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May 20th, 2015

Myth #10: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

Myth #10: Prompt’s ten technology sales myths

At Prompt we know that PR complements sales to drive influence, impact, and financial success.  Our PRISM methodology delivers the steps and processes involved in planning and executing PR programs in line with sales objectives. And our free webinar series ‘How to use PR to drive sales’ shares content created specifically for technology companies. We’ve gathered this content from working with global companies including Adobe, IBM, and Oracle, and hundreds of early-stage companies. This means that we’ve covered every level of complexity, type of technology, and (we think) almost every kind of sales process.

However, in our dealings with hundreds of technology companies, we are also aware of a number of sales ‘myths’ that we believe may be holding back technology entrepreneurs and technology  marketers from making the smartest decisions for their own business futures.Over the next few weeks, we’re setting out to share ten of the most common myths – some of which may be familiar to you.

Myth #10

“The sales challenge is the same as it ever was”

It might be comforting to think that ‘sales is sales’ and that nothing much has really changed over the past decade or two. But it really has!  Now prospects are ‘smarter’ – they have access to richer resources of information, methods of researching and channels of communication. By the time you speak to them they’ve already done their research and are armed with a drop-box full of PDFs, a desk full of papers and a head crammed with pre-formed opinions about your company, your products and your competitors. It’s vital that you demonstrate your awareness of this fact and come to the conversation ready to ‘restart’ it at the right point so you can best understand, and serve, them.

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January 17th, 2014

From American Banker and B2B Marketing to Wall Street Journal: Glancing back at Prompt’s press coverage highlights of 2013

From American Banker and B2B Marketing to Wall Street Journal: Glancing back at Prompt’s press coverage highlights of 2013

As we look ahead to 2014 and all the opportunities available to our clients, we took a quick glance back to 2013 and some of the press coverage we achieved with our clients – and get ready to rev up and to secure more  interviews, coverage and results for our clients in 2014.

Below is just a small sample, a ‘sample-ette’ if you please, of some of the publications and outlets our clients were mentioned in throughout the year.  If you’re looking to boost your company’s profile, press coverage is just one of the ways we can help.  Email us now at info@prompt-pr.com for more information, or if you want to talk about the range of opportunities available to your in order to promote your company, product or service, why not sign up for a free 30-minute one-to-one consultation here?

Prompt PR client coverage 2014

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Posted in Technology | Comments Off on From American Banker and B2B Marketing to Wall Street Journal: Glancing back at Prompt’s press coverage highlights of 2013

 

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August 29th, 2013

Prompt launches flexible ‘First Byte’ PR packages for tech start-ups

Prompt launches flexible ‘First Byte’ PR packages for tech start-ups

Customizable service bundles also offer ‘add-on’ options for rapid response to market opportunities

Boston, MA – August 28, 2013 – Prompt Boston has launched a range of PR, marketing, content creation and social media service packages designed specifically to benefit technology start-ups. Prompt’s ‘First Byte’ packages support key business activities that promote thought leadership, media relations and content creation. Nicknamed ‘Megabyte’,‘Gigabyte’,‘Terabyte’ and ‘Petabyte’, each scale of package also offers add-on options through a ‘Byte Size’ menu, enabling companies to respond easily to sales and growth-related opportunities, or swiftly trigger specific activities when most benefit can be gained. These optional add-ons include analyst relations, customer case studies, media training, event support and even award programs.

The programs also cover PR, media relations and copywriting in the UK, France and DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), enabling American-headquartered companies to easily extend their marketing activities to new territories and to maximize the return on their marketing dollars.

Hazel Butters, CEO of Prompt Boston, said: “With the fast-paced nature of today’s technology industry, many companies, particularly start-ups, need PR programs that are flexible, scalable and economical. Increasingly we find ourselves working with start-ups and tech companies that have previously been scared away from PR by hefty six-figure fees and teams that seem to consist of a cast of thousands.  Prompt’s ‘First Byte’ packages help our clients to build impactful, results-driven PR programs which remain focused, manageable and affordable.”

Prompt’s ‘First Byte’ PR packaged activities are delivered with full transparency to ensure clear visibility of progress and results. Through this certain and honest approach, Prompt’s specialist teams work as true extensions of clients’ internal PR and marketing teams.

