Orignally published by: Shep Hyken, On: hyken.com

Just imagine if you were the Director of Sales for a private jet company. Would that be a dream job?

Jordan Zabel deals with high-end customers who expect high-end customer service because he is the Director of Sales for Jet Linx, a private jet company that offers their services to corporate and private members. As you might imagine, anyone that can afford to fly in a private jet has very discerning taste . . . and often along with it, sky-high expectations.

Jordan knows exactly what it takes to acquire these demanding customers. He needs to sell an excellent product while at the same time delivering the highest level of customer service. And, once the sale is made, he knows what it will take to keep those customers, which is to maintain that same level of service he demonstrated through the sales process, while maybe even increasing the altitude a bit.

So, all of this seems like common sense, right? A high-priced service usually is accompanied by an excellent customer experience. Just think of the level of customer care that hotels like the Ritz-Carlton demonstrate. So what is the challenge for people who deal with these high-end clients like Jordan Zabel does?

Zabel says, “Too many times a company’s marketing propaganda just doesn’t match the customers’ experiences after the sale. It’s all just hype. Hot air. At Jet Linx, I always want my customers to know their decision to do business with us was a good one, anytime they think of us.”

In other words, Zabel wants to live up to the promises and expectations that his marketing initially created for his prospects-turned-customers. After the sale, he wants his customers to continuously self-confirm that they made the right decision in choosing him and Jet Linx in the first place.

The key word here is self-confirm. What are you doing before, during and after the sale that continuously reinforces the customer’s choice to do business with you? If you have good sales skills, sure, that can get you some business to start. But what about getting those customers to return, time after time? That’s the key to ongoing success and a steady revenue stream. It’s all in what happens after the customer’s buying decision that counts. It’s about delivering amazing customer service after the sale.

I’ve written and talked about Joey Coleman’s concept about The First 100 Days. What happens during the first 100 days after the sale can confirm that the customer made a good decision to work with you at the beginning. We want our customers, at any time, to always be self-confirming their decision. When they do, it will lead to the next sale, and the next. It builds a stronger relationship. It potentially leads to customer loyalty and maybe even evangelism, where your customers share their positive experiences about you with their family, friends and colleagues. That’s the power of delivering a level of customer service that self-confirms a customer’s choice to do business with you!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

Originally published: Dec 16, 2016, on: customer-alliance.com

Things are becoming more complex within hotel revenue management. Learn about the evolution of RevPAR and increase your revenue with Customer Alliance!

Origin of RevPAR

A hotel is like a living organism. In the rapidly changing market of hospitality industry, supply and demand can totally change, top to bottom, from one day to another. Hotel Revenue Management has therefore grown in complexity during the past decades.

So, let’s take a look at the three major Key Performance Indicators used to measure the economic success of a hotel.

  • Average Daily Rate (ADR): Average daily income per occupied room
  • Occupancy: All occupied rental units of a hotel at a given time (measured in %).

In the past, many hotels either defined high occupancy rates or heavy room rates as their primary business goal to achieve. By doing this, however, they often ignored important aspects of their business performance.
This is why some years ago, Hotel Revenue Management introduced a new concept.

  • RevPAR: Arguably the most important figure to look at when calculating an accommodations’ financial performance. It provides relevant information about the REVenue Per Available Room, putting in relation the hotel’s daily rates with its occupancy.


Examples for RevPAR calculation

Generally, there are two ways of calculating a hotel’s RevPAR. The classic approach is multiplying the Average Daily Rate (ADR) with the occupancy.

ADR x Occupancy

Alternately, the same result can be arrived at by calculating the following:

Total Room Revenue in a Given Period
Number of Available Rooms in Same Period


So let’s do the math:


For our case, we take a hotel with 100 rooms of which 60 rooms are sold for a given day, generating a total revenue of 4200€.

By dividing the Total Revenue by the Number of rooms sold (4200 / 60), we get the value of 70€ as the Average Daily Rate.
Meanwhile, we find a 60 % Occupancy rate (60/100 rooms occupied).

So, taking either the first calculation formula (70€ * 0,6), or the second (4200€ / 100), we arrive at a RevPAR result of 42€.


Limitations of RevPAR

Within current Hotel Revenue Management, RevPAR is believed to be the most accurate figure that can be looked at to calculate a hotel’s’ performance. It is also used to compare hotels’ economic performances.

However, if you take a closer look, there are some limitations to its relevance.

Let’s take a look at two simple cases:

A Hotel with 50 rooms in total

  • sells 50 rooms for 20€ each.
  • sells 5 rooms for 200€ each.

In both cases, the hotel generates a revenue of 1000€ while maintaining a RevPAR of 20€.

So, if RevPAR remains the same right here, does that mean that the hotel will have the same net operating income (NOI) in both cases?

