2721 839 4839 karen@karenwessels.com
This is how social media can help with your sales activities

This is how social media can help with your sales activities

This is how social media can help with your sales activities

We live in a world of sales. And we also live in our modern age of social media. Can we even recall a time where we didn’t have a mobile phone glued to our hands or direct access to companies and brands across multiple platforms?

It must be hard for millennials to try and imagine a world without mobile phones, apps and social media.

I feel almost like social media rules our lives. In yesteryear it was tv and now it’s Facebook and Instagram – welcome to our new tv!

Social media is here to stay, so we may as well make peace with that fact and get the most out of it. Never in history have we been presented with an opportunity where we can reach consumers and customers 24/7. So let’s take advantage of this great opportunity and see how social media can help us with our sales.

Here are a few tips I want to share with you on how you can use social media to your business advantage:

1.   Relationship building with online connections

Back in the day we had cold calling, now we can connect online. The really cool thing about this is you can build a relationship with prospective clients by connecting with them on LinkedIn, sharing a weekly LinkedIn publication and commenting and sharing other people’s posts. You can have a conversation on Twitter, direct messaging & shopping on Facebook, and engagement on Instagram. Remember, a prospective client needs to see your brand 7 times before they sit up and take note. Keep building online relationships, make quality, strategic connections and educate your followers.

2.   Creating quality brand awareness

By having a content strategy in place and curating your content you create quality brand awareness. Please don’t make that fatal mistake of posting something for the sake of keeping your social pages active! Rather not post anything at all then.

Have a strategic content plan in place. Keep in mind that your social platforms forms part of building your sales funnel. You want to engage online with prospective clients and eventually take the conversation offline to a face-to-face or digital meeting for them to sign up for your services or to buy your product.

Consistently post on a daily basis, however, make sure that you share educational content that is informative and sways the viewer to become a regular visitor to become a prospective customer to become a lifelong customer.

3.   Custom your content for each platform

Take the time to carefully plan your content, even if it’s only for the first quarter. It may be that your followers on Facebook like to be kept abreast of your latest product/service offerings, whereas your LinkedIn followers would love to hear your weekly thoughts on how certain pains in their business can be solved in an easy and effective manner. Perhaps your Instagram followers would love to see beautifully curated posts with a link and reminder to your weekly blog.

Do you get the gist that each platform needs to be catered for in a different way?

Some business owners like to link all their accounts to a social scheduling app as it is easier for them to share the same content across all platforms. Personally I prefer more curated content and this is because I know my audience and I know that my Twitter followers are mostly different to my Instagram followers.

Take the time to understand your market, your audience and understand what they would like to see, read and engage with. If you’re not sure, ask them! Whether it’s via a social post, a blog, an email blast or even a phone call.

Take the time to really plan your content, keep it seasonal, keep it informative, keep it fun!

Bringing it together

You have been presented with a magnificent opportunity of engaging with and on boarding prospective clients that you previously couldn’t have reached. You can market your services and products for free on social media. This is such an easy way to fill your sales funnel and bring in new business. As long as you take the time to plan, strategise and share great content, your sales can only soar!

Happy social selling!

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, visit her website.

Try these 4 unusually interesting ways to keep your current clients loyal

Try these 4 unusually interesting ways to keep your current clients loyal

Try these 4 unusually interesting ways to keep your current clients loyal

Back in the day the traditional “thank you card” or even a postcard was a great way of telling your clients that you are thinking of them and that you appreciate their patronage.

Am I going too far back in time for some of you? J I remember that happy sensation of receiving a postcard in the mail, not to mention sending off a card via “snail mail” and then a few weeks down the line getting a thank you call for my effort. Such a great feeling!

Our clients want to be wowed, in fact, so do all of us! We love the way it makes us feel when we are made to feel special.

The question is, when last did you make your clients feel special?

You know the movie “Finding Forrester”? Sean Connery plays the part of the withdrawn writer named Forrester, who mentors a young man. This young man falls in love with a lady and wants to send her a gift. Not sure what to send he asks his mentor who advises “The key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.”

Precisely! If you want to wow your clients then you need to do something out of the ordinary. What can you do in your business to help you stand out from your competitors and at the same time give your clients that warm fuzzy feeling?

Here are 4 unusual but interesting ways to keep your clients loyal:

1.     Give your client a shout out on your social media

Mention a happy client on your social media or website. Thank the client for their support and make the message personal. Where possible share a link to their website or one of their social media platforms. This will be great for their branding and for your credibility.

2.     Send that card!

I realise its old-school, but sometimes we want to reminisce, so send that birthday card, anniversary card, happy day card. Get a nice writing pen and write your client something personal in your handwriting. That will definitely win some brownie points!

3.     Surprise your client with an actual gift

There are so many platforms available where you can book and pay for gift boxes and treats. Naturally it would be good to know your clients preferences as far as possible. You certainly don’t want to send delicious cow’s milk chocolate to a vegan of course! Make sure you know your clients that well and personalise their treat just for them.

4.     Purchase Coffee for a Long Distance Client

Those clients who are based far away from your business could feel neglected at times. Why not purchase them a cup of coffee from their local barista and have it hand-delivered? If they don’t drink coffee send them something else, the point is to surprise your long-distance clients and make them feel important.

Bringing it together

Whatever you choose to do to wow your clients, make sure that it establishes brand loyalty, a natural love for your service offering and way of doing business. You’ll often hear me say that people buy from people, so keep that human touch going, it’s so important for the longevity of your business and brand!

