The newbie real estate agent had just closed his first deal. To his horror he discovered the piece of land he’d sold was mostly submerged at high tide. He asked his boss if they should annul the deal, but his boss roared at him, “Money back? What kind of salesman are you? Get out there and sell him a houseboat.”
There’s always a not so obvious answer. Spring is a great time to get creative… analyse what you’ve done, contrast it with the best in the industry, and figure out how you can be the biggest mover in your marketplace. Analysis and benchmarking of results are the awesome tools that can make a huge difference.
How ordinary people achieve extraordinary results…
and I don’t just mean ‘being positive’, you need to find your purpose and your passion and focus on raising the standard of your delivery. Do you embrace a challenge or avoid it? Do you keep going when you get a setback – or give up easily? Do you learn from criticism or take it personally? Mind blockages or having a fixed mindset affect your ability to achieve and succeed – so form a plan and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Look around you at those who are successful – they are usually positive, go-getters who see a setback as a challenge and keep going!It is important to create a balanced life and make time for the things that make you smile – spending time with family and friends and having some ‘me’ time is crucial to ensure you are surrounding yourself with an environment to live a fulfilling life. You’ve got to create a lifestyle .. not a job.We are fortunate to have a number of excellent coaches on board to assist you with getting your mindset on the path to success – give us a call today on 0800 800 303 to book in a session with either myself, Mark Sutherland, Steve Gurney or Mike Allsop.
One of the key things for you to do this month is to really get an understanding of who your client really is.Review sales for February, March and April and create a client profile or demographic that gives you a clear understanding of who your customer really is.Consider location, age group and employment characteristics to build your profile.By doing this, you will have a much clearer idea of who your client is and how to get more of them.I am consistently seeing businesses that have not defined their target market of clients and understand how they can get more of them.Spend the time to review your sales history and you may very well be surprised on how easy it is to get more of them.
Over the last 1½ years, as I have continued to build the darrenpratley.com speaking business, I have been consistently seeing self-employed business owners or team members that are needing support or help in developing their business. As there are many areas of business that I don’t work in, I thought it was important for me to have some very strong solutions that could assist them in developing their business in areas where I don’t necessarily work. From this, we developed the concept of INK Consulting Associates where we have brought together a range of high performing consultants and topic experts that can help support our clients in improving their business and developing growth. We can see from many of our discussions with our clients that growth of their business becomes a very important part of what they do as their success improves. With the success, growth is a key focus and that is why we are really focusing on becoming the growth agency for self-employed business owners and their businesses. Over the coming months, we are looking to add high performing consultants on our team and ensure they are able to provide us with expert and industry leading information to assist our clients.
Over a number of years I have been working with various industries that are looking to develop a trusted relationship with their clients. As you look to develop your relationships with your clients into the future, getting them to understand your value proposition, how your service works and the skill that you have in providing that service or product. Being able to have a in-depth discussion with your customer around their needs and wants for your service or product will make your life easier when it comes to the sales process. I have noticed many businesses still trying to treat sales in the traditional formats of building pipelines, pressuring and disturbing customers around their purchase time frames or opportunity and pressing them for payment for the goods. Please understand that as we are all more savvy around the sales environment, more informed about the product choice via the internet, we are now demanding that the people that we work with have the integrity, the credibility and the ongoing relationship with us before we are willing to trust and then make the purchase.
Have a think about your business today, how you can get your clients to understand the trust proposition that you provide. Identify the areas where you can provide advice and information that will make their lives easier and get them to where they want to be. Your customers’ success is your success, so focus on identifying it and moving your business to take advantage of that. If you are looking for some support about how to identify your businesses trust opportunity and then how to seize on it, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.
Google search your industry, your known competitors and related industry participants and print all relevant content that you can find to build a collection of your industry competitors. Now analyze it.
2. Mystery shop
Get someone that you trust to mystery shop your competitors checking:
(a) customer connection;
(b) needs identification;
(c) solution development;
(d) pricing, terms and conditions;
(e) closing the sale;
(f) ongoing relationship definition.
3. Direct analysis and comparison
Review the above mystery shop items to identify what your competitors are doing in regards to service, product offering and client retention ability. Compare to your own service proposition. Have you ever had someone mystery shop your business?
4. External assessor
Use an external party to complete a service assessment on your business. Having someone who knows about how far industry service propositions have developed and assess your business against this criteria will give you a great idea on how to move your business closer to your customer.
