Beat Your Sales Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Achieving your sales budget is critical to the performance of your business but it is often a pressure cooker of wishful thinking and expectation based on projection and perception. This is acutely felt on the front line with your sales people who you depend on to achieve your set sales budget.

Given this the sales person should be one of the most supported members of your team.  Unfortunately they are often not.

A couple of questions that should be asked by the business:-

  • Are the sales people that we have on our team the right ones to take the field?
  • Do they have what it takes to win the game?
  • Are they well aligned with the business?
  • Do they know how to bat (sell) for the team?
  • Do they know how to  hit home runs to bring that winning performance to the workplace?

What makes a great salesperson?

Passion fohar what they do

Sales is not a natural process for many even if they purport to be a salesperson.  It is important that sales people are aligned to what is expected of them.  An employee that is asked to meet a sales budget but is not able to close a sale is going to fail and become a legacy for the business.

#Sales Success Tip:  Recruit wisely! Look at how the sales person will respond to a sales environment and how they think on their feet when faced with overcoming objections.

Belief in what they sell

The last thing you wapost-it-note-for-sale-1240322-1278x916nt to see is a salesperson who is selling your products or services from a script and not believing in the value they have to offer.  Your customers will see right through your sales people if they do not believe that what they are selling has a benefit or value to them that is being communicated clearly.

#Sales Success Tip:  Ask your sales person to tell you why they believe your products or services deliver benefit or value.

Desire to take ownership of what they are selling

keys-1306991-639x829Give your sales person the opportunity to demonstrate that they understand what the product or service can do for the customers.  A true salesperson will want to become an expert on the subject matter and will deliver an elevator pitch that illustrates this in a short period of time.

This gives the sales person confidence and credibility to communicate efficiently and with effect to attract and convert customers.

 

#Sales Success Tip:  Give your sales person the sales tools to take ownership of what they are selling. If they don’t embrace this opportunity this is an indication that they may not be the right fit or may need further training

What makes an organised salesperson?

Strategy to plan and execute the sales life cycle

chess-by-candlelight-2-1312386-1280x960An organised sales person or sales manager will ensure they have an operational sales strategy with milestones to measure and report progress aligned to the sales budget.

Without a sales strategy the sales efforts are reactive and not proactive meaning poor use of time and other resources,

#Sales Success Tip:  A strategic approach to sales takes the guess work out of the life cycle.  It establishes expectation and incremental progression that delivers indicative reporting.  This increases visibility and transparency of a sales person’s performance.

Access to quantified and qualified sales data

brain-in-hand-1312350-1279x849

A comprehensive sales strategy should have data as its fuel!  Quantified and qualified data will accelerate the lead generation and the sales conversion processes.  Take care to view data with a lean and agile approach. Qualified data will always have an assumptive element.  Look at trends and insights to gain sales intelligence.

#Sales Success Tip:  Data when quantified and qualified will shape sales and influence decision making to justify resource to budget ratios.

Setting goals

Basic RGBSuccessful sales people set goals for themselves.  This enables them to feel that each step they make towards converting and retaining customers is noted and celebrated.  The sales journey can be long and arduous depending on what the sales objective is.  Smart goals help define the journey and help the sales person keep their eye on the prize.

#Sales Success Tip:  Smart goals help sales people break down the process and keep focus.  Understanding what those smart goals look like and how to measure them is an advantageous sales tool. 

Time management

world-time-1-1586162-1279x1637Time is an often misused resource by the sales person trying to get to budget.  The consummate professional sales person is disciplined in their time management. They invest their time before spending it by gaining insights into who their customers are, benchmarking how they should position themselves and understanding what best practice sales approach is.  This helps them to position what they are selling, where they are selling, why they are selling and to whom they are selling.

 

#Sales Success Tip:  It is really easy to be a reactive sales person by default. Proactive sales positioning gives a salesperson control of the sales process.

What makes a successful salesperson?

Relationships

paper-people-1316581-1279x920The connection that a great sales person makes with their customers is measured first and foremost by the feedback and referrals that result from that relationship before it is measured by budget performance.  The investment in robust and transparent relationships builds a foundation that will bring financial reward that is sustainable and scalable.

#Sales Success Tip: Customers want to trust and respect a sales person. When they see genuine interest, empathy and a desire to listen to what their needs and wants they open the sales window.  The investment in nurturing the customer relationship by the sales person establishes the success of the customer interaction and anchors their value to the business. 

Communication

listening-to-some-music-1199808-1280x960Are you listening to what your customers are saying?  If so where are they communicating with you and how are they wanting to communicate?  The answers to these questions will help you answer another question. What do my customers want to know?  Too much communication or the wrong communication can be detrimental to engaging successfully with your customers.

