Sell me this website!

  • By TOM LOMBARDI
  • 14 Aug, 2017

Often resellers ask a lot of questions SURROUNDING the sale of services but never ABOUT the sale of services. 

Often resellers ask a lot of questions SURROUNDING the sale of services but never ABOUT the sale of services. They ask how to get bigger deals, how to get more leads, how to find better prospects, how to handle intake meetings better – it’s endless questions that don’t get to the heart of the matter. The reason resellers miss the point is because they are looking at the sale of digital marketing services in the context of growing their businesses all wrong.

Selling digital services is checkers, not chess.

Okay, well, its checkers THEN chess. Marketing (assuming its properly executed) is mostly numbers, but we already know that. What isn’t numbers is what comes after, the presentation, the pitch, the sale, the close – that stuff is where resellers need to focus if they want to increase sales.

This while effort however, needs to be put into context.

When you have more sales, you have more money to buy more leads or market to get more leads, money solves the marketing problem. Business in its purest form is math, marketing is the perfect example. Marketing math is simple math - Spend X on marketing to get Y in sales, if Y exceeds X than you scale. The way to get money is to get more sales – pure and simple. So how do you get more sales?

Let me ask you a quick question, really quick.

If you had 5 leads, just 5 and you KNEW from past experience that the odds are out of them two were potentials to close, what would you do?. Would you pitch all five the same as you would if you had 50 leads? Of course not, but you are probably doing it right now.

Most resellers we know, they will handle 5 leads the sale as 50 and 50 the same as 500 – they need to wake up.

If you are currently selling digital marketing services than you need to wake up and recognize that the leads you have – however many – are gold. These leads represent the growth seed of your business and each and every one should be handled like it were a precious gemstone in your hands.

The way to increase sales then, should be obvious – improve your demonstrations.

The best way we know to improve demonstrations - and this is assuming everything is spot on with the WAY you present – is the personalization. Personalization is lacking in about 99% of sales presentations made in any given industry of any given product or service, but its proven time and again to be the No.1 way the increase sales – bar none.

Research

If you don’t believe us, please go and try this out and see if it works, if not, dump it – you wont. Try doing your homework on the business, the businesses model of operation, key industry players and real competitors and go into your presentation armed with this information. When you sit down to talk business with the businesses owner or executive there, talk to them about beating X Y or Z company who competes with them, talk to them about the competitive advantage, talk to them about how your service will improve their business because it will help with their business model – let them know, that you know how they operate, that you have legitimate and relevant knowledge of their business.

Now, we’re not advocating you spend 5 hours doing research on Google either. We’re saying to take 20 minutes or a half hour – per demo you have set, and do your homework. Every consummate professional should learn to do this. Not doing this kind of research, not learning about prospects businesses, not taking the time to be able to deliver relevant information, is a huge, HUGE mistake.

Walking this extra mile for your prospects is the only way you will go from zero to hero. Stop whining about the leads, stop searching for the next ‘new thing’ in closing, do the work you should be doing and you will see your sales ratio go up.

They don’t call it the 80/20 rule for nothing, do you want to be the 80 or the 20? Your choice.

Rocket Entrepreneurial Blog

By Nancy Miller 29 Nov, 2017

Mindset

The first way is to understand that the entrepreneurship is a mindset for a lot of people and not a position. An entrepreneur is no longer the person who is going to start the company but they could also be the person who is going to seek out different opportunities and then pursues all of these opportunities. A lot of people are going to consider themselves as an entrepreneur so this allows the large companies to be very successful as long as they know the mindset.

When you have a small company, all of the employees might consider themselves as an entrepreneur. Therefore, they are going to be able to help with a few things inside of the company. The first thing is that will be able to come up with some ideas to help the company to generate leads. The second thing is that they will be able to create new opportunities inside of the company. The third thing is that they are going to help to fuel the growth of the sales inside of the business with all of the products that the company sells.

 

Innovation

The second way is to encourage innovation. Innovation is one of the main things that allow companies to be competitive and grow over time. But sometimes the innovative spirit can get lost inside of a large company. In order to make sure that innovation is going to stay strong inside of the company is to make sure that you are welcoming, encouraging, and paying for any innovative thinking that is going to happen inside of the job. When people have some motivation, then they are going to be a lot more likely to be innovative with their thoughts.

 

Competition

The third way is to welcome the spirit of competition inside of the company. When the company is able to handle the competition among the co-workers correctly, it is going to cause them to be more incentive and innovative. As the members of a team are working together, they have the ability to push each other to become more productive. Therefore, the workers are going to be able to produce better and stronger work. Then if you pay close attention to your workers, you will be able to learn some very valuable lessons about how to be innovative.

All of the ideas that are generated by the members of the team will allow all of those ideas to move forward with their work. This is because they are going to be trying to outdo each other by coming up with the next cool idea to show the boss. Therefore, all of the products and services that they produce are going to be better. This is going to be especially true if the customers are engaged in the process because it allows the teams to sell their products to the customers when the customers are happy with the innovative ideas.

 

Hiring process

The fourth way is to make sure that you are hiring people who have the entrepreneurship spirit. The spirit can be developed over time but it is a lot easier to deal with someone who already has this spirit inside of them. But you are going to need to be careful about these individuals. This is because there are two different types of these people. The first person is going to be the person who will support all of the goals of the company when it comes to the entrepreneurship spirit. The second person is the person who will leave the company with their own ideas if they become successful within the company.

