Are You Making Your Prospect Uncomfortable?

March 28th, 2017

Are You Making Your Prospect Uncomfortable?A female friend called me recently to tell me a story.

She had arrived home from work around dusk. As she approached her house, she noticed two men walking through the neighborhood. She pulled into her driveway, opened her garage door, and parked in the garage.

As she exited her car, the two men approached her driveway and began their spiel. They were selling home repair services and wanted to talk with her about her house. She told them it wasn’t a good time for her, but they kept walking up the driveway, talking as if she hadn’t said anything.

She stated firmly that it was getting dark and she wasn’t comfortable talking with them then and there. They continued to close in on her, reciting their sales pitch. It wasn’t until she threatened to call the police that the two salesmen finally turned around.

Needless to say, after that experience, my friend is never buying anything from them. In fact, she has talked with her neighbors, and now none of them will consider buying from this company.

This might be the best home repair company in the country, using the best quality supplies and the most skilled labor. But it doesn’t matter because their clueless salespeople made her feel so uncomfortable that she never wants any contact with them ever again.

Are you—or your salespeople—making your prospects uncomfortable? It’s easy to do because we forget that other people are not necessarily comfortable with what we’re comfortable with. So be wary of these potential triggers:

Many people find profanity offensive. And even many who use profanity among their friends or family don’t approve of using it in a business situation. Also, avoid sexual innuendo and double entendres. This is a sales call, not a nightclub.

Dirty jokes, ethnic jokes, blonde jokes, etc.—avoid them all. What you do with your buddies is one thing. What you do with prospects and clients is another thing altogether.

Body Language
Are your arms crossed? Are you leaning over your prospect? Do you have your feet up on something they shouldn’t be resting on?

Facial Expressions
Is your facial expression warm and friendly, or cold and dour? Or alternatively, are you undressing the other person with your eyes?

The line between professional and casual gets more blurred by the day. Err on the side of professionalism. You can always loosen your tie or remove your jacket if you perceive you’re overdressed. And be sure your outfit isn’t too sexy for a business situation.

Physical Distance
Getting too close to someone can evoke a response ranging from mild anxiety to sheer terror. Keep your distance. Exactly how much depends on the culture. But better to be too far than too close.

Acting like you didn’t hear what the prospect said, insulting a competitor, dismissing a prospect’s concerns or priorities, failing to do what a prospect asks, or doing something without their permission all raise red flags in your prospect’s mind.

Foreign Language
Using a language your prospect doesn’t speak causes them to immediately distrust you. Use only the language they know best, or have an interpreter translate everything you say.

People don’t want to deal with a salesperson who looks or smells bad. Get some honest feedback about your appearance and body odors. And if you smoke, quit.

Being pushy, impatient, disrespectful, demanding, or loud will cause prospects to run in the opposite direction.

People don’t buy when they’re uncomfortable, anxious, distrustful, or scared. The buy when they’re comfortable, confident, and excited. Everything you—and your sales team—say and do either increases your prospect’s comfort and confidence level or erodes it. Make sure all of your words and actions do the former and not the latter.

Five Steps to Creating a Powerful Marketing Piece

March 21st, 2017

Five Steps to Creating a Powerful Marketing PieceMuch—if not most—marketing is wasted. Various studies put the number at anywhere from 40% to 60%. You can’t afford to waste time, money, and effort like that though. If you want to generate more sales, your marketing needs to be effective.

How can you make sure it is? With five simple questions: who, why, what, where, and when. Whatever kind of marketing you’re contemplating—be it a website, a radio commercial, a flyer, a YouTube video, a sales letter, a Google ad, a brochure, a social media contest—answer these five questions in detail to ensure its success.

1. Who is the audience?
Everything starts with your intended audience. Who are they? What do they read, watch, and listen to? Where do they go and when? What are their problems and goals? What do they want more of and less of? The more narrowly you can define your prospective customers, the more relevant a message you can craft. You’ll also know where to put that message for maximum exposure to those people.

2. Why should they care?
Whatever your medium, you only have a few seconds to grab the attention of your prospect. To do that, you need to open with something that will resonate with them. Which means your headline or opening needs to make a statement or pose a question that relates to something they care about. (Hint: Your company, product, or service ain’t something they care about.) Your headline or opening should address a problem they have or a goal they possess.

3. What is the message?
This is the bulk of your marketing piece. What do they need to know? How will buying your product or service impact them? How does it achieve the promised results? What makes your product or service better than your competition’s? What proof can you provide? Include as much information as the medium allows, always linking everything back to the benefit to the reader or viewer—because that’s what they care about most.

4. Where do they go to take the next step?
What’s the next step? Do they need to call you to schedule an appointment? Should they come down to your location? Click here to have someone contact them? Submit an entry on your Facebook page? A marketing piece without a call to action is virtually worthless. Tell them exactly what you want them to do. To improve compliance, make the step easy.

5. When should they take it?
Finally, tell your prospect when they should take action. Should they call now? Do they need to come to the store on certain days or certain hours? Is there a deadline? Be clear. Also, it’s essential that you overcome their natural inertia by giving them a reason to act when you want them to. It can be a promotion, a bonus, a limited supply, an event, or something else they gain by acting in the specified time frame or lose by failing to act.

Too many businesses waste their marketing budgets by sending the wrong message to the wrong people. Follow these five steps with every marketing effort you make and your business won’t be one of them.

Selling Virtuously

March 8th, 2017

Selling VirtuouslyDoes boosting your sales mean you have to be sneaky, underhanded, manipulative, and high-pressure? Absolutely not! In fact, if you truly want to excel in sales, you need to be just the opposite. Because a virtuous salesperson is a successful salesperson.

Listen to my appearance on the Black Belt Selling podcast with Anna and Stephanie Scheller. In this interview, we discuss:

• Why the old ways of selling don’t work today
• The key to making the sale
• How a coach or mentor can help you boost your sales
• The two most important sales skills you must master
• And more!

You don’t have to choose between selling effectively and feeling good about yourself. You can—and should—do both!