Northeast Business Directory

Reliable Business Directories combined with the Power of Inbound Linking

Now it’s finally time to put pen to paper, keystroke to keyboard. If you’ve hired an outside writer, be sure that he or she understands any industry terms and usage they may encounter in the process. Does your company or organization have a standards manual or written communication guidelines to ensure that your new content aligns properly with the rest of your marketing communications tools?

Create a checklist to help with the details:

Step 4

Create a checklist to help with the details.

Research
This is where you cast a big net and draw in all the fresh data you can. It can come from a variety of places: in-house resources such as sales and product development departments, customers, vendors, the Web, trade and professional associations and publications, you name it.

Take an open approach – much like a brainstorming session – in which everything is considered and nothing is discarded without at least a preliminary review.

By using various sources for information, you’re opening up the opportunity for creating a wide variety of content; for example:

  • Sales Dept.: market trends, customer challenges, competitive advantages
  • Product/R&D: new product developments, product updates, technical FAQs
  • Customers: case studies, news releases, testimonials, application stories
  • Vendors: Industry insights, supplier updates
  • Aggregators & Syndicators: Online sources for competitive news, syndicated content, trend analyses, analyst reports
  • Associations/Publications: Industry overviews, white papers, case studies, general news

These are just some of the information source/content synergies that can exist within a typical company – you may have a number of others.

Raw Data Review
Raw information often needs a thorough “going over.” If it originates from within your organization, you need to ensure that it’s current and usable:

  • How old is the information?
  • Since its origin, has it been revised?
  • Rejected?
  • Does it still align with the marketplace’s needs or your business goals?
  • Does it compromise your market advantage or intellectual property?

If the information comes from outside your company:

  • Is it accurate and reliable?
  • Does it comes from a trustworthy source?
  • Do you have permission to use it? Can you legally do so?
  • Can you alter it or combine it with other information to create new content?

Write
With a fresh bucket of information to work with, you can now get creative and use it to produce new content for your website, e-letter, or e-mail campaign. Combine complementary bits of information to create new insights and a fresh approach to a topic or application that will help differentiate your company, products, or services from the competition.


© Lisa March for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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Whether a client says it to your face, behind your back or simply thinks it, your offering is subject to . . .
How is this better?
What’s the difference between this and your competitor’s offering?
What’s the difference between this and simply doing nothing?
And perhaps even a “So what?” or three!
What’s a Jedi to do?
Here are 3 […]
Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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Color Psychology

Color has a major influence on our emotions and decisions.

One extremely important aspect of design is color. Many people (especially those without an eye for design) would not give a second thought about color usage and how it affects people’s emotions. Yet it is an extremely powerful tool (so powerful that there is a plethora of color psychology courses out there that delve deeper into the effect color has on the brain). I’m here to simply go over the basics with you and to help you understand why it’s so important when creating your company branding materials.

Think about your past experiences at the doctor’s office; how often was it that the walls were painted red or orange? I’m going to venture to guess…never. Why? Because the interior designer for the building knows that reds and oranges are colors that have a stimulating effect. It has even been proven that when walking into a room painted with red, your blood pressure can actually rise. When you’re taking a trip to the doctor’s office, you are most likely looking for a calm and comforting atmosphere, which is why they often use soft color palettes in their décor with colors like blues and purples. Now, most likely you are not consciously aware of this effect, but next time you start to feel a strong emotion without an obvious reason (such as being very calm or being very tense), take a look at the colors within your immediate environment, you might make some connections.

Let’s take this theory into the business world. If I told you that I was sitting here sipping some soda that was in a red and white can, what brand of soda would you automatically assume that I was drinking? I trust that you probably said Coca Cola. Why? Because they have strategically and consistently branded themselves with those colors since the beginning of time (…Coca Cola time, that is). Taking into account what I previously said about the color red, why do you think they chose that color to represent their company? I assume it might have been because red is the color that is associated with energy and excitement. Usually you aren’t popping a can of soda if you are trying to wind down and go to sleep. See the correlation?

