Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Proud of Your Ability to Multitask? Maybe You Shouldn’t Be

July 19, 2015

It’s called task-switching, and it’s eating away at your workday.

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I started to write this blog post first thing this morning, hoping to post it by noon. Here are some of the reasons why I didn’t finish it until 5 p.m.:

  • Multiple documents needed to be signed by multiple people, who took my open door as a sign that I was available.
  • Seems like every email I read required some kind of action.
  • One of my salespeople wanted to talk about a meeting scheduled for next week.
  • Some new promotional items came in, and I wanted to check them out so the team could start giving them out.
  • Another department head dropped in with some survey results she wanted to share.
  • I was doing research for my post, and came across some links related to another project I was working on, so I followed them.

I’m sure you can relate.

When I have a task that requires a couple of hours of concentrated work, I usually shut my door. Sometimes I put a sign onTodd Martin 071715 image 2 it asking not to be disturbed unless the building has caught fire. I block out that time on my shared calendar to indicate that I’m busy. If someone gets through my force field, I politely ask them if it can wait.

But I wanted to test out a statistic I’d recently read. According to the American Psychological Association, “task-switching” – dealing with everything that comes your way even if you should be concentrating on one project – can reduce your productive time by up to 40 percent.

40 percent. That got my attention. I’d always thought it was kind of a badge of honor to be able to juggle multiple activities in the same time period, jumping back and forth as I checked things off of my to-do list.

People have been studying task-switching for decades. It’s nothing new. We started calling it “multitasking” when graphical user interfaces made it possible to move rapidly between screens, often dealing with absolutely unrelated tasks. We’re told by psychologists that different types of thinking uses different parts of our brains, as well as wildly varied concentration levels and problem-solving skills.

My to-do list is so different every day. Some days, I can just take on work as it comes. But when I need to harness my inner resources and devote concentrated time to one project, I do the things I mentioned a few paragraphs up.

Your job may require that you be interrupted frequently. But there are still things you can do to minimize distractions when you need to, like:

  • Turning off unnecessary alarms and alerts, like that little “ping” that sounds when you have an email. Some email clients let you set up a way to know or be alerted when message come in from specific people. If you simply must check your email during a work session, use these tools so you can do a quick scan and get back to work.Todd Martin 071715 image 3
  • Consolidate trips out of the office. If you have to go to HR to get a form, do all of your other out-of-the-office errands at the same time.
  • If you are interrupted, take the time to jot a note about what you were doing and thinking, so you can get back on track quickly.
  • Having trouble concentrating? Organize a desk drawer or straighten up your desk. Doing a task that you can see the results of gives you a boost, and may help straighten your brain out, too.

It’s not just the time that you spend on the tasks you’re switching out. If you allow an interruption during a productive, focused period, it can take more time than you realize to get back in the grove.

Time-management tutorials may or may not tell you about the dangers of task-switching. But now you know.

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Hitting the Snooze Button in Your CRM Software?

July 7, 2015

Are you ignoring alerts in your CRM solution that could lead to increased sales?

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I had a sales manager many years ago who was exceptionally efficient and productive. I asked him once what his secret was. He replied, “I never touch the same piece of paper twice.”

That was before so much of our work was being done on computers, before email and cell phones with alarms and scheduling software were so commonly used. Still, it’s a great concept for dealing with all of the minutiae in your personal and professional life. “I’ll deal with this later” was not in my manager’s vocabulary — unless, of course, he was in the middle of a project that demanded all of his immediate attention.

You get what I’m talking about here. As a salesperson, it especially applies to the daily work you do in your CRM softwareTodd Martin 070715 image 2 or website. CRM solutions — and some email applications — contain automated alerts (sometimes called “triggers”). They go something like this:

If [email from specified individual] lands in my inbox, then [flag it or move it to the top of the list or to a priority folder]


Follow up with prospect [at specified intervals] 

Those tools are there with good reason, and I try to follow the advice my manager gave me so many years ago when I get one: Deal with it NOW. Unless the office is on fire, or there is a prospect standing or seated in front of me, ready to sign, I respect those alerts. I set them up so I could take action at the earliest opportunity. I don’t save them up and deal with them after lunch. Those alerts are gold — they represent research and digging that I don’t have to do. They help me save time, serve customers and prospects better, and, in some cases, they can put me on the path to a sale.

