Tips For More Sales and Business Development

Are you a good selling or business development professional? What distinguishes you from the remainder of the pack?

With over 27 years of experience working with those that develop business and sell for a living I find the following characteristics:

1- Those that seek relationships not a commission check

2- Do not procrastinate, using the hours in the day wisely to be with prospective and current clients

3- Do not waste “windshield time” on wasteful things or nothing

4- Reads voraciously to understand competitive intelligence that aids the client

5- Establishes a strategic account profile to understand prospective client opportunities and limitations

6- Knows the economic buyer in their accounts and does not waste time with gatekeepers

7- Think strategically not tactically to engage buyers

8- Learning the client’s business and discovering methods to assist them now and in the future

9- Prepare provocative questions that engage and enlighten

10-Knows when to listen and when to speak

11-Networks constantly to meet new buyers

12-Engages a sales process

13-Creates emotion and has a passion for the sales process

14-Believes in what they are selling

15-Nurtures relationships with proper customer service, returning all calls and emails in a timely manner

16-Uses and respects the relevance of CRM reporting useful data to upper management

17-Understands the importance of customer to customer influences on account management

18-Thinks in terms of client outcomes, not units sold

19-Dresses professionally and is ready to engage with every client

20-Has poise and flexibility to engage gatekeeper and buyer ethically

Use the following as a checklist for your selling professionals if you are a manager or for you personally if you sell for a living. Check back periodically to determine methods to make you a more effective seller to alleviate time and develop more business.

©2010. Drew Stevens PhD. All Rights Reserved.

Increase Blog Traffic with Carnivals

There are many ways to drive traffic to a blog and blog carnivals are one of them. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of a blog carnival. I’m not sure why it’s called a carnival but roughly each week a blog owner will host the carnival and other blog owners submit posts from their blogs for consideration. There is a deadline for submissions which is usually a day or two before the blog carnival.

After the deadline passes, the blog carnival host will read all the submission and choose the best posts. Then he or she will make a post on his or her blog with links to those posts. Each blog carnival host is different some may select the top ten and provide a reason for their selections. Others will just post links to the top articles in his or her opinion.

Lots of bloggers follow the blog carnivals around the blogosphere from week to week so they generate traffic and blog carnival visitors will have the opportunity to visit your blog by clicking on the link to your post in the blog carnival. Blog carnivals are generally topical so you’ll need to find a blog carnival on a topic related to your blog but that should not be difficult. And if you’d like, some blog carnivals will allow you to host the blog carnival on your own blog.

A good idea for finding blog carnivals is to simply perform a search on the term “blog carnival” in Google or Yahoo. There’s is also a popular site called blogcarnival.com which lists hundreds of blog carnivals on many topics. You’ll probably find one suited to your blog. Submitting the post for consideration only takes a minute or two. All you do is paste the permalink to a recent post in your blog into a form and add your name and email address. It’s as simple as that.

If you want to take it a step further, you can do a more specific search. For example search for “success blog carnivals” if you blog is about success. You might find a few new blogs to add to your reading list in addition to finding a blog carnival that will drive traffic to your blog. There’s no time like the present to get started. It only takes a moment to find a blog carnival and submit a post for the upcoming carnival. You may be surprised at how easy it is…and by how much traffic you get.

Carnival Elation Cruise Review

The Elation is a ship built in 1998 for Carnival Cruise Lines. It was the first ship to have the azipod propulsion system. Everything you read about the Elation will include a small blurb about the azipod system. You may wonder what the heck that is so I’ll tell you. It’s much like having font wheel drive on your car. Instead of the energy source pushing the ship it pulls it instead. This makes maneuvering the ship much easier so you can be confident there won’t be any listing or tipping over of the ship on your cruise. Also it reduces those vibrations that cause motion sickness in people like myself.