How sales came to be my best confidence building tool

How sales came to be my best confidence building tool

How sales came to be my best confidence building tool

The early days

I grew up in what I now consider to be a very conservative time, in a household that didn’t particularly encourage girls to be outspoken, to be assertive or even to voice their opinion in a respectful manner.

Those were the days of innocently playing tennis in the street, riding our bicycles to the corner café and spending time dreaming of meeting our idols of whichever band we were listening to at the time.

I cruised through high school, making no great shakes with my academics and I honestly didn’t participate in any extra-curricular activities. In my matric year I tried my hand (or legs rather) at athletics and needless to say I was asked to leave the track as the rest of the field had completed their laps. As you can imagine, rather embarrassing for a burgeoning and introverted teenager.

Being a shy girl, book-ish and very much un-opinionated I embraced work life. Here I started developing my identity, discovering my likes and dislikes, getting a better understanding of people in general and thoroughly enjoying every interaction.

Somehow my career followed in marketing and sales footsteps, always with a focus on relationship building and customer service. I was able to travel internationally, experience the working life across the pond and get a taste for a life of open-culture, assertiveness and a far more cosmopolitan way of life than what I had experienced to date.

I remember returning to South Africa and taking the first job I was offered so that I could start earning again. Needless to say that wasn’t a good match and didn’t last long, although good things did come from that.

Where my sales journey began

Applying for work at an office automation company was the start of the next chapter in my journey. Starting out as admin support to the sales team I become pretty comfortable being the go-to person for the team. I learned the job on the go and made good impressions from the get-go.

I’ll never forget the day I arrived at the office for my then Sales Manager to tell me that I’ll be rep’ing as of that day. What?! Sales? Me? Are you crazy! If you had asked me up until that moment what was the worst job on the planet, my empathic answer would have been Sales!

And to this day I thank my lucky stars that my then Sales Manager saw the potential in me and persisted that I see that sales job through.

Thanks to my days of selling photocopiers (one of the toughest jobs out there!) I was groomed and developed to understand human psychology better, to read buying signals, develop a thick skin and really understand how to handle objections.

It’s quite funny to think of how I faced those early days with trepidation. My response to my Sales Manager was I had no idea to sell and he in turn said to me the first thing I needed to learn was how to demo a machine to new clients.

Quite a task indeed. Here I was a greenie, arriving at a new client’s premises, taking them through their newly purchased machine, when I myself barely had a clue of how it worked.

Nothing quite like being thrown in the deep-end and learning to swim, right?

Having said that, this was probably the best schooling of my life. This period laid the foundation for my sales focussed business, sales strategy sessions, sales masterclasses and honing my own sales skills in every business I’ve help found.

Typical sales attributes

In order to succeed in this kind of environment, you need to be :

  • Tenacious
  • Persistent
  • Hard-headed
  • Thick-skinned
  • Patient
  • And definitely have people’s skills

If you take a look at the above points you’ll notice the foundation for a great business person. Learning sales on the run was a great learning school. I learned to not take no for an answer, because surely there must be at least one solution to your problem?

I remember it being month-end one December and I hadn’t achieved my target for the month as yet. In no uncertain terms my Sales Manager made it very clear that I needed to do whatever it took to achieve my target that month. I was panicking.

December notoriously wasn’t a great month to spend budget and sales wasn’t looking very hopeful for me. There was one prospect that could possibly help me achieve my target, however, the decision-maker travelled extensively and at that point was in a different province.

It took out-of-the box thinking and sheer persistence to convince him that this was the month to purchase his photocopier. The month was closing in on me and we still had to sign the paperwork, receive it via courier from his head office and get the finance house to approve the deal. There I was sitting on a Saturday morning outside our very quiet office block, (im)patiently waiting for the courier to arrive with the much anticipated documents. I can tell you this much, I was sweating and stressing!

The courier arrived and I dashed off to the finance house’s consultant, who at that point, was sitting at the hairdresser, to deliver the documents in question. Monday morning came, I received the news that the deal had been approved and I made target for the month! Goodness, so much pressure and stress, but I did it!

All of these moments helped build my sales confidence. Learning to do whatever it takes to get the deal done. Persisting and not giving up, understanding now that anything is possible.

Developing that sales confidence

Why is sales confidence lacking in our business world today? I specifically point at businesswomen on this one. My findings are that women somehow don’t see themselves as salespeople. I conduct a lot of sales masterclasses for accelerators and it always ends up being that the women in the room are the most skittish when it comes to this. If only women knew, and realised, that if they really understood their power in sales they would far outsell any man. Fact, as there are findings to prove this.

I have learned to harness the power of sales and I am so passionate about imparting my knowledge with others. I want others to embrace the empowerment that sales skills brings and to experience that elusive sales confidence.

My pick of top sales skills are listed here:

  • The art of listening
  • Understanding the power of negotiation
  • Managing objections in a positive and helpful manner
  • Always showing value by matching your solution with the client’s pain
  • The magic of sales lies in the follow up
  • Keep on keeping on

The cornerstone of sales is marketing. And because we all love social media, we are exposed to subtle selling methods by our favourite brands. Sales starts with exposure to a brand, building a relationship, educating our audience, getting them to take action and after engaging at least 7 times online with your brand, to now enter the sales conversation.

I want to help other business owners and independent sales executives use the power of their social media platforms to start the sales process.

By understanding the power that we hold in our hands with our mobile phones, we’ll be very surprised at how easy it is to sell.

I look back on my journey as a sales rep and to this day I have gratitude for being exposed to the sales world. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve been exposed to.

My sales confidence has skyrocketed and I am very confident in my sales skills, my understanding of sales and naturally being more aware of human behaviour.

I want to impart what I learned in the sales world with as many entrepreneurs, startups, founders, business owners and sales executives as possible.

