The secret to selling yourself

The secret to selling yourself

Did your upbringing teach you to be modest rather than flaunt your talents and abilities?

If so, you may find the idea of selling yourself repellent or somewhat embarrassing.

As a service provider the success of your business depends on how confident, powerful and sincere you are at selling yourself, your professional services and leading authentic client conversations.

There is nothing more frustrating than being exceedingly good at what you do but totally inept at being able to convey this in a convincing way.

If you have a negative mindset or a dislike of selling this will have a powerful effect on your confidence, credibility and trustworthiness with your clients.

Don’t let your dislike of sales and selling get in the way of growing your business.

Don’t overlook the fact that selling is a skill and it must be learned.

It is essential that you know how to sell yourself and your ideas

Does being good at selling mean you have to be good at controlling, convincing or manipulating others?

Definitely not!

Quite the contrary.

 

  • Being good at selling means you are quickly able to convey honesty, credibility, trust and high value.
  • Being good at selling means you are self-assured when it comes to communicating your expertise and discussing your fees.
  • Being good at selling means you are able to talk about your services in a way that inspires and motivates people to take action and say yes to working with you.

 

Make Yourself Irresistible

If you want to realise your potential and achieve fulfilment it pays to learn how to make yourself irresistible to others.

To make yourself irresistible to others you first have to believe that YOU are valuable and special.

You need to radiate self-confidence and a sense that you appreciate and care for yourself.

When others see these qualities in you, they will perceive that this is how THEY will be treated.

Get Off Planet Me

When you are comfortable in your own skin you won’t worry about how others judge you.

You won’t worry about the effect you are creating.

You won’t feel the need to prove yourself.

Your feelings of self-consciousness will dissipate.

You will feel enthusiastic about life.

You will want to create deep and meaningful connections with people.

You will find it easy to take the emphasis off you and shine the limelight on others.

We all know people like to feel valued and appreciated.

By showing a genuine interest in others you will demonstrate that you care.

You will make people feel good about themselves.

And in turn they will feel good about being around you.

People who are attracted to you will value your advice and your opinions.

They will allow themselves to be influenced by you.

Become A Lifelong Student Of Self Development

Make an investment in yourself.

Become a lifelong student of self-development.

Successful people practice self-development.

The legendary entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said it best: “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development.”

How to build instant rapport

How to build instant rapport

We know that people do business with those they know, like and trust.

The ability to build instant rapport is an essential ingredient for the success of any business.

You have but a moment to make a great first impression.

To put your prospective customer at ease.

To gain their trust and confidence.

Remember that rapport is not a conscious decision.

It happens at the level of the unconscious mind.

To be successful in developing rapport it’s important from the outset to engage in a warm and enjoyable exchange with your prospect.

I am gregarious by nature and using humour is my usual approach.

I’m always mindful of the mood of my prospect and the circumstances and I will temper my attitude to suit the occasion.

Assume You Already Have Rapport

Usually when I first meet someone I try to gauge how familiar I can be with them without coming across as brash or intrusive.

I really enjoy meeting new people.

I like to treat them as if I already know and trust them.

I hope that this will send out subconscious signals encouraging them to accept me in the same way.

This behaviour comes naturally to me and is consistent in my dealings with everyone.

It is important that the style of approach you embrace comes naturally to you, that it suits your personality.

To do otherwise would be pretentious and insincere, and people will sense this.

Face-to-Face Vs Telephone

Meeting face-to-face means greeting someone with good eye contact and a genuine easy smile.

Whereas over the phone you need to tune into their personality and respond appropriately to their tone of voice.

It takes practice.

Whatever the case, it’s about being naturally inquisitive and using good listening skills.

You should encourage your prospect in an undemanding way to disclose key information all the while gently guiding the conversation in the direction you would like it to go.

Use your powers of persuasion but keep in mind that people don’t like to be sold to.

They prefer to buy something because it meets a need or solves a problem.

Style of Communication

Learn to mirror the other person by matching the characteristics of their voice, including their tone, pitch, speed and volume.

Pay particular attention to their preferred style of communication.

Normally we converse using all three styles but each of us has a preference.

If you adjust your preferred style to match that of your prospect you will do better.

 

  • Visual communicator

You will notice that the visual communicator tends to use language like “I get the picture” or “I see what you mean”.

When speaking they will primarily look up or up and to the side as they process answers to your questions.

Generally they are fast talkers because it is a lot quicker to put visual memories into words.

 

  • Auditory communicator

An auditory communicator might use the phrase “I hear what you are saying” or “sounds good”.

Mostly they will move their eyes left to right or right to left (from ear to ear) as they have the need to hear what they are saying.

Usually these people speak at a moderate speed.

 

  • Kinaesthetic communicator

If your prospect prefers to engage using his kinaesthetic senses he could very well say something like “I get the feeling that” or “do you know what I mean?”

While talking they have the tendency to look down and to the right as they need to feel what they are saying.

Typically they will be slow talkers because it takes longer to feel a response and then to get it out.

Body Language

A very important way to make your prospect feel calm and relaxed is to match his body language, such as the way he stands or sits, his facial expressions and the gestures he makes.

But be careful … you don’t want to make it obvious!

Acknowledge & Approve

Be sure to acknowledge and approve of what your prospects have to say during the course of your conversation with them.

They will feel reassured knowing you are actively listening, that you value and respect their point of view.

With practice you will master these skills.

You know you have succeeded in creating a feeling of comfort and closeness when someone asks “I feel like I know you. Have we met before?”

How to nurture your natural sales gift

How to nurture your natural sales gift

I have been in professional selling for most of my career and I love it.

I enjoy interacting with people and helping my customers achieve a far better state of affairs in their businesses.

Contrary to long-held beliefs, selling does not involve manipulation – talking people into buying something they don’t want.

No way!

It’s about using your ideas persuasively.

In contrast to manipulation, persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest.

It’s about treating them well and showing them respect.

It’s about understanding their needs, finding solutions to their problems, and providing real value.

Consumers are more aware now

Consumers are far more aware than they used to be.

They are better researchers.

They can source a product and/or service immediately, and find reviews and recommendations from friends and experts at the drop of a hat.

They are accustomed to making a decision based on the information they have gathered.

In most cases their buying decision is pretty much made before they even choose to engage with a salesperson.

More than ever before selling is all about building rapport, about how well you transfer your beliefs to your prospective customer.

You need to be completely authentic in what you have to say because if you’re not, they will see straight through you and you will encounter resistance.

Selling is a natural and innate gift

We are all born with a natural ability to sell.

We use selling skills in order to receive attention and to get what we want.

Babies cry.

