293 episodes

The Top Secrets of Marketing & Sales podcast provides tips on how to increase sales, improve profit margins and grow your business. Each week, we address issues related to important topics like targeting your ideal prospects, fine-tuning your messaging, attracting the clients you need, monetizing social media, the MVPs of Marketing and Sales and much more. From mindset to marketing and prospecting to podcasting, the Top Secrets podcast helps B2B and B2C entrepreneurs, professionals and salespeople get more of the customers and clients they need so they can do more of the work they love.

Top Secrets of Marketing & Sales David Blaise

    • Business
    • 4.3 • 10 Ratings

The Top Secrets of Marketing & Sales podcast provides tips on how to increase sales, improve profit margins and grow your business. Each week, we address issues related to important topics like targeting your ideal prospects, fine-tuning your messaging, attracting the clients you need, monetizing social media, the MVPs of Marketing and Sales and much more. From mindset to marketing and prospecting to podcasting, the Top Secrets podcast helps B2B and B2C entrepreneurs, professionals and salespeople get more of the customers and clients they need so they can do more of the work they love.

    How to Monetize Your Sales Pipeline

    How to Monetize Your Sales Pipeline

    To monetize your sales pipeline, you need to fill it, prioritize it and tackle it. This whole idea of knowing what to do and not doing it, is rampant. It seems ridiculous. It's like, well, who would do that? And the answer is nearly everybody does it. And none of us do it on purpose, but we all, to some extent, end up doing it.







    David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today's episode, cohost Jay McFarland and I will be discussing how to monetize your sales pipeline. Welcome back, Jay.







    Jay: Thank you, David. It's such a pleasure to be here, and I really can't wait to talk a little bit more about this process. I see people who kind of think they have a pipeline, but they're not sure exactly what to do with it. So a good, important topic today.



    David: Yeah. What to do with it or in a lot of cases, even what it is. I think even before we can talk about how to monetize it, you almost have to identify it. What is it? What is your sales pipeline? Who is it? Who are the people who are in it? Where is it located? Is it just inside your head?



    Because if it's just inside your head, leaving enormous amounts of money on the table.



    Jay: Yeah, and we've talked in the past about key performance indicators, KPIs, and so first you have to know what that pipeline is. Then you have to know how to track it and where people are at in each stage so that things ideally trigger automatically. I think that's the end goal, but getting there can be difficult.

    3 Steps to Monetize Your Sales Pipeline

    David: Yeah, I mean I think of it in terms of filling it, prioritizing it and then tackling it. Because if you're not sort of doing it in that order, I think it's going to potentially be problematic for you.



    Jay: All right. Well then let's start with filling it. Let's get that going.



    David: Okay, Well, when we talk about filling our pipeline after we've identified , after we've identified what it is and where it is, filling it obviously is the biggest thing. And I think a lot of salespeople tend to think of this as being pretty important, getting new leads into their pipeline.



    And of course, it is very important. It's the number one step because until you know who's in there, you don't really have anything that you can do. You've got to have the prospect first.



    So filling it starts with asking yourself, who goes in here? And what types of clients am I looking for? Are they in particular types of industries? Are they located in a particular geographic area?



    What are the different things that I'm looking for in terms of a good, solid prospect for my pipeline? So who goes in is very important. But who stays out is also extremely important. And we don't think about this, but it is so critical.



    In my sales career over the years, particularly in the early stages, I just thought if someone was willing to talk to me then they were a good prospect.



    And I learned, not as quickly as I should have, that that's just not the case. There are people out there who will be happy to talk to you again and again and never actually buy anything from you.



    So when you're looking at who goes in and who stays out, you want to think in terms of exactly that. When you are talking to someone, if you're not able to get them qualified in as quickly as you'd like, to make sure that they have the need, the desire, the money, the budget, the willingness to spend, then you don't want to keep going back to that well and expecting to get water out if there's no water to be found.



    Jay: You know, we had exactly this problem here recently with the company I've been doing consulting for. They wanted to start using Google ads and



    David: mm-hmm.



    Jay: So they just put out some general pay for click kind of stuff,

    • 13 min
    Sales, Profit and Personal Income

    Sales, Profit and Personal Income

    Money is always flowing in one direction or another. And in a business, it needs to flow in from the customers. It needs to flow through to the employees and to the suppliers and to everybody who is providing you with services. And there needs to be something left over at the end to take home. And when you're able to make those things happen consistently, everybody's just better off.







    David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today's episode, cohost Jay McFarland, and I will be discussing sales, profit, and personal income. Welcome Jay.







    Jay: Yeah. Thank you, David. I'm so excited, as usual, to talk about these topics that we discuss every podcast. I think that people often get caught up, especially small business owners, in one of these aspects, instead of having balance between all of them.



