To Love, Or Not?

“She loves me….. she loves me not”’

The question is a favourite topic at seminars I conducted. It translates to “Do you really need to love your products?”. After a few awkward seconds at the earlier seminars, I would give a quite safe reply; “why sure! I really love my products!”

I had thought that by giving a safe reply and avoiding the part of the question that is more important, about the “need” to love the product, I could get away with
it. However, sometimes, a quick retort would come back; “but do you need to really LOVE the product?

That left me stumped, at least for the first few seminars. After that, I thought about giving the question a really good thought.

Do I really need to love my products? Do I really need to envelop
my products with good websites showcasing the wonderful features without even thinking about having a reviews section? Do I really have to spend large sums of money in marketing, even when the sales don’t respond positively? Do I…this? Do I …that?

The thoughts swarmed my mind and making me restless, as I slowly realised that it has major impacts in the company’s future. Why do I need to hold on to products that definitely could not sell, that do not get good reviews, do not make
a decent profits? Why? Why?

I have to be a businessman first, and think logically about the health
of my company. If I love my products and never a thought about its financial return, my company would surely decline. Then, the alternative dawned on me.

You can either CHOOSE to love it or not. In any case if you believe that you dont, then think of the products that you know for sure can generate income to a point where you desire. Do not be emotionally attached. Make money and showcase only those that sell.

The pro’s and con’s on whether to love your products and the pro’s and con’s on being businesslike is something every businessperson should give a lot of thought because it needs to be your business philosophy.

Being undecided, will stunt your company’s growth as strategies will wilt and
never will get good actions. The company must have clear directions. There is nothing wrong with loving your products as it provides you with the clear conviction of being right and selling products others will love also.

Loving the products you sell will ensure that all the necessary actions like price,
features, marketing and selling strategies are in place. However, should one or two could not sell, decisions to drop them must be embedded in the strategy.

The longer doubts linger, the longer will the pain persists. To conclude, you must love the products you are selling but be very level headed. Go long on the statistics and identify the weaklings. Be decisive of your decision. And most importantly, stick to it.

Like Grant Cardone said.. “I would rather comit to the wrong thing all the way to the end than commit to the right thing halfway.”

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Stop Talking, Start Asking

There is nothing more annoying than someone who just cannot stop talking. Wouldn’t you agree with me on this?

Information without a doubt is power. However, selling should not be all about pitching. Sometimes, by asking the right kind of questions can help you close better and more effectively.

FIND OUT WHAT THE PROBLEMS ARE

The more problems they tell you, the better chances you have at closing the deal. This way, you can present the product as such where they will understand how your products or services can ease their problems.

  • What don’t you like about your current broker?
  • What frustrates you with your current agency?

RAPPORT BUILDING QUESTIONS

Relationships are very important between the client and the sales rep. People like to be cared about. Don’t we all love attention, every now and then? Make sure you care about them and make them feel important to you.

When you strenghten your relationship with your clients, what you are doing is actually increasing your likability towards them. People love doing business with someone they like.

  • You told me you haven’t been feeling well, how are you doing right now? 
  • Hey, I remember you told me that your daughter will start her primary school next week. How is the preparation for that going?

CLOSE THE DEAL

Ask questions that will direct the conversation towards sealing the deal. Your closing questions should encourage and motivate them to want to buy your products or services.

  • Imagine coming home every single day with this amazing view. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
  • Which package do you think suits you best? A or B?

Happy selling, everyone!

Paranoid? Brilliant.

The word “paranoia” conjures negative thoughts, so why is it so important for sales success?

Any dictionary will define paranoia as a mental case, of unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people. However, paranoia is actually good, in fact vital for sales success.

The big boys in the corporate world all have healthy doses of paranoia, and they became successful. Perhaps “paranoia” could be defined in another way; of being ever vigilant of your competitors and of being extremely sensitive about the welfare of your customers.

Yes, in this fast changing world, technology that pervades daily life could mean ‘success of yesterday’ not guaranteeing ‘success of the future’. What made a company great could be totally obliterated by a new product powered by new changes, say technology.

Remember Kodak? That’s my favourite. I used to have a Kodak camera, and filled with
Kodak film. Now there is no more Kodak; instead there are many new brands; brands that embraced a new digital. Kodak was complacent in thinking that they are too big to fail. What a disaster! They are extinct now and it’s a lesson for all corporations; do not be complacent.

Companies today know now that to be continually successful, they have to be paranoid
Constantly looking over your shoulders for competitors’ activities, constantly be on guard for forthcoming technologies, constantly striving to be your customers’ best friend; these are traits that make sales people successful.

Of course, there is the money. Even if their earnings have doubled, they would want to double it again the next year. They are never satisfied. They would think
ingenious ways to sell more, to get more customers, to get more satisfaction. That’s paranoia, but it is good.

