Tag Archives: product

Sales Insider

April 5, 2017 by

I love sales. It is a career where you, the sales professional, determine your income based on how skillfully you execute the duty. It has a feel of independence, ownership, and entrepreneurship, and it can be extremely rewarding. Professional selling is regarded as one of the top-earning careers on the the planet. Note to you business owners out there: If your salespeople are making more money than you, don’t be jealous, be excited because they are building your business and increasing its value.

The term “commission” is familiar to ranks of sales professionals. However, I want you to think about your income a little differently. Rather than earning commission when a sale is made, think about your pay as an hourly wage. What makes your hourly pay different from the familiar, traditional hourly jobs is that your hourly rate will change based on the activity you happen to be doing at the moment. For example, in my previous career, for every 10 presentations I made, I would close on, and get paid commission for, three orders. On the three projects I won, my hourly rate was great, but on the projects I lost, my hourly rate was $0/hour. I thought “this is just how it is in sales,” so I did little to change or improve my sales performance until I was taught to think of my compensation as hourly. Spending 60 hours per week on sending proposals to my customers meant missing out on my kids’ activities and time with family, all so I could get paid for 30 percent of my time. That made me angry. This is madness, yet a vast majority of salespeople would give you a similar story.

I think there is a better way to sell that will pay more per hour, which means one can earn their desired wage in less time. I just need to figure out how to get rid of the seven prospects who don’t buy quickly and only spend time on the three who will buy. If I can figure this out, then I will close the three orders, so my pay is the same as before, but I do not spend much time on the seven who do not buy. Can you see how my hourly wage more than doubles?

Since your time is just as valuable as your prospects’ time, only the prospects who plan to buy from you get any of it. In order to do this, you must sort all prospects who talk to you as either buyers or window shoppers. The first step in doing this is to recognize that there are four possible outcomes of a sales call: yes, no, maybe, and clear future. Let’s examine each one.

Yes: Congratulations! You achieved an order and you will earn money.

No: Shoot! Shake it off. There are plenty of other customers out there who will buy. Did you know that “no” outcomes are good, and they can actually make you money? If you get a “no,” that opportunity no longer consumes your time, which means you can divert time to those who buy, and your hourly rate actually increases.

Maybe: Stay away from the dreaded “I need to think it over.” These outcomes represent the “window shoppers” and will cost you money. These prospects waste your time and consume your resources. Therefore, when a prospect stalls, push them to “no.”  At least a “no” will make you money.

Clear future: Sometimes your product or service cannot be sold in one call. You might need multiple meetings to formulate the solution and make the sale. This positive outcome is for those prospects who see value in your solution, are willing to move the process forward, and want the sales conversation to continue on a specific day at a specific time.

Thus, the rule is “No more maybes.” If you can make this rule part of your selling system, you will increase your hourly rate and significantly grow your sales. You effectively sort the buyers from the window shoppers and spend more time on those who buy. Now, I close three out of four presentations I make, my income has increased by triple digits, and I spend less time doing it all.

So, what is you hourly wage?

Karl Schaphorst is a 27-year veteran of sales who now specializes in training other sales professionals. He is the president of Sandler Training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.

The Brand Brief

February 23, 2017 by

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that greatness is a state of mind. The bad news is that others’ minds decide your state. As with many things in life, this is true for people as well as brands. A brand is, in its most basic description, what people believe, feel, and think about a company. Companies like to think that their brand (or “brand image” if you’re old school) is whatever they’re currently telling the public it is. Which is rare. However, that is the goal. Because when what people think of you matches up with what you claim to be, you’ve hit the branding bull’s-eye.

Great branding is built on a solid foundation. This foundation is commonly referred to as a “brand platform.” Used correctly, a brand platform can act as a launching pad for your branding efforts. Conversely, it may resemble the 10-meter Olympic diving platform, except, instead of water, the pool is filled with buy-one-get-five coupons that cause financial ruin and death by a thousand paper cuts.

A brand platform defines who you are as a company in a way that everyone in the organization can understand—even Chuck in H.R.—by codifying beliefs into a framework that doesn’t change with the shifting winds of accounts receivable. The platform becomes the guiding document in how you speak about the brand and how the brand acts. It is no use marketing something and then failing to live up to those promises operationally when people finally find time to “act now.”