No! Unfortunately, traditional RevPAR calculations do not take into account things like costs per occupied room or additional revenue per room for each individual room that is sold.

As a result, RevPar still isn’t the perfect indicator of a hotel’s financial success.


Evolution of RevPAR

Because of this, successful Revenue Managers such as Ira Vouk – Vice President and Co-founder of iRates – have introduced the concept of Adjusted Revenue Per Available Room (ARPAR), also referred to as Total Revenue per available Room (TRevPAR).

Let’s take close a closer look at both concepts:

TRevPAR looks at the total revenue of the property. Consequently, it will include all consumer consumption (at the bar, from room service, breakfast, etc.). In short, it sums up all revenue factors generated by a hotel taking a meaningful look into it’s profitability.

TRevPAR = Total Revenue / Number of available rooms 

Unfortunately, TRevPAR does not consider cost factors and does not take into account the occupancy rate, where these numbers are required to fully understand the hotel’s efficiency.

On the contrary, The ARPAR formula as used by Ira Vouk “is a clear reflection of the bottom line profit”. There are different ways of doing the relevant calculations, and the formula is expandable. However, in this article we want to emphasise that RevPAR alone is no longer significant enough to get the whole picture.

This is why we stick to Ira’s simplest formula to calculate ARPAR:


ARPAR = (ADR – Variable costs per occupied room + Additional Revenue per occupied room) х Occupancy


Let’s go back and apply this formula to our hotel example:


A Hotel with 50 rooms in total

  • sells 50 rooms for 20€ each.
  • sells 5 rooms for 200€ each.


As we’ll recall, RevPAR came out to 20€ for both cases.
What about ARPAR?

In our scenario, we assume

  • Variable costs per occupied room = 10€


  • Additional Revenue per occupied room = 5€

Case 1:

(20€ – 10€ + 5€) * 1 = 15€

Case 2:

(200€ – 10€ + 5€) * 0,1 = 19,5€

In this case, we therefore find that Case 2 is the more profitable one for the hotel. Off course, this is only an example. The results of a ARPAR calculation will vary depending on the variable costs per occupied room and additional revenue per occupied room, which are themselves likely to be different for each hotel. Besides that, commission rates and the amount of direct bookings respectively will significantly influence a hotel’s NOI.

Calculate your ARPAR now!


Final Words

According to findings from Robert Mandelbaum, Director of the Office of Research Information Services, a low inflationary environment is projected for the near future. This means that any increases, both in occupancy and ADR, will drive up TRevPAR in 2015 and 2016. “The resulting strong increases in revenue, combined with tempered growth in operating expenses, will result in double-digit gains in NOI for the next two years.”

In conclusion, things have become more complex within the field of Hotel Revenue Management. Hoteliers should be aware of many factors when measuring the performance of their property. At the same time, increasing complexity offers the opportunity to obtain a strong lead over competitors.

Originally published: Dec 16, 2016, on: guidingmetrics.com

In this article you’ll learn the most critical metrics that companies in the Hotel Industry should track.The article does not include metrics such as Profits and Sales that are critical to companies in all industries; rather the focus is on metrics more specific to the Hotel Industry.

By tracking your metrics, you will dramatically improve your business results.

Why? Because not only is the old saying “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” true, but visibility into your metrics allows you to identify WHERE you can make the easiest and most impactful improvements.

For each metric, we will answer the following questions:

– What is the metric?

– How do you calculate this metric?

– Why is this metric important?

Let’s get started…

1. Total Available Rooms

What is this metric?
Total available rooms represents the number of rooms available multiplied by the number of days in the reported period. It is used as a measure of capacity in the system of hotels.


Total number of rooms – Number of rooms out of order/not in service/out of inventory

Why is this metric important?
This metric is essential for proper inventory calculations, which lead to proper number bookings. It also is important for all of the hotel’s financial calculations as it determines how many operable rooms there to base revenue formulas off of. For example, if a hotel has 300 rooms, but only 290 are in service, then for that period, 290 is the base to use for metrics like RevPar.

2. Average Daily Rate (ADR)

What is this metric?
Hotel ADR measures the average price paid per room. This hotel performance metric assesses the total guest room revenue for a specific period versus the total amount of room revenue paid and occupied hotel rooms within the same timeframe.


Rooms Revenue / Paid Rooms Occupied

Why is this metric important?
The ADR is useful to measure a property’s financial performance, as well as to compare the hotel’s performance to its competitors.

3. Revenue Per Available Room (RevPar)

What is this metric?
This accounts for the average daily rooms revenue generated per available room. This metric doesn’t account for other revenue centers such as F&B, spa or retail. Average RevPar varies widely by market. As a hotel performance metric, it differs by market, segment and timing and is a time-based snapshot of a hotel performance.