The possibilities are endless when you fully realise your potential. Let’s raise our confidence by exploring new avenues of doing business, different ways of creating brand awareness and harnessing the power of social media as an entry point into the sales realm.

Conclusion

Reflecting on my sales journey I am eternally grateful for that day that my Sales Manager kicked me out of the office and onto a journey of sales and self-discovery.

Now I host regular webinars, workshops, one-on-one strategy sessions and master-classes to assist others in developing and honing their sales skills. Sales is my comfort zone, my happy place and if I am able to impart one nugget or one ah-ha moment with my audience, then I feel that I have done what I’ve set out to do, which is to help boost others sales confidence.

A famous Dr Seuss quote sums it up very nicely “If you can dream it, you can do it”!

This article was originally published in the online magazine “Leadership Debunked”.

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, visit her website.

 

Join Me on My Journey of Launching a Brand New Online School

Join Me on My Journey of Launching a Brand New Online School

Join Me on My Journey of Launching a Brand New Online School

The start of my Entrepreneurial Journey

I’m very blessed to have started my entrepreneurial journey in such a gracious and exciting way. I had just started a new position at a national company and a client from my previous employer frantically called me one morning asking me to please help out on his account. As I had started my new post less than 2 months ago I was less than eager to leave my job, so we come to a compromise where I would do work for him after hours.

As they say, the rest is history. From that one phone call my future path was decided. After years of working full-time and servicing this client after hours, I decided to take the plunge head-on to becoming a full-time entrepreneur. And I have loved every moment of it, both the yin and the yang!

Giving back and adding value

If you know me at all, you’ll be quick to identify that I love sharing my hard-earned knowledge with others. And I call it hard-earned, because it was through blood, sweat and tears that I am where I am today. Look, this journey cannot be done successfully without the support of your family and friends, colleagues and team members. But it still comes down to you, the entrepreneur, to take the risks, to work the relentless hours, to face possible depression, loss of income and so much more, because believe me, not everyone is willing to do the hard graft.

I love to give back, and I openly share my knowledge and experience to those who are coachable and will listen. As president of South Africa’s most formidable Virtual Assistant Association, I often give consulting sessions for free to those up-and-coming Virtual Assistants who have joined our association.

I give freely to most who contact me directly and give me a sign of commitment. And this is one of the many reasons why I decided to start my very own LMS, an online school for business owners and up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

The goal of my online school

Naturally the proportion of something of this undertaking takes time, planning, strategy and patience, so the online school is currently in production phase.

My goal and intention with this school is to help as many people as possible, to spread the business love and to help my fellow entrepreneurs where they are lacking and to avoid any possible pitfalls. You do need to fail to learn important business lessons, however, if I can make your path that much easier, it will be my pleasure to help out!

With this online school I can reach so many more aspiring entrepreneurs, virtual assistants and business owners across the globe.

The first course will focus on Virtual Assistants. As one of the founding godmothers of Virtual Assistance in South Africa, I have witnessed first-hand how this industry has grown and matured. Daily I receive enquiries from working moms and executives who want to leave the rat-race and start their own thing from home. I know that learning from my mistakes and sharing my knowledge they can make a success of it.

The Virtual Assistant course will take the prospective VA through starting her own business, to formulating a winning strategy, keeping the sales funnel filled, what services to offer and so much more.

Please cast your vote : Which logo should we use?

As we build this beautiful beast and get ready for launch, I would love to hear from you regarding our logo choice. Which one would you choose, A, B or C, and why?

Should you assist in choosing the winning logo, one lucky voter will receive select course modules for free!*

Let me know your thoughts, and of course, how I can help you!

*Terms and conditions apply.

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, visit her website.

Outsourcing is at it’s height this year. Here’s why

Outsourcing is at it’s height this year. Here’s why

Outsourcing is at it’s height this year. Here’s why

Being a Virtual Assistant right now is the best thing you can do

If you are currently a Virtual Assistant or you are thinking of starting your own VA business, man oh man, have you entered the market at a very hot time!

Here’s the thing, stats say that by 2020 more than 50% of the workforce will be working remotely. This also means that more and more business minded people will look at hiring Virtual Assistants to help them run their business and even get through their secular job! More and more employers are encouraging remote working.

Being a VA Agency owner I have witnessed firsthand how this industry has grown and matured over the last decade. Not to mention how much more in demand Virtual Assistants have become over the last 2 years. Outsourcing is becoming a big thing and as more businesses clamp down on costs and look at efficient ways to get the help they need, the more in demand you, the VA, becomes.

I’m blessed to run a very successful managed Virtual Assistant Agency, in fact, Africa’s largest Virtual Assistant Agency. So much so, that I am inundated with inquiries every day to help VA’s out with where to start, how to target their market, to join my team, to be coached and mentored, and how to close more deals. This is one of the reasons why we started VAASA, the Virtual Assistants Association of South Africa. The Growth Academy will also be launching soon, with it’s very first course focusing on starting your own VA business (more about this in my upcoming blog).

Becoming a Virtual Assistant in 2018

Been thinking about leaving your full-time job to enjoy the beautiful world of outsourcing? This can be a tough one. You’re looking at leaving your cushy corporate job, where you know what your pay will be at the end of the month, for months of stress and pressure, not knowing where your first client will come from and how you’re going to pay for everything until then.

Welcome to the world of entrepreneurship!

I always tell my coaching students that everything comes with a sacrifice. In order to see the stars the darkness is required. With light comes dark, it is the flow of life. To celebrate your passion, dictating your own rates and time is awesome, however, with it you will need to sacrifice something, be it sleep, your lifestyle, your social circle, the list goes on.

