Tag Archives: aggregator

Sales tips from a guy who hates to sell. You gotta believe.

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I used to see a career coach who told me that in order to get to where I wanted to be, I had to start from the bottom.

While I waited for folks to get on board and agree that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread – and pay me handsomely for my opinions and presence – I had to get a job.

And since I was transitioning from law to tech, I should use my gift of gab in an area that he thought would be a natural fit: sales.

The thing about his advice, while 100% accurate – I can sell – was the fact that I hate selling.

Well hate may be a bit strong.

I dislike it greatly.

And it’s not the act of selling that I dislike. I am a hunter.

It’s the things I have to sell that I generally dislike.

It wasn’t always this way.

When I was in high school I worked at Macy’s in the ladies shoe department as a shoe salesman.

Selling was a cinch.

To be clear, shoes sell themselves to women.

All I did was shuttle different sizes back and forth from the stock room until my client decided which pair (or pairs as was often the case) she wanted.

I’d ring her up, bag her goodies and she was off to shop some more, or to her car with the balance of her shopping spree.

Sure, I was masterful at upselling.

Transitioning a patron from a low priced item, say some 9 West black slingback pumps, to a higher prices one, like an elegant pair of Via Spiga heels that just arrived, was my forte.

But for the most part, I didn’t have to hard sell (or upsell) anyone.

Fast forward to 2008, the heyday of mobile marketing and SMS, when I worked for one of the three largest mobile aggregators selling mobile marketing to brands eager to get into texting.

The services sold themselves, and I simply guided green content creators through the short code acquisition mobile marketing campaign activation wireless carrier gauntlet.

In the process of demonstrating my expertise, I also upsold premium services and our platform, which allowed brands to publish their own compliant mobile ready campaigns.

As a captive audience, who had already taken the plunge to embrace the brave new world of mobile, selling (and upselling) was like shooting fish in a barrel.

But here is where my love affair with selling abruptly turned for the worse.

You see, my third sales or “business development” role was with an app development firm.

It was here that I understood that sales was not for me.

While I fully believed in the future of mobile, and was prepared to assail anyone who would listen with the wonders of developing mobile applications with us, my heart wasn’t in it.

I didn’t believe what I was selling.

Or rather, the thing that I was selling didn’t sell itself.

As a salesman, you can sell anything.

If you’ve got a silver tongue (as I did) a freezing man will buy ice from you.

And if you’ve got something that sells itself (or you believe that you do), the world is your oyster.

You can flit in and out of offices, meetings, conferences and presentations with a self assuredness that allows you to throw caution to the wind.

I’ve got it, you want it. Now, what will you pay me for it?

Selling was simple.

As was prospecting.

Lead generation was never an issue as we were on the leading edge of new technology.

Apps were everything.

Simply say the word “apps” and folks were rapt with attention.

And I sold lots of apps.

But then the company didn’t deliver.

Project after project became trapped in a bottleneck.

Features that were sold as standard became “premium” or required “custom development,” and I started to see the wizard’s cape showing behind the screen.

And that was it. I learned that I wasn’t built to sell just anything.

Actually, what I really learned was that I excelled at selling what I believed in.

Before the veil was pulled back, I would have sold anything to anyone.

After I saw the wizard, I became increasingly selective about what I’d co-sign, pitch or promote.

This isn’t really a “proper” tips post, but to stay true to it’s title, here are a few tips for being better at sales.

  1. If you need a script, don’t sell it. If you need a guide to sell, it’s not for you.
  2. If you wouldn’t buy it, don’t sell it. It’s hard pushing something you wouldn’t take/use yourself.
  3. If you agree with buyers’ objections, don’t sell it. When you find yourself agreeing with all the objections a potential buyer has for not buying in, you shouldn’t be selling it in the first place.

In the final analysis that’s the key: sell only what you believe in.

Because then selling comes naturally.

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Google Wallet makes mobile payments a reality.

Years ago, when I was working in mobile marketing, mobile payments were all the rage.

Brands were just starting to experiment with SMS, and premium SMS messaging offered content creators an opportunity to monetize their mobile campaigns.

If someone with a text-messaging enabled mobile device saw your call to action, “Text WAYNE to 12345 to get Lil’ Wayne’s newest single!”), they could type in the keyword, send it to a short code and Voila! they were listening to Weezy right from their mobile phone.

Of course, it didn’t always work that smoothly or all the time.

If you had Verizon phone, for example, which restricted hyperlinks, good luck trying to click through to the URL provided on the link you received.

Or if you hit your monthly messaging limit, you wouldn’t be able to send or receive text messages at all.

And at the time, mobile payments were restricted to paying for premium mobile content on your wireless carrier bill.

In order to complete a purchase, there was a double opt-in process, where the user had to validate that they wanted the content and understood the costs and conditions associated with the offer.

Typically, taking advantage of these premium offers involved giving your wireless carrier AND the aggregator AND (in some instances) the content platform provider a portion of the fees associated with that purchase.

Subscription chat lines and information services, like KGBKGB, sprung up to tap into users’ voracious appetite for texting.

You couldn’t buy tangible things with your mobile device.

Outside of wallpapers, ringtones and music downloads, mobile content was the only thing you could really purchase.

Today, that’s no longer the case.

Smartphones, mobile web sites, and mobile apps let you use your mobile phone to purchase virtually anything.

