Entrepreneurs are salespeople. Successful entrepreneurs start a business and are really good at getting people to say “yes” to their propositions.
As salespeople, you have something to sell – be it a product, a service, an experience, whatever. Your goal is to help the customer say “yes” to your proposition.
But sometimes the process can go sideways.
You greet your customer, who expresses an interest in your offering. You put your best foot forward with a first-rate sales presentation. You move toward the close, fully expecting to hear that magic word “yes.” But instead, you get the dreaded “no.”
What do you do now? Panic? Plead? Quit? Call mom?
What do you do when your customer says “no?” I suggest you reframe this scenario.
Whenever you hear the word “no,” think to yourself “not yet.” Train your brain to think the word “no” may not really be a “no.” It may simply be a “not yet.”
This makes sense. If the customer’s no was a definite no, they would leave your office; hang up the phone; finish their coffee and walk out of Starbucks – whatever the case may be. But many times they stay. And they stay for a reason. They still sort-of want to buy.
So what do you do? You run with the not yet. You look for ways to help the customer work through the decision-making process.
Here are two things that might help.
- Control your attitude. Be calm and collected. Commit yourself to helping the customer solve their problem.
- Ask your customer thought-clarifying questions. Try to help them clarify what’s holding them back.
Here’s a sample conversation.
You: “Would you like to purchase this [product, service, experience]?”
Customer: “No, thanks.”
You: “Fair enough. I’m here to help if you need me.”
At this point you back off, but the customer stays engaged. So after a few moments you resume the sales conversation.
You: “May I ask, what’s holding you back?”
The point here is not to get them to buy right this second. The point is to help them work through whatever their issues are. Once they work through their issues, they may actually decide to go ahead with the purchase.
Successful entrepreneurs are really good at turning negatives into positives. If you train your brain to respond positively to the word no, and run with the not yet, you’re much more likely to see a negative turn into a positive.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
3 Steps To Healthier Client Relationships
Do you have clients that constantly push the boundaries, who have unrealistic expectations and inconsistent feedback? What if you could have a client base of only people who value your work? Firing the wrong clients can help you get there.
It’s not easy to admit that a client is actually doing your business more harm than good. When it gets to the point that you are spending all of your time and energy trying to please one client, then it’s time to look at what they are contributing to your success.
In the early days of your business, it’s understandable to hold on to difficult clients as every penny counts. However, as time goes on, firing a disproportionately time-consuming and challenging client could free you up to go looking for new and better business.
Here are three steps to take to healthier client relationships:
1. Get perspective
Step back from everyday tasks to make some notes about the client relationship in question. Ask yourself what you value in your client versus what drains your energy and puts you in a bad mood.
Understand what the deal-breakers are and whether the client in question has crossed the line. It’s possible that you just need to have a frank conversation with the client, but often these kinds of client relationships are too far gone.
2. Fire the wrong client
There’s no one-size-fits-all for this process – you have to do this in your own way, but be clear on the reasons. If the client has been as unhappy as you are, they will most likely understand that this relationship is not a good fit.
However, there are times when a client has no idea that they are being unreasonable or thinks that this relationship is productive. That’s when it’s difficult to explain why you are deciding not to take their money.
Make it factual and don’t bring in your feelings. If you have examples of situations or email threads as proof show them that this is not how you believe a successful relationship should be. Be clear on your values and what you envision for your business.
Be polite and professional throughout the conversation and focus on the relationship fit, rather than pointing out their personal flaws. Explain the next steps and how the handover process will take place. You want to make sure that the end of the relationship is as amicable as possible.
3. Find the right clients
Firing a difficult client is likely to affect your bottom line in the short term but it will give you the motivation, and headspace, to go looking for the right clients.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you know what you want in a client – make a list of things you won’t stand for again with future clients, and one that describes your dream client.
- Use your time and resources wisely, and aim high to secure clients that will be worth your while.
- Identify potential clients and projects that are profitable, that will inspire you and that you enjoy working with.
Tip: make sure the Terms and Conditions on your website, and in your quotes, are well-defined. State your prices clearly, don’t leave room for interpretation. Don’t back down if a new client quibbles over a cost estimate. Take complaints of this nature as a warning sign and walk away.
Don’t ever think that you’ve wasted your time with the wrong client. Each client you work with helps you to refine your offering and progressively understand what you’re good at. Firing a client is never easy, but sometimes it’s a necessity for the successful and sustainable future of your business (and your sanity).
When you fire the wrong client, you can streamline your business to play to these strengths, and ensure you offer a world-class service or product.
7 Steps To Master The 80/20 Revenue Model
Imagine a world where 80% of your revenue came from 20% of your customers. Now what will it take to make it your reality?
