Category Archives for "Small Business Owners"

May 07

Why You’re Not Converting Your Sales Leads Into Customers

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why you’re not currently converting enough enquiries into customers…..and what you can do about it to get the results you deserve……..

One of the things I’m noticing at the moment is that businesses aren’t converting enough of their sales leads into business. Let’s face it, if someone has taken the trouble to enquire with you, then you should be getting a high conversion rate from that, right? That isn’t always happening right now.

In addition, many companies right now have what I would call ‘non-salespeople’ doing activities that would be traditionally handled by a salesperson. This may be due to things bring ‘tight’, a new focus on ‘new business’, staff leaving (or being made redundant), so their activities now get passed to other people.

What Do I Mean By ‘Non-Salespeople?’

This means for example in some cases that marketing staff are making cold calls for appointments, customer service staff are making outbound sales calls and the worst thing ever – admin staff are taking incoming sales enquiries!!!

Think about it. You’ve paid all that money for advertising, networking, marketing, or whatever lead generation method you use to ‘earn’ that sales enquiry. Then the person taking it has little or no sales ability, little or no training in what’s needed to convert it into a sale, and has no idea how much business they could be losing through their lack of understanding!

How scary is that? Even people employed in a sales role don’t always handle sales enquiries as well as they could, so what chance has a ‘non salesperson’ got?

So, below are some reasons why you’re currently not converting as many sales enquiries as you could be – and what you can do to get them back on track!

Reason Number 1 – You Don’t Respond Quickly Enough

For any incoming sales enquiry right now, responding could mean the difference between you converting that enquiry into a customer, and missing out on the business to one of your competitors.

Right now, people have more choice than ever before, and more companies are desperate for their business than ever before – so are you prepared to let one of your competitors get business that could have been yours?

Ask yourself – how fast do you currently get back to your sales enquiries? And then, how could you speed that up?

Reason Number 2 – You Only Take The ‘Specification’

This is another example of poor handling of a sales call. This is where the person taking the incoming sales enquiry only asks questions that get the specification, or the details that they need in order to quote for the work.

Empty Notebook PageBizarrely, this is what most companies train the staff responsible for taking the sales enquiries to do! So those staff give a quotation without asking anything about buying motivation, current supplier, other quotes, buying timescales or other information that would help them secure the business.

It’s almost like the business equivalent of giving a quotation, crossing their fingers, clicking their heels together 3 times and ‘hoping’ that the person rings them back to place the order!! Is that really the way we want to treat those precious sales enquiries in the current business climate?

Reason Number 3 – You Fail To Qualify The Opportunity Properly

Another thing that seems to get missed when staff are handling sales enquiries is understanding the full cope of the potential opportunity. This has been made worse by the customer service people and poor sales trainers in the past that have banged on about ‘you must treat every customer the same’. What a load of old rubbish!!

Should a printing company treat differently a customer who buys £50 worth of business cards once a year, compared to a company that spends £25,000 on their annual print requirements? Of course they should! Now of course both customers should receive good service, but would you want to ask different questions of these 2 different enquiries? Would your sales process change based on their potential spend? Would you service the account differently? Of course you would!

The problem is, you need to qualify the potential opportunity first – so start doing it!

Reason Number 4 – You Don’t Take Control Of The Situation

Another mistake most people make is that they don’t control the situation properly. Once the potential customer has put the phone down (or walked out of the shop in a retail context) – if you haven’t defined or agreed the ‘next steps’, you’ve just lost control of the sales situation.

If you just give them your quotation, or hand/send them your literature and then leave them to Plan Your Sales Strategytheir own devices, they’re probably going to buy somewhere else, or not at all! If they’ve bothered to take the time to call you, send an enquiry over the internet, or arrive in your showroom then right now is the opportunity. Not tomorrow, not the day after, not next week – but right now.

So if you can’t take advantage of this opportunity, then you have to define the ‘next steps’, what will happen in what sequence and get them ‘locked in’ to you, rather than letting them go off ‘shopping’ and comparing prices with you and the competition – or against their existing supplier!

