Client engagement is one of the cornerstones of selling

IMG_2413 at table looking at laptop smallerI have learned that when you engage a client, genuinely show interest in that person and ask open ended questions, sales grow faster!  It’s about them knowing, liking and trusting you.

Many sales people believe selling is based on relationships.  But when I ask them to define what they mean most will say the clients just love them and they have a great relationship.  But for me being liked is almost insignificant in sales. Don’t get me wrong, we need to be liked, but relationships should go far beyond that!  In sales, what relationships ships should be is how you can sell product.  To do that, you need to HELP the client.  And to do that you need to engage people…and here’s a great example.

The other day, I went to Best Buy (yes that huge, overwhelming electronics store).  I needed a DVD player right now!  Now, mind you, I always do my research in advance of my entering any store. Why? Because there have been far too many times I have been sadly disappointed with “sales people” welcoming me to the store only to say “everything is out” when I ask a question.  Or reading the package (like I CAN”T do that!) when asked a question.  Bottom line, NO HELP AT ALL.

“Hi, my name is “Jack”, and you are?” as he put his hand out to shake it.  Wow, was I ever taken by surprise that he did not have the old pat “may I help you?”  What a great and novel “icebreaker”.  AND if I have to buy another product from Best Buy, I got his card and will ask for him!

“Jack”  had about 10 seconds to “win me over” and he did by breaking the ice with a simple introduction instead of asking if he can help me.  How many clients respond “no” when asked “may I help you?”

If we take the Jerry McGuire approach, we will ask our clients to help us help them.  I can tell you the way NOT to help is to ask that dreaded question.  It’s pat, many times perceived as disingenuous and a closed ended question.  What can you say after a “no”?

If a client comes into a showroom, try an introduction or a complement (sincere!) or just plain small talk. Break the ice with sincerity instead of pat question that may seem disingenuous. Let’s invite the clients in, let them feel more comfortable before diving into selling.  It’s like inviting someone into your home.  You allow them to get comfortable, don’t you?

Same if you are doing outside sales.  Do not leap into a presentation of product they may just not use!

Let’s all learn from “Jack’s” approach.  We can all use better and different icebreakers.  Let’s try to wipe out the phrase “may I help you?” when we know the answer will probably be “no” unless there is an immediate need.  Let’s try to get one step closer to getting that client to know, like and trust us. Let’s ENGAGE the client. Then we are working on a relationship filled with sales  instead just being liked.  Although it feels good, just being liked does not pay the bills!

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The right words can be a powerful sales tool

Hello to all new subscribers!  So glad you like my blogs!  I hope you find them useful in your business growth.

Here is the definition of language:

“The system of communication used by a particular community or country”.

And here is the definition of words:

“A single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed”.

Notice the word “meaningful” in the definition of word!  Words carry meaning..sometimes positive and sometimes negative.

And according to Wikipedia “Loaded words and phrases have strong emotional implications and involve strongly positive or negative reactions beyond their literal meaning”.  So we may say things that are seriously misconstrued without even being aware..

Here’s an example..and what made me think about this blog post.

The other night I was watching a television show where a couple was in a restaurant and a waiter took their order.  I know..what does that have to do with sales?  OK, I’ll explain…So after the waiter took the order, he said two common sayings in a row, “No problem” and “My pleasure”.

Look at those two sayings and think about the reaction you get from each.  He may have even meant the same thing or not even thought at all since they have the same meaning..or do they?

I will tell you my reaction was really visceral.  First, I have to be transparent and tell you that I really dislike the “No problem” and now “No worries” saying that has become so prevalent in the the lexicon of responses.

To me it says that it really IS a problem to that person or it really IS a worry.  Just those two sayings have that kind of meaning to me.  And I know I am not alone.  I have even read numerous articles and books about the use of language and how it can cause negative reactions.

On the other hand, “My pleasure” says that the person really does want to help you.  Those words have a much more positive connotation.  We think that person actually cares about your outcome. I can actually feel my shoulders relaxing.

