Trade Show Tales

May 22, 2008 at 5:59 pm | Posted in Branding, Customer Service, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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I spoke at the HIA Business Expo today. It’s the largest business expo on LI (3500+ attendees; 350+ booths) and it is always a good show. Today was no exception. Check it out (www.hia-li.org).

My panel included Marshall Makstein (www.eslide.com), Laura Allen (15secondpitch.com) and Jennifer Shaheen (www.technologytherapy.com). Our topic “40 Ideas in 40 Minutes: How to Transform Your Business” seemed right on target for our audience and the feedback was terrific. In fact, we’ve discussed taking this presentation “on the road” so if you happen to belong to (or know) an organization that is looking for a kick-butt, highly informative and overall fun presentation, give me a holler.

Overall….a fun and worthwhile day.

It Might Be Getting Warm Out but Use ICE to Increase Your Sales

May 20, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Customer Service, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business, technology | Leave a comment

Did you know that “ICE” can help you turn a cold lead into a hot sale? This easy to remember acronym maps out the most effective way to work with a new prospect? Yes, it’s that simple. Regardless if you’re selling high ticket products or professional services, remembering to use “ICE” will help guide you through the sales process. What do the letters signify?

 

I is for Investigate

Start by performing the necessary due diligence to determine if a prospect is sales worthy and qualified. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions needed to weed out those not qualified or pursue those that have potential. This “investigation” can be accomplished with a pre-prospecting call or even during your initial contact with a prospect. Remember, gathering this information isn’t intrusive. Rather, it’s the only way to avoid wasting your time on those that can’t or won’t buy from you.

 

C is for Convert

After you’ve determined that a prospect has the potential to buy, pull out your sales techniques and skills and convert them into a client.  Use the information that you’ve acquired during your “investigation” to tailor your presentation to their needs, and don’t forget to ask for the sale.

 

E is for Expand

Don’t let a sale be the end of your contact with a client. Consider other opportunities for more business. Try cross-selling and upselling the full plethora of products and services that are applicable to a client. Ask for referrals and offer contacts that might be helpful to them. Keep an open line of communication with the client after the sale and focus on repeat business. It’s always easier and less costly to sell to an existing customer than to pursue a new one.  

Lawyers Have it Tough

May 13, 2008 at 7:00 am | Posted in Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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Lawyers have a tough time. There are scads of them (well, here in New York anyway) and the ability to differentiate is oftentimes problematic. The large firms have marketing departments that assist with marketing/branding the firm; small firms and solos need to rely on “marketing by committee” and there’s where things often fall apart.

Business is tight these days and the need to get and stay noticed is imperative. Still, lawyers did not go to school to become proficient at marketing.

What to do?  Call Paramjit Mahli (http://www.suncommunicationsgroup.com/) and let her fabulous company help you out.  (And hey, if you’re not a lawyer and you’re reading this, make certain to tell your lawyer friends. They’ll thank you for it!)

And while I’m talking about lawyers….after the PR has started and the marketing dance is in full swing, a few sales thoughts for the taking:

I’m here to ask you, specifically and simply: HOW are you in business?

What are you like?  Are you pleasant?  Are you responsive?  Are you fair?  Do you demonstrate in HOW you are in business, that you care about helping people with whatever solution you provide?  Do you give your clients a reason to be glad that they do business with you?  Would YOU buy from you?

Here’s the thing: business culture today is so focused on the target/goal/objective, that the means of achieving those ends — the HOW of business — is often an afterthought.  In fact, sometimes, the HOW is not thought of at all, and so becomes utterly subjugated, sacrificed and snuffed out in relentless — arguably obsessive — pursuit of the bottom line and exclusively measurable outcomes. The HOW becomes nothing but a necessary evil between you and the WHY.  And like all necessary evils, you treat it with resistance, contempt and disdain (experienced life at the DMV lately?).

 

HAVE A GREAT DAY.

How to Convert More Business

May 8, 2008 at 9:41 am | Posted in Customer Service, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business, technology | Leave a comment
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As a salesperson, it’s always helpful to have a long list of prospects. However, if you don’t have a well thought out plan for converting them into customers, you are simply setting yourself up for failure. A low conversion rate is a common problem for salespeople, but one that is correctable with understanding the steps to take through the entire sales process. These steps are easily implemented with little or no cost and can make a tremendous difference in converting a higher percentage of prospects into customers.

 

 

Pick Suspects with Care

Not all prospects are created equal, and it’s best to think of them as suspects until they are screened and qualified. This is a fact that seems obvious, but is often forgotten. The reality is that it’s very easy to jump into selling mode, and mistakenly waste time dealing with someone who will never become a customer. Without a process for assessing the potential of a prospect, you are rolling the dice. You might get a customer, but more likely you’re going to get someone who will take your time and not offer anything in return.

 

Categorize Prospects

When you have multiple prospects, it can be a challenge to keep tabs on where each one is in the selling process. A touch point management strategy is a must. From sales quoting to billing and beyond, companies of all sizes need to make sure that these vital touch points are handled on time and effectively. Without them, the relationship will most likely come to a screeching halt. Sensitivity to what a prospect or a customer is experiencing is crucial and knowing that the proper handling of the most basic of interactions can be what is required to ensure long-term, fruitful relationships.

 

Improve Your Prospect’s Situation

You can have the most wonderful product or service in the universe, but if it does nothing to benefit your prospect’s situation, they’re not going to buy it. Take the time to understand their situation, their needs and wants, and then show them how you can help them. Never assume that what you’re selling just sells itself. In the vast majority of cases, it won’t. It’s your job to sell.

 

Move the Process along the Sales Pipeline

Often the sales process heat up early on, and then fades before anything is closed. If you’ve done your homework and know that you have a qualified lead and a potential sale, don’t let the momentum die. Follow through, keep asking questions, and offer your assistance. Don’t let a sale slip through your hands due to a lack of follow through, and by all means, don’t expect your prospects to do move the sales process along themselves.

 

Close New Business

It comes natural to discuss the features and benefits of what you have to offer, but it can be unnerving to take that final step of closing new business. This is often because many of us associate closing a sale as hard selling. Rather, it’s not a cutthroat maneuver; it’s just a necessary part of the sales process. If you’ve taken the right steps throughout the sales process and recognize that your prospect is ready to buy, they will appreciate the honest, mutually respectful discussion towards the sale.

 

 

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