Stopping Yourself Before You Even Try

Stopping-Yourself-Before-You-TryHow many times have you wanted to try something, only to stop yourself before you even attempt it? Travel to a country where you don’t know the language, jumping into a cave with a pool at the bottom, asking someone on a date… or perhaps more relatable, asking for the close when fear has the nasty habit of making you say “I can’t do that” before you even attempt it.

I’m not going to go into the psychology or anything too heavy about fear, but what I am going to try and do is convince you that you’re you own worst enemy. Thinking about it logically, the reason that you think that you can’t do something is because you’re afraid of the negative outcome. If you’re scared about jumping into the cave with the pool at the bottom, you’re most likely scared that you’ll hit something on the way down. If you’re afraid of asking for the close, you’re most likely afraid that they’ll turn down your offer and all your hard work will be for nothing.

When it comes to fear holding you back when you’re selling, I can offer you two points of advice based on my own experience:

You Won’t Know Until You Try – Why would you put in all the work of building a connection with a prospect, getting to know them and realizing that your service can genuinely help them, only to stop yourself before asking for a close? Getting cold feet near the end of the sales process can be tricky, but the absolute worst case scenario is that they’ll say no. Afterwards, the solution is simple…

Worst Case Scenario: Move On – So you do the big ask and they say no. Was it as bad as you imaged? The reality is that it probably stung a bit, perhaps it was a tad frustrating and threw off your day, but you moved on right? Even if we don’t admit that we can, moving on is just something that people do naturally. Of course, it comes easier to some than others, but no matter what it’s important to simply deal with whatever outcome has happened and grow from it, instead of dwelling on it and letting it prevent future opportunities.

It’s better to cope with failure than live with the “what-ifs”, both in life and in sales. Trust me, once you get rid of all fear when selling, you’ll excel further than you thought possible and soon enough be sitting on that cash throne.

Limit The Options To Close The Sale

choicesEver had those days where you just want a simple product, but are overwhelmed with the amount of choices involved? Let’s say you want to buy a MP3 player for Christmas and wander into Best Buy thinking it will be easy – but what colour do you want? What brand? Should it be water proof? Do you really need Bluetooth? What about the batteries it takes? There have been so many times where I go to buy something and am simply put off by the amount of options available that I lose interest in the product and put it off getting it – or sometimes I don’t get it at all!

This got me thinking to the typical sales person who tries to sell a “complete” solution to someone who doesn’t really need all of the bells and whistles. Offering the right solution to potential customers is critical to closing the sale, but giving them a list of too many options is bound to turn them off. Once your prospect suffers from information overload, they’ll either delay the decision or lose interest. Here’s what you should do to prevent this from happening:

Discuss Their Exact Needs: The first step of any successful sale’s process is having a deep understanding of what your prospect is looking for, meaning that you need to have an in-depth conversation with them – probably multiple conversations actually. It’s no secret that you need to develop a relationship with your potential clients since it’s rare that you’ll sell someone a product or service on your first meeting. As such, when you’re getting to know them you need to see what exactly they’re looking for in a solution and if you can concisely offer them the service instead of saying things like “You might like A, but B and C are probably better! And we can’t forget D, E and F either.”

Custom Tailor A Solution: Chances are that you may not one concise solution available to solve all of a customer’s problems, which is why you offer them so many solutions. In this case though, it would help a lot if you move things around to make a solution that best fits for them, that way they have all of their problems solved in one fell swoop. Sure, it might be a bit of a pain, but there’s no doubt that they’ll appreciate the effort you put into making something work for them. This will also limit their options to their yes or no, making the close dramatically easier.

By making the decision process for your prospects easier and making their choices meet their needs, I guarantee that you’ll have more success with closing sales.

Sell with Confidence to Sell with Success

Sell-With-ConfidenceIt’s well known that the people who have an extraordinary amount of success in business are generally those who are confident. Unsurprisingly, this is essentially the foundation of success when it comes to being an excellent sales person.

Sales people are generally known for their confident demeanour. If you think about any time someone has sold you something, you’ll probably remember how confident the person was that you would genuinely see benefit from the product.

Of course, unless you’re a confident person from the get go, this is actually really tough. And even if you are confident, sometimes being in front of a person or talking on the phone can completely change a person’s confidence levels! Here are three tips I can offer that should be able to help you sell with more confidence.

