Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hell-o-o! Is anyone listening to our client's objections?

I just fired a client today. Hated to do, but it had to be done.

This client is rolling out a brand new Internet product and they hired me to do marketing research on their product offering. I called on and walked 12 or so prospective clients through the product demonstration and after my 20 minute presentation, I LISTENED and recorded their concerns and objections.

I quickly returned those objections back to my client. I expected that they would do a little research and get right back to me. Instead, I was utterly stunned with my client's response.

They said, and I quote "I have never heard those objections and concerns before with any of our other test prospects, so it must be what and how you are presenting the information."

WHAT, I wanted to say? Instead, I took a deep breath, and repeated their concerns and objections. Again, more gibberish. At this point, I just wanted to slam the phone on the counter 4 or 5 times and say "Are you listening to me? I am telling YOU what YOUR potential clients are concerned about. WHY are you bucking me?"

But, instead, I went about the business of interviewing more prospects, listening to the same objections, and feeding them back to my client, the Internet product company. More stonewalling. More bulls**t.

As far as I could tell, my client had no good response or he was afraid to tell the prospect the truth. Or it took too much of their time to research the answer. Or...you name it.

So, here are the conclusions I had to draw:

  1. Prospective clients are smart and they no longer want to be told what to buy and who to buy it from;
  2. Prospective clients have lots of options where to spend their money and they will spend it where they perceive they are getting the greatest value and;
  3. Prospective clients don't like to be bullsh**ted. Tell them the truth...Only the facts, ma'am.
I fired my client today and I feel damn good about that decision.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pros and Cons of Hiring Full-Time, Contract, or Outsourced Help

US Companies, with fewer than 50 employees, added 84,000 full-time jobs to their payroll in April 2011, according to ADP Small Business Report. However, many small businesses are still not ready or in a position to hire full-time but have projects and work to be completed.

It is no longer about who you hire, how you hire. Candidates can come in many varieties and flavors including:

  • Full- and Part-time Employees
  • Flex-time and Job-Sharing Employees
  • Temporary Employees
  • Independent Contractors or Freelancers
This blog will cite the advantages and disadvantages of all the above. 

FULL- and PART-TIME EMPLOYEES

These employees are usually non-exempt and are expected to show up at the company location a certain number of hours and days per week. Most of these positions have a certain hourly or weekly wage and benefits are partially paid for by the employer.

PROS
  • Employer controls employee hours and days they come into work;
  • Employee comes into a central work place;
  • Employee can feel part of a team
CONS
  • Employees can be more costly than other alternatives;
  • Health care costs can become a burden as those costs rise;
  • Maybe difficult to downsize employee if needs in the organization shift.
FLEX-TIME and JOB-SHARING EMPLOYEES

These jobs were originally designed to allow working moms keep their job and job skills up while their children were little. Many of these jobs are designed to completed while kids are in school or perhaps changing of the guard between spouse work arrangements. Nowadays, this is often requested by the "sandwich generation" who needs time to take their parents to doctor appointments and pick the kids up from school.

PROS
  • Allows for a "win-win" between employer and employee;
  • Employees are often more focused because they know they have complete their work within a specified period of time;
  • Allows work to be completed during the off-shifts.
CONS
  • In a job-sharing situation, sometimes communication can be lost between employees;
  • If there is crunch-time at the company, the employee may not be available;
  • There may be more sick days taken due to children's sickness or parental needs.
TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES

These employees are often hired from a temporary firm for a period of time and the employer has the option at the end of that period, to offer the employee a position within the company or return them back to the temporary pool.

PROS
  • Great for a new position or one you are uncertain may not last more than a few months;
  • Allows for a variety of personalities to be tested in the position, with no strings attached;
  • If the person works out and the position is stable, the person can be easily hired as a full-time employee.
CONS
  • Temporary help doesn't always show up on-time or at all;
  • It is often more expensive than an employee because the temp agency has to be paid as well;
  • If the contract is for a long period (i.e. 90 days) and you know the temp is not working out prior to that, it is hard to break the contract early.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS and FREELANCERS

These individuals work for themselves and often have their own company. They are often corporate professionals who have decided to become their own consultant in a specific field, usually in the industry they just came from. Employers do not withhold taxes or pay them benefits. But at year end, if the contractor completes more than $600 worth of work for that company, the organization must submit a 1099 to the individual.

PROS
  • Great for short-term, defined assignments that have a start and end date;
  • These individuals can usually complete tasks in a quick turnaround period;
  • Independent Contractors or Freelancers bring specialized skills to the table and there usually is no training involved to bring them up to speed.
CONS
  • They usually have their own company, so they may be completing several projects at the same time;
  • If the project turns into a long-term commitment they may not be available;
  • They are not an employee and may not feel part of the team environment.
Take careful stock in your decision as the CEO or President of your organization as to what is best for you. 

Mulligan Management Group, LLC (www.mulliganmanagementgroup.com) provides organizations with meeting, event, and social media marketing consulting. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

The 2010 Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning

Great Research on how Apple and others keep on, keeping on:

The 2010 Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning

Monday, May 2, 2011

Virtual Events: Real Results with Real Companies

Have you been thinking about hosting a virtual event for your organization? Check out this PowerPoint Presentation with companies that justified their events in hard data -- saving time, money, and carbon emissions.