Posts Tagged ‘sales conversations’

Don’t Forget Your Business Cards When You Innovate

Business cards are prime marketing space. Yet how often are they forgotten when it comes to time to innovate.   If innovation is all about change, the question is:

“Does your business card reflects your own innovation?”

Has your tagline changed?

Have your sales prospects changed (think ideal customers)?

Is the marketplace the same today as it was when you first started?

Business cards are inexpensive compared to other forms of paid marketing.  They provide an incredible catalyst for engaged sales conversations.

Where there is the opportunity for greatest innovation is on the back of your business card.  Here is prime marketing real estate.

Now some will say leave it blank to write for others to write notes.  My question is:

How do you know they are writing notes about you and not someone else?

Think of the back of your business card as an opportunity:

  • To tell a story, your story
  • What makes you different, the Red Jacket in a Sea of gray suits?

Your story should focus on what is happening in your marketplace and how you can make a difference to your sales prospects.

As I have recently moved, I am changing, innovating, my business cards.  Beyond having an address change, I have redesigned the back of the card. Gone is the QR Code that was popular in the past and now a new graphic is present – one without a title. I intentionally left off the title because I wanted an opportunity to explain the graphic.  The Formula for Sustainable Results is still present as well as a simple call to action.

(b) › [A+S+K} + (m&m)wG = PBC = IP IR

Business cards reflect you, your professionalism and even your attention to detail.  Heavier card stock, glossy paper, clean and easy to read font give others a sense of who you are.

If you are thinking of innovating, consider starting with changing your business cards.  You just may be surprised as to how much you and your business have really changed.

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CREATE Powerful Sales Conversations

Building upon selling or sales being the transference of feelings, the question then becomes how to ensure those feelings are transferred? In working on some sales training for a new client, I discovered this acronym to do just that – CREATE powerful sales conversations.

sales-conversationsFirst, create means to come into existence where nothing else existed before.  This is especially true for those in sales who may cold call or for inside salespeople who receive inbound sales leads.

People have one chance to make a good first impression and for salespeople this first impression will either open the sales door of opportunity or close the door for good. In realizing the importance of those first sales conversations, this acronym may just help to support crazy busy salespeople in their goal to begin to transfer those feelings between themselves and their buyers (think sales leads or ideal potential customers).

CREATE Powerful Sales Conversations

C – Communicate with clarity and intention.  Be deliberate and cohesive in your communication. Make sure to actively listen because good communication is far more about active listening than active talking.

R – Respect your buyer.  Respect goes beyond normal common manners. Here you showcase your business ethics such as by active listening, not interrupting and honoring any promises you made during your interactions with your sales lead. Also this is where you don’t presume you know more than the buyer.  Leave your ego at the door.

E – Empathy.  For those who understand emotional intelligence, empathy is an intrinsic human characteristic.  Can you identify and understand the other person’s feelings?  Remember, do not confuse empathy with sympathy.

A – Authentic.  Be who you are authentically.  People can spot phonies a mile off.  Anymore it appears buyers’ phony radar system is on HIGH ALERT.

T – Timing. Understanding the timing of your words, your non-verbal body language is also essential.  Great comedians had exceptional timing. They watched their audience.  Rushing through the sales process because of some sales script is foolhardy.

E – Energy.  Being confident, not overly, displaying positive energy all support those transference of feelings. Just think about how many times you purchased from a dull, low energy person?

Powerful sales conversations go beyond the words.  Possibly this acronym of CREATE may assist you in your selling endeavors. Let me know if it works for you.

CLICK HERE if you wish to schedule an appointment on Leanne’s calendar.

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Help with Facilitate

How many times have you heard salespeople say “I help” when engaged in sales prospecting at B2B events? Then they go on and on and on about how they help.  When words are overused, they are like water off a duck’s back. To increase sales means you must differentiate yourself from your competition and all the other salespeople. This differentiation starts with finding new sales behaviors.

sales-behaviorsWhen we examine the word help, there is an implication that the other person is helpless otherwise why would you be offering to help.? This implication may be subtly unconscious, but it is present nonetheless.

Now the word facilitate creates no implication of helplessness.  Instead from its Latin origin and French revision the word means to render easy.  Now in sales aren’t we supposed to make the sales conversations easy, to render them down for better understanding?

