How To Close More Sales With LAAP

This new sales process will work to shorten your time spent with clients and increase your sales at the same time.

The art and science behind relationship selling and consultative sales is all about getting to know your clients and earning their trust. Consultative sales can be time-consuming and ineffective if the client is not engaged and overwhelmed by all the personal questions of getting to know them.

I’ve been in sales for about 15 years and tried a few different versions of consultative selling, and although it can be effective, it often is overkill because of the pre-determined questions that need to be asked. The process can be a bit over the top, cheesy and lacks efficiency at times.

My new approach to sales is something I’ve been working on for a while now, and after seeing positive results month-over-month, I’m ready to publish and release it for all to see.

The LAAP approach is like relationship selling, however, it’s designed and intended for use with today’s highly educated, well-informed and time restricted customer.

Photo Credit: NegativeSpace.co

Relationship sales has its place in the sales cycle, but we must recognize that things are moving a lot faster now than ever before.

In today’s economy, customers are ditching websites after 4 seconds if the site doesn’t load fast enough, and with car buying, and grocery shopping going mobile, along with many more short-cuts in purchasing behaviors, the business model has become simple; it’s adapt or die.

The reason why I’m addressing this issue is because as a sales and marketing professional, I understand that if your business is going to grow as planned, then we must focus on closing the gap for good on customer acquisition and customer retention.

Photo Credit: NegativeSpace.co

So, how do we bridge the gap and increase sales? By using the new LAAP sales process that’s how! Below is a brief overview and a few examples of how this new sales cycle can work for you.

Learn:

  • We must take a sincere interest in learning about our customers.

In the learning phase we should be asking open-ended questions that’ll allow the customer an opportunity to open and share their thoughts, ideas, plans, past experiences and hopes for the future. This process can be as in-depth as the client would like it to be.

A great question to ask your client is “please share with me what you really liked about (fill in the blank ) and why?” By asking this type of question, you’ll get a sneak peek behind their buying motive and what makes them tick.

Keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so just like Rome, take your time on building the relationship well beyond your first interaction, and don’t try to cram all your questions into one sitting. Keep it simple.

The key to the learning process is to listen and engage with your clients. Once you get a grasp on what the client is looking for in a company, product or service, then go ahead and engage them in the next phase of the process.

In other words, start moving them into the closing phase and begin to share with them about how you’d like to recommend your service to fit one or multiple needs. This is not a hard sell, but a simple hint at what’s to come.

It’s wise to not loiter in the learning process, because after talking for a long period of time, the client will expect to hear your options and pricing. Keep in mind that not everyone has extended breaks or lunches, so, listen, engage – then move on.

Photo Credit: NegativeSpace.co

Adopt: 

  • According to Dictionary.com the definition of adopt is: To accept or act in accordance with (a plan, principle, etc.) 

So, what we need to do is to take account of what we’ve learned about our client including their past, present and future – and integrate it into our action plan.

We must take immediate action and facilitate a plan that’ll get them where they want to go. This step is a very simple, yet people tend to over complicate it.

Learn to filter the information that you’ve been gathering about the client and funnel it into a well-tailored plan. Sales is more about match making, than it is about features and benefits.

Once you identified your best available options for the client, then go ahead and hit them with your best shot or recommendations. This is the part where you’ll start to hear some objections or some sort of hesitation from the client on why buying what you’re selling isn’t just the right time or fit, which leads me to adapt.

Adapt:

  • The definition of Adapt is: To adjust or modify fittingly. (Dictionary.com)

Overcoming objections is something that you must learn to conquer. This is what separates mediocracy from greatness. Most people in a sales role can hold their own by playing the numbers, but only a those that are willing to go the extra mile become highly successful.

When we adapt to the customer’s tone, concerns, or hesitations, we are adjusting our approach to accommodate them, and help them feel comfortable about making their buying decision.

We must become like water in a river, always adjusting to whatever lies in its path and creating a new channel for it to move through.

Much like the water, we must do all we can to adjust our approach and recommendations to find the best solution to fit the client’s needs. Sales in general should be more about customizing than it is about fitting a client into a cookie cutter mold. And now that we’ve overcome the objections, it’s time to get down to brass tacks.

Provide:

In the last stage of the LAAP process, we’re going to re-affirm our appreciation by thanking the client for their time and giving you the opportunity to earn their business. We’ll smoothly transition from questions, facts, data, and stories to ushering the client straight into the buying phase.

Now, this can sound as easy as “Hey, thanks again for visiting our store today, we appreciate it.” Followed by “So, it sounds like we have a decision to make?” “Again, my recommendation for you is option (A) simply based on our discussion and your unique needs, however, it’s your call.”

You may also try asking a simple and blunt question like “Which one do you prefer?” These questions are a few examples of what and how your conversation may sound like in real-time but it’s up to you to determine your verbiage, tone and cadence that fits your personality.

When we move into the Provide section of LAAP we can’t afford to sit and chill and allow the customer’s hesitation to grow stronger and lead them to second guess you. In the closing phase of the process, we must be swift, professional and confident. Work to close the deal and move on.

If you’re brand new to the sales world, give yourself some time to find your own style and groove. People love personality, and love when that personality shines. However, even the most charismatic must learn to overcome objections and learn to earn the business by earning the trust of their clients.

Your comments, thoughts and ideas on this piece are appreciated.

Thanks and God bless!

Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant www.gonzalesmedia.com

How I Ranked On Page One of Google

Here’s how this self-taught social media and SEO specialist helped a phoenix hair salon rank in the local three pack on Google.  Creations by Gina, has been ranking on page one of various queries on Google and Bing for the past 4 years. Here’s the kicker though, all the content and SEO work was done at the hands of a marketing enthusiast who was an insurance sales agent by trade, and Here’s how I did it.