Reason Number 5 – You Don’t Follow Up

There is no excuse for this! ‘I was too busy’ doesn’t cut it. ‘I got caught up in other things’ doesn’t cut it. ‘Well they’d come back to me if they wanted it, wouldn’t they?’ is just plain stupid!

If you’ve bothered to take the enquiry in the first place, and weren’t able to convert them into a customer on that occasion, yet you know they’re interested enough in what you do to have enquired in the first place, why on earth wouldn’t you bother to follow it up?

If you’re guilty of this one, you might as well email over all your sales enquiries to your competition, because you’re giving them the business as it is! Follow up each enquiry quickly, and secure the business for you and your company, rather than giving it to someone else!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

Apr 14

Simple Sales Tips – From A Partner Sales Conference On The Vaal River

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

I was booked to speak at a client conference recently on the Vaal River, on the border of the Free State in South Africa. It was my first trip to the Vaal River, a very beautiful part of South Africa.

Vaal River
It’s always interesting when I work with clients that sell through Channel Partners, rather than selling direct to the end client themselves. Selling as a Channel Partner has some distinct differences than when you’re selling your own products and services.

So here are some tips on Selling as a Channel Partner.

 

(Note: These tips are based on you being the Channel Partner yourself – if you’re the Vendor interested in how I work with clients who ‘sell through the channel’, then please contact me here…)

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 1 – Don’t Be Afraid To Lean On The Vendor Where Possible!

This is the bit where most Channel Partners go wrong – right at the beginning! Don’t be afraid to lean on the Vendor if necessary! Most will be only too happy to help!

Most vendors will be only too happy to support their Channel Partners. Whether that’s with face-to-face joint visits, telephone or marketing support.

It’s often a good idea to ‘wheel in’ the vendor to face-to-face meetings, to add some ‘firepower’ and gravitas to your own organisation.It can also help when there are multiple people attending from the potential client, and there’s only one or two of you!

Plus, and documentation and marketing material is likely to be better produced by the vendor in most cases, and therefore gives a more favourable impression to the client, and increases your chance of winning the business! So don’t be afraid to lean on the vendor where you can!

 

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 2 – Don’t Forget To Sell Yourself However!

Even though it’s a good idea to lean on the vendor when you can, that doesn’t mean you can forget about selling yourself!

You still need to get across to the prospect why they should work with YOU! Especially if you are pitching against other agents/channel partners for the same vendor as you! Or similar offerings from a different vendor/partner.

You need to establish YOUR credibility. Why they should choose you over the other people wanting the work. Your experience. Your expertise. Make yourself and what you’re offering irresistible (or as close as possible to!)

And the more potential suppliers the prospect is looking at, the more important this is!

 

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 3 –Stay In Control

Staying in control isn’t easy in Sales. Especially when you’re a channel partner, and involving your vendor now has 3 parties involved in the sales situation!

You still need to take responsibility for taking control and guiding the sales process however. The vendor is there to assist you, not to replace you! They shouldn’t be taking over the sales process, you should still be leading and controlling it!
Vaal 2 - Andy speech

You need to control the sales process. Where you are at.
What the next step is. What you need to do to get there.
And gain commitment from the prospect to going there too.

Follow the tips above and start to sell like a Stand-Out Salesperson!

 

 

Apr 09

Sales Lessons From The Radisson Edwardian In Manchester

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

I was staying at the Radisson Edwardian in Manchester recently, (having been hired as a Sales Motivational Speaker for an event the next day) and something happened that affected my perception of the hotel.

I’d put some clothing in for dry cleaning in the morning, and when I returned to my room later, I was greeted with this card on the bed.

The card stated that I had to go back downstairs to reception (having just come upstairs from there), pay the bill for the dry cleaning, and then bring it all the way upstairs with me.

Radisson Dry Cleaning
Now what I found a bit ridiculous about this is that I had already paid for my room up front, and given a ‘holding deposit’ of significantly more than the bill for the dry cleaning.

Added to the fact that I am a Club Carlson Concierge member (the highest level possible of their loyalty scheme – therefore they normally look after you well), so I thought it was a bit daft to want me to go back to where I had just been, pay a bill they already had my money for, and then come upstairs again!

