Rise Together

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There’s no doubt that StaffStat has seen its fair share of success over the course of the last few months.

  • Innovator’s Den winner at the OLTCA Fall Conference
  • Ahead of the Curve Innovation Award – Business With Brian Awards
  • Innovation Award – Bell Business Excellence Awards
  • 2017’s Intrapreneur of Year Award – BPW

Of course, recognition, above all else is something we strive for. It’s wonderful to win an award but being nominated in and of itself is something to be proud of. The best part about this entire journey is when someone else comes around, taps you on the shoulder and says “Hey, I think you deserve this nomination”. We’ve been lucky to have the support of our entire community along the way and this blog post goes out to them!

I want to encourage everyone to be a cheerleader! I know this sounds like fluff and it may be something that you feel you have very little time for however, helping someone else rise oftentimes comes back to you (not that I’m suggesting this is why you should do it)!

Here’s what I know: since we’ve launched StaffStat, everyone is obsessed with the concept of competition. Questions like: “Who else is out there that’s doing what you’re doing?”, “How easy would it be to replicate what you’re doing?”, “Are you worried about who’s coming down the line with a similar product?” are frequently asked. Don’t get me wrong, the wise thing is to always be aware of what’s going on in your space and we would be fools if we didn’t acknowledge that we keep a pulse on anything and everything that’s similar. However, what I am suggesting is that beyond keeping your eyes peeled for the threats either to your own company or someone elses, remember to keep an eye out for what’s happening around you; what’s innovative, what’s up and coming and what you can help elevate by supporting!

Based on what we’ve experienced personally here at StaffStat, I can say with 100% certainty that when you receive encouragement, it can be a game changer. That can be in the form of mentorship, nominations and/or advice. It doesn’t cost a penny to take a little time out of your schedule to help someone else. The feeling you’ll get from helping someone else will long outlast and will undoubtedly outweigh doing nothing at all.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. When you hear of upcoming awards, consider the people you know and nominate someone that fits the bill. Just a few minutes of your time could have a major impact on that person and their business.
  2. If you’re ever asked, take the time to meet with budding entrepreneurs and provide them with sound advice based on your experience. Do this without the expectation that the person will follow your advice but with the knowledge that something you say may trigger and impact that person’s company for the better.
  3. Become an official mentor. Here in Sudbury, places like the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the NORCAT Innovation Mill are open to seasoned entrepreneurs providing mentorship to startups. If you’ve got the goods, you can certainly lend your expertise to someone who may have little to no knowledge regarding some of the aspects of running a successful venture.

Above all, open your eyes and your mind to the possibility that the next best thing could benefit from your help. Why not be play a role in that? Rather than focusing on what can threaten an up and coming company, let’s focus on how we can help each other and rise together!

melblog

Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right – Part 3

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Welcome back to part 3 of my series Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right, where I share tips and tricks to make the next trade show you exhibit at a huge success!

A quick recap from the last 2 weeks: booth location is important so book early, use your brand colours when designing your booth, make sure your logo can be seen from far distances, be engaging & friendly, connect with other exhibitors, dress similarly to your team, add some element of fun to your booth, have a unique offering, bring free promo items, and be sure to switch things up each time. You can read these posts in their entirety for more information: Part 1 & Part 2.

Now, on to part 3…

Bring business cards & name tags. Seems straightforward, but surprisingly many people forget both of these important items. Bring more business cards than you think you’d ever use because you never who you may meet. Ensure your name tags are branded so when others see you off the trade show floor they can still make a connection and remember which company you represent. Remember, attendees and exhibitors will likely see thousands and thousands of people over the span of a few days and it’s hard to memorize that many names and faces.