Toddlers throw tantrums.

As adults, I’d like to think we’re a little more sophisticated in the way we communicate our needs to others 🙂

The truth is that throughout our lives we will never stop selling and communicating with people.

People really do buy people, not products

Over the years I’ve met many people who have the innate ability to build instant rapport with total strangers.

Like a new car salesperson I once knew named Brad.

I know… many people have a negative perception of car salesmen.

But Brad was a really nice guy, and a super sales star.

He had customers lined up, waiting to deal with him.

Not only did he know what he was talking about, he truly cared about his customers and he connected with them in a deep and meaningful way.

He worked hard on getting them the best deal possible and he was great when it came to after sales service.

He promised his customers he had their back and he’d be there whenever they needed him.

And true to his word, he followed through.

I used to see him negotiating with staff behind the counter in the service department on behalf of his customers when I took my car in for scheduled maintenance.

Brad’s customers were repeat customers.

They came back to him time and again.

He’d been known to sign deals where people paid more for their new car than they would have if they’d gone through another dealership, just because they wanted to deal with Brad.

Allow your natural ability to shine through

You have what it takes to be authentic and trustworthy.

You know how to make connections with people and share your beliefs.

Now you have to allow that natural ability to shine through.

Don’t focus your attention on making the sale.

Instead believe in the positive difference you can make in your customer’s world.

Concentrate your efforts on making deep and meaningful connections with your customers, and on building long-term relationships based on providing value.

If you can master these skills, there is every chance you can become a truly remarkable salesperson, just like Brad.

Some people get sold quickly

Some people get sold quickly

Don’t go ignoring signals from your prospective customers that they are ready to sign on the dotted line while you’re still in the middle of your presentation.

It’s possible on occasion to come across a lay down misère.

We’re conditioned to believe that people need to be in full possession of the facts before they make a buying decision.
Not always so.

Some people get sold quickly.

Perhaps your prospect has already shopped around extensively

Maybe he’s spoken with providers of similar services.

With your competitors.

Most are not forthcoming with that information.

It’s the way they like to play the game.

With an ace up their sleeve.

An advantage you don’t know about.

But if you ask the right questions and listen carefully to their responses it should become apparent to you at what stage they’re at in the buying cycle.

It could be they know precisely what they’re looking for and you’ve reached the part in your presentation where you’ve addressed the issue they were worried about.

Since you’ve dispelled their fears they are ready to commit to come on board with you.

So many sales people are compelled to get to the end of their presentation that they block out everything until they’re done.

They believe that getting through the entire sales pitch is necessary to clinch the deal.

A good salesperson is always on the lookout for subtle buying signals and nonverbal cues that indicate when to start the conversation that would lead to a closed sale.

You’ve got to pay attention to your prospect’s behaviour at all times

Like a change in their tone of speech.

Their bodily movements.

The way they look at you.

Or you just might miss a buying signal.

And finish up talking them out of the sale!

The proud new business owner is so focused on making a good impression it’s easy to become oblivious to what’s going on around her.

Ask for the sale, then shut up!

Ask for the sale, then shut up!

The most important aspect of selling is asking probing questions and listening carefully to the answers.

The sound of your prospect’s voice is more useful to you than the sound of your own.

Without doubt the single most critical time to listen is when you ask your prospect a closing question.

Then you must remain silent and wait.

The answer might not come straightaway.

Your prospect may want to mull things over before making a decision.

The waiting could feel uncomfortable for you

It might seem like an eternity.

But you must resist the temptation to jump in.

Do not assume your prospective customer is wrangling with the usual objections you come up against.

Like price for instance.

Chances are you could be way off base.

If you jump to the conclusion that your prospect thinks the price is too high and you blurt out a discount, you can bet if price wasn’t the issue …  it sure is now!

By breaking your client’s concentration you run the risk of destroying your credibility.

Your client may question whether they are getting your best offer.

Whether you have their best interests at heart.

You need to muster up the courage and the concentration to stay silent.

Give your prospect time to think things over, to process their decision.

The time they take to make their decision won’t seem as difficult or as long to them as it does to you.

Pay particular attention to their body language

Often their body language gives clues as to their train of thought.

An answer will usually arrive after a minute or two.

If the answer is yes.

Great!

If not, and you are confronted with an objection, address the objection in the appropriate manner and ask another closing question.

Then shut up and wait again for the response.

Continue with this process until you receive a definitive answer.

Contrary to popular belief, having the gift of the gab does not make a good salesperson.

Struggling with self-promotion?

Struggling with self-promotion?

Many service based entrepreneurs and small business owners I know struggle with self-promotion.

It seems a lot of people feel that selling is about being manipulative, or overly persuasive, or forcing someone to purchase something that’s not going to be of any benefit to them.

When I first got into selling I read a lot of books about sales techniques.

But it wasn’t until I got out there and started putting things into practice I really learned, mostly through my mistakes.

Many of the old-fashioned high pressure sales tactics I’d studied were not successful.

I ditched what wasn’t working for me and I focused on providing solutions for my customer, adding value, and building sustainable trustworthy relationships and my sales multiplied.

Selling is not about taking advantage of other people

It’s about creating value for them.

The secret to success is about finding a way to help people get a result they cannot get without you.

That’s what makes you special, unique, valuable.

In today’s market consumers are better informed than ever before.

They don’t have to rely on you for advice.

They can easily access all the information they want for free over the internet.

You need to be somebody worth doing business with.

There is no greater value proposition than a consultant who has the ability to deliver value.

Be straightforward in your dealings with people and give them the opportunity to get to know and like you for who you really are.

As a service professional you need to get your mindset right.

You have to accept that selling is part of your role and part of what you need to do in your business on a regular basis.

With practice and time it will get easier.

The fear of rejection

When you first start out you might find yourself procrastinating when it comes to prospecting for business.

It could be that the fear of rejection is holding you back.

The fear of rejection is the leading cause of poor performance for many business owners.

The ability to handle negative responses and carry on in spite of it plays a great part in your happiness and well-being.

Rejection is never a pleasant thing to experience in any walk of life, but in the sales environment rejection is a daily occurrence.

It doesn’t matter how well you target your marketing you are still going to be met with a lot of “no’s”.

When you are engaged in the process of seeking out new clients it can be tough absorbing one “no” after another.

It’s hard to find comfort in the knowledge that you’re sure to get a lot of “no’s” before you get a “yes”, and that you shouldn’t take rejection personally.

It can be very difficult to stay motivated.

You need to grow a thicker skin, be persistent and stay motivated!

Understand your fear

You have to understand your fear.

Your fear comes from the risk of losing opportunities and the income it provides.

