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Deborah Thomas-Nininger is the founder of DTN Productions International, a company that provides professional development training on all areas of international and domestic protocol specializing in reputation, etiquette and communication effectiveness. She is the author of the book “Reputation Management” and brings over twenty years of business etiquette, communication and self-presentation expertise, rooted in behavioral science and successful human interaction. 

In this episode, Audrey, Lee and Deborah discuss:

  • The definition of gravitas for leaders as one of the 4 pillars of character
  • What managers need to do to become defined as “serious leaders” in their organization
  • Why taking the time to up your effort at etiquette/manners will pay off with stakeholders
  • Importance of email responses, tone of voice, body language etc. in the workplace 

“You should never be surprised by something that someone has said about you if you are managing your reputation.”

– Deborah Thomas-Nininger

Connect with Deborah:

Connect with the hosts of Manage Smarter:


Connect with SalesFuel:


Join hosts Audrey Strong and C. Lee Smith every week as they dive into the aspects and concepts of good business management. From debunking sales myths to learning how to manage with and without measurements, you’ll learn something new with every episode and will be able to implement positive change far beyond sales. 

New episodes posted every Sunday morning at ManageSmarter.com, C-Suite Radio, iHeartRadio and your favorite source for podcasts

The post Manage Smarter 62: Gravitas – How to Achieve and Manage It appeared first on SalesFuel.

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If you’ve promised your clients that customer service is your number one priority and yet are still losing them, there are a number of things that may have gone wrong. Here are a few common mistakes CustomerThink says salespeople make fairly regularly.

You Didn’t Follow Up

Yes, it’s great that you’re available to your clients whenever they may need you. But what if they don’t feel comfortable reaching out after never hearing from you? Following up with clients is standard procedure. It’s especially helpful in developing good business relationships with new clients. It’s how they get to know you and grow comfortable with you. If you never ask them how they’re doing or if they need anything, why would they think you’d care anymore when they make the effort to reach out to you?

Ignoring Phone Calls

“I’m really busy right now. I’ll get to this call later.” And then days, or maybe even weeks, pass between when your client called you and when you respond to them. Your life is busy and you have a lot of other clients, so it’s understandable that it may take you a while to find the time to handle service calls. However, if you promised your client to always be available for them and instead miss the majority of their calls and then take a long time to get back to them, you’re not only breaking your promise, you’re making them feel unimportant.

Overlooking Social Media

What? Why would my clients reach out to me on social media when they have my email and phone number? Maybe it’s because they know that social media allows them to be heard no matter what. Even if you don’t respond to them, their posts on your company’s social media profiles are available to the entire internet. This is your opportunity to either establish a good, public name for yourself or publicly crash and burn by openly not paying attention to your clients. Social media is now a viable form of communication, even for businesses. Make sure you’re checking and using it.

The post 3 Reasons Your Clients May be Leaving appeared first on SalesFuel.

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There’s no question that the automotive vertical fuels plenty of advertising spending in our economy. This year, according to BIA Advisory Services, the entire automotive vertical will spend at least $15.1 billion on local market advertising. And when the national spending is included, Zenith Media says automakers will allocate $18 billion to 2019 advertising. Here’s a look at the details.

TV and Automotive Advertising

Local dealers, manufacturers and associations account for nearly 75% or $11.3 billion of automotive-related spending, says Dr. Mark Fratrik at BIA Advisory Services. As you likely know, the remaining opportunities in this market come from related sectors like tire dealers and auto parts shops. Automotive advertisers have long favored traditional media formats like TV. The power of TV is “the best channel for conveying emotional brand images and sustaining them over time,” say Zenith Media analysts. That company’s data indicates that over 50% of the typical automotive ad budget went to TV, globally. Analysts also believe that, except for print, other traditional media formats are holding on ‘pretty well’ to automotive ad spending.

Digital and The Competitive Marketplace

But at least 20% of automotive ad spending, globally, goes to digital. In the local markets, BIA is predicting that auto-related businesses are allocating about 40% of their budgets to digital formats. The pressure to increase digital advertising will likely increase. As traditional media grows more costly, the U.S. auto market may shrink this year. Only 16.8 million cars will sell in 2019, compared to the 17 million units that have sold in recent years. This change, along with the trend of consumer attention shifting to digital formats, means automotive advertisers may be evaluating their marketing strategy. The change also means a more competitive marketplace for ad sellers.

Where to Find Opportunity This Year

During the recent LOAC2019 conference sponsored by Borrell Associates, John Fitzpatrick from Force Marketing reminded listeners that only 5% of dealer profits come from new car sales, but 95% of advertising is spent on that revenue source. Media sales reps can sell more advertising by reminding auto dealers to promote their certified pre-owned vehicles and to tout the quality of their automotive service departments.

