Posts Tagged ‘increase sales’

Always Remember Customer Service Is SALES!

How many times do those in B2B or even B2C industries fail to understand customer service is sales.  A new report just released by Astound Commerce through secret shoppers recognized seven retailers who excel in customer service through:

customer service

  • Must have website
  • Visibility
  • Overall customer service
  • Speed of delivery
  • Efficiency of checkout

One of the top seven performers was The Home Depot. I know from personal experience this firm understands how serving the customers within the store will increase sales.  Here in Valparaiso IN, the store has hired certified and licensed electricians, plumbers and carpenters to assist customers with their questions. Even though my husband is an engineer, he has been advised by these professional tradesmen of better ways to do home improvement as well as some of the new products.

For example, toilets for years had a wax ring that attached to the bottom of the toilet and closet flange.  Over time the wax dries out and cracks.  Several years ago through the plumber at Home Depot, my husband learned of a neoprene boot that is attached to the bottom of the toilet and then fits past the closet flange.  The end result is a far better seal and one that does not not replacement.  The cost of a wax ring under $5.00 versus the cost of the neoprene boot around $15.00.  Husband spent $30 instead of $10 has he replaced not just one wax ring, but two.

Today I read Home Depot’s quarterly earning were ahead of expectations. Much of this was due to improved housing market and I also believe much was due to increase sales by loyal customers.

All SMBs have a 7-step-sales-process-advsys Within these 7 steps are third phases:

  • Marketing
  • Selling
  • Keeping

The third and final phase of keeping is one where both salespeople and customer service people work to keep those loyal customers.

Yes customer service is sales and if as a SMB owner or sales professional you forget this simple fact, you may be exposing yourself decreasing sales, declining profits and increasing stress.

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What Makes for a Great Sales Attitude?

Noted sales expert Zig Ziglar said an “attitude is a habit of thought.”  If we apply his definition to what makes a great sales attitude, the response will be various habits of thought.

sales-attitudeTop sales performers have more than one habit of thought, more than one attitude when it comes to selling.

These attitudes can be observed through sales behaviors that are supported through various talents. When these talents are combined, they turn into sales skills.

Since each salesperson is a unique individual, he or she will demonstrate a different sales attitude.  For example, being able to sell is many times based upon the talent of persuading others. Two behaviors for this talent might be:

  • A behavior is to have someone change his or her mind
  • A behavior is to demonstrate emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence begins with a habit of thought.  Emotionally intelligent people have the attitude of recognizing and understanding the emotions of others; recognizing and understanding their own emotions and then being able to manage both.  These individuals do not engage in reactionary, emotional behavior.

Another talent might be personal drive. Here the salesperson completes given tasks on time and is always challenging himself or herself to learn something new.  These are the salespeople who have a sales attitude to challenge the status quo.

A great sales attitude looks different for each salesperson. However what is not different are the results.  These results are reflected by increase sales, high percentage of sales conversions to a continually filled sales pipeline.

Just think about the possibilities specific to your sales results if you could learn your 78 key talents and improve how you make decisions?  Would you increase sales? Would you have less stress?

Now is the time early in the 2017 sales year to take advantage of this special opportunity until 3/31/2017 to not only learn those 78 key talents (Attribute Index), but your communication style (DISC Index) and what motivates (Values Index) you to increase sales.

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Quick Fixes in Sales Often Ignore This Reality

In sales many seek the quick fixes that range from sales training, incentives, hiring new sales managers, new salespeople or some motivational speaker.  Yet in a few days to a few weeks, the sudden burst of sales productivity gradually returns to its pre-quick fix levels.

quick-fixesThe reality is 99.9% of all quick fixes ignore this reality. The reality is clarity or rather lack of clarity.

In the story Alice in Wonderland, Alice approaches the Cheshire Cat sitting in a tree.  At the foot of the tree are various paths. Alice asks the Cat “What path should I take?”  The Cat responds with “Where are you going?” Alice states “I don’t know” and the Cat then replies “Well any path will take you there.”

Clarity is essential in sales, in business and in life.  If you don’t know where you are going with crystal clear clarity, you will end up taking the wrong path.

Many SMB owners and C Suite executives in their efforts to increase sales confuse symptoms with problems.  They believe lack luster sales are the problem when in reality the poor sales are usually a symptom of one or more problems.  All of these problems return to a lack of clarity. Without clarity there is incredible miss direction and misguided decisions.

For the last almost 20 years I have been working with SMB owners and sales professionals.  Given that most have never invested the time to determine where they are going; how they are going to behave and what they are going to do in the immediate future to get to where they are going, I am not surprised by the inability to increase sales or sustainable business growth.

The lack of clarity is the reason for executive coaching.  These professional coaches look to support their clients in gaining crystal clear clarity.

Years ago I wrote an eBook entitled Triage Business Planning with this message on the front cover:

Know Exactly What to Do and When to Do It.

Track the Right Things to Produce the Right Results Avoid Misdirected Actions and Misguided Decisions.

If you have any hesitancy when reading the previous words, then you probably lack crystal clear clarity and may be subject to the temptation of quick fixes.

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Time to Leverage the Sales Currency of the Future

Yesterday I heard Nikolaus Kimla, CEO of Pipeliner CRM, make this very insightful statement:

“Recommendations are the sales currency of the future.”

He is so right in that people buy from people they know and trust.  Recommendations or testimonials reaffirm that trust bridge between the buyer and the seller.

Just recently in working with a sales coaching client, one of the salespeople said the reason a new patient came to their office was because of the written along with the video testimonials on their website.

SMB owners, salespeople and those in the C Suite have the opportunity right now to get ahead of the flow and start gathering all those recommendations and testimonials. Yet how many in sales actively leverage this sales currency by just asking for recommendations?

Sales Coaching Tip:  The third phase and final phase of the 7-step-sales-process-advsys is “Keeping” where people ask for recommendations as well as sales referrals.

The value of recommendations go beyond some positive words.  In many instances recommendations generate sales referrals.  This is what some in the past would call the “mother lode.”

Right now jump over to LinkedIn and look at your recommendations received and more importantly given.  Do you make it a priority to give authentic recommendations?

If you think recommendations lack sales currency, how many times do  you read the online product or business reviews?  Those are rated recommendations. Have you ever bought or not bought because of these reviews?

To increase sales requires being ahead of the flow as well as of knowing where the flow is going.  Leveraging recommendations can propel your business ahead of the flow while increasing your sales currency.

Doesn’t it make good business sense to undertake those actions now in the present?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Clarity Strategist for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.

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Aim Small Miss Small Sales Mindset

With all the focus on social selling, there appears to be a different sales mindset emerging and not a necessarily good one.  I was reminded of this when reading a LinkedIn article by Jeb Blount entitled “Social Selling Is Not a Panacea.”

sales-mindset

Credit www.pixabay.com

One of the problems with this concept of social selling is it creates a lack of clarity and focus.  The salesperson is aiming at a much bigger target, the various social media sites, and thus misses big.

As Jeb shared in his $10 bet  with a new hire, he was far more successful just by dialing and actually converted two of the sales calls. In comparison the new hire converted no one.

When a salesperson has an aim small miss small sales mindset, he or she has enhanced his or her clarity to the point of it being crystal clear.  Missing the target is no longer supported with a hope and a pray. “I hope I make a sale.”

BAR – Beliefs Drive Actions Generating Results

To have such a sales attitude because attitudes are indeed habits of thought (Zig Ziglar) requires a strategic plan from which the market to the ideal customer have been clearly identified. These beliefs drive the actions (behaviors) generating the results (increase sales).

ACE – Assess – Clarify – Execute

Such a sales mindset begins with assessing not only the business, the industry, but the salesperson as well. From that collected data, there is the opportunity to clarify the necessary objectives and strategies. Next step is executing those strategies.

Feel -Know – Do

To complete this aim small miss small mindset, the salesperson must connect to the buyer.  What does he or she want the buyer to feel?  Obviously to create this environment, the seller must know what the buyer is feeling. Here the focus is on the buyer and not on the seller.

Then what does he or she want the buyer to know? Possibly because the buyer has conducted some research, the buyer may already know something about the seller.  Yet here is the real opportunity to explore the wants and needs of the buyer.

Finally what does the seller want the buyer to do?  In simple sales talk, this is a call to action.  This action could be a simple of having a coffee visit to scheduling a more formal meeting.  Adding the person with permission to an email list such as a newsletter is another call to action.

I believe in what Zig Ziglar said years ago “Sales is the transference of feelings.”  When that transfer is successful and when the seller has demonstrated his or her ability to connect to the value drivers of the buyer, then there is far greater likelihood to increase sales.  Of course if you are looking for the quick fix or what Jeb calls “panacea,” you may be sorely disappointed.

