The I’s Have It

July 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Branding, entrepreneurship, Marketing, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Staying on the radar screens of clients and prospects is more important than ever for salespeople.  With demand for products and services only now beginning to pick up as the worst recession in decades slowly dissipates, it has become absolutely necessary for anyone involved in sales to be persistent, proactive, and patient.  How can this best be achieved without also looking desperate?

Remember the following three “I” words as you navigate through the sales process to walk that fine line between pushiness and persistence. They will keep you on the radar in a way that positions you as a valuable ally and resource – exactly who you want to be now and as the economy begins to improve.

Invitations

If you’re like most sales professionals, you probably receive more invitations to tradeshows, industry and charity events, seminars, and get-togethers than you could ever possible attend. Don’t let them go to waste! Instead of “circular filing” them, dole them out to prospects and clients.

Of course, they have to be relevant to their particular industry or interests. But, by being generous with your invitations, you’re using a very non-obtrusive tactic to position yourself as someone who will go the extra mile to establish and grow a business relationship.

Don’t stop with the invitations that you’re not using. If you’re planning to attend an event or show, why not ask a potential or current client to join you? It’s the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together, build the relationship, and learn more about their business needs.

Introductions

One of the most valuable tools in any salesperson’s arsenal is their Rolodex. If you’ve built up an impressive list of contacts, you should be facilitating introductions – either cyber or in-person. You’re golden in the eyes of those you’re selling to if you’re introducing them to someone of value. If you want to garner some positive attention – give a referral. No one deletes an email or ignores a voice mail from a person who sends introductions!

Information

We undoubtedly live in the information age. If you can be a true resource for information that is timely, interesting, and of value, you will not be forgotten. Utilize Google Alerts, and other online tools to stay as current as possible. Sign up for newsletters, journals, and blogs. And, generously pass along information that can help others with their businesses.

As you develop a reputation as a knowledgeable “go to” person, consider starting your own blog or signing up with Twitter where others can check in with what you’re deeming interesting and worth writing about.

What’s interesting about these three I’s is that they are free and readily available to each and every salesperson who is interested in maximizing their ability to provide great service. However, they require the ability to be engaged and interested in partnering with prospects and clients. At the end of the day, it’s not just about making a sale; it’s truly about forming a long-term relationship that is mutually beneficial.

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Snooze and You Lose

July 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Never before has this old cliché made more sense.  In these trying times it seems that the folks that hang back and don’t stay “out there” are setting themselves up for trouble when the economy rebounds.

For sure this isn’t the right time to stop doing any form of marketing, to decrease selling initiatives and refrain from going to events, trade shows, networking and other activities in which you grow visibility and presence.

And surely this isn’t the time to accept the status quo and just simply hide “until things gets better”.

Rather, if you snooze during this time, you lose.

  • Lose customers to your competitors that are actively promoting and prospecting for new business.
  • Lose visibility amongst your contacts and connections, leaving room for other folks to become the recipients of introductions and leads.
  • Lose your confidence and edge so that when things pick up you’re running a slower mile than the folks that never broke their stride.

Sure you may have to readjust and reduce some of the dollars that were supposed to be allocated to “non-discretionary” activities. But, that doesn’t mean that ALL such efforts have to be eliminated.

So, wake up.

Don’t hit that snooze button.

Recalibrate, reinvent, reinvigorate and realign what you have to do to keep moving forward.

Just don’t snooze.

Increase Your Sales: Overcoming Objections

July 19, 2009 at 7:54 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Branding, entrepreneurship, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, small business, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every sale were made without any objection from the customer? Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple. However, by understanding that objections are a natural part of the sales process and by learning how to overcome and prevent them, you can turn a reluctant prospect into an enthusiastic customer.

The key to making any sale is to provide a prospect with an improvement in their situation. Does this sound too simple? Surprisingly, it’s frequently forgotten by many salespeople who spend too much time talking about themselves and their products or services and not enough time finding out about their prospect’s situation or needs.

Learning how to identify what your customer wants or needs improved and how you can help is a skill that you can utilize during every sales negotiation. Here are four simple steps to overcoming a prospect’s objections to make the sale.

  1. Understand the “true” objection. If unsure, ask for clarification. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and listen intently. The worst thing that you can do is misunderstand or not hear what your prospect is trying to convey.
  2. Show empathy. Express your understanding and appreciation of their situation. Don’t rush your prospect. Take the time to make them feel comfortable and not defensive.
  3. Remember that it is all about connecting with the prospect’s needs, understanding their “pain points,” and clearly restating how what you’re offering will improve their situation.
  4. Before trying to close the sale, resell the benefits of what you are offering and make certain to communicate the benefits that specifically address their objections.