#Sales Success Tip: Sales people like to talk. Lets not pretend they don’t.  The challenge is to listen. Only when they listen successfully to what is said, what insights are telling you and what trends or challenges are defining in the marketplace can you start to tell a story that will resonate with your customers.

Take the politics out of sales budgeting.

wooden-dictator-1246248-1280x960Don’t make sales all about the people or leave room for agendas in sales teams.  Team budgets can lead to individual sandbagging and budget negotiations that may be detrimental to revenue performance.  A true sales superstar will be motivated by sales performance to budget when it is clearly defined.  A team bonus is successful when it does not impede the individual’s performance being recognized.

#Sales Success Tip: Team work is important but not when it breeds sales cannibalism.  Structure sales bonus’ and incentives to recognize the individual and the team as a second tier bonus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted 2016-11-29 18:27:35.

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10 Sales Productivity Hacks to Attract, Convert and Retain Customers

Attracting, converting and retaining customers is the goal but hacking the process you use to make that happen will only increase your productivity from start to finish.

budget

10 Sales Productivity Hacks

1/  Identify who your ‘real’ customers are

What do they want you to deliver for them?  Don’t guess.  Invest the time and resource to find this out.

How you spend your time by identifying who your customers  really are. This will help you to retain and grow your customer base.

Each year, you are likely to lose 14% of your business’ customers. Source: Businessbrief.com

productivity

 

2/  Take a good look at what products or services you offer.

Would they appeal to a different customer or industry if they were presented in a different context.  If so, create the story and run a couple of key case studies to validate.

3/ Set mini goals that will lead to a successful conversion.

Aim to kick over those mini goals one by one. Make sure you celebrate each time you do this.  This approach can be communicated well in any good CRM and helps you to see that you are making progress towards your end goal.

90 percent of leads are never closed. What can you do about this?Source: WebPower

4/ Invest in sales onboarding and ongoing training!

What your sales people learn in the first couple of weeks will establish them will get them started but a lot of what they are told in that initial period will be lost due to information overload. It is important that you keep supporting your sales team with interactive training.

 44% of salespeople have an 80% probability they won’t close the sale. Source: Hubspot

5/  Make sure that when you recruit your sales people are well aligned.

Ask yourself are they able to perform the role that you are appointing them to perform?

The process of onboarding an employee is an investment and a costly one if not done effectively.

92% of sales people give up after four “no’s”, and only 8% cent of sales people ask for the order a fifth time.

When you consider that 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”, the inference is that 8% of sales people are getting 80% of the sales.

Source: Marketing Donut

6/ Invest in helping your customers to engage and own the solutions you are selling them and reap the rewards.

Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25-95% Source: Bain & Company

7/ Ask your customers for referrals.

You will be surprised how many would be happy to support you if the service you are providing is meeting their needs and wants.

91% of customers say they’d give referrals. Only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals. Source: Dale Carnegie

8/ Social Selling when used strategically builds relationships and establishes trust and transparency

Sales reps who leverage social media in their sales process are 79% more likely to attain their quota.

Source: Aberdeen

9/ Leverage qualified data to inform and give you insights into your customer’s behaviour and journeys.

This lets you deliver a more intuitive experience that will lead to a higher level of conversion.

McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over five years has revealed that companies that put data at the center of the marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15 – 20 percent.

10/ Have a sales strategy!

Silly as it sounds a lot of businesses have the team and tools but practice opportunistic and reactive sales practices.

Originally posted 2016-11-28 12:53:49.

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Tame the ‘sales’ lion to remain relevant

tame the sales lionThe business’ expectation to meet and exceed budgets is nothing new.  What is new is the amount of choice business can now access to attract, retain and convert sales.  The challenge for business is to tame the ‘sales’ lion by identifying where to focus sales and marketing resource to optimize sales conversion. This is the only way your business can regain and retain the mantle of  ‘king of the business sales jungle’.

 

The ‘sales’ roar can be appeased by taking the time to plan a sales strategy for the ‘pride’ to follow. The ‘sales’ herd needs to know who to ‘hunt’ (customers) and what their ‘prey’ like to consume (products/services) and where they like to graze (channels and platforms)

5 Training Exercises to Tame Your Business ‘Sales’ Lion

1/ Understanding who your customers really are.

It is surprising how many businesses believe they know who their customers are but have done little to understand how their customers think and act.  The shift in customer loyalty and behaviour means that who your customers used to be often is not who they are now.

2/ Identifying if what you sell can be sold differently to open up new streams of revenue for your business.