Know this though – being a Virtual Assistant and running your own business is deeply rewarding and highly fulfilling, especially when you do it right.

Start with your Why

Perhaps the greatest starting point is understanding why you want to do this. Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle is a great way to understand the why of your purpose and business, before anything else. I guess you could say if your why is right, that it is aligned with your vision and purpose, the teething and growing pains of starting your business becomes reduced in scale.

For the Entrepreneur Hiring a Virtual Assistant

I often have the opportunity to do keynote talks on Outsourcing. I reckon it’s one of the best inventions since, well, sliced bread! 🙂

International business owners have been outsourcing admin related tasks to Virtual Assistants for years. On our South African shores this has only recently become quite the phenomenon and I’ve seen the rise in inquiries for Virtual Assistants in the last 2 years.

How to make the outsourcing process easy

If you are new at hiring a Virtual Assistant, or even a dab hand at it, let’s show you some steps on how to identify the right VA for you and your business.

  1. Is the Virtual Assistant online? It should go without saying, all Virtual Assistant should have an online presence, how else will they be found?
  2. Credibility and testimonials. Does the VA’s website and online presence speak to you? Does their website share client testimonials? If the VA’s website doesn’t feel credible and trustworthy it’s going to be a tough task to bring them in on your team.
  3. Is the business owner easily accessible? I make sure that any potential clients have easy access to me as the business owner. I represent my business’s brand the best and I want to be sure that you can reach me.
  4. Can you speak directly to your potential VA before getting started? Remember, you are bringing this Virtual Assistant into your inner circle, giving them access to confidential information and IP, so can you chat with them before getting started? With my VA Agency I often assign the VA directly to the account thanks to years of practice, however, for those clients that wish to interview a shortlist I welcome them to do so. We also feature all our VA’s on our website, again establishing that credibility and trustworthiness.
  5. Energies and visions need to align. If the energy of your potential VA does not speak to you, or feel there’s no alignment with their vision and yours, move on. You are hiring an important team member and you need to be absolutely sure that this person fits your bill.

Last but not least

Outsourcing offers a great solution to both the Virtual Assistant and the business owner. Virtual Assistants can now work from the comfort of their own homes, choose the clients they wish to work with and the hours they want to work. For the business owner you now have the flexibility to get the help you need that is within your budget helping you to become more efficient at business.

I’m a firm believer to work within your strengths and to always have fun. As the Virtual Assistant and as the business owner, play within your strengths, outsource the rest and keep it fun!

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, visit her website.

Everything You Need To Know About Sales Coaching

Everything You Need To Know About Sales Coaching

Everything You Need To Know About Sales Coaching

How to determine whether sales training or sales coaching is for you

By now you should be rather aware of my passion for sales. And this passion has spilled over to how I run my businesses, how I lead my team, hosting sales masterclasses, providing sales training and giving sales coaching. It’s what I love to do, helping others and at the same time I get to tap into my knowledge base and extract from my hard earned experiences.

I’ve been very fortunate to host a number of sales masterclasses over the years, with the most recent one being in Cape Town on 5th July 2018. Part of my passion for helping others is to see them succeed and particularly to assist women in gaining confidence in the sales arena.

Unbeknownst to most of you, you are already selling, whether you are negotiating for an increase at work or communicating with your children about the importance of eating vegetables and brushing their teeth. Sales covers a broad spectrum and somewhere during your day you are touching on many sales aspects.

After each Sales Masterclass I host at least a handful of attendees approach me to give them sales training. Some go onto being coached and others only receive sales training.

So what is the difference?

Sales training is essentially a module that has been pre-prepared and the student is taken through each module systematically giving them exposure to all parts of the sales machine and arming them so to speak to go out into the field to execute what they have learned. I would say that sales training is more for sales teams, in my opinion.

Sales coaching is far more personalised and tailored to each individual’s situation, their business and to what is required in the moment. My particular sales coaching is very much geared towards entrepreneurs, business owners and virtual assistants.

A high-performing Sales Coach will cover these aspects

  1. We help define your goals

  2. Together we develop healthy sales habits

  3. Provide much needed guidance

  4. Develop skills and knowledge

  5. Keep you motivated

A unique one-on-one approach for sales coaching is required for it to be a success and for the student to see tangible results for their investment. Sales coaching is ongoing, individualized and is meant to reinforce corrective behaviour.

Benefits of sales coaching

What are the benefits of receiving sales coaching? That is, why would you commit your time, energy and money to getting sales coaching?

  • Sales helps with your retention rates. Notoriously it costs way more to gain new clients than it does to retain your current clients. Are you going out of your way to ensure customer loyalty? Here is an opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell.
  • Sales coaching provides many opportunities. I love expanding my students minds and get them in the mind-set of always be closing (ABC). We are presented with opportunities throughout the day, however, if you are not aware then you may miss many of them. Always be in the mind-set of selling your services or products, after all, you are your business’s best brand ambassador.
  • It’s a continuous thing. In order to grow we need to learn. To learn effectively we need to make it a daily habit. With your sales coach by your side you are inspired and motivated to keep going, even when things start getting tough or don’t turn out the way you expected.

A great sales coach will keep you motivated, incentivized, focused, driven and on track. Your sales coach should share their vision with you, what keeps them motivated and driven. Don’t just choose a sales coach willy-nilly, go check out their track record, research their brand and brand effectiveness, see what they are busy with on social media. These are all ways to help you choose the right sales coach for you and your business.

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, visit her website.