I read a lot of blogs and articles on what Google likes and doesn’t like. I attended the Digital Summit in Phoenix and gained enough inspiration to fuel my passion for the next 2 years. I truly paid attention to all the little things the experts would mention in their blogs and videos. I skimmed through the fluff and sifted through data till all that was left were these beautiful nuggets of SEO wisdom.

Once I figured out that I can pair my writing skills with these proven SEO techniques, I knew then that I could do it! If Google wanted content, Google was gonna get content. Yes, I said gonna!

Creations by Gina Google Page 1 Rankings

The Creations by Gina hair salon in Phoenix, averaged 1-3 new clients per week. These bookings were spawning directly from Google and Facebook. When you sprinkle in a few referrals here and there, you got yourself a pretty good book of business.

Again, let me remind you that if you searched for the “Top Hair Stylist in Phoenix,” “Goldwell Hair Salons,” and “Keratin Hair Treatment in Phoenix” along with many others, you would see Creations by Gina at the top of page one for not only Google but also Bing. The results varied if you searched using mobile versus desktop, however, no matter the channel, the rankings were much the same.

When I first noticed the rankings, my mind was blown, and I was super hype.

 

So my question was, how can I, a kid from Glendale, AZ with no professional training or a college degree outsmart and outwit some of these other SEO specialists who are managing other well established and more well-known hair salons?

My first thought was to thank God for all the wisdom and insight that I gained, and for all the people who were kind enough to share their facts, data and knowledge on social media management and search engine optimization. Many thanks to Ann Handley @MarketingProfs, Rand Fishkin @randfish, Gary Vaynerchuk @garyvee, Brian Fanzo @isocialFranz @SMACtalk, and Kim Garst @kimgarst for all their hard-work and dedication to the art and science of social media and search engine optimization. I’ve never met any of these folks, but without their advice and trailblazing, I certainly wouldn’t be having the type of success I’m having today. Thanks again!

The key to our success was simple. I set and followed 3 guidelines, and I stuck to them throughout the entire process. Hopefully, by following these guidelines with consistency, and a relentless mindset, you too can experience success in winning the battle for page one rankings. So, without further delay, here you go!

  • Unique content in a unique writing style
  • Headlines – Title Pages – Keywords – Links
  • Get people clicking (CTR)

There are too many variables and tactics needed to unlock the code and mystery of SEO, however, I knew that if I wrote fresh content and set up the website so that it was search engine friendly, then I knew I would at least be in the same ballpark. As I eluded to earlier, we were not only in the same ballpark, but we hit one deep into center field and right over the cheap seats.

 

The reason why I’m sharing this is because I’m transitioning from insurance sales and into a  career in digital marketing. I’m taking a leap of faith. I’m going to do all I can for me and my family to experience the goodness of life without doubt or regret. I’m going all in.

What gives me the confidence is my faith in Christ and the results of my past experience. My passion is helping others succeed, no matter if it’s on the court as a basketball coach or as a social media strategist. The bottom line is that if I get a chance to play a role in someone accomplishing their goals, then I’m all for it, and I’ll do whatever I can to help them achieve it.

Thanks for reading! God bless!

Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant

If you’re needing help with your social media and search engine marketing, then I’d love to help you. You can reach me at gonzalesmedia.com

Building Your Online Community

Relationship sales is more about relationship building, and less about sales. A business community isn’t much different from your local neighborhood community. There’s folks to the left, right, front and back, all with their noses in your business trying to figure out what you got going on. They wave and say “Hi” but never anything more. It’s just like your Facebook followers scrolling through their feed and skimming right past your Monday GIF and quote.

You see, your online community is no different, they’re all connected to you, following your posts, Gif’s and Monday motivational quotes, but never truly interacting with you. However, I believe that after a few tweaks in your approach, all that is about to change.

Like I said before, your online business community is no different from your real community, because much like your next-door neighbors, neither of you choose to have true and meaningful interaction. Therefore, we must get out of our comfort zone and take a leap of faith. We gotta make the first move and initiate contact with conversations that take us beyond the surface level of driveway talk.

I believe, that if we start publishing blogs and videos that go beyond products, features and benefits, then, and only then, can we breakthrough the barriers of “No, I’m okay, I’m just looking.” If we truly engage our community with thought-provoking conversation, then our trust barometer will begin to rise at a rapid pace, all because our neighbors will begin to value our word and expertise.

Here’s what John C. Maxwell, author of “How Successful People Think” says this about community, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” He hit the nail on the head, don’t you think?

It’s no secret. Social selling, business to business or business to customer sales transactions are all based on some level of trust. In some cases, the level of trust may be low, and in others it may be high. None the less, as a customer is preparing to make a purchase, whether that is online or in-store, there is indeed a certain level of trust involved with that purchase. That is why it is so important to establish ourselves as the go-to person for all things regarding our product or service.

If we offer our thoughts and expertise on a subject without any agenda, and the advice that we provided lead to a better buying decision for that client, then in that person’s mind, our stock just rose and now we moved up a tier. It’s not about giving stuff away, or offering free advice, but simply being a good neighbor and lending a hand when needed.

Here are 3 questions that’ll get the conversation started:

  • What do you like or don’t like about social media?
  • Who is the most influential person in your life? Why?
  • If you could change something in your life or community, what would you change?

These questions will most definitely get the conversation going, but it’s up to you to moderate and keep it going. Once the people in your community see that you’re willing to go beyond features and benefits, then, and only then, will you begin to build a strong, healthy and engaged community.

