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Table of Contents
Personal BrandingBuild Your Personal Brand in 5 Easy Steps 5
Step 1: Build a Website (This is NOT hard) 5
Step 2: Build Your PR Engine 6
Step 3: Brainstorm Your Brand 7
Step 4: Write–A Lot 8
Step 5: Start Promoting 9
Push v. Pull Lead Management Methodology 11
Sales/Organizational Tempo 11
Time to Initial Contact 11
Pipeline Management 12
Sales Process 13
Sales Pipeline Management, The GTD Approach 14
Sales is an Art, Not Really 14
10 Ways to Improve the Performance of your Sales Pipeline 17
1. Keep it clean 17
2. Keep it tight 17
3. Give every note/lead a next step 17
4. Put a memorable reference in every note 18
5. Give every call an objective 18
6. Look for leading indicators 18
7. Optimize your call back periods 18
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8. Build a rhythm 18
9. Throw out your dialer 19
10. Pick up the phone 19
Surviving or Escaping? 20
About the author 23
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Personal Branding‐Build Your Personal Brand in 5 Easy Steps
The Internet is quickly becoming the de facto, authoritative, source of record for identity. It is your resume, your reputation,
your credibility, and your performance. If you are interested in future success you had better own your namespace.
That begins with a strategy for personal branding. In five simple steps, I am going to show you how build a solid foundation.
Step 1: Build a Website (This is NOT hard)
This is your home–it is where people can find the authentic you. This is your safe place and all personal branding roads should
lead back to this controlled place.
I recommend this be your personal domain name. Hopefully, it can simply be your name. Start with .com, .org, .net. If necessary
you can drift into .name and .me, but I suggest those only as a last resort.
You can use a clever brand name that you make up, but that approach will take longer and require more creativity to build
One of the best ways to get that authoritative website is to use a blog. It is fast to implement, simple to add content, versatile to
apply different designs, and Google loves them. Remember our objectives are immediate search results.
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Step 2: Build Your PR Engine
There are lots of ways to do this, but my recommendation is to keep it as simple and focused as possible at first. Your objective
should to be to get as many places, where people network on the Web, pointed back to your website.
Sign‐up and complete your profile for the following services:
These basic tools and social networking platforms will be the very basics of your public relations engine. They will allow you
to get the buzz started. I will tell you how to use each in a moment.
All you need to do right now is sign‐up and have your Web URL in each of these profiles pointed at your website.
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Step 3: Brainstorm Your Brand
This is a critical step and where most stumble. To help you succeed, I am going to break it into small concepts.
You are building a personal brand for a reason. Let’s write them down:
• Defining who you are and what you are good at
• Defining whom you want to meet
• Defining who you want to meet you
• Make connecting as frictionless as possible
Turn each of these headings into 4‐5 core brand concepts. Here are some examples:
• Writer: copywriting, ghostwriting, speech writing, web content
• Affiliate Marketer: ppc, seo, article marketing, affiliate programs
• Mortgage Broker: mortgage rates, mortgage refinance, reverse mortgage, loan modification leads
Use each of these personal brand concepts to craft 10 long tail, pillar topics. These should be fundamental things people tend
to look for first when investigating your niche. A few examples:
• Writer: Copywriting‐10 Secrets to Make Your Copy Sell
• Affiliate Marketer: Article Marketing‐Driving Niche Traffic to Your eBay Affiliate Store
• Mortgage Broker: Reverse Mortgages‐Helping Your Retired Parents Get the Right Mortgage
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Step 4: Write–A Lot
A good personal brand only works if it has depth.
This 5‐step process is going to immediately drive people to you. Make sure you look like you are open for business and it is
clear who you are and why you are valuable.
So now it is time to open up the word processor. Create a list of articles for each of your core concepts. This list should have
between 40‐50 article titles. Yes, this is going to take some effort. Here are a few tips:
• Each article should only be 300‐450 words
• Each should be informative or how‐to oriented
• Create a standard format that is easy to read: italicized introduction, sub‐headings, and lists
• Use keyword(s) in sub‐headings and body of article, but no more than 2‐3 times
• Include a consistent “resource box” at the end of each–brief who you are, what you do, and website link
There are a lot of good examples on Kaleidico.com.