This is why better presales can help your sales process

This is why better presales can help your sales process

This is why better presales can help your sales process

The call it the ‘art of the sale’ and if you think about, it is quite an art to have conversational skills, listening skills, to think on your feet, craft a deal that makes sense and at the same time is beneficial to both parties, and being able to make the client feel important and cared for during this process.

So, let’s chat about the art of presales. This is a topic that not many broach.

The art of presales

If you do the presale right, guess what, you never have to sell in your life again! Presales done correctly builds the sales foundation so beautifully that the entire sales process is negated. Now you can just close the loop. Sounds awesome right. So how do we accomplish this?

There are a few essential pillars to presales. I want to go through each one with you so that you can build a cohesive picture of what your presales should look like in your sales journey.

4 Pillars of Presales

Relationship building

Presales is essentially built on relationship building. You know by now that sales nowadays is based on relationships. We ensure that we really know our target market, that we can speak to our prospective clients on a level and in a manner that resonates with them. It’s almost like you should be able to have a cup of coffee and a chat with each & every one of your clients. You should be able to pick up the phone, find out how their day is going and not enter into any sales talk.

Building trust & credibility

Trust and credibility is built through sharing your entrerpeneurial story, your business journey, why you started your business, sharing testimonials and referrals. Having constant social proof is a new way of doing presales, but is so important for business because so much of our marketing and advertising takes place on social media. Be prepared to tell the world how amazing you are through meeting your team, understanding your business’ North Star and inviting prospective clients to engage with you and your team. Remember to always value current clients and thank them for being a part of your journey.

Objection management

Your presales is a modern way of managing objections before the actual sale is even done. This means that all objections are managed before they are raised, easing the sales process and basically negating a huge portion of negotiating. Find creative ways of managing objections.

In our marketing agency that is focused on lead generation we created an infographic that handles the top 5 most common objections we face from prospective clients and this infographic has saved us so much time over and over again.

Eduselling

This is a new concept to most of us, basically what it means is to sell to prospective clients through education. This is an important presale pillar, however, it does run through the entire sales process to after sales as well.

Keep educating your market through storytelling and value-add. Show your prospective clients the value you bring to the table, the benefits of using your solution and empower them with key factors to help with their decision-making process.

Use the power of video, social media, blogs and your website as a tool to educate your target market.

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, visit her website.

The Best Kept Secrets to Closing More Deals the Easy Way

The Best Kept Secrets to Closing More Deals the Easy Way

The Best Kept Secrets to Closing More Deals the Easy Way

This is how you close deals consistently the easy way

Stop selling, start adding value where you can. If you’ve been wanting to harness this whole sales thing, and you’re just not winning, know this – in all that you do you need to be consistent. So if you’re doing LinkedIn outreach, writing & sharing great content, or making daily outreach calls, do so consistently, with the right mind-set and with good intention.

Stop selling. Sales is about building those trust relationships and adding value during this journey. The magic of sales lies in the pre-sale and the follow up. (This naturally is a whole blog on it’s own 🙂 )

In this blog I want to take you through some of my top tips in closing more deals more successfully.

  • Be an active listener

  • Target the right crowd

  • Handle objections in an effective manner

  • Ask for what you want

Let’s break it down for you.

1. Be an active listener

One of the best ways to learn what your prospect really needs help with is to listen. By truly understanding their pain and listening to what is being expressed will help you show genuine interest in their business, resulting in you offering the best possible solutions for them. As in most instances in life, during the sales journey listen more than what you speak. This is when you learn the most.

2. Target the right crowd

Make sure you understand who your market is and that you target them accordingly. It is essential to know and understand your buyer persona in order to make sure that you’re speaking to the right people. And speaking of, make sure that whom you target in your crowd are the decision-makers. Don’t waste your time with those who have no power and no say in this decision-making process.

3. Handle objections in an effective manner

Manage objections right then and there. Don’t give your prospect the opportunity to find excuses not to do business with you. If you understand the value your solution brings and the pain it solves, it should be pretty straight forward and simple for you to handle objections upfront. At least then each party knows where they stand.

4. Ask for what you want

If you really want this sale, ask for it. I ask for the sale many times, where sometimes I’m shot down or I get the order. Yay! If you want to know where you stand on this deal and you want to ensure that the prospect is not stringing you along, then ask for the next step in the action plan after every meeting or phone call you have with the prospect. My motto is “if you don’t ask you don’t get.” Simple!

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, visit her website.

How to achieve success as a Businesswoman in Sales

How to achieve success as a Businesswoman in Sales

How to achieve success as a Businesswoman in Sales

A Sales Masterclass that teaches it all

Imagine being so comfortable and simultaneously so great in sales that you achieve success after success as a businesswomen. And yes, this is totally possible!

Why is it that as businesswomen we tend to think that we’re not good with sales? Rubbish! Of course you’re great when it comes to sales! Are you not a mother who has to keep negotiating with her children regarding bedtime, pocket money or what to eat?

Are you not a wife that needs to have conversations about me-time and the benefit of this to the entire family?

Are you not a partner who openly communicates with her husband about how uncomfortable his mannerisms with her in front of his friends makes her feel and how best to deal with it?

Sounds to me like you are a stellar salesperson! You could write books on this stuff.

So now that we have that out of the way, here’s something I would like to share with you. If you asked me more than a decade ago what is the worst job on the planet, I would have said being a sales rep!! Ask me now? I would probably say having to sit behind a desk inputting data all day long – arrghhh! I love sales and I am a sales rep. It’s the highlight of my day to close another sales deal.

Sales Training, Speaking & Masterclasses

Over the span of my career as an Entrepreneur I have been so privileged to speak at various conferences, events, accelerator programs and the like about sales. Alot of our focus has been to boost women’s confidence when it comes to sales.

