We've Been Shouting It From the Rooftops


by Juliana Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

We’ve been shouting it from the rooftops… well, at least on all our social media channels…

For the last year Catherine and Initial Call have been working diligently to bring our successful in-person ExtraBold workshops to an online audience. We’re calling it Selling Boldly and right now we’re enrolling!

We know the grim facts that 90% of businesses fail, and, more often than not, it’s because they aren’t reaching out to potential customers or clients they way they should. In our work with sales teams and entrepreneurs, we’ve seen the same mistakes in business development over and over again. It has become our passion to see entrepreneurs successfully engaged in recruiting clients. We love getting to see business owners living their dreams of success entrepreneurship. We thrive on knowing that they are equipped to meet their customers needs.

However, we also know these dreams rarely come automatically! That’s why the need for this class is so huge! Take a look around and see the 6-week course outline. The program consists of Personalized coaching sessions and curriculum that are designed to work together to help business owners reach more customers with less hesitation and procrastination. Enrollment closes Friday February 9th. Watch the promotional videos and see what we’ve been working to accomplish this past year.

We’re pretty excited and we think you will be too.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Face-to-Face Sales Calls


by Catherine Brown, Initial Call, President

Most people will agree that meeting someone face-to-face has HUGE advantages. You can actually see if you are making a connection with someone and interpret voice inflection that simply doesn’t exist in an email. And if you are a good at reading body language, then you can catch a lot of nonverbal communication.

That's the GOOD part about meeting face-to-face.

However, the BAD part about in-person sales calls is that is takes a lot of time. If you are a B2B sales person and you're supposed to be doing regular lead generation each week, let's say anywhere between a few hours per week and maybe 20 hours per week of reaching out to people, you may not have time to spare for meeting face-to-face. Sure, meetings via video- Skype, Facetime, etc. are also options, but in- person is quite time consuming because you have to allow time for pleasantries and travel back and forth - not to mention prep time and expense!

Let's talk about the UGLY side of face-to-face sales calls. I have seen a correlation between people who insist that popping in on a prospect and initiating contact face-to-face with overall productivity. Why? Because face-to-face meetings just take more time. I worked with a company once whose sales executive told his people NOT to be at their desk, that they should be out knocking on people's doors about their products and services. Y'all this was B2B. This wasn't something that really should be sold door to door. And consider how many real, QUALIFIED face-to-face meetings a person can do in a day. Not very many! This means people work slowly, thereby affecting their overall productivity.  

Does face-to-face have advantages? Yes, for sure, but these appointments are best reserved for more qualified opportunities. Use email, text, and phone liberally instead of giving someone a whole morning for something that can be decided in 20 minutes on the phone.

Preparation is Key to Tradeshow Success

We’re doing a little tradeshow work and thought revisiting this blog from our archives (written by Rita Ortloff, our former Marketing Manager) would be appropriate. We’ve updated it with a few new links-

I am well aware of the painful bite that a tradeshow can take out of a marketing budget. But I also know that, as much as I love a business world that has evolved to include web-based meetings and telecommuting, there is something to be said for meeting face-to-face with others in your industry. Nothing can take the place of it. Tradeshows matter.

Still, the dollars required to travel to (and attend) a conference can be staggering… which is why it helps to prepare in meaningful ways so that a show provides a real and measurable return on investment. Otherwise, you return from a whirlwind week of handshaking with nothing to show for it but a handful of business cards and jet lag.

Step #1: Prepare

At Initial Call, we recommend you start with pre-show preparation. Most forget this simple step. Make a list of your goals for the show. Are you there to gain clients? Meet suppliers? Spy on your competition? Although tradeshows are great places for chance meetings, we suggest you make calls prior to the show to set up meetings during the event. Even if it’s just a quick stop by the booth to say hello, having pre-scheduled appointments makes your tradeshow efforts intentional. Too busy just trying to get yourself to the show to worry about calling? Hire an outside firm to handle this for you. Initial Call does this sort of work all the time with great success.

Step #2: Work the show

This part is what we think of when we think of tradeshows: standing in your booth shaking hands with everyone and feeling like a desperate politician. But this part matters. Have accessible handouts that are simple to read with clear ways to reach you after the show. Some shows work better if you have a gimmick. A prize or fun chachkies to hand out are always good. But here’s the real kicker: have a system for following up with any potential leads. Whether it’s separating those promising business cards from the rest, or marking them in some way, make sure you have a method for finding those leads after the show! Otherwise what’s the point? In addition to manning your own booth, get out there and walk the floor and meet others. The same rules apply: have a system for logging and following up with any leads you may encounter.

And finally, Step #3: Follow-up.

