Vacation Preparation Allows for Business Continuity Upon Return

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Vacation Preparation Allows for Business Continuity Upon Return

With the end of summer fast approaching, many are preparing to take vacation albeit a few days or for an extended time.  In either case, time should be spent anticipating what will be expected of us while we are gone.  This applies to career, business and the job hunt too.

My own checklist may help you to facilitate what needs to be taken care of ahead of time and perhaps alleviate some stress:

Calendar

Review your calendar for anything mistakenly still appearing on the days you will be gone.  Your mind will be distracted while away, and so it’s best to reschedule everything you may ahead of time.  In the event you Have To take the call, then create an alarm prior to leaving for the holiday so as not to forget.

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Follow-up

Review your lists of pending clientele and current clientele.  Revisit your calendar in regard to your return.  Make note of when you need to follow-up to schedule meetings and continue conversations.

Advance Work

In my own case, instead of promising myself to work on vacation, I do my best to create a surplus of what is needed in terms of articles and other projects ahead of time.  I commit to completing significantly more each day beginning a week or two in advance.  This way, I am able to fully enjoy vacation.

Projects for Return

Give thought to the new projects you have in mind for last quarter of the year.  List them out along with initial steps for each.  Otherwise, it will be a headache trying to recall what specifically needs to get done when you return due to your more relaxed state of mind.  

Getting a handle on all that needs to be done ahead of schedule will help you to avoid having to scramble upon your return. 

Review Summer Success

Generally speaking, less business is conducted during the summer.  The slower pace provides more time for further education or formulating new ideas.  Recall what your favorite moments were during the summer and why that might be the case.  This may provide impetus for furthering that particular venue or creating something complementary.  By fondly recalling the summer season, you will be getting yourself into the mindset of being on vacation. 

Return to the Office

It always takes me a few days to get back into the frame of mind of a full day’s work.  Review your client list once again to see who lives near by and that you enjoy.  Invite that person to lunch as your guest.  Doing so will further develop your relationship and helps you to ease into the work routine awaiting you.

Following these suggestions will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

In Need of Inspirational Speaking, Sales Training, or Coaching: Contact Me

 

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Become the Go-To Problem Solver to Build Clientele

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Become the Go-To Problem Solver to Build Clientele

Most people buy from service providers due to the need for finding a solution to their problem.  The biggest decision is who to trust to do the best job.  This holds true for hiring the best job applicant as well.

Salespeople are generally given a bad name because they talk too much without recognizing what the other party truly needs.  Numerous factors come into play for selecting the preferred provider. 

The biggest factor to earn more sales and a growing clientele is to distinguish yourself
through understanding of how decisions are made.

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How Decisions Are Made:

  • Listening to understand

Recognizing that the customer perspective comes first, ask why you were invited in for the consultation.  In this regard, there will be no denying there is a need and it reconfirms why you are there.  While it may seem repetitive if you already had this conversation, it reconfirms the idea in their mind plus new events may have arisen since you last spoke.

  • Intelligent questions asked

Differentiating yourself from most others begins with careful listening to be able to ask strategic questions.  These may include how the one problem is affecting other situations with performance, their clientele satisfaction, as well as office morale.

The bigger the picture you are able to get your prospective client to reveal, the larger the potential sale and greater the opportunity to become the chosen supplier.

  • Equal exchange of conversation

Match the level of animation in the conversation to make the other party feel comfortable with you.  Smile where appropriate to show you are on their side.  And allow a flow of conversation.

It’s actually okay if you speak less because the client-to-be does not want to feel as if you are simply there to increase your income.  They prefer to know they are being heard and taken seriously in order to get those problems resolved.   

  • Add value with new ideas

Your contribution to the conversation is greater after the prospective client shared everything they could think of to tell you.  With understanding of the entire picture, you are able to make assurances for what you are able to provide.

But the true differentiator is having built a trusting relationship. The new ideas that will provide a more robust solution within their budget is what most decision-makers seek.  But the remaining question becomes whether your service is affordable and if the timeline is right.

  • Seeking middle-ground

Budget is to be asked at the beginning of the conversation.  By the time it gets to the end of the meeting, you have a great idea of all costs involved.  It is your duty to ask for prioritization of everything suggested and for full disclosure of monies available to spend.

  • Earning the sale

Conducting business in this manner will increase the opportunities provided.  You will be seen as a professional problem solver doing their best to help their clientele.  Becoming that problem solver leads you to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

In Need of Inspirational Speaking, Sales Training, or Coaching: Contact Me

 
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How to Improve Client Growth

 

How to Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Improve Client Growth

Professional offices are in even greater need of providing excellent customer care than salespeople or entrepreneurs.  Why?  These types of businesses are set up to wait for patients to approach them instead of the usual pursuit to find clientele.