There may also be triggers in your CRM and email and social network environments that aren’t automated, but which you should take action on immediately. Here’s what I jump on the quickest, in no particular order:

  • Complaints on social media. Especially if it’s a customer of mine. If no one is designated to watch for disgruntled customers, and you don’t have a dedicated customer support feed, it’s important that these be responded to as quickly as possible. Even I I can’t do anything, I want them to see that we’re listening.
  • Queries regarding products and services. Same concept here. You saying Yes, we’re here. We want to know if there’s a way we can help you solve a problem.
  • Trolls. You’ve seen them: individuals who — for whatever reason — leave unacceptable content on one of your public feeds. Get rid of it. If others see it, they’ll wonder who’s minding the store.
  • Any email or posts from one of my customers. Doesn’t matter what it is. I’m their primary contact, and I want them Todd Martin 070715 image 3to know that I’m interested in the entirety of their experience with my company.
  • Emailed alerts from my CRM solution or an integrated application. Even if I’m ready to pack it in for the day, I follow any links like this back to the source.

You never know what point of contact is going to lead to a sale. And with the attention span of the general public now shorter than that of a goldfish (seriously), rapid responses are critical. Deal with customer touches as they appear and move on.

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Are You Guilty of These 9 Bad Behaviors?

June 26, 2015

Sometimes, how you sell upstages what you sell.

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Think for a minute about some of your first sales calls. Maybe you were a pro from the start, but if you’re like most of us, you learned through trial and error what worked and what didn’t.

Be yourself. Be honest. Use the positive parts of your personality as you develop and modify your selling style. Experts are full of advice like that.

Over the years, you’ve probably also tried to determine why some sales didn’t go anywhere. Your products were perfect for those prospects, you thought to yourself, and they seemed interested up to a point. What went wrong?

Sometimes, it has more to do with how you conducted yourself than what solutions you were offering.

What Prospects Don’t Want

I’m not exploring this topic because I want you to be harder on yourself than some of you already are. But I just read about a study that might shed some light on your rejections.

If you find yourself losing patience during a sales conversation with a prospect, for example, take heart: This trait came in last (2 percent) in a recent survey conducted by the American Management Association. The organization recently surveyed 1,100 businesses to learn which sales tactics were the most – and least – annoying.

In the number one slot was being too pushy, with 24 percent. That can mean a lot of things, but I think of it as being so Todd Martin 062615 image 2focused on your own goal – making the sale – that you don’t listen to your customers. You see their lips moving and you know they’re talking, but you don’t hear them.

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The focus in the early and middle stages of a sales conversation should be on that person standing in front of you or on the other end of the phone or in an online chat situation. Who are they? What are their needs? Can your product or service help them? If you’re really hearing them, you’ll know when you can start to steer the conversation toward exploring a sale.

Not taking “no” for an answer was the most annoying trait to 23 percent of the respondents. It’s only when you truly understand your customers’ needs that you can empathize with their situation and see what value you might be able to offer them. That “No” tends to come earlier when you’re being pushy (see previous two paragraphs).

Following along these same themes, 18 percent of businesses surveyed cited not listening as the biggest turnoff when dealing with salespeople. And right on the heels of that, talking too much really annoyed 9 percent.

Todd Martin 062615 image 3The remaining unattractive traits were more tactical, and related more to the mechanics of a sales pitch:

  • Bait and switch (8 percent)
  • Reading from a script (7 percent)
  • Using meaningless sales jargon (or terms) (5 percent)
  • Upselling (4 percent)

Granted, you could ask 1,100 other businesses what their top sales pet peeves were, and the percentages might come out a little different. But this list rings pretty true to me, and it’s a good digest of behaviors that we all might want to avoid.

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Sloppy Writing WILL Cost You Sales. Here’s Why.

June 17, 2015

Are common mistakes in your writing sending readers away?

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Throughout our school days, from elementary school to college, we heard this line from every teacher: “Spelling, punctuation and grammar are important.” We got that, but not everyone was an A student in English class. We often don’t recognize the errors we make as we write.

Multiple proofreading passes in blog articles, web pages, emails and memos don’t work if we can’t spot the problems. Even professional writers sometimes miss grammar and punctuation mistakes. Spelling checkers now catch our typos and misspellings almost everywhere, but punctuation and grammar are another matter. Going over the rules yet again isn’t the answer. Here’s what you need to know:

Why Correct Writing Is Crucial

Whatever we write represents us, from a brief Twitter post to a complex web page. In business, it’s also the voice of our brand. Awkward writing, sprinkled liberally with grammar and punctuation errors, makes readers cringe. Even people who can’t write well recognize ungrammatical writing and are confused by poor punctuation. “Let’s eat Grandma” does not mean the same thing as “Let’s eat, Grandma.” Readers who encounter sloppy writing leave quickly and don’t return.

