Archive for October, 2013

Uncle Paul And The Graveyard Lesson

October 31st, 2013

It was almost 27 years ago to the day that I agreed to meet my guitar teacher at a local cemetery! I thought it was a tad odd, but I was really into Ozzy at the time and thought  communing with the dead might give me some musical insight.
I was wrong! In fact (pinkie held […]


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 Question That Stumps Too Many Sales Professionals

October 31st, 2013

There’s a question that I’ve been asking participants in my training programs and it immediately changes the tone.
The room typically goes fairly silent, eye contact is usually broken and for about 30 seconds or so; it gets a tad awkward.
Before I tell you what the question is, I don’t think for one minute, that the […]


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).

Push Button Link USB 2.0 With Custom Printed Box

October 30th, 2013

USB2.0Simply plug in the USB connecter, Push the button and your default web browser will open your websites URL. Seven individual internal LED lights rotate continuously when plugged in. Comes with custom printed white tuck box.

Push Button Link USB 2.0 With Custom Printed Box

Specifications: Simply plug in the USB connecter, Push the button and your default web browser will open your websites URL. Seven individual internal LED lights rotate continuously when plugged in. Comes with custom printed white tuck box.

Product Size: 2 9/16″ Diameter (button), 2 7/8″ x 2 6/8″ x 2 1/4″ (box)

Imprint Area: 1.5” Diameter (button), 2 7/8″ x 2 6/8″ x 2 1/4″ (box)

Product Color: White

Setup Charge: None

Layout and Design: $100.00*

Shipping Weight: 34 lbs/250 pieces

Price Includes:

2 or Full Color Imprint on button and box**

1 Imprint Location

Custom Printed White Tuck Box w/each Button

Digital Proof

Delivery to Your Location Additional

 

 

 

 

 

USB2.0

(Price per piece – 2 Color)

100 250 500
$11.78 $10.78 $9.78

(Price per piece – Full Color)

100 250 500
$13.78 $12.78 $11.78
Terms: 100% Prepay. Most printed items are printed per “Standard Trade Practice”, meaning 10% over/under and billed accordingly.
*This quote accounts for an hour design time. Additional design time will be billed at our Standard Hourly Rate of $100/hr.
NOTE: Prices are subject to change.

The “Thank You” That Saved My Butt!

October 29th, 2013

I originally posted this a while back and thought it might be time to repeat the lesson
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you should know by now that I’m a big advocate of the handwritten thank you note!
By now you’re probably sick of hearing me say things like […]


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).

Dissecting A Bad Sales Effort

October 28th, 2013

As a small business owner, I’m on the receiving end of some really awful attempts by sales people to get my attention.
Time out: Right about now you might be thinking “Oh great, another holier than though sales trainer, criticizing the heck out of some poor sales rep!”
Think again sister!
First of all, you don’t go 30 […]


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).

Social Media = Customer Service

October 28th, 2013

Social Media = Customer ServiceWhat’s the first thing you do when you’re frustrated by a product or service? Most people instinctively complain to anyone who will listen. With smartphones in every pocket in today’s world, blasting out these negative messages is easier than ever, as you can blog, Facebook, Tweet, Yelp, or otherwise lodge your complaint on a variety of networks that instantly notify everyone you’ve ever met.

In contrast, many people also take to the internet when they want to share a positive experience. Bragging is an underlying theme in a great deal of social media posts, as social media is self-promotion at its finest.

Social media for businesses isn’t just about advertising yourself and your company. It’s about interacting with your employees, your friends, and your clients in a very public spotlight. As such, you want to showcase your stellar customer service. How? Here are a few tips.

Don’t forget about basic etiquette. Say “please” if you are making a request. Be polite and friendly. Avoid talking about controversial topics, e.g., politics or religion, unless you are ready for some potentially heated discussions from your audience. Creating politically incorrect content in any public forum can, in the long run, be incredibly damaging for your company in unexpected ways.

Say “thank you”. There are many reasons to thank someone online. If someone accepts your connection request, send them a message to say thank you. Most people don’t. This will make you stand out in their perspective. That’s the whole goal, isn’t it? Make it a point to always respond to anybody who reaches out to you. You don’t have to keep comment threads going forever, but don’t just ignore messages from people who have you on their mind.

Social Media = Customer ServiceAlways keep your cool. If you receive negative comments or interactions, do NOT just delete the messages and hope the problem goes away. Respond politely and publicly with a genuine apology for the unsatisfactory experience and an offer to work out the problem with a real live person; provide contact information for a customer service rep, such as a phone number or email address.

The only exception to this rule is if the message is excessively rude and uses vulgar language. Many consumers realize the bullying power of social media and can attempt to goad, threaten or blackmail you into discounts or free services. On most social networks, troublemakers can be banned or blocked from posting on your page. This should be your absolute last resort.

