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Posts Tagged ‘sales’

branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can find the latest from the Luxgraphicus website.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

10 tips on re-newing your brand for growth

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Research your audience.
  3. Ask, why re-brand?
  4. Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
  5. Consider a wide range of options.
  6. Let go of previous solutions.
  7. Package your “stuff” (visual collateral) to keep costs under control.
  8. Use the change to promote your business more, or differently.
  9. Plan to phase out ALL old material.
  10. Ask your design professional for a set of rules for application to ALL your “stuff” (visual collateral).
  11. Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

(oops, that’s eleven!)

5 tips on email marketing management

  1. Keep your emails short and fun.
  2. Allow unsubscribes.
  3. Make your emails look like all your other marketing material (follow your brand rules)
  4. Use HTML emails (they look better and nearly everyone can see them).
  5. Track opens and click throughs on links.
  6. Build your database with online subscription web forms.

(still having trouble counting!)

 

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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branding and design

We’re still disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can also follow these tips regularly on the Luxgraphicus blog.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on design for start-up businesses

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Research your audience.
Brief your design professional on your messages and audience.
Get your brand design done before your website, business card and brochure.
Plan ALL your requirements, then get some done now.
Get the others done later by the same designer.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

10 tips on re-freshing your brand

If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) consistent.
Look to “modernise” your logo (keep it’s shape and intent, change its feel and appeal)
Add some new graphics and text treatments
Compliment your standard colour palette with a few new ones.
Choose a small set of iconic images for your marketing and promotion
Change the format (shape & size) of some material.
Change the delivery method of some material.
Use a quality paper stock for your key material.
Ask your design professional for an ongoing review of your branding.

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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tips on branding and design canberra

We’re disseminating some of our knowledge to prospective and current clients through email campaigns at the moment. Those on our lists will be getting regular emails with tips on design and branding issues pertinent to small and medium business.

You can also follow these tips regularly on the Luxgraphicus blog.

So that Canberra Small Business Blog readers don’t miss out, I’ll be posting bundled sets of tips here in my regular spot.

Please make comment or feedback on anything you find interesting, confusing, in need of more detail or otherwise worthy of comment. I look forward to developing a dialogue over the coming weeks and months.

7 tips on why branding?

  1. Your client’s perception of your business is based on how they see you.
  2. They “see” you at every contact point with your business.
  3. This impression is created in a second.
  4. Their perception is often unconscious.
  5. This perception is often not a considered decision.
  6. To your client, their perception IS reality.
  7. When this perception is positive, potential sales become clients, and clients become advocates.

Why are the best businesses watching their branding?

5 tips on branding your business

  1. If design is not your profession, hire a professional.
  2. Review your brand and it’s purpose regularly (every 6 months).
  3. Apply brand rules across ALL aspects of your business.
  4. Apply brand rules ALL the time.
  5. Be consistent and stick to a single solution.

5 tips on managing your brand

  1. Review your brand regularly (every 6 months).
  2. Follow a checklist to make sure everything is considered.
  3. Create a system of rules.
  4. Make sure everyone follows the rules.
  5. Keep all your “stuff” (visual collateral) safe and retrievable.

See you next time, and remember, the best businesses are watching their branding!

Brian Miller
Creative Director
Luxgraphicus Design Agency

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By Craig Munns – Sales Innovation

What are your plans for your business? Is it to grow to a multinational, grow it to sell it off, or keep it small as more of a lifestyle choice? Your longer term goals for your business are important as they will determine the amount of planning and investment you need to make in the growth of your business.

Planning should be in all aspects of your business, but in my experience over many years of providing sales services (to all levels and types of industry) is that all sizes of organisation do not plan the sales side of their business.

Many, if not most businesses expect that sales will just ‘happen’. The best outcome of a ‘build it and they will come’ strategy (which is not a strategy), is minimal growth. Not having a strategy may be fine for a sole trading business owner that has made a lifestyle choice, and just depends on client referrals and their networking to make needs meet, but these alone will not grow a business significantly.

Invest in a proper strategy

A proper sales and marketing strategy is essential to the growth of your business, in fact I suggest that it is the most essential strategy your business can undertake. If you don’t have significant sales coming in, then your business will not grow!

Is there a magic formula? Is there a bottle of magic sales dust that you can sprinkle over the market to make it come to life? Obviously not. It comes down to good old fashioned process. A proper sales and marketing process is the key to your success!

