Are you The Most Interesting Man in the World? Unless you are Jonathan Goldsmith, and were hired by Dos Equis to play the role, probably not. This spokesperson embodies the Dos Equis brand, and he shares their point of view on life, that it should be lived. Following the birth of The Most Interesting Man, Dos Equis saw a significant growth in sales of imported beers and he is now an unforgettable figure in mainstream media.
Like Dos Equis, you will “begin living life” when you properly brand yourself and your business. You will see an increase in sales of not only one product or service, but others associated with your brand as well. This brand becomes the personality that identifies your products, services, company, and most importantly, you. Branding is an important part of growing your business, yet many agents attempt to go about it without a plan.
Rise to the top by following these 3 branding basics:
1. Be unique: Set yourself apart from other telecom agents. Consider your strengths and weaknesses, target audience, and your corporate values. What do you want your brand to mean to your customers? What names, images, and phrases do you want customers to associate with your brand? This discovery process is as important as the brand execution.
2. Embody your message: After you have discovered what makes you unique from your competitors consistently communicate this uniqueness in all aspects of your business. This includes your email signature, website, advertising, email and mail marketing, even how you represent yourself and your company in person.
3. Be the expert: As the telecom professional, you are the expert. Represent the products and services you sell as such. Reach out to your partners and begin testing and using their products and services first hand. By doing this you will be able to give an accurate account of how the phone services and products actually work.
Identify what makes you unique, consistently communicate this message, establish yourself as the expert in the telecom community and begin seeing an increase in sales. This brand is what will set you apart and what will keep you top of mind for your prospects and customers.
What branding basics have you had success with? Anything you want to add? Please share your comments below.
One of the advantages to working with an independent agent versus a direct representative is that agents are educated on a wider scope. They can answer everything about anything telecom related. But as an agent, how do you live up to that high of a standard? And how can you make sure you don’t miss a thing? Stay on top of your game by checking in with these three resources.
You may be familiar with Channel Partners because of their monthly magazine and bi-annual Channel Partners Expo. They are constantly updating their web site with industry news, press releases, and blogs. The people behind this magazine and web site live and breathe telecom. Check out the Hot Topics section at the top of the page where they group collections of articles and blogs regarding trending Channel topics.
CRN is run by UBM, the company responsible for PR Newswire, UBM Technology, UBM Channel and many more. These people know the art of news and technology. This web site also features a How-To section, which focuses on improving your business and offers advice on marketing and customer relation. There is plenty of marketing advice out there, but it’s nice to find relevant information from marketers who are telecom-focused all in one place.
IT Business Edge
As the name implies, IT Business Edge is a little more technology-centric than telecom focused. However, you can’t have one without the other. The great thing about ITBE is not only does it have current news, they offer whitepapers as well as IT downloads. The whitepapers tend to be sponsored by vendors, but still offer valuable information on a wide range of business solutions.
Occasionally giving the answer, “I’ll have to get back to you on that,” is great. It can show your client that you’re willing to search high and low for answers and fitting solutions. However, if you catch yourself saying more often than not, it’s time to do some homework! Use these resources and you’ll be a go-to industry expert in no time.
What are your favorite industry news resources?
As telecom sales agents, you understand the importance of an effective Internet presence. There are many different avenues a business can take when looking to expand their Internet presence, each offering a unique set of characteristics. With the launch of Google Plus in the summer of 2011, and the Business page platform in November, Google entered the social media market hoping to attract businesses to their site.
A Google Plus business page for your telecom business has many unique features that can be beneficial if you are looking to extend your social media reach.
- Search Engine Optimization - Using calculations derived from all +1 button clicks, Google will use this sum to help determine relevancy in Google search results. The overall number of +1 clicks will help to raise your profile during a Google search. Google search statistics show that most users tend to click on results with relevancy that place them near the top of the list. Users don’t tend to scroll through and open links several pages into the result list. Using SEO strategies, such as +1 clicks, will help to boost your search relevancy.
- Circles - Business page users can opt to group followers into specific categories or defined audiences. This allows users to create marketing to reach a specific audience and more precisely match the message to potential customers.
