Archive for September, 2013

“It Looks Great, But…”

September 30th, 2013

Web DesignDesign is very subjective, so getting the design right on the first time, every time, is a lost cause (although due to inConcert’s extensive Design Brief, we are darn near close more often than not!). There will  always be small tweaks here and there before the client gives their final approval. Here is a compilation of common things that client’s comment on and my common responses/explanations:

  1. “Make It Pop a Little More” – I think most graphic designers will agree when I say…please stop using this phrase! While it does tell me that you think something needs more emphasis, it does not give me direction on why you currently don’t think it has enough – as you like to put it – “pop”. Nor does it tell me how you want to see it emphasized. For example, I might think that a design is beautifully emphasized by using a bright green with a white outline on a dark gray background while you think that pink makes it “pop” more – I won’t know this unless you tell me. There are often times where client’s “just don’t know what it is”, which is fine, but any type of detail you can give me on WHY it doesn’t “pop” to you, will be most helpful.
  2. “When I Print It Out, It Looks Different” – While this comment holds some weight when we are discussing an actual print project, please realize that when we are working on a web project, the color of your website when printed has little to no bearing on how effective the website will be. Why not? Because your website design will NEVER be printed. Yes, perhaps a page here or there will be printed, but typically the print will not include any background images/color and even when it is printed, it is probably being printed for the content matter, not for the graphics, so please believe me when I say that it’s okay if your website colors look off when you print the design mockup that I sent you.
  3. “When I Look At It On a Different Screen The Colors Look a Little Different” – In today’s technology-driven world, there are countless devices that your website will be viewed on. All of these devices come with different calibrations from the associated factory that manufactures it. The colors on my Mac will be calibrated differently from your Dell colors which will be calibrated differently from George’s Android colors. So you have to allow for some slight shift from screen to screen. It is absolutely impossible that every single person will see the exact same color when viewing your website. So again, please believe me when I tell you that this is okay and will not have an effect on the impact of your website.
  4. Lorem Ipsum“The Copy is in Latin? Or Maybe Spanish?” – Yes, it is. We use what is called “Lorem Ipsum” as dummy text to fill in the content area while working on your design. This just gives you an idea of what the design will look like with your final text. This is typically used so that the client focuses more on the aesthetics of the design mockup. Otherwise, clients often get caught up in making tweaks to the text area and don’t pay enough attention to the design.
  5. “I Don’t Know… Do You Like It?” – I promise you, I will not present a design to you that I, myself, do not like. Unless I have specifically been instructed by the client on where to put things, what colors/images to use and how it looks, l combine the information from our design brief meeting with my own design knowledge and aesthetic preferences to create the initial design that I present. In addition, it goes through peer review by another member of our team before the final draft gets sent for your approval. So, in short,  yes, I do like it.
  6. “I Don’t Think We Should Use Any Images” – Some clients don’t realize that most people do NOT look at websites to read. You have a mere 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention before they are gone from your website and I promise you that a screen full of text is not going to create the conversion that you want. You MUST break up text with some type of graphical element whether it is in a header, a sidebar or right in the content area, you need to have a variety of images and graphics used throughout your site to encourage conversion.
  7. Captcha“We Need to Have Our Email Listed Somewhere” – This is a bad idea and here’s why: when you list your email on your website, it makes it so much easier for spam bots to copy the email address and throw it into a spam database. On all of our websites, we implement a contact form which utilizes a CAPTCHA (you know, those messed up, squiggly letters? Spam bots can’t read those.) This will highly cut down on the probability that you will get spam from your website. If the viewer needs to have the option to contact various people/departments, we can always put in a dropdown menu so the message sends to the appropriate person.
  8. “Are You Sure That’s OUR [Color]?”  – When you give us pantone colors to work with, we make sure that we use the exact  RGB (or CMYK when printing full color) color values that are specific for your color(s). Sometimes colors might end up looking a little different depending on which colors are adjacent to them in the design. Typically, it’s not THAT off, so leaving it as is will be fine and won’t have much of an impact on your branding effectiveness.
  9. “I Really Need to See It Functioning Before I Can Approve The Design” – Over the past 11 years, inConcert has developed an extensive and effective process on how we develop our websites. One of the first phases is the design mockup, we don’t slice it and code it on the first draft as it would be much more time consuming to make design edits once coding is complete. Think about it: When you build a house, do you give the contractor a list of features you want and tell him to go build? Unless you are a very laid-back, go-with-the-flow person without much of an opinion, you need a blueprint first – something that lays out the design so you can blow out that wall, add in that window, or move your kitchen without incurring an outrageous amount of cost. For more on this, read our article Design Phase vs. Code Phase – Why Can’t They Be One?
  10. “We’d Really Like The Design to Mimic Our Competitor’s Site – They’re Really Successful, So That Design Must Work” – While there are a great deal of fabulous and effective designs out there, we really can’t just copy the design of someone else’s site – no matter how successful it is.  We can certainly analyze it with you and determine WHY it might be successful and try to use the same type of approach, but we cannot take someone else’s design and put your logo/colors/text into it. However, we do highly encourage you to show us websites that you like at the start of the design phase. Even showing us sites that you don’t like is helpful for us.