This means that you are going to need to listen very carefully when the person is taking about all of the goals about their future and their career. This is because most of the time, the person is going to tell you that the job is just a stepping stone to their own career. But another thing that you need to be looking for is when someone starts to talk about all of their goals and they become very specific about those goals especially when these goals do not involve the company.

The individuals who have the true entrepreneurial spirit are the people who are going to want to learn, apply, experiment, partner, and share all of their ideas. Therefore, they are going to be the people who will be interested in just gaining the experience from the company. This means that they are not going to just want to gain the access to certain tools of the company as their own personal stepping stone to help them to realize all of their own projects.


These are the top four ways to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit inside of the company.

By TOM LOMBARDI 22 Nov, 2017

An entrepreneur knows how to "connect the dots" to form a picture when there is nothing there at first glance. They know how to follow their intuition and gut instincts, about how to see an opportunity before someone else does, that is what the entrepreneurial spirit is all about. It is how to cultivate innovation and initiative, allowing the foundation to continuously grow and prosper.

Entrepreneur's have a fearless trust in whatever they do. Making a difference and thinking big, is how an entrepreneur makes an impact on the business world. Whatever they do, they are doing it as a way to make an improvement on the whole picture. It is this manner of thinking and doing things that allows the entrepreneur to create their business and maintain a steady momentum in which is strengthening to their success and builds a business which is significant from the others; proving to have the ability to endure and last.

All of these traits of an entrepreneur are discussed quite often. However, what we fail to talk about is how an entrepreneur is able to over-deliver values. Entrepreneurs that are just starting out are operating in a "survival mode" which is often considered a debatable way to do business. The entrepreneur fails to focus their attention on the values of employees, vendors, clients, strategic partners, community leaders and others; instead they are spending all their energy focusing on ways to make some cash or close a new deal or seek out extra funds for the business.

Once an entrepreneur has been in the business for a while they begin to understand that over-delivering values is actually going "above and beyond" to their customers by delivering a higher standard of service, and overall exceeding the expectations of customers. It is critical to the survival and future of the business, which forms the business' foundation for growth. Without this strong foundation the business becomes vulnerable to other businesses who actually do over-deliver values.

When entrepreneurs go the extra lengths to over-deliver, they earn the much needed respect of other businesses. While they are searching for the momentum required to get their company going, some of the early-stage entrepreneurs are looking for ways to be the beneficiary of another company's value.

Entrepreneurs who are capable of adding values to those in which they are serving, are capable in building and preserving this characteristic in their minds and hearts for a long time to come. Entrepreneurs cannot afford to just do as their told with what they are given. An entrepreneur has to learn how to think "outside the box" and be innovative and creative.

For years, entrepreneurs have been thinking outside the box, having ambitions of being an innovator, originator, and a seeker of opportunity. We have been able to extend this attitude of opportunity through the Rocket Driver partnership program.

We are the only turnkey 100% white label web development company with an exclusive partner program designed specifically for entrepreneurs, agencies and those seeking to add extra income to join this industry. Our partner program is high value, constantly evolving and was built with the help of our partners over nearly a decade.

Work with a professional white label development company that shoulders the entire technical burden of development while you are free to focus on the one and only thing that builds your company - selling.

We develop responsive websites and responsive eCommerce sites in a white label (private label) manner on behalf of our partners. Our partners sell websites and build their businesses selling at retail rates, whereas we develop sites and sell them to our partners at wholesale rates. Our partners sell and we do all the work for them.

Many companies exist that call themselves white label, but don't be fooled by the marketing hype, when you engage with an agency to do development on your behalf you had best do your homework. We don't consider ourselves to any direct competitors - because basically no one else does what we do.

There is no other company like Rocket Driver, we are dedicated to providing our members with viable recruits and leads, as well as the ongoing staff development for their employees.

By team 09 Nov, 2017

Opportunities

The first reason why entrepreneurs should take risks is that there are a lot of opportunities that can be available to a person who likes to take risks. Most people are going to look at risk taking as a negative thing because it can be very dangerous. Even though some risks are not always going to pay off but there are some that are. No matter what the case might be, it is going to allow you to learn a lot of new things so that you will be able to take a big role in the organization.

 

Confidence

The second reason is the business opportunity is going to show that you have a lot of confidence. Therefore, it is going to help you to stand out in a world where a lot of people are just going to blend in. This is because you are going to show that you are a leader instead of a follower. It will be especially true if you have a lot of resources and knowledge about a particular product. When a person has a passion for what they are doing, it is going to show at an early age because the child is going to be working very hard at their school work.

 

Learning

The third reason is that it is going to give you the opportunity to learn from all of your risks that you took. These are going to be lessons that will lead you to important paths of your business. It is also going to give you the opportunity for some internal growth within a company. A lot of people are going to find it very exciting to take risks. A lot of people think that you are only going to learn your best lessons when you are at risk. This is because you are going to try when harder when someone tells you that it is impossible to do.

 

Pursuing

The fourth reason is that success is not just going to fall in your lap. Instead in order to get success, you are going to have to pursue it. Taking risks is a big part of having a business and making it successful. You will need to be comfortable with the unknown. This means that you are going to need to know that you might not always get the results that you want when you first start your business. Therefore, you are going to be doing a lot of experiments before you figure out exactly what is going to work for your company. This is the best way to get the outcome that you want for your business.

