Many business owners admit to fearing sales. The thought of selling their goods and services is enough to make them break into a cold sweat.
If you’re scared of sales, pause for a moment and think about what a sale is. At its core, a sale is an agreement between two people. One person agrees to supply goods or services. The other person agrees to buy the goods or services, for an agreed price.
The very heart of sales is an agreement between two people. Sometimes we’ve forgotten the power of personal contact. Listening to clients, making time for them, providing solutions to their problems – these things never go out of fashion. Yes – that’s right! People buy from people.
Next time you’re at a function and you meet a potential client, remember that they are a person first, and a potential client second. Take the time to understand their story. Listen to their pain points. Have one or two good sentences (your elevator pitch!) that you can say about your business. Then, suggest a coffee catch up. They’ll probably say yes!
Why? In experience, it’s a rare man or woman who says ‘no’ to a suggestion to catch up for coffee. When two people sit down over a cup of coffee (or tea), they relax. Even the person who says, ‘I’m happy with my current supplier’ will often say ‘Yes’ to a coffee catch up. When you’re sitting having coffee, relaxing, you might just discover more of their pain points.
You might not realise it, but you’re already starting the sales journey together. Whether they buy from you now or in the future, that person you’re having coffee with is evaluating whether they’d like to deal with you. That’s right – you, as a person.
Think of sales as an opportunity to meet some great people, learn more about them, and then to share how you can help them.
As Zig Ziglar says ‘Stop selling. Start helping’. Focus on how you can help people. Any fear of sales will soon go – all you’re doing is helping people to understand the options available to them. Your sales will just naturally ‘close’ if you focus on helping those ideal clients.
Yes - People buy from people. We love how that still works!
Growing sales means your business is growing. At Magnify, we often talk to clients who want to see exponential growth very quickly, especially if they are launching a new product or service. They want to make fast decisions if they need to pivot their offering to meet the market needs.
Fast growth happens most easily when our offering is right, the timing is right, our sales material is right, our approach is right. Everything aligns as it should, and it’s a beautiful sales growth moment.
However, the more expensive the offering, the higher the level of customer trust that will be needed to close sales. Customer trust comes out of deeper customer relationships. Trust often takes time to build up. Some sales campaigns want fast results; they may not have the luxury of time.
So – how do you deepen your customer relationships without burning through your sales budget?
Think about your sales campaign from the customer’s point of view. Here are four things to consider to help deepen your customer relationships:
Yes, there can be a whole lot of preparation before you even approach your customer. Excellent preparation builds a strong foundation for a successful sales campaign. This gives your customer confidence that you understand their needs and have the best solution. Trust grows, and you deepen your customer relationships.
We live in an amazing age of technology, but the basic premise is still true. People buy from people – and especially from people they trust. So, build solutions to real-life customer problems, show your customers that you are credible, deepen your customer relationships - and your sales will grow.
Do you want to magnify your business and sales? An excellent way to do this is by having great Sales Documentation for your client communications.
Think for a moment about the emails, letters, tenders, proposals, and everything in writing that you send to your clients. The smallest detail really can make a difference in your written communications with clients – right down to subject headings that capture client interest and help your emails to get opened.
Here are Seven Ways to Shine with Great Sales Documentation:
When you shine in these seven ways, you really will out-class any other salesperson, blitzing the competition.
It's time to let your sales documentation shine. Go forth - Magnify your Business and your Sales!
Clients ask many questions about their sales. At the heart of it, they're really asking, “How long will it take to reach my sales goals?” We understand this question. Who doesn’t want a bit of certainty in their life, especially when they're about to spend some budget?
Every client situation is different. Some clients have never talked to their customers, some have sporadic email relationships with their customers, others communicate regularly. Add into the mix industry factors, how your business measures up against competitors, the economy, the time of year (we’re about to hit the end of the March financial year) – and forecasting becomes a whole lot more complex.
Some clients have never mapped their sales processes, and do not know how long it takes for them to make a sale, how many touchpoints are needed, or how the customer experiences their business.
All of us want happy clients. Here at Magnify, we’d love to promise the moon and deliver it to everyone. But the reality is that sometimes people come to us because they’re finding the Sales Mountain hard to climb and need some help.
Just like our last blog, where we talked about the Seven Lessons that St Patrick (climbing a mountain!) can teach us about sales – a lot of what we do is sheer perseverance.
So – what do you need in place to climb your Sales Mountain and get the best from your outsourced sales campaign?
Your outsourced sales provider needs to ensure that your data is ready, and that you have good client documentation ready to go. It’s also important to discuss the sales processes already in place, and how the new business development you’re about to start will fit into that. Skimping on the preparation, just like a mountain climb, will mean a less successful journey to the top.
Are all your sales steps in place? Now you’re ready to start the climb.
