Sometimes a new client just lands in your lap. And sometimes you have to work harder than usual to make a sale. Wouldn't it be nice if they were all effortless—that buyers quickly get to know, like, and trust you?
It actually can be easier if you follow a few practices that show you have the greatest expertise and the best solution to resolve buyer challenges. Here's a look at a few things you should do:
When you really want something, it's natural for it to become your focus. You zero in on it and determine the best way to get it or make it happen. You're goal-oriented and driven—nothing wrong with that.
The danger comes when that drive makes you self-centered, pursuing something without regard to others. That behavior pushes people away—friends, co-workers, and if you're in sales—buyers. Sometimes the best way to achieve your goal is to take the roundabout way rather than the straight line.
As Jill Konrath says in her video The More You Need a Sale, the Less Likely You Will Get the Sale, sometimes you need to "detach from the outcome." Because when you push too hard, you short-circuit the process. In sales, that results in buyers avoiding you, and in turn you become even more desperate.
Even the man-made lake in my neighborhood has a sign posted warning people of alligators. It doesn't look like a danger zone, though. With its fountain splashing in the middle, the Great Blue Heron fishing at the edge, the ducks paddling along, and turtles poking their heads up every few minutes, the lake looks like a heavenly escape—until you see an alligator head surface.
We don't see alligators in our lake often, so it's easy to disregard the sign, walk right past it, and not even consider the possibility of danger. And that's what happened with my daughter when she decided to go for a run around the lake on Sunday. Her third pass around she realized the black bumpy thing in the water was an alligator's head. She did not do a fourth lap.
Whether it's because we are absent-minded, inexperienced, or have a blasé attitude, we can easily find ourselves in situations in which we should have been more careful.
The sales world has its own danger zones in which those same reasons can cause trouble. Here's a look at a few.
That's a problem because if marketing teams don't measure campaign results, they can't accurately assess whether those campaigns are successful. They can end up doing a lot of work and getting little in return—no leads or unqualified leads that sales can't use. They also don't know where they should spend their resources.
The key to successfully measuring marketing data is to create a campaign that includes measurable objectives, according to Scott Armstrong, partner at Brainrider, who spoke with me recently.
"Often people will have a campaign objective of awareness. But for most B2B companies, measuring awareness within the population just isn't a feasible activity," he says. "The awareness that matters, though, is qualified visits to your website. And that can be measured quite accurately, and it can be set up as a specific campaign objective."
Perming my hair to achieve that 1980s big-hair look? Probably not a good idea. Being afraid to make a career change and letting a great opportunity slip by? Something I still regret today. Saying the wrong thing to a prospective client and losing the deal? I rethink that conversation often.
In sales and marketing, everyone makes mistakes—the newbies and the experienced. Sometimes it's because we don't know better. And sometimes it's because we forget what we're supposed to do. While we can't erase those mistakes from our past, we can learn from them.
Here are a few sales and marketing mistakes many have made. Let them serve as reminders of what not to do.
There's no doubt about it; buying and selling triggers all kinds of emotions for customers, as well as salespeople. Sometimes it's good emotion that leads to a sale, and sometimes it's bad emotion that can damage the relationship between the salesperson and the buyer.
Here's a look at the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly aspects of emotion in sales.
In fact, when it comes to purchasing, people have written books that include advice on how to lie in order to manipulate a sale. One book, says RAIN Group President Mike Schultz, includes a passage that says something like this:
It is possible to negotiate and never lie, but we have to keep our arguments prepared. Deciding whether or not to lie is a personal choice, and what we choose to do in one scenario might be different to another.
In any case, for any lie, bluff or mislead, there are some basic rules to follow. Because if you get found out, it can damage your future credibility of the relationship—should this be important to you. The common rules to follow are never lie on the spot, always plan your misinformation, do your research and pick something they can't know, and avoid something that will create the need to maintain the lie.
That's quite a wake-up call if you naively believed people enter sales conversations and negotiations openly and honestly.
Then there are those who never thought they'd be involved in sales, who struggle with marketing their services and having conversations with prospects. Often they lack confidence, are wary of talking about how they help clients, and back down when buyers push back on price. If they had their druthers, they'd simply do their work and people would find them and hire them. Unfortunately, it isn't that simple.
The good news is even the most timid service professionals can do things to improve their marketing and sales—and increase their confidence along the way.
I could have immediately hung up, but I decided to hear her out—to hear her pitch. It was more of a learning experience for me than anything. I wanted to hear if she used sleazy sales tactics or if she had an effective approach. I must say she was pretty good.
Right off the bat she knew how to develop rapport with me. She asked if I was Mrs. Kennedy (my boyfriend's last name is Kennedy.) I said no, I was his girlfriend. To which she said, "But you soon will be!"
Well played, Ms. Saleslady.
When selling professional services, the two biggest sales challenges you'll face are getting the client and keeping the client. Each has its own obstacles and issues, but those two are what determine your business's fate.
When it comes to getting the client, sometimes it's a buyer's perception of you that is the biggest hurdle to overcome. When potential buyers start their search for a provider, do they find information that sets you apart from other providers in your industry? Are your services unique or the same as the others but with a new look?
"Most of firms do a good job describing what they do and that they are 'for real.' That's not enough for buyers who are exploring multiple options," says Vickie K. Sullivan. "When these folks check you out, they compare you to what they already know and to the other options. To them, anyone who doesn't stand out becomes a commodity."
The key is for buyers to believe you have innovative and unique ideas specific to them, she says in her article The Commodity Zone: 3 Buyer Perceptions that Create Low-Fee Conversations.
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