How to Attract Customers by Creating Valuable Information

Enjoy this 17 minute interview of me by Dan Alcorn. I share some of my best secrets about how I create useful materials for my customers.

The best possible way to attract prospects and clients is to create marketing gravity. That is, people are attracted to you by what they’ve read, seen, heard, found through a search, or been referred to you. It has substantially more power than any advertising that you could do. Now we’re not trying to diminish the power of advertising, it’s just that people tend to trust sources of wisdom more than paid advertising.

I answer these questions in this interview:

  • How much content have you created in the past year?
  • What’s the best way to provide value added content to your prospects, customers and contacts?
  • How do you determine the topic?
  • How do you come up with content?
  • You do this so fast, what are your secrets?
  • Who do you interview?
  • Where can you research?
  • How do you turn this in to the Rule of Authority and leverage “Law of the Few?”
  • How can people find out about what you’re writing?¬†ArticlesByMark.com

Check it out and let me know what you think.

 

How to Sell to the Board of Directors: Three Keys to Successful Board Level Selling

When you are selling big projects, even the Chief Executive Officer has a purchase limit beyond which they need to get board level approval. Read on to discover three keys to selling to the board of directors.

What are the Mission Priorities?

The first key is understanding the organization’s mission priorities. The mission is what the company is tasked to accomplish by the board of directors. The priorities are the order in which tasks are accomplished; it’s about sequence and timing.

The board of directors pays attention to these elements, focusing on what will be accomplished, why it will be accomplished, and when it will be accomplished. They will also look at potential and real risks and ways to mitigate them or eliminate them. But they won’t go in depth about the methods to accomplish the mission; they don’t go deep into the how. They hire people to take care of the details and that’s what you’re selling them; the how to get the outcome they desire.

You need to know the board members’ priorities and concerns. Then you can show how you’ll contribute to those priorities and address those concerns.

The board makes decisions based on their confidence in the plan, in the people, and and the process. Expect to present proof that you can deliver in these three areas.

What are the Success Metrics?

The second key to selling to the board of directors is to understand how they’ll measure success. How will they know to pay executive bonuses?

Success metrics frequently include revenue, profit, or growth targets. But success criteria can also be market share, new market access, or competitive success. You’ll need to identify their criteria and be able to illustrate how you can substantially contribute to those outcomes.

Every board member will have a slightly different view of what constitutes success and what defines risk, so do your homework or be able to quickly adapt to their individual views.

How Do You Get to the Board of Directors?

The third key is to get board-level access. In most cases you won’t get it in person. But your proposals and reports will if the CEO believes in your plan.

So you have to get excellent at creating board-level proposals and writing presentations that others will make on your behalf. They must include all of the elements listed in this article. Your executive sponsor will help you with other material required to persuade the board to go your way.

Over time, as you grow your personal brand and establish credibility with the board, you may be invited to present in person. And when you do, you’ve become one of the top sales professionals on the planet.

And now take the next step in your sales career development. Get immediately free access to a one-hour telecast playback on supercharging your sales at SalesSuperCharger.com. You can download the telecast to listen on your mp3 player or listen on line. You also get a downloadable PDF sales action guide with more resources. Go there now to access free ideas you can use immediately.

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The Beginners Guide to Selling IT: Three Top Secrets You Need to Know to Sell Information Technology

If you’re selling computers, software, storage, networking and other information technology, you’ve got to approach the sale very differently than if you’re selling other types of products. Read on to learn about what you must pay attention to if you’re going to be successful selling IT.

All IT is Bought to Generate Business

All IT purchases must contribute to the business or they won’t be approved. Many beginners lead with the product, trying to convince the IT director how good their technology is and why they need to buy it.

If you’re going to be immediately successful selling IT, focus on the business reasons why your customers should buy. So instead of discussing speeds and feeds, bays and arrays, cables and trays, talk about the business case that you can make for your product.

And this gets even more important when you consider the next beginners secret.

