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Practice Management > Marketing and Communications > Social Media

The most innovative sales ideas of 2016: 21-30

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

30. Know that sales resistance is an oxymoron.

“Remember this: Nobody cares how great you are until they understand how great you think they are.

Forget about trying to ‘sell’ your product or service and To do this, you need to get fascinated with your prospect; you need to ask questions (lots and lots of them) with no hidden agenda or ulterior motives.

Many years ago, I was selling CDs at a music festival. It didn’t take me long to figure out that it wasn’t my job to sell the CDs — it was my job to get the earphones on every person who walked by my booth!

I noticed right away that whenever people sensed I was attempting to ‘sell’ them a CD, their walls of defense immediately went up and they did everything in their power to get as far away from me as they could.

So instead, I made it my job to introduce new music to anyone who wanted to put on the earphones. Once they heard the music, they either liked it or they didn’t. I didn’t do any ‘selling,’ and I made more money that week than any other CD hawkers at the festival.

Back then, I didn’t know anything about sales, but I knew enough about human nature to understand that sales resistance is an oxymoron: The act of selling creates the resistance!” 

Len Foley, author and sales management trainer

29. Sell greatness.

“The key to evangelism is a great product. It is easy, almost unavoidable, to catalyze evangelism for a great product. It is hard, almost impossible, to catalyze evangelism for crap.”

— Guy Kawasaki, author and speaker

28. Don’t follow up too much.

“Pressing calls and emails are certain to turn potential customers running in the opposite direction. Did you have a helpful idea for their vision or an introduction to someone useful to their success? Following up with your audience is important, but keep it casual and friendly with occasional reminders.

Drop the forceful marketing and simply start helping. You’re certain to see better results.”

— Ilya Pozin, founder of Pluto.TV

27. Never lose an opportunity to cross-sell.

“Research by banks into the number of accounts held by customers and their likelihood of switching showed those with four accounts or more were 100-1 against switching; those with only one account had a 50 percent chance of switching. Your existing customer is 3–8 times as likely to buy as an identical non-customer. Someone who has responded to a promotion is twice as likely to buy. Anyone with any relationship with you, however slight, is more likely to buy.”

— Bill Fryer, creative director of Bill Fryer Direct

26. Be strategic in your introduction.

“Introduce yourself and your company: 

‘My name is Sally Smith with ABC Company. We’re a local firm that specializes in helping businesses like yours save money.’ 

Don’t get too specific yet. Don’t mention your product. If you do, that allows the other party to say, ‘Oh, we’re happy with what we’ve got. Thanks anyway,’ and hang up. By keeping your introduction general, yet mentioning a benefit, you’ll pique your prospect’s curiosity and keep them on the line longer.

— Tom Hopkins, speaker and sales trainer

25. Collect testimonials.

“Most of us are imitators. We look to others for guidance, especially when we are uncertain about something. We ask, ‘What do others think about this? What do others feel? What do others do?’ Then we act accordingly.

This is why testimonials and case histories are so influential.

— Dean Rick, direct marketing copywriter

24. Retain customers that find you on social media.

“Remember that social media is a place to connect with others and build trust. Make sure that you have a strategy to keep relationships with your customers growing as they click through to your website and other social-media channels, opt to join your email list and start to receive notifications from you.”

— Jaclyn Mullen, COO, Jaclyn Mullen Media

23. Compliment your competitors.

“Most salespeople have been correctly taught never to speak ill of their competition. Doing so will only make the salesperson look bad. Unfortunately (in my opinion), most salespeople have been taught not to say anything good about their competition, either.

I disagree with this counsel and have found just the opposite to be true in my selling career. Whenever I’m speaking with a prospect and they bring up my competitors, I go out of my way to say something nice about them. Why? Because I’m a nice guy? No, not at all (although I do hope I’m also a nice guy).

The reason is that by complimenting my competitors, I’m actually building myself in the mind of my prospect.”

— Bob Burg, author and speaker

22. Know your customers inside-out.

“I’ve learned to really think about who I actually want to sell to, instead of some generalization or profile of who might buy from me. Every time I’ve named individual people and created content with them in mind, those people have actually worked with me. No solicitation, just genuine connection by tailor-making what works best for them. Of course, I’ve also met many other amazing people who needed the same things.”

— Tara Gentile, entrepreneur and business strategist

21. Develop an engaging video.

“Please don’t produce another terrible commercial and post it on YouTube. The world doesn’t need any more of these. What people always want more of is entertainment. So, spend some time developing a great idea that promotes your business and engages your customers. Once you’ve uploaded the video, you can get the ball rolling on making it go viral by using services like StumbleUpon to drive traffic to your video for pennies per viewer. Video sites like YouTube allow you to put links directly into the video. Use these to link back to specific landing pages on your website.”

— Mike Templeman, CEO, Foxtail Marketing

Check out 2016′s best sales and marketing ideas 31 – 40 here and for all 2016 ideas, go here.

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