Customers Don’t Know What They Need Or Require

Vendor meetings

If your customers would know exactly what they need then they would have ordered it already. Instead they hold meetings with vendors in order to find how they can get their problem or issue solved.
During such a meeting you have to focus and to investigate on the real problem or issues they have. Let people explain what’s wrong with the products or services they currently purchase.

Define the solution

Don’t let them fool you with the solution they seem to prefer as that might be a sub-optimal solution or a partial solution. Only when you have the complete picture you can propose a solution which preferably includes one or more of your products or services.
It’s up to you to define the innovation that will make them a happy customer.

Do you start with your sales pitch or do you investigate what the problems are ?


The ‘Done Deal’ for your competitor – Even before starting

Done Deals

Even before your first meeting, the customer has already decided for your competitor.
You are just used for having an additional quote or to comply with the procedures of the company as they need three price quotations.
Thus the deal is already decided and you are actually wasting your time without knowing upfront.

Done Deal hints

Maybe you can feel this already during the telephone or meeting conversations you have with the potential customer, but you need evidence in order to be able to drop this account.

There might be hints relating to your competitor such as specifications fitting only for your competitor or the mentioning of the competitor during one of the conversations.

Done Deal actions

As soon as you know or have proof of this you have 2 alternatives:
- Drop the account and forget about the deal.
- Fight back using the benefits and advantages of your solution over the competitor.

a) Dropping the deal is the easiest to do. However you still need to explain and proof to your sales manager it was a done deal.

b) Fighting back requires the knowledge of your competitor and also knowing the leading advocate of your competitor within the company.
As it is a lost deal you have nothing to lose thus you can use any technique, any trick and any psychological game to make the customer start to wonder if their decision is the right one.
So put your best cards on the table and compare it with the competitor. Or even let them compare if they want to.

Three additional options:
- Circumvent the advocate and address to the others
- Address the competitor advocate and make him start to doubt about his decision.
- The underdog: often people like the underdog. By positioning as the underdog you might gain sympathy and interest from people concerned and involved in the Done Deal.

Contrary indicators

By knowing if the company is visiting your website, how often and how many employees are visiting is a good indicator the Done Deal is not so done. The more visits from different people in the company the more likely there is a build-up of interest for your solution. This should stimulate your efforts of fighting to get the Done Deal.

Still it will be an uphill battle and sometimes a battle that can be won – even if the deal was decided.

What’s your experience with “Done Deals” ?


Why Not Buying Website Traffic

Buying website traffic

The more website traffic the more people will know about your offerings and the higher likelihood to get leads from your website into your sales funnel.
You can purchase services from traffic wholesalers and instantly your web analytics will show a significant increase in the number of visitors. Additionally your website will be shown temporally higher in the search result pages on Google and Bing which is beneficial too for more traffic.

What kind of visitors ?

The visitors that normally visit your website through organic search or references are very likely potential buyers as they are looking with interest to find a solution for a problem or issue they have. These companies are probably the best leads you can have as they are currently interested.
However the visitors originating from the purchased traffic source are not interested and are not potential customers.

Bots instead of humans

In order to send traffic to your website some or many of these traffic wholesalers use a computer application to send you visitors. Thus instead of humans your visitors are bots, who certainly never ever buy.

Google and Bing vs buying traffic

Although initially there will be a better ranking for your website on the Search Engine Result pages due to the increase of traffic, the search engines disapprove buying traffic. Hence they will fight back and it is likely your website will be penalized by Google and Bing which will result in a much lower appearance in the Search Engine Result Pages. Both Google and Bing have created and developed sophisticated algorithms and methods to figure out if you are using traffic-building services or not.


Although buying website traffic will increase temporally your website traffic, it will bring hardly any additional leads as the visitors are not potential customers or not even human. Only the visitors originating by the temporally higher ranking on the Search Engine Result Pages could bring some additional leads.
However the penalization your website will endure by Google and Bing once they have found out you have been buying website traffic will result in much less leads as people will have a hard time to find your website on the search engines.

Did you ever buy website traffic ? What was the result ?


