Thinking About Strategy – An Open Interview with Debbie White

This is the third in a series of articles based upon an extended discussion between me and a friend who earns his living as a writer. Don is smart enough to realize when he needs help – and, boy, does he need help developing his sales process. So, he asked my advice.

I wish I could say I ALWAYS do the same, but I don’t (and Don confesses he doesn’t either). There are times when I know I could use some help, but (for whatever reason) I suffer through my mistakes a while … until I am ready to change and willing to invest whatever it takes to spur my growth.

And, sometimes, its not the money that prevents me from getting into action – but time. Life is sooooo busy these days. Do you feel that way too?

von Goethe quote

If you don’t try, you can’t win.

Last week, we talked about how sales are primary to a successful business. No matter how many referrals you get, how much website traffic you have, how large your email list is … if you aren’t converting those leads into presentations and then into sales, your business is in trouble. It really is that simple.

This week, let’s look at a crucial concept: Strategy.Continue reading

If You Don’t Have This, Your Business Will Fail

An Open Interview With Debbie White

Note: This is the first in a series of articles about how you can develop a sales strategy that really works. This week, I met with a freelance writer who sometimes wonders whether leaving the security of a corporate salary was such a wise idea. Don is an accomplished writer, copywriter, and marketing consultant – but he struggles with sales. In this first meeting, we identified the root of the problem: If success is just sales – then failure is a lack of sales.

How to get started with Sales Success

Don: Debbie, in your talk, Three Core Principles to Mastering Trust-Based Selling, you say, “Success is just Sales.” That concept seems a bit far-fetched; I mean success is getting up early, working hard, and knowing your stuff … right?

Debbie: Don, there are many salespeople and service professionals who are at the desk before sunrise, and they don’t let up until after nightfall. Many of them have advanced degrees in management, marketing, or another discipline – yet, when they divide total revenue by total hours invested, they aren’t doing much better than any other laborer. They just can’t seem to get ahead.

Don: I can confirm that, Debbie. When you’re a freelancer or commissioned representative – with expenses and overhead to cover – there can sometimes be a pitiful few dollars left to take home.

I thought the American Dream was to work hard and prosper, not to work hard and starve!

The Key Ingredient

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If You Can Sell Something … You Can Sell Anything

LAST WEEK, I received a question from a friend in the U.K. He is still in sales, but has changed industries and wants tips on how to transition smoothly.

That is a situation most salespeople will face at least once in their careers — and sometimes multiple times.

These principles work for any salesperson in any industry.

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A Surefire Way to Make More Money

In any business, it is the payment received for services or products (i.e. SALES) that generates the REVENUE. No Sales = No Revenue = No Business.

Would you like to know how to increase your income this year?

ROI illustration

Creative Commons image via Beth

Sales, at the strategic level

Sales, looked at from the strategic level, is all about the numbers. And the primary indicator is something central to finance in general: ROI (Return on Investment).

Think about it: If your retirement portfolio was not performing well enough to meet your projected needs, wouldn’t you make a decision to reevaluate the investment and make the necessary changes?

It is vital to remember there is ALWAYS a cost of acquiring a new client, and your cost is driven UP when your sales conversion ratio is low! Conversely, the better your conversion percentage, the lower is your cost of acquiring a new customer.

Marketing is one of your largest expenses. You already know that. And today’s consumers are bombarded with so many marketing messages that the cost of acquiring a customer is increasing steadily. Prospects who were once ready to buy, after only 3 to 5 exposures to your message, may now require 10 to 15 exposures.

In today’s selling environment, you need triple the exposure to accomplish your goal! No wonder your sales staff is getting weary and the task of bringing on new clients sometimes seems overwhelming. The competition for your message is intense.

Three things every successful business must learn

three things

Creative Commons via morgueFile

It is imperative that you and your team learn and master three essential skills:

  • How to convert leads to appointments
  • How to convert appointments to presentations
  • How to convert presentations to new clients

You can’t develop a thriving, successful, business until these fundamentals are solidly in place and working for you.

What is your ROI on sales presentations?

Let me ask: What are YOUR personal sales conversion numbers? What are the sales conversion numbers for the members of your team? What is your total ROI on presentations?

If you don’t know those numbers, then I urge you to implement an immediate change in your sales strategy. You cannot improve what you cannot identify and measure.