More especially the effect that loss of income will have upon your dignity, your lifestyle, your family, and so on.

You need to put your fear into perspective.

Stop looking at the whole picture.

Break things down into bite-sized pieces.

Start by figuring out your actual numbers.

What is the true value of each closing attempt and each sales activity in your business?

If it comes down to the cost of a phone call and just 10 minutes of your time, it’s not such a big deal now, is it?

The desire to be liked

Everyone wants to be liked and valued.

But in business as in life you won’t like everyone and not everyone will like you.

Don’t squash yourself in any way to gain others’ approval.

This is a certain recipe for frustration and creative constipation.

Be honest in the way you portray yourself.

You want to draw to you people who appreciate you for what you have to offer and for who you really are.

When you give up the desire to be liked, your power comes forward.

Be courageous.

Put yourself out there.

Spread the word about you and your services without regard to whether or not you are well received.

Overcome perfectionist tendencies

If you tend to strive for excellence you will probably feel the need to make sure your offer is polished to perfection before you put it out there.

It’s good to have high standards.

But don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis or the big confidence zapper, compare and despair syndrome.

Perfectionism can be downright harmful.

An all-or-nothing mentality can hold you back from gaining pleasure in what you do and stop you from making any progress.

It’s right up there with other characteristics that contribute to underachievement like procrastination, fear of failure, and workaholism.

You want to enjoy your business journey.

Don’t fixate on the destination.

You’re certain to take a few wrong turns along your path to success, but having clearly defined goals and a proven sales and marketing plan will help to keep you on track.

Handling objections

Handling objections

Objections will inevitably arise during the selling process.

No matter how good your presentation or your service offering, you are likely to be faced with objections, concerns or the necessity for additional information.

Whatever you do, don’t dread objections.

If you dread objections you are sure to make a mess of your response and this could cause you to fail.

Be prepared

The best way to handle objections is to be well prepared.

Write down a list of all the objections you feel you are likely to come up against during your presentation and then think ahead and plan how best to deal with them.

The ability to anticipate an objection is important.

But more important is developing the skills necessary to overcome your prospect’s concerns.

No matter how thorough you are, there will always be a time when a prospect will come up with an objection you have not considered previously.

Beware the test!

Tell me you haven’t done this yourself.

Many business people are well practiced at throwing out objections.

Sometimes it’s simply a test applied by the prospect to every sales approach.

If you give up and walk away at the first or second hurdle it is proof to your prospect that you had nothing of value to offer.

Welcome objections

When you welcome objections you are communicating to your prospects that their needs are important to you and they will be addressed.

Objections are signals that your prospect may be considering your service offering and that more knowledge is required before making a buying decision.

It gives you the opportunity to better understand your prospect’s needs and to give greater emphasis to the benefits of doing business with you.

Do not allow yourself to lose focus by trying to figure out how best to respond to your customer’s objection.

Many prospects tend to raise objections simply to disguise their real concern.

You must tune in to your prospects and listen carefully to what they have to say.

You need to use good questioning techniques to uncover the real reason that is stopping your prospect from making that commitment to sign on as your customer.

As you answer each objection do so with total conviction, and make sure you receive your prospect’s acceptance of your response.

There is no point in moving forward unless the objection has been dealt with to their complete satisfaction.

Be intuitive

Remember that most of the time people tend to buy based on their emotions, not reason.

This can be true even for purchases that might seem totally rational, like a new office chair or computer.

It’s important to try and figure out what emotional need you can tap into to make the sale.

Case histories/testimonials

Now may be a good time to draw on similar challenges faced by your previous customers.

Perhaps you can tell a story or deliver proof through a testimonial of how working with you has produced results similar to those your prospect is keen to achieve.

Honesty is the best policy

Sometimes you may find you simply cannot overcome an objection.

It happens.

If so, honesty is always the best policy.

Do not exaggerate the facts to win the sale.

It is always better to admit you don’t appear to be a good fit and walk away with your integrity intact.

Remember, don’t try to win, try to help.

That way you will build trust and keep the door open for future business.

Types of objections

The most common types of objections that salespeople come up against are:

Scepticism

If your prospect seems sceptical about your ability to deliver it may be because you have promised too much too soon.

Maybe you have underestimated the importance of their particular situation.

Or perhaps you have failed to gain rapport and, as a result, you are not on the same page.

Misunderstanding

It’s possible you have not adequately defined your prospect’s needs.

You must understand their situation and how best you can offer the solutions necessary to close the sale.

You also need to fully appreciate your prospects’s desired outcome and provide detailed examples as to how they will benefit from your service offering.

Be very specific with your answers.

 Stalling

This may seem obvious but from the outset make sure you are dealing with the decision maker.

If your prospect mentions that he wants to get other proposals, see if you can determine what his criteria is and what kind of information he is looking for.

This may be your prospect’s first foray into the market place for a service provider in your particular industry type.

If so, try to be the last provider to present, that way you will know exactly what you are competing against.

 

Low quality versus high end clients

Low quality versus high end clients

Have you ever been tempted to lower your fees in order to undercut your competition and win more business?

Beware!

Lower Fees Will Attract Low Quality Clients

Low quality clients are more focused on price than they are on results.

Clients more focused on price than results are more difficult to work with.

They cost more.

They tend to require the most support.

They’re demanding.

They’re hard to please.

They constantly complain.

They’re never satisfied.

They give less commitment.

They tend to take no responsibility for their own outcomes.

They tend to blame you and your service for anything that goes wrong.

You’ll never get good referrals or glowing testimonials from low quality clients.

Lowering Your Fees Drives Away Your Ideal Clients!

Lowering your fees will repel the clients you most want to work with; those who value your time, your expertise, and who are willing to pay you what you are worth.

When a client is more concerned with what they will receive than what it will cost, they rarely go for the “cheap” option.

High end clients care much less about the cost and much more about the value.

When high end clients see low fees they automatically assume that the service must be lacking in value.

Keep in mind that the size of a client’s commitment is always equal to the size of their investment.

If you take on clients for low fees you can expect to have collection issues on a regular basis, whereas high paying clients usually pay on time.

Transform Your Business & Your Income

It doesn’t take a lot more work to attract high end clients.

When you master the art of attracting high end clients, you will transform your whole business.

You will have more money, more time, and get more satisfaction in the work you do.

High end clients are ideal clients.

They are clients you can really make a difference with and clients with whom you love to work.

They remain loyal.

They become long-term clients.

They understand the value you offer and are willing to pay you more than the average client.

From my own personal experience working in partnership with my ideal clients doesn’t feel like work.

It’s fun and productive!

Ideal clients don’t resist you.