    And I feel like the one that they think about the most is sales. We have to drive sales. And if you're not focusing on profitability in that regard, you could be generating all kinds of sales, but you're not controlling your costs. And so ultimately those sales aren't helping you.



    David: Yeah. Been there, done that. I think anybody, if you've started your own business, you've probably found yourself in this situation and gross sales is usually a good place for people to start. They're thinking in terms of top line. Okay. I need to bring in as much as possible, which is true. You got to be bringing it in. But if you're not paying attention to the rest of it, as you indicated, you could be selling a lot of stuff and losing money every day. And unless you're keeping track of that, you're not going to know it.



    I remember in the early days of my promotional products business, I would get together with my accountant once every 90 days. At the end of every quarter, actually the beginning of the following quarter, we would review the numbers for the previous quarter. And at that point, it's too late to do anything about it.



    You feel like things are going well because you know, you're selling stuff, but then you look at the expenses, the cost of goods, the cost of people, all your internal costs, your overhead costs. And you find out that you're not making money on it. And 90 days later is too late.



    So once we got that in focus and we started doing it every month, reviewing what happened last month, where are our expenses too high and where are our gross sales too low? And which customers take up too much time and don't generate enough revenue?



    Once we're able to focus on the things that actually allow you to operate a profitable business, things got a lot better, a lot more quickly. And when we think in terms of these three things, sales, profit, and personal income, it's almost like you're starting here with the sales and then that generates whatever profit you have.



    And then after you've spent money on overhead and things, then you have some money to pay yourself, get some personal income going. But different businesses operate different ways. There are some business owners who are so focused on what am I going to bring in for myself that they may cut costs. They may short change people in terms of what they're delivering in terms of product.



    They may choose less quality products. And so depending on where people's focus is, determines where they're going to be successful among those three things.



    Jay: Yeah. And I think you need balance. I mean, they're all important. And so as you talked about looking at things monthly, I think having systems to identify and track each of these areas and have proper goals and benchmarks and reporting systems so that you can catch issues quickly. And pivot quickly is the only way you're going to find balance in the force with these three things.



    David: Yeah, I agree.

    • 15 min
    The Antidote to Brute Force Selling

    The Antidote to Brute Force Selling

    Brute force selling usually comes about when someone feels like they have to sell their product or service, regardless of the needs, wants, or desires of their prospect. The antidote comes from better understanding, relationship building, and effective qualification.







    David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today's episode, cohost Jay McFarland, and I will be discussing the idea of brute force selling. Welcome, Jay.







    Jay: Hey, thank you so much, David. I know we've talked about a lot of different issues, you know, generating leads and those types of things. I'm very anxious to talk about this brute force. When I hear it, as a customer, I'm like "brute for selling? What exactly do you mean here?" Because I might want to run away from it.

    The Case Against Brute Force Selling

    David: Yeah, well, I'm not really here today to advocate for brute force selling, okay? So, definitely not my first choice, but it seems to me like there are so many people, so many industries that tend to engage in it, that I thought we should probably have the discussion.



    Jay: Yeah. I mean, nothing could be worse than chasing potential clients away. I think there's a fine line between brute force and still trying to help customers understand the importance of your products and using good sales techniques. It's really a fine line. Isn't it?



    David: It is. There's definitely a balance. And I think there's a big difference between persistence and brute force selling. But to get to the core of it. I think one of the biggest problems that a lot of small business owners and salespeople have today is that they think in terms of selling.



    I have to sell this product, or I have to sell this idea. I have to sell this concept. I have to sell this customer. "I have to sell," being the main thing.



    When you're approaching someone for the first time with the idea of, "I have to sell," it's easy to slip into the wrong gear about trying to push what you have onto them before you've even identified, whether they have a need desire, money, budget, willingness to spend, any of those things.



    When I think in terms of brute force selling, to me, it's often about people who have gotten into sales. They've been given maybe a lead sheet or in the old days, it was a phone book by their manager who said, "Go make sales. Knock yourself out."



    And when you don't know how to do that well, then trying to sort of push or bully or cajole people into buying from you becomes the default.



    So when the focus is just on sales as the first, middle, and end of the process, it's kind of a lose/lose for both the salesperson and the prospect. Also for the company. So it's a lose all the way around.

    Effective Qualification is the Key

    If we can train salespeople on the idea of first determining need, identifying whether or not this person is a good candidate for what we're selling. I mean, we're really just talking about qualifying. And a lot of salespeople and even a lot of sales managers fail to make the distinction between qualification and selling.



    When we're qualifying somebody, we're not trying to convince or persuade them to buy our stuff. We're trying to find out if our stuff even makes sense for them.



