How to Get Free Coverage in a Loud & Crowded Media Market

By Jeff Beals

The news media and fire have a lot in common.

Fire powered the industrial revolution. It cooks our food and keeps us alive during cold weather.  On the other hand, fire can kill you if it’s not properly managed.

Many of the benefits we enjoy in modern, free societies would not have been possible without the news media keeping watch and keeping us informed. A strong relationship with media outlets can help your company or organization be noticed by the public.  It can help get your message to the people who need to hear it.  On the other hand, if not properly managed, media can drive away your customers and get you fired.

Your success is enhanced when you have strong and positive relationships with relevant media outlets.  You want as much free (we call it “earned”) media as possible and you want it to be as positive as possible. Earned media is more credible than advertising. Anyone who reads/listens to an ad, knows that somebody paid for it, so it’s obviously biased. Articles or stories on radio and television come across as more objective.

Don’t discount the value of earned coverage in traditional media channels (newspaper, radio, television), just because social media have become so popular.  Social media are powerful and effective and have opened up many more channels of communication. Yet traditional media are still critically important.  As a speaker and consultant, I have a significant social media presence, but I get more of a professional benefit from the talk show I host on AM radio and my articles that are published in newspapers and magazines.

Indeed the media remain powerful. For relatively small effort and cost, you can reach a mass audience. Therefore, whether marketing yourself or your company, it makes sense to harness the media’s power. To do that more effectively, consider the following tips:

1. Build relationships and establish rapport with journalists in your market area. Make sure they understand who you are and what interesting and newsworthy information you are qualified to provide.  You want to become a recognized expert, someone who is known to be on the cutting edge of a subject area. Media people love experts (especially interesting) far more than public relations specialists.

2. Remember journalists are under pressure to fill space and time. There’s no time to celebrate once they send one edition to the printer, because the next edition is just empty white space. Once a talk-show host signs off at the end of his Wednesday show, he has to go right back to work preparing for Thursday’s show. Frequently pitch new material and offer to “localize” national or international stories that relate to your industry or area of expertise. Look for excuses to be in the news.

3. Make journalists’ lives easier by providing them with hard-to-find, fascinating information that other media outlets have not yet reported. As part of my radio talk-show host duties, I do a daily minute that airs during the morning drive.  Each day I provide a snippet of information. It’s a hassle coming up with new stuff all the time. If someone sends me something that is new, interesting and related to my show format, I appreciate it and will probably use the material.

4. Be quick in returning calls or emails from the media. If you delay, they may grow impatient and interview your competitor instead of you.  I once missed out on the opportunity to discuss one of my books on CNBC, because I didn’t notice a voice mail in time.

5. Be very forgiving. Unless a journalist makes a mistake that humiliates you or damages your competitive standing, let it go when you are unhappy with his or her reporting. The only thing you accomplish when you complain to journalists is to guarantee they will never call you again.

6. Keep in mind that journalists have egos just like everyone else. If you get an interview, one of your primary jobs is to make the interviewer look good.

7. Assume that nothing is “off the record” unless you have a close friendship with the journalist.

8. Avoid clichés and don’t use too much politically correct language. Most media people are turned off by industry jargon.  They will rarely use the long and cumbersome job titles that too many companies are handing out these days. In other words, they’re not impressed that your title is “senior deputy vice president for brand management and client engagement.” You can use real words and still come across as an intelligent person.

9. Don’t ramble on with lengthy answers. I once interviewed a business leader who just released a new book. Her answer to my first question lasted several minutes. That’s FOREVER in radio time. I had to cut her off, which doesn’t make either of us look good.

10. Strike a balance between professionalism and charisma.  You want to be interesting and engaging, but you don’t want to come across like a high school cheerleader who has had too much caffeine this morning.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

How to Survive in a Post-Cold-Calling World

By Jeff Beals

In 2007, it took an average of 3.68 cold-call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes eight attempts.  That’s according to TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group.  Some studies have indicated it requires 10 to 12 attempts to reach an executive-level decision maker.

No doubt about it, cold calling is getting less and less effective.  Unless you have a referral or some other way to warm up a prospecting call, cold calling has now become an utter waste of time for most sales people.

That’s not to say that telephone prospecting is dead.

On the contrary, the telephone remains one of the most powerful and effective prospecting channels on Earth. But old-fashioned cold calling – the idea of picking up the phone and talking to a complete stranger who has no idea who you are – is incredibly inefficient.  Fewer than five percent of cold calls lead to an appointment and a far smaller percentage leads to a sale.

Why is cold calling no longer effective?

