Win Sales With Your Remarkable Message

While Chris Lott never professes to offer a “silver bullet” for winning more deals… developing a remarkable message actually comes close. Let’s face it, products and service offerings all start to look alike and his guess is yours is no exception. Why would a customer pick you and your offering over another? Price? While most customers will tell you price is their driving reason my experience has been it’s always more than just that. Have you ever paid more for something or simply didn’t shop around before you made your purchase? Chris has, because his perception was that this item would fit his needs and his salesmen understood what that was. But even more important than that Chris had built an instant relationship with him or her. How did that happen?

 All Sales professionals tell their potential customers that they and their products are the best. They have references. They are the experts. And so on… While believing in yourself and your product or service is a must does it really differentiate you from others saying the same thing about themselves? Then what is your deferentiator or “remarkable message”?

What is the Number One Mistake Sales People Make?

This was a question asked by Tracy Johnson, a member or the Linked In group Sales Gravy, that prompted Jeff Garrison to answer, along with close to 100 other sales professionals that have posted their thoughts on this question in the last month.  Most of those listed one of the following as the number one mistake.

•    Poor listening skills
•    Poor follow-up
•    Not qualifying prospects
•    Failing to keep the pipeline full
•    Failing to ask good questions
•    Failing to ask for the business
•    Poor planning
•    Poor handling (or no handling) of objections
•    No passion

With the exception of the last one, all of these things fall into one big category. Read more….

Top Line Revenue Growth Can Be Achieved THREE Ways; traditional marketing and advertising (including social media) focus on ONE. Do you know, and work all three?

This week’s blog is by Jeremy Johnson, Director, 21st Century Marketing Systems, an international marketing/sales training and consulting firm which has helped thousands of small businesses in all industries and of all sizes, on-line or off-line, achieve exponential growth without spending more money on traditional advertising.

When thinking about growing their business, most think of getting their product or service in front of more potential customers. Even the online social networking and media, that is growing so quickly these days, is entirely focused on that one area!

For some businesses, it might be very difficult or very expensive to get in front of more prospects. Plus, if you are not sure what it is that you are truly offering to your customers, if your message is unclear, paying to get in front of more prospects will just be a waste of time and money.

Are there ways to increase your top line without spending more money on traditional advertising?

Absolutely!

There are THREE ways to increase your top line revenue:
1. Increase the number of prospects your product or service is exposed to
2. Increase the conversion ratio of prospects to paying customers
3. Increase the value and worth of each individual customer
Traditional marketing and advertising focuses on just ONE area, why not focus on all three?!

Are some ways more cost effective than others?

Of course!

DO NOT spend money on getting in front of more prospects without first identifying, leveraging, and optimizing the marketing assets you already have within your business.

First make sure you know what it is that you are selling. Are you selling eye glasses like so many others, or, are you selling the fact that you can get it done in about an hour? Are you selling pizza like everyone else, or, are you selling 30 minutes or less?  Once all your competitors can claim 30 minutes or less, does that aspect of your business differentiate you any longer?

ALL of your marketing efforts must be designed around what makes YOU unique. You must differentiate yourself. This concept alone, differentiation, is the topic of classes, workshops, and seminars in and of itself.  It is also very similar to, if not synonymously used at times with branding, and positioning, just to name a couple.

Doesn’t it make sense to start here first before spending any time and money in other areas? Anyone who answers your phones must be selling what makes you unique; your sales force needs to be selling it in every aspect of their sales cycle, your USP or unique selling proposition must be integrated thoroughly into your operations.

Also, before getting in front of more prospects, make sure you’re getting the most value out of each customer, past, present and future. Make sure your conversion ratio of prospects to paying customers is respectable. A strong Unique Selling Proposition will help your sales force increase their closing ratios.  Then and only then, after your house is in order, do you even think about spending money to get your product or service in front of more prospects!

If you need to grow 20% as quickly as possible, don’t just focus on getting in front of 20% more prospects. Rather, a small increase of around 5%, in all THREE areas, will start building on each other and create exponential growth with the potential of much more than 20%.

Can you see the potential?

Different Perspectives: Is Sales Really About Getting to “Yes”?

Here’s a different perspective for you: Jerry Kennedy thinks that a successful sales career is based less on your ability to get people to say “Yes” and more on your ability to get to “No” faster and more often.