Get social. Use social media to your advantage before, during and after trade shows or conventions. Prior to the event, find out if there is a hashtag for the trade show you are attending. Build hype prior to attending by creating content for the week leading up to the conference. Search the hashtag on Twitter and see who else has already Tweeted and make a connection. Find the social media accounts for the the organization/association that is hosting the event and reach out to them on social media letting them know you’re excited to attend. Be sure to include your booth number/location when posting content. When you’re at the event, ensure one person is in charge of using social media; snap photos of booth setup, trade show hours, seminars, special events, panels, etc. and share them across various social media platforms. Again, be sure to use the hashtag and your booth number to join the conversation WHILE you’re at the trade show! After you attend, share moments, make connections with exhibitors and attendees alike, and reach out to hosts and thank them for a great time!

Follow up promptly. After the trade show, make note of all the individuals you connected with and follow up with them via email. Don’t be too “sales-y”, but let them know it was a pleasure to meet them and remind them of your exclusive offer and its expiry date and don’t forget a call-to-action! Just a reminder: even if you connected with other exhibitors and you feel like they may not benefit from your product/service, be sure to touch base with them regardless because you never know what may come from a simple email.

There you have it—over 10 tips to ensure your company gets the most out of the next trade show you attend. Good luck and happy exhibiting!

MeganSignature

Rejection Handling – Part 1/2

rejection blog 2.jpgWhen getting into a sales career, dealing with rejection is definitely something that should be expected. Being rejected or ‘brushed off’ has honestly become part of my everyday life since starting in my role as Solution Sales Specialist with StaffStat! Everyone in the industry will experience rejection in one way or another, whether it be through email, over the phone or in person, but how you handle it and deal with it is what will set you apart from other salespeople. Something that I’ve come to realize is that the rejections that we usually face are a way for people to brush us off, thinking that we’re just another sleazy salesperson. It usually has nothing to do with what we’re actually selling.

Whenever we’re able to, the sales team likes to set some time aside to brainstorm and discuss a few of the rejections that we’ve recently encountered. Putting our heads together allows our ideas to grow and snowball off of each other, and it also ensures that we are all on the same page when it comes to rejection handling with our prospects. That way we’re constantly learning from each other and considering new approaches that we might not have thought about before.

For my next couple of blogs, I’ve decided to do a series on rejection handling where I’ll share the rejection that we discussed as well as the ideas that were brought forward during the brainstorming session. If you have any feedback or advice to share on how you deal with similar rejections, please leave it in the comments!

Rejection: “We’re happy with our current system/process. Thanks anyways.”

First things first, praise them. Obviously they’re doing something right if they don’t need to consider what you’re offering, right? By congratulating them on their success before continuing on, the call will feel less ‘salesy’ and more like a conversation. It will also help lighten the discussion and pave the way for the next step.

Step number two involves asking them about their current process. When you ask the question, “Can you tell me about your current process?”, you’re looking for them to tell you something that you can use later on to continue attempting to sell whatever it is that you have to offer. Keep a pen and paper handy for this part of your conversation; think of this as the ‘information gathering’ stage. At this point you’re likely going to learn whether or not they are using another product/service that’s similar to yours as well (If you’re lucky, you might even learn that they are using a product/service that one of your current customers used prior to switching to yours!). If they are, you now know that you’ll have to come up with a way to convince them that you have more to offer without coming across too strong or speaking negatively about the competition.

Lastly, remind them why you’re calling by referring back to their pain point. If you’re absolutely certain that they would benefit by purchasing your product/service, then you should be aware of the pain point that they’re dealing with prior to getting to this point. If not, did they happen to share a pain point that they’re dealing with during step number two? Would your product/service help with their pain point? This is where you sell yourself. This is where you make them change their mind and leave them wanting to learn more. Take all of the information that you’ve learned throughout the call and use it to your advantage!