I think words are so important and can make or break getting more business.

The biggest problem is that no one would ever tell you.  You just leave a client with a negative reaction to something you have said and you may not even know. Something you said pretty mindlessly and I am sure with absolutely no malice or harm.

So my advice is to be very thoughtful, plan and even practice your presentation and most importantly listen to what your client’s needs are.  If you focus and concentrate on that, you will have much more control over what you say. When you become “mindless”, not focusing on what your client or potential client is saying, words tend to come into your mind and sometimes out with less thoughtfulness. talk_too_much

  • Choose your words carefully which takes lots of thought.
  • Don’t just try to “fill the air”.  That’s when some of these word mistakes happen most often.
  • Be totally present.  If you’re present, you will make better choices.
  • Delete some current popular phrases from your vocabulary.   Just because they have become “hip” or accepted does not always mean they work in business.

If you put more thought, calm down the stress and dare I say, don’t try to think ahead, you will be able to put thought into your presentation and choose your words carefully.

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Fabric Thesaurus – All words fabric

deborahflate:

I have always loved this company and really appreciate all of their amazing information. As a total textiloholic (I can’t help myself, I worked for the master, Jack Lenor Larsen) I think this is just great!

Originally posted on KOTHEA:

English: Piece number: 3797 At the Coptic Muse...

OK get ready for some exciting bedtime reading. A list of farbic finishes type, kinds, every word a thesaurus could ever dream of for FABRIC.

Acrylic Manmade fibre derived from petrochemical by-products.

Aubusson Fine, hand-woven tapestry used for wall hangings or carpets. Named after the famous French village where they were originally made.

Basket Weave Plain weave where two or more warp yarns interlace with the same balance of filler yarns so that the fabric surface resembles a basket.

Batik An ancient Japanese resist printing technique. Wax is blocked on the cloth to cover the design before dyeing and after the wax is removed by a washing procedure the design takes shape.

Batiste A translucent plain-weave sheer fabric made with fine long staple cotton.

Block Printing A hand-printing process where the motifs have been carved on wooden blocks. The dye is applied to the fabric from these blocks in a…

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How do you increase sales? Ask first.. show later.

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

So here’s a great sales story:

There was a bread company that sold delicious breads to bakeries and stores.  The sales person went into one of the largest, finest and most high-end store in the city.  She told the buyer that she knows about how busy this store is. Their reputation is just amazing.  Anyone in the town that’s anybody shops at this store.  Everything is entirely organic from small farms and companies.  That’s a very important part of the store and their target market.

The sales person was thrilled that she could get into this account with her incredible bread. She was convinced that she would land this.

So sure that she jumped into her sales presentation and how amazing her bread is. It is a totally healthy, vegan bread.  No preservatives, no chemicals..just pure, organic, delicious bread.  All its organic ingredients come from small farms.

She showed her 14 grain, 16 grain, 20 grain and beautiful seeded bread all in beautiful shapes and forms that just amazed people.  She showed her pages of testimonials from people who just loved this bread.  Everyone thought this was the best and most beautiful bread they have tasted in years.

They bake the breads and have a brand new, unique, one-of-a-kind way of packing and shipping that’s as if the bread was baked on site.  She knew this would be important for an organic grocery store, so she really focused on that.

The buyer was impressed and the sales person was ready to sign her up for a big order.

“Is this gluten free?”, asked the buyer.  “They’re not, but that has not stopped the bread from being a great seller”, said the sales person.

“I am sure it is amazing and a great seller”, said the buyer, “but our bakery goods are all gluten free.  We do not carry any bakery with gluten”.

The sales person walked away from her 45 minute presentation upset and deflated.  Not to mention she did not leave the store buyer happy for wasting time.

Of course there are lessons here.  I don’t want to waste YOUR time!

