Tomorrow is National Stress Awareness Day

how to avoid stress in salesSales can be stressful. We all know that.

And to remind you how stressful sales can be, tomorrow is National Stress Awareness Day – yes, it’s a real special day!

How you can reduce stress?

1). Set priorities – don’t try to do everything at once. Have a clear plan for your top goals on a daily basis. Yes, it’s tough to do that because there are always emergencies – a client calls to complain, a package wasn’t shipped out on time, your computer crashes, etc. But if you write down your daily goals, that will help you minimize your stress.

2). Sleep – yes, it’s tough. But getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night will help.

3). Listen to relaxing music when commuting – while I love Rock n’ Roll, I prefer listening to classical music when I commute. It helps to relax me.

4). Turn off the news – at least until you get home. In sales, you always want to maintain a positive attitude. The last thing you want to do is listen to bad news while heading to work. That will only make you more stressful.

5). Avoid negative people – yes, that’s hard to do in sales if you have some angry clients who are always bitching and complaining. That comes with the territory. But if you are dealing with negative people at work, try to avoid them as much as possible.

6). Exercise – you don’t have to go to the gym everyday. Take a walk. Maybe walk during lunch. Maybe bike ride to work.

Stress is a killer. According to the American Institute of Stress, work stress increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. In fact, according to the Institute, stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease.

So please – take good care of yourself. Work is important. But so is your health.

Social Media Strategies Summit, Chicago, April 28-April 30th

The Social Media Strategies Summit will be held in Chicago from April 28 – April 30th.

Keynote speakers will be Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem of McDonalds, Gina Ballenger of Twitter, and Julian Aldridge of Charles Schwab.

Other speakers will include KC Green, GrubHub, Patrick Cooper, NPR, Linda Konop, Johnson & Johnson, and Amanda Mahan, The Clorox Company.

Topics will include Content Creation & Storytelling, Social Media Platform Optimization, and Social Media Strategy Development.

Click the website below for more details –

http://socialmediastrategiessummit.com/chicago-2015/

Below is a video from YouTube on a presentation given by Carlos Gil at the conference last year. The video focuses on insider brand marketing tips on marketing to Millennials.

5 places to find Freelance Graphic Designers

where to find freelance graphic designersYou are a marketing director or manager. It’s Friday afternoon. You are preparing for the weekend. Suddenly, your boss appears at your office door. He announces that the company will be attending a trade show in a couple of weeks, and you need to create new brochures for the event. However, most of your marketing team members are on vacation, ill, or busy with other projects.

What do you do?

If you are like most marketing managers or directors, you hire a freelance graphic designer to complete your project. But where do you go for help?

When hiring a graphic designer, there are several things you must consider, including does that person understand what you want, can your project be done under deadline and budget, is that person accessible if you have any questions or comments, and will that person be around long enough to actually complete your project.

While freelancers aren’t free…they are free to move around. Just make sure they don’t move around until they completed your project.

One word of advice – if you find a really good graphic designer who understands you and “gets what you want,” hang on to that person for dear life. There are tons of artists out there, but only a few who you can establish a creative bond with.

Below are 5 companies to consider –

1). Illustria Designs

2)
Freelancer

3).
DesignCrowd

4).
oDesk

5).
Fivver

I will go into more detail about each company below –

Illustria Designs

A two-year old startup, Illustria offers a Netflix style subscription service that you can cancel anytime. With 5 subscription packages ranging from $49.00 to $6,999 a month, the company offers different levels of service. Using the program, you select the membership tier that best meets your needs and budget, discuss your project with a creative director, submit your request, have a designer work on your project, and receive real-time updates to track progress so you save time, and ensure that your work meets your criteria. All designers work on-site. You have the option to select a specific designer. (Full Disclosure – I know both of the owners/founders of this company)

Below is a YouTube video of Katherine Long, co-founder, giving a presentation about Illustria at the Bay Area Marketers a couple of years ago  –

Freelancer

Boasts more than 15 million users. You simply post your project on its website, and receive bids from freelance graphic designers worldwide. You compare the proposals and prices, and select the ones that best meet your needs.

You can engage in realtime chat, collaborate and track tasks. All payments are made through the Freelancer.

Pawan Kumar presents a great tutorial on how to use Freelancer –

DesignCrowd –

The site claims nearly 450,000 graphic designers. You post a description of your work, get a 100 plus designers sending you designs to your inbox, review and compare the work, and then choose the best design based on your standards. The site offers a 100% money back guarantee.

You can also find graphic designers under different categories, including type of design, country, positive feedback rating, projects won, and much more.

Below is a video from YouTube explaining  how DesignCrowd works in more detail –

oDesk –

By entering “graphic designer” under search, you can see a list of designers, descriptions of their specialities, country, hourly rates, ratings, hours they worked for oDesk customers, and more.

You post your job description and receive applications from candidates, review their work and background, set up a virtual interview to select the best candidate, and you can track their progress. oDesk handles all financial transactions for you.

Evan Carmichael presents an excellent video below from YouTube on how to find good people on oDesk –

Fiveer –

There is no bidding or negotiations. Services start a $5.00. With Fiveer, you browse through what is available, order what you need on a secure platform. You also have a chance to review seller levels, reviews and ratings.You can select by delivery time, illustration type, style, file format, and much more.