Analysts across the board agree that the most successful campaign strategy in the automotive sector will combine digital and traditional components. To understand more about who intends to purchase new or used cars, and to see which features are most important to prospective advertisers, read the profiles in AudienceSCAN from AdMall at SalesFuel.com.

The post Are You Getting Your Share of Automotive Ad Money? appeared first on SalesFuel.

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“Unsatisfied with health care’s status quo, millennial and Gen Z consumers in the U.S. are paving the way for non-traditional care models, such as retail clinics, virtual and digital services, according to results of an Accenture survey.”

“The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers found striking differences in satisfaction levels between younger and older health care consumers, just as millennials in the U.S. become the largest living generation and hold the most power to influence future health care models.”

“Demanding more than the status quo

When considering traditional in-person care, millennials (ages 22 to 38 in 2019) were two to three times more likely than baby boomers (ages 55 to 73) to be dissatisfied with: the convenience of appointment times (16% vs. 6%); the location/channel of care (13% vs. 4%); the effectiveness of the care (12% vs. 4%); and whether the doctor prescribed the medication they expected (10% vs. 5%). Gen Zers (ages 18 to 21) are even unhappier, with 32% dissatisfied with care effectiveness, and 24% dissatisfied with the medication prescribed, the location/channel of care, cost of treatment and responsiveness to follow-up questions.”

“Shifting to virtual, retail clinics, digital care

Slightly more than half (55%) of Gen Zers and two-thirds (67%) of millennials said they have a primary care physician, compared with 84% of baby boomers. Without a primary care physician, some millennials are seeking some types of routine medical services from retail clinics (41%) and virtual care (39%).”

“These types of non-traditional methods of care have made rapid inroads across all age groups in recent years, with the survey finding that nearly one-third (29%) of respondents have used some form of virtual care, up from 21% in 2017, and almost half (47%) have used a walk-in/retail clinic. Further, consumers would prefer non-traditional methods over traditional ones for certain basic medical needs, including cold/virus treatment (65% vs. 48%), flu shots (62% vs. 54%) and checking vitals (59% vs. 54%).”

Telemedicine Users’ passion for digital doesn’t end at health care. According to AudienceSCAN, these consumers have a slew of mobile digital devices at their disposal, including iPhones (50.3%), Android smartphones (41.9%), iPads (42.4%), Android tablets (34.2%) and smartwatches (31.9%). In the past six months, they’ve used their mobile devices to watch online or streamed videos (63.8%), order food for takeout or delivery (48.6%) and download an app for a product they’re considering (42.5%). They’re also 286% more likely than other adults to find advertising on their mobile apps useful and, last year, 73.5% took action after either seeing an ad on their mobile smartphone apps or receiving an ad via text.

“Rising adoption of digital self-service

The use of digital for self-service health care is also on the rise. Half (51%) of all respondents said they use a wearable or mobile app to manage their lifestyle and health care conditions and more than half (53%) use virtual nurses to monitor health conditions, medications and vital signs.”

“Similarly, younger generations are more likely to choose medical providers with strong digital capabilities, such as those who provide mobile or online access to test results (44% of millennials vs. 29% of baby boomers), electronic prescription refills (42% vs. 30%), and booking, changing or cancelling appointments online (40% vs. 19%).”

“’As more patients take control of their own health care, provider organizations must offer meaningful choices that fulfill the needs of all generational groups,’ said Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., head of Accenture’s global Health practice. ‘Providers and payers who stay one step ahead of the shifts and deliver what patients are looking for will be the ones to earn loyalty, navigate disruption and be strongly positioned as the future unfolds.’”

Doctors and other medical professionals offering digital health care services can target Telemedicine Users using many forms of advertising. Obviously, digital ads work well. According to AudienceSCAN, last year, these consumers took action after receiving email ads (74.6%), hearing both online and over-the-air radio ads (71.7%) and 68.7% clicked on text link ads on websites. Don’t overlook traditional ads though. These consumers are 96% more likely than other adults to be driven to action by outdoor ads and, last year, they took action after seeing TV commercials (79.4%) and receiving direct mail ads and coupons (75.9%).

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

The post Millennials and Gen Z Driving Demand for Non-Traditional Health Care appeared first on SalesFuel.

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To track the value of their marketing efforts, your clients can probably tell you their ROI. But do they know what the industry average is? You can help them benchmark their data by sharing the results of the latest CMO Survey from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, the AMA and Deloitte.

