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Don’t sell the Sausage, sell the Sizzle!

By | entrepreneurs, marketing, sales tips, Training, Uncategorized | 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: Janet’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, Uncategorized | 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  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: Janet’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 ‘face’ 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 course “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, Training, Uncategorized | 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: Janet’s 8 Proven Sales Tips, please click on this link now.

Click Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips

take a break from selling

5 things a child knows about the Summer sales dip that you don’t

By | entrepreneurs, marketing, sales tips | No Comments

5 Things a child knows about the Summer sales dip that you don’t.

Work, work, work. That’s what so many of us do isn’t it? We work really hard, putting in the effort and the hours and then, despite our best efforts, during August a lot of our businesses just slow down. Everyone is either on holiday or talking about their holiday. There are fewer paying clients around and, unless your business offers something seasonal, the chances are that this is a quiet time of year and your sales drop. Read More

happy staff using CRM

What is the single most effective tool that will transform my business?

By | customers, entrepreneurs, marketing | No Comments

What is the single biggest tool that will transform my business?

All around us, ‘gurus’ (of varying degrees of credibility) are pushing this system, or that product, or some package or another which will miraculously ‘transform’ your business. Some are excellent, but some are not and there is, of course, a price point for every pocket.

However, I am a great believer in simple things. I have lost count of the number of wonderful sounding tools or gizmos which I have invested in, but which were too complicated to learn or I just never used.

So, as a sales trainer and small business owner, what is my favourite transformational tool? It’s a CRM.

OK – I  bet you thought it was going to be something a lot more exciting didn’t you? Or perhaps that I was going to prefix it with words like “Secret” or “they don’t want me to tell you about this”.

Well I am just as fed up as you are of hearing about the NEW BIG THING only to find out it’s a recycled version of an existing thing. 

So let me explain. I don’t really care what sort of system you have, but you MUST have some way of tracking your leads and your customers. For some people it’s a pile of business cards (don’t really recommend that, but it does work for some people). Others use notebooks, scraps of paper (ouch!), their phone or products like Microsoft Access. 

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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

5 star tadpole training

frustration from no sale

When is a Sale not a Sale?

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

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

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! Read on to learn our 5 tips for starting new sales role!

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!

If our 5 tips for starting new sales role, consider check out our other blogs here! Or our Facebook page here!

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

5 star tadpole training

success A to in sales

What is the best way to get YOUR sales from ‘A to B’

By | customers, sales tips, Training | No Comments

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

5 star tadpole training

Are you keeping it REAL?

By | customers, entrepreneurs, Gallery, Training, Uncategorized | No Comments

Are you keeping it real?

Today I read a post on Facebook asking people to list one thing that they were really proud to have achieved in 2016. There were some super replies – things like:

I got married

I made a profit in my first year of business

I donated a big chunk of money to charity

I moved house

Now if it had been the end of 2015 I would have been very proud to have posted that I had won a competition (Enterprise Enfield Start up Business of the Year 2015). But that was last year. What had I achieved in 2016 that was so amazing?

To begin with, I really struggled – I wanted to post some outstanding achievement. I came up with lots of smaller achievements, but nothing that really rocked. Nothing I wanted to shout about. Yes, everything was supporting my overall plan, but I wanted to show that I too had done something exceptional.

Then, whilst disentangling my children from a fight (it is the Christmas holidays after all!) I realised that I had actually achieved something truly noteworthy. For the last 4 years I have been raising my two children by myself with precious little support from their absent father. I had kept them alive, fed, housed, educated, entertained and loved them, hopefully training them about how to be decent human beings and giving them the best childhood I can, whilst setting up and running a business. What could be more real (and more important) than that?

So my amazing achievement is not going to win me an award, make the newspapers or get me into The Times Rich List, but it is the most real thing I could possibly do and you know what? I am proud of myself.

Have a wonderful 2017 everyone – and if the going gets tough, just remind yourself to keep it real. I shall.

Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. 

