Category Archives: positivity

Back to the future – of running a great business

Inspired Business Development Ziggy Piggy

Last friday was a monumental day in the life of my son as he finally reached “double digits” by reaching the grand old age of 10 (that’s him on the picture – the handsome one in the white t-shirt).     As a result, this past weekend has been filled with all manner of birthday celebrations, lots of cake, a water park and (on my request) a visit to a Back to the Future themed cafe.

This particular cafe, which has only recently been opened, is in homage to the “Cafe 80’s” that features in the sequel Back to the Future II.      They don’t yet have a website and have been relying on interest being generated through social media – I, in fact, saw details of the place on a friends facebook page and, as a huge fan of Back to the Future, felt I just HAD to visit.

Now, you may be wondering why this is relevant to a blog which, mostly deals with subjects related to sales and telemarketing.   Fortunately for you, I will now answer that query.

For me, what has most impressed me about this place – in addition to the whole Back to the Future theme was that this was a business which had been started, not purely for reasons of making profit but because the two owners of the cafe have a huge interest and passion for the film.

It was so nice to walk into a cafe that didn’t fit the usual high street Starbucks/Costa mould.   Somewhere unique, somewhere that, whilst still a little rough around the ages, was filled with the passion that the two business owners had for that movie.  As a fan of the movie myself, there were so many nice little touches, references to the films, 80’s memorabilia (which I later found out the owner had brought from his own collection) and, as two people that were not only passionate about the films but also passionate about their business, so much love and attention poured into the whole experience.

And that’s how businesses should be – yes we’re in it to make money but if you feel real, true passion for what your business offers that will reflect in everything the business does and will reflect in the profits that business makes.     Not only did this passion show in the visual side of the cafe but also in their customer service – they even got a HUGE bowl of ice cream free of charge due to it being my son’s birthday.

So, I wish the best of luck to the owners of Cafe 80’s – Hope their business does really well both now, and in the future!

And if you need help with any aspects of outbound sales and marketing give us a bell on 0330 20 50 500 or fill in the contact form on our website and we’ll call you straight back

Dan Smith
MD
Inspired Business Development Ltd

Inspired Business Development

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Inspired Telemarketing Blog

The main aim of the Inspired Business Development blog is to share a wealth of information related to telemarketing, cold calling and many other aspects of sales and marketing in an friendly, engaging, and (hopefully) humourous fashion.

We know it can be a tough, thankless job at times and that, even for the most experienced individual that there can be challenging days on the phone – hopefully you’ll find these ramblings to be useful and, if you do, please give them a share.

All comments – positive or otherwise are most welcome and if there’s anything you need to ask of us, do get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help!

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Could December 19th be the best day for selling this year?

Inspired Business Development Dollar Gift

For an awful lot of people, today will be the last working day before Christmas.  For many it may be the last working day of the year.      Either way, it’s a great time of year, everyone’s in a marvellous, festive mood, having fun and, inevitably slowing down the workload in anticipation of a few days of Christmassyness (yes that is a word!).

There’s a double whammy going on today in terms of keeping the motivation going – not only is it nearly Christmas, it’s a friday – the day when salespeople all around the globe turn part of their brains off and “take it easy”

Well, I say “salespeople” – not successful salespeople.  The successful salespeople will be using today for what it is – a BRILLIANT opportunity for getting hold of key decision makers and MAKING SALES.

Think about it – everyone’s in a better mood, they have less work on their plate AND less businesspeople are driving around the country attending meetings – result – decision makers are in a great mood, they have less of a workload than at other times of the year AND they’re sat at their desks, shuffling papers.

Get in there – pitch, engage, amuse, get some meetings set up for january, send over information, schedule a call over the christmas period – whatever you can do.

Don’t sit back, give up and spend the day stuffing your face with mince pies – that’s what your competitors will be doing.   Get on the phone, get those emails out, get out the door – just get some activity going.  Then you can rest, knowing you’ve made that final, all important push, ready to take a well earned break in a couple of days!

So is December the 19th the best day for selling this year?

Up to you!

And if you need help with any other aspect of outbound sales and marketing – give us a call on 0330 20 50 500

Dan

Happy selling!

 

Inspired Business Development Ltd
www.inspired-bd.com
0330 20 50 500

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Getting over the holiday blues

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For the benefit of my US readers, when I say “holiday” I mean “vacation” although this could apply to “holiday” meaning “christmas” as much as it could to “vacation” meaning “holiday”.   Confused?  Yes, me too.