We are often so focused on new leads that we forget to master the art of upselling and cross-selling. To generate more income from existing customers you need to focus on quality over quantity, and be strategic in your approach. Here are seven steps to help you on your way.
Understand what you want to achieve
When you upsell, you encourage customers to buy a higher-end product or service than the one in question – such as an airplane seat with more leg room. Whereas cross-selling tempts customers to buy related products that satisfy additional, complementary needs. A simple example is when you check out of an online store and the shop tempts you to buy similar or complementary products that you suddenly just can’t live without!
Tip: Identify which one makes sense in your business, and what the additional or complementary offering will be.
Long-standing relationships and loyal clients are worth their weight in gold. Make sure they know they will remain a priority, even when you are busy with bigger or more profitable projects.
Constantly over-deliver and exceed expectations. Make yourself ‘irreplaceable’.
Don’t presume you know what your customers want or need – do your homework and ask them. You need to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges. Three simple ways to do this are to:
- set up regular one-on-one calls
- catch up over coffee
- or email them a quick survey to complete.
Add real value
Ask yourself, ‘how can I help this client achieve their goals or overcome this challenge?’ You need to find ways to add real value to make the additional expense worthwhile. Also make sure your pricing is fair and competitive, without selling yourself short.
For example, one of the products we cross-sell at Yellow Door is video content. It’s a key part of a holistic marketing strategy and is a great way to bolster content for launches, social media and newsletters.
Paint a picture
To excel at upselling and cross-selling, you need to help customers visualise the value they will get from the higher-priced item. Whether it’s a 30-second video, an infographic, or a well worded email – take the time to explain not only what the product is, but how it will benefit them or their business.
Offering a reward or incentive can increase your upsell or cross-sell conversion rate. For example, offer free shipping or a discount if the client purchases two or more products or services.
Ensure your team has the expertise and capacity to deliver the relevant service or product at the right standard. Alternatively, find a non-competing service provider to complement your offering and agree on a referral or commission structure. This way you can expand your offering without increasing your overheads.
The key to success is to understand what your customers value and then respond with products, services or features that meet those needs.
Empower Your Team To Make More Sales
The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help.
Much like the business cliché that your company is only as strong as its people, in marketing, behind every successful marketing campaign there is an empowered team. But how do you help your team increase their sales?
The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help:
1. Become clever at dealing with data
It is essential that teams have the right platform at their disposal to reach the agreed-to goals. Teams also need to become more adept at dealing with data to learn about their customers. Teams should segment data, send marketing messages and receive instant feedback to learn from. They should also optimise their messages and dig into the demographics of their audience.
2. Curate your audience
The above enables teams to curate, and continuously engage with their audience. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is focusing their communication to a base, instead of cultivating an audience through learning from insights and feedback. This doesn’t foster an incentive to learn anything from one week or one campaign to the next. Teams end up sending out an email/SMS blast one week after another, with the same results.
3. Market more smartly
Rather than marketing ‘harder’, teams should be marketing smarter. There are a few ways to do this. Given teams have the appropriate automated marketing tools at their disposal, they can automate certain repetitive activities so that they continue to learn while the system executes.
Teams are also best served by breaking down their goals into measurable insights and build logical marketing lists (data lists) rather than lumping everything into one list. Often, splitting data by its original source works well, but so does sectioning lists according to category.
Consider using “Remarketing” for the direct marketing space too. This is similar to AdWords marketing, where teams ‘slice and dice’ their data, and insights about engaged audiences are retargeted using the platform.
The other options is “Long Run” campaigns. Here a campaign is live over a longer period of time, essentially establishing a level of cadence for direct marketing efforts.
4. Do lean marketing
To empower your team, adopt a lean marketing process. This sees teams marketing in small batches, sending e.g. 2000 SMSs, reviewing the results, then another 2000, and then tweaking the marketing message if needed.
By sending five different marketing messages, your marketing teams will be able to whittle down to the top two that returned the best results, and then scale them up.
This, rather than just sending a million SMSs (for example) to your entire database, is a lean marketing approach that can help your team incrementally improve their efforts for an optimal return.
5. Value testing and metrics
Both testing and metrics are critical to helping your marketing team become more successful, with A/B testing in particular critical for learning.
When you tweak campaigns, resist the urge to make larger changes; these make it difficult to measure results. Rather do small-batch testing, even if it is just from your newsletters. Try and bleed the marketing messages out over a logical timeframe – don’t just blast out to the entire list in one go.
Regarding metrics, concentrate not only on the number of messages sent, but clicks and click-through rates as well as conversions, even if the latter happens down the line. Understanding these metrics across demographics is equally important, as this allows you to curate audiences that you can personalise marketing to.
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