They co-operate with you as you work with them to make significant changes in their businesses and produce high level results.

Developing meaningful relationships with long term clients gives you the opportunity to get to know and better understand their needs.

Are you ready to attract better quality clients into your business?

How to become a sales star

How to become a sales star

Selling is a learned skill

No matter what you’ve heard, there’s no such thing as a natural born salesperson.

Top salespeople become that way by applying themselves with drive and determination to learn everything they can about their chosen career.

The idea that a person should do well in sales simply because he or she has the “gift of the gab” or could “talk the leg off a chair” is just not true.

During my journey I’ve completed many sales and marketing and professional development courses and attended countless seminars and workshops.

I have read with enthusiasm every self-help book and listened to every tape and CD I could lay my hands on.

These days I gain inspiration from top leadership gurus through electronic versions of their best sellers, private coaching, mentoring programs, and webinars.

But nothing beats real life experience, and I have had and still get plenty of that!

A sales star’s toolkit

To be successful at selling it helps to be a people person and someone who enjoys the art of conversation.

To have an optimistic outlook and be able to withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions.

All normal functioning and productive members of society should fit the bill!

The most useful tools in an effective salesperson’s kit should include:

 

  • being solutions orientated – always focus on how your offering best solves the customer’s problem and/or best satisfies their want/need;
  • asking the right sorts of questions – painstaking enquiries will uncover any objections the customer may have for not moving forward;
  • being an exceptionally good listener – truly empathise with your customer’s point of view, encourage them to consider their objections and help them find the answers they need;
  • possessing good powers of persuasion – keep in mind that few people are capable of being convinced, the majority of us allow ourselves to be persuaded!

 The winning traits of a sales star

What separates a fairly good salesperson from a sales star?

It’s their exceptional ability at overcoming objections.

Salespeople who have yet to perfect their skills manage to get through their presentation OK but they tend to freeze when confronted with an objection from the customer.

Mistakenly they might take it personally, feel deflated and go on the defensive.

A sales star simply acknowledges that an objection is merely a request for more information.

The sales star will quiz the customer to ferret out any objections or roadblocks they expect to encounter that could stand between a sale or a no sale in an effort to steer the meeting to its desired outcome.

It makes sense that every customer wants to have any concerns cleared up before they make a decision to purchase.

A lot of times if you craft your questions carefully you may have the customer answering their own objections, allowing the sales process to naturally move forward.

Personally I have encountered as many as eight objections before hearing my first “yes”.

I welcome the no’s because each “no” brings me closer to the “yes”!

And in the process I get to better understand my client’s needs.

Sure, I have to work harder for the sale.

But in my experience having to work hard for the sale results in a better customer relationship than a lay down misère.

Interplay with a prospective customer is fun!

Interplay involves asking lots of questions.

Questions create involvement.

Involvement leads to a deeper association.

And a deeper association creates customer loyalty, quality referrals, and outstanding testimonials.

How to sell on value not price

How to sell on value not price

I always compete on value.

I refuse to compete on price.

You can too.

When things are tough customers often look for bargains and discounts, but they also want quality and certainty.

Most customers recognize when it comes to quality, you seldom get more than you pay for.

But for some there’s always hope!

A lot of people have come to expect discounts as part of the sales process.

Generally they have no problem asking for them.

Your prospective customers are often anxious about paying more than they need to.

So they shop around for the best price.

But often selling on price alone comes at a huge cost for the business owner.

There is no doubt that a decent discount on your service offering will lead to quick sales and help you get customers through the door.

It may be tempting to employ these methods when you’re starting out, perhaps just until you get a foothold in the market.

But the problem is customers who come to you this way will most probably expect discounts before purchasing from you in the future.

And you may find it difficult to raise your prices without the risk of losing them to your competitors.

Then it’s back to square one!

Every industry is becoming more competitive and customers are becoming more discerning.

It’s challenging for business owners in today’s economy to find a way to defeat the competition without slashing prices.

But you need to learn how to sell to people on value, not price.

Don’t Make Yourself Vulnerable To Your Competitors

Lowering your prices to get that deal may seem enticing but it can be catastrophic to your bottom line.

What might seem like a small compromise in order to win business may have serious consequences for you in the long run.

By lowering your prices you are weakening your business.

It will slow your growth and make you susceptible to attack by your competitors.

There are different strategies involved in pricing that don’t always involve cutting prices.

But they do involve being more competitive.

Discounting your services to prospective customers sends the message that you don’t feel totally confident about your offering, that you think the value isn’t there.

Make a Compelling Promise That Is Benefit-Driven

To successfully compete on value, you do need to know everything possible about your target customer and your market.

Make sure you do your homework.

Research your industry and your competition so you can price your offering accordingly.

If today’s customers are to pay more, they must get more.

There are lots of ways to create value for your customers.

The very best way to defeat your competition is to get the best possible match between the strengths of your offering and your customer’s needs.

Consider positioning yourself in the marketplace to fill a gap, a customer need that is not yet being addressed.

Focus on providing a solution to a problem rather than offering the cheapest price.

And, in order to keep your customers from straying be sure to promise and deliver exemplary customer service.

Keep in mind that people are willing to pay more if they think they are getting special or significant value.

And if you present to them in just the right way.

One Last Word On Discounting

If you want to sell your services more profitably to more people you must resist the temptation to discount.

Begin to focus on value.

Remember chances are no matter how much you discount your service it will most likely never be the lowest-priced offering in your industry.

A fact that can actually benefit you in your sales efforts.

After all, everyone is familiar with the saying, “You get no more than you pay for”.

The upshot is if you can demonstrate to your prospects that the value of your service is greater than the price you’re asking, you won’t need to worry about slashing your prices or bargain basement competitors.

How to sell anything

How to sell anything

With just about everything you do in life, your ability to sell will play a huge role in your success.

Having sales skills will teach you about connecting with people, how to get them on board with an idea.

How to negotiate and how to close a deal.

I have put all these skills to very good use in my career and you can too.

There are some basic concepts you must come to grips with in order to succeed.

Once you’ve learned these methods you need to practice them.

Then integrate your newly acquired skills into your personality, into your speech pattern, so they become uniquely yours.

Do your homework

You need to know your customer as well as you possibly can.

Do your research and assemble as much information as possible about them, their needs, their expectations, and so on.

Get a feeling for where they fit in their particular market.

What makes them stand out from their competitors?

Make a list of all the possible questions and objections you think they may throw at you.

Be very well prepared in advance of your first meeting.

It is essential also to have some in-depth knowledge about your competitors and their product or service offering so you are at the ready for what you could be up against.

From experience I know how impressed a client can be with the fact that you know almost as much about their business as they do.

It’s a compliment to them.

It demonstrates you care.

Use good questioning and listening skills

At your face-to-face meeting or during your telephone conversation remember it is all about the client.

It’s not about you.

Be inquisitive.

Ask pertinent questions.

Encourage your client to open up.

Make sure you pay attention to the things that really and truly matter to them, the things that elicit a strong emotional response or reaction.

Gather together all the information you can to help you present your service offering in a fashion that they will find most appealing.

Make a genuine connection

The very best relationships involve a genuine connection between people.

Make an effort to connect with your prospective client in a deep and meaningful way.

Express yourself in a manner that resonates with them.

Where appropriate use humour and anecdotes to spark their interest.

My favourite way of interacting with another person is to “mirror” some of their movements, facial expressions, or words.

This creates a powerful sense of familiarity, comfort and trust.

It is particularly useful in face-to-face encounters, but over time I have managed to hone this skill in my other methods of communication.

Being in possession of all the necessary details about your prospective client’s business you should know precisely what they are looking for and how to overcome their concerns and meet their needs.

Describe the benefits you can provide by relating case studies that show off specific outcomes you have achieved for your other clients.

People like to hear about ideas, features and performance.

Their emotional connection to your stories and the people you have served is what they will remember most.

Ultimately that is what will motivate them to jump on board with you.

Partner with your client

Even though you may be sitting on opposite sides of the boardroom table you must, from the very outset, adopt the mindset that you are working alongside (not for) your prospective customer.

Take the approach that this is a partnership with a mutual objective.

A win/win proposition where you provide your expertise and in turn the client rewards you for having helped them achieve a common purpose.

It is essential for you to prove to your customer that you have a vested interest in producing outstanding results for them.

When you are able to convince your customer that you have a genuine desire and ability to do everything necessary to make them successful, you will win deals.

Building relationships of trust

Building relationships of trust

It is essential for the professional service provider to build relationships based on trust.

How good you are at what you is of no consequence if a potential client doesn’t trust you.

All sales start with a simple conversation.

From the outset you need to show genuine interest in your prospective customers.

You need to be natural and authentic in your dealings with them.

Don’t pretend to be anything other than the real you.

You want them to like you for who you really are.

Make sure you maintain good eye contact and, above all else, remember it’s all about them.

It’s always all about them.

It’s not about you.

Undoubtedly your potential clients want to know you are skillful and experienced in what you do and that you are suitably qualified to help them.

But more than that they want to know you truly care, that they are important to you and you have their best interests at heart. 

Make strong emotional connections

Making a strong emotional connection with people is the first step in developing a relationship with your potential client.

Step back and take a different perspective.

Don’t look at turning prospects into customers.

Look at turning strangers into friends.

Then turning friends into customers.

Get to understand what it is they are looking for.

You want to be clear on what they think they need to solve their problems or help them reach their goals.

You must appreciate and acknowledge what’s relevant to your customer, not what you think is relevant to them.

Being in possession of these facts will help you to establish whether what you have to offer will be of any real benefit to them.

It will give you the opportunity to present your offering in a way that is most attractive to them and best fulfils their needs and wants. 

Why should they choose you?

Work on presenting to your potential customers what it is that’s unique about you.

Why they should regard you as a credible authority in your field.

You must be comfortable with self-promotion.

If you are hesitant or awkward in your delivery your customers will interpret your discomfort as deceit. 

It’s time to blow your own trumpet!

Keep in mind that no-one will ever believe more in you or what you have to offer than yourself!

It’s up to you convince and to reassure people that they have made the right choice, that you are the right person to help them.

They expect, want, and need to hear this from you.

This is not bragging.

Bragging is when you compare yourself to others and assert your superiority.

What you are doing is declaring your strengths, your skills and your expertise in a sincere and professional manner. 

Engaging with your clients

Most potential clients need to get to know you and trust you over time.

Aggressive one-step selling antagonizes customers.

No-one likes to be sold to.

You need to work out the way in which you prefer to interact and engage with your customers so you win their friendship and their respect. 

The sales cycle

There’s a series of stages a client moves through when deciding whether to purchase your products or services.

The number of stages depends very much on the type of business you have and how you’ve set up your sales and marketing funnel.

At each stage of the process your goal is to prove that your solutions work and to deliver on the promises you make.

In the process you want to increase your client’s trust factor and move ever closer to establishing a solid working relationship.

To run a successful business you need to generate continuous sales leads and have lots of people filtering through your funnel at different stages.

What works for many service providers is to make a compelling offer.

An offer that has no barrier to entry.

An offer that carries no risk.

This gives your prospects the opportunity to sample your services and decide for themselves whether or not they want to continue to do business with you.

Whether they become your client may well depend on where they are in the buying cycle and whether working with you was a pleasant experience.

If their experience was productive and enjoyable but they were not yet ready to purchase, you may very likely see them in the future when the timing is right.

Getting past the gatekeeper

Getting past the gatekeeper

Many receptionists, personal assistants, even general members of staff are instructed by management to protect them from interruptions.

To ward off unsolicited phone calls and visitors.

If you have no other choice but to ring the office number to connect with a prospective client more than likely at some stage you will run into a roadblock.

Aka the gatekeeper.

Do not view the gatekeeper as the enemy.

They’re only doing their job.

It’s important to sound important

If the gatekeeper believes you are important, they will treat you differently.

They won’t risk offending you by asking too many questions.

Sound confident, but relaxed and natural.

Ask for the boss by his or her first name so it sounds like a personal call.

Give your first and last name only like that’s all they need to put you through.

Do not state where you’re calling from.

This will imply that the boss needs prompting.

That he doesn’t really know you at all.

Remember your goal is not to inform the gatekeeper.

It’s to bypass the gatekeeper and get to the decision maker.

If the gatekeeper asks you to reveal the purpose of your call, whatever you do, do not launch into your pitch!

If you start selling the gatekeeper, you’re playing a loser’s game.

It will give them the opportunity they’ve been waiting for, to tell you the boss would not be interested in what you have to offer and to get you off the phone.

Check your facts

Use your conversation with the gatekeeper as an opportunity to check your facts.

Ensure that the person you want to speak with is indeed the decision maker.

If the gatekeeper appears to be particularly authoritative it may be worth your time and effort to identify the role she plays.

Uncover whether or not she has the expertise to answer your questions.

Chances are she could be a strong influence in the purchase decision and you will likely have to work through her.

If it’s apparent she’s not involved in making decisions you may want to find out if anybody else is charged with that responsibility.

If so, that person could be readily accessible and willing to give you a listening and a clear pathway to the boss.

Create rapport

Always engage the gatekeeper so they have a positive and friendly attitude towards you.

Building rapport might make them want to help you the next time you call.

Other ways to get past the gatekeeper could be to say you’re touching base regarding a prior conversation.

That you’re following up on information you sent through and you need to discuss it before the close of business.

Or, as a last resort, that you’re returning the boss’s call.

If you employ these tactics be well prepared to deal with any fallout, or you could land yourself in hot water!

If your call goes to voicemail don’t bother leaving a message.

No matter how captivating your message may be, it’s unlikely your call will be returned.

It’s always best to try again later or to find out when the boss will be available and arrange to call him back at a more suitable time.

Always stay in control of the situation.

Never relinquish ownership of the next contact!

Always ask for the business

Always ask for the business

I remember one particular occasion years ago when I was running early for an appointment I was sitting in the foyer outside my client’s office.

The door swung open and my client walked out behind with a well-dressed young man in his early twenties.

As he moved towards me, he was rolling his eyes and smacking a brochure.

“Not a bad product.”

“Probably would have bought the bloody thing if he’d asked me to.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling your services or an appointment, whenever you deliver a presentation in person or over the phone, at the end of it …

Always ask for the sale!

Asking for the sale is the characteristic of a confident, proactive, and professional salesperson.

Once you have established your prospect has a need and you know you have the solution ask for the business.

Simply say “Let’s do business together.”

Not asking for the sale sends a message to the customer that you have a lack of confidence in the value of the product you represent and that you don’t really care whether or not they buy.

Who could blame the client if they lost interest in you and what you had to offer?

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you to remember the importance of asking for the sale.

If you have done a good job explaining all the benefits of your service offering you have every right to ask your prospect if they would like the opportunity to enjoy those benefits by becoming your customer.

Your prospect knows your purpose in meeting with them is to try and sell them something.

When you have done your presentation it is your duty to follow through by asking for the business.

You cannot leave the customer in a quandary

You cannot leave the customer wondering what on earth the point of your meeting was all about.

They have better things to do with their time than just listen to you prattle on without reaching a satisfactory outcome.

If you truly believe in yourself and your service offering you want to make sure you meet the needs of as many prospective customers as possible.

Asking for the sale will help you determine this.

It gives you the opportunity to deal with any concerns or objections you need to overcome in order to get the definitive answer you must have to either take them on board or move on to the next potential customer.

The bottom line is there’s absolutely no point in convincing a customer to work with you if you don’t ask for the business.

Never end your meeting with a wimpish “So, I’ll leave it with you” (like this young salesman did).

Tie up your loose ends.

Ask for the sale!

You are not being pushy.

Remember that selling is a process of matching the needs of your customer with the benefits of your service.

And that process is not finished until you ask for the sale!

New to cold calling?

New to cold calling?

If you’re a new business owner you’ve probably never made a cold call in your life.

Maybe when you started out your customers came through networking with other professionals and/or referrals from trusted friends and associates.

But now that first line of business has dried up you know you need to do something drastic if you are to stay in business.

Your quickest and best option is to prospect for new business over the phone.

Get the right mindset

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself blocked and immobilised by call reluctance.

Call reluctance is real and rampant among new and seasoned business owners.

Before you even think about picking up the phone you must dispel any negative beliefs you have about cold calling.

You don’t want to ruin your chances before you get started.

Your mind is the greatest soap-opera scriptwriter in history and it will probably run through scenarios like …

“People hate cold callers”

“No-one will want to speak with me”

“They’re too busy”

“They’ll just hang up”.

You are not a mind reader!

You have to lift yourself out of your funk and stop second guessing yourself.

It’s worth noting that despite the fact that cold calling gets a bum rap, it’s still one of the most popular strategies businesses employ when seeking growth.

You must have self belief

Of course to be successful in anything you need to believe in yourself.

You need to believe that your service offering is of great value.

You must adopt the attitude that you are doing your prospect a favour by calling and giving them valuable information about the benefits you provide.

There is no doubt you will meet with resistance.

It’s par for the course.

Prepare yourself for rejection but don’t expect it.

And when it happens whatever you do, do not take it personally.

If you get rejected, it’s important to know why.

But don’t mull it over for too long.

Just learn from it then dust yourself off, pick up the phone and make your next call.

The best way to get over your disappointment is to take immediate decisive action.

You don’t have to love cold calling

Not many people do.

But feeling neutral about the process is good.

Neutral is a place where you can function.

Another thing to keep in mind is that “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “no way”.

It may be your prospect needs more information before making an informed decision.

Don’t simply assume you are defeated when you hear “no”.

Find out the reason.

It could be an obstacle you are easily able to overcome.

When you lose an opportunity try to find out why before you end your call.

It will help you to improve your service offering and/or your presentation so you can do better next time.

Create a targeted list

You should have a targeted list of people to call.

If you don’t, you will have to figure out who is most likely to need what you are selling.

You must know who your target market is so you don’t waste your time making contact with people who are not likely to become your customers.

Do your homework.

Make sure before you pick up the phone that you have a list of researched, targeted, and qualified prospects.

This will increase your chances of having a productive conversation with someone who has a need for your service offering.

If you don’t have a contact name or title, don’t be afraid to aim high.

Ring the company and ask for the business owner or the CEO.

Get used to dealing with companies at their highest level.

Odds are if you capture the interest of the business owner you have a very good chance of getting in the door through his or her subordinate.

Prepare a script

When you are starting out you really do need to have a written script.

You must be prepared.

You need a formula to follow, a reference point to return to, in case your conversation wanders off course.

Make sure you write your script in spoken English and make it sound conversational.

Do not read it word for word.

You want to sound natural, at ease.

It’s helpful to write down every single question or objection you think you might hear so you are prepared with a well-considered response.

Add to your list any new ones as you come across them.

Practice makes perfect

It pays to practice.

Read your script through several times then record it.

Play it back to yourself.

Notice the inflection in your voice.

Do you sound bright and friendly?

Do you sound genuine and confident?

Ask a friend or colleague to play devil’s advocate.

Get them to give you a run for your money.

The aim of the game is by the time you get on the phone to play for real you want to have your act together.

You want to sound spontaneous and conversational.

Do you have sales personality?

Do you have sales personality?

In sales, product knowledge is important.

So is sales ability.

But what’s most important is your personality.

In fact your personality determines as much as 80% of your sales success!

You need to be “in the zone”

To perform at your very best you need to be mentally fit.

You need to feel good and be happy.

If you’re feeling under par or stressed your prospective customer will sense your discomfort, your desperation.

This will not inspire trust.

Personally speaking I avoid making cold calls or prospecting for new business unless I’m on top of my game.

Until I have managed to get myself in the zone.

Top performing sales people know how to get in the zone.

They have high levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.

You need to be solutions orientated

If you are to be successful in sales you need to take 100% responsibility for yourself and your results.

You cannot afford to play the blame game.

You need to be solutions orientated, focused on the solution not the problem.

And you need to have staying power.

The ability to continue despite disappointment and setbacks.

Persistent action over a period of time is what leads to success.

You need to have self belief

You need to believe in yourself.

And you need to believe in the value of your product or service to your customer.

No-one will ever believe in what you are selling more than you!

If you do not have complete faith in what you are presenting to your prospective customer you will never be successful in a competitive market.

You need to show you care

You need to learn how to read your prospect.

Observe their body language, tune in to their tone of voice, use appropriate questioning techniques and practice good listening skills.

To build a relationship with your prospective customer you need to inquire in a caring way so that they are willing to share what’s most important with you.

You will then know how to present your product or service in a way that will benefit them best.

Strategies are great, but the real secret is when you truly care you will be naturally curious.

You questions will be automatic and sincere and you’ll get to learn the truth of the matter.

It’s always best to strive to understand the person you are dealing with.

To learn to connect with people in a deep and meaningful way.

Meaningful conversations have a great effect on moods and relationships and they are as effective in business with creating trust as they are in social circles.

Forget the fluff and hype.

Intelligent people see through the mask of inauthenticity.

Don’t be tempted to put on airs and graces.

Just be yourself.

You need to have empathy

If you’re a coach or a student of psychology you may be familiar with the concept called lines of development, that all of us have developed our skills at different levels.

For instance, someone may be a great business person but not particularly good when it comes to parenting advice.

Or someone may be a whiz when it comes to finances but lousy at sales and marketing.

And vice versa.

There is a human tendency to pass judgement on others, to either place someone above you where you admire them, below you where you look down on them, or equal where you presume they are the same as you.

To get to know someone you have to be a detective.

I worked as a private detective for a number of years and I tend to get to know people through a process of elimination.

If you learn to understand your client’s lines of development, his or her strengths and weaknesses, you will know how best to structure your services to meet their particular needs.

And you can work on making the relationship reciprocal.

Is there a better way to build commitment, trust and longevity with your clients?

Continual self-improvement is integral to one’s success in sales.

Do yourself a favour and become a lifelong student of personal development.

It pays!

Mastering the cold call

Mastering the cold call

Personally, I love cold calling!

But let’s face it, not many people do.

And even more people loathe getting cold calls.

But they are a necessary part of doing business.

It’s vital if you are to be successful that you overcome your reluctance to pick up the phone and prospect for new business.

You need to learn how to master the cold call.

Do You Suffer From Call Reluctance?

Do you put off making cold calls?

Do you agonise over what to say and how to say it?

Does the thought of being met with rejection or an objection fill you with fear and anxiety?

If so, you need to reset your expectations.

Treat your first contact with a prospective customer as an opportunity to introduce yourself and your business.

To find out if they have a need for your services and whether you’d make a good fit.

Make this call all about your customer, not about you.

Connect and engage in a way that makes your customer feel you understand their issues.

Until you establish whether or not they have a need for what you have to offer there’s no point in trying to take things any further.

When you adopt this attitude and you receive a no you’ll be able to thank the person for not wasting your time and move on.

It won’t feel personal, because it’s not personal.

It’s just business.

Too many people launch into a sales presentation prematurely then become disheartened needlessly when they are met with rejection.

This is completely avoidable if you employ the above strategy.

Make Your Sales Call Conversational

The truth is a sales conversation should be between two people, talking normally and acting naturally.

When you are being yourself your prospective customer is more likely to let down their guard and listen to what you have to say.

When I prospect for business I use a script as a guide.

I weave it loosely into my conversation, mainly to keep me on point.

And I always have at hand a list of responses to the objections I expect to encounter.

The thing is you need to be prepared in case you come across a prospect who is ready and willing to move forward during your first conversation with them.

I recommend the use of a script.

But whatever you do, do not read it word for word.

You will sound robotic.

You will come across as a telemarketer who flaunts their products to every prospect, regardless of need, in the hope of making a quick sale.

This is sure to antagonise your prospect and result in a “not interested” or a hang up.

Resist The Temptation To Wing It

Another thing.

If your prospect asks you a question for which you have no answer, resist the temptation to wing it.

Believe me, honesty is always the best policy.

Just admit you don’t have the answer but assure them you will get it.

I actually like it when this happens.

It gives me a reason to get back in touch with my prospect and this time it’s a friendly warm call, not a cold one.

Done Well, Cold Calling Works Like A Charm

But with the wrong approach it is an absolute waste of time and energy.

Remember you have just a few seconds to grab a person’s attention and make an impression so make sure your approach is fresh and your opening is strong and convincing.

It may seem obvious but check to make certain from the outset you are speaking with the decision maker.

And don’t bother with small talk.

Get straight down to business.

Your potential customers want to engage in genuine conversation that is both productive and beneficial.

Likewise you want them to know you’re a busy professional who’s got better things to do than waste your time.

Good luck!

And remember, it’s not what you sell … it’s how you sell it.

Telemarketing versus telesales

Telemarketing versus telesales

Telemarketing and telesales are separate activities.

It is important to know the difference so you can make best use of these strategies in your business. 

Telemarketing

Telemarketing is used to generate interest in your product or service.

It’s a cost effective way to professionally present your business to prospective customers, identify excellent potential opportunities and obtain a reliable source of data.

Use telemarketing to provide exemplary service to your existing customers, obtain compelling and useful testimonials and seek new business through influential referrals.

Conduct surveys to reveal buying trends, uncover your strengths and weaknesses and those of other vendors.

This will help you define your point of difference so you can tweak your product or service offering to better position yourself in the marketplace to meet customer demand and outshine your competitors. 

Telesales

Telesales is used to convert into sales the opportunities obtained through your telemarketing efforts.

It is particularly effective when you have comprehensive data and full contact details of prospective clients.

The entire selling process is carried out during the one telephone call including the payment transaction.

Telesales can be used to renew contact with your existing and past customers.

It’s easier to sell a secondary or supplementary product to someone who has purchased from you previously as the buyer and seller relationship is already established.

It pays to practice good contact database management.

This will enable you to target prospective customers who have enquired about your product or service in the past but not purchased, or those identified as potential customers in earlier marketing campaigns.

Qualities of a great telemarketing and telesales consultant are…

 

  • Product knowledge

An effective telemarketer needs to have a thorough understanding of your product or service offering in order to confidently engage in a persuasive discussion with a prospective customer and give correct and detailed answers to all their questions.