Now I know what you’re thinking!  ‘Oh Andy, what a first-world problem!’  But I’m not complaining about the note (although it was a little annoying at the time), I’m talking about it as an example to learn from, from a sales and service point of view!

When you look at the example set by the Park Inn Foreshore in Cape Town, another member of their loyalty club, you’d expect the Radisson to deliver a higher level of service, right?  You’d be wrong on this occasion

What would it have taken for the housekeeping service (that handles the laundry and dry cleaning) to have checked with their colleagues on the front desk (reception) and found out if they had taken a holding deposit (for greater than the dry cleaning bill) or not?

Would it have really taken that long? Would it have been that difficult? And if they HAD (and had taken the dry cleaning to my room), would I have had a POSITIVE experience with them, rather than the NEGATIVE one that I’m now talking about? Of course!

So what Sales Lessons can we learn from the Raddison in Manchester?……

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 1 – Buyers Look To ‘Count You Out’

This happens in ANY sales/buying process where there are a number of vendors involved. The buyer looks to count people OUT, rather than count people IN.

Having started my career as a professional buyer, and because a lot of my work is based on buying psychology – how people make buying decisions – this is something that comes up a lot.

If we as buyers have a lot of choice of potential supplier, we are ‘harsher’ on individual suppliers than we would be otherwise. If we have 10 potential suppliers for example, we are looking to get that down to 5, or possibly even 3, as quickly as possible.

Therefore we look at the options, and scan proposal documents, tenders or whatever you have sent us, in order to look for things that would count people OUT of the opportunity, therefore leaving us to choose from ideally no more than 3 ‘preferred’ vendors.

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 2 – A Bad Experience Trumps A Few Good Experiences’

Also be aware that in the buyers eyes, a bad experience will trump a few good experiences. I stay with Radisson group hotels regularly (usually Radisson, Park Inn and Park Plaza) all over the world. And I have great experiences in almost of them, the majority of the time!

Radisson suit carrier I’ve even had good experiences at Manchester before. One of the cool things they do is give you a suit carrier, branded Radisson of course, when you have your suit dry cleaned with them. A nice touch!

But that’s often overpowered by a bad experience – in this case, the dry cleaning example above.

Now, as I said above it’s not really that big a problem. And I had bigger problems to deal with on that particular day. But it was frustrating enough to have an impact. Plus, it was a good example to use for this article!

So, have a think about what you currently do in your sales and service process – and are you giving the opportunity for one bad experience to undo all your work with creating good ones?

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 3 – The ‘Experience Stack’

In my Sales Training seminars and Sales Speeches, I often talk about what I call the ‘Experience Stack’.

What I mean by this is that experiences stack on top of each other. A good experience adds to the ‘good experience’ stack, and a bad experience adds to the ‘bad experience’ stack (and potentially knock down the good experience one).

What that means in practical terms is that if the prospect/customer has had one bad experience with you – even if it was only a small thing, like the dry cleaning in this example – they will be far more annoyed with their next bad experience, than if the 2nd one had occurred in isolation.

So in the hotel context, someone who had the ‘dry cleaning’ experience above would be far more likely to complain if their food wasn’t as good as it should be, rather than if the food had been the only thing wrong.

So, what can you and your team start to do to build the ‘good experience’ stack for your customers and prospects, and minimise the ‘bad experience’ one?….

If you want some help getting your team to get far better results from their sales efforts, call +44 (0) 161 401 0142 or contact Andy here……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Jan 24

Summary of my ‘Stand Out Selling’ Session in Vilnius, Lithuania!

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

For all of you that attended Andy’s speech in Vilnius, Lithuania, here are some of the highlights and some links to learn more about how to be more of a Stand Out Salesperson, rather than a ‘standard’ salesperson.

Don’t forget to register for your free membership of Andy’s Sales Community here – www.AndyPreston.com/Online

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 1 – Familiarity

Remember my story about my friend buying the car? He was going to buy his next car from the local car garage – because he ‘knows them’. He’s not friends with the owners. He doesn’t know the salespeople, or anyone else that works there. He hasn’t checked their website or social media for reviews, nor has he heard from a friend about whether they are any good or not!

