Archive for

Developing Basic Sales and Marketing Skills

Delivering continued customer satisfaction through value adding sales and marketing is essential to ensure that customers remain loyal to the product/service they enjoy. Customers care about their own satisfaction than they do about the success or failure of the company you represent. As such, to be successful in selling, the product or service you wish to sell must be able to satisfy the customer. Good selling involves providing the right product and services to your customers thereby creating customer satisfaction and value. Your ability to fulfill your customers need will determine your level of success in selling or marketing. Effective marketing and selling skills are not acquired by accident, they are acquired through practice and what you practice is acquired through knowledge. You must understand that the right marketing skills are not developed through random selling. Having an effective selling strategy helps you to logically craft how to identify and manage the whole sales process and you must understand that being a good salesman starts with you.

As a general rule, you should try to create interest first in what you intend to sell. If you don’t believe in what company does, why work for them? If you don’t believe in a product/service, why sell it? Note that if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a salesman who lacks product knowledge.

Secondly, you need to develop your personal standards. Being known to exhibit excellence creates trust, dependability, responsibility and integrity for you in the market place. The word standard means a level of excellence required or specified. The drive to always achieve excellence should form a part of your character. To maintain high personal standards, you need to make quality decisions based on moral strength and principles. These areas of standards include growth, honesty, integrity, relationship, energy and action. Of all these standards I would like to talk a little bit about integrity for the purpose of this article. This is because integrity is arguably one of the most important personal, professional or ethical standards a professional marketer or salesman should have. The word integrity in itself stands for moral excellence, wholeness and in many ways honesty. Customers trust you when they know you maintain a high sense of integrity in selling. This means that you will always treat customer sales or marketing transactions transparently, exclude moral excellence in all sales or marketing deals, keep to commitment and accept full responsibility for your actions. A salesman of integrity gains customers’ trust over time and when you develop trust you gain loyalty and respect.

Thirdly you will have to ensure your customer communication skills are excellent. Good communication skills is a must earn to provide excellent sales and marketing. This involves listening, asking questions, being courteous, communicating clearly and accurately, minding your customers feelings, proper use of non-verbal language, skills in handling problem customers, use of technical knowledge and concepts, handling customer objections and questions and keeping your customers informed at all times. I like to talk about listening a lot because this most times forms the bedrock for proper communication between salesmen/marketers and customers. As a great salesman, you should know when to stop talking and listen to your customers. Listening involves hearing and should be demonstrated even in your body language. You won’t be able to serve your customers’ needs in selling, if you do not stop talking long enough to understand what they are saying. Ask questions to clarify points and take important notes to ensure you remember all the important points of the conversation.

Having developed effective customer communication skills, you will then need to work on your marketing strategies. Having an effective marketing strategy helps you to logically craft how to identify, create and manage the whole sales and marketing process. Your marketing and sales strategy will involve how to develop multiple outreach sources, identifying and creating product need, handling the actual sales and marketing process, handling customer objections during the sales and marketing process as well as closing your sales in a grand style.

Your clients should be able to understand how you can create benefit or value for them. Good selling is value selling. When a product purchased or service rendered exceeds customer expectations, value is received and customer satisfaction is guaranteed. In selling, always pinpoint the benefits derivable from a product to ensure the customer constantly enjoys this benefit. What you intend to offer should fulfill a desired need and ultimately create satisfaction. Customers buy satisfaction. If you do not provide satisfaction in the long run, then you have not made a great sale. Creating customer satisfaction is key to customer retention. Provide evidence to back your claims and avoid overwhelming the client with too much sales information. Researching the market is key to business development as well. This will enable you identify your target clients beforehand. This means that you will need to identify where and who your primary market really is. You also need to identify your niche market and strategies to win your niche market as well. You will also need to have some basic knowledge on business development.

