Category Archives: Pam Lontos

What’s Love Got to Do with It? For Sales, It’s Everything

By Pam Lontos and Troy HornePam Lontos

In today’s sales environment, having the most product knowledge and the best pitch or presentation can only take you so far. What really makes prospects and clients eager to buy from you is the amount of love they feel from you.

Yes … Love.

While most people think that love has no place in business—and especially in sales—quite the opposite is true. In reality, love is like a magnet. The more love you put out to others, the more you’ll attract positive outcomes (in this case, sales).

Realize, though, that the love required is not the romantic type, so you don’t have to date your clients or woo them with candy and flowers. Rather, love in sales is more about caring, showing compassion, and being genuinely interested in the other person. These kinds of emotional factors carry a lot of weight in today’s selling situations. Savvy salespeople know the value of love and display it to their clients daily. Here’s how you can too.

Acknowledge your prospects and clients. It’s common for clients to go with a more expensive product or one with fewer features simply because they like the salesperson. If you think that doesn’t make sense, consider that the greatest human need is to feel appreciated. Often, the salespeople of the winning products simply made their client feel special. Especially in today’s technology age where person-to-person contact is often limited to emails or texts, developing a real bond with others and showing love by acknowledging them is more important than ever.

For example, Tina sold merchant credit card services. There was one large company she really wanted to get in with, but the decision maker continually told her no—that he was happy with their current merchant services provider. But even though he said no, Tina continued to follow up with him, always taking the time to talk with him about things other than her product. During one of those conversations she learned when his birthday was and she notated it in her calendar. When his birthday rolled around, she sent him a very funny, yet tasteful, singing telegram. He called her on the verge of tears, thanking her for the kind gesture and revealing that no one—not even his wife or kids—remembered his birthday. The next day he signed up and became one of Tina’s best clients. A little acknowledgement goes a long way.

Help others—with no strings attached. Zig Ziglar once said, “You can get everything in life you want if you just help other people get what they want.” That sentiment holds true in sales. The more you help your clients—without expecting anything in return—the more business you’ll eventually receive. Therefore, show your love by doing things that help people in their business and in their personal life. Recommend other companies—even your competitors—if you aren’t the best fit for their needs. Make introductions to businesses and individuals your client may enjoy knowing. And above all else, do something nice for your clients just for the sake of being nice.

Phil sold radio advertising for a small station. One of his prospects owned an advertising agency who bought ad space for large national companies. Each time he approached his prospect, she told him no—that his station was too small for their large accounts which demanded higher ratings before committing to advertising. Phil knew she had an eight-year-old daughter, as did he, so when he won four tickets to a One Direction concert, he asked her if her daughter would like to join his family to the show. The prospect was thrilled, but she suspected that Phil would expect her business in exchange. He assured her that was the furthest thing from his mind; he simply thought her daughter would enjoy the concert. The prospect knew her daughter loved One Direction, but she couldn’t imagine going to the concert and listening to all the screaming girls, so she took Phil up on the offer. While the prospect didn’t buy from Phil due to her need for higher ratings, she did refer some colleagues to him who were looking for radio advertising time, and many of them bought, ultimately resulting in more business than he ever had. By giving without expecting anything in return, Phil got paid handsomely.

Treat your prospects and clients like friends. When you hang out with your friends, do you force yourself on them and only talk about or do things that interest you? Or do you think about their likes and needs and talk about and do things you both enjoy? Chances are that you take your friends’ needs and likes into consideration and do what you can to make your time together enjoyable. The next time you meet with a prospect or client, show them love by treating them the same way you’d treat your friends. Let them talk about things that interest them, even if it’s not about what you’re selling. And when you discover something they enjoy, find a way to help them get what they want.

