Tag Archives: selling

How to win skeptical clients

Follow these tips to win over skeptical clients

Thanks to our long recession, once wary clients are now borderline paranoid when it comes to engaging sales consultants or other service providers. Our job of convincing them they need our services has become increasingly difficult over the past few months.

Here are a few ideas to win over more skeptics.

First, acknowledge your clients’ fears. If your pricing is high, then it’s OK to admit it. But you better be able to back it up with lots of data, and make an “apples-to-oranges” comparison with your competition. So instead of quoting a fee, quote in terms your clients understand — number of new customers, number of new inbound leads, etc.

Second, you’ve got to ask your questions without the conversation sounding like a cross-examination. Rookie sales consultants think they can go right to the pitch, but successful veterans do the business interview first. Asking questions around revenues, number of customers, earnings per customer, lifecycles of customer, etc. will set you apart from other sellers. Don’t forget, clients rarely believe anything you say, but they always believe what they say. So getting your business questions answered early on builds a foundation of trust.

Third, you can no longer pass off new business to your implementers or installers and move on. When you discuss the implementation schedule, find out how your client would like to stay in touch — by phone, email or face-to-face meetings. Promise to stay involved and make sure you keep that commitment.

Finally, give up the idea that you need to “win”. You can’t be successful in sales until you make your clients successful. So emphasize the value of working together, but don’t be so up front about it (especially since every other vendor on the planet is selling “value”). Build trust to stand out – be honest and don’t oversell your services.

Remember, if you show genuine interest, solve their problems, and most importantly, help them achieve their goals, you’ll not only please your clients, you’ll astonish them!

Photo credit by brainloc.

The Social Media Sales Revolution – Book Review

There no doubt — the future of sales is in social media. The Social Media Sales Revolution by Landy Chase & Kevin Knebl (McGraw Hill, 2011), lays out the new rules for finding customers, building relationships and closing more sales through social media and online networking.

The way we communicate with prospects and customers has changed, and your sales skills need to change if you want to stay in the game. Traditional methods, like cold calling are no longer effective — social networking sites are now your best tools to get in front of clients. The opportunities for developing relationships and selling are enormous on social media, and is based on six simple, yet fundamental, shifts the Internet has created for the future of selling in the B2B marketplace:

  • Abandon traditional marketing
  • Become a marketer first, and a seller second
  • Build your sphere of influence
  • Become a value generator
  • Build your brand for top of mind awareness
  • Work the (temporary buyer’s) window

The Social Media Sales Revolution also includes very detailed activities for you to undertake on social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as well as chapters on Blogging and time management. The letter of inquiry process found midway through is priceless; you’ll also learn the difference between TOMA and TOMATO (and why the latter is critical to your online success).

Buy The Social Media Sales Revolution — it’s the one road map you need to generate offline sales from online marketing.

What is it you’re really selling?

chain linkIt’s been said that in business, sales are King, but marketing is Queen, and she runs the show. Marketing is the engine behind your business, but also its weakest link. Before defining your niche, it’s helpful to create and implement a high level marketing plan containing the following:

  • The purpose of the plan (what you want out of it — more sales, more website visitors, more email leads, etc.)
  • Your main benefit to clients (more on this later)
  • Your target audience(s) — describe the ideal client very specifically
  • Your marketing budget, expressed as a percentage of gross sales, so it grows in step with your business’ growth

How to Define Your Niche
Your main benefit, or why a client does business with you, is critical to your success, so invest the time needed to carefully think about and answer these questions:

  • How do I solve a client’s problem, achieve their goals or satisfy wants?
  • What can I do to create desire for my service? Could be based around convenience, speed or a promotion.
  • Could I make my service solve multiple problems or achieve multiple goals for my clients?
  • What can I do to make it easier for clients to do business with me? For example, convenient hours, value pricing, excellent staff members, variety of services, speed of delivery, etc.

With your niche and plan in place, you’ll give clients a reason to hire you – and be foolish if they went with a competitor!

Photo credit by saavem.