How Your Story Becomes Your Brand

What are they saying about you

A promising young business launches, ready to revolutionize its space! Rushing to get to market, it experienced an epic fail at firmly establishing its branding. Recognizing the priority of generating awareness, finding customers, establishing new operations, and paying bills, the oversight is understandable. Nevertheless, upon deciding to de-prioritize branding, the result was a weak start with poorly presented verbiage and images representing the brand. The consequences included limited awareness and questionable authenticity. Without building a strong, intentional brand, the business lacked credibility, choking on its own potential, because a consistent story failed to evolve.

Storytelling
The relationship between branding and storytelling is birthed from the understanding that a brand speaks to an audience in the business’ absence. An entrepreneur upon assuming ultimate responsibility needs processes to optimize deliberate messaging into the marketplace. Effective branding delivers that need. However, the brand must be thoughtfully and intentionally prepared to perform excellently. No reasonable entrepreneur would put a sales professional in the marketplace without proper preparation. Likewise, intelligent entrepreneurs do not send a brand into the marketplace without a specific message.

To communicate that message, effective storytelling must be part of the initial integrated marketing communication process. Tell the story across multiple channels so that social media, in-store images, and face-to-face messaging are consistent and memorable. Beyond specific phrasing to identify the business’ brand in a crowd, remarkable anecdotes must be infused into the enterprise’s culture. Modern customers will more likely flock to a retail outlet because the founder photobombed a political event than because they distributed a Groupon. A successful, distinct marketplace presence must result from emotional connections that make prospects yearn to become customers, and then tell their friends why. Fundamentally, effective storytelling tugs at prospects’ heartstrings to inspire opening the purse strings.

Authenticity
While awesome stories gather attention and connect packs of raving fans, the emotional bond demands honesty to sustain itself. To galvanize a community to create business momentum, stories must be true! Thanks to Yelp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and others, bad news based on lies move faster than pre-orders for the latest iPhone release at 12:01 AM. Unfortunately, good experiences need more time to catch up. To win that race, each opportunity to deliver as promised must be successful in order to withstand the dumpster fire of bad news ignited from a singular negative interaction.

Beyond emphasizing positive and truthful stories, authenticity requires consistency. In-N-Out Burger does not have to be fast. It must be consistent. Their lines remain long because customers will endure lack of speed, since that was not part of the deal. They are willing to wait slightly longer to get flavorful happiness in a bun, as expected. In-N-Out’s authenticity features the pleasant service interaction, cleanliness, menu’s simplicity, and not-so-secret non-menu options. To maximize that experience, customers must be an insider to the story. In-N-Out’s reward results from genuinely meeting expectations during the purchase experience. Their story works because the brand delivers!

Takeaways
Effective storytelling is successful upon incorporating emotional connections between sellers and buyers in their relationship. In business, facilitating enduring connections reveals the difference between fads and legends. Classic stories transcend cultures and generations because they spark human feelings between the speaker and the listener. Furthermore, when success brings scrutiny, the authentic story that consistently delivers good feelings based on the business reputation becomes even more powerful. Let the good-feeling story be factual and opportunities for the business to rebound emerge even quicker. Ultimately, entrepreneurial success happens when incredible products align directly with emotional experiences. Consequently, authentic storytelling becomes the fuel to accelerate unforgettable branding and enduring success.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Coaching, Business Development, Creating Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Had One Job! – Niche Development

Winning Sales Team

A newborn baby enters the world, gets smacked on the bottom because it needs to start breathing immediately. New business ventures launch in an identical fashion. The newly birthed enterprise immediately demands revenue which only results from aggressive sales activity. That urgent speed to market reflects the earliest glimpse of the business’ branding. When growing a business, several tasks and responsibilities compete as high priorities. However, the one priority that is inevitable among every growing organization is growth itself. Consequently, successfully performed sales activities emerge as the highest priority. Initially generating revenue requires dedicated efforts that focus as narrowly as possible. Failure to execute results in business’ leaders stealing a classic movie line from “Oceans Eleven”: “You had one job!!!”