 

Don't play it safe

The fifth reason is that you are not going to be able to accomplish all of your goals if you play it safe. This means that if you don't take risks, you are not going to be open to the world of possibilities that you will have access to. Therefore, you are going to have to leave your comfort zone in order to achieve success especially when it comes to a new business. You will have to put yourself out there and take a risk or you are never going to be able to achieve all of your success and figure out what your true potential is as entrepreneurs.

 

Fear of failure

The sixth reason is that you are going to need to embrace the taking risks in order to help you to overcome the fear of failure. The fear of failure is going to be a big roadblock when it comes to the success of your company. No matter what when you are trying to launch something new, there is going to be a big chance that it is not going to work. There probably are going to be a few failures before you have any successes when you decide to be your own boss. It is important to remember that failure is just a stepping stone to your success instead of the opposite of success when you decide to be your own boss.

 

Its Beneficial

The seventh reason is that you will need to remember that taking a risk does not mean that you don't need to do some planning. You are not going to benefit from any of your risks unless you are prepared to take those risks. Therefore, you are going to need to educate yourself on what the fall out of those risks could be. This means that you are going to need to do your homework and remember that it is important that you are able to implement all of your plans. You are also going to need to be able to follow through on all of the plans of the business opportunity.

By TOM LOMBARDI 30 Oct, 2017

In the entrepreneurial sector, success is measured in effectiveness. This is because at every corner and every business move, the more effective choice is always more advantageous. Effectiveness can be considered the fastest way to the results you need.

Effectiveness is the path that offers least resistance and least waste of energy and resources. Any wise entrepreneur hastens to the effective route like water rushing from high place. This give speed and momentum to your efforts and promotes consistency without which success would be a fleeting dream rather than an established goal.

Effectiveness establishes the foundation of which an individual, company or country is able to reach their full potential, or at least come close. Following are some of the qualities and habits successful entrepreneurs apply to their daily process and lifestyle:

1. Clear and Developed Vision

A successful entrepreneur has mastered his mental projection and can spend plenty of time running about in their minds producing the solutions they need. Many will claim their sheer imagination is their greatest asset as it allows them to approach decisions, problems and success from intuitive and complex directions. This “dare to dream” quality sets them apart from their fellows and allows them to ally others to their vision and ventures. But if vision is poor and obscured by self-doubt and fears of any type, direction is easily lost and momentum must be built again.

2. Early Risers

Effective entrepreneurs through the ages have had a penchant for rising in the early morning hours. The day is best begun with some sort of physical activity which pumps the blood to the brain and sharpens their resolve and focus for the day’s events. They actually benefit from arriving at work before the rest of their colleagues as it allows them to gather their focus and power before distractions set in. They accomplish their greatest feats in quiet and solitary work environments.

3. Scheduled Lives

Without a schedule, your daily routine will be subject to the demands of the moment and the favorability or hostility of the elements. Work must come first, then that on which your work relies, after this you can make time for socializing, gaming and all other activities that make life worth living. When you schedule right, you will find there's always plenty of time for what is most important. A successful entrepreneur understands that the balance of all activities, the professional, recreational and social, increases the intrinsic quality of each one.

4. Regular Adequate Sleep

The importance of a proper rest and sleep each day is essential to making the most of your exhaustible mental and physical resources. If you want to be sharp, focused and emotionally available for your colleagues, business partners and more, you will need you sleep cycles and rest periods to be regular, sufficient and never in excess. The iconic image of the “hard worker” pressing the task on to the late-night hours has been found ineffective. Lack of sleep leads to further disbalancing actions and the idea that sleep can be squeezed into the narrow margins between work and other demands is a recipe for disaster.

5. Passion for Simplicity

Simplicity is one of the greatest tactics an entrepreneur can apply to their lives. By developing schedules, work patterns and daily habits based around simplicity they can avoid some of the greatest roadblocks to creativity and focus like distracting details and complex process. To this end, they set strict limits upon themselves. Theses limits are all geared to one purpose and this is improved quality in work and time efficiency in reaching their desired goals.

6. Personal Journals

Perhaps the easiest way to be more effective is to keep a careful record of all points the individual may deem pertinent to their work process and daily lives. Pen and paper can provide some of the greatest perspectives on personal performance and even thought patterns. These can be applied to an on-going plan to improve with limitless possibilities. There are many historical greats who were great proponents of the pocket book and agreed that no thought was worth the mental effort if it was not to also be recorded for further analysis and application.

7. Flexibility of Mind and Lifestyle

They say, “no plan of attack survives an encounter with the enemy”. For an entrepreneur to be truly successful they must appreciate the unpredictability of the markets, industries and universe. Rigid thinking and solid campaigns can become brittle, bend out of shape and lose vital efficacy. But a flexible plan is one that changes with the environment and the needs of the situation. Being flexible will allow you to adapt to your needs and this fluidity is the key to longevity.

8. Curious Minds

Boredom is a non-issue to the effective entrepreneur. Who has time to bored when there is so much to accomplish and experience. They will spend hours on work they love and many more building the inspiration to fuel great forays and produce professional and educational achievements. Curiosity will keep them exploring new and creative ways of viewing their tasks and processes and applying innovative ideas that fuel them with greater energy. The worker will quit when they're tired, but to the entrepreneur it’s not work if you love it.


