Reciprocity in Sales Today

In sales it is wise to remember the factors of ‘reciprocity’.  The act of giving freely and willingly has great impact on attracting repeat business and return customers.  Clients know when you go out of the way to help them with their situation.

Certainly ‘reciprocity’ will help build your profile, trust, and respect with the customer.  Be prepared to do some things for ‘nothing’ understanding that the person you are helping will really value your interest and help.

Consider these questions:

  1. How long is it since you ‘called in’ to talk to that customer who purchased from you last year or some time ago?  Go back through your database to find the people that you can help and support further.
  2. What could you do for your customers today that would be of value to them?  Go and see your clients and customers.  Get in front of them at every opportunity when ‘in the field’.
  3. When the last sale went through, what did you do to extend the value of the product or service?  Could you have done more?
  4. What can you do with your clients today to show them that you really value their business and contact?

It is a fact that people like to do business with those that they trust and respect.  It takes time to achieve that profile; certainly reciprocity will help greatly as part of that process.

Find the people that you can help and go out of your way to do so.  Over time that will bring you more clients and lots of repeat business.  Establish the relationships with the right people that you know are of value to your business and your income.

Harness the Power of Technology in Your Sales Team

Today we are seeing the ever increasing influence on technology as it applies to the role of a salesperson.  It makes sense to integrate some technology tools into your sales processes and client interaction.  The traditional ways of networking and prospecting still apply, but we have another layer of tools and systems to utilize.

It should be said that the use of technology is now very much a personal process for the sales person.  In only that way can you get the required focus and also the personality into the connection with your market and clients.

So what tools do we have to use?  Here are some of the bigger and more common ones that are (or should be) used in business and sales teams today:

  • Database software has been around for some time, however today most of the databases are stored and accessed on the internet.  That is a wise process and will protect you in times of computer crash or network damage.
  • Email newsletters are a direct contact tool that is integrated with your database.  The question always arises as to just how many newsletters you should send.  It depends on your industry, but at least monthly is the answer.  You can create a weekly newsletter if you have something of importance to say.  The client should see value in the newsletter so don’t fill it with low value content.  Make sure you have the clients consent to be on your database and email newsletter.
  • Auto responders are a great way to streamline your newsletter despatch.  It is in fact a newsletter on automatic settings and it will remove the pressure from you as other things arise.
  • Websites have been with us for years.  The fact of the matter is that you can now get a website running in just a matter of hours and for almost (and in some cases) zero cost.
  • Blogs will help you show your experience to the market, as well as spread your personal profile across the internet.  A good blog writer will post daily information about their product or service.  The search engines soon see that information and start to follow you for relevance and information.
  • Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all regarded as great business tools.  You can cross link them to your Blog and Website activity.  They help you spread your experience across your contact base of clients and prospects.  The key to the process is in providing regular and relevant information.  Do not let bias and negative personality problems enter the system.  You are a business person and that profile should be encouraged at every opportunity.

Choose the right technology and take action with it every day.  Merge the traditional methods of client contact with the newer ones.  Don’t get left behind in the race to capture the client.

Sales Team Strategy – Persistence Pays in Customer Contact

If you are looking to improve your business model, sales, or market share, have a good look at the number of times that you call your customers or prospects on a regular basis.  Persistence pays when it comes to opening up opportunities in sales with your clients.

Why Make Contact?

Prospects are always on the lookout for tips and ideas to help them do things at a better price or a lower cost.  For this very reason you can be a solid source of knowledge and information relative to your industry.  If the competition is not serving their clients well or keeping in regular contact, you have an opportunity in waiting.

Far too many sales people stop the contact process after just a few approaches; if they can’t get the prospect or client to move to the next step in the sales pipeline, they shut down the contact process and simply move on.

Top salespeople keep the contact process going with real and relative ways.  Here are some ideas to help with that:

  1. Use different techniques of contact so you can be real and relevant in each approach.
  2. Be memorable in a positive way.  That will mean some relevance and importance to the client.
  3. Have different comments to use in each approach.  Practice dialogues for seasonal sales and shifts in market trends.
  4. Do not show desperation in any approach or client contact.  Prospects and clients can sense it and will close the door on your approach.  Clients like to deal with ‘winners’.
  5. Ask the client or prospect if you can remain in regular contact into the future.
  6. Keep your database accurate and up to date in all respects.
  7. Get to know the Key Clients of the competition so you can disrupt and disturb their market or dominance.

Do you know what your ideal client looks like?  Do you know what your client wants by way of product or service?  Do you know when they want to buy or sell?  Key questions like this will help you tap into the right people at the right time.

Sales Teams – How to build your market share

So many salespeople struggle with growing market share. The single reason for this is that they have little or no personal system to build their business. Every day is a new day, and nothing consistently happens to build on the success of yesterday.

Perhaps I have upset some salespeople in saying that, however it is a proven fact that the performance of most sales teams is low for this very reason.