Enough about mechanics though because Carnival’s got the fun don’t they? Yes sir, they do. The Carnival Elation has three swimming pools. One with a 214 ft water slide! This is where the music is and the pool games. Expect it to be busy the first few days. My favorite pool is the one at the back of the ship on verandah deck because it takes new passengers about 3 days to find it so for the first couple days of your cruise it is uncrowded. The last pool is the kiddie pool on promenade deck at the ship’s aft (back). This pool is a bit like swimming in a toilet with all the babies in their swim diapers-which are not allowed.

If gambling is your thing then head down to the Casablanca casino. There are more than 200 slot machines to choose from including several mega cash machines that are linked with other Carnival ships fleetwide. The biggest jackpot that I have seen was over a million dollars won on the now defunct Carnival Jubilee. I stick to the slots, I figure it’s the quickest way to lose my alloted gambling cash then I can get on with the rest of the cruise. If you are a more sophisticated gambler than I there is also roulette, black jack and Caribbean stud poker to play.

Free drinks on a cruise-impossible you say? Not so. You can attend wine tastings or as we do go to check out the art an hour before the famed art auction where they pass out free wine and cheese. If you have been on more than one cruise with the same line you can attend the past guest party. Don’t dismiss this as a waste of time if you like to drink-the drinks are free and plentiful and all you have to do is watch a short spiel where the cruiseline pats themselves on the back for giving you a great vacation. There is usually one evening where the liquor is free for tasting in the shopping area.

If you are into healthier pursuits then you can head up to the jogging track on the Elation’s Sun deck or to the gym on the Sports deck. The Carnival Elation has a half court basketball court for your enjoyment and they do supply the basketball to play with. Elation has a full service spa onboard. I confess I have never got around to the spa but I know they do offer foot massages for about $20 and everything up to a couples massage for $220. It sounds steep but just imagine how relaxing it would be to have a message and after you don’t have to massage someone else!

For the kids there is Camp Carnival. Our son has gone to Camp Carnival on many many cruises and loves it every time. The children are divided by age groups and have activities planned for those ages. I recommend that your child goes to the first night where you can sign them up for the camp. There are introduced to each other and socialize a little. It doesn’t mean they ever have to go again and there is no extra charge although we usually tip the staff because they can make of break your kid’s cruise experience. Our son went to an activity called swimming under the stars where the pool was off limits at night except to kids in the program and so they had the pool and slide to themselves. You just drop your kid off for whatever activities they would enjoy. For small children you will be supplied with a pager so the staff can contact you in case your child wants to leave. Their activities take place inside Children’s World which is an area of 2500 sq ft filled with computers and toys and games. Activities for older children take place in different areas on the ship-for example pizza making takes place in Tiffany’s. On the last night there will be a farewell party for the kids. Get there on time or you may not get in. All the children receive a parting gift at this party ie a backpack or CD case.

As for my favorite part, the art of gastronomy there are a myriad of choices. The two formal dining rooms on Carnival Elation are the Inspiration and the Imagination named after sister ships in the fleet. You will be assigned one of these with a specific dining time. I always check the menu early in the day so I can decide if I want to show up at my appointed time or eat elsewhere at my leisure. The other places to eat aboard the Elation are Tiffany’s which is the buffet restaurant that changes the menu everyday and is different for lunch than dinner or the snack bar on Lido deck where fries and burgers are available for lunch. Tiffany’s lunch menu’s are called taste of nations where one day may be Mexican food with salsa and chips and another may be American BBQ where fried chicken and potato salad are offered. There was also Indian and Italian that I can recall. At the far back on the right hand side of Tiffany’s you will find Carnival’s famous pizza being made fresh all the time. You can order a whole pizza and choose you toppings of get a slice fresh from the oven. At the same location deli sandwiches are made. This is a wonderful spot to eat early on in the voyage as your fellow passengers won’t know about this yet therefore there will be no lining up for you.

Sushi is served on promenade deck every evening. There was no raw fish (Sashimi) the week we sailed but many varieties of fresh made before your eyes sushi to select from. Of course Wasabi and pickled ginger and soy sauce were all available as well. There is also never a sushi line I presume because no one seems to realize that this also is included in your cruise fare. Needless to say we went there every single evening. Tortillas chips and salsa were served on Promenade deck on Mexican day in the evening while a mariachi band played for us.

