Friday, June 22, 2007

Here’s an excerpt from an interesting article about David Allen, author of the popular time management book Getting Things Done and how he’s build a successful consulting and training practice since 1996. Allen’s approach to time management starts with clearing your inbox and desk rather than the top-down approach to personal planning advocated by his main competitor Stephen Covey, who has sold 15 million copies of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/07/01/100117066/

While Covey's book is thick with high-blown principles and paradigms, Allen has found God in the details, creating a systematic manual covering everything from how to organize your file cabinet (no hanging folders) to how often you should review the list of everything you want to accomplish in life (weekly). Never mind the theory -- here's what you do…

Clearly, GTD has become more of a calling than a business. "I'm not going to give this stuff away," he says, "but money is not the prime driver."

Like a monk who found God by doing his menial chores with painstaking care, Allen has found meaning in the dullest tasks of our busy lives. Perhaps that's why religious groups are particularly drawn to GTD. No studies exist proving that it increases productivity, decreases stress, or boosts the bottom line, Allen admits, but he says such questions miss the point entirely. "Anybody who experiences this and still needs proof didn't get it," he says.

As with any spiritual leader, what Allen is really selling is hope -- salvation from the cares of this world by cleaning off the desk and paying bills on time. "I'm still an old stoned hippie head," he says. "I love getting high: Nothing like cleaning up your in-basket! Wow, that feels cool, having a clear space to sit down and hang out with nothing on my mind except what's here. How does it relate to spirituality? How about just being present? The whole idea is that it's all right here."

Life is complicated; people are tired and overworked. They want to be told what to do. Allen is happy to oblige, because he's convinced he's discovered a truth as fundamental as gravity. "Just look around! Look at the inboxes, look at the stress. There's such a universal need. And nobody's got the answers but us."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Educational selling turns your knowledge of your product or service into one of your most effective sales tools. One way is to write and distribute a White Paper. Here’s tips from an article about selling with White Papers “State Your Case--Use White Papers And Case Studies To Promote Your Business” By Kathy Stuesser in Growth—The Business to Business Resource, a local publication in Woodlands, Texas. (A great way to produce White Papers is to join or start a Franklin Circle, let me know if you’d like more information by emailing me at JohnSWren@aol.com with “Franklin Circle” in the subject line.)

For the entire State Your Case article, go to
http://growthb2b.com/pdfs/2006/06_june_06.pdf

Here's the heart of the article and some great tips:

The Case for Educational Selling

Customers are like submarines. They spend much of their time underwater tending to the daily tasks at work, and surface only when it is time to make a purchase. Since general marketing only captures the attention of those currently looking to buy, there is a greater need for maintaining mind-share with your best prospects while they are in a submerged state, not looking to buy. This positions your products or services for future sales.

White papers and case studies have the dual benefits of helping you achieve prominence and affirm credibility.

White Papers

A white paper is generally an authoritative report, aimed at providing an in-depth explanation of a complex technology, product, service, or issue. Most white papers are 5-12 pages in length. To be effective, it cannot be a “data-dump” of all information known about a subject; instead, a white paper needs a central focus or theme to be carried throughout.

8 WAYS TO GET MORE MILEAGE FROM WHITE PAPERS AND CASE STUDIES

White Papers and Case Studies are extremely versatile documents. Here are some of the ways you can leverage them to support sales and marketing efforts:

Distribute it as a press release. A shorter version of a Case Story, explaining how your company solved a specifi c customer problem with a new or existing product or service, is likely of interest to similar customers and makes a compelling press release.

Mail or email it to prospects and customers. Sending useful information to current or potential clients on a regular basis creates goodwill and keeps your name in the forefront, improving the odds they will call you when the time comes to buy.

Give it to Sales. A White Paper that demystifi es a certain technology or process reduces the number of phone calls from customers with follow-up questions or concerns. If the Sales department can circulate the Paper to prospects and customers, they may be able to shorten the sales cycle and be more productive!

Post it on your web site. The Internet has become an invaluable tool for customers to research their options before committing to a specifi c solution.

Use it as a story in your newsletter or ezine. Ask any publisher and they will tell you good content is critical. A well-written Case Study becomes a ready article for your company’s next newsletter or ezine.

Turn it in to a speaking topic. A White Paper or Case Study can easily become the basis for a presentation. The information contained within these documents is easily extracted onto PowerPoint slides or a valuable printout for your audience to take away.

Make it a testimonial. Case Studies are more powerful than a stand alone quote because they show the specifi cs of a customer problem and the solution. They should include plenty of details, along with customer quotes on the outstanding performance of your product or service.

Hand it out at trade shows. Customers are bombarded with so much information at a tradeshow that it’s unrealistic to think they will remember your most salient points once they return to work. An attractive White Paper or Case Study will be saved for future reference. You might even encourage them to take notes directly on the handout as you talk thus improving the odds that your information will be kept.