Wednesday, November 26, 2008
"If you want your efforts to be meaningful and memorable, you must connect emotionally with people," says sales trainer Colleen Francis. "Without that element being present in how you interact with others, no amount of hard work will help boost your sales performance...and no amount of ambition will get you to where you want to be in your organization."
"A 2003 Gallup study suggests that no matter how high a company's customer satisfaction levels may appear to be, satisfying customers without creating an emotional connection with them has no real value. None at all," continues Francis. "But when Gallup looked at customers who credited emotional connection as part of their deep satisfaction and loyalty to a store, they also found that those customers visited that business more often and spent more."
"Don't lose sight of what it means to connect emotionally with someone. It's not enough to just pick up the phone and call clients and talk about yourself, or tell them all the great things that your product or service you can do."
"Connecting emotionally with someone starts with understanding that it's not all about you...it's about them. When we engage in open, honest communications, we connect with others with empathy. We listen first. And we demonstrate that we understand what it's like to be in another's shoes."
Let's look at four things you can do today to improve the way you connect emotionally with people...
Sharpen your listening skills
There's no better way to understand the needs of your customers than by listening carefully to what they have to say. As a sales professional, learn to be less preoccupied with the need to force your opinion on others. Instead, make it your job to listen to their opinions and feelings, ask questions, and then find tailor-made solutions to fit those opinions and feelings.
Human beings are hard-wired to be receptive to the power of compelling stories. As one writer recently quipped to me: storytelling is a lens through which we can catch a glimpse of the lives of others as well as mirror of our own. When you share with your customers your own stories of challenges you've encountered in business - even mistakes you might have made in the past - it humanizes who you are. It helps remind others that you're not all that different in terms of your aspirations, goals, as well as in terms of what you worry about.
Whether it's people in your personal or professional life, you can never say thank-you enough. People love it when they are recognized, appreciated and made to feel special. So take every opportunity you can to demonstrate how thankful you are by way of thank-you cards, modest gifts, treating a customer to lunch...your choices are endless. What's most important is that your gesture demonstrates how much you value that person and not their money.
Being thoughtful is where your creativity and attention to detail can help you really stand out. That goes a long way in an effort to connect emotionally with others. I was once told a great story about a top salesperson who was asked what set him apart from everyone else in his business. "I genuinely love people and I like showing how much I appreciate them," he explained. "There are plenty who remember to send out a birthday card to a friend or client, but I'll bet I'm the only one who thinks to also send out a birthday card to that person's beloved dog!"
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions. Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line. Learn more at www.EngageSelling.com
The SalesDog blog will be quiet tomorrow and Friday as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with our families. We wish all of our readers a wonderful weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
"Unfortunately, far too many salespeople look at the goal setting process as a burdensome numbers drill imposed upon them by their sales manager," continues Boe. "It's been my observation that both success and failure leave a trail and everyone is self-made, but only successful people are willing to admit it. Unsuccessful people don't set goals and have a common tendency to blame circumstances, events and other people for their lack of focus and determination."
Here are three tips from John Boe to help you clarify and achieve your goals:
1. Determine where you want to go and chart your course.
Your goals must be realistic and believable, while at the same time, challenging enough to compel you to put forth your best effort and give you pride in their accomplishment. Avoid setting conflicting goals such as I want to double my income and spend more time at home.
2. Write your goals down and visualize their accomplishment.
Anything that is worth achieving begins with a written plan. Because the mind thinks in terms of pictures, rather than numbers, I also recommend creating a vision board. For example, I have a vision board in my office with pictures of a world map, expensive cars and a vacation home at the beach. I get excited just looking at it!
3. Review your goals and make adjustments as required.
After takeoff, due to the ever-changing weather patterns, pilots must make minor adjustments to their airspeed and heading to stay on course for their destination. Review your goals daily and make minor adjustments as needed on a monthly basis.
John Boe presents motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com.
Monday, November 24, 2008
With Thanksgiving in the U.S. this Thursday, many people begin to think of everything they have in life to be grateful for - family and friends, a home, food to eat. This same attitude should be directed towards our clients - after all, they make that lifestyle possible!
This week, and ideally, every week of the year, be sure to let your clients know how much you appreciate them. It's not enough to say the words - put some time and thought into what they mean to you, and let them know it. Then show your thankfulness in your everyday dealings - whether with a phone call, email, note, or just a smile. Your sincerity and kindness will be a welcome gift.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Sphere of Influence
Create a list of at least 100 people you know. Send out an introductory letter telling them about your product or service. Talk with each person at least every three months. Send them information of interest at planned intervals throughout the year. Consistently ask for and receive quality referrals. Remember, if each person you know also knows 100 people, well you get the idea.