Even though help is a word that carries positive emotions so does the word facilitate.  The advantage again to thinking, speaking and writing the word facilitate is two-fold:

  • Not heard so differentiates you from everyone else
  • Does not imply subconsciously the other person is helpless

Also I believe there are two others advantages, though somewhat more subtle.  Since facilitate is to make easy, then it creates a top of mind awareness on the part of the seller to be more conscious of non-verbal communications as well as to his or her own communication style. Tools such as DISC can provide additional insight as how to better communicate.

The fourth advantage is emotional intelligence.  The word facilitate I believe has greater emotional intelligence because it does not make a subconscious judgment of helplessness.

The words we speak, think and write are a window to how others observes our sales behaviors.  To increase sales in the next year or quarter may require for us to look at our own sales behaviors and what actions we may wish to  take to secure those desired sales results.

CLICK HERE to schedule a time with Leanne and learn of a special opportunity if you wish to take the DISC.

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Are These Words Hurting Your Sales Conversations?

Words are powerful. Words can make a break a sale. So what words are hurting your sales conversations?

sales-conversations

Credit www.pixabay.com

One of the most damaging words is “need.”  This word implies judgement and suggests potential incompetence on the part of the sales lead.  What is even worse most sales training focuses on “needs” and “wants” and reinforces this word within the salesperson.

Sales Coaching Tip: The word “need” fails to be emotionally intelligent.

Then how about the word “think?” Here is another word within most sales conversations that also may be viewed as emotionally unintelligent because it implies judgment.  The salesperson who uses this word may also be viewed as too egotistical as the sales prospect may be saying to himself “Who is this person telling me what to think?”

Now we come to the word “you.”  Again another word that can imply judgement.  These three words, “in your opinion” can be substituted.

“Should” can also be added to the list of words to remove from one’s sales conversations.  Most of us probably remember our parents telling us “you should” do this or do that.  Even back then we had an emotional reaction because it removed our ability to make a choice as discussed within the Theory of Self-Determination.

There are other words that may not be judgmental, but are so overused people are impervious to them.  How many times in the B2B or B2C marketplace we hear this word “help?”  “We help people, blah, blah, blah.” Everybody is helping everybody.  Really? With all the words in the English language, another word cannot be found?

Sales Coaching Tip:  Help is how you do what you do; not what you do.

Then there is this word, “challenge.”  Within the sales process during the fact finding meeting, salespeople are encouraged to discover the challenges being faced by sales lead.  In some instances, this word may create some negative feedback because of overuse or the salesperson sounds like all the other salespeople.

Download this 7-Step-Sales-Process-ADVSYS PDF to better understand the overall sales process.

One word, a slip of the tongue so to speak, can potentially doom any blossoming relationship. This is way integrating the most emotionally engaging words in all sales conversations is essential for sales success.

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One Sales Call Does Not Do It All

Wouldn’t it be great that with one sales call the customer would buy and become a loyal customer for life?  We all know selling in the B2B marketplace and sometimes in the B2C marketplace takes more than one call.

sales-callSo if we as salespeople know that then why do so many in sales stop at one, two or even three sales calls?

44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up  (Source: Scripted)

If people buy from people they know and trust, then how can one contact ever be enough?

The average salesperson makes two attempts to reach a prospect. (Source: Sirius Decisions)

A sales call must be purposeful, planned and delivered.  Top sales performers know they must assess their sales leads or prospects.  They they may invest some time gaining clarity about the market place trends, the industry, the company and the individual.  This clarity is also the essence of the fact finding sales conversations. Finally, they must execute the sales call and then during the sales conversation to “close the sale” or what I prefer to “earn the sale.”

80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting.   (Source: The Marketing Donut)

When those in sales recognize one sales call does not do it all, they can plan for those 5 follow-up contacts through their nurture marketing plan.  This is where a good CRM tool such as Pipeliner CRM can help.

Even after the numerous follow-ups and the sale is now achieved, this is not the time to get comfortable.  Top of mind awareness (TOMA) can be easily changed.  There are other salespeople vying for your newly acquired customer.  Staying in contact with him or her is essential.  Again, this is where you must have a “keeping process.”

Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25-95%   (Source: Bain & Company)

Possibly years ago when the marketplace was less crowded, one sales call did it all.  Today, not so much. Top sales performers realize they must understand, build and maintain relationships with their customers.

 

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Being Comfortable Is Not for Top Sales Performers

Top sales performers who I know are the least comfortable people.  They are always going beyond their comfort zones, stretching themselves especially when it comes to sales prospecting.

top-sales-performers

Credit www.gratisography.com

I was reminded of this consistent characteristic when I read Mike Weinberg’s posting, Stop Over Analyzing Your List and Get in Front of Your Strategic Target Prospects Now!.  Mike explained how many salespeople waste time over analyzing their sales leads instead of getting our and having sales conversations with strategic target prospects.

This over analysis is really a disguised comfort behavior.  These salespeople wrap themselves in a comfort blanket of data and are lulled into non sales activity.

The other key point in Mike’s posting is in the title “strategic target prospects.”  Numerous salespeople do not have a crystal clear definition of their ideal customer.  Nor is this definition aligned to any strategic organizational goals.

Strategic comes from the word strategy.  The origins of the word strategy are Greek and mean for a general to deceive his enemies.  Staying in the office analyzing a list is not strategic.

Sometimes there is confusion between an ideal customer and a qualified sales lead.  With most sales leads not being ready to buy, going into analysis paralysis only helps to explain why many salespeople do not meet their sales goals.  Being behind a desk is far more comfortable that potentially facing a ‘No” or a “Not now.”

There is an old African proverb about how every morning a gazelle wakes up and knows it must outrun the fastest lion.  The lion wakes up knowing it must outrun the slowest gazelle.  So come morning it does not matter whether you are a gazelle or a lion. What matter is you must start running.

When you are comfortable, you aren’t running. You are snuggled in the blanket of the status quo.  If you want to increase sales, then get up, get out and start meeting your strategic target prospects as Mike calls them. Who knows you actually may enjoy this spurt of energy and eventually join the ranks of those top sales performers as well.

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Reframing Your Sales Conversations to Feel, Know, Do and Remember

How many sales conversations leave you confused, wondering what was just said?  Maybe others may feel the same way about your interactions?

sales-conversations

Credit www.gratisography.com

Imagine for a moment if you would embrace just these four words – Feel, Know, Do and Remember – into ALL interaction with your sales leads to professional colleagues to centers of influence. What changes would you experience?

FEEL

No one likes sales pitches.  The reason is because they stir up negative feelings.

In sales, you want positive feelings because positive feelings begin to build trust and a sense of being comfortable, of knowing you. Sales Coaching Tip: People buy first on emotion; justified by logic.

KNOW

You also want to demonstrate your own expertise. Not in a way that your ego takes up the entire room.  No, with a little more subtlety. Your sales leads and others want to feel and then know you know the:

  • Industry
  • Marketplace
  • Current trends

DO

You want some “do” action to take place after the sales conversation.  This could be:

  • Having the individual commit to receiving something of value such as an article or a link via email, etc.
  • Scheduling an appointment
  • Connecting on LinkedIn
  • Making a sales referral

REMEMBER

After each sales conversation, you want the other person to remember you because you have differentiated yourself. To be remembered suggests:

  • You have truly engaged the other person because you have worked with her or his feelings
  • You have imparted knowing
  • You have directly or indirectly implied some “doing” action

Now this remembering may happen after the initial meeting because you initiated some follow-up such as sending a personal handwritten note or because of your “doing” action as noted previously.

Sales Coaching Tip:  You may have to engage in more than one “Remember” action.

Sales conversations are becoming a dime a dozen especially this time of year when salespeople are scrambling to make those “dreaded” quotas.  By embracing the “feel,” “know,” “do” and “remember” verbs and reframing your sales communication, just may help you to be different, to be the Red Jacket in a sea of gray suits.

P.S. When you change your words, you will improve your sales results!

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What’s Your One Word Equity Sales Pitch?

According to Microsoft, human beings have an attention span of 8 seconds. A goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. Possibly this is one of the reasons for the one word equity sales pitch as described by Dan Pink in his book To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth in Moving Others.

sales-pitchThe one word equity sales pitch is the brain child of Maurice Saatchi who believes in this digital age brevity must be pushed to its breaking point. This one word is the word you want others to think about you and your company.  It can be a noun, an adjective or even a verb.

Saatchi provides the example of the word “search.” Who or what comes to mind.  For many that entity is Google. He contends today only brutally simple ideas get through because they “travel lighter and travel faster.”

Now the difficult part:

  • What is the one word you want others to think when thinking of you?
  • When anyone utters that word, he or she thinks of you

Recently when speaking at a conference for executive coaches, organizational and lean consultants I shared this one word equity sales pitch as an activity.  The activity was difficult. What the 30 plus participants in attendance said, it helped to bring clarity and focus to their marketing and sales messages.

One path to find this one word equity is to return to your purpose statement if you have one.  Possibly within that statement you may find that one word.  For me, the word “trailblazer” has been part of who I am and what I do.

Another path is to ask others to share with them that one word that comes to mind when thinking of you. This path may surprise you.  If the word is not to your liking, then it may make sense to re-frame your sales pitch within your marketing messages and sales conversations.

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Closed Ended Questions Are Not to Be Ignored

In sales, the emphasis on asking open ended questions continues.  Salespeople are discouraged from asking closed ended questions as this type of questioning fails to provide additional fact finding information. But is that really true?

closed-ended-questionsLast week I spoke at a conference for consultants and executive coaches,  My presentation focused on several marketing skills taken from the book To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink.  All of these skills centered around sales prospecting from the one word equity to the question sales pitch to the Pixar Story.

One of my sales pitch questions is “Are you where you want to be?” Immediately I heard from several attendees “that is a close ended question.”  I agreed with them. They in turn said “you are supposed to ask open ended questions.”

For me, a close ended question establishes a simple benchmark from which to begin asking open ended questions.  It is an indirect assessment question.

As the sales conversation continues through ongoing meetings, this type of questioning also provides the opportunity for what some call “mini-closes.”  For example, I ask “Can we have agreement, this is what I just heard?” I then repeat what I just heard. Usually the sales lead will say yes and sometimes I may have misheard what was said or the sales lead realized he or she was unclear in his or her communication. This creates additional opportunity to establish your credibility and ensure you are not walking down the wrong fact finding path.

Without closed ended questions, the salesperson could be wasting time and losing opportunities. He or she may lose a sales because of the continued focus on open ended questions.

The focus on open ended questions reminds me of the person digging in a hole.  The first action to take is to stop digging.  My sense is sometimes salespeople through open ended questions dig themselves into very deep holes.

If you want some guidance in improving your sales conversations, then reach out to me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, at 219.508.2859 TEXT or mobile (Chicago USA time) or click HERE to schedule a quick call.

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Deliver Empathetic Energy Not a Passionate Sales Pitch

Sometimes in sales, people confuse energy with passion.  What ends up happening is the passion sounds like a sales pitch.

sales-pitchWhen salespeople infuse emotional intelligence into their sales conversation, they now are delivering empathetic energy.  Empathy is a measurable talent and can be further developed through emotional intelligence as well as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Low energy does not sell.  Misplaced high energy also does not sell.

What does sell is energy that focuses on the sales lead (prospect) with a underlying caring desire.  President Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

This does not mean the salesperson must be “touchy feely.” What it does mean is to recognize that people buy from people they know and trust.  By demonstrating your knowledge and you are trustworthy, reinforces this first sales buying rule.

Of course you must believe in your solution.  However your belief, your passion must not overwhelm your ideal customer.  This is when your energy is still very visible, but is not viewed as the all too common sales pitch.

Empathetic energy can be quiet and still high.  A smile, a nod, a well placed remark all contribute to this type of sales behavior.  The goal is always to build the relationship while also demonstrating your understanding of the current situation.

Being prepared is another aspect of empathetic energy.  Anticipating what the sales lead may ask and having that document or documents ready again reflects your knowledge and credibility.

Choosing words that reinforce empathy and are not judgmental also reflects this type of energy.  Words such as think, should and especially need all contain a perception of judgment.  The last sales behavior any salesperson should strive for is verbally judging the sales lead.

In your next sales communication experience, listen to yourself.  Possibly to increase sales, you may wish to decrease the sales pitch passion and increase your empathetic energy?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps of people and process that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.

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