Google Measures Content Quality

For websites and blogs, great search engine results rankings are everyone’s goal. Current Google ranking algorithms look closely at your content, including its spelling, grammar and punctuation. They also check readability and how long visitors remain on your pages. All of those factors have a heavy impact on rankings. Keeping all online content clean and correct will boost your SEO performance.

Today’s Grammar Checking Tools Work Well

The automatic grammar checker in all versions of Microsoft Word finds and helps to eliminate most common errors, but Todd Martin 061715 image 2only if you use it. Use Word not only for printed documents, but also as your editor for website content and other projects. For all browser-based writing, install Grammarly as an add-on to your favorite browser. Even the free version will automatically flag and help you fix grammar, punctuation and word usage errors as you write. Pay attention as you use these tools, and your writing skills will improve, too.

Simplify Your Writing Style to Reduce Errors

The more complex your sentences are, the more likely you’ll make grammar and punctuation errors. By simplifying sentence structure, you’ll find it easier to write clean, problem-free copy. At the same time, you’ll improve the readability of your content and convey your message more clearly. By emulating Hemingway (simple) rather than Dickens (complex), you’ll get better reader retention and conversion. That’s the overriding goal of all business content.

Focus on Content Quality and Boost Your Bottom Line
The content you create doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece. It just has to get your message across to readers effectively without sending them to their browser’s back button. Errors in any copy tend to jar readers, even if they don’t know exactly why. Clean writing, free of spelling, punctuation and grammar errors, keeps them reading.

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4 Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Sales

June 9, 2015

Social media experts often say that actually selling on a blog doesn’t work. They’re partly right.

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Can a well-written, carefully-designed blog help you make sales?

Yes. But that’s not its primary function.

Trying to use your blog as a direct selling tool is unproductive, and it reduces readership. Instead, think of your blog as an educational medium with strong ties to sales content on your website. That strategy will help you build followers and generate leads and sales.

Blog readers want relevant, useful information. Give them that effectively, and they’ll follow your links to website landing pages. Lead them there this way:

  • Make getting contacts your top priority. Your blog design absolutely must incorporate a persistently visible contact box or widget. If your current design doesn’t allow that, it’s time to redesign. Include all methods of contact in one compact space. A live telephone, an email link and a website landing page link are essential. Include social media link icons and a subscription link, too. Making it easy for visitors to get in touch isn’t just a good idea – it’s the only thing Todd 060915 image 2that matters.
  • Make your blog readers want more — and lead them to it. Don’t give away the whole package in a blog post. Supply basic information in a compelling and compact format. Aim to build interest, not to satisfy the reader completely. For example, if you’re discussing a new product or service, just hit the highlights. Link to a specific, perfectly-relevant landing page on your website, and send your guest there for more. Let your website do the selling. That’s its job.
  • Give something valuable away to collect contact data. Depending on your business type, offer something valuable as a gift. Be as creative as possible. White papers and email newsletters don’t qualify. They’re old school. Offer something that has unique value to your target audience. Advertising tchotchkes can work. You can also offer discounts, specials, tip sheets, consumer guides, or other items that attract visitors. Offer real value. If you wouldn’t want it, your readers won’t, either.
  • If you send visitors somewhere, don’t let them get lost. Too many bloggers understand calls to action, but falter in the execution. If that link in your final paragraph doesn’t lead readers directly to relevant information, you’ve wasted their time and yours, too. Design landing pages to match your blog and ask visitors to visit the exact page you want them to see. If your landing pages don’t lend themselves to this type of link, change your website. It’s that important.Todd 060915 image 3

Make Your Blog Lead To Your Real Pitch and Readers Will Follow
Blogging takes time and burns creative energy. Unless your blog actually encourages contact by visitors, it wastes both. Focus on the informational side of the equation in your blog writing. Be smart about leading readers to your carefully-designed website landing and contact pages. That combination will help build your readership and effectively boost your sales and lead generation.

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Why Introverts Can Stumble at Presenting, But Shine at Sales

May 31, 2015

So you’re an introvert, but you chose sales as a career? How your inborn traits can work for you.

It may seem odd on the surface that someone whose personality leans to the introverted side would choose to go into a profession where social confidence is pretty important.

