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White River Business Specialists Receives 2015 Constant Contact All Star Award

constant contact logoWhite River Business Specialists, a southwest Missouri marketing firm, has been named a 2015 All Star Award winner by Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing adviser to hundreds of thousands of small organizations worldwide. The annual award recognizes the most successful 10% of Constant Contact’s customer base, based on their significant achievements leveraging online marketing tools to engage their customer base and drive results for their organization.

White River Business Specialists services clients around the US with marketing, PR, business development, social media and website needs.  Specializing in small and medium sized businesses, owners Gordon and Ladona Weathers have found their niche helping organizations grow by becoming a seamless part of their team.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by Constant Contact for achieving strong marketing results and helping our clients reach their customer engagement goals,” said owner Ladona Weathers. “Engaging with customers via email is not as easy as pressing send.  To be successful you must first provide customers with information they want, and then design that information in an easy- to-use and professional way.”

Small businesses and nonprofits using Constant Contact’s online marketing tools are eligible for this award. Criteria used to select this year’s All Stars included the following:

  • Level of engagement with email campaigns
  • Open, bounce, and click-through rates
  • Use of social sharing features
  • Use of mailing list sign-up tools
  • Use of reporting tools

“At Constant Contact, we aim to help small businesses become marketers so they can do even more business. Our All Stars are leading the way, showing us the difference online marketing can make for a small business. It’s truly inspiring,” said John Orlando, chief marketing officer at Constant Contact. “We’re thrilled to recognize White River Business Specialists for their commendable achievements in 2015 with this All Star Award.”

About White River Business Specialists
White River Business Specialists was born out of years of experience in business management by Gordon and Ladona Weathers in the tourist mecca, Branson MO.  White River Business Specialists has become the premiere agency in Southwest Missouri for online content marketing, social media management, marketing services, branding and business development.

About Constant Contact®, Inc.

Constant Contact, an Endurance International Group company and a leader in email marketing since 1995, provides hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the world with the online marketing tools, resources, and personalized coaching they need to grow their business.

Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

 

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Present like a Super Hero…Tips to a being a amazing speaker.

So you have been to the sales trainings you have sign a few clients and now you have prospected like only a superhero would and landed a meeting with a potentially large client and have to have the big presentation to the decision maker and his executive committee. This is where we as sales people get the cold sweats and panic attacks. There have been many studies conducted and Americans fear public speaking over death. So at a funeral most of the people would rather be in the coffin that delivering the eulogy.  Fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias ever diagnosed. I once had a member of my sales team ask “What can I do to get over my fear of speaking.”  I said “It’s pretty simple really Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.” Public speaking is definitely an important skill that every sales person and businesses manager or owner needs to master. When you enter the sales world or executive management, I promise you there will come a time when you will be required to deliver some sort of presentation whether it is the board of directors, a group sales presentation, speaking to a committee, or just a group of peers.  Presenting is a tool that every Superhero needs in their tool belt. Today I am going to share with you what I perceive as the top 5 pitfalls to presenting like a superhero.

So where do we start, first you need to research your audience. Researching your audience will help you decide if you need a PowerPoint presentation or a nice printed piece. Next you will need to decide what message you will be presenting. I suggest you brainstorm every possible answer your audience may ask and have answers prepared. Once you have your audience and message prepared, you must practice in front of a mach audience. This can be co-workers, friends, or family members. My daughter Lauren who is now almost 13 has been my mach audience since she was 2. Someday she is going to set the world on fire in sales. Your mach audience will help you with what questions might be asked of you and what holes you may have in your presentation.  You have to practice, practice, practice,

So let say, you have researched your audience, practiced in front of your mach audience, and feel  you have a solid list of what questions that might be asked?  No matter how much you prepare you cannot predict the future. The first pitfall is technical troubles; technology is not 100% reliable so when a laptop crashes or a projector bulb blows you need to be prepared. This should not be a problem if you have practiced your presentation and you have back up printed materials. Don’t waste your precious presenting time fussing over a technical disaster.  Thirty seconds of down time will kill a presentation.  In the worst case scenario, if your super techno presentation crashes in the middle of your presentation don’t panic, remain calm. You will need to decide if the time it takes to reboot or revive your laptop or projector is worth the trouble. If you decide you can sacrifice time and momentum, distract your audience from the technical fidgeting. Engage them in question and answers or continue presenting while you reboot your laptop. Once the laptop is rebooted continue with your presentation. You and your confident presentation skills are what sells, not a high tech sales presentation. Keep Practicing and over the next 4 days I will give 4 more pitfalls that can crush your sales presentation!