What are the steps?

  1. Never assume that your product or service is what the market wants. Sure, you may have made a few sales here and there, but this is no guarantee that the rest of the market is itching to buy.
  2. Even if you are sure that your product or service is the right kind, never assume that they will buy it, or that they will buy when you want them to (there are many factors to a buying decision).
  3. Undertake a market survey with a sample large enough to reflect your target market. Get your friendly marketing consultant to help you to develop the survey with relevant questions. Developing a proper survey is an art, and not to be undertaken lightly, so employ a professional to help you develop, deliver, and decipher the results.
  4. From this, develop a market plan. This will include the results of the survey as well as your plans for your business (from your business plan), your goals for the business, and the market you want to work in.
  5. From these results, you will be able to determine the types of approaches you will make to the market such as direct selling, mass advertising, seminars, search engine visibility, etc, or a combination of a few approaches (this the most likely outcome).
  6. Next comes the development of the sales  plan. My expertise is in direct sales and tele-sales, so I’ll speak from this aspect.

Sales work best when they are supported by a number of different market approaches. In direct sales, it helps to pre-qualify the market (i.e. make the market aware of your brand and its benefits). This can be mass advertising (web or other mass media), seminars, telemarketing, or most likely  a combination of these. Develop a plan to approach the market from your chosen aspects.

Track Everything

Develop a way to track your leads (i.e. people who express interest), opportunities (i.e. people who express interest in actually buying), and actual sales (called closing deals). This is called a pipeline. I suggest that it be kept in something tangible, like a spreadsheet, Outlook, or ideally, CRM software (which is specifically designed to track sales).

Record your efforts in your pipeline. This makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks, and you can also benchmark your efforts.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!

If people make enquiries, call them back! Have patience and tenacity!

Don’t give up on the first call! You may have to call people several times before you are able to get any sort of commitment! Don’t give up if tangible sales haven’t started in 3 months. It may take up to 2 years, especially if your product or service is a new concept.

Get Professional Help

Employ a professional salesperson or sales organisation to increase your sales. Like all professions, sales requires skill and knowledge, so if you are growing your business, get the right people in to grow with you!

These tips will not ensure your success (the market will always have the final say), but following these processes will give you the best possible opportunity.

Regards,

Craig Munns

About Craig Munns:

Craig has run a sales consulting business, Sales Innovation, for the last 9 years. His business currently employs staff across three centres, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Previous to that, he worked as a sales professional and Branch Manager for a number of organisations, local, national, and multinational. Craig likes to help people to develop their businesses, and is happy to tell all for a cup of coffee. Craig is married with two fur-kids. In his spare time, he sings, sails, and plays flute (not all at once, but two out of three is possible).

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Jean McIntyre

By Jean McIntyre – Marketing Angels

 

I’m flabbergasted when I come across businesses that just don’t do customer service. For consumers it’s the number one priority but it seems that many, many businesses don a different cloak when they have to deliver it – AT THEIR PERIL!.

You probably read my previous post about Westpac. I find that generally big companies are so far removed from their customers that they don’t seem to be able to do it. There’s no excuse though for small businesses.

I want to tell you a story about two very different approaches to customer service here in Tuggeranong.

Repco – looking after their own interest first

I’m an occasional shopper at Repco in Tuggeranong – buying accessories or cleaning products for our vehicles. The little strip of shops there in Athllon drive is out of the way of other shops and it’s a place you go to for a specific purpose. The carpark there has always had loads of spaces in it because they don’t get a lot of traffic.

Repco has some difficulties

Now – to be fair – I have to say that I guess Repco has suffered a little since Centrelink’s Carolyn Chisholm centre was built across the road. My husband works there and so I know that car parking is insufficient and coveted (he arrives at Centrelink at 7:30 to get a space).

Centrelink visitors have absolutely no chance of getting a short term space. I suppose people have seen the ample parking across the road and started using up the spaces that belong to the shops.  I surmised all this when I went to see my husband a few weeks ago on my way to do some business in Tuggeranong.

I arrived in the centre to find that all the parking spaces were marked out to the businesses there. There wasn’t anywhere for visitors to park.

I was in a hurry and so thought to myself, “It will be OK to park here if I go into Repco when I come back and buy something” (I had been meaning to get a new sunshade).

