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Sales Strategy & Management

3 Ridiculously Easy Steps You Can Take To Re-Energise Your Business

The most effective business approach may be to personally reach out to people, talk to them and offer solutions that have value.

Matt Fore

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Remember being a kid and perpetrating riddles on unwary victims? “If a rooster laid an egg on top of a roof, would it fall to the right or the left?” The answer is so simple it’s difficult to see. Roosters don’t lay eggs.

Likewise, many business owners ask questions with answers that are too simple to take seriously, not the least of which is, “What can we do to generate more revenue?” With all the technology available, surely there must be a solution that is sufficiently complicated and painful. Yet the answer could be uncomplicated, straightforward and vastly overlooked.

Related: 5 Research-Backed Strategies To Increase Your Sales Revenues

Here are three ridiculously easy ways to re-energise your business.

1Take an inventory of past clients

A lady who had been in business for many years was on the brink of bankruptcy and two months behind in rent. Out of desperation she hired a business coach who asked one question – “How many people have you served over the years?”

She had over 600 past clients, none of whom had been called on since the first day they entered her space. Six hundred people who already knew, liked and trusted her. Through a process of resurrection and reconnection she was able to generate long term profitable relationships with those clients which saved her business and took her to a new financial plateau. It is a common practice to look for new business but often the golden egg lies hidden in the file marked, “Past Client.”

2Pick up the phone

client-on-the-phone

If your house were on fire, would you send an email asking for help? More than likely you would pick up the phone. Calling clients is out of date and beneath the dignity of many businesses. That’s why it is so perfect.

Connecting with customers over the phone just to make sure they are alive and to update their information has a special magic. It’s the friendly outreach coupled with a strictly non-sales approach that generates new opportunities. Remember all those people who were going to call you? How is that working?

3Offer a Bonus

It’s difficult to single out a particular penguin from among the colony. They all tend to dress alike. Black jacket, white shirt. Business people tend to look alike as well when they clamour for attention, constantly asking the customer to do this and do that. It is a turn off. A better approach is to offer the client something of real value. A “Bonus,” if you will and to offer it with no strings attached.

The very act of giving a bonus without asking anything in return activates the law of sowing and reaping – the results of which cannot be denied. While the gift is genuinely and freely given it, nevertheless, creates a sense of loyalty in the mind of the receiver.

In fact, despite earlier beliefs that humans were inherently selfish, Yochai Benkler’s Harvard Business Review article, “The Unselfish Gene,” reports vast evidence of people reciprocating kindness with kindness, behaving fairly and acting generously. A spirit of reciprocity emerges from genuine giving.

What it all comes down to is a campaign of reactivation and service which was recently demonstrated at a sales conference. The class was stopped mid-session. The attendees were given a 20 minute assignment of personally calling on clients they had not spoken to in months and years.

Related: It’s Sell Or Die Because Sales Are The Lifeblood Of Every Company

There was great reluctance. Fear gripped the room. It was as if Gentiles had suddenly been asked to become Jewish in the most literal sense of the word. In trepidation they carried out the assignment and when they finished the task, a new and electric energy had emerged.

There was not enough time for the students to share all the stories of success. Some had made sales, others had new opportunities and appointments. Clients were appreciative, not resentful that someone had reached out to them in a personal manner.

With all the complicated formulas and underground secrets for gaining market share, could it be that the most effective approach is to personally reach out to real people, talk to them, care about their pain and offer solutions that have value? That would just be too simple.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Matt Fore is a Humorist, Small Business Consultant and Sleight of Hand Artist who routinely serves as the main stage performer and speaker for corporations around the country. He has performed for Carnival Cruise Lines and The Magic Castle in Hollywood and appeared on several national TV Shows including The Crook & Chase Show on TNN and Swan's Place on Odyssey. Matt is the author of two books, The Five Essential Elements - A Simplified Road to Success, and The Truth Shall Make You Laugh. He hosts his own TV show out of Nashville, Tenn. by the same name. As the world of commerce moves increasingly toward advanced technology and automation, Matt is passionate about teaching the timeless principles that have, and always will, create prosperity for business.