ROI Trends

In the past six months, the average business experienced a 3.7% increase on marketing ROI when compared to the previous six-month period. This figure is slightly lower than the average revenue increase of 4.5 percent. The associated revenue increase for the previous six-month period was 4.7 percent.

By business type, marketing ROI breaks out as

  • B2B product 2.6%
  • B2B services 4.3%
  • B2C product 3.0%
  • B2C services 5.5%

Businesses expect their marketing efforts to drive customer acquisition. In the past six months, the overall growth in customer acquisition was 3.8 percent. Businesses also experienced a 3.8% growth in customer retention.

The Power of Paid Search

In our earlier post on the CMO Survey, we reported that social media spending had tumbled. However, businesses continue to invest in paid digital media. Spending breaks out across the most popular formats as follows:

  • Paid Search 27.7%
  • Paid Display (including programmatic) 16.4%
  • Paid Other 31.4%
  • Paid Social 14%
  • Paid Video 7.2%

Analysts noticed that significant differences in this spending category correlate to business vertical. For example, companies with higher percentages of internet sales also spend higher percentages of their digital marketing budget on Paid Display.

Mobile is the Future

Marketers continue to shift spending into mobile channels as well. At least 11.2% of the marketing budget goes to mobile. In five years, marketers anticipate that amount climbing to nineteen percent. On a scale of 1 to 7, B2C services companies value mobile initiatives the most: at 4.0. Similarly, companies that sell the most online also rate the value of mobile at 4.0. By vertical, educational marketers give mobile a rating of 5.7, while banking and finance businesses rank it at 2.1.

Help your clients understand how their digital marketing efforts stand up against other businesses by running a competitive analysis using the Digital Audit tool available from AdMall by SalesFuel. With this information, you’ll be able to help them improve their advertising outcomes.

The post CMO Survey: Marketers Spend on Paid Search, Mobile to Achieve ROI appeared first on SalesFuel.

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Times are tough, and they’re only getting tougher. As the Center for Creative Leadership says, we live in a VUCA world, surrounded by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. It’s not easy to inspire others when there are so many variables working against us.

Nevertheless, this is what leaders are expected to do. When leaders fail to inspire during times of adversity, followers drift and the strength of unity is lost within an organization. Defeated leaders lose their followers and their backing. Sometimes, they even lose their platform and their voice. No one chooses to put their faith into a leader who is subject to circumstances and unable to find a way through adversity and challenges. We hold leaders to a higher standard.

Norman Cousins, the prolific author who demonstrated that laughter is the best medicine by outliving his illness 26 years longer than doctors anticipated, coined the phrase “Don’t deny the diagnosis, try to defy the verdict.”

In Turning Adversity into Opportunity, James Kouzes and Barry Posner have resurrected this sage advice as one of six strategies that can make a difference for anyone faced with a tough challenge.

To defy the verdict means finding a way to change the expected outcome. It means refusing to believe that a pronouncement made is an absolute inevitability. It means taking control of a situation without giving up.

Leaders must defy the verdict if they are to inspire others. A leader who positions himself or herself as a victim of circumstances is one who abandons hope. This is uninspiring and demotivating to others.

Leaders who do defy the verdict accomplish great things and break new ground. They inspire their followers and become legends who then inspire others through the ages.

Consider these leaders who defied the verdict:

Walt Disney received the verdict that he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas” when he was fired by a newspaper editor. He defied the verdict over and over again as he started numerous businesses that ended in bankruptcy.

Thomas Edison defied the verdict of a teacher who said he was “too stupid to learn anything” and the verdict of his first two bosses who fired him for not being productive enough. As an inventor, he failed over 1,000 times in his attempts to design the light bulb.   

Oprah Winfrey, once deemed “unfit for TV,” defied the verdict to become one of the world’s wealthiest and most successful celebrities of all time.

Sidney Poitier defied the verdict, too, when he was told by the casting director at his first audition “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” Poitier vowed to make it big, won an Oscar and is still considered to be one of the most highly regarded actors in Hollywood history.

These are stories of perseverance. These leaders maintained confidence in their ideas and abilities despite others’ assessments. Given their circumstances and the judgments and perceptions of others, we might expect them to have faded into the background rather than ascending in their fields so magnificently.

There are verdicts we succumb to every day that we may need to defy instead. If you pause and reflect on all the limitations you have accepted as unalterable and absolute, you may realize that it’s a long and burdensome list. To liberate yourself, pick one and work to defy the verdict you previously accepted.