Rocketdriver has a proud history of partnerships with entrepreneurs of all types and imparting best practices for efficacy and success. Visit our website at www.rocketdriver.com to see our special brand of innovation and entrepreneurial expertise.

By TOM LOMBARDI 04 Oct, 2017

For resellers or digital marketing or developmental services, a local client base is almost always both the easiest to cultivate and the most lucrative. With a local client base you bypass many of the challenges presented by selling remote clients. While it is true you forgo the profits of a large salesforce, you also forgo the need to recruit, train and manage a remote salesforce - so its not all downside there either.

A local client base is great because those who prefer to buy web sites or associated services locally are also the least likely to either shop or price compare when making the decision of who to buy from. These are the clients that will work with you purely because you are local to them and showed up, called in, or were found locally - the best ways to start a relationship.

It is also much harder for local prospects to cause development difficulties, hide when it comes time to pay or present other general nuisance client issues - they are local, you know where they do business, you are just as likely to cause their reputation damage as they are to damage yours, a little mutually assured destruction (MAD) never hurt in the world of business.

The question naturally arises as to how to find local prospects. The truth is, marketing yourself locally may be much, much easier than you think. Let’s analyze resources at the disposal of almost everyone locally:

1. Local chamber of commerce
2. Craigslist
3. Local homeshows and tradeshows
4. Local businesses

This is, of course, not a complete list of resources, an exhaustive list of specific venues open to you would be impossible to assemble here, so try not to think of these as the ONLY resources for local marketing that you have at your disposal.

Starting from last to first, what is it that we mean when we list ‘local businesses’ as a resource for marketing. Local businesses already have existing client bases and reputations within your community, they are perhaps the absolute best resource for reaching other local businesses that you can possibly have for this reason alone.

It is easy to select a handful of local businesses that likely have businesses as clients and to proposition them with something few of them will easily refuse - money.

You simply proposition a handful of businesses with an affiliate style business relationship that would read something like this: “I am opening a new digital marketing company and I am looking for new clients, I know you serve businesses and many of your clients are potential clients for me, we’re in entirely non-competing industries, but with your help I think we could both make a good chunk of change. What I propose is simple - email an introduction and promo of my company to your clients and I will split all profits 50%/50% with you. I have an average CSP (cash selling price) of 2600.00 and the net profit on a deal like that is almost 2000.00 - you get roughly 1K per deal I am able to get” - that’s it, a simple deal like that, struck with just a couple local businesses and the money will begin to roll in. As you land more clients and spread the word further, a vacuum effect ensues and it becomes easier and easier to land more clients.

Next are local homeshows and tradeshows which present with being incredibly easy venues to visit as an attendee, introduce yourself to local businesses and simply gather contact info to set appointments at a later date to then go and sell.

This may seem like it’s too good to be true or too simple to work but that’s not the case at all. Local event marketing, because it is so simple and because so many web development agencies lack the tenacity to go out and to do it, is one of the best and most overlooked ways to develop a local client base.

Craigslist has a horrible reputation for being the lead source for bottom feeder prospects, but this is only somewhat true, some of the time. There are many high quality prospects posting on craigslist and even more looking for local companies to assist them in web development work.

Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to post your business and to pick up prospects who need a web development company, particularly new incorporations whose businesses have not even begun to shop for a web dev agency - or even know hey need one.

These are just a few of the local resources at your disposal to begin to develop a local client base. However you decide to market and to what degree you decide to pursue local clients is ultimately up to you.

By TOM LOMBARDI 29 Sep, 2017

Look, in sales, there are going to be objections - that’s just a given, you cannot sell anything without hearing objections to buying. Sometimes everyone (including you) make the mistake of conflating objections (not WANTING to buy) with conditions (being UNABLE to buy) but so it’s important to define exactly what an objection is.

An objection is an emotional or logical reason in the mind of a prospect for not wanting to purchase a good or service - period. That’s it, that is what an objection is.

Now, why understanding objections and learning to overcome them is critically important to sales, if you can overcome objections even 10% more often than you do right now, you can increase sales by even more than 10% because during each sales process you should be hearing and confronting objections at least 6 or 7 times before giving up on any given prospect. The financial benefit of increasing your positive objection handling can be monumental, if you increase sales by 15% than that means adding potentially tens of thousands or more to your yearly bottom line.

If you are in this industry long enough (and we hope you are!) you will hear many - many different objections. If you pay close enough attention to the objections you hear you will no doubt notice that they fall into several, identifiable categories with several distinct roots. If you can understand these root objections and properly identify and categorize them early on, you can overcome them much more easily and much more often.

Scared Prospects

Fear is by far the most common root of objections you will find, it takes on many forms and has many causes:

History of being scammed
History of terrible development process
Fear of the unknown (new technology)
Fear of change itself
Fear of extra work
Fear of added business complexity

The branches of the fear root spread wide and far within prospects, but what’s important to understand is, no matter the root, its fairly easy to address and allay the fears of prospects by grounding yourself in their eyes:

1. Letting prospects know that they will never be alone
2. Letting prospects know that it is common to have fears and doubts
3. Letting prospects know the development process is easy and convenient
4. Letting prospects know the new website (or service) will not add complexy but rather, it will take it away and bring convenience.
5. Making it clear you know what you are doing and are absolutely not a scammer - this is very important.