Boy was I wrong.
When I came back from attending to my business there was a very rude, scribbled note on my car saying that they had noted my registration and that if I parked my car there again it would be towed away. I was so angry thinking “How do they know that I’m not a customer?”

Needless to say I left without buying the sunshade.

What could Repco Have Done Differently?
It got me thinking about what was wrong with this approach from a marketing perspective. I then thought about what I would do if I was the marketing manager for Repco.

First – think about who is likely to be in Repco’s target market – motorists. Who is it that’s driving around frantically looking for a car park – MOTORISTS! Can you see the problem?  I’d be asking “What can we do to change this terrible situation into a positive for Repco?” . Here’s what I’d do.

I’d put up a big sign saying “FREE 2 HOUR PARKING FOR REPCO CUSTOMERS – Ask inside”. Instead of photocopying a nasty note – I’d copy a parking permit that staff would give to people who purchased something and put an end time for the parking on it.

There are Financial Benefits
Think about it – 10 2 hour spaces 4 times a day makes 40 spaces. If each of those motorists spent a minimum of $10 in the shop that’s $2,000 every week they can make. More than that though – they are making a group of people feel special and happy to have dealt with Repco. Happy motorists – perfect for a potential loyal customer base for Repco.

Instead – what do they have? Well they’ve likely p****d off most of the motorists who frequent Tuggeranong by now.

Jean Never Goes Back to Repco
As you can probably guess – as per their instruction – that carpark will never again see my car in it, nor the car of my husband or my neighbours or anyone else that I tell about this story.

Let’s look at an opposite example.

Cartridge World Greenway – Going Out of Their Way

I was in the middle of printing an important document and the magenta cartridge in my laser printer finally gave up the ghost and the yellow was about to run out. I rushed down to Cartridge World with my empty cartridges to get them refilled and get replacements.

First Step – Remember Your Customers

Noel (I think that’s his name) surprised me by remembering me and my business name. He said it would take a few days to get refills but that he had (coincidentally) a magenta and a yellow compatible cartridges there that I could take. He took my order for the re-filled cartridges and I ordered blue and black compatibles as well.
Second Step – Trust Your Customers

He apologised that he couldn’t get them straight away and told me to just take the magenta and yellow and he’d put them on the invoice for me to pay when the order came in in a couple of days.
I was so impressed – I smiled, thanked him and left with my cartridges.

Third Step – Be Efficient
A day or so later I got a call saying my cartridges were in. I went down to Cartridge World on the Tuesday to pick them up to find that Noel had forgotten to order the compatibles. He was so apologetic. He handed me the re-filled cartridges and said “take these – I’ll order the compatibles and deliver them personally with the invoice“. Again – I walked out with 4 cartridges I hadn’t paid for.

Fourth Step – Deliver on Your Promises
Sure enough – I got back to my office this morning and here were the forgotten cartridges with a polite invoice from Cartridge World. I immediately walked in, logged onto my online bank and paid him the $397 I owed for the cartridges. I sent him an email to thank him and tell him that I’d write about his great service on my blog.

Step 4 – Create Loyal Customers
So what has Cartridge World Greenway got from this. Well they got their money for the product very quickly – but that’s expected. The other thing they got was a very loyal customer. To date I’ve usually shopped there but only because it’s convenient. If I’m somewhere else and I need cartridges – or if they are on special somewhere else – I’m just as likely to go there.

Not any more!

There is no special deal that anyone else could offer me that would entice me to go anywhere but Cartridge World Greenway for my cartridges. Their exceptional service has made me not only a loyal customer but (what we call in Marketing) a brand champion.

So What’s the Upshot

The upshot of this is that customer service is the key to small business. Small business can compete with the big guys by paying attention to the kind of service they give to customers.

I’d love to hear your success stories on how you’ve created loyal customers through great service.

Remember: Relationships are the currency of the economic crisis recovery – invest in some for your business.

 

Jean Mc

PS: If you are interested in learning how to implement a good customer service strategy as part of your marketing plan – attend the next Marketing Angels DIY Marketing Plan workshop at ANU on Wed 16th June.

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jean-mcintyre-marketing-angels

Hi folks,

Our regular blogger for this week forgot his post and so I’m stepping up to add part 2 of my 3 part series on ‘How To Tell if a Business is a Good One’.