Using cold calling effectively for sales lead generation requires five key ingredients. Target the market you are going to call. Know your objective (get an appointment, get a name). Have a memorized script. Smile. Be prepared for rejection. Have fun!
Knocking on doors
This method is much the same as cold calling. I used this very effectively in real estate. I used to knock on doors year round. Do you think people would remember someone who knocked on their door in the middle of winter?
This is another technique that is used effectively in real estate and can be adapted to any product or service. Pick a market of 200 homes or businesses and become the only person they think of concerning your product or service.
Seminars are great for sales lead generation. People who attend your seminar have an interest in the information you are presenting and a need for your product or service.
Also known as direct marketing. Successful use of this method requires mailing a well-written sales letter to a targeted mailing list.
Pay attention to the local news, business and announcements sections. Look for the people who get promoted, have babies, buy and sell homes and start up new businesses. There may be leads here for your product or service.
Getting email addresses of past and current clients, your sphere of influence and any one else you come in contact with is a great way to keep in touch.
Most everyone has a barber or hairstylist they use on a regular basis. Whenever I'm in the chair, the conversation covers a variety of topics. Offer them $1 for every card they pass out or motivate them even more by offering a percentage of the sale that results from their referral. I've even picked up business myself while getting my hair cut. Keep your ears and eyes open at all times.
Every day when you leave the house take twenty business cards with you and make it a point to give them away. That is twenty cards times five workdays. If you're really ambitious, do it on Saturday and Sunday also.
"When you're looking to generate lots of quality sales leads, the more lines you have in the water the more fish you're apt to catch," says Klein.
Jim Klein is the owner of From The Heart Sales Training. He helps sales professionals attract new clients, close more sales and generate an abundance of referrals so they can increase their income and enjoy life more.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Here are seven reasons why you must be zealous about putting your prospects through a qualification process before you sell to them:
Qualifying ensures that you only sell to people who are going to buy.
By qualifying you can determine if your prospect is going to buy and, more importantly, if they are going to buy now. By qualifying, you avoid wasting time, money and resources on selling to prospects who do nothing.
Qualifying tells you where to focus.
On which prospects do you spend your valuable time? Qualifying gives you that answer. By qualifying, you identify high probability opportunities and these are the ones you need to focus on.
Qualifying enables you to win more sales.
As a result of qualifying, you only sell to prospects who are going to buy and you only focus on high probability opportunities. Just by having this focus on high probability opportunities, you increase your probability of success, if that makes sense.
Qualifying speeds up your sales and results in a shorter sales cycle.
As a result of qualifying, you will find out the reason why your prospect should act now. You find out their 'compelling event.' When you find out your prospect's compelling event, they will be motivated to take action now. They will be motivated to buy your solution now rather than later and your sales cycle will be reduced as a consequence.
Qualifying reduces your wasted costs.
If you routinely sell to people who are not going to buy or have a low probability of buying from you, then you are wasting a lot of time money and resources. By qualifying, you stop these wasted costs.
Qualifying enables you to choose who you want to become your client.
Do you have a client that you wish was not your client? They require so much time and energy that they really are not worth having. Also more importantly they distract you from serving your ideal clients and from winning new business. With qualifying, you will identify these non-ideal clients straight way.
Qualifying attracts prospects.
If you share your qualification process with your prospects, they will see that you are a professional and selective about whom you have as your client. When you become selective about who you work with, people want to be 'selected.' It's human nature. Your prospects will be trying to sell you on why you should sell to them! Even if you both agree that you are not a good fit for them right now, this process will leave them feeling impressed by you and they'll probably refer others to you.
"Right now make it an unbreakable rule that you will zealously qualify prospects and you will only ever sell to qualified prospects who will be ideal customers," says Stowe. "So find, learn and implement a sales qualification process straight away and watch the impact on your sales results."
Tessa Stowe teaches small business owners and recovering salespeople simple steps to turn conversations into clients without being sales-y or pushy. Her FREE monthly Sales Conversation newsletter is full of tips on how to sell your services by just being yourself. Sign up now at www.salesconversation.com.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Problem: Tom heard that getting referrals was the easiest way to get new customers. So he selected 20 of his best clients and called them. He was pleased that almost all of his clients said they would be happy to help him. The problem was that he didn't actually get any introductions. What he did get was a very common response that sounded like this; "I can't think of anybody right now. I'll have to get back to you."
Diagnosis: When you ask for a referral, you are asking for a response that can require a great deal of thought. You are asking someone to intellectually identify with what you do and who you do it with, then sort through their own database of people, who they know and what they do, then analyze past conversations and select a few names. This is often expected in a few seconds and can create a little psychological pressure. That is why people generally choose to ask for time to alleviate the pressure. And, of course, when the pressure is off, your request is forgotten.
Prescription: Pressure will cause people to become uncomfortable and end the dialogue. The key to avoiding this problem is to guide your client through this referral asking process in a gentle and nurturing way. Getting referrals is an emotional communication process with several questions and steps. The first step is to get your client to remind himself that your past relationship has been positive and that there is nothing that you have neglected that could be improved. Secondly, ask for their permission. This might sound like, "How would you feel about referring people to me?" Since 80% of the time you will get a positive response to this question, proceed by thanking them and explaining the reason why you are asking for their help. Remind your client of what you do and whom you do it with by restating your introductory pain probe. Gently ask who they know who may have one or more "pains".
You may even have to help by gently suggesting sources for the names you are looking for like associations, golf partners, social groups, competitor companies or suppliers. When your client gives you a name, don't forget to thank them. Ask for more information about the prospect and an introduction. Remember to respect that your client has agreed to help you and they may feel they are going out of their way. Psychologically they will need to feel good about the whole process. Referrals are the best way to get more clients when you know how to do it right.
Learn more about The Whetstone Group at www.whetstonegroup.com
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
1. Turn up the volume.
When people are distracted by bad news, economic concerns, or holiday plans, you may need to communicate more often or more visibly. Where an email might have done the job before, now you may need to pick up the phone or send a postcard. Instead of just one follow-up call, you may need to make two or three. If your business is slowing down, make use of the extra time you have available to ramp up all your marketing efforts.
2. Become a necessity.
When clients are cutting back on discretionary spending, they need to perceive your services as essential. Look for ways to "dollarize" the value of your services. How can you help your clients save money, cut expenses, or work more efficiently? Will your services help them gain more customers, increase their income, or experience less stress in tough times? Tell your prospects exactly why they need you, and why they shouldn't wait to get started.
3. Make use of your existing network.
It's always easier to get your foot in the door when someone is holding it open. In a slow market, referrals and introductions can be the key to getting new business. Seek out opportunities to propose repeat business with former clients, too. Uncertain times encourage more reliance on trusted sources and known quantities, so warm approaches and existing contacts will pay off better than cold calls or mass mailings.
4. Explore partnerships.
Working with a partner can create more opportunities for both of you. By sharing contacts, you each increase the size of your network. Together, you can multiply your marketing efforts and share expenses. A partner with a complementary business can allow you to offer a more complete solution than your competitors can. A photographer could team up with a graphic designer, for example.
5. Meet people where they are.
In a down economy and at holiday time, prospects are even more price sensitive than usual. Instead of slashing your rates to get their business, propose a get-acquainted offer. A professional organizer or image consultant could offer a reduced price half-day package for new clients. A management consultant or executive coach could propose a staff seminar instead of consulting/coaching work. Once clients see you in action, they'll be more willing to spend.
6. Find the silver linings.
When companies cut back on staff, opportunities are created. With fewer people on the payroll to handle essential tasks, downsized organizations present possibilities for project work, interim assignments, and outsourced functions. Economic changes beget other needs. People who are out of work need resume writers and career coaches. Folks concerned about their finances need investment advisors and financial planners.
"Landing clients during a down period requires not just more marketing, but more strategic marketing," says Hayden. "So instead of getting depressed by the news, get inspired by it. When you hear about coming layoffs, consider how your services could benefit those companies. When you read about negative consumer attitudes, use those words to better target your marketing copy. When prospects say, "not this year," craft a proposal that ensures your place in their 2009 budget. For the successful independent professional, there's no such thing as a bad time to market."
C.J. Hayden, MCC, is a business coach who teaches people to make a better living doing what they love. Her company, Wings Business Coaching, specializes in working with business owners, self-employed professionals, and people in marketing and sales. Learn more at www.getclientsnow.com
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sitting at your desk worrying about the economy and your finances will only bring on negative thoughts, and ultimately, a loss in income. Instead, increase your activity in the face of economic downturn - more calls, letters, emails and appointments means a bigger likelihood of success. Get out there and start making things happen!
