Archive for June, 2008

Prospecting Tips From “The Queen”

A few months ago I received a promotional e-mail from Wendy Weiss, the self-titled “Queen of Cold Calling.” I glanced at it quickly and then filed it away as a possible product I might be interested in. Sorting through my older e-mail folders today, I came across this again and discovered I hadn’t scrolled down far enough the first time and missed some really good ideas I want to pass on to all of you. 

The following phone prospecting tips are courtesy of Wendy Weiss…you’ve got to pay attention to the Queen!

(1)  Call your voice mail and practice your script yourself. It’s good practice and you will have a chance to hear how you sound to others.

(2)  When you listen to yourself on your voicemail check to make sure you’ve got energy in your voice, that you sound confident and assured.

(3)  Think about the impression you want to make and how you want your prospect to feel about what you are saying. You can draw your prospect in by the way you present your message. Think of it as “telephone theater.”

(4)  Eliminate the word “just” and all other minimizing words from your vocabulary. “I’m just calling because…” “I’m only calling because…” These types of approaches read as apology and dilute the power of your message.

(5)  Eliminate the phrases “I believe that…” And “I think that…” from your vocabulary. Who would you rather listen to? Someone who believes or thinks she knows something–or someone who simply knows it? The phrases “I believe” and “I think” detract from your message and from your power and authority.

(6)  Eliminate the phrase “Once we have completed… we will hopefully achieve…” No one pays you to “hopefully” do something. They pay you to do actually do it. Tell your prospects what they will achieve or should expect to achieve.

(7)  Don’t ever tell a prospect that you will “try” to do something for them. Tell them that you “will.” Who would you rather buy from: Some one who “tries” or someone who comes through?

(8)  If a prospect asks you a question and you are unclear as to the answer, it is perfectly acceptable to say, “I’ll find out.” It’s bad form to say, “I really am not sure.”

(9)  And speaking of “easy:” Always use “easy.” Never, ever say that your product or service is “difficult,” even if it is. In that case you can say, “We’ll make it easy for you.”

Try incorporating some of these ideas into your client pitches or prospecting calls and let us know if they work for you!

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19 June 2008 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment

Design & Our Marketing Assumptions

Sorry for the long break between posts. Things got busy with ICFF and NeoCon and several tight deadlines and then some family issues…but I am going to sincerely try to drop the ball for that long again! 

During my time away from posting I’ve been having some very interesting conversations about the design business. Talking with designers, manufacturers, product developers, etc. I’ve been told over and over again that at “the high end” the market is doing fine. But when it comes to custom design, what is “the high end”? Is it based on your hourly rates? The materials you use? The type of work that you do? And this is where we start to get into the murky and often uncomfortable muddle of emotions and justifications that often passes as analysis among many designers. Take a look at the statements below and see if you recognize yourself in any:

1. My designs are more valuable because… Fill in the blank: I use couture methods, my work is better designed and better constructed, I only use the best fabrics, linings, etc. 

2. Unique, custom designs should command a higher price in the marketplace. (Command? Who are you talking to? Or trying to convince?)

3. My work is valuable because of how much care, effort, concern, detail, etc. I put into it.

4. I should be fairly compensated for doing what(ever) I love to do.

The main theme: It’s all about you. You want to get paid because you’re proud of what you do, you believe you do it well and you work hard doing it. But how much value does that have to your customers?

I know design is important. I know it can change lives. I know that good design improves our lives and that poor design can be harmful. But design does not, can not, exist in a vacuum. It has to be put out there in the world and experienced; because if design is just put on display and not used, it’s merely style.  

Follow this train of thought and you begin to see that a designer’s job is not just about creating; but about making work that is functional, practical, usable and real. It’s about stating the case not just for your designs but for DESIGN, good design, as a worthwhile, valuable practice. 

Designers face many real challenges when it comes to setting a price on their work and finding the language with which to promote it, but don’t add your own emotions about why you do what you do to the mix. Instead become an advocate for the design values that matter to you and brought you to this work. It’s often a tricky balance––we get into the design business because of our passion to create, but you can’t let that passion overwhelm the dollars & cents of being in business.

17 June 2008 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

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