It is not uncommon for businesses to default and sell the way they always have. This is because they have been successful selling this way so there has not been an urgency to change.  With disruption inevitable in all industries, taking steps to disrupt yourself through sales innovation and how you frame sales and distribution of your products and services is crucial to remain relevant and current.  This process will undoubtedly identify new customers that you may not be aware of so it is a win-win process.

3/ Recognize that you cannot do it on your own.

Collaboration with likeminded or complimentary business models can help you grow your business and your brand recognition and reputation. The competitive business model has evolved and collaboration with businesses that will mutually benefit by collaborating creates opportunity in itself.  Remember this may not even be businesses that operate within your industry.

4/ Aligning your employees to the right roles

Expecting all employees to be ambassadors for your brand and act as defacto sales people is unrealistic. Even dedicated sales team members need ongoing support and training to help them to continually align and adjust their sales approach with what your customers want. Being assumptive and ambiguous in your approach is fraught with danger, given the speed of change.

5/ Reward and recognize

The value proposition for the engaged sales person is not as simple as it used to be.  Financial reward for performance is still important but change in behaviour in customers is now also happening in the sales team.  Astute sales people look for recognition, equity, kudos, promotion and other measurements of achievement. Expecting your sales team to perform and punishing lack of performance will demotivate a true performer as they, more often than not, have a need to achieve to be self-fulfilled in their sales role as it is in their DNA if they are a true ‘hunter’.

Turn your ‘sales’ lion into a ‘sales’ pussy cat.

If you do not disrupt your business and become innovative and agile in your sales approach you risk losing market share or worse still losing your competitive edge.  Your sales people will ‘purr‘ when they feel they have more control of the sales process they are expected to execute with knowledge and a value offering that has substance.

This means:-

  • knowing who their customers are and what new customers look like
  • having a product/service offering that has broad appeal, access and application to communicate.
  • being able to tap into a sales network that is solution driven and strengthens brand awareness and reputation.

This drives value- driven conversations and encourages sales people to be confident in what they are selling which gives customers a reason to engage and interact.

If your want to explore the possibilities and learn more…..

 

 

 

Originally posted 2016-11-21 08:35:23.

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Selling successfully starts with you

Selling successfully can only only happen when you believe in the product or service that you are selling.  Sales is all about how people think, speak, feel and how they engage with you.

selling
Look, listen and learn what you customers are saying

When you have a product or service to sell you have to believe it has value and worth for the person you are selling to. If you don’t believe that they should buy it why would they?

Selling made simple

Listen

  • Listen to the pain points that your potential customer is feeling. You can then determine how your product or service can provide the solution they are looking for.
  • Listen to the tone of their voice. Tone will give you insight into how you need to approach your sale. A terse tone would indicate little patience with a sales approach that doesn’t immediately engage the potential customer.
  • Use tone when you talk to them that either reflects the customer if they are positive or reassures the customer if they are negative or skeptical.

Learn

  • Stay ahead of industry change, competition and trends to be able to position your product or service’s unique value proposition.
  • Behave like a startup.  Be agile and innovative in how you look at positioning and presenting your product or service. The market is ever changing and you need to be too.
  • Find what compliments your product or service offering and collaborate, merge or acquire business that strengthens your own.

Look

  • What is your potential clients body language saying?
  • How a person responds to you is a strong indicator if you have trust, rapport and receptiveness to what you are proposing.
  • Where is their line of sight? Positioning your product or promotion where they are focused makes it obvious and can result in impulse sales.
The sky is the limit for your sales success
The sky is the limit for your sales success

Love

  • Love what you sell. If you love what you are doing your enthusiasm and passion will shine through and your potential client will find it harder to say no.
  • Use the product or service that you are selling so you can become a natural advocate for what value it offers and talk with authority.
  • Share experience you and other customers have had using the product or services you are selling to help your customer grasp how they would benefit by buying them.
  • Trials, demonstrations, free offers and interactive experiences lets your customer love your product or service before buying it.

Leverage

  • Align your product or service with another business’ product or service to create a package that mutually strengthens your offering or is a value add that sets you apart from your competitors.
  • Value add to your product or service to make what you are offering more competitive.
  • What makes your product or service different?

 

Originally posted 2016-07-15 09:45:26.

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Build your ‘sales’ muscle to enhance your performance

Would you agree that to be good at anything you need to exercise and hone your approach to get the performance you are looking for?  Sales is no different! Building up your sales muscle to be stronger, flexible, resilient and competitive is integral to becoming a successful sales person.

sales performance

All it takes is knowledge to understand and the discipline to persevere to get your sales ‘six-pack’ or maybe just a little bit of sales muscle to give you the edge you are looking for in the market.

