10 Easy Sales Strategies for Small Companies

Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2016 by Jessica Helou
Selling for a small firm is harder than selling for a large one. Your customer may never have heard of your firm, there is probably not many sales support, and you likely cannot spend big money to develop and close an account. Nevertheless, it is not just possible, but downright easy, to outsell the big guys.

All you need are these simple rules:

Strategy #1: Differentiate Yourself and Your Firm. To compete with a larger firm there is got to have something different. Your product must be higher in quality, easier to use, more convenient to buy, or a better fit than the competition. To do so, you must be better able to help customers clarify their needs and craft a solution. In addition, you must be faster at the customers service.

Strategy #2: Treat Your Weaknesses as Strengths. Customers may not know your firm (a weakness) but they do not have negative preconceptions either (a strength). You may not have an expense account for a fancy lunch (a weakness) but you can show your customer that you do not waste money (a strength). Your firm might have meager higher prices (a weakness) but you are willing to craft flexible terms (a strength.)

Strategy #3: Exhibit Extreme Confidence. People who sell for small firms can spoil their credibility by trying to explain away the inexperience or size of their firm. Smart customers smell that fear and see it as a signal to demand steep discounts or concessions. Convince yourself (and thence the customer) that a customer would be foolish or crazy to buy from anyone else.

Strategy #4: Do not be Afraid to Bail. Wishful thinking can propel you into a world of wasted effort. Once it becomes clear that a deal does not make sense or will take too much effort to close, it is not worth pursuing. For example, if you cannot meet with the REAL decision-maker, you are not going to get the business. So move on to the next prospect, without regrets.

Strategy #5: Be Your Company’s Brand. A brand experience is an emotion a customer feels when buying or using a product. A sales rep working for IBM or Bristol-Myers only needs a business card to create a brand experience. By contrast, when you are selling for a small firm, the brand experience consists of YOUR appearance, YOUR voice, and YOUR ability to solve problems.

Strategy #6: Think Like an Entrepreneur. Since your firm lacks the infrastructure of a larger firm, the only person you can trust to get things done is YOU. Be frugal with your time and resources, and constantly find creative ways to get things done more quickly and easily. Remember: activity multiplied by hours spent equals sales results. Make everything you do lead towards those results.

Strategy #7: No Free Consulting. When a customer asks you to do something for free, your response must ALWAYS be to ask for something comparable in return. For example, if a customer asks you to provide them with an RFP based upon 35 pages of questions, insist that you’ll only do the work if you guarantee a meeting with the CEO to present your solution.

Strategy #8: Have a Low Threshold of NO. Never cave to a customer who’s being unreasonable. Maybe your larger competitor can afford to obey the rules in order to win the business, but you don’t have the luxury of being anything less than the best. And the best in any industry NEVER trickle. Be cooperative but be constantly aware of your true worth to the customer.

Strategy #9: Be Your Firms Greatest Strength. Top executives do not have the time to sit down with cookie-cutter sales reps, but they always have time for somebody who can redefine problems and devise solutions. If you can truly add value, you are the most valuable person that CEO will meet with that day, maybe that month, maybe even that year.

Strategy #10: Take Responsibility for Your Skills. Big firms have the money to hire professional sales trainers, run sales mentoring programs, and employ sales managers to coach novices. In a small firm, it’s up to you (and you alone) to constantly sharpen your sales skills, learn new sales techniques, and develop your sales career.
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Understanding Body Language Through Practice

Posted on Friday, May 20, 2016 by Jessica Helou
If you want to become a master of nonverbal communication, there are some things you need to know. First, there are a lot of misconceptions about nonverbal communication. For example, there are a number of books (including one best-seller) that suggest that you can read people like a book. It’s simply not true. You can, however, become better at reading (and more clearly enacting) nonverbally through practice.

