Are you unwittingly making this disastrous sales mistake?

A great blog post from Jill Conrath, author of Selling to Big Companies. Thanks for sharing Paul Dunay. Remember, selling is about them, not you.

Are you unwittingly making this disastrous sales mistake?

Get the name right

Just listened to a voice mail from a guy who’s company does “interactive holiday marketing.” In the voice mail he mentioned the name of someone that he claims he spoke to in the past here at my company. Only problem is there is no one here at my company that goes by the name he mentioned. Nor has there ever been in the eleven years I have worked here. If you are going to mention names, which is a good idea by the way, be sure to get them right.

How NOT to use Facebook

As a habit, I follow closely what my companies competitors do…press releases, articles, service offerings, etc. And now with Facebook its as easy as becoming a fan of all my competitors to follow exactly what they are up to.

One of the companies I follow is Adecco. Great company, tremendous amount of success. No one can fault them there. But what they are doing on Facebook is the wrong way to go about using social media. Here is a recent example.

In one of their recent posts to Facebook, Adecco touted that the job market was showing signs of recovery and provided a link. That’s good information for their fans. Adecco is in the market of finding people work so any information on the job market makes sense. The problem came when their fans started to comment.

“Adecco stinks, the girl in the Falls NY area passed over submitting me for jobs i was wanting instead using me for a warm bdy for grunt work, Steamed!!!!”

“Be carefully what you say they deleted my comment last time I said something they didn’t like.”

“If you have any talent at all…don’t go to Adecco cause they don’t care about talent…”

Now, no company wants to see comments like this for everyone to see. But unfortunately, its part of doing business. And the bigger you get, the more likely it is that there will be people that will say negative things about you. That in itself is typically not the problem. The problem comes when you do not respond the right way. So how did Adecco respond? They deleted the negative comments and replaced them with positive comments. Positive comments by their employees non-the-less.

“Adecco is the best company ever!”

“You’re def right (name), it IS!!”

This is NOT the way a company should use Facebook. The proper way is to address the problems right then and there. Show the world that you know the proper way to deal with unhappy customers. Complaints on Facebook are an opportunity. Don’t try to sweep them under the rug. They will simply show up somewhere else. And you won’t be able to simply delete them there.

So you’re a service company and service is not your priority?

The management team at my company recently sat through a presentation done by Staffing Industry Analysts. They are an organization that tracks all sorts of trends within the world of staffing. It can be a little dry for those of you that don’t like numbers, charts and graphs. Their presentations don’t usually provide anything too surprising but they always have some good information. Their most recent presentation, however, had some real shockers.

One of the questions they asked staffing firms across the country was this, “What are your top priorities?” And to everyone’s shock in the room the bottom two priorities were “Recruiting Quality People” and “Excellent Customer Service” Really? Quality people and customer service? Those are the bottom two?

Now I realize times are tough and companies are scrambling to make ends meet, but there is no way a company in a service industry should ever rank those two items at the bottom of their list of priorities. Never ever. And if you find yourself doing it, your pretty much doomed.

Providing a quality service REQUIRES quality people and an intense focus on excellent service. This is true during good times and bad. Don’t loose focus on the long term goal by focusing on short term problems.

My CEO posted more about the presentation on our company blog.

Its not the size of the logo that counts

The title of this post really says it all. Don’t make your logo too big. I see it over and over, almost like a company feels that it won’t get noticed if their logo is too small.

The companies that pay boatloads of money to manage their brand and logo don’t use large logos, so why would you. Take a look:

Intel
Cisco
Toyota
Disney
Apple

The road less traveled

As I was sorting through my feeds over New Year’s looking for something that seemed interesting, I came across a post on GigaOM. Its titled With 2008, Let’s Say Good-bye to Mediocrity. My first thought was that it is truly sad that we even have to be saying this, and I think Mr. Om is actually being kind with his choice of words. In a country that put the first man on the moon, created the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, invented the steamboat, telegraph, telephone, cotton gin, light bulb, airplane, transistor and so much more, have we really gotten to the point where we need a reminder that mediocrity is bad? It seems so.

If nothing else can be taken from the past year, it is a great reminder that mediocrity is not an ingredient in the recipe for success. One should always be looking for ways to improve processes, communications, service delivery, etc. If you are doing things the way they have always been done then chances are you are mediocre. You are traveling the same old road over and over.

To paraphrase a great American author, if you take the road less traveled, it will make all the difference. Happy new year.

10 things you should never have on your website

Last week while surfing the Internet I came across a surprising number of shockingly bad websites. Which got me thinking about some things that should absolutely never be on a website. Below are 10 things that immediately came to mind, some of which I actually saw. Please feel free to add to the list in comments.

1. A spinning globe

2. or anything spinning for that matter

3. Pictures of puzzle pieces (This is not a creative way to show your company “completes” a picture)

3. A picture of a handshake (Shows the very minimal thought you put into your image selection)

4. A mailbox icon for email (Can you say 1997?)

5. A giant red, spinning “e” for email (Can you say 1998?)

6. Low quality images (use a site like istockphoto for inexpensive, quality images)

7. Anything that scrolls across the screen

8. Poorly Photoshopped images (If you don’t know how to use Photoshop, don’t broadcast it to the world)

9. Google AdSense (Nothing says “I’m cheap” like AdSense on a company website)

10. Your countries flag on the homepage (national pride is great, but there shouldn’t be a flag on your home page…unless you’re selling flags)