How to Increase Customer Engagement with APIs

API Customer EngagementIf you want to run a business with ultimate efficiency, you have to rely on a degree of automation. Yet many businesses drag their heels when moving into the future and leveraging new technologies. It’s easy to rely on time-tested processes when they work. However, if you want to maximize profits, increase productivity, and decrease monotonous tasks for your employees, you must consider implementing APIs.

Turning The Table On Our Own Marketing And Sales Process

Marketing and Sales ProcessThis is a difficult post for me to write. As the founder of a digital marketing services firm, my role is and has always been to help clients build systems that will lead the right prospective clients to them and help to convert those early leads into qualified sales opportunities. When we sit down with businesses to review their processes of building awareness, generating leads, converting leads into sales, and continuing to engage with those clients to provide ongoing value and relationships that will lead to referrals, the first things we look at are their websites, the content they’re publishing, and the channels they’re using to promote that content. We ask a zillion questions about their prospective customers and review their processes for generating, converting, tracking, and engaging with new leads. We are looking for the areas of opportunity, the holes where they are likely losing prospective clients along the way, and the ways we can help them to grow their business.

The #1 Reason Your Sales Calls Don’t Work. And How to Fix It.

Sales Calls Don't Work imageI answered a typical sales call today that was so bad it got me thinking: ‘is this the reason so many businesses fail, and salespeople just stop trying? And ‘how can I make sure that my own sales conversations never fall into this trap?’

The call sounded something like this:

Salesperson: “Hello I’m calling about the survey you completed online”.

Me: “I don’t know what you’re talking about; I didn’t fill out a survey”.

Him: “Well that’s good to hear. I represent blah blah blah and we can help you find a new job”.

Me: “I’m not looking for a job, I own my own business”.

Him: “Well even if you’re not looking for a job right now, we’ll send you listings so you can find one”.

Me: “I don’t want a job; please take me off your list”.

Him: Silence. Click.

I’m not saying that all sales calls don’t work. In many cases, with warm leads, a minimum level of interest on the part of the prospect, and a salesperson that understands how to build rapport and develop a conversation, sales calls can be incredibly effective.

The one in this post, however, is an example of basically everything that could be done wrong. It was a straight-up cold call, there was no interest on my side, and I wasn’t targeted for any particular reason. Not only had I not completed any survey (he’s lying); I had no interest in finding a job ( I wasn’t targeted effectively); and my argument wasn’t responded to (he didn’t listen to a word I said; he just continued his own ineffective script).

On the bright side, there ARE effective ways to do this right. You CAN get targeted prospects on the phone who have already been ‘warmed up’ online, and who have an interest in your products or services. You CAN gather enough information about them, before dialing the phone, to give you background on their needs, goals, or aspirations; and you can use this information to develop the rapport that will help you close more business, and attract better clients, during those conversations.

The key is to learn how to funnel those prospects into the initial stages of your sales cycle before they ever reach you. It’s not rocket science, but it does require a level of strategic planning for every aspect of your online presence (website, landing pages, forms, incentives, social media, public relations, etc.).

Want to learn how to do it?

Want to be sure your sales calls NEVER go in the direction of the one above?

Want to pick up the phone already knowing key information about the prospect on the other end that will help you close more business?

We’re teaching this strategy and more at our workshops and seminars. Check out the upcoming events at:

Save 10% with code: Grapevinemkt


Ladies: 'Man Up' to Get More Business?

Businesswoman at RestaurantBefore you start drafting responses to this post, please read all the way through. And then I’d love to hear your comments, positive or negative, and feedback. 

Much has been said of the differences between the sexes in how we approach business relationships. On the positive side for us female business owners, professionals, and sales representatives: our approach to communication is generally a very strong asset in developing lasting business relationships. We are, in general, good listeners; and concerned with meeting the needs of the clients and partners we work with.

But on the negative side, we still seem to stand on the sidelines in many situations; left out of the boardroom and golf course conversations that result in many of the strongest business decisions and partnerships. So I’m left to wonder, as many of us are, ‘Why’? And how can we work our way into these places where the best relationships are built?

On a recent business trip, I had an eye-opening experience that helped me understand where many of us are completely missing our opportunities. 