Hazel concluded: “PR is an important component of any business plan or strategy. With Prompt’s packages, companies can reap valuable results and predictable returns on their investments. It’s all too easy for start-ups to regard PR as just another cost, because they aren’t made plainly aware of the tangible benefits PR brings. Others may understand the advantages of PR but feel that hidden costs make it prohibitive for them to adopt. Our start-up packages are exclusively designed for early stage companies; they contain no nasty surprise costs, and are created specifically to help smaller teams harness the power of PR as part of a viable and sustainable business strategy.”

Tammy Kahn Fennell, CEO of MarketMeSuite, a user-friendly social media platform trusted by 30,000 users to organize, prioritize and engage smarter on social media, said: “As a growing software company with commitments in engineering, new product development, customer service, partner strategy and sales, it can be challenging to free up budget and dedicate time for specific media activities. We worked with Prompt when we needed set-price media work because the team could commit to a predictable fee that helped us to plan financially, while prioritizing activities that complemented our immediate sales and growth strategy.”

To learn more about Prompt’s ‘First Byte’ PR packages, visit the website. To receive more information on pricing and package details, please fill out Prompt’s form here.

About Prompt
Prompt is a communications agency that enables marketers and entrepreneurs to increase sales and marketing effectiveness. Specializing in innovative markets including technology, green tech and sustainability, Prompt helps its clients communicate effectively and authentically with core audiences online and offline through PR, media relations, copywriting, webinars, market and industry analysis, social media, video content and customer reference programs. Prompt Communications has offices and consultants spanning in London, Massachusetts and California. Prompt’s current and former clients include Adeptra, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Aperture, Corizon, Dell Compellent, Foviance, Genesys Telecommunications, GenSight, Grouptree, IBM, jovoto, KANA, Oracle Corporation, smartFOCUS and Webtide.
www.prompt-communications.com

Media contacts:
Hazel Butters or Jackie Fraser
1 (617) 401-2717
press@prompt-communications.com

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Posted in News, Prompt news | Comments Off on Prompt launches flexible ‘First Byte’ PR packages for tech start-ups

 

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June 4th, 2013

Read all about it! Are print newspapers fated to fold? (continued…)

Read all about it! Are print newspapers fated to fold? (continued…)

Perhaps the most obvious sign of changing times for stalwart newspaper readers has been the increasing pervasiveness of online ‘paywalls’.

It’s likely that most of us first started bumping into paywalls after reading a few articles in The Times, the FT, The New York Times or the WSJ. It’s that familiar sinking feeling when a pop-up window demands your cash payment or subscription before you’re allowed to flip to another visible page. But paywalls are nothing new – the WSJ was actually introduced the first newspaper paywall back in 1997 (and pretty effortlessly gained over 200,000 subscribers within a year – most likely with a lot of help from business expense accounts).

Today more than 400 US papers have erected paywalls, and there are more announced every day, with even the holdout Washington Post succumbing. In the UK the Telegraph announced its paywall plans in March , and News International confirmed that the Sun would go down a similar route to stable-mate the Times this summer. But despite this rapid adoption, a digital-only, paywall-dependent vision isn’t an inevitable future for all newspapers. Some highly-regarded figures in the global newspaper industry now regard the paywall as an intermediary solution – a short-term patch for declining traditional revenues that will not be here for the long-haul.

In the UK the most notable hold-outs to date are the Guardian, the Observer, the Mail, the Mirror and the Express – newspapers that believe they can still produce sufficiently attractive open content in print and online to lure readers that advertisers will pay to target. But John Paton, CEO for newspaper management specialist Digital First Media is perhaps the most outspoken in his opposition to a paywall future. He says: “I don’t think paywalls are the answer to anything. If we’re swapping out print dollars for digital dimes, I think paywalls are a stack of pennies. We might use the pennies in transition to get where we’re going.” However, that doesn’t mean that he sees any future at all for print: “Newspapers in print are clearly going away. I think you’re an idiot if you think that’s not happening. I don’t think that news organizations are dying but are newspapers going to stop running in print? Yeah. Absolutely.”

So are there any ‘idiots’ left to support print, or does everyone believe that the printed newspaper is doomed already? Rather interestingly, US business magnate Warren Buffet has been buying newspapers up as if he is on a personal crusade to save print, recently acquiring more than 80 titles, including 28 major newspapers, for more than $340 million (£210 million). He now owns the whole Media General empire, as well as much-loved individual titles such as the Omaha World-Herald, and the Allentown Morning Call, and is candid about his love for print. Of course there are still plenty of other publications out there crying out for new owners, that haven’t attracted their own Buffet. As well as the Boston Globe, notable US papers up for sale include the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun, while in Europe publishing giants such as Mecom must be bought, split or closed for good.