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Sales Strategy & Management

(Podcast) Are All Prices Negotiable?

Person, socialisation, product, place – what are the key differentiating factors between those who negotiate price and those who don’t? And who determines the value of a product?

Nicholas Haralambous

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What is up for negotiation? When should you be negotiating prices, and when should you be open to negotiating prices with your customers?

Person, socialisation, product, place – what are the key differentiating factors between those who negotiate price and those who don’t? And who determines the value of a product?

Listening time: 8 minutes

Related: (Podcast) Phone Calls Often Solve Email Problems

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Sales Strategy & Management

Sales Leadership: The New Frontier

The Leadership skill of Influencing people increasingly trumps “hard selling techniques” as people enjoy the feeling that they are forced into buying a certain product less and less.

Dirk Coetsee

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“Once upon a time only certain people were in sales. Every day, these folks sold stuff, the rest of us did stuff, and everyone was happy. One day, the world began to change. More of us started working for ourselves- and because we were entrepreneurs, suddenly we became salespeople, too. At the same time, large operations discovered that segmenting job functions did not work very well during volatile business conditions-and because of that, they began demanding elastic skills that stretched across boundaries and included a sales component.” – Daniel Pink

The transformation of sales persons to Sales Leaders is not only the essence of this article but increasingly becoming a necessity, considering the skills demand required to convince people to buy your product or service within an modern environment wherein the consumer is spoilt for choice.

Related: 3 Strategies For Closing Sales Without Picking Up The Phone

In general staples in the make up of old school sales training was and in some cases still is: Product knowledge, fielding sales calls in a friendly way yet creating urgency, learning the ability to overcome client objections and of course do not forget the all-important methods of upselling.

All those elements of selling are still important in general yet “soft skills” such as active listening, handling conflict, and above all removing the emphasis from selling a product or service to selling an enhanced lifestyle or life experience has become the new frontier for the sales game.

The Leadership skill of Influencing people increasingly trumps “hard selling techniques” as people enjoy the feeling that they are forced into buying a certain product less and less. The “parrot method” of drilling sales scripts into the salesforce of the company is slowly but surely becoming obsolete as people want to feel that they are being cared about and considered within the sales process as individuals. “Caring for the other person is the only leverage in any conversation”, Gary Vaynerchuk says.

The above theory calls for a balance between Sales Leaders whom inspires their sales teams to create a personal, professional, and vibrant environment for their customers wherein which they are highly motivated to buy, and Sales managers whom monitor the key sales metrics and checks that sales procedures are being followed. In the modern world both Sales Leadership and management are needed at each end of the balancing scale.

Still, to this day an unfortunate large proportion of sales people are like lambs put to the slaughter, within some situations, as the only weapon taught to them is product knowledge and wearing a smile and then suddenly a very unhappy customer unleashes their anger upon them, and now the poor sales person has no knowledge in terms of how to deal with conflict, generally speaking. How to cope with and overcome conflict and other negotiation skills has become paramount in sustaining very good client relations.

Ethical Leadership is also strongly put forward as a necessary component of any sales training or course through this article. Sales techniques filtered through the companies Vision, mission statement and value system to test its validity and alignment to the companies’ culture can be increasingly effective as opposed to simply applying generic methods of selling which is not always aligned to the company ethos. A high level of ethics amongst Sales Leaders can ensure that after sales promises are kept and that the product sold is in effect as good as propagated by the sales person.

Related: The 5 Best Actions You Can Take To Improve Sales Calls

When a servant leadership culture is prevalent within your company it goes a long way to ensure that your sales people create a caring and positive experience complimented by an enhanced after sales service. Servant Leadership within a sales context is to put the customers’ and teams’ purpose above the individual team members purpose and that by itself is a potential multiplier of sales performance.

A highly important factor within the context of sales performance is the sales Leaders’ ability to formulate the right questions to be asked of the client in order to create a very pleasant experience. Statements in general can be quite dangerous as it is normally viewed as final and very hard to take back once communicated. Questions on the other hand requires an answer and when posed in a caring way can quickly establish rapport with a client.

