The Art of Effective Selling

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I was listening to the radio recently and the topic being discussed was around retail marketing in the “traditional business world”. It was an interesting discussion, and while it covered various issues, the area that caught my attention was how to sell effectively. Let me explain why.

How often have you entered a retail store, started browsing and some young sales assistant suddenly appears from nowhere and asks you “can I help you?” What is your normal response to this question? I know what mine is, “no, I am just looking”, and I think most people react the same. The problem with this sales technique is that when you answer “no” a “negative” environment has already been created – the potential to secure a sale has been reduced.

Contrast this with a situation where you enter a store (let’s say it sells men’s clothes), browse around and finally find yourself standing in front of dark colored suits. The salesperson has been watching you browse until you stop and start to “actively” look at the suits. It’s at this point the salesperson approaches and says “I see you are interested in purchasing a suit?” The response is “Yes”. An environment has been created whereby a sale is more likely to be closed the salesperson because they know what the person is interested in and can then walk through the process to narrow the requirements to a specific item.

The above just makes sense – by creating the right environment after determining what the customer was looking to buy, the probability of closing a sale was increased. The fact that someone had entered the store (the traffic) did not necessarily mean that they were looking to buy. So the assumption that a sale would occur (“can I help you”) actually decreases the probability of a sale. Conversely, by by allowing the customer to determine what they were interested in (“I see you are interested in a suit”) enabled the salesperson to engage in a discussion that was more likely to close a sale.

This thinking can be applied to your online business. The fact that you have traffic arriving at your site should not result in an assumption of a sale. However, if you can determine what they are looking for then you can frame questions that create a “positive sales environment”.

For example, let’s assume you are looking for traffic that is looking to build an online business. You have all your marketing in place, traffic is arriving at your site and people are leaving their details so that you can follow up (even if they don’t buy when they visit). When you contact this person, do you:

1. try to give them details about your opportunity, highlight why they should join you and ask them “what do you think?”; or

2. ask them what they are looking for in an opportunity, and what their key requirements are?

I would suggest that the second option is best. Why? Because you have established their drivers (“hot buttons”). In doing so, you can then say something like “I think I have the opportunity you are looking for that meets those requirements”. You can then lead the person through the sales process, tailoring your “pitch” to address how your opportunity meets the “hot buttons”. In effect, you are giving the customer the “reason to buy” information that meets their requirements and setting up a situation where you are more likely to close the sale.

The art of effective selling requires the “seller” to actively listen to, and observe, what the customer is looking for and then demonstrating how the product meets those needs. Never assume that a customer in your “store” is going to buy, always understand that they need to have a reason to buy. It’s up to you find that reason.

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At times I sometimes ask myself – am I marketing a product or a business opportunity?

Now I don’t know whether you ever struggle with this issue…and perhaps I am just over-complicating things – but I think the two are different in terms of how you approach marketing.

My First Experience

I remember back in the “good old days” (AKA before internet) that Direct Selling was King. You got out there on the road and peddled your wares. But even then the same issue arose – and I don’t think I resolved then either.

Now I won’t mention the company I joined (you will probably work it out) but it had a really good product range. The challenge I found though was that the emphasis was on “building the business” and the products became secondary to that process. What I soon realised was that it was not necessarily the company pushing the “business build” but the organisation I belonged to within the company.

What I found even stranger was that when you hit your “warm list” or were prospecting you never mentioned the company name (in fact you would actively be encouraged to avoid answering the question). Why was this the case – because the company name had become associated with “business building” rather than product and prospects immediately reacted negatively to any mention of the company name.

So after trying to “sell the dream” to parents, friends and prospects, and getting huge “negativity” (even if accompanied by forced smiles of support) the whole project eventually fizzled out.

It was then that I got to thinking – why did I even try to “sell the dream” to my parents – they were not looking to “build a business”. However, I knew my parents used the same type of products I was selling. So why didn’t I sell them the product, make a few bucks and not put myself through the heart ache of trying to sell them a business they did not want. If I had done that, then later on I could have spoken about the business opportunity.

Conversely, my best success came when I was speaking to a person who brought up that they were looking for alternative income options (they were “buyer” of a business opportunity). I never felt the cold beads of sweat on the brow that I experienced as I dragged my “warm list” to presentations they did not want to hear.

So what does this mean?

What I have come to realise is that there are 3 broad market groups. These are:

1. People looking for products to buy (The Buyers) – the ones who are looking to buy a burger

2. People looking to generate additional income by selling a product (The Lookers) – the ones that are looking to sell a burger

3. People already in the marketing business (The Insiders) – the ones who not only want to sell the burger but want to expand their burger selling chain.

So what does that mean in terms of my marketing? Well I have to structure marketing for each of those broad groups and just as importantly I have to define what market I want to target.

If I apply this thinking to the above groups then my marketing should be as follows:

1. “The Buyers” – marketing focuses on the product, I want them to buy the product, use the product and then look at converting them to entering the business opportunity.

2. “The Lookers” – marketing focuses on the product and the opportunity. In the first instance they will be seeking to understand what on line marketing has to offer, but just as important is the product they will be selling.

3. “The Insiders” – marketing is more focussed on the opportunity .

So what does this all mean for me? That one size does not fit all and that “tailoring” and “targeting” of marketing is required. I’m sure that plenty of you already know this (hey I am a bit more “mature” (older) than most), but thought I’d put it out there anyway.

In the end it comes down to ensuring you are using the “right copy” for your marketing based on the audience you are targeting. Do I have the answers on how to do this? No…but I will make certain that I am designing my marketing better in the future – no more “sweaty beads” on the brow for this fellow.

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Leadership is demonstrated through actions by an individual, not a title assigned to a position.

Have you ever experienced the individual who claims they are a leader because of the position they hold in an organisation? Yet they demonstrate none of the traits you would expect an effective leader to have. I have, and it is annoying.

In my experience, leaders can be found at all levels in an organisation and generally have no relationship to the position or work they perform. They are people who are able to easily gain support from those they work with, are sought out to provide advice or guidance on issues, and have an unspoken influence on others.

The traits of each leader will vary (every great leader has their own style) but in my experience there are some common things that they possess. For example, generally they will be:

1. Effective communicators

2. Great listeners

3. “Encouragers” of input from others

4. Inspirational and motivating

5. “walkers” not “talkers”

6. Knowledgeable about many things

7. Respected

One aspect of great leaders is the ability to influence individuals or teams to take ownership of a decision and to act on that decision. The key here is that the decision is not necessarily a direction by the leader but the ability by the leader to convince people that they have reached the decision by themselves (even if it differs from what they originally thought should be done).

In our industry, leaders will be found at all levels just through the very nature of online marketing builds. It makes sense that each of us will want to work with a leader that we are comfortable with, regardless of where they are in the structure, and that it may not necessarily be our sponsor.

As a sponsor we have to accept it does not necessarily follow that we are a leader – but we do have responsibility to our team – and that we should not feel “hurt” if some of our team seek to work closely with a “natural leader”. Remember the overall goal is for each of us to build a successful business, and the approach to that success is not set in stone.

Leadership can be learned and applied – seek out effective leaders and model your skills – and before you know it, you too will become a leader through action and not title.

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When I was more youthful than today (that’s a polite way of saying a number of decades ago), if you rode a horse, fell off it and hurt yourself you know what you did? You got up, assessed the damage, worked out what happened – then climbed back on the horse. You continued this process until you had mastered the art of riding the horse.

Today we seem to live in a society where the following occurs. You fall off the horse and hurt yourself – you get up and look for someone or something to blame. And if you can make a buck out of assigning blame, then that’s a great bonus.

To me, this is nothing more than an individual failing to accept responsibility for the consequences of their action and seeking to divert blame from themself (the “hey it wasn’t my fault” attitude).

Don’t get me wrong –there are circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to assign blame to others – but in general everyday life it is about time we started accepting more responsibility for what we do and what happens to us.

This attitude can also find its way into our industry. How often have you seen or heard of someone:

• entering an opportunity,

• treating it more like a hobby than a business,

• not generating the huge returns the believe is their right (or expectation),

• exiting the opportunity,

THEN BLAMING THE OPPORTUNITY rather than accepting responsibility for their business not succeeding?

Each of us need to step up and realise that it is our business and if it fails then it is due to our actions, not the opportunity. We need to adopt a mindset that is open to learning, actively implements the learning and setting realistic expectations of what we want to achieve. Because when it is all said and done, these opportunities do work otherwise they would not exist.

If you jump from opportunity to opportunity seeking “immediate success” then the most likely outcome is continual affirmation of a belief that the opportunities are to blame. I would suggest that if you are facing such a situation it is time to take a deep breath, look in the mirror and repeat to yourself over and over “If it is going to be, then it is up to me”.

It is time to accept responsibility for your business, not look to assign blame. Get to understand your opportunity, seek out additional information that can help you succeed, join groups where you can pick up tips and knowledge, and understand that if you persist and apply then success will come.

So fall off the horse, pick yourself up, identify why it happened and climb back in the saddle – don’t shoot the horse.

PS:

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Team builds are an amazing and effective way to accelerate your success as an on-line marketer.

In recent times, there have been a number of Teams being created – you have probably seen them popping up in blogs, articles, advertising, etc. But why should you consider joining a Team?

The benefits of a Team build can be summarised as follows:

1. Teams bring together people who have skills in different areas of on-line marketing. This provides the ability for the team to leverage off a “team knowledge base” to deliver increased rates of growth and success compared to “going it alone”.

2. When entering an opportunity, the Team has “a built organisation” that can be placed directly into the opportunity, generating credibility and momentum from commencement date.

3. People at the bottom of the Team built organisation benefit from the overall momentum of the team through team and individual marketing, increasing lead generation, conversion rates and ultimately quicker growth.

4. The ability to leverage off Team “marketing strategies” and incorporate into individual marketing strategies will lead to increased growth.

Okay, so it’s pretty straight forward to understand the value of a Team build and how it can accelerate your on-line success. The next question is what you should look for in how a Team is built and the opportunity it enters into.

In my opinion, a Team build should exhibit the following traits:

1. There is a leadership/administration team in place to manage the build.

2. Additional “working party” teams can be/are established to oversee elements of the Team build.

3. The Team should be inclusive and decisions to be made (such as opportunity to enter, how it operates, etc) should be shared with the team well in advance of Team launch.

4. Consideration of a number of opportunities and a “vote” by the team to select the opportunity to enter into is a feature that maximises engagement by the team for an opportunity and reduces administration of the build.

5. Opportunity should have low entry cost and quick “break even” point to maximise “buy in” by team members.

6. Marketing is done at both Team and Individual level.

7. Recruiting is done at both Team and Individual level (Recruitment solely to the Team then allocation of these people within the organisation structure will tend to minimise the number of people marketing the team as those at the bottom, dependant on the compensation plan, may feel that they are getting no benefit from recruiting for others).

Personally, I have applied the criteria to a number of Team builds that I have seen. Of those, only one has satisfied the criteria. The opportunity entered into was selected by the Team members, has a one off cost of $5 (yes there are upgrade options but they are not required), and the build is done by both the team and the individual.

You can view the opportunity here.

You can join the opportunity here.

If you would like to join the team, then please contact me at the email or skype address below.

Bruce Ashman

Skype Username = bruce.ashman
Email: live-life-to-the-max@bigpond.com

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