There is no standard template for a brand platform. Most advertising agencies that deal in branding have developed their own process and format. I prefer a classic format that defines a brand purpose (why you exist beyond making money or even your current product), brand position (who you are relative to your competition and audience), brand personality (five or six adjectives, none of which are “sleepy”), and brand affiliation (the type of people your brand wants to attract). Feel free to Google these terms. Other platforms include brand archetypes or variations on all of the above. The important thing is that the platform brings clarity, unity, and direction. So beware the agency attempting to sell you a process that they themselves don’t seem to fully understand—just because it comes with a cool infographic doesn’t make it actionable.

I do not recommend trying to create a brand platform on your own. Anyone inside the company is too close to the situation to be completely objective. Nonetheless, you should be actively involved in the process. An agency that insists on doing everything themselves before delivering a final document fait accompli is probably doing a lot of finding and replacing on a platform they first wrote in 1998.

Once your platform is in place, use it. This is not as obvious as you would think. Weigh marketing decisions against it. Use it to filter operational objectives. Spread it throughout the company so that when an employee gets asked about where they work, they give an accurate answer. Eventually, because branding is a long game, your brand will be cohesive and consistent. And all your marketing will automatically be strategic in tone and message (and media, too, if you’re paying attention).

You will still need to decide on creative directions and tactics, of course, but you won’t have to do the heavy lifting of figuring out foundational principles every time you write a new tweet. Because you will know who you are. And, more importantly, customers current and potential will, too.

Jason Fox is a freelance creative director and writer. He can be found at jasonfox.net and adsavior.com.

This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.

Duck Call

February 21, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

To hear Omahan Dennis Schuett tell it, he has launched a new product that really is … all it’s quacked up to be.

It’s actually an old product—duck fat. The French have used the versatile, golden, subcutaneous deposit for ages, treasuring it for a dense, savory flavor and the crispy coat it adds to meats and vegetables.

What Schuett has done, though, is new. Until now, chefs scooped solid duck fat out of containers. Schuett has put it into a canister that delivers duck fat as a spray.

As far as Schuett can tell, no one else has done that.

“We have the only duck fat spray, we think, in the world,” Schuett says. “It’s pretty cool.”

Dennis Schuett

Their thought is correct. This is not Schuett’s first foray into food. A Grand Island native who moved to Omaha 27 years ago, he once had a career as a food broker. He also has part ownership in the Coney Stop restaurant at Millard’s Boulder Creek Amusement Park, a couple of pizza joints around the metro, and (until this summer) Jackson Street Tavern in the Old Market.

Such experience gave the 54-year-old, self-described foodie a good idea he was onto something with his duck fat spray.

Vegetables sprayed with it, then roasted, “taste like candy,” Schuett says. It also “floats an egg across a frying pan.” Its high smoke point (meaning it doesn’t burn as easily as butter or olive oil), makes it a great searing agent. Schuett says he also has heard from meat smokers who say it creates great “bark” when used as a rub base.

Schuett touts benefits beyond taste. Duck fat has 20 percent less saturated fat than butter and contains unsaturated Omega 3 and Omega 6, two body-essential fatty acids. It’s also high in monounsaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol, and vitamin E.

To get such wonders into a can as a spray, Schuett bought state-of-the-art packing equipment that forces the fat into a bag sealed inside a canister. Compressed air evacuates 99 percent of the product and precludes the use of fluorocarbon or additives. “Keeping it simple yet as pure as possible,” Schuett says.

Duck fat spray can be used to flavor, and add fat to, a variety of dishes.

This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.

Omaha Products Show

August 26, 2013 by
Photography by Mid-America Expositions, Inc.

The largest business and industrial expo in the Midwest is returning to CenturyLink Center Omaha for its 25th biennial show Sept. 18 and 19. This year, the Omaha Products Show for business and industry, hosted by Mid-America Expositions, Inc. and sponsored by the Institute of Supply Management, celebrates its 50th year of bringing diverse products and services to one convenient location for Midwest industries.

Servicing a seven-state area, the Omaha Products Show is both a marketplace and a technical center, where suppliers and vendors are able to display products, materials, and services for area users and buyers. Over 300 exhibitors and 5,000-7,000 attendees make it one of the largest industry shows in the Midwest.

