Nine Attitudes for Sales Success

January 29th, 2019

Nine Attitudes for Sales SuccessAsk any sales expert, and they’ll tell you that the right attitude is essential for success. But it’s not just one attitude that’s necessary—there are several. I would suggest there are nine different—but related—attitudes you need to nurture in order to be successful in sales.

1. Optimism
I have never met a successful salesperson or business owner who was a pessimist. Successful people—in all fields, in fact—believe they are going to be successful. And that belief plays a huge role in their eventual success. Top salespeople believe they’re going to close the sale and they act accordingly

2. Confidence
In survey after survey, confidence is the #1 factor in people’s buying decisions. And because confidence is contagious, confident salespeople tend to instill confidence in their prospects. Which means you need to be confident in your company, your products and services, and above all, yourself.

3. Humility
Contrary to what some people believe, humility is not the opposite of confidence. It actually goes hand-in-hand with it. Because unchecked confidence leads to arrogance, which often leads to spectacular failure, because few people want to work with an arrogant jerk. Humility keeps the ego in check. A person who possesses humility recognizes that they aren’t the center of the universe. They are happy to share credit when things go right and take responsibility when things go wrong. They know that no matter how good they are, they can always get better; no matter how much they know, there is always more to learn.

4. Tenacity
Success is rarely quick or easy. It often takes years of struggle. In many industries, a single sale can take years. Which means you need to be determined. You need to be in it for the long haul. Repeated studies show that many salespeople give up after a single interaction or a single objection. The successful ones keep at it.

5. Resiliency
You can do everything right and still fail. There are so many factors beyond your control. And sometimes your product or service simply isn’t the best fit for your prospect. The question is how well do you bounce back from a lost sale? Or a big mistake? Or a bad quarter?

6. Service
Sales is service and service is sales. Successful salespeople understand that their job is to serve people: prospects, customers, company owners, and each other. The more they can be of service, the more valuable they are to their buyers and their company.

7. Respect
No one likes to feel disrespected. Top salespeople and business owners know this and are respectful to everyone, including:

• Prospects
• Customers
• People who didn’t buy from them
• Their staff
• Their bosses
• Gatekeepers
• Vendors
• Colleagues
• Competitors

8. Love
I don’t mean to get all mushy on you, but love is an underrated business attitude. You need to love what you do, who you do it with, and who you do it for. When you love where you work, your enthusiasm goes up and your stress level goes down. When your employees feel loved, they work harder and produce better results. When prospects feel loved and cared about, they not only buy, they buy more.

9. Gratitude
Sincere gratitude fuels the other attitudes on this list. Successful salespeople and business owners are continuously grateful for everything in their lives, including:

• Their successes
• The lessons learned from their failures
• Opportunities
• Mentors and coaches
• Family
• Friends
• Their health
• Customers
• Employees
• And much more

If you want to achieve greater success, ask yourself: “Which of these attitudes could I be better at? How could I develop and strengthen them?” Because the more you embrace and exhibit all nine of these attitudes, the more sales you’ll make, the more impact you’ll create, and the more success you’ll attain.

Seven Steps to Creating a Powerful Prospecting Plan

January 22nd, 2019

Seven Steps to Creating a Powerful Prospecting Plan Do you have a prospecting plan? If you want to boost your sales, it can be a huge help.

A prospecting plan is like a business plan for your sales efforts. It’s a planning tool that helps you sketch out your goals, your best prospects, how to reach them, and more.

Sound complicated? Don’t worry, it isn’t. All you have to do to is answer seven simple questions.

1. What are my sales goals?
Do you want more new customers or more repeat sales to existing customers? Are you trying to break into a new industry? Is it more important to push a new product or revive a sagging performer in your line? Do you want to move cheap stuff or big-ticket items? Do you want to increase your sales by a certain dollar amount or by a certain percentage?

You can have more than one goal. You may have two or three of the above goals and some additional ones as well.

Regardless of how many goals you have, be specific, with numbers and dates. When you know precisely what you want to accomplish—and by when—it’s easier to do it, because your goals will help define other aspects of your plan.

2. Who are my ideal prospects?
Here’s a hint: “everyone” is the wrong answer. Too many salespeople waste a lot of their time with prospects who will never do business with them. To maximize your prospecting time, you need to spend it with the people who are most likely to buy from you.

Start your profiling by examining your current customers: What do they have in common? Then decide who else you want to target and list their defining characteristics: size, income, age, industry, health status, gender, job title, etc. This doesn’t mean that you will ignore everyone else, because you’ll happily serve someone who doesn’t happen to fit your profile. But your ideal prospects are the people you want to devote most of your time and energy to.

3. Where are they?
Whoever your ideal prospects are, you’ll find some of them everywhere. But you want to focus your efforts where the greatest concentrations of them are.

For example, if your target market is the elderly, you know that there are large populations of retirees in warm climates like Florida and Arizona. In any given community, you’ll find concentrations living in retirement centers and assisted living facilities. By contrast, if you’re targeting Millennials, you’ll tend to find them in apartment buildings in urban areas and along the coasts.

And I’m not just talking about where people live. You might also want to know where they work, what business or industry events they go to, what social media platforms they spend their time on, where they go for fun, what they read, what they watch, and what they listen to. Because they more you know about where your ideal prospects are and what they do, the easier it is to figure out the answer to the next question.

4. How will I reach them?
You have dozens of prospecting tools at your disposal, including networking, direct mail, cold calls, Facebook ads, trade shows, special events, LinkedIn Groups, referrals, and more. Choose several and use them simultaneously.

Don’t despair if you don’t see results immediately. It takes an average of nine “impressions” (anytime a person is exposed to you, your name, your product, or your company) to move a prospect from apathy to action. So be persistent in your efforts. And be fanatical about following up with each prospect. The more tactics you employ, the better your results will be.

5. What is my hook?
Here’s a secret about sales in general and prospecting in particular: Nobody cares about you, your company, your product, or your service. Which means if you try to open with a sales pitch or by shoving a bunch of sales material into the hands of a prospect, you’re wasting your time.

What people really care about is themselves. So lead with a hook instead of a pitch. A hook is something that is of value to the prospect and requires no effort, obligation, expense, or risk on their part. Its purpose is to grab their attention and create a sense of perceived value and appreciation. Great hooks include:

• Free samples
• Gifts
• Invitations to an event or party
• Articles, reports, white papers, or eBooks
• Contests
• Webinars
• Free consultations, evaluations, or audits

Think about how you could use one of the above ideas (or one of your own) as a hook and how you could get it to your prospects. A hook will radically improve your chances of securing an opportunity to talk further with your prospect.

6. What steps am I going to take and in what time frame?
This is a critical part of your plan. Unless you commit to taking action, you won’t achieve the goals you’ve set. Schedule what you’re going to do and when, with as much detail as possible. Break each project into incremental steps, with a time line for each one. This will help ensure that those things get done.

7. How often will I review this plan?
After you’ve written your plan, review it periodically: weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly. You’ll probably want to review it more frequently at first, then you can reduce the frequency as you see results. But keep reviewing it! Are you on track? How is each prospecting tactic working? Have you forgotten some items? Does the plan need to be revised? Adjust your plan and your actions as needed.

A prospecting plan can be a powerful tool in your kit. It’s a road map to higher sales. And the more effort you put into it, the more sales you’ll make and the faster you’ll make them.

37 Ways to Inspire Confidence in Your Prospects

January 15th, 2019

37 Ways to Inspire Confidence in Your ProspectsIn my last post, I discussed the role risk plays in preventing people from making purchasing decisions. The greater the risk, the less likely a person is to buy. Which means, the more you can reduce the perception of risk in buyers’ minds, the more sales you’ll make.

So how can you increase your prospect’s confidence that buying from you is the safe choice? Here are 37 ways:

1. Testimonials
2. Case studies
3. Photos
4. Video
5. Free shipping
6. Generous return policy
7. 24/7 customer support
8. Guarantee
9. Warranty
10. Extended warranty
11. Demos
12. Free trial
13. Free samples
14. Degrees
15. Certifications
16. Awards
17. Rankings
18. Third-party reviews
19. Ratings from review sites
20. Articles you’ve written
21. Media stories about you
22. Length of time in business
23. Length, depth, or breadth of your expertise
24. Track record
25. Number of customers
26. Percentage of market share
27. Names of well-known customers
28. Celebrity endorsements
29. Give prospects a tour of your facility
30. Introduce them to other members of your team
31. Give them your cell phone number
32. Let them talk with existing clients
33. Cleanliness of facility
34. Grooming and attire
35. Production value of marketing materials
36. Be active on social media
37. Resolve complaints on social media quickly

The more of these strategies you can implement, the more confidence you can inspire and the less risk your prospect will perceive. So employ as many as possible.

Not only can reducing perceived risk boost your overall sales, it can also reduce objections, shorten your sales cycle (thus improving cash flow), and stimulate more referrals. It can even increase your profit margin, because people will happily pay more for the safety of not wasting their money.

People are most likely to buy when the risk is lowest. Which means they buy what and where the risk is lowest. And if your company, product, or service is the lowest-risk option, that’s the choice your prospect is most likely to make. Inspire more confidence in your buyers and you’ll induce more sales.

Is Buying From You Too Risky?

January 8th, 2019

Is Buying From You Too Risky?I have weird feet.

Seriously. My forefeet are wide, I have very long toes, and my right foot is nearly a half size larger than my left.

Which makes shoe shopping a challenge. Roughly 98% of the shoes I try on don’t fit comfortably.

So when I recently purchased several pairs of shoes online, I knew there was a decent chance I might have to send them back. But I didn’t worry about it because both sites I bought from promised free shipping and easy, hassle-free returns.

As I feared, none of the shoes fit quite right. With one retailer (Zappos), the return was as easy as promised. With the other, however (I won’t mention the name—suffice to say it’s a dot.com that sells shoes), I ran into a snag. Hidden in the fine print of their return policy was the fact that they charged a $6.95 restocking fee per item. Which meant I had to pay $14 for the privilege of trying on shoes I would never wear.

Guess who I’m never buying shoes from ever again? (And guess who I’m telling my friends to never buy from as well?)

Because it’s too risky. Shopping for shoes already costs me time and effort. If it’s also going to cost me money every time I try on a pair that doesn’t fit, that’s a gamble I’m not willing to take.

For buyers, purchasing anything is a risk in the first place. It might not work properly, it might turn out to be inferior to another option, it could create unforeseen problems, users (or the boss) may not like it, and more. And the greater the risk, the less likely prospects are to buy. That risk is what stands between you and closing more sales.

Which means you need to do everything possible to reduce the risk for buyers. How can you make the decision-making process easier and safer? What risks stand in the way of prospects buying from you?

Address those issues and you’ll boost your sales. If you don’t, you risk losing your customers forever.