1. Body language is not a language:

As mentioned, there is no dictionary for nonverbal communication. The meaning of a particular nonverbal cue, such as a certain gesture or eye movement, can depend on the context, the individual, and the relationship between the sender of the cue and the recipient. The exceptions are certain gestures, known as emblems gestures that take the place of the spoken word, such as the ok symbol made with thumb and forefinger, or flipping someone the bird the meaning of these emblems is clear! So, do not think that just because someone has crossed his or her arms (or legs) that it means any particular thing. Context matters, as does individual personal style. Some people may simply be more comfortable crossing their arms in social situations it may have nothing to do with you.

2. The key may be in the context:

Certain nonverbal behaviors, such as invading someone's bubble of personal space, automatically causes arousal. How that arousal is interpreted depends on the context. In a positive encounter/situation, a slight intrusion into someone's bubble may trigger arousal that can lead to a positive reaction liking, sexual interest, etc. In a situation involving a struggle for dominance, invading another s space can lead to anger, or perhaps fear, in the other person.

3. Certain facial expressions have universal meaning:

There is good evidence that the basic facial expressions of anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise, and fear, are displayed similarly across cultures. We can recognize a happy face in just about anyone in the world. The problem is that it is very hard, without training, to be able to distinguish a genuine display of happiness from a fake pose and smile.

4. It takes one to know one:

There are individual differences in people's abilities to communicate nonverbally. This is a big part of the construct of emotional intelligence. Certain people are very skilled at clearly expressing themselves nonverbally sending clear messages of emotions, liking, dominance, etc. Others are very good at reading or decoding, others nonverbal cues. AND, these two abilities are correlated, such that a good sender is more likely to be a good receiver.

5. Lie detection is almost impossible:

There is a belief that we can tell if a person is lying through body language that a liar cannot look you in the eye, or displays nervous gestures. But it is nearly impossible to accurately detect lies simply through reading someone's body language. Although deception can cause arousal, people have different arousal displays, so one person might look guilty, and another truthful, regardless of their veracity. 

There is some research that suggests that there are a few, rare individuals who are able to detect deception at levels above chance, but even these people are not all that accurate (this research was the basis for the TV show Lie to Me, although the show suggested incorrectly that these deception detectors were almost infallible).
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Avoiding these Mistakes Leads to a Better Leader

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 by Jessica Helou
Whether you’ve just got a leadership role or you’re already a leader seeking to become a better you while lifting up your team, there are always lessons to take and learn so that improvements are made.
In order to become a better leader, you should be wise enough to recognize your weak points and humble enough to work on correcting them since there’s no “Perfect Leader”.
Here are common mistakes that leaders at all levels struggle with, and how you can fix them.

Mistake N.1 - Concentrating on the Big Picture:
All the leaders including you concentrate on the big picture; they are always looking to the final results and motivating their teams by communicating the big picture. But wait a minute; you’re striving people for goals that they are far off into the future where they are somehow vague. In that case, people will fall into small mistakes along the way just to achieve the final outcome.
Tip to fix it: Don’t make the mistake of only communicating the high-level vision. Instead, plan out a path to success so your team has a road map instead of just a destination.
Try to create smaller milestones that help you measure progress along the way and reward results as the big picture come more into focus.

Mistake N.2 - Not Delegating the Work Smartly:
Taking control of the tiniest details will increase tensions among the team that results from heavy-handed management.
Tip to fix it: Give team member’s assignments according to their interest and expertise. This manner will make them happier by letting them volunteer for tasks themselves. It will communicate your trust to the team, and made them more responsible lifting their team upward.

Mistake N.3 - Failing to Applaud Small Wins:
Big wins have never been achieved in one step; it’s actually the accumulation of small steps. Slipping everyday successes without notice will hinder the path to the big picture.
Tip to fix it: Always cheer up and motivate your team when they go above and beyond for you. Bring in a treat for the team when you know they’ve been pulling some extra weight. Your appreciation will go a long way. In fact, research shows that timely, meaningful recognition is the no. 1 thing that empowers employees to do great work.