Let’s assume, though, that you do know your numbers, and you know that 1 of 10 prospects you speak with respond favorably and become clients. Your ROI on presentations reveals a 10% conversion rate.

Pretty simple.

What happens when your ROI increases?

Let’s say you’ve invested in a deliberate process to improve your sales presentations, and your ROI has increased to where 2 of 10 prospects you speak with have become paying clients; you now have a 20% conversion rate.

The most important thing I want you to understand is that you invest the SAME amount of time when you are selling with a 10% conversion rate as you would be with a 40% conversion rate … with one big difference: At 40%, you have now QUADRUPLED your sales.

That’s FOUR TIMES the income with the SAME investment of your time, energy, and marketing dollars! Sales Conversion IS the strategic formula to double, triple, or even quadruple your sales.

In one way or another everyone I talk to wants to know, “Deb, what’s the fast path to make more sales – the fastest path to cash?”

My answer to them? NOTHING can make you more money, more quickly, than increasing your sales conversion at every touch point in your business.

Nothing.

Debbie White is an international speaker and trainer, focused on helping you sell more and with far less stress. She is a master sales strategist, and she can help YOU dramatically improve your bottom line. To arrange a complimentary coaching and strategy session with Debbie: Go Here

 

When You Get THIS, You Get More Business

Sales skills are the most important capabilities you can possess. They give power to everything else you do.

How to Sell … Without Selling!

No Salesmen Today

Creative Commons by John (Flickr)

Business owners often believe sufficient marketing efforts can replace a sales strategy. That’s a risky position to take, though.

Marketing is concerned with getting the phone to ring. Sales is the process of discovering whether or not you can help the caller solve a problem or reach a goal.

The two work in tandem, but marketing, without sales, is like investing in a car – but deciding NOT to spend any money on gas. You will be sitting in an expensive shell that can’t go anywhere.

Do you HATE sales?

It is rare to find an entrepreneur who likes the sales process. Many absolutely dread having to talk to potential customers about buying their products or services.

The tighter you hold on to the idea that the sales process is distasteful – the more you will needlessly struggle to leverage and grow your business.

Good news: You can change that!

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The TRUST Factor … The Secret to LOVING SALES

My favorite speaking engagements, over the past few months, were Suzanne Evans’ Be the Change event, in Las Vegas, and Angelique Rewers’ Inside Edge, in Scottsdale.

At both gatherings, I shared with participants that there is a far better way of selling than the traditional old-school approach.

For far too long, the sales process has been practiced like a manipulative game, with lots of built-in pressure and deceptive schemes. 

Some of the attendees at my recent talks received a digital copy of something powerful. I have truly been amazed with all of the feedback I’ve received from those who absorbed the lessons contained in The Answer is YES … Mastering Trust-Based Selling.

Somehow, that one message has quickly enabled listeners to see selling in a different way. Many say they are feeling better about their jobs and their abilities – and that those changes are being reflected in their sales.

When you discover something that can help you feel better AND help you make more money, you are on the road to a much better quality of life.

(At the end of this article, you will find a link to download your own copy of The Answer is YES … Mastering Trust-Based Selling. It is my gift to you for being a loyal friend.)

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What Consumers Want … But Are Not Getting

HAVE YOU EVER driven through the country, perhaps in the spring, and just enjoyed the beauty of blooming flowers outside your window – or have you have ever taken a train along the coast and been caught up in the beauty of the ragged cliffs and violent ocean water – and suddenly had that entire natural splendor wiped from your view by a giant, tattered billboard covered with advertising nonsense?

Billboard Ad

Creative Commons via Raunet

Instances like this happen all the time: You’ll be watching your favorite TV show, only to have it interrupted every five minutes by a slew of companies trying to sell you various products you don’t need, much less even want.

Or you’ll be listening to your favorite song on the radio, when a loud sales-y voice cuts in on that last verse. In this day and age, a bombardment of insincere advertisements is nothing new—we have learned to tune them out or turn them off without a second’s thought.

But SOMETIMES there will be a sincere advertisement, something like Dodge Ram’s ingenious, “God Made a Farmer,” (http://bit.ly/Vy33Lf), or Mac Book’s Ultra-Thin magazine ad.

But these awesome, true advertisements are getting lost in all the “junk” that is being thrown at consumers, and oftentimes, it’s only by chance that the honest ads make it to a consumer’s eyes or ears. Which is sad:

Why do we have to hope that honesty is sifted out of all the lies, when it should be the other way around?