It is critical to understand that, he consultants approach really helps with fear objections. A consultants approach is the approach of a doctor prescribing a remedy, but first showcasing a real and genuine illness (problem) the process can be summed up in very simple steps as follows:

Step 1: Show the prospect the problem(s) that is (are) being caused by the current lack of or dysfunction of their website.

Step 2: Speak with the prospect and ascertain the areas that matter specifically to them as well as ascertaining what areas SHOULD matter to them.

Step 3: Showcase and explain the solutions which you have to the prospects problem areas with an emphasis upon simply, clearly and directly explaining the results that can and will be delivered.

Step 4: Explain process to your prospect, emphasize how many times you have done this, how simple it is, how you will be part, party and parcel to each step - always there to support them. Make sure they both clearly understand the process and are comfortable with it. It is also important when discussing process to let prospects know that the development process will not take up huge amounts of time or add huge workload to their already jam packed days.

It is also a good idea when discussing process to let prospects know you can either help with gathering content or know where content can be found for free or purchased (or created) very affordably - take this burden off of them, dispel this notion.


Step 5: Prior to going for the close, clearly emphasize what the prospect can expect to get out of the transaction with you. Make sure the prospect understands completely A: What they are paying for and B: On what timeline they can expect to see tangible quantifiable results.

With these five steps, if followed, 90% of fear based objections can be obliterated.

But fear based objections are not the only types of objections that this approach will tackle.


Complacency


With step 1 you address the number 2 most common type of root objection seen by prospects and that is complacency, complacency with regards to the web is a very common type of root of many objections. Many prospects feel that the web in general is either too big of a hurdle to jump or they feel that their current website (lacking as it may be) is doing just fine. It is only when presented with clear evidence of the damage done AND shown the ease and cost effectiveness of taking action that this root objection can be overcome.

Many times, complacent prospects will also have another root objection, which is addressed in step 2 - skepticism.

Skepticism is a complex root objection but it is indeed a root objection, it is a complex root objection because it can be rooted in a generalized skepticism of salespeople, it can be specific skepticism of IT solutions, marketing itself, it can spring from so many sources. The way to approach this kind of root objection is by showcasing solid sound evidence of why this specific area of skepticism should matter to them and/or tying it into areas that actually DO matter to them.

A practical example of countering root skepticism is, for example, a prospect who believes very strongly that their bar or restaurant relies upon local customers, but is skeptical that they are losing out of on local customers due to a poor web presence. By showcasing to this prospect that increasingly locals new to the area or tourists in the area are using the web to find restaurants you can both A: Reinforce an already deeply seated belief in local customers and B: Show that local customers are being missed out on due to a lack of utilizing the web to its fullest. This is just one example of approaching root skepticism, many more exist, but this one is important because this kind of skepticism is very commonplace.

Histrionics

It’s also somewhat important to understand the history which has helped to create all of these objections, fears, skepticism and complacent ideas in prospects.

Many business owners, particularly brick and mortar businesses, have been victim to so many scams and horrendous development train wrecks that it isn’t hard to understand why they have many firmly implanted objections. The mind is a also complex thing, most tend to develop mental scars from the sense of loss from victimization much more easily and to a much higher degree than the momentary bitterness of a high price paid for a quality service. So when you encounter a prospect who paid 50,000 for a website in 1996 - but had a good experience, it is not uncommon for that same prospect to be bitter and upset over being scammed on telemarketing SEO for 200.00 in 2006 - they may not even remember the prices.

Negative perceptions to the development processes of old are also very common. In the past (1990’s and early 00’s) it was a standard development procedure to take physical 35mm photos at a business, have those images developed, sent to a company to scan those photos and burn them to a CD, then have a viewing session with clients to select photos and then to integrate them into the website - which itself was often story boarded through physical drawings. This process was time consuming, difficult and in the end produced results that almost never lived up to clients expectations - no matter the cost. This led to many situations where well intentioned developers - who were often very skilled as well - accidentally left clients feeling scammed.

You couple these senses of being scammed with the sheer diversity of services - social media, seo, websites, local business listings, mobile marketing, pay per click, on and on and on - and the potential for every one to be a scam and you have a recipe for future objections.

Understanding all of this and going into your interactions with clients knowing what they have been through can give you a tremendous edge.

There exist many numerous subdivisions of root objections and many numerous manifestations of them, some easily ascertained, others difficult to trace. Ultimately one of the biggest deciding factors between the age old 80/20 rule (80% of sales made by 20% of salespeople) is going to be how many times you ask for the order - how many times you make the prospect say no to you. The more times you force a prospect to say no, the more times you force a prospect to say no, the more chances you give them to say yes and the time you give yourself to figure out the root objection.

The key to all of this is to simply pitch, bitch and keep on pitching - the more you demo, the more you sell.  

By TOM LOMBARDI 18 Sep, 2017
In the sale of web development it’s quite often the case that the person doing the selling knows less about web development than the prospect doing the buying - why and how is this possible?

The reason this is the case is because the prospect doing the buying knows their business, they might not know web development but they know what their customers need and they know what they need to serve them.