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 nowClick Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips

If you or your team is looking to grow your sales, let’s chat. Whether or not we decide to work together, I am confident I can offer you some strategies that will help you grow your sales in no time. Here is a link to my email. Drop me a line and let’s see what we can do:  Send a message

Start 2017 with a huge bang! I am running a workshop on planning for Sales Success in 2017. Early bird discounts if you book now! Click here for more information: Plan for Sales Success in 2017

scared customers

5 Things that could be scaring your customers away

By | customers, entrepreneurs, sales tips | No Comments

5 Things that could be scaring your customers away (and what you can do about it)

Let’s face it, customers can be tough to win, so the last thing you want to do is scare any of them away. However, if you are involved in selling in any way at all, make sure you are not doing anything on this list:

Projecting desperation

It doesn’t matter whether it is business or life in general, we can always sense if someone is desperate and we don’t like it. In fact, we are likely to react by withdrawing, because that’s the human response. Remember your focus should always be on your customers and their needs (not your salary, bonus cheque, meeting your target or anything else financial). So even if you are struggling, push it as far to the back of your mind as you can and concentrate on helping your customer.

You don’t look professional

OK, we are not all supermodels, but can you honestly say you project the right image for whatever it is that you are selling? By the way, you don’t necessarily have to turn up in a suit and tie – if you are in an office environment, then that is fine, but you should dress appropriately for the thing you do. I go to a lot of networking meetings, full of serious businesspeople and all of them dressed differently. But the constant? Even the people who work in the more manual type of organisations can always manage to look professional. Clean, neat, tidy. See – it’s not so hard is it?

You promise everything

Seriously, the chances of you being able to give every customer every thing they need is small, so don’t feel pressured to say ‘yes’ to each request – if you do that and then the customer wants it, you are going to be in big trouble further down the line.  It is better to be honest (or perhaps sell them an upgraded package with the ‘thing’ they want for more money!). It might not be easy, but a lot of sales is about compromise anyway – just give them all the facts and keep mentioning the benefits of your solution. If you do your job well, there is a good chance you will get the sale anyway. Better than a false sale followed by a refund!

You don’t take notes

This is about two things:

  1. Listening carefully and paying attention to the person who has been kind enough to grant you some of their time. This is respectful. There is a phrase ‘people buy from people’ and one of the building blocks of a good relationship with customers is the ability to listen and understand.
  2. Ensuring that you don’t forget important details and, because you have written down key points, you can summarise and check your understanding. This is professional and it reassures the customer because it shows that you are less likely to make mistakes with their precious money if they use you.

You are irritating

What does your voice sound like and what is your body language saying? Do you repeat things, tell boring anecdotes, take ages to get to the point, or make negative comments about other people? Now of course, we all think we are wonderfully interesting, but what if (shock horror) we are not as engaging as we think we are? Look out for signs that you are boring or irritating your customers. Yawning, loss of attention, or early conclusions to meetings are tell-tale signs that you are being less than captivating. Consider taking someone you trust out with you on a sales call to give you some constructive feedback and help you improve.

So with any luck you are not a desperate, unprofessional, “say yes to anything”, irritating salesperson with no notebook. However, if you are, perhaps you have a few things to work on!

Happy selling!

biggest threats to your business

Do you know the single biggest threat to your business right now?

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Do you know the biggest threat to your business right now?

 

Well, if you don’t you should. I speak as someone who has experienced what happens when an 18 year old established business gets wiped out pretty much overnight, due to a change in Government policy. And for anyone in Britain, 3 simple words: “British Home Stores”. Do I have your attention now?

Whilst every business is different, I would urge you to use some simple management tools – a favourite of mine is the good old SWOT Analysis – in order to give yourself an objective overview of what is going on in your business right now. Depending on the size and sophistication of your outfit, you may want to use other management tools or industry experts, but whatever you do, choose something and get yourself prepared.

So here, in no particular order, are some of the biggest threats that could be facing you and your precious business:

 

Long Term Sickness or Injury – in many small businesses, one person is the key to everything. If this person couldn’t work because they were ill or injured (or even dies), then how would the business replace them – would there be funds available, or would the revenues dry up completely because everything revolves around that person? If you haven’t, then you should consider taking out Key Person Insurance, which will provide you with financial security should the worst happen.