There are a number of reasons but chief among them is that clients are time starved. They simply don’t have the time to chat with salespeople on the phone especially B2B clients.  Additionally, it’s hard to establish prospective client value on a cold call which inevitably makes the experience feel “salesy” to the call recipient. That’s not good, because as the old saying goes: “People love to buy but they hate to be sold.”

So what is an enterprising, motivated sales professional to do?  If cold calling is a waste of time, how can you access decision-making prospects and generate more business?

Here are some tips for you to survive a post-cold-calling sales world:

Referrals – Hands down, the single most effective way to cut through the clutter and actually get a busy decision maker to talk with you is to use a referral.  In an era when buyers are jealously protective of their time a referral from a trusted source is your ticket to the show. The higher up a prospect is in a company, the more important referrals are.

Marketing – Warm up people with a compelling marketing campaign which could be any combination of advertising, social, email, direct mail. Prospecting calls aren’t quite as chilly when the recipient has heard of you.

Personal Branding – As an individual sales professional, you need to be somewhat famous in your own sphere of interest. Build a a highly respected and widely recognized presence in your marketplace whether that is a geographic or industry marketplace.  Use social media especially LinkedIn as a way to promote yourself and get to know other people.

You can build your online presence by participating in discussion forums, joining/becoming active in LinkedIn Groups, reviewing products on Amazon.com that appeal to your prospects and commenting on articles that your prospects are likely to read.

Consider also writing blogs and creating podcasts or YouTube videos that are interesting and attract attention. Attracting prospects through the creation and distribution of free content is knows as inbound marketing, and if done properly, can be immensely effective.

Networking and Social Events – Get to know decision makers or direct reports of decision makers at chamber of commerce events, during community service activities and while helping charitable organizations.  You can even meet prospects along the sidelines of your kids’ or grandkids’ soccer games. Hang out where your prospects hang out.  I know this one works well because I have used it countless times.

Another nice thing about networking is that even if you don’t meet decision makers you can meet the direct reports of decision makers.  Referrals from trusted advisers and favorite direct reports are especially valuable.

Gift Marketing Campaign – Some sales pros will send a gift, perhaps an interesting new book and then follow up two-to-three days after the recipient receives the gift. I have had success with this technique many times. Prospects will usually talk to someone who sends them something appealing.

Have an Excuse – Finally, always have a reason to call that is of value to the prospect and preferably wait until after you have done some of the above items before you place a call.  Additionally, don’t just call because you would like to chat or haven’t heard from a person in a while. Don’t just call because you want to dump a bunch of product information on a prospect. Call when you have something interesting to say that is of value to your would-be client.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

How to Make It Super Easy for Prospects to Find You Online

By Jeff Beals

Let’s say you Google your own name and very little shows up. Suddenly, you’re worried that you don’t have a widely recognized personal brand. If prospective clients try to find you via an Internet search, they might be turned off.  You need to boost your online brand fast.

How can you do it?  Start writing reviews.

You can review books on Amazon and hotels on travel sites. You can review products, services and restaurants.  Reviews are now a big part of our culture and people take them seriously.  When thinking about buying something, people are naturally inclined to read reviews first.

And when people Google your name, it’s very possible that your reviews will appear near the top of the search results. Writing reviews helps you stand out.

That makes review writing a powerful marketing force for sales professionals trying to build personal brands. Now is a great time to think about the products, services and people you respect and start contemplating what you can say about them online.

The key is to make sure the reviews work for you instead of against you.

The first step is to use your real name and an identifying factor. Your reviews are useless if you use a pseudonym. For the identifying factor, most reviewers use their city of residence or what they do for a living, i.e. “business owner,” “pharmaceutical sales” or “insurance industry.” Only use your company name if you are comfortable doing so, keeping in mind that some large companies frown on employees publicly using the company name without permission from the public relations department. As long as the website doesn’t have a policy against it, you might want to include your website URL or email address after your name.

When writing your name, go by the name everyone calls you. For instance, if everyone knows you as “Becky,” don’t sign your name as “Rebecca.”

In the vast majority of the cases, you should write positive comments. Negative reviews generally hurt your brand, making you come across as an unpleasant, unhappy person.

Write reviews about products, services and companies that relate to your expertise. For example, there’s power in writing an Amazon review about a new leadership book if you are a senior executive.

Make sure your writing uses real grammar and avoids too much slang or vernacular language. While you don’t need to write like a poet laureate, professional-sounding language is a must.

As far as length is concerned, you need to put some “meat” into it without turning it into a novel. One sentence is way too short, but if you write more than two standard-sized paragraphs it is unlikely many people will read your entire text.

