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selling the unfamilar

How to sell the unfamiliar (or “there is a reason people are afraid to buy”)

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How to sell the unfamiliar.

Research shows that customers are unlikely to choose an unfamiliar brand over one they know and recognise – even if there are clear or obvious shortcomings with the known brand. That can even extend to using a dangerous brand. In a fascinating article in The Harvard Business Review, it is explained thus:

Consumers in a recent study believed that airlines whose names they recognized were safer than unrecognized carriers. On the whole, this belief persisted even after participants learned that the known airlines had poor reputations, poor safety records, and were based in undeveloped countries. In other words, a lack of recognition was more powerful than three simultaneous risk factors.

There is a name for this interesting behaviour; Neophobia.

Wikipedia defines it like this:

“Neophobia is the fear of anything new, especially a persistent and abnormal fear. In its milder form, it can manifest as the unwillingness to try new things or break from routine. In the context of children the term is generally used to indicate a tendency to reject unknown or novel foods.”

So what has this got to do with sales?

Well, simply put, if your customers don’t recognise you or your brand, then you could face a harder sale. Let’s look at the airline example again. Even if the known brand:

  • had a poor reputation
  • a poor saftey record
  • was from a undeveloped country

Customers were more likely to use them. Now it doesn’t seem logical does it?

So let’s explore some practical things you can do if you are not as well known as your competition:

Do a comparison

Literally list, side by side all your features and benefits compared to theirs. This is useful for the customer, who, let’s face it, is probably not aware of what you can offer. It makes it easier for them to make a decision

Take the Long Term View

If the potential client doesn’t know you, then they are unlikely to just drop everything and go with your offering. This is where, as a salesperson, you should keep in touch, follow up, send samples, share reviews and make the unfamiliar much more familiar. Make sure you involve all the key decision-makers and stakeholders too, otherwise you will be back to square one. Remember that (depending on your industry) you may need to ‘touch’ your prospects at least 10 times before they are ready to buy. This figure could be higher if you are completely unknown. Check out this post on following up

Build Trust

If you say you will do something, then do it. If you can prove a great statistic, do it. Have fabulous customer reviews ready.This blog will help you: Are you using the power of case studies in your business If it fits your offering, can the customer ‘try before they buy’? Do all you can to show that you can deliver.

So don’t let neophobia stop you getting the sale!

Happy selling.

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

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sales training - sales funnel

Do you use a sales funnel?

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

Do you use a sales funnel?colourful tunnel
Do you even know what a sales funnel is? Perhaps you have heard the term ‘sales pipeline’ – well they are pretty much the same thing.

In my view, they are one of the most effective tools you can use to help you win more sales and the good news is that you don’t need a complicated system – a piece of paper, pen and some post-its are really all you require. So let’s have a look at what a sales funnel is and how to use it:

Look at the diagram below. The top of the funnel is wide and, a bit like a sausage machine, this is where you feed in all your potential customers. As you go down through the funnel, your potential customers drop out the side (not interested, no money, something changes) and eventually you are left with a smaller number at the bottom who convert into actual paying customers.

Let’s look at the stages, starting at the top:

Tadpole Training Sales funnel done at MBN

SUSPECTS
This can be pretty much anyone – at this stage you haven’t had any contact with them and you may only know their name or the name of the company.

PROSPECTS
This is where you start to interact with your potential customers. Perhaps they have visited your website, shop, or seen a leaflet. You may have had a conversation with them and know a bit more information. When a potential customer is in the prospect stage, you really want to find out as much as possible about them so that they can move down into the next stage, which is:

LEADS
These people or companies have a genuine need for your product or service. Perhaps they have asked for a quote, or have indicated that they want to go ahead and buy. They may not be ready to buy now, but within this category you can then subdivide them into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ leads, depending on how close they are to making a decision.

CUSTOMERS
Customers can be defined as anyone who has either actually paid you or committed to purchase from you. Once you have got someone to convert to a customer, you should ensure you maintain high levels of service as these are far more likely to use you again than anyone else.

Final note. I use post-it notes because they can be instantly moved around the funnel as you lose them or develop them through the stages. The best tools are simple to use and this is a perfect example. Good funnelling!

 

Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more. She has recently reached the final of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s national awards (BESMA 2016) in the category of Sales Trainer of the Year and, in November 2015 won ‘Start up Business of the Year’ at the Enterprise Enfield Business Awards.