Productivity-Booth-area

Bob Mancuso, Jr., CFO at Mid-American Expositions, Inc., serves as show director. He boasts that the expo is a “win-win-win situation” for users, buyers, and sellers alike. Attendees have the opportunity to see the latest in creativity and technology, products, and services that can be used in day-to-day operations. Businesses can gain valuable exposure, connect with customers face-to-face, and generate new leads and sales.

“The core of the show is the machinery and the manufacturing,” Mancuso says, “but in the last 10 to 15 years, there are companies that have come into the market with more business-to-business products, and deal with technology, staffing, office products—things that companies can do for other companies that are more service-oriented. We’ve allowed those companies to get in the show and showcase what they do because they are of the business-to-business nature.”

Construction and trucking equipment are standard fare at the expo, as are machine tools and engineering equipment. However, the show also features some unusual products, the most intriguing being robotics. In the past, the Omaha Police Department showcased their robotic equipment, and robotic cars have made an appearance. Returning again this year is the Braas Company, which uses robotics in its automation solutions equipment.

“You can actually see it flip dice, move the dice, pick them back up, and then re-throw them,” explains Mancuso. “It’s quite fascinating to watch.”

BRAAS-Booth-area

With all the massive, heavy, and quite expensive machinery coming in and out of the showcase, Mancuso admits that the wide diversity of equipment poses logistical challenges. The show provides riggers, forklifts, and move-in and move-out personnel to help companies meet these challenges.

“It’s amazing to see how this heavy equipment can get off a truck and be carried by two, sometimes three forklifts depending on the equipment, to move it into place. It can be very interesting to see everything happen,” Mancuso says.

The Products Show officially opens at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18 with the Opening Luncheon. The show opens at 1 p.m. and continues until 7 p.m. It will resume on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be served. The day will include speakers presenting on various topics of value to the business and industry professionals.

Review: Dry Shampoo

August 16, 2013 by

When I had my first baby last year, I quickly realized the luxury of spending 30 minutes blow-drying and styling my hair was a thing of the past, since getting in a daily shower was proving to be a struggle. So I went on the hunt for a dry shampoo that could cut down my morning routine. I tried a few different brands from the drugstore and salon, but many left a visible white powder on my dark hair or had a strange texture.

Finally, I found Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo and now swear by this. My stylist is actually hooked, too! It soaks up the grease, plus it adds tons of volume and texture. The smell is strong at first, like hairspray, but doesn’t linger.

For best results, I first spray my roots with a bit of water and then a light spray of the product. A fast blow-dry and I’m good to go. I’m able to go two to three days between washes, which has helped keep my hair healthier than when I was washing it daily. It works great on post-gym hair, too. The size of the product may seem small for the price, but it lasts about two months when used three times a week.

Next time you’re in a hurry, give ‘dry’ a try. You just might get hooked as well.

WD-40 Household Uses

June 20, 2013 by

You may have seen an article floating around on the internet claiming 40+ unique uses for the water-displacing spray WD-40. Well, Snopes.com—a website dedicated to debunking urban legends, myths, rumors, and misinformation—decided to follow up on this article and see if the presented tips were true.

“The WD-40 brand of spray lubricant is one of those ubiquitous products that is both found in a large percentage of households and put to a wide variety of uses (not all of them recommended by the manufacturer),” Snopes’ website says.

Snopes was able to contact the manufacturer of WD-40 to learn if these 40+ uses were legitimate. Interestingly enough, the response Snopes received back from the manufacturer included a shorter, corrected list. Still, a surprising number of tips were left on this new list.

Here are the manufacturer-confirmed uses for WD-40 beyond degreasing and water displacing:

  • Protects silver from tarnishing
  • Removes road tar and grime from cars
  • Loosens stubborn zippers
  • Untangles jewelry chains
  • Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing
  • Keeps scissors working smoothly
  • Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and in homes
  • Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers
  • Rids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises
  • Lubricates tracks in home windows and makes them easier to open
  • Makes umbrellas easier to open and close after spraying the stem
  • Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles
  • Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans
  • Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling
  • Keeps rust from forming on saws, saw blades, and other tools
  • Lubricates prosthetic limbs
  • Keeps pigeons off of balconies (they apparently hate the smell)
  • Removes all traces of duct tape
  • Cleans and removes bugs from grills and bumpers
  • Displaces the moisture and allows a car to start after spraying the distributor cap
  • Removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor without harming the floor’s finish
  • Removes bug guts from the finish on cars