He’s simply going to buy from them because he ‘knows them’ – he walks past their car garage every day when he goes to buy his lunch!

How can you and your team get prospects more ‘familiar’ with you, your company, and your products and services?

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 2 – Urgency

Remember ‘if you’re not first, you’re last?’. If you’re not first in responding to a sales enquiry, you might as well be last! The one who responds first has the chance to shape the sales opportunity! And they have the advantage!

And in New Business sales, if you don’t win the business, you get nothing! No Silver medal for ‘2nd best’. Or bronze medal for ‘3rd best’. 2nd place in sales is ‘first loser!’;-)

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 3 – Relevancy

How relevant are you to your prospects? Do they see you as a specialist in their industry? Or someone that definitely has the solution to their problem? Are they trying to drive you down on price, or are they willing to pay more to work with you?

Do you have specific lists of testimonials/case studies for the main industries you work in? Current clients that would happily take a phone call from one your prospects, to say how good you were, and how easy it was to work with you?

How quickly can you get these, if not?

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 4 – Customer Service Is Dead

Stop trying to give ‘Customer Service’ and focus on giving great ‘Customer Experience’ instead. Remember my story about Mercedes? Or the Park Inn Foreshore in Cape Town?

Sep 24

Video Sales Tips – Credibility – From The Vaal River, South Africa

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

Andy talks about Credibility (filmed ‘on the road’ next to the Vaal River, South Africa)

How important is credibility in Sales? Business credibility and also personal credibility? And how do we increase it?

Andy’s Global Sales Tips are filmed on Andy’s travels on whatever equipment is close to hand! Be that Phone, iPad, DSLR or whatever. We’ve gone for ‘quality of information’ over ‘quality of video’ in most cases.

More professional quality videos and clips are on other videos of Andy elsewhere. This is about quality of information and speed.

The video below is a YouTube video. If you are one of our clients that has YouTube blocked, there is a Vimeo version below that, that you should be able to see.
Contact us here if you have any problems accessing these. Enjoy!

For those of you that have YouTube blocked on your computers, there is a Vimeo version below too. Again, contact us here if you have any problems accessing these.

Jan 04

5 Essential ‘New Year’ Sales Resolutions For Your Sales Team For 2017

By Andy Preston | Andy Preston News

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains what the successful sales leaders and salespeople are implementing right now to make sure they have a great 2017….

The New Year is a great opportunity to set some new sales goals, and some ‘Sales Resolutions’
Here are my suggestions for the Top Five New Years’ Resolutions for your sales team……

Sales Resolution Number 1 – Increase Your Prospecting Activity

If your ‘goal’ or ‘outcome’ for 2017 is to increase your sales, or that of your team, one of the things to look at is to increase your prospecting activities.
Most salespeople tend not to have enough prospects, and therefore rely on most of their sales opportunities coming off, in order to hit their targets. In most cases, that’s a recipe for failure.

red-phone1_smallTake a look at whatever prospecting activities you’ve been doing (that have been working for you, of course) and look at how you can increase them. You might also want to increase the ‘range’ of activities as well.

Whether your prospecting activities include networking, cold calling, referrals, cold canvassing or anything else, simply upping the activity will generate better results. Once you’ve done this, it’s now time for the second step…..

Sales Resolution Number 2 – Stop Being Bullied By Prospects

This is starting to happen more and more, as buyers take control of the sales process. By ‘bullying’ I meant things like…….

• Playing you off against competitors
• Using you as ‘price fodder’ in the process (with no intention of buying from you and wasting your time)
• ‘Commoditising’ the sales process
• Ignoring your suggestions and advice and insisting on ‘their’ spec
• Forcing you to lower your prices and eroding your margin/profit

APFar too many buyers now are taking control of the process and forcing salespeople to dance to THEIR tune – usually resulting in the salesperson having control over the process, no influence on the process, and no sale at the end of the process!

Make sure you don’t fall into this trap!

Sales Resolution Number 3 – Filter Your Sales Opportunities Better

You can only do this step when you have a lot of Sales opportunities (hence my recommendation in No 1 above), so if you haven’t got enough opportunities yet, go back to that step until you have!

magnifying glassOnce you have enough opportunities, the next step is to ‘filter’ them. What I mean by that is to look at which opportunities are better for you. So how on earth do you judge which are better than others?

If you’ve already ‘profiled’ your opportunities, then you’ll already know what I mean. If you haven’t, here are some quick tips. From experience either you or your manager will have an idea which of your opportunities are most likely to convert, which will do so faster than others, and which will be worth the most money.

This might be based on their industry, the level of decision maker you’re talking to, their buying motivation (you have found that out, haven’t you?) size of project, approval process and impending deadlines etc.

Based on the results of your ‘filtering’, you can now work out which opportunities you need to focus on, and which ones require you to qualify them a little harder. Please note, if the thought of doing this makes you hesitant or concerned that you might ‘lose’ an opportunity or two, then you probably haven’t got enough opportunities in the first place – go back to the first resolution above!

Sales Resolution Number 4 – Improve Your Pipeline Control

Pretty much EVERY sales leader I speak to, wishes their salespeople were better at controlling their sales pipeline!

Saleswoman Juggling Upcoming Activities & TasksMost salespeople have deals in their pipeline that actually have no hope of coming off, yet they often don’t realise it! Also, when I ask salespeople to talk me though their pipeline, it quickly becomes apparent that they’re not ‘on top’ of it, they don’t know where they stand in relation to others in their deals, and often don’t have a concrete plan for bringing that piece of business in, rather than losing it to a competitor.

That needs addressing, right now! Every salesperson should be on top of their sales pipeline. They should know where they stand in relation to their competitors in every deal. They should know the buying motivation of the client, who they need to influence, and what timescales are at work as a minimum. They should also know what actions they need to take (and by when) in order to win the business, rather than lose it to a competitor.

If you’re not on top of your pipeline, it might be time to look at your qualification of prospects, or your ability to get the ‘deeper needs’ from the client earlier in the sales process. Or it could be down to your failure to ‘stand out’ from the competition right at the start of the process. Find out which one it is and do something about it, now!

Sales Resolution Number 5 – Work On Your Sales Skills

Right now we’re in a competitive market. With competitors’ after our clients more than ever before. With prospects comparing us to others more than ever before. With meetings with Senior Decision Makers being harder to get than ever before.
Act Now - Red Button

So it often comes down to your salesperson versus your competitors’ salesperson. Their sales skills, versus their competitors’ sales skills. Who is going to win in that scenario? Who would you put your money on?

Now is the time to work on your own sales skills, and those of your team. To look at areas in which you could perform better. And to regularly invest time (and money where appropriate) in getting your team to where they need to be, in order to make sure YOU are winning the business, rather than your competitors!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on…….

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Mar 30

Selling By Email – 5 Mistakes Most Salespeople Make

By Andy Preston | Digital Selling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why most people struggle with ‘selling by email’ – they don’t understand it, they don’t know when to use it (and when not to) and they don’t know how to use it for best results…….……

After reading this article you’ll be able to utilise email to add value to your sales efforts – instead of hampering them – and get your sales figures back where they belong!……..

When I working with sales teams all over the world, Sales Managers and Directors often tell me that they believe all salespeople are inherently lazy. I’m not sure I agree with that hugely sweeping statement, but I do think salespeople often look for the quickest way to do something!

I think this is partly down to the fact that a lot of salespeople only start earning real money when their commission kicks in, so any task that isn’t directly related to bringing in new customers, orders or money, they tend to try and find the quickest way to do! Hence why the managers think they’re lazy.

As salespeople though, this ‘quickest route’ habit can often cause us problems! Particularly as technology has advanced and email is a popular communication method for many. However, this often results in salespeople resorting to email communication – at the expense of their own sales figures! Have a look at the examples of common email sales mistakes below, and see if any ring true for you……

Email Sales Mistake Number 1 – Using It To ‘Follow Up‘ Your Pipeline

Let’s look at this from a ‘new business’ perspective. You’ve spoken with (or met with) a client previously, you’ve started to develop rapport, but they’ve probably got an existing supplier, or existing way of doing things. So you didn’t pick up their business from your initial call or appointment.

Your boss has probably been putting pressure on you about your sales figures or your sales pipeline. So you decide you need to ‘follow up’ with a few people, this particular prospect included. So what do you do next? Pick up the phone and call them, establish their current situation and needs and potentially see how you may be able to add value to what they’re trying to achieve over the next few months? Close for another appointment, attempt to dislodge the existing supplier (or existing process) and pick up their business? Or send an email?

If you’re in the ’email’ category, stop it! Right now!

Email Sales Mistake Number 2 – Just ‘Adding‘ People To A Mailing List

Another great idea from the marketing department. Sending an email newsletter or similar to keep people ‘informed’ of your products and services. The funny thing is, how many newsletters do you get that you don’t read, or you don’t read in full? I bet it’s quite a few. If you don’t know the sender well, you probably don’t read it at all. Sometimes even when you know the sender well you still don’t read it!

Don’t sit back and think that just because someone is on your generic email list that that’s helping you ‘sell’ to that person. In most cases it isn’t. That’s more of a ‘nurture’ campaign for the Marketing department to worry about!

The responsibility to move that person through your sales pipeline is still yours!

Email Sales Mistake Number 3 – Sending Mainly ‘Flyers’ By Email

Please tell me you’re not still doing this? Even worse if the email is titled ‘offer of the month’ or similar! If the person hasn’t used you before, you’re relying on ‘luck’ for the person to buy from you. And the more competitive your marketplace and the higher the price of what you sell, the less likely people are to buy!

Plus as mentioned in my last point above, it’s hardly ‘personal’ communication to that prospect, is it? Is this really the professional sales job you were employed to do? If this is the best you can do in terms of ‘sales persuasion’, you’re in trouble!

Email Sales Mistake Number 4 – Responding To New Sales Enquiries Via Email

Let’s think about this one. You or your company has expended time, money and effort in producing the incoming sales lead. Whether it’s come from a previous phone call by you or a colleague, networking, advertising or over the internet, you’ve managed to get a precious incoming sales lead.

oopsThe next question is, what are you going to do about it? Pick up the phone and find an excuse to start a dialogue to understand their needs in more detail, positition a ‘next step’ in the sales process and look for some committment from that person. Or just send a quick email giving some information and leaving them to ‘wander’ on their own, with no idea how motivated they are to purchase, their timescales, or what other options they’re considering?

Looks like you’ve missed your chance again, doesn’t it? In most cases if they come back to you, it’s because when they enquired with your competition, they did a worse job than you did (hard to believe I know, but it could be true). Is this really the best way of dealing with that precious incoming sales lead do you think?!!

Email Sales Mistake Number 5 – Sending Proposals Or Quotes By Email

Now it’s time for my personal favourite! Sending proposals or quotes by email. This has become an interesting area over the last few years, with many prospects asking you to send your quotes/proposals etc via email.

Now, most of the ‘old school’ trainers will tell you that you HAVE to go in and present the proposal face-to-face. That that’s the ONLY thing you can do.

I don’t agree.

I agree it’s BETTER to be able to present the proposal face-to-face and talk it through. I agree that the more expensive the product (and the more value you have to build before presenting the price) the more important it is to try and get in face-to-face to present it.

But what happens if you’re not in Field Sales/Outside Sales? What if you don’t have the opportunity to visit the prospect? And how about the prospects that ask you to send through your proposals and quotes via email?

Andy’s Tips On Sending Proposals Or Quotes Via Email

The main thing you need to be aware of is that the minute you send through your proposal or quote via email, you lose most of your control over the sales process. You allow the prospect to go into ‘hiding’ – not returning your calls or emails, and basically going quiet on you!

Therefore you need to have asked ALL your ‘sales questions’ BEFORE sending through the proposal, otherwise your chance of winning the business is dramatically reduced!


If you are interested in me working with you or your team to overcome some of their problems with proposals, pipeline management and closing, then contact me here, or call +44 161 401 0142 to see how I can help you!


Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on…..

(This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines).

