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sales is like a marriage. Sales trainer

Don’t ask me to marry you on our first date

By | sales tips, Training | No Comments

Don’t ask me to marry you on our first date!

The trouble is, many people in sales do exactly that. They charge in, take everything too quickly and then try to close the deal before the other person is ready.

So what should they do instead? Well really, it’s common sense. As a sales trainer, I encourage my clients to think of selling like building a relationship and that means there are certain stages to go through. I call it GENTLE selling and the stages are:

Greet – you know – say ‘hello’, shake hands, kiss on the cheek or whatever works for you. You make small talk about the weather or the traffic and perhaps compliment each other on how jolly fine you both look.

Expectations – what are you both hoping to achieve, both short term and long term – is it a quick fix, a short-term dalliance or something where you are going to be close for a long time? Perhaps you don’t want to give too much away – after all a little mystery can be advantageous – but if one party wants something substantially different from the other, then you will probably not be a good match.

Needs – Find out what is important to the other person – the things they need and want are what motivates them to make a decision, take action or invest their time and money.

Together – It’s not just about you! If one of you does all the talking and the other one is wishing they were somewhere else, then this is a mismatch. Together you need to work out what happens next – that way the customer (date) feels in control of things. 

Lead – as in lead them to a solution. It’s very hard to force anyone into a long term relationship (business or romantic) so lead, suggest, encourage and state the benefits of the solution. Make sure they are happy at every stage, because then you can pop the question (close)

Evaluate – What can you learn from the experience and do differently next time? Of course if it doesn’t work out, then you will know what you are doing next time round! And there are, as they say, plenty more fish in the sea!

Happy selling!

If you would like more information about how we can help you transform your sales team, please contact Janet on 07748 994 334 or email jefere@tadpoletraining.com

man looking for his marketing money.

You had better be getting inbound right…..or you’re throwing your marketing money away

By | sales tips, Training | No Comments

Inbound – how good are they in your company?

Whether you are a one-man band, or a multinational organisation, you will inevitably be spending a chunk of your budget on marketing and promotion. The idea of course, is that you will encourage sales, or at the very least, leads and enquiries. So what you do with these leads is critical.

I do a lot of work with companies who have a front line sales/customer service team and, despite pouring loads of resources and effort into generating interest, suddenly seem to lose the plot a bit when it comes to responding to the leads that marketing generates.

Let me tell you what I mean.

These are just 4 of the things I see frequently when inbound calls are not handled properly:

No proper introduction

Have you ever rung up a company to be greeted with just ‘hello’? It doesn’t inspire confidence. After all, have you got the right phone number? As a potential customer it makes you feel uneasy and slightly wrong-footed. So use this SIMPLE formula every time – it’s clean, professional and straightforward:

• Good Morning/afternoon

• Name of company

• Your name

• How can I help?

So for me, this would be: “Good Morning, Tadpole Training, Janet speaking, how may I help?”

Don’t ask the person’s name

What is one of the easiest ways to build rapport? Yes, use a person’s name. How do you get their name? You simply ask: “Who am I speaking with please?”

Don’t get a contact number

I used to head up business development at an international college. We got enquiries all the time from overseas and often, the line was dreadful and conversations vanished. If we lost an enquiry, that could mean that £6,000 in fees had potentially just evaporated. So we developed a simple strategy to ALWAYS get the phone number as soon as we had the person’s name. Try this:

“[their name], just in case we get cut off, what’s the best contact number for you?” 

It is simple and people then understand why you are asking. 

Don’t find out the source of the enquiry

Remember that we are talking about your marketing money here. Often inbound staff don’t ask how people get to the stage of picking up the phone to enquire. You need to know how they found out about you. Apart from anything else, you need to understand which of your marketing pounds are pulling in the punters (spend more if required) and which are not (get rid, reduce or change).

This simple question will not only tell you how they heard about you, but it also gives you the opportunity to position yourself as a trusted company to work with:

“Who recommended you to us?” [wait for answer]

Whatever they say, then respond with:

“The reason I ask is that most of our business comes to us from personal recommendation.”

And before you worry that ‘most’ of your business does not come from personal recommendation, simply adapt the wording to ‘a lot’ or ‘X%’, whatever is authentic and accurate for you.

So there you have it, some simple tips to get your inbound team answering the phone more effectively and making sure they have the most important details of every single call. 

Happy Selling!

If you would like more information about how we can help you transform your sales team, please contact Janet on 07748 994 334 or email jefere@tadpoletraining.com

your new sales team

5 tips for starting new sales role

By | customers, sales tips, Training | No Comments

So you have a new sales job!

The excitement, the enthusiasm, the nerves!

Anyone who has been in sales remembers this – I know I do. You want to make a big impression quickly – show them that they made the right decision in choosing you and that you are going to not only do well, but crush it.

The trouble is, there might be a lot of blanks – blank diary, blank deals on the table, huge big blank space in your head where there should be lots of knowledge about your customers. Sound familiar? So here are 5 sure-fire tips to get you up and running and performing quickly.

1 Be really clear on what is expected of you

By this I mean have a proper talk with your manager and discuss your territory, your customer base and how things have been performing up until now. Do they expect you to do your target straight away, within 3 months or within a year? Your manager will be able to give you loads of really valuable information – who to focus on first, who is in urgent need of a phone call, who in the team has extra information that will be useful.

2. Work out your metrics

Someone in the team will have loads of statistics on things like:

  • How many calls lead to sales conversations
  • How many conversations lead to a sale

So work it out. If it takes 50 calls to have a sales conversation and the closing ratio on these conversations is one in 5, then you know you need to make 250 calls to get a sale. If your target is 2 sales per month, that means you need to make at least 500 calls to be safe. You get the idea.

3. Make friends with the high fliers

Who in the team is constantly on top of the leader board? If you haven’t been allocated a mentor, proactively seek out the high perfomers and seek permission to spend some time with them – anything from observing their calls to seeing how they handle their admin. You’ll pick up some great tips (and learn what not to do as well!)

4. Be free with praise

Has someone helped you? Did a more experienced member of the team help you close a deal? Well shout it out nice and loud. Give loads of praise (and keep quiet about the times people didn’t help you – no one likes a moaner) The point here is that everyone likes to be appreciated – especially in sales where a lot of people are really motivated by recognition.wine

Oh, and if you haven’t worked it out already, get some wine. Not to drink, but to hand out as a ‘thank you’!

4. Don’t Panic!

Remember sales is a long term game. There is a reason why you have an annual target. Your job is to make a difference over the longer term. Now if you are putting in the effort, you know your metrics, you are doing the work and you are keeping your manager in the loop, then if you don’t achieve top spot in the first month, no one is going to mind.

Make sure you keep focused and the results will come.

5. Invest in yourself

Does your company provide training? Ask to go on every course you can. You will need to understand your product or service of course, but anything that can help you with sales skills should be grabbed with both hands.

What if there is not much training available? Well, any decent company will have something in place, but there is no reason why you can’t sort something out yourself – there is a plethora of brilliant sales training available on line or via platforms such as LinkedIn. Here is a link to my website – I do training at all sorts of price points. Also, did you know you can ask for a mentor on LinkedIn and get advice from an expert?

Learning is truly a life-long experience – you genuinely never stop learning, so get in the habit as soon as you can.

 

I hope these tips will help you – now go earn yourself some commission and show your boss you were worth employing!

Happy selling!

Come and have a chat about how we can grow your sales. Here’s a link to my calendar

 

 

waiting to close the deal before it dies

Sometimes it’s better to sell backwards

By | marketing, sales tips, Training | No Comments

Sometimes it’s better to sell backwards

Do I really mean that? Well maybe not everything should be done backwards, but it is certainly worth setting out at the beginning of the meetings, the expectations you have for the end of the meeting!

Let me clarify.

OK – here is a familiar scenario to anyone who has been in sales. Have you ever been in the situation where you talk to your prospect, you do pretty much everything right and then you struggle to pin them down to a start date, or a date to sign? This, by the way, has nothing to do with the prospect creating objections – we will assume they are happy with everything but they are just reluctant to actually commit. It’s very frustrating and, short of just ringing them to ‘check on progress’ or ‘see if it has been signed off yet’ there is not much you can do.

So if this is something that is happening to you a lot, then try this strategy:

When you begin your discussion, start straight away by asking about the date of installation, or use or application – in other words – the date they need your product or service to be in their possession, doing it’s thing.

This means you can use this date as a starting point and work backwards. You can explain your turnaround times and included details of important stages such as production, delivery and testing (depending on what you do of course). After all, that’s exactly what you would do if you were managing a project. And in many ways, selling is exactly that – project management.

Once you have done this, the prospect has a clear picture of time frames and you can guide them that they need to make a decision by a certain date in order to achieve their desired outcome. This gives them clarity and it gives you a genuine reason to chase them if, for any reason, they start to slip beyond the dates you have discussed.

Not all sales solutions are complicated!

Happy selling!

Come and have a chat about how we can grow your sales. Here’s a link to my calendar

 

successful sales people

10 Things successful salespeople always do

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10 things successful salespeople always do

 

There are always some high achievers in sales who, no matter what, always seem to be able to smash their targets, whatever else is happening in the world. So what do these individuals have in common and what can you learn from their behaviours to improve your own sales? Well here, in no particular order, are my top 10:

They believe in what they are selling – anyone anywhere would struggle to sell something that they don’t like or believe to be great (interestingly, it doesn’t actually have to be great – but the salesperson must believe it is). If there is no genuine belief, then customers will sense the insincerity and they will not buy.

Persistence – Top sales people keep going even when times are tough, because they know that hard work now will pay off later. So they just keep plugging away, doggedly. It might not be sexy, but it’s very effective.

Spend time planning – great sales people have a plan – they know their targets, their territories, their ideal customers and their products. Chances are your highly successful person has a tight diary and knows exactly what they are doing several days if not weeks in advance.

They ask really good questions – they know that it is all about the customer – what are their pains, their goals, their challenges? Once a salesperson knows that, they can determine whether their solution will help. Without this knowledge, they won’t know what really matters to the customer.

They  are prepared – when an over achiever has a meeting, you can bet they have a their business cards, laptop (with all the right data on it), a notebook, a pen, research about the client, examples, case studies, pricing details, order forms [insert or delete as appropriate depending on your situation]. There is a good chance they have spares too – extra pens, spare chargers, whatever they think they might need. There is no chance they are going to lose a deal because they forgot to bring the right document.

They are on time – actually they are early. If customers have given you their time to meet them, the least you can do is get there promptly or start that call when it is scheduled. When you arrive early at a customer’s premises, you can learn lots about them too.

They never stop learning – these are the people who are always reading the latest book, going on all the training they can and who invest in self-development. Although so much in sales is the same as it has always been, change is a constant, so they know they must keep up to date and stay ahead of the competition.

They have a mentor/coach – if you wanted to be a top Olympic athlete, there is no way you could do it without using a coach – well the same is true in sales – high performers always have someone – whether it is a brilliant boss, or someone you employ to coach you individually, constructive feedback and advice can enable you to continually get better.

They practice – by this I mean they practice scenarios, closing techniques, questions. Whether it is in the car, in the office, with other people, they visualise different outcomes and how they can respond to move the sale forward.

They are always truthful – if they don’t know something, they say so, if they cannot do something for a customer they will be honest about it. They do not ‘enhance’ the truth in order to win a deal. Instead, they will overcome any genuine objections with confidence and remain authentic and genuine.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this list. Is there anything you would add?

Happy selling!

 

Come and have a chat about how we can grow your sales. Here’s a link to my calendar

 

selling the unfamilar

How to sell the unfamiliar (or “there is a reason people are afraid to buy”)

By | sales tips, Training, Uncategorized | No Comments

How to sell the unfamiliar.

Research shows that customers are unlikely to choose an unfamiliar brand over one they know and recognise – even if there are clear or obvious shortcomings with the known brand. That can even extend to using a dangerous brand. In a fascinating article in The Harvard Business Review, it is explained thus:

Consumers in a recent study believed that airlines whose names they recognized were safer than unrecognized carriers. On the whole, this belief persisted even after participants learned that the known airlines had poor reputations, poor safety records, and were based in undeveloped countries. In other words, a lack of recognition was more powerful than three simultaneous risk factors.

There is a name for this interesting behaviour; Neophobia.

Wikipedia defines it like this:

“Neophobia is the fear of anything new, especially a persistent and abnormal fear. In its milder form, it can manifest as the unwillingness to try new things or break from routine. In the context of children the term is generally used to indicate a tendency to reject unknown or novel foods.”

So what has this got to do with sales?

Well, simply put, if your customers don’t recognise you or your brand, then you could face a harder sale. Let’s look at the airline example again. Even if the known brand:

  • had a poor reputation
  • a poor saftey record
  • was from a undeveloped country

Customers were more likely to use them. Now it doesn’t seem logical does it?

So let’s explore some practical things you can do if you are not as well known as your competition:

Do a comparison

Literally list, side by side all your features and benefits compared to theirs. This is useful for the customer, who, let’s face it, is probably not aware of what you can offer. It makes it easier for them to make a decision

Take the Long Term View

If the potential client doesn’t know you, then they are unlikely to just drop everything and go with your offering. This is where, as a salesperson, you should keep in touch, follow up, send samples, share reviews and make the unfamiliar much more familiar. Make sure you involve all the key decision-makers and stakeholders too, otherwise you will be back to square one. Remember that (depending on your industry) you may need to ‘touch’ your prospects at least 10 times before they are ready to buy. This figure could be higher if you are completely unknown. Check out this post on following up

Build Trust

If you say you will do something, then do it. If you can prove a great statistic, do it. Have fabulous customer reviews ready.This blog will help you: Are you using the power of case studies in your business If it fits your offering, can the customer ‘try before they buy’? Do all you can to show that you can deliver.

So don’t let neophobia stop you getting the sale!

Happy selling.

Come and have a chat about how we can grow your sales. Here’s a link to my calendar

success A to in sales

How to get YOUR sales from ‘A to B’

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How to get your sales from A to B

 

Would you like to earn more money?

If the answer is ‘yes’, I have another question – would you like to do it easily and authentically?

Assuming you probably said ‘yes’ to that as well, why isn’t everyone sloshing around in too much money? After all, we all seem to want it.

It is probably something to do with the gap between where you are now (A), where you want to be (B) and, most importantly, what to do to BRIDGE that gap.

So where are you now?

  1. Maybe you are stuck in a discounting trap and you are not charging what you are worth
  2. Perhaps you are in a cycle of ‘feast and famine’ because your sales fluctuate
  3. Potentially you are always worried about money
  4. Possibly you see competitors doing better than you, even though your product or service is better than theirs

So where do you want to be instead?

  1. Imagine an endless stream of clients who pay a fair price for what you do
  2. Here you can be working normal hours and spending time with your loved ones and the people who matter
  3. What if you are making a difference to people’s lives instead of treating everyone like a cash machine
  4. Picture being able to have enough money to outsource all the jobs you hate while you so all the things you love

And what is the magic ingredient that can achieve all this? Well, it is sales and selling.

It’s important to focus on this because…

  1. Every business needs sales to survive – if you’re not earning money, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby
  2. Instead of throwing extra money at marketing, you can easily make a ton of sales just by getting better at converting your existing leads or selling more to existing customers
  3. The chances are that you’ve never been taught how to sell, yet there are simple tools and techniques that any business owner can use
  4. You may be able to raise your prices and people will still buy from you, so you will earn more from the same effort

Now is the time to focus on this because….

  1. 4 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first 5 years. That means that nearly half of you reading this might not be here in 5 years time and I don’t want that to happen to you.
  2. The main reason businesses fail is cash flow – and that means sales
  3. It’s noisy out there – social media is bombarding us with messages and adverts from your competitors. You need to make sure you stand out
  4. Lots of small business owners pay their staff and their suppliers before themselves
  5. Once you have lost a day of selling, you will never get that day back – so you will never make up the money you didn’t earn.

So do you want to learn more about how to sell?

You should. Let’s chat:

Janet Efere is an award-winning sales trainer and coach based in North London

frustration from no sale

When is a Sale not a Sale?

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When is a Sale Not a Sale?

Many people who are new to sales experience the frustration of thinking they have made a sale, but then, when it comes to the delivery of the product or service, confirmation in writing, or payment of a deposit, the customer does not seem to be able to finalise things and get going.

 

It can be difficult to work out what has happened and it can feel awkward re-approaching the customer to say the equivalent of “what is happening then?”.

 

Tips

  • Have a formal process in place, which might include a contract

  • When a sale has been agreed and the delivery of the product or service is not immediate, it is normal to put everything in writing and then both parties know exactly what to expect

  • Has the customer said ‘yes’? Make sure that when you close, you have not misinterpreted what they said. For example, they might mean ‘yes, but not for 6 months’ which makes a considerable difference.

  • If a deposit is needed and they haven’t paid the deposit, then do not start work until they have!

  • If they said ‘yes’ and then you can’t get hold of them, they may have reconsidered going ahead.

Read More

yes or no Woking school child

How a split second decision as an 8 year old changed my life

By | entrepreneurs, Food for thought, sales tips, Training | No Comments

How a split second decision as an 8 year old changed my life

About this time of year, 43 years ago, I was sitting in my classroom at Goldsworth Middle School in Woking. The teacher was asking us to audition for parts in the Christmas carol service. The format was simple: come up to the front of the class and read a passage. Then the class would vote for whoever they thought did the best reading. The winner would take part in the carol service as the representative of our class.

Many hands went up to volunteer, all of them belonging to boys. Read More