The sales formula for success is not a ‘one size fits all’ remedy but there are a number of things you can do that will improve your sales performance and help you reach those budgets!

 

The sales ‘warm up’

limber-up-flexibility-sales

Limber up to prepare before you sell.  How you prepare before you even make the appointment with your customer is even more important than the sale itself.  If you prepare well you will position yourself to know who your customer is and why they would be interested in talking to you.  This sounds straightforward but it is amazing how many sales people do not do this and therefore do not have enough insight into who their target customer is.  They are also often blissfully unaware as to what would compel customers to engage with their business to secure and retain ongoing sales.

You must invest in research, analysis, strategy and planning to establish a strong ‘core’ to work from.  To facilitate this process you can gain advantages by strategic networking, partnering and collaboration with the right people to better understand the right approach.  This will help you to align what you are offering with the right customers.  This approach helps your ‘sales muscle’ to be more flexible and resilient to attract the right customers.

Sales Goal Setting

reach-high-sales-stretch

Once you have limbered up you can start to reach high and set goals that you want to achieve to increase sales engagement, interaction and conversion.

If you have done your homework and leveraged the right resources you will have an idea of what trends and insights will impact on your sales performance and will have learnt where your strengths and weaknesses lie and where those of your competitors lie.

Strength in Strategy

strategy-and-poise-sales

 

Now that you are informed you must determine what your strategy will be to not only secure new customers but also to retain and grow existing customers.  You must conduct yourself with poise and confidence in how and what you are offering as your unique value proposition to expect your customers to become true believers.  If you are convinced what you are offering is a good thing and you can project positive and measured outcomes that are credible and realistic you will overcome any objections that you may face.

The sales performance ‘strength’ workout

go-the-extra-mile-sales

Let’s step things up and start the sales performance workout.

Now that you have an informed strategy you can fine tune your approach and practice your craft to hone your skills. This will give you some strength and focus prior to talking to ‘real’ customers.  Find  a ‘sales buddy’ who will workout with you and practice being the salesperson and the customer to get both perspectives.  This will enable you to aim high and get the most out of your workout.

Be brave and be competitive!

be-competitive-salesPush through the pain of doubt to get the most out of your sales workout.   Your customers want to get excited by what you are offering them.  They also want to feel that they are getting value in that transaction.  That value might be a saving, a bonus or maybe even a sense of belonging or exclusivity.  Remember what people see they believe.  Perception is one of the best tools you can exercise in your sales toolkit.  What you say and do will impact on your sales success.

 

The ‘sales’ marathon

sales-marathon-not-sprint

Lastly, remember that sales account management is a marathon, not a sprint.  You need to spend the time to build relationships that will last with your customers.  To do this successfully you need to be consistent in being transparent and visible.  Communicate well and often, but constructively and always with respect.  Your customers want outcomes. Your responsibility is to be able to measure and report results that matter and resonate with what your customers are looking for.   Make no mistake, your customers have more choice now, than ever before.  If you are not looking after them somebody else will be.

Make sure that there is a virtual ‘drink station’ at regular intervals along the course. This will ensure that your customers are refreshed, replenished and invigorated throughout the sales marathon. This will guarantee that they are enthusiastic and receptive and want to run the race with you and not against you.

Originally posted 2016-11-07 16:10:33.

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Secret Sales Sauce for Cold Calling

There is no doubt that we all want to making sales! How you go about making sales is critical to your business’ success or failure.

3D-Bar-Graph- Sales -Meeting-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many businesses believe that the more businesses they contact, the more sales they will make.

Are you are trying to establish a customer base?

Do you believe it is a ‘numbers’ game?

What are the top 10 reasons why a ‘numbers’ game can be costly and ineffective? 

