, etc., can go a long way in giving agents information they can use to give customers a better experience.

                We also asked what influences poor customer service. It’s highly unlikely you’ll disagree with any of these. From high to low, the responses were as follows:

                 

                ·        Rudeness and apathy

                ·        Not being treated like a valued customer

                ·        Lack of knowledge and/or expertise

                ·        Slow response times

                ·        Having to repeat information

                ·        Being put on hold

                ·        Slow transaction speeds

                ·        Not being able to use their preferred communication channel

                Finally, on this survey, we asked our 1,000-plus respondents to share three words they felt best described a good customer service experience. The winners were fasthelpful and friendly.

                Fast is about convenience, which is something customers love and even crave whether they know it or not. Convenience will set you apart from your competition.

                Helpful is about getting answers to questions and problems resolved. In the sales process, it’s about being helped and not sold. There’s a big difference. A customer saying, “They are always so helpful,” is far better than, “They never stop selling.”  

                Friendly is soft but important. We don’t have to be best friends with our customers, but we do have to create a friendly and inviting experience. A big word that comes to mind—especially as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic—is empathy. That’s a powerful part of a friendly experience.

                So, now you are armed with common sense information on the basics of delivering an amazing customer service experience—very appropriate for Customer Service Week. Share it with the people you work with. Take time to thank your employees who make sure your customers are taken care of. Even though the focus is on celebrating customers and employees this week, don’t stop on Friday. This is a year-long and lifetime focus. Without customers, we don’t have a business. Without employees, we can’t serve our customers.

                Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website

                I am the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. As a customer service and experience expert, I help organizations create amazing customer and employee experiences. My books have appeared on bestseller lists including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and others. In 2008 the National Speakers Association inducted me into their Hall-of-Fame for lifetime achievement in the professional speaking industry.

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