Trade Shows. What’s the Trade-off?

17903949_10158593135685541_1867745327953334962_n.jpg

I have been in my sales role with StaffStat for close to one year now. Since that time I have had the opportunity to attend quite a few trade shows targeted to meeting the needs of our market. Trade shows are a lofty investment and the benefits must show in the return. The opportunity to connect with and learn from those in attendance have been and continue to be valuable experiences. Today, I thought I would share what I have learned and taken away from attending trade shows. In fact, while you read this I will be in attendance at the Ontario Centres of Excellence – Discovery ’17 Trade Show and Conference.

What have I learned?

  1. Trade shows are busy! They require time away from home and work and not to mention an abundant amount of energy. Most shows require an early “set up” start time and the networking continues after the floor closes. We, as a team, maximize every opportunity to meet and mingle with current customers, leads, prospects, and other vendors. We value our time, ensuring we bring value to every minute we are away, which often means we walk in what we refer to as a ‘conference coma’ for a day or so afterward.
  2. You have the opportunity to connect with your entire list of prospects, leads and customers over the course of a few days and all under one roof. Some of the trade shows we have attended have had anywhere from 300-1200 delegates in attendance in addition to hundreds of other vendors. Meaning 300-1200 opportunities to spread the word about what we are doing and how our shift-filling software is making a substantial difference in our customers’ day to day.
  3. Trade shows offer an efficient way of spreading the word. Current customers are a walking advertisement as they stroll the trade show floor conversing with their network of colleagues, partners and acquaintances; any of which, could be your next customer. After chatting with someone who has shown interest I will often advise them of who the current customers are that are in attendance, encouraging them to connect. Often times, they will already know one another. I suggest that they inquire with that customer and engage in a candid conversation about their experience with our team and product—nothing like having your references an arms length away and the chance to cut some time in the sales process!
  4. The opportunity to foster, and create new customer relationships. People are busy and don’t always have an opportunity to connect. You can shake hands with those that you may not have had a chance to connect with over a call or email. At trade show there are multiple opportunities to sit down and listen to your customers needs, wants, and suggestions with respect to your product.
  5. Team bonding. Our team is solid. Trade shows can be exhausting, however, we all manage to keep our emotions in check and never tire of the fun and hard work we do together as a team.

These are just some of the benefits and takeaways I have encountered. There is a definite trade-off from the time invested in these events but it won’t come easy; hard work and determination are vital to this recipe for success.

Cheers!

mandyblog

 

Happy Ears

635953135626361908-634779813_whisper-dog-22028767-istock-damedeeso.jpg

 

I am new to sales and of course I know, value and love the product I sell. So, I figure that everyone else should fall in love and sign on the dotted line instantly. I have come out of meetings, demos and conversations thinking I had the sale in the bag, that they love me and they love the product, only to later find out that the “timing isn’t right” or “we don’t have the budget for this.”

I have added prospects who seemed interested to my “guaranteed to sign” list only to continue chasing them, listening to and challenging various objections. This is when my ‘Happy Ears Syndrome’ was confirmed and I realized I needed an antidote. Our team was fortunate to receive some sales coaching which led to later discussions on how to overcome this issue. Happy Ears seemed to impact all of us at some point in our sales journey.

Listen. I have learned to listen attentively to hear the whole story and not just what I want to hear. Those who have been guilty of having happy ears will hear all of the positive in a sales call and assume a customer who says “Great presentation, this might be a good fit, follow up next week” is an automatic sale. Needless to say, there can possibly be many hoops to jump through before a sale is closed; therefore, it is important to ask those specific questions.

Ask questions. Asking questions will eliminate any misunderstandings, verify interest and the prospects’ intentions. Asking these questions will ensure only qualified prospects are in my pipeline and I am not projecting false commitments. Those prospects I thought were a definite were a hit to the confidence; although, I have also learned too that my role in sales requires me to grow some thick skin (that’s a blog topic for another time).

Remove the rose-coloured glasses. I am a positive person with an optimistic outlook. However, there have been times that those rosy glasses have altered my perception. I have since learned that being overly positive can lead me from seeing potential road blocks or obstacles. Instead, I have traded in my shades for a little bit of doubt and skepticism, which has guided me to ask more, inquire more and prepare for possible obstacles. Which, in turn, will help me ensure my pipeline is filled with prospects who will become closed sales.

To keep my pipeline in control and my confidence in check, I have learned to watch out for those ‘happy ears’ and look beyond face value of what is being said. It’s easy to fall into this trap, however, it is essential to stay focused and confident until you see that ‘happy signature.’

Cheers!

img_3524

 

What I Learned About the Ambivert Salesperson

theambivertadvantage.jpg

Soon it will be one year that I was asked to join the sales team at StaffStat. I was instantly intrigued by the idea and knew I wanted to sell but I wasn’t sure of my ability in a sales capacity. I knew I loved StaffStat and if I was in a position that allowed me to make a decision to purchase it, I would do it without batting an eye. But now I need to convince the world that our product is a must-have!

