Marketing and Sales

When a Salesman isn't a Salesman

A business owner decides to beef up his company’s sales talent. He forks out a hefty salary for a “proven performer” from another industry; then…nothing. The salesman (or woman) is glib, professional and hard working. The owner devotes more resources …
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The Tyranny of The Bad Customer

“The customer is always right,” or at least that’s what most business owners profess to their employees. We post it for all to see. “Customer satisfaction is job one.” “Our boss is the customer.” The most important person in our …
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Can You Outgrow Customers?

When you start a company, it’s like shopping at the supermarket when you are very hungry. Everything looks good. Any suspect might be a prospect. Any prospect is worth pursuing, and your ideal customer is anyone who is willing to pay you for …
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Size Means Nothing on the Web

A small manufacturer hires a local web development firm, and spends six months reworking his website. He agonizes over every word of the copy. He writes up product descriptions, detailing materials and tolerances. He adds page after page to the …
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Small Business and Social Media II

Last week’s column generated lots of comments, and probably requires some follow up. First, the army of social media fanatics that go ballistic at any hint that SM isn’t the be-all, end-all and answer-from-above for every marketing need on the planet …
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Does Technology Help or Threaten Small Businesses?

A small computer service company wants to sell Microsoft software licenses to its customers. They send an employee to become certified in licensing. (Microsoft offers some 600 variants.). As soon as they purchase a license, however, Microsoft begins soliciting that customer …
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Why Great Salespeople Make Lousy Sales Managers

It’s been said so many times that (at least I hope) it is a business axiom on the same level as “cash is king.” Promoting your best salesman to sales manager is guaranteed to cost you a great salesman and …
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Giving Referrals: Fire and Forget?

We all appreciate getting referrals. There is a feeling of gratification in knowing that someone thinks enough of your work to send a friend or associate your way. Referrals are usually the life’s blood of most small businesses. When I …
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Sales: Do You Have Customers or Clients?

Whether you have customers or clients is more than a matter of semantics. Some businesses use the term “clients” in an attempt to class up their image. Attorneys usually have clients. Kentucky Fried Chicken doesn’t, regardless of what they might say. Nordstrom? …
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Is Distribution Dead?

It’s difficult to talk to any owner of a small distribution business without hearing complaints about competition from the Internet. Their criticisms are pretty universal, regardless of the goods being distributed. “Customers call with prices they claim to have found …
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