The big lesson…find out what your client NEEDS are and match that to your product.  If you don’t know what there needs are, the chances of you showing something they can or worse, cannot use becomes a gamble.  Results?  You’re never sure.  It turns from selling to hoping and hope is not a strategy.

Selling takes strategies.  And part of that is to know your client’s immediate needs and fill that need. Saves your time and allows you to grow sales much more quickly and consistently.  The days of show and drop or what I call “the flip show” is (or should be) dead.

And most times, unfortunately, it isn’t even this clear.  Your client may or may not tell you they cannot use it.  You leave thinking you have had a great presentation with a big firm, but look at the sales…..many times a different story.  I have seen this over and over again when I train sales people. (and if I am transparent, I use to do this myself!)

If the sales person in the above example would have just asked a few questions before she showed product, she would have saved time. That time could have been used to sell her product to someone who would be a viable account.

That’s a strategy!

 

What does TOO EXPENSIVE really mean?

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

Hello to all new subscribers.  Welcome.  Please feel free to comment or re-post this blog to your own if you think your readers will find this helpful!

I have written a lot about value and I have gotten plenty of messages this week reminding me of what value really means.

I have said many times that value is not always about money.  To me when someone says “oh no, that’s just way too expensive”, it rarely means they don’t have enough money to pay for it.  It usually means they have not yet found the VALUE to them.

Just think about how many people have figured out how to pay for those very expensive flat screen televisions or the lines that formed in 2009 (the height of the bad economy) for Ipads.  Do you really think ALL those people thought “we can’t afford this?”  Of course not. And why do you think that is?  Because the companies knew that they had already uncovered (through very good marketing and research) that people would feel they NEEDED all of these devices! dollar Bill copy

Another example I always use is Starbucks.  Now the same cup of coffee can be bought at Dunkin Doughnuts or McDonalds for a little over a dollar.  But many (and I mean $4.2 billion dollars many)still choose Starbucks.  And those that choose Starbucks are not considering the value of that  $4.00 cup of coffee when they reach into their wallets, do they? It’s of value to them.  Starbucks created that value not with coffee but with the experience that people crave.  That’s REALLY why people pay more.

Now, not everyone is going to understand the value of what you offer; just as their are some that think Starbucks is way overpriced and get their coffee elsewhere.  But that is not a Starbucks customer.

The object of selling services or product is not trying to appeal to everyone, but to find and appeal to the few that will find value in what you offer. The best first step is to thoroughly qualify clients.  Not to just jump into your presentation.  Ask questions..lots of them.  They will not only use “the too expensive” excuse, they will find what you offer a bargain.

Last week I was training a sales representative for one of my clients.  The product was leather.  I spoke with the rep and asked that she qualify the account before she took me there.  Find out if showing them leather would be of value to them.

1.  Do they use leather?

2. How often?

3. Do they have current projects where they may be using leather right now?

Just this first step determines the value of what you are going to show them and how viable an account they will be.  Then the sales process (not presenting!) begins!  And guess what?  Price becomes less important.

This works with any service or product because the focus then becomes solving current needs, not product or service.  If you focus on that, you throw yourself into the black hole of competition!  Then price DOES become the focus!

 

If you do not uncover needs, you have no value to your clients..and less business!

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

I dramatically increase business for companies whose sales are stuck

Hello to all new followers..so glad you find this blog helpful.  Please feel free to tell others that might find it helpful, as well.

And please fill out the form below and get a free report, “10 Best Tips to Increase your Sales Right Now.”

Today I got yet another email from a sales person trying to sell….well it doesn’t matter, you can fill in the blank, but this happened to be some kind of software.  To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what it does, let alone what it can do for me!  And that is totally the fault of the sales person. This email came after many others AND a call!  But this sales person made deadly sins of sales not understanding MY needs and how he can help me.

It started out with an email.  I just ignored it and another came, and another and another. I think they got my information from a webinar I signed up for.  This “tactic” is very common now!   So if a webinar seems pertinent to your business, you willingly give your information.