Thanks for reading, God bless!

Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant

How To Overcome Self-Doubt & Regain Your Joy

There comes a time when we should not look ourselves in the mirror but take a long look at our history of decisions. We must take a moment and reflect on our previous decisions and the decision-making process that either lead us to victory or failure. There will be some things we’d like to take back, like some words we’ve wished we never said or actions we did or did not take. While it’s a good idea to take account of our past mistakes, we absolutely should not let it dictate our future, nor how we interpret ourselves. It’s time to rise and shake off whatever past hurts, pains and regrets that we’ve been living with. We must not become a society full of regrets and worry, but instead become a community of hope.

There is life, love, and power in the words that we speak. Words can impact someone’s life for the better or worse. Words can uplift or derail. They can reveal a lot about someone’s character and their perception of others. The words we use to describe others are also being used to describe our own integrity. It’s not about portraying a fake personality and becoming just like everyone else, but instead choosing to be different by displaying a genuine interest in the betterment of someone other than yourself.

Over the years, I’ve learned to adjust my way of thinking and speaking not only about others, but about myself. There is something to be said about a person who not only believes in themselves but has the courage to speak out loud about their discipline, faith and commitment to living an extraordinary life. From the moment, we wake up in the morning our lives become a moment to moment decision making process. We all know that this world and the people in it are far from perfect, but it doesn’t do us any good to dwell on the negativity that we see, read or experience. Live hopeful and optimistic, choose to be joyful and shed that dreadful persona of doom and gloom that so many people have adopted as their own. I’m not claiming to know it all or state that I’m able to tell people how to live, but instead I’m simply sharing with those who are willing to listen, what helped me overcome my struggles with pain, regret and bitterness. Simply put, I chose to forgive, forget and move on.

Here are three things that I would encourage you to do if you are looking to acquire more meaningful relationships and overcome any self-doubt that you may have:

  • Forgiveness. – There is both power and peace in the decision to forgive others, yourself and to also receive forgiveness from others. It’s not about condemnation but about salvation and freedom. {John 3:16-17 NLT}…“For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

When we make the decision not to judge neither ourselves or others based on poor circumstances or bad experiences we free ourselves from the devastation of guilt and a negative thought life. When we choose forgiveness, and choose to see the best in ourselves and others, we increase our ability to acquire and maintain healthy and meaningful relationships.  It’s a win-win!

  • Stop – Think – Then Speak. – When we take a moment to respond to a negative comment, gesture or situation, we give ourselves the best chance and opportunity to overcome our raw, negative thoughts and emotions. When we do this, we remain in control and not the other person or situation that’s causing friction and or conflict. The bottom line is this – don’t let others dictate your thoughts, feelings or actions. It’s tough, but I assure you that with the help of the Lord, it can be done.

{James 1:9 NLT} …” Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

I used to process people’s negative comments and meditate on them daily – and by harboring those negative thoughts and emotions it lead me to speak in a way that was harmful, both to myself and others. When we allow negativity to rule our thought life, it not only affects others but also how we view and think about ourselves. When the insults keep piling on and our days are filled with one bad experience after another, we must not act upon our negative thoughts and instincts, which could potentially lead us down a path of destruction. Instead – take your time and speak words of encouragement and wisdom into others and over your situations. Take control over bad circumstances with the use and power of your words and positive thinking. When you do this, it not only displays your character but also your ability to grow and overcome the adversities of life. Take a stand against negativity, and choose to speak life.

  • Encouragement. – Most of us enjoy words of affirmation and reassurance that everything is going to be all right, especially when we’re not feeling the most confident about our abilities.

{1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT} …” So, encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”

When we invest in others, we invest in ourselves. I can’t tell you enough about how awesome and exhilarating it can be when you see someone breakthrough their mental and physical barriers. When we speak words of encouragement, it truly effects our lives in more ways than one. Our confidence soars, our smile gets a little brighter and it begins to show itself to others as they take note of our new and profound positive outlook on life. The bottom line is that we all need encouragement from time to time no matter how well adjusted or equipped we are in our stage of life. It’s amazing how contagious encouragement can be, it’s like adding kindling to the fire and having to jump back quickly because all the embers and heat that the new wood disperses. So go ahead and speak – and let your words be the fuel to someone’s fire.

If you want to rid yourself of negativity, you must learn a new way of thinking and speaking about others and especially about yourself. It may not always be sunshine and rainbows, but at least we can ditch the doom and gloom mindset. Let’s continue to grow in our ability to uplift and encourage one another to do great and extraordinary things. Let’s be the love!

 

Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant

How To Plan and Execute Your Marketing Strategy Pt.2

This is a follow-up to my previous post on Think. Plan. Execute. Here’s a quick reminder of how important it is to implement an actual strategic and thoughtful plan of action. Your strategy is your guide, it’s your compass to lead you back home when you get lost or disoriented from all of the industry buzz and input from friends, family and colleagues. It’s more than something you created in order to check off your solopreneur to-do list.  Your strategy is indeed your compass, and this compass will lead you to a place of peace and assurance when fear and doubt starts to creep in. Hold tight to your strategy, because it’s more than a marketing tool, it’s your vision on paper, it’s your passion coming to life, it’s realizing your dream and not letting the moment pass you by. Take your time with it, think about it, consider where you envision yourself and how you’d like to get there. However you choose to write your plan, you must know that your strategy is only as good as your ability to execute.