Marketing & Selling are more difficult than to Create the solution

Building or developing a solution is not the real issue to crack or problem to solve. That’s were engineers are for in collaboration with the product managers.

The problems for new products or solutions are:
- Defining a problem
- Conceiving a solution for this problem that is usable and convenient
- Marketing the solution
- Selling the solution
- Keeping the customer using the solution

There are more people that can create a product or solution than there are people who can market and sell it. Getting people to purchase is the real issue. Of course it helps if you conceive a product or solution for a real problem.
Selling is the challenge.
Selling the same solution again is an additional challenge.

Can you sell all the products created by your company ?


Why Winning The Award Is Often Not Good For Business

Industry award

After many years of hard and often lonely work for your business that made your company what it is today. And you are proud of your achievement.
One day a challenge or industry award attracts your attention and you fill out the form.
Then unexpectedly you WIN !
This could be like “Best Company in Industry”, “Manager of the Year”, “Best exporter of the year”, “Best Startup”, …

Exposure and brand awareness

Getting a reward or winning a challenge is a great event for any company and could bring exposure to your company and thus increase brand awareness.
The reward will get you additional free publicity and more or less broadcast the brand name throughout your industry.

The award drawbacks: temptations

However besides all the benefits and newly created potential there are some drawbacks:
- People will know your name and call you up for many other reasons not related to your business.
- You will be invited the other events not necessarily business related which will consume your time and focus.
- You will get interest from not industry related media that will not bring you more business but again consume your valuable time.
- Some of your competitors will be enviously, jealously, resentfully which can turn out negatively as they see you as their main competitor.

Decline of business

The main drawback is that you no longer control your time due to all the other events and entertainment that are being offered. These are so tempting compared to just executing your business. Eventually this waste of time will result in lacking of focus, neglecting your business and missing to close sales deals.

In the end the reward you have won is no more beneficial for your business but even becomes a threat. You need to decide what is important and what is not for you or your business.

Did you or your company ever win an industry award?
How did that affect your business?


Why Planning Date Sales Meeting Is Indicator Of Success

Planning the sales meeting

Sometimes meetings get planned and organized easily within a short notice. These cases are rare but great opportunities to sell or to have a short sales cycle.

If you are calling or emailing to obtain and organize a sales meeting it feels like a drawback if the meeting can only be planned more than a month away. It gives the impression that the level of interest is not high enough to motivate the participants to make time for your sales meeting.

Fast meetings

In case the interest and need is high or urgent people would liberate time within a week: your solution (or that of the competitor) is urgently needed. In any case they are about to take a purchase decision fairly quickly.

Lack of interest

However in most cases it is not.
Somehow the time span it takes to get a meeting planned is a good indicator for the need or urgency of the products or solutions you are selling.
It is important to know if several people or just one person is causing the delay in having the meeting. In case of several people you will have an uphill battle in order to convince them all that your solutions will bring them and the company benefits. In case it is just one person it is a requirement to know what holds this person back and what are his objections or his motivation for delaying the meeting. He could be key to close the deal. hence you have to investigate on this person as much as possible.

The indicator for the lack of interest if the meeting gets planned several weeks away.

How many weeks in advance should a meeting be planned in order to show a positive interest ?


Setting your price as market leader: don’t be greedy

Market leader advantages

As a market leader you have the possibility to set a rather high price compared to your competitors as people will consider purchasing from you being the market leader – and they will probably make the purchase as buying from the market leader comes with less risk: they won’t get fired by purchasing from the market leader.

Market leader price setting

However it is better to set your price at such a low level that new competitors will think twice before attempting to enter your market. Even for innovators as they need to recoup their investment over a rather short time span. The higher your price, the more likely they can take the risk as their margin will be higher thanks to your high price setting.

If a new competitor with large pockets from a different market wants to enter your market then you will be more comfortable with your competitive pricing. Moreover you don’t need to introduce more discounts or decrease your pricing – something which your current customers will notice and perceive as you have been ripping them off for too long.

Still the price needs to be high enough to generate sufficient revenue and profit for your company.