I have been invited to host a Sales Masterclass for Women in Cape Town early July 2018. Details are being finalised as I write this and will be shared with you in due course. I’m super excited about this opportunity, as I have an innate desire to see all those around me succeed. Part of this success is imparting my knowledge and empowering other businesswomen to succeed in the world of sales.

In this particular sales masterclass we’re going to take a look at how to gain practical skills and boost your confidence in sales.

The topics discussed will be centred around your Elevator Pitch and the importance thereof. Understanding the Sales Process and how it fits in with your business. Sales Tools and implementing a Sales Action plan.

The idea behind this sales masterclass is for it to be as practical as possible and for each business owner to walk away with easy to use action steps.

Bringing it together

Sales confidence is such an important part of business success, why not invest in yourself and spend the time building your sales confidence?

I would love for you to join us at this masterclass and any future masterclasses that we’ll be hosting.

If you have any enquiries, need some sales advice or tips, or would like to know more about our upcoming sales masterclass, please feel free to drop me line on karen@karenwessels.com

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, visit her website.

4 Smart ways to get your business off the ground

4 Smart ways to get your business off the ground

4 Smart ways to get your business off the ground

Like many of us, you probably don’t come from a rich family and more than likely you don’t have access to funding to get your business off the ground. With every venture I’ve founded I’ve bootstrapped the business. My philosophy is sell first and then build.

I don’t want to waste time trying to perfect my product (or service) before taking it to market. As a startup you need to be agile and flexible in your approach, and as you learn from the market you’ll soon realise that your business is going to go through several iterations and phases before finding the “perfect” market fit.

Based on living through these iterations and thanks to my experience as a startup, I’ve put together four of my best recommendations to get your business off the ground.

1.   Always be selling

I may come from a sales background, which has certainly aided me loads in launching my startups, however, sales is a skill that can be learned. Remember, sales isn’t that staid old way of doing business where we force non-willing and non-believing prospects to purchase our products or services. Sales has evolved and now we talk about building relationships, developing a level of trust, proving credibility, ensuring brand awareness and then only do we enter into the sales conversation. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, make sure that you are always selling your business. You are its best and foremost brand ambassador. Your passion will shine through and it will be because of your passion that you’ll be able to bring on board great clients, never mind recruit an amazing team.

2.   Don’t spend money on unnecessary things

Right now you don’t have the budget to hire staff, or to buy that awesome CRM software. Be frugal and very savvy about where and how you spend money. You cannot afford to use your limited cash flow right now to outsource marketing or such like. Don’t rent that fancy office space or buy a new Macbook. These things can wait. And trust me, the last thing you want is added stress at the end of the month wondering how you’re going to pay for everything when you haven’t signed up a new client for the month. Don’t do this to yourself! Let YouTube and Google become your best friends. Use tutorials to teach yourself great marketing skills, how to build your own website and basic SEO for now until you can afford to outsource it. Use tutorials to teach you how to use open source CRM systems and take advantage of free project management software for now.

3.   Get down in the trenches

Be prepared to get your hands dirty. The best way to really understand your business and the processes is for you to start out doing everything. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and work all hours when starting out. This is great learning ground and it offers you the opportunity to understand the kind of support structure you require and size of your support team. People buy from people and your market will love your work ethic, because it will naturally flow through the team. We learn by example and if your team sees you putting shoulder to the wheel and really getting stuck in to make this business a success, they will follow suit.

4.   Be coachable

Soak up knowledge like your life depended on it. This is not an easy journey you’ve chosen for yourself and nobody is going to come rescue you if it’s not working out, or does not go according to plan, or a client has shirked their invoice responsibilities, or a team member has done the dirty on you. This is you, all you, for now. So you’ll need to toughen up, learn to roll with the punches and ensure that you are strong mentally, physically and emotionally, so that you can build a successful business.

Be prepared to learn, learn, learn. Whether you are teaching yourself new skills, or learning how your market thinks, or learning business the hard way (because again this journey is not an easy one), be coachable. Be open to listening to what other successful entrepreneurs have to say. Learn to listen to your staff, learn to listen to your intuition. The more coachable you are and the more you are willing to learn, the easier the information and knowledge will flow your way. You need your team and support structure to make a success of this, without a doubt, however, you also need you. You need to be willing to put in the hours and you need to be willing to be agile and change direction without batting an eyelid. In the name of building your business into a success, do this as if your life depended on it.

Bringing it together

Don’t think you know-it-all, because you don’t. Even highly successful people, the likes of Taylor Swift or Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx) will rather listen in a conversation than speak more. They will openly tell you that they don’t know everything and that they are willing to learn.

You’ve got this! You are your greatest resource setting out on this journey, so make sure that your resource is well-fed mentally, emotionally and physically.

About the Author : Karen has facilitated and hosted many sales masterclasses, workshops and training sessions to not only boost sales confidence however to also instill sales skills and tools that are personalised to each individual.

Karen is also a sought after speaker at Sales Conferences & Seminars, Secretarial Conferences & Symposiums and Entrepreneur Conferences & Workshops, where she engages her audience with story-like presentations of sales, outsourcing and business.

To learn more or to book Karen, email her on karen@karenwessels.com

Appreciating The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of Business

Appreciating The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of Business

Appreciating The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of Business

Experiencing Gratitude on a daily basis

I woke up this morning feeling immense gratitude. This is not an uncommon thing mind you. I feel grateful every day, however, today I feel particularly grateful for this journey we’re on.

This entrepreneurial journey has taken me on paths never before imagined. It has stretched my comfort zones beyond recognition, it has helped round me as a person and a business person, and I keep learning, every day.