Total Room Revenue / Total Rooms Available

Why is this metric important?
RevPAR represents the success the hotel is having at filling its rooms. Increasing RevPAR means either that rates or Occupancy Rate are rising, or both.

Do you currently know how you’re performing on each of these key metrics?
Click here to schedule a free demo with one of our dashboard builders. They’ll show you how we can build a dashboard that automatically calculates all your key metrics in real-time.

4. Average Occupancy Rate

What is this metric?
Occupancy is a percentage of the available rooms occupied for a specific period. It is calculated as total paid rooms occupied divided by total available rooms.


Occupancy % = Paid Rooms Occupied / Rooms Available
Occupancy % = Revenue per Available Room / ADR

Why is this metric important?
Usually, the higher the occupancy the better because the company is earning more revenue than companies with low occupancy. However, this may not always hold true if the company cuts prices to boost its occupancy. The rate is also key to the operational side of the business to ensure proper staffing and inventory.


What is this metric?
Gross operating profit per available room.



GOP (gross operating profit) / (per) Available Rooms

Why is this metric important?
The metric measures performance across all revenue streams. Hoteliers are able to see profit across all revenue centers/the sum of all the parts- not just rooms.

6. Market Penetration Index (MPI) or Occupancy Penetration Index

What is this metric?
This hotel performance metric measures how a hotel’s occupancy compares to a competitive set. The index is designed to measure a hotel’s share of either a comp. set, a market set or tract.


Hotel Occupancy % / Market Occupancy %.

Why is this metric important?
The metric serves as a guide to understanding a hotel’s dominance and demand in the marketplace. Increasing demand, naturally leads to more revenues.

7. Average Rate Index (ARI)

What is this metric?
This hotel performance metric measures how a hotel’s average daily rate compares to a competitive set.


Hotel’s ADR / Hotel Market ADR.

An ADR Index of 100 equals fair share of ADR, compared to the aggregated group of hotels. An ADR Index greater than 100 represents more than a fair share of the aggregated group’s ADR performance. Conversely, an ADR Index below 100 reflects less than a fair share of the aggregated group’s ADR performance.

Why is this metric important?
This metric serves as a metric to pricing right in the marketplace as well as an illustration of a hotel’s rate performance against its competition, helping determine whether rates needs to be lowered or elevated.

Want to discuss the specific metrics you’re tracking (or want to track) for your company?
Click here to schedule a free consultation and demo with one of our dashboard consultants.

8. Revenue Generation Index (RGI) or RevPar yield index

What is this metric?
This hotel performance metric measures how a hotel’s RevPar compares to their competitive set. It measures a hotel’s fair market share of their segment’s (competitive set, market, submarket, etc.) revenue per available room. If a hotel is capturing its fair market share, the index will be 100; if capturing less than its fair market share, a hotel’s index will be less than 100; and if capturing more than its fair market share, a hotel’s index will be greater than 100.


Hotel’s RevPar / Hotel Market RevPar

RGI results should exceed 1 (a 100 base index) otherwise hotels in a competitive set are converting more business than you.

Why is this metric important?
Enhancing the RGI maximizes hotel profitability. The index figure illustrates how a hotel’s RevPar figures are performing in comparison to their comp. set. This helps determine where costs need to be decreased and/or rates needs to be increased.

9. MCPB (marketing cost per booking)

What is this metric?
This tracks actual production vs the cost of each S&M channel


Each channel carries a wide range of distribution costs that can run from 10% to 50% of revenue. These costs are subtracted from the total booking amount to get the MCPB.

Why is this metric important?
This metric measures ROI. It illustrates the cost of acquisition, which is a huge factor in computing gross profits. The goal is to explore each and every channel to create demand, awareness, increase booking, and thus increase revenue. However, there needs to be the perfect mix across all channels with the best, most affordable solutions. Hotels cannot overspend on a marketing channel to simply obtain customers, there needs to be a balance between acquisition costs and profit.

10. Sentiment score on TripAdvisor

What is this metric?
Using a reputation/social media monitoring tool allows you to measure guest satisfaction/sentiment.


Why is this metric important?
This reflects product acceptance, issues, complaints and/or alerts you to product deficiencies. It also allows you to respond in real time and publicly to customer issues.

11. DRR (direct revenue ratio)

What is this metric?
This metric measures the percentage of online revenue coming in directly vs expensive third-party channels


Why is this metric important?
In order to maximize profitability, you need to get at least 40% of revenues from an own hotel website/booking engine. Travel agent bookings and other third party bookings come at a high price and decrease overall profit.

12. Website conversion rate

What is this metric?
This calculates the number of unique website visitors that convert into bookings. Revenue originates from potential guests researching a property online. As a hotel’s digital front door, a website influences guests’ impression more than any other marketing asset.
According to Hospitality Times, the average conversion rate for hotel websites is about 2-3%. In other words, approximately 97% of visitors to a hotel’s website leave without making a reservation.