Believe it or not, ALL colors have some type of subconscious association and it’s important to think about these when branding your business. Here are a few examples:

  • Red:
    Red Stop Sign

    Red as a warning.

    This is the most emotionally intense color. As we already discussed, red is often associated with feelings of excitement and stimulation. In addition, it is connected with love and passion and stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. In many cases, this color is also associated with danger. (e.g. stop, do not enter, no smoking signs etc.)

  • Orange: Taking a look at origins, this one makes complete sense; the sun is basically one big fireball and fire happens to be the color of orange, so it’s no wonder that orange symbolizes energy and warmth. It’s also an indicator of fun and enjoyment.
  • Yellow:
    Yellow Tulips

    Yellow tulips send the message of cheerfulness.

    The last main color in the warm color palette, yellow is often associated with cheerfulness and optimism. However, since yellow reflects a large amount of light, it can become very strenuous for the eyes to take in large doses so it is to no surprise that it’s been recorded that feelings of frustration are more prevalent in rooms painted in all yellow. This is an “attention-getting” color which is why it is often used in street signage to warn drivers of conditions ahead.

  • Green: This one’s a given – green is highly associated with nature and the organic world. It tends to represent health, healing and fertility. It happens to also be the color of jealousy (“green with envy”) and money. Oddly enough, it’s been proven that students that lay a transparent sheet of green paper over their reading material increase their speed and comprehension. And it also has a calming effect.
  • Blue:
    Blue Ocean

    Look at this picture, how do you feel?

    Blue is most often related to feelings of serenity, but also is related to feeling of sadness (“I’m feeling blue.”) It is in the cool color palette and lowers the heart rate and body temperature. Researchers say that people working in rooms painted with blue tend to be more productive, most likely because of the calming effect of the color.

  • Purple: This color is most often associated with royalty, wealth, and wisdom. It is not often that purple appears in nature so it is often linked to the impression of insincerity and pretentiousness.
  • White: It’s to no surprise that white represents purity and innocence, but it has also been defined as being unfriendly and sterile. Ever heard of the term “white room”? Hospital rooms and workers are often covered in white to give off the feeling that the room/the workers are sterile.
  • Black: You know this one, when you’re told to illustrate an evil place/person what color do you usually use? Black. Black symbolizes evil, death and mystery. Yet it is also a sign of power, seductiveness and sophistication.

These are a just a few of the implications that are associated with the basic color spectrum. Be aware that if you are a global business, colors will affect your American consumers a lot differently than those that live in another country such as China; culture is a big influencer on color connotations. There are so many layers to the psychology of color and I’m merely scratching the surface, but I’ve given you enough information so that you can hopefully appreciate the fact that color highly influences the minds of your potential customers.


© Lisa March for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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You usually can’t make an appointment with them
They show up when they want to, on their terms and unannounced!
They are masters of the impeccable timing thing and will show their face when your pen isn’t handy or when you kid yourself that you will get back to them later
I suspect that many (too many) ideas […]
Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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A few months back, I was reading a really cool book called:  Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith.
The author references an interesting study conducted by DDI where they found that the average American spends 15 hours per month criticizing or […]
Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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1)    Use This Time For Some Of Your Internal Discussions: If you are continually bombarded with people who chew up your time at work, consider using your drive time for this. Doing this helps you maximize the time in your office and helps you stay on task.
One quick disclaimer: You’re not going to get ahead […]
Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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I come across way too many sales professionals who only cling to one or perhaps two different ways of approaching prospects.
In today’s podcast we’re gonna “go there”!
We’ll start with how I define an effective sales mix and 4 solid reasons why you should consider it.
Next I offer several suggestions on how you can move beyond […]
Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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Knowing what you want simply isn’t enough.  There are two types of people in this world – those who are interested in goals and those who are committed to goals.  If you are committed to goals, then you have goals that are written down and planned out.  You follow a system towards goal attainment.  You do whatever must be done today and every day, no matter what, and track  progress to avoid procrastination and unpleasant surprises.  Here’s the complete goal setting process:

“There is absolutely no doubt that people can permanently increase their success at work, at school, and at home.  They just need to be taught how,” states James P. Desrosiers, President of GROWTHco, a personal and professional development organization that specializes in goal achievement programs.  “When I was younger I knew WHAT was expected of me and WHAT I wanted for myself, my family, and my company.  What I didn’t know was HOW to get everything done that was on my plate or WHY I would want to in the first place.  In other words, I was never taught time management or self-motivation.  Now I have kids and clients and I see them struggling with success the same way I did.  That’s why I created my company and its programs that help people get real about their lives and achieve anything they truly desire.

“The first thing people need to understand is why some people achieve more than others.  Everyone has the same 24 hours in their day and how we choose to use our 24-hour days will determine our individual level of success.”

People must learn a process for taking any goal, in any area of their lives, and breaking it down into easy, individual steps that are scheduled and tracked through that goal’s completion.

The process as taught by GROWTHco explains that the first step is to identify the goal and establish a deadline.  The goal must be specific.  For a salesperson, that might be going from 00 to 00 per month in sales.  For a student, instead of “doing better in school”, it could be to go from a 77% average in English to an 87%.  The goal must also be attainable.  If you haven’t been to the gym in five years, set a goal to go once or twice a week to start.  The last component of any goal is that it must be measurable.  Make sure you can track progress along the way.  Establishing a deadline eliminates procrastination and creates a sense of urgency.

The second step is to determine motivation.  “Most people need to learn how to self-motivate.  85% of all goals that people have are given to them from other people, usually employers or teachers and parents.  In order for people to reach their maximum potential, they must first be able to find the personal motivation behind these goals.  They must answer the question – ‘No matter where this goal comes from, how will MY life improve from achieving this goal?’  People will only give 100% of their potential when they can tie in the personal gain to the goal that’s on their plate.  The motivation they uncover will create the attitude and passion that is necessary for them to give 100% of their energy and effort towards the goal.”

The third step is to identify and schedule the individual steps and behaviors required for goal achievement.  Again, time is limited.  All we get is 24 hours in each day.  Specific times must be scheduled to ensure that most important behaviors and activities are given the priority.  “We must first complete those behaviors and activities that will lead us to our goals before we do those that don’t.”

The fourth step is to think about any obstacles that may come up and determine how to succeed despite these obstacles.

The fifth step is to develop a tracking system like a chart, graph, or thermometer to gauge progress along the way.  People should share their tracking systems with others to gain valuable feedback and create accountability for their results.

This is a small part of just one session of GROWTHco’s Goal Achievement Program (GAP) for adults and Youth Success Program for Students.  Jim will work with you side-by-side, until goals are achieved.  While pursuing goals, clients learn the critical skills of goal setting and time management, including delegation, communication, avoiding interruptions, using technology effectively, planning, tracking, and focus.  It’s not a fluffy, no results coaching or motivational seminar, but a results oriented productivity program.  Contact James P. Desrosiers


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Now that you’ve determined your Key Content Theme, you need to figure out how you’re going to create all that content:

  • Who’s going to be writing the content?
  • Where’s the information for it coming from?
    • “Tribal knowledge” – the collective wisdom and experience of individual employees that may exist only in their heads
    • Existing literature – in-house as well as public sources such as other websites & trade magazines
  • Who’s going to gather and manage the information – the writer, the project manager, someone else?

Your content will only be as good as the information used to create it, so proper planning is important. Time and money is easily wasted if someone is not paying attention to where information is coming from, how current and accurate it is, and if it’s legal to use it.


© Lisa March for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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I’ve consulted with numerous organizations and trained and coached somewhere north of 3,000 sales reps over 27 years.
There’s one piece of advice that hasn’t changed much other than perhaps how I package the advice.
“Protect your culture”
BS starts with a single act . . . stop it at the door!
Greatness begins with a single act too […]
Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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