Producing newspapers is a costly business– if you’ve never worked in publishing it’s enough to just imagine the physical process of printing and distributing millions of printed papers each day, when compared to the cost of publishing online news. And that’s before you even begin to take into account the huge logistical costs of such large and distributed professional workforces. So next time you pick up a paper at the station or your local newsagent, bear in mind that the distribution model alone that ensured your news arrived on time, probably accounted for around 40% of the total cost of that newspaper.

How do you see the future of the printed newspaper? Will it continue to thrive in niches, serving traditionalists, as well as regional and specialist markets? Will printed papers complement digital editions, albeit far less publically and affordably than we have become accustomed to? Or is all print doomed now, in our lifetimes?  

Take our Prompt Poll now: 

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Posted in Polls | 3 Comments »

 

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June 3rd, 2013

Extra, extra read all about it: Software testing and regional newspapers

Extra, extra read all about it: Software testing and regional newspapers

Part five of six in the blog series,
Prompt Technology PR Snapshot: Software Testing

Whether you’re in the check-out line of a grocery store, hopping aboard the metro, or spending the morning at a local coffee shop, newspapers and national media outlets are readily available and easily found.

NewspapersCoverage in the regional and national press are considered a great hit – just think of the large audience, broad reach and public familiarity of such publications. And although a piece in the New York Times or Daily Record would certainly be something to frame, what if more of your sales prospects read a niche outlet like Computer Weekly instead? This is something to consider as you begin evaluating your PR goals and objectives – always aim for the target, despite how tempting a more wide-scale placement can be.

Now, back to the newspaper press – exactly how can a software testing firm land such a hit? That’s where the Prompt team comes in with the following insider tips:

–       Follow the national newsbeat: Stay on top of the latest news trends and topics. Are journalists discussing the flat economy and pending budget-cuts across enterprises? Offer your commentary on how software testing services, such as automation or outsourcing, can deliver efficiencies to companies, large and small, freeing up budgets.

–       Partner with customers: Customers that are well known will catch the eye of technology- and business-beat editors. If you’ve won such a contract recently, create a unique angle to market your company and be ready to pitch it to the press.

–       Think regional: Any software firm can be regional – just think of where your customers are based and emphasize the location along with any involvement in local initiatives.

If your goal is to make it into the Wall Street Journal, don’t lose hope. With key PR strategies, a great hook, and persistence (if at first you don’t succeed, try again), your software testing firm can land a spot in a well-known regional newspaper.

Tune in next week on our blog for a full round-up of all our software testing PR tactics, including a free download to share with your marketing team. Until then, let us know your comments, thoughts or questions by tweeting at us today: @PromptBoston or @PromptLondon.

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May 2nd, 2013

Prompt interviews….

Prompt interviews….

Peter Ryder, co-author of Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving


Peter Ryder

Here at Prompt we’re all committed PR and comms advocates, so we relish any innovative ideas designed to shake up markets, capture the attention of investors and prospects, and make a company stand out from even the toughest competitors.

While many companies still look inwardly for ideas and feedback from their own colleagues, growing numbers of successful innovations are now being driven by crowdsourcing; turning to the public for contributions in the form of thoughts, funding or critique.

This week, we caught up with Peter Ryder, a friend of Prompt and co-author of Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving. In this ‘Prompt interviews’ session, Jessica Branco of the Prompt Boston team caught up with Peter to discuss the opportunities, benefits and challenges of crowdsourcing, and to hear further details about his new book. It was also a chance to discuss why so many organizations from startups to Fortune 500 firms are now turning to crowdsourcing to share the wisdom of thousands of outsiders in uncovering new ideas and innovations.

Prompt Boston: Can you please tell us more about your background, and how you became interested in crowdsourcing?