Believe In Your Product – This is the most important point I can make, and something that you need to understand before you fully commit to a sales position. Do you truly believe in the product you’re selling? Can you find the positive features of the product and understand how it’ll improve things for your customers? If you hesitated for even a second, then take some time to re-evaluate things. How can you realistically sell something with confidence if you personally don’t find value in the product or service? This is important because when questions come up from those you’re selling to, people will be able to hear your hesitation in your voice.

Let Go of Fear – I’ve dedicated an entire blog post to this in the past, but letting go of your fears is one of the most essential things to selling. Be it fear of rejection or anything related, your doubt will be conveyed when you speak. The way you speak and tone of voice are vital because it’s one of the few ways to let your potential customer know that they can trust you – and people don’t buy things from people they don’t trust!

Practice What You’ll Say, But To A Point – After being in a sales position for a while, you’re bound to notice that the same concerns from people will come up over and over again, or that if you tell potential customers how your product works in a certain way, they’ll understand a lot quicker. Having key points memorized, or even working off of a script can work wonders for your sales efforts. But much like with a speech or presentation, you don’t want to memorize everything word for word. If you do, you’ll risk the chance of coming across robotic or fake, which means people will lose interest very quickly in what you’re saying.

Gaining confidence is not an overnight act, and I’m by no means trying to simplify the process. My hope is simply to give you a solid starting point so you can sell things easier. Let me know if you have any insights!

The Challenges of Executing and Delivering

Wish_Group_Summer_ReunionWhether you only have one employee or 50 employees, execution will always be difficult. By execution I mean of course the way that you are completing tasks that will grow your business, and deliver positive results either to your leadership in the company or to yourself.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the Wish Group went away for our bi-annual team building trip a couple of weeks ago. During these trips we like to have an overall theme for the event that will put a focus on the learning we’ll accomplish, with this year’s theme being execution.

The main goal for these trips is of course team building, but taking the time to discuss challenges and triumphs with your team is also an excellent way of doing that. When it comes to executing, we focused on four different areas that were loosely based on the four disciplines of execution, with a spotlight on sales of course:

Make Important Goals – The only way to achieve great success is to make goals that you can focus on. It may sound simple, but without a goal to focus on you simply won’t have the same drive that other sales people or companies have. One of the tasks we asked everyone at our Summer Reunion to complete is to write down their Wildly Important Goals for the year. This first step is really what sets the tone for how you’ll achieve success, since it’s important to actually define what success means to you!

Define Your Lead Measures – Even if you have a goal, what’s the point if you don’t have a practical way of reaching it? I put an emphasis on practical because it’s common to rush towards a goal instead of tackling it strategically. The best way I can explain this is with a common weight loss analogy. Your important goal may be to lose 50 pounds, but you can’t just make this goal and hope for the best. You’ll be keeping track of how much exercise you’re doing daily and even how many calories you’re taking in. The same thing applies to your sales team. Sure, they want to close a certain amount of deals, but victory lies in preparation. They’ll need to keep track of who they’re contacting, what prospects make the most sense to reach out to and what hasn’t been working for them in the past, just as a few examples.

Track Your Progress – It’s hard to admit, but there are only winners and losers when it comes to sales and business. People don’t pay to see two sports teams kick a ball around and not keep track of who wins. We pay to see one team win, which means another team has to lose. Keeping a scorecard of all of your successes will keep you focused on your goals in two ways. On one hand, having a visual record of the times when you didn’t quite reach your goals will motivate you to keep trying harder to turn those failures into triumphs. On the other hand, with the notes you keep from your lead measures combined with your scorecard, it’ll be extremely rewarding to have a solid trail of your success and how hard you’ve worked to get there.

Accountability to Yourself and Your Team – Your plans, your efforts and triumphs don’t mean anything if you don’t hold yourself accountable by actually following through with your action plan. It’s important to understand that this means keeping track of your failures too, because you’ll never be able to improve if you don’t look at both sides of your endeavors.

As you can clearly see, executing is by no means an easy task, and overnight results shouldn’t be expected. Like with most things in life, if you want to achieve greatness, you’ll need to take it one step at a time. And like most things as well, the first step is always the most difficult – but after that I guarantee that you’ll be able to do it!

