Be There Until the End
Guest Contributor: Mark NissleyMark's Posts
- Mark's SiteIn previous posts, we've talked about recognizing small business owners as "rock stars". We've used that analogy to discuss how to sell to those business owners. The first selling point should be that it will make their life easier, that it will allow them to focus on what they do best, and eliminate a bit of stress. The second selling point is to only promise incremental change. Battle hardened small business owners will only believe in incremental change. If greater change happens, they will be wildly surprised, but promise dramatic change and you get that stone cold stare.
The third point is both the most simple, though not the easiest to deliver. Like a rock star, a small business owner has been burned by gold diggers more times than they can count. Consider how many sales people have promised this small business owner the world, only to disappear after the sales is closed. Consider how prevalent this probably was when the business was young. Imagine the defenses the small business owner has built against it.
To manage a rock star, you may promise access to great band talent. To sell something to a small business owner, you are going to have to convince them that you can help them do what they do not know how to do. This will take the small business owner into an area that they are not comfortable with. What they want to know is that you will continue to be there to help them learn and grow in this area. And they are going to want more than promises, because they've been burned thirteen times before.
There is an important difference here between a small business and a medium or large business. Larger businesses want service contracts. They want 24 hour support. They want a help desk. Not a small business owner. They want you. They want you to deliver on your promise. They want to call you when something goes wrong. They want you to bounce ideas off. They want you to hold their hand through the learning promise.
It won't be forever. Just for a few months. And it doesn't mean you need to deliver the service you are selling, but you must be a part of delivery cycle. After each contact with your product/service, it is going to be important that you call and see how things are going.
And how do I convince the small business owner that I am not like the last jerk that sold him something? One lay out a communication plan very clearly, in writing, on a calendar, if possible. Then follow it! Two, set precedence. Demonstrate excellent reliability and communication prior to the sale, when the initial contact is being developed. Three, provide references in the local community, as much as possible. If the small business owner sees a name they know, you are gold... Although you should be aware, your references will be called. Make sure they are gold. A long stable client history will create miracles.
In summary, set out expectations that you will be there until the end- at least the end of training. Then deliver. Show references that you have delivered in the past. Imagine going to a rock star, selling them on your ability to be a manager. Let them know that you can assemble the talent around them to make them a star. And show them how you have done it before. Presto, you've got yourself a band!
Labels: Mark Nissley
Finding Sales where you least expect it
Guest Contributor: Albert LukAlbert's Posts
- Albert's Site
We replaced our photocopier in the office last month. While, in and of itself, this may not be a big deal, it was quite instructive in how big businesses miss the easy sale because they pigeon-hole their thinking into only sales people should sell. In fact, every employee should be a salesperson for your good or service. Let me explain.
We leased the photocopier two years ago when the office had 4 people in it. Unbeknown to me (since this preceded my arrival and I am not in charge of the office machinery regardless), the photocopier was refurbished and the needs of an every growing office soon out-stripped the capability of the photocopier. If you are in the office equipment business, you know that heavy use of machinery not intended for such volume leads to predictable results.
Paper jammed. Parts overheated. Toner spilled.
After a while, everyone in the office knew our photocopy repairman by first name. Since the machine was on warranty, I suspect the company was losing money on the warranty considering the cost of labor, travel (gas prices being what they are now) and parts. Our office, now over a dozen people on a busy day, simply outgrew the photocopier. Of course, no one was happy- neither customer, frustrated by frequent break-downs as symbolized by toner stains on the carpet from one repair job (a literal black spot on the vendor), nor vendor, perplexed how a simple photocopier could consume so much time, energy and money.
Do you know how we ended up with a new photocopier? The repairman, completely at wit's end at this point, suggested that there was a new model that would cost us less to lease but do more. It took us a second to say yes.
The point of this story is that easy sales can sometimes be made by non-sales personnel since they are on ground more often than a periodic sales call and can assess client needs better. The repairman knew of our need, having lived it with us, and knew the solution. Since the context which we knew him in was non-sales, we didn't have our "sales defenses" up when he made a sale- which wasn't so much a sale than a solution to everyone's problem.
In fact, if that repairman had said something sooner, the vendor would have had a quicker sale. But the repairman is not trained to think in that manner- sales people sell, repair people repair. However, what if repair personnel are trained to sales situations and offer a situation right then and there in a non-salesy manner or pass this opportunity to sales staff? Would a business be more effective than a salesperson grinding out 6 meetings to make the same sale?
No one wants every employee in a business to be a sales-person but if you silo off your employees to functional job descriptions they won't help you trouble-shot issues and present sales opportunities. Training non-sales staff to be on the look-out to find ways to create solutions for clients is just another way to increase sales in tough times.
Labels: Albert Luk
Let her stick!
Guest Contributor: Shannon McCafferyShannon's Posts
- Shannon's SiteI'm taking a bit of liberty here by taking off the famous line of "let her rip." So "let her stick," is an incredible way that you can get your new clients to stay with you and your products or services.
What is a "stick letter?" It's just one strategic way of reducing your refunds. It's definitely something that you send to someone AFTER he or she buys your product or service. Do you ever send a thank you letter? Well a “stick letter” is just another thank you letter on steroids because it truly "sticks."
The whole key after a client buys your product or service is you want them to NOT return it, or want a refund. This letter is more than a thank you, it not only thanks them for buying the product but it reiterates all the awesome benefits to get them all excited about having your hot product in their hands.
Also if it might take some time for your product to show results to them, this letter will help encourage and motivate them. You spell out for them not go give up and give them specific steps on where and how to start using your product. Let's look at a good example of how to word this from Dave Dee, Info Marketing guru- "Now, don't you give up. People are going to be telling you
that you can't do it. Your friends are going to say, 'this isn't going to work.' Don't believe them, believe in yourself!" Dave wants to get them all fired up and remember why they bought this product in the first place.
The deal is you want buyers remorse to disappear as quickly as it came into their mind. Let's face it after people make large purchases they often question, 'did I make the right decision to buy this expensive program, product or service?'
By sending them your "stick letter" you're erasing that remorse from their consciousness and reassuring them that they made an awesome decision for buying your product or service.
Take out your pen and let her rip on that "stick letter."
Here's to your success!
Labels: Shannon McCaffery