Tessa-NEW

 

 

It’s OK to Make Mistakes

MistakesEvery business, every employee, and every leader fails at some point in their career, but the difference between a success and a failure is what you learn. Mistakes are a valuable resource that should never be overlooked — here’s why:

  • It’s ok to make mistakes – seriously. As an entrepreneur I try to look at every mistake as a lesson. I want to understand why the mistake was made and how I can avoid making the same one in the future. More importantly, I want to understand how that mistake has changed or affected our business. Whether it’s a significant error in judgment or a minor oversight, I try to find value in the outcome.
  • Mistakes teach you to forgive. When a mistake is made, especially a big one, forgiveness is an essential aspect of moving through it.  Most of the time there is no malicious intent by the person who made the mistake (us or others).  Sadly, we tend to spend and waste a lot of time and energy either with blame or resentment, instead of focusing our attention in a more productive, positive, and healthy direction — forgiveness. If we can remember that most of the time we’re doing the best we can (as are others), we can hopefully get off our own backs and allow ourselves to be human (which means we aren’t perfect, nor is anyone else).
  • Mistakes fuel you. Once you make a mistake you are determined to do better. Mistakes help you better yourself. Mistakes push you in ways you never knew you could be pushed. No matter how many mistakes you make, you will have chances to make them better. You need to make mistakes to encourage and inspire you.
  • Mistakes help you grow as a person. Making a mistake seems like the end of the world, but it’s not. It means that you have to fix it and start over. After making a mistake, the best thing you can do is try to fix it. You can reflect on your decisions and learn the right way from the mistakes you make. They help you learn more about yourself and grow. Inevitably, they help you realize what is right and wrong to you. You can’t learn anything without messing up and trying to put things back together.

Ultimately, when mistakes are made 1. Learn from them, 2. Own them, 3. Fix them, and 4. Put safeguards in place to ensure the same mistake will never be repeated again. Don’t engage in days, weeks or months of self-blame or battering your self-esteem because you should’ve known, should’ve acted differently, or should’ve been an ideal person; you’re not, and neither am I. That’s just life.

melblog

Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right – Part 2

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Welcome back to part two of my new blog series, Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right, where I share pre-, during and post-conference tips and tricks to make your company’s attendance at trade shows and conventions worthwhile.

Let’s quickly recap last week’s blog: booth location is important so book early, use your brand colours when designing your booth, make sure your logo can be seen from far distances, be engaging & friendly, connect with other exhibitors, and dress similarly to your team. If you’d like to read last week’s post in its entirety, click here.

On to this week’s tips…

  1. Bring the fun. Whether it’s a giveaway, contest, scavenger hunt, game, unique promo item, a theme, or some other element you decide to add to your booth, get creative in order to stand out among the rest and attract attendees to your booth. The Plan A & StaffStat team have taken selfies with attendees in branded cut-out polaroids, played multiple “Minute to Win It” style games, and even brought a photo booth complete with props and unlimited prints to a few trade shows. A quick Google search can help you come up with some fun trade show ideas that your company can put its twist on!
  2. Boast your offer. It’s important to figure out exactly what your end goal is for attending/exhibiting at a trade show; are you launching a new product, promoting your free trial, showing off upgrades or enhancements, etc? Whatever your reason for attending, make sure you have a call-to-action that you share with every attendee and be sure to offer a special conference incentive, such as an extended free trial, reduced rates, etc.
  3. Bring freebies! Let’s face it, people LOVE free things and offering FREE things at a trade show can definitely create interest around your brand. According to a survey conducted by the BPMA, 83% of individuals can remember the brand of a promotional item they were given without even looking at it, and perhaps more surprising, 73% of people who have received a promo item from a company went on to purchase a product from said company! When exhibiting at a trade show, be sure to put a lot of thought into choosing promo items. Some things to consider: does the item match your brand?, is it tasteful?, is it unique?, is it practical?, is it of quality? For an in-depth look at selecting swag for your next event, check out this post I wrote on The A Dot Blog.
  4. Switch things up. Whether you attend more than one convention in your industry that features repeat attendees, or if you attend the same convention year after year, strive to refresh your booth each time. You do not need to necessarily revamp your booth completely, but adding or changing some elements can really give your booth a brand new feel; something as simple as re-designing your backdrop or  can make all the difference.

That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for next week’s tips and tricks for trade show exhibiting!

MeganSignature

Early Adopters, My Favourite Kind of People!