  • Lack of credibility and reputation: If your potential client does not know who you are or they do not have a reason to believe what you say they will not give you the time of day.  Your potential clients are busy and have to prioritize their time. You need to have some credibility and/or reputation to establish your relationship. You need to have this before you can assume prospective clients will listen to you.
  • Time v’s returns: How much time are you investing in your sales efforts versus tangible outcomes you are achieving?
  • No. of conversions v’s no. of businesses contacted: For every business you have contacted what is the ratio of contact to conversion? Is it worth the effort you are putting in?
  • Talking to the wrong person:Are you talking to the person who makes the decisions or a contact in the business?  If your communication is with the wrong person it is likely to become a dead lead.
  • Talking to the wrong businesses: Have you qualified your target business/vertical?  or are you throwing the net wide to capture a size of business rather than a type of business?
  • Getting past the gatekeeper: Why would the gatekeeper open the door for you to talk to the decision maker in the business?  What is your strategy to overcome this?
  • Customer engagement: How are you telling the story of what you can do for your prospective business?  Is it in an email, on the phone or by another mass communication means?  Are you talking ‘to’ your prospective clients or ‘interacting’ with them?
  • Poor sales management: How are you tracking your sales efforts? Are you reporting time spent attending meetings, volumes of sales calls, number of active leads or are you making each sales effort fully accountable?
  • Personalization v’s critical mass approach:  The risk when you telemarket with a set script or you send a regular EdM is that you lose the ability to customize a solution for your prospective client.  You are expecting your prospective client to figure out how your solution will work with their business. Are you communicating this well enough for them to do this?

What if you had a secret sauce for cold calling that had a high conversion rate with a minimal customer burn rate?

The first phase is ‘being seen as an influencer and industry solution expert‘ as outlined below and this needs to be done immediately. The second phase is a relationship reinforcement that should be done once you identify and engage with prospective clients to make your sales recipe a success.  This gives you the impetus and momentum to grow a qualified audience.

Well here it is…

Your Secret Sales Sauce for Cold Calling

Be seen as an influencer, networker and industry solution expert! 

Phase 1:

  • Identify as many sources of authority as you can so that your name is seen where and when your target personas are looking.
  • Demonstrate your industry knowledge and experience by being seen constructively, contextually and frequently through social media, forums, group discussions, blogs and webinars etc.
  • Offer something that your client wants and position your solution as the one they are looking for.

Phase 2:

  • Research the individuals you meet with to discover who they are and what their triggers are.  What is the predominant theme of information about your prospective clients that is available? e.g. ego, interests, background, people you both know to find common ground, strengths and weaknesses, achievements etc
  • Connect with each and every prospect you meet with in person on Linkedin. When you do this you are effectively putting them on your mailing list.
  • Send your prospective clients your contact details via SMS to capture their phone number. This will also ensure that your contact details are saved in their phone so when you do call  them they will recognize that it is you.
  • Form partnership, affiliations and relationships that will benefit both parties and accelerate your sales.

Identify who your target market really is

  • What is the size of the businesses you are targeting? (small, medium, large)
  • Have you defined the decision maker entry point you need to engage with to get traction?
  • What specific verticals will embrace your products or services?

What are the key ‘pain points’ that you can remedy?

  • Research the vertical and the businesses you have identified.  You need to understand what your prospective clients are communicating through forums, social media and other channels.  This allows you to become familiar with what their ‘pain points’ are.
  • Once you have an understanding of the vertical and business landscape cross reference the ‘pain points’ that you have identified with the remedy/s that your products and/or services offer.
  • Make a distinction of why your products and/or services should be the preferred choice to remedy your prospective clients ‘pain points’. What sets you apart from other solutions in the market?

Illustrate how you can remedy the identified ‘pain points’?

  • Now that you have done your homework you will now know how to communicate your solutions to remedy your prospective clients ‘pain points’.
  • Remember that slide decks can be flat, boring and ‘old school’. Don’t default to using them. Slide decks should be minimal in content and number of slides. Their purpose is to introduce and inform, not to educate, involve and excite. Slide decks do not allow your potential client to interact with your product and/or service. Remember your prospective clients needs to do this to take ownership of your solutions and make them their own.
  • To educate, involve and excite your prospective clients you should consider a mix of visual engagement tools including:

#Clickable prototypes

#physical products that you can demonstrate or they can be used by the business to illustrate efficiency and effectiveness. e.g. free trials.

#tangible display of outcomes that talk to the ‘bottom line’ proficiency of their business e.g. reducing overheads, increasing revenue, time savings.

#introducing case studies with relatable results to promote your track record of solution sales.

Remember that we do business in a world driven by immediate gratification. How will you get your prospective client’s attention and ultimately their sale?

Originally posted 2016-04-18 11:39:05.

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Convert a Coffee Connection into a Sale

Meetings can be time consuming. To make sure that you make the most of each and every meeting you should have a plan to convert a prospective customer that you are meeting with to a sale or a referral.  Every meeting presents a new opportunity.

Convert sales over coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect and convert over a coffee meeting

1. Understand their problem

Ask the person you are meeting with to describe what the challenges they face in their business are. You need to understand the problem before you can present a solution.

2. Determine their problem

Determine if the person you are meeting with is cash strapped before proposing a solution. This may pose a barrier to the solution you were going to propose. It may be wiser to offer a free trial with a commitment to a contract once you have demonstrated that your solution will work for their business.