You’re no longer tethered to your wireless carrier if you want buy something.

iTunes and the proliferation of copycat app stores mean that you can cop plenty of compelling content right to your device.

And not have AT&T or Verizon Wireless mucking about in the transaction.

But there’s a different mobile payments space growing and maturing.

We’ve seen early glimpses of that with PayPal.

Apps like Square that have turned your mobile phone into a payment processing center.

In Europe and Asia, paying using your mobile device is commonplace.

But here in the states, the growth of mobile payments has advanced at a snail’s pace.

Until now.

Google Wallet is a mobile payment system that allows its users to store their debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards on their mobile phones.

Using near-field communication (NFC), Google Wallet lets users make secure payments by simply tapping their phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.

Although Google Wallet launched in 2011, it was only this August, that they set up expanded support to all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

What does it all mean?

Well for one, you’re no longer reduced to making mobile payments solely with PayPal.

More importantly, the tedious process of entering your payment information, name, address, credit card number, expiration date, security code, etc., is as simple as providing your username and password.

This is a real boon for online retailers, who see the majority of their drop offs occurring at checkout.

The best thing about Google Wallet, unlike PayPal (the carriers) and virtually any other merchant processing system, is that they don’t charge processing fees.

No fees?

That’s awesome!

Mind you, I’m not a Google person myself.

Google Wallet doesn’t work on iOS devices.

So unless there’s an app in the works, hundreds of millions of Apple users will be in the dark.

But big up to all you Android users, who have the ability to truly experience what the mobile revolution is shaping up to be…

At least as it relates to mobile payments.

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Filed under apps, digital advocacy, mobile, technology

Mobile Giving. Fundraising the SMS way!

I’ve recently been in discussions with a number of not-for-profits, who weren’t aware of the fact that they could use mobile for fundraising.

Red Cross raised million for Japan from text donations.

With organizations like Yele and the Red Cross generating millions of dollars in response to the catastrophies in Haiti and Japan, it’s clear that mobile donations work.

Wyclef Jean's Yele organization raised $11 million for Haiti following the quake.

Being a self-styled mobile veteran, I take for granted the fact that some of the things that I know are not common knowledge.

Mobile Giving Foundation let's approved 501c3 organizations raise money through mobile.

The Mobile Giving Foundation is one such example.

MGF (in mobile parlance) is an organization that (and this is directly from their website) “was founded in 2007 by veterans of the wireless industry who wanted to harness the immense power of wireless communications to empower non-profit organizations. The concept was simple: give the 250 million American wireless users a single “Mobile Giving Channel” over which they could receive and respond to appeals from worthy causes.”

In layman’s terms, MGF gives not-for-profit companies the ability to accept donations from contributors who donate directly from their mobile devices.

Now, you must know, if you were to set up your own short code to have people give you money for your cause, the carriers would take anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of every dollar you raised.

And that’s after you’ve forked over $500 a month for a short code, at least $1,500 a month for a connection to a Tier 1 aggregator (that connects you to the majority of wireless carriers) and another, say $1,500 a month for the web interface (from an application service provider) that let’s you configure and manage your mobile giving campaign.

Whew! That’s a mouthful! And at about $3,500 a month, that’s also quite a hit on the pockets as well!

Mobile Giving Foundation makes the process of receiving mobile donations simple(r).

But with MGF, all that is eliminated.

To make the process of getting your not-for-profit hooked up with the ability to accept mobile donations, I’ve provided a little instructional to help you out.

1.  Determine whether your organization is qualified to accept mobile donations. Answer these three questions: (i) Are you a bonafide 501c3 organization” (ii) Did your company raise $500,000 in your last fiscal year? (iii) Is your company at least one (1) year old? If the answer to any one of these three questions is “No” stop here. You can’t accept mobile donations. But if you answered “yes” to all three questions (and even if you didn’t but are curious) keep reading.

2.  Determine which Application Service Provider (ASP) you want to use. The ASP is the middleman between the Mobile Giving Foundation and your organization. Select ASPs have been approved by the MGF to provide the platform and expertise to help not-for-profits set and an manage their mobile giving campaigns. You’ve got to sign a contract with an ASP before you’ll get the application for MGF to process. No ASP, no MGF. No MGF, no mobile donations. Each ASP charges a fee for the use of their platform, and each donation received. These fees are typically nominal, but it pays to shop around.

3.  Submit your application to MGF. Once you’ve selected your ASP, signed the contract, and completed the application with MGF, you’ve got to submit it to them to review and process. They’ll review your application, confirm your 501c3 status, examine your financial records, and ensure you comply with the balance of the criteria they’ve established for qualifying organizations. The process takes about two weeks, after which (if everything comes up roses) you’re eligible to begin accepting mobile donations.

Once you get MGF's seal of approval, you're set!

Once you are vetted by MGF you’ll be able to accept donations simply by having folks text your designated keyword to a short code. The carriers will collect the money and pay MGF, who will pay the ASP (after MGF takes their cut), and the ASP will pay you (after the ASP takes their cut).

Now the process I’ve outlined isn’t a walk in the park, but any stretch of the imagination. If you fail to meet even one of the criteria I’ve outlined, you will be rejected.

But for those organizations who satisfy this threshold, mobile giving is a way to increase both engagement (you can send messaging afterwards – as long as you disclose it to the donor prior to sending them messages) and revenues.

If you want to learn more, feel free to drop me a line or visit www.

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Filed under branding, mobile, technology