Most Deals Have Multiple Decision Makers

While the IT department has a budget for the year, purchases above a certain amount require approval from the technology committee, usually consisting of the IT director, CFO (chief financial officer), and CEO (chief executive officer, or managing director, or administrator, or owner.) The approval threshold is very low for small companies. For example, do you have to get the bosses approval to buy a toner cartridge? The threshold is much larger for most mid size companies, from 25 to 50 thousand dollars. And for big companies it drops lower, often around $10,000. I know; it’s pretty ridiculous.

If the IT director can sign off on the purchase, you just need to sell to them. As a beginner, you need to recognize that larger sales will be made to all three of these decision makers. And for many beginners, it can be a challenge to reach the CFO or CEO. Which leads us to the next beginners secret.

Reach Decision Makers with Your Proposals

When the IT director asks you for a proposal, they’re sold. Yet they still need to sell the other two decision makers. They’re really asking you to give them the information they need to convince the CFO and CEO.

Most beginners create technical proposals to the IT director, who is already convinced, and slap on a one-page executive summary. Yet one page is not enough to convince the other decision makers to agree to a five, six, or seven figure sale.

Instead, do some home work and find out what will motivate the other two decision makers to agree to approving the deal.

In general, the CFO is going to look at cash flow impact and the CEO is going to look at contributions to profit and growth.

As a beginner selling IT, you will be well served to learn how to make the business case for your products and learn how to communicate business value to the top executive decision makers. When you do this, you’ll rapidly become one of the most successful sales pros in your company.

And so take the next step in your career development. Get immediately free access to a one-hour telecast playback on supercharging your sales career at SalesSuperCharger.com. You can download the telecast to listen on your mp3 player or listen on line. You also get a downloadable PDF sales action guide with more resources. Go there now to access free ideas you can use immediately.

From Mark S.A. Smith of Outsource Channel Executives, Inc.

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The New iPad: are you missing what most people have ignored about the introduction?

On March 8, 2012, Apple introduced its “new iPad” with great expectation and fanfare. It was generally greeted with a loud “meh.” And those people are missing an important insight.

For example, CNN reported “REVIEW: NEW IPAD NEITHER DUD NOR ‘REVOLUTION.’  On first glance, the new, never-to-be-actually-named iPad is exactly the same as its predecessor: Same size, same price, same colors.” 

Polishing a Great Product

This highlights the dilemma of incremental technology releases. The first iPad was so revolutionary that it grabbed massive market share. It was so well designed, there wasn’t much to improve with the next generation other than to add cameras. 

Now with the new iPad, there isn’t much more to bring to a great design other than a noticeable increase in display resolution and initially invisible increased compute power and G4 cellular network speed. And you get all of this for the same price as the last generation. 

This trend was initially observed by Moore’s law in 1965 – technology doubles in capability every year (plus or minus) for the same price. (For a great overview, check out Wikipedia).

Most Users Miss the Value

If a tablet just replaces books, magazines, and TV screens, then advances in network speed and compute power get overlooked or ignored. 

Most iPads get used as an entertainment device. These users won’t think that the new iPad has much value because they don’t believe that there is any advantage to them.  

And that’s where most people ignore and miss out on what’s really happening. The reality is that higher quality video and a better resolution display demands more compute power and network bandwidth. And this offers much more capability that only a few will recognize and capitalize.

Exponential Improvements

The iPad 2 is twice as powerful as its predecessor in terms of compute power and networking speed. And the new iPad is twice as powerful again. This makes the new iPad four times more powerful then the original. 

There is no reason to think that the next generation iPad won’t be twice as powerful again. So in five years, the “iPad 8” will be 128 times more powerful than the original. 

This potential power is beyond the ability of most users to comprehend. Even more importantly, most can’t figure out how to exploit and create value with the increase in power. 

The Power User’s Advantage

Power users will find ways to use that to their advantage. For example, if a Google search occurs in half the time, you can accomplish more. If voice commands — three times faster than typing — improves productivity, you become freed to do other things. If you can see more on the higher-resolution screen, then you can take in more information in a single page, speeding your tasks.