I had a few hours free one evening after a conference, while waiting to leave the hotel for my flight home. I was hungry, and alone, so I made my way to a restaurant by the hotel and sat at the bar. And waited for service. And continued to wait. For a very long time, the bartender completely dismissed me and served other patrons. After about 15 minutes of waiting to be served, I finally got his attention and requested a menu. His response: “Sorry, I thought you were waiting for someone. We never see women sitting at the bar alone.” I asked him if people tended to only visit this restaurant with groups of people, rather than alone; and he responded that men sat alone there quite often, but women did not.

Hmmm….. I think I’ve uncovered an issue here.

This same evening, while having my dinner at that bar, I ended up meeting a group of medical professionals who were in town for another conference. I made some very helpful connections, and was able to then develop relationships via online channels with a couple of them when I returned home. This was a great opportunity; and one I wouldn’t have had if I had sat at a table by myself in this restaurant, rather than at the bar where I could potentially meet other interesting people.

Ladies, why aren’t we sitting at the bar? Why aren’t we on the golf courses where business deals are done? Why aren’t we taking clients to baseball games and other events? We know that more business relationships are developed OUTSIDE the conference rooms where we hold our meetings; so it’s time for us to get out there and make it happen!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please comment below, or share via your social media networks!



How to Sell Like a Dog (without working like one)

3 years ago, my husband and I decided to get a dog. We were living in a small condo, and had our hearts set on a Beagle we had seen online at the local shelter’s website. Ie: a smallish dog that would be cuddly and cute, and would fit our lifestyle. Small enough for the limited outdoor space and 2-bedroom condo we lived in, while known to not shed or be too needy.

dog on beach

When we arrived at the shelter, we learned that the Beagle we had seen had already been adopted. But they had another dog they thought we would like to meet. This one was a little older, twice the size of the Beagle, would definitely shed in the house, and would probably not fit well in our limited space. We decided immediately to keep looking, knowing that this dog would not be a good fit; but agreed to visit with her at the shelter.

Within a few moments, we were introduced to this much-larger, much more difficult to manage Border Collie. She walked into the room, and immediately jumped up on my husband’s lap, kissed his face, and cuddled right up to him. Within a few moments, she noticed me and proceeded to do the same.

We were sold. Immediately. We couldn’t stop thinking about her.

A few years later, Rozzi is so much a part of our family that I can’t imagine life without her. She sheds, she is incredibly needy, she takes over the furniture, and she is big enough that it limits us in our options for new places to live. And she is the best thing that ever happened to us.

Rozzi is by far one of the best salespeople (dogs) I’ve ever seen. She sold us on that first day, and she’s continued to get her way ever since. She knew what we wanted. She knew what we needed. And she knew how to counteract our indifference to her features (size, breed) by appealing to our emotions. Once you’ve been snuggled by a rescue dog, one who was on the verge of being put down at an overcrowded shelter just days before she was picked up and brought to another shelter for adoption; you can’t say no to her. This was no longer about a list of features. It was a decision made purely by our emotions.

Since that day, Rozzi has ‘sold’ her way into getting everything she wants. She has full access to our furniture. She gets the best toys and treats. She gets everything she wants, because she goes above and beyond to continue playing on our emotions. She continues to be a true sales expert, and people can’t say no to her.

So what does this all mean for your own selling techniques? How can an Attorney, a CPA, or a Retailer use the tactics that come so easily to dogs in order to improve their own results?

It’s a matter of responding to the emotions and needs of your prospective clients and customers. If a woman gets a hairstyle that makes her feel sexy and confident, and she truly experiences those feelings, that next haircut will be an easy sell even if the price is high. If a financial planner can provide ways to reduce debt and increase savings for their clients, so that they eliminate the stress and anxiety that come along with financial worries; their clients will associate that relief and security with their expert advice. If an attorney provides their clients with the security of knowing they have someone looking out for their best interests, who will make a difficult situation easier to navigate through so that they can ease their worries; they will be more likely to turn to that attorney for their needs in the future.

What emotions are your clients and customers experiencing as they make a decision about whether to buy from you? How can you meet them in their emotional state, and respond to those most basic needs?

We’d love to know what tactics and strategies you use when selling at an emotional level. Please comment below.