Show the product or service being used

I know that you know what your product or service does. I know that you know how great it is. The challenge is that potential customers are not telepathic. They can’t see what you are seeing.

On this basis, show someone actually using the product or experiencing the service. Videos and pictures are a great way of doing this.

Stories describing how the item or service is used in real life are helpful.

Don’t make the customer work hard to figure it out.

Show them how it works.

This idea is taken from my newsletter which you can subscribe to here.

Using the phone for business sales calls

The Marketing Compass member Walter Blackburn is an experienced business person and expert in presentation skills training. He enjoys using thephone to talk to his extensive network of contacts and clients. Here are his thoughts on using the phone to sell.

Earliest time to start calling: 8am if you’re calling someone in their office on their landline. If you’re calling their mobile I would leave it to 8.30 or even 9 because you don’t know if they’re working from home and most people don’t want to be disturbed there if they’re getting the children off to school or whatever else they might be doing to get ready for the day.

I would be careful calling mobiles if you don’t know them. Most of us are quite protective of our mobile numbers, but I believe it’s ‘fair game’ if I call you on an office landline number. If you already know the person you’ll know when it’s OK to call and whether to use their mobile or landline. For example, one of my clients has back to back meetings every Monday and most Tuesdays so I wait to call him later in the week. He’s a high Mover (see www.empathystyles.com) so he loves to speak on his mobile rather than dealing with email.) If you know the person you will know what their situation is (i.e. do they work from home and what the best time to call is).

The point of calling early is to either get past any protective secretary or PA, or to catch your prospect before they get involved in meetings. If you’re calling someone ‘cold’, i.e. for the first time and you don’t know them, I would start calling them at some time during the day rather than early in the morning or early in the evening (say, after 5.30). It’s only when I’m being rebuffed by a secretary or a PA that I would call them early, say, before 9am, or early evening to get past the protective PA who may not be at his or her desk at that time. Turn it into a ‘warm’ call by doing some research first and make the call appropriate and relevant for them.

You will need to know how to contact the decision-makers in your target organisations – is it by email, by landline, by mobile or through social media? Many people are happy to ‘hide behind’ email and voicemail. Whether you use the phone to communicate with them will be guided by the organisation and the sector. Businesses probably fall into one of 3 categories re the phone:

1. There will be those companies which use email extensively, almost exclusively, and it would therefore be pointless looking for phone numbers.
2. There will be those companies which only use mobiles – literally there will be no landline numbers.
3. And there will still be many businesses which have a main reception with a switchboard to direct calls to the appropriate person.

A lot of business is still done on the phone. So unless you’re just selling from your website you need to be confident and competent on the phone. What that means is that you have to be able to establish rapport, qualify your prospect, find a need, present your offering in a way that meets the need and close on an action step, as well as countering any objections along the way. In other words you need to be skilful in the sales process, either face to face or on the phone, or indeed in email. I’m not saying that you should give your sales presentation over the phone – you need to be doing that ideally face to face – but there will be times when it’s appropriate to do some of it over the phone or in email.

So that means two things: first you need to know the sales process for your product/service and the sector(s) into which you are selling and second you need to get some practice and experience in using it.

Do scripts still work? Yes, but they need to become a guide for you, not to be followed slavishly. The best scripts will form the basis of what to say or what to ask and are used in that way. As soon as you give prospects a scripted conversation most of them will recognise it as such and switch off. One of the reasons for that is that salespeople don’t adapt them to their personality or experience. It’s up to you to understand what you’re doing and how to personalise it for each prospect. Most of us will need some help with creating the basis for a script – we are too close to our own products / services and will tend to present our features and benefits too early rather than asking questions. Having a script means that someone has put some thought into how the call might go, which has to be a plus.

(Since Walter originally wrote this article, GDPR has come into force and this brings a whole new set of implications, including the need to generate more in-bound sales enquiries).

Click here to continue reading about business phone calls

5 sales messages a day

If you need to get more business, here is a process that works:  get in touch with five prospective clients a day. You can do this by:

*  Email: either a brief introductory email or a follow-up nudge email
*  LinkedIn messages (or InMails, if you have a Premium account)
*  Telephone calls. If you can’t get through after a few attempts leave a message using the mackeral fishing* approach

Contact dormant clients as well as members of your target markets. Keep in touch with advocates (people who have recommended you in the past). In addition, take the time to remind current clients of the different things that you do.

You may feel that ‘only 5’ sales contacts a day is not very many. However, each message has to be tailored to the recipient and it may well require time and research before the message is sent. If you are starting out (or re-starting), 5 messages each and every day will create momentum for you quickly. This is partly because your subconscious mind will be coming up with new ideas and people to contact.

As a marketing and sales consultant, trainer and coach I am often asked about how to get started and how to keep the momentum going. Let’s face it, selling is a tough job and sometimes it can feeling like you are shouting into the void, can’t it? The 5 a day method has worked for me and it has worked for my clients as well.