If you really want to benefit from the exponential technology curve, figure out how to use the rapidly advancing compute and network power of devices like the iPad. Get ahead of the curve with your ideas and products. In the next 24 months, you’ll be able to bring to market products that 99.9% of people can’t even imagine right now. 

And that’s the real impact of the new iPad.

My Position on Whiskey

The label if-by-whiskey refers to a 1952 speech by Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, Jr., a young lawmaker from the U.S. state of Mississippi, on the subject of whether Mississippi should continue to prohibit (which it did until 1966) or finally legalize alcoholic beverages:

“If you mean whiskey, the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.

However, if by whiskey you mean the lubricant of conversation, the philosophic juice, the elixir of life, the liquid that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.

This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle.”

More details at wikipedia.org/wiki/If-by-whiskey

Shifts in Intellectual Property Value: How to Make Money When Everything is Free

If you are an author, create intellectual property, or deliver services, you MUST watch this 25 minute video. How do you make money when everything is moving toward free? Kevin Kelly discusses how to do this.

Key point: It’s no longer about ownership but about access. Every song recorded can be housed in $500 of storage; every book written housed on $20,000 of storage.

Key point: The only value is that which cannot be copied easily.

Key point: The attributes we are willing to pay for as immediacy, personalization, authenticity, attention, interpretation, accessibility, embodiment, and find-ability.

Watch and tell me what you think.

Play the Guitar: Get Started Playing the Guitar

When I started to play the guitar, I did things the hard way, trying to play chords and play songs. It was frustrating because my fingers just couldn’t find the right position to make the guitar sound good.

Since then, I’ve learned how to get started playing the guitar that’s much faster and much easier and I’m going to show you how you can play the guitar right away.

I love playing the guitar! I’m self-taught until a few years ago when I started working a music teacher. I bought my first guitar in 1989. But it’s only been in the past five years that I’ve really focused on playing the guitar well. And now, I’m pretty good. I can jam with good musicians and I can sit down and entertain myself for hours with my guitar.

Today, I’d rather play guitar than watch TV. Here’s why: after watching TV, I’m relaxed and I’ve wasted an hour. After playing guitar, I’m relaxed and I’m an improved guitar player.

A DIFFERENT WAY: FORGET THE ACOUSTIC GUITAR

How I got to play today was a different route from the way most guitar teachers teach guitar. Most guitarists start out with an inexpensive acoustic guitar and immediately try to play songs with chords.

Here’s the problem: cheap acoustic guitars are very hard for a first time guitarist to play. The strings are too thick. The neck is too big. Your fingers don’t have the strength to get a good sound.

The truth is, most beginning guitar players have a cheap acoustic guitar lying around somewhere in the house. And that inexpensive guitar is keeping them from being a guitar player.

So don’t start off with a cheap acoustic guitar, take a different approach.

ELECTRIC GUITAR TO THE RESCUE

It’s better to start playing with a good electric guitar. This will get you going quickly and comfortably to inspire you to keep practicing until you’re good enough to play with other musicians.

Go to a guitar store, such as Guitar Center and pick up a used electric guitar for about $300. That’s the price where you can get a decent guitar that that will play well and sound good. A professional guitar shop will make sure the guitar “action” is adjusted to play easily. I suggest you forget about the “starter guitars” because they’re usually not easy to play.

I don’t recommend buying a used guitar from anyone other than a professional guitar shop. You don’t know enough about guitars to be able to pick one out that you can play well. The guitar shop wants your business for the rest of your life as a musician, so they’ll make sure you get what you need.

Most people start with an acoustic guitar because they don’t need a guitar amplifier to play. Because electric guitars need a guitar amplifier that doubles the cost of getting started.

That’s not a problem today because you can run your electric guitar through your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad and get guitar effects worth thousands of dollars for $30 (more about this in another post). You can even get a guitar tuner ap for your mobile device for a dollar.

You’ll pay more for a cheap guitar tuner for your acoustic guitar then for the cool guitar applications. Just plug in your headphones and you’ll think that you’re playing in front of a cranked Marshall stack.