Chris was a successful call center technology salesperson who drove a sporty new Corvette—a gift he bought himself when he reached a major sales goal. One day he learned that a prospect he had been calling upon for the last few months would be in town for a conference. He knew this man was a car enthusiast, so he offered to pick the prospect up from the airport in his Corvette. The prospect agreed. When Chris pulled up, he immediately noticed the big smile that came across the prospect’s face. Without missing a beat, Chris asked, “Hey, would you like to drive it?” The prospect jumped at the opportunity. As the two of them drove down the highway to the prospect’s meeting spot, the conversation was about everything other than call center technology—cars, sports, food, etc. Chris treated his prospect the same way he treated his friends, and the next day the prospect called and asked Chris for a detailed proposal for his products. A few months later, the deal was closed … and Chris had not only a new client, but also a new friend.

The More You Give the More You Get. When your prospects and clients think of you, you want them to have positive feelings—to think of someone fun and friendly, not a pushy salesperson. So if you want to attract sales and become a top producer, start with love. You’ll find that the more love you give, the more sales you’ll get.

Pam Lontos and Troy Horne have written and recorded the song “Love is a Magnet” that shows how positive thinking will lead to increased sales and improved teamwork and productivity. Pam Lontos is President of Pam Lontos Consulting (www.PamLontos.com). She is a past Vice president of sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting. Troy Horne is an award-winning singer-songwriter who has appeared on Broadway, NBC’s The Sing Off, and Star Search (www.TroyHorne.com).

10 Ways to Lose Money in Your Business

By Pam LontosPam Lontos

Chances are that you’ve read numerous books and articles on what to do to succeed in business. But often, knowing what not to do is even more important. In order for your company to make more money, be sure you’re not inadvertently making any of these top 10 business mistakes.

Mistake #1: Prejudging your customers. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but all too often business owners prejudge their prospects and customers before ever talking with them. How many times have you met someone and thought, “I doubt he can afford my product,” “She looks like she’d be impossible to work with,” or “This person isn’t my ideal client”? Rather than prejudge and dismiss what could be your next best customer, suspend judgment and take the time to get to know each prospect and client.

Mistake #2: Taking too long to follow up. If someone calls or emails to inquire about your products or services, how long does it take you to get back with them? While many business owners think it’s okay to reply within three days, you really need to get back with people within 24 hours or less. After all, if they’re contacting you for information, they are likely contacting your competitors as well.

Mistake #3: Not working with someone because of imagined slights. If someone is having a bad day or is not feeling well, they may say or do things that you think are meant in a mean way. For example, a prospect may ask, “How did you get into this business?” But because of their demeanor that day, or because they’re rushed, or because of any number of other reasons, their question might come across to you as though they asked, “How did you of all people get into this business because you certainly don’t look smart enough to do this?” Never take anything a customer says or does as a personal attack. It usually isn’t.

Mistake #4: Making prospects and customers feel unimportant. People want to know that they’re more than just another sale to you. They want to feel that you really care. For example, one business owner was stumped as to why one of the company’s best customers stopped buying. Finally she asked the customer what happened, and the customer explained that in the past the business owner had had always taken her out to lunch once per quarter, and they hadn’t done that for nearly six months. As a result, the customer felt that she no longer was important. Upon hearing this, the business owner promptly took the customer out to lunch, and she got a sale. Therefore, take an active interest in your customers. Remember their birthdays. Send them a small gift on the anniversary. Do whatever you can to make each customer feel special.

Mistake #5: Not letting your staff handle important issues. When there’s an issue with a customer, can your staff take care of most of the situations? Or must everything wait for you to resolve it? When you make customers wait for you to get an issue resolved, you’re giving them extra time to stew over the situation and get angrier. Instead, give your staff the training and tools to handle whatever situation arises so they can make the customer happy right away. Remember, you want your customers to always leave your store or office happy and with all their issues resolved. That’s the best way to ensure repeat business.