What I struggled with was my ‘visual representation’ of a salesperson. I thought, to be good at sales, one must have a boisterous personality, aggressive and pushy nature; all of which I am not. I have since learned that the very opposite is true. I have learned that just being myself is enough, and of course it is because people relate to REAL people!

I came across a couple of articles that caught my eye as it captured two relatable topics: Ambivert personality, because ambivert is the personality category I fall into, and sales because this is my current role. Ambivert is described as a person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features. When I read these articles, it confirmed to me that my ‘ambivert’ personality can give me an edge in my role and there is no need to be anything other than me. Here’s what I have learned about ambiverts and sales:

Listen. Ambiverts are active listeners, which comes in handy when questioning prospects about their pain points and providing a solution. By listening intuitively and relating to the customer or prospect, we appear less aggressive or over-confident making it easier for others to engage in conversation.

Understand and Relate. Ambiverts rate high for emotional intelligence allowing them to easily relate and understand the thoughts and feelings of others. The ambivert will adjust their behaviour and demeanor based on the vibes they receive from those they are interacting with. An ambivert will identify with the needs of their prospect or customer and immediately seek solutions that relate.

Flexible. The ambivert can adapt to situations and balance in the middle of introverted and extroverted behaviour; knowing when to ‘turn it on’ (workplace happy hour) and when to ‘turn it off’ (an important meeting). Therefore, adapting to social situations, picking up on social cues and interacting with others will all lead to gaining the trust of others.

I certainly fall into this category of personality traits. However, I am not entirely special nor alone in this category, from what I have read, ambiverts make up 68% of the population, which means most people can be successful at selling if they tune into their ambivert nature!

Cheers!

img_3524

 

Why You Won’t Find a Debbie Downer at StaffStat

Negativity happens everywhere and with the vast amount of information we have continuous access to, negativity can be difficult to escape. Whether you are tuning into the news or checking your social media news feeds, it is inevitable that you will bump into some sort of negativity. It is so easy to fall into a slump of negativity because it actually takes effort to remain positive. I am happy to say that I work in an environment that does not focus on the negative. While we certainly do not walk around with rose colored glasses on, we are very aware of how our thoughts drive our actions and ultimately help us achieve our goals.

With the culture of our company I can assure you that you will not find a Debbie Downer or Sour Sally in our office. Some tips on how we maintain this are listed below:

Energy. Our team has great energy and it is easy for some to gravitate towards it. It is impossible to be in a bad mood when you enter our office doors. The energy, vibe and the people create an atmosphere of fun and positivity where the ideas, productivity and hard work easily flow.

Culture. Our company is built on a strong foundation of values that have led to the culture that encompasses our team today. The maintenance of this culture is important and each team member contributes individually ensuring that our place of work is a place we want to be in. Our culture also emphasizes self care, which is vital in the maintenance of positive energy. We all practice self care in different ways; however, it is always a priority.

Team. You may have heard it before, but every team member has been hand-picked and added to our team. Every single team member has invested into the vision of StaffStat; we know the value in our product which drives us to bring our best every single day. We are all part of this team because we want to be and the team and environment are so energetic that it barely feels like work.

Solution Focused. When a problem or obstacle presents itself our team quickly shifts to the solution. We recognize the problem, accept it and quickly move on to problem solving. Energy is never spent focussing on the negative; energy is valuable so why spend it on pessimism or negativity?

Life is far too short to spend any of it in a state of negativity. For some, the workplace is a place where the majority of time is spent, therefore, it must be a happy place. We have certainly achieved that in our offices!

Cheers!

The Benefits of In-Person Meetings

briofiveblog-5

StaffStat is currently in start-up mode, and as such we must be frugal and thrifty. When it comes to expenses, we stretch our dollar and often seek the most ‘bang for our buck’ and ideally spend on what brings back the best return on investment.

As a start up, we want to be in front of as many people as we possibly can. While we can provide demos and training sessions remotely, it is always ideal for us to get in front of our prospects and customers. This helps with establishing, building and maintaining a rapport.

As humans we are hard-wired to relate to a face, to a voice, to an actual person. Relaying information via telephone, email and virtual meetings is valuable in time and cost savings as well as accessing a vast market as location is irrelevant. However, I place much value in time spent face-to-face and believe it will always bring back a large ROI.

Recently, I had the opportunity to provide onsite training to a new customer, providing three separate sessions over the course of the day. While visiting the area, I ensured that I filled my calendar with other meaningful meetings with prospects and current customers. While these meetings certainly could have been held remotely there is certain value in a face-to-face meeting.

Today, I will share the benefits and takeaways I have found through in-person meetings.