Feb 02

4 Awful ‘Sales Phrases’ That Are Probably Costing You Business Right Now!

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains 4 awful sales phrases that most salespeople use, and why they will cost them (and you) business going forwards……

Whenever I’m listening to salespeople on the phones (or face-to-face) they often use awful sales phrases that cause them problems in the sales process, and often cost them sales! Here are 4 typical ones you need to avoid using (but appear to be in ‘common’ use in most sales teams)….

AWFUL SALES PHRASE No 1 – “I’m Your New Account Manager”…..

SITUATION – When you’ve just taken over an account from a colleague, who may also have just left the business

WHY IT’S BAD – The effect your words have on the client. They hear something like “the last guy was crap so we fired him” or “our company isn’t very good so lots of people leave” (especially if the last person wasn’t the only account manager they’ve had’

sorryOr even worse “I’m new here, haven’t a clue what I’m doing, and YOUR ACCOUNT is going to be the one I learn and practice on!”

Can you imagine the impact on the client, and what they’re thinking when they hear those words?!!! Awful!

Even worse (and I hear people doing this FAR too often) is using this phrase when the ‘customer’ you’re calling has never spent any money with you!!

That’s right. They’re NOT a customer. They are a prospect. So when they hear you say “I’m your new account manager”, the impact of that is “well it hasn’t been ‘managed’ very well, as we’ve not got any account with you and have never spent any money with you!” Often closely followed with “and we’ve got a supplier we’re happy with for that anyway!”

Why would you be so stupid as to walk into all of that stuff, and a strong objection as well? Yet still I hear a lot of people doing it…….

 

AWFUL SALES PHRASE No 2 – “I’m ‘Just’ Calling”…..

SITUATION – Making an outbound sales call

WHY IT’S BAD – You’re ‘just’ calling? No you’re not! You’re not ‘just’ doing anything!

In this circumstance it’s a ‘downgrading’ word. It downgrades your call in the mind of the prospect (or the client), and downgrades your own credibility!

In this situation, it takes your call from being positioned as important and valuable, and reduces it to ‘unimportant’, ‘an interruption’ and about as valuable as ‘market research’

Why would you want to start your call by giving the recipient extra motivation to want to get rid of you?!!!

AWFUL SALES PHRASE No 3 – “Thank You For The Opportunity To Quote”……

SITUATION – Client/Prospect has just asked you to quote them

WHY IT’S BAD – This is awful!!! Truly awful! Your positioning on this is terrible! Are your seriously ‘thanking’ someone for asking you to give a quote?!!

This is the problem with all the ‘Customer Service’ stuff that’s been spouted over the last few years. ‘The Customer Is King’ and ‘The Customer Is Always Right’. I’m in agreement that we need to give people good service, but when it comes to sales there is a difference between ‘Service’ and ‘Subservience’.

remorseYou want to be perceived as an ‘equal’ by the client. Not more important than them. Not less important than them. As an equal.

When prospects and clients perceive you as an equal, it changes the way they treat you. Generally speaking, they respect your opinion more, they ask your advice more, they tell you more and are more honest with you! All things that would help us make more sales!

When you are ‘subservient’ to a client, you typically lose control of the sales process, get beaten up on price, you waste lots of time ‘running around’ after them, and then not getting the sale anyway!

Using this phrase so early in the sales process will count against you afterwards. It ruins your positioning and the prospect/client’s opinion of you. Don’t do it!

AWFUL SALES PHRASE No 4 – “How Are You Today?”

SITUATION – On An Outbound Sales Call

WHY IT’S BAD – This is my ‘pet hate’. It’s probably THE WORST thing you can say as the introduction to a sales call, but many people still say it, and even worse, are TRAINED to say it! Terrible! And the colder the call is, the worse it is!

Now if you’re making a call to someone where you have the level of rapport to say ‘John, how are you doing? How are the kids? And how was your weekend?’, you’ve obviously making a call to someone you know extremely well, and have a very high level of rapport with, so that circumstance is exempt from this.

Fail Post It - SmallWhen however, as many people do, if you’re using this on a call where you don’t know someone that well at all (or even worse, on a cold call) this will cause you major problems!

It comes across as fake. Insincere. And a ‘cheap’ attempt at trying to gain rapport with someone that you hardly know. And it will cause you big problems. Stop it. Now!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on…..

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