Mistake #6: Being inflexible with your hours. We all want life balance, but sometimes work is not a 9-5 job. You have to be flexible if you want to get the sale. That means if you have a good lead or a customer who is ready to spend money with you now, you may have to work outside your normal business hours. So be open to returning phone calls after business hours or even meeting with a client on a weekend. You can always balance out the extended hours you put in one day by taking time off another day.

Mistake #7: Waiting too long to make an important decision. In business, the speed at which you can make an important decision is critical to your success. Opportunities won’t wait until next month, next week, or even the next day. To prosper, you have to take action quickly. For example, if you interview someone who seems perfect for your open position, make an offer immediately. If you wait, another company will also think the person is perfect and hire them. Or, if you have an opportunity to sponsor an event at a good price, secure your spot. When you hem and haw over the ROI of the decision, by the time you make up your mind all the sponsorships could be bought. Trust your gut when it comes to decision–making; it’s usually right on.

Mistake #8: Making it impossible to find your contact information. Make sure your contact information is easy to find. On your website, your phone number and email address need to be prominent on every page. Nothing frustrates customers more than wanting to contact you but not being able to because they can’t locate your phone number on your website or in your email signature. Even the most loyal customer will eventually give up and call your competition simply because they made their contact information visible and easy to find.

Mistake #9: Using cheap marketing materials that make you look bad. Your marketing materials tell a lot about your company—not just in the words on the page, but also in the overall look and feel of the piece. Take a good look at your current marketing materials. Do they look professional? Are there misspellings? Do they properly represent you? When your marketing materials look like an amateur created them, or when they’re riddled with errors, you send the message that you’re unprofessional and incapable of delivering quality work. Make sure your marketing materials present you in the best light.

Mistake #10: Being rigid with your contracts. If your business uses a contract with customers, it’s definitely an important part of the transaction. However, just because it’s important doesn’t mean it can’t also be flexible. If someone requests a change to the contract, consider it. If it’s something small, give in to it. Realize that sometimes people just want to feel as though they’ve won—that they negotiated a good deal. So if the item they want to change is small and not that important to you, let them have it. And rather than give them more time to think about it while you reissue a new contract, allow them to simply handwrite in the change and initial it. The quicker the contract is executed, the sooner you’ll get the sale complete.

Jump Start Your Success: Of course, taking advice from others can be hard for any business owner. But why repeat the mistakes others have made? Why not learn from them so you can shorten your learning curve? When you take the steps to avoid these top 10 mistakes, you’ll be on the fast track to long term success.

Pam Lontos is President of Pam Lontos Consulting. Pam consults with businesses, speakers, authors, and experts in the areas of marketing, publicity and speaking. Pam is a past Vice president of sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting where she raised sales 500% and she founded PR/PR Public Relations. She is the author of “I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the Media to Grow Your Fame, Wealth and Success.” She is also a former professional speaker. For more information on her consulting services, call 407-522-8630 or email Pam@PamLontos.com.

Talk Up Your Business: How to Get More Customers via Public Speaking

By Pam LontosPam Lontos

All business owners want more customers. The question is, how do you attract them? Advertising can be expensive, and traditional marketing techniques may take a long time to show results. Fortunately, there is another option.

Did you know that as a business owner or professional in your field, you are also an expert? And, did you know that people (a.k.a., potential customers) want to learn from your advice? That’s why it makes sense for you to share your knowledge by giving informative presentations on your area of expertise.

Before you let your self-doubt creep in and proclaim, “But I’m not a speaker!” rest assured that people aren’t expecting a high-tech motivational event. They don’t expect eloquence or even flamboyance. They simply want some targeted information that can help them improve their business or their life. And chances are, it’s the same information you tell people via phone or in one-to-one interactions every day. When you can deliver those bits of information to a larger audience, you can get more business. Here’s how to do it.

Hone in on your topic: Even though you may not aspire to be a professional speaker, if you’re going to market and brand yourself as an expert, you have to pinpoint some key speaking topics. To do so, think about the questions you commonly get from customers. Chances are those are great speaking topics.