With regards to sales leads, I am lucky in that I receive one a day on average for my marketing and sales training, speaking and consultancy services. I do my best to speak to them all on the phone. Having spoken to a prospective client I follow-up with a tailored proposal. Quite often, they come back to me quickly, which I appreciate. Sometimes I don’t hear anything. After a week or so, I include them in my 5 a day routine.

I recommend that you use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to keep track of contact details and your sales pipeline. There are hundreds of products to choose from. I use Capsule CRM and I provide training for this software.

If you need a little help and / or motivation, by all means get in touch with me.

* If you contact me, I will tell you about the mackeral fishing sales approach.

If you are looking for a LinkedIn trainer – click here.

LinkedIn connection requests – what to include in the message

When it comes to LinkedIn connection requests,  what should you include in the message, particularly when you are connecting with someone that you don’t know personally?

Here are some tips and ideas for you.

* It is fine to visit their profile once or twice, prior to making the connection request.

* Always include a personal message and start this with their name; triple check that you have the correct spelling for their name.

* I start my messages with ‘Hi’, however, you may feel that ‘Dear’ is more appropriate.

* Make the message about them, not you. Mention something that you noticed about them and / or their organisation, within the connection request message.

* If possible, refer to someone you both know (if they are a mutual LinkedIn connection, so much the better).

* Mention a Linkedin Group that you both belong to. (This is a good reason to join Groups, by the way).

* Mention something that you saw in their website or in the media.

* Before you press send, check the spelling carefully.

Here is an example of Message or In-Mail to a new contact:

Hi Susan
I have been reading your articles within LinkedIn about (ISSUE) and I noticed that we both know (CONTACT NAME). I have visited your website www.theirwebsite.com and I read (BLOG OR WEB PAGE) with interest. It would be great to connect with you.
Kind regards, (YOUR NAME)

How would you feel if you received a message like this?  You would probably think to yourself that at least they have taken the time and trouble to write a personalised message.

The recipient of the connection request will probably look at your LinkedIn profile. Therefore, it is important to keep the information up-to-date. Use the available word count. For the Summary section this is 200-250 characters or about 25-42 words.

Beware of sending connections requests via your smartphone. They can whizz off without giving you the chance of including a personal message.

PS I provide LinkedIn training and talks.

Speed of response to sales enquiries

“Thank you for your rapid response!” a prospective new client wrote in an email. “I am waiting for some other consultants to get back to me, so please bear with me for a few days.” I wonder why so many suppliers take so long to respond to sales enquiries? I imagine that they would tell me that they are busy (who isn’t?) Do they like it when people are slow to respond, when they are looking for quotations?

I wonder how fast you are at acknowledging enquiries that arrive in your email in-box or by phone?  One way of keeping on top of emails is to install an email app on your phone (i.e. the Gmail app  which is available via Google Play). When I am travelling, I keep a close watch on my emails and I acknowledge receipt of sales enquiries either immediately or as soon as possible i.e. at the next break during a training day or consultancy session.

I am extremely lucky to be married to Joanna, who used to work as a PA in central London.  Joanna answers the phone when I can’t get to it and I CC her when I email sales proposals. I ask clients who book my consultancy, training or speaking services to  ‘please respond to both of us and we will organise everything for you.’

How fast do you turn quotations / proposals around? Personally, I turn them around quickly, usually within a couple of hours of receiving the enquiry and quite often within the hour.  I think that that speed of response to sales enquiries is a message in its own right. It says: “We are here. We care about you. We are reliable. If you work with us, this is the level of service that you can expect in the future.”

What do the green LinkedIn profile buttons mean?

Have you noticed the green buttons that sometimes appear just underneath the circular photo of a member of LinkedIn?

Starting informal conversations via a LinkedIn message can be an effective way of getting noticed and moving onto a business topic.

You can now see who is online and available, within LinkedIn.

On a desktop / laptop, click on ‘My Network’ / ‘See all’.

A list of your connections appears. Some of them will have a green dot (they are logged into LinkedIn and they are using a desktop / laptop).

On a mobile, visit a connection’s profile to see their ‘green dot status’.

If the green dot has a white centre, they are on LinkedIn via a mobile phone.

This feature works for paying and non-paying LinkedIn members.

Connect with Nigel here:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/nigeltemple

Is it worth having a CRM?

Is it worth the time, trouble and expense of having and using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system?

The answer is that, yes, it is.

In my experience, it is a challenge to keep track of details and information when you are marketing and selling, as the information escalates exponentially. You end up with lists or a spreadsheet full of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people.

If you are busy and the sales leads are coming in, you need to keep track of current sales opportunities. At the same time, it is important not to ignore dormant customers and your future sales pipeline.

For example, you may ask yourself: Who else is involved in making this decision? What did they tell me six months ago? Are they on LinkedIn? Is there a direct dial telephone number for this person?