- Multiple classifications for businesses - Businesses can choose to be classified as a local business or places; arts, entertainment, or sports; company, institution, or organization; product or brand, or other. These categories allow users to search by business categories and allows business page users to clearly communicate the type of business they are promoting.
- Hangouts – You can "hang out" with followers through an embedded video chat. This could be a valuable resource for customer service and real time communication. Businesses could invite followers to a web chat on Google+ that further clarifies a product’s marketing or the business message.
- Enhanced features for local pages - With the aid of Google Maps, creating and maintaining a local page allows businesses to further enhance their Internet visibility. Local pages, managed separately from Business pages, include a map that clearly highlights the business’ contact information, hours, and other relevant details. The difference between the two pages is that a local page helps customers connect directly with a local business and the business page provides the same business owners with an avenue for promoting customer engagement, interaction, and building loyalty. If the majority of your telecom customers are local, this may be a very valuable option for you.
Ready to get started? Here’s a great video tutorial on how to set up your Google+ business page.
Telecom sales is a competitive sport, but it can be just as much about collaboration as it is about competition. LinkedIn forums offer sales and SMB professionals the chance to share tips and success stories. Following these forums will help you keep up with the latest Sales and SMB topics.
Brian Carroll, author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale, originally created this group to expand the interactivity of his blog, B2B Lead Roundtable Blog. In addition to user generated topics on things ranging from best practices to lead scoring, you will also find links to great B2B webinars. Be sure to follow Carroll’s regular blog as well, where he and guest bloggers offer ideas on improving your B2B marketing.
You may have heard of Inbound Marketing University, which offers training tools for internet marketing professionals. This company also hosts a forum where people discuss internet marketing topics including things like the use of QR codes, which social media outlets have been successful for which industries, and what has changed in SEO.
Although many small and medium businesses share the same challenges, the technology industry often requires unique solutions. SMB IT Connection offers a forum for small and medium business leaders to discuss IT solutions. Members of this group share a combination of IT related information and marketing ideas. You will find topics anywhere from branding your small business to overcoming road blocks in the IT sales process.
This forum for Sales Professionals, boasting over 82,000 members, focuses on the art of the sale. Whether you’re looking for ideas on sales development, prospecting handling, sales automation, or closing strategies, this is the place for you.
The stated objective of this group is to develop three new models of sales motivation, focusing on the factors of motivation vs. de-motivation, job satisfaction vs. job dissatisfaction, and personal improvement. If you are interested in participating in a study of sales professionals, you will find information on the group’s profile. However, the group discussion is where you’ll find ideas on starting conversations when cold calling and getting past gatekeepers.
As the adage goes, business is all about who you know. Being plugged in to the right LinkedIn forums can offer you similar advantages to knowing all of the right people. Which forums do you follow that help in your telecom sales efforts? Tell us about them below.
Every telecom agent worries about their businesses surviving and thriving, especially in a world where outcomes are uncertain and technologies are changing so rapidly. As Charles Darwin pointed out, those that adapt to changing environments will thrive while those that do not will get left behind. While he referred specifically to physical environments, the same concept holds true in business.
Telecom and technology are rapidly evolving. You may feel a little lost, or scared, or you may still be in denial, holding on to the old ways of doing things and hoping its enough to see you through.
In this new “Information Age,” knowledge is king. Staying up to date on the latest developments in telecom, technology, sales techniques and running a small business will give you an advantage over the competition. The implementation of that knowledge? Well, that’s up to you. But finding it and filtering out the noise is a very big and important first step.
Help Is on the Way
That’s why we will dedicate the next several blog posts to finding, filtering, and organizing the best and most current information out there. All these posts will be written with you, the telecom sales agent, in mind. We will be covering topics such as:
- Top Telecom Professionals to follow on Twitter
- Top Sales/SMB Professionals to follow on Twitter
- Top Telecom Forums to follow on LinkedIn
- Top Sales/SMB Professionals Forums to follow on LinkedIn
- How to Use LinkedIn for Prospecting
- Top Telecom Blogs and Newsletters to Subscribe To
- Establishing and Expanding a Telecom Agent Brand that Sells
And much more. Is there a topic you’d specifically like us to cover? Leave your ideas in the comments below.