In any business and market there are also some other excuses that hold teams back. Some of them are here:

  • No support from the management team
  • No leadership to correct faults or lacking processes
  • No standards that can focus the prospecting and customer service processes.
  • Little action to a system that works in their market
  • Forgetting the clients and keeping in contact with them over time

So, all of this is a personal process; that’s the reality of it all. Any salesperson can improve their ‘lot’ by taking action. Given that most do not do the right things every day, there is huge potential out there for those that do.

If a salesperson takes on the personal challenges of their industry and takes action every day to a good plan, there is a very good chance that they will rise to the top of their market quickly and effectively.

Here are some tips for getting control of your market and market share.

  1. Define your territory geographically and physically so you know where you will find the business.
  2. See how many potential clients could be in your areas that are serviced by your competitors. Can you open the door with these clients?
  3. Be prepared to talk to many people to find the one opportunity. As long as your market is large enough that will not be a problem. The issue is in getting the right resources and research around you.
  4. Use a database that is comprehensive and easy to access. Over time you can build your database by 4 or 5 new people a day. Keep in regular contact so you can open up the relationship when the prospect requires help.

Are you the best service provider in your local area? Can you say that your product or service is as good if not better than the competition? If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to these questions yet, you have some work to do. Devise your business system and work to it every day.

Questioning Techniques in Negotiation and Selling

When you are in a sales situation or a negotiation, the power of questions should not be underestimated.  Questions will help you move the other person through problems, and in many cases they will answer the negotiation challenge themselves.

The questioning process is called the ‘Freudian Slip’ and is used by many good salespeople.  It operates on the premise that most people want to reach an agreement, and if you ask them enough questions, they will tell you the answer to the problem and perhaps even give themselves a solution.

It should be said that the questions that you ask should be ‘open’ and not ‘closed’ questions.  You can use the words like:

  • How will you
  • What will you
  • When would you
  • Would you
  • Should you

The one word that you cannot use is ‘Why’, and the question content that follows it.  The reason being is that it is a challenging approach that threatens the conversation flow; it is too probing and threatening.  The use of ‘Why’ is judgemental and can break the trust that you are creating in the conversation.

When you ask the right questions you get answers that can help you and the client move to a solution.  In most cases a sale is not made by you talking, rather it is made by you listening to the answers that you get.

One More Idea

As you ask the prospect or client questions, the answers that you get should be drilled down into and questioned further.  This has two clear benefits:

  • It shows the client or customer that you really are listening and are interested in what they have to say
  • It shows the client that you really understand the complete issue and want all the facts to help their position or negotiation

In some complex sales situations it pays dividends if you take notes during the comments of the other person.  The notes can be used as a reference point to further discussion, however the great advantage that the note taking process offers is that it gives you time to think before you respond.

In any sales negotiation or client presentation, do not do all of the talking.  Give the client lots of opportunities to say things and respond to your ideas and recommendations.  As a general rule, you should talk less and they should talk more.  Even though you are doing a ‘presentation’, the process can be very connecting and create a two way conversation.  Ask the client for comments as you proceed and get their opinion on key matters.  Build the communication at every opportunity.

If you want more tips on sales, negotiation, or closing, you can get them in our Newsletter.

Tips for Salespeople to Build Market Share

In business today I see far too many sales people that take things the way that they are.  These salespeople fail to adjust to the market and learn more skills to build better market share under changing market conditions.

Let’s face an important fact here; the market is always changing, and yet if you keep doing the same old things, nothing will change for you.  One of the toughest things to change in business is your habits.  You have spent years building on your habits; whilst that can be a protection process to keep life under control, it certainly does nothing for you in getting more sales and better customers.

The best salespeople know that adjustment is a wise process; everything we get out of business and our market will come from our efforts.  They are the only things that we can control.

In most locations, towns or cities, the selling season is limited to no more than 11 months of the year.  In some cases it is far less than that.  All of your effort has to be directed into the core selling time in the best possible way.  That will include the right factors of:

  • Target market in your town or city
  • The right products or services
  • The right time of day
  • Product and service knowledge
  • Knowing what people will want and when
  • Building strong relationships with the right people
  • Keeping on top of the competition and their activities in your area
  • Capturing all of your contacts into a database of relevance and quality
  • Communicating frequently into your market and customer base

Now would be a good time to look at just what you are doing in your business and customer base.  Can you improve any of the above items?  What will it take to change old restricting habits to a new process of growth and change?

As a final tip in this topic it is worthwhile noting that most customers will move on to others at some stage; you cannot keep the same customers forever.  All things being equal, some of your customers will move location, change business focus, or be attracted the competitors in your market.  On that basis it pays for you to develop a process of new client growth as part of your prospecting processes.

Plan to lose some of your current customers each year, so you then fill the void with new customers.  It is a fact that new prospects and customers in some industries will take time to nurture and convert.  Top salespeople know how to do this; they have a system to support the entire process.  Develop the focus and start to build your market for the long term.

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