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Are women better at selling than men?

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

Are women better at selling than men? This is a tricky one.are women better at selling than men?
In my role as a sales trainer, I probably train roughly 60% women to 40% men. Now this is interesting. Does this mean women are worse at selling than men, that they ‘think’ they are worse at selling than men, or just that men are simply less inclined to go on my sales training programmes? I suppose any of these could be true, but without a proper study, any response I make will be extremely unscientific.

However, about a year ago, I did undergo a very interesting bit of research (again, not rigorous in any way, but nevertheless the results were fascinating). I posted this on LinkedIn:

“I didn’t know there was a difference, but I went to an event yesterday (women only) where we were encouraged to be feminine and let the business ‘flow’ to us, as well as using masculine techniques like actually ringing people up and making appointments. I must admit, I’m a bit sceptical about all this! 

What does everyone else think?”

Well, I got a big response. From both men and women. Some of the best ones are reproduced below:

  • Assuming you and a male competitor are both proactively pursuing the same opportunity, and that you both are equally professional, I think you, as a woman, have several decided advantages. Women sales professionals tend to listen better, read body language and non-verbal ques more accurately and develop personal rapport faster than men.
  • Women are much better at everything. They listen. They learn. We suck. A woman can learn a smooth golf swing in an hour – we spend 20 years trying to kill the ball. Women just make sales “look” easier because they are smarter and they listen better.
  • As a marketing Director I use a program that records incoming calls and allows me to listen to the sales reps speaking to leads interested in our services….. The women dramatically out sale the males. After listening to calls for months, I noticed the female will quickly determine what the customer wants to hear and how they need to be sold. Women can change tone, aggressiveness, and her overall persona within 30 seconds of speaking with the potential client. Males seem to stick to what has worked in the past. They don’t seem to listen or ask as many questions as females do at the beginning of the call.
  • Janet, none of us in sales can sit and wait for business to come to us. As xxxxx points out, we sell differently and very successfully.
    We are exceptional at making connections and building and nurturing relationships.That’s one of the reasons we gravitate to referral selling. Our clients and peers look for opportunities to refer us. But again, we can’t just go with the flow. We must ask for referral introductions from the people we know well. It’s important to stay true to our style and to be authentic.
  • Most people are afraid (or at least wary) of being scammed or tricked by a “shady salesman”. Notice the word “man” is in the word “salesman”. When they think of a “shady salesman”, they stereo-typically think of a man. So naturally, when they are dealing with a strange man in a selling situation, customers have their guard up right from the get-go. But most of the time they don’t have a stereo-typical picture in their mind of a “shady saleswoman”. That means customers are often noticeably less guarded when dealing with a strange woman in a sales situation. So a female salesperson often has a much easier time building trust in the earliest stages of the first customer contact. This, of course, tends to make the entire sales process easier for the woman.
  • Janet, great topic. My two cents, your a woman, just be yourself, if your a man, just be yourself. Lots of great input. Most significant is do LESS talking/selling and more listening.
  • The “male and female” concept in selling refers to the style, method, technique or approach.For example, women are noted to be a nurturer and a softie. Having said that, it connotes the traits of being patient, persevering, accommodating and supportive. Being masculine means strong, forceful, dominant in nature and vigorous. Implementing those qualities (women’s plus men’s) create powerful sales tactics and strategies with strong sales execution.
  • For sure, you need to be aggressive in sales, but there’s also a place for letting the business come to you. In this day and age we’re ‘all’ so inundated with marketing messages that we either tune them out or react equally as aggressively (and in a non-sales-conducive manner). Sometimes at a show, I just talk to people without trying to sell them on my products or services…usually what we’re doing there comes up in conversation and by talking to them and listening I can get a better idea of whether I should push them or not. Even if you can connect with this person on LinkedIn or other social media, the opportunity to sell to them (or for them to sell to you) might come later. You just never know!

Wow!

So what are the conclusions? Well, having gone through this little lot, the main themes seem to be that women are:

  • Better listeners
  • Better at reading body language
  • Develop rapport faster
  • More customer focussed
  • More flexible
  • Ask more questions
  • Good at making connections
  • More authentic
  • More likely to be trusted
  • More patient
  • Better at nurturing
  • More supportive

However, ladies, don’t let yourselves pat yourselves on the back just yet. If you are in selling:

  • You do still need to approach people
  • You need to try to close
  • You need to be persistent

All of which, it would seem are slightly more masculine traits.