After about 6- 8 emails week after week, i knew if I just kept ignoring them they would continue. (I know I could have reported it as spam, but my nice side came out) All of the emails went through the old tactic of “I know you are really busy, but I just want to take a few of your minutes”.  That is about as effective as….well you know!

Then…he called!

And I thought..I should just check out what this is all about.  Maybe this could be helpful to my woman blocking noisebusiness. But he would never know that because he just jumped into his sales presentation. Never asking me one single question except how large my company was.  No more uncovering needs…so I really just checked out because he was giving me information that was not helpful to me at this time.  That’s what YOUR clients do if you show them anything that is not relevant to them.

And before you think that’s not you..it was me before I had to figure out a better way to sell and how I now train. And I have observed this more than I want to even think about.  It’s really how we sell.

I’ve heard, we have the best customer service;(yeah, who doesn’t?) our product exceeds standards of the industry (do I need that?); these colors are very fashion forward (says who and how does that help me?); our design firm offers full service for every client (that’s exactly what the other design firms said!); and other benefits that will be amazing for them.   Any of these sound familiar?

These are all benefits, but who do they benefit and how many times has the client heard that. Right into the black vortex of product or services.  Then competition takes over but you’re all on an even playing field instead of pulling apart from them by knowing how you can HELP that particular client.  Then, many times, it boils down to price wars.  And if there is no value, who do you think that person will buy from more often?

If you don’t find how you can fill a need every single time which  becomes  a value..value will always be defined by price.

At the end of the call, I said I really did not understand the product and said I don’t think I’d be interested. He did not say anything that made me feel like he really cared about what I needed to know to further the sales process. He only  asked if he could email a follow-up.  I said not really…

Flash forward one week..there he was again! “…I know you are so busy, but I am following up and would like to take just a few minutes of your time…” So miss nice girl, turned into miss annoyed and emailed a pretty stern email demanding I be taken off the list and for him not to call or try to get a hold of me in any way.  If he does, I will report it as spam!

So not only did he NOT get a sale, he LOST business!

I know this might seem extreme, but I have observed this over and over again in different incarnations..it does happen all the time.  Results are inconsistent or flat business.

What is the gigantic lesson?  Uncover your clients needs before you even take one single sample or portfolio out.  Then and only then will you prove your value!  And people will always buy if they find value.  Otherwise you turn into just another sales person!

 

How many business lessons we can learn from the Olympics?

Sales & Management Training and Business Development for the Interior Design Industry

Sales & Management Training and Business Development for the Interior Design Industry

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I don’t know about you, but I just love the Olympics.  I just revere the elite athletes  and sit in wonderment of their tenacity, perseverance and, of course, abilities.  It makes me think about my business and how when times are really tough I have thoughts of just giving up! (of course I never would..but thoughts are sometimes there)

So many back stories are told about people (usually very young!) who overcome great obstacles to live out their dreams.  I have heard stories of athletes going door to door doing any projects to earn money.  Or fathers of an athlete dying not only too young, but six months before the Olympics and they ski down the hill with their father’s picture tucked away in their shirt.

But the lesson that just stood out for me was that of an American skater, Jeremy Abbott. He’s a wonderful skater and I have watched him skate for many years. He was doing one of those crazy quad jumps and not only fell on his hip, but slammed into the boards.  He laid there for what seemed an eternity. And after initial silence, the audience started to applaud and encourage this skater to get up and finish his program.  And he did.  He got up and just got right back into the program and finished to loud, thunderous applause by everyone!  And he scored very high putting him into third place.  That’s Olympics at its best!

I am sure you can guess the lesson..get up when you fall.  Yes, that’s it.  But what made this even more special was during a short interview with Jeremy, after the skate.  It’s what he said.  Yes, he said you need to get up after a fall, but more importantly he said, even if he does not win the Olympics, he hopes he can teach people that lesson and that would be worth the whole experience.

So you see, getting up after a fall is very important but having it be a teaching moment, as they say, priceless!

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