Why is this metric important?
Converting a higher percentage of visitors is critical to reducing the cost of revenue and MCPB. The conversion rate also provides insight into how a visitor interacts with their website and what measures can be taken to capitalize on visitors’ interest.

13. Segmentation

What is this metric?
Segmentation data displays performance relative to three customer segments. These are:

  • Group: Group rooms are sold simultaneously in blocks of a minimum of ten rooms or more.
  • Transient: Transient rooms include rooms occupied by those with reservations at rack, corporate, corporate negotiated, package, permanent guests, government, or foreign traveler rates. Also includes occupied rooms booked via third party web sites.


Why is this metric important?
Segmented data provides insight into what type of visitors make up a hotel’s guests/revenue base and can demonstrate a clear pattern between group and transient guests. If there are dates that are historically slow for group business, that might be an area of focus moving forward. Similarly, the data may validate that an event your destination hosted resulted in a significant amount of group business leading to high occupancies at area properties.

14. TrevPar

What is this metric?
This is the total revenue per available room. This metric is the sum total of net revenues from alloperated departments plus rentals and other income per available room for the period divided by the total available rooms during the period.


Why is this metric important?
This metric helps determine the overall financial performance of the property, whereas Revpar only considers rooms revenues. TRevPAR is especially useful for hotels where rooms are not necessarily the largest component of the business.

Originally published by: Riley McGaff, Dec 06, 2016, on: thinpigmedia.com

When Instagram allowed for more posting options beyond the standard square, photographers rejoiced. If a photographer knows the environment in which their photograph will live, proper planning can be taken to ensure the picture fits well within that boundary; but, forcing photos to fit into certain areas for which they were not intended, can completely ruin the integrity of a photo. Yet, despite this new vertical aspect ratio, there are still some interesting limitations to Instagram’s non-square format.

When posting a horizontal photo, Instagram will take the photo, and force the width to match that of Instagram’s dimension, which means that all of the photo is present. The exceptions are panoramas, or exceptionally wide photos. The same isn’t true of vertical photos. For vertical photos, rather than showing all of the photo, the photo is instead cropped. This is for an aesthetic reason on Instagram’s end. Instagram wants all photos to fully fill the space between the two sides of the screen for consistency without taking up an enormous amount of scrolling space. What does that mean for the photo?

The most common aspect ratio for cameras is 3:2, and the ratio for a vertical photo on Instagram is 4:5, which means that most photos will be cropped. Luckily to a certain extent, you can choose where the cropping occurs – all on top, all on bottom, or a little on both.

As mentioned before, if the photographer, or designer knows that there will be cropping, then this can be accounted for, but sometimes important details can be lost in a post if it was created without the proper planning. This is especially true of portraiture. Many photographers like to experiment with how a person fits into a photo to make it more interesting. Take for example, many companies wanting to put a human element into their social media by featuring stories of their employees or sometimes customers. This is a great way to showcase the people involved, and is usually shown with a portrait of some kind.

Here is a quick example from my personal account of a time when the photo wasn’t planned out as well as it could’ve been in regard to Instagram’s aspect ratio.

I wanted to celebrate the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on my personal fashion account. I created an outfit to wear and photographed it. I also included various fan paraphernalia to accentuate it, and help re-enforce the relationship that the outfit wasn’t just an outfit, but related to my Harry Potter fandom. However, when posting it, I had to choose between cropping part of the outfit out, or making the novel I was holding barely noticeable at the bottom. If I had been more aware of the 4:5 aspect ratio, I would’ve known to frame it all slightly differently and lift the book slightly higher.

What’s the moral here? Vertical photos are a great way to take up more space and show more to your followers, so be sure to utilize them. But, when creating the post, be sure to be aware of how you will crop the photo.

Originally published by: Viveka von Rosen, Dec 16, 2016, on: www.linkedin.com

What is LinkedIn Tagging?

LinkedIn Tagging is a way for you to segment and organize your connections on LinkedIn. It is similar to Facebook and Twitter Lists (except your connections can’t see how you tagged them.) And for a short while longer, will be available to all users. (Rumor has it that the new interface gets rid of tagging with the free account L)

Why Tagging is Important

The reason tagging is so important is because it allows you to keep in touch and share relevant information with target groups of individuals. Let’s say you write a new Publisher Post on “Best Networking Events for Lawyers in NYC.” Obviously you would not message your whole network with that post, but you might let your top 22 NYC Lawyer Prospects know about the post on LinkedIn! Without tagging it would be very hard to find and message those folks in a timely manner.

Watch Video Here:

(Or click here to view on YouTube)

How Do You Tag Your Connections?