One of my professional goals is to help others grow their business and experience exponential growth as individuals, professionals and community leaders. So, without further ado, I will share with you some insight on how to begin your strategic planning that I believe will help you capture new business and help you draw closer to your sales goals.

The first thing you want to do is block out any past failures and mistakes you made regarding your business. You want to keep them from entering your mind, which can weigh you down and possibly keep you from moving forward and attaining the success you dream of. Now is not the time to reflect on failures, doubts or fears – now is the time for action.  Here is the one-page marketing plan I outlined and created to establish a simple but effective sales and lead generation strategy.

The Game Plan: Start by creating a single page marketing plan for either yourself or your team. Keep in mind that marketing plans can be very in-depth and complex, but they don’t have to be. Before you begin to write, you must have a general idea of where you’d like to be a year from now and create a monthly plan that is going to help you get there. You can create a 30 – 60 – or 90-day plan, but it must contain at least three major elements. The three elements are listed below:

  • Objective: What is your exact motive and vision of where you’d like to be in exactly 6 to 12 months from now. You can include milestone markers as your way of establishing quantitative and tangible measurements. 
  •    Goals: Establish goals that’ll help you attain the mile markers and get you closer to reaching your planned destination. You can include the number of closed sales per day, week, or month. You can also include the number of quotes, outbound or inbound calls, open house presentations, and social/professional gatherings attended such as networking groups. As you begin to think and write down these goals, remember that they must be goals that can be measured and not vague and out of touch.
  •    Sales and Marketing Strategy: This section can seem a little overwhelming, but I assure you that no matter your level of comfort with marketing, you can get it done. A quick and easy way to start is to take into consideration the current time of year or season and plan around it. Identify if there are any specific products or services you’d like to feature or promote. Is it an exclusive product or service that is only available during certain times of the year? Is there a specific “sale” or promotion that your company would like to feature to acquire new subscribers. How about a demonstration of your appreciation of customer loyalty with a special one-day event? These are just a couple of examples of what you can include in your marketing strategy, this is the part where you let loose and get creative. Don’t be afraid to try things that you think is a little overboard or too much, because in the end it’s all about getting the results you desire and you never know for sure what your prospective clients will respond to.

There are a few different strategies that I would recommend you adopting and including in your plan, and one of them is an aggressive Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest strategy. I can definitely help you plan and implement these strategies on a more one-on-one approach if you’re interested, but none-the less, I highly encourage you to plan and implement a strong social media campaign. In your social media campaign, you can include How-to videos featuring your latest products, styles or DIY home improvements. The idea is to be unique and captivate your audience with flare and authenticity. This is all done in a calculated and synchronized way that keeps you in-line and on pace to meet your original objective and goals. Be sure to include in your videos the order in which you would like to engage with your audience. What is your expectation and desired results from viewers? Be clear on what you’re asking them to do. Keep your videos short – concise and relevant to current events, trending topics and how your product or service can help teach or provide solutions to a common question, customer pain point or to satisfy the customer’s need to connect with you or your company.

The idea of this single page marketing plan is to keep you feeling confident and comfortable with a streamlined approach to developing a marketing strategy that will get you the results you’re looking for. Listed below are some cool tools, apps and websites I use in developing and implementing a cohesive marketing plan. There are plenty more, but these tools should help you lay down a solid foundation for your future success. Clear your mind and get ready to have some fun.

1.       Canva – Create stunning graphics with easy to use templates. https://www.canva.com/

www.canva.com
Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more.

 

2.       Sprout Social – Schedule social media posts with ease. https://app.sproutsocial.com/login

app.sproutsocial.com
Log in to your Sprout Social account. Don’t have an account yet? Sign up for a free 30-day trial.

 

3.       TweetDeck – Stay up-to date with the people you follow and list them in groups or categories that you find interesting enough to want to stay in the know regarding trending topics or events. https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/

tweetdeck.twitter.com
TweetDeck is your personal browser for staying in touch with what’s happening now.

 

4.       Facebook ADs Manager – A quick and easy app to help boost, track or create a new ad for your Facebook business page. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.facebook.adsmanager

play.google.com
Manage your Facebook ads on the go. Quickly create and track your ads on your Android device with powerful and efficient tools. Create ads: Use photos and videos from …

 

5.       PicMonkey – Image Editor – Similar to Photoshop. https://www.picmonkey.com/

www.picmonkey.com
Editing your photos is easy with PicMonkey! Add filters, frames, text, and effects to images with our free online photo editing tool!

 

6.       Negative Space – Free Stock Photos. http://negativespace.co/photos/

negativespace.co
Keep Calm and Drink Coffee Stock Photo. Into The Forest Stock Photo. Kids Holding Hand Stock Photo

 

Thanks for taking a moment to read “Think. Plan. Execute.” I hope I was able to bring something new to the table and possibly enlighten you or at least encourage you to continue to move forward and press on towards your goals. If it can happen for others, it can happen for you. As always, know that God is for you and with Him all things are possible. God bless you all and may the Lord prosper you in all you do! 
[Matthew 19:26 (KJV)] But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Jesus Gonzales - Marketing Consultant
Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant

For more insight, visit gonzalesmedia.com.

Learn How To Plan and Execute Your Marketing Strategy

Think. Plan. Execute.

Strategy is often discussed but rarely executed. Most of us have participated in a team meeting where there was an idea, thought or revelation that was deemed the next big thing in your company or even industry. The team leader asked for volunteers and no one raised their hand and so a team was hand selected by the manager along with the person who had the bright idea of change. The team gathers for a brainstorm session and comes up with a beautiful and elaborate plan of action. The plan was given to management and was accepted with excitement and a good old pat on the back. So, what happens next? Nothing – absolutely nothing!