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It’s Time to Heal the Backbone of Our Economy

hug-a-small-businessSmall businesses are the backbone of America – they are everything we stand for, and are vital to our country’s success and economic growth. This is because small businesses have the potential to create new jobs and put money back into communities – they show much more creativity than larger corporations, and they are constantly introducing new ideas into the marketplace. Without entrepreneurs, our economy would be suffering much more than it already is.  In fact, it may be that our economy is in the state it’s in today because of the closing of numerous small businesses – and the takeover of larger corporations such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Kroger – that our economy is in the state it’s in today.

Many people believe that these larger corporations are better for the economy because, well, they are larger. But the fact remains that small businesses are responsible for creating more than three-fourths of the country’s new jobs, and pay out more than 44% of the country’s private payroll. Think about it; places like Walmart combine hardware stores, craft stores, toy stores, grocery stores, auto-shops, clothing stores, shoe stores, appliance stores and much more – into one place. While they may employ a large number of people, one superstore opening alone triggers the closing of at least eight privately owned businesses, and puts more than 200 privately employed individuals and countless entrepreneurs out on the curb. People can argue the benefits of superstores all they want – “They’re so convenient, with everything in one place!” – but they can’t deny that small businesses are indispensable to the workforce, and help keep unemployment under control.Continue reading

The Science of Consumer Psychology: Why Do We Buy What We Buy?

Consumer Psychology: “The study of individuals, groups or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use and dispose of products, services, experiences or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society.”

What a mouthful!  Does anyone really talk like that??  In short, consumer psychology is the study behind why we buy what we buy. More and more people are becoming interested in the influences that cause a shopper to pick one product over another, or for a consumer to prefer the more expensive name brand over the cost-friendly generic brand. Many people, when asked why they chose, let’s say Jiff, over Peter Pan peanut butter, chances are they’ll tell you, “It tastes better.” But is that really why? I’ve had both, and to be honest … to me … they taste about the same. It’s thanks to consumer psychologists that companies – of all sizes – are able to see how our thoughts, beliefs, feelings and perceptions influence us to reach for Philadelphia Cream Cheese over Safeway brand – Fruit Loops over Fruity Rings – Kraft over Kroger and so on—and to put that knowledge to use in their own branding.

PicMonkey Collage_peanutbutterReports done by consumer psychologists help create brands and marketing tools for companies across the globe, and they can help you shape your brand too. Among studying the influences of a buyer’s purchases, they also study:

·         How consumers choose businesses, products and services

·         The thought processes and emotions behind consumer decisions

·         How environmental variables such as friends, family, media and culture influence buying decisions

·         What motivates people to choose one product over another

·         How personal factors and individual difference affect people’s buying choices

·         What marketers can do to effectively reach out to their target customers

Learn more about consumer psychology—read the following articles: http://bit.ly/poqqIW or http://bit.ly/Yzli6h

 

EVERY Word You Speak MATTERS!

think_before_you_speakTip #3 – THINK About the Words You Choose!

Every word matters.  Mistrust can happen in a split second – and it happens at the moment your prospect’s intuition tells them that your agenda is about you – not them.

Every word you speak in the sales conversation, in your sales presentation and in your marketing messages does one of three things: 

The words you speak either … 1) move your prospect FORWARD …2) are neutral and have NO IMPACT … or 3) move your prospect AWAY from you – they step BACK.

Without even being aware of it, we often use words and phrases that categorize us as someone who has the intention of ‘making a sale’ and we begin moving our prospect away from us from the beginning.

The bigger problem is the vast majority of people spend the greatest part of their sales conversation or presentation saying too much that is neutral, which does absolutely nothing to move the prospect forward in the buying decision. That’s what happens when you make the mistake of having no clear plan in your presentations and conversations. 

What to Do Instead: Great marketers – great salespeople – great communicators – listen to what their prospects are saying both verbally and nonverbally.  Then they take those cues and use them to mold their marketing messages and sales presentations.   Make a sincere commitment to really understand your potential client’s true core problems and don’t approach the conversation with self-focused agendas.  That’s when you’ll see that people will trust you enough to move forward with you in discovering the solution your product or service offers THEM to solve THEIR problem.Continue reading