Let the good outweigh the bad. Positive reviews are wonderful! However, if you are receiving negative reviews, on some websites, there is nothing you can do about it. These reviews can only be countered with more positive reviews, to allow the reader to make their own informed decisions about your company. There has been a great deal of controversy about this practice with Yelp, among other review-centric websites, especially recently.

Social Media = Customer Service

Collect and share all of your testimonials. Any time anybody sends you a positive message about your company, your services, your products, or any of your employees, this is a testimonial. Copy and paste the text into an offline document, or collect a folder full of screenshots of the original posts, and make sure to have backup copies. You should be using these testimonials to promote your company.

If someone writes “This company rocks!” on your Facebook page, you should reply with a personalized “thank you” message.  In addition, you should quote them on your website (you do have a testimonials page on your site, don’t you?), schedule a few Tweets about it, update your LinkedIn status, pin to your “Testimonials” board on Pinterest, and so on, on all of your social networks. You don’t have to do this all at the same time – you can and should schedule these posts out over time. Recycling content can be a great strategy on any site with a news feed; there will always be people who missed your post the first time around.

Do You Manage A Sales Team?

October 28th, 2013

If you manage a sales team I want you to know that we are a little over a week away from the launch of our online sales management program.
We have (6) 45-60 minute sessions waiting for you from everything from  how to hire sales rock stars (2 sessions) to onboarding new sales reps, coaching, sales […]


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).

Take Control Of Your Weekend

October 26th, 2013

I’m about to engage in some serious slowing down this weekend.
I have a pot of my favorite coffee brewing.
I have a book I want to read.
Some cigars in need of smoking and a campfire that needs to be had.
I’m not sure about the rest of the weekend because I plan on indulging as I go […]


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 Reality Of “Bad” Weeks

October 25th, 2013

The reality of having a bad week in sales is that it most probably didn’t wait until Friday to show it’s ugly face.
There may have been little things all along that weren’t done, perhaps not done at 100% etc.
Much in the same way  that . . .
Bad days don’t wait until 4:55 pm!
Bad months usually […]


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).

Fast Food Website Design

October 24th, 2013

Fast Food Website DesignYou’re familiar with traditional fast food restaurants… and what they offer.  The benefits are pretty straightforward: quick and cheap.  They certainly serve a purpose… typically, you are in a pinch for time and need something quick.  Or you just have a couple dollars, so you can order off the dollar menu.  Either way, they may meet your needs at the time.

However, if you plan ahead properly, and you think about all of your dining options, you may likely not choose fast food, but instead a dining experience more along the lines of 111 Chophouse or Bocado (in Worcester).

Your website is similar, with one exception: this isn’t food.  It’s an investment.

Sure, your fast food website looks good… at first. Is it going to be good for you in the long run? Probably not. Beneath the surface, your cheap-n-easy website is not going to have any substance. The final result is an overpriced meal (your site) lacking nutrition (quality information), made of low-quality ingredients (template code), hastily assembled by an amateur. Is that what you’re really looking for?

They WILL notice.This type of website design is not going to be able to help you grow your company. Your visitors are not new to the Internet – they WILL notice the low quality of a template site.

In addition, a “fast food” type of website probably won’t be customized to suit your needs – it’s like you’ve just bought the standard Big Mac, but your company is a vegetarian. Just like people with special dietary restrictions, many companies and industries require specific services or functionality from their websites.

A “fast food” type of website design is not going to be helpful or take any of the workload off your shoulders. It is basically just an online billboard. A high quality website is capable of automating a great deal of overhead work, saving you a great deal of time. When you choose to work with professional website experts like inConcert Web Solutions, you have so many more options for your site, ranging from eCommerce to contact forms, image rotators to quantity calculators, blogs and more. You want your website to get work done for you, not create more work for you to squeeze into your busy schedule!

In conclusion, this handy diagram should help you understand what we’re trying to say. You get what you pay for, after all… Call us today with any questions you may have, or to get started on the website your company deserves.

Pick Two... 

The Funny Thing About NOT Asking

October 24th, 2013

Sometimes we get so caught up in finding the perfect words or . . .
The perfect timing and as a result . . .
We just don’t ask for certain things.
For example . . .
Right now, you have clients who love you.
Have you asked them for a testimonial?
Have you asked them for a referral?
You meet with […]


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).

Familiarity And The 4 Mistakes We Make With Our Customers

October 22nd, 2013

Last week, we talked about how familiarity can breed no attempt. I decided to save 4 key mistakes we make just for this week’s free audio sales lesson!
Here’s What You’ll Gain By Listening Today . . .
2 things that sales reps, pretty much STOP doing the moment a prospect becomes a client.
The 3 questions […]


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).

What is the problem with online customer reviews?

