Do Enough People Dislike You?

April 29th, 2015

dislike for more sales
© Meikesen | Dreamstime.comDislike Photo

One thing that people and brands have in common is that we want to be liked. We really like to be liked. So we try to be universally liked. And that’s a huge mistake.

Because being liked isn’t good enough. If you want massive sales success, you need to be loved.

Which means you need to be different, superior, unique. And that opens you up to criticism, animosity, even hatred.

Which is fine!

Any successful person or brand has detractors. Think of Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, Taylor Swift, David Letterman, Giada De Laurentiis, Peyton Manning, and any U.S. president ever. In the brand arena, consider companies such as Apple, Fox News, Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, Disney, and Taco Bell. They all have legions of die-hard fans and they all have millions of people who can’t stand them.

No person, no company, no product is universally liked. And trying to become universally liked can ruin you. Because if you’re worried about people not liking you, you’ll avoid taking risks, or specializing, or being controversial. You’ll be bland, ordinary, mediocre. You—or your product, service or company—may very well survive, but you’ll never be a leader in your field or your category.

Instead, be different. Stand for something. Go in a bold new direction. Figure out who has a specific need that’s not being met. Challenge the status quo. Innovate. Think about how you can make your product or service more specialized or more exclusive.

Recognize that:

• No matter what you do, some people won’t like it.

• Authenticity, uniqueness, passion and quirkiness all sell.

• The more that people love your product or service, the more they’re willing to pay for it. (And the less that competition is a factor.)

• In order for you to be right for some buyers, you have to wrong for others.

• You must be willing to lose some customers and prospects to gain better ones.

• The more successful you, your product and your company become, the more detractors you’ll accumulate.

So don’t let the fear of being disliked prevent you from being extraordinary. Embrace the fact that being loved by some means being hated by others. Having detractors is not only okay, it’s necessary for your success. If not enough people dislike you, you’re not trying hard enough.

Sales Advice from The Princess Bride

April 21st, 2015

sales advice from princess brideOne of the most popular—and most quoted—movies of all time is The Princess Bride. Although it didn’t do particularly well at the box office when it was released in 1987, it has earned a massive fan base via video and cable over the years.

princess bride sales adviceThe story centers on Westley the farm boy trying to save his beloved Buttercup from being forced to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck. Along the way, he encounters a swordsman seeking to avenge his father’s death (Inigo Montoya), a giant (Fezzik), and others. The movie has action, adventure, romance, humor, and suspense. And an important sales lesson for keen observers.

Late in the movie, Inigo and Fezzik take Westley—recently killed by Prince Humperdinck—to see Miracle Max, hoping to revive him. The retired Max doesn’t want to be bothered and refuses to help. Inigo must persuade him, but his initial efforts fail. How does he succeed?

If you don’t have the entire movie committed to memory, or if—heaven forbid—you haven’t seen the movie at all (You haven’t seen it? Inconceivable!), watch this clip:

It’s only when Inigo appeals to something that matters to Max, that Max agrees to help.

So what’s the lesson? People do things for their reasons, not ours.

If you want your prospect to buy, you need to know what matters to them:

• What do they love?
• What do they hate?
• What do they want?
• What do they fear?
• What are their priorities?
• What are their values?
• What do they want more of?
• What do they want less of?

These are the things that matter to your prospect, not your features and benefits. You might have an amazing product or service, but unless you can relate it to something that’s important to your prospect, they’re not going to buy it.

By the way, this is also a leadership lesson. Everybody in your organization does what they do for their own reasons. Tap into those reasons and you can significantly improve productivity, teamwork, sales, customer service and profitability. And that is a noble cause!

Seven Things You Need to Study to Boost Your Sales

April 14th, 2015

Things to Study to Boost SalesThe top people in every profession got there by studying. Raw talent and intelligence will only take you so far. Whether you’re talking about doctors, athletes, lawyers, business leaders, artists, writers or teachers, the best are committed to continual learning.

The same is true for salespeople. If you want to join the ranks of the award-winners, here are seven things you need to study regularly:

1. Your Product or Service
Product knowledge isn’t everything, but it’s a starting point. Prospects typically don’t trust a salesperson who doesn’t know what they’re selling. Know the details of your product or service backwards and forwards. Not because you’re going to share every detail with your prospects—most don’t want to hear every detail—but because you want to be able to answer any question your prospect has.