Anyway I’ve recently returned from a very enjoyable 2 week holiday in Turkey and whilst there are elements of my batteries that feel fully recharged I have to say that the first couple of days back have been nothing short of a struggle.  In fact I feel like I need a holiday to get over it.

For me, the biggest issue I have is taking it easy when I return.  My mind is racing with a million and one things that need doing, both in the business and in my personal/home life and, combined with the inevitable reflection that occurs when I’m just sitting around a pool reading for 2 weeks I tend to return with big plans and a head bursting with ideas and urgency.

Couple that with tiredness and the awkward readjustment into working life and I often find that unless I take a step back I could quite easily burn myself out before I’ve even got back into the swing of things.

So, to both help myself and the rest of you out there that might be suffering with the post holiday blues, here are 5 tips to help you cope

1 – Prioritise your tasks.    Write a list of all the things that need doing – split them up into work and home/personal and mark them in order of importance.  Rome wasn’t built in a day – in fact I don’t know how long it took to build but there was still scaffolding around some of the buildings when I visited a couple of years ago so I’m guessing it was more than a week.   Tackle them in a sensible order over a sensible timescale.  If some of those tasks involve big life changes, break them down further, do a little bit at a time and don’t try to do too much.

2 – Get back into your normal sleep pattern.  Even if you’ve only travelled a short distance on your holidays, chances are you’ll have been keeping different hours on holiday than you normally would – late nights drinking aren’t compatible with an effective working life so, look after yourself and rest

3 – Remember that work is your choice – You can’t go on holiday without the money to pay for it and you can’t have the money to pay for it without working so, remind yourself that it’s your choice to work – nobody’s holding a gun to your head, you work to earn the money to pay for the things you enjoy so, if you’re feeling depressed about being back at work, remind yourself why you’re doing it.    If your holiday has given you the opportunity to reflect on your current work situation and led you to believe that you’re really not happy there, take positive steps to find alternative employment.

4 – Allow yourself time to recover.   Going back to work the day after you return from holiday is a recipe for disaster.  If you have sufficient holiday allowance, give yourself another couple of days off, that way you can not only get all of your home based tasks out of the way, you’ll be returning to work far more rested and positive than if you hauled yourself back in several hours after you’ve stepped off the plane.

5 – Make positive changes.   There will be many things from your holiday way of life that you don’t necessarily do whilst back at home.   For me, I’ve really enjoyed reading more, have not missed television one bit (particularly the news) and have only checked my social media profiles (particularly facebook) once a day at most.   Those small changes have really helped me to improve my mindset now I’m back home and, whilst I can’t make a change as drastic as “sit around a swimming pool sipping gin and tonic more often”  I have found that these 3 small changes have really improved my post holiday life.   A holiday has given me the opportunity to really notice the negative impact that not reading enough and spending too much time watching TV and checking facebook has had on my life and I’m glad to say I’m still maintaining those habits several weeks after returning to my normal life.

And, if all else fails, book another holiday then at least you’ve got that to look forward to!

Happy (post) holidays!

Dan

Dan Smith 
Inspired Business Development
Unit K9 Cradley Enterprise Centre
Maypole Fields
Cradley
Halesowen
B63 2QB
T:01384 566 078
W: www.inspired-bd.com

 

 

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How NOT to do Telemarketing

 

telemarket

This week I made the rather monumental step of moving into new offices, having started and run the business from a home office for the last two years.   The positives are currently far outweighing the negatives but, one of those negatives I’d perhaps not allowed for, as a moved business is the amount of Telemarketing calls I’m receiving, mainly from utilities companies.

Now, as someone that spends the vast majority of their working life on the phone I’ve no objection to people calling me but it has become apparent how bad the standard of calls from the average telemarketer is and, how, despite the fact that I tend to take much of our approach and success for granted, we’re actually pretty blummin good at this.

