Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day: A Day Close to Our Hearts

Korean War Veterans Memorial: Washington, DC
Today we pause to remember those who died in service to our country.

We remember those who gave their "last full measure of devotion" in wars long ago and in wars we are still fighting. 

We will never forget their sacrifice.

And, we pay tribute to all those who have served our country.  Within our CPS community, we remember and thank family members for their service:

Bob's father, Robert Musa (US Marines, retired);
Chris' father, Michael Lott (US Navy, retired);
Sean's father, Glenn Miyazaki (US Air Force, retired);
Troy's brother, John (serving today in the US Air Force in Alaska);
Zoe's father and brother, Charles and Wilson Miller (US Army). 

Bob Strickland, one of CPS' founders, spent many a cold day in Alaska with the US Air Force!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Making Your Sales/Leasing Office "Sticky"...and that's a good thing!

Sticky?  As in gummy? Or, if you're  familiar with 3M's Post-It Note (frequently called a "sticky"), you might be wondering, "How does a sticky have anything to do with my sales office?"

Recently, the concept of Sticky Marketing has been gaining traction: describing how organizations need to move away from traditional marketing processes such as shouting messages at people (aka "broadcasting") to a new process of customer engagement, where they attract customers by providing value and becoming sticky.

In earlier Solutions for Connectivity blogs, we talked about interactive touchscreens as a way to provide an organization's value through a simple, core message made accessible through touchscreen use.  Bob Musa uses the term, "narrowcasting" to contrast this specific marketing approach to general broadcasting.


Sticky Marketing: stop shouting!
 Interactive touchscreens create stickiness as they provide value in today's cluttered marketplace by offering a point of sale, customer engagement point.  Today's consumer is looking for clear information to help make a decision.  Touchscreens help you stop shouting and start a conversation.

Thinking about stickiness has to bring up CRM and your follow-up activities, as well.  Are they designed to add value or are they simply broadcasting? Remember an earlier blog about the agent using a cell phone to capture video as a prospect-specific followup?  That little cell phone video adds value and definitely starts a conversation!

Interested in finding more about stickiness? Take a look at Sticky Marketing (Grant Leboff) or Made to Stick (Chip and Dan Heath).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Adding new tools to your sales process or... Let's Get Creative

Really loved the Jeff Shore/Jason Forrest Sales Leadership Summit last week in Dallas.

No doubt, every attendee took away a new idea, added something new to their "sales and marketing toolkit."

Really noteworthy was the thought that the tool might already be there..just not put to effective use as a selling tool.  Tool in point: using a cell phone for someething other than calling prospects.  Why not snap a picture or create a short video to forward to a sales prospect highlighting a feature they liked (the gourmet kitchen) or missed (sunset from the proposed backyard)?

We're all carrying around cell phones and... probably taking pictures with them, too.  But..how many of us think about how we can incorporate these day-to-day items in a new and effective way?

Phone..check; email...check; telephone...check.  We have the tools.  How often do you think: Can I put this to a new and creative use?

CPS' Bob Musa joins Builder Radio and Winchester Homes' Jack Fugiel on Weds., May 11, for a webinar: Follow-up Tools, Techniques and Strategies that Work...imagine they'll be talking about tools you already have...and getting creative about their use to enhance your sales success. 

Interested in adding new tools?  Here's a link to the Webinar: http://tinyurl.com/3hy8j9y

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Using YouTube as a "personal" sales tool

Just returned from an excellent Jeff Shore/Jason Forrest Sales Leadership Summit in Dallas, TX.

The seminar focused on providing management coaching for sales agents and one of the points I liked was the need to develop "personal" sales tools.  Jeff Shore demonstrated an example: an agent, having shown a home in the morning, following-up with a cell phone photo or video with a sunset view from the patio.  If the video is too long, Shore suggested, post it on YouTube and send a link.

Upon my return, saw a saved Wall Street Journal article discussing small business use of You Tube and other video sites.   Then, there's another article in the same Small Business section, "Talk is Cheap: Word of Mouth Advertising can be targeted, inexpensive and effective -- if done well."

That's how I see YouTube being a "personal" sales tool...an individual -- sales agent, marketing coordinator, anyone -- is able to take a topic (whether specific to an individual, a product, or company) and use it as a sales tool via YouTube or other video site.  Sometimes, you'll have an event (like the sunset) that can be captured and sent along with a message (Your new view!); or it's possible to use an event to create the message.

For example, one of CPS' SalesTouch interactive touchscreen presentations was the recipient of a Southern California industry award.  Yes; attendees heard that news but...we wanted more people to hear it! YouTube gave us an excellent vehicle to get the word out -- as well as serve as an ongoing piece of marketing collateral.  We created a 5-minute video featuring the presentation and posted it.  Some find it via keyword search and we use it as another piece of marketing collateral.  Another social networking tool as well as a cost-effective way to communicate.  Here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1jMEfK-j6U.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Interactive Touchscreens...website redux? Not!

There's no doubt the Internet has changed many things including the sales process -- whether in a retail store, new home sales office, car dealership ... to be frank, just about every consumer sales location.

There's also no doubt consumers have become better educated shoppers as a result of Internet use.  They come to the "Point of Sale" better informed about you and.. your competitors.

When today's consumer gets to your door, the sales process is no longer the basic, "Here's what we have" as the consumer already knows the basics.  Geoff Keifer, with Keifer Consulting, suggests you need to "immediately sell YOUR VALUE!"

A good sales agent not only talks about the product but works to differentiate your product by asking questions, providing information that meets the consumer's needs and the like. They're not just a human website, in other words.

Some people think an interactive touchscreen is pretty much a website...just larger.  A well-designed system, however, does something far different: it sells YOUR VALUE!  Here's how:

(1) There's no need for a touchscreen system to repeat everything that's on the website: depending on your market, over 80% of your consumers have already been to your website.  Your website performed: it drove the prospect to your sales location.  They're at your door, ready to make a decision.  No more driving needed.

(2) Now that your shopper is at the "Point of Sale", they're looking for a response to specific needs and questions in order to make that purchase decision. 

And, many businesses try to do that with a brochure.  It may be possible but..today's consumer wants directed information, quickly.  Brochures are best at "broadcasting" general information vs. "narrowcasting" specifics. And, brochures can't help at all with the social media aspects associated with purchase decisions: sending pictures out asking for feedback, etc.

(3) Your specific product is only part of the purchase: it needs to provide answers ("Yes; that's a fabulous living room!") and solve problems (e.g., "My current home is too small," "I want to live on my own," "I want to reduce my power consumption.").  A well-designed touchscreen system, used on its own or by a salesperson, will answer questions very specifically and build your brand not only as an innovator but a problem-solver.

(4)  Good sales people will incorporate touchscreen use into their sales process: using it to "ask questions" or provide specific answers, drive decisions with information about inventory availability, offer the ability to "create your own" as a result of interactive floorplans, mark-up features and the like. 

The well-design interactive touchscreen system will take the "general" and narrow it down to the "specific" so your consumer thinks of your product as their own...at the point of sale.