Peter Ryder: I worked for many years as a consultant at Accenture, Computer Sciences Corporation and Deloitte Consulting helping clients improve their operations and their relationships with their customers by rethinking their processes and enabling these process changes through technology.  I saw how organizations often sub-optimized their business by relying on assumptions that were no longer completely valid.  Testing underlying assumptions was a first step to rethinking approaches to unlocking value. In 2010 I became President of jovoto, Inc., a start-up that connects companies who are looking for ideas with creative talent anywhere who have ideas.  At that time, a number of companies were beginning to look seriously at crowdsourcing.  With Web 2.0 really kicking in the mid to late 2000s massively reduced transaction costs tested why an organization needed to hire full time employees for all tasks — some jobs might be done by multiple people with expertise and perspective not found in the organization.  Organizations like P&G, GE and LEGO were exploring how to access talent anywhere to help them work on some of their pressing challenges more rapidly.  And new start-up companies like Quirky were building crowds into the very fabric of their business models. At jovoto, we worked on what processes, community management and technology needed to be in place for our customers to find innovative ideas using external talent.   But we were also seeing a morphing of crowdsourcing from a simple focus on getting ideas from external talent to organizations developing more complex interactions with crowds asking them to do multiple tasks, not only selecting ideas but engaging with communities to get feedback on ideas and helping them select ideas.  And, it was this interesting dynamic that led to writing the book.

What are the key benefits of crowdsourcing an idea, service or product?

CrowdstormWhat has been the most eye opening for companies with regards to benefits is that getting good ideas for a service or product is just the beginning.  Of course outcomes are key: If your Super Bowl ad is ranked in the top 10 ads, by multiple metrics, many years in a row, your ad has succeeded; If your product is selling successfully and winning design awards, your design has succeeded. And if you find new partners that result in value-creating partnerships, you have succeeded in your business development efforts. In each of these cases, we found examples resulting from crowdstorming. These outcomes come from Pepsi, Quirky (a consumer electronics startup) and GE Ecomagination. But an additional benefit comes from providing a mechanism for evaluating ideas.  Balanced with expert evaluation, you can ask crowds to help you vet the most promising ideas.  LEGO gets lots of ideas from the crowd for new products.  But it requires 10,000 votes from the LEGO community before the internal LEGO team will consider it for production. Finally, by posting a challenge to a crowd an organization can start a broad conversation that helps it pre-market a new product or service by turning idea creation into a conversation and a media event.

What is your advice to marketers who haven’t crowdsourced yet?

Do a little homework; look at some of the work that the organizations above have done.  It is not necessary to start at Super Bowl scale.  Choose a small project to test how your organization reacts to leveraging external talent.  In the book we talk about the processes and some of the best approaches for doing crowdstorm projects; it is important to become familiar with these and see how they apply to your organization.  If you feel like your organization would benefit from leveraging the skills of one of the many providers who are supporting crowdstorming, engage with them and tap into their experience, approaches and technology. Like any new approach, this requires that there is commitment from someone in the organization who can directly benefit from the outcome – make sure that sponsorship is in place.  Finally, marketing departments who have existing relationships with traditional creative providers can weave them into the project if they choose.  There are a number of different points where their expertise can help – from designing the brief to evaluating results.

How should marketers initially approach crowdsourcing?

As I said, education and sponsorship are critical to success.  Determine the scope of the project you initially want to work on.  Something well defined where the outcome can be measured or compared to a traditional approach can be helpful.  For example, when Victorinox designed a new limited edition of Swiss Army knives using crowdstorming, they benchmarked sales of the new product against previous launches. They fixed as many variables as they could and found that the crowdstormed limited edition knife resulted in a 20% increase in sales.  Marketers can also source a new campaign from a traditional provider and evaluate it against the same campaign sourced through crowdstorming as a test – the evaluation can come from experts and crowds in order to benchmark.  There are many ways to get going.

CrowdstormCrowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving is now available at all major bookstores and Amazon.com. The book covers all topics of crowdsourcing, including patterns (search pattern, collaborative pattern), processes, recruitment, creative problem solving techniques, management of crowds, social media, analytics, evaluation and much more.

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Posted in Boston, Innovation, Technology | 1 Comment »

 

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April 1st, 2013

Why email etiquette hasn’t reached extinction

Why email etiquette hasn’t reached extinction

As a public relations consultant, I am constantly using email as a means of communication – whether I’m sending an internal note to a colleague across the pond in London, or a media pitch to a journalist in New York City.

Whatever the area code (or time zone), one thing is for certain – my email won’t be a one-liner. Almost always, I frame my email drafts to include a proper greeting and a positive sign off, even during a time when many question if such forms of etiquette are the digital definition of ‘rude’.

Last month, Nick Bilton of The New York Times expressed his thoughts on communicating during the digital era, stating ‘thank you’ emails, ‘sincerely’ sign offs and even voicemails are irksome time wasters. In an age where 140-character tweets and texting has taken over, is a lengthier, friendly email really such a bad thing?