All too often the salesperson in charge of selling a prospect a website takes the perspective of a one-size-fits-all shoe salesperson and attempts to sell prospects on features they don’t feel they need or will never use in their websites. Usually this ends up taking the form of websites that have features or integrations in them that are being under-utilized or not utilized at all because there is very little buy in on the part of clients - who are more right than wrong about not using these features most of the time.

To sell a website correctly it is first very important to take the time to perform a quick analysis of not only prospects businesses and websites, but also to look at the websites of competitors to see what it is they are doing in order for you to do it better. It is not necessary to spend any money or even much time to do an analysis. A simple trip over to your favorite search engine, a glimpse at your prospects website and local competitors (and national front runners) is all it takes to get the picture of what is being done by the little guys around town, the big guys nationally and your prospect - which should give you a pretty clear picture of what needs to be done to tune things up.

The next thing you need to do is to listen to your prospect, hear them out, ask them how their business operates, who their customers are, which segment of customers they want more of, what they thing their strong suit is, what products or services are their flagships, which ones aren’t. The purpose of this is to get an idea what your prospect thinks, where they are, where they want to be.

Many times, when you speak to a prospect after having first done an analysis and gotten an idea of what you thought was a clear picture, a new one will emerge. Often times, who seems like a competitor of a prospect isn’t, what seems like their flagship product isn’t, what seemed like a very clear cut situation was, in reality, not so clear cut at all, this is why listening to prospects is so important.

Having done research is absolutely not a waste of time, no matter how fruitless it may seem once a prospect clarifies things. The purpose of research is not always beneficial in getting a crystal clear picture of what prospects need, often the utility of research is to get a lay of the land surrounding your prospect.

Once you’ve done research and gotten a picture of what the prospect feels that they need and clarifies things, you should have a very clear idea of what a given prospects needs actually are and equally important, what their needs are not.

This combination of research and listening is what defines a consultant, its what doctors do every day and it’s what you need to do if you want to be successful in this industry and at your business.

Take it from us - it works!

By TOM LOMBARDI 13 Sep, 2017

A car salesperson sells cars, a chef sells food but a web developer does NOT sell websites! - A web developer sells the process of creating websites!. This key difference is more than a play on words, it’s an objective fact of reality that everyone selling web development services needs to understand, let us explain.

Where you a car salesman you can show your prospect the car, they can sit down, test drive it, they can get a sense of what it will be like to own it and your job is get them to fall in love WITH THE CAR. If you were a chef, you could entice your prospects with the aroma of your food, offer them a free sample and let them read about your abilities in in the latest Michilen review, but you are a consultant selling web development, you can’t do those things, so what can you do?

The first thing you must do is to realize what it is that you actually are selling –the promise of a good outcome. Your kind of sales is analogous to a surgeon, lawyer or baseball player – you are selling your prospect on your ability to deliver the “big win” that they desperately want and need. Sales of this type are much more closely associated with the salesperson than any other type or kind of sales and require a different approach than other forms of sales. It’s perfectly logical if you think about it, how many times in your life have you gone car shopping and bought a car simply because you liked the salesperson? Probably never, because you knew what make and model of car you wanted long before you drove up to the car lot – this is especially true today. The same can be said for food, you knew before you walking into an Italian restaurant for example, that you A: were hungry and B: were in the mood for Italian food – how many times has your waiter or waitress had to sell you on ordering food?.

With web development your prospects are 100% in the dark about what they want, what they need or-most of the time- that they even need anything at all. Add to this the fact that the website doesn’t exist at the time of the sale – they are sold, literally, on the construction of the web site!. Your prospects don’t know who you are, what fair prices are, what matters, what doesn’t – they are as in the dark about websites as they are about neurosurgery or tax litigation, they know nothing. In sales situations where people know that they know nothing, they revert to instincts and life experience, they begin to ask themselves questions like: “How much do I trust this salesperson?” “Does this salesperson know what they are talking about?” “Does this person sound competent?” “Does this person sound confident?” “Can this person get the job done?” - they make their decision based upon YOU.

All of this adds up to the fact that when you are selling web development to people you are acting as a consultant and not a salesperson at all, so lets clear up some confusion about these terms. A lot of confusion exists when the term ‘consultant’ is thrown into the sales arena, a lot of people immediately think ‘consultative selling’ or ‘selling consultatively’ or ‘relationship selling’ - all kinds of mumbo jumbo exists, total nonsense, we all are guilty of having minds polluted to one degree or another from 50+ years of overly complex explanations of what are ultimately simple concepts.

Salespeople “sell” things

Consultants “consult” upon things

What does that mean? Well, it’s pretty simple.

If you visit a salesperson and tell them you have problem X Y or Z they are going to tell you that their product will correct X Y or Z and spend their time explaining its features and benefits, ultimately trying to close you on making the decision to buy.

If you visit a consultant and tell them you have a problem, they are going to ask you a lot of questions-some broad, some specific- and ultimately give you their expert opinion on what should be done, they may present you with several options or scenarios, but they are going to tell you what you need – flatly and matter of factly.

Another great example is a doctor. When you visit a doctor, they ask whats wrong, run tests and ultimately prescribe a treatment – they don’t try to sell you on a given medication, they order it. Yes, you are free to reject the doctors expert it advice and it is true that many doctors will try to convince you take treatments, but the difference between the doctors consultative approach and the salespersons is obvious.