So what is my conclusion? Simply this – I’m not brave enough to start a gender war. So just make the most of your natural abilities (whether you are male or female) and remember that ultimately, selling should be about helping people.

Janet is an award-winning sales trainer based in Enfield, North London and specialises in teaching small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. For some great free resources, head over to the Tadpole Training website and pick up some more sales tips: Click here

Are you giving good follow up?

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

Are you giving good follow up?

I ask because you don’t have to be a sales expert to use this very simple strategy to increase your sales.

If you take a look at this chart* then you will see that the majority of sales are not closed on the first, second, third or even fourth contact with the customer – rather they are closed somewhere between the fifth and the twelfth. Although this statistic will, of course, vary between sectors and markets, it’s not a bad average to be working with.

So what counts as follow up? Well the main choices are: Read More

sales training - sales funnel

Do you use a sales funnel?

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

Do you use a sales funnel?colourful tunnel
Do you even know what a sales funnel is? Perhaps you have heard the term ‘sales pipeline’ – well they are pretty much the same thing.

In my view, they are one of the most effective tools you can use to help you win more sales and the good news is that you don’t need a complicated system – a piece of paper, pen and some post-its are really all you require. So let’s have a look at what a sales funnel is and how to use it:

Look at the diagram below. The top of the funnel is wide and, a bit like a sausage machine, this is where you feed in all your potential customers. As you go down through the funnel, your potential customers drop out the side (not interested, no money, something changes) and eventually you are left with a smaller number at the bottom who convert into actual paying customers.

Let’s look at the stages, starting at the top:

Tadpole Training Sales funnel done at MBN

SUSPECTS
This can be pretty much anyone – at this stage you haven’t had any contact with them and you may only know their name or the name of the company.

PROSPECTS
This is where you start to interact with your potential customers. Perhaps they have visited your website, shop, or seen a leaflet. You may have had a conversation with them and know a bit more information. When a potential customer is in the prospect stage, you really want to find out as much as possible about them so that they can move down into the next stage, which is:

LEADS
These people or companies have a genuine need for your product or service. Perhaps they have asked for a quote, or have indicated that they want to go ahead and buy. They may not be ready to buy now, but within this category you can then subdivide them into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ leads, depending on how close they are to making a decision.

CUSTOMERS
Customers can be defined as anyone who has either actually paid you or committed to purchase from you. Once you have got someone to convert to a customer, you should ensure you maintain high levels of service as these are far more likely to use you again than anyone else.

Final note. I use post-it notes because they can be instantly moved around the funnel as you lose them or develop them through the stages. The best tools are simple to use and this is a perfect example. Good funnelling!

 

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: Janet’s 8 Proven Sales Tips, please click on this link now.
Click Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips

What’s on my selling wish list for 2016

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

What’s on my selling wish list for 2016?night-1077855_1280
Why not dream for a bit? I may be a sales trainer, but I still need to sell, so if I was in ‘sales heaven’ and I could have whatever I wanted, I think this little list would cover it:

1. No one will ever ask for a discount. In fairness, they rarely do now, but it would just be nice not to get asked at all – I am good at what I do you know – and if you work with me, you will recoup the cost many times over. So don’t insult my expertise by devaluing it.

2. Every time I try to make an appointment, the prospect will say ‘yes’. In fact, they will ask me for appointments. It does happen sometimes, but oh, think of the extra time if you didn’t have to do all that legwork!

3. The amount of ‘perfect fit’ prospects exactly matches my ability to work with them. Self-explanatory really – busy enough to earn a good living Read More

How to keep selling during the holidays

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

How to keep selling during the holidaysjanet's tadpole training mug
I’m going to keep this brief (because I bet you’re sandwiched inbetween buying presents, going to parties and watching school nativities right now!). 