This journey of yours has got to be more than excitement, it has to have substance. Much like the example I shared, if you’re creating plans for the sake of having a plan for your business but it truly isn’t serving a purpose, then all your doing is creating a bunch of nothing. You’ve exhausted countless hours that you can never get back and probably at the expense of gaining a new client. Your strategy is your guide, it’s your compass to lead you back home when you get lost or disoriented from all of the industry buzz and input from friends, family and colleagues. Your strategy is your compass that’s going to lead you to a place of peace and assurance when fear starts to creep in. Your strategy is more than a marketing tool, it’s your vision on paper, it’s your passion coming to life, it’s realizing your dream and not letting the moment pass you by. However; your strategy is only as good as your execution.

A coach implements a game plan that takes all aspects of the game, rules and potential outcomes into consideration. In the same sense, we must incorporate all aspects of our business and look for weaknesses in the opposition and attack. As a coach I’m constantly teaching my players to aggressively pursue victory by sticking to the plan, and when the moments right – attack using your creativity. Keep them guessing! Keep them on their heels! So, the point I’m trying to make here is that strategic planning and the execution of your planning is more than hype, buzz or a checkmark on your to-do list. Your ability to plan and properly execute those plans to the best of your ability is absolutely vital to the success of your business. In my follow up post, I’ll share with you some great resources that’ll help you plan and implement a sales, marketing and lead generation strategy.

There’s one last thing I want to share with you that I believe with all of my heart to be true, and that is – with God all things are possible. Don’t let others lack of vision derail your plans, and don’t let them dictate the success of your dreams and career – because with God all things are possible. Hold tight to the promises of God and be at peace during the trials of growing a start-up business. Having persistence and a relentless mindset is more than a cliché, it’s a necessity. 

  •    Matthew 19:26 (KJV) “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Be on the lookout for the follow-up post filled with tactical and practical advice on how to implement a successful sales & marketing strategy. For more insight or assistance with your digital marketing services, please visit gonzalesmedia.com.

 

Jesus Gonzales - Marketing Consultant
Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant

How Content Marketing Blurs The Lines of SEO & Customer Experience

Picture this if you will and follow me for a moment, think of your online presence as your personal appeal and your content as your charm and personality. With this in mind, I want to state my personal belief in that the things we say, write and illustrate online are more than superficial tactics to get a laugh, like or follow and as we continue to evolve in our approach and understanding of digital marketing, we must come to the conclusion that our content is a written expression of who we are and who we represent. For example; when meeting someone for the first time, it’s a common practice to dress appropriately with a sense of style and appeal. You’ll introduce yourself and engage in a meaningful conversation, in which you try your best to do more listening than speaking. After a few ah-ha moments and a cup of coffee the meeting is over and you take a mental assessment of what took place. Your assessment includes the basics such as, is this person trustworthy? Could I see myself working with or for this person? And do I actually like this person enough to share my skills, talents, time and money with? Getting to know someone in a meaningful conversation allows you to have a deeper insight as to what type of person you’ll be working with. What I’m about to share with you is absolutely practical and worth implementing if you want to strengthen the relationship between you and your clients. In doing so, you can potentially increase your SERP rankings, customer response and engagement with strong opportunities to close on new business.

The following are some of the first steps you’ll need to take if you want to see a return on your website and social media efforts:

  • Assess and Address. Take an honest assessment of your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and other social media sites that you’re currently using for your business. The first thing you want to do is to make sure that they’re all in sync with updated pictures, logos, profile bio’s and content. You’d be surprised as to how many people have outdated pictures and content from one site to another. Conduct a sweep and clean it all up. Take a weekend and listen to some music, read a book, watch a TED talk and spend some time doing something that inspires you. Use that motivation to tap into your creative personality and harness all of the good ideas, words, phrases and visuals and then get to work on your upgrades. When you get new ideas, write them down and add them to your calendar to avoid the grim reaper of entrepreneurs otherwise known as procrastination. Next, you want to lay it all out and renovate.

 

  • Renovate and regulate on your competition. Take some time to skim, browse and learn more about your industry’s latest trends and hot topics. Take notes and highlight the key points of interest that you think your audience will connect with. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT plagiarize. If you’re going to use someone else’s content, be sure to either get their permission or give accurate credit to the original author or source. Google and Bing will typically honor and elevate original content that is current and trending. They love content that is meaningful, searchable and full of rich snippets of pictures, video and precise definitions of common keyword searches and phrases. If you’re a small business owner and don’t have a social media manager to create new content, then I suggest you implement your changes in phases. Try not to allow yourself to feel overwhelmed and conflicted. If you simply make a checklist of what you need to update and what type of new content that you’re going to create, it’ll make things a whole lot easier. However, if you do have a social media manager, then it’s time to let them loose and regulate on your competition. It’s time to rise up from the forgotten and launch a marketing plan that’ll grow your business beyond your expectations. Have the (SMM) craft a 3-month social media marketing plan that includes Q&A podcast interviews about your industry experience, product or service – short blog posts and weekly live video feeds on Facebook live or Periscope. Stay humble – stay hungry and most importantly Know Your End Goal.
  • “Just Google it!”  Google has become a household name and spoken of quite often amongst Millennials and Generation X families. Google still seems to be the premier source of information gathering, fact finding and mapping sources for most people, even though the majority of them have a Facebook and Twitter page. Speaking of social media, when was the last time you searched using Bing, Yahoo or Facebook? Believe it or not there are some people who prefer these search engines and social sites for their personal and professional inquiries. So let me introduce you to the 30 – 30 – 30 plan. This plan is solely focused on gathering at least 30 reviews on Google, Bing and Facebook. If you don’t know by now, then it’s time you do, that online reviews are highly valuable and hold a lot of weight in terms of SERP rankings. Designating a full “On-line Customer Review” campaign is definitely worth the time and energy. Your return on investment is long-lasting and increases your credibility. Here’s a great way to get started; create a list of your current and past clients that you know had a great customer experience in the last 3 -6 months. This is the list that’s going to get you going in the right direction and give you a boost not only in reviews but in your confidence as a leader and entrepreneur. Next, move on to creating a 2-3 step customer user guide to completing Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews. A good tool and resource you may want to use is Canva, which is an online Photoshop type of website. This site is awesome and allows you to create or use existing templates that are specifically designed for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram including proper size imaging for each site. Create a “We Appreciate Your Reviews” campaign both on digital and print so you can use the flyers to promote and encourage customer reviews while they’re in the office. It really works – but the key to closing any type of sale including persuading your clients to take a few minutes to write their review – is to simply ask. Ask for reviews often and early in the conversation, for example, you may want to say something similar to “in just a few moments we’ll be wrapping things up along with a quick Google review of your experience with us today.” However, ask them in a way that makes them feel like it’s all a part of the process and most importantly make it seamless and fun.