 

Unless you want to be the kind manipulative salesperson that everyone loves to hate, you can’t really “get” someone else to say yes.  If you were one of those types, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article to begin with.  Those kind of mouth-breathing bottom feeders are not typically the kind to hang out here, trying to become a better caliber of salesperson.  They’re more likely to spend their time on “yellow-highlighter” pages, learning the latest mind-control sales tips.

 If you’re reading posts by the likes of Skip Anderson and Tibor Shanto and Cindy King (and all the other incredible minds that hang out on the SBU), I’m guessing it’s because you want to be the kind of salesperson that’s admired and respected by your employers, peers and customers.  If that’s true, you have to become a master of getting people to say “No” as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Why?  Because in most cases the alternative to “No” is not “Yes”; it’s one of the 1001 variations of “Maybe” that prospects  learn in “Sales Avoidance” class.

Featured Company Q&A: Pannar Seed USA

This month’s Featured Company Q&A is with Barry Brown, CEO, for PANNAR SEED INC, who shares with us his focus for the coming year and strategies for sales success.

What do you enjoy most about working for Pannar Seed USA?

I enjoy the challenge of helping build a company based on solid fundamentals and focused on adding value to our customers.

What unique quality separates Pannar from your competitors?

We are a 50 year old company that is still operated on the principle of being a world-class supplier of quality seed.  Being independently owned allows us to manage for the long term and what is in the best interests of our owners and customers.

We are all coming off of a challenging year, how has Pannar handled it?

We are having our best year in the past 3 years.  While you always want to accomplish more, we are growing our business significantly this year.  We have invested in our people and focused on a few things that have the biggest return.

What would you like salesjournal.com readers to know about Pannar?

While we are a small company in the U.S., we invest in our people and are committed to being the supplier of choice to the growers in our market footprint.

What specific goals, including those related to your specific position within the company, have you established for 2010?

  • Achieve sales targets
  • Attract and retain quality employees
  • Re-evaluate our key marketplace messages, tactics, and channel strategy

What creative strategies have you used to encourage/influence your sales team?

A lot of what we do is basic “blocking & tackling,” i.e. training our sales people, setting aggressive sales targets, encourage customer/prospect.

What is your favorite methodology in sales training and/or business enhancement?

I am a firm believer that if you have the right people, quality products, and they are well trained, then it is a matter of getting enough time with customers and prospects.

Are there any books, sales related or leadership related, that you use as a guide and/or would recommend?

I like the author Stephen Covey; “The Five Temptations of a CEO” by Patrick Lencioni and “Profitable Growth” by Ram Charan.

Do you have a mentor that you contribute your leadership success to? Do you feel it is important to have a mentor?

I was fortunate to have two very good supervisors early in my career. Mentors are very important. I learned a lot by watching how they organized meetings, motivated people, and had “the meeting before the meeting.”

What sales advice do you have to offer our readers?

Focus, Connect, Ask for the business.  I have found that in sales it is easy to get caught up in things that don’t drive sales.  It is important to connect or as a successful senior sales guy told me when I started, “You gotta be where the people be”.  I also believe many orders are not closed simply because sales people don’t ask for the business.

When you hire, how do candidates stand out in order to be selected to help with the growth of the company? What characteristics do you look for in a sales professional?

We have an industry with a lot of specific knowledge that is needed.  Being a smaller company, we focus on those sales candidates that have a proven sales record.  Additionally, we look at character, work ethic, interpersonal communications and cultural fit with Pannar.

Do you feel a sales professional must have experience in the industry they are selling in order to be successful?

Our industry requires a lot of specific knowledge to be successful.  Larger companies can hire someone with the right characteristics and teach them the industry specific knowledge over 1-3 years.  As a small company, we do not have that luxury, so we hire only those who have a proven sales track record of success combined with the other attributes we are looking for.

If an individual or the team as a whole is not meeting goals, what is your approach to nurture this?

We evaluate and ask questions: Are we trained for the job at hand? Are we getting in front of the right people? Do we have products that are performing well? Is market awareness an issue? Are we competitively priced in the market? Then we talk as a group or individual on what we need to do to get things ramped up or going in the right direction.

How much time do you need to know if a new sales hire will “make it”? What are some indicators/behaviors?

Usually less than 6 months. Indicators I look for: Are they in their office when I call or out seeing customers? When I ask how things are going; do they have a lot to talk about that is meaningful? Can they tell me what our competitors are doing?