Mistake N.4 - Communicating Poorly:
Lack of transparency and oversight, not having an open door policy…always leads to a bad communicator.
Tip to fix it: Work on your communication skills—from your management style to your attitude—and you’ll see a transformation happen within the team. Leaders who are good communicators inspire action, innovation, and advance the kind of teamwork and creativity that drive results.

Mistake N.5 - Setting Yourself Apart:
The worst leaders are the ones who believe they’re better than everyone else—and they don’t bother to hide it.
Tip to fix it: To avoid giving this impression, take the time to get to know teammates. Learn about whom they are, their families and passions, and what drives them. Organize team lunches and team building activities. When teams know and trust one another, great things happen. And the first step to getting there is leading by example, and showing that teamwork and camaraderie are priorities.

Becoming a great leader isn’t all about the resolution list of “dos”. Eliminate these “don’ts” first to see the biggest impact. You may be surprised at how effectively they boost your team’s ability to collaborate, innovate, and deliver great work throughout 2016 and beyond.

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Four Reasons Why you Need a Written Business Plan

Posted on Monday, May 09, 2016 by Jessica Helou
Companies with a written business plan grow 50% faster and reach gross profit margins that are 12% higher than those without one.
When you build a good business plan, it becomes clear where the opportunities for growth are. It also gives prospective investors confidence, so you can secure external funding if you need to. Every business needs to create a written business plan – and not just once, but every year.
While creating an in-depth list of what your business plan should include would be impossible – especially since every business will have a unique plan – some of the most critical aspects include:

• The company culture: what are your core values and beliefs?
• Your purpose: why does your company do what it does?
• A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)
• Your targets: where you want to be in 3-5 years.
• Your goals: where you want to be in one year.
• The key forces that will get you to your goals and targets.
• The key performance indicators (KPIs) that will allow you to measure your progress.
• The key personnel accountable for different areas in your business.
• A marketing plan: how you're going to sell what you're doing/making.
• An operations plan: the processes that allow your organization to operate on a day to day basis.
• A financial plan: ensuring that your business is meeting costs and making money.

This is an incredibly important document. Businesses with a good business plan do better than those without one - in profit, sales, team retention and longevity. And that’s the bottom line.
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Your Professional Reputation Will do all the Job

Posted on Monday, May 02, 2016 by Jessica Helou
It is no secret that, now more than ever, networking and professional opinions play a major role in shaping our future success. In our connected world, your professional reputation follows you everywhere you go, influencing how people see you and judge your abilities, and shaping your access to opportunity accordingly. Here are simple ways you can improve your professional reputation today:

Go the Extra Mile for a Colleague:

It's so easy to think about how busy we are, how much we have to do, and how long it's going to take us. But instead of looking at a to-do list and moaning at what is dragging you down, take a timeout from your tasks and see what you can reasonably do to help a colleague. It will not take very much time--and you will forge a stronger working relationship while solidifying your reputation as a team player. Building your professional reputation is an iterative process--so remember that even small steps can lead to a much bigger positive outcome.

Catch up on your Backlog:

In an ideal world, you would finish all of your work on time and never fall behind on anything. But most of us live in the real world where, from time to time, other things intervene in our perfectly laid plans. Falling behind every now and then is totally understandable, but you want to be known as the person who always catches up as quickly as possible. The most effective workers are those who find time to catch up on overdue assignments, particularly the assignments that have the greatest impact on other people. They follow through on their commitments--and, in the instances they can't, they clearly communicate about issues as well as the strategies and timeframe for resolving them.

Share a Recommendation:

Much like thanking colleagues for their help on a project, writing a LinkedIn recommendation or offering a reference is a small gesture that goes a long way. It can sometimes feel awkward to ask colleagues for their recommendations, so being proactive about recommending others shows that you value them and respect their work. Not only will they likely return the favor on your LinkedIn profile, but they will also recognize your appreciation and look forward to working with you in the future. If you are more conservative about being so public (often, senior leaders are), that is fine too. Letting people know that you would love to recommend them in the future and prefer one-on-one conversations is also great. It removes their hesitation to ask you down the road and serves as a reassuring confidence boost that they have done a great job.

