Tag Archives: Sales

Successful Selling

In a recent visit to Tallahassee, FL, I spoke with my Dad about how he’s been able to reverse the trend of higher vacancy rates for the rental properties he owns.

About 3 years ago, my father hired a rental management company to rent and manage his rental properties. At that time, his average vacancy rates were less than 5%.  After about two years his vacancies shot up to 15%-20%!

How did his vacancy rates become so high?  The management companies he hired were order-takers instead of sellers.

The critical difference between my dad’s success renting a house and the management company lack of success boils down to salesmanship.  A salesman, my dad, asks a potential renter what is keeping them from signing the dotted line.  An order-taker doesn’t find out what issues are preventing the sale.

Next time you hear ‘no’ from a prospect, summon your 4-year-old self and ask whySuccessful salesmen understand why prospects think the way they do and offer solutions that render their objections moot.

Happy selling!

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People and Systems

While startups are constantly creating and tweaking their systems and processes within their own organization, most larger organizations are entrenched with them.  Whether you operate within a large company or you are selling to them, learning about the people who influence/make decisions and understanding how to address the constraints the systems and processes of their organization place on them is crucial to a successful selling process.

In simplistic terms, there are two buckets you need to become more familiar with, people and systems.

  • People address: hierarchy, influence, decision making, early adopters, and subject matter experts.
  • Systems address: hardware, software, procedures, and necessary steps to get sign-off for sales.

Together, these buckets help you identify the who and how to move your agenda forward.  Perhaps even more importantly, if you understand an organization’s people and systems and you can develop a sales map that will identify potential roadblocks and lead you to replicable workarounds resulting in a more efficient sales process.

Plus, you can incorporate common findings from the sales mapping process into your product and service offerings to better serve your customer’s needs.  Now that’s a win if I’ve ever heard one.  I’d recommend you learn the people and systems in your product and sales process landscape to improve your hit rate and reduce your sales cycle time line.

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Why Customers Buy

Unsuccessful startups often think customers will come if they build them a solution they should want.  This is backwards.

Startup success can often be boiled down to one thing.  Successful startups know why their customers will buy their product and develop their offering and marketing plans armed with this knowledge.

Once you know why people buy, you are able to accomplish three things.

1. You can build your product to meet your customers true needs
By developing the right product and proper pricing that accounts for the total cost of ownership of your product, your business can be profitable sooner.

2. You can describe and sell your product in a way that resonates with your prospects
It’s a beautiful thing when the positioning of your product matches what your prospects want to hear.

3. You can identify the best channels to sell your products
If you know why customers buy,  you should know enough about them to create a customer mind map and know what the day in their life holds to better target marketing channels in which they will buy your product.

These three things set startups up for success.  The customer is always right, so companies need to be vigilant about getting their team out there to listen to them.  Get out there, get to know your customers and understand why they buy.

Network to Give in Order to Get

Effectively networking has many benefits.  Ostensibly meeting new people, learning something new, marketing your company and potentially earning more business from referrals are excellent reasons to attend a networking event.  It’d be great if all you had to do was show up and everyone would be interested in you and your business, but the reality is most in attendance will be thinking about their own interests.

The Used Car Salesman
Image by TexasEagle via Flickr

When you attend an event, differentiate your own brand from what I’ll call the used car salesman crowd that primarily networks to “get.”  You know the type, the ones who only seem interested in selling you on something that is hardly related to anything you need or the topic at hand.  Don’t be like that.  Instead, learn as much as you can about the people you meet and the pains that they are trying to solve.  If you can alleviate their pain in someway, whether it’s related to your business or otherwise, make an effort to help them and distinguish yourself from the crowd.

By providing value and thinking in terms of the wants and needs of others, or in other words networking to give, you’ll be building a following of people who will want to help you out.  Building relationships requires effort, and some of your efforts may not pan out.  But if you put forth the effort, you’ll find that networking may be an extremely effective way to grow your business.

You may not be rewarded immediately, but the relationships you invest in now should pay off in a big way through future business, introductions, word-of-mouth, or knowledge you gain to solve pains in your own business.  At the very least you’ll learn something from the experience and if you are truly able to help, your efforts will be intrinsically rewarded.

So what are you going to do?  Network to get or network to give?  The next time you attend an event, network to give and see how much more fruitful and rewarding the experience can be.

Have a networking experience you’d like to share?  Leave your comment below.

Technology Marketers Should Follow Digg’s Lead

Digg announced it’s plans for a new advertising platform today.

Digg Ads will provide it’s advertisers a pricing structure that is dependent on how well their ads are received by their audience.

digg-logoThe more an ad is Dugg, the less the advertiser will have to pay. Conversely the more an ad is buried, the more the advertiser is charged, pricing it out of the system.

In other words, place relevant ads that link to content Digg users are likely to Digg and pay less. This will be great for improving ad quality on Digg, but what I really like is how Digg is using it’s own technology to make this platform go.

Too many times I’ve come across online businesses that don’t use the products they develop or sell. At the very least share examples or case studies of your tool being used by your customers. If you aren’t doing this, alarms go off in my head and I quickly click the ‘Back’ button in my browser to find a more suitable solution.

Marketers of software and technology products and services should take note. Use what you sell in your own business. Show your tool in action.

This should build trust in your product and help prove that it can accomplish what it claims. There may even be an opportunity to use your tool in unique way. The use of Digg’s technology with Digg Ads is something that can be duplicated with many other tools on the web. At a minimum, use demos or webinars to prove your tool can solve your customers’ problems.

Consultants should apply this rule too. If you are a social media expert, then you should obviously be using social media tools in your own web strategy whenever possible. Seeing is believing. Show clients that you not only talk the talk, but you also walk the walk.