 

  • The Power of Print. Use the printed Google Review flyer as a display in your office and make it visible to your staff and clients. Regardless of what type of business you’re in, you’ll have a great number of opportunities to present this flyer to your clients. While you’re researching information, taking a payment or booking their next appointment, simply direct your client to the flyer to follow the steps to complete their review. One of the first lessons I learned in business was to “Always be closing and Never Assume The Rejection.” Thank your client for their business and direct them, I mean ask them to complete the review which only takes about 3 minutes. Let me back up for a second and remind everyone that you should have at a minimum a Google, Facebook and Yelp business page. Bing loves and feeds off of Yelp reviews which can significantly increase your search rankings on Google as well. The digital Google – Yelp or Facebook review flyer will be used to promote on social media as a promoted or boosted post. You’ll also want to Invite your staff, friends, and relatives to join in on the fun. They can write a review and reference your company’s strengths, character and of course their own personal experiences. If your staff are paying customers and have conducted business with your company, they have every right to legitimately write a review of the company. Let everyone know just how fun it is, because it really is fun when you start to see reviews coming in and begin to read people’s thoughts and feelings regarding their past experiences working with you and your staff. It’s definitely reassuring and reinvigorates your passion for doing what you do.

 

  • Be where your clients are – but not everywhere they are. In my experience as a marketing professional, I have noticed that many companies have just about every social media page listed on their websites, email signatures and business cards. If you truly think about it, most people who are online typically have a LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook account they typically prefer and primarily use. Unless you’re in marketing yourself, you may want to steer clear from trying to maintain a manageable presence on all of the social media sites that are out there today – including Instagram and Snapchat. Maintaining a strong presence on social media sites should serve your business well but not at the expense of neglect. However, depending on the type of business you’re in, you may want to consider adding Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat to your digital arsenal. The reason you want to avoid a social media overload is because it can become very overwhelming to maintain and manage as a business owner, sales professional and even a social media manager who has to show proof of ROI. The time, effort and finances that it takes to maintain your accounts may not be worth your time and may not produce the best ROI that you or your CMO would like. Keep in mind that your prospective and current clients usually have at least 1 of the 4 major social media sites. They key to conversion is user engagement and conversation. Be visible and available.

 

  • The Power of Google. This last segment I’m going to talk about is how to leverage the unique algorithms and power of Google. I want to put my disclaimer out there noting that Google is constantly and consistently changing up their search algorithms that is run by Rank brain and that your results may vary. However, there are some tried and true ways of maximizing your site for your benefit, the first thing you’d want to do is to set up a plan of action. Coordinate your SEO tactics with your social media messages in order to demonstrate a cohesive marketing plan. Craft your website to attract the web crawlers of Google. Create original content that allows the reader to stay on your page with integrated content including short videos or snippets of podcasts lasting at least 3 minutes. However, it was recently noted that millennials are more willing to watch videos on twitter if they were 30 seconds or less, so just like most tings in business, it’s trial and error till you find the sweet spot. Integrate the most commonly used keywords and search results for your industry as part of the Headline and in the message of your sites landing page. Use words like “Best” and “Top” throughout your site, site links, site summary, meta tags and navigation bar and headers. Allow me to back up for a second and first make you aware of the fact that if you don’t have a product or service that people will want and use than all of your SEO efforts will be a waste of time.

 

You must have a product or service that is highly valued and or be on the rise. If you’re a Solopreneur, then you want to perfect your craft and become the go-to person in your profession. When people are in need of your services, you’ll be the first one to pop in their head as a result of your credibility. Having this type of prestige as a business will definitely play a role in acquiring online reviews and therefore assisting in the increasing of your search rankings. Next, you want make sure you’re listed on a variety of outside sources that people are using for advice, planning and resources. Get listed on sites such as Yellow Pages, Citysearch, Foursquare, Chamber of Commerce blogs and websites including guest blogging on cross industry news sites. The more credible backlinks that you can have directing people back to your website the better it will be. You can use sites such as Godaddy as a source to have your site listed on all of the major search sites using their GetFound product. There is a fee for this particular service but I assure you that it is well worth it. Next, would be acquiring a SSL Certificate, which basically means that your site is listed with Google as a safe and secure website. This certificate is another way you can increase your rankings by leveraging the credibility that Google gives your company’s website and reassures consumers that it’s safe for ecommerce transactions. The tips I noted above will put you in a position that’ll have Google working for you and not against you.