Tim Levy offers a 16 minute tutorial from YouTube on how to use Fiveer –

Is it a good idea to work on straight commission?

When is it good to work on a straight commission?

Here are some things to consider –

1). Is your employer well-known in the industry? If yes, that’s half the battle right there. Nothing makes your job more difficult than working for a company that has very little name recognition. If a prospect instantly recognizes your company name, that will save you a lot of time by not having to explain what you are trying to sell. A good example is a real estate. If your company has little or no name recognition, you will be wasting valuable time explaining to the prospect who you are and what you do.

2). Does your employer have a good marketing plan? If your company is helping you generate good, qualified leads, you will save yourself a lot of time. Nothing is worse than working on straight commission and wasting half your day finding leads. Searching on Google may be fun but it doesn’t pay the bills. You are a salesperson, not a glorified lead generator. If your company does not have a good marketing plan, your valuable time will be eaten up hunting leads.

working on straight commission3). Does your employer offer benefits? Believe it or not, some companies that pay only straight commission will sometimes offer benefits. Unless you are married and can piggyback on your spouse’s benefits or your parents’ insurance policy, this could be a big help to you.

4). Does your employer offer paid training to help you learn about the products or services you are selling? That could go a long way in helping you get a jump-start in filling your pipeline and generating income.

5). Does your employer give you some compensation for a short time? To help you ramp up, some employers will pay a small base salary for a few weeks or months. This should give you enough breathing room to build up a reasonable pipeline so you can start earning commission.

6). Is the company’s commission structure generous? Normally to make a straight commission plan work for you, you either must be selling a high ticket item (e.g., real estate), or a lot of smaller items (e.g., vacation packages or time shares) to be successful. As a rule, the higher the item’s cost, the longer the sales cycle will be. Can you afford a long sales cycle while working on straight commission? Only you can answer that.

There is nothing wrong with working on straight commission. Sometimes, your commission will be uncapped – meaning you can earn as much as you want. At some companies, if you are working on a base salary plus commission structure, your commission may be capped.

At the end of the day, only you can decide what works best for you. Just make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

5 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

social media mistakes to avoidCompanies can no longer just rely on sales to generate revenue. You must have a good social media plan in place.

Below is a list of mistakes that you should avoid –

Mistake 1 You don’t have a goal

What do you want to accomplish with social media? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Do you want to enhance your company’s brand name? What type of clients are you targeting?

And even if you do drive traffic to your website, what do you want your prospects to do once they arrive? Do you want them to contact you directly? Do you want them to trial your service for 30 days? Do you want them to download a white paper or case study?

Before jumping on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites, have a clear goal in mind.

Mistake 2 – Listen more, talk less

So you have high quality content on your website. You are posting blogs on a regular basis. Great!

But take time to listen to what your prospects and clients have to say. Read their comments on your website. See what they are saying about you on Twitter. Check out common industry discussion boards. Are clients leaving negative reviews on Yelp or Google Reviews – if yes, respond quickly before those bad comments spread like wildfire to other sites.

Engagement is key to social media. The more transparent your company, the better off you will be.

Mistake 3 – Don’t spread yourself too thin

While it might be exciting to start posting on Facebook, Twitter and other sites, make sure your don’t spreading yourself too thin.

Better to have high quality postings on two or three social media sites, and then poor postings on five to six.

Sometimes it may be better to start with one or two sites first to test the waters. You want to ensure you have time to do the work, and then slowly spread out to other sites. Remember – growing followers and gaining new leads takes time. People are busy these days. They have only so much time to read. So focus on quality first and quantity second.

Mistake 4 – Not creating quality content

When it comes to posting blogs or other material, you don’t have to be a novelist. However, offering good quality content is critical to your success. Hey, we all have bad days. No one is going to fault you because you wrote a lousy post or two. Just don’t make it a habit.

Besides offering posts, don’t forget to offer downloadable material, like white papers, case studies and e-books – the kind of stuff that prospects eat up! And with that downloadable material, you also obtain a prospect’s contact information – which hopefully will turn into a nice sales lead.

Mistake 5 – Not being consistent

If you want to attract and gain a following, you must be consistent with your posts. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to post everyday. The key is develop a schedule and stick with it. For most small companies, posting three times a week is all you need to do. If you are a large company, you may be posting daily.

The goal of social media is to help you sell stuff. Period. Like the sales process, you can’t perform social media in a haphazard fashion. Take your time. Do it right.

Sales 2.0 Conference to be held April 27-28

The Sales 2.0 Conference will be held from April 27-28th in San Francisco.

According to the website, the goal of the conference is to create a predictive sales organization. The agenda topics will include sales performance metrics, analytics, and big data, sales enablement, training and coaching, customer engagement and collaboration and sales technology.

Speakers will include –

Tim Bertrand, Senior VP of Worldwide Sales, Acquia, Inc.

Manjula Talreja, VP, Cisco Consulting Services

Kurt Shaver, CEO, The Sales Foundry

Anneke Seley, Founder & CEO, Reality Works Group

Amanda Kahlow, CEO & Founder, 6 Sense

Dustin Grosse, COO, ClearSlide