Hopefully by reading through these comments/questions, and explanations, it sheds some light on our website design process. Of course, if you need clarification on anything during the design phase, please ask your designer or project manager and they’ll be happy to explain.

You’ll Need To Deal With This 28,600 Times In The Next Year

September 29th, 2013

It’s a little something called “sending and receiving emails” and according Radicatti Group, the average person sends and receives 110 of those bad boys each day.
I’m not sure if you realize this but . . .
There’s a hidden “screw you” in those numbers.
If you’re like most people, you feel that the world will end if […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

The Student, The Teacher, The Candle & The Window

September 27th, 2013

There once was a young student who told his teacher that he had figured out part of the meaning of life.
His teacher looked at him rather confused and asked him to enlighten him.
The young student, lit a big candle and placed it by a window. Within no time a small breeze blew the flame out. […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

5 Reasons Why I WON’T Sell You A Pen In A Job Interview

September 25th, 2013

So there you are in a job interview and all of a sudden, the interviewer shows you their pen and asks you to sell it to them.
After you ask them “Well since you’re holding the pen, you’ve obviously already bought it, so why the hell would I waste everyone’s time by trying to resell you […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

The Importance Of A Developmental Wishlist

September 24th, 2013

For as long as I can remember, once all my monthly sales were “in the bank” I’d sit with my wife and devise a plan.
A plan?
Yep . . . a plan for reinvesting some of the earnings left over after paying bills, socking aside a few dollars for the proverbial “rainy day” etc.
While some of […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

The Importance of Your Sitemap

September 23rd, 2013

The Importance of Your SitemapFirst…What is a sitemap?

That word is used to define a few things.

A sitemap can be considered the layout for your website.  Some people I talk to refer to a sitemap as the overall plan for how many pages will exist when they launch their new website.  Some clients I meet with like to use it to figure out what pages will be parent pages and what pages will be child or sub pages.  A good sitemap can also be used as a road map to what content is necessary for the site, and most times, when used properly, actually becomes a working checklist for whomever is responsible for writing or providing the content for the website.

Don’t think for a minute that your sitemap is simply for planning.  While it can be effective for laying out the website content in a visual way, the actual sitemap page on your site provides so much more value.  Every site MUST have a sitemap for Google to access.  Once Google finds your sitemap page, it becomes a source page to access every other page of your website. Your website will not show up in Google Search results if Google doesn’t know about it!

Google crawls my site?Example: you can create a new page on your website, but if you don’t link that page to your menu system, or post it anywhere on the web, no one… including Google… will find it.  It basically becomes inaccessible unless you send the link directly to someone or share it.  However, if you put a link on your sitemap to this new page, and your sitemap is accessible, then Google will likely find your new page and index it.

There are a few ways to implement a sitemap, some are very technical than others, and include more information.  Ask your web developer which format is best for you.

If you want to talk about sitemaps, or anything else for that matter, feel free to give me a call. I’d be more than happy to chat with you free of charge, about these things or any other website stuff.

How To Deal With Failure

September 22nd, 2013

As sales professionals, business owners and aspiring rock stars in our own right, failure is an unfortunate part of the equation.
It’s an unfortunate part of the equation and yet we allow it to take us from our dreams or worse yet, keep us from trying.
Today, we are going to have a real candid talk about […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

T-Minus 4 Days Until We Rock!