Redirect Negative Talk to Constructive Conversation:

During tough projects, it's remarkably easy for the conversation to take a destructive detour. But a negative tone demotivates employees and hinders progress. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, try to steer the conversation in a constructive direction. 

Get Involved in Industry Groups:

Sometimes when you are first starting out, it's easy to ignore established industry groups as an investment of time you will make later (you know, after you prove yourself). Conversely, as experienced professionals, we sometimes forget the benefits of learning, sharing our expertise, and building new connections instead of relying on the tried and true. Make an effort to pick one great industry association to join. Attend meetings and conferences, volunteer when you can, or simply weigh in on industry forums online. In addition to great exposure to new ideas, rising stars, and established voices in your field, you also build or reinforce your credibility as someone whose perspective adds value.

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7 Proven Steps to a Good Work Day

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 by Jessica Helou
While making a big sale or launching a new project can transform an ordinary workday into a great one, theres also the other side of the coin to consider: boredom, burnout, and anxiety can make the hours drag on endlessly. But you can minimize or even eliminate those problems by giving your daily routine a simple tune-up. Here are seven things you can do to make every day as satisfying as it can be.

1. Wake Up Early

Feel like youre playing catch-up even before your day starts? Youll feel a lot less frazzled if you wake up early and take a calm approach to your morning routine. Set your alarm clock for at least an hour before you need to leave for work; this will give you time to linger over a cup of coffee and actually enjoy a real breakfast. A calm and relaxed morning at home will start your day on a positive note, paving the way for a better day at work. Often the key to making this part of your routine is to get to bed earlier.

2. Create a To-Do Lists

...and stick to it! Optimize your time by writing out a list of what needs to be done, starting with the most important items first. While you are at it, get your calendar out and make appointments to take a break or two during the day, along with a specific time to have lunch.

3. Eat Healthy Snacks

If you are eating a big, fat-laden meal at lunchtime, you are more likely to be sleepy, foggy, and irritable later in the day. Avoid the afternoon slump by packing healthy snacks, including fruits and vegetables, to keep your brain clear and your body energized.

4. Walk Around

Research shows that prolonged sitting is a risk factor for illness and death. Get up and walk around for 10 or 15 minutes several times during the course of the day. In addition to improving your overall health these quick, active breaks will boost your endorphins and improve your mood. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can; even standing at your desk rather than sitting can be beneficial.

5. Get Outside


We have all just been through the most irritating winter in recent memory, and now we can make up for it. Most buildings have tables or benches outdoors, so grab your lunch and head outside. Escaping artificial light and sitting in the sun, even if only for 20 minutes, will help your body soak in some vitamin D. Breathing fresh air and simply being outdoors will do wonders for your outlook; you will go back inside feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever is next on your agenda.

6. Stay Positive

Be conscious of the vibe you send to others and try to radiate only positive energy. Smile at your coworkers, have friendly conversations with the people on the elevator, and try to banish negative thoughts. Your confidence and positivity will rub off on your coworkers and higher-ups, creating a happier workplace for everyone. And by doing these things, you can train yourself to feel happier each day.

7. Beware the Couch

As appealing as the couch and a glass of wine sound after a long day of work, your body and mind will thank you if you get active before you relax. Go for a run or walk, practice yoga, or hit the gym after work. Physical activity releases endorphins that not only make you feel great immediately after your workout but continue to lift your spirits over the long run.
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Why Is Motivation Important for a Business?

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2016 by Jessica Helou
Motivation is important for business because it is the strong, driving force that can mean the difference between failure and success in business. Of course, we are all unique, so what motivates one person in business will not necessarily work for the next.

