Great Sales Tips
and Sales Motivation
If you are experiencing a selling slump, it's a tough situation indeed. A decline in sales is not only challenging to your cash flow and hurtful to your commission check, (not to mention your ego) but it can make both you and your company vulnerable to your competition. What to do?
Sales have been down for many businesses especially retailers, manufacturers and real estate professionals. The causes are changing markets, fierce competition and slow housing starts. So it's very easy to place blame there. But regardless of what business you're in, what should you do? Wait for the phone to ring? Go through the motions of your job and wait for things to turn around? Jump on customers the moment they walk into your store? Cut prices? Worry to the point where your lack of confidence is written all over you when you're interacting with your customers, employees, and coworkers? Of course not. And when it comes to worry keep this in mind:
"Worry is like moving on a rocking chair. It keeps you going but gets you nowhere."
Below are methods and mind-sets to put you in the right frame of mind and get you back on track when sales are down. If you have been fortunate and have been meeting or exceeding your sales goals, you may still wish to review these to be sure you stay on the right track. Remember the Number One rule for successful businesses and sales pros: Never get too comfortable where you are. Your competitors are vying for the business of your customers, and new competitors are emerging daily--many from non-traditional sources boasting new business models that challenge the Status Quo. The moment you think you're ahead of your competition, they will have the advantage.
Stop Fretting, Eliminate Negative Thinking, and Take Action. Fretting and worrying will not help you when your sales are down. They will hold you back. You cannot excel at anything unless you keep yourself in the right frame of mind. This requires balancing your ability to be realistic and objective, controlling your emotions, and working harder.
Excessive worry will block you from functioning effectively and keep you from putting your best foot forward. And, it will block your creativity--something you need more than ever when sales are down. Consider this: Will worrying or negative thinking change the outcome of what will ultimately happen? What if everything you're worrying about will work out fine? What if you will have an abundance of opportunities to win new business if you were to take a stronger and more creative approach to sales or take a risk with a great new campaign? What if the efforts you make today are going to pay off for you in the near future?
If you begin thinking that you won't make a sale, then you probably won't. If customers sense your apprehension or pessimism, then they'll look toward another provider who thinks, acts and talks like a winner.
If your "get up and go" got up and went, get it back. Get on the phones and start dialing. Spend more time with face-to-face customer contact. Call on old accounts you think have bitten the dust, but might reorder.
Sound optimistic and convincing. Act like a winner, even if you haven't won the race for a while. Just like a thoroughbred that wears blinders to keep his eyes on the finish line without getting distracted, forge ahead on "blind-faith" that you'll succeed. You will. Remember:
Fretting and worrying will not get you where you want to go.
Become a Chameleon - Accept Changing Business Environments, and Fierce Competition. When its environment changes, the chameleon's biological process enables it to adapt readily to its environment. Unfortunately, for human beings, it's not quite so easy. But the longer you resist the changes that are occurring and the fact that you need to sharpen your skills, take risks, and do things differently the longer it will take for you to see sales results. You need to accept "what is," adapt, and forge ahead.
Tap into Your Creativity. It's not uncommon to get stuck in a rut when sales are down. So, if you're hearing, "I'm not interested," get interesting! Think about changing your approach when interacting with customers. Stop trying to sell, and start "helping." Talk to customers in terms of what's important to them. Tell them about similar businesses you are helping. Think of alternative methods of developing new business. Tap into new markets and consider new ideas for advertising, marketing and promotions. Differentiate yourself from your competition. Look at what successful businesses are doing in your industry. Find out what's working for the and figure out how you can apply what you learn and make it work for you. Bring creative ideas to your existing customers too. They'll thank you for it.
Sound Sharp. Also, think about how you sound when you're talking to customers. Do you sound confident in your self and positive when conveying value to customers? Do you sound empathetic to your customers' problems and that you genuinely want to help them? Do you sound like you have their best interest at heart? Do you sound like every other person who sells your product or service? If you do, find a reason to call other than, "Can I help you with your needs?" Or, "Are you ready to order at this time?" Or, "Have you looked at the brochure we sent?"
If you are in retail sales, how about if every time a customer walks in your store, instead of saying, "May I help you?" (How boring!) Say,"Hi! I'm Mary. Would you like me to direct you to the sale items?" Or, "Hi! I'm Mary, can I show you any particular item or answer any questions for you?" Then, hand them a coupon for a 10% discount just for walking in the door.
Go Back to Basics. You remember what that means: It is doing the activities you did when you first got started that gave you results. One of them was staying on the phones until you made a connection, booked an appointment or made a sale. Great sales people instinctively know they must spend time "dialing for dollars" to existing and potential customers to get out of a negative sales period. If there aren't enough incoming calls, there must not be enough going out! So if your phone's not ringing ask yourself: How many calls am I making? If your phone is quiet, it was because you're not making enough calls.
Muster up the discipline to spend several hours on the phone each day to help generate business to get you out of the quicksand and onto solid selling ground. The best business development and salespeople know that whether business is down or whether they're soaring high, they still need always the discipline to get on the phones and hustle or for sure it will fall off.
Hone Your Selling Skills. Master the Art of Influencing Customers to Buy From YOU. Your ability to influence others is not only an art, but a science. You can win-over today's tough customers and get results faster by understanding and applying the concepts and theories in the "art" of influencing people. Use a consultative selling approach by asking the right questions and using words and phrases that influence customers to buy. Memorize your responses to objections, and learn how to clearly articulate the benefits of your products or services.