Know Your Target
Furthermore, to grow rapidly, businesses often deploy a niche strategy. Reinforcing the “one job” mindset to maximize results, the business targets “one niche”! Particularly among younger companies, a quick sale is often superior to a big, slow sale. Of course, a big, quick sale supersedes all! Nevertheless, the quick sale fuels the bank account to fund getting to the next piece of revenue.

Shorter sales cycles directly align with producing customer solutions quickly. Success requires solving problems with incumbent knowledge instead of developing customized expertise. The more thoroughly that the sales professional knows and fulfills specific niche targets’ needs, the faster revenue appears. Superior knowledge regarding prospects enables quicker communication of specific solutions. Nimble businesses who demonstrably know their specific target market, close deals quicker and generate momentum for future customers which in turn grows their knowledge base further.

Know Your Stuff
This increasing knowledge evolves quickly into niche intelligence fueling the enterprise’s growth. Successful, nimble organizations acquire knowledge through multiple channels. Prospects and customers help tremendously as they articulate critical needs and desires in the sales processes. Friendly competitors and established colleagues offer a wealth of knowledge. Likewise, industry intelligence, consulting content, competitors’ annual reports, friendly suppliers, disgruntled job seekers, and aspiring collaborators are viable sources. Every stone left unturned has a potential dollar beneath it.

Growing enterprises must generate revenue with assistance from professionals who willingly share their inside intelligence for a fee, a favor, or old times’ sake. The objective is to equip the sales effort with as much knowledge, wisdom, and hacks that lead to the next opportunity. Knowing your stuff ultimately means knowing the marketplace dynamics, competitive personalities, industry trends, and competitors’ strategies. In entrepreneurial arenas, multiple intelligence channels are mandatory.
Having the ability to discern prescience, rumor and fact is key to achieving successful, rapid growth. Listen, learn, compete, and apply are the cornerstones for fulfilling the “one job”!

Takeaway
When a sales organization or professional pursues its one job, results are the only objective that matters. Leveraging organizational expertise in one niche effectively generates enviable market momentum. When the enterprise is small, be nimble to learn, be quick to apply. Slow and small participants get eaten. Success mandates that sales efforts iterate often and fail quickly. That tactic results in winning business promptly, leading to an organization that grows strongly. Organizationally learn to execute efficiently the team’s “one job”. Additional opportunities will follow those victories. The nimble newbie may not initially get it all, but it will get enough to keep growing stronger.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Development, Creating Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Storytelling Tips to Get Others to Sell You

Sales Award Winner

Great sales professionals know referrals are a powerful way to generate enormous sales results. Other successful sales professionals quickly point to the importance of storytelling. Recognizing that both approaches feature interpersonal relationships, exchanged value, and direct communication, their proven results are more important than the tactics’ labels. However, to benefit from the tools and tactics leading to revenue-generating success, three specific tips explicitly result in greater sales results.

Visibility at Others’ Events
Like and trust routinely appear as a key success factor in sales training. Too many sales professionals eagerly bring prospects, clients, and influencers to events that feature themselves, their company, or their product. However, to demonstrate superior authority and prominence establish visibility at other professionals’ events. Networking is an unquestionably successful sales tactic. However, limiting networking to familiar environments is a poor strategy. Extending networking activities beyond obvious comfort zones serves two goals. It enlarges the professional’s reach to additional contacts beyond established relationships. Additionally, it raises visibility by being seen as unique and memorable in new social situations. New experiences result in new connections, plus exposure to additional opportunities to contribute to fresh social niches.

Share the Microphone
Champions do not necessarily win the most games, they win the game that matters most. The professional who insists on telling every story is indistinguishable from a braggart. Stories about success can have several sources. The professional who performs such that others eagerly repeat her story becomes legendary. The absolute best professional cannot reach the entire marketplace. Furthermore, they cannot reach the entire marketplace with credibility. By sharing the microphone, other influencers, pundits, and customers can embrace the opportunity to tell the story. Multiplying sales volume is a direct result of multiplying listeners. Empower advocates to share success stories with new audiences by giving them access, messaging and authority.