Typing a lengthy email

To me, the answer is, and will always be, no. It takes one second to glance over the opening sentence that wished you a good afternoon, and even less time to get through a sign off. At the end of the day, being nice won’t cause any harm – in fact, it will most likely bring a small smile to your contact’s face.

So, the next time you’re writing an email, take a moment to consider just how you’re responding. If the sender took his or her time to ask how you were doing, don’t just respond with a snappy demand or request. Yes, email communication exists to accomplish tasks remotely, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your personality along the way.

After all, presenting yourself in the best light – whether by email or any other form of communication – is what public relations is all about.

Do you have an email etiquette tip of your own? Why not share them with us on Twitter, Facebook, or – you guessed it – email today.

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Posted in Boston, Communications consultancy opinion, PR Practices, Technology | Comments Off on Why email etiquette hasn’t reached extinction

 

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September 4th, 2012

Why should companies blog?

Why should companies blog?

Why should a company blog? This is an increasingly important question for marketers considering the best ways to reach wider audiences and fully utilize the web’s visibility to promote a brand.  Maintaining a blog can seem a tedious task, however, if used consistently and imaginatively, it can be a very useful business communication tool.

Marketing software company Hubspot conducted a 2011 survey on inbound marketing which indicated that blogging is now a must for businesses that desire an online presence. The survey showed companies that do not invest time in maintaining a blog are not only in the minority, but they are falling behind their blogging competitors in reaching audiences through social media.

So, why blog?  A few reasons off the top of my head:

1. Increasing your company’s visibility is one of the best reasons to be blogging – the more active you are online, the easier it is for your company to be found and the more credible your company appears.

2. Blogs are more interactive than a website, which allows you to portray a personal element of your company through informal communication between you, your clients and community. This encourages client feedback and gives a unique ‘voice’ to your company.  You can show your company’s culture, add dimension to products and services, talk about your market and share your knowledge.

3. Maintaining a company blog, using targeted keywords and tagging in blog posts will aid your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts.

4. A blog can help direct traffic to your other social media platforms and company website.

5. A blog is a great platform to update clients or supporters with news about your company or events that your company is involved in.

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August 30th, 2012

Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

After a 75-year run in print publication, The Dandy comic has finally been pressed to the limit. Publisher DC Thomson has announced that the comic will be evolving from a print edition to an online, tablet-ready format.  The last printed edition will appear on 4 December 2012, coinciding with the comic’s 75th anniversary.

I grew up reading Desperate Dan and Bananaman in The Dandy. I was also an avid reader of The Beano). And now that I work as a PR and digital communications professional (and not as the veterinarian or paleontologist that the eight year-old me had planned) I have cause to pause and reflect on the state of modern media consumption.

In the 1950s The Dandy had a circulation of over two million, but that has now plummeted to a distinctly unfunny 8,000. So how can publishers and media producers adapt to such change?  Well, by exploring and innovating, by trying new formats, and by testing digital campaigns to see how brands, advertisers and consumers want to interact over the web, mobile media and tablets.

As consumers we have all changed.  For example, from my viewpoint in media relations and PR, I have witnessed huge changes in what clients think of print coverage compared to digital coverage. Far from being the poorer cousin of print, digital coverage is now regarded as easier to share, to use across different  channels, and to drive more immediate calls to action.

To me, DC Thomson’s announcement is not so much about The Dandy’s demise but more about a new beginning.  The Dandy already introduced its iPad app earlier this year, no doubt due to internal anticipation of the printing press closing shop, as well as in response to the exponential growth of mobile device media consumption among youth and young adults. Just like its legions of readers, the comic is looking forward, not back.

So here’s to The Dandy – being alive and well on the digital newsstand for another 75 years to come.

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Posted in Communications consultancy opinion, Hazel Butters: Opinion, Innovation, Media, PR Practices, Technology | Comments Off on Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

 

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August 13th, 2012

Not the Apple of our eye: Apple’s not so ‘genius’ adverts

Not the Apple of our eye: Apple’s not so ‘genius’ adverts

Apple’s latest line of adverts have received harsh criticism from tech geeks, with a number of people arguing that they make consumers look stupid and out of touch with the latest technology.

The series of videos were featured during the London Olympic Games. They showed an Apple Genius helping customers in various ‘mind boggling’ situations. Following consumer feedback, they were pulled – although they can still be found on You Tube.