Incidents

An introductory appointment had me believing I found a valuable resource in this professional office.  We had an in-depth conversation and it appeared that the desire was to provide outstanding care.  But those hopes soon diminished with the following episodes:

  • Ignoring a request for a needed prescription refill
  • Forgetting to schedule lab work
  • No record of a future appointment

These three incidents involved the office help who had no idea what the doctor did or did not do.  Communication was broken among this team.

Sales Lesson:

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Teamwork Essentials

Without impeccable teamwork among employees and excellent communication with the employer, clients become frustrated and leave.   All of the upfront time invested in getting to know patients was completely wasted.

Train every assistant and full time employee on your values and priorities.  Be certain they understand your policies toward customer care.  Every person in your employ needs to mirror you for consistency and further building of your brand.

An even better approach is to train people on each other’s job.  Doing so will keep your machine running smoothly should someone be ill or go on vacation.

Sales Lesson:

Consistency in teamwork further builds trust and a loyal clientele.

Response Time

Whether your clients are patients or consumers they expect timely delivery for products, services, and responses to questions.  A timely response time indicates you care and wish to retain their business.  If you are unable to respond in a timely manner, let the person know you received their request but will need a little extra time and provide the ETA.

Sales Lesson:

Everyone appreciates punctuality and being notified ahead of time should a delay be required.  They recognize you are trying your best.

Follow Up

Always check in with your clientele regarding satisfaction of what was purchased and ask if need for improvement is seen.  Should you receive feedback for improvement, thank the person and then give due consideration.  And when you hear they love your service, ask permission to use their words as a testimonial.

Check back a month later to be certain satisfaction is still high.  Upon hearing “Yes!” then ask you client if she might know of anyone else in need of something similar.  Most people do not remember to offer referrals but when asked usually oblige.

Sales Lesson:

Follow up with all clients to ensure satisfaction.  Hearing glowing words, ask for a testimonial and possibly a referral.

Following this guidelines as a Manager in Corporate or as an entrepreneur will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

In Need of Inspirational Speaking, Sales Training, or Coaching: Contact Me

 
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How Gamifcation Will Bring You Closer To Your Customers

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  How Gamifcation Will Bring You Closer To Your Customers

Gamification gives businesses an exciting way to get their most valuable customers to contribute to research and marketing efforts, even if they otherwise may not. When enticed with gamification, even the users who are most hesitant to respond to questionnaires or surveys show a greater willingness to participate. Here is how businesses can use gamification to learn more about their customers.


Gamification can entice otherwise reluctant customers to fill out questionnaires and surveys.

The Gamification Concept

Mashable defines gamification as "the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts." The strategy uses the human predisposition for games to encourage people to engage in tasks that they would otherwise ignore because they found it boring. This may include filling out forms, completing surveys or reading websites they wouldn't otherwise read. A gamification platform, for example, may reward points to people who report their location while using a certain application.

Marketing Research: Gamification's New Frontier

As discussed in the article "Why You Should Use Gamification in Your Marketing Research," businesses can implement a gamification strategy with great results when gathering consumer data – especially when it comes to mobile. The simple act of animating a survey by converting "yes" and "no" checkmark boxes into graphical buttons can increase response rates. By including badges and points systems, marketers improve overall participation rates, without affecting the results of individual surveys.

Alternative Applications

According to Forbes, educators have used gamification to keep students engaged. By gamifying traditional educational materials, teachers have been able to keep students interested and curious in subject matter that they ordinarily found dull. Gamification has been shown to encourage students not to not give up at the first hurdle, whether they achieve it or not.

Other research shows that human resources departments are using gamification to filter and analyze candidates and potential recruits. This helps companies narrow the search process and streamline hiring.


Educators and HR professionals are joining marketers in getting results with gamification.

More companies used gamification in 2014 than ever before – and the trend is not slowing, with businesses increasing their investment in the concept in 2015. Gamification is most commonly found in marking, but HR departments are using it to find the best recruits, and schools are using it to keep students engaged and interested. "Boring" tasks are easy to brush off, but sometimes tedious chores are the most important, and with gamification, even the most reviled tasks become more appealing.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance business writer who covers marketing technology and software.

Following the gamification advice will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

In Need of Inspirational Speaking, Sales Training, or Coaching: Contact Me

 

 
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Are You Expecting Too MUCH?