October 21st, 2013

The problem with online customer reviewsAs all business owners know, referrals are the golden ticket to business success.  We live and die on referrals.  The more we get, the more successful our companies tend to be.  While it’s not always true that referrals equal success, it is often a Key Performance Indicator!

In the online world, reviews and testimonials from your customers are also golden.  They validate our company and service level to the online shopper or researcher, and allow for further interaction.  Studies have shown that consumers definitely look at testimonials on websites and reviews on 3rd party sites, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, before spending their hard-earned cash.

For many business owners, however, these reviews are ruining their businesses and in many cases, the claims made in the reviews aren’t even true.  True or false?There are numerous lawsuits affiliated with Yelp, related to anonymously posted false reviews on business listings. It goes both ways, too, with negative reviews most likely originating from competitors or disgruntled ex-employees, and positive reviews from current employees, family members, or friends of the company. This technique is aptly named “astroturfing”, as using fake reviews can convince business prospects that your metaphorical grass is greener than it really is.

Yelp has specific ideas about what kind of reviews are acceptable, and what kind of reviews are biased. You can find out more about their rules in the official Yelp blog, but here’s a quick summary:

“We try to showcase the most helpful and reliable reviews among the millions that are submitted to the site. Not all reviews make the cut, and those that don’t are posted to a separate “Filtered Review” page. Filtered reviews don’t factor into a business’s overall star rating, but users can still read them by clicking on the link at the bottom of the business’s profile page… The filter sometimes affects perfectly legitimate reviews and misses some fake ones, too. After all, legitimate reviews sometimes look questionable, and questionable reviews sometimes look legitimate. We think the filter does a good job given the sheer volume of reviews and the difficulty of its task, but it doesn’t really matter what we think — consumers will only use Yelp if we do a good job of showcasing the most helpful and reliable reviews.” – Yelp’s FAQ

AstroturfingRecently, the state of New York sued many businesses for a ton of money for engaging in astroturfing. At least 19 businesses  offering fake review services were busted recently by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. By setting up a fake company looking to hire these illegitimate services, he was able to uncover a lot of details about how these companies are gaming the system. A total of $350,000 in fines will be paid by these 19 companies, who have all signed agreements that they will no longer engage in these practices.

The bottom line is that practices such as astroturfing are not only illegal and can land you in big trouble with the law, but they do not help your business get better. If you are receiving negative reviews from your customers, that is a big sign that you need to make some changes about how you do business. Improve your argument – don’t raise your voice. The best way to fix a real negative review is to respond publicly to the complaint, offer a solution or a customer service phone number to call, and provide genuine help for the dissatisfied customer. This will showcase your stellar customer service instead of highlighting your mistakes.

Be careful what you query?

October 21st, 2013

Be careful what you query?Recently, I built one calendar functionality within WordPress.  Not thinking too much while building it, I used “month” and “year” as query variable names and added a rewrite rule so that I could keep the same permalink style without having to do the normal question mark variable equals.  I tested it for a month or two ahead and a month or two back and it appeared to be working properly.

Later on, when I revisited it, I realized that when attempting to view a different year it gives a “404 page not found” error.  After spending much time playing around with the rewrite rule, using query variables in a different manner, I begin to look at the permalink settings page.  I tried changing that to a few different choices to see if that was conflicting, and of course, nothing there was causing the issue.  

So I began to notice that in most of the permalinks, they have a date set.  What if WordPress already uses “month” or “year” in some manner and by me overwriting it, it is not allowing the page to be shown, even though I know that it exists?  Lo and behold, that resolved the issue.  However, something kind of puzzling to me is that when I do a “get_query_var” for either “month” or “year”, it does not return anything.  What might be happening, though, is if either of those are set to anything, then the permalink engine attempts to find that page name in the archive for that year.

In the end I am glad to have found a fix, but I am still not 100% sure as to why.  If anyone can shed some light on the subject, I would not mind the lesson.

What happened to my web guy?

October 17th, 2013

What happened to my web guy?Does this story sound familiar? You place the call and leave a message… but no response.  This happens weekly, so you keep calling back.  For some reason, your web guy just doesn’t call you back. Why is that? After all, you most likely want a simple answer to a simple question.  Or, moreover, you want to spend money with them for a change on the website, but they don’t call you back.  Why is that?

When I get a call from a prospective website maintenance client, one of the first things I hear is that their current provider isn’t returning their phone calls. My estimate, is that this happens 65%-70% of the time.So why does this happen?  It’s the basic business concept of supply and demand (of their time).  When you use a sole proprietor firm, depending on their processes, they may be busy building the sites they sold, leaving themselves with no time to call people back.

Why doesn’t this happen at inConcert?  Because of how I have set up the roles within my firm, I ensure that people have specific duties, like graphic design or programming.  We also have a dedicated project manager.  Simply put, when you call our company, there is more than one person to speak to. Call us today if you feel like you need a change!