The series goes throught the 11 features of a good business.  Part 2 covers Points:

5. A good business understands their competition

6. A good business can describe their unique selling proposition

7. A good business will have key messages that are applied consistently across all promotion

8.  A good business will make good use of a comprehensive database.

Here is the link to Part 2.

(Here’s Part 1 if you missed it).

Feel free to take a look at Part 3 and the final 3 points in the series.  I welcome your comments on the blog or on You Tube.

Jean Mc

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Jacquie Tewes

Jacquie Tewes

By Jacquie Tewes

 

To build ‘emotional loyalty’, we need to exceed the customers’ expectations. Serve them in such a way that the customer is highly satisfied with you (as a representative of the business) and be willing come back and buy from you again.
Some sales people strive to just win the next deal and immediately focus on the next. They see making one sale from each customer as the only thing that matters. Their approach may be:
1. Be highly efficient and fast
2. Ask minimal questions
3. Present the product
4. Overcome objections
5. Make the sale, and
6. Move onto the next one.
On the surface this sounds like a useful practice … but
Wouldn’t you rather spend a few more minutes with the customer and aim to have the customer give you repeat business, referrals and become an advocate for you and your business?
This latter approach is worth far more in the long run, as you have someone out there virtually selling on your behalf and thus saving you significant time and effort. Quite often people will give recommendations for good suppliers, so if you have that good reputation, business is more likely to come your way.
But how we convert a one-off customer into an advocate, who will still do business with you even if they have to travel across town to see you and argue the benefits you bring with their friends and colleagues?
If you approach every client interaction with a genuine desire to help them (not just make a quick buck) they will detect this. Some ways to achieve this are:
1. Greet the customer, smile and show a genuine interest in the customer. Spend a few minutes relating to the customer by creating conversation. Find out a bit more about the customer that you can relate to and make a connection (like how they are, what suburb the live in, where they grew up, do they have children, play sport etc)

2. Take time to acknowledge them and their concerns. Even re-stating what they tell you will let them know you have heard correctly and are taking the time to understand.

3. Imagine this person is a long-lost friend you are seeing for the first time in years. Transfer this feeling to the customer. Your warmth and enthusiasm will come across. In turn, they will pick up on your genuineness and want to business with you.

“If you don’t give customers a reason to develop an emotional bond with you – and I call it loyalty beyond reason – you’re never going to be able to compete on price alone.” Ms Ruby Anik – JCPenny US – dailytelegraph.com.au 17/8/09 p24

4. Deliver a complete, efficient and effective service (regardless of what stage of the buying cycle they are in)

5. Going out of your way to meet their needs – which may involve ringing another supplier and coordinating it so they can buy what they need.

6. They will never care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Show you care by asking questions to fully understand their buying criteria and the underlying reasons behind the purchase. Sometimes what we initially ask for is not 100% of what we really need. You job is to understand this.

7. Acknowledge their time-line, their issues and their needs

The customers will appreciate your efforts and remember to come back ask for you if you have truly made a genuine connection, delivered superior service and gone out of your way to deliver value in accordance with their time-line, issues and needs. With referrals and repeat business, this customer could be the key to your profitability now and into the future!

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Jacquie Tewes

Jacquie Tewes

 

 

 

 

By Jacquie Tewes (Sales Results Australia)

When making appointments over the phone, we all get objections like:

  • “Can you send me something in the mail?”
  • “Not now.”
  • “I’m too busy.”

These are understandable from the client’s perspective. 

However, if we keep agreeing that their objection is OK and that we’ll come back to them later (in a few months) or send them something, how are we ever going to get in front of enough people?  After all, it’s much easier to influence someone and understand their needs when you are face to face with them.

Remember that these objections are the clients’ best rehearsed tactics designed to put the average salesperson off (even if they need what you have and perhaps don’t yet realize it). 

If you are going to help your client, you’ll need to implement your carefully rehearsed tactics as well!

Here are a few simple phrases you can use to move the appointment closer – not further away.  Firstly, show you genuinely care and be empathic to their situation.  Using your voice to be as friendly and surprised-sounding – go into one of the most suitable responses as below:

Objection 1: “Can you send me something in the mail?”

– “I could send you something, but given you possibly already have a lot in your InBox, it would probably be quicker if I took you through it.  Would you have a few minutes free in the next week or two?”

