DON’T BE TOTALLY SELF-SUFFICIENT – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #71

English_Master July 26, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 71: DON’T BE TOTALLY SELF-SUFFICIENT This and the next two ideas link to how you and your boss work together (whoever your boss is: in a large company it is likely a sales manager or director). By its nature the field sales job is one in which people must be self-sufficient, and where a great deal of time is spent alone and away from base. Tacitly or otherwise, your organization’s culture might suggest that you should be self-sufficient. Indeed your boss may have said equivalent of, “Don’t bother me all the time, get out there and sell”. Idea From many a well-managed sales operation… On the other hand two heads are often better than one. Consider ongoing counselling, which usually involves accompanied calling, evaluation, and a link to development of all sorts. Most managers will evaluate what any sales persons is doing and what results they are getting. While a bad manager may see this as just looking at the figures and shouting when targets are missed, many see this role more constructively. They take the view that even the best performance can be improved, and act to do just that. The most practical way in which this happens is through joint...
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EN ROUTE TO SUCCESS – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #70

English_Master July 22, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 70: EN ROUTE TO SUCCESS Productivity is important, and the nature of a field sales job dictates that there is inevitably some idle time. There’s time spent travelling to the customer (and trying to find some where to park), time ahead of a meeting waiting for people in their reception areas, and so on. At worst sales people can work hard and still find that only 20- 25 percent of their working time is actually spent face to face with customers; it goes with the territory. Enough said, or is there? Idea For those with a company car… Given the problem of productivity, you should at least consider the way you work and see what possibilities this suggests for productivity improvement. One example that applies to anyone driving to customers makes a good point. How far do you drive each year? Or perhaps more relevantly, given today’s traffic conditions, how long do you spend in the car? Listening to the radio or to music may dull the tedium of a long journey, but it will not help you sell more. You could spend some of the time doing something more useful (and much safer than talking on a mobile phone, which must...
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WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM A FRIEND – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #69

English_Master July 22, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 69: WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM A FRIEND Who else can help you improve your selling? Idea From a training company… A mentor is someone who exercises as low-key and informal developmental role. More than one person can be involved in the mentoring of a single individual, and while what they do is akin to some of the things a line manager should do, more typically a mentor is especially not the person’s line manager. It might be someone more senior, someone on the same level, or form elsewhere in the organization. An effective mentor can be a powerful force in your development. So how do you get yourself a mentor? In some organization this is a regular part of ongoing development. You may be allocated one, or able to request one. In other organizations you may need to initiate a mentoring relationship. You can suggest it to your manager, or direct to someone you think might undertake the role. What makes a good mentor? The person must have authority (this might mean they are senior, or just that they are capable and confident), suitable knowledge and experience, counselling skills, appropriate clout, and a willingness to spend some time with you (if...
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GET OUT OF HERE – 101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #68

English_Master July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 68: GET OUT OF HERE A break can do you good. The right sort of break can do your sales results some good. Idea From the world of training… Here is something that will perhaps be regarded as something’s of a luxury. But it can have real value, and be cost effective too. It can take various forms, but in one company I worked with (now taken over and merged away), one category of senior people were allowed to take six months (paid) leave after working with the company for a certain number of years. In consultancy – a fee-earning and time –dependent business – this represented a significant cost. However it was a business in which many people did not habitually take long holidays, so in some ways the time off was a quid pro quo. Certainly it was highly motivational, both to these entitled to the break and to those who aspired to be. I cannot now remember whether it was compulsory, but the extended periods of leave often included a project, something to which no time would otherwise have been given. For example, people sometimes wanted to travel, and this linked usefully to the international development of the business....
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ADMIN RULES OK – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #67

English_Master July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 67: ADMIN RULES OK Selling to people is a personal business, often one to one; it is dependent to some extent on personalities and relationships. It is influenced by how the sales person approach matters, the techniques they use, and such things as the perceived degree of pushiness. But alongside all that there is a thread of more physical and mundane matters: appointment times are set, literature is sent, arrangements are confirmed, and all this creates – or should do aura of efficiency. This is not simply important in itself: the level of predictor of service to come. So short-falls in your admin can act to dilute the effectiveness of what you do in selling Idea From the pharmaceutical industry… Consider a cautionary tale. A pharmaceutical company was holding a sales meeting for doctors. It had chosen a suitable venue, and everything was well arranged: documentation, catering, and so on. The company executives were well practiced in their presentations. The PowerPoint slides contained only a manageable amount of text, and not single one was projected upside down. At one point the doctors were introduced to a topic that was to be dealt with by showing a 20- minute video film. An executive...
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UNDERSTAND CUSTOMER’S CULTURE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #66