One thing consultants are not however are educators. A lot of people are under the false assumption that to be a consultant is to be an educator of prospects – this is more true for salespeople than it is for consultants. A doctor never tries to teach her patient medicine, a lawyer doesn’t try to teach his patient law, a surgeon will never talk scalpels with their prospective patients – they say as much as need be and nothing more.

Being a consultant in the web development industry is no different than being a legal consultant or a medical doctor, it is about listening to what your prospects say, analyzing your prospects needs and applying a solution intelligently.

Some of the practices of good web development consultants:

1. Always have a plan for your prospects, never ask them what they ‘want’ always tell them what they ‘need’
2. Never let your prospects guide procedure, always inform them of what is going to happen, never let them inform you.
3. Never show prospects designs and ask which one they like, show them designs and tell them which one you feel would work best.
4. Never show prospects competitors and say ‘we need to do what they are doing’ - always show prospects competitors and say ‘we can do better than this’
5. Ask and documents 10x the information you need, more notes are much better than not enough!
6. Always maintain a professional demeanor, dress for success, speak concisely and intelligently and make respect your goal always
7. Maintain adequate contact, but never chase your prospects or your clients – have meeting, demand clients attend them, if they don’t, fee them for it – your doctor fees you for blowing him/her off, your lawyer does the same, why not you? If your clients ding you for time, ding them for money!
8. Make sure from the beginning of all relationships, your prospects understand how serious web development is, make them treat it with the respect it deserves.
9. Always operate with contracts, never leave the door open to litigation, accusation or liability of any kind.
10. Always conduct thorough research, invest time in knowing your prospects and their businesses and watch more of them turn into clients and stay clients.

If you follow these ten pieces of advice and practice the common sense of behaving in a professional way, you stand a much better chance at success in this industry.

Always remember, you set your own worth in this business, so take our advice and set the bar high.

By TOM LOMBARDI 05 Sep, 2017

How to avoid lemons

The first step in avoiding lemon clients is to stop (or not even start) the blame game. By ‘blame game’ we mean the common reaction that most have to getting their first (or first 10) bad clients. Most will blame a degraded society, a poor economy, poor marketing, bad sales, a bad geographic location or other stuff. We are here to tell those people to STOP!, it’s none of those things, it’s your own fault.

Yes, lemon clients are the fault of the company who has them – and bad luck, a little bit. Lemon clients are usually the product of piss poor policies, they can be screened away, contractually obligated away, warded off and walled out MUCH easier than they can be dealt with. When a company suffers a spate of lemons, they need to spend some time doing some serious self analysis – not crying and blaming others.

Top 10 ways to avoid lemons

Let’s go over the top 10 ways to avoid lemons in the development and digital marketing arena. This top ten may also apply to other industries, but it’s primarily directed at ours.

1. Contractual Bulletproofing

Don’t want endless edits? Put a number in writing.
Don’t want endless phonecalls? Spell it out in the contract
Don’t want to get scammed? Put your terms to paper!

Putting EVERYTHING in writing BEFORE you take someones money and REQUIRING them to sign that document in order to proceed is GOLD. If you are operating without an agreement, you are crazy. Contrary to popular belief, most contracts that are humanly readable and clear will suffice in the eyes of the law – should it ever get that far. We are not suggesting you don’t get an attorney (you absolutely should) but to use the lack of an attorney as an excuse for why you operate with absolutely no agreement in place is equally insane. A basic agreement, even if it isn’t written by a hot shot lawyer, will serve to spell out the deal you have with your client and gives you an important point of reference for when they step out of bounds.

The bottom line: Always have an agreement and always spell out the deals you ink with your clients.

2. Manage Expectations

Perhaps the most overlooked way to avoid lemon clients is the management of expectations.

If you analyze the scenarios under which lemon clients present themselves, a huge percentage of the time the root cause is false expectations being created either by the client themselves, the salesperson or the company – so don’t do it. Always make sure your clients understand what they are getting, when and to what degree.

To define this further, we mean features of services, number of edits, latitude of technology – everything, whatever it is, make sure the clients understand what to expect – ideally, before they are even clients.

3. Common Sense – In Marketing

If you place an advertisement that says ‘cheapest websites on earth’ what kind of prospects do you think you’ll attract?. Using common sense in marketing doesn’t mean avoiding being “salesy” or enticing, it means avoiding making proclamations in marketing that are not backed up by facts, or assertions you don’t want to back up – like being the cheapest on earth. If you bottom feed, don’t be surprised when you brush up against bottom dwellers.

4. Ethical Selling

A lot of lemon clients are straight up created by poor sales practices – lying, exaggerating, omitting facts or important details, all of these sleazy and process-ignorant practices will tend to create bad client relationships down the road. This unethical behavior really makes the term ‘lemon client’ a misnomer – maybe you are the lemon?

5. Intelligent Management

Managing your business isn’t just about keeping accurate books and filing things on time, it’s about contracting the right salespeople, conducting follow ups and making sure things being said in your name are truthful. Many times bad client relationships are the product of bad sales practices – either intentional or out of rank ignorance. If you see a spate of poor deals come through your business, you can rest assured that something is causing it and that something will generally boil down to the need for better management.