The second pitfall is rookie fumbles. The number one rookie mistake is making up an answer. There is nothing wrong with saying, “That’s a great question I have never been asked before, let me research the answer and get back to you.” Your audience is always testing you and they may already know the answer, so if you make up an answer you could be setting yourself up to be the fool. Another rookie mistake is starting an answer with um or I think. Always give your answers with confidence.

The third pitfall is the boss gets called away. After you have been presenting for a while you will experience this pitfall. The decision maker is suddenly called away from the office and two mid level managers are sent in to hear your presentation. At this point an ordinary sales person would get offended and blow off the presentation. However, a Sales Super Hero will give the managers the full blown presentation. You want to make these people feel important.  Look at this new audience as an opportunity to find out more about the company, the called away executive decision maker, and how the product can be beneficial to the client. Use it as a fact finding mission and an opportunity to develop a stronger relationship with people who can be your cheerleader with the decision maker. One added bonus is let’s say the decision maker gets fired, hit by a bus, or finds a new job. These mid level managers can easily become the new decision maker and you already have a relationship with them. You must remember they are not the final decision maker, avoid price negations if possible.  They may have a use and like for your product but no buying authority.

The fourth pitfall is clock watchers. Avoid end of day presentations and right after lunch. These are times your audience is most likely to be disengaged and tired. If you have to present in theses time frames you must engage your audience from the beginning. Ask lots of engaging questions, you might have prizes for answers. Some great prizes can be promotional products  with your companies name on them.  You can only hold the attention of adult learners for so long. Using their names often to perk their interest and keep them engaged. Let them know you realize it is late in the day or right after lunch and you feel their pain. You can do this by assuring them you will get to the point and keep things fast paced and interesting.

The fifth pitfall you cannot avoid and most likely cannot control. We call this the cynical executive; they have sat through one too many presentations. He beats on you with questions, interrupts your carefully considered replies, and doesn’t believe that you have anything that will be of benefit to him.  Focus on our presentation share some of his industry specific information that you have researched and not just your product or service, remain focused and deflect his hostility. Build relationships with others in the company and mine them for insight into why their leader’s is so cynical. This may help you break down his wall. Don’t take their challenge as an attack. Don’t be offended their behavior might be related to a past negative encounter with others at your company or a past sales rep. You may remind them of someone they dislike or distrust. If you are presenting to a group it could be office politics at play. You may offer the hostile executive a private session. If they continue, stop talking, never get into an argument, insult your client, or have a prolonged debate with one individual when you are presenting to a group. Turn the spotlight on him at least you will find out what his issues are or why he is so irritated. If you discover what is most important to the interrupter, you can possibly break through the hostility.

Presenting can become one of the most enjoyable parts of your job. You have to remember to always remain calm. Remember what I said about Americans fears of public speaking. 75% of you audience doesn’t want to be in your shoes. Present with confidence, show them you are passionate about your topic and practice, practice, practice. Prepare for the worst and you will present like a Superhero.

Follow Gordon Weathers and learn other techniques for your Superhero tool belt on Twitter @SalesSuperhero visit our website whiteriverbusiness.com

That Doesn’t Suck…Is not a compliment!

“That Doesn’t Suck” is not a compliment. Believe it or not I actually heard a manager use this statement. As a leader or a manager it is your job to build up your employees and subordinates. People will work to the potential that is expected of them. I always prided myself as a manager that I was willing to roll up my sleeves and jump in the trench alongside my employees. This will gain you respect as a manager or boss faster than any other action.

Screaming or yelling does not solve anything. This is true in your personal and business life. Last time I checked we all make mistakes. According to John Wooden who as a coach won 10 NCAA Championships,   “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”  Mistakes are learning opportunities…not opportunities to ball out an employee.