Not managing your Sales Pipeline – many small business owners are not sales experts (they are experts in their core business after all) and once the sales start to come in, it can bring a false sense of security that things will always go on this way. However, it is a fact of life that customers leave (they find someone else, they relocate, they close, they don’t need you any more). So how would you cope if your biggest or most profitable customers suddenly left? You need to have a constant pipeline of potential new customers to replace the inevitable losses that always occur.

Lack of Planning – “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” goes the saying. But if the last time you had a proper strategic business plan was when you started, then the chances are that your business is just drifting along. So do you regularly schedule time in for planning? Do you have a 6 month, 12 month or 5 year plan? Do you have an exit strategy? When is the last time you did some strategic planning? If you want to know more about how, read about how to do a SWOT Analysis here Without a plan, how can you possibly put in place the steps you need to take to achieve your goals? Too many small business owners get bogged down in the daily detail without taking the time to look at the big picture and then, when something significant happens, they are not prepared.

Not spending enough resource on sales and marketing – by resource I mean both time and money. In today’s world you can’t just stick up a poster advertising your business and watch the money roll in. You need to experiment and work out which types of promotion work for you and which are most cost effective. Many people think marketing is about promoting your business, but that is just part of it – you need to make sure your product and prices are competitive and that you offer something that people actually want. How do you make it and get it to the customer? Do you have testimonials, processes and procedures to make the buying process smooth? And do you have someone with enough sales skills to turn potential customers into actual paying clients? If this all seems too intimidating, then get expert help and hire someone who can do it for you.

Cash flow crisis – bad debts can often become a major issue for small businesses. Lack of capital to reinvest in your business can destroy it over the longer term, but if it has no liquidity at all, your business can be shut down instantly. So do you have terms and conditions that clearly state your payment terms? Are you good at chasing outstanding payments? Do you insist on deposits or payment up front and do you make credit checks on new customers? It might seem like a lot of hassle, but it is nothing like as painful as buying stock up front, fulfilling an order and then never getting the money.

There are, without doubt, many more threats to business than those I have discussed here. I would welcome your thoughts on what you believe are the biggest challenges small businesses face in the UK at the moment.

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

Is your sales focus wrong?

By | entrepreneurs, Training, Uncategorized | No Comments

Is your sales focus wrong? 

Most people, when they find out I am a sales trainer, ask, perfectly reasonably, about getting help with skills like closing, overcoming objections or improving conversion rates.

But actually, although these are important, so many people forget (or perhaps don’t realise the importance of) the basics. What do I mean by basics? Well, the stuff that you need to sort out before you even come close to speaking with a customer. The thing is, if you get these basics right, then it makes the whole sales process so much simpler, because you are doing the right things in the right order. You can keep closing ’till the cows come home, but if the customer isn’t interested because you haven’t done the right things at the beginning, you are very unlikely to get the sale.

Let’s have a look at what I mean. Here are some examples:

Belief in your product or service – Without a genuine belief that what you are selling is good, how can you possibly expect others to believe in it enough to part with their cold hard cash? We all have a built in ability to spot when we are being deceived and customers will sense even the slightest lack of confidence on your part – even if they cannot tangibly identify what it is. So make sure you love what you are selling.

Know who your ideal customers are – the chances are that there is a particular group or niche who are the ideal customers for your product or service. If you don’t know who they are, then you will probably waste a lot of time trying to sell to the wrong people.

Know the benefits inside out – if you just list a whole load of features about what you are selling, then you are going to speak a lot, bore your customers senseless and not be very effective at selling. Instead, take time to work out the tangible benefits of every single feature. An old trick to do this is to think of a feature and then say “so what?”. Your answer is the benefit or benefits.

Provide Proof – customers won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you, so make sure you have stories (ideally written down) of how you have delighted previous customers.  Whilst simple testimonials are better than nothing, the ideal type of proof is where you can show how you made a tangible change and helped customers either overcome a problem or achieve an objective.

Keep good customer records – there are loads of amazing CRM systems out there, but none are any good if you don’t actually use them. Even a simple filing card system is OK if it works for you, but you have to use something. Otherwise how will you store customer contact details, notes about conversations, diarise meetings, or manage your sales funnel?