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Step 5: Start Promoting
Okay. I know you are tired, but we have reached the fun part–self‐promotion!
It’s fun, but don’t expect it to be without work. In order to maximize your initial impact and compress your time to results it is
important to do these steps in order:
1. Post 10 articles to your blog (website): This should simply be a cut and paste exercise. Here is an important trick to add a
little apparent depth: backdate each article, except the final article, when posting. I recommend spacing the back dated posts to
reflect 3 posts per week, or whatever frequency you intend to post in the future.
This isn’t intended to be a deceptive trick, but rather helps set expectations for your readers for the frequency of future posts.
2. Post 10 more articles to your blog (website): These are going to be posted with future dates. This will help make your
ongoing personal brand maintenance less intimidating. You now have a good queue–keep it full.
3. Post 10 articles to eZineArticles: There are others, but this is the best. They have good rules, reputation, and traffic.
4. Hold on to the remaining 10‐20 articles: Chances are you didn’t write 40‐50 anyway–I know you got lazy, didn’t you?
I’m your coach– I am going to push you harder than you think you can go. If you met my goal you have some extra juice in the
tank to deploy, as you need it. If you didn’t make it you need to work harder–this is important. It is your personal brand. It will
make you more money!
5. Gmail: Add a signature block. Make it much like your article resource box, but add telephone number, LinkedIN profile and
Twitter URLs. Announce your new website and expertise to 10 friends. Ask them to promote and link to you.
6. Twitter: Go to http://search.twitter.com. Search for your keywords. Reply–intelligently–to 10 tweets on things of interest
and relevant to you brand. Follow 10 other people in your brand area that you did not reply to tweets from.
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7. LinkedIn: Connect with 10 people you already know (import your address book for ideas). Ask them to endorse you.
8. MyBlogLog: Add widget to blog (website). Search for your keywords. Join 10 communities of people in your brand area.
9. Stumbleupon: Search for your keywords. Connect with 10 people in your brand area. Stumble each of the websites of the
people you connected with on Twitter, LinkedIN, MyBlogLog. Ask someone to Stumble your most recent blog (website) post.
10. eZineArticles: Add widget to blog (website) to demonstrate the depth of your expertise.
Take the weekend off. Rest. Then, repeat regularly...Good luck and happy personal brand building!
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Push v. Pull Lead Management Methodology
The majority of sales management systems are designed under the assumption that sales leads should periodically be pushed
into agents’ sales pipeline. I have always found this to be notorious source of hidden sales performance failure in any inside
sales force I have reviewed. Since Kaleidico’s Sales Manager is uniquely a “pull” system I thought I would share why we elected
for this methodology and have shown, through repeated client successes, that it directly affects conversion rate.
I debate the widely held myth that a push system more quickly allocates leads. In fact, if the organization is managing their
lead to sales capacity the timeliness in getting to a lead should be equal on both systems. It has always been my experience
that throttling the lead distribution based on productive performance (taking action on leads) was the key to success. The
“pull” method also ensures that leads don’t drop into “dead” queues.
Selecting a push v. pull lead management system is actually a commitment to a particular sales tempo. A push methodology
will have a tendency to promote an attitude of “waiting for the next hot lead.” In addition, sales teams begin to expect to be
given leads and grow to have a lower regard for leads and aggressively responding to these customer inquiries.
In contrast, a pull methodology creates the expectation that every lead is “earned.” Sales team members are competing for
leads by meeting the last customer’s needs or at least responding quickly to their request.
Therefore, if you want high tempo, high energy, high velocity sales teams‐‐the pull methodology wins.
Time to Initial Contact
Although I would concede, in sales organizations where the sales velocity is already high, there should be no difference in time
to contact in a push v. pull lead management system—there are dangers in pushing leads into queues. When you push leads
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into queues your system is without feedback. You push, but you don’t know some very important factors: is the sales person
there, are they ready to take action, do they care?
One of the biggest dangers is the dreaded “dead” queue. Inherently, the push system allocates each lead to a user on the
system. However, there are several things the push system doesn’t know:
• Is that user logged‐in?
• Is he or she on vacation?
• Do they still work at the company?
• Are they working leads?
In a push system you have to be very active in user management or you will allocate valuable leads into “dead” queues. What’s
worse, once allocated these unserved customers are nearly impossible to see‐‐a very expensive mistake. The last sales
organization I advised had thousands of sales people and a push system. Managing users in any sales department can be
daunting because of natural turnover, but as the organization gets larger it can be nearly impossible. This organization was
routinely finding hundreds of leads in “dead” queues‐‐thousands of marketing dollars lost, hundreds of disappointed
customers, and a lot of lost deals.
Pipeline management is the core of good sales performance. Effectively managing deals in your sales queue is one of the most
critical influencers in improving conversion and lead generation ROI.
Pipeline management is where the push v. pull debate becomes dramatic.
In push systems, leads are put into queues and it is entirely up to the sales person to effectively manage their pipeline. What
will that mean in the average case? One, maybe two calls to the customer. The least bit of resistance and the lead is trashed.
This is dramatically different from what sales study after study proves is the right formula: 5‐7 contacts over weeks or months
to close most leads.
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In contrast, a pull‐based lead management system continually forces leads back to the sales person until a final disposition is
reached; compelling multiple contacts and long‐term lead nurturing. The switch is a guaranteed increase in conversion
Another critical factor in increasing sales velocity and lead conversion is your sales process. A disciplined process yields more
consistent sales results. The difference between the methodologies is again one of enforcing tempo.
The push approach puts a lead in a sales queue and hopes the sales person does something that acquires that customer (note
the lack of accountability in the sales process). In contrast, the pull system compels the sales person to annotate and
disposition every lead in order to “earn” the next lead. This creates the consistency in the sales process and feedback for team
leaders and marketing.
Fundamentally, the push v. pull debate is one of sales velocity. The pull method will always produce more sales and higher
conversion as you maintain an accelerated sales tempo. The pull method inherently enforces this behavior and commits you to
a high performance sales system.
My recommendation: If you want a push system use your email inbox. That is a push lead management system and your sales
force already checks it routinely, everyone has one, and it is more cost effective than buying and implementing a separate push
lead management system. However, I guarantee you will give away at least 3‐5% of your conversion rate.
Can you afford that trade‐off? You really should be pulling your way to success!
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Sales Pipeline Management, The GTD Approach
Getting Things Done (GTD), the powerful efficiency concept from David Allen, is often applied to our task list and our email
inbox, but rarely to more complex processes like our sales pipeline. However, the principles are the same and the effects could
Sales is an Art, Not Really
A sale, as an art form, is one of the biggest myths and a barrier to consistent sales performance. Sales are the results of a
process that is performed. Granted some may be better than others. Just like an Olympic athlete, the best performances come
from those who take consistent and disciplined technique to routine level of precision.
Unfortunately, for our sales organizations somewhere along the way we got the impression that there were a variety of better
ways to swim the 100M freestyle. Rubbish!
Sales is about making efficiently making contact, delivering value, and collecting money. Most of those you can’t control. I have
said it before, but it boils down to this: If the product sucks–you don’t need sales. If the market sucks–you don’t need sales. So,
lets figure that out as fast as possible by contacting more people more efficiently with GTD.
Get all of you stuff in one place. That means all of your contacts, leads, and people. Whatever you want to call them–you need
them together. When you start calling you don’t want to be hunting for names, phone numbers, or who they are. Dial–Hang‐
This means you need a database, spreadsheet, or contact management software that lets you efficiently move from one contact
to the next. I suggest contact management software with a robust lead management database. This is going to allow you to
scale and make a lot of notes. Hopefully you are building a Rolodex for the ages.
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You need a system. Calling fast and frequently is great, but you need to know what to do with each contact based on the results
of the call. GTD has a nice 5 choice process. Make your sales lead management process just as simple:
1. Trash it
2. Close it
3. Transfer it (hand it up or down)
4. Schedule it
5. Nurture it
There is nothing else.