Business development is the process by which new business is introduced. A good salesman should be skilled in the act of developing new business as well as expanding already existing ones. In order to develop new business effectively, you must understand that it involves researching the market, identifying key targets, constructing an outreach plan which was earlier discussed, securing meetings, creating proposals and following up on leads

3 Goals of Sales and Marketing

If two equally skilled entrepreneurs start a business, why does one build quickly and the other is thinking about quitting? Maybe because one understands that hope is not a good strategy by itself.

An entrepreneur will always be held accountable for the risks they take and the outcomes. And, this isn’t just in starting a new business; it can be a new career path that you choose.

As a business coach and consultant who works primarily with entrepreneurs, and ministries, revamping their approach to selling and marketing, there is one challenge that I have experienced and often see in others’ endeavors. The problem is defining what is responsible for the marketing, what is a sales funnel, and what to do about advertising.

– Most entrepreneurs, and ministries, have their goals, a vision, and all the right things to be successful – except for sales and marketing systems. These systems may seem unimportant, at first. And, then the challenge becomes more like what areas do we sell in and where to do marketing – oh – and what information is needed for this. Such as:

  • brand development
  • copy writing
  • advertising
  • websites
  • graphic design
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Social Marketing, and on it can go.

The typical entrepreneur, and ministry, may just not be sure how to ask for the help they need in these areas. And, most don’t even have the time to think about doing anything more. Sure there are specialty businesses that can help with each area – but, once you put together the information with their help – where is the coordination of:

  1. Does it appeal to the customer in all areas of marketing?
  2. Does the customer understand, through our graphic designs and copy writing that we can help them?
  3. Is the customer’s problem being understood and the solution being explained?
  4. Do we look self-centered, confusing, or irrelevant to our clients?

As you answer these questions – think about how you could proceed to expand your growth and income.

1. Change from busy work to focusing on outcomes (This is something most of us need!)

2. Structure is not a common term used for the creative types – but, remember an artist needs marketing, selling, and business skills to get known. So, structuring your communications to your customers will need to be clear and specific enough for them get what you are doing for them and also, clear enough for you to follow on a regular basis (a system). Oh, did I mention clear for SEO?

3. Don’t rely on hope and guesswork – Get clear on your business goals, sales goals and marketing objectives. Write out steps that will become systems of success.

Example: Sales goal – $6000/month – how many products need to sale to reach sales goal: 2 products – how many customers do I need to contact each month to sell 2 products: 100. Then find out how you will find those customers and put another system into place to follow through. This is one of the business achievements that I coach on – it is a very successful effort. But you have to make it work – how – by getting it started and making it a routine – it will become your system.

Systems of selling and marketing keep the marketing rolling – not just for one program.

- How can a business find the substance in customer solutions, keyword search relevance, competitive research, hassle-free purchase processes, etc. The goal of marketing and sales is to generate sales from clients as a profit. And, we might want to look at different types of marketing with lower costs of sales – and those that bring in more sales.

If this is a bit overwhelming – why do you think people work with a business coach? People will invest in coaching to develop and refine new skills and behaviors, when: they are tired of dealing with a recurring problem, they want their business to grow more quickly and profitably, and so much more.

Get going and do the research by yourself, or get a fresh perspective on your challenges, with a business coach, and increase confidence with appreciable results in your goals and work productivity.

So what’s your next step? It’s to make use of someone who can show you how to move from where you are to where you want to be.

The Impact of Social Media on Sales and Marketing

The world has changed. The way of doing business is changing. How we communicate is changing. The traditional methods of communication are changing. How have companies communicated with clients and prospects in the past? Most smart sales people seek to build dependable referral lead sources consisting of clients, centers of influence and very important people. Although these are proven strategies for increasing sales success, this lead generation method takes considerable time. It could take months and sometimes years! Most companies can be rather impatient. This puts pressure on sales people to generate sales immediately! Businesses must produce sales to remain profitable. What are your choices? Some Fortune 500 companies have adapted to the change. Unfortunately, small and medium sized companies have not gotten the message yet. Most have not adapted to this change.