2. Your Company
What’s your company’s history? What’s your company’s philosophy? What awards has your company won? How does your company take care of customers after the sale? What are the negative episodes in your company’s past and how has your company overcome them? What makes your company unique? Again, you’re not going to share all this information with your prospects, but if your prospect asks about any of them, you’d better be able to answer confidently.

3. Your Industry
What are the trends in your industry? What are the opportunities and dangers? How might these items affect your company and your customers?

4. Your Competition
If you’re going to effectively sell against your competitors, you need to know them as well as they know themselves. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do their products and services stack up against yours? In what ways are they superior to you? In what ways are you superior to them?

5. Your Marketplace
What are the trends in your markets? What are the challenges the people in them are facing? What do they want more of and less of? What’s happening to their budgets?

6. Your Prospect
Every prospect is different. This is where exceptional salespeople separate themselves from everyone else. They take the time to learn about each individual prospect—both in their pre-call research and their needs analysis interviewing. The more you know about your prospect, the easier it is to make the sale.

7. Selling
True sales professionals are constantly studying the art and science of selling. From prospecting to closing and everything in between, there’s always more to learn. Fortunately, there are more resources than ever before—many of them free!

Whether you’re brand new to sales or you’re a sales veteran, investing more time in studying these seven items will pay massive dividends.

Using Twitter to Power Your Sales

April 7th, 2015

Twitter Power for Boosting Your SalesWith more than a billion accounts, Twitter has changed the social, business and media landscape. CEO’s, celebrities and world leaders tweet regularly. CNN, ESPN and other media outlets routinely reference tweets on air. And the term “hashtag” has become part of the modern lexicon.

But while Twitter offers tremendous sales and marketing opportunities for businesses of all types and sizes, too many companies are either not using it well or avoiding it altogether.

Seeking to help companies make the most of Twitter are Joel Comm and Dave Taylor in their newly revised Twitter Power 3.0: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time.

Comm and Taylor are legitimate Twitter gurus. Both joined the microblogging site back in 2007, before most of us had even heard of it. Today, Taylor has more than 12,000 followers and Comm—who wrote the first version of Twitter Power in 2009—has more than 82,000. And their Klout scores are in the top 1% of online influencers. So these two know a little something about social media in general and Twitter in particular.

Twitter Power 3.0 is a comprehensive guide to the platform, covering everything from setting up your account to maximizing its impact for your business. If you haven’t yet joined Twitter—or if you’ve barely used it—chapters 3 through 5 will take you step by step through the process of getting started. The authors show you exactly how to:
• choose the right user name,
• create an inviting profile,
• write an effective bio, and
• begin to build a following.

If you’re a more seasoned Twitter user, jump right to chapter 6: “The Art of the Tweet.” Comm and Taylor discuss what makes a good tweet, style rules to follow, and basic Twitter etiquette. If you want to engage current and potential customers, you need to tweet in a way that is friendly, personable and approachable:

Businesses that tweet like a corporate executive addressing a board meeting will stand out on the site and scream that they have no idea what they’re doing— or whom they’re talking to.

The chapters that follow explore strategies to:
• build your brand,
• get more retweets,
• drive follower behavior,
• solicit feedback from your customers, and
• make actual money.

Throughout the book, the authors use case studies and screen shots to illustrate their points. Comm and Taylor share examples of companies that use Twitter well—so you can adopt their approaches—and companies that don’t—so you can avoid their mistakes. This is particularly important, because as the authors point out:

Firms that get social media wrong look like interlopers, uninvited guests who have gate-crashed the cool people’s party. That doesn’t just mean that they’re missing all of the opportunities that the social media site offers. It can also show that the company just doesn’t get it. That could have as negative an effect on its sales as good tweeting can have a positive effect.

Getting social media “right” isn’t all that difficult. It requires an understanding of your market and what they want from you as a brand, as well as a willingness to listen and to be “human.” In short, it means being “social.” Which is the real value of Twitter and other social media sites:

What Twitter supplies isn’t a tool for making money online immediately and with little effort. Twitter delivers something much more valuable. It provides the basis on which all successful businesses are built. It delivers trust. There really aren’t many other services that can take entrepreneurs so easily through the process of “Know me. Like me. Trust me. Pay me.” and with so many people.

Thousands of savvy companies have already harnessed the power of Twitter to boost their sales. With Twitter Power 3.0, you can join them.