Being paranoid is what will ensure that they will never end up a failure. As what was written in a Hubspot blog, ‘success is 98% mental’. Paranoia is a mental state of mind.
However, paranoia should be controlled. Too much of anything is not good even if they start off as being positive.

Constantly turning up the dial would eventually lead to catastrophe, possibly to ill
health. Paranoia should be conducted in a wise manner. If competitors’ is the problem, there is no harm in being friendly to them.

Imagine being friends with your biggest competitor, getting to know his
products or services, how he manages his team and eventually knowing everything about the competition. What an absolute advantage!

So, there is no need for tension, no need for bad mouthing but instead a healthy
respect for one another.

A healthy dose of paranoia is vital for sales success but too much will lead to several consequences. Be wise and be mindful for everytime you start getting paranoid!

Not Closing? Don’t Quit Just Yet.

What to do when you are not closing sales? That is a question most sales people ask themselves at least once in their career. The increasingly utter desperation of lost sales would drive some into submission and changing of careers, whilst the rest would look upon it as a challenge.

Closing sales is tough but could be learned. Training and learning from other peoples’ experiences are the most popular and effective methods. So if you are one that is now asking the question, below are some of the methods you might want to seriously look into.

Build a strong relationship with your customers

“People buy from people they like”, that is a saying that is very true, ESPECIALLY, if you are in a very niche market. To be liked means having a strong relationship with your customers.  It increases your influence on them, resulting in them being more open, giving access to key decision makers, and sharing sensitive information with you.

However, to build a strong relationship requires a lot of time. Have you got the perserverance to keep the relationship going? That’s what you need to ask yourself.

Qualify Your Customers

Are you speaking to the right person?Pick your customers and not chase after every one. That could become a shock to almost every sales person but there is a deeper logic as to why you should not chase at every opportunity. First, understand your weaknesses and strengths before the first meeting.

You or the company you represent might not have the budget and resources for the customer and it would be a futile effort even if you could get the order. Another reason could be the customer’s credit worthiness.

Or, perhaps your own timeline; you might be already chasing too many. A discussion with your Sales Manager would confirm this. If the light is green, be ready to capitalise on your strengths to understand and resolve the customer’s pain points.

Failure To Ask The Right Questions

Too few or too many questions when meeting the customer could be a reason for failure in closing a sale. The right approach is to ask the correct questions in the right way. But you would not know what is right and what is wrong unless you have built a strong relationship with customer especially
on the first sales call.

This behaviour creates receptiveness on the part of the buyer to share
information with you. Identifying a problem is insufficient as customers want solutions. However, some customers would not like you telling them what to do.

Instead you would need to direct the questions as if the customer himself discovers the problem and he himself come up with the solution. Follow up thereafter by explaining the benefits of problem being solved. Could be tricky but if you could use
this technique, closing sales would be a breeze!

Connect Your Products and Services To The Customer’s Needs

In leading the customer in identifying the problem and coming up with a solution, your products and services must always be seen as the resolution.

This must be said unambiguously and clearly. Avoid jargons and explicitly link the solution to your products and services.

In conclusion, preparation is very important when making the sales calls especially the first one. By properly planning for each call, you could be better prepared to ask the right questions and be in a better position to close the deal.

Do Looks Matter In Closing Sales?

I have had this debate for the longest time. The longest I could remember. I once asked my former boss what he looked for when hiring new sales representatives.

“Looks, for sure! Skills, second.”

Did I agree? Absolutely NOT! But did I disagree? Well, not completely.

We went on discussing the effects of hiring beautiful and attractive sales people. What is the fascination with beautiful people in sales? According to him, people are just more open and drawn towards talking to them.

The two major things that one must have in order to sell effectively is to gain trust and likability from the prospects. So, if you are drop dead gorgeous, does that mean you have shortcut the sales process of building rapport and getting to know your customers?

Lets take a look at the studies done by the University of British Columbia. According to the research, good-looking people were seen with a lot more normative accuracy. What this means is good looking people are better seen as the trustworthy people, easier to build relationships with and better at communication as a whole.

However, according to the researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the assumption that good looking people sell better are actually pervasive. They found that customers are more concerned of the impression they are giving to the attractive sales rep especially when making an embarassing purchase, rather than focusing on the product itself.

What this means is, while attractiveness is what catches the customers’ attention first,  be it to get them into the store or to engage with them in a conversation, the sales representative’s appearance could have a negative effect on the customer’s buying decision and that could be a major drawback.

While these 2 studies came to contradictory conclusions, lets get back to the very basics of what makes a sales rep succesful.

  1. Attitude

    The sales game can be a long process. Finding the people with the money, building rapport, following up and following through, closing the deal and maintaining the relationship. If you don’t have the desire to succeed and the drive to keep going, selling is just not for you.

    The sales industry is full of rejections. It is a mental game. A good attitude is what’s going to make the sales rep survive and succeed. At the end of the day, it does not matter how good looking you are, if you don’t keep working towards closing the deals, you just do not get any deal. Period.

