Twelve Sales Tips from NSA ‘12

July 26th, 2012

sales tips nsa 12

As someone who makes my living speaking and training on sales, I am, of course, a member of the National Speakers Association. Which means that last week I was in Indianapolis for the 2012 NSA Annual Convention.

More than a thousand of the world’s best professional speakers gathered for four days to learn from each other. The result was an incredible outpouring of business ideas and insights.

Here, in no particular order, are twelve of the best:

1. “Do less, better.”—Peter Sheahan
Whether you’re a salesperson, business owner or CEO, odds are you’re trying to do too much. Which means you’re probably not doing any of it as well as you could. What can you cut out to make room for the things that will make the most impact on your sales?

2. “Acknowledge the obstacles. Don’t give them power.”—Vernice Armour
There will always be obstacles in your path. Ignoring them doesn’t do you any good, but neither does believing they’re insurmountable. Figure out a plan for dealing with them.

3. “Someone else’s best practice may not be appropriate for you.”—Stephen Shapiro
Just because a particular approach works for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. Rather than copy what somebody else is doing, think for yourself. Innovate. What could you do that no one else is doing? Or how could you do it differently?

4. “Think about ALL the stakeholders.”—Linda Swindling
The decision-maker isn’t your only concern. In sales, you need to think about everyone who is affected by the problem and who will be affected by the solution. They can either be your enemies or your allies.

5. “Video changes everything.”—Terry Brock
The amount of video being created and distributed is growing phenomenally. It’s easier and cheaper than ever to record, store and share video. And the possibilities for using video are unlimited. How could you use video in your sales and marketing efforts?

6. “Don’t start with ‘I,’ but with ‘you’ instead. Engage your audience right away.”—Patricia Fripp
Your prospect doesn’t care about you, your product or your service. They care about themselves. So in your both your marketing efforts and your sales presentations, open by talking about your buyers and their issues.

7. “The Crowd wants entertainment. The Curious wants information. The Committed wants change. Help the Crowd become Curious. Help the Curious become Committed.”—Steve Iwersen
Your sales and marketing efforts should engage these three different groups in different ways, always working to move each group to some sort of action. How can you engage each group?

8. “Always sell the result, not the service, change or idea.”—Craig Valentine
People don’t actually want products and services, they want results. (See What Business Are You Really In?)  So don’t focus on the product or service itself, focus on the results your customer will enjoy.

9. “Stand out or don’t bother.”—Sally Hogshead
The marketplace is more saturated than ever before. And most companies, products and services seem the same. What makes you—and what you sell—truly different? What makes you unique?

10. “A value proposition is something you do based on the other person’s perspective.”—Jill Konrath
Value is not determined by the seller, it’s determined by the buyer. And your buyer’s likes, dislikes, wants, needs, fears and priorities may be very different from yours. Don’t build your value proposition around what you think is important, build it around what your prospect thinks is important.

11. “Assume people are lazy. Factor convenience in your marketing.”—Jeffrey Hayzlett
We all want everything to be as easy as possible. So how can your company, product or service make your customer’s life or work easier? And how can you make it easier for them to buy from you?

12. “If you don’t know what you’re worth, no one else will.”—Connie Podesta
Too many salespeople, professionals and business owners don’t appreciate the value of what they sell. As a result, they under-charge and over-discount. Recognize and appreciate the value you, your company and your product or service bring to the table.

For more ideas and insights from these great speakers, click on their names to follow them on Twitter. (To follow me, click here.)

Need a fantastic speaker for your next event? Interested in becoming a professional speaker? (Or a better one?) Check out the NSA website at www.nsaspeaker.org.

Is Price All That Matters?

July 13th, 2012

Too many salespeople, professionals and business owners labor under the belief that customers are only looking for the cheapest possible price on everything. As a result, they undervalue what they sell, discount when they shouldn’t, and needlessly throw away profits.

The fact is, however, price is not the only thing that matters to buyers. I’m not saying price isn’t a factor; it’s always a factor, just not the only one.

And for most people, it’s not even the biggest one. Not by a long shot. In fact, price always comes in last in surveys of buying behavior, both among consumers and business purchasers.

What do buyers rank as more important than price? Lots of things, including:
    • quality
    • service
    • convenience
    • prestige
    • atmosphere
    • reliability
    • durability
    • exclusivity
    • speed
    • ease of use
    • safety
    • versatility
    • environmental friendliness
    • and much more.

Think about it: If price were all that mattered, there would only be one brand of everything—the cheapest brand. And there would only be one place to buy it—the cheapest place. Thousands of businesses wouldn’t even exist. Companies like:
    • Lexus
    • Ritz-Carlton
    • Prada
    • Apple
    • Nordstrom
    • Jiffy Lube
    • Ben & Jerry’s
    • Whole Foods
    • 7-11
    • Morton’s of Chicago
    • Starbucks
    • FedEx
    • Hugo Boss
    • Godiva
    • Nike
    • Victoria’s Secret
    • Rolex
    • Dom Perignon
    • Bose
    • Viking

All of these companies (and many more) sell premium products and services at premium prices. (Heck, in the case of Jiffy Lube and 7-11, they sell ordinary, everyday products at premium prices.) And you can too!

Just figure out what makes you better than—or at least different from—your competition. What is it about your company, product or service that makes it more desirable, and thus, more valuable to your prospects? (Keep in mind that what you value and what your prospects value can be very different.)

In other words, determine what really matters to your target market and emphasize that, rather than price. Your sales and profits will soar!

How to Stop Selling to the Wrong Prospects

July 5th, 2012

How to Stop Selling to the Wrong ProspectsIf your sales aren’t what you wish they were, odds are you’re wasting too much time and energy on the wrong prospects. Who exactly are the wrong prospects? And how can you make sure you’re not wasting your sales efforts on them?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio with Michele Price. In this ten-minute segment, I reveal what the “wrong” prospects are and what to do when you encounter one.

To listen, just click on the link below. Or to download the segment to listen later, right-click the link and select “Save Target As…”

How to Stop Selling to the Wrong Prospects: Don Cooper on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio (mp3)

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio (which I absolutely recommend), check out www.WhoIsMichelePrice.com.