FORGET THE CHORDS

Before you try to make her fingers contort into positions called guitar chords, get your hands strong.

Strengthen your hands by just playing scales. I know, that sounds boring! Yet if you will sit down with your guitar for 15 minutes a day and teach your fingers how to move, in two weeks you’ll have much more finger strength, dexterity, and control to easily form guitar chords. If you don’t do this, you’re going to be frustrated and stop playing the guitar. This is what it takes to play guitar fast.

STRONG FINGERS FROM SCALES

You don’t have to play standard scales, all you have to do is move your fingers to make them respond to your mental commands, getting stronger in the process.

Start with your hand at the neck of the guitar and your fingers on the biggest string (that’s the E string), and pluck the string while pushing down on the string with your finger, but only hard enough to get a clean sound. This is called fretting the string and it does cause many new guitarists to “fret” about playing the guitar.

With your thumb behind the guitar neck about in the position where it is behind your middle finger, clamped down on the string. You don’t have to squeeze the neck, only press hard enough so that the string rests on the metal fret and makes a nice clean sound when you pick it lightly.

Start with your index finger, then to your middle finger, then to your ring finger, then to your pinky, and reverse the direction. Go slowly, making sure that you have a nice clean tone for each string.

Then move to the next string, and repeat. Move to the next string and repeat until you’ve gotten to the smallest string.

Then starting with your pinky, moved to your ring finger, and so forth so that you practice moving your fingers up and down, and down and up. Work your way back down to the big string.

Move your hand up a fret and repeat the process until you get all the way up to the 12th fret, that’s where there usually is a double dot as a fret market.

Now reverse the direction and go back down until you go to the get to the first fret.

That’s enough for the first round of exercises.

REPEAT

Do this for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening. Over two weeks your fingers will gain strength and you’ll increase the dexterity so your brain will know how to move each finger. Now you can start to comfortably form chords. (More on that in another article.)

I learned an awful lot from a downloaded guitar course that I could watch on my computer. It cost less than an hour with a private instructor. I suggest that you check it out. http://playtheguitar.biz

Articles, articles, and more articles

Maybe I’m a little late to the game, but I found ezinearticles.com to be a pretty cool place full articles featuring a wide range of ideas.

So I cranked out a bunch of articles just to see how it goes. I wrote some articles about renting out your house (based on my NewLandlord.com ebook), getting started with woodworking (I know: who knew?), and on playing the guitar (no surprise there!).

And based on the quality of my articles, they have granted me the status of Platinum author. Okay, now that scares me a bit.

Check it out!

As Featured On EzineArticles

Fearless Self Promotion: Getting Ahead Fast Video

How is it that you notice some people, but not others? How do some get all the breaks, the luck, and success, and some—maybe more experienced and talented—don’t? How can you rapidly move ahead in your career by becoming noticed by those who can make a difference?

The secret is Fearless Self Promotion: the ability to promote yourself without feeling fear, shame, or concern that you’re a boor.

In this exciting and interactive program, you’ll learn how to get over any self-consciousness about self promotion. You’ll learn dozens of tactics to promote yourself so that you become a person of interest and become sought after by influencers. You’ll leave with your own Fearless Self Promotion plan that you can immediately put into action.

Here is a video of the presentation that I delivered to students of the School of Business and Management and the community as part of the 2010 E.A. Anderson lecture series at Southern Adventist University.

By the way, one of the fastest ways to self promote is through public speaking. Check out my GetSpeaking.com blog for lots of great ideas about this technique. This will get you to the audio recording that I mention in the program.

Click here to watch the video. Running time–57:37 

Your Speaker, Mark S.A. Smith

An SAU alumni, Mark parlayed his communications degree into a career of sales, marketing, and education. He’s written five business books, founded three companies, and works with the Fortune 50. He’s traveled the planet showing business professionals how to be more successful, speaking in 34 countries and hundreds of cities, including Collegedale.

He wants to share with you what he’s learned about creating personal buzz. Just Google (or Bing) him.