After days out of the office at a tradeshow, it’s easy to let that envelope full of potential leads grow cold while you’re dealing with everything you missed while you were gone. However, this is a huge cause for missed opportunities. Make a commitment to reach out to those leads immediately when you return. If your business is such that you simply cannot spend the time following up, we recommend you hire an outside firm to do this work. Simply adding the names to your database and following up with a phone call dramatically increases the likelihood that your tradeshow investment will pay off. And isn’t that what tradeshows really are, an investment?  Make sure the next show you attend is a success!

5 Reasons Why Prospects Don't Call Back

by Juliana Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

If you haven’t noticed, we’ve had a facelift! We think our new website is easier to use and cleaner. One new feature is links to our social media platforms at the bottom of each page. In fact, we’ve added a new button for Vimeo.

We’ve had our Vimeo channel for a while, but it has was largely unused until recently. We have added videos with helpful tips salespeople can start using today. The most recent one was added just last week. It is entitled 5 Reasons Why Prospects Don’t Call Back. While it’s not uncommon to have a prospect fail to return a call, email, or text, it can be discouraging. Salespeople often internalize the event and begin to take it as a personal rejection which leads to the decision to not try to reach that prospect again. That misstep leads to lost income. In this short video (just over 4 minutes) Catherine reminds us of the five most common reasons this happens so we can change that internal dialogue and try again!

Go check out the video and happy prospecting!

19 Awesome Reward Ideas

by Juliana Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

When you’ve set a sales goal and met it, you feel like celebrating! Don’t hold back! Whether it is a big goal like closing a sale or a small goal like reaching out to your prospect for the nth time, there is something on this list you’ll want to do:

Quick and Immediate:

  • Put a gold star on the calendar (or a sticker on a chart)
  • Grab a snack
  • Take a few minutes to step outside and just breathe
  • Share your joy on social media: post that you met your goal
  • Call a friend
  • Write a thank you note to someone who helped you get where you are
  • Take break and enjoy some personal social media time on your favorite platform
  • Spend a few minutes reading on your favorite non-work related blog

 Longer and Less Immediate:

  • Plan and implement a home spa treatment
  • Hit the gym
  • Start a new book or spend time with one you never seem to have time to read
  • Brew a fresh pot of coffee or a mug of hot tea
  • Make yourself an award ribbon and wear it
  • Go for a walk
  • Enjoy a break with music: listen or pick up your favorite instrument
  • Give yourself some time to doodle or color in one of those fun coloring books for adults
  • Take a nap
  • Cook a dessert from scratch
  • Watch a movie

If meeting a goal seems impossible right now, hang in there, don’t stress out, and don’t give up! Knowing you earn a reward at the end may help you push past your obstacle. What is your favorite way to reward yourself for meeting a goal? Let us know! We’d love to grow this list.

Two Kinds of Busyness to Avoid

Two Kinds of Busyness to Avoid

Summer is here for most of us and schedules can get full rather quickly. Kids have camps, summer jobs, and activities that require you to take them across town. Yard work has to get done. Volunteering obligations are ongoing. Pool parties, vacation planning, and summer blockbusters demand attention. And all of this piles up in addition to your 8 hour work day. Yeah, somewhere in there you still have to eat and sleep. 

5 Steps to Smarter Sales Prospecting

by Juliana Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

If you’ve been reading our ExtraBold sales material you’re probably convinced you need to prospect more with less wasted time on activities that don’t generate revenue. However, if diligent prospecting has not been your routine, you might be wondering how to get started and even feel slightly overwhelmed. It really doesn’t take that much prep to get a solid foundation that will make you ready to pick up the phone or send an email. Here is what we recommend:

  1. Have a List of Names to Call. This list will require a little effort and thought so you want to create it before you start to call so the research process doesn’t slow you down. Grab a mug of coffee and your laptop and really think of 20-50 names and titles of people/companies you want to reach. They could be referrals, industry trade show lists, friends, or even people you’ve found via LinkedIn.

  2. Track Your Outreach with CRM. If you don’t have a CRM set up yet (or even know what that is), you can get started with Excel. You want to keep yourself organized!

  3. Have a Template for Your Communications. Having a template for emails, voicemails, and phone calls doesn’t make you a robot, it makes you comfortable and prepared. 

  4. Write out Your FAQs. What are those particular questions that you often hear from potential customers/clients? Writing down (or at the very least thinking through) 5-15 questions will help make you prepared for conversations.

  5. Have your Sales Collateral Ready. When you email, include something that shows your expertise or clarifies your service. It could be a link to a short video or an article you’ve written.

Even if you’re someone who tends to over prepare this is enough to get started. Remember, the goal of your first contact is just to set an appointment for further conversation. You don’t have to be ready to give all the information up front, answer every objection, or close the sale with this first communication. Just set a meeting! For more great tips and encouragement, join our ExtraBold sales Facebook group.