TAKE YOUR TIME – Best Sales and Marketing ideas #47

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 47: TAKE YOUR TIME Many products and services are non-standard. A kitchen can be designed and tailored to fit your needs and your house, a landscape gardener works in a similar way, many computer systems and consultancy of all sorts is bespoke. To a degree this is one of the strengths of such products, and one of the things that persuades the customer and prompts purchase. But there is a danger. If the customer does not believe the product or service is really bespoke (when that is what they want), but suspects what they are being offered is actually just a standard option, then a unique aspects of it is negated and selling becomes that much more difficult. Even if there is a “good fit,” they may believe they are being short-changed; certainly perception of price may well change. Idea This is a common problem in consultancy, which is part of my own work portfolio… There are two stages to making bespoke suggestions. The first is identifying the individual circumstances, the second making a specific suggestion based on observation and some sort of survey. Often the second involves a written proposal. For example: the kitchen supplier must draw up and submit drawings...
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REMOVE FEAR OF RISK – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #46

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 46: REMOVE FEAR OF RISK Many buyers are fearful of the decision you ask them to take. They feel insecure, they lack knowledge, they lack experience, they are conscious of acting for others – what will my boss say? – And all these feelings and more amount to the same thing: they are fearful of failure. They worry about the consequences if the product does not work, does not perform as expected, or any sort of short-fall appears after purchase. The good sales person is aware of this, and sets out to diminish this fear during a sales meeting. But is there more you can do? Idea When Phoebe was six years old… She wanted a kitten. This reminds me of a remark I saw on the internet, attributed to Annabel (also aged six): if you want a guinea pig, start by asking for a pony. Never have I come across a clearer indication of the nature of negotiation: 10 more years and she will be a force to be reckoned with. Sorry, I digress. Imagine that Phoebe’s parents went through the first stage and agreed to her having the kitten. They checked out various sources, and soon found that this difficult...
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ASK FOR REFERRALS – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #45

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 45: ASK FOR REFERRALS Sometimes we are reluctant to ask for referrals, yet if you recommended to a prospect by someone who already buys from you (and is satisfied), that’s likely to give you a small head start. So why is there a reluctance to ask? Is it embarrassment perhaps, or fear of rejection or failure? It is not likely that an existing and happy customer (obviously don’t ask any dissatisfied ones!) will be angry or upset at your asking. They might see it as inappropriate in some way, but if so they are most likely to decline to politely, not shout at you. Idea Many people do this, but I’ll credit my thinking of it here to the guy who drives me to the airport … Steve runs a taxi company. Actually that description does not his operation a disservice: he runs a “luxury car service”, and specializes in wedding and events, runs to the airport and longer journeys.  He charges just a little bit more than the Mondeo cowboys who frequent the various taxi companies in the town. (Actually I must not malign them all, but some are perhaps just a touch unreliable). Steve always turns up on time, wears...
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SURPRISE THEM WITH YOUR WRITING – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #44

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 44: SURPRISE THEM WITH YOUR WRITING The written word is not everyone’s strong suit in terms of communication. Sales people often feel more comfortable in face-to face situation, and feel most confident of it too. Faced with having to put something into writing, they can produce something into writing, they can produce something turgid, replete with gobbledegook and “business peak,” that is so over-formal and impersonal that it serves only to alienate people. “Who is this person?” the readers ask themselves. But it is possible for something unexpected and well conceived to create real impact, more so if it stands out from the banality sent by others. Idea From my own past … This is example is from the last stages of the sale, where things can so often stick at a “Leave it with me” stage. It can makes the point that sometimes there is little new left to say. You can only repeat “it’s me again,” especially if you reckon the proposition is good and the only reason for lack of confirmation is timing or distraction, rather than the customer being totally unconvinced. Then the job is to continue to maintain contact, and ultimately to jog people into action, while...
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SHOW PEOPLE YOUR SIZE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #43

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 43: SHOW PEOPLE YOUR SIZE Size is an measure contributing to the overall image of an organization. If the entire operation consists of one man and a (small) dog, it is difficult to give the impression of a multinational conglomerate, at least without telling some significant untruths. Certainly successful selling may necessitate some serious exaggeration, but you may draw the line at telling at straight lie, if only on the basis of the risk of being caught out. On the other hand you may be able to e strictly honest and yet give the impression that your company is grander than it really is. Idea From BigStar, an online video and DVD retailer … Wanting people to think of it as a major player, this company budgeted for some advertising. Its logo appeared on several hundred trucks in key regions of its market (New York, Los Angeles and more). The logo was presented in a way that made the trucks look like BigStar’s own vehicles, although in fact it had no delivery fleet, and all deliveries were contracted out. Customer awareness increased substantially, and sales staff stopped having to talk up the company’s size and status, because people simply saw it as...
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MAKE PEOPLE BELIEVE YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #42