The best CRM for your enterprise is the one that you actually use.

All too often, the software can be difficult to setup and too complicated to use on a day to day basis.

Have it open at all times. Record details as you receive them*.

In an interconnected age, choose a CRM that integrates with other software applications that you use.

For example, Capsule CRM integrates properly with MailChimp and Gmail.

Once I have sent a proposal by Gmail, with one click I can add that person into Capsule. When I look at their profile in Capsule, it shows me the email and the PDF proposal – which I can open with one click. I can then add this opportunity to my sales pipeline, which means that I won’t forget about it.

The benefits of having a CRM system

Capsule CRM training

* Please bear the GDPR legislation in mind when you record and store data.

How to set sales and marketing targets

Setting sales and marketing targets works and this will make a big difference to your results.

I have used them for years and when I work with a client we always go through a target setting process.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” ~ Tony Robbins

A. Financial targets (start here):

1. Turnover for the year ahead

This is an important target. If you don’t have a turnover target to aim for, anything could happen and it probably won’t be good.

2. Turnover per month

Start with your break-even figure, then add a buffer. In general, I have found that people tend to set targets which are too low.

3. Profitability for the year ahead

If you don’t have an objective in mind, profitability could be anything, couldn’t it?

4. Profitability for per month

The idea is to make money every month.

B. Customer targets

The number and type of customers that you will require to achieve the above targets.

If you segment your market, this process will be much easier.

C. Website targets

How many Unique Visitors, page views etc you will need for your website per month and annually.

In addition, set a target for the number of sales enquiries / sales that will come from your website.

If e-commerce is part (or all) of your business, then you will require a more in depth set of website targets.

D. Promotional mix targets

Begin with outputs, for example the number of blogs that you are going to write per month as well as  the target word count per blog.

Go through each promotional technique that you use and set targets. There are hundreds of promotional techniques to choose from, by the way.

If you are using a lot of them, then you may need to catalogue the techniques and set output, sales leads and sales targets per technique and also for each marketing mix category (i.e. advertising, events).

Having clear sales and marketing targets will help to keep you focused on the important tasks, not just the urgent ones.

E. Sales targets

Set targets for the number of customer contacts and key objectives such as sales meetings,  proposals and closing ratio per month. See: Selling professional services

Get your team involved

If you work with other people, get them involved with target setting and measurement. Unrealistic targets can be demoralising however, it is a good idea to set exciting growth targets which the whole team understands and is committed to.

The AIDCA copywriting model

The AIDCA copywriting model will help you to get better response:

1. Headline or opening line gets Attention

2. Product description generates Interest

3. The offer / proposition produces Desire

4. Guarantee / reassurance gives Conviction

5. Call to action Action generates sales

AIDCA can be used throughout the promotional mix.

Have you tried this model? Did it work for you?

Nigel provides copywriting training.

Opt in email list sign up process

With GDPR on the horizon, it is more important than ever to have an opt in process for your email list. Here is a diagram showing an effective process for getting your target market to subscribe to your email list:

Customers have problems / challenges that they have to resolve sooner or later. Try to see it from their perspective. How does it feel to have this challenge? How would you define the problem? What alternative solutions are available?

Having decide on the problem that you are going to focus on, the next step is to write a detailed guide to solving the problem. For example, I have written a 10,000 word marketing strategy e-book (more of which in a moment).

You can promote your guide in a variety of way including Google AdWords, Facebook advertisements, Instagram ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn adverts and social media posts. You can also promote it via your website and by sending 1-2-1 emails to people that you know. In fact, you can promote the guide by using most of the 250+ promotional techniques that I have researched and used.

All of this activity should aim at a landing page which does not contain your website navigation bar or any other distractions. Here is one that I prepared earlier (any Blue Peter fans out there?) which offers a free copy of the 10,000 word marketing strategy e-book:

https://www.nigeltemple.com/free-marketing-e-book-nigel-temple

If you join my list, via the above page, notice that you are taken to a confirmation page telling you what is going to happen next and that MailChimp provides a clear opt-in process.

Having launched my new landing page a few days ago, I have 55 people on the list so far. A couple of people rang me to ask questions about the guide and I have emailed a few other people which has led to sales conversations.

One of my clients calls everyone who signs up to their list, using this process. They are selling to other businesses and they request a phone number on the opt-in form. Their business is increasing in size by 50% annually.

What is stopping you from doing all of this? I suspect that you are busy: so time is the first challenge. Then you have to consider the different options for the guide and of course you have to write it and produce a professional looking PDF. You then have to create the landing page either using a sub domain or special software that overrides your website’s standard layout. Finally you have to set up the email marketing automation sequence. Phew!

If you would like some help with this, you are welcome to email me, call me on 01628 773128 or join The Marketing Compass and ask there.

Click here to read about my MailChimp training services.