– “I understand. How about if I talk to your Executive Assistant and schedule in a few minutes when you are less busy?”

Objection 2/3: “Not now.” or “I’m too busy.”

– “That’s a shame!  We have a great special offer which only lasts for two weeks and it is based on meeting you first!”

–  “What time do you start?  I can meet you then and bring some tea or coffee with me?”

– “I have a few meetings in your area on xxx day and xxx day, could we spend a few minutes then?  I can bring some relevant examples (or samples) for you”

– “When do you think things will slow down a bit?”  If they say two weeks, then you can offer to set up a time then.  If they say two months – “Oh, that’s a shame as our service could really help you with that.  How about just a quick 5 mins so I can introduce myself?”

– “As I’m in the area on a regular basis, how about I give you a call when I’m there around 2 weeks time?  When usually is the best time for you?”

– “It sounds like you are very busy!  I find that sometimes its easier to schedule a time in advance, now that you are on the phone.  Is your Calendar open?  How are you placed for next week or the week after?”

If you have no luck in overcoming their objections, you can always send them something small in the mail to get the relationship started. 

It is important that if you can’t schedule a meeting, at least schedule a follow up.  This way, you begin to build the relationship, wear down their resistance to you and they start to feel that you must be OK if you do keep following up!

Jacquie’s business is ‘Sales Results Australia’.  It is designed to assist businesses generate enthusiasm and passion to massively increase in cash-flows.  Jacquie is an experienced Business Development Manager, Trainer and Coach – specialising in the Canberra marketplace.  Her industry expertise includes sales to Federal and State Government, Banking, Healthcare and management of Community Services.  She has direct experience in driving sales growth, managing relationships and overseeing service delivery. She graduated with a BA (Community Education and Management) in December 2009 from University of Canberra, has a Cert IV in Training and Assessment, Cert III in Financial Services, Certificates in Business Administration and Human Resources. She is a passionate and experienced Sales Coach – having worked with staff at Inital Healthcare and the Commonwealth Bank.

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Now’s not the time to sit and worry or navel gaze – now is the time for action!

Delivering marketing that works for small to medium businesses in Canberra

 

 

 

 By Jean McIntyre  (Marketing Angels)

 

 

 

I suppose the ACT recession is on everybody’s mind.  Some Canberra businesses I know are really feeling the pinch – a couple have decided to call it quits.  For others the problem is more about the uncertainty of planning for what’s around the corner.

I’m currently teaching a course at CIT on ‘Managing Risk’.  One of the things we discuss when we talk about risk is the concept of opportunity.  People don’t often think about the two things together but it’s smart business to do so.  The recession offers lots of opportunities for savvy business people to capitalise on.

Think about the last big period of risk awareness after September 11 2002.  An industry arose from the ashes of that disaster that still thrives today. 

Think of all the businesses that now offer security services of all kinds to help organisations mitigate the risk of terror threats.  IT firms, weapon designers and manufacturers, metal detectors, security consultants – all taking advantage of what would otherwise be a pretty dismal situation.  Good businesses that saw an opportunity and took it.

I’m reminded of a quote from William Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ that goes:

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

What can a business do?
In a previous post I talked about taking time to review your product offering to see whether there are new, supplemented or adapted products you can offer your customers to meet their needs.  That’s a good place to start.

There are other things businesses can do to take advantage of the recession.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Seek out partnerships – there may be businesses out there that have not put sufficient effort into marketing in the past and are seriously affected by the downturn.  They may be open to working jointly with you – to use your reputation and customer base – to help them stay in business.
  2. Review your processes – this is a forgotten element of marketing – the way you do things that helps you deliver goods and services to customers.  If you have more time on your hands – use it to find more efficient and effective ways to deliver your services and billing.  Consider investing in updated or specialist software.
  3. Explore publicity – Although newspapers tend to like stories about hardship their readers will be looking for good news.  If you’ve got interesting stories to tell – prepare a media release or ring up a journalist to discuss a good story.  Maybe run a competition or sponsor a charity event to create the story.
  4. Look for Bargains – Everybody from suppliers to advertisers to people will be trying to keep their cash flowing.  It is likely that there will be lots of special offers to entice people to spend with them.  Now might be a good time to buy that piece of equipment you’ve wanted, book 6 months of radio ads or to stock up on supplies.
  5. Train your people – what better time to invest in the future of your business by training your staff.  It is likely you can get some good deals on external training or take time out to provide on the job instruction.  It’s also a way to show your staff that you care about them and want them to stay.