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Early adopters, they’re easily some of my favourite people! StaffStat could not be where it is today without them! Some people need everything new now! Others can’t stand the risk of newness and hand the ‘risk torch’ onto others, allowing them to lead the way. It’s pretty simple to determine which camp you belong to. Just ask yourself the following conversation: a revolutionary product is launched into the market. Do you buy it right away, or wait until more information is available on its features and shortcomings? If you’re in the former group, you are an early adopter. You see the appeal of new products and invest in their potential to become something bigger. Because I’m a huge fan of early adoption, I give you three reasons why it’s beneficial to be an early adopter.

  1. You have a say in product advancement. By jumping on board, you forge a direct connection with the companies that invent these products. Companies greatly value your feedback and honest suggestions. By doing trial and error on the product and sharing your thoughts, you become a crucial player in the growth of the product. In other words, you have the power to shape and influence the product as it pushes through the evolution cycle. It’s a satisfying feeling to have your voice heard.
  2. You get bragging rights. Equally satisfying are the bragging rights for being the first owner(s) of a product. You have a conversation piece to discuss with co-workers, friends and family and you become a kind of “go-getter” for anyone with questions about the product. Even if a product becomes more popular over time, you can say that you owned that product before everyone else did.
  3. You become a thought leader. Not only do you forge contact with companies, you also create connections in the product circle – other people who, like you, are enthusiasts of the product. You have the ability to share the benefits and disadvantages of the new gadget, app or software at hand, creating buzz for a larger community of consumers, from fellow early adopters to late followers.

As they say, the early bird gets the worm. By providing first-hand knowledge on new products, you get the advantage of helping a product evolve and improve over time. While many products eventually become a household item, they would not have gotten there without people like you who are passionate enough to invest in them in the first place. As an early adopter, you don’t follow the crowd – you lead the crowd and for that, I say “Thank You!”.

melblog

Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right – Part 1

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Looking to step outside of the box and think BIG for your next marketing initiative? A great way to get in front of a large number of individuals in your target market and/or industry is to exhibit at a trade show or conference. Attending such events, however, comes at a cost. In my new blog series, Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right, I will share a few tips and tricks for making a splash at your next trade show and how to get an incredible return on your investment.

  1. Location, location, location! This saying has never been more true when exhibiting at trade shows. Spaces at most shows sell out fast, so be sure to book months (or even a year!) in advance to secure the best spot. If you can afford it, pay the extra money for a prime location that has extremely high foot traffic, such as corner booths and those near common areas.
  2. Get the look. Eyes are always drawn to big, bold, and visually pleasing things. When designing your booth and purchasing elements (such as technology, furniture, etc.), be sure to choose colours that match your brand in an effort to keep things consistent. You should also consider things such as lighting, carpet, and signage—which are elements that usually come at an added cost—but can really make your booth stand out. Most importantly, be sure your logo can be seen from a mile away! What’s the point of exhibiting if no one is attracted to your booth?
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  3. Be engaging. There’s nothing worse than attending a conference and seeing the people who are supposed to be manning their company’s booth sitting behind a table and fidgeting with their phones. DON’T BE THESE PEOPLE! Ensure that whoever is representing your company can speak the speak and understands the reason why your company is attending. Be animated, energetic and approachable and be sure to smile often!
  4. Get out there. You don’t have to stay at your booth—just make sure you don’t leave it unattended, either. Go out of your way to introduce yourself to attendees. Take time to connect with other exhibitors and your competition. You never know where these interactions can lead and the possible synergies that may exist.
  5. Dress the part. You’re likely going to dish out a lot of money to make your booth look awesome, so your booth staff members should look great, too! Aim for every member to dress similarly; you don’t all need to wear the exact same clothing articles, but coordinating outfits helps complete the overall look of your booth and creates familiarity in attendees’ minds. If you’re exhibiting for more than a day, add a few different outfit styles into the mix to switch things up!

That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for next week’s post for part two of this series! Good luck!

MeganSignature