Category Archives: Featured Articles

Client Meetings that Rock!

By Lisa Magnuson Guest Columnist

Most of us spend a good percentage of our business day in meetings. Some are good and some are bad, but client meetings should always rock. Each and every sales meeting with a client should be productive (moving the sales cycle forward) and reinforce the client’s choice to do business or consider doing business with you (differentiation).

A solid foundation will ensure you accomplish your first goal: moving the sales cycle forward. A firm foundation includes a clear agenda built after you’ve internalized the desired outcome of the meeting and the next steps that should be taken. In other words, back into your agenda. Many times, sales people skip an agenda for client meetings. A well thought through agenda is the map to ensure that all objectives, both yours and the client’s, are met.

Also, determine the open-ended questions that you would like to ask to progress the sales cycle. Where do they fit within the agenda? Write your questions down as part of your personal notes so you can reference easily during the meeting. All of this preparation will enable you to listen carefully and actively during the conference. Lastly, take notes and summarize action items and next steps at the meeting’s conclusion.

Now for the fun part. The second goal for all client meetings should be to differentiate both you and your company. Why are you different/better than the other options that the client has available? Companies always strive to differentiate themselves through superior products and services, but many times it’s the personal attention to detail that sets someone apart. Do you have a strategy to thrill your customer for each get-together? Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

• Bring an idea for cost savings.
• Supply a helpful analysis, report or case study.
• Deliver an invitation for an upcoming event which might be of  interest.
• Offer to introduce your client to another client to help them  network.
• Share a marketing idea for their company.

There are hundreds of proven and successful tips that will add value and delight your customers. Be creative and commit to client meetings that rock each and every time.

Lisa Magnuson, founder of Top Line Sales, LLC, helps high potential and top performing sales people and business owners land larger deals, improve close ratios and expand business. Contact her at or visit her Web site at

Hiring Projections Highlight In-Demand Creative Roles

Provided by The Creative Group

The creative sector continues to be a bright spot for hiring in a still-uncertain job market. According to The Creative Group’s latest Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals, a net 14 percent of marketing and advertising executives interviewed said they plan to add full-time staff in the first three months of 2012, which is up 10 points from the same time period last year. Further, 89 percent of executives said they are confident in their companies’ growth prospects for the first quarter.

For those employers who are eager to boost staff levels, recruiting creative talent with the right skills remains difficult: Nearly half (45 percent) of advertising and marketing executives surveyed for the Hiring Index, said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals today. Why? Many companies are looking for people with very specific, high-demand skill sets, and these individuals may be reluctant to leave stable positions or are courting multiple offers.
So what specialty areas are hiring managers looking to fill? When advertising and marketing executives were asked in which areas they plan to add staff, account services ranked first, with 24 percent of the response, followed by brand/product management (21 percent), and public relations (17 percent).

“Many companies are looking to refresh their branding to reflect new product and service offerings, as well as take their marketing campaigns to the next level in the year ahead,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “They also may have more budget dollars to invest with advertising and public relations agencies, driving demand for account services and PR professionals.”

Employers also are recruiting individuals for the following roles:
·    User experience (UX) designers – Demand remains strong for experienced UX designers who can create rich, intuitive online experiences that satisfy an organization’s unique customer needs.
·    Web designers/developers – As firms look to revamp the overall look and functionality of their corporate Web sites and social media pages, they seek professionals who can design appealing graphics that reinforce their brand’s overall look and feel, and develop and manage site architecture, functionality and data flow.
·    Online project managers – Individuals who can help plan, organize and execute multifaceted online projects are needed to help organizations build more integrated campaigns.
·    SEO/SEM specialists – Firms seek professionals who can optimize their online presence through link-building, content development, social media and vendor consulting.

Like the creative industry itself, the demand for certain skill sets is continually shifting. As such, it’s crucial to research employment trends, like those highlighted in the quarterly Hiring Index for Advertising and Marketing Professionals, on an ongoing basis. Not only will this help you identify “hot spots” in the market, but it will also help you map your next career or business move, whether it’s identifying a new skill to learn or candidate to watch out for when you get the green light to hire.

The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms. For more information, visit or contact the Seattle branch at 206-749-9046.