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basic sales skills Archives - Tadpole Training

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

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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

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

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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?

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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

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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

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frustration from no sale

When is a Sale not a Sale?

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When is a Sale Not a Sale?

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

 

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

 

Tips

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

your new sales team

5 tips for starting new sales role

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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

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scared customers

5 Things that could be scaring your customers away

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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!

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