When you organize your sales pipeline manage it in the same way as GTD. Set‐up the right buckets and make sure your
processing system gets the right contacts into the right buckets.
Here are the buckets I use:
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The nice thing about creating buckets in your contact management software is you can use it to automate your contact flow,
lead prioritization, and any lead nurturing campaigns you have. Manual or automated–organizing into predefined buckets
makes sales happen faster.
No system is perfect. Review it. See what is working and what is not.
This is again where a good lead management database comes in handy. Look at your reports and do some quick analysis. Don’t
get overwhelmed by the minutiae–eyeball your reports for oddities.
I like to look for what I call–”slowing and heaping” in my reports.
What processes seem to be happening slower or less frequently than expected? Try something new to speed them up.
Where are leads piling up? Try something to process them out of the logjam.
Want to know the number one cause of most poor sales performance? Ssssssh, come close for the secret…NOT DOING
That’s right. Just doing something even without a contact database, or a system, or a process, or organization will yield more
than standing around organizing sheets of paper, counting your pencils, or labeling your folders.
As Nike says, “Just Do It!”
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10 Ways to Improve the Performance of your Sales Pipeline
In sales we are constantly driven by performance and making our numbers. Unfortunately, this can lead to hoarding leads and
over packing our sales pipeline with potential opportunities–disadvantaging our real opportunities and overall sales pipeline
Here are a few of the techniques I use to pack a tight and productive pipeline (most of these pipeline management techniques
can be implemented into your lead management software):
1. Keep it clean
To me, a clean pipeline means one that is well attended and accurately documented. Develop a methodology for annotating
key actions or tagging each lead as you work it. These annotations function as milestones and statuses that segment your
prospects. This segmentation becomes key to observing and acting on leading indicators to convert more prospects into sales.
2. Keep it tight
Kill the temptation to hoard stubborn prospects. Cut 10% of your leads each day from your pipeline. I suggest withdrawing
them from the active pipeline and feeding them back in systematically in about 30 days for a courteous follow‐up. Which do
you cut? Analyzing your actions or tag data should over time tell you at what point a lead begins to become unproductive, but
here are a couple of starter suggestions for Internet leads: leads over 15 days from inquiry, leads attempted and not contacted
more than 5 times, leads contacted and not applied more than 5 times.
3. Give every note/lead a next step
Most of us are managing a pipeline of 100‐150 prospects. Unless you are superhuman, or already have a good action/status
methodology, it is impossible to know were you are and more importantly where you are going on any one lead. Quick fix: add
it to every note. Where am I going on the next call? This becomes your mini‐tactical sales plan. Place the answer to the
question on every action, even if you don’t make contact.
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4. Put a memorable reference in every note
This little trick will turn high volume sales into high volume relationships. Did Susan say she needed to hop of the call because
she needs to run Bobby to his baseball game? Note it. And on the next call ask Susan how Bobby’s game was. These are the
little touches that make customers.
5. Give every call an objective
Before you dial know what you want the result to be. And don’t make it so broad as close the deal. Maybe, it should be
something like when does their ARM reset? Do they have a steady, documentable income stream? Get to a credit pull.
6. Look for leading indicators
This is where your action/status methodology becomes critical to seeing patterns that indicate pending conversion. Use time,
frequency, and status to triangulate successful sales patterns. Turn those patterns into best practices and leading indicators for
projections and sales techniques.
7. Optimize your call back periods
Call back periods are another key link to your action methods and leading indicators. Set your call backs to trigger off of your
leading indicators to ensure each call is advancing the prospect forward into a sale.
8. Build a rhythm
Create a sales day or habits that have rhythm. Good runners have rhythm and can generally set their watch by their pace. It is
not full of surges, but rather a steady cadence. Set your sales day like that: start early, review the market, review your product
matrices, envision the top 5 borrower scenarios you will encounter today, build those presentations, get your scenarios and
calculator at the ready, clear your desk, start dialing, keep a separate running sheet of objectives, pause at lunch time for
adjustments to your scenarios and strategies based on the objections you heard, close the day strong.
