Category Archives: More Sales

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25 Traits of Successful Salespeople

What separates successful salespeople from everyone else? Is it their people skills? Their determination? Or is it a special combination of a range of skills and attitudes that allows some salespeople to rise above the rest?

A winning frame of mind, determination to get the very best result and a projection of self-belief to take on any situation are just some of the traits covered in this eBook.

The best salespeople will have a winning formula that will get them the outstanding results that separate them from the rest.

Use the form above to download the 25 Traits of Successful Salespeople eBook, share it on social media or print and keep it as a reminder.

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Business man holding laptop and working with virtual interface. Merge of technologies concept

Selling and Social Media

The continuing rise of social media tools has, in many ways, made our lives as salespeople so much easier. Before social media, tracking down the Sales Director of a prospect would mean a lot of leg work in the form of research, telephone contact and schedule adjusting. Now, social tools such as LinkedIn have made it easier than ever to track down potential prospects, find out more about them and utilise this to link up with them in real life.

So, why are only a slim 31% of sales reps incorporating social media into their sales process? According to a recent survey from PeopleLinx, under a third of sales reps interviewed were actively utilise social media to sell. While there will be a lot of differing opinions as to why this number was so low, the lack of social selling adoption wasn’t due to a lack of interest or perceived value. It came down to many salespeople not knowing how to best utilise social media to sell.

While salespeople can abstractly understand the need to incorporate a social element into their selling strategy, it can be difficult to know where to start. Similarly, those who may have been using social media on a regular basis may not be getting the best results possible due to a lack of training or exposure to some of the particular tips and tricks pertinent to the social media universe. In the same study by PeopleLinx, the adoption rate increased to 74% of respondents once they had been trained on how to use social media to sell. The lesson? Keeping abreast of trends doesn’t just happen, it requires time and training that allows everyone to adopt these new tools, not just the early adopters in your team.

To ensure you are in the percentile who is utilising the world of social media to sell in the most effective way you can, here are some tips to improve both your own and your team’s social media selling presence

Research the marketplace

First things first, there are a lot of different social media tools out there and all of them have great potential for the savvy salesperson. The first thing to do before you start reaching out to prospects via any social media platform is to understand what each platform does, which one/s are best suited to your market and who is utilising them the best.

A lot of the tools will seem familiar (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc), but how well do you know how they work? For example, Facebook is one of the best arenas for business to consumer sales. By comparison, LinkedIn is one of the best tools to use if you are looking to make business to business contacts. While some of these markets will cross over, you need to understand if this is true for your industry, your product or service and your way of reaching the people who matter most to your business.

When picking your platform, it’s all about knowing where your prospects are spending the most time and then directing the majority of your efforts intelligently and consistently towards that direction.

Focus on creating a solid base

Apart from a few noteworthy exceptions, achieving social media success doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with honing in on your fundamentals and building solidly upon them.

Depending on the platform you are using to ultimately sell on, this may mean building upon the number of your followers through the use of engaging content, or using your existing network in the real world to increase your virtual network through colleagues of colleagues or organisations you wish to be affiliated with. This process can take a while to get set in motion and can appear at times to be an uphill battle. However, by continuing to consistently build your foundation you will have a higher response rate when your messages regarding sales do eventually start going out. Once your network feels they know you, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Connect wherever and whenever you can

Making as many meaningful connections as possible is essential both in the building your social media presence and the utilising it for sales reasons.

Regularly conduct a search into what is happening in your industry. Investigate what your competitors and clients are saying about developments that are on the horizon. Take a leap forward and put out your own original material to position yourself as an industry thought leader.

Being able to read the social landscape and have an informed opinion on goings on within it is essential to connecting meaningfully to as many potential long term clients as you possibly can. If you consistently share good content with your social networks, it can easily spread to other peripheral networks, increasing your visibility and the visibility of what you are selling.

See the platform as a two way conversation

Once you are connected to your prospects and market, don’t immediately bombard people with your message and your pitches. Instead, take the time to read what they are putting out into the social media atmosphere and find ways to start a genuine conversation with your networks.

Commenting on your prospects posts, retweeting their messages or answering questions put out into the ether by your networks will build upon your relationship with them. Perhaps the most important thing for salespeople to remember when utilising social media in their larger selling strategy is to develop relationships more than they develop leads. Good relationships will turn into solid leads.

Determined to be the best salesperson you can be? Enrol in LMA’s The Sales Edge course and stretch your skills with colleagues and peers.

Reconnecting-With-Your-Market

Reconnecting With Your Market

In an age when the ubiquity of email, social media, meeting invites, conferences and trade shows seems overwhelming, it is more important than ever to connect meaningfully and consistently with your target market.

Despite the fact that there are these options and more to connect and reconnect you with your current and potential customers, more and more businesses are seeing a lull in the engagement with their core base of contacts. What is the most effective way to keep your market engaged? How do you stand out from the rest and maintain an ongoing conversation with the people who keep your business alive?

While there is no one way to connect or reconnect with your market base, there are a few key actions that can be applied to your communications with those who make your business what it is. Before you jump in and take on all or just one of these actions, take time to understand what it is your customers look for when engaging with you and your brand. While there will be similarities between brands and businesses, it is important to understand what people are really looking for from you so you don’t waste precious resources on actions you don’t need to be doing.

Survey your market

One of the easiest ways to eliminate the risk of miscommunication that is involved with a lot of initial marketing strategies is to survey your existing clients to find out more about what they expect from you. Once your customers’ needs are known, you can steer your offerings towards filling these needs. They are also a great tool to bring in prospective or hot leads who are on the fence about a product or service. By offering prospective sales a chance to have a say, and even receive a discount upon completion, you are offering them the opportunity to state their concerns before buying and you have gained insight into how to best finalise that sale.

You can create any type of survey quickly and easily using various software available for download from the internet. Try Survey Monkey and find out how easy it is to find out what your customers are looking for from you.

Utilise newsletters

If you have the capability to send out a newsletter, then you should be doing this on a semi-regular basis. A high quality newsletter will have quality, easy-to-read information that speaks to the interests and concerns of the audience you are sending it to. The reader should be able to ascertain in a number of seconds what the theme of your newsletter is, what useful articles are within it and what links they wish to follow for further reading.

Don’t forget to make your newsletter social media friendly! Include pivotal share buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ wherever appropriate. You never know when a customer sharing a particular link online will lead to your next prospect.

There are plenty of cost-effective email marketing tools available including MailChimp and Campaign Monitor. Start by investigating the capabilities that are out there that you can use to speak more effectively to your client base.

Blog about it

Blogs (like this one) are an excellent way to stay in front of your customers and on their radar. An active blog will keep your customers not only reading it, but also hopefully engaging and responding to the material you put up there. It creates a positive flow of communication and assists in making your customers feel more of a part of what you do day-to-day.

Send personalised correspondence

Sending timely emails is one thing, but it is another to engage with your customers in a more meaningful and one-on-one basis. Getting something physical in the mail is becoming such a thing of the past that it can be used to jolt a different type of response from your customer base. Sending a personalised reminder of their membership lapsing if you have such a program can generate a much more engaged response than a mass email send out. Similarly, receiving a card from you on the anniversary of when they became a client of yours or any other special occasion will let them know that you have put thought and effort into the correspondence, making them feel valued.

Go mobile

Converse to the mail in the letterbox is the SMS direct to the phone. Almost everyone is carrying some type of mobile device around on them, making it the perfect way to communicate to busy clients who may not have the time or inclination to read through their cluttered email correspondence. The use of SMS/text messages is instant, cost effective and tried and tested.

Empower your salespeople

Empowering your salespeople doesn’t stop at encouraging them to finalise the next sale – it includes everything from training, to the integration of technology into their approach all the way through to going above and beyond in their customer service. A lot of the work to do with your salespeople will come down to talent management of the people who truly believe in what you do and sell. Much of the resource management will come down to the ability they have to contact your customer base and provide real-time information that answers their questions and keeps them coming back again and again. Ensuring that you are organised and equipped to field any query that may come your or your salespeople’s way is pivotal to maintaining a true level of trust in what you do.

If you and your top people are looking to gain more insight into how to remain ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive marketplace, investigate your options for further training and development.

Personal Contact

There is nothing like the human touch! While it is very important to maintain contact with your clients/customers via correspondence, very little compares to actually scheduling a meeting to reconnect. Identify your key clients – understand their purchasing habits, revisit their motives for working with you and remind yourself of why it is that they are your clients. Chances are that one of the key reasons is the relationship you have with each other.

Strengthen this relationship by taking time to meet with your clients on a reasonably regular basis. As so few people are doing this, you will stand out from the crowd.

What Can Reality TV Teach Us About Making a Great Pitch?

Ever since it dropped onto our screens ten odd years ago, the existence of reality TV has permeated many parts of our daily lives. We have related to the characters, have become absorbed in the various (semi-real) story lines and have eagerly awaited the next week’s shenanigans.

While it all may seem slightly trivial and purely superficial at times, there is often a streak of the genuine and engaging that not only keeps us coming back for more but teaches us a lot about how we present ourselves to others, both successfully and unsuccessfully.

From the seemingly unending stream of American Idol or indeed Australian Idol contestants and winners, much could be gleaned from a talent management perspective. For example, over the years  when the show was at its peak it became clear that the obviously qualified and safe candidate was not always the best person to hire. Solid, competent singers with long histories in the industry were often outshone by the underdog, the untrained master coming into their own.

The phenomenon of MasterChef brought with it a separate set of lessons about creativity, and being prepared for anything. Being asked to create something from scratch that you may have never done before, with potentially unknown ingredients, and all at break neck speed and with the certainty of assessment by your peers at the end is something we can all relate to in one form another. From each of the contestants comes a lesson about attitude: you can either rise to the challenge, or throw in the towel and walk away the lesser for it.

Based on the worldwide television series format Dragon’s Den that originally aired in Japan, Shark Tank sees aspiring entrepreneur contestant make business presentations to a panel of potential or ‘shark’ investors. For the contestant, the formula to have investors grappling for your product can seem simple, namely have a great idea and present it to a group of willing people for investment. In practice however, successfully presenting an idea to a market of investors can prove to be a real art form.

At the heart of the show is the premise that if the entrepreneur can empirically prove that a business service or product has proven market traction in a large market, the five investors will be fighting to get in line to be the first backer. The flip side, if the idea is deemed as an unworthy, the entrepreneurs idea is denied any investment from the ‘sharks’ and is sent back into the ocean of potential ideas from hence it came.

For entrepreneurs, or indeed anyone who is required to make presentations on a regular basis, there is a lot to be learnt from Shark Tank. Namely, how to put your best foot forward and get the undivided attention of your audience:

  • Get Your Elevator Pitch Right

Much of the impact you will make in any presentation will be done in the first few minutes, even the first 10 seconds. This is true of your word choice, your body language and your energy level. For the best possible result, make sure you have your elevator pitch down to a sentence long. Ensure that you can summarise quickly and succinctly what it is you are proposing, and why you are passionate about it.

  • Be Clear and Have Conviction

Some ideas on Shark Tank have been flatly laughed out of the room for either appearing to be flimsy, lacking in clarity or being just plain unfeasible. To make sure people around you aren’t having similar thoughts about your idea, ensure that you are clear about every aspect of what you are proposing. With clarity in your own thinking will come the conviction you need to convince others of the value of what you are proposing. The slightest sense of doubt you have in yourself will often be seen and felt ten times over by those you are pitching to.

  • Do Your Homework and Know Your Audience

Before you present any idea, be sure you know who you are presenting to. This means knowing more than just their title and what they do. Make the effort to learn more about their history, what they value and what gets them engaged. The more you do your homework and garner a greater understanding of who you are presenting to, the more you will be able to tailor-make your presentation to speak directly to them. Remember, different people care about different things. Knowing this and knowing who is in your audience will mean that you will be able to deliver the best and most customised version of your presentation you can.

  • Speak to Specifics, Not Just Generalities

Each entrepreneur walking up to greet the sharks have gone to varying lengths to prepare their presentation. Some are all flash and no substance, while others go the extra mile and spend a lot of extra time fine tuning their presentations to be visually appealing, while also having the substance to back it up. You could turn up with the best idea in the world, but be let down by a poor presentation that lacked the substance and detail needed to get you over the line. Spend a lot of time on your presentation and know it inside and out. Be able to answer any questions you may be presented with not only with vague generalities, but with specific details and logical reasoning.

  • Listen Up and Learn

Perhaps the most valuable part of making presentations is in the feedback you will receive with each one you complete. Regardless of whether you sink or swim, there are valuable lessons to be learnt along the way from those you are presenting to. If you are lucky, your audience will freely give feedback and will provide you with insights that you can carry on into your next venture. In some cases, you may have to press a little bit more to get the answers you are looking for regarding feedback. Be persistent but not too pushy, and learn as much as you can from each venture you pitch.

Read through LMA’s free resource 6 tips for effective communication before heading into any high pressure presentation situation. Print this poster out, share it on social media and keep it as a reminder.

sales-persuasive

Upping Your Sales Game: Be Persuasive, Not Pushy

Even if you have been in a sales position for a while and are comfortable with what it takes to close a deal, you may still stop and ask yourself ‘Am I being too pushy?’

If you have ever had this moment of self-questioning, don’t worry you aren’t alone. Even the most accomplished sales leaders have asked themselves questions about their selling technique before. The good news is, being in sales doesn’t mean you have to feel you have to push customers into deals they don’t want or need.

You can sell without being pushy, and without underhanded tactics. Curious how you can change your thinking on the issue? Read on.

Make a genuine connection with your customers

A lot of what makes a good salesperson comes down to identifying a real need in your customer and being able to genuinely sell them something that will add value to their business and their life. However, you won’t be able to ascertain what this need is until you make a personal and meaningful connection with them on an individual level.

Learn to see beyond the concept of ‘selling’ something to your next prospect. Instead, aim to solve an issue or foster a passion that the customer has. By ensuring you have made a real connection you may have just secured a customer for life.

Share what you know

Many people are so used to being ‘sold’ to that they have forgotten how to listen when an answer to a real need is being presented to them. By sharing your personal experience with a customer you are helping to open their ears so they can hear what you are telling them: it worked for me, and it can work for you too.

You’ll seem more confident and self-assured if you can offer your customer a glimpse of what you’re selling, especially if you approach it as a secret being shared among a lucky few. Remember to keep it professional, but add a bit of the personal element to your sales pitch and see how your customers respond.

Tell a story, secure a sale

As human beings we love a good narrative. Our lives are built on telling and hearing stories. Introducing this approach into how you generate leads and secure sales can be the difference between your customer hearing boring facts and being inspired by the story. When presenting an issue similar to the one being experienced by your customer, immediately follow it up with a solution that worked for someone who was in their position.

Remember, many people are visual learners. Help get them to see the story from start to finish to create a picture that is comprehensive and complete. Just make sure you clearly indicate how the product/service you are selling changed the outcome of the story for the better.

Learn and train yourself to deal with stalls and objections

Naturally, even the best salesperson doesn’t always get a ‘yes’ on their first attempt. Often times the prospective client offers an objection – which is really a request for more information. Sometimes the prospect can stall or delay making a decision – which is really when he/she is looking for reassurance.

Skilled salespeople see both stalls and objections as opportunities to help the client buy their product/service with more knowledge and confidence in their decision.

Learn to accept and learn from your ‘no’s’

You’ve done the hard yards, listened to your prospects needs, weaved a tale of how what you have to offer is the answer they are looking for. Finally, you produce the offer and ask for their go ahead, deal with any objections and/or stalls, only to hear that the response is a ‘no’. Instead of retreating in defeat, remember that it is absolutely OK. You are never going to be able to maintain a perfect sales score, it just isn’t possible.

However, you can learn invaluable lessons from each ‘no’ you receive. Be aware of the body language of your prospect and note when their attention started to fade. Ask them, politely, why it is they have decided not to purchase. And finally, leave them with your details. You never know who may change their minds and when.

From satisfied to enthusiastic customers

From satisfied to enthusiastic customers

What kind of customers do you want? How do you want your customers to feel toward you and your product? If you are like most people, your response is probably “satisfied.”

Well, you’re wrong! You don’t want your customers to just be “satisfied.” A “satisfied” customer is one who feels he/she received what they paid for. No more, no less.

The difference is simple but invaluable. While satisfied customers feel they received what they paid for, enthusiastic customers feel they received more than they paid for. Enthusiastic customers tell everyone how great it is to do business with you.

And, they show their appreciation by giving you repeat business and quality referrals. Enthusiastic customers will make you wealthy!

So, how do you get your customers to be enthusiastic? Fortunately, the answers are simple but they demand your attention to small details. The key factor in whether a customer is satisfied or enthusiastic is not in your product, but lies rather in your service toward that product. Always remember the definition:

“An enthusiastic customer is one who feels they have received more than they paid for!”

Here are 5 keys that are necessary in the enthusiastic customer process:

Key 1: You must be enthusiastic – attitude is everything. Be the kind of person people want to do business with. Be energetic. Get excited about your product and service. No one will continue doing business with a person who lacks enthusiasm.

Key 2: Never forget a customer and never let a customer forget you! Don’t assume that a customer remembers who you are simply because they have bought your product. In fact, if you assume anything, assume that the person has totally forgotten you immediately after he/she said, “Okay, I’ll buy.” Maintain high visibility with each and every customer.

Key 3: Set yourself and your customer up to win by knowing before you even begin what results will be required in order for you to do more business with this company or individual. Simply stated, find out what it will take to make the person enthusiastic.

Remember, if the customer is enthusiastic about your product, you have an enthusiastic customer.

Key 4: “Perception is all there is.”- Tom Peters. No matter how good you feel your results are, no matter how much benefit the person tells you they have received, no matter how much documentation you have to support your results, unless the customer perceives (sees in their own mind) that your product produced results, it all means nothing. Interestingly enough, even mediocre results will produce repeat business if the decision maker perceives your product and service to be valuable.

Key 5: Keep it simple! Don’t complicate your product by adding unnecessary steps and procedures. Your customer didn’t buy instructions, procedures, raw materials, etc. They bought desired results. You simply use your product to help them get what they want. Keep it simple.

The difference in long term growth for your business between enthusiastic customers and satisfied customers is enormous. Make a commitment today to develop your customers to be enthusiastic about your product, your service, and you. You will then have the “slight edge” working for you!

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6 qualities all top salespeople share

6 qualities all top salespeople share

What separates successful sales people from everyone else? Is it their people skills? Their determination?

Leadership Management Australasia (LMA) has been at the forefront of people development for over four decades, in that time we have spotted six qualities successful salespeople all share. These qualities are either missing or not completely developed in people who are not yet considered top level salespeople.

  1. Focus

All top salespeople have an unswerving singleness of purpose. They are 100% committed to their chosen pursuit. The reason for this is they have an unbridled enthusiasm for what they do. They absolutely love it.

They do not even consider work as work, it is play to them. Their vocation is actually their vacation. This enables them to be macro-thinkers or big-picture seers. In other words, they are able to see long-term, see the total picture, and they do not get bogged down in details.

  1. Integrity

Top salespeople understand that success in business comes from establishing trust with prospects and clients. This trust only comes if the person believes totally in what they do. Top performers, almost to a fault, are congruent in their words, beliefs and actions. They use their own products. They are their own best client. They walk the talk. They do what they say they will do.

  1. Service

This could also be called win-win relationships. Top salespeople understand that for future success, it is absolutely critical that their clients are happy. To do this, top performers do three things:

  • They study their clients’ businesses – Top salespeople learn the language, they learn the problems, they learn the challenges, they learn the competitors, and they learn the dynamics. They know their clients’ businesses almost as well as the client.
  • Top salespeople are masters at asking questions to find out if and how they can help prospective clients. Top performers understand that the client will show them what they need and how they want to buy, if they only ask the right questions.
  • Top salespeople under-promise and over-deliver. They make sure that everything they commit to is done and then some. Their goal is not a satisfied client, but an absolutely excited, happy, thrilled and over­joyed client.
  1. Relationships
Subscribe-banner-vertical_salesTop salespeople understand that they are not selling products, they are creating relationships. Top salespeople know in their hearts that their success is determined by the quality of these relationships. Consequently, they network, they seek referrals and they constantly build up their relationships. They turn clients into centres of influence who become ambassadors for their business. They measure their success not by their bank accounts but by the size of their client and prospect list.

  1. Work smarter not harder

Top salespeople understand that it takes a lot of hard work to succeed at anything. They also work very smart. But they understand that they cannot rationalise hard work away just by saying they are going to work smarter. Top salespeople develop and follow a system. They also keep very detailed and accurate records and statistics on their activities and results. Top performers pay the price.

  1. Continuous Improvement

Top salespeople are never totally satisfied with their performance. They are always looking for ways to constantly invest in themselves. They study their industry. They always set goals to beat their best. They are always working on ways to improve the system – not to change the system, but to improve it, to optimise it, to maximise it, to multiply it. Top salespeople are a lot like ducks; they look very calm and smooth on the surface, but underneath they are paddling like the world is coming to an end.

Take the time to look at these six qualities and rank yourself from one to ten on each. Find out what qualities are missing or lacking and set a goal to improve in these areas.

Make a decision now to be a top salesperson. Make a decision now to fully commit to your dreams, goals and aspirations.

The effective communication checklist

Effective communication helps us better understand a person or situation and enables us to resolve differences.
It also allows us to build trust and respect, and create environments where creative ideas, problem solving, affection, and caring can flourish.

The goal is to develop trust

  • Trust is the foundation of all good relationships and friendships.
  • Trust in other team members is the cornerstone of high performance within the team.

Learn to listen

  • “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
  • We all have two ears and one mouth – use them accordingly.

Seek to understand the other person’s point of view

  • What is their goal?
  • Your endeavours should result in mutual understanding, this does not necessarily mean agreeing with the other person, rather it’s appreciating and respecting their situation or point of view.

Focus your communication on the goal

  • Discuss “how things can be done” rather than “why they can’t”.
  • Don’t focus on problems or obstacles, focus on solutions to overcome them.

Handle conflict immediately

  • Use differing opinions as stepping stones to clearer communication.
  • Resolve conflict early and constructively.

Make communication a top priority

  • Set goals and take action to improve your communication.

Do you need to develop your communication skills? LMA offers a number of courses that develop and refine this much needed skill, click here to view LMA’s courses.