But there’s a difference between being introverted and being shy. It would be difficult for a truly shy person to be in a sales job where numerous social contacts were required daily.

If you wanted to unload a personal or professional problem on someone, you’d most likely choose someone who listened well, synthesized the information you shared with them, and asked a lot of questions before responding. Someone who treated what you said to them as more important than what you had to say.

Those are some of the traits that both introverts and the best salespeople have.

Finding Solutions

The job of a salesperson is to make sales. But when you think about it, salespeople are really problem-solvers. People buy stuff for a lot of reasons – sometimes, just to buy stuff – but the merchandise they purchase will help them in some way.

While I was at the mall the other day, I went into a Pearle Vision store because I needed a pair of reading glasses. I asked a salesperson if they sold them, and she led me to a  corner of the store. “But,” she half-whispered, “We don’t really have much of a selection. You might try Barnes and Noble.”

That’s like sending a Macy’s customer to Gimbels, if you remember the scene from the old Christmas movie, and I’m not suggesting that as a regular approach or you and your family will starve. Plus it was clear what problem I was presenting. But this saleswoman didn’t just try to make a sale. She understood my need and evaluated whether her store would provide the best solution for me.

More Thought, Less Talk

It’s the thought process that I’m getting to here with this overly-simple example. Usually you have to dig a little to uncover the need. And introverts are experts at that. I think they can be excellent salespeople because:

  • They tend to talk less and listen more.
  • They probably developed their social skills using that combination of traits, being more comfortable asking questions than expounding on a topic.
  • They’ve learned how to draw people out, and don’t miss snippets of what the other person is saying because they’re readying their own response.
  • They’re comfortable spending time alone, and they often use those hours to read and absorb information in other ways.

I’m not extrovert-bashing here or setting up an extrovert vs. introvert fight. People with both types of personalities can make very successful sales professionals. I’m just trying to dispel the notion that you must be talkative and outgoing and socially confident to make a living at this work we’ve chosen.

Some Downsides

The characteristics that can make an introvert good at sales also give them an edge in the short-attention-span world of social media. They’re used to making their points more succinctly than someone who enjoys the spotlight.

But being an introvert can make it difficult to do live presentations with an expectant audience staring at them. Still, this self-awareness has two advantages even here:

  • Presentations may be more participatory, and,
  • More painstaking preparation may be done to avoid the dreaded what-do-I-say-next moments.

There’s plenty of gray area in personality traits, and I think a lot of people have some of both introverted and extroverted characteristics. But I do believe that introverts should not look with envy on salespeople who have the easygoing gift of gab. They should use their own way of relating to their advantage.

Does Your Content Make the Grade? 6 Keys for A+ Marks

May 21, 2015

If your internet presence isn’t producing leads, it’s time to take a hard look at how well you’re presenting your message.

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Websites, blogs and social media have just one essential goal – getting noticed by visitors. Marketing copy is the appropriate tool for reaching that goal. If you’re not getting the conversion results you need, the problem is probably low-quality content. So delivering a convincing pitch is a must.

Do Internet Visitors Actually Read?
They do, but only if the content they find is worth reading. Every person who lands on your pages is there to solve a problem, get information, or fill a need. If the words on your page meet those goals effectively, you win. If not, your visitor bounces off to look elsewhere. Monitor your bounce rate in Google Analytics for guidance. If it’s over 50 percent on a web page or 70 percent on a blog, it’s time for a change.

These six essentials of outstanding content quality should be your guide:

  • Obvious Relevance at First Glance – If your visitors don’t immediately recognize the content as useful, they’re gone. Page and blog titles should clearly identify the topic and message. Use primary SEO keywords here and Google Todd Martin 052115 image 2will reward you with higher rankings.
  • Attention-Getting Headings and Subheads – Pull readers into your text by highlighting key ideas. Think of these as the PowerPoint slides in your presentation. Punchy wording and targeted SEO work here and also get Google’s attention.
  • Fast Identification with Readers – The first paragraph should lead with an acknowledgment of visitors’ goals. Demonstrate that you get the reason for their visit and let them know that they’ll find what they need in your content. They’ll read on.
  • Compelling Copy that Delivers – Short sentences work. Short paragraphs work. Dense, concise presentation of essential information works. Rambling text that wastes visitors’ time doesn’t work. Include power words and superlative adjectives, but sparingly. Avoid repetition.
  • Error-Free Execution – Flawless spelling, punctuation and grammar matter. Careful proofreading and editing will pay off in increased action. Spend at least as much time reviewing as you did in creating the copy. Bottom line: If your content doesn’t show respect for visitors, you won’t get their respect.
  • Effective Motivation to Action – What do you want readers to do? Tell them and ask for action in your wrap-up Todd Martin 052115 image 3paragraph. Include links in the text and make it easy for readers to take the next step. If they’ve gotten this far, you’re just one step away from success.