6. Choose Your Clients

There is an old saying “you can’t choose your family, so choose your friends wisely” well, let’s invent a new one - “You can’t choose your prospects, but you can choose your clients”

Within reason it is entirely within your power to analyze and accept or reject a deal based upon whether or not that deal makes sense for your business. Sometimes it’s obvious that a given prospect’s deal is going to cause your business problems and it’s better to pass on short term profits for long term stability and health at your business.

7. Always Verify Information

It is important that after every deal is sold you – or someone you trust 1000% - calls and verifies the details of each and every deal sold in your name. What do we mean by verify? We mean conduct a detailed verbal verification that the information relayed to your company by salespeople is accurate, that the prospect understands the timeframe, deal, everything and that the prospect knows what they are paying, to whom, when and is comfortable and informed about everything – BEFORE they pay you.

A common mistake made by people in this industry is to trust salespeople to sell deals properly and cleanly and to not call and verify relayed data – only to learn there are problems baked in the cake of the deal. These problems can be minor misunderstandings or major ethical violations – you just don’t know unless you check.

8. Continuous Followup – by PHONE

Sometimes a lemon client isn’t a lemon at all, they are just frustrated or getting the wrong impression. It is critical that as prospects transition into being your clients, you take the time to stay engaged with them on the phone, to check if everything is going okay, to answer questions – make them feel as important NOW as they were when you sold them. Never abandon your clients!

Often times, we see breakdowns and souring of relationships because our partners (resellers) are selling so many deals they begin to abandon quality in favor of what they perceive as efficiency in communications – they start emailing people instead of calling them. This leads to miscommunication, frustration and problems that never would arise on the phone.

9. Rules

Make sure that before you ever ink a contract with someone you sit down and explain your development process, your corporate policies, your ‘rules’ - in no uncertain terms. When people understand there are boundaries to a relationship from the start, they are much less likely to test them and cause problems later on.

What are some of the things you might explain?

1. We will communicate by phone ONCE per week
2. You must email ALL edits in a SINGLE email to me ONCE PER WEEK
3. You must interact with the project MANAGER only – not the salesperson
etc

The idea here is to simply clearly define what process you want clients to follow and to have a simple call to explain this stuff, afterwards you may also email this to them as a reference. This is separate from a contract, though you may want some of this in your contract, but is done simply as a way to convey process in a meaningful way to avoid problems.

10. Stay Cool

When honest well intended people encounter dishonest, hostile or outright nasty people they tend to react with fear, disbelief and anger – however justified, this is wrong. You need to have your eyes always open that scammers and bad people are out there and that you will encounter some of them sooner or later, what matters is how you handle them.

It has been said that the unprepared react and the prepared respond, this is very true when dealing with client management in this industry. If you remain calm and handle things in a level headed way, 9 out of 10 times you will have a favorable outcome – so keep calm and carry on.

Conclusion

Lemon clients are a reality, they are both self-created and accidentally encountered, however you wind up bumping into them, have your ducks in a row to resolve the situation the best way you can.

By TOM LOMBARDI 28 Aug, 2017

If there is one thing everyone can agree on it has to be that lemon clients are something we all hate dealing with. Lemon clients sap time, profit and even lower morale at our businesses, all of which is not only negative in the short term, but can have lasting consequences. What this all adds up is that it’s incumbent upon all of us to avoid lemons, but how?, we’ll show you!.

Shortly in this article we are going to cover a few simple strategies you can employ to drop your rate of lemons to nearly zero. However, before we start spouting our lemon-aid, we need to cover the types of lemons we’re talking about.

In digital marketing and development in general, lemon clients present with some very specific and identifiable forms.

The forms of lemon client’s include (but are not limited to) the following:

1. Never-ending Project Clients

These are the clients that want to edit, edit, edit and edit some more – but not pay for any of it, their love of change becomes your pain – directly.

2. The Nothing-is-right Clients

For these type lf lemons nothing you do is ever good enough, from the quality of graphics to the way you place text, it not only needs to be changed, but its bad and its your fault.

3. The Absentee Clients

These are clients that sign the ink, pay, then disappear – for weeks and even months. These clients act as if having the project commence was an afterthought of theirs and not a very important one. One day however, down the road, they do return and expect everything done in the blink of an eye – ouch.

4. The Needy Clients

Needy clients can be the worst, these are the clients that call-call-call they call day and night and want to ‘discuss’ everything, for them, the tiniest detail is worthy of a one hour conversation.

5. The Broke Jokes

This type of client is very common and perhaps the most frustrating (infuriating?) because they want the world but won’t or can’t pay for an ounce of it. These clients will fight you financially on everything while on the other hand demanding everything.

6. The Scammers

These are the clients that get you to deliver a finished product and make you feel the deal is over, then demand a full or partial refund – while they keep the work, nice!.

7. The Dysfunctionals

These are the clients that can’t send you a Jpeg file, they don’t know what a zip file is, that argue that the site should be built in macromedia flash – and other crazy stuff. Now, to be fully honest, these clients take on many forms, the only common denominator is a cocktail of stupidity, ignorance and often (unfortunately) confidence.

Just 7? Why not 500?

These are the seven most common types of lemon clients, there are more, we are sure that other development companies have secret hierarchical trees that break down lemon clients into many assorted sub-types and levels – we don’t, we just have 7, but, these days, we have more like zero.

Continued in part 2….

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