Editor’s Note: This is the second in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2015. To view the rest of the series, click here.
90. Educate, don’t sell.
Looking to work with more thoughtful, respectful, higher-net worth clients? Don’t sell them anything, instead educate them. Consider the very best celebrity chefs; they give their audience their very best cooking secrets. Only after they educate do they sell cookbooks, cooking tools. and dinners at their restaurants. Be a celebrity chef in your business. Host various education sessions in your office, at the library, or at a restaurant with the sole purpose of offering your expertise on areas that your desired client will find helpful. Once the value has been delivered to them, and a relationship established, then ask them to consider a meeting with you to discuss how to apply what they’ve learned to their personal situation. This approach changes everything, and your business will never be the same.
— Adam Cufr, RICP®, Principal, Retirement Income Certified Professional®, Author of OFF THE RECORD
89. Make those calls
Making those dreaded sales calls are heart-pumping, gut wrenching tasks that most people are incapable of executing well. There are two reasons that making phone calls to referrals or even to cool prospects are difficult. Either the mindset is wrong or the preparation is wrong, or both. The mindset is simple. Each time you pick up the phone, think of the person on the phone as a friend. How would you call a friend? It would be with sincere energy. You would anticipate talking to your friend with mild excitement. The attitude is “Hi, John, how is your day going?” Of course, you have to introduce yourself, but your tone and energy needs to be very friendly. Mostly, your natural state of mind must be “I’m just calling a friend.” Also, your life doesn’t depend on the outcome. Don’t sweat the rejection. There are tons of prospects.
Subject preparation is extremely important so you can talk intelligently and at length about the purpose of the call. Don’t be afraid of details. People don’t like evasive salespeople.
This is basic stuff, but the basics are where most people fail. Put together these two pieces and the phone will be your best friend.
— Kim Magdalein, Owner, SeminarsForLess.com
88. Be sure the user experience is outstanding.
Often the emphasis in sales and marketing is on acquiring new customers. But it’s just as important to ensure those customers will remain satisfied once they’re onboard. Otherwise you’ll constantly be grinding through customers and treading water instead of advancing your business.
The availability of a great online self-service portal can be a difference-maker in building return business. The portal should offer a user experience that offers the same quality members have come to expect from other online experiences, such as retail sites and telco companies. The site should be mobile-friendly, and capable of allowing members to obtain information and get instant answers to questions about deductibles, claims and other areas. A great portal can also be a huge selling advantage when compared to the hassle of sending paper forms through the mail, making you look ahead of the curve rather than behind it.
— Christine Rudella, Director of Marketing, SKYGEN USA
87. Start a meaningful conversation.
After introducing yourself, ask questions. Lots of them! But don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking questions. Ask those you meet questions that you would want asked of you. What kind of work do you do? Do you like what you do? Why? How did you learn of this event? What part of your marketing is working best for you? Do you have a target market? How do you get your prospects? How would I know if I meet a prospect for you? How can I help you? These are just a few to get you started. Tailor them to your style. Ideally, after answering your questions, you want them to respond with, “How about yourself?”
— Michael Goldberg, Speaker, Author, Consultant, Boxer, president, Knock Out Networking
86. When people laugh, they buy.
Get them to laugh and a client is far more likely to do business with you. The best way to make them laugh is to poke a little fun at yourself. It frees them up to laugh with you, and it says “I’m far from perfect … just like everyone else.” If you think there is nothing funny about you, then ask a close friend and they will give you a long list of humorous qualities. This can be a great exercise in humility, too! Our industry can be intimidating to a client and they can feel inferior in spite of our best efforts, so loosening them up at our own expense is priceless!