Right now you can tag your first level connections either from their profile (under the Relationship tab under their picture) or under My Network/Connections. Just click on the Tag link/button and add a new tag or check and existing tag and hit save.Sorting your Connections

To sort by tag, go to Connections (under the My Network link) and then choose Filter by: Tag …. and choose the tag. You will be able to send a quick message to anyone in the tagged grouping.

Common Mistakes

You do not need to tag every single one of your connections! That is time consuming and inefficient. You want to tag only the connections that are actually good leads for you – i.e., can help you build your business in some way or another.

Best Tagging Practices

When it comes to tagging your network, the more refined your search (and consequent tagging,) the better. You want to tag people in a way that makes sense to you. Instead of a tag that says “Prospects”, you might want to have a tag that says “Prospect – NYC – Lawyer – HOT”. That way when you are creating content (or looking for prospects) specific to NYC and the legal field, you will be able to easily find and engage with these people.

An easy way to find a group of similar prospects at a time is to create a search of your ideal prospects. (See Video) Do a search for your key prospects by keyword, title and location. Then sort by first-level connections. Then it’s just a matter of going in and actually tagging those individuals with the tag that you’ve already created. You might open a new tab, or toggle back and forth on your browser to make this easier.


The other thing that you’re probably going to want to d – thanks to all the changes LinkedIn is making, is download the Dux-Soup Chrome extension.  The free version of Dux-Soup might be all you need. It allows you to tag, make notes and sort anyone in your network (not just first level connections.)With LinkedIn’s new UI (User Interface) I will most likely upgrade to the premium account (for $15 a month) that allows you to export your tags and your notes.

Again, the nice thing about Dux-Soup is you can tag and make notes on anyone on LinkedIn, and more importantly, since LinkedIn is getting rid of tagging (and advanced search and saved searches) with the free account, it will be an indispensable tool for those not willing to upgrade to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator.

If you find this article useful, lease feel free to SHARE this article with your connections


Another tool I use is all the time is LinMailPro, (which runs about $60 a month.) LinMailPro allows you to do all sorts of things on LinkedIn! If you’ve watched the HQL program you know that LinMailPro is one of the tools I recommend to automate messaging. But, one of the things LinMailPro also does is tagging. When you add your connections to the LinMailPro dashboard and send them a message, you have the opportunity to tag everyone that you send a message to, whether it is 10 people or 100!

Once you’ve got those folks in LinMailPro tagged, you can also save that queue (or group of tagged people) to you computer and then upload and message that queue of folks any time you want. This feature is going to become VERY VERY important once LinkedIn gets rid of tagging and saved searches.

If you choose to upgrade to Sales Nav you will be able to import your tagged connections. But folks who stay with the free account will have to find another solution. So I recommend Dux-Soup and LinMailPro.

Wrapping Up

I hope these tips will help you to make the most of your network on LinkedIn! Just remember to follow these steps:

1.     Do your Advanced Search on LinkedIn while you can-  making the most of the Keyword, Title and Location fields.

2.     Sort by 1st Level Connections

3.     (Save your Search)

4.     Manually tag your connections on LinkedIn and/or Dux-Soup

5.     OR – Automate the tagging process using LinMailPro

6.     You don’t have to tag all your connections, only the people who are high-quality leads.

7.     Sort your connections by their tags.

8.     Send relevant information through LinkedIn messages.

Tagging on LinkedIn as advanced searches are only going to work for another month or so until we all get the new user interface. In order to avoid those complications you might want to consider investing in LinMailPro, which will allow you to create and save those searches. Or you’re going to need to upgrade to Sales Navigator ($79 – $99),

Originally published by: Sally Hogshead, Feb 23, 2017, on: howtofascinate.com

In a crowded, busy, distracted world… how can you design an experience that your audience will never forget? How can you inspire even the most jaded audiences?

It’s tough to impress your clients and audiences. Expectations are higher, and attention spans are shorter. How to keep people off their iPhones, and on topic?

Taking meetings from “uninspired” to “unforgettable”

In this battle for attention, you can design unforgettable meetings, once you find new ways to fascinate.

When you fascinate your participants, they’re more likely to learn, retain, and apply what they’ve experienced. They reach for higher levels of learning, and eagerly share ideas. Your participants become raving fans.

How exactly can you achieve this? Can anyone design an unforgettable experience? If so, what’s the process?

7 ways to turn any meeting into a fascinating experience

A quick glimpse inside the seven ways that you can design fascinating experiences:

1. PASSION: Build emotional connections.
Heighten your participants’ emotional connection to a topic by developing ways for them to bond. People are far less likely to forget emotions than facts. A few examples: Opt for ways to heighten the five senses: through colorful locations, delicious food, and music. Select a speaker with a heartfelt personal story. Avoid focusing on cold, hard facts in your content, because these dampen emotion. Any type of learning can make people feel passionately about the subject matter, once you tap into the brain’s hardwired patterns.