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Are You Expecting Too MUCH?

For some reason certain people either truly believe others expect too much or state such because they aren’t willing to work hard on their client’s behalf.  When I hear the words similar to, “You deserve nothing”, for me it’s as if nails are running across a chalkboard.  I shudder.

Deserving

In the event you are a buyer, list out everything you expect to achieve.  At the top of the list should be the word “value” in exchange for the purchase.  List descriptions of the value to be derived.  Mentally consider why you do deserve to achieve all that you expect from the purchase.

Lesson Learned:

Positive thinking usually brings positive results.

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Change Chairs

Having gone through the exercise of value, are you delivering the same for your clientele?  Here is what one service provider wrote to me today:

“I want to make sure you get the best deal out there regardless of who you choose…”

Lesson Learned

I have never heard those words from a service provider before.  Had he been standing near me, I might have given him a hug.  That once sentence, in addition to his ncredible work on my behalf, has earned my loyalty.

Expectations

With low expectations, there is little motivation to move forward on anything.  But when you are steadfast in pursuing what you believe is possible, your energy will direct you to the possible.  The result sought may not be immediate but it will arrive. 

Lesson Learned:

The fun part is proving the negative minded wrong.

3 Lists

Whether you are buying, seeking new qualified clients, or interviewing for a job, there are three lists that should be compiled ahead of time: 

  • Must Have – Do Not Want – Negotiable.

List your requirements under each category.  Keep them in mind before you agree to move forward.

Lesson Learned:

As people witness your consistency in how you select endeavors for participation, they will acknowledge you and your strong personal brand.  You may be referred to as “lucky” or “smart” but in either case you are acknowledged.

Final Can’t

In the event you cannot find what you are seeking, consider creating what you desire.  In the case of job seekers, create your own business.  Or if you are looking for a type of service provider, consider incorporating the service into your own business.

Lesson Learned:

Your audience finally gives in to admit you know what you are doing by heaping praise and labeling you as “the motivated one”. 

Following these guidelines will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

In Need of Inspirational Speaking, Sales Training, or Coaching: Contact Me

 

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Business Preparedness Protects and Projects Success

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Business Preparedness Protects and Projects Success

Long ago, and before Google Maps came into being, we were dependent upon traditional road maps.  The biggest problems arose when road construction or hazards were blocking the path.  We had no forewarning.

Sales Story

One of my first sales calls required I drive an east Bay Highway in Northern California.  Unfamiliar with the freeway, I looked up which connecting highway to take but no sign was to be seen.  Leaving extra time for the usual “getting lost”, I travelled up and down but the exit could not be seen. 

On the fourth pass, I burst out laughing!  It was about a week after a major earthquake.  The freeway sign was down on the ground.  Even worse was the fact the workman’s jacket was hanging over it.  This made it impossible for drivers to know how to connect to the next highway.

Sales Lessons:

  • Stay up to date on technology with automated voice directions
  • Plan your route the night before.
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T’was the Night Before…

As you finish up work each evening, review your calendar for the next day. Prepare all documents and business tools needed in one location near the door to grab and go first thing in the morning.    

Sales Lesson 1

Early in my career, I would occasionally forget to bring a document to the client meeting.  Before the meeting would begin, I would own up to the fact and promise delivery the next day.  Admitting the error without being asked, plus following up on the promise the next day, had me held in high esteem.

Sales Lesson 2:

On occasion I would also forget to ask an important question of a client.  But upon calling to ask, the phrase that saved the day was, “I was thinking of you and was wondering if….” 

The fact that the client was in my mind went miles for building the relationship further.  However, it is still best to make a long list the day before of everything that you need to bring to the meeting and need to know.

Research

The last step is to review the website of each client you will be meeting the next day.  Next, think about the latest news story and how it may affect the business.  With the information fresh in your mind, you will make a favorable impression.

Business Planning

Last week, I advocated having legal counsel at hand.  In a similar light, insurance is well worth considering.  In fact, I was emailed a link entitled, “I want to make a business preparedness plan, now what?”

Doing your diligence in selecting the right insurance company is essential as is selecting the right type of business formation such as 501C or an LLC.  Compare each against your values and your budget to find the one that works best for you. 

Sales Lesson:

By being prepared in all regards, for upcoming job interviews too, you will be well positioned to develop your returning and referring clientele known as the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

In Need of Inspirational Speaking, Sales Training, or Coaching: Contact Me

 
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Resources for Entrepreneurs to Advance Business Growth

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Resources for Entrepreneurs to Advance Business Growth

On a daily basis we are bombarded with email and requests to join programs that if we allow it to will suck up all of our time.  But we have the need to continually educate ourselves to improve and up the level of our repertoire. The issue becomes where to dedicate our time.