Of course, it’s always better to avoid a prospect’s objections in the first place. The best way to do this is to engage in a comprehensive process of discovery to learn what they really need and want. Ask questions and learn about your prospect’s situation, and you’ll be well on your way to making the sale.

As If You Didn’t Already Know: Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win

July 14, 2009 at 7:38 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training | 2 Comments

With the recession well into its second year, it’s only natural to feel somewhat disenchanted and less enthusiastic about day-to-day business. Sales that used to come with relative ease now require more time and effort than ever before.  While business analysts keep talking about all of the “green shoots” that are starting to appear in this sagging economy, for many of us, a real recovery and a return to the “good old days” still seem very distant.

Unfortunately, many business owners and sales professionals have let the recession become their excuse for not trying hard. It’s their reason for not being passionate about what they do and their justification for not getting out there and doing what it takes to succeed.

In any recessionary period, there is always a shake out of companies and individuals who can’t or won’t rise to the challenges facing them. The flip side to this is that there will be new and existing players who thrive under the adversity that will grow their market share and serve as the new leaders in the next economic cycle. While the following tips are general and basic, they hold true for everyone who wants to be reaping the harvest when those green shoots finally do produce fruit.

Work Harder
No more excuses about there not being enough work to keep you busy. There’s actually more to do than ever before. Dedicate your time to educating yourself on new business development strategies and techniques, networking with others in the industry, and maintaining relationships with existing customers.

Work Smarter
New business may have used to just fall into your lap, but those days are long gone. It now requires real brain power to turn those leads into sales. Learn how to use the latest technologies and stay up to date on everything that is happening in your industry and with the economy.

Revise the Game
Undoubtedly, business is not the same as it was before. If things aren’t going as well as you like, it’s time for a new approach. Revise your business plan, start selling to a new market, and review your product or service offerings. But, don’t just sit and wait for things to improve. As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, if something isn’t working, you need to make a change.

Bring in the Troops
If your team is becoming increasingly frustrated with their lack of sales, it’s time to regroup. Invest in sales training, practice new techniques, evaluate everyone’s commitment to succeed, and weed out those who are unwilling or unable to adapt to the changes that your business is experiencing.

Sales Effectiveness: 3 Ways to Gain on the Competition

July 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Customer Service, entrepreneurship, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

While the economy certainly has taken its toll on almost all of us, smart salespeople are using these recessionary times to deliver a higher level of service to gain on their competition. There is definitely a shakedown of sorts currently underway in many industries. Complacent companies and their representatives are finding it difficult to stay afloat using worn out strategies that no longer work. Up-and-coming businesses and forward-thinking sales professionals are seizing the opportunity to capture increased market share through a “more, faster, better” approach that attracts customers even during this extended downturn.

The silver lining of this recession is that fast-thinking, savvy, and smart salespeople are getting the opportunity to grow their businesses by gaining on their slow-moving, bloated, and unfocused competition. More than ever, prospects and clients are demanding service and value and will quickly shift loyalties away from those who don’t deliver – even if they’ve been tried and true vendors. Here’s what you need to do to gain on the competition and position yourself for increased success as the “green shoots” that signal the end of the recession begin to appear.

Be More Service Driven
Customers are less tolerant of poor service than ever before. They know that times are tough and expect salespeople to work for a sale. Those that don’t can be easily replaced by another individual or company willing and able to offer quality service.

By focusing on providing personalized, proactive service, you’ll not only win customers, you’ll also retain them and develop a reputation that will generate even more customers that come through referral. When possible, learn what service strategies that your competition is using, and then expand on those to create the maximum service-driven approach to growing and keeping your customer base.

Be Faster and First in Your Category
Does it take a week for your competition to generate a proposal, or a month to deliver an order? Can you improve upon their times? If so, it might be your ticket to taking customers away from your competition. If you are the first to offer a new product, on the cutting-edge of new technology, or just faster than the other players in the market, make it known. Speed and timeliness are qualities that customers particularly appreciate in this current market.

Be a Better Resource
Customers stick with valued advisors and resources even in difficult economies. Position yourself as an expert and offer the value-added service of being the go-to person when your customers need insight and information.

The economy is beginning to show signs of a recovery, and the time is right for salespeople to ramp up their efforts to attract new business. By using these three techniques, you’ll discover the right mix you need to not only gain on your competition but pass them on the road to sales success.

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