Outstanding Results Depend on Top-Quality Content
Here’s a secret that most web designers don’t understand: Everything on a website, blog or social media campaign depends on its content. Without excellent marketing text, nothing else really matters. Even Google recognizes this. Over the past few years, the search engine has increasingly focused its ranking algorithms on content quality. It rewards excellent writing with higher rankings.

Busy visitors, too, are becoming more quality-conscious. To make your online marketing more effective, increase your focus on optimizing your copy, even if that requires professional help.

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Is There a “Right” Way to Use CRM Software?

May 13, 2015

Kind of. Every sales team is different, but there are some universal guidelines that should make your experience better.

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I’ve written about how customer relationship management (CRM) applications have changed since they first appeared in the 1980s. We’re in the social CRM stage now. Most software products and websites designed to help salespeople improve their relationships with customers are building in ways to incorporate information and insights picked up from social media networks.

I think this is great. Terrific. I applaud the developers who are turning what is a very good idea into smart, user-friendly features.

Stay Focused

But there’s a temptation for both application designers and users to go too far. You can get so caught up in the connections and the interactivity and the coolness that you’re wasting valuable time. Worse, you may be ignoring your regular CRM-related work.

So use it as the tool it was meant to be. If you’re in the process of evaluating CRM systems for possible implementation, know what your needs are ahead of time, and don’t get caught up in unnecessary bells and whistles.

Speaking of which, don’t get carried away with automation. Automated marketing has its place, but also its potential dangers. So when you’re doing your occasional check-ins with customers, make them personal.

Keep Up

Many social CRM applications will help you create exceptionally complex profiles. These are your old contact records on steroids. You can often import email lists and social media posts and other information that lies outside of the confines of your CRM site. But your profiles and calendars and logs still need your input sometimes. So do your darndest to contribute critical information that can only come from your keyboard.

If you’re limping along with an old CRM system but you dread having to decide on a new one and implement it, visit the websites of some state-of-the-art social CRM applications and consider the possibilities. Know when to say good-bye. Many of your competitors are getting a jump on you because they have better tools.

Selection and Implementation

Some things to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a new system or preparing to introduce your sales team to one you’ve chosen:

  • Evaluate each candidate’s ability to integrate with other company functions, like the help desk and accounting. Developers build in safeguards so that each department only sees what it needs to.
  • Look, too, at whether these CRM solutions make use of existing tools. Do they integrate with Microsoft Office, for example, or is there at least some way to connect documents and spreadsheets to the CRM application?  Can you synchronize calendars?
  •  Consider the complexity of data input. Your ideal solution will not have a lot of extra, unnecessary features to confuse users, and its forms should be easy to complete.
  • Determine how much customization you’ll need, and look for it in your CRM candidates.

Finally, get input from your staff about the kinds of features they’d like to see. And once you’ve settled on a CRM system, have mandated training. People may groan, but CRM software – especially if it’s integrated with other company functions – simply must be as current as is possible.

This can’t be like the company football pool, where participation is optional. Get everyone on board from the start, and give them the opportunity to see how the right CRM site can help them create, maintain, and improve the right relationships.

Use Your Words Wisely: 6 Common-Sense Content Marketing Tips

May 4, 2015

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Words matter. Choose them wisely as you compose for your website and blog to improve goodwill, sales, and your image.

All of the content on your website and social media venues has one overriding function. It needs to sell your products or services to visitors. That may seem obvious, but far too much content misses the mark badly in getting this job done. You get very little time to make the sale online, so every word has to count.