September 21st, 2013

Sometimes we have great intentions of doing something but we get caught up in other things and the next thing you know the opportunity passes us by.
Even though I’ve been promoting our upcoming online sales course since early August, there will be people who meant to enroll but will miss the deadline this Monday.
We kick […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

How Would You React To A Sports Team That Did This?

September 20th, 2013

So imagine if you will, turning on your TV to watch your favorite sports team but they aren’t playing.
At first you think there’s some kind of minor glitch but the camera shows you something that shocks you.
Some of the players are reviewing plays.
Others are still warming up.
Some are even pissing and moaning about their contracts […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

Being Successful in a Competitive Environment

September 19th, 2013

InterviewRecently I was interviewed by Constant Contact via a Google+ Hangout that was broadcast live on the Internet. The topic was how to stand out with increasing competition and and overwhelming competitive environment.

Here is the interview, note that it is only 12 mins long!

In summary, I cover:

  1. Focus on the bottom line. Be honest with clients. Disclose all the information you can and be up front along the way. This results in other referrals from prospects that did not choose us, because they see it as honesty and integrity.
  2. Typically in the web industry, people don’t call people back. We do. It makes a huge difference.
  3. Marketing services are worth the money. Outsourcing these services means that you can focus on your specialties while your marketing team is bringing in business.
  4. We partner with services like Constant Contact because they provide excellent customer service, which makes it easy for us to be proud of our choice. Our confidence in the quality of our choices is beneficial for our company, our partners, and our clients.
  5. Everybody says most of their business comes in through word of mouth, but how can you track that? We believe it’s all about touches, or reaching out to the client in some fashion at least once every 90 days. The more you reach out, the more business you will bring in, and email marketing is a big part of that.
  6. TOMA, or Top Of Mind Awareness, is about more than constantly promoting your sales and services. You have to include educational pieces, tips, and relatable, conversational anecdotes. Social media is perfect for this, but you have to consider every angle. You can’t expect to get word of mouth if you sit behind your desk all day, never hand out your business card, never send out an email, never talk to people on the phone.

Tell me your thoughts by connecting with me on Twitter @webresults or via our company Facebook page.

Are You Doing This With Your Social Network?

September 19th, 2013

There’s something that I used to do with my social network and it was killing me!
I actually quit and labeled it all as “useless” as a result of this!
My guess is that you might be doing this too.
It’s called “Doing nothing!”
You know, you sort of kind of go through the motions with a few invites […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Phone Skills

September 18th, 2013

When was the last time you took a real hard look at your new account acquisition activities?
If you’re like most sales reps, you might be doing the same things, over and over again out of habit.
Here are 5 very simple things for you to do that can help increase your success.
Take a look in your […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

3″X4″ Labels – #1212

September 18th, 2013

StaticClingThese useful four color process labels can be applied as wine and beverage labels, cosmetic labels, health and beauty labels, promotional labels, static cling window labels and bumper stickers. The sky is the limit! Get creative.

3″X4″ Labels – #1212

Size: 3″x4″ (Rounded Corners)

Imprint Area: 3″x4″

Product Color: White Gloss Stock

Imprint Color: Full Color Process

Setup Charge: Waived

Layout and Design: $50.00*

Price Includes:

Full Color Process Imprint

Digital Proof

FOB to Gardner

Shipping Additional

 

 

Label2

 

(Price Per Piece)

250 500 1000
$260.00 $315.00 $460.00
Terms: Payment due upon receipt. Most printed items are printed per “Standard Trade Practice”, meaning 10% over/under and billed accordingly.
*This quote accounts for a half hour design time. Additional design time will be billed at our Standard Hourly Rate of $100/hr.
NOTE: Prices are subject to change.

Stop Complicating Your Sale

September 18th, 2013

Today’s blog post is actually a blast from the past that I thought needed to be reemphasized.
So I go to the bank the other day and made one of those deposits that makes you feel like you entered the bank to the tune of heavenly harps or in my case Hendrix doing the Star […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

One Way To Raise Awareness Without Being “Salesy”

September 17th, 2013

Have you every been “pigeonholed” by your customers?
We become “pigeonholed” whenever a customer labels us the person they go to for one thing but meanwhile we offer many other things they are buying from someone else.
The reasons for this can vary but more often than not, it’s a simple awareness thing.
This can present a bit […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).