There is a golden rule in management that all leaders should live by and that is “Praise in Public and Reprimand in Private.”  It is never acceptable to yell at an employee in public.  If you are a manager or boss don’t ever underestimate the power of simply telling an employee “Good Job”, or “Thank You”. You will be surprised how far a sincere compliment will go in building loyalty with your employees.

I know a manager whose I admire greatly and has been a mentor to me for almost 40 years. He recently retired and boosts in all his years in management he has never fired anyone. When you ask him how he accomplished this amazing feat he will tell you; whenever an employee made a mistake or broke the rules he would sit them down and explain what was expected of them in the position they were in and then give them the opportunity to change their action. If they failed to make the changes that he required he would give them a few days off work and tell them. If you want to change your habits you may return after your suspension. If you don’t want to change don’t bother coming back. He simply allowed them to make the choice for themselves. He was widely respected by his subordinates because he told them what was expected of them and held them to that standard

If you are a manager and you find yourself complaining that there are no good employees out there….Your wrong they are out there… They are just not working for you. I challenge you to ask yourself, why is that?

Ask Your Customers How You’re Doing!

I am reminded of a quote from Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” What are the last two complaints you have heard form you customers? What can you learn from them and how can they be used to minimize the likelihood of them happening in the future.

Do we ever really breakout the looking glass and examine what our customers are telling us? I teach in my seminar, Sell Like a Superhero, the easiest way to find out what a customer is thinking or how to sell a customer is to ask them! All too often we are afraid to ask the simple questions. Fear is holding us back, fear of the reality of the answers.

It doesn’t matter what we think…Did you hear that it doesn’t matter what we think or how we perceive our product or service. The only thing that matters is how our market and our customers perceive our product or service. Perception is reality.

The only way to find these answers is to ask it in the form of a question. You can do this in one of two ways. Ask them in a face to face meeting, which I prefer, or a customer satisfaction survey.
Most of the time, a customer will just go away. I know when I am dissatisfied with a store I rarely call them and let them know. I just choose another store. It is human nature to avoid conflict. I bet most you do the same thing and so do your clients.

You have to be bold and ask your client simple questions like, “How are we doing?” Then once you get the answers, you better do something about it. The worst thing you can do is ask a client, “How are we doing?” Then do nothing after receiving a negative response. You have to be bold to ask the question and be willing to offer a solution. I challenge you to look closely at your last two customer complaints and take actions to correct them. Superheros are bold, and never afraid, so sell like a superhero today!

Business Training

An outside expert can provide valuable insight into your business.  Our consultants can look at specific areas of your business such as sales, leadership or customer service.  We will evaluate, build an action plan and train your staff to reach a new potential they may never have dreamed of.  If you prefer a whole-business approach our experts will spend time in every aspect of your business looking for strengths and weaknesses and working with you to increase your company’s profitability.

Business Training and Consultation

Gordon Weathers, a proven leader in the business management can help your staff meet new goals to take your business to the next level.

Sales Team Management

  • Meet with staff on weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly
  • Work individually with staff
  • Create sales goals
  • Create motivation tools
  • Teach your staff how to not just close the sale but keep the customer coming back

Leadership Training

  • Meet with an entire team or individuals
  • Access current leadership levels
  • Create reward / motivation tools
  • Teach staff how to retain the best employees
  • Teach staff how to train / motivate or move out underperforming employees

Ladona Weathers has become a sought after expert in the area of customer service.  Her workshops on customer service have helped hundreds of businesses think about service in a new way and with a new importance.  Customer service workshops are available for mixed groups of businesses or to work one-on-one with a business.  Customer service training can be designed as a one-time session or on an on-going basis.  When working directly with a business, secret shopping services are also included in the customer service training.

Customer Service Training

  • Unique material specific to your business or industry
  • Solve real-life problems
  • Teach employees to plan for problems
  • Employees work on how to communication with customers effectively

Secret Shopping

  • Unique and custom program created for each business
  • Phone and in-person shopping conducted
  • Work with management to create what service is to be measured
  • Work with management on how to motivate employees to improve

Contact us for more information on White River Business Specialists’ Training Programs.