Bring a Hype Man
Perform at such a level of success that others want to share the stories. Third party affirmation multiplies reach. A credible hype man performs that function. Like a heavyweight champion who has someone responsible for carrying his belt, a marketing department, or industry pundit can be available to proclaim the sales superstar’s prowess and expertise. Incorporating more voices and channels to articulate accomplishments contributes to overall recognition. The more credibility that individuals referencing success stories have, the more prominence the sales hero enjoys. With more success, then more opportunities emerge for victories worthy of more storytelling. Essentially, an effective hype man extends overall reach, while mitigating personal boastfulness. Then with additional success, the sales star creates incremental value, experiences, and conquests worthy of future stories to repeat!

Takeaway
Successful selling is fundamentally about delivering value. But, is value truly recognized if no one tells the story of its contribution? Effective storytelling persuades prospects to become customers by communicating personalized value. Furthermore, storytelling communicates victories, for both buyers and sellers. Consequently, ongoing sales success becomes self-perpetuating. New customers become convinced of the value of participating in the story. Ultimately, storytelling maximizes profitability when stakeholders willingly associate with winning achievements and extend the narrative. Sales professionals that deliver the best results have the best stories to tell. To the victor goes the spoils!

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond LLC

Posted in Business Coaching, Business Development, Client Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Bag Is So Seven Hours Ago

Luxury Power Shop

Who loves a great deal? Getting in early on a great promotion is unquestionably the best way to get the best deals. Shoppers are thrilled by the emotional rush of securing a unique or valuable product, service, or experience. The feeling is maximized for those who get it first! A great promotion, through advertising or publicity, is the trigger to alert people who are ready to buy that the time is now. Still, how does a retailer reward the brand ambassadors who fanatically demand to buy first and will pay money for the privilege? Who gets to buy the newest handbag?

First to Market
First mover advantage is a powerful lever. Sellers go to great length to get winning products in front of their customers first. Mobile phone providers release the latest handsets to the technology press to review and promote the latest features. The purpose is obviously to increase revenue. But, first it wants to drive awareness. The initial objective is to stoke emotion: excitement, anticipation, snobbery. Timing matters to recognize value. So, does price. Instead of discounting to create trial, superior promotion promotes lust to secure a premium. Likewise, social capital has a cost. Certain consumers eagerly absorb that cost and pay a premium for the product, or experience, that fortifies their social superiority. It is essentially an ego tax that savvy retailers willingly collect.

First to Purchase
A typical promotion might reward the first 100 customers to buy tickets receive a code to order a free download. The customer still has another activity to realize the bonus value. But what about the offer where the first person to download the newest, most spectacular video game gets to be the first person to play the newest most spectacular video game? The simple fact that the fanatical customer is first is the bonus! The ego gratification of promoting individual superiority is an additional bonus. Enjoying the purchase before inferior beings have a chance even to buy it, supersizes its enjoyment. By communicating pride in ownership first, where others have not yet even experienced it, influencers produce value and transfer credibility. This communication is marketing at its best. Every single seller needs to explore exactly how to market their product or service where customers compete to buy first!

Takeaways
While first mover advantage makes a difference, realize value actually exists on both sides of the sale. Every season the world’s greatest designers will release new handbags to the public. Their development will be cloaked in secrecy. Then, certain attributes leak to the public, whetting the appetite of their most important customers. These customers do not wait to hear about upcoming launches. The most important customers are influencers who are encouraged to tout the product’s superior style and cache. Retailer invite them to sample handbags before the launch. Whether it is a week or a day, the most important customers actually participate in the promotion. Tons of people want to be first in line when new products are launch. Retailers identify influencers to be customers who drive demand. Their invitations are to exclusive events. Their promotional activities feature bilateral dialogues. The results stoke emotion. They create envy. They manufacture buzz. Then, the successful launch facilitates frenzied competition toward the cash register.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Thanks Abby!

 

 

 

Posted in Business Coaching, Business Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marketing is Strategic, Selling is Tactical

Sr.-Sales-Marketing-Executive-Team

When business leaders’ conversations turn to marketing, hands begin to wave, voices start to rise, glances reflect skyward as speakers desperately seek to communicate clarity and grasp understanding. Quantitative professionals will introduce algorithms and statistics trying to calculate causal relations behind rational marketing activities and emotional purchasing outcomes. All these animated gyrations merely confirm that marketing is tough to pin down, yet essential to grasp.

