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sales skills Archives - Tadpole Training

waiting to close the deal before it dies

Sometimes it’s better to sell backwards

By | marketing, sales tips, Training | No Comments

Sometimes it’s better to sell backwards

Do I really mean that? Well maybe not everything should be done backwards, but it is certainly worth setting out at the beginning of the meetings, the expectations you have for the end of the meeting!

Let me clarify.

OK – here is a familiar scenario to anyone who has been in sales. Have you ever been in the situation where you talk to your prospect, you do pretty much everything right and then you struggle to pin them down to a start date, or a date to sign? This, by the way, has nothing to do with the prospect creating objections – we will assume they are happy with everything but they are just reluctant to actually commit. It’s very frustrating and, short of just ringing them to ‘check on progress’ or ‘see if it has been signed off yet’ there is not much you can do.

So if this is something that is happening to you a lot, then try this strategy:

When you begin your discussion, start straight away by asking about the date of installation, or use or application – in other words – the date they need your product or service to be in their possession, doing it’s thing.

This means you can use this date as a starting point and work backwards. You can explain your turnaround times and included details of important stages such as production, delivery and testing (depending on what you do of course). After all, that’s exactly what you would do if you were managing a project. And in many ways, selling is exactly that – project management.

Once you have done this, the prospect has a clear picture of time frames and you can guide them that they need to make a decision by a certain date in order to achieve their desired outcome. This gives them clarity and it gives you a genuine reason to chase them if, for any reason, they start to slip beyond the dates you have discussed.

Not all sales solutions are complicated!

Happy selling!

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

 

success A to in sales

How 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

Annoying sales issues

7 Things that we all hate about selling

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

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

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

How good are you at managing your customer records?

By | customers, sales tips, Uncategorized | No Comments

How good are you at Managing your customer records?Tadpole record keeping
I admit I love a good sales database. At Tadpole, it was one of the first things I made sure I had, because in order to grow my customer base and so sell my services, I needed some prospective customers and I needed them fast.

So how good are you at keeping records? Have a look and see where you fall on this scale:

  1. I have a formal CRM system
  2. I have a proper indexed filing system (i.e. postcards)
  3. Pile of business cards
  4. It’s all on my phone
  5. Scraps of paper
  6. It’s all in my head
  7. Errr….what records?

Now, you will be relieved to know that I am not going to spout off about how a pile of business cards is no good, or that in this Read More