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  • Joe Wichowski 4:24 pm on September 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Finance, , Sales   

    What If You Could “Google” Your Data? 

    What If You Could “Google” Your Data?

    Google Your Data With Power BI From Microsoft

    Well, Now You Can!  

    Join Us In Troy @ Automation Alley To Learn About

    Power BI from Microsoft


    Now more than ever, companies are struggling to keep up with the demand for better analytics, and faster / real-time access to data.

    The problem is that the simple data tools we used to use (Excel) are no longer able to stand up to the shear amounts of data required to get “the big picture”.

    The standard model for Excel (load data, massage data, build pivot tables, convert to charts, repeat next month) is broken – too much time is wasted each and every month simply regenerating reports.

    Power BI - Sales By Month
    Enter Power BI from Microsoft.

    Power BI is a collection of Microsoft Excel add-ons that give power users the capability of collating data from many different sources, and build Click-type charts, maps, and other “visual” tables.

    It enables real-time decision making within the toolset most employees are familiar with – without having to wash/rinse/and repeat the process each and every month.

    Power BI - Sales On A Map
    Reply Back NOW To Register!


    Join us as we walk you through the Power BI toolset, how it solves “big data” problems, reduces costs, and helps employees get immediate answers to make better business decisions for your organization.

    Who: Financial Execs, Managers, Owners who want better access to data


    When: September 30, 2014 (Tuesday) 9am – 11am


    Where: Automation Alley (Troy)

    The Boardroom
    2675 Bellingham
    Troy, MI 48083



  • Joe Wichowski 7:00 am on May 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sales   

    Make A Lasting (Permanent) Impression 

    Joe Wichowski vcard Example

    Let’s face it – the whole idea of handing out business cards is broken.  Who really wants to key all of those in?  I meet at least 10 new people every week.  It is very time consuming.

    Time and time again, the most asked question I get from sales guys is “Is there any way I can just feed these business cards directly into CRM?”  Don’t be part of the problem – give your prospects and customers a solution.  Instead, always send them your vCard attached to your emails.  They will benefit from not having to key your information in.  And you will benefit, because you can configure the entire card as you see fit, and ensure that your presence in their Contact list is exactly as you would like it.

    Creating a vCard is easy – simply create a new Contact for yourself in Outlook.  Remember to use EVERY field – as well as your picture (which WILL get emailed to your contact).  As you can see, I add my photo, use the Notes field to add a quick blurb about my company, and provide links to my sites and LinkedIn record.

    Use Every Field In Your vCard!


    Once done, in Outlook, simply choose File – Save As.  You will then be able to save the file as a .VCF file.  Then – every time you email a new contact or prospect, attach your vCard to save them the headache of having to type your information in.

  • Joe Wichowski 8:19 am on August 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sales   

    The art of “More Choices” with less… 


    As sales people, we often provide our clients with way too many options.  Our product catalogs are full of so many awesome offerings, and we know the customer can benefit from every single one of them.  Our proposals get bigger and bigger, trying to add value to what we are offering.  We want to make a difference, and we want them to have everything they need.

    Studies have shown, however, that this type of behavior can lead to “paralysis by analysis” during the decision making process.  Consider the following scenario:

    A mother and daughter walk up to a corner.  There, they find 2 ice cream stores: one that serves only 3 flavors – vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry; and the other that has 31 flavors to choose from.  Both mother and daughter choose to visit the store with more options – choosing from 31 flavors has to be better, right?

    However, after entering the store, they are overwhelmed with so many choices, that they spend 10 times as long picking out “which flavor” they would like.  In essence, there are so many options, it is difficult for them to decide on what is the “right decision”, so they take longer to make the choice.

    In the above scenario, had the mother and daughter been presented with 2 stores – one with 3 flavors, and another with 3 similar but different flavors, their brain actually would have made their ice cream “choice” well before they even went into the store – they would have had clear vision very early in the decision making process.

    As such, in sales we should strive to offer our clients the choices they want, but not every choice they could use (at least, not now).  By writing smarter proposals, you can help your customers make faster decisions, and be more comfortable in the decision they’ve made.

  • Joe Wichowski 8:45 am on August 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sales   

    Give your clients a “Yes” or “Yes” choice… 


    Pop quiz – What does the last sales proposal you sent to your customer look like?  Are you just quoting the products that you and your customer discussed?  Or are you going further – building a second proposal, that they didn’t even ask for, providing them with “another way to go”?

    Marketing studies have shown that even when you think you are giving people “1 choice”, you are essentially giving them 2 – They can say “Yes”, or they can say “No”.  The issue lies in the presentation of the options – why not increase (or better) your odds by controlling the story?  Why not try to give them a “Yes” or a “Yes” option?

    Instead of just a single proposal, can you provide your customers with an “A” and a “B” proposal?  Its not enough to include them on the same quotation – they have to be seen as physically separate – they should be able to hold each separately in their hand.

    What if Option A is the “bare minimum” to get the client started, but Option B offers long term support, training, maintenance, etc?  What if Option A is the base tooling assembly, but Option B provides for long-term stock service capabilities to help the client decrease their costs over the next 3 years?