However, the fact remains that for a lot of businesses (retail excluded) Christmas can be a difficult time to get customers to buy. The good news is that there are techniques you can use to get yourself in front of customers and keep that cash flow ….er ….flowing:

1. Don’t convince yourself that people won’t buy. In other words don’t get all negative. People still need goods and services, whatever the time of year. Just because what you sell isn’t seasonal, doesn’t mean that people won’t still need it. So keep plugging a Read More

Sales training - helping customers to say yes

Make it super easy for your customers to say ‘Yes’

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

Make it super easy for your customers to say ‘Yes

Is it possible that you’ve been making things too complicated for your customers? If so, you might be stopping them from buying. That’s because all of us humans like easy decisions rather than hard ones. So what can you do to ensure that your customers are going to find it easy to buy from you? Let’s look at some really simple things you can do straight away.

 

KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

Whatever you are doing – demonstrating, presenting, or just explaining, don’t overwhelm your customer with information. Simplicity is the key here. So instead, do your homework and find out what they are likely to be interested in and then, through effective questioning, get to the core of their issue Read More

Are you giving your customers confidence?

By | customers, entrepreneurs, sales tips, Uncategorized | No Comments

Are you giving your customers confidence?Sales training: learn how to create confidence in your customers
That’s not strange question – if your customers don’t have confidence in you, what you are selling and your organisation, then your chances of getting a sale are tiny. Customers tend to buy when they like you, believe in you, trust you and HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOU. So if you’ve just been with a customer and failed to get the sale, you could do a lot worse than check the following and see if you are guilty of any of these:

1. Did I turn up on time for the meeting? If not, then you started off wrong and it’s hard to get back from that.

2. Was I prepared? Did you have all the things you needed (notebook, pen, samples, proposals, whatever) or did Read More

Is your Ego killing your business?

By | entrepreneurs, Uncategorized | No Comments

Is Ego Killing your Business?Ego taking over - Tadpole Training
If you run a business, you do need to have a certain amount of self-belief – after all, you will come across plenty of people who don’t like what you do, or even think you’re crazy to try. However, if you take it too far and let your ego take over, you could genuinely be impacting on your company’s bottom line, which of course is going to make your job harder and more stressful. Even if your company survives, you may find that once you leave, you were such an enormous part of the business that the whole thing just falls apart.

Is this just bad luck, or is it because of self-obsession, ego, focus on maintaining control and of enjoying high status?

What is the ego?

There are many different definitions of the ego but you could think of it as the part of us that feels the need to be special. It’s that part of us that Read More

Are you talking yourself out of a sale?

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Are you talking yourself out of a sale?Don't talk yourself out of a sale
Michael ran a design business and believed passionately in what he did. He was versatile and so had a good base of potential clients. However, because he was foremost an artist, he struggled with the business transaction side of his work, much preferring to discuss the design and creative elements.

When a potential client was interested in engaging him, he would talk passionately and with knowledge about what was required, taking trouble to understand the requirements of the project. Although he never seemed to directly ask for the work, he often got jobs because he was so clearly a good fit and because people loved his enthusiasm and his obvious skill.

One day he did just this – he met a potential client, who liked him and his work and the project was his!

Michael should have concluded the deal, shaken hands and arranged the start of the job right then. Instead, because he couldn’t quite believe his luck, Michael continued to talk about design, previous clients, his working techniques and anything he could think of. It was during this nervous chatter, that he revealed a previous job he had worked on. His new client was familiar with it (he was in the same industry) and it turned out that he didn’t think much of the final result. To make matters worse, he knew the person who had been in charge of the project and had heard from her that the designer had been difficult to work with – rather too fussy and had missed some important deadlines.

The new client quietly made his excuses and left. Michael never heard from him again.

A hard lesson was learned. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, there are some simple things you can do:

Once the customer has definitely confirmed they want to buy, then stop talking and deal with the practicalities

In other words, sort out the payments, the order form, the invoice or whatever, and conclude the transaction.

Don’t try and fill the silence

It is human nature to try and fill uncomfortable silences with words, especially if you are nervous. Resist the urge. If you must talk about something, revert to small talk – the weather, the traffic, anything harmless and uncontroversial.

Your customer doesn’t need to know everything

If your customer has decided to buy on the basis of what you have told them already, then they don’t need to know the other 101 features of your product or service. Everyone is slightly different and what matters to one person may not matter to another, so trust that you have said enough.

It can be hard to get customers to say ‘yes’ in the first place. Don’t do all the hard work and end up losing the sale once you’ve won it.

 

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.

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