Getting and keeping the attention of impatient and fickle visitors isn’t easy, but a few simple psychological tricks can help. Use these strategies and you’ll have a leg up on your competitors:

  •  Focus on Visitors’ Needs – Lead off marketing content by showing that you understand exactly what problem your product or service solves. Identify the need right away and let readers know that you have the solution. You’ll get their attention and lead them into your pitch. Everyone who lands on your page came there with a problem to solve. Tell them how you can help with that.
  • How Can Questions Build Sales?  – Google is seeing more and more searches in the form of questions. Up to 25 Todd Martin 050415 iimage 2percent of all searches today are questions in need of answers. Maximize your SEO with headings that ask those questions (using your target keywords) and you’ll get more visits. Give the answer immediately and you’ll capture more leads.
  • Don’t Beat around the Bush – Once you’ve grabbed a guest’s attention, don’t waste time. Tell them immediately how your service or a product solves their problem. Get right to the point, presenting key features and benefits without wasting their time. You have just seconds to deliver your pitch, so get down to business before your guest bails.
  • Be Brief but Complete – Telegraph your message. Present the necessary information compactly. Focus on the highest-priority features first. Bullet lists work well in presenting details in a form that is immediately understood. Avoid rambling content that wastes time. Make your content marketing work like a slide in a presentation.
  • Sell Value, Not Price – Show your prospects why price isn’t the primary factor. Demonstrate value instead. Fast delivery, quality, durability, expertise or other factors can make the sale in a competitive environment. Tell them why they should choose you. By focusing on these secondary factors, you can conquer bargain-basement offerings elsewhere.
  • Ask for Action – Once you’ve captured attention and sung the praises of your offerings, close the deal. Use time Todd Martin 050415 iimage 3limitations, temporary discounts, bonuses, rebates or other incentives to turn visitors into leads and sales. If they don’t act now, they may never act. On your bottom line, nothing matters unless you convert your potential customers and clients.

Content Marketing Isn’t Rocket Science. It’s Psychology.

Selling on the Internet can’t be reduced just to a series of steps that always gets the same result. Unless you understand how your target audience can be attracted, retained and converted, your content won’t have maximum impact on your sales. When limited space and attention span are in play, using time-tested, customer-focused strategies that are proven to work will get the best overall results every time.

Stock images courtesy of

They Said WHAT About Me?

April 22, 2015

Reputation management is more important than ever, thanks to social media. Manage your customer relationships carefully to avoid a public relations crisis.

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You’ve probably heard the horror stories. Someone gets upset about a product or service they received, and they take to Yelp and Twitter and numerous other online venues to try to trash your reputation.

Sometimes, the individual posting the reviews doesn’t even have an ax to grind. For whatever reason, he or she just wants to tarnish your image.

You’ve spent years — maybe even decades — working hard to maintain the integrity of your brand. It doesn’t seem fair that one person can do so much damage to your good name.

But it happens.

Shut It Down Before It Can Happen

One way to avoid damage to your reputation is by owning your brand online. If you’re just launching a new business, get your company name and profile up on the major social networks. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn aren’t enough anymore. Host your own presence on YouTube, Instagram, and Google+. Maybe even Pinterest and SlideShare.

If you’re a big company with plenty of money and a sterling reputation that must be guarded, hire a reputation management firm. Otherwise, assign one employee to the task of trolling for dirt daily, or split the chore up among multiple staff members.

Here’s what the designated individual(s) should do:

  • Type your company name into the major search engines and see what comes up on the first five pages.Todd Martin 042215 image 2
  • Dp a search for your company name plus words like “complaints” and “reviews.” Misspell it occasionally.
  • Run your brand through the search tools on social media sites.
  • Read your feeds. Nothing should appear in your social media streams that someone on your staff doesn’t see the same day.
  • Set up a Google Alert for your company name — and for common misspellings.
  • Pay Yelp regular visits. It seems to attract naysayers.

Keep Up With Your CRM

Use your customer relationship skills to be in touch with your audience, and sniff out trouble early. Do as much as you can to post news and comments that have a positive slant. Get your customers involved. You could have a contest for the best YouTube video of someone using your product and award a nice prize. Don’t push it, but encourage positive user input. Solicit feedback and respond quickly.

But don’t go overboard on PR. Your content should be focused on your customers. The more you help your customers with how-to’s, troubleshooting guides, Q&A’s, training manuals, etc., the more likely positive comments about you will bubble up.

Todd Martin 042215 image 3If the worst happens and you’re taken to task for something — real or imagined — online, act fast. If it’s on one of your properties, get the appropriate person on it immediately. If it’s legitimate, acknowledge it and find a way to make it right. If it contains profanity, obscenity, threats, or other inappropriate content, delete it if you can. On properties hosted by a third party, you may or may not be able to have it removed.

One last tip: Formalize a complaint procedure. Make it easy for individuals and businesses to lodge a compliant (ideally, this should be a link that goes directly to staff, not a public thread).

Reputation management is a constant battle, so get out in front and lead the charge.

Stock images courtesy of


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