Don’t Neglect Your Existing Customers

enquêteThere’s no doubt that your sales team is always calling, sending
e-mails, following up and doing whatever they can to capture new customers, but during this process there is one critical point that gets lost in the shuffle – your existing clients. There’s a danger of your sales team putting so much focus on attracting new customers that your existing customers will start to feel neglected.

Initially you may think that new customers should be your primary focus as you’re trying to grow your business, but there are numerous statistics that show why keeping your current customers happy is important. Bain and Co.’s research shows that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%, and Gartner Group statistics reveal that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.

The numbers sound nice, but what exactly does this mean for business owners? At the end of the day, you need to take a look at how you’re currently servicing your customers and see if there are ways you can improve the existing relationship. Here are a few tricks that I’ve learned over the years that will help make your current customers happy.

Go Above and Beyond – This first point goes without saying, but over time it’s easy to let your customer service levels drop. A lot of the time this drop is so gradual that you don’t notice it until it’s too late – which is when your customer decides to move on. Make sure that you reinforce the importance of top notch customer service to your team by sharing success stories or great examples that you’ve heard or experienced firsthand.

Appreciate Them When They Don’t Expect it – If I was to take a guess, I’d say that a majority of you send some form of appreciation to your customers during Christmas time. While that’s fine, what people don’t realize is that everyone expects something during the holidays, so in reality your gift that was supposed to make an emotional impact probably won’t be remembered for too long. Instead, why not take the gifts that you were supposed to send during the Christmas season and send them on March 24th, meaning no specific holiday or reason behind them. The gesture is sure to turn some heads, and will definitely leave a longer lasting impression.

Implement a Loyalty Program – A loyalty program is one of the best ways that you can keep your existing customers. An interesting article from Help Scout shows that if you want to get a customer heavily involved with a customer loyalty program, you should automatically get them started. Pick a relevant date (birthday, anniversary of contract, etc) and simply send them an e-mail telling them how much you appreciate their business and that you’ve enrolled them in your “VIP” program. There’s no doubt that they’ll appreciate the gesture and stay loyal to your brand.

The takeaway you should communicate to your team is that at the end of the day, keeping your current customers happy is equally as important as finding new customers, so make sure not to lack in either category. How are you currently making your current customers happy? I’d love to discuss some techniques in the comments.

Don’t Sell – Tell a Story

dont-sell-tell-a-story“I have an amazing product and I want to sell it to you!” If you ever want someone to hang-up on you immediately, just say that phrase and you’ll soon become best friends with the dial tone. Your sales team needs to understand that no one likes being sold to. In fact, it’s estimated that people are exposed to roughly 5,000 different advertisements per day, and thanks to this over-exposure of ads people will regularly tune out anything that begins to sound like a “sell” to them.

Your sales team has probably gotten comfortable telling their prospects that the product they’re selling is amazing, but probably haven’t considered using a story to back up their claims. A story will not only create a better emotional connection with your prospects, it will also leave a lasting impression with them and remind them not only of you, but of your product or service as well. Here are 3 advantages about story telling that I’ve learned over the years.

Stories Simplify Complicated Ideas – During a TED talk about storytelling, Andrew Stanton from Pixar delivered a great quote that really stuck with me: “Don’t give them 4, give them 2 + 2”.  People don’t want to hear the science of how your product will make their business run more efficiently, they simply want to know the results. Don’t get bogged down by the details of your strategy, just tell them a story that delivered concrete results, and explain that you’ll do the same for them.

Stories Leave An Impression –Most business owners and decision makers receive a large number of calls from salespeople every day, so having a memorable story in your arsenal can make a large difference between a meeting and a rejection. A decision maker will always remember an emotional story that meant something to them instead of a well-formulated sales pitch.

Stories Are Sharable – The best thing about a memorable story is that if you deliver it effectively, the listener will share that story with their peers. There’s nothing better than having an advocate of your product or service tell other people about it. Even if they don’t see any value in what you’re selling, they won’t mind sharing a story that stuck out in their mind.

Once your sales team is able to share stories with their prospects, they’ll have a creative way to be in their front of mind. If your team uses the age old “but I don’t have any stories” excuse, sit down with them and talk through some positive experiences they’ve had with past clients, and see if there are stories that they can adapt from that.

Does your team regularly use stories? What has their success been like? I would love to hear your successes and discuss more about this topic in the comments section.