The question becomes how do you decide which is best for you?

My own decision-making example is that I have a short attention span.  So if a program requires listening to hour-long webinars, time and again, most likely this venture will not be for me.  However, articles pertaining to my interest that have sub-headings that make them easy to read allow for quick scanning as well as information retention.  Accordingly, I write in this style for others to easily read.

As you recognize the programs that most appeal to you, also consider your clientele.  How well do you know them?  In particular are you aware of the type of information they prefer? 

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Guidelines for a broader audience:

Simple

Recently I joined a group with an inspiring goal in mind.  However, the instructions turned out to be duplicated to the point where I wondered if my information was ever received.  Even worse, as the new instructions arrived they became increasingly complicated. 

Sales Solution:  Keep it simple is a clever sales slogan that indeed encourages your clientele to remain loyal.

Variety

Our audience reach is larger than ever. This translates to the fact many learning styles are involved.  Therefore it is best to vary the communication style and topics in order to reach as many people as possible.

A great example is that of Expertise providing outstanding informative insights for businesses including startups.  You may find free tools and informative pieces to efficiently boost your business advancement.

Sales Solution:  Research this site and others to bookmark in order to have at your fingertips when needed.

Possibility

Admittedly not everything works out but those events that do make all else well worthwhile.  I am generally open to meeting new people and exploring ideas.  Doing so has me looking forward to a filled calendar for September.

Just recently, I was asked to join the Author Book Launch Party, Sept. 19 in Laurel MD.  The idea is for attendees to meet and greet current authors in order to become motivated to write your own book.  With food, networking and wine, it promises to be a great event.

And today, I was invited to attend the Congressional Black Caucus Kick Off Reception on Sept. 14 in Washington D.C. Interesting leaders will be in attendance and I look forward to learning much more.

Sales Solution:  Say Yes! more often to see what life brings.  

Following these guidelines will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

Inspirational Speaking, Training, and Coaching: Contact Me

 

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Better Customer Service Through Text Messaging

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Better Customer Service Through Text Messaging

Most people associate text messaging with marketing, but you can use the same technology to improve customer service. SMS messaging is direct, efficient, cost effective and personal – all the traits that make a strong customer service system. Here is how to boost customer service with text messaging.


Text messaging gives buyers a customer service option that they can use on their terms.

Inform Buyers of Delivery Updates

Customers have long been able to track packages, but it requires action and initiative on their end. When shipment and delivery updates are sent directly to the buyer's phone via text, however, they get the exact same information without having to do anything. When the customer receives a text when a package goes out for delivery, or when it leaves or arrives at a facility, they will feel connected, in touch and grateful to your business for going above and beyond.

Keep Customers Up to Speed with Project Updates

Consider using text messages to inform customers on the progress of a job or project. As discussed in the article "How Can We Help You: 5 Strategies for Using Text Messages as a Customer Service Tool," this is especially effective with physical projects, such as construction, plumbing or electrical work. If an auto mechanic replaces an alternator, but notices a loose belt that needs tightening, a text message is the fastest and most direct way to let the vehicle's owner know that the car is going to be held for another hour.

Allow Customers to Text Orders Instead of Calling

Any business that deals in real-time orders, such as restaurants or delivery services, can use text messaging to streamline service and give customers another ordering option. Customers may prefer to text instead of calling in an order, especially when a language barrier is involved or if they are at work. Texting provides a record that covers the business in case of an error. It can even prevent errors since the party placing the order is the one writing the order, as opposed to a phone call, which requires someone on the other end of the phone to transcribe verbal instructions.


Use text messages to inform customers of updates on deliveries or projects.

Businesses have used text message campaigns to market their products and services for a generation, but the savviest companies understand that SMS campaigns can do a lot more. Use text messaging to improve customer service, communicate with buyers and give your customers a personal, direct and cost-effective way to place orders and make inquiries.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers marketing and small-business management.

Following Lisa's suggestions for communicating with hiring managers or with clientele will help to develop relationships and lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

Inspirational Speaking, Training, and Coaching:  Contact Me

 

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Lessons Learned from Agreeing to Agreements

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele: Lessons Learned from Agreeing to Agreements

The act of agreeing to a contract without full understanding can get one into difficulty.  I’m no exception and the experience hurts.  But recognizing the error of our ways makes us a lot wiser.  The guidelines listed hold true for business and job offers.