  2. Confidence

    It is knowing and having the belief that you are able to accomplish the particular goal. Highly confident people approach difficult tasks as a challenge and not a threat that needs to be avoided.

    Top closers do everything with confidence. People have limited control over looks and attractiveness but total control of how they speak, walk, smell and dress. When all is done right, it is one of the simplest ways to elevate confidence and feel competent at once.

In short, what makes a sales team successful is understanding that the Sales DNA wins over good looks or any surface-level traits candidates may posssess. While good looks can win the short term game, it certainly cannot survive over the long course.

Product Belief. Is That Even Necessary?

Do you need to believe in the product before you sell it?

If somebody were to ask me that question, I would say, OF COURSE, without any hesitation. Then the doubt will set in and lingers. Why would somebody ask such a question? Are there people out there that sells just about anything? Even when they don’t believe in it?

Whoa, how naiv can I be? Of course, there are many people that do sell anything even when they do not believe in the product or service. They only have to be super confident in themselves.

I remember reading an article about this great salesman that did exactly that. SELL ME THIS PEN! The sentence etches a crack in my brain. The guy actually implied that to sell, you only need to be a very good salesman, never mind the product.

This guy actually sold off the pen, so the question comes back; why do you need to believe in a product when you can actually sell anything, even a pen? You need only to believe in yourself. You are great, in fact the greatest that ever lived. You can even sell a pen, of all things!

Before I rant at a tangent again, I will take a breather. No, I do not subscribe to that kind of thinking. For me, you have to believe in the product you are selling. Even when you have a hard time, you need to try again but this time be aware of your own failings.

Believing in a product is one part of an equation; that being “Believe in your product + Salesmanship= Sales”. You need both of them. The two goes hand in hand to make you a good salesman, now and forever more.

Salesmanship is a skill acquired by the great guy previously mentioned who can actually sell a pen when a pen is the last thing anybody would want. He is the epitome of the salesman that can sell a refrigerator to the Eskimo

Believing in your product and coupled with good sales skills will show up in your demeanour with your client. The quiet confidence as honed by your skills emits a pheromone that triggers a positive reaction in your client.

It really is up to you, at the end of the day you really need to sit down and think of an answer to this question – Do you sell with integrity or do you sell with deceit?

Why Selling Is A Lot Like Dating

Thank you!

I now have your attention.

So what does selling have anything to do with dating?

How many times have we heard that business is all about the relationships you build?

Imagine approaching a complete stranger to ask her “will you marry me?” What do you think she will say?

Exactly. There needs to be a sequence when it comes to getting down on your knees and propose to someone.

The same thing goes for selling.

In this blog, I am going to share with you how dating is a lot similar to selling and how you can improve your sales success by using the dating techniques.

  1. It’s not about you, it’s about THEM.

When you first go out with someone, well, maybe not just someone, but someone you really like. Naturally you will feel curious about the person and when you are curious, you start asking all sorts of questions. Am i right?

The questions that you ask will be important and relevant because you want to know if this person could actually be your compatible match.

That’s what the first stage of selling is about too. During this stage is where you are breaking the ice and getting to know your prospect –  their goals, pain and why.

People like to talk about themselves. So use this time to get them to talk. The more they talk, the more you will know how to pitch your sale that will suit their needs. Remember, people only buy if it can solve their problems.

2. Set your expectations 

I said it. Set your expectations right from the start.

Save yourself from the painful heartbreak. You do not want all your invested time and energy to go to waste.

Which means, your prospect needs to know that you are expecting a commitment from them. Ask them the specific date of when they can give you an answer, ask them if they are fully commited or if they are just shopping around, tell them that you only want to work with serious buyers.

This process will help eliminate a lot of non serious buyers. The last thing you need is someone who just wants to play with your time.

3. Know Your Values

Imagine you’re chasing a girl where she has several other men chasing after her too. You now have what we call “competitors”. How do you tackle this situation?

Some are threatened by competition. This only happens when they do not understand the values they can offer.

In selling, you must know your unique selling points. What are they? And how distinctive are they? Are you different from others? How are you more sellable than the rest?

The power is in understanding what you have that your competitors don’t.

4. Follow up

“The fortune is in the follow up!”

Look, do you give up the first time the woman of your dream tells you no to going out with you?

I doubt it.

Because most people will persist until they get something they really really want, even if the rejection seem endlesss.

And we all know that customers do not usually make their buying decision the first time around.

A lot of them need convinction, most of us don’t trust ourselves to make a good decision anyway. Which is why sales people need to keep following up and convince that they are making the best decision in the world when they buy the product.

5. Know When To Move On

It’s vital to know where you stand.

Why waste so much time chasing after a buyer who stands you up over and over again? Or chasing after a prospect who does not share important information that you need such as their financial capabilities/time frame/budget.

Do not dwell over one prospect that you think are qualified. The time you use to chase after non serious buyers could be used to close your next potential deals with other customers.

So, move on already!