Room service, room service how do I love thee, let me count the ways. Room service is free but a tip is in order. Pretzels or chips can come with any sandwich- a tasty midnight snack. Room service was always speedy and correct. You can also order cookies, “crudites”, fruit and salad. At your service 24 hours a day.

If you need to keep in touch the Internet cafe offers internet usage at 75 cents a minute and different packages up to 250 minutes for 40 cents a minute. You can bring your own laptop and use it in the cafe but not in your cabin on the Elation. You pay for usage whether you use theirs or your though. Not sure if that makes it worth lugging it around.

Speaking of cabins, we had an ocean view cabin category 6C. We had three people on the cabin and we fit comfortably. This ship has only 26 demi suites (category11) and 28 suites (category12). It really doesn’t matter to me which deck as there are elevators to take you up and down.

Virtual World video game arcade is right beside the Mikado lounge-a perfect spot to let your teen hang out while you catch one of the Las Vegas style shows in the lounge. There are the usual driving games and shooting games. The video games take tokens that are bought right inside the arcade. You can use your sign and sail card to buy tokens. At some point during your cruise there will be a video game tournament for the kids in this case the games are free. It is part of the Camp Carnival program.

The Mikado lounge is where all the shows take palce. There was a comedy show, a magician, a hypnotist, dancing show girls-rated G. There are musical shows too. The week I sailed there was a special guest announced at he end of one musical show. After much preamble Mr Stevie Wonder was brought onto the stage. People went running from the lounge theater to get their friends and family to see Stevie Wonder. There was screaming that I thought only the Beatles could elicit. Being a pale face from Canada I’m not too clear on the likeness of Mr Wonder but I was pondering which cabin would Stevie Wonder stay in On the Carnival Elation. Don’t get me wrong the Carnival Elation is a nice ship but someone of this caliber on my ship , how could it be? The lights dimmed, I could hardly see. As I stepped forward to get a better look at our famous shipmate I fell down the stairs. I tumbled head over heals down several flights. Not one person turned or helped me up so enthralled were they to catch a glimpse of this celebrity. In the end “Stevie” took his wig off so that it may be revealed that it was only a celebrity impersonator. Everyone groaned that they knew it all along and they were never fooled. The next day I looked like I had a run in with the UFC star Tito Ortiz.

The Mark Twain library is a bit of a misnomer. There doesn’t seem to be a convenient way to get at any books so bring your own. It is beautiful and usually quiet.

Romeo and Juliet lounge is an elegantly styled room which was used for private parties some nights and for karaoke on others. Salsa dancing was a popular evening activity here.

The Cole Porter lounge has folk and country music playing and dancing. I only passed by here on my way to the ocean facing massaging chairs. Duke’s is the piano bar named after the talented Duke Ellington. It is a jazz club with a striking entrance modelled on the Triumphal Arch from Washington Square park. This is an ideal place for photos around the white baby grand piano. We saw a wedding reception being held here. The Jekyll and Hyde disco is the place to party. Monitors show your fellow cruise mates dancing to the scintillating beat. The giant Jekyll and Hyde heads move to the music too-a bit creepy but cool after you’ve had a couple drinks.

The Carnival Elation is a gorgeous ship. Somewhat muted by Carnival standards. It’s decor is of copper and inlaid woods. If you are hesitant to try Carnival Cruise Lines then this is the ship to try first. The service was second to none. The price of a Carnival cruise is always reasonable but by booking way in advance, about eight months we got an even better deal some would call it a cheap cruise. Don’t be scared off by Carnival’s old reputation for being a bunch of party ships. They are The Fun Ships after all. There is partying for sure if you want it but there are dozens of places to read or sit quietly on the Carnival Elation. Nothing is more peaceful than sitting on a chair atop the teak deck on the Carnival Elation looking out at the ocean passing slowly by. Whatever your concept of fun is they offer it. Believe them when they say Carnival’s got the fun.