Home:  Productive Strategies Blog

  1. Jun

    22

    Growth at the Speed of Trust
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    There’s never been a better time for sales and marketing to reach across the aisle and change the mathematics of collaboration.

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  2. May

    24

    Will Taking Notes by Hand Make You a Better Salesperson?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    The unequivocal answer is "probably." But it's an awfully strong probably and backed up in research and in practice.

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  3. Feb

    22

    The Great E-Mail Marketing Myth
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Mourn no more. Reports of the death of e-mail have been greatly exaggerated.

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  4. Dec

    18

    An Author? Who, Me?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Yes, you can write a book. And, no, I don't mean the one on your nightstand, the one you think you're reading as you doze off and turn out the light.

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  5. Aug

    13

    The 'New' Negotiation: How Good?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Make no mistake: Traditional negotiation tactics and strategies are still on the table. But attitudes and perspectives have changed, and changes in negotiating behavior have followed.

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  6. Aug

    03

    Great Internships? An Intern's View
    Posted by:Adam DePietro  in  

    Whether an internship lasts six weeks in the summer or an entire semester, spending time in corporate America as a college student can be incredibly valuable.

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  7. Jun

    10

    Hope, Hunger, and You
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    Last year, a remarkable organization called Feed My Starving Children (www.fmsc.org) engaged 900,000 volunteers to "pack" 229 million highly nutritious meals designed to save the lives of severely malnourished children.

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  8. Dec

    19

    Good News-Bad News for US Manufacturers
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    US companies with sales of $1 billion or more want to make 44 percent more of their products in the US over five years, or nearly half of all their products, reports Fortune (November 17).

    Read more »    (1 Comments)

  9. Sep

    22

    New Customer Service Chaos in Big Companies?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    A few paraphrased responses to a recent inquiry to “the phone company”:

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  10. Sep

    02

    Networking's Dirty Little Secret for Lawyers (and the Rest of Us)
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Why don't lawyers network more? Why don't the rest of us?

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  11. May

    07

    Why Visuals Make Great 'Discovery' Tools
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Nearly every sales rep uses visuals in formal presentations, usually in PowerPoint. But are you using them effectively in discovery, too?

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  12. Apr

    23

    Match Making: Process to Prospect
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    Are you a successful sales matchmaker? Do you match a sales process with a type of sale with a type of audience?

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  13. Apr

    05

    When Is “Doing the Right Thing” the Right Thing?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    “Always do right,” Mark Twain once wrote. Sounds simple enough, right? But then came Twain’s inevitable zinger: “This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

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  14. Mar

    12

    Hate Cold Calling? Embrace Your Fate
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Raise your hand if you like to make cold calls. No one? No surprise. In our experience, just three out of every 100 sales reps like to make cold calls. The rest don't like it and aren't very good at it, which may be in part why they don't like it.

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  15. Feb

    15

    When a Competitor Badmouths Your Company
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Occasionally, one of our clients learns about a competitor that tells prospects and even customers something about our client that’s not true or significantly misrepresented.

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  16. Feb

    06

    Can Lawyers Learn to Sell?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    One of our large, global law firm clients has been tracking the results of our small-group consultative sales training of their attorneys. We’ve trained about 50 attorneys in eight cities. The study is controlled for gender and experience.

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  17. Jan

    28

    What's Your Hunting-Farming Ratio?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Does your hunting-farming sales ratio go up and down like a playground seesaw? Or maybe the ratio is lopsided one way or the other and doesn't move much at all.

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  18. Jan

    11

    'Keystone' Habits Key to Productivity
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    In our last blog entry (December 27) we talked about how “systems” might improve productivity better than goals because they tackle the goal behind the goal—buying a car, for instance, not just to buy a car but to have transportation.

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  19. Dec

    27

    Stop Setting Goals: Try 'Systems'
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    No more goals? Really? An interesting thought—and perhaps more so because it comes from Scott Adams, the creator of the cartoon strip, Dilbert. Adams’ running commentary on contemporary business life, though cutting, is nothing if not completely logical and even practical.

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  20. Dec

    19

    The Big Bang of Marketing and Sales
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    In 1993, our firm, Productive Strategies, was born and is now celebrating its 20th year in business. That year was especially significant for marketing and sales because of a “Big Bang” type of event:

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  21. Nov

    19

    Salespeople as Innovators?
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    Can your salespeople contribute to developing wallet-opening "great products"? Our sales training, business-to-business lead generation, and marketing services can support your innovation in myriad ways.

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  22. Nov

    11

    Does Showing Up Still Pay Off?
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    Sometimes I find myself with a lump in my throat over a story I occasionally tell in our consultative selling course, FOCIS®, about a vintage United Airlines TV commercial.

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  23. Nov

    04

    Big Data, Small Ball, and Your Growth
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    Big data is a big deal these days because it offers unparalleled opportunities for companies to transform their relationships with their customers and develop new business—via lead generation, for instance—and others.