Friday, November 14, 2008
"Finding the treasures in selling is easier than it likely was to find the treasures in King Tut's tomb in Egypt," says sales coach Patricia Weber. "What are selling treasures? How do you find them? They're found in the career, the prospect and yourself. Let's go to the selling treasure trove."
Treasures in the career of selling
In my early days of selling I had a manager who would often start a sales meeting touting, "Well Tony wrote himself a terrific paycheck this month!" Clearly, selling is the only career where you have the freedom to make your paycheck whatever amount you want by the actions you take or don't take. One of the most magnificent sales career treasures is the freedom to make your own pay amount. Careful planning, strategic actions and a focus on the other person are key traits that help you to tap into the resulting treasure.
Treasures in the prospect and customers
There are both easy and difficult relationships in selling. Prospects and customers test you sometimes more than you care. They voice concerns, they say no and they stall to make a decision. Often times it's a slower walk to gaining commitment than preferred, but this gives you the opportunity to nurture new relationships along slowly. And we're learning; including learning to improve ourselves.
Treasures in yourself
Listening skills, planning skills, presentation skills, people skills; these skills are key to sales success. Sales professionals will find that many of the skills necessary for success are already innate. Training, coaching and experience bring the not-so-natural up to par and improve the most important communication skills to get along in business and in life! When you are successful, self-confidence grows and continues to influence more success.
The discovery of King Tut's tomb uncovered jewelry, statues, furniture and a collection of numerous items. These treasures pale in comparison to the treasure that can be found in selling. Finding the right coach along the way can unearth the treasures sooner for you.
Sign up to receive a free report, ezine and teleclasses from Pat Weber – America's Sales Accelerator Coach, specializing in Introverts and Shy people at http://www.prostrategies.com
Thursday, November 13, 2008
"Those two little words have the power to turn business owners and salespeople everywhere into babbling idiots," says sales trainer and author Kim Duke. And according to Duke, the words "how much" make you nervous if you're:
--Unsure about your product or service
--Needing the money now
--Not confident in your pricing
"Remember price is a component to the buying process however; it isn't in the Top 3 reasons why someone chooses you, (unless you're Wal-Mart)," explains Duke.
"Customers buy from you if they like, trust, and respect you, your company and your product. The relationship, the credibility, the value, the uniqueness of what you have to offer is more powerful than a cheap price. When your customer asks "How Much?" - they're curious about the value in comparison to price. They're curious if it fits their budget. They're just curious!"
What they're not asking (although you hear this in your imagination) is:
"I want to know how much you cost so I can offer you a lowball price and hope that you take it as maybe you're desperate and if you don't dramatically drop your price then I will take my business elsewhere and I will never, ever, ever consider buying from you again and I'll tell everyone I know not to buy from you too. So there."
"The words "how much?" cause so many salespeople to drop their prices ridiculously (when they don't need to) which of course causes a ripple effect of you accepting business from people who will never appreciate what you offer," says Duke.
"Remember - the only time you discount is when you receive something else in return for the amount you discounted. For example - they commit to a higher package, higher volume, referrals or something else equally fabulous." So the next time someone asks you "How Much?" - respond with my two favorite little words:
"Give them a range of pricing starting with the highest and then going to the lowest," continues Duke. For example, "We offer services ranging from $5,000 to $100". Or mention your price and then shut up. And for goodness sake, make sure you ask them what they're looking for instead of dumping a ton of info on them!"
Kim Duke is an unconventional, sassy and savvy sales expert who shows women small biz owners and entrepreneurs sizzling sales tips on how to increase sales in a fun, easy, stress-free way! Learn more and sign up for her free e-zine at www.salesdivas.com
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"I'll never forget a call I got from a competitor when I was selling investments," says Brooks. "Because I invested in my company's programs, my name was sold to other investment firms and before long, I began to get calls."
"At first I wanted to hang up on the guy, but when I attempted to brush him off, I was surprised by how well he handled my initial objections, so I played along. What happened next was some of the best free training I ever received."
"How often do you allow yourself to be "pitched" by your competitors? Have you ever thought about doing it? Major companies do this all the time, and they even shop themselves to see how well trained their own reps are. If you haven't done this yet, you need to get on it!"
"Let's face it - your competitor is selling the same products and services you are, and they run into the same objections as well. Who better to learn a new technique or better way of doing things!"
There are a number of ways to do this:
1. Call into a company and act like a buyer. Ask the same questions your prospects do and then give the same objections. Try it with different reps at the same company to learn even move.
2. Get on their lead list. This is a great way to learn of your competitor's promotions. Ask questions like your prospects do, and after you give your objections, tell them to try you again in a couple of months - some will!
3. Fill out their web request form for more information. This is another great way to be pitched and it allows you to also measure their response time. Loads of good information will come from this.
"The bottom line is that if you don't know what and how your competition is selling, then you can't be competitive," says Brooks. "What are their prices like? What special offers are they using to get new clients? How are they dealing with the economy? There are many benefits to "shopping" other companies, and if you're not doing it, then try it this week."
You will be surprised at what you'll learn!
Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, offers free closing Scripts, and a free audio program designed to help you double your income selling over the phone. He works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of top 20% performance. Learn more at http://www.mrinsidesales.com/
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In North America 10% of the people will be the top sales producers. Those who are reach at least 110% of quota every year. Sometimes the top are as high as 200% or maybe 300%.
20% of sales people are either too new to measure, or they are so bad that they are on their way out.That leaves 70% of people as mediocre. They are good but they are not outstanding. They are fine, but not memorable. They close 1 in 3 deals available to them leaving 2 deals to go to the competition. Mediocre performers. How can you be a top performer? The first step is to:
Get over yourself.
Selling and sales is not about you.
It is not about what you what you want to tell the customer.
It is not about what you want to sell.
It is not what about how you feel.
It's about the prospect.
It's about how they feel.
It's about what they want to know.
Focus on the customer first and the sale second. In doing so, you will close more sales more quickly as you build stronger relationships through likeability and trust.Colleen Francis, President of Engage Selling Solutions, helps sales professionals everywhere make an immediate and lasting impact on their sales. She offers keynote speaking, sales training and sales coaching, all delivered with a savvy, no-nonsense approach. Learn more at www.engageselling.com
Monday, November 10, 2008
Why is it that whenever we find ourselves in trouble of our own making, we think continuing to talk will somehow make it all better? If you've ever said something you shouldn't have to a client, you know the feeling of wanting to instantly rewind and start over. You can't do that (unfortunately!) and continuing to talk is a bad idea.
What should you do? Take a deep breath, calm your nerves, and apologize for your mistake. Then stop talking! Let your client guide the next part of the conversation - he will make it clear if it's ok to move on, or if you need to do more damage control.
Friday, November 7, 2008
"To become known for what you know, you have to market your knowledge instead of your product," says Lytle. "This is why white papers and webinars are key lead generation tools for businesses today. As a salesperson, you can put together your own "knowledge products." There is a successful salesperson for Paychex who puts out a monthly newsletter of short articles for small businesses. A radio ad rep in Charlottesville, VA does the same thing."
"No time to write a newsletter? Put together a checklist detailing, "7 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a _____." (Put your product or service in the blank). Or write a one page "case study" of a business problem you solved for a customer. Document the return on investment and quote your happy customer."
"Or simply share a key idea from a book you've just read and turn it into a tip. See example below."
"You will attract more buyers if you are offering to teach them something of value to them than you will ever attract by simply trying to sell them your product or service," writes Chet Holmes in The Ultimate Sales Machine.
What do you know that your prospects and customers don't know? How can you teach them something of value?
Chris Lytle is a sales trainer, speaker, and creator of "Max," a web-based, interactive training platform for salespeople at any stage in their careers. This revolutionary creation is a unique combination of tools and real-world behaviors that align with the way customers say they want to be approached and sold to. Learn more at www.max-atm.com
Thursday, November 6, 2008
From Mark's blog:
Regardless of how energetic you are, energy spent on complaining about something or somebody you don't have any control over is always wasted. The greatest assets any salesperson has are their time and intelligence. How you choose to spend the time you have each day is the easiest asset to control. There is a direct relationship between your energy level and the amount of time you have in your day. When we spend it complaining about something, we wind up placing our energy into an activity that has virtually zero return. Our complaining takes away our valuable energy and, as a result, our most prized resource: time.
Over the years, I've found that there is very little room for complaining among top performing salespeople. They would rather spend their energy and time developing customers and closing sales. Next time you're about ready to start complaining about something, take a deep breath, step back and ask yourself if it is really going to be constructive.
Read The Sales Hunter's latest thoughts and comments about consultative selling, sales development, and sales motivation techniques at www.thesaleshunter.com/blog