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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

Sell well

Are you giving a great buying experience?

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Are you giving a great buying experience?
When I run one of my sales training courses, I usually do a bit with the class at the beginning about ‘what makes a good sale’. I ask delegates to think about a time when they had an outstanding buying experience and to share it with the group. The results are often a surprise to participants and really get them thinking about what it feels like to delight customers. It also shows them in a very real way that not all buying decisions are based on price. So what exactly goes into creating a great buying experience? Well, in no particular order, these are the things that usually come top of the list:

“They took time to listen to me” – the salesperson listened attentively, asked questions, showed they understood the answers and tried to find out what was really important to the customer. 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

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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 massively improve your sales conversions (and it’s easy)

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How to massively improve your sales conversionsfun-1012681_1920
This is such an easy thing to do, but so few people do it. What am I talking about? Following up.

‘80% of sales require 5 follow up calls after the meeting. 44% of salespeople give up after 1 call.’ Source: The Marketing Donut

These are professionals – people who are paid to sell. Not very impressive is it? However, you can use this information to help you. Obviously this is an average figure, so that means some sales will need less than 5 calls and some will need more, but at least you know what is required. As a sales trainer, this is one of the most common issues I have to deal with in the classroom, so here are some practical things you can do to help you follow up better.

1. Be aware. Now you know you might have to do a lot of calls, get your head round it and just see it as part of the journey to your sale. That means you need to accept the unanswered calls, the Read More

How to keep selling during the holidays

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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

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?

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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

The best sales people know when to shut up

By | entrepreneurs, sales tips, Uncategorized | No Comments

The best sales people know when to shut upclosing sales by knowing when to be quiet.
Have you ever been in conversation with someone, there is a lull, no one speaks and you have the strongest urge to fill that silence with something, anything? We human beings don’t like uncomfortable silences and it is a natural reaction to try and fill this void with words or noise of some sort.

Have you noticed the way that time stretches in moments like this? A few seconds can feel like forever. It makes us feel uneasy and we don’t like it. 

Sometimes we take this to extremes. Who hasn’t chattered nervously about the most inane things because we feel we should? And it can be even tougher when we are in front of a customer. I was talking with someone at a business exhibition a few weeks ago and he was telling me how frustrated he was that he could think of several occasions where he had won the deal and then gone and talked himself out of it again! Read More