Mike Volpe, Vice-President of Hubspot agrees. He conducted a webinar on the impact of social media on marketing a couple months ago. The old traditional methods: cold calling, direct mail marketing, advertising and trade shows are less effective today. Americans are bombarded with marketing and advertising everyday! Everybody is trying to sell you something everyday and all the time! Consumers and prospective buyers are blocking out these messages. There is the “Do Not Call List” that prevents unwanted telemarketing calls. Additionally, the federal government passed the Can Spam Act which blocks unwanted emails. Tivo allows television watchers to bypass the commercials. Sirius and XM digital radio have no advertising at all!

Major newspaper and television companies are losing advertising revenue and downsizing and laying off employees. Do you watch television or listen to the radio, read the newspaper or magazines for the ads? Advertising is expensive and most times produces a low return on investment. Here in Atlanta, Georgia, I noticed that the price of Atlanta Journal Constitution daily newspaper is now 75 cents. When did it go up? The old price was 50 cents. That is an increase of fifty percent! With decreasing revenues, perhaps the AJC had no choice. Business owners are now analyzing their return on investment on advertising. Now they are implementing alternative marketing strategies via the web! Many major corporations are advertising online by flocking to social media sites. YouTube, My Space, Facebook, and Linkedin, are attracting millions of subscribers. Likewise, Fortune 500 companies are connecting with those subscribers online and spending millions of dollars!

Selling is a tough business. Here are the facts about sales and marketing:

o The average company brand awareness is 7 percent.
o Ninety percent of people connected are not ready to buy.
o A new sale might take 8 to 15 touches with a prospect.
o The average sales person makes 1 to 2 calls and quits and never calls again!
o Fifty percent of all buyers purchase within 6 to 18 months.

If selling is such a tough business, what questions should you ask of yourself and your company?

o What is your brand awareness?
o How do your clients and prospects recognize your products and services?
o What do they say about you and your company?
o What are you doing to stay in front on your best prospects?
o How are you connecting and improving your relationship with your clients?
o What tools are you using to engage your clients and prospects?
o How are you using technology to enhance your image?
o How are you using technology to demonstrate that you are better than the competition?

The traditional methods for prospecting and selling no longer work as well. Most sales people still cold call and telemarket, send mass direct mail via U.S. Postal service, attend networking and trade shows. Most sales people who do not have a prospect database must find clients by reading local newspapers and magazines, buying leads for a database company, searching directories for the best prospects and “smiling and dialing” the Yellow Pages . Although sales professionals should never abandon these methods, they must adapt and continue to thrive in this tough business environment.

The key is to find ways to attract your best prospects. People want to buy. They do not want to be sold! In the past, prospective buyers needed marketing and sales personnel to get enough information to make a buying decision. Not any more! People are using the power of the Internet and embracing technology! They are using major search engines to find the information that they need.

What does this mean for you and your business? How could this impact your sales and business? If you do a search on your name, company or your keywords that describes your business, what search results do you get? If you are not on the first page, guess who getting the business? Your competition! If you are not actively using the Internet to attract potential and keep clients, start now! You can not afford not to start now! Your business might depend on it! There is plenty of opportunity to build your web presence and digital image. Do not let the Internet and others define you, your brand and company! You have no choice! Take control! The other option is the “smiling and dialing” businesses in the Yellow Pages for eight hours straight!

Here are a few suggestions:

o Conduct a search on your name, company and key words.
o Learn more about the Internet and how to use it to your advantage.
o Start reading business blogs and news releases.
o Discover interesting videos in your industry or profession.
o Join a social network to connect with potential clients and referral sources.
o Start blogging your personal views and observations within your industry.
o Start video and audio podcasting.
o Begin writing articles and submitting them to directories that will search your target market.
o Start an electronic newsletter.
o Initiate a monthly or weekly news release promoting your company.
o Review your company website and your SEO parameters and guidelines.
o Offer free trials and tools to encourage prospects to try your products or services.
o Discover what web 2.0 tools that you could use in your business and start using them now!