Please note that no-one can accurately predict when your high-level sales goals will be reached. What you need most is an honest assessment of your sales situation. Your outsourced sales provider needs to prioritise your business needs over their need to make a sale. This may mean your campaign takes a pause for a week or two while you pivot your sales approach, to help your business meet the market needs and conditions that you’ve uncovered. Breaking through into that new market might take longer than you think.
However, much of sales is scientific. So you can predict some things.
When your sales team collectively put their shoulders to the proverbial wheel and P-U-S-H – uphill if necessary – you will generate sales momentum. Well-thought, appropriately spaced contact with your client database will provide the touch-points you need. Listening carefully to your customers will help you understand their experiences of your business. Which will ultimately deliver the results you want.
Good sales notes (in a CRM or database) will help you to see what’s happening with your new and existing clients. After a couple of months, you should be able to spot patterns to help you map your sales processes, number of customer touchpoints, and how long it takes to make a sale. You can then start to calculate the real cost of bringing on board new clients, and make more accurate predictions on how long it will take to reach your sales goals.
So – we can’t say exactly how long it will take to climb your Sales Mountain. But a good outsourced sales provider can provide tools, insight, and measurable results for the journey to help get you there, however long it takes. And a couple of coffees to start you on the right track!
Happy St Patrick's Day! Yes, that’s right – it’s the day that around 20 per cent of New Zealanders celebrate being Irish. For Saint Patrick’s Day last year, I posted on LinkedIn about Celebrating the Irish in IT.
This year, I thought I’d recount one of the stories of Saint Patrick, and extrapolate on Seven Things that Saint Patrick can teach us about Sales.
The story goes that Saint Patrick was attacked by snakes during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill (Croagh Patrick – known as Ireland’s holy mountain). Saint Patrick chased the snakes into the sea, banishing them from Ireland.
As they say in Ireland – Slainte!
There is a cost to everything. If your business offers a premium product or service, the price question can sometimes make you a little nervous. Your price is probably always a little dearer. Perhaps you struggle to answer confidently and keep the tremors out of your voice.
Remember that the customer’s decision is not just about the price. If it was, they wouldn’t even be considering you. The customer wants the most possible value at the best possible price. If the best price for the customer equates to lower value, the wise customer will think twice before buying. After all, quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten - Benjamin Franklin (modified).
The price question is a very positive sign. Many customers ask about price only when they are interested in your valuable offering. What they’re really saying is: will the benefits be greater than the cost of the outlay?
And yes – they certainly will. As Warren Buffett famously said – ‘Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.’ All of us need to demonstrate the value of our offering to our customers – because the perceived value is the reason that a sale is on the brink of happening in the first place.
When people ask me the price question, I’ll certainly answer, once I’ve had an opportunity to understand their business needs and do a proposal.
The question I often reflect back to the customer is: what is the cost to your business of not getting more sales?
When evaluating price, we all need to consider the total lifetime customer value. Every customer we deepen our connections with, every new customer we bring on board, every customer we bring back from the competition – is extremely valuable to our business. Their annual spend, multiplied by the number of years we expect them to require our products and services, gives us the true measure of their worth – their total lifetime customer value. Not to mention the added benefits of their positive referral business.
When I think back over this last year, Magnify has worked with some very interesting companies. We’ve helped them gain clients, close deals and increase sales. Sometimes we’ve proactively been in the right place at the right time – and discovered opportunities our clients never knew existed for upselling and cross-selling, and other new business development.
Yes, there has been an outlay to gain these customer insights and opportunities. But it’s been more than made up by the new clients they’ve gained, the connections they’ve deepened, and the sales generated.
Once a project is completed – our clients can choose to just run with it. Alternatively, they can ask us to continue helping them grow their sales, now that they’re so busy dealing with the opportunities we’ve already uncovered.
So yes, there will be some cost when you outsource your sales. But you will gain far more.
It’s been fantastic to have Magnify Consulting on our side for sales. They’ve helped get us in front a very good number of new clients, which has really helped grow our business. Their flexible service options mean business development that really fits our needs. They’ve gone the extra mile to make sure everything was completely arranged, both for us and for our prospective new clients. Their work has meant further leads for us to follow up - I’d be happy to work with Magnify again in the future.
Jane Bornholdt, Founder and Director, Wrap it Up
Mary worked as a senior member of my Sales Team when I was a Regional Manager at Allied Pickfords. Mary was by far our top sales performer both in terms of attitude and results in the Wellington team. Our region received many awards from our company and Mary also took home many sales achievement awards while employed by Allied Pickfords. Her positive and enthusiastic approach to business ensures that people simply want to do business with Mary. I have no hesitation in recommending Mary for her character, ethics and business results.
David Bell, Chief Operating Officer, ECL Group
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me -
twelve proposals winning,
eleven reports convincing,
ten reps a-selling,
nine products launching,
eight sales a-closing,
seven phones a-ringing,
six leads a-growing,
five new clients,
four press releases, three sales strategies, two hot coffees
and a sales consult with Magnify.
Getting people and businesses excited about Sales.