2. INNOVATION: Surprise and delight with creativity.
Tweak the norms. Incorporate humor. Make the planning experience fun for your client and team. When people experience something new, they are more likely to tell others about it because it’s noteworthy. For instance, instead of the standard conference format, defy expectations and experiment with something out-of-the-box, such as witty marketing materials, or unexpected exotic cuisine.

3. POWER: Allow them to control part of the experience.
Empower participants to confidently network and make new connections. 90% of introductions fail to lead to future connections because people simply don’t know how to open a conversation. With a few simple tools, attendees can stop feeling unconfident and start building their network. For instance, add a conversation starter to each nametag.

4. PRESTIGE: Impress them with a new standard.
Find one way to over-deliver. Increase their perceived value of sharing in this moment. Instead of making everything good, find one element they’ll never forget. For instance, curate the guest list to increase demand, or invest in the best possible opening speaker or performer. A Virtuoso conference surprised attendees when Frances Ford Coppola walked on stage as the closing keynote, and an Epsilon meeting wowed executives with a performance by Jewel.

5. ALERT: Teach with precise data and facts.
Sometimes, an emotional approach isn’t the most effective. When delivering a complex analysis of a problem, it’s more effective to avoid the warm-and-fuzzy, and instead, impress with a crisp analysis, impressive charts and graphs, and precise results.

6. MYSTIQUE: Arouse curiosity to learn more.
Hint at what’s to come, but don’t give it all away. Get them leaning forward in their seats, so they can’t wait to find out what’s next in the agenda. Get them buzzing. Curiosity is an incredibly powerful motivator. An increased desire to learn more gets people “hooked,” so they stay involved. The TED conference, for instance, never reveals exactly how speakers are chosen, which adds to the allure of the unknown. What about keeping the keynote speaker or closing party performer a secret?

7. TRUST: Rely on traditional patterns, such as familiar hotels, or standard foods.
Sometimes, the wisest choice is to go with what’s worked in the past. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, build trust by repeating a familiar format. Incorporate traditions, and repeat stories of shared history.

By applying one or more of these seven tools, anyone can make a meeting go from uninspired to unforgettable. Think of this system as a new shortcut to earning and keeping anyone’s attention.


Originally published by: Tim Sanders, Aug 16, 2016, on: www.linkedin.com

Have you ever heard the phrase, “horizontal turnover”?

This is where the jerk stays and the team around him or her leaves.  This happens more than you think, especially in a sales driven culture where top producers are god-like Rock Stars to management.

How can it happen?  Easy: They get hired, and once in, their numbers act as a shield to protect them from their personality or pure evilness.  This is why I advise recruiters to scrutinize a candidate for the jerk-factor, especially when he or she has a solid track record…yet is available.  There are tell-tale signs: They brag, focus on what is wrong with others, make excuses for past mistakes and show disdain for those who ‘bring in less money’ than they do.  You might also test the candidate by having him or her hang out with very junior staffers, then find out how he or she behaved.  Better yet, have an employee pose as a fellow applicant in the waiting area, with instructions to attempt to strike up a conversation.  That always brings out the (competitively fueled) jerk.

If you realize you have a Larry David sitting in front of you, if you can, refer them to a competitor. I’ve seen this happen before when I was working in HR at Yahoo and it works like a charm.  The competitor is seduced by the numbers, hires the jerk and a year later at the SHRM conference when you ask about Larry you hear, “He’s still here.  But everyone else in the group bugged out.”

Your culture is a conversation, led by leaders, about ‘how we do things around here’.  If you hire jerks, especially those with great numbers behind them, your culture will become negative where ‘you eat what you kill’ becomes the mantra of the organization.

BTW: The very people whom the competent jerk chases off are often the ones you need the most.  They are the heart of your company’s ability to deliver top quality service. You can train people to achieve metrics, but unfortunately, there’s not a good cure for being insensitive and arrogant.

Originally published: Jul, 2016, on: speakersue.com

At this moment, I have 135 emails in my inbox. I admit to using my inbox as my to-do list, and you may be a “zero-email inboxer.” Either way, we are both being strategic about the email we deal with and how we deal with it.

Whether your prospects favor one extreme or the other, the only way to persuade them to read, archive, or act (hallelujah!) on your email message is to keep it concise and totally relevant.

Tactic #1: Respect your customer.

The clearest sign of respect is to show value for time.  A long email filled with product features or one that doesn’t seem to have any purpose other than to toot the writer’s horn is just wrong, but even a concise email can be disrespectful.

Here is an example of a concise sales effort gone bad:

Hi Name,

I trust this email finds you well. We would like to secure a date to come and an discuss opportunities. How does your calendar look the week of January 6, 2014?