For example …

  • If you have a gardening shop, you can talk about how to grow an organic garden in your backyard … or the best plants to grow for your geographic area … or tips for getting the most blooms from your plants.
  • If you own a dress shop, you can talk about how to dress for success … or ways to create a “mix and match” wardrobe … or the most flattering styles for various body types.
  • If you own a furniture store, you can talk about home staging ideas … or easy ways to spruce up the look of your home … or how to pinpoint your unique decorating style.
  • If you have a restaurant, you can talk about stocking a healthy pantry … or healthy eating tips … or do a cooking demonstration.

Whether you speak for free or get paid is not important. The idea is to get in front of your ideal buyer with some useful information. That’s how you get perceived as an expert. As legendary speaker Zig Ziglar used to say, “If you’re the one up there giving a speech, people automatically think you’re the expert.” All customers want to feel that they’re doing business with the best of best. Speaking puts you at that best of the best, expert level.

Go public! Next you need to decide where to do your presentations. Often you can have the speaking event right at your business location. If your store is small or not conducive to hosting a gathering, you could use a room at the local library or reserve a meeting room at a restaurant—both of which are relatively low-cost options. Also, look for local Meet Up group or clubs that attract your target audience, such as mom’s groups, yoga clubs, sewing circles, book clubs, or any other organized gathering of like-minded people. It’s common for these groups to bring in speakers a few times a year. If your message would resonate with a particular demographic, offer your speaking topic to the group.

If your topic is geared more for business to business customers, then investigate your local Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, and BNI Chapters. All of these organizations have regular weekly or monthly meetings where they bring in speakers from the community.

Finally, contact other local businesses that are complimentary to what you do and offer to speak to their customers. For example, if your company does pest extermination, contact a plant nursery and offer to do a seminar for their customers on environmentally friendly pesticides, thus introducing the pest extermination company to a new source of business. Think of other companies that are not direct competitors with you and whose customers would be a good match for your company.

Promote yourself. One of the best ways to increase the number of people who attend your speaking events is to promote it to your current customers. Make sure you get email addresses from your customers so you can email them a monthly newsletter, coupons, and announcements of your upcoming seminars. Also, post the event information on your social media channels, and put up signs around your business about the next presentation. If you’re not charging admission to the event, you may be able to put an announcement of it in the local news media under the Community Events or Community Happenings section.

Of course, email and social media can only get you so far when it comes to promoting your events. Studies show that each day, more than 294 billion emails get sent. The sheer amount of information people are being bombarded with is overwhelming. So while email and social media are great tools to reach people, if you really want to reach people, then you need to start using one of the oldest marketing tools available: the telephone. Have your employees call your customers and extend them a personal invitation to attend the speaking event. When you talk with someone rather than just send an email, you develop rapport and gain their attention faster than any email message ever could.

Speak Up! You want to be the company people think of first when they need what you offer. That’s called having Top of Mind Awareness, and public speaking helps you achieve that. When you gain that Top of Mind Awareness, you’ll have a leg up on your competition and will be perceived as the expert.

Ultimately, speaking about your industry knowledge is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to bring in new business. So don’t be shy! Get out there and market yourself as an expert/speaker. By doing so, you’ll stand out from the competition and reach new levels of professional success.

Pam Lontos is President of Pam Lontos Consulting. Pam consults with businesses, speakers, authors, and experts in the areas of marketing, publicity and speaking. Pam is a past Vice president of sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting where she raised sales 500% and she founded PR/PR Public Relations. She is the author of “I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the Media to Grow Your Fame, Wealth and Success.” She is also a former professional speaker. For more information on her consulting services, call 407-522-8630 or email PamLontos@gmail.com.

Marketing Your Business: Get More for Less

By Pam LontosPam Lontos

As a business owner or leader, you always need to make sure you’re perceived as the expert in your industry and that you’re getting your marketing messages out in the right way. But with so much hype and conflicting advice these days about the best way to market your product, services, or company, how can any business owner know the best marketing path to take?

