ASSESS COMPETITOR’S SALES PERFORMANCE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #62

Jose John 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

Jose John 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

Jose John 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

Jose John 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

Jose John 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

Jose John 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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GET THE COMPETITION INTO THE DISCUSSION – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #56

Jose John May 30, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 56: GET THE COMPETITION INTO THE DISCUSSION It is axiomatic that decrying the competition is not a good idea. If you say to a customer that company X is rubbish, it always turns out that the person deal with them, like them, or their brother-in-law works for them. Rather than giving you sound defensive, arrogant, or just plain spiteful. None are attractive characteristics, or likely to help create rapport or a good relationship. But dealing with the question of the competition may be unavoidable in a conversation. Idea From many a different industry… If a customer brings a competitor into conversation, especially if they ask your opinion of it – “How do you compare with X?” –the best tactic may be to praise your rival. Indeed it may well work best to lay it on with a trowel: “From what I hear the company has good reputation, makes excellent products, and always seems to deliver on time”. Such a statement may well prompt a response that pulls back a bit. “We’ve done some business with them, and they’re fine”, your customer might be reply, “but I wouldn’t go that far. We did have one delivery problems.” This has brought you into a...
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USE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ TIMING – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #55

Jose John May 30, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 55: USE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ TIMING Sometimes it is difficult to know the best time to do something. This is true of anything in life: when should you apply for a new job, move to the country, or just broach the subject of what colour the living room should be painted with your partner? With customers we always seem to have a sense of urgency. We not only want an order, we want it soon, or even right now. This may be understandable, but it reflects a focus on us, not on them. Information is the key to choosing the right time. An early boss of mine once made a light-hearted comment to the effect that he had got himself a pay rise by saying it was a leap year and he had to work harder. I stored the remark away for two years until another leap year came along, and then reminded him of it. I got a laugh and small extra rise. With customers the information you glean and act on may be different, but effect can be similar. Idea This from company selling office furniture… It is often helpful to customer relations if you involve yourself to agree in your...
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KEEP THEIR ATTENTION – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #54

Jose John May 29, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 54: KEEP THEIR ATTENTION It is bad enough when a customer’s attention wanders. It is worse when you know –or realize later –that it is your fault it is happening. Sometimes when a customer’s mind does wander, whatever is causing it has nothing to do with you; it was in train before you arrived. If you notice a lack of attention, it is worth pausing, and checking by asking, “Is this best to abandon the meeting and set a new time. I have done this several times, and always thought that time proved me right. In some cases it jumped client relations ahead positively because it was appreciated. Idea From those wonderful people at Microsoft… The idea here addresses the problem of inattention highlighted above, and does so in a way that is very specific to computer presentations using PowerPoint. You might be in a one-to-one meeting, putting your laptop on the buyer’s desk, or you might be giving a more a formal presentation involving several, or many, people. PowerPoint presentations can be powerful, enabling you to use a series of images to enhance your point. (Remember that any slides you show should support your case, not lead it, and certainly not...
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GUARANTEE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #53

Jose John May 29, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 53: GUARANTEE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN Any purchase puts the customer in the position of taking a risk. This is very clear with anything mechanical – the customer wonders whether it will go wrong, and if it does how things will be handled and what it will cost in time and money. Given that customers have this worry; can you take advantage of it? Idea From the motor manufacturer Hyundai… Cars are certainly a product for which people worry about reliability. A failed car can not only cost you time and money, it can leave you stranded, risking other things like your reputation at work, or ability to visit someone in hospital. So customers want a guarantee. Over the years the length of the guarantees offered has increased – a year, two years, more – and they do provide confidence and make a sale more likely. As I write this, Hyundai is offering a full five-year guarantee, and certain aspects of the car are covered for longer than that. Given that this is not the most famous make of car, I suspect that this must help sales success significantly, not just because of the length of coverage but also because of...
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KEEP CUSTOMERS THINKING OF YOU – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #52

