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sales courses Archives - Tadpole Training

50p the cost of great customer service

Why Outstanding Customer Service Doesn’t have to be Complicated

By | customers, entrepreneurs, sales tips | No Comments

Why Outstanding Customer Service Doesn’t have to be Complicated (or expensive)

This morning I had an almost flat tyre.  Not an actual puncture, but something I noticed last night and forgot to deal with.

I was on the school run, so I had to make sure the children were dropped off on time, then I gently drove the car to the nearest petrol station and parked up by the air machine. Then I realised – I had been on the school run, so all I had was keys and my phone.  No money. I needed 50p.

I did the regulatory scrabble under the seats, in the nooks and crannies and glove compartment and came up with ….36p. Not enough.

Faced with the choice of driving home and possibly damaging the tyre, or throwing myself on the mercy of the staff at the petrol station, I chose the latter.

“Excuse me, I need your help – I’ve got a flat tyre and I’ve only got 36p. Is it possible…….?”

I never got the chance to finish. The man behind the counter walked off, grabbed something and plopped a 50 pence coin into my hand.

I started to thank him and promised to call by later. He just waved me away and smiled.

Now, I am sure he is a kind man who just wanted to help a fellow human being, but he actually did so much more than that – through his simple act of kindness he made a potentially complicated day suddenly simple and helped a rather frazzled mother on the school run calm down instantly.

Longer term though, he will be the winner. Of course he will get his 50p back. But he will get much more. Because of my gratitude and the fact that I will remember that feeling of panic which he diffused, I will use his petrol station again. In fact, I will probably make a point of using it even more. So he will sell me petrol, the children will ensure we buy sweets and drinks, I will definitely use the car wash and it is likely that we will make various spur of the moment purchases, just as everyone does.

He will reap far more than 50p. Maybe knows it, maybe he doesn’t, but if he treats all his customers like me, I have a feeling he will have a very successful business.

So, if you are in Edmonton, London, go to the Jet Garage at 134 Hertford Road. There! Now he’s got a referral too!

See how that 50p has grown?

Happy Selling!

Annoying sales issues

7 Things that we all hate about selling

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7 things that we all hate about selling

1. Cancelled meetings – especially when they ‘forget’ to tell you and you’ve physically travelled to the venue before you find out. Also annoying when you have done tons of preparation and they no longer want to see you.

2. Being stereotyped as a pushy charlatan – this image persists, yet nearly every salesperson I know is a thoroughly decent (normal) human being. In fact, the people who are best at sales are usually highly focused on helping clients. They are some of the kindest and most empathetic people out there, but everyone else thinks salespeople are a cross between Attila the Hun and Gordon Gekko.

3. Being nice to people who you don’t like, but who have the power to approve the sale. You get to deal with all sorts in sales and so by the law of averages, you are going to come across a few you don’t like. However, if their money is good and they are a good fit, you must still deal with them and try and make it look like a pleasure.

4. Shaking on it then they change their mind. You do the work, you agree terms, everyone is happy so you shake hands (or get verbal agreement, or whatever your standard is for the thing you do). Then, you get that call (and often they just leave a message) saying they no longer want to go ahead or they have changed their mind. Can you get back to them to talk about it? Of course not. The draw bridge has gone up. Leading me on to ….

5. Not returning calls. When they are interested or want your help or advice, clients will talk to you. In fact, they may call you at all sorts of strange times. However, when they have other things on their mind, or when you just need a bit of feedback to move the sale forward, what happens? Yup – suddenly it’s impossible to get through. Messages go unanswered, colleagues can’t say when your contact will be available and you hit a brick wall. You know what’s coming next don’t you?

6. Answer machines – I prefer speaking to actual people. I suppose we all do – but now everyone has an answer machine, somewhere between 50% and 85% of calls go straight to voicemail. Do you ring once, twice, 5 times, 10 times? And at what point do you turn into a Stalker? And then there are the messages left on your own phone that you miss, then 3 days later you just decide to check, only to discover that something urgent needed to be dealt with yesterday.

7. Asking for a discount. I blame car boot sales for this. It’s acceptable to ask for a discount when someone is selling their leftover and unwanted things from their home, but actually it’s not OK to ask for a discount when you are discussing a high quality, well crafted, bespoke product or service that is probably priced fairly for the market place. Yet still prospects do this. Even if, as the person selling, you have done everything right; showed the value of what you offer and demonstrated how many of the prospects needs and objectives you solve, you can pretty much guarantee that, before you get the sale, you will be asked if you can drop the price.

So, if you’ve been in sales for more than 5 minutes, I’m sure you recognise a lot of these. Fortunately, nothing comes even close to that feeling you get when you smash that target!

Happy selling!

 

Janet Efere is an award-winning sales trainer based in Enfield, North London

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

Historical lady saying no

Have you ever talked yourself out of a sale?

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

Have you ever talked yourself out of a sale

(and what should you have done differently?)

It is important to understand when to talk and when to stop. When we are being sold ‘to’ none of us likes to be with someone who talks constantly; it is irritating and it can make us feel resentful because it is taking up our time. This is especially true if we have already made our mind up to buy.

When you are the one doing the selling, you should also be aware that not every customer needs to know everything about your product or service – all they really need to know is whether it will solve their problem or meet their objective and how. Anything else is just clutter and can put the sale at risk. Read More

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

sales training USP

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

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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

 

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

Are women better at selling than men?

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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?

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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