English_Master July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 66: UNDERSTAND CUSTOMER’S CULTURE The world is large and varied, and so are the customers in it. At home or board, sales people should study how culture affects personal relationships. Idea As an example consider a single country, albeit one that many appear somewhat alien to Englishmen like me…. Japanese business people tend to be well travelled, are group-oriented, and rather formal in their dealings with each other. To start well when selling to Japanese people, you need to remember a number of things. Do not overdo eye contact, shake hands only if a hand is offered to you (and do not try to bow in Japanese style, although a sincere nod of the head is appreciated), use title with names, and make sure that careful use of language ensures understanding, checking as necessary. Business cards are much used (yours should have a Japanese translation on the reverse). The Japanese have a tendency to check details. You quote a delivery date, and they will want to speak to those involved in implementing it, to reassure them that it is seen as possible. The Japanese always try to conceal their emotions, hate losing face, and are uncomfortable if other (you) lose control, for...
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DRAMATICALLY MEMORABLE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #65

English_Master July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 65: DRAMATICALLY MEMORABLE No doubt you work at creating a positive persona and profile for yourself with your customers. If you do so, they will think of you as professional. They may know other details about you too: where you live, something of your family, the fact that you have a new car, or recently went on holiday to American. If customers have a general picture of you as a person, it may help enhance your image, but can you do more? Idea This was prompted by the television news station Channel News Asia…. As I write this I am appearing regularly on an overseas morning program on ChannelNewsAsia to talk about building a successful career. This is linked to my book Detox Your Career (which is also published by Cyan, and sets out an action plan of active career management to help you survive and thrive in the competitive workplace. Buy one soon –sorry, another plug and an example of persistence!). There are posters in bookshops in Singapore and other parts of South East Asia featuring my picture, and the description “ChannelNewsAsia’s Career Guru”. Fame at last? Hardly! It is doubtless transient, but such things do have an effect on your...
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WORK THE LOGISTICS – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #64

English_Master July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 64: WORK THE LOGISTICS Sometimes it is difficult to meet with customers. The locations are far apart, and compromises must be made about when and where you get together. This is especially the case when relationships are good. I deal with one person on a regular basis, but meet him perhaps two or three times a year. I like to do business face to face, but because I know it is complicated for him to travel to me, there is a danger of my not requesting a meeting when it might help us both. A solution came at the sales person’s initiative. Idea With my own “buying hat” on …. From my sales person’s standpoint, if he’s to retain my business he needs regular contact with me. He knows I lives 50 miles north-east of London, and travel to London regularly for meetings and so on. We now have the habit of meeting at London’s Liverpool Street station, timing our meetings to fit in with my train times. So if I’m in town for a meeting in the morning, we might meet for an hour at 1pm, allowing me to catch the 2.08pm train back afterwards. This suits me well: I have...
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WHEN THE CUSTOMER DOES NOT LIKE YOU – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #63

English_Master July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 63: WHEN THE CUSTOMER DOES NOT LIKE YOU It would be a dull world if everyone were the same, so it is no great surprise that we do not get on equally well with everyone we meet. This does not matter much, if at all, in some circumstances. If you never see again the guy you sat next to flying to a holiday in Madeira, or even distant cousin Mary, you can no doubt live with it. But customers are different. You need to get on with them, certainly in terms of a business-like relationship (even if you do not want to invite them to dinner), or you risk losing business. Realistically, though, you are not going to hit it off with everyone, and there may be a few – be honest –where the relationship you want is a non-starter. What do you do then? Idea From a graphic design company… Something I have seen in a number of businesses (so the graphic designers are just an example) demands some honesty amongst people, but can pay dividends. It can be initiated independently one to one, or might for example involved a manager at a sales meeting. The idea is, you pass the...
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ASSESS COMPETITOR’S SALES PERFORMANCE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #62

English_Master June 18, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 62: ASSESS COMPETITOR’S SALES PERFORMANCE A key challenge is selling is to handle your sales meetings in a way that buyers find they like. They should ideally like it better than the methods of other sales people with whom they deal (either direct competitors, or people who sell something different to the same buyers). If you knew more about what others do and how they do it, then maybe it would help you decide the best tactics for you, especially if that knowledge included knowing how buyers react to other people’s pitches. Idea From the world of retail selling… One characteristic of selling to retailers is that in many cases, especially in small and medium-sized businesses, the sales meeting is not held in a comfortable office. It takes place out in the shop, perhaps even alongside the till, where the conversation must pause every time a customer approaches with a query or goods they want to buy. This is how the book trade often works. If you bought this book in a bookshop, then think about how it got on the shelf. A rep might have sold it via the head office of a chain like Borders, or they might have run...
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NOT AT YOUR CONVENIENCE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #61

English_Master June 17, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 61: NOT AT YOUR CONVENIENCE Sometimes sales people fail to achieve they want, not because they fail to assess what would work best for the client , but  more because the best way to sell the product or service is inherently a tad complicated whether an idea works needs to be judged first at the customer end of the telescope. If it work for them, then provided whatever it is cost-effective, then it should usually be made a priority; anything else surely risks diluting effectiveness. Some companies embrace this principle without compromise. Idea From Concord Trust Company…. This organization is a major player in the world of financial services, and specializes in advising wealthy clients on their finances. It certainly does not subscribe to the idea that the way selling is done must be convenient for the sales staff. It may not be: so is it. What matters is that the approach is organized to maximum the likelihood of reaching agreement, and doing so in a way that customers find acceptable. Concord Trust finds that manage their finances on a rather ad hoc basis. So it organizes meeting that get the financial adviser and the client round the table together with the...
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ENHANCE YOUR PROFILE AS A PROFESSIONAL – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #60

English_Master June 17, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 60: ENHANCE YOUR PROFILE AS A PROFESSIONAL All sales people want to be seen as professional. That’s sensible enough, but “professional” is an umbrella term, and we must ask what characteristics are perceived as making someone seem professional, and making people believe that they are. In part, achieving this is a question of enhancing or making visible the various characteristics that will work for you. But maybe it is worth considering something else, something that publicly labels as professional. Idea From the Chartered Institute of Marketing…. It’s worth taking what you do seriously, both to enhance your profile, and part of your ongoing development. If selling is what you do, consider whether you should join the professional body in this field. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has been around for a long time. It actually started life in the area of selling (before the term marketing had entered the dictionary, in fact) as the Sales Manager Association. It is worldwide organization, and has more than 50,000 members Membership is by election, and linked to qualifications. Members can put letters after their name –for example, on their business card –and membership provides a plethora of other benefits. These range from a magazine...
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MAXIMIZE YOUR COLLECTION USEFUL INFORMATION – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #59

English_Master June 17, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 59: MAXIMIZE YOUR COLLECTION USEFUL INFORMATION Information is power, as the saying has it. In selling this is certainly true, and it follows that the finding –out process –identifying customer needs is – is a key one. Not least, it helps in dealing with competition. If you find out more and more thoroughly about the customer than a competitor does, then everything you have to do thereafter will be easier (and it’ll be more difficult for the competitor if they have failed to discover key facts). Idea From residential conference centre Highgate House… This establishment is one of the best places in the United Kingdom to hold a conference or meeting. I have visited and used it many times wearing my training hat. Successful operators in this field must offer excellent facilities and service, but also, in selling themselves, must recognize that they are not in the business of meeting rooms and tables and chairs. They are in the business of “helping people make their meeting go well”. And that means finding out enough about any meeting someone is thinking holding to sell (and deliver) the venue as the best place for it. I often arrange meetings, and although I am usually...
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PROMISES, PROMISES – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #58

English_Master June 17, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 58: PROMISES, PROMISES We all like it when someone makes and keeps a promise. We expect them to keep it, and it is, well, nice when they do. In selling and doing business with customers many promises are made: to deliver on a particular day, allow time for payment, give an extra discount. You have to keep them, and usually you do. If the company fails to deliver on anything like this, for instance not producing the goods on a particular day when the customer need them, it matters and you will find yourself with a complaint to handle; and quite right too. You can are also use promises that are not so major to help you sell successfully. Idea This thought is prompted by rather fewer good experiences than might be hope for…. A promise kept does not just satisfy the customer on the particular matter to which it relates, it also sends out signals. While the major things tend to be accepted as givens –delivery promised for the 25th and made on the 25th –little things are viewed differently. Yet “smaller” things can have a big impact, and many small things quickly mount up. Promise to ring back by 2.30pm,...
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AVOID GIVING A DISCOUNT – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #57

English_Master May 30, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 57: AVOID GIVING A DISCOUNT Everyone likes a bargain. What is more, customers have been led to expect prices vary. Takes airfares and go to a dozen websites and travel agents, you will find yourself looking at a dozen different prices. Many of them are likely to be for exactly the same flight, airline, and so on. In this environment shopping around is the norm, and so too is asking for a discount. How do you either stop question being asked, or resist the suggestion when it comes? Idea From among others a menswear shops…. This is a problem area, and not one that is addressed by anyone magic formula (is anything?).But this idea works well in certain circumstance. Wherever price varies in the way it does in, say, a car showroom –each car gets you from A to B, but different models and specification cost different amount –you need to check what the customer is thinking about price. Asking “What’s your budget?” is likely to cause people to clam up( they know that declaring their hand makes negotiation more difficult). So as the customer investigates asks questions, and comes towards a choice there is another tactic to use. It works too...
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