To simplify the progression from strategy to tactics, success depends on executing along a continuum of Foundation, Process, and Goals. Marketing starts as a strategic exercise requiring iteration and intuition. The cold, hard, factual objectives refer to sales. Marketing and sells are undoubtedly related, yet unmistakably distinct. However, they do connect at the point of the customer. But, in terms of performance, one is strategic and the other is tactical.

Strategy Births Ideas
Foundationally, strategy launches processes that introduce ideas leading to desired outcomes. By documenting the mental exercise, vision and focus emerge in establishing communication between the business and the marketplace. Strategy does not actually sell, it instructs. The instructions direct activities that drive results. Identifying target markets, profitable channels, or the specific messaging leads to revenue. Branding begins at the strategic level because it articulates the business’ benefits and reputation even in the absence of physical presence. Strategic ideas become the solutions to the identified problems that prospects have. Fundamentally, without problems to solve, a business has no solution to sell. Ultimately, sales represent the measurement of manifested ideas that create value for customers whose purchases in turn quantify the seller’s success.

Tactics Yield Results
Tactically, all processes point toward measurable activities that realize results. These processes become goals. Goals are inextricably tied to tactics. Fundamentally, tactics represent what must be done to achieve what the business wants to do. The next step is to align tactics with expected results. Whether the enterprise uses internal sales teams, outside distributors, or strategic partners, the purpose remains to create points of contacts within the marketplace to establish relationships that recognize the business’ ability to execute. All business development activities will embrace fundamentals like prospecting, presentation, and problem solving as the enterprise penetrates the marketplace. Eventually, through iterating assorted processes and replicating best practices, the successful enterprise establishes sales consistency that satisfies their quantitative targets and the strategy’s initial objectives.

Conclusion
Ultimately, sales reflect the manifestation of strategy. Great strategies may fail due to inaccurate assumptions, or poor execution. Sales success, on the other hand, is accomplished through unyielding skill and tenacity. Regardless, the most profitable outcomes result from synchronized execution. Next, foundation, process, and goals represent the three core components to achieve business growth. But when prioritizing activities, feed the process that feeds the enterprise. Invest in sales. Communicate through cutting-edge marketing. But, ultimately top line growth and sustainability feeds the entire organization. Strategy matters, yet tactics deliver. Equip the business for great storytelling. Communicate value and customer benefits. Ultimately, sell goods and services to consumers who will embrace and sustain the brand. Then, reposition the business to sell more. That tactic grows business.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

Posted in Business Development, Client Relationships, Creating Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everybody Wants To Close But No One Wants to Prospect

Sales Prospect Close

Sales professionals love winning new clients, accolades, and rewards! Unfortunately, the adoration only appears after lots of faith, toil, and sacrifice. Legendary blues singer, Albert King, captured the sentiment when he sang, “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die.” When sales professionals deliver on their revenue generating promises assorted rewards flourish. But, the work involved with this success is relentlessly demanding, grueling, and challenging. So, how do successful professionals endure their pain to get into sales Heaven?

Prospecting in Niches
Successful sales professionals do not set out to conquer the world, only their specific piece of it. Dominating niches leads to better results than cold calling. The initial step is to identify an individually interesting segment inside the assigned industry where passion drives intimate learning. Identify the point in the industry where intense interest and potential profitability intersect. Upon accepting any role focusing on generating revenue, identify the specific niche and start prospecting it. Sales success is responsible for feeding lots of people, strike targets where superior intelligence and informed execution will yield the largest bounty.

According to Stephen Covey, success results when beginning with the end in mind. Beyond researching and studying the niche to understand that marketplace’s specific challenges and needs, success requires actual execution. Furthermore, execution requires having a plan. And great plans enable successfully launching, performing and concluding the campaign. Methodical steps include allowing for contingencies, yet repeated experiences aggregate knowledge leading toward sustained excellence. Ultimately, acquiring more depth of knowledge in a particular niche leads to more consistent results and consequently more consistent rewards.

Closing Through Contacts
In dominating a niche, relationships precede effective prospecting. Next, prospecting precedes selling. A sales pipeline is an accurate metaphor because to drive optimal value through it, the pipeline must be continuously full. Prospecting is a dynamic activity. It ignites the process that concludes in closing deals. Potential clients must continue entering the sales pipeline, as long as that sales process’ structural integrity remains. As long as leaks are minimized, then the progression of prospects, referrals, and customers continues. The right relationships results in better input, and consequently better output.

Referral partners help identify prospects that fit successful professionals’ defined target niche. Satisfied clients that proudly want to be references realize that their ongoing satisfaction is connected to the sales professionals ongoing success. Great references do not perform this role simply out of their heart’s goodness. Their self-interest is satisfied because their sales professional’s success and ongoing excellence manifests in their consistent performance. Every great vendor is their clients’ essential supplier. Great sales professionals deliver for their customers’ selfish needs. Building more contacts through superior performance makes future sales success a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Conclusion
Upon invading a specific niche, focusing on intelligently identified targets, deploying proven revenue-generating tactics for individual and corporate benefit, and creating a better life for clients drive progressive sales professionals’ success. Successful sales professionals do not have to save the world. Success relies on narrowly focusing on individuals immediately around them and improving individual lives. Intentionally network and prospect inside a defined niche. Do good in the environment where influence and familiarity prevail. Involve current contacts. Expect greater rewards upon evangelizing specific services. Celebrate enduring rewards after delivering excellence to clients.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

Posted in Business Coaching, Business Development, Client Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selective Selling Is Storytelling

Man-looking-out-at-futuristic-city

Imagine a sales professional is granted one customer for the entire year. Who does she select? Is it the market leader? The prospect with the biggest budget? The deal where she has invested the most time and energy? No. No. No. Select the customer that has the most influence! If business development success is determined by generating the most money for the sales professional, then that one customer must deliver the most income. That customer will buy, then influence followers, competitors, and admirers to do the same. Their story matters. Essentially, select the customer whose proven leadership will result in the sales professional’s greatest personal income.

Customer Profiles
Sales success demands hard work. Nothing substitutes for vetting prospects, discovering explicit needs, and fulfilling resultant wants. Fortunes are made when professionals satisfy customers’ desires with solutions they sale, then replicate the process repeatedly. Efficiently replicating the process of delivering solutions separates sales superstars from mere mortals. The more effectively prospects are profiled and satisfied with replicated solutions, the more sales result from the same amount of effort.

Referrals drive that dynamic. Communicating a positive reputation through satisfied customers directly results in more referrals and increased sales volume. Consequently, selective selling delivers superior results when the most influential referral sources explicitly or implicitly endorse a specific product or service. Intentionally cultivating relationships through superior performance and service subsequently maximizes the most profitable returns for savvy, selective sales professionals.

Niche Markets
Sales professionals who thoroughly and relentlessly understand the priorities of their target market’s leaders earn superior insight into better growth prospects. Identifying profitable niches, earning recognition as an expert, consistently delivering superior solutions, undoubtedly requires hard work. But, so does mindlessly knocking door to door seeking opportunities to book meetings and do demonstrations. Nevertheless, niche development processes deliver superior results because they more efficiently leverage proven success tactics. Such targeted niche development practices feature recruiting market leaders as advocates for the individual sales professional and their specific solutions. Niche knowledge and leadership quickly forge connections that build sustainable advantages.

The aspiring sales superstar separates from the competition by intentionally cultivating trust that translates into strong endorsements. Industry leader endorsements clearly open doors to better prospects, but they also result in speaking engagements, content followers, industry panels, and event invitations to connect with additional leaders. Consequently, success breeds further success. Service more industry leaders with excellence so that the reputation effectively markets, and subsequently sells, in their stratosphere.

Takeaways
Common wisdom states, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Progressive winners realize, “It’s not who you know; it’s who knows you!” Selective selling generates success because credibility and endorsements from established leaders reduces sales cycles. Great influencers learned to avoid wasting time long ago. Consequently, their trust carries weight with followers and peers. Start planting seeds to access this success level by targeting leaders that will become advocates. Developing superior professional relationships while simultaneously building sales volume is demanding and competitive. But if success was easy, then everyone would simply grab it with their morning coffee. Outwork the competition by strategically accessing decision makers quicker, thus abbreviating sales cycles. Select influencers whose storytelling includes identifying profitable business opportunities. Then, service them so that they really want to be genuine advocates.

By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC

 

Posted in Business Development, Client Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment