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Janet

Janet Efere looking frustrated

What sales mistakes have you committed?

By | sales tips, Training | No Comments

What terrible mistakes have you committed in sales? As a sales trainer and sales coach I see loads of sales mistakes, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t committed a few in my time!

One of my worst was at Xerox. As a senior member of the team, I often had the newbies shadowing me.

We had this one call. The trainee hadn’t started yet, but had been on the training. So he was out with me for the day.

I had a meeting. It was with an ideal client. I’d done my research. I knew our solution would work for them.

I conducted the meeting.

It went perfectly (you know when everything works, you ask the right questions, you get the right answers?). It was one of them.

The client gave agreement to go ahead – I needed to submit the quote for it, to be rubber-stamped, but basically all-systems-go!

The trainee was ridiculously excited about how well it had gone – along the lines of ‘that was brilliant – I see how everything fits together, thank you so much Janet for showing me how it should be done”

So far so good.

Then I made my mistake. I can’t even pretend it was something I did …. it was something I didn’t do.

Can you guess what?

Well full marks to you if you got it …..

I never followed up.

I didn’t do the quote.

Then I felt bad because I didn’t do the quote straight away, so then it became this ‘thing’. I couldn’t even ring to apologise I was so embarrassed. Just all that effort down the drain.

Big lesson there.

Just do what you should do in the right order. No bells, no whistles. Just common sense.

Silly Janet (I’m smarter now I hope!)

So what are your howlers – if you’re brave enough to share?

Janet Efere typing on her laptop

Do you Prep for Meetings?

By | sales tips, sales training | No Comments

So you got the meeting….. now what?

Do you turn up and hope for the best, or do you prep?

Yesterday I was invited to a meeting with a potential new client regarding sales training and, as usual, I did some research first.

There is a lot out there if you look:

๐Ÿ” Companies House (I checked their financials and their directors)
๐Ÿ” LinkedIn (of course …. we’ll come to that in a minute)
๐Ÿ” Their website
๐Ÿ” From that I could see they were recruiting, so I checked out the sales roles they advertised
๐Ÿ” Twitter – lots of company posts
๐Ÿ” Now, back to LinkedIn – I discovered hundreds of employees, searched by job role and then had a look at some of their profiles to see how they presented themselves and how active they were on LinkedIn
๐Ÿ” I also had a look at the people who were going to be in the meeting

I found out a ton of stuff.

Some wasn’t that relevant, but loads was – it helped me understand about the size of the company, the culture, I could quickly see some of their issues as well as what they were good at.

It made the meeting more focussed, more relevant and personalised.

They liked that I took the trouble.

I wouldn’t do it any other way.

You see, I think it’s about respect, but it is also about positioning yourself as being better than the competition (I haven’t got the faintest idea who I am up against, but I can only be the best version of me).

And that’s how I like to work.

So, back to my question, do you prep before a meeting?

Most people don’t understand sales

By | sales training | No Comments

Most people don’t understand sales.

So if you think these qualities will help you sell, they won’t

โŒ having the ‘gift of the gab’


โŒ never giving up on a deal


โŒ having an answer for everything


โŒ great sales people are born not made


โŒ you have to be confident in sales

Whereas actually …..

โœ… what you really need is the ability to ask great questions, shut up and actually listen to the answers


โœ… Sometimes it makes sense to give up, so you can focus on the deals you can get over the line. Simple common sense not to bang your head against a brick wall


โœ… In sales, as in life, none of us know everything. It’s fine to admit you don’t know something (if you pretend and then get it wrong, you will be in much worse trouble!)


โœ… Sales is a skill – like learning to drive a car or ride a bike. It takes practice, so while some people may have an aptitude for it, it also means that anyone can learn it


โœ… Confidence is an interesting one. Too confident and it seems like arrogance, not enough and you don’t seem trustworthy. You want to aim for the sort of quiet confidence true masters have.

So if you had some preconceived ideas about sales and selling, I hope this helped you.

Happy selling!

Don’t sell the Sausage, sell the Sizzle!

By | entrepreneurs, marketing, sales tips, sales training, Training | No Comments

Have you heard that phrase before – “Don’t sell the sausage, sell the sizzle”?

If you think about it, a sausage is just sliced up dead pig. Not very appealing is it? But when you start to think about the smell, the taste and the look of a wonderful succulent sausage, then suddenly it becomes much more desirable.

The phrase originated from a well known salesman called Elmer Wheeler in the 1920s, (although he referred to steak not sausages). See a clip of him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW6HmQ1QVMw[/embed]

His point is simple – don’t sell the features of your product (sliced up dead pig) but sell the benefits (smells wonderful, tastes wonderful, satisfies your hunger). Think about it, what are these major brands really selling (hint; it is not the product!)

Wonderbra (it’s not bras)
Lamborghini (it’s not a car)
Nike (it’s not trainers)

If you answered something along the lines of:

Wonderbra – sex appeal
Lamborghini – wealth and status
Nike – a way of keeping fit

Then you are on the right lines.

That is because customers don’t really care about the features of the things they buy – customers want to know the benefits (or what they will get). So next time you are trying to persuade someone to buy from you, don’t talk to them about slices of dead pig, tell them all about the sizzle!

Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. She has recently reached the final of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s national awards (BESMA 2016) in the category of Sales Trainer of the Year and, in November 2015 won ‘Start up Business of the Year’ at the Enterprise Enfield Business Awards.

If you enjoyed this article and you would like to receive a free download: Janetโ€™s 8 Proven Sales Tips, please click on this link now.
Click Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips

Small Business Sales Dilemmas

Why I am much more important than I was a month ago

By | entrepreneurs, Food for thought, marketing, Training | No Comments

Why am I more important than I was a month ago? Because clearly I am! And, before you start to mutter under your breath about me having over-inflated ideas of my own value, a lot of it is to do with perception.

OK, so let’s have a look at this curious statement; in many ways, I am no different from the Janet who existed one month ago. Of course I have roughly a month’s more life experience (I’m a month older though, so maybe that’s not so good). I have achieved some good things in the last 4 weeks and I hope I’ve spread a little happiness among my friends and some prosperity among my clients, but so far, so normal. Read More

Why the best way to sell is …er…not to sell

By | entrepreneurs, sales tips, sales training | No Comments

Why the best way to sell is …er…not to sell

Time and time again when I am running my training courses, particularly those that focus on basic sales techniques, delegates express their worry that they don’t want to be pushy or too ‘salesy’. This is for a variety of reasons (aggressive telephone selling, the cliche of the smarmy salesman, people not giving up when there is no interest or desire), but actually they don’t need to be like this anyway.

Most customers are fairly sophisticated and know when they are being ‘sold’ to. I’m the same – the ย minute I get a phone call from someone who asks “How are you today?” then I know immediately what they are up to and I zone out. I can’t help it. And I am sure you’re the same.

Fortunately, that does leave an opening for the rest of us who are not employed in telesales.

Selling has changed a lot in the last few years – it’s all about relationships now. So if you are not that great at being pushy, guess what? YOUR TIME HAS COME!!!!

Now that doesn’t mean learning some sales techniques won’t help you – it definitely will (otherwise I wouldn’t be in business) but there are lots of things that you can do as a person, a human being, a helper, a solver of problems that will enable you to close a lot more business than you are right now. Check out this list:

  1. Listen – ask questions, then shut up and let your customer talk. The more they talk, the more you will learn about what is important to them.
  2. Keep in touch – try lots of different ways – telephone, email, letter, social media, face to face. Keep it varied
  3. Be human – don’t treat prospects like potential money and nothing else. Behind every decision is a real human being with real human desires, problems, worries and concerns.
  4. Try and be different from everyone else. When was the last time you sent a customer a hand written note, a ‘thank you’ card, tagged them on an interesting social media article or made an effort to find out about their hobbies and what they do in their spare time? It’s not an accident that a lot of business takes place on a golf course.
  5. Help other people first and without expecting anything in return. If you recommend, refer or give a testimonial, particularly if it is unsolicited, then people remember you and will return the favour if they can.
  6. Only do something you feel passionate about. People can sense if you don’t truly believe in what you are doing, so make sure you absolutely LOVE IT or they will sense that you’re not the real deal.

So be yourself, get out there a bit more and help people. What could be better?

Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. She has recently reached the final of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s national awards (BESMA 2016) in the category of Sales Trainer of the Year and, in November 2015 won ‘Start up Business of the Year’ at the Enterprise Enfield Business Awards.

If you enjoyed this article and you would like to receive a free download: Janetโ€™s 8 Proven Sales Tips, please click on this link now.
Click Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips

Nigerian training

Why my worst training was really one of my best

By | customers, marketing, Training | No Comments

Why my worst training was really one of my best

As a sales trainer, I am used to delivering training in a variety of different venues and I am also used to dealing with the unexpected. However, a few years before I set up Tadpole Training, I was working as Head of Business Development in a private college. I was part of a team sent to Nigeria to deliver training to the procurement division of a state government (a bit like a local authority in the UK). Without doubt, this became one of the most challenging training sessions I ever delivered. I’m sure a good screen writer could turn this into a great episode of a sit-com, but I promise you everything here is true.

 

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sales training USP

Why you will get gobbled up by the big fishes if you don’t nail your USP

By | entrepreneurs, marketing, sales tips, Training | No Comments

Why you will get gobbled up by the big fishes if you don’t nail your USP

USP stands for Unique Selling Point. USPs are the benefits or features that set your product or service apart from similar things which are offered by your competitors. Of course, if you are lucky enough to have something which is completely new or unique then knowing your USPs becomes less critical (although that opens up a whole different range of problems, which I am not going to tackle here!), but most of us are not that fortunate. Examples of USPs could be:

  • Ethically sourced
  • Quality of ingredients/components
  • Easy payments
  • Smaller versions available
  • Extra functions
  • Better after sales service
  • Good location
  • Free delivery
  • You (especially if you are a sole trader, as you are the โ€˜faceโ€™ of your business)
  • Extensive experience in the sector
  • Highly trained staff
  • No quibble money back guarantee

You will also notice that your USPs might change from time to time. It is really important to keep up to date with what your competitors are doing, because the chances are they will be watching you and might adopt some of your best USPs, (in which case they are no longer unique!) or it may be that you come up with something else new and better that you should tell customers about.

If your product or service is something that has wide appeal to many people, this might, on the face of it seem ideal. However, in reality, this can actually make it more difficult to sell it because it can be very expensive to try and market to lots of people. You will also be competing against huge brands with enormous marketing budgets in what is known as The Mass Market. These are the big fishes I was talking about and, yes, they absolutely will gobble you up if you cannot differentiate your product or service from them.

Instead, a lot of smaller businesses have more success with identifying a particular niche into which they can focus their efforts. A niche is a small segment of customers, for example a clothes store selling to petite women or a food store focussing on vegan food. By identifying this niche and then focussing your marketing money and effort into it, you will be become a specialist and people who need that particular thing will seek you out. But even within your niche, there will be competitors, so you still need to know your USPs. This is something I cover in detail on my courseย “I’m not a Salesperson”

For example, I know that some of the USPs of Tadpole Training include:

  • Award-winning trainer (me)
  • Teaches sales in a non-pushy and non-salesy way
  • Has extensive practical experience of running a growing a business
  • Can create bespoke training courses to fit your requirements request more information

If you have never sat down and thought about your USPs before, take 5 minutes to work them out now. Make sure you include them in your marketing materials and remember them when you are talking to customers, because you never know when that particular USP will make the difference that leads to a new sale. Best of luck!

If you want more training on USPs or any general sales skills, get more information here

If you just want some simple sales tips right now, download Janet’s 8 Proven Sales Tips

 

The surprisingly effective sales question you are probably not asking

By | customers, entrepreneurs, sales tips, sales training, Training | No Comments

Some things you learn through training. Some things you learn through actual real life experience. The question I am about to share with you is an example of the latter.

As a sales rookie, I went on loads of training courses which undoubtedly helped me go on to have a successful sales career. However, it is true that you don’t really start to learn the best lessons until you are interacting with real life customers in all their glorious variety! Although I have since come across training which suggests using this question, it is one I stumbled upon by accident and, realising how powerful it was, I still try to incorporate it into as many discussions with customers as possible.

So what is this question? Well it might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but the question is simply this. When you get an enquiry from someone about working with your company, ask them:

“Why are you interested in working with us?”

or, a slight variation of this is when they ask about using a particular service (or indeed buying a product):

“Why are you interested in [insert name of product or service]?”

See – very simple isn’t it?

So why is this such a good question? Well I started using it because I wanted to make sure that prospective delegates were signing up for the right course. There is lots of competition in the training world, as well as a whole raft of different courses offered at different levels with varying objectives and for a wide variety of people. So, I began asking this question to make sure that organisations and individuals signed up to the correct programme that best met their needs.

This is important for several reasons:

  1. Clients often think they know what they want but, after gentle probing sometimes reveal that actually something else is driving them. If I can find out what, I can offer the best possible solution
  2. Business is really not just about taking the money. It can be hard sometimes to question someone who is on the verge of buying, but you have to think long term. Good advice now may yield better results in the future than just the cost of one lost sale. You should be thinking in terms of a lifetime of customer loyalty and you won’t achieve that if you don’t give the best advice you can.
  3. If I get an enrolment and a client comes on the wrong course, they won’t get the maximum results from it, may end up being bored or detached because the content is not relevant and of course, will leave not having achieved their objectives.
  4. This has a knock-on effect within the rest of the class because it changes the group dynamic negatively.
  5. An unhappy delegate will go away without that all-important ‘Wow’ factor, which is so vital. Their feedback won’t be as good and they won’t give referrals as willingly, because the course didn’t meet their needs
  6. Because the overall group wasn’t as engaged, then again, overall feedback is less good with similar results to point 3.
  7. Over time, my brand gets eroded and that is bad for business
  8. The dissatisfied client goes away and has to spend even more money going somewhere else for an alternative solution.

I will admit it’s not always plain sailing. I have had customers visibly surprised when I ask them about why they want to go ahead; after all, in their minds, it felt a bit like I was hesitating to work with them. However, when I explain that I just want to find out what their objectives are, to make sure the course is right for them, then without fail, they understand what I am up to.

Which brings me onto another reason why this line of questioning can be so powerful. By asking why a customer wants to use you (or your service), what will you get? Oh you get something wonderful! You get a list of reasons why they want to buy from you. Pause for a moment and think about that. They actually tell you WHY they want to use you! How fantastic is that? As a salesperson, that has got to be the Holy Grail of selling surely!

It is a super-effective way of making sure you align completely with what customers want. Or indeed, if you can’t help them, you can now save everybody’s time and tell them so – ideally with a recommendation of an alternative supplier.

I not only love the simplicity of this line of questioning, I love the powerful and immediate way it engages with the customer and you get to understand what really motivates them. So much in selling is understanding customers’ needs and to do this effectively, you need to ask powerful and probing questions. So in my book, this is one of the best.

I would urge you to try this question and please let me know how you get on and what results you experience.

Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. She has recently reached the final of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s national awards (BESMA 2016) in the category of Sales Trainer of the Year and, in November 2015 won ‘Start up Business of the Year’ at the Enterprise Enfield Business Awards.

If you enjoyed this article and you would like to receive a free download: Janetโ€™s 8 Proven Sales Tips, please click on this link now.

Click Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips