‘Tis the Season

The holiday season is a great time to experience just about every level of sales quality when we hit the malls. Obviously we are not going to expect the same level of training resources for most retail and seasonal salespeople that we would in the business to business environment, but it is still worthwhile to pay attention to preparation and, most of all, attitudes.

In making the rounds over the weekend, I loved dealing with the young kids who are working for a few weeks through the season. These are the kids that need the money and I had watched them earlier in the year filling out applications and heading into managers’ offices for interviews.

Nothing against the richer kids, but how much stronger are these people going to be when it comes time to go after a full-time job?

Anyway, for the most part, these seasonal employees came ready to play. They approached me immediately, almost always knew where to find what I was looking for, and usually had a decent grasp of the products they were representing.

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It’s a Numbers Game

Research shows that numbers have 10X more impact than words in the context of a sales conversation.

That is obviously a huge incentive for you to convert as many benefits of your products and services as you can into numbers you can communicate at key moments.

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Black Friday and What it Can Teach Us as Salespeople

It was not that long ago when Thanksgiving weekend was all about family, turkey and football and the concept of Black Friday – the manic shopping day after Thanksgiving – did not even exist. Oh sure, people might head over to the mall and start doing some Christmas shopping, but it was a far cry from the institution and media phenomenon that exists today.

So, how were the retailers able to drum up this feeding frenzy?

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It’s a Blast

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In their book (which is great by the way), “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing,” authors Al Ries and Jack Trout make a great point when they state:
 

“You have to BLAST your way into someone else’s mind!”

 
Think about that for a moment. Buyers are bombarded with marketing and sales from all sides. Almost all of it is mediocre or average in terms of making a real impression or turning their heads. The amount of noise and clutter is astronomical these days.
 
So, how can you break through all that and “blast your way into someone else’s mind?” Read More

One Technique to Get to “Yes”

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We have all been in situations in which we know the buyer wants to pull the trigger, and the outcome will be good for everyone, but he cannot quite overcome his fear of making a mistake.
 
Here is a technique to help move toward closure. It goes something like this. Read More

How Pros Connect the Dots

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There is a very successful Realtor I know who sells high-end second homes in a fashionable resort community. It is well-documented that the vacation home market is under severe pressure, but, of course, that is when the talent in the industry shows its stuff.
 
Here is an example. Read More

Expert Advice

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What is your specialty?
 
The reason that I ask is because customers love to buy from specialists. That is, from people they believe are absolute experts in a given area in which the buyer has a high degree of interest.
 
Doctors are great examples. If we are told, God forbid, that we may need to have a quadruple bypass, the chances are that we are not going to seek out just any doctor’s advice. We are going to try to find the best heart specialist we can . . . someone who can convince us that he/she has great knowledge and expertise about open-heart surgery.
 
A more mundane example: Read More

Don’t Waste Your Expensive Brochures

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Yesterday I received a very expensive brochure in the mail, almost magazine quality. It was beautifully designed with striking colors and even wrapped in a transparent wrapper. I was impressed . . . so impressed that I tossed it into the garbage without removing the wrapper. 
 
I know that you do the same, every day, at home and at work.
 
This is not a knock on brochures. Most of us use such important collateral material all the time in the course of our direct mail marketing and as leave behinds at meetings. 
 
But here is the difference. Read More

Be Aware of Weak Links

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I recently sold some stock and wanted to put the cash into one of the best known, and highly rated banks in the country.  The amount of cash was not insignificant.
 
I called the number of the local branch in my community.  But rather than reaching someone at the branch, the number channeled me into a central call bank. 
 
Here’s what happened . . .
 
Call Center: “Can I help you?”

Me: “Yes.  I want to talk to someone about moving some money to your bank.”

Call Center: “What?”

Me: “I want to talk to someone about some of your investment vehicles.”

Call Center: “Do you mean you want to talk to a banker?”

Me: (I paused for a second.)  “That’s the general idea.”

Call Center: “Hold please.”  (30-second pause). Read More

Don’t Forget Your Alma Mater

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Some of the most compelling marketing and sales techniques are now being developed in what was once the sleepy backwaters of the not-for-profit world, and leading that revolution are college and university alumni associations.
 
You have probably noticed an uptick in the frequency and quality of information you have received from your Alma Mater. You can thank technology for that dynamic as the universities deploy ever more sophisticated search and communications methods to keep track of and stimulate their alumni.
 
So here is a question for you as salespeople. Read More

Objection Overruled

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A price objection is a challenge of value. Value must be proven with facts.
 
When a price objection is raised, we need a crisp, solid command of the benefits that justify our price, including indirect benefits like time saved, spill over impact, compounded impact going forward, etc.
 
A price objection is no time for puffery. Get to the facts and hit them . . . hard! 
 
And remember, a buyer will not bring up price unless he is interested enough to care, so while a bit counterintuitive, price objections should be interpreted as a positive signal that the buyer wants to be closed.

Turning a Problem into an Opportunity

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Have you ever had a situation when you were the customer, a problem occurred, stress was running high and the service provider stepped up and solved the problem?
 
A classic is when you show up at a hotel and they do not have your room reservation, so after a bit of conferencing they not only find you a room but upgrade you for your trouble. We tend to forget they caused the problem in the first place, and remember how they came through for us in the clutch.
 
We can learn a lot from these kinds of scenarios to apply to the sell side. Read More

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