 

  • Responsive Design. Responsive design is basically a measurement of just how user friendly your website is on mobile devices. It’s now more beneficial to streamline your design in order to have a better and more productive responsive design and user experience. Back in the day it was all about splash, flash and tons of videos and slideshows, but now – you have to be very creative and disciplined in your approach while designing your small screen storefront. Properly staged content is the key to success.

The last thing I want to mention regarding success and the use of these tactics is to simply apply them along with the wisdom of the Lord, because With God All Things are possible!

Matthew 19:26 (NLT)-Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

I say this to remind everyone that growing your business, ranking on the top of Google or becoming an Influencer seems like a task or a goal that is just too big – but I’ve learned that with God’s wisdom and insight, all things are indeed possible even getting to the top of Google, and that my friends is my encouragement to you. Keep writing, creating and dreaming and soon you’ll be well on your way to regulating the completion.

If this piece intrigues you and you’d like to learn more about integrating content marketing with your SEO and customer experience plans, then please contact me @jesus_gonzales7 on Twitter or visit gonzalesmedia.com.

Jesus Gonzales - Marketing Consultant
Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant

How To Connect and Get More People To Trust You

We’ve all heard the old saying time and time again, that it’s not what you know but who you know and I’m here to say that this profound and mostly misunderstood statement seems to be highly accurate in my opinion. However, there is more to the statement then you may have thought. For example; one of the reasons we’re all on social media is to grow our networks and connect with other professionals with similar interests. We post, tweet, retweet and blog so we can establish credibility and work towards building a pipeline of referrals, references and money making opportunities. In doing so, we subtly prove that the old saying “It’s not what you know – but who you know” is not only relevant but prevalent in our individual and corporate success. However, I’d like to take it to the next level and show you that this statement is two-fold and has an alternate meaning that can become even more beneficial for us all.

When we take this statement and apply it to our customer transactions it profoundly brings new insight and understanding of our client’s needs. We can do this because we now know that it’s not what we know but who we know, and the more we know about our clients, the more informed we are about how to provide the right advice and solutions. What I’d like to show you in a few simple steps is how we can transform a simple conversation into a life-long relationship with great referral opportunities.

  • The first step would be to take a genuine interest in your customer during the initial consultation. When you’re speaking with your clients – try to refrain from multi – tasking, whether that would be mentally or functionally. People prefer to conduct business with people who are genuine and considerate of their time. So, instead of thinking how you’re going to end the conversation and move on, take a moment, and listen. Listen to what the customer is saying and begin identifying their buying motives. Uncovering these clues are like unearthing a lost treasure – they are highly valuable and only the most passionate and adventurous people are usually the ones who go after it. As a young actor I was taught that in order to land a job you have to have patience and a stellar audition. Some of the keys to a great audition was to first understand what the character was going through at the moment. As we proceed in dialogue I was to know what the character wanted, what the character needed and what the character felt. It was only when I got a feel for the character and reading partner was I supposed to speak. Just like these audition techniques, if you simply listen and remain patient you’ll gain a valuable opportunity to conversationally ask questions regarding your prospects current situation. By demonstrating to your clients that you care enough to listen without agenda they’ll tell you everything you need to know. Forget about probing for more clues to the treasure, they’ll willing hand over the map.
  • The next step is to take what you’ve learned about your client and establish an action plan for both you as the advisor and your customer. Depending on the industry that you’re in there may be a sales or self-service process that is customary for you to follow. However; I would suggest to steer clear of the same itinerary or interview questions that every other company uses. Be unique in your approach, delivery and closing process. Ask yourself – what does the customer want? What does the customer need? What does the customer like about our company? And how can I meet their needs? Remember…It’s not what you know but who you know!
  •   Solutions and Recommendations. With a clear understanding of your customer’s pain points and buying motives, you are now equipped with the right information to formulate your expert recommendation and offer your best solution that fits the customer’s needs. Your closing may sound something like this, “Mr. Gonzales, based on what you’ve shared with me regarding your search for a new home, I assure you that we have the best solutions that’ll fit your needs and your budget. I’ve taken detailed notes pertaining to your specific requests and from what I’ve gathered, it sounds like you’re looking for a home that is (_________) and in this specific price range. Is that correct? So, would you agree that based on the options that I have presented to you that this would be the best fit for you? Next, you would move on to your closing statement. With a smile and excitement in your voice you’d want to extend your most sincere gratitude and appreciation for their business. You would want to use words like “I’m excited,” “This is going to be awesome,” “Can’t wait to get started,” and “I’m so glad I got a chance to meet with you.” These statements may seem a bit cheesy to you, but I assure you they really work.
  •   Set The Expectations. Inform your new client of what to expect in the next 24 hours, week or month. Share with them how your next form of communication will be, such as an email, phone call or a package to look out for in the mail. Next, you want to sync up your calendars and do it while you’re both on the phone or in your initial consultation. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible to avoid any mishaps in communication.

There’s no doubt that incorporating these types of sales techniques and practicing them daily will elevate your business to new heights. Your current customers that you interact with daily will take note and begin to share their experiences with friends and family. They’ll become one of your greatest allies and influencers. Think of it this way – next level business – takes next level practice and next level practice builds a next level brand. Your brand is your identity and your identity is your character. So, I’ll ask you – what do you want to be known for? Cheap sales tactics or a sincere and genuine professional. Like I’ve said before, it’s not what you know – but WHO you know and knowing your client is the foundation for building a life-long relationship.