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Get Visible. Here's something I've often heard: "I used to visit a lot of customers and attend events, but I don't have time anymore." Physically calling on customers and attending business events are likely activities that helped you get established. You may need to do go back to those practices to get up and running again. If business is down, make more face-to-face appointments, attend networking events, meetings, trade shows, chamber of commerce functions or association functions where you can meet potential customers, learn about your industry, build relationships and form strategic alliances. Be selective where you spend your time and money but remember that visibility is important. It's often the face-to face interaction that bonds a relationship. There's just no substitute for knocking on doors.
Reconnect. Reconnect with your advocates. When sales are down for a long period, visit customers, suppliers, and industry contacts who know you and love you. Don't be shy. Graciously and confidently ask for referrals and more business. Don't tell them you're in a slump. Tell them about the customers you have who are saving money, increasing productivity and receiving quality products and services from your firm. Tell then how you exceeded expectations for a particular customer and that you can do the same for them. The efforts you make to maintain strong business relationships can pay off for you when you need it the most.
Spend Time Forming New Relationships. Calling on new customers (even those you believe are loyal to your competitor) will help you get out of a slump and move you toward long-term profitability. While results don't always happen overnight, if you keep calling on potential customers and work hard at building relationships, when the time comes for them to buy you'll be the one who will get their business.
Maximize Your Productivity. Here are a few hard questions to ask yourself if you've been in a slump: Have you been working efficiently but not effectively? Have you been very busy and working hard during a slump, but haven't been getting results? Then you haven't been effective. Have you been spending too much time going after small accounts, without consistently striving to get business from larger accounts? Are you spending too much time reading non-business e-mail instead of calling on customers and potential customers?
Remember the 80/20 Rule: "20 percent of your customers will generate 80 percent of your business." Are you going after the right 20 percent every day? Have you thrown in the towel too soon? Would just a few more times at bat give you the home run? Take a good hard look inside yourself. Have you been procrastinating on taking action to get out of a slump?
Have you been making the best use of your time? Have you prioritized your to-do's each day and done them first? What percentage of your day have you spent in non-sales related activities? Are you organized? If you don't have effective organizational skills, get them. Your alternative is to agonize over why your sales are not where you want them to be.
Create a Sales-Service Excellence Culture. If your sales are down, maybe it's not because of changing markets, increased competition, or because you haven't been working hard enough. Maybe its because not everyone in your company recognizes that they, too, are "in sales" no matter what their job role. Maybe they don't realize that they play a strong role in developing the reputation of your company, and helping you get repeat business and establish high levels of customer loyalty. Is it time for culture change in your company? If so, change it.
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Set, Reset, and Work Toward Reset Goals. Have you lost sight of your goals, or worse, failed to set them? Big mistake! Even the most sophisticated executives set goals. Setting goals is a way of making things concrete. It's a sure way to focus your energy if sales are not where you want them to be. Get into a non-business setting where you can think clearly and there will be no distractions. Sit down and write down your goals, and what action you'll take. Establish your priorities, and set goals so that you'll move forward. For example, "I will make 10 phone calls per day to existing customers, and 20 to potential customers." "I will study my industry and check out my competition on the Web at 1/2 hour each day."
Not your style to set goals? Even the most sophisticated business professionals set goals. Write them down and look at them each day. Make sure your goals are specific in nature, as opposed to something as generic as "increase sales." Review your goals regularly, such as every 30 days, to analyze your progress. And while you should strive to achieve all of your goals, it makes sense to revamp them if needed.
Invest in yourself. Spend more time and energy on learning new skills and self-improvement. Bring in a sales expert to provide customized training for you and your sales team to learn critical skills. Don't wait for your annual sales meeting. If sales are down, now's the time to do it! Take a refresher course on sales training, enroll in an advanced sales training program, or take advantage of training offered by your trade association. Whatever you choose to do, make it priority to be dedicated to continuous self-improvement and focus on improving your skills. It just might pay off more than you could ever imagine.
Brainstorm with Your Sales Team. Analyze your "Best Sales Practices" and share the information with your entire sales force. If you sell through dealers, or your sales force is situated across the country, do it through e-mail, or hire someone to do it for you. Urge your dealers to redouble their efforts and do what has worked in the past to increase their sales, and everything they didn't have the time to do when times were good.
Outshine Your Competition. Portray a higher level of service in every aspect of the business process. Listen more talk less. Provide more knowledge, offer more ideas and help them more than your competitors. Become the "go-to" person for help, and position yourself as an ongoing and valuable resource to customers. End each encounter with these words, "I really appreciate your business. Is there anything more I can do for you today?" Develop an obsession for turning out your best performance with every encounter, with every customer, every day!
Alleviate the pressure- Being in a selling slump can be challenging, but it doesn't have to ruin your life. Laugh a little. Let your customers see you smiling. If you can get your customers to laugh, your chances of making that sale will improve.
Think and Act Like a Champion.
When you are with a champion, you can't tell whether things have gone well for that person the previous hour, day, week or even month.
Learn the secret to sales success. There is no mystical, magical secret to sales success. It comes from hard work. But if there were a secret, it would be simple:
Believe in your company, its products or services,
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