A Blog Post About Blogs and Blogging

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I came across this article yesterday.

Apparently, there are more than 440 million blogs in the world!

For comparison’s sake, there were 325.7 million people living in the USA as of 2017.

That’s more than 1 blog per man, woman, and child in the United States! Yikes!

Is blogging important? Depends on what kind of business you’re in.

I, myself, subscribe to numerous blogs. I consume them but have never bought from several thought leaders who have quality content. Chris Brogan, Michael Hyatt and others come to mind. Top notch thought leaders who provide lots of content marketing, but I’ve yet to invest in their products or services.

I’m not saying that blogs aren’t important and that you shouldn’t have one.

With attention spans at a premium and executives are dealing with severe information overload, how do you stand out?

Unless you have gobs of money to spend like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and other tech giants, how do you compete?

Can you trace a new client or sale directly to a blog post(s) you created?

If not, should you keep blogging? It’s a rhetorical question of course but I hope it makes you think before blogging.

What’s the end game? To get more clients? Look more credible? Be a thought leader?

None of these are bad but with the sheer volume of blogs out there, does it make sense to continue doing so just because everyone else is doing it?

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000. Thanks for reading my blog.

Happy October!

Happy October everyone!

Fall and football are here! College basketball starts later this month.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

I wish I had something profound to say on this blog post, but I don’t.

One quick update from last month’s post seen here.

One company moved forward.

Another company who was looking for a fractional Sales VP emailed me they were going in a different direction.

The company across from my existing client is still engaged and they have a ton of initiatives going on. They haven’t said yes or no.

The company who moved forward? They graciously sent me over a referral who started October 1 as well. For that, I’m thankful and grateful.

On a completely separate note, I sent a Cutco knife to an old client of mine. I didn’t need anything from him but hadn’t talked to the CEO in several months.

The note simply said: “Thank you for “carving” out time to add me to your team last year”.

That was it and I had his name embroidered on the knife.

Ironically, I ran into him at a restaurant Saturday night while out and about.

Cheers and success to you all as you enter the 4th quarter of the year!

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000! Go Denver Broncos!

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Ray Ruecker here with Connect 5000!

Hope you all are having a relaxing Monday!

This past Thursday, I hopped on a plane at 12 pm and landed in Oakland around 2:00 pm.

I checked into my hotel, changed and then took a Lyft to downtown San Jose.

I met with a prospect that I had been chatting with since June. They heard about us through our client across the street. We had talked by phone but hadn’t met.  So I met with the VP of Marketing and Director of Demand Generation in person and it was great talking face to face on their initiatives.

I then walked across the street and said hello to my current client who’s been with us since November 2017. My initial contact, the Chief Marketing Officer, left the company and I had 2 new contacts that I hadn’t met yet. We chatted a bit, they brought up a couple things, we all shook hands and left.

I then met with a new client that just signed up for September 1. We grabbed sushi, chatted and walked around downtown San Jose a bit. Gorgeous 75-degree weather! Can’t beat that in Kansas City in August.

I then took a Lyft from downtown San Jose to Dublin where I was staying. 40-minute ride at 7 pm at night.  KC doesn’t have a traffic problem, comparatively speaking. I went to my hotel, exhausted from meeting and traveling, and went to bed.

Friday morning, I woke up, got ready and met with a company who I happened to connect with back in August who happened to be in the Bay area.  We chatted by phone previously and I told him I was going to be in his area and to see if it made sense to meet up.

So I met with the CEO, CFO, and Director of Sales. We had a good chat and he requested a proposal.

Then I returned to my hotel, checked out and went to my 11 am final meeting. I had connected with another technology company in May and they were looking for a fractional VP of Sales for their 4 sales reps. We had a great discussion as well.

I left the office, changed, grabbed In-N-Out Burger and headed to the airport back to KC.

5 meetings in 1.5 days. $799.50 in expenses. It was worth it.

I love technology but there’s no substitute like seeing prospects in person or sharing a meal with a client.

All 5 of these meetings started with an introductory email. They didn’t know me from Adam.

As you gear up for the fall, now that most everyone is back from vacation and kids are back in school, please keep this mind. Get out of your routine and comfort zone. Go see other parts of the country. Plan a whirlwind 1 or 2-day trip. It will be worth it.

 

Lead Generation / Client Referral Gift Idea

Hey everyone!

I’m an avid reader and about a year ago, I read John Ruhlin’s book, “Giftology”.

It was a fine read with practical advice on corporate gift giving that’s not too self-serving.

A few months ago, I happened to get one of his emails since I had subscribed to his newsletter. Apparently, he hadn’t written in a while and he was out of sight, out of mind to me.

I decided to re-read his book since it’s a short read and gave me some fresh reminders.

Meanwhile, one of my client’s recently referred me to another client and I’m very grateful.