There’s more to life than making a quick buck and growing your following to 1M plus. If you’d like to know more about building a business that is profitable, credible and will stand the test of time – then connect with me on twitter @jesus_gonzales7 or visit gonzalesmedia.com.

Jesus Gonzales - Marketing Consultant
Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant

Philippians 4:13 NLT – “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

How To Become a More Authentic & Effective Leader

Authentic leadership is vital in our pursuit of greatness. Leading with integrity is key because we can only lead when people are willing to trust us with their time, talents and resources. Authentic leadership is highly coveted because people matter. God designed us to be leaders in our communities, families and in the workplace. The gifts that he imparted to us are intended to be used for his plan and vision. When we lead knowing that ultimately it is all for the honor and glory of our Lord, then the burden becomes a privilege and leading others becomes a joy. When we humble ourselves as servants of the Lord, we know that God will not keep anything from us and that he will provide the right tools, people and resources that will help us reach our end goal. It is vital that we lead knowing that all people matter, and that means that their hopes, and dreams matter as well. It also means that their special gifts and talents matter. Authentic leadership places value on people’s dreams and is in agreement that they too should be able to accomplish their hearts desires. It also means that if all people matter, then we ought to listen and communicate with people on a deeper level and develop strong relationships. We do this, not for the sake of our own agendas, but because life is meant to be lived in community. Life is messy and we need all the help we can get. When we band together and trust in each other we can accomplish something great – we can go beyond our limits and reach new levels of success like never before.

Employees, athletes, students and even church members are becoming so confused as to what a true leader is and is not. It’s because leadership has taken all kinds of forms lately and the people who we thought were leaders turned out to be flakes and crumbled under pressure. It’s because of past experiences of poor leadership, we must do a better job at defining leadership by exemplifying authentic leadership. If we’re going to use the term “lead by example” then we have to follow that up by stating the most important thing about leadership, and that is – it’s not about us but about the people. It’s about the people that choose to join us in our mission and offer themselves up for the cause. When we lead with authenticity people will rally and willingly sacrifice their time, talents and resources to accomplish company goals. They’ll do this because they know that they can trust you and that we as leaders are selflessly sacrificing just the same. When we put others first it is evident and visible to all – when we put others first – it is love in action.

Here are some key characteristics and skills needed to obtain in order to deliver authentic and powerful leadership:

  • Humility
  • Knowledge
  • Wisdom
  • Discernment
  • Empathy
  • The Skill and Art of Precision Listening
  • Sales & Negotiation Skills That Demonstrate Experience and Swag
  • Effective Communication – Story Telling & Fearless Motivational Skills

I believe that with the acquisition and implementation of these attributes and skills, you’ll be able to lead and inspire your team to do great and wonderful things never imagined. You’ll also be able to demonstrate how they too can grow in leadership by following your lead and example. In the end – it’s not about rule and rein but about growth and reproduction. It’s about the development of your team’s character and how well they’ll respond to the challenge when they are asked to lead. What type of leaders are you shaping and what is the legacy they’re following? Are you ready to lead with authenticity and become a more efficient and effective leader of change? If so, I would encourage you to take your current skill set and adapt the forementioned attributes to fuse them together and experience growth and success.

So, I want to turn it over to you and ask you to share what are some of your thoughts on leadership? Who in your personal or professional life has shown exemplary leadership skills and has influenced you to pursue your dreams? How will you incorporate authentic leadership in your business?

For more insight on leadership and growing your business using the art of story telling and content marketing, visit gonzalesmedia.com.

Jesus Gonzales - Marketing Consultant
Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant

How To Live, Network and Grow Your Business Like a Champion Part 3

How To Live, Network and Grow Your Business Like a Champion Part 3

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT…For God has not given us a spirt of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.

We all desire the ability to think through difficult situations and provide the most fitting solution to our company problems. We’d love to be able to walk out of a long meeting feeling like a champ because in the midst of doubt and indecision we were able to facilitate our thoughts with the power of self-discipline. Well, God has given us this awesome ability of self-discipline and more. He has made wisdom, and sound thinking available to us in abundant proportions. God has granted us the ability to acquire internal peace and clarity during times of trouble. When our personal and business lives collide and we allow our nine to five troubles to have a negative affect our personal lives – then we must re-evaluate and re-condition our minds to filter and diffuse unwanted thoughts of negativity. This is important because our troubles at work can seriously affect our lives at home. If we fail to properly execute a healthy work – life balance, both work and life can make us feel ill with discontentment and frustration. However; when we allow God’s word to enlighten and inspire us to move forward with sound thinking, then we can become even more confident about our daily decision making while at work.

When adversity arrives it’s often a great idea to walk away and regain our clarity by turning to (2 Timothy 1:7) and recall that with God – we have the right and ability to sound thinking. When we operate with a sound mind, our leaders at work will recognize our cognitive and critical thinking skills that will place us in an advanced tier of thought and potential. We become a valuable asset and a person that can be trusted with much responsibility. When operating under the influence of self-discipline our teammates and co-workers will know that when a challenge is presented, we will not quiver and run but face it head on with a well thought out plan. When we fuse the gift of God’s love, power and sound thinking, we can become champions in any arena, corporation or network we desire to be a part of.

…With God all things are possible Matthew 19:26 (KJV)

This concludes my three part mini series on overcoming fear and growing your networks and business like a champion. Please take a moment and visit gonzalesmedia.com, and if you like what you see, then contact me for Social Media Marketing and SEO services that will help increase your online presence and most importantly your profits.

Jesus Gonzales - Marketing Consultant
Jesus Gonzales – Marketing Consultant