    And what I've seen over the years is that there are a lot of salespeople who waste enormous amounts of time pushing and trying to sell to people who have absolutely no capability even to buy what it is that they're selling.



    Without taking that step back and saying, okay, let's do a little qualification first. Let's find out what this person is dealing with, and what sort of help they need. And if I can even help them, if you do that first, then you can find out pretty quickly if somebody is a good prospect for you or not.



    And if they're not,

    • 15 min
    Capturing Leads Online to Grow Your Sales and Profit

    Capturing Leads Online to Grow Your Sales and Profit

    When we talk about capturing leads online, we're referring to lures and lead magazines. It could be a free report. It could be a cheat sheet. It could be some sort of checklist, something that they request, they download. It would be offered on your website. And ideally, you would have some sort of sequential autoresponder connected to the back end. So that the minute they enter their information, it's processed by the system, and the thing they requested is sent out to the email address they provided.







    David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today's episode, cohost Jay McFarland, and I will be discussing the idea of capturing leads online. Welcome back, Jay.







    Jay: Thank you so much, David. It's great to be here. And I think this is such an important topic especially when people just have a website that just talks about what their services are, but it's not designed to capture any information. And I think that's a huge, missed opportunity.



    David: I think so, too. And there are so many businesses who know they need to have a website and they generally do have websites. Very often they're brochure sites where it'll just have some information about the company. In some cases, they'll have catalog sites. If they have actual images of products that people can look at. Sometimes they'll have a full e-commerce site where people can actually buy products online.



    So lots of those types of things are generally thought of as being what's required in a website. But one of the things that seems to be missing from a lot of small business websites, is just some sort of engaging lead capture system. So that's really what I thought would be worthwhile discussing today.

    Capturing Leads Online Starts with a Goal

    Jay: Yeah, absolutely. I think that each website should have a goal, at least if you're selling online, and that is to get them through the funnel, into a purchase. Or to get them to sign up and give you their email. Because an email list today is one of the most powerful tools that you have to market your products.



    David: Yeah, it definitely is. And I think a lot of times, business people and salespeople can forget that in typical sales scenarios, you have to meet someone before you can sell to them. So the idea of having your website set up in a way where you can actually attract and get people to provide their information so that they will eventually interact with you is really key to that process.



    I think a lot of people still approach their website as something that when they're talking to someone, they can say, "oh, visit my website." Or they can put it at the bottom of their email signature and maybe people will go there. But the truth of the matter is that if a website is not set up properly, then people are going to bounce off it the way that a bug bounces off a windshield.



    You'll never even know who was there. And that's why I think this idea is so important. If you look at the fact that there are going to be people hitting your site. Now, that's not always the case.



    Sometimes people have websites, and nobody knows about them. Nobody's hitting the site. However, if you've been in business for any length of time, if you've been promoting your web address, then people are going to go there.



    And if they don't have something to do that will allow themselves to be made known to you like to say, "I'm here. This is who I am," then you're just never going to know about that business.



    Jay: Yeah, exactly. and I think that how you harvest that email is also very important. I get frustrated sometimes with this process. Because somebody will say "get a free estimate, instant estimate" and I'll go, "okay!"



    And I'll enter some information and then they're like, "give us your email and we'll send you the estimate." And I'm like,

    • 14 min
    Is Customer Service Dead?

    Is Customer Service Dead?

    Technology can either help customer service a whole lot, or it can harm it a whole lot, depending on how it's used. It's like a weapon. You can use a knife to cut a steak, or you can use a knife to hurt somebody. And I think the technology is being used the same ways, where they're trying to save themselves time and energy and effort. And they're forgetting the fact that there are other human beings on the other end of that technology.







    David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today's episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the idea of customer service. Is it well and truly dead? Welcome Jay.







    Jay: Well, I think it depends upon the industry, but I'm going to say it's more dead than not as far as I can tell.



    David: Yeah, it's sad. And I feel like in some businesses, in the best businesses, it's not dead.



    And it creates a tremendous advantage for those who are still keeping it alive, whether on life support or just because it's the way they do business. But wow. I have had so many experiences recently where it seems like not only is the customer service unresponsive, uncooperative, unpleasant...



    Jay: Mm-hmm



    David: And there's just this level of apathy that seems to go with it, which when you combine those things, really does seem pretty deadly.



    Jay: Yeah. And I think there is a temptation -- because there's such great technology out there -- there is a temptation to say, "look, we can cut our costs if we just implement this new technology that maybe answers questions online" or "press one for this or for that."



    I can see the temptation, but I don't know if they clearly understand the frustration. I'll tell you one of my pet peeves right now are the chatbots.