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9. Throw out your dialer
Dialers are for robotic, cold calling, fishing expeditions or surveys. Dialers frustrate prospects and your sales numbers. Enough
10. Pick up the phone
This is number 10 because it is the most important. Get started! You have to pick‐up the phone and make the call. Overcome
the fear to engage.
If you set a rhythm, tighten, action, and call your pipeline–it will produce more for you!
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Surviving or Escaping?
This is a discussion I have been having with a lot of my friends in the online lead generation and B2B sales. The survival
attitude is definitely in the air. My theory? That is the number one killer of businesses.
Back in my Air Force days I went through SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) it taught me a lot about Survival,
but what it really taught me was how to Escape. You see, we learned in Vietnam that Survival is a death march–the inspiration
for the modern SERE training.
So, let’s tie it back to the current business and economic environment. There are too many people looking for ways to survive,
instead of escaping. The result is a tightening spiral of failure.
Let’s see if we can find a productive path out of this conundrum.
Survival is about conserving resources, slowing your movement, and hoping no one notices that you are dying. Escaping is
doing something about it!
Certainly a business runs on cash, but you will be amazed in this Web 2.0 what you can do for free. Are you buzzing through
social media? Are you writing about solutions? Are your spitting out positive messages in a “doomed” world?
Evasion is not about going unnoticed–it is about avoiding the crowd. Let me explain…
I will never forget the sage advice of one of my instructors during my training:
“People are inherently lazy, your enemy will hang out on roads and paths, not trek the terrain–stay away from roads!”
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This is exactly what you should be doing. Make your own way and avoid the “death march,” down well‐traveled roads.
This concept is reinforced by one of my favorite creatives, Hugh MacLeod, in his seminal eBook–How to Be Creative:
“Don’t Try to Stand Out From the Crowd; Avoid Crowds Altogether.”
By the way, he has a book coming out, I can’t wait to get it: Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity.
This was my favorite part of SERE, both as a student and later as an instructor. Battling wits with a competitor is exhilarating
and the feedback is dynamic. Like a game of chess, the moves may be finite and well defined, but the moment you put a couple
of humans into the equation–nearly infinite permutations evolve.
Why is this important?
Because the crowd, like an interrogator, will try to convince you to follow their lead. They will try to convince you that your
thinking and actions are hopeless, dangerous, and doomed. Sound familiar? Read the newspaper (sorry those are going away)–
They are the interrogators telling you there is no good news.
Make your own good news. Resist the pull. Make your business give people what they want right now–hope! (Worked for
This is the core of this post: Learn to make Escaping the objective, not Surviving.
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Start thinking more, talking to smart people more, reading more–try a few innovative projects. Let your software engineers
give a few of their passionate ideas a whirl, let the marketing folks get a little edgy, call a client you think you will never land.
Escaping is usually finding the simplest, smallest chink in the wall that can weaken the whole fortress.
Ask Bill Gates about a visual operating system, Marc Andresseen about browsing the Internet in a mouse driven world, Mark
Cuban about broadcasting baseball games on the Web, Michael Dell about building custom computers, or Steve Jobs about a
little hard drive that plays music through “white” headphones. All escapes from other dark and gloomy economic times.
Leave a comment below tell us what you are doing to Escape. Leave a link to your new Escaping Project. And, forward the post
to someone that keeps trying to convince you to survive!
Also, since I am on a quest to talk to more smart people–follow me on Twitter: @billrice and lets chat.
P.S., Jay Weintraub thanks for the inspiration, the nudge, and the chat with a smart person.
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About the author
Bill Rice is the CEO of Kaleidico and a thought leader in sales lead management and online lead generation. Kaleidico provides
software and services that help companies increase their online lead generation capabilities and accelerate their sales cycle.
Prior to founding Kaleidico, Bill has been a serial entrepreneur as an executive at Quicken Loans leading national home equity,
helped start‐up and ultimately sell (private equity firm LightYear Capital) DeepGreen Bank, a part of the Motorola spin‐out
Iridium, as well as several other early leadership positions with TASC (federal/government consulting firm) and in the US Air
Bill earned his MBA at the University of Phoenix and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the United States Air
Learn more about Kaleidico
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