As an Apple fan, I feel the adverts were supposed to be edgy and comedic and not taken seriously. But having to pull an advert shows that Apple seriously misjudged its audience on this occasion. While they didn’t offend me, I can see how they could be misinterpreted as patronising and condescending.

Here at Prompt, we’re always discussing how companies can be effective communicators, consistent and strike the right chord with its audiences. In these areas, and so many others, Apple is usually an outstanding leader, consistently ticking all those boxes – just think of how ground-breaking its 1984 commercial spoof of ‘1984’ was when it showed during that year’s Super Bowl to launch the Macintosh. Another classic is Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign which showed iconic personalities including Thomas Edison, John Lennon, Muhammad Ali and Jim Henson, accompanied by Kermit the Frog. It’s impossible to watch the adverts without your hairs standing on end.

Apple's Think Different ad

As consumers we have high expectation of Apple innovation in all areas, including its adverts. I’m sure this isn’t a case of one bad apple (ad) spoiling all the good ones.

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Posted in Apple, Boston, Copywriting, London, Media, Prompt locations, Technology | Comments Off on Not the Apple of our eye: Apple’s not so ‘genius’ adverts

 

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August 7th, 2012

Things you may not know about Covent Garden #61: the birthplace of the sandwich

Things you may not know about Covent Garden #61: the birthplace of the sandwich

Mmmmmm... sandwiches...

As we settle in and get to know the area around our new UK office, we’re working our way around the huge number of sandwich shops, bakeries and cafés in the neighbourhood. And what a choice – on our doorstop there’s everything from French-influenced chains including Le Pain Quotidien, Patisserie Valerie, Paul and the Prompt-appreciated Prêt à Manger, to friendly well-stocked independents such as Scott’s Sandwich Bar and Notes Music & Coffee. There’s cake, coffee and sandwiches suitable for every taste bud.

But did you know that Covent Garden lays claim to being the first place where a ‘sandwich’ was ever served? In 1762 John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, a keen gambler, is believed to have ordered a ‘slab of meat’ between two pieces of bread at an exclusive society club called the Beef Steak Club, at the Shakepeare’s Head pub (sadly destroyed in the Fire of 1808). Apparently the bread was to protect the Earl’s hands, and so his cards, from the grease of the meat.

Today, as I type this at my lunch, the sandwich still serves the same basic purpose. Although I don’t have a pack of cards to hand, I can scribble notes about that press launch, take calls from a client, tweet and type without getting any grease onto my keyboard. It’s just a shame that the Earl isn’t around in 2012 – he may have created a foodstuff that didn’t leave crumbs in the keyboard…

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Posted in London, Prompt locations | Comments Off on Things you may not know about Covent Garden #61: the birthplace of the sandwich

 

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April 6th, 2012

If you're in sales and you fear rejection…

If you're in sales and you fear rejection…

When I’m in ‘selling mode’ – whether it’s prospecting, cold calling, or pitching ideas for Prompt’s clients, I know it’s important to stay in the right frame of mind.  Selling is a fun, interactive process of intrigue—as long as you keep a positive mindset. My personal approach is to have mini mental rehearsals to consider what the conversation might be like, how it might unfold, which questions I should ask the person I’m selling to, and how they might respond. I then think about the ideal outcome, smile and dial (yes, it’s a cliché but it’s true), and work towards that ideal outcome.

When a call doesn’t go as you might wish, it can be very easy to blame either yourself or the person at the other end of the phone. But instead, try to really see things from their perspective. Any rejection isn’t a personal slur – they simply didn’t agree with your view that you have something they need, that’s all. (Of course if you’re trying to get someone to agree to something that isn’t in their best interest, then you’re miss-selling. In which case, you should blame yourself and go and do some more thorough research. You’re not doing yourself, the prospect or us any favours).

In a normal early-stage sales situation it is highly probable that you will get rejected. After all, if sales simply involved picking up the phone once, proposing something and hearing the person on the other end saying: “Heck, yes, count me in, where do I sign up?”, then everyone would be working in sales.

So instead, embrace the entire process: the fun of sales, the sense of achievement, earning the right to work and build a relationship with someone who was once a total stranger and overall, the fact that sales is a core business activity. As another phrase I have stuck to my wall rightly declares: “In business nothing happens until somebody sells something.”

So what are you waiting for? Smile to yourself, think what you want to say, and pick up that phone…

Hazel Butters for Prompt Communications discusses sales tips

I have this scribbled note-to-self stuck to my office wall.

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