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 42: MAKE PEOPLE BELIEVE YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL This heading should perhaps be followed by the words, “even when you are not”. There is no question that success, however you may choose to define it, is a sign-one that lends conviction to a sales argument. If you are successful people will figure that you must have customers, and they must be happy customers too or you would soon cease to be successful. Conversely if you are not (yet) successful it is difficult to get a hearing; and this makes it difficult for companies, and sales people, in their early days. Idea Jerry Della Femina throws a party … Jerry Della Femina is a heavyweight of the American advertising business, but it was not always thus. One advertising agency he founded was slow to attract clients, and it looked as if it might well founder. As Christmas approached he decided to pour his last remaining funds into an epic Christmas party. He sent more than a thousand invitations to journalists and potential client, and put on “one hell of a do.” People love to be associated with success. The “big do” indicated success, and a large number of those invited attended. It gave him...
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TELL PEOPLE YOU’VE WON AN AWARD – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #41

Jose John May 27, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 41: TELL PEOPLE YOU’VE WON AN AWARD Given that any sales persons needs to build a case, and that one huge reason to buy is not normally going to persuade everyone, you need to produce a weight of a case that is irresistible. Your product may only have a certain number of benefits, and it is difficult to create more (certainly without changing the product), but credibility factors are another matter. Not only may there be many things to add here, you may be able to take action to ensure that there are more Idea Lonely Planet travel guides …. These guides are now well known and successful, but their start was not meteoric and at one time their future hung in the balance. The Lonely Planet Guide to India won the prestigious Thomas Cook Travel Guidebook Award. This might be called lucky, but the company did of course have to ensure that the book was good, and enter it so that it was considered for the award. One of the founders of the company, Tony Wheeler, was quoted as saying, “It took us to another level. It really opened doors and made a huge difference for us”. He was saying more...
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SELL IN COLLABRATION WITH SOMEONE ELSE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #40

Jose John May 25, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 40: SELL IN COLLABRATION WITH SOMEONE ELSE Sometimes there are significant problems in selling. One such is when the status quo is powerful. Customers are using something else that they find satisfactory, and it blinds them to the possibility that you are offering something different and better. However good a sales person you are, you may conclude that a sufficient degree of credibility can only come from cooperation with someone else. Idea A personal initiative from the vice chairman of Sony USA … A dramatic example of the principle involved here occurred when technology in the music business first moved away from vinyl records with the invention of CDs. Record companies were wedded to the existing technology, and were intent on avoiding change and protecting their present investment in it. Given this block, the answer for these promoting CDs was to take a step back and ask who is likely to be interested in a new medium that improves the quality of recorded sound. The answer was the recording artists themselves – the music makers. They gave initial demonstrations to this group, with predictable results: the technology really was better and they loved it. Subsequently approaches to the industry, backed by this...
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LINE UP THE WHOLE TEAM BEHIND THE SALES PERSON – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #39

Jose John May 24, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 39: LINE UP THE WHOLE TEAM BEHIND THE SALES PERSON I once telephone the office of sales person I dealt with regularly for a while (in a plastics company from which I bought ring binders to use on training courses). Since he was usually out “on the road”, I did not expect to find him in except by chance. I asked the switchboard operator for him by name and without comment, and was told, “I’m afraid he’s rarely in the office during the day. He’s only a salesman”. Only a salesman? This was a guy who had spent time telling me that he was the most important contact I could have in his organization, and for all I knew his image was being regularly sabotaged by such remarks on a daily basis. If you wonder why this occurs, consider: there can be something of them and us situation between inside staff and field sales staff. Largely, in my view, this is because the sales role is not understood. The prevailing image is of people able to swan about in their smart company cars all day with very little supervision. If the sales side is misunderstood, then the sales side must do something...
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WORK ROUND INHERENT PROBLEMS – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #31

Jose John May 23, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 31: WORK ROUND INHERENT PROBLEMS Sometimes there are problems that you make selling more difficult, yet by their nature they are seemingly impossible to change. This example, where the hindrance is physical fact, is taken from one particular industry. Because of the specific circumstance the solution is not one that would be necessary or possible for everyone, but like so many of the ideas here it demonstrates a kind of creative thinking which I applaud, and which you can imitate. Idea At local office equipment distributor had an office and showroom in a medium-sized town (say the size of Cambridge in the United Kingdom). It was on a prime site but there was one drawback: there was no easy customer parking nearby, and none that was free. The small staff car park was shared with the other businesses in the block in which it occupied the ground floor. The company knew that many customers would not buy without a demonstration, and also surmised that the lack of parking put some people off from making a visit. Of course there were a number of things that might have helped, including moving the showroom, and banning the staff from parking on the premises so...
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LET ONE CUSTOMER SELL TO ANOTHER – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #30

