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The most innovative sales ideas of 2016: 61-70

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Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2016. To view the rest of the series, click here.

70. Clarity breeds success.

“Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”

Steve Jobs, co-founder, former chairman and CEO of Apple, Inc.

69. Dive into the data.

“Analyze the heck out of what you do and see what is working,” Conner says. Use the following criteria to assess each strategy you consider or deploy:

  • Ensure the strategy really will get new prospects’ attention.

  • Ask what it will cost you to come in contact with each new prospect; think in marginal terms.

  • Ask how long it will take you to develop a prospect, once you have met them.

  • Ask yourself whether you can systemize each strategy you deploy.”

— Randy Conner, president of Churchill Management Group

68. Examine your faults.

“This one is simple: Ask your customers what they want from your brand and how you could do better. Here’s the prickly part: Ask for brutal honesty. Positive comments are fantastic, but they don’t help you grow your brand into what your market wants. Critiques point out where there’s an issue in your service pipeline. This is a large part of how new products and services are born.” 

— Tabitha Naylor, owner of

67. How to say the right thing first.

To help yourself think in terms of benefits, rather than product features, “write down each feature, the advantage that feature creates, and the benefit that results from the advantage.”

— Joel Zobits, a speaker at the Life Communicators Association annual meeting, in the Oct. 26, 1992, issue of National Underwriter Life & Health

66. Gather information preemptively.

“If you can get a picture of what your clients need before they come into your office, you have an advantage that many advisors don’t. Your financial marketing can be targeted exclusively based on what they have showed interest in in the past.

Track activity on your site and interaction with your digital marketing. Keep your fingers on the pulse of your digital presence, and then put faces to names. Start to populate your contact list with clients who have their activities attached to their file.

This should show you things like where they visit most, what they’ve looked at and other things like that. You’ll build a complete map of where each prospect was and when.

By looking at where they spend the most time, and what links they click on most, you can get a general idea of what your pitch might sound like. For example, if a young professional is viewing your retirement strategies most often, you might want to start by talking about what they want to do with their adult life now that it’s started and when they want to retire.

For a family who routinely checks your debt management page, you may begin by discussing the benefits of a debt-free lifestyle and how possible it is to achieve. By gathering preemptive information it becomes much easier to create customer-centric marketing.”

— Ryan Cook, assistant agent manager, SimplyCast

65. Compete for your clients’ time.

“The magazine has to be accessible and helpful to all kinds of very smart readers, no matter what their business expertise. And we want it to be a pleasure to read — visually and intellectually. Our editors and writers get a kick out of delivering our readers the unexpected. We are competing for their time, and we want it to be worth their while.” 

— Ellen Pollock, Editor Bloomberg Business


64. Take risks.

“Chat rooms were just starting, and I discovered these women were talking about me and the bags, and I thought I should probably talk to them. And every editor, every buyer said, ‘If you talk to your customer, it will destroy your career. You’re supposed to be removed. You’re supposed to be in your ivory tower, and we’re the people that should be talking to them.’ And my brother and I, who’s my business partner, said, ‘No, let’s talk directly to our customers. Let’s get on Twitter and let’s get on Facebook’ when it went broad, and that changed the base of our company.”

— Rebecca Minkoff, fashion designer/co-founder, Rebecca Minkoff

63. Tell group disability prospects a story.

“Describe how someone in a similar company was disabled. … Tell your prospect how the disability coverage not only helped the disabled employee, but how it also contributed to higher company morale, because other employees felt secure with their coverage.”

— Sidney Friedman, chairman of Corporate Financial Services, in the March 7, 1994, issue of National Underwriter Life & Health.

62. Don’t be evil.

“We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.”

— Larry Page, co-founder of Google, Inc.

61. Use simple language.

“Potential clients who visit a financial website will be looking for information that they can easily understand. They want to make sure they’ve found a person or company that will offer the exact services they need, one that meets all of their expectations.

Using easier language will make the interaction friendlier. It will make the financial advisor appear more personable. Complex financial language is simply less understandable for most potential clients and might alienate them and turn them away.” 

— Marc Holt, Digital Parc

Check out 2016′s best sales and marketing ideas 71 – 80 here and for all 2016 ideas, go here.

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