3. Create a mindshift

Ask the person you are meeting how their business is travelling. If you get a negative response find out if the reasons are a reflection of the market, If they are not then seize this as an opportunity. Examine how you can create a mind shift by strengthening their belief that if they adopt your solution it will make a real difference to their business. If you get a negative response and the reasons are market indicative then look for practical solutions that will positively impact their business.  These solutions need to be realistic and measurable to reassure them that they can make headway and monitor progress. The value proposition needs to be clear or change will not be supported.

4. Invite them to initiate a solution

Let the person you are meeting with initiate a solution that their business delivers could offer to solve a problem for your business. Once you have done this then reciprocate with a mutual resolution that benefits and grows both businesses. Partnering, even if it is unofficial, builds relationships and commitment. This means you convert your sale and your customer also benefits.

5. Encourage and give referrals

Referrals strengthen sales. You could suggest to the person you are meeting with that you deliver a solution at a discounted price. If their business is happy with the outcome that you have delivered then suggest that they may offer to be a case study or give your business a testimonial. If you show that you are open to do the same for their business this will create a reciprocal relationship that benefits you both.

Want to learn more about networking and connecting?

Social Networking: From Rookie to expert in one week by Tina Bettison

For anyone who wants to understand social networks and how to use them effectively for work and career!

It’s a small world and with the advent of online networks it’s getting smaller. Now we can talk to just about anyone, anywhere, anytime. Who you know has always been as important as what you know, and social or business networks (ie, groups of people connecting together with a common interest) have existed since time began. Your connections are instrumental in everything from business deals or career progression to finding the best restaurant or beach to visit on holiday.

PROsimity: Business Networking by GeoNet Corp

Discover the best networking opportunities while at a conference, trade show, or professional event. We show you the business professionals in close proximity to you, and sort them based on what you’re looking for and what they have to offer.

Networking Basics: 8 Tips to Networking Without Being Fake  by Marie Forleo

Networking basics are important for any entrepreneur to know. If you’ve ever felt like networking is boring and dull, you’ll love this video because you’ll learn some simple strategies for making authentic connections outside of boring hotel conference rooms.

Rather than thinking of networking as an “event”, consider it an ongoing, lifelong process of building new relationships with people you actually like and want to be connected to.

To convert a connection to a sale is a skill and if you practice what to do and what not to do you will see your success rate soar.  Good luck!

Originally posted 2016-01-04 10:03:15.

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You, me and coffee …anything is possible

Connecting over a cup of coffee

Catching up and connecting over a cup of coffee in the informal atmosphere of a coffee shop is perfect for conversation and connecting.  These meetings can be very productive and conducive to doing business.

How do you measure the value of the meeting and how do you convert these meetings into sales?

you, me and coffee

Want to learn more about networking and connecting?

Social Networking: From Rookie to expert in one week by Tina Bettison

This book is helpful for anyone who wants to understand social networks and how to use them effectively for work and career!

It’s a small world and with the advent of online networks it’s getting smaller. Now we can talk to just about anyone, anywhere, anytime. Who you know has always been as important as what you know. Social or business networks (ie, groups of people connecting together with a common interest) have existed since time began. Your connections are instrumental in everything from business deals or career progression to finding the best restaurant or beach to visit on holiday.

PROsimity: Business Networking by GeoNet Corp

Discover the best networking opportunities while at a conference, trade show, or professional event. We show you the business professionals in close proximity to you.  You can then sort them based on what you’re looking for and what they have to offer.

Networking Basics: 8 Tips to Networking Without Being Fake  by Marie Forleo

Networking basics are important for any entrepreneur to know. If you’ve ever felt like networking is boring and dull you’ll love this video. You’ll learn some simple strategies for making authentic connections outside of boring hotel conference rooms.

Stop thinking of networking as an “event”. Consider it an ongoing, lifelong process of building new relationships with people you actually like and want to be connected to.

If networking is seen as a relationship building rather than opportunistic it will become mutually beneficial. We are all time poor so you need to be able to measure the effectiveness of your networking.  Take the time to plan who, where and when you network.

Networking and connecting happens in many different environments and not just over a cup of coffee.

 

Originally posted 2016-01-02 15:57:25.

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White Space Engages Customers and Creates Sales

White space is one of the most powerful visual tools available for brands yet one of the most abused.  The old saying ‘less is more’ speaks volumes when you want to communicate.

white space

White space in advertising

All too often advertisers will buy an advertising space based on what they can afford and not what they need.

When you ask “What do you want to put in your advertisement” inevitably the response is often “everything”.

