December 02, 2012

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Zig Ziglar's Enduring Lessons I love working with sales guys. But I’ve always been extremely skeptical of sales trainers and motivational speakers; most of whom are full of it. But the sales and marketing world lost a giant this week with the passing of Zig Ziglar, one of the best and pioneering sales motivators. Long before others turned sales motivation into a slick, multi-channel industry, Zig, who carried a bag for 25 years before he started talking about it, was able to take real-world experience, draw common themes and lessons and deliver them in a memorable and folksy way. I had the pleasure to work with Zig several times. He was a humble guy who had an incredible way with people and the ability to size up his audience and tell a story like no one else. He had kind of a southern accent and he could frame big ideas and punctuate them with humor in ways that you could easily relate to and think about. Unlike other speakers, you could remember what Zig said the next day. In a word of blowhards and phonies, Zig was the genuine article. I’ll miss him. Here are his 4 key “teachings” that stick in my head. Be Real. People buy people. We are hard wired to spot threats and BS. Be yourself. Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t be afraid to expose your life experience. Every sale is about making a person-to-person connection. Be Memorable. Zig’s real name was Hilary. He knew that wouldn’t fly so the pneumonic nickname worked in his favor. His polyglot accent also set him apart as did his countless home spun funny stories. He always had a dramatic, unexpected or startling opening line. There are zillions of people pushing zillions of ideas, products and services. Differentiation is everything. Be Grateful. You may not have the sale … yet. But you have a bunch of other amazing gifts in your life. Don’t take this particular sale too seriously. Don’t underestimate the inner and material resources you have going into the sales conversation. You never have to be desperate. Leverage your strengths to endure the numbers game that is sales process. Be as patient and as giving as you can be. Karma exists in the world. It will work in your favor; even when its not immediately evident. Pace Yourself. Selling is conversation. It’s two-way and interactive. You’re not jamming something down somebody’s throat. You are creating a dialog where each subsequent interaction reveals new information and fleshes out a picture of what a prospect thinks and needs. One-call closes rarely happen. Punctuate the conversation so that key points are said and re-stated. Use examples and humor as reasons to believe or as evidence to support your pillar points. Repetition and variation drive resonance
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Why SoLoMo is Running in SloMo Social, local and mobile are the next big thing; the last mile; where the rubber meets the road, the ultimate game changer. The pundits predicted 2012 would be the year of SoLoMo. Now the same pundits predict hockey stick growth in 2013. Yet in spite of steady growth in mobile adoption, smartphone penetration, soaring text and video volume and the steady growth of local search, the fantasy of immediate, relevant, personal mobile advertising penetration hasn’t yet materialized. It’s not for lack of technology. Four other factors are retarding the growth of mobile advertising and offers on a local level. Phone Sensibility. Mobile phones are the last perceived bastion of personal privacy. Most people are outraged at getting telemarketing calls, robo calls or text ads on their phone. Intruding on a cell phone is considered the ultimate invasion of privacy. Consumers are not ready to be targeted, followed and hounded like Tom Cruise was in the movie, AI. Merchants Have Been Burned. Groupon and Living Social poisoned the well. Promising amazing results and delivering losses, these social and mobile marketing schemes have soured merchants. Without a provable ROI, there is no appetite to play in this arena. Disappointed retailers eager to embrace new technology and engage customers have been burned. Their anger has extended to all forms of social and mobile advertising. No People or Budgets. Main street retailers don’t have the time, the savvy, the people or the money to play in this space. Most don’t even use e-mail effectively much less more complex technology that requires considerable strategy and labor to execute properly. Even the bigger guys don’t have the databases or the systems in place to execute this smartly using the built-in GPS function on a neighborhood, zip code or block level. And since nobody as hit it big yet, there is no imperative to keep up with the Joneses. Paradigm Paralysis. Retailers are a cheap, conservative, monkey-see; monkey-do bunch. They like to do what they’ve always done. They know what works and they stick to it. And while many mouth the mobile mantra, very few invest the time or the money to properly test the waters. So while the tech guys predict success and the app coders crank out functionality, retailers, for the most part, sit on the sidelines waiting to see how well an outlier or a maverick does before they make a copycat move.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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