    By providing an A and a B proposal, the discussion becomes more of a “which one fits you best?” as opposed to a “can we execute on this single proposal or not?” – you’ve changed the conversation.  The customer is now discussing options with you (physically shifting them in their hand, A or B, as you discuss them), neither of which leads to a “No”.

    By controlling the conversation, you can change the game – and your rate of closure – all to the benefit of the client.

  • Joe Wichowski 8:44 am on January 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sales   

    Challenge your team to “know” your customers… 


    Dale Carnegie once said:

     “You can make more friends in two months by becoming
    more interested in other people than you can in
    two years by trying to get people interested in you”

    Too often as salesmen, we define ourselves by our ability to make people interested in us – to persuade people into buying.  Instead, take a moment to give your team some specific action items that will not only get them more in tune with their customers, but they just might gather some intelligence to help them close their next deal.

    • Identifying Your Customer’s Customers – Find out who your customer’s “top customers” are.  Are they overweight in one particular segment?  Are they still growing? What are their strategic initiatives for customer growth over the next 12 months?  How might your company be able to help within those initiatives?
    • Competitor Discussion – Have your sales team ask the customer who your top 1 or 2 competitors are.  More often than not, they will actually tell you.  Why do they do business with them versus you? How are they different (good or bad)?  What is the percentage split (them versus us)?  Is there anything our competitors are doing that the customer would like us doing?
    • “If I Could” Discussion – Simply have your sales team ask the customer “If I could do anything for you this year – one thing – besides give you product for free; what would it be?”.   Then collate the list and review for synergies across your customer base.

    Assign these questions to your team.  Have them return a sheet filled in with each of their top-10 customers.  In doing so, you will begin to realize information you never had, and at the same time, draw your customer closer to your sales force.

  • Joe Wichowski 10:27 am on December 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Operations, Sales, Teams   

    Sometimes its good to be inside the box… 


    Although there are times when thinking “outside the box” can truly help teams innovate, it can become such a repetitious process that you actually end up with the same ideas and initiatives over and over again.

    Sometimes, the trouble with “blue sky” thinking, is that some people have a hard time envisioning “what ifs” without some form of guidelines.  To that, I read a great article on 99u the other day that really can help shake things up. 

    Instead of concentrating on “out of the box” thinking – come up with some interesting constraints for your team.  Don’t give them a blank slate.  Confuse them with “customer requirements” that really forces them to get into the problem.  For example:

    • Instead Of:   “How can we reduce our lead time?”
      Try:                “What if a customer wants us to get them their order today before 10am?
      The obvious answer will be “I guess we would drive it over” – but more importantly, how will the order get expedited?  How will it affect today’s production?  How can we improve the expedite of this order?  Force them to walk the whole process through the 10am delivery and see what systems or processes can be updated – even if 10am is not viable, the ideas you generate could easily aide in reducing your overall lead time.
    • Instead Of:   “How can I get you to make more sales calls this year?”
      Try:                “What if this year your customers only want to meet with you in the mornings – how can you structure your day to accommodate them?”
      Sales guys try to space out their day.  It makes them feel (and look) busy.  To get them more focused on being productive, see if you can help them come up with a 1/2 day plan to help structure their days better.  How can they utilize a geographic map to better plan routes instead of zig-zag driving?  How can they optomize their calendar to get multiple visits in the same areas done in succession?  Can they get started with a customer right at 8am? What about 7am?  Can they sit down in the afternoon and write 5 or 6 quotes in a row?  Walk them through a week, and see how you might be able to better challenge your sales team to be more productive by batching similar work together. 

    By building some arbitrary walls around the problem, you add some confusion to the problem, and really make someone scramble to come up with something more than the normal set of ideas.

  • Joe Wichowski 12:16 pm on October 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Sales, ,   

    What exactly did I do last month? 

    In this month’s Wired magazine, Clive Thompson talks about how Daniel Giovanni utilizes 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo to mine his 4-square check-ins.  He then gets a daily summary of where he was last year.

    What a simple idea, and a great concept.  Sales teams often forget about the repetitive nature of sales – they end up focusing on “This Month’s Deal” instead of also making progress and touch-points on ideas and connections in the past.

    This offers a great opportunity for our daily alert streams that we create for our customers.  By sending Sales teams a summary of where they were, who they talked to, and what they talked about – 1 month, 1 quarter ago, or 1 year ago “today” – we can help remind them of the conversations and activities of the past, to continually “work” the opportunities of the future.  (The Daily Alert streamer is one of the custom tools we’ve created for our customers – if you need additional details, please email me)

    If you don’t have our daily alert streaming system (or some other alert-type system), you could also facilitate this via a simple report or view in Microsoft CRM, Salesforce.com, or SugarCRM.  It won’t “push” to the user, but you could add it to your “Monday Morning Process” and train sales teams on how best to utilize it.

  • Joe Wichowski 1:42 pm on February 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sales   

    Great article on TechCrunch today, describing sales staff, how they work, and things you need to know to get the most out of them.  It discusses mostly how startups should deal with them, but I often see this behavior in companies we work with.

    TechCrunch – Mark Suster – Improving Sales: The Excuse Department Is Closed

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