You need to educate your customers that using a small font makes tbeir advertising illegible. It is only going to work if the advertisement is delivered with a magnifying glass!

white space talks

Crowded advertisements confuse readers. The message you are trying to convey is more than likely to be lost in translation when the advertisement is too busy.

Designing your advertising to include ‘white space’ is smart advertising. This allows the elements you want to have impact the best chance to stand out and tell the story you want to tell.

Your ‘call to action’ needs to be clear and visible!

White space in web design

‘White space’ in web design is talked about less, but is just as important. Designers and content gurus will always fight to get as much text and visual at the top of the page before the user is forced to scroll. Just remember you always need to look at your design through your customer’s lens and not your own.

Your audience will not know where to look if your website design is too busy. Your customer’s will become frustrated if they cannot find what they are looking for straight away and leave your swebsite. This is why the ‘less is more approach’ or ‘white space’ approach should always be integrated into clever design.

You need to ask yourself…..

  • What do I want visitors to my website to do when they visit?
  • Where do I want visitors to my website to explore?

Remember to use your design to engage and not to overwhelm visitors to your website.  If you don’t you could find they won’t return and visit you again because they did not enjoy the experience the first time.

be creative with white space

When you open ‘white space’ as part of any design you can truly create a …

  • W.O.W. factor in your business promotion.
  • websites without clutter tell better stories.
  • optimized content to have the  greatest impact you can.
  • website that recognizes that words are not enough…use video and slide shows to engage your audience.

Learn more with these videos …

Psychology And Advertising by She made

 

Science Of Persuasion by Influence at work

This animated video describes the six universal Principles of Persuasion. These have been scientifically proven to be effective. This video is narrated by Dr. Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin, CMCT (co-author of YES & The Small Big).

or read this book …

Hidden Persuasion: 33 Psychological Influences Techniques in Advertising  by Marc Andrews

Visual messages are omnipresent in our daily life. They are constantly attempting to persuade us to buy, learn, and act. Some visual message are more successful and consequently have more impact in how well we influence our behavior and choices.

What is the secret power of these messages? How do they succeed in changing our behavior?

This book explains the psychology behind fifty effective influence techniques of visual persuasion and how to apply them. The techniques range from influence essentials to more obscure and insidious methods. The reader will gain deep insights into how visual means are constructed to influence behavior and decision-making on an unconscious level.

All techniques are supported by rich visual references and additional information on the psychology of behavioral change. This publication is not just an eye-opener for professionals and students in the communication and design fields. It is also for anybody who wants to understand how our behavior is influenced unconsciously by advertising, social campaigns, and government messages.

The book is co-authored by leading figures in social influence and visual persuasion.

A few last things to consider …

‘White space’ has the power to drive your sales dollar further.  Every time you are telling a story, whether it be in an advertisement or as content, it should be minimalistic and simplistic.

Try to create designs that will gain consensus across different customer segments.  That consensus should not be on how the design looks but rather how it makes your customers feel and what message you are telling them.

Remember ‘white space’ doesn’t hamean that the space is white!  It is the word ‘space’  that matters.

‘Space’ should also be explored as part of advertising campaigns.  The dynamics of a ‘space’ campaign is almost always the evidence of visibility and transparency.  If done effectively, the impact of the visual will remain with the customer if  designed and deployed effectively.

 

Originally posted 2015-06-14 10:55:06.

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3 Call-To-Action Hacks That Really Work

How much impact does what, why, how, where and when you place your call-to-action have on your business, and what does it mean to your customers?  What if you could hack it and get even better results?

action

You want your customers to feel compelled to buy what you are selling or commit to what you want them to do, right?

What if you hacked your trusted go-to call-to-action to evoke a different type of emotion that makes your offering different to what others are offering?

Would that make you want to engage with your product or service if you were your customer?

What does hacking a call-to-action look like?

1. The call-to-action might be a:  FREE download, checklist, e-book etc

What emotion does it evoke now?  

The customer feels initially like they are getting something without giving you something, but they have a nagging feeling, through experience, that there will be a catch.

That nagging feeling can create a lack of trust over time and your customers can start to feel numb if you use this too often to encourage them to then pay for your products or services.

Why hack it if you are having success now?   

There are a plethora of people doing the same call-to-action and if you don’t set yourself apart from them now, you risk being painted with the same brush stroke. People become jaded.

That is the cold hard truth, unfortunately.

Hacking your call-to-action will make it different, distinguishing your genuine offer to your competitor’s opportunistic offers.

Your customer has learned to expect the latter will be what they will probably get from previous experiences.

How to hack it and change it up!

