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TEI shares the results with all CEONetwork members and all Professional network partnering sponsors in an effort designed to connect the NEEDs with the solution providers' expertise. Said "solution providers" include both CEOs who have been there and done that and Professionals that can draw on their experiences to offer new strageies and tactics. Reducing the risk of making a wrong decision is a key outcome. Secondarily, TEI will be using the survey results to help determine the content for our Presidents FORUM programs and the Focused Breakfast events that are offered, by invitation, to CEOs in our 13 chapter cities.
Our mission as a 501 c 3 non-profit is to support the process of JOB creation.
Growing small and mid-sized companies are critical to achieving the goal.
The One-Hour Business Plan addresses the hardest part about writing a business plan -- getting started. It also simplifies the daunting task of how to write a business plan. What are the must haves? In one hour of writing time, not thinking time, the reader will have a business plan foundation to take their business to market. The author wrote this after 7 years of observing 1,000 business plans and filed testing. This works!
To preview or order your copy of The One-Hour Business Plan from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Wiley or 800-ceoread, visit www.theonehourbusinessplan.com
By Phil Krone, President
Fly In, Build Up. Fly your sales team in to a specific city either in a new territory you want to expand or in an area you're considering staking a claim on. Hold brief meetings first thing in the morning and then spend the rest of the day developing the territory—checking out industrial parks, meeting with local influencers or prospects you set appointments with ahead of time, and making cold calls. Debrief at end of day or over dinner.
Why do some companies find this tactic so productive?
First, you're holding sales meetings while you're developing the territory, which means you're not only leveraging travel costs but also (we hope) generating revenue or at least laying the groundwork for generating revenue. Plus, these meetings can do double duty as special training opportunities. You can cover what you might normally cover in training sessions and make use of on-the-ground experiences your sales people have in the new territory.
Second, your sales people will also share information and insights not only about this new territory but also about what's working—and not working—back home. Third, combined with other due diligence (market research, for example) your hands-on experiences can contribute significantly to a go or no-go decision on committing more resources to the territory. Does it really have the potential to support a full-time salesperson or an independent, commissioned representative?
Finally, and this advantage is more subtle and longer term, my experience as a sales executive has been that if some sales have already been built up it's much easier to attract more experienced sales people.
Good Name, Poor Sales Process? Do you think large, "name" companies are successful because they have incredible sales processes? They certainly have the resources, and they are experiencing "success," as evidenced by their big-time reputation.
But when we think of sales calls in which we've been prospects, some of the weakest have been made by household-name companies. Recently a representative from a large and recognizable financial services firm contacted me because he wanted to learn more about our services. The idea was that he could then offer additional value to his customers by alerting them to our work.
Unfortunately, he wasted about 45 minutes of our time and his time: During the entire interview he didn't ask one question about the value we provide and, in fact, probably didn't learn a single piece of useful information about us—a potential referral source and prospect. Instead, he talked non-stop about his firm. When he left, he dropped a "canned" sales piece on the conference table that contained little of specific interest to us. How in the world could such a weak sales process work? The only answer we can come up with is his company's brand is so strong that it more than compensates for his lack of skills and process.
We are particularly sensitive to this specific problem because our mid-sized and smaller clients don't have the luxury of a brand name to support them. In fact, they could not survive with such poor selling skills and such a weak sales process.
And, thanks to our training, our Fortune 500 clients are triple threats: strong name, strong skills, and a strong sales process.
Negotiating Skills vs. Selling Skills. The strong communication skills we teach in our popular consultative selling course, FOCIS®, we've found, can turn average negotiators into superior ones and average sales people into top producers. On a purely tactical level, the method we use serves negotiators and sellers equally well. The questioning process we teach not only unearths key pieces of information, but it also reveals the value the person on the other side of the table places on that information.
At the strategic level, however, the ways negotiators and sales people use those skills and to what end differ greatly. For example, in consultative selling, top producers discover and present multiple issues to build the business case for a sale. Although some issues are stronger than others, together they "build the case" for using the sales rep's product or service. In bargaining, however, top negotiators discover and present only the strongest argument regarding a single issue. That approach prevents weaker arguments on the same issue from diminishing or diluting the case made by the strongest argument.
Finally, a significant take away seems to fly so far under the radar that we find that we must point it out whether we're teaching selling or negotiating: A strong sales process reduces or even eliminates the need for the other party, whether prospect or adversary, to negotiate. And, if you do have to negotiate, a strong sales process creates a stronger bargaining position. Many of our clients report making major sales without negotiating a penny of price or one word in the terms.
If you'd like to talk about issues in sales, lead generation, or marketing you or your company are facing, please call us at 847-446-0008, even from the beach or the backyard.
As a result of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the top capital gains tax rate for 2013 was increased from 15% to 20%, but only to the extent the taxpayer would be in the new 39.6% tax bracket if all of their income was taxed at ordinary rates.
In addition, there is the new 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on “net investment income” that applies when modified adjusted gross income is above $200,000 for single taxpayers, and $250,000 for those filing married filing joint. Net investment income is the sum of interest income, dividend income, net gain from investments, rental income and other passive activity income, reduced by certain allowable deductions. Allowable deductions include an allocable amount of state income taxes, and investment expenses.
With the tax law changes effective in 2013, planning regarding the structuring and timing of your capital gain and loss transactions, and planning related to your “net investment income”, can result in tax saving opportunities. However, investment considerations should always be taken into account in making appropriate decisions:
- Utilize long-term capital losses to offset short-term capital gains.
Long-term capital losses are required to be net against long-term capital gains before they are allowed to offset net short-term capital gains, or up to $3,000 of ordinary income per year. Because short-term capital gains are taxed at ordinary income rates as high as 39.6%, instead of the lower capital gains rates, it is generally better to utilize long-term capital losses to offset short-term capital gains.
Opportunity: You may want to avoid having long-term capital losses taken in the same year as long-term capital gains. There are a number of factors to consider (including the dollar amounts involved, and whether you expect to have any short-term capital gains), so you should consult with your investment advisor and your tax advisor.
- Evaluate your investment portfolio
Tax exempt interest income and other income that is exempt from income tax is exempt from the 3.8% Medicare contribution tax.
Opportunity: Consider switching some of your taxable investments into tax-exempt securities. You should consult with your investment advisor and your tax advisor regarding your unique facts and circumstances. Note: The Medicare contribution tax should be taken into account when comparing the yields of tax-exempt and taxable securities.