Implement the following marketing tips today and watch your profits soar.

1. Know What Makes You Unique: Yes, your company sells certain products or services, and you probably have years of expertise in what your company offers, but if you’re going to market and brand yourself as an expert, you have to know what makes you unique. So sit down and write out all the things that make you different, unique, special, and one-of-a-kind.

Chances are there are many experts, just like you, in your niche or industry. You’re not the only expert. So why should someone buy from you or hire you over your competitors? What do you offer that no one else does?  What are your credentials?  For example:

  • Did you grow a large business from nothing?
  • Did you turnaround a well-known organization?
  • Were you a leader or manager of a high-profile company?
  • Did you develop a system that consistently gets great results?
  • Have you personally used your system to lose weight, build a business, solve a major business or societal problem?

Whatever you identify as your unique element, you need to promote that fact in all you do. Even if you’ve been in business for years, you need to do this exercise too. There are always newcomers coming into your field, so you have to continually differentiate yourself as the best and your company in order to stay on top.

2. Identify Your Markets: No business can successfully market themselves to every sector of the population. So look at what makes you unique and choose one key demographic that makes sense for you to market to. For example, you may decide targeting older Baby Boomers makes the most sense for your products or services.

Next, see if you can expand that market so you can have two distinct demographics to target—the first is a niche industry or sector and the second is broader. Look at what’s a natural extension of your main demographic and target that additional segment. You’ll find that focusing on two key demographics will make your marketing efforts easier and more effective.

3. Promote the Bottom Line Results You Deliver: When marketing their company, many business owners fall into the trap of constantly touting why their company, products, or services are so great. They say and write things like, “We’ve been around for 20 years,” “We sell the best solutions in the industry,” and “We’ve won numerous awards.”  In truth, no one cares about accolades like that.

Instead of talking about how great you and your company are, talk about the results you’ll deliver to customers.  Use phrases such as, “Increase your bottom line,” “This home is close to your children’s school,” or “Get the highest earnings with the lowest risk.” Just as you analyze the bottom line results of any investment you make, your customers do the same thing—only they’re looking at the bottom line results for them and their families. The only way to know what matters most to your customers is to ask them. So send a survey or personally ask your long-term clients what’s important to them and what kind of results they get by using your products or services. Then, talk about those things in your marketing messages.

4. Don’t Forget Direct Mail: Finally, let’s not forget that direct mail pieces (sales letters and postcards) are still a great way to market your business. Key elements of your direct mail piece are:

A strong headline that stresses how you’re going to help them (the benefit your products or services offer). Depending on what you sell, you might talk about losing weight, having a cleaner home, feeling healthier, increasing productivity, etc.

  • Testimonials from satisfied customers.
  • A breakdown of the problems your target audience is facing AND your solution for each one.
  • A list of any articles you’ve had published in an industry or association magazine, or any local media appearances.
  • A call to action. Clearly state the next step you want people to take: “Call me today,” “Visit my website,” “Request more information,” etc.

Show people that you’re “in the know” when it comes to their issues and that you’re the best person to help them solve those challenges.

Market Smart: Being a business owner is one of the most rewarding professions. In what other career can you share your expertise, control your professional future, meet lots of interesting people, and make a difference in the lives of others? But to do all this well, you have to continually market your company, products, and services. By using the strategies outlined here, you’ll be better able to stand out from the competition and market your business to new levels of success.

Pam Lontos is President of Pam Lontos Consulting. Pam consults with businesses and experts in the areas of sales, marketing, and publicity. Pam founded PR/PR Public Relations and is a past vice president of sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting where she raised sales 500%. She is the author of “I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the Media to Grow your Fame, Wealth and Success.” For more information on her consulting services, call 407-522-8630, email PamLontos@gmail.com.