 

  • Customer knowledge

Research and analysis of the prospective customer is key to offering solutions best suited to meet their needs or concerns.

 

  • Upbeat personality

We know that prospects prefer to do business with those they like and trust.

Effective telemarketers always come across as friendly and courteous while sounding professional and authoritative.

Their dialogue needs to be engaging and even if the prospect fails to meet the criteria, it is the telemarketer’s duty to leave a positive impression.

 

  • Good questioning techniques and listening skills

Telemarketers need to understand their prospect’s perspective in order to come up with a solution that best fits their needs and budget.

This requires the use of effective techniques and sharp listening skills.

 

  • Excellent verbal communication

Decision makers expect to receive calls from trustworthy sales and marketing experts.

Telemarketers need to be clear communicators, have a good vocabulary and an educated tone that inspires confidence.

 

  • Correct timing

Knowing when to make contact with a prospect, when to push for a sale and when to back off are practices that help build quality relationships with potential clients. 

 

  • Results driven

An effective marketing and telesales consultant is self-motivated, concentrates on meeting objectives and accomplishing success.

 

  • Closing skills

An effective telesales consultant views objections as an integral part of the sales process.

They have well-honed skills and strategies to overcome customer objections and close the deal.

They always ask for the sale!

Partnering with a professional

If you decide to outsource your lead generation activities make sure you partner with a professional.

You want to make sure you receive well qualified appointments with decision makers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

You also want to make sure you persistently and persuasively convert your leads into sales, thereby increasing conversion rates and decreasing costs per sale.

Cold calling tips

Cold calling tips

Does cold calling still work in the 21st Century?

Sure does!

In terms of direct marketing, cold calling is still one of the most targeted and cost effective ways to reach potential customers.

There’s no better way to do business than to have a real conversation with your prospect.

In fact cold calling is second only to the most effective lead generation tactic, referrals.

There is an art to cold calling though.

It needs to be done right.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking cold calling is simply a numbers game.

That’s a myth!

Dialling number after number and going through the no’s and hang-ups until you finally get a yes is a tedious exercise and a complete waste of your time.

A Targeted List

To be effective your cold calls must be targeted to your desired audience.

Create an ideal customer profile.

Get specific, and contact only those people who meet your criteria.

Research Your Prospect

If possible, do some research about your prospect over the internet.

Any business that wants to be taken seriously these days needs an online presence.

A website should give you an insight into their company culture and perhaps the name and title of the decision maker.

The more you know about your prospect before you make contact the easier it will be for you to ask relevant questions to establish whether or not you are likely to make a good fit.

However, if during the course of your conversation it becomes apparent that the prospect no longer fits your criteria, resist the temptation to work with them anyway.

Let them go.

Define Your Goal

Keep in mind that the purpose of a cold call is not to close a sale.

Instead it’s an opportunity for you to introduce yourself and your business, establish whether there is a need for your services, and if you are suited to work together.

Once you are clear about this it’s up to you to initiate the next step in your sales cycle.

Develop Your Approach

Cold calling is a communication skill.

You want your prospect to be interested and excited by what you have to offer.

It’s important to develop a pattern of speech that is effective and feels comfortable for you.

The way in which you approach your prospect will very much depend on the information you have gathered about them and their business.

Make sure you do your homework so you have something compelling to say.

It must be relevant to them.

Your prospect is a busy person and most probably gets bombarded from all directions with business offers during the course of their working day.

You want to stand out from the rest, so try to be fresh and unique in your approach.

Should You Use A Script?

If you already prospect for business over the phone you probably introduce yourself in the same way each time.

And during your discussions you most likely hear very similar questions and objections from your prospects.

Over time you would have put together some standard answers and responses.

 

Even though you may not have anything written down, believe it or not you are using a script!

 

Successful sales professionals use scripts they’ve practiced and perfected over the years.

They’ve become skillful at tuning into their prospective customers.

They know what to say and when to say it.

Their responses are instinctive.

They are well prepared.

They don’t wing it.

They know what works and what the customer wants to hear them say.

Remember you have but a few seconds to capture your prospect’s attention so you want to make sure you use language that will appeal to their senses.

From the outset always state the purpose of your call.

Whether that’s an appointment for a face-to-face meeting, a web-based presentation or the like, just so your prospect knows what to expect from you.

In time you will be so well practiced with your presentation that your words will roll off your tongue.

But until then it is worthwhile writing a script.

It can be something as simple as a bulleted list.

This will serve to prompt you to make sure you cover everything you intended, in case your conversation wanders off track.

The fatal mistake some people make

The fatal mistake some people make

Many years ago when I ran my insurance loss adjusting business I enlisted the services of a local recruitment agency during times of overload.

Their temporary personnel consultant Ann was an absolute delight to deal with and she was so efficient.

One day Ann rang to say she was moving into permanent placements in the city and she was leaving me in the hands of her off-sider Liz, who she’d briefed with regard to my business needs.

I’d never met or spoken with Liz, but I remember Ann telling me she had a reputation of being a bit of a hard task-master with her applicants.

Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing … at least for her clients.

Several days later Liz rang to introduce herself.

She called me Terri when my name is Teresa.

I corrected her but she explained her best friend is Teresa with an h and she calls her Terri for short, so perhaps it would be less confusing for her if she just called me “Terri”.

What a cheek!

She could at least have asked me how I preferred to be addressed.

I told her Terri was not my name.

I’d never been called Terri in my life.

And if she wanted to continue to do business with me she should show me the courtesy of addressing me by my correct name!

Now I’m not suggesting many people would dare to be as brazen as Liz.

But not getting somebody’s name correct is a personal sign of disrespect and laziness.

It screams out “I am somebody who doesn’t care enough.”

Don’t be that person.

The last thing you want to do is start off a sales conversation with the word “Sorry” and try to recover from that.

Get your client’s name right!

Dale Carnegie (author of How to Win Friends and Influence People) said that the sweetest sound a person can hear is his own name.

And it’s true, but only when it’s used appropriately by the right person at the right time.

Here are a few tips to make sure you never make this mistake:

Before you speak with the prospect, ask someone at the prospect’s office how to pronounce their name, and write it down phonetically in your notes.

Better still, ask the receptionist, their executive assistant or someone else in the office how the prospect prefers to be addressed, for example, David, Dave, Mr. Jones, etc.

Do not rename your prospect. For example, one of my customers, Benjamin, said that people will often call him Ben even after he answers the phone with “This is Benjamin”.

Big mistake!

When all else fails, here is a website you can use where you can enter names and hear an audio with the pronunciation.