Include a short reference as to who you are professionally or what your company does in your review. That gives you credibility and encourages potential clients to learn more about you, but limit this part to just one sentence, so you don’t come across as a conceited braggart.

Put some thought into the review and make it interesting. Some websites allow readers of reviews to “star” them or mark how helpful they are. The more “helpful” your review is, the more likely it will show up first.

But don’t stop with just the review. Once it is approved and posted, send it to all your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ followers. This will expand the circle of people who could potentially see it and “like” it, “agree” with it or “star” it.

Once you become adept at writing reviews, you could also comment on blog articles. Follow blogs that relate to your area of expertise and/or your company’s industry. The rules of review writing apply to blog comments.

Indeed writing reviews and responding to blog articles are powerful ways for you, your products and your company to stand out in this crazy, cluttered marketplace in which we all sell, but you have to be disciplined and committed. One review or one blog comment really won’t do much for you. In addition to writing the right stuff in the right way, you need to be a regular contributor. The frequency of your writing is almost as important as the quality.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

How to Make the Most of Holiday Networking

By Jeff Beals

It’s getting to be that time of year, where you can go to a networking event every day and another one every evening. I can’t possibly hit all of them but try to make many of them.

If you’re going to run from receptions to dinners to end-of-year meetings, you might as well get some networking benefit.  Here are a few things to help you find business and professional value at all those eggnog-sipping get-togethers:

Determine what is most interesting – You need an “area of self-marketing expertise,” something about your business or career that is fascinating to people outside your profession. Feature this when you are networking or using social media.

Focus on results when networking – When you go to networking events, go with a goal in mind. Sure, you should try to enjoy your conversations, but make it your mission to meet new people, find a good lead and learn about a golden opportunity.

Refresh your elevator speech – Does your 20-second intro speech need updating? You need to be able to say what you do quickly, clearly and in a way that captures a person’s interest.  A useful elevator speech also conveys how a person could benefit from what you do.

Have a good attitude – And envision success! Like a coach mentally preparing athletes for a big game, you can increase your likelihood for success by imagining yourself doing well in a social situation. Sit down and envision yourself saying the right things, using good interpersonal skills and being professionally assertive.

Rule of thirds – Spend two-thirds of the time you are with another person talking about that person, their work and their interests.  Spend one-third of the time talking about yourself, your company and your products.  If you show a lot of sincere interest in other people they can’t help but like you.

Questions – Ultimately, networking should lead to some tangible benefit. You can push professional relationships forward in part by asking questions. Ask things that lead people down a path to your ultimate goal. You may find benefit in preparing questions ahead of time and rehearsing in your mind how you might ask such questions.

Valuable leave-behind – You should leave discussion partners with an item of value but this is nothing you can see, taste or touch. It’s intangible – something like a joke, piece of trivia or a bit of interesting insider information. These intangible leave-behinds make you and your message more memorable.

Google Yourself – If you haven’t done a search on your name lately, see what’s out there.  I guarantee that people are Googling you on a regular basis. A prospective client will probably Google you to know who he or she is dealing with before meeting with you. That’s why a Google trail is so important. If nothing or very little pops up when someone Googles you, there’s a problem – they’ll assume you don’t have much going on. Therefore, Google your own name on a regular basis. If you’re not very visible on line, deliberately get your name out there to build an Internet presence.

Sharpen your social media presence – Make sure you post material on the social media that is interesting and not just inane trivial stuff. Use social media to strengthen your reputation by building on your area of self-marketing expertise.  It’s not enough to just have a directory listing on social media.  Interact with people, post updates, ask questions, endorse people, connect people with each other and participate in discussion groups.

Use Your Real Name – In order to build your personal brand, use your real name when reviewing products on websites, making comments at the end of newspaper/magazine articles and posting comments on discussion forums. Review books on Amazon.com that are related to your expertise. Just make sure the things you write help your personal brand as opposed to harming it.

Engage the Media – Volunteer your expertise to media outlets in your industry as well as your local market.  Make a point to meet members of your local and industry media and build friendly relationships with them.  In addition to traditional media, you can get a lot of mileage from doing blogs and podcasts.

Live actively and focus externally – Be active and involved outside your home or office. Show up at networking events. Go out of your way to talk to people when you are in public venues. Remember that nearly 75% of all jobs are never advertised and a similar percentage of big clients only come from relationship-building.

Never let up – When things are good, don’t let complacency stop you from perpetually marketing yourself. When things are going poorly, don’t let discouragement be an excuse for apathy.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com