Common Sales Mistakes – Part 4 of 6

Be sure to take notes so you can refer back to important information

Probably one of the simplest things, yet one which many people fail to do. You should be taking notes during any conversation with a prospect; noting down things like date and time of call, who you spoke with, when you have agreed to call back and who you need to speak with. Collecting information and being able to refer back to it will help make your job easier, keep you organised and provide evidence of your professionalism. Continue reading

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Common Sales Mistakes – Part 3 of 6

Not showing prospects the investment you’ve made in winning their business

Before you can expect a prospect to make an investment in buying your products or services you must show them that you have made a similar (if not greater) investment in winning their business. A salesperson who fails to show how much they value that prospect’s business can’t expect much success. Continue reading

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Common Sales Mistakes – Part 2 of 6

Not properly understanding your customers’ needs

Not understanding the actual needs of your customers or prospects is a fundamental mistake. This usually results when people make assumptions about what their customers need or value most. The best way to prevent these sorts of assumptions from occurring is to speak with your customers frequently – and remember to listen to what they say. Continue reading

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Common Sales Mistakes – Part 1 of 6

Failure to appreciate the need to actively look for new business

One of the first mistakes people can make regarding sales is failing to appreciate the need to prospect for new business. Many people adopt the position ‘we don’t need more customers, we have all the work we can handle’ or ‘I’m not comfortable cold-calling and it’s never successful anyway.’ These are not sufficient excuses to neglect developing your customer base. Continue reading

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Four strategies for cutting your to-do list in half (article by Michael Hyatt)

Michael Hyatt’s revelations below about time management are very easy to appreciate, and the ‘Two Minute Rule’ from David Allen is a real gem – and so simple I kick myself for not doing this sooner. But I suppose when we’re all ‘so busy’ and caught up in ‘doing’ things, we forget to wonder about the ‘why’ or ‘how’ of what we’re doing.

I think the two most important pieces from Michael’s article is making a decision and acting on it – immediately – and setting time limits. The statement that actions will expand into the time we have allotted for them is so true. And if we fail to consciously limit the time we allow certain things to take, we run the risk that those things will expand to fill all of our available time.

Read Michael Hyatt’s article below and see if his suggestions for improving how you manage your time might have a positive impact on your own productivity. Enjoy.

Four strategies for cutting your to-do list in half

Whenever I ask a friend how they are doing, they inevitably respond, “Busy. Crazy busy.” It seems like all of us have more to do that we can possibly get done.

One of the most helpful time management principles I’ve ever found is David Allen’s Two-Minute Rule. The basic concept is that you take immediate action on anything that can be done in two minutes or less. This is the key to becoming more productive.

To implement this, you should do these kinds of actions NOW. Why? Because it will take longer than two minutes to add the action to your to-do list, organize it, get back up to speed later, and complete the task.

Instead of going through that whole rigmarole, you just do it and move on to the next task. It is a huge productivity booster. And it will keep your to-do lists much shorter.

In addition to the two-minute rule, here are four strategies for cutting your to-do list in half:

  1. Understand the five basic decisions. With any given input (email message, physical inbox item, etc.), there are only five actions you can take:
    • You can DO it by taking action now yourself.
    • You can DELEGATE it to someone else who is better qualified or has the bandwidth.
    • You can DEFER (or schedule) it to do later.
    • You can FILE it for later reference.
    • You can DELETE it and forget about it.
  2. Make a decision and then act. This is the most important part—make a decision. Most of the decisions you and I make are not that consequential. You can afford to be wrong occasionally. It is better to make a decision and move on than waste precious time trying to get it right. (Obviously, I am not talking about big decisions that require significant risk or investment.)
  3. Don’t second-guess yourself. This is unproductive. You can spend an inordinate amount of time questioning your decisions. What is past is past. Let it go. Don’t get bogged down in “the paralysis of analysis.” Learn what you can and keeping moving. Like someone once observed, “It is easier to steer a moving car than one that is parked.”
  4. Set a time-limit. Parkinson’s Law states: “work expands to the time allotted for it.” For example, I may go online right before lunch, say 11:00 a.m. I then give myself 30 minutes to process the emails that have accumulated since I checked earlier that morning. On average, I can go through 70 emails in this amount of time. The deadline helps me be more productive.

You will get better with practice. Consciously try to implement this principle. Nike got it right with their slogan: “Just do it!” This applies to task management as well. Ready, set, go!

Question: How many items are currently on your to-do list? How many could you have eliminated if you had just taken the action when it first appeared?

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Buyer beware – What sounds like a good idea sometimes isn’t

Lately I have been doing a lot of research for one of my clients – mostly on various online marketing or promotional opportunities they have been aproached with. My client wanted to know if the opportunities were worthwhile and represented good value for money – and whether they would generate a reasonable return.

I would advise that you evaluate these sorts of opportunities with an open mind. That’s not to say with unbridled enthusiasm and

One was an opportunity to join an exclusive online advisory panel positioned as ‘preferred’ suppliers for a particular target audience. It would provide fairly exclusive access as part of a limited group of suppliers which the referrer would direct prequalified enquiries to. They infer those enquiries would be substantial given the high traffic to their website (without actually suggesting how many relevant enquiries that traffic may generate).

The other was for a professional services (accountants, solicitors, surveyors, etc) review website which claimed to offer broader exposure online due to their high traffic. Combined with independent vetting of professional qualifications and impartial customer reviews, the mode is similar to sites dedicated to providing impartial reviews of tradespeople (which have proven successful).

In theory, both opportunities could provide increased exposure to my client’s target audiences. However, both opportunities came with a rather hefty price tag. I was asked to look into each and evaluate their merits.

The obvious selling point for both opportunities was their supposed high volume of traffic and new visitors to their respective websites every month. Their greatest benefit to customers is the increased exposure and potential for new enquiries. However, I am not inclined to believe a salesperson’s claims – especially in the absence of specific figures or supporting evidence.

It’s nothing personal – I don’t only mistrust salespeople – but I recognise they are inclined to present their products and services in the most positive and beneficial terms. They make all sorts of claims; some claims are valid and can be substantiated, and others are less reliable.

 

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Selling services is different from selling products

Selling the invisible can be harder than selling a physical product.

If you are a service-based business then the ability to sell is vital to your long-term success.  Selling professional services is however different to selling products.  You are selling your experience and skills in the form of billable time.  It requires operating on a higher selling level.

The person responsible for selling that service must have a focused mindset, in-depth knowledge and the skill to clearly articulate the value of the service and transmute what is often a “reluctant-but-necessary” purchase into hard cash.

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Raise your profile

Raising your profile

Reputation is very important! Think about your last significant or expensive purchase.

How did you decide what to buy? If you’re like most people, you probably made your decision based on the reputation of the brand or organisation.

Now imagine you’re the company that is trying to build a powerful reputation. How do you establish that reputation to meet your projected sales targets?

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Don’t confuse your offer, have one clear and consistent message

Have you ever tried to listen to two conversations simultaneously? You might be able to hear them, but can you really listen and process the information?

It’s hard to do, isn’t it? So why is it that some businesses try to communicate more than one message to their customers? Do they believe that their customers are able to process multiple messages? Will their customers be able to sift through all that information and find the most important and relevant elements for themselves?

Prospective customers are more likely to choose the business that’s communicating one consistent and clear message which is relevant to them. Customers want to believe that the business is focused on their interests and committed to satisfying their needs – they want to have faith that the business is concentrating its efforts on doing that one thing as well as it possibly can.

How can a customer feel confident if a business is communicating several different messages? Is the business confused about what it is offering? Does it understand what it is meant to be doing for its customers? Does that business lack focus and commitment – is it trying to do too many things for too many people (and doing none of them particularly well)?

A business should concentrate on communicating one consistent and clear message to its customers. If what that business wants to say to its customers can’t be distilled down to one clear message then it will only serve to confuse and distract them. It will likely be too complex or too vague and lack any convincing clarity or focus. And as we are aware already, with all that’s being said by so many businesses, one clear, concise and distinct message which is focused and relevant will be far more effective at catching your customer’s interest.

If you’d like to learn more about how to communicate effectively with your customers, contact me

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Crafting a successful offer

A good offer, which is compelling, persuasive and leaves the recipient with a clear notion of what they must do, can make all of the difference in the overall effectiveness of your direct marketing.

In order to craft these highly productive offers, here are the elements which should be considered:

  1. Your offer should feature something new (product, service, price etc)
  2. Your offer should feature a sale price or special discounted rate
  3. Your offer should feature a bonus gift (free report, discount code, extra level of service etc) for purchasing, registering, repsonding, visiting
  4. Your offer should feature a time limit to encourage prompt responses (you want to create a sense of urgency)
  5. Your offer should feature a clear call to action for the recipient (‘call now to claim your…’, ‘register your details online with the offer code to…’, ‘follow us and like our page to…’)

The best offers include several of these elements. Think about how else you can improve your next offer to your existing and propspective customers – make sure it is clear what you are asking them to do to take advantage of the offer and put a time limit on it to encourage them to act promptly whilst it’s still fresh in their mind.

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