Jose John May 23, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 30: LET ONE CUSTOMER SELL TO ANOTHER Sometimes in selling you will face situation and objections that seem intractable, ones that need outside evidence to overcome. There’s no surprise there, you might say: aren’t many of the things that provide proof or evidence to enhance credibility external factors? They certainly are, and a motoring magazine’s road tests of a car, or independent petrol consumption figures, are just cases in point. Testimonials are common too, and act to beef up many a brochure as well as sales pitches. Idea From a sales training film…. This idea is from a fictitious company. It is represented in what must be one of very few training films aimed at sales managers, and dealing with an aspect of how to manage a team of sales people. (The film, titled Training Salesman on the Job, was made by Rank and distributed by Longman Training.) In the film we see a salesman having difficulty with an objection. He is selling industrial equipment of some sort, and any company purchasing it must invest time and money in staff training to make sure that people can operate it effectively and safely. The buyer is interested, but is blocking, using the fact...
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THINK OF A NUMBER – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #29

Jose John May 23, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 29: THINK OF A NUMBER Sales people need many skills, not simply because selling is itself a complex process, but also because it must often work in conjunction with other skill such as negotiation. A prime one is numeracy. It once heard of a salesman having rings run round him by buyer who kept tapping things out on a desktop calculator and making financial statements that were hard to rebut. He then discovered it was pure bluff- the machine was not switched on! Idea A story told at Henley Management College (and originally recounted in my book Hook Your Audience, published by Management Pocketbooks)…. A delegated on a management program at this renowned college by the River Thames could not get anything right regarding finance. By the time the course concluded, he was very much the class dune. As attendees dispersed back to their respective companies the group agreed to meet up a year later to see how everyone was faring, and in due a dinner was arranged at a smart restaurant. The “dunce” arrived a little late, but as he did so it was clear to all from the Porsche he parked outside, the suit he wore, and a dozen other...
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CHALLENGE THE CUSTOMER’S CULTURE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #28

Jose John May 23, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 28: CHALLENGE THE CUSTOMER’S CULTURE A number of the ideas described here effective not only because they are practical in one way or another, but also because they do something that customer’s find unexpected. This element alone is worth considering: it’s useful to have a few such ideas in your own armory. A good example is something a colleague of mind did some years ago. Idea From a management consultancy and training company … This idea shows how something about a specific customer, in this case something that was almost chanced across, can be turned to advantage in a way that surprises. A consultant was visiting the Swedish manufacture SKF in Gothenburg. At the company’s ultra-modern office and factory there was a procedure used to impress visiting customers. They signed in, went about their business, then when they left they were presented with a smartly printed card, listing the time at which they had arrived, and that at which they were departing. Below this was a note of the precise number of ball bearing (the company’s main product at the time) that had been produced in the factory during their visit. Even for a brief visit it was an impressive figure, and...
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TACKLE A NEW CATEGORY OF CUSTOMER – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #27

Jose John May 23, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 27: TACKLE A NEW CATEGORY OF CUSTOMER However experienced you are, you may find yourself faced with selling in circumstance where you have no experience, indeed no frame of reference, and where the nature of a business area and those in it are to a degree alien. It is a mistake to think that if you can sell everything and anything. Your lack of experience may show and blight the results you want. Idea From consultant and author Frances Kay …. This is another example from my personal experience. First, let me say that most people who write books – business books, at any rate – do so at least in part because it is visible and helps build a positive profile. Frances Kay agreed with this. She wanted to add a book to her credentials, but was unsure how to go selling the idea to a suitable publisher. This is a specialist area, and probably hundreds of proposals are received for every single book that is published, so the strike rate can be low. So she looked around for someone who had been published and presumably gone through the necessary learning curve. She settled on me (I have written more than...
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STAND UP TO CUSTOMERS – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #26

Jose John May 23, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 26: STAND UP TO CUSTOMERS There is an old saying that if you appear to be like a doormat, you should expect people to walk all over you. Sometimes a customer relationship can feel like this. Some customers are not just demanding (aren’t they all?) but take extreme liberties that demand something that goes beyond any definition of even excellent service. Such a relationship is costly, at worst reducing or removing the profitability of the business. Idea Seen in a market research company in Hong Kong … Situated in Hong Kong, this company has offices and clients around the Asian region. At one time the staffs of one of its largest clients were causing the manager they dealt with considerable problem. The clients’ disorganization was at the root of the problems. They were forever cancelling or changing meetings and demanding attendance at others at short notice. They commonly telephoned demanding that the manager rush to one of their many regional offices at a moment’s notice, with the need to travel from, say, Hong Kong to Singapore compounding the problem. This sort of situation costs time and money, and ultimately threatened the viability of a carefully coated project. Being sales and service oriented,...
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