A lot of company time is spent on generating sales and doing the work.
I would like to pause for one moment and consider the following. I deal with all sorts of companies from one man bands to thousands of employees. I work predominately in sales. One of the most noticeable parts of my work is how some companies will evaluate the questions you are asking and give a response. There are companies that tend to think that they are above this and try to ignore all sales approaches.
If someone was to ask me what do I think of company x? Well on one hand you have the company where I have not made the sale but where it was very pleasant to deal with. My recommendation for that company would be positive. On the hand you have the company that did not return my calls, when I was able to speak with somebody they were misinformed or arrogant. This would also be what I would tell somebody asking me about that company. Indirectly the company that has been able to say no and explain its self is 10 times more likely to indirectly generate sales. Food for thought….. A business is much more than just its sales it is the whole organization.
Seth Godin, has posted an interesting blog post on his site: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/01/encyclopedia-sa.html
And CNET hates Google
And newspapers hate Craigslist
And music labels hate Napster
And used bookstores hate Amazon
And so do independent bookstores.
Dating services hate Plenty of Fish
And the local shoe store hates Zappos
And courier services hate fax machines
And monks hate Gutenberg
Apparently, technology doesn’t care who you hate.
I have noticed this too, and would also add recruitment companies for Linkedin and possible Facebook too. Still change is coming.
Another interesting follow up to this post can be found here:
“Would Linux be so popular if Microsoft didn’t hate it?
Would Eminem be so popular with kids if their parents didn’t hate it?
Would the Sex Pistols have been so popular if they weren’t hated by the establishment?
Would the Vigin Atlantic have done so well if British Airways didn’t hate them?
Would the cheap airlines have done so well if the flagship carriers didn’t hate them?”
My comment… I thought the blog was going to go the other way and he was going to say. “Do not start a business if everyone hates you” but he did not.
One of the common difficulties that individuals or companies will have to face is e-mail. E-mail is a wonderful tool that allows us to communicate cheaply, easily and across all barriers. But there is a downside.
How many companies have an firstname.lastname@example.org? Most of the businesses that I have come across do. Why do they have it? Because they want to be reachable and able to do business. Only 10 years ago one company that I worked for in Holland use to record every letter that came and went out by snail post. This way the company could ensure that if somebody sent a letter to them that they would get a response. With modern communication that fine art of reply has shifted. But it is still as valuable now as it was then.
I send a lot of e-mails in sales and I can divide each one into categories of interest and how the company is organised. This does not count for every e-mail but certainly for the important ones where a receipt is asked for:
Receipt received; the e-mail has been read: The company or individual is interested.
No receipt for e-mail: They have read the e-mail
E-mail was deleted without being read: The company or individual has not read the e-mail
What can one do with this information. There are no hard and fast rules. Obviously if they send a yes receipt they are interested and so forth. Recently a couple of companies sent a very dignified reply before I had even called them. Saying yes, we are interested but not now. This last group of companies will in my opinion be the most successful. Why is that? Because they have a process to deal with e-mails. They were able to answer a simple email and to express their opinion. For me it meant that I did not waste time pursuing it, they did not waste time in realising that what their current situation is. Result, everybody is happy. In the last situation, although I have not got the business from the company yet, I will recommend them to anybody that asks because if they can answer an e-mail that is addressed to email@example.com. In today’s environment then they are way above the average the company.
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It is very easy, within sales, to second guess what a prospective client is looking for. To ascertain what the facts are requires a more developed relationship. Then begins a two way process; either you start moving towards the sale or have to go back and develop your product so that it meets their requirements. Keeping good sales records and then being able to define what is happening in the field is vital to any organization. This document by the IOD is very interesting on covering aspects related to closing the deal.