Value creation is extremely important as this is an act of good faith for your customers.

What does value creation really mean?

The unfortunate behaviour of a lot of people offering FREE as a call-to-action is that they use this as click bait for the sale.

This is where they come unstuck.

The FREE offer has to have a stand-alone value all of its own and this has to be tangible for your customers to identify and engage with it.

Some examples may include:  

You may give away a secret…

If you do, you must demonstrate how it can be applied and where it has worked before to validate it.  This must be a real game-changer and one that your potential customers can readily relate to.

You may give your customers a formula…

This must be demonstrated in the FREE offer as to how, why and where it has worked before.

If your customers can see that they will get a tangible outcome by applying your ‘formula’, this will fast-track your customers to buy your saleable product or service.  It will also compel them to buy to unlock that second tier of value.

You may use ‘the stick more than the carrot’ …

This is often used in checklists that are framed to create fear or scarcity.  If you do not comply you will suffer this consequence!  Oh, and by the way…we have the solution.

This only works when your customers don’t feel like you have trapped them.  If they feel trapped they will search for another way to comply with somebody else that they feel will look after them or give them a way out with less pain.

You can overcome this by creating value your customers can see without looking.

Make ‘the carrot’ more visible by taking away the pain point immediately and using the checklist as a reassurance that establishes a comfort zone rather than a fear factor.

Thestickmight be ….Do you comply? Be aware you could be audited!

Thecarrotmight be …  We offer a FREE audit to give you peace of mind.

This talks directly to the pain point, at the pain point, introducing your service as a ‘solution partner’ who wants to earn your customer’s trust and not just take their money.

2. The call-to-action might be:  Buy one, get one FREE

What emotion does it evoke?

Your customers feel that they cannot lose if you have convinced them that the product or service that you are selling them is good value.

They feel like they are getting a good deal once you have converted their thinking to believe that buying your product or service is a no-brainer.  Double the benefit for the price!

Why hack it if you are having success now?

Your product or service may experience great success with this approach but consider if what you are offering has limitations how long will this be sustainable?

These limitations could be the price point, competitors using the same call-to-action or a window of opportunity if your product is seasonal or a niche offering.

How to hack it and change it up!

What if you were to change the way your customers think about the ‘buy one get one FREE’ purchase?

What if you introduced the idea of the second product becoming a ‘pay it forward’ or ‘gifting’ opportunity, dependant on the type of product or service on offer.

Would this present as a different opportunity and one that your customers could use to share on social media at the sale-point to promote what a good person they are, while at the same time promoting your product or service to an unlimited, new audience?

You could also value add to this concept by ‘sweetening the pot’. You could offer your paying customer the chance to go in the draw to win a prize for making the purchase. This message could be embedded in the automated share message that your customer sends out at the sale-point to encourage the next wave of customers to do the same… repeating the sales process over and over again.

3. The call-to-action might be:  Subscribe NOW, Buy NOW,  Act NOW

What emotion does it evoke? 

Your customers may feel pressure by using any of these call-to-actions if they do not have enough knowledge to make the decision.

When your customers feel pressure they are going to act one of three ways.

  1. Your customers will make the purchase as they have already made the decision.
  2. They will abandon the post, article or cart because they are not convinced.
  3. They will look for something to validate why they should engage and commit to the sale.  This may include reviews, social media or your website as points of reference.

Why hack it if you are having success now?

The challenge is that once your customers look to validate, this exposes your product or service to scrutiny and competition.

You have to ask yourself…

  • How many potential customers do you lose through either abandonment or the validation process?
  • How many potential customers are not convinced by the time you ask them to take action and what impact does this have on the success you could be experiencing?
  • How many of your potential customers don’t even react to those call-to-actions because they see them all the time?

How to hack it and change it up!

Identifying and understanding what your customers ‘need to know’ is something that you probably do now.

What if you are missing pieces to the conversion puzzle? What might they be?

If you were your customer and you were confronted with an Act NOW,  Buy NOW or Subscribe NOW, what would your first reaction be without thinking?

Do you want more information and a better reason to make that commitment?

Speed selling is a bit like speed dating.

You want the person to commit when they don’t really know you, your products or services and they don’t know if they can trust you.  Some small talk, identifying and sharing common interests, feeling comfortable and becoming curious to learn more is the beginnings to starting a relationship and may get you that second date …but consider this … it may also get you that sale.

You are not selling a service or a product, you are selling a feeling that makes your customers believe that they will get the desired outcome.

Any guarantees you can throw into that mix will create more sales momentum (if they are believable and relatable)

What your business offers is unique and valuable. Make sure you let your customers in on the secret 🙂

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