Change of the game

This game play you can extend until a new and disruptive technology emerges offering competitive advantages over the existing solutions or at a much lower production cost. However you should see this coming and you will have time to take pro-active actions.

How do you set your sales prices ?


To carry many or few product lines ?

Single product line

Companies that sell just one type of product or product line. the positioning and the solution is clear:
- Less marketing efforts needed to explain the product-line
- More chances to get on the short list as your company stands for this type of product
- Sales people have hardly any efforts for explaining
- Short interesting sales pitch
- Niche market that is entirely understood by management
- Focus by management, marketing, sales, production, development
- Potential buyers know what the brand stands for
- Less training required for both employees, distributors and resellers
- Little chance of cannibalization between products
- Disadvantage when lack of interest or new technology makes product line obsolete.

Multiple product line:

Companies that provide multiple product-lines have serious issues:
- Require a lot of marketing efforts to explain and differentiate the different product lines and models
- Less evident to get on short lists for the not best known products
- High sales efforts to explain all the features, differentiators and benefits of all of the products.
- Sales has longer pitches which decrease the attention
- Large number of product lines for a wide range of markets are too much to be fully understood by management.
- Lack of focus
- Potential buyers can be confused what products the brand has
- More training required for employees, distributors and resellers which they hopefully remember entirely
- Chance of cannibalization between products
- Benefit of jumping to other product lines when lack of interest for a certain product line or new technology that makes a product line obsolete.

What’s your opinion on have single or multiple product lines ?


Google: The Internet Mobster Organization

Search Result Pages

Once upon a time Google use to be an excellent search engine with an innovative  relevance algorithm that disrupted the starting Internet search industry. One could rely upon the results presented. Over time Google has made many changes to the rules for finding the results and the results presented. Until a few years ago there were only major updates once or twice a year which were more or less documented and explained. Nowadays Google is constantly changing its’ algorithm without much information around these changes. The transparency is gone. The rate and frequency of these changes is so high nobody can keep track of them and we wonder if there are any employees or managers at Google that know the implications and results of all these changes.

Google sells ad space

Moreover as the revenue of Google comes from advertising, more and more results on the search page results are paid advertising links. A large part – if not more than 50% – of the window is occupied by paid links.

Google cares only cares about making revenue by all means. It will attack all methods of traffic generation and website promotion in order to force millions of businesses to compete with each other and forcing them to spend large sums on advertising on Google.

Hence small businesses need to compete with small companies which on their turn need to compete with the biggest corporations. These are getting a preferential treatment from Google because of the massive volume of traffic they obtain and business they bring to Google if they advertise enough.

The Internet Mobster Organization

Google is like a mobster organization coming into your neighborhood and starts blackmailing businesses in order to conform to Google’s demands. In case your business don’t conform then your potential customers are guided directly to the competitors. The businesses willing to pay their bribe to Google.
If a mobster organization would act physically in your street using goons to show customers the competitors, the police would be on them quickly. However on the Internet extortion is completely legal. Except for Yelp which has been accused of extortion of small businesses.

How long can the world continue to live with Internet extortion ?
Let’s hope soon a competitor for Google will stand up or a different form or method for finding or getting links will become available. This is Google’s greatest fear.

Are you paying Google for their extortion ?


The Online Length Secrets Mastered

In order to catch the attention of people browsing and flipping through web pages, blogs or social media the length of the header and the length of the message or text is determined:
- Headline scores the best at 6 words
- Email subject-line of 28–39 characters have the highest click rates.
- Title Tags of web pages should be 55 characters in order to avoid cut-off on the Search Engine Result Pages.
- Domain names should be maximum 8 characters long according to Daily Blog Post.
- Blog titles should be limited to 50 characters.
- Blog post should be 1600 words long.
- Tweets should be between 100 and 115 characters in order to be re-tweeted.
- Facebook status length should be 40 characters.
- Google+ headline should be less than 60 characters.
- Paragraph width should be 40 to 55 characters.

Align to these rules and you should score well on the Internet.

Do you have any other guidelines for online length and sizes ?


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