Jose John May 29, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 52: KEEP CUSTOMERS THINKING OF YOU It is hardly a new idea to keep with customers. Memories are short, especially when people are busy, and exposed to numerous other message from other people and organizations. So most sales people do it to some degree or another, but sometimes it is regarded as a waste of time. For instance, the very nature of the business might make it inappropriate. Or does it? Idea From a specialist retailer… When repeat purchases are possibility, most businesses make an effort to stay in touch with customers. But when they are not, further contact can seem like a waste of time. Yet one company shows that this is not always true. It is a specialist retailer selling wedding dresses. The average marriage may not always last as long as it used to do, but even so a customer is hardly likely to come in a fortnight after their wedding wanting another wedding dress. Yet this retailer scheduled in (and budgeted for) a number of specific follow-up contacts after the dress was delivered and paid for. It sent flowers and card on the big day to wish the couple well, an invitation to function a month or so...
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SURPRISE CUSTOMERS WITH SPEED OF RESPONSE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #51

Jose John May 29, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 51: SURPRISE CUSTOMERS WITH SPEED OF RESPONSE A rapid response used to mean a brochure sent out on the day that a request for one arrived. Now communications are different: we e-mail and text instantly and can look at company details in real time on the internet. At the same time technology can also slow things down and annoy people. For example, who has not had a bad experience with automated telephone systems? We ring… and we wait. We go through interminable selection of options (which always seem to put “Just let me speak to someone” at the end of long list), and listen to music we detest, and endless statements that “Your call is important to us”. Clearly little has been done to actually demonstrate that. I am getting on a hobby horse here, but it’s still the case that it is wise not to do this, or anything like it. However sometimes it is possible to use technology in a way that truly impresses, and provide genuinely good service. Idea From the subcontinent of India … India is an enigma. It’s a huge country, with a million of poor people, as well as a burgeoning economy, and everything it takes...
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MAKE DESCRIPTION RING A BELL – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #50

Jose John May 28, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 50: MAKE DESCRIPTION RING A BELL There can be a problem in describing even the best product in terms that make sense to the customer. This problem is worsened if the product is new and unknown. The advice to sales people is always to be truly descriptive, but in these circumstances it’s easy to become vague and include the words “sort of” early on. Customers tend to be defeated by this. The trick is to find right way to explain what the product is like, and that starts with the customer. Idea From the out-of-this world world of Star Trek… The television series Star Trek is now a legend across the globe. The original may started slowly, but it gained cult status, spawned several spin-offs across many years and led to a series of successful films. Financially it became one of the most successful such a franchise ever, so perhaps it is difficult now to remember how different it was at its inception from other programs being broadcasts at the time. Creator Gene Roddenberry had to find a way of pitching his program idea to the networks. He thought he had a truly novel idea, yet he knew that those he sought...
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SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #49

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 49: SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE This section acknowledges that not all selling takes place in the home country of the sales person doing it. Some operations are multinational, and whatever the first language of their employees, many such companies have English as their “business languages”. However, if you are to create sufficient rapport with your overseas customers you may need to do more than simply speak to them in business English. Idea From website management company Attenda… Attenda can provide its service to clients around the world from offices in United Kingdom, and has multilingual staff available 24 hours a day. However research showed that potential clients in Germany wanted to deal with a local company, and with German people. David Godwin, vice president, reckoned, “We are not big enough to buck the system,” so the company set up a German subsidiary. The people selling Attenda’s service there are German employee of what is positioned as a local company. Whatever other problems they may have in a competitive field, no cross-cultural problems should hamper their sales success. Similarly, Princtronic International, Europe’s leading data-processing computer bureau, also has strong language capabilities. Its MD says, “despite English being the global business language our experience in...
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PUT OVER A CONSISTENT MESSAGE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #48

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 48: PUT OVER A CONSISTENT MESSAGE Customers find it off-putting to check something out and find that different parts of an organization give even slightly different messages, yet especially with complex products it can be difficult to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet. Product knowledge is mentioned more than once in these pages and having the right information in the right forms is vital if selling is going to be successful. Prospects find it more difficult to understand the complexities of a proposal if they hear slightly different things from different people. Idea From global telecoms company Cables & Wireless… Cable & Wireless operates in more than 70 countries. One regional division has activities especially well spread, with operations current in markets as diverse and far-flung as the Solomon Islands and the West Indies. When it launched a ranged of new internet products there was a need  to ensure that members of the widely dispersed sales team understood them sufficiently well to do justice to selling them, and indeed to get the launch off to a good start. The team was given the information through specially designed e-learning, which addressed the basic technical knowledge that sales people needed, together with...
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