#AGGC is looking for Unsung Community Heroes

Do you know of someone doing amazing things in their church, community and business but rarely gets any recognition?

The 11th Annual A.G. Gaston Conference will award its first A.G. Gaston Community Service Award to a deserving indivdidual who exhibits the characteristics of A.G. Gaston.

Haven’t heard of A.G. Gaston? Read about him here -> READ MORE! and while you’re on the site, complete the form to nominate someone that Gaston would be proud to honor.

Community Award Nominate Now

Submit your nomination today!  

The deadline is Sunday, January 25th.  Recipient must be registered and present to receive the award.  Finalists will be notified by February 1st.

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Dana Taylor: Using LinkedIn to Create a Sales Pipeline @EthosGold

Dana Taylor

My guest on this episode of The LaKesha Womack Show will be Dana Taylor.  Dana is the CEO of Intelligent Ethos, a consulting firm specializing in business development and assisting their clients with developing sales strategies.  Our show will focus primarily on using LinkedIn to build your sales pipeline.  Many of us have LinkedIn profiles but very few of us know what to do once we have acquired contacts.  Dana will share some strategies to help us use LinkedIn more effectively.

You can listen to the show live at 12p CST on Thursday, October 31 or visit http://blogtalkradio.com/LaKeshaWomack to listen at any time!

About Dana…

Ms. Dana Winbush is the founder, President and CEO of Intelligent Ethos, Inc. An accomplished corporate management professional with over 12 years experience in customer relations, business development, and revenue generation, Ms. Winbush is extremely passionate about helping small businesses and entrepreneurs find success in the marketplace. After beginning her career in account management for national and global telecommunications companies, Ms. Winbush transitioned into business development and sales for small businesses in 2002. Representing a human resources outsourcing firm and a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider, she has cultivated extensive relationships in the small business community, federal government contracting market, and the professional and trade association sector.

Throughout her career, Ms. Winbush has generated exceptional amounts of revenue for the companies that she has represented. She is adept at positioning the value proposition of a business and obtaining buy-in from prospective clients by implementing strategic relationship management techniques and integrated communications & marketing plans, resulting in long-term business contracts and secure revenue streams. She fills the role of strategist and go-to-resource for intricate sales solutions, optimizing income & profit, closing techniques, and competitive positioning. Ms. Winbush has been recognized for her achievements receiving awards for ‘New Accounts – Total New Revenue’, ‘All Revenue – New and Existing Accounts’, ‘Super Achievers’ Club’, and ‘Outstanding Achievement’.

Ms. Winbush actively gives her time and talent to her local business community. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce (NVBCC). Ms. Winbush is an active member of the ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) Membership Section Council. She has worked for many years as Assistant Director of the Mount Zion Baptist Church (Arlington, Virginia) Christian Business Partners Ministry. She also previously served on the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Emerging Business Network.

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Ms. Winbush is a graduate of the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering where she received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science and Management of Technology.

intelligent ethos

Connect with Dana…

http://www.linkedin.com/in/danawtaylor

http://twitter.com/EthosGold

http://www.intelligentethos.com/

http://www.facebook.com/Intelligent.Ethos

http://www.linkedin.com/company/intelligent-ethos-inc.

 

 

February Business Project: Create a Sales Process

How many prospects do you need to make create a contact?

How many contacts do you need to make a sales presentation?

How many presentations does it take to close a sale?

What’s my next step after I close the sale?

When asked these questions, many entrepreneurs have no idea what the answers are because the answer often varies from client to client.  However, this knowledge is essential to your success if you rely on sales to achieve your revenue goals (that’s everyone, right?).  Sadly, the reason many business owners don’t have a solid answer is because they don’t have a defined sales process nor do they track their statistics.  Rather than take the time to craft a process that works for their business, they opt to do whatever it takes to get a client.  This is dangerous for several reasons…

  1. It is difficult to hire someone to operate as a sales professional or business developer because you have no process for them to go by
  2. You cannot measure your effectiveness at any stage therefore you don’t know which area you need to improve
  3. You cannot guarantee that each client is getting the same level of great service

February Business Project: Create a Sales Process for your business

Step One:  Identify prospects – prospects are also known  as leads.  They can be Hot (someone who is ready to make a sale), Warm (someone interested in learning more about what you do) or Cold (someone you will be contacting to inform about your product and/or service)

Step Two: Make contact – Sending out mass emails or mass letters to your contact list is only effective if you have a means of following up on the communications.  Delivery of a mass communication is the step between identifying the prospect and creating a contact.  I suggest that my clients contact Hot leads directly via telephone, contact a Warm lead by email or telephone (depending on the preference of the prospect) and a Cold lead with a letter or email then phone call.

The point of your contact should be to schedule a face-to-face appointment to make your sales presentation.  If your business does not require, face to face presentations, you should make contact for the purpose of getting business from the contact.  Cold leads often take time to become warm leads so do not become discouraged if it requires more than one or two “touches” to warm the prospect.

Step Three: Make a sales presentation – regardless of what rhetoric you use, how fancy your materials or how good you look; I don’t consider this step complete until you ask for the business.  In many instances, we inform the contact about our product/service and wait for them to decide to do business with us.  We leave the door open and the money on the table for someone else to come and get.  Once you have informed the contact about your business, determined their need and addressed their objections; the next logical step should be for them to want to do business with you.  Obviously, we have to be realistic and understand that not every contact will become a client, however, the goal of the sales game is to convert as many contacts into clients as possible.  Otherwise, you are working harder and not smarter.

If you find yourself making a lot of presentations, but not generating very much business, you may want to evaluate the product/service that you are offering.  Is there actually a need in the market for it?  Is your sales presentation effective at creating a need within your contact and filling it? Are you convincing when asking for the business or do you give the contact the option not to do business with you?  Having a process and using it with each contact allows you to see what is working well and where you could improve.

Step Four: Deliver – a major part of your sales process is the actual delivery of the product/service.  Although you may be straining to see the correlation, consider this: it is cheaper to keep a client than to market and attain a new client.  Wouldn’t it be easier to continue selling to someone who is already familiar with your business rather than having to go to the sales presentation again with someone not familiar with your company.  By delivering what you promised to the client, you have a better chance of getting recurring business.

Step Five – Follow Up – once you have delivered the product/service, don’t forget to follow-up with the client.  Contact them quarterly, through a short visit, industry newsletter or holiday acknowledgement to stay in the forefront of their mind.  You may have done a great job thus far but most people are so busy that they sometimes forget about a need, unless it is recurrent or critical.  Make the time to follow-up with your clients to evaluate opportunities for improvement, additional service offerings or to get referrals.

Each business will have a different sales process because it has to be tailored to fit your industry and the personality of the person making the sale.  However, some variation of these five steps should be incorporated.

Spend this month creating a written sales process for yourself and/or for your (future) sales representative.