Subtle nuances picked up by the Sales Leader through asking the right questions can greatly assist in creating positive client engagement. A practical example would be to refrain from the very obvious question of:  how are you? People are so used to being asked this question that they are not likely to give you a very open and honest answer and will be likely to provide you with very generic answers such as, “Fine thank you, “Well thanks and you”, and so forth.

By very simply changing the question to: “How are you feeling today? “, the very perceptive Sales Leader can relatively easily pick up on the client’s emotional state and adjust the conversation from there in order to create rapport.

In Summary, this writing actually asks one question to all CEOs’ and/or boards that must take their companies forward towards a desired future state: Do you want sales people and managers whom are likely to maintain the status quo, or do you seek Sales Leaders whom will challenge the status quo and will always be willing to ask more of themselves in terms of increased skill levels and performance?

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Sales Strategy & Management

You Have Less Than 7 Weeks Left To Turn Your 2017 Around

Implement these 5 steps and achieve 2017 revenue targets and set up a great start to 2018.

Charles Hsuan

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It’s no secret that 2017 has been tough for the majority, with less than 7 weeks to go before business winds up for the year. I’ve summarised an effective sales plan that will help you accelerate your way to success before the year ends.

Referred to as the “championship rounds” in boxing, the last few meters of a 100M sprint, be smart with the last bit of mental energy you have left and sell, sell, sell.

Implement these 5 steps and achieve 2017 revenue targets and set up a great start to 2018.

1Be Laser Focused on Your Customers

You’ll never be one size fits all to everyone, review your client base and define 3 to 5 groups of customers that your business serves, and solves problems for.

Grouping Map

  • Customers that behave similarly, have similar problems and face similar circumstances.
  • Define the groups by age, volume, category, geographic location, and similar demographics. The more components you assign to each group, the better you understand them, and effectively communicate your services to them, ultimately solving their pain points.
  • Personalise with a name it e.g. Sarah is a 30-year-old white collar worker that lives in the urban area, earns R30 000 a month in household income, she sends money back home each month “Black Tax” to support family members that lives in a rural area.

Related: Have We Lost Our Face-To-Face Sales Ability?

2What Goes Through Their Minds Before Making a Purchase?

  • Whether it’s subconscious or psychological, people buy solutions to problems, especially in a tight economy.
  • In order to stay relevant to your customers yesterday today and tomorrow. Continue to evolve and develop your products and services to ensure you are solutions driven.

3Build The Right Pitch

As each of your customer group face their unique challenges. Build a pitch that positions your communication for each customer group to maximise effectiveness.

Follow these 5 important pitch building steps

  • Who is the consumer?
  • What is the pain point that you’re looking to solve?
  • What is the setback for your consumer to not have that pain point solved?
  • What do you do to solve that pain point?
  • What is the result for your consumer, of having that pain point solved?

Once you’ve built the pitch, utilising them adequately, and start selling!

4Implement Your Strategy

This revenue-generating strategy has 2 aspects: hunting (Active) and farming (Reactive)

  • Hunting takes on the form of outbound action. Searching, meeting and engaging with your potential clients. In short, stepping out and finding your customers.
  • Farming is more reactive, it is known as inbound selling. You farm by leaving breadcrumbs that lead your customers towards your services. This is done by generating practical content and using digital platforms to attract attention towards your services or products.
  • Build a calendar for your hunting and farming activities, for the next 12 weeks, and specify tasks for each day.

Related: Savvy Sales Skills To Grow Your Franchise Footprint

5Execute, Measure, Adjust

  • Hunting: Make 10 calls before 10 am each day, make use of a sales script, this forms part of your daily activities.
  • Farming: Schedule a week’s worth of social media content to post.
  • After week one find out which group gives you the best response, tweak it & carrying on.

This plan will help you to notice which approaches yield the best results. You’re able to remove what doesn’t work and focus your time on what leads to the most sales. May this help you turn the last 7 weeks of the business year into a profitable one.

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