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

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

 

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?

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

Your Focus is on THEM not YOU!

customer-focus3Tip #2: Your Focus is on Your Prospect not YOU!

The way we ‘sell’ has fundamentally changed over time.  Through the years, the ‘old school’ sales methods so many sales training programs taught (and were once successful) have lost their effectiveness.

We use the word ‘prospect’ to mean someone who is a potential or likely customer or client, which is fine for clarification, but we have to stop seeing others as “prospects’ and start seeing them as people.  I see so many business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professional make this mistake all the time.  Their sales conversation has WAY TOO MUCH self-centered and self-serving information. Example:  Here’s MY great background (going on and on about their success and awards or degrees), Here’s MY great product (why THEY believe their product is great), here’s MY great whatever (convenient location, long list of clients, etc.).  The conversation is not relevant to what is important to their prospect.

It may seem contrary to everything you’ve heard about sales to put the customer head of the sale — to care about your customer or client for the sake of the customer, not for what the customer can do for you.  The interesting secret about sales is that buying is a very human phenomenon and we humans respond in predictable ways.  We do not like being ‘pitched’ and we do not like being told what to do by those who we don’t think understand us or care about what we feel or perceive as important.  And we do not buy from people we think are using us for their own end means!

What to Do Instead:  Remember, a sale is NOT about you.  Focus on your prospect.  What is important to THEM, what do THEY want and desire? What problems are THEY trying to solve?  Just remember there is only one radio station they’re listening to WIIFM – What’s In It for Me?

Get Tip #1 Not Having a Sales Strategy is a BIG Mistake!

Get Tip #3 Every WORD You Speak MATTERS!

Bottom  Line?  You want to have sales conversations and presentations that lead to an sale that becomes inevitable because you clearly have a plan for the conversation, your focus is on the wants and desires of your prospective client and you listen to THEIR language and choose your words to mirror those things that are important to them and will help them step forward.

If you agree or if this was something you think your friends need to see, please SHARE on your social networks, pin the image, tweet the post, Like on FB or share on G+ and LinkedIn.

I appreciate you!

Increase Sales Conversion – 3 TIPS to INCREASE SALES in Your Business!

problem_solution

STRATEGY:  The problem today is many jobs are being eliminated in big business and people are sick of the uncertainty they face, so they are turning to entrepreneurship and starting their own business.  In fact, entrepreneurship is growing rapidly and adding to the already 23 million small businesses.  Women are leaving the workforce in droves in favor of becoming entrepreneurs and they have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men for the last 20 years! 

Yet 3 out of 4 small businesses fail for various reasons, but what is CERTAIN and the one thing that could have saved the business and the one thing that GROWS any business is … Sales.  MORE SALES will fix just about any problem.

Sound familiar?

As you know, sales are the very life blood of a successful business.

And you do want more sales and profits, right?

Here are 3 Tips to Quickly INCREASE SALES!

Tip# 1:  You MUST Have a Sales STRATEGY

Many business owners confuse marketing and sales.  Marketing is important, but it’s the sales that generate revenue and are the lifeblood of the business.  Yet 95% of small business owners, entrepreneurs, service professionals, coaches and consultants focus on marketing and invest very little time paying attention to the most important aspect of sales.

Selling is about trust, relationships and influence.  However, at the strategic level we have to consider numbers … similar to a financial evaluation of a return on investment.  If the money invested is not getting an adequate return, a decision will be made by someone, sometime to invest the money somewhere else.  Increasing Your Sales Conversion (the ratio of sales made relative to the number of presentations made) is a TOP STRATEGY for MORE SALES. This is not news, but what I find is news to many people is the LEVERAGE on sales results that can be achieved by increasing conversion rates by small increments.

Almost every entrepreneur, consultant, coach or sales professional that I talk to says they convert fewer prospects to paying customers than they would like.

The problem and the reason so many people struggle with their sales conversion being lower than it should be is because what most are doing in the sales conversation isn’t effective which leads to the next 2 tips!

Get Tip #2: Your Focus is on Your Prospect not YOU!

Get Tip #3 – THINK About the Words You Choose!

erase-mistake

Bottom  Line?  You want to have sales conversations and presentations that lead to an sale that becomes inevitable because you clearly have a plan for the conversation, your focus is on the wants and desires of your prospective client and you listen to THEIR language and choose your words to mirror those things that are important to them and will help them step forward.

If you agree or if this was something you think your friends need to see, please SHARE on your social networks, pin the image, tweet the post, Like on FB or share on G+ and LinkedIn.

I appreciate you!