Examine

Recently, I was asked to speak in a foreign country.  With emotion in check, I inquired whether an honorarium would be paid in addition to travel expense.  The reply was negative and I chose to decline.  When we are taken away from the office to provide our expertise, we cannot afford to not be paid while have to turn down other projects because of it.  That is a lose-lose scenario.

Another agreement stated that I would need to wait until the person representing me was paid in full prior to my being paid.  Output of expense on my end appeared to include travel and all else I might incur upfront. 

These two scenarios prompted today’s writing to help you to potentially avoid making a poor decision in the future.

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Legal advisor

Most endeavors will eventually require that you authorize a contract.  Putting your signature to the document can open up a can of worms if you were to not seek legal advice.  But, hiring a firm can be a costly matter.  Options exist.  Do research to figure out what is in your budget and will serve your interests the best. 

Years ago I subscribed to PrePaidLegal that has since become LegalShield.  I’m not a representative but am very appreciative of their expert guidance at a very reasonable fee over the years.

Questions

Prior to sending your contract to legal counsel, read through the document the best you may.  Ask every question you can think of ahead of time to fully understand the entire picture.  It’s best to avoid being sorry you ever moved forward.

Payment

Read through the document to learn how payment is to be received.  Most likely it will not be to your liking.  Speak with peers on how they handled similar situations and review in your mind as to what you believe to be fair.

Negotiate

Ask the person issuing the contract for an explanation regarding the items sounding questionable.  Likewise, offer your insight as to why you are seeking an improved contract, and then offer suggestions of your own. 

Understand, not all of your suggestions will be embraced but one or more should be included in the revised document to satisfy all parties.  This is known as friendly negotiation and very similar to the sales process.

Conclusion

Sometimes you do hear “no” to all requests.  In this case, it’s up to you to decide whether to walk in order to find an improved partnership.  But when you are able to revise the documents, to satisfy all parties, the work becomes long-term and the essence of the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

Inspirational Speaking, Training, and Coaching:

Contact Me

 

 
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How to Prepare for Productive Sales Meetings

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele: How to Prepare for Productive Sales Meetings

Companies are dependent upon salespeople to represent them well.  Usually lofty goals are set for sales professionals in terms of revenue to be brought in as well as new clients to bring into the fold.

Inherently talented salespeople are usually able to overcome the steep goals set for them. But for most in the profession the office displays a revolving door.  In other words, employees enter and quickly leave the company.

Before you agree to sales training inquire as to the caliber.  Below are comparison between what has been taught and what should be taught.  The idea is to provide insight on how to bring value-add to the meeting that then encourages additional sales.

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Vocabulary

Most sales trainers launch into providing you with a script.  But there are inherent problems with scripts.  On the client’s end, the verbiage may not apply to their business.  On your end, the vocabulary and sentence structure may not suit your style.  A prospect can spot this a mile away and will not give you the time of day.

Sales Lesson:  Speak in your own vocabulary and be authentic.  For interviews, as a sales rep or in your entrepreneurship, research the company first to specifically target your discussion.

Hammer the phone

There is usually quite a bit of pressure for new representatives to make many calls per day both by phone and in the field to attain quota.  But similar to a script, repeating the same call after call, frustration sets in and the verbiage begins to make even less sense.

Sales Lesson:  Research each company prior to contacting.  It’s a slower process but the results prove it is far more effective.

Meeting Push

Trainers will advise that you be relentless in pushing for a meeting.  But insistence does not work nearly as well as asking for the prospective client’s preferred date and time. 

Sales Lesson In your own vocabulary suggest “now or down the road…”  to obtain a higher number of agreed to appointments.

Timeline

Frequently it is taught that a seller needs to ask for the sale several times during conversation.  However, the result of doing this usually annoys the prospect to the extent that the salesperson is asked to never return.

Sales Lesson:  As issues are revealed during meetings, strive to get a timeline as to when the client sees these being resolved.  Due it on their watch not yours.

Follow-up

One sales manager actually advised me to call my prospect every single day until they agree to meet to finalize a sale.  Doesn’t that sound like stalking someone?  It did to me and I refused to do it.

Sales Lesson At the conclusion of a phone call or an initial meeting, ask the person their preference for you to follow-up.  Get specific by also asking morning or afternoon and how they would like to be contacted eg. email or phone call.

Following these guidelines will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews, Career Press

Inspirational Speaking, Training, and Coaching:

Contact Me

 

 
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