I’ve never met the woman in person and was trying to probe and get some ideas on what she liked to send her a thank you gift.

She wasn’t too revealing on her restaurant and shopping preferences which were fine.

I ended ordering a Cutco knife she can use on a daily basis with her name engraved on it.

I had it gift wrapped and sent to her home.

She loved it! Here’s part of her email response:

Hello Ray,

I received your surprise gift today. Thank you very much. It was a very kind and thoughtful personalized gesture. Your gift will be much used.

I don’t think what I did was anything that warranted more than a simple Thank You. Patti’s good work bore fruits. Nothing more.

Cheers

2 takeaways:

  1. When you send a corporate or client thank you gift and you have it engraved, don’t put your company name on it. Put the person’s name instead. They’ll remember who gave it to you for the rest of their life.
  2.  If you’re trying to break into an account and are having difficulties, send your prospect a knife with their name on it with a note saying something to the effect of: “Can we carve out some time to chat?”

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000!

Long time, no blog! Happy Spring!

Hey everyone!

Happy Spring and early Easter!

Ray Ruecker here with Connect 5000.

I realized I hadn’t posted since our Christmas staff luncheon in December 2017.

It’s almost April! Where does time go? 3 months went by quickly.

I’d like to say that I was busy but that sounds like a humble-brag or too pretentious in today’s culture.

Business is as usual and I met with some prospects in New York City in February and did a sales prospecting training session in Seattle a few weeks later.

The beauty of being an entrepreneur and owning your own company is that you get to set the pace.

I’ve been married for almost 13 years in May and have an 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. I work to live and not the other way around. Finding the right work balance is always tricky.

I don’t have anything earth-shattering to share but one thing constantly sticks out:

In a noisy, crowded, technological world, how do we stand out and get our message across?

Yes, it’s rhetorical but lots of factors at play:

Decision fatigue.

Information overload.

Ad bombardment.

Short attention spans.

The experts tell you to have a blog, produce lots of content, have a Facebook page. Instagram too! Don’t forget Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc.

I could go on and on but you get the point.

The answer might be one human, high quality, personal connection at a time.

Yes, it’s not sexy but what’s the alternative, unless you have a marketing budget like Apple, GE, or Amazon?

Sales Conversation Triggers and Book Giving

Happy December everyone!

This year has flown by quickly. I haven’t blogged in a while so as the holidays descend upon us, I thought I’d share a quick tip.

I’m an avid reader, with a Nook reader from Barnes and Noble with the Amazon Kindle app on the device.

I recently finished Paul Falcone’s book “96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire”.

It had been on my reading list for quite some time and I always want to improve my hiring skills.

A while back, I chatted with a CEO by phone, then we had lunch in person and we chatted some more by phone a few weeks later.

He mentioned that he made a couple of offers to some sales reps but the job candidates ended up getting counteroffers from their existing employer and decided to stay.

(This blog post is NOT about whether or not you should accept a counteroffer.  That’s a whole blog post in itself.)

Paul Falcone’s book addressed how to handle counteroffers in advance and not waiting till making a job offer to get blindsided by it.

He had some good suggestions to get counteroffer opportunities out in the open early rather than be surprised later on.

So as the CEO shared with me, I thought of the book. I told him about it and said I’d have it mailed to his office and to keep an eye out.

Last Friday, I met with the CEO and 6 of his staff and he had the book in his hand showing everyone.

Moral of the story: be alert to what your prospects are going through outside of what you’re trying to get them to agree to and add value. The book was less than $20, including shipping.

I strongly recommend you read the book if you hire people regularly.

In the meantime, I wish you a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays and a great New Year!

May you end 2017 well!

Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000

2 More Reasons Why You Should Pick Up The Phone to Prospect

Happy mid-October everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted!

In the past, I could make 100 sales calls and reasonably expect to generate 4 to 5 meetings easy. 4-5% response rate.

Seems lately that the sales landscape is much harder to navigate and it’s increasingly difficult to connect with decision makers, regardless of vertical, geography, or management level. Such is life.

As the late Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”

When I reach out for business development efforts for Connect 5000, I make 15 touches before moving on:

7 emails

6 phone calls / voicemails / attempts to connect live

2 snail mail postal letters

(I’ve noticed that many companies now won’t even let you leave a voicemail. I’ve been told repeatedly that the executive doesn’t have a direct extension or the only way to get a hold of them is by email only. If you can’t leave a phone message, or response rate for email is abysmal, try sending a letter or two to your targeted prospect.)

This week alone, in doing some callbacks for targeted executives, 3 CEO’s who I’ve targeted are no longer with the company. We aren’t talking about entry-level folks, people!

How do I know that?

Because I don’t solely rely on email only. Just because an email doesn’t bounce back as undeliverable, doesn’t mean it got through.