Of course it is good to have an overall knowledge of the skills and techniques which will help you to sell, but if you spend a bit of time making sure these basic things are in place, then selling will be both more pleasurable and more effective.

Happy selling!

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

Small Business Saturday

I love Small Business Saturday (and you should too)

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Well, what is Small Business Saturday?

The website www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com explains:

Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

The day itself takes place on the first Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses. In 2017 Small Business Saturday is on Saturday, December 2nd.

On Small Business Saturday, customers across the U.K go out and support all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores. Many small businesses take part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

And it works….look at some of the stats from 2016:

How the UK supported Small Business Saturday 2016:

  • Customers spent £717m with small businesses on Small Business Saturday, an increase of 15% on 2015 spending

  • Over 140,000 tweets were sent on the day reaching 130 million people, trending on Twitter in the UK and globally

  • Over 80% of local authorities across the UK actively supported the campaign in a variety of ways, from networking events to free parking, meaning wherever you were in the UK, Small Business Saturday was happening nearby

So what are you waiting for? Check out some of the events happening locally. I’m taking part – I’m delivering a free seminar at Enterprise Enfield. If you want to come along, here’s the link How to Sell Without Selling.

But there is loads of other good stuff too

I hope to see you there!

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love getting objections

Why I love Sales Objections and you should too!

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

Why I love Sales Objections and you should too.

As a sales trainer, one of the things that I get asked about probably more than any other (with the possible exception of how to close better) is overcoming objections.

There is something about an objection that can strike genuine fear into the hearts of salespeople – particularly if they are less experienced – but it really shouldn’t be like that.

 

Now, I do accept that part of the mindset of being in sales is that thrill you get from moving a prospect on towards becoming an actual paying customer (yes, you’ve guessed it, when I was in direct sales, I was a ‘hunter’!), but what if sales isn’t your natural world and you find elements of it a real struggle? If that is you, then here are some practical things you should consider, which will hopefully change your perspective a little bit – or maybe even a lot.

 

  1. You can prepare for objections in advance. It is likely that most customers will broadly be worried about similar things, so do your homework, make a list of possible objections and work out what you can say to overcome them.

  2. Make sure you have lots of reviews, testimonials and case studies from happy customers. If a potential customer objects to something specific, it can be very powerful to say “Well my customer AAA had a similar concern, so we did BBB and the results were CCC.”

  3. Don’t rush to answer objections with tons of facts. It can be a lot more powerful to ask probing questions instead, such as “why is that important to you?” or “tell me a bit more about your concerns”. By encouraging potential customers to explain in more depth, you may find that the objection they stated was actually secondary to something else, which is fantastic, because now you can address the genuine objection.

  4. It might sound strange, but when a customer gives an objection, it can often mean that they are very close to buying. An objection means that they are considering using your product or service and are just checking that everything fits properly. If they have a genuine concern, then it makes sense to air it and make sure that it is not a deal-breaker.

  5. Some customers can just throw in an objection to put you off – so getting an objection can sometimes have absolutely no bearing on whether or not they are going to buy from you. Just as in life, customers come in a whole range of personalities!

  6. Once you have dealt with an objection, it is useful to ask a follow up question (known as a confirmation question), such as “has that answered your concerns?” or “is there anything else you would like to know?” By doing this, you find out whether you have dealt with their objection to their satisfaction and it allows you to move onto the next stage of the sale. After all, if you don’t deal with their objection properly, then there probably won’t be a next stage of the sale!

I hope these simple strategies will help you worry less about getting objections. Instead, acknowledge that objections are simply part of the sales process and can be a great way of cementing that sale.

 

Happy selling!

 

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

 

sales training - don't say you are the best

Don’t tell customers you are ‘The Best’

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Why I’m not going to tell you I’m the best

Today I got pitched at by an over-enthusiastic insurance sales person. Although I’m not in the market for insurance, the salesperson in me loves to listen to other people’s sales calls because, well, they are fascinating! Anyway, this chap did his pitch and I said I wasn’t interested (so far so normal) and then he asked me ‘Why?’ Now that’s a great sales question – even it he wasn’t doing it in quite the right place. Anyway, I replied that I was happy with my current provider. He then did someone wrong – he proceeded to tell me that his Read More

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