Does Your Business Have Religion?

Tom Watson, Sr., the legendary leader of IBM, reportedly said that in order for a company to become truly great, it needs religion.

The kind of religion Watson was referring to is the idea that a great company needs to have core beliefs. It needs to have a unifying message that all employees adhere to. Some refer to this as a vision and mission statement for the company.

Why is this important?

When you clearly state what you and your company are all about, you’re announcing to the marketplace what you consider important and what people should expect from you.

This can have a powerful effect. When you clearly stand for something, you often stand apart in a competitive marketplace. When you make your core belief something unique, your company will be seen as extraordinary in a world of copycat dullness.

Your Credo
Credo is Latin for “I believe.” A strong credo not only unifies everyone in the company but also helps attract like-minded customers who want to be a part of an extraordinary company experience.

A credo should be more than flowery statements, which are only meant to go on the company plaque and the back of your business cards. A true credo should state your most strongly held beliefs and core values. It should be the North Star that guides your company’s focus and direction.

If you don’t have a credo or vision statement for your company, it’s time to create one. If you have an old one that no one in the company can recall, it’s time to revisit it and create a memorable one.

Don’t be afraid to share with the world — with clarity and boldness — exactly what you believe in and what you focus on. Much like the original IBM, which went from 1,300 employees and $4.5 million in sales to over 72,500 employees and $897 million in sales at the time of Watson’s death, having a company religion and sharing it openly with the world can help skyrocket your business, too.

Connecting Your Brand With Your Customers

Connecting Your Brand With Your Customers

No business starts with the mission of becoming run of the mill and ordinary. But somewhere along the way, after the excitement wears off and the daily routines take over, some businesses seem to lose their way.

Running and managing a business isn’t for the faint of heart.

The daily tasks of keeping the operation flowing smoothly and bringing in enough revenue to keep the lights on while managing customer demands has a way of making one forget about the dream of creating an extraordinary business.

But the reality is that the customers of today want more than just a product or service. They want an experience. Simple delivery of goods and services may bring a customer in, but it takes more effort to turn that buyer into a steady client who will come back often.

Businesses that provide a way for the customer to feel like they’re part of something special (and maybe even a little extraordinary) attract the kind of clients who not only return themselves but also refer others to enjoy the same level of service they loved.

People have a way of flocking to businesses that give them this type of unexpected experience.

Who wants to go somewhere ordinary when they can experience a business that makes them feel wanted and special? Most people expect average, so when they find a business that goes above and beyond, they don’t need prompting to refer others.

Being different and offering an experience in addition to products and services doesn’t have to be difficult. It only requires that you stand apart from your competitors. Sometimes all that takes are some simple tweaks.

Going above and beyond might be as simple as the presentation you make when you deliver your products and services. The Apple iPhone is just a smartphone. However, from the product announcement down to the packaging, the stage is set that you’re about to experience something extraordinary.

How can you package what you sell in a way that sets you apart?

When you give your customers the expectation that they’re part of something special (a fun company that makes them feel exclusive), then you’ve gone from an ordinary company with a logo to a brand that connects with its clients.

Customers connect with brands that make them feel special. The revenue and profits flow naturally when you can achieve that level of branding.

Here at Print & Copy Factory, we go a long way to help you keep your brand consistent with all of your marketing materials.   We may not be the cheapest printer in town, but – the care it takes to help you build your business with consistent marketing materials, marketing messages and strategies is priceless. If you would like to know more about how we can help you with your branding, come to our marketing classes. Contact us at work, 360-738-4931 and talk to Becky.


What is Your Sales Process?

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You may have the greatest service or product in the world, but if you can’t sell it, how much good will that do?

The good news is that small improvements in your selling can have exponential effects on your bottom line. Focusing on the factors that can increase your selling efficiency or selling effectiveness will have a far greater impact than changing prices or reducing overhead.

The path to selling efficiency and effectiveness starts with proper planning. Begin by focusing on the factors you have the most control over:

  • The quality of your prospects
  • The quality of your sales pitch
  • The cost of the sales process itself
  • How you use your time
  • Your sales process

The quality of your prospects depends on how well you qualify them. This is one of the most important factors in improving your selling effectiveness. You have complete control over this part of your process. Begin by asking if the prospect truly is a good fit for what you sell.

When determining the quality of your sales pitch, remember that your prospects are too busy to pay attention to generic sales speak. Find a way to quickly show them how your product or service has delivered measurable results for people just like them. You need to prove that you know your stuff and that you can help them solve their problems.

The cost of the sales process is another area where you have control. Tracking expenses in both hard costs and time spent provides benchmarks that will help you determine just how much it costs to acquire a customer. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

Effective time management skills separate the top sales superstars from everyone else. Finding the right customer acquisition techniques and tools is essential… and well within your control. Nothing is more valuable than your time. Learn to use it wisely.

Do you have a sales process in place, or do you handle sales in a piecemeal and patchwork manner? A strong, systematic sales process can take much of the mystery, magic, and waste out of selling. Track it, measure it, and tweak it until you have a dynamic process that can be replicated by every new salesperson.

There is one last item that binds all of these together, without which none of them will work. That is productive activity. Nothing can replace the actual work it takes to generate a sale. Phone calls, direct mail, networking events, emails, and in-person sales calls are all productive sales activities. They all work when they’re part of an overall strategy and plan that leads a prospect to a sale.

Sometimes it only takes small improvements to get big results. Take a closer look at how you’re currently selling. Shorten your sales cycle by improving your process, and watch your sales grow.