I’ve written before about some of the pointers for delivering Telemarketing or sales calls successfully so now, after 4 days of receiving some appalling calls would like to share how to do it badly:

1 – Don’t bother doing any research – pretty much every call I’ve had this week has been from companies offering utilities services – namely gas and electricity.  A little bit of research would have shown that the building I’m in is a serviced office.  20 seconds on google could have given you this information and saved both you and I some valuable time.   This also applies to ensuring you’re talking to the right person in the right position and, if you don’t know, treat the call as an enquiry/information gathering exercise

2 – Ask the prospect how they are – I’m busy, I’ve just had my day interrupted by a sales call, if you truly want an answer to the question “how are you today” the answer is most likely to be “rather annoyed, I’m busy and you’ve just called me up trying to sell me something I don’t want/need”.  Gone is the time when this works.  This leads us very nicely onto point 3

3 – Don’t get to the point – the second you called, the overriding thought in my head is “what does this person want” so, by asking how I am, umming and arring, seeming unwilling to actually tell me what the benefit is to me of continuing the conversation, again you’re wasting yours and my time.  Get to the point, tell me what the benefit is of that point and if it’s useful to me, we’ll carry on talking, if not, you can call someone else who might be interested

4 – Tell me how amazing you are – if you’re really determined on carrying out sales/marketing calls badly, way before you’ve established my need or whether I’ll potentially be interested, rattle through as many benefits of your product/service as soon as you can in the conversation in the hope that one of them will hit the spot and result in a sale.    You don’t know who I am, what I do or what my pain points are so why do I want to hear everything about your offering?  Answer – I don’t!

5 – Really obviously read from a script.   I appreciate that many large call centre operations will have automated systems to help them maximise the impact of their offering whilst reducing the need for training/development but if it doesn’t sound as if you know what you’re talking about, why on earth am I going to buy from you.  I know this is probably the 50th call you’ve made today and that you’ve had to say the same thing to the previous 49 people but, for heavens sake, put some personality into it.  Learn your script to the point where it sounds natural, mix it up a bit, tailor your introduction but, above all, sound like someone I’d like to talk to

Other than that, I’m happy for you to call me, just be good at it!

 

Dan

Dan Smith 
Inspired Business Development
Unit K9 Cradley Enterprise Centre
Maypole Fields
Cradley
Halesowen
B63 2QB
T:01384 566 078
W: www.inspired-bd.com

 

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Get targeted twitter followers

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So, Dan, what on earth has this got to do with sales and marketing you may be asking yourselves.   Have I become so disillusioned with the world of Telemarketing that I’ve decided to pledge my allegiance to Mr Bieber and his teen-entrancing pop?

The answer – you may be pleased to find out is No.   I do have extremely varied musical tastes but not that varied!

Let me explain – as well as running a telemarketing business and having a near obsessive interest in the sales process I also use social media to promote my business, gain knowledge & build relationships.  I’ve had a twitter account for a couple of years but, if I’m honest didn’t really begin to harness it’s power until around 3 months ago.

It all seemed very one sided – I’d post tweets and get no replies to them.  I’d reply to other peoples tweets and get no response back.  All of this was taking up valuable time that I could have better spent on some other form of marketing or social media.  So I neglected my account.    My tweets diminished to around once a month, my new followers to 2 or 3 every couple of weeks and, as a consequence I received a total of zero new enquiries as a result of twitter.

I then had a bit of a revelation – I’ve been involved in comedy for years and currently perform and write as part of a sketch group that – if you’re interested – will be performing at the Edinburgh festival this year (3-14th of August, 9pm at the Jekyll and Hyde) and was given the task of increasing our twitter followers to help promote the show.

Being as I was so lacking in faith about the potential of twitter I knew that the one thing I had to do to get the message out there was to increase our follower numbers so I got online and researched ways of legitimately increasing our followers.  In the end I settled on a site called tweepi which, I have to say has been exactly what I was looking for.

Without wanting to seem like I’m promoting the site too overtly (other twitter tools are available), what I found particularly great about it was the ability to follow followers and analyse their statistics to maximise the chances of being followed back.  Most notable were the last tweet dates and the percentage of followers to how many they were following.  Tweet dates being a good indicator of activity and therefore likelihood of following you back, percentages being an indicator again of how likely they are to follow you back.

Ideally you’re looking for a 100% follow ratio – this shows that the person is very likely to follow back anyone that follows them

Most importantly though I was following people who followed people in the same business as me so, rather than just following other comedians I followed the followers of those comedians – the logic being that if they’re following Michael Mcintyre , they’re interested in comedians so could well be interested in us.

This can obviously be applied to the business world – if you run a cleaning company, follow the followers of other cleaning companies, follow the followers of Facilities Management companies, follow the followers of letting agent associations etc etc

Which takes me back to my initial point.  There are tons of companies offering the ability to buy twitter followers – in an instant you can pay £30 and immediately look more impressive but, unless those followers have an interest in your product/service, what is the point?