    I'll go online and they'll say, "Hey, if you don't want to sit on hold," which is an admission already that you don't have enough people, " go ahead, just chat with us." And I'm thinking I'm going to get a live person. And no, I get a chatbot and I type in my question and it sends me to a predefined link that doesn't answer my question.



    And I'm like, "I've just wasted 15 minutes and I could have been on hold the whole time." So, very cool tech, but on the customer end, I think it's frustrating a lot of people.

    Does Technology Help or Hurt Customer Service?

    David: It really can, particularly because technology can either help customer service a whole lot, or it can harm it a whole lot, depending on how it's used.



    It's just like any other weapon, right? It's like a weapon. You can use a knife to cut a steak, or you can use a knife to hurt somebody. And I think the technology is being used the same ways, where they're trying to save themselves time and energy and effort. And they're forgetting that there are other human beings on the other end of that technology.



    But even beyond that, tech aside, there are now situations where you leave a message for somebody, or you send them an email. I mean, that is obviously tech as well, but if the human being behind the email does not respond to the email or they don't return the phone call or they don't return the voicemail or they don't return the text. Now it's actually more human error than tech error.



    And that's where I think customer service is really struggling right now. Because if you've got well-meaning well-intentioned people who are determined to use the technology to make customer service better, then those companies are not just going to survive, they're going to thrive.



    But the problem is there are people in organizations who just don't care enough about the customers to even do the basic minimum things like returning phone calls, returning voicemails, and that sort of thing.



    Jay: Yeah. And then there's the question of, you know,

    • 14 min
    Being Profitable, Even with Higher Costs

    Being Profitable, Even with Higher Costs

    Being profitable is important, even with higher costs.



    Generally small and medium-sized businesses want to hang onto their staff. We want to keep our people. We recognize that we’ve got responsibilities to people other than ourselves. What I’ve been seeing though in the news lately, is that a lot of larger companies see this stuff coming and they’re like, okay, we’re cutting costs. We’re laying off 10% of our workforce, that sort of thing. 



    So it’s different, depending on the size of your business and depending on your mindset, what you are willing to do and how much pain you’re willing to take when it comes to absorbing some of these extra costs.







    David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today's episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the idea of being profitable even with higher costs. Welcome back, Jay.







    Jay: Thank you so much, David. What an important topic. So many businesses are experiencing this right now. Their costs have gone up. Inflation is affecting everybody right now. So I love that you're taking some time to talk about this topic.





    David: Yeah. I saw an article recently where they were discussing the fact that in the promotional products industry, in particular, what a lot of businesses are noticing is that even when their sales are even or potentially higher than they were last year, they're not as profitable because their costs have increased. So keeping at the same sales volume is not going to cut it anymore.



    Jay: Yeah. And, we all hope that this is a temporary problem, but in the meantime, people have got to learn how to pivot. And I think that is one of the hardest things for businesses to do, especially quickly. The quick pivot. Like, okay, what are we going to do in the short term while our costs have gone up?



    David: Yeah, and I think that word, "pivot," has probably gotten more use in the past 18 months to two years than it probably got in all of human history before that. Because everybody realized we have to do things differently. And what are we going to do and how are we going to do it? And when it comes to increased costs, the options are relatively limited.



    I mean, basically, you either have to be able to increase your overall sales and make up for it with the profit that you're already getting, or a reduced profit. Or you've got to be able to reduce your cost so that you can get that spread back. You've got a cost to do things. And you've got a cost associated with what you're going to sell it for.



    And the gap is where all the money is made. Without the gap, we're out of business. And so keeping your sales at a certain level is not going to do it if your costs are approaching that same level.



    So a lot of it is really about identifying the primary costs in my business. And unfortunately, it's really a matter of also being rather relentless about the idea of cutting back on the things that are not currently working.



    And that can be really difficult because one of the biggest expenses in a business is very often personnel. And so what that means is looking at the people that you're working with and saying, okay, who's pulling their weight? Who is more than pulling their weight? And those who aren't, what can we do to help them to pull their weight or more than pull their weight so that we can continue to grow to be able to simply offset the costs that have increased so much?



    Jay: Yeah. I think the knee-jerk response from most businesses is let's find a way to increase sales. But you know, they have to understand that depending upon their profit margin, if you increase your sales by $10, that may be $1 to the bottom line.



    But if you save a dollar in costs, that's a dollar to your bottom line. If you save $10 in cost, that's $10 to your bottom line.

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

Mxsandy12 ,

Amazing sales and marketing pod!

Really helpful and super interesting!

Andieisme ,

Change is good

Thank you for adding a second voice/perspective to your podcast. I love the mini q&a and that some of the questions I have are asked and answered.

fxdii ,

Great ideas

Listen and you will get some great ideas for selling promotional products. Theses short messages help me to stay on track.

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