The benefits: In-person meetings provide the opportunity to establish, maintain and foster interpersonal trust and this is invaluable and enhances the relationship. The ability to connect and engage is developed while placing a face to the name and the company is difficult to establish during remote sessions. The opportunity to have off-the-cuff conversations about your product or service will have a greater impact when delivered in person. In-person meetings drive participation and increased interaction.

What I learned: In person meetings can assist in clarifying meaning. If there are questions or individuals who require assistance, their answers can be addressed with a hands-on approach. If there are communication or translation difficulties, these are better handled in-person as opposed to a call where information and meaning can be lost. When completing training sessions, some learn better when they are in a classroom structured environment and are able to see a face behind the product they will use every day.

What I left them with: A human connection. After each meeting I received more personal correspondence and now my customers know the face they are speaking to in future ‘virtual’ conversations. In-person conversation establishes emotions and feelings, something that technology and ‘virtual’ meetings cannot embrace.

If timelines, budget and logistics approve, based on my experience and the mutual benefits I will always push for in person meetings.

Cheers!

mandyblog

4 Ways to Stay Motivated

Actions-You-Can-Take-Toward-a-More-Motivated-You.jpgWith the start of a new year, many people have set out their annual goal(s). It may be difficult to maintain focus and motivation when new expectations are upon us. Sometimes, the ease of giving up is more enticing than the effort required to push through the difficulties and process of a change. As mentioned in my previous blog, there is a sad truth that most resolutions set at new year often lose momentum and are even broken. I sure find it difficult to keep up with my goals, and to help me keep pushing I have found the following tips and tricks worthy of a try!

  1. Stay inspired. Surround yourself with inspiration by associating with people who bring out your best. Keeping inspired will help you self propel towards those goals and maintain your momentum. When lacking motivation, revisit the reason you set your goal and the inspiration that led to the decision of that goal. This may re-invigorate you and help with motivation.
  2. Remind yourself of the goals you have set and review often! Reflect daily and express gratitude for how far you have some. Writing goals down and taking it one step further by breaking down the lofty goals into smaller steps will definitely help you feel accomplished.
  3. Focus on the positive. When we focus on what we want, we attract it. Keeping a positive mind frame, challenging negative thoughts and focusing on what matters will help propel you towards those goals that you will be happy you worked so hard to achieve.
  4. Give it at least 21 days! Have you heard of the theory that states that it takes 21 days to make or break a good habit? I have witnessed this theory and can recall a few personal accounts where the 21-day theory rang true. When starting something new or trying to stop a bad habit, this theory advises that if given a solid effort for 21 days your new concept will become part of your routine. Don’t give up!

We all know that nothing worth having comes easy. Stay dialed in on your goals and keep your attitude positive and you will be sure to accomplish whatever you set out to do!

Cheers!

mandyblog

2017 – What Will Your Resolution Be?

20172016As 2016 comes to a close many are planning their New Year’s resolutions. Recently, I read an article that stated that 3 out of 10 people do not bother to set a resolution. In addition, I read that only 8% of people actually achieve their new year’s aspirations. My guess would be that new year resolutions are set too high, or unachievable, or that the novelty of a new habit wears off quickly.

Each year, I set small goals that I feel I can attain, although I am guilty of falling off the resolution wagon as well. This year, I have set three goals which I feel are easily attainable as long as I keep motivated, focused and dedicated.

In 2017, I want to waste less, re-join the 5am club and read more. These are the three goals I have set for myself and I really think they are achievable.

  1. Waste Less. I want to waste less of everything. I want to waste less time; I want to be sure that I am spending my time on things that bring value to me, my family and my career. I also want to waste less energy; I want to focus on what matters and avoid spending energy on things that do not serve me well. I plan to revisit our waste as a family and find added ways we can reduce, re-purpose or save.
  1. Re-Join the 5am Club. Once upon a time ago, I consistently woke up at 5:00am while all others were still sound asleep. I would accomplish a solid work out before my brain even knew what I was doing. I would have time to catch up on loose ends, shower and prepare for my daughters to wake all before 7:00am. It felt great and I felt accomplished, ready to take on my day. Unfortunately, I slipped into this addiction called the snooze button and before I knew it I was hitting it every morning for almost an hour. Imagine, all those wasted hours of something that was not serving me well at all. In 2017, I am getting real about re-entry into the 5am club; I will be sure to swap out that snooze button for a productive morning. As a result, my productive mornings will fuel me with the energy I need to push through a productive day.
  1. Read More. I want to broaden my library and by doing so increase my knowledge base. I plan to complete my current reading as I do have another book patiently waiting. I then plan to tackle as much reading as possible. I enjoy books that add to my knowledge base, however, I also plan to lose myself in a few recommendations I recently received from colleagues. My re-entry to the 5am club will allow extra time for reading during those early morning moments that will be all mine with zero interruptions.

Those are my three subtle yet valuable goals for 2017. I encourage you to structure your goals to be attainable and keep you motivated all year long!

Cheers to 2017!

mandyblog