Eight Things to Think About Before You Start Blogging

January 19th, 2011

blogging for salesSo you want to start a blog, eh? Well, good for you. A blog can be a powerful sales and marketing tool for your business. (In fact, I wrote an article a while back entitled Ten Reasons Blogging is Good for Your Sales.)

Before you start banging away on your keyboard, however, there are some issues you need to consider. Because they can mean the success or failure of your blog. Here are eight questions you need to answer before you publish your first post.

1. Who is my audience?
Like other sales and marketing tools, your audience determines almost everything about how you use your blog. You can’t write for everyone. The more specific your content, the more devoted your following will be.

So who are you writing for? What do they want and need? What are their hopes, fears and desires? What makes them laugh? What offends them?

In my case, my audience is primarily salespeople, sales managers, professionals and business owners. So everything I write (with the exception of my annual humorous Christmas pieces) is written with that audience in mind. CEO’s, marketing managers and others may also read my blog, but if I was specifically targeting them, my content would look a lot different.

2. How frequently will I post?
You can post anywhere from daily to monthly. But whatever your publishing schedule, it should be consistent. If you post for several days in a row, then don’t post anything for a few weeks, your readers will think you’ve stopped altogether.

So how often can you commit to posting? How frequently do you have something relevant to say? How conveniently can you fit writing into your already-busy schedule?

(Tip: You can write several articles at once, then publish them at regular intervals.)

3. What will I post?
Your blog is only as good as its content. What kinds of content do you want to provide? How-to’s? Insights and opinions? News? Reviews?

(Tip: Your blog should not be purely promotional fodder about your business. Nobody wants to read advertising.)

If you’d like some ideas to stimulate your thinking, check out 23 Things to Post on Your Blog.

4. Who will be responsible for posting?
If you’re a professional or a sole proprietor, this is a pretty easy question to answer. But if you have employees, this is a question worth pondering.

If you’re not a great writer, it would be better for your business if someone else took on this responsibility. Preferably, someone with enthusiasm for the task.

(Tip: Creating blog posts may be a job that is best divided among several people. That can give your blog a variety of voices and enable multiple people in your company to build their fame and credibility.)

5. Who will coordinate posting?
If more than one person will be doing the writing, somebody needs to be in charge of coordination. This person must be responsible for making sure people get their articles written in a timely fashion. The coordinator also must ensure that every potential blog posting meets the necessary standards required to maintain and enhance your company’s image online.

6. Who will be allowed to post?Who's Allowed to Blog for Sales
If more than one person in your company will be posting on your blog, you’ll need guidelines to prevent bruised egos among your employees. Drawing up a simple set of parameters will keep morale high.

(Tip: Consider enabling customers to post directly on your blog.)

7. Are there any legal issues to be aware of?
Certain industries (medicine, law, financial services, among others) carry with them restrictions regarding what kinds of information and advice can be published. If you have any uncertainties, check with an attorney.

8. How will I spread the word about my blog?
“If you build it, they will come” does not apply to blogs. Like any other product, a blog has to be marketed effectively to be successful. After all, what’s the point of writing a blog if nobody’s reading it?

(Tip: Develop an actual marketing plan for your blog. It will give you new ideas for marketing other elements of your business as well.)

There are millions of blogs out there. If you want yours to be one of the successful ones, spend some time answering these eight questions. It will benefit your blog, which will benefit your business.

The One Question You Should Never Ask Prospects

January 13th, 2011

question not to ask sales prospectsAsking the right questions is the key to making the sale. In my sales training seminars, I go so far as to provide attendees with as many as forty custom-designed questions to ask their prospects.

There’s one question, however, that’s never among them. Because it should be avoided at all costs. That question is:

Why?

Okay, right now, that’s exactly what you’re wondering: “Why?”

Here’s the reason.

Questions that begin with “why” sound judgmental. They put people on the defensive. If I were to ask you “Why did you do that?” or “Why do you think that?” or “Why is that important to you?”, how would you feel?

Like you had to justify yourself? Like you were being belittled? Like I was impugning your judgment, intelligence or character?

That’s exactly how “why” questions make a person feel. It isn’t our intention to make them feel that way, it’s simply an unfortunate product of the emotional baggage the word “why” carries with it. Which means, whenever you ask a prospect a “why” question, you’re making them uncomfortable and causing them to like and trust you less.

Try this instead: Change “why” questions into “what” or “how” questions. For example, you could rephrase the above three questions as follows:
• “What caused you to do that?”
• “How did you come to think that way?”
• “What’s the reason that’s important to you?”

Notice how different these questions seem, even though they’re asking basically the same thing. They don’t sound like a personal attack, the way their previous incarnations do.

When you perform a “why-ectomy” on your probing questions, your prospect will be more comfortable and confident. And the more comfortable and confident they get, the closer they are to buying.

The First Step to Increasing Your Sales: On Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio

January 6th, 2011

Would you like to achieve breakthrough sales growth this year? There’s one specific thing you can do right now that will dramatically improve your odds of success.

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio with Michele Price as I share this crucial, yet often overlooked, factor in boosting your sales. In this 12-minute segment, you’ll discover:
    • The easiest way to increase your sales
    • How to stay ahead of your competitors
    • The best prospects and where to find them
    • 5 types of goals you need to set
    • How to keep from getting off track
    • And more!

To listen, just click on the link below. Or to download the segment to listen later, right-click the link and select “Save Target As…”

The First Step to Increasing Your Sales, Don Cooper on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio (mp3)

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio (which I very strongly recommend), check out her web site: www.WhoIsMichelePrice.com.