5. International benchmarking
It is always important to look at what the leaders in your industry are doing. Don’t be limited by your geographic boarder in regards to development of your service. International markets can help you grow your service proposition.
In sales, because of the further development of electronic communication tools such as text messaging, emails and Facebook, many people have moved away from the tried and tested and proven communication tool, the telephone.
The use of the telephone and creating a call to a prospect or an opportunity allows you to create a personal connection with that client that no electronic means will provide.
We know that if we can make personal contact with a potential or opportunity, the ability for us to listen to the client’s situation, understand their needs and then propose some potential solutions, helps them feel that we care and that there is a person involved in the transaction.
Because of many salespeoples’ reliance on electronic mediums there is also a reluctance to call.
This reluctance or fear of calling is a key factor in most salespeople’s inability to make the required number of calls per day.
We have to investigate why these fears or this nervousness is happening and create clear solutions to enable these calls to be made.
Once the initial fears are overcome and confidence builds, creating more and more calls to prospects becomes easy.
These new prospects are either added to your database as future opportunities or appointments are secured from that initial information and discussion.
It is simple and clear that you just have to make your calls. Putting a simple call script in place to give you some key pointers for discussing your client’s true wants and needs will help you create solutions that enable the transaction to happen.
Having worked with hundreds of self-employed business owners, I constantly see a simple mistake that literally costs business owners tens of thousands of dollars.
In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, the ability to attract customers can be more challenging and with the speed of losing customers ever increasing, we should reassess the adage that it is cheaper to keep a past or existing customer than it is to chase a new one.
Recently, I was working with a client who has built a very successful business over 14 years and was commenting about how his energy for chasing new clients and opportunities was beginning to challenge his passion and drive for new business. On asking about his past clients, he provided a very noncommittal response.
I then asked, “When was the last time that you talked to your past clients?” The blood drained from his face and he looked at the floor.
From that response, I knew the answer.
Today in business, it is very easy for us to do the deal and move onto the next one, continually spending our time chasing new business and opportunities. But it is also so easy for us to forget the deals we have done for clients where we have impressed them, but through lack of communication we have let them slip away, allowing them to be picked up by a competitor.
My challenge to you is simple. This month, create a campaign that specifically targets your past clients.
Yes, you will feel uncomfortable, but you need to do it anyway. The simple introduction of, “Hi it’s Darren here, I’ve been updating my database and noticed we haven’t talked for such a long time I thought I would give you a call to say hi.”
This simple statement will give you feedback from your client that at least lets you know how to move forward.
Please feel the fear and make the call anyway as it will be a great chance for you to begin new relationships with your past clients. Plus, I know this really works.
Sales is a process. You are highly unlikely to make a sale the first time you approach a prospect. It requires a softly-softly approach, commonly called a sales funnel. This is how prospects get to know you and what you offer, become comfortable with you, and then agree to buy.
Generally, the more money being spent, the longer this sales funnel will be. For example, if you are selling small items direct to the public, it may take only two or three touches for them to buy. If you are selling vehicles or homes, the process will take much longer and require many more direct communications before you get the “yes” you are seeking.
Currently, the most reliable and cost-effective way to get people into that sales funnel is via email. A series of emails sent on a regular basis will build a relationship with prospects and educate them about your business. Usually, this is done through an email responder series from a sign-up form on your website.
LinkedIn is another cost-effective way to move people into your sales funnel. It requires a personal approach to each person you’re targeting which can be time-consuming but is still a very good way to get a conversation going.
Once you have begun growing your list of potential customers, you need to find ways to keep top of mind with them. Emails may not be enough. One way we have found to be successful is a personal phone call every couple of months. We make this a “keeping in touch” call for the first few so there is no pressure. Usually, by the third or fourth call, the prospect is keen to learn more about what we offer and suddenly a sale is on the horizon.
You may have inherited or purchased a database of leads. In which case, they need to be divided into different categories, for example A’s, B’s and C’s. A’s are your top clients, C’s your colds. For each category, work out how you want to approach them to move them down your sales funnel. Some you will want to contact in person, some by phone, some by email and some by other methods such as LinkedIn.
Devise a system that works for your business and the type of leads you are dealing with. Make sure you have the resources to follow through – many people have great ambitions for their marketing but give up before they have made much progress.
Set up a straightforward, easy-to-implement plan that you know will work based on your experience and then stick to it. You’ll be amazed at the results you achieve.