Here’s how to rise above the verdicts you’ve heard and accepted:

  1. Identify the verdicts. Write them down. Include anything at all that represents an obstacle. Include statements that start with “I am,” “We always,” “We never,” and “We can’t because.”
  2. Ask “Why” and “Who says?” Some of our verdicts are no longer valid but have become so ingrained in our belief systems that we continue operating on outdated truths. Asking these questions may reveal verdicts that are obsolete.
  3. Ask “What is the evidence?” Some verdicts are merely opinions and have no factual foundation. Other verdicts are based on incomplete assessments or inconclusive data. No matter how frequently or how adamantly something has been said, it isn’t necessarily true.
  4. Pick a single verdict to defy. This foregone conclusion that has been your reality is what you will work on proactively resisting.
  5. Create a plan of defiance. Start by asking “If this were not true, what would I be doing differently?” Give yourself some alternatives so you can attack the verdict from all angles. Enlist others who may already be defying this verdict or would like to do so. Be sure your plan includes elements that put you back in control.
  6. Ask “What will it take to shift this?” and “How can we break this down into manageable chunks we can change?” as you more fully develop your defiance plan.
  7. Recognize and celebrate your small wins along the way. Small victories against long-standing verdicts are worthy of celebration and are the inspiring fuel you and others need to continue with your plan of defiance. Chip away at that verdict until it falls.

If you experience skepticism or doubt along the way, remember this. Looking back throughout your life, you have already defied a verdict. We all have. You exceeded someone else’s expectations, proved someone wrong about you, overcame your own fears or broke new ground at some point in your life. See, that’s the startling truth about defying the verdict – it’s doable, we’ve done it, and it’s not at all uncommon. That’s precisely why we should never accept the verdicts that would hold us back. 

The post How to Inspire Others During Adversity appeared first on SalesFuel.

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Have you been using the same opening lines in your conversations with prospects and clients for too long? You know what I mean. You complain about the weather, the traffic, or the game that the hometown team lost the night before. Staying focused on safe cultural touchstones allows you to connect with your prospects. This practice also makes you look like every other sales rep.

Show Curiosity

To make an authentic connection with your prospects, put on your detective hat. If you’re lucky enough to get into their office, look for hints about what they do in their spare time. Prospects who display photos of themselves skydiving will likely be eager to talk about the experience. You don’t have to pretend you want to skydive. Your curiosity will be enough to break the ice and get a conversation started.

Reveal a Detail about Yourself

In his CNBC column, Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry, discusses the A.C.T. system of conversation. The T stands for topic and can be a way to let prospects know something about you. For example, you might share that you tried a new sport over the weekend or that you traveled to an exotic location recently. While it’s helpful to share a detail about yourself, don’t continue on that topic for long. You don’t want to get a reputation for being self-centered.

Get Down to Business

Your ultimate goal is to shift the conversation to the prospect and the business problem they’re facing. Once you’ve chatted for a few minutes and you sense a lull in the conversation, go for it. Ask something like, “So, tell me about what’s happening with [ABC].” Fill in the ABC part with what you know based on your previous interactions with the prospect. Maybe they’ve mentioned that they’re launching a new product and need marketing support to make it a success. Or, they might need a new piece of equipment to support their growing business.

Be Brave

Remember that everyone has felt intimidated at some point in their career. If you’re just starting out, you might worry that you’re going to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. That will probably happen. Don’t beat yourself up about it. In those cases, review what happened and promise yourself you’ll do better next time. Remember that once you’ve developed rapport with the prospect, you’ve successfully crossed your first huge hurdle. You’ll have more confidence to move on to the next step.

The post How to Take Small Talk to the Next Level appeared first on SalesFuel.

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“We’re about one month away from Easter. Last year the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics projected Easter spending to amount to $1.84 billion. A total of 81% of Americans celebrated the holiday and spent an average of $150 per person. This year’s numbers aren’t out yet, but here are the details from last year.”

“‘Despite a modest drop, the Easter forecast is still very positive and nearly as high as last year’s record,’ said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. ‘Consumer spending remains healthy both for this holiday and this spring, and that paints an optimistic picture for the U.S. economy in the year ahead.’”

“According to the survey, consumers will spend $5.7 billion on food (purchased by 87% of shoppers), $3.2 billion on clothing (48%), $2.9 billion on gifts (61%), $2.6 billion on candy (89%), $1.3 billion on flowers (39%), $1.1 billion on decorations (42%) and $780 million on greeting cards (46%).

“In preparation for the Easter holiday, 59% of consumers will shop at discount stores, 46% will visit department stores, 28% will make purchases online, 25% will go to a specialty store and 25% will go to a small business or local store.”

