Today, I want to share some of the best and most proven sales and marketing ideas and tips I have used and taught. Apply these and I guarantee that your business will grow during these final four months of 2013.
1. Listen. God gave you one mouth and two ears. Let that dictate how much you use both.
2. Stay in contact. Make a decision to contact all your past clients at least once a month. If you don’t, guess what? Your competition will.
3. Differentiate yourself. Why should someone buy from you? What makes you different from everyone else?
4. Ignore the competition while selling to customers. If you are looking at them or worried about them, then your focus is in the wrong place. You should make dealing with you so much more powerful that the competition.
5. Get rid of negative people from your life. Now, that might be somewhat difficult if you are married to him/her. You need to surround yourself with a solid group of positive, big-thinking movers and shakers. Avoid the moaners and groaners.
6. Send out 25 sales letters every week regardless. Get in the habit of sending out at least that many letters to prospects every week. No matter what, make sure they go out. Remind your prospects of the powerful benefits that you provide.
7. Learn from your mistakes. Every project has some “failure factor” in it. Fail forward – learn from trying and keep on going.
8. Create special offers. No matter what you sell, you can create a special offer which will put you in a favourable light in the eyes of your prospects.
9. Write a special report. If you are in selling, you are in educating and solving. What do you solve for people? Write an authoritative 10-page report, offer it to your prospects for free and your telephone will ring off the wall.
10. Write down your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What is your number one competitive selling advantage? It should be brief, exciting and should compel people to want to know more.
11. Realise that your past clients are an untapped goldmine. You will starve if you have to rely on constantly finding new customers. Repackage what you sell and re-offer to existing and past clients.
12. Deliver fast. It’s not the big that beats the small; it’s the fast that beats the slow. People no longer put up with slow delivery. Remember that we live in the age of the never satisfied customer.
13. Think long-term. If you are in it for the one-off sale, you will starve in the sales business. Everything you do should be focused on creating and keeping customers for life. Evaluate the lifetime value of every customer and I’m certain that it will sharpen your focus.
14. Be confident. If you have confidence in yourself, your product, and your company, then prospects will have confidence in you. If they have confidence in you, they are much more likely to buy from you. Nothing is more appealing than confidence.
15. Ask more questions. People want to know that you understand what they are going through. Why not ask twice as many questions on your next sales call and see what happens?
16. Become an authority figure. Remember that selling is more about perception than about products. Get interviewed. Launch a newsletter. Write a book or a report. Produce a CD. Give a speech or workshop. Become known.
17. Get your customers to trust you, meaning that if you sell insurance; make sure that when they think of insurance they think of you alone. If you sell real estate, they must automatically think of only you.
18. Keep your customers happy at all costs. You must become the pre-eminent provider of the service or product that you sell.
19. Develop and keep a positive attitude. Get happy! Read a good book or listen to an inspirational CD. Always remember that nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm.
20. Sell to help. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Get your eyes off your sales commission and onto their problems and solutions.
21. List 10 things you like about yourself. Work on building your self-esteem. Sometimes it’s so easy to focus on our weaknesses. Focus on your strengths.
22. Set a goal for the next year. What’s one thing you would really like to accomplish in your selling this year? Write it on a small card and carry it with you wherever you go.
23. Get a sense of humour. So many people are so uptight. Let your hair down. It’s a powerful sales tool. Humour creates rapport. Rapport creates magic.
24. Use testimonials. One of the most powerful sales tools you can have are endorsements from satisfied clients. Just ask for them! A good testimonial is better than one hundred sales pitches.
25. Be punctual. When you make someone wait it communicates a lack of respect for their time.
26. Don’t do admin work during prime selling time. What are you doing shuffling paper when you should be in front of prospects?
27. Welcome complaints. You can turn around most complaints if you are committed to winning. Make it easy and acceptable for them to tell you how they feel about you. View complaints as an opportunity.
28. Create urgency. Every letter, every sales call, every marketing piece must have a deadline. Action creates action.
29. Close the sale! This simple advice is obvious! Or is it? Most sales people have a problem with closing efficiently.
30. Pay yourself first. Save 10% of everything you earn. Starting with your next salary cheque, put the first 10% away for yourself.
31. Don’t ever quit! You will never win in selling if you give up.
32. Take responsibility for your results. You are the only person who can improve your situation.
33. Use a headline in your sales letters. Also keep in mind that every sales letter must have a P.S. You have less than 5 seconds to capture their interest. Headlines and a strong P.S. are powerful attention grabbers.
34. Create order in your client base. You should have a list of all your past contacts, past clients, hot prospects – preferably on computer.
35. Position yourself as an expert and authority. Even if you are new to your industry you can be perceived as an expert. The way to do it is with information. Write something, research something or print something and you are an instant “expert.”
36. Build, manage and maximise your database. Your list of contacts is one of the most valuable assets you have. Always add more names to it. Get them coming to you by regularly creating offers that make them step forward. The person with the biggest database or rolodex usually wins.
37. Blow your customers away by exceeding their expectations. The word-of-mouth benefits of doing this are tremendous.
38. Focus on the customer, not on you or your company. People don’t care about you, your credentials, or your company. They only care about one thing – Themselves. More specifically, how will spending their hard-earned money with you solve their problems?
39. Keep in touch. Send a weekly or monthly report or newsletter. Send a positive quotation of the day.
40. Increase the size of each sale. Ask for bigger orders wherever possible.
41. Invest in yourself. Get the best books and CD’s (join Automobile University). Go to seminars.
42. Be a person of integrity. People want to deal with people they like and trust.
43. Consult, rather than sell. When you go on a sales visit or are with a prospect on the shop floor, act as though you are a consultant rather than a sales person. Have the attitude that you will “Help” the prospect instead of “Selling” to the prospect. People hate to be “sold” to, but they love to “buy”.
44. You should be doing 30% of the talking and your prospect should be doing 70% of the talking. What is your current ratio? The more you question and listen, the more you sell. Remember the golden rule – ask questions.
45. To achieve peak sales performance there are six key knowledge areas in professional selling – business knowledge, industry knowledge, company knowledge, product knowledge, selling knowledge and lastly, attitude. It is said that knowledge is power; but knowledge is really only potential power until used effectively.
46. How good are your rapport conversation skills? The best sales professionals understand how to engage in conversation. All questions and comments should focus on the value and benefit to the prospective client. Good selling professionals provoke questions that engage the customer’s pride, passion and purpose. In fact, the better the quality of your questions, the more engaged the customer. This creates more listening opportunities for the selling professional.
47. Look professional. Appropriate professional dress is a positive reflection on you, your company, and your product.
48. Constantly improve your portfolio presentation. I am staggered at how many sales people don’t have effective presentation packs (in brochure form and PowerPoint) of their portfolios. Your portfolio presentation is the cornerstone of your business. This presentation is the tool that should separate you from the pack of imposters. This presentation should immediately convey your professionalism, your competitive advantages and why you and your company should be selected.
49. Improve your presentation skills. Anyone aspiring to work in professional selling must have refined presentation skills. However, few people are naturally eloquent speakers. Public speaking is challenging for most, but with help and effort, you can polish your skills and impress even the most difficult clients. Effective presentation skills are a standout quality in professional selling.
50. How do you double your sales? In professional selling you are only really growing your business when you are busy with 3 key result areas – Prospecting, Presenting and Closing. Evaluate and measure exactly how much time per day you are actually engaged in these three core activities – and then double this time – I guarantee that you will double your sales.
50.5 Pick 10 things from this article and start doing them right now. Feel free to share them with your colleagues.
John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.
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