Takeaway #1: Add the phone to your sales arsenal. Just because an email doesn’t bounce back, doesn’t mean it got through. Plus people, including yourself, may have thousands of unread emails in their inbox.

Another observation I’ve noticed is that people don’t update their LinkedIn profile right away, or at all.

I don’t expect when someone loses their job or gets terminated, to update their profile right away. But 6 months or 1 year later, it’s very misleading.

Recently, I reached out to a company after visiting their website and looking at their management team. The website had this particular executive on the website. LinkedIn said this person was still at the company. I called the company and the person who answered said that the executive hadn’t been with the company in years and that they hadn’t updated the website.

My guess is that this company was small but wanted to portray themselves as something bigger than they really were. Kind of like a bag of chips.

So rather than emailing an executive and hoping they respond even though they’re no longer employed there, pick up the phone and save yourself the time and trouble.

Takeaway #2: Countless LinkedIn profiles are not accurate and updated. Company websites aren’t correct either. Take the extra step, pick up the phone, and ask for the executive. If he/she isn’t there, cross them off your list and move on. Bad data is of no value to you.

Enough sales ranting from me. Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.

 

Happy Labor Day!

Happy September everyone!

8 months gone in 2017! 4 more to go! Where does time fly?

I shared in my previous post (Here) how I flew out to see a prospect face to face with no guarantee that the firm would become a client, and they eventually did.

Football season is upon us and hopefully, most of your clients and prospects are back from summer and vacation mode and in full focus until the end of the year.

Another quick story:

I had a solid client for approximately two years out of Seattle but I had never met them in person.

A few months ago, one of the firm’s principals reached out to me via LinkedIn out of the blue and wanted to restart our relationship.

Obviously, with today’s technology landscape, you can conduct business with people around the country and the world and never meet them.

So I flew out on Memorial Day and met with the firm the next day. It was a productive strategy meeting on moving forward for the fall and future.

Long story short, they became a client again and all is well.

When you meet an out of town client in person, it’s beneficial for 3 main reasons:

  1. You go from being a friendly stranger via email and phone to a real person and partner.
  2. Assuming you do great work, you become more memorable and entrenched with your client.
  3. There’s no substitution for face to face communication and interaction, where you can read their body language and facial expressions.

Should you go see every out town client? Maybe. Maybe not.

Disclaimer: I haven’t met every out of town client myself. I try to and some people I’ve had as clients, it’s like we are long time friends, without having met in person. I know about their lives, families and interests.

I have no scientific data, but my guess is that if you’re intentional with your clients, they’ll stay clients longer.

Happy Fall everyone!

 

 

How Paying Attention To A LinkedIn Connection Led To New Client

Happy June everyone!

In December 2016, I reached out to the CEO of a technology company here in the Kansas City metro.

I sent him a creative marketing box from the Little Book That Sells.

Here’s the link to the past blog post I wrote on it: http://www.connect5000.com/another-creative-lead-generation-idea-to-get-into-targeted-companies/

The CEO gave the box to the VP of Marketing. The VP of Marketing reached out to me and we exchanged several emails.

Then the VP of Marketing connected me to one of her direct reports.

The direct report and I had a few conversations by phone but the end result was a no.

No problem. That happens all the time.

I’m a big advocate and fan of LinkedIn. A few weeks ago, I noticed that this direct report was no longer with the company. She had moved on to another position which is typical.

So I found the previous email exchange with the Marketing VP, reached back out and set up a time to meet in person.

We discussed their needs and they were open to using us.

Long story short, we came to an agreement and we both signed off on a proposal.

Moral of the story: pay attention to your LinkedIn feed. The prospect who told you “No” may no longer be with that particular company and you may be able to get back in the door and get a “Yes”.

Sales Lesson Learned from Garth Brooks Concert

Hey, everyone!

One more day till the school year is over for my 4 and 7-year-old and we are limping to the finish line.

I had the privilege of seeing Garth Brooks in concert last Saturday night.

I’ve always been a big fan of his music and one of very few music groups that my late father and I both liked.

So my wife and I along with 2 other couples attended the Garth Brooks concert at the Sprint Center and sat in the lower level and could clearly see Garth Brooks and the stage.

Garth (we’re on a first-name basis, apparently) has been around since the late 80’s / early 90’s and I have several of his CD’s. One of his CD’s is a live concert he did in 1997 at Central Park in New York City.

That was 20 years ago people!

There are several reasons why people love Garth and flock to his concert in droves.

One of those reasons I believe is this: He sings “singable” songs! Obvious but true! The lyrics to his songs are easy to follow along with and sing to. Many artists are not, which is simply okay.

The concert was one big sing-along which was fine by me.

Question: how singable is your company “lyrics”? Can others easily recite what you do and services you provide?

At Connect 5000, we definitely don’t have it down, but we want to.

Our lyrics at Connect 5000 is this: we shorten sales cycles and multiply revenue.

What are yours?