Whilst there may well be some Bieber fans that have a need for Telemarketing services my gut feeling is that they’re probably not my ideal target market.   Make sure you’re engaging with companies and individuals that want to hear what you’ve got to say.   After all, you can’t sell to Justin Bieber fans – unless you’re selling Justin Bieber merchandise

 

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Iron Man – Business Lessons from Tony Stark

 

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I took my son to see Iron Man 3 yesterday, had to go along on the first day of release, being the geek that I am and, to be honest I think I was looking forward to it more than my son was.

In essence, it was all I expected it to be; lots of explosions, lots of gadgets and technology and a ton of witty quips as well as brilliant performances from the cast – in particular Sir Ben Kingsley who was, surprisingly, hilarious.

Most importantly though, I have always had a tremendous amount of admiration for Robert Downey Juniors character, Iron Man himself, Tony Stark.

For those of you not in the know, Tony Stark is the Billionaire owner of Stark Industries – a huge company with some rather suspect interests in developing technology for warfare – essentially he’s a very rich arms dealer.  In some ways he’s a combination of Batman and James Bond with all of the best elements of both turned up to 11.   Despite finding himself in frequent danger, he always finds time for a humourous remark and never stops having fun, whether he’s zooming around the skies in his metal suit or being locked up and tortured in a cave in Afghanistan.

Without spoiling the plot too much, right at the end of the movie, when he’s lost his house, given ownership of his business to his girlfriend and has blown up all of his million dollar Iron man suits to save his relationship he is left with nothing but a trailer on the back of his expensive sports car which contains various fragments of what was formerly his workshop.

You know that, regardless of how little he is left with, how terrible his current plight may seem that, deep down, the passion he has for creativity and the faith he has in his own abilities to deliver the goods, he’ll be back on top in no time.

For me, that’s the big lesson to learn from Iron Man – however bad things get, however little you’re left with, as long as you’ve got belief in yourself you’ll be back on the road to success before you know it

So ask yourself the question “What would Tony Stark do?”

 

 

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Don’t accept a no from someone not authorised to give a yes

 

220px-Organ_grinder_with_monkey

If you’re selling over the phone, be it for your business or on behalf of a client it’s essential that you get to talk to the right person.  Receptionists aren’t always willing to give out details of staff members; they’re usually bombarded with calls from salespeople flogging this, that and the other but if you’ve got the name of the person you need to talk to and you ask for them with an air of professionalism and purpose you’re far more likely to get put through.

So, how do you get their name?  If you’ve been lucky enough to obtain quality data you may well have their name already and there’s probably not much point in reading any further – on this occasion.

But, without that – utilise our old friend Google (other search engines are available!)

Type in the company name, copy their domain name in the search results, paste that back into google and add the job title of the person you’re looking for.  If it’s listed on their website, google will pick it up and will – if they’re social media savvy – list their name on Linkedin and possibly twitter and various less used websites – pinterest and all that google + business

You can also try going onto linkedin and use their advanced search tool.  You can narrow it down by company, name, location, sector, company size and a variety of other options of varying levels of usefulness.   Depending on your subscription to Linkedin the search results will bring up different levels of information – most notably with the free and cheaper versions of it, just their First name and initial of surname

Quick Linkedin tip to get round this – click on their name then go to the right lower side of the page where’s there’s a “people that viewed this profile also viewed….” section and click on the top person on that list.  When you get to their profile, click on the “people that viewed this profile, blah blah blah” section on their page and you often see the full name of the person you were originally looking for.   If not, repeat the exercise with one of the other contacts on there – I’d suggest a maximum of 3 other contacts.  If you don’t find their full name that way, have a look at their recommendations on their profile page, click through those.  Often you’ll find their full name listed on other peoples reciprocal recommendations.

Finally – have a look at the groups they’re a member of – if they’ve added to discussions, their full name will be on there.

I’d also highly recommend Jigsaw.Com – essentially it’s an editable directory of contacts, built up by salespeople.  You receive points for adding contacts that you’ve sourced yourself and can spend those points on buying contacts that you need.   There’s also an option to purchase credits which you can buy data with although personally I like the community spirit of everyone contributing.   You can also receive points for updating contacts so if, for example you call a company and find the person has left or changed roles, pop that in jigsaw and they’ll reward you with a shiny new decision maker.

As a Telemarketer I have to utilise every tool I have at my disposal and whilst there’s a tremendous amount that can be done over the phone on it’s own, it’s essential I increase my chances of success by using google and social media to get the information I need to succeed!

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