The first sentence is the tip off. Instead of providing an authentic touch point, the email begins with a throwaway sentence. More than that, it reads as if the writer is living in the 19th century! He “trusts” the email finds the recipient well? Who talks like that?

The next sentence is all about the writer and his opportunities. It provides no motivation for the buyer. Oh, and the typos were part of the original email.

The last sentence provides a semi-action. How does my calendar look, you ask? Busy. Very, very busy.

Respect customers by crafting a brief message that helps them see the value in taking precious time to talk to you. Help them understand why it might be to their advantage to meet with you.

And don’t make them take the next step! Make their life easy. Offer to phone them the week of January 6, and suggest that, if there is a time that is most convenient for them, you’ll follow up as they suggest. Take control and make them feel safe in advancing their buying process with you.

Tactic #2: Be relevant.

Upon receiving a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 12 sleeping rooms for one night and a boardroom with accompanying food and beverage, the eager salesperson emailed back:

Thank you for your request! When you see our new 241-slip marina, you will know you made a great choice selecting ABC Hotel.

What? Did the RFP mention a flotilla, and I just missed that part? (And how inauthentic, as an RFP indicates only a consideration of the hotel, not a commitment to select it!)

Just because you are excited about an aspect of your product or service doesn’t mean your customers will be. Align your messaging with what matters to them, not to what excites you. When you can transfer the passion you feel for your product to passion for the prospect’s success, you will enjoy unlimited success.

Originally published by: Viveka von Rosen, Jan 17, 2016, on: www.linkedin.com

LinkedIn is one of the oldest (2003) and really one of the more sophisticated social media sites for business people. Designed to connect professionals and showcase their resumes, few companies thought to market their products and services on the platform in the early days. Today, however, it has grown into a thriving community that presents plenty of opportunities for sales with just a little bit of creativity.

Here are five ways you can sell on LinkedIn –without really selling!

ONE: Join Groups – Even though LinkedIn groups are not what they used to be, if you pick the right group, they can still be a great place to find and connect with like-minded individuals. Social Selling on LinkedIn works best when you are a part of the communities you wish to sell to. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes this easy with a variety of groups based on profession and interests. When you join a group, you expand your network in every direction and can begin pulling leads from any vertical you choose. It is the both of best worlds with a specialized, but wide audience all in one place. Professionals who use LinkedIn for networking are also more likely to share products and services they believe in with their peers, increasing your visibility with time.

TWO: Produce Quality Content – Another important part of being a successful seller on LinkedIn is creating quality content. Not only can you share great content with LinkedIn Publisher, but you can use Sponsored Updates to share that content. However, you must keep in mind the audience you are addressing and ensure that the content you are sharing is up to par with other professionals in the arena.

THREE: Use the Right Tools – While LinkedIn is a great platform for Social Selling, sometimes it needs a little nudge! (Especially with the new User Interface.) Fortunately a number of developers have introduced browser based extensions that can help you track your contacts and find new leads. These extensions (Nimble, Dux-Soup, eGrabber and LinMailPro to name a few) allow you to see recent activity and gauge the level of interest from prospective buyers. This all improves your ability to guide the buyer’s journey.

FOUR: Be Consistent. When you first join LinkedIn with the intent of social selling, it’s easy to be dazzled by all of the information and possibilities in front of you. You suddenly have a direct line to professionals from all walks of life. You can take a peek into their lives and take your time planning your approach. However, this process is also time consuming. Many would-be social sellers start out strong and then lose momentum over time. Prospects who may have taken interest initially will soon lose interest if you stop producing content or initiating contact. Be very selective on who you engage with, and make sure to engage consistently.

FIVE: Set a Goal – When it comes to Social Selling on LinkedIn, many companies approach the platform with indifference. If sales happen then that’s good, but it’s almost not expected. Because there are no goals or systems in place. This makes it hard to achieve results. In order to actually make sales on LinkedIn you need to reach for a specific outcome. This serves two purposes. First, it forces you to make a plan and take action continually (see point 4). Secondly, it encourages you to learn from your mistakes over time. Instead of giving up when something doesn’t work, commitment to a goal will make you look at what went wrong and change your strategy accordingly. It may be difficult to track metrics specific to LinkedIn, but it is definitely worth your time once you have the system down.

Learning to make social sales can be challenging at first. However, LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity for B2B sales where other social media sites are not quite as robust. The type of interaction and networking that happens on LinkedIn offers an easy way to expand your reach to other professionals and quickly become a leader by impressing other leaders in their fields. The most important thing to keep in mind when you begin is consistency and quality as you build up your profile on the site. Establishing great content is the key to growing LinkedIn Social selling.