You Have to Be Easy

Making it as easy as possible to do business with your company seems like a logical and simple concept, yet many businesses unwittingly create hurdle after hurdle for their customers to jump just for the privilege of doing business with them.

Customers are already overburdened with complexities, rules, and regulations. Companies that deliver with the least hassle win more business than others.

To be sure, there are some necessary steps and processes for each business transaction, but the task for every business should be to do away with as many of the unnecessary ones as possible.

Let’s take Apple computers and their packaging as just one example. An Apple product comes in a package that combines elegance, simplicity, and art. When you hold the typical Apple product package, you realize before even opening the box that this is a different kind of product. Everything has a place and reason. Much thought has gone into what is usually an afterthought with most companies.

Steve Jobs was known as an obsessive person. A big reason for his success was his obsession with removing complexity and simplifying. He knew that the company which removed the most confusion actually ended up gaining the most customers. Jobs wanted his products to be so simple and intuitive that they didn’t need an owner’s manual.

If you want to grow your business and for your clients to actually enjoy the buying process, you must obsessively work to continually remove as many obstacles as possible, while at the same time simplifying how customers buy from you.

Start by regularly asking yourself: “How can we make ordering from us even easier?”

It’s a process. You’ll know you’ve arrived when your customers actually have pleasant thoughts and smile when ordering instead of the typical angst most experience. Being the easiest to do business with will bring many long-term rewards.

Are you a salesperson or a consultant?

It really doesn’t matter what your title is or even what industry you serve. At one level, everybody’s in the position of selling something to somebody.

But here’s the dilemma: If you ask, most people will readily admit they don’t like being sold. Many businesses have “No Soliciting” signs on their doors. Many will slam the phone down the moment they realize you’re trying to sell them. Even if you’re selling in person, the moment the topic turns to sales, the excuses of why they can’t buy what you’re selling begin to fly.

So how do you get around this dilemma?

Stop thinking about just selling and instead think about what kind of value you can provide. Think of yourself as a consultant. A salesperson sells products and services. A good consultant first figures out what their prospects really need to make their lives better and then creates a solution to make that pain go away.

To offer real and unique value, you must first gather and collect data about your prospect. Yes, this takes work, but it is precisely this kind of work that results in bringing real value and building a long-term, mutually profitable business relationship.

Transforming yourself from a salesperson to a consultant begins with a change in your mindset. All of the prospects and customers you could ever want are right under your nose waiting for your solutions. But remember: they don’t want to be sold. They want you to show them your expertise first. They want you to prove you have their best interest at heart. Most importantly, they want to know that your solution will make their pain go away.

That’s what a good consultant does.

Your Honor, I Object!

When you’re in any kind of selling situation, getting objections from your prospect is actually a very positive sign. Many will see the objection as a “no” when that really isn’t the case at all.

When your prospect objects, what they’re really saying is that some issue is causing them to pause and hesitate. The mere fact that they’re giving voice to their objection offers a great opportunity to address those areas of concern. If they were truly not interested, you would receive little or no response at all to your proposal.

Objections are like an open door — an invitation for you to convince the prospect that your solution is the best fit for their need.

One of the most popular objections is the price objection, especially in today’s economic cycle. Most people are willing to spend more, but they must be given valid reasons why your price is higher. You must be able to show them the benefits and advantages of agreeing to your proposal.

In this economic environment, you’ll have to work a little harder to overcome the price objections. You’ll need to prepare your compelling reasons and unique selling proposition ahead of time. Remember that even a price objection is merely an invitation to prove your worth.

Always remember not to take objections personally. The prospect isn’t rejecting you. Just like an attorney in court, they’re merely raising their hand to voice concern about something in your presentation. Answer the objection, and you’ll win the case.

And don’t forget to leave behind your presentation, and marketing materials!  We of course can help you with that!  Becky

4 Steps to Turning Objections into Sales

Objections are a natural part of virtually any sales process. How you deal with them will go a long way in helping you close more sales. Here are four steps to help you turn objections into sales:

1. Believe in what you’re selling.
It’s always easier to convince someone else to buy your product or service if you truly believe doing so is in the best interest of the customer. When you believe in the products you sell, your passion and enthusiasm shine through. So make sure your products and services are worthy of your talent and time. If they aren’t, decide why not. Then improve them until they are.

2. Anticipate objections.
What potential worries might prospects have when they first see your products? The specifics will vary of course based on the kinds of products you sell. For some, there might be pricing concerns or worries over setup costs and the learning curve. For others, security, safety, or support might be more apropos. Whatever the case, think of as many objections as you can ahead of time, then look for creative ways to address those issues as part of your presentation. Prospects will feel more confident investing in your products or services once they see how much thought and effort you put into overcoming the “real world” challenges facing them.

3. Listen… and hear.
We’ve all heard the adage that we have two ears and one mouth so we listen twice as much as we speak. In sales, listening is essential — as is truly hearing what a prospect is saying and determining what they really mean by what they say. So how can you improve your listening? Start by asking questions and restating the concerns a prospect shares with you, so you’re sure you understand them properly. All of this will go a long way in helping you connect, build trust, and reach a mutually beneficial sale.

4. Remain positive.
This is potentially the hardest step to follow. No one likes to hear criticism leveled against the products and services they’ve worked so hard to develop, build, and sell. But objections are natural, and they aren’t personal. Remember that the customer is just trying to make sure they get the best value for their hard-earned money. So try not to get defensive when someone raises an objection. Instead, try to get to the bottom of what’s causing the concern, so you can address it properly and help the prospect feel more comfortable about the sale. Stay as professional and upbeat as you can. Don’t sugarcoat legitimate concerns, but don’t get shaken, either. Remember that objections are a part of every sale.