Of course for every industry there will be lots of different opportunities of which you will be able to take advantage.

It goes without saying though that it’s also the right time to up your investment in marketing so that when customers are looking for the company with which to spend their precious dollars – your’s is the company they remember, respect and trust.

I’d love to hear how your business will take advantage of the opportunities the recession brings.

Jean Mc

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Last time we looked at “Successfully Making Client Appointments by Phone”. In this post we explore the second stage of the below model, “Developing Rapport Face-to-Face or by Phone”.

Sales Process

To make this as simple as possible I’ve avoided discussing what rapport is and isn’t and am just going to give you my top ten suggestions for developing rapport quickly over the phone or face-to-face.
By Phone


1. Handle your state – before you get on the phone to make cold calls (assuming the majority of you reading this will be interested for this reason) you need to get into a friendly, confident and professional state of mind. If you are distracted, not focused, too serious, angry about something else, timid, scared, worried… all of these will come through on the phone.

2. Have a script that allows for engagement, not railroading– you don’t need to stick to it word for word, that’s not the point. The point of a script is to stop you rambling and ensure you get to your key messages, find out the right pieces of information from the customer and improve your chances of achieving your outcome. If you don’t have a script you can never monitor and improve your performance as it’s different every time you do it. The two most important things here are:

  • that you have one (a script) and,
  • that you speak for no more than two sentences at a time without a question to the client, otherwise they’ll feel railroaded.

3. Match their speed – if they speak fast, speak faster. If they speak slowly, speak slowly. This is difficult at first but you’ll get used to it, the great thing is that they won’t even notice it – they’ll just feel like you’re like them.

4. Smile, without being overzealous – you can hear a smile on the end of the phone and we are attracted to people who smile. They are imagining you when they hear your voice so if you sound boring and grumpy, that’s how they will imagine you. Overzealous smiling and over-friendliness is not good… stay professional but be pleasant.

5. Remember your objective – your objective is probably to get an appointment so don’t spend your time trying to sell them your product, just ask for 15 minutes of their time so you can learn about their business and offer your advice and assistance which they can take or leave. The reason this is important is that it takes the pressure off you so you don’t feel like your selling, and more importantly… allows you to not lose the opportunity to meet face to face because you were too busy trying to sell on the phone (this will lose rapport if it’s not done well).

Face-to-Face

1. Pre-sell yourself and do your homework – send something to the client that displays your understanding of the problems they face in their industry, sells your credibility (experience, case studies, testimonials) and explains your capability (capability statement, list of services etC). Send it in a 10-slide powerpoint at least 48 hours before the meeting. This will save you half an hour of selling yourself and your business in your first meeting, you can now be totally client-focused in that meeting and rapport will have been built before you even arrived!

2. Comment on something personal to open up the conversation – comment on something personal (that the client is wearing, that’s in their office, that you’ve heard about them etc) and find a linkage between that and someone you know or even yourself. Do this before the business discussion but for no more than 3 minutes to open an opportunity to find a common association between you as people, before you as business partners.

3. Move onto business quickly – follows from the above, too much chit chat is irrelevant and will lose rapport. Know when to move on, and do it as soon as you feel like you have some rapport established.

4. Know where you’re taking the client – nothing loses rapport faster than you seeming like you don’t know where to go next in the conversation. Know exactly what you need to find out, what your next steps are and what the client needs to do to buy from you. Ensure YOU drive the client, don’t let the client derail you through irrelevant tangents.. gently bring them back on track.

5. Handle the objections they think you’ll hide from – think of their most likely objections and handle them before they ask their questions at the end. Show you’ve thought through what they’re likely to be thinking… ‘you’re too expensive, I don’t have the time, the money, there’s a better known brand/product/service I already use’ etc. Say “I know you’re probably thinking x, y, z and previous clients have thought the same things… in my experience the best way to look at that consideration is ____’. It shows you know your stuff and have thought through all scenarios, better yet.. you’re not running away from their most likely objections.

Happy selling and in my next blog we’ll discuss “Conducting a Needs Assessment”.

Regards,

Sean.

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