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

10. Be compelling.

“Yeah, yeah, every sales guru ever says that, but so few salespeople actually follow through with it. Instead, they fall back on the same tired boilerplate description of who they are and what they do.

From the prospect’s perspective — an individual who has sat through dozens of these conversations before — all of the boilerplate simply blurs together, leaving you to become ‘just another’ advisor. Identify what makes you standout, know what parts of your story resonate with prospects, and enter the sales conversation with a plan to be compelling.”

— John Pojeta, Vice President of Business Development, The PT Services Group

9. Be active in your community.

“Becoming a well-known advisor is simple and easy, as long as you take the right steps to get there. Sometimes, it means doing the little things in your community to get your name out.Here are nine steps to increase your leads.

  • Write helpful, informative blogs.

  • Submit articles to local publications, magazines and newspapers. Please note you may have to pay for your work to be published until editors see it is worthwhile and educational; not a sales pitch.

  • Be at every community event and volunteer your time (i.e., Relay for Life, Alzheimer’s Association walks, etc.). Lending a helping hand is free, always needed and greatly appreciated.

  • Host your own radio show or ask the expert program and address valuable hot topics. Again, you may have to pay for your program to be aired in the beginning.

  • Advertise your picture and agency on place mats and menus. I have found this is the best use of marketing dollars depending on prices and geographic location.

  • Give away your own, or someone else’s, informative booklets for free. Be sure to include a personal touch or cover letter with each one. If you want to give a more valuable free gift, write a foreword or testimonial for a book and then give away the book with it.

  • Compile a list of all of the television, radio, email and publications in your area. Then, write a press release for everything you do with your business, and send it to them to spark attention.

  • Work with someone to develop a paid media campaign to get you on FOX, ABC, NBC, etc.

  • Always be respectful and kind to everyone you encounter while serving them unceasingly.”

— Dennis M. Postema, president of Postema Insurance & Investments


8. Analyze your 2015 sales and revenue trends.

“Where did your sales and revenue come from in 2015? Is most of your company revenue from existing customers or new customers? How long was your average sales cycle? Who were your best (and worst) customers – why? What are your best lead sources? Are prospects getting stuck anywhere in the sales cycle?

Why did you lose the opportunities you think you should have won? Could your close rate be improved? Document your lessons learned, and start thinking about improvements you’d like to make in 2016.”

— Marisa Smith, inbound marketing certified expert & head brainiac, The Whole Brain Group

7. Know your market’s vocabulary.

“One [critical illness insurance] agent lost a sale because he didn’t know that renal failure was kidney failure.”

— Joe Crawford of The L Group, in the Oct. 3, 2003, issue of National Underwriter Life & Health

6. Be an active listener.

“As you listen intently to your prospect or client, take highly detailed notes. Put a star next all important ideas, list out their buying criteria, and underline key budget numbers. Take notes that allow you to perfectly summarize and paraphrase what the client has shared with you to demonstrate that you have listened very carefully to them and understand their needs, wants, wishes, desires and concerns.”

— John Spence, business strategist, author, speaker

 

5. Clarify your mission.

“Begin by understanding your business niche. What do you do best? Who needs what you do? How do you best approach these prospects? How much are they willing to pay? If these questions are not answered easily, campaign at the top for clarity and vision.

Next, break your mission into specific goals. Write down the activity goals (calls per day, proposals per month, referrals per call, etc.) that you can control. Set results goals (sales per month, amount per sale, profit per sale, etc.) to measure your progress, and track them closely. Increase your activity and measure the results. Goals focus your attention and energize your action.”

— John H. Dean, SellingPower

4. Take the time to engage on social media.

“In order to build trust, authority, and a sufficient online following, you will need to post fresh and quality content often. Whether this content is funneled through a preexisting blog or videos from your YouTube account, it needs to be informative and useful to viewers. Become a regular supplier of great information and resources and potential customers will flock to you.

It’s important to regularly produce high-quality content, but it’s also central to actually interact with other bloggers, businesses, and the readers. “Like” the comments and posts of others and share other quality content that is relevant to your industry. Ask questions and give your opinion on popular topics so that people feel like they are getting to know you. This strategy is quite similar to the flattery of in-person selling. When people consider you to be invested and interested in the industry (and them), they are much more willing to buy.”

— Gary Galvin, consultant, sales leader, CEO of Galvin Technologies

3. You know who was a great team? The Beatles.

“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”

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

(Photo: In this Feb. 9, 1964 file photo, The Beatles perform on the CBS “Ed Sullivan Show” in New York. Ringo Starr plays drums and playing guitars from left are Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon. An estimated 73 million Americans tuned in, the largest ever for a TV show at the time, or three times the amount of people who watched the latest “American Idol” finale, according to the Nielsen Co. AP Photo, file)

2. A trusted referral is gold.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”

— Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder

1. Customers value simplicity.

“Make your product easier to buy than your competition or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.”

— Mark Cuban, American businessman, investor, film producer, author, TV personality and owner of NBA team the Dallas Mavericks

 

Check out 2016′s best sales and marketing ideas here

 

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