Want to talk with Leanne Hoagland-Smith about how to improve your sales mindset?  CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation.

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Sales Process in a New Sales Leadership Model

Given over 97% of all businesses within the US are under 20 employees, many lack a simple sales process. By not having a process impacts the ability to determine where there are gaps limiting increase sales and ultimately the overall sales culture.

SMB owners today cannot afford to have separate marketing and sales departments. In many instances, the SMB owner is the primary role of sales leadership manager. He or she must find salespeople who understand marketing in  today’s marketplace and can utilize the variety of social media and technology platforms to prospect. Finding new sales leads becomes the responsibility of the salesperson.

Then after the marketing phase of the sales process has been successfully completed, the selling phase begins. Here is where the salesperson attempts to convert the sales lead into a loyal customer.

sales-processAfter the salesperson earns the sale, then the third and final phase of keeping the new customer kicks in.  This is probably where many salespeople even in the larger firms miss new sales opportunities because they have failed to ask for at least one if not more than one sales referral or stay in contact with the now loyal customer.

Alignment between the sales process and the other four points of the 5 Point Star Sales Leadership Model is essential if the desired results are to be achieved. For example if the salesperson cannot successfully plan, set and achieve his or her WAY SMART goals, the results are diminished.

Download this simple 3 Phase 7-step-sales-process-advsys

There is plenty of SMB research that shows the loss dollars when prospecting fails, when sales conversions fail and when loyal customers go elsewhere. By employing a simple sales process closes the gaps and stops the draining of those valuable profit dollars.

P.S. To not include marketing within your sales process in today’s marketplace may severely limit your ability to not only increase sales, but have a sales culture of high performance. Marketing goes beyond paid advertising and is 100% about salespeople building relationships built on trust and their ability to convey exceptional knowledge in an emotionally engaging approach.

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How One Word Can Change Your SMB Sales Results

Sometimes those in sales look for complex solutions to improve sales results. I realized this recently when listening to a Sunday homily and my pastor referred to the Lord’s Prayer as our Father’s Prayer.

sales-resultsBy changing the word Lord to Father gives the receiver an entirely different perspective.  The focus changes from one person to another.

In sales, there are a plethora of words that can be changed to improve sales results. What would happen if we changed the following words?

Need to consider – The word need implies judgment. This word conveys negative emotions. However, the word consider is not only more emotionally intelligent it also works with the Theory of Self-Determination.  Now the listener has the opportunity to make a choice where the word “need” removes all choice.

Sell to buy – No one likes to be sold, but everyone loves to buy so we are continually reminded.  With decision makers being more educated, by redirecting the focus to the buyer changes the dynamics of the relationship.

Think to sense – Again, the word think may imply judgment as well as authority.  When exchanging the word think with the word sense creates completely different dynamics.  Now the salesperson is working with emotional intelligence instead of working against emotional intelligence.

Have to Great – Do you tell people to have a great day?  What would happen if you said “Make it a great day?”  By changing this one word again, you have changed the behaviors from inactive to proactive.

Words do have a powerful impact within our SMB sales conversations as well as our internal thoughts. Additionally people become inoculated to certain words and ignore them.  How many times do we hear the word “help” as people share their 30 second introductions or value proposition statements? Do you mentally turn out when you hear the word “help?”

Of course to change your words require you to actively listen wit your ears, your eyes and your heart. Did a certain word create a positive or negative reaction? What word would have made your communication more effective?

When salespeople understand how to change just one word, they will be surprised by the results.  Years ago I adopted this personal mantra:

Change your words; improve your results 

Today this is so very true especially if you want improved sales results.

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary sales conversation with Leanne if you truly want to increase sales and improve your SMB sales results.

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Building Rapport with Building Trust

How many sales training programs focus on “building rapport?”  Shouldn’t our sales behaviors be more intentional? Shouldn’t we be building trust from the first handshake, the first exchanged words?

building-rapportWhen we look to the origin of the word rapport, we discover it is French and means to “bring back.”  I am not sure how one can bring back something that has yet to exist.

Now the word trust is from the Old Norse language and means “strong.”  To be successful in sales, one must have strong relationships with sales leads, prospects, customers, vendors and others.

In spite of all the hype about technology and salespeople becoming obsolete, people in the marketplace be it B2B or B2C still buy from people they know and trust.

Have you seen those billboards with the realtor or physician or salesperson smiling from ear to ear? Do you sense some lack of authenticity, some insincerity in their sales behaviors? Do those feelings build trust?

By building trust, we establish a more solid relationship that goes beyond just building rapport.  One can have rapport without trust.

In reading some data collected through Marketing Sherpa of 2400 consumers, highly satisfied customers top response was by 56% “I consistently have good experienced with it” and the bottom response at 18% was “It puts my needs and wants above its own business goals.” Yet for highly unsatisfied customers, the top response at 35% was “[insert Company name] does not put my needs and wants above its own business goals.”

Finally, some other research Professors Soutar and Sweeney for brick and mortar stores can be applied to B2B marketplace. Their findings suggested salespeople should not be too pushy at the point of sale or worse yet be artificially enthusiastic when following up after the sale.  These actions are anti-building trust because they are not authentic.

Building trust comes from being authentic.  You truly care about the other person first and foremost.  You are not putting your sales quota or desire to increase sales at the front of your mental imagery.

Consider removing the phrase building rapport and think about building trust from your sales behaviors.  Possibly this simple action will be just what is required to increase sales in the New Year.

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Create with Connect

The last couple of years in the word of sales training there has been a focus on sales behaviors specific to how salespeople create value.  I find this word “create” to be misleading and very much ego centered (All about me!).  What I suggest to my sales coaching clients is to replace “create” with this more emotionally intelligent word of connect.

sales-behaviorsNow I must admit to my own negative bias. I believe no one in sales can create value because value is unique to each decision maker, each buyer.  Why does one person like blue and another like red? If salespeople could create value, then the person would be sold to like red.  And most of us know no one wants to be sold. We could literally live in a world where everyone drove a Yugo, ate at McDonald’s and shopped at Walmart.

When we think, speak and write the word connect, we are actually engaged in more authentic sales behaviors.  As salespeople we are looking how to bridge the gap between the buyer’s position and our position.

Another advantage of the word connect is it implies a more level relationship where a good ego is present.  Create is a word that suggests a very strong ego and strong egos are not necessarily beneficial when it comes to the ability to increase sales.

Finally, the word connect works with the sales buying rule people buy from people they know and trust.  When salespeople work to connect with the other sales prospects, they are actively engaged in employing those essential soft skills as well as emotional intelligence.

The last several days this leadership and sales blog has focused on changing sales behaviors by replacing existing words with different words to enhance the sales relationship.  If you missed any of these postings, you may find them below:

2017 New Sales Behaviors: Replace Plan with Campaign

2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Help with Facilitate

2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Obstacle with Limitation 

My own personal mantra is “Change your words; improve your results.”  Please let me know if you have changed your words and if your new sales behaviors have improved your sales results.

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Realtors Are You Missing This Marketing Platform?

Social media is a marketing platform used by many especially those selling real estate. Quite a few realtors have a significant presence on Facebook where they showcase their listings. Yet these same real estate agents ignore this other significant marketing platform which truly doesn’t make sense.

marketing-platform

Credit www.pixabay.com

First for clarity, a marketing platform is essentially a very detailed marketing plan that includes:

  • Ideal customer (demographics and psychographics)
  • Your messaging
  • How you will reach your ideal customer or customers
  • Monitoring of the results through key performance indicators (KPI)

Second, many firms actually have identified more than one marketing platform within their overall strategic plan because of the rise of social media.

Third the social media marketing channel that is being missed or ignored is LinkedIn. Possibly the reason for this oversight is because LinkedIn is considered for those selling or working in B2B industries.  Yet upon review of the ideal customer (potential listing client or buying client), probably he or she is directly or indirectly connected to B2B industries.

As someone who has extensively networked locally to nationally, I consistently discover the majority of real estate agents with no LinkedIn presence or a poorly written LinkedIn profile. Maybe I am just different, but the first action I take after meeting someone is check to see if they have a LinkedIn profile. I am going to make a huge presumption here that forward thinking salespeople take a similar action.

If people buy from people they know and trust, then why ignore this free marketing opportunity?

Each day there are numerous free webinars to free articles on:

  • The value of LinkedIn
  • Specific prospecting strategies on LinkedIn
  • How to write an engaging LinkedIn profile

By investing 20 minutes a day within this marketing platform, you may quickly discover incredible prospecting (think sales leads) as well as build your own credibility and trust.  The sharing of content, writing quick comments and reaching out to others all have an impact on how to increase sales.

With marketing budgets being limited for most real estate agents who are independent contractors, then ignoring any solid free marketing is foolish especially when potential buyers and sellers are potentially active within this marketing platform.

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