Originally published by: Stacia Skinner, May 11, 2016, on: cts-solutions.info

Recently, there has been quite a bit of chatter on social media and in articles declaring, “Cold calling is dead!” But is it? I think it is more like 99% of salespeople don’t like to do it instead of it being dead. Cold calling could never be dead! Maybe it depends on your definition of a “cold call.”

A colleague I respect from the sales training industry recently said something that I agree with100%. He stated: “These declarations of death usually come from people who FEAR cold calling, STINK (a different word was used — use your imagination) at cold calling, or both.”

Most of us think of a cold call as walking up to the door of a company we have never done business with, approaching the receptionist, and asking the infamous question: “Can you tell me the name of the person in charge of…?”

Yes. That is one form of cold calling, but that is not what the majority of us do. A more realistic definition of a cold call is: A call (either on the phone or face-to-face) to someone you have never spoken with before, with a specific objective. For most of us, the objective of the call is to set an appointment to talk further.

So a cold call can be a variety of things. It can be a call to: a name on a list, a referral, a new contact within an existing customer, a dormant account, or a prospect in a new territory that you are taking over. It can also be a walk-in to an organization.

There is an art to successful cold calling, but there is also a process to it.  So here are five tips to refine your cold calling process:

1.  Have your list ready.
The day before, make sure you have the company names, contact names and phone numbers of those you want to call.  Mix it up a bit by making calls to those who have never done business with your company, accounts that are now dormant, and referrals. This way, you can go down your list without procrastinating and you’ll have some variety.

2. Schedule time in your calendar each and every day to do these types of calls.
I know you have heard this before! But, I’m not asking you to block out several hours at a time — just for you to schedule fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the afternoon. You should be able to knock out anywhere between ten and fifteen calls in that amount of time.

3.  Be specific with your objective for the call and stick to it!
This is where scripting can help you. For a cold call, remember, you are doing interruptive marketing. The person you are calling is not waiting for your call. Instead of trying to get into a long dialog, respect their time and ask for an appointment in the future (on the phone or face-to-face) so they can be prepared. Remember:  “How is Tuesday at 2:00?”

Note: For more tips on scripting, contact us at  www.cts-solutions.net.

4.  Don’t get discouraged when you get a “No.”
At the same time, don’t stop making calls when you get a “Yes.” Remember, we are in the business of getting “No’s.” We have to get the “No” in order to find our “Yes.” It is the law of ratios. Make sure you get your “No” ratio. When you get your “Yes,” don’t stop! You are on a high and sound more positive on the phone, so make a couple more dials and capitalize on that happy mood!

5.  Be prepared for the negative responses you will hear.
You know the most common negative responses you get when you call. Make a list of those you hear and learn how to turn them around to your benefit. Realize the first response is a “knee-jerk” reaction and not the real reason they will not meet or talk with you. You need to keep going to the second or third negative response to find out the real reason they are saying “No.”

Note: For more tips on becoming a master of Turnarounds, contact us at www.cts-solutions.net.

In sales, we cannot stay in business without growing the business and cold calling can be a critical part of accomplishing that goal. These tips presented here may help you overcome your FEAR, or at least dial the STINK way down! Use your art as a salesperson, but also put a process to it in order to gain great results. Let’s just pick up the phones!

Putting Your Best “Hello” Forward

Portrait of and executive middle aged businesswoman sitting in front of computer and making call while working in her office.

While we’re on the subject of cold calling, let’s talk about making a good impression by using good phone manners:

1. When making a cold call, do not use speakerphone.
This is considered rude. People feel they are on stage, even if there is no one else in the room. (On a regular call, if you want others in the room with you to join the conversation, start by using the handheld and then let the person know you will be placing them on speakerphone.)

2.  Always state your name and your company name clearly.
This applies even when this is not your first conversation. There is nothing more frustrating than someone calling me and saying:  “Hi, Stacia. It’s John.” Remember, you are doing interruptive marketing. In many cases, you won’t have the person’s full attention. Tell them who you are and where you are from, so they can listen to what you are saying versus struggling to figure out who you are.

3.  Your voice is your image.
When using the phone, 90% of the conversation is your tone and only 10% is the words you say. Voice tone is critical to your success. Sit up or stand up at your desk when you make calls. This brings your diaphragm up and you sound better. Smile and dial. Yes, people can hear your smile. Put a mirror at your desk and look at yourself while you are on the phone.

4.  Guard against talking too slowly or too quickly.
Try to match the speed of the person you are talking to, otherwise your words might be misinterpreted.

5.  Allow the person you are speaking with to hang up before you do
We have all been in the position where we think the conversation is over and we hang up the phone, accidentally cutting off the person mid-sentence. If you make it a habit of hanging up last, the likelihood of that happening goes down.

So put your best “Hello” forward by always using good phone etiquette. Your efforts will pay off!