There are two types of motivation. Internal motivational forces come from within and are tied to your thoughts and emotions. External factors are things around you that provide motivation, like earning a prestigious award or earning more this year than last year.

Inspiration
Inspiration is what keeps you moving toward your goals. If you lose interest in your business, you lose motivation which can negatively affect your business. On the other hand, when you are excited about what you do, your energy and motivation practically fly through the roof.
It is important to take an honest look at your business to make sure that you are truly inspired by what you do. Inspiration is what will keep you motivated to keep going during the challenging stages every businesses goes through, otherwise you will wind up losing interest.

Setting Business Goals
Businesses are encouraged to set long-term and short-term goals to remain focused and on course with their business plan. Your goals are what establish the course of your business. Write them down in a business plan. You may be surprised to find out how much perspective you can get from goals, strategies and deadlines in writing. This gives you the motivation needed to accomplish all of your plans. Make sure to review these goals frequently throughout the year to make sure you are staying on track.

Networking

Networking with other business owners can inspire motivation. There is something about a group of people with similar goals supporting one another that fires up motivation and reminds you of why you started your business and where you want to take it.
It is important to connect with others in business regularly online and off. You can offer one another support in your individual ventures, share ideas and perhaps even come together for a potentially profitable joint venture.

Rewards

It is important to reward yourself from time to time. If all you do is focus on business you will burn out and your motivation will level off significantly.

Make plans to step away from your business on a regular basis. For example, a weekend break after five days of nothing but work allows you to relax, recharge and approach work on Monday refreshed, motivated and ready to go. It is also important to take the time to get away on a short trip or two, especially if you have a family so that you remain connected.

You can also reward yourself with material gifts to motivate you to meet business goals and milestones.

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What Company Owners Fear the Most

Posted on Friday, April 22, 2016 by Jessica Helou

Partnership Insurance is a professional risk management approach solving complex partnership issues. 

Every partner in any company have the following questions in mind;

What will happen to my company and my family if:
- I die too soon?
- I get Disabled?
- I have a critical illness?
- I live too long? 

Partnership Insurance is the best solution solving the later issues. It can:
- Insure the company survival and legacy.
- Protect the partner family rights.
- Create a big cash injection when the company loses balance.
- Be the greatest exit plan any professional can dream of.

Company owners understand that the risks they take being entrepreneurs are too big. And also, they always find a safe haven in good risk management.

Roy Keyrouz is specialized in corporate solutions and partnership agreement. He can be a tremendous assistance in solving very complex emotions and financial fears every company owner have.
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6 Reasons Why Planning Ahead Matters

Posted on Monday, April 11, 2016 by Jessica Helou
When planning, you are bringing the future into the present so that you can manage to do something for it now. The Chinese philosopher, Confucius said; A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.

Many Successful entrepreneurs and organizations have planned ahead and found benefits, including the following six points.

1. Assessing Risks and Opportunities:
For growth, people always think of taking risks, leaving the comfort zone in order to achieve success. Without planning, there is no confidence to have the courage to expand and compete.

2. Becoming Proactive:

Without proper planning, we would not be ready to respond to challenges. Hence, we become reactive. Planning ahead helps you become proactive to take the right action in the face of challenge and adversity.

3. Improving Performance:
By improving your performance through good planning and preparation, you will be clearer about what to do next. You will also experience less stress, be more productive, provide better service, deliver higher quality products, create a more joyful environment to work in, and become a more effective and influential leader.

4. Enough Time to Develop Teams:
Team development is vital to success, projects, and the organization as a whole. When the right plan is designed for the right team, assigning tasks to the team members can be done quickly and confidently.
5. Time for Revising and Updating the Plan:
By planning ahead we give ourselves time to revise our plans based on updated information on risk, quality, resources, stakeholders, assumptions, and constraints.

6. Rewarding:
By planning ahead we plan for success. Therefore, spending enough time in making remarkable plans and preparing for a remarkable performance will pay off with extraordinary rewards.
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