If you enjoyed this article and you would like to receive a free download: Janet’s 8 Proven Sales Tips, please click on this link now.
Click Here for 8 Proven Sales Tips

What’s on my selling wish list for 2016

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What’s on my selling wish list for 2016?night-1077855_1280
Why not dream for a bit? I may be a sales trainer, but I still need to sell, so if I was in ‘sales heaven’ and I could have whatever I wanted, I think this little list would cover it:

1. No one will ever ask for a discount. In fairness, they rarely do now, but it would just be nice not to get asked at all – I am good at what I do you know – and if you work with me, you will recoup the cost many times over. So don’t insult my expertise by devaluing it.

2. Every time I try to make an appointment, the prospect will say ‘yes’. In fact, they will ask me for appointments. It does happen sometimes, but oh, think of the extra time if you didn’t have to do all that legwork!

3. The amount of ‘perfect fit’ prospects exactly matches my ability to work with them. Self-explanatory really – busy enough to earn a good living Read More

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

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

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

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

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

Upselling? Cross-selling? Help! I’m Confused!

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Upselling? Cross-Selling? Help! I’m Confused!

Upselling and cross-selling. Do you these two phrases confuse you? If they do, you’re not alone. As if it isn’t enough to worry about selling the main thing that you do, you now need to sell other stuff too? Don’t panic!

It’s not actually that complicated. Let’s quickly explore what they both mean and how they can genuinely help you sell more in your business.

Upselling
This is where you try to get a customer to buy something in addition to the primary thing they want to buy (thereby making the primary product more expensive). For Read More

In sales, sometimes you need to get out of your own way

By | customers, entrepreneurs, sales tips, sales training | One Comment

In Sales, Sometimes you need to get out of your own wayIn sales, sometimes you need to get out of your own way
This is about lacking self-belief, something which I proved to myself spectacularly yesterday. 

To give you the background, the Christmas before last, I went over a speed bump too fast and knocked off the right side of my car’s bumper. I shoved the broken bit in the boot, gave myself a good telling off for not taking more care and got on with things.

Over the next few weeks, I kept thinking ‘I need to get that fixed’ but put it off with a variety of excuses – I haven’t got the time, it will cost too much to order a new bumper, it will be inconvenient to take it to the garage, it doesn’t really matter, blah blah. 

After a while I got used to having a broken bumper and it sailed right down my list of priorities. 

Yesterday, I was clearing out the boot of the car and, tucked right at the back was my broken bit of bumper. My current mindset is a lot different to my mindset 18 months ago and I looked at this piece of debris and Read More

wrestlers from Pixabay

Closing Sales should not be like a wrestling match!

By | negotiation, sales tips, sales training | No Comments

Closing sales is not a wrestling match!

     When I started my sales career it was with a well-known Financial Services organisation who shall be nameless. My manager, who I can now see was the cliché of the crooked salesman, was much worse and delighted in teaching his team of young, inexperienced sales people how to close.

 

     I can’t remember all the names now of the closes, but I think it says something that the closing techniques all had quite combative names. For example, there was ‘the double arm lock’, ‘the right angle’ and a particularly unpalatable one that my boss loved where he would fill out an application form and then tip his clipboard towards the potential customer, allowing his pen to roll towards them – the idea being that they would pick up and sign. Yes really!

 

     Young as I was, I could sense that these closes that seemed to relate more to a wrestling match than helping people choose the right sort of life assurance! Moreover, they seemed designed to ‘trick’ people into signing up, which probably explains why the cancellation rate in our team was so high. It also went some way to explaining why I felt so uneasy about working there. I left, miserable at the situation. It was only later, when I had been on some really good sales training that I was able to understand exactly what the problem was.

 

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charge more Tadpole Training

Why you should stop discounting and charge more

By | customers, entrepreneurs, marketing, negotiation, sales tips, Training | 4 Comments

Why you should stop discounting and charge more


When you looked at that heading, did you think ‘no chance!’ Or perhaps you shouted at me; ‘what does she know?’ Certainly, if you are anything like most people in business, you might have some genuine reasons to be sceptical, like:

 

1. I need to give discounts to win business
2. I need money and I need it now – so even if it’s not that profitable, by discounting I do get some cash flow
3. I’ll raise my prices when I’m busier
4. I don”t know how to justify charging more
5. It’s just easier to give a discount
6. My customers can’t afford to pay more

Well, if that is you, then you need to know that, unless you are in the bargain basement discount end of the market, discounting has been shown not to work. These are the main reasons why:

 

1. Someone else will always discount a bit more – so before you know where you are, they have undercut you, then you need to undercut them and so on. The result? Even if you do make the sale, you have totally eroded your profit margin.

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