At the end of the day I guess it has to do with your mind-set and whether you choose to see the positive or the negative in any given situation.

With gratitude you choose to see the light, the possibility. As we’ve grown in our roles as business owners and entrepreneurs we have been taught to problem-solve. A simple thing, yet, taken for granted by most.

Why? Because most people don’t know how to problem-solve naturally. As an example, maths is about problem-solving, and yet, most of us did not excel at maths when at school. We weren’t encouraged to pursue that way of thinking and instead we were “allowed” to find alternatives to this subject.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Business

When in business you’re going to see all sides of human beings, whether they are staff, fellow business owners, suppliers or clients.

Over time you become a better judge of character and you start realising the kind of energy and mind-set you want to align your business and culture with. It goes all ways. You need to be selective when you on board staff. You need to choose your clients carefully. You should align your business with the right kind of suppliers.

It may not seem important now, however, down the line you’ll thank your lucky stars for being so selective with the company you keep.

You’re going to see it all in business. How competitors try to do you in. How staff members take advantage of your kindness. How clients try to negotiate discounted prices over and over again.

Yet, you’re also going to see how your fellow entrepreneurs rally to support you, how your staff have your back and how suppliers will go out of their way to ensure longevity in the relationship.

There may come a time that you will need the services of a very good lawyer to help draft your terms and conditions, and proper paperwork.

You’ll need the help of an accountant, a tax expert, a web developer, an IT person and so on.

The point is this : You learn, you grow, you evolve, you become better at what you do. Have gratitude for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly that you’ll face in business.

These are the things that shape you and develop you as a stellar business owner.

Continue showing gratitude on a daily basis

Elon Musk famously said that being an entrepreneur is like “chewing glass while staring into the abyss.”

This is an immense journey that you are blessed to be on, so enjoy it, make the most of it and make sure that you make every moment count.

You’ve got this!

Do you have a can do attitude? Here’s how to develop one

Do you have a can do attitude? Here’s how to develop one

Do you have a can do attitude? Here’s how to develop one

In a mentoring session today with my top mentor, he made an interesting observation. He said that one of the things he has observed and admired about me is my ‘can do’ attitude. This got me thinking about our general attitude towards business amongst women entrepreneurs.

When it comes to finding new business, resolving client issues, keeping suppliers on track and upskilling staff, do we show a can do attitude?

Being an entrepreneur is tough and you’re going to face daily challenges. How you manage these challenges are entirely up to you. If you choose to have an attitude of “I can do this” then your success level will be higher than most.

Somehow displaying an attitude of anything is possible places you in the right mind-set and now it feels like you can take on the world!

Here are a couple of tips to help you on the path of facing business challenges with success and aplomb.

  1. Believe in yourself. Confidence starts with you. You absolutely need to believe in your capabilities and your ability to manage anything thrown your way. You can develop your self-confidence by being open to learning and growing. Be ready to take on a mentor, read business books daily and surround yourself with like-minded people.
  2. Do not compare yourself to others. Instead of putting yourself down by thinking you could never be like them, rather ask yourself what can you learn from them and start implementing immediately. To be successful we need to emulate what successful people do. Don’t begrudge them, don’t compare yourself, however, rather use this as an opportunity for personal growth and development.
  3. Develop a strong inner voice. You know that inner voice that criticises you? Let that voice go! Replace it with positive thinking, daily affirmations and the belief system that anything is possible. If you don’t know how, Google it, YouTube it, ask a fellow business owner or seek guidance from a successful businessperson in your particular industry.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone! Oh yes, my favourite one this! If you know me, you’ll know that I often talk about becoming comfortable by being un-comfortable, because growth starts in the un-comfort zone. If you stretch yourself, you force yourself to face a challenge head on and this places you completely out of your comfort zone, therefore it necessarily follows that your confidence will soar. This is where the real magic happens.
  5. As always, remember to have fun. Learn to see potentially stressful situations as an opportunity to showcase your can do attitude, as an opportunity to learn and grow. Keeping it fun makes it easier to come up with creative solutions.

Bringing it together

My personal mantra is anything is possible. If I don’t know how, I’ll learn. You can do the same. It boils down to having the right mind-set and attitude. Always be open to learning, in this way you’ll keep growing as a business person and you will very quickly find out the kind of gold you’re truly made of.

You’ve got this!

3 Secrets an Entrepreneur will never reveal – until now!

3 Secrets an Entrepreneur will never reveal – until now!

3 Secrets an Entrepreneur will never reveal – until now!

Some things happen by accident and I guess you could say that my entrepreneurial journey was just that, a happy accidental happening. Although, I do believe it was always part of my path, I didn’t initially set out to be an entrepreneur.

And I’m glad it “just happened”! This has to be the most rewarding, most daunting, most uncomfortable and the most happy I have ever been – so yay to this journey!

For some of us the entrepreneur life chooses us and for others you have chosen it mindfully. Whatever the course, there are certain things that seasoned entrepreneurs have experienced but might not share that newbie entrepreneurs need to know about. Perhaps if I had known these points mentioned below I might have felt more mentally prepared, but then again, maybe I wouldn’t have become an entrepreneur if I had been forewarned ! J

1.   It can be a lonely journey

They say it’s lonely at the top and for sure it is. However, being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey of self-discovery, discovering what your niche is, what skills you have and where you are lacking. It’s lonely because friends and family won’t understand this drive you have to succeed, no matter what, even if it means working 20 hours per day for 7 days a week. You are determined and focussed, and this could alienate your loved ones. You’ll notice how social invites start becoming less, how friends drop off your radar and it becomes you & this beautiful thing you’re building. If you’re okay with this, and you’re willing to make the sacrifices to achieve success with your business, then you know you’re onto a good thing. Keep going!

2.   Doubt can drive you insane

To the outside world there is bravado, “I’ve got this!” and of course there has to be. But internally an entrepreneur could be doubting themselves daily asking “Am I doing the right thing?”, “Why am I doing this?”, “Maybe I should find a job again, at least then I’m assured of an income”, “What if I’m wrong and the market doesn’t really want/need my product/service”. Endless reassurance from clients, advisors and the like cannot always quieten these voices. But remember, for an entrepreneur, it’s the unknown that drives them and makes the journey so exciting! Hear the voices, but don’t take heed of them, persistence and perseverance is what is going to help you succeed. (And of course not taking no’s personally J)

3.   We constantly worry about being broke

It’s hard, but it’s the truth! As an entrepreneur you are now financially responsible for not only your family but also of your team. Every business decision you make has a direct impact on the bottom line. You could be self-funded or have an angel investor, whichever way, you still need to stay on top of your numbers, constantly make sound business decisions and ensure that you pay your team at the end of the month. There are times that you need to spend money to make money. It could be that you need a small budget to market your business, or funds to develop an app or CRM specific to your business. Make the calculations carefully, but take calculated risk, because without risk there is no growth. Indeed, being broke is constantly on our minds, however, we focus on the future build of our business to make sure that everyone is taken care of.

Bringing it together

There are a ton more things we could chat about regarding this amazing entrepreneurial journey. The bottom line is this, it’s not easy, sometimes you need to make tough calls, you should be prepared to make sacrifices, and possibly lose friends along the way. If your vision is strong, your will is unwavering and you have the tenacity of a baby learning to walk, then you’ve got this!

As Melanie Hawken, founder of Lionesses of Africa, famously says (and there’s more to it than pleasantries) “Have yourself an inspired entrepreneurial day”!

Boosting your Confidence with Daily Productivity Tips

Boosting your Confidence with Daily Productivity Tips

Boosting your Confidence with Daily Productivity Tips

Are you a slave to your inbox? Do you find yourself procrastinating and working on tasks that really don’t need your attention right now?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In fact there are entrepreneurs out there, if they’re honest with themselves, where this happens to them on a weekly basis. It really does happen to the best of us!

And we know what it’s like. We allow ourselves to become inundated with everyday life, and we tend to do the little things thinking that if we get them out of the way first then the rest will receive our full attention.

Let me share with you a quote that I’ve been repeating daily to myself and other entrepreneurs including my team since I learned of it:

“Eat the frog first thing in the morning!”

What does this expression really mean?

Do the task that you dread the most first thing every day. You are the most energised and motivated first thing in the morning. The longer you put off this dreaded task, the more you end up procrastinating with all tasks, and then you end up not getting anything done.

This “most dreaded task” if you want to call it that, could be to do sales calls (I know how some of you feel about this!), or respond to emails, or to type up that list of snags that the web dev team needs to sort out on your website.

Whatever it may be, get it done, right away! Procrastination tends to have a snowball effect and you’re going to become despondent over time, the more you put off certain tasks. Or, if you’re great at delegating, hire an assistant, do what you need to in order to check that task off your list!

Right, so now that we’ve dealt with that little devil called procrastination let’s see how we can help you become more productive. Because you know, that if you see tangible results from your productivity, your confidence in yourself and your business will be boosted!

Your daily productivity tips:

1.    Get on top of your inbox

You do realise that your inbox is someone else’s to do list for you right? Don’t become a slave to your emails! Prioritise your emails into folders, such as urgent, done and FMI (for my information). Check emails 3 times a day. Move the emails into the relevant folder and perhaps take 2 hours at night to respond to emails. Your system may look something like this, however, you can obviously tweak it to suit you best. The idea though is get on top of your inbox, allocate only so much time per day to it and focus on other things. I bet if you had a system in place and you used it for a solid week, you would start noticing where you spend your time and realise that you could be far more productive.

2.    Exercise exercise exercise

I know, this may sound silly, because how is exercise related to productivity? Quite simply, if you start your day off right, with some form of exercise, you will release endorphins that assists you in feeling energised and therefore more prone to tackling that “frog” first thing in the morning. You’re welcome J

3.    Be cognizant of time spent on each task

There’s a great app I like to use called Tomato that has a 25minute timer. There are other apps, I’m sure you’ll find your match through some research. The idea behind this is to start the timer and focus on one task only with the aim of completing that task within the allotted time period. Now you’ll probably discover how easily distracted you are with everything but the task at hand. This nifty app holds you accountable and your conscience will also play a part on keeping you on track. One task at a time ladies! Do it fully present, do it well, and don’t do it over.

4.    Keep it fun

My greatest value is to have fun. And there’s no reason not to have fun while working in your own business. If you’re not having fun, then it’s time to change things up! In order to be productive it is a good idea to enjoy what you’re doing and have fun whilst doing it!

This is a tough journey at the best of times. Continue to surround yourself with amazing people that inspire you, motivate you and help to keep you accountable. Keep reading great business books and blogs, and apply what you’ve read in your business.

Here’s to a productive week and year!

The Importance of your Online Presence as a Business

The Importance of your Online Presence as a Business

The Importance of your Online Presence as a Business

In the old days if we were looking for a shoe repairman or a new fridge, the first place we would turn to were the classifieds or the yellow pages. Remember those times?

Nowadays you bring the world to you by means of your mobile phone. Isn’t great how we can search for a curry restaurant, a new stove, a boating holiday and a friend