How to Avoid the Fake-Listening Trap

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Ask any sales professional about the key to success, and there’s a good chance they’ll say, “You have to listen to your client.”

As a sales strategist, I meet with many successful sales reps, managers and executives. I always ask them about the secret to successful selling. The answers tend to be similar. One time, after yet another of them mentioned the importance of listening, I responded with a slight tone of frustration in my voice:

“Everyone says that listening to the client is the most important skill a salesperson can have,” I said, “yet few salespeople actually bother to … Read the rest

Think Like a Marketer

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Because you are a business unto yourself with your own brand to promote, it is only logical that you should think like a marketer.

Personal brands are symbolic embodiments of an individual professional that publicly distinguish that person from all other competitors. A brand is a trademark, a distinctive name, and a combination of images that creates associations and expectations in the minds of audience members.

Marketers of products and services are obsessed with branding. Companies hire talented marketers to craft strategic plans for each of their brands and then carry out the communication tactics that are part of the … Read the rest

Turn “Socializing” Into “Networking”

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Most professionals know they must network in order to achieve long-term business success. I remember as far back as high school being told by my guidance counselor that I needed to “meet a lot of people and build a network.” That was great advice back then and even better advice today.

It’s critically important to participate in the public arena and interact with the people who could become your clients, provide you with valuable information or help you further your causes and beliefs.

While they understand the importance of networking, many professionals do a lousy job of it. It’s easy … Read the rest

What Separates the Good Marketers from the Great Ones?

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image of man on mountain peakIf you go to work every day, you might as well go all the way and shoot for the pinnacle of your profession. It’s a competitive world, so set your sights high. If you’re going to take the risk and invest the time, strive for greatness.

Ever since Jim Collins wrote his best-selling book, Good to Great, in 2001, business people worldwide have been fixated on greatness. Why do some companies do so well when a similar competitor languishes? Why do some companies transition from being merely successful to being truly great? What traits and behaviors separate the good … Read the rest

Realizing Hidden Opportunities

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“Great moments are born from great opportunities,” said the late Herb Brooks, one of the world’s most famous hockey coaches.

Brooks certainly seized opportunity during his career. He agreed to coach the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that beat the “unbeatable” Soviet Union in Lake Placid, New York, during the famous “Miracle on Ice” game on the way to winning the gold medal. It was a modern-day “David vs. Goliath” matchup. Many coaches would refuse such an overwhelmingly difficult job. In fact, several did.

But Brooks saw opportunity in the monumental challenge of leading a bunch of young, amateur, college all-stars … Read the rest

Managing Your Online Brand In the World’s Best and Worst Marketplace

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“Had a very long day today. Got into an argument with my boss and a client. All I want to do is drink a glass of wine and take it easy, but I have to do laundry tonight. Arrrgh!”

This is the text of a post I once read on a friend’s Facebook page. She was clearly frustrated after a tough day at the office.

There’s nothing earth-shattering about this post and certainly nothing unusual. We all have periodic days we would rather forget. It’s common to come home from work tired out, feeling sick to your stomach, knowing you … Read the rest

Should You Be a Big Fish in Two Ponds?

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On a dark and stormy night…

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. No serious writer would start his article with such a tired old cliché. You probably think I’m some boorish amateur.

But seriously, it is a dark and stormy night. And kind of lonely too. And other than the thunder, it’s awfully quiet.

It’s late Wednesday night, and I’m sitting by myself inside a barbeque joint in Kansas City, Missouri. There’s nothing like driving rain to keep people away from late-night pork ribs and baked beans, so essentially, I have the place to myself. In fact, I’m kind of … Read the rest

Big Marketing Power in a Little Word

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Your English teacher isn’t going to like this. Don’t get me wrong; the grammar and composition you learned in high school English class are critically important, but those rules don’t necessarily apply all the time.

Allow me to explain.

Your old English teacher would have preferred that you write, “By carefully employing certain words, a professional gains a powerful advantage when selling his or her products or when trying to persuade others to accept his or her ideas.”

Here’s a slightly different version: “By carefully employing certain words, you gain a powerful advantage when selling your products or when trying … Read the rest

A Powerful Sales Technique Courtesy of Honest Abe

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If you ask any historian to name the greatest leaders in western civilization, there’s a good chance the 16th president of the United States will make the list. He willed his country to victory in the gut-wrenching Civil War, issued the Emancipation Proclamation and facilitated the eventual ratification of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.

A number of traits contributed to Abraham Lincoln’s greatness. He possessed a brilliant intellect. He had an uncommon amount of common sense. He was a thinker, someone who philosophically examined the world and crafted a rationalized set of personal beliefs by which he steadfastly lived.

While … Read the rest

Ways To Market Yourself

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Here we are well into 2011. This is one of those years where many professionals are feeling more optimistic than they were at this time 12 months ago.

That’s refreshing. It’s a much better feeling than we had at the beginning of 2010. But while the stock market has been rising, tax cuts have been extended and business is picking up, these are far from ideal times. High unemployment persists, and the economy still has a cautious, uncertain feeling to it.

Today’s business environment remains somewhat perilous, but at the same time, there are great prospects for those who

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Networking As Your Sole Marketing Vehicle

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As people realize we like them and respect their opinions, they share information about themselves that can be helpful in analyzing whether they can use our products or services.

So says Canadian businessman Michael J. Hughes, who is known as “THE Networking Guru.”  Hughes runs a highly successful Ottawa, Ontario-based consulting business that works with Fortune 500 companies and international associations across North America.

The most interesting thing about Hughes’ business? He built it using networking as his sole marketing vehicle.

Networking is simply one of the most important activities in which professionals engage. As Hughes says, the opportunity to

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How Not To Work Evenings and Weekends

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Jane Schulte is really quite remarkable.

She’s an entrepreneur who runs two successful businesses. She grew her company, PRISM Title, from eight to 60 employees in only 18 months. She has published four books, two of which are award winning. She speaks to a variety of audiences about business success. She has been featured in Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Sales Caffeine” newsletter and many other media outlets. On top of all this, she’s an accomplished artist whose works have been commissioned.

That’s certainly an impressive bio.  But do you want to know what’s most remarkable about Jane Schulte?

She doesn’t work

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