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  24. Oct

    28

    Can 'Remote' Re-Motivate Sales?
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    Once a promising trend, remote sales forces are now commonplace and for good reason. Locating salespeople in or near their territories can produce terrific (and much-needed) cost savings.

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  25. Oct

    23

    Outsourcing for Law Firms
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    A timely, complimentary panel discussion exploring the pros and cons of "Outsourcing for the Law Practice" is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Union League Club of Chicago.

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  26. Oct

    21

    Lead Generation: Nurture vs. Nature
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Today, popular psychology holds that the personality of an individual human being is shaped not by genetics or by environment alone but by an uneasy collaboration of both.

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  27. Oct

    14

    Earning the Right to Close
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    Do you earn the right to close? We find that probably 75 percent of salespeople and other business developers do not.

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  28. Oct

    08

    We're 20 Years Old: Thank-You!
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    By Phil Krone: I took the entrepreneurial plunge 20 years ago in July and launched my own marketing and management consulting firm, Productive Strategies, Inc. We knew where we wanted to go but not how to get there. We were fortunate that our clients taught us a great lesson about business growth that put us on the right path and has kept us there ever since.

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  29. Jul

    29

    Clarke Cares, Carter Center Stop 'Forgotten Disease of Forgotten People'
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    More than 100,000 highly effective and durable mosquito nets provided by the Clarke Cares Foundation have contributed to stopping the transmission of LF

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  30. Jul

    09

    Attorneys: Do Clients Appreciate Your True Value?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Attorneys have told us about some 30 business development challenges they face, including: pressure to reduce fees, poor ROI on firm-sponsored events, disappointing net realization rates.

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  31. Jul

    02

    Innovation Turned Outside In?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    “Think outside the box” is a well-worn business cliché. But, like nearly all clichés, at one time it was a brand spanking new innovative idea.

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  32. Jun

    25

    New Handy Guide to Growth
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Ever wish an expert business growth advisor always had your back? Someone who could help you ask the right questions and guide you to the right answers?

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  33. Apr

    03

    Credit Where Credit Is Due: CPEs for CPAs
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Our popular consultative selling course, FOCIS, now provides 19 hours of continuing professional education credit for CPAs. That's great news for at least a couple of reasons.

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  34. Dec

    10

    Stop Selling for the Holidays?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Business-to-business sellers can come up with all sorts of reasons their prospects and customers just don't buy during the holidays.

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  35. Oct

    29

    Following Up Means Business
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    How effective are you at following up on sales opportunities?

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  36. Sep

    12

    Focusing on Charisma
    Posted by:Terry Franke  in  

    By definition you can't become charismatic. You either are charismatic or you aren't.

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  37. Aug

    23

    Marketers: Beware Customer Service
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Is your customer service department practicing what you’re preaching?

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  38. Jun

    18

    No Booth? No Problem.
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    For some of us, working a trade show without a booth is like walking a tightrope without a net—exciting and scary at the same time.

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  39. Dec

    19

    'Mad Money' Mad for SXC on CNBC
    Posted by:Terry Franke  in  

    We've been blogging a lot about our clients recently, but that's OK. They deserve the recognition, and you deserve to know about how such excellent companies succeed.

    Read more »    (1 Comments)

  40. Dec

    09

    National Innovation Award Goes to Client CEO J. Lyell Clarke, III
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    J. Lyell Clarke, III, the president and CEO of our longtime client, Clarke Company, received the 2011 National Membership Leadership Award for Innovation from Vistage International at the group’s national convention on November 4

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  41. Nov

    09

    Client Named #1 "Fastest Growing" by Fortune
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Congratulations to SXC Health Solutions, a Productive Strategies client that Fortune Magazine recently ranked #1 on its 2011 "100 Fastest Growing Companies" list.

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  42. Sep

    30

    Invite a Response
    Posted by:Terry Franke  in  

    Here's a different way to get a prospect's attention.

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  43. Aug

    24

    Where Is Clean Tech Headed?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Where is clean tech headed? What, exactly, does it mean to you?

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  44. Aug

    02

    How Much Are Legal Services Worth?
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    How much are legal services worth? If you’re an attorney, usually more than clients appreciate, right? That’s why pressure to lower fees is everywhere and assumes a variety of forms.

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  45. May

    20

    A Simple Way to Show You Care
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    When was the last time you thanked your customers for their business?

    Read more »    (1 Comments)

  46. Apr

    24

    5 Reasons to Market with Social Media
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    If you're still waiting for that social media "fad" to go away so you don't have to apply it to your business, you can stop right now.

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  47. Mar

    27

    Getting Cash Faster
    Posted by:Scott Pemberton  in  

    Can you speed up your cash flow? A few days ago at home we received an e-mail notice

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  48. Mar

    11

    Selling in Europe
    Posted by:Phil Krone  in  

    Just returned from London, where I was teaching our FOCIS consultative selling course

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