That’s a lot of Easter preparation with the potential of spending a lot of time running around looking for all of these items. To save time, many Easter Diners may turn to the internet. According to AudienceSCAN, last month, 61.5% of these shoppers used a search engine to research a product they were considering and, within the last six months, 38.2% used mobile devices to search for nearby retailers. These consumers also value savings, with 55.1% using the internet to find coupons and discounts within the last month and 37.7% using a mobile device within the last six months to redeem or download coupons.

“’With more than three-quarters of consumers saying they will celebrate Easter this year, the holiday continues to be a traditional staple for Americans,’ Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. ‘We continue to see consumers across ages, genders, regions and disposable incomes participate in this holiday.’”  

“Consumers intend to celebrate Easter in several ways: 60% will visit family and friends, 58% will cook a holiday meal, 51% will go to church and 17% will go to a restaurant. The Easter Bunny is expected to have a busy holiday season: 35% of consumers will participate in an Easter egg hunt and 16% will open gifts. In addition to traditional holiday events, some consumers will pursue more leisurely activities: 45% will watch TV, 11% will shop online, 9% will shop in a store and 8% will go to a movie.”

Easter Diners are 107% more likely than other adults to find advertising on their mobile apps useful, according to AudienceSCAN, and that’s not where digital’s influence on them stops. Last year, these consumers were driven to action by email ads (58%), online or over-the-air radio (57.5%) and ads on daily deals sites such as Groupon (59.5%). Don’t hesitate to mix in some traditional ads. Last year, 74.5% took action after seeing a TV commercial and 61.7% were driven to action by both digital and print newspaper ads.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.

The post 17% of Consumers Plan to Go to a Restaurant on Easter appeared first on SalesFuel.

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Managers count on team members to be productive every day. And to ensure commitment to the work, organizations create incentives based on compensation and bonuses. Determining how big bonuses should be can get complicated and expensive for organizations. George Georgiadis, an associate professor of strategy at Kellogg, has a suggestion to resolve that problem.

The Bonus Pool

In many organizations, senior managers meet every quarter, six months or annually to discuss the bonus pool. Who should get a bonus? And which employee deserves a larger bonus?

Managers don’t make these decisions based on a gut feeling. They collect information. They make use of performance appraisal documents. When there’s a dispute about how large the bonus should be, they might turn to peer review documents to see what other team members say about an individual. If there is still resistance from other managers about the size of a bonus, a leader might turn to customer feedback on a specific employee.

By the time managers review and negotiate on this topic, they’ve burned through hours that could have been applied to more pressing problems. And the outcome may not always be what managers hope for. We all know that employees compare this kind of information. And when they do, we can be sure someone will have a complaint about why their bonus wasn’t larger.

The Fixed Bonus

Georgiadis and his colleagues recommend that organizations turn to single-bonus contracts. In this system, employees get a base salary. And if their performance is deemed satisfactory, they’re granted a fixed bonus. They know the value of this bonus up front. This model allows “employers to provide their workers with strong incentives while varying their pay as little as possible. And having relatively consistent pay is an important factor for keeping employees happy.”

Keep in mind that the fixed bonus system works best in smaller organizations. That’s because these organizations tend to evaluate employees individually when bonus season rolls around. Employees might be able to ‘game’ the fixed bonus system, by working hard early in a measurement period to achieve goals and then slack off. As a manager, you can watch for and correct that tendency.

The post Is Your Bonus System Really Motivating Employees? appeared first on SalesFuel.

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It’s likely that, for most of your presentations, your audiences will be comprised of both introverts and extroverts. How you cater to both groups can have a huge impact on how well your presentation is received. If you haven’t even considered how being an introvert or extrovert can impact the audience’s reaction, then you definitely should. “In any given audience, half of the room will be introverted while the other half will be extroverted,” writes Caitlin McGuire in an article for Ethos3. “If you don’t address each of them uniquely, you will wind up inadvertently leaving half of your audience exhausted.”

One tip to keep everyone comfortable is to avoid randomly calling out audience members. You may think that this type of interaction will further engage the audience. And, it will; but only some audience members. For the introverts, it could cause complete panic. “By randomly calling on an audience member to respond, you have a 50/50 shot of isolating an introvert and placing fear into the rest of the introverts in the room,” McGuire explains. It’s not worth the risk. Instead, she suggests asking for volunteers if you want members to participate. This allows the extroverts to step up without making introverts uncomfortable.

That is just one bit of advice McGuire shares (check out her article for two other tips). By acknowledging the very different personality types of your audience members, you set the stage for your presentation to be well-received by everyone. As McGuire points out, not only will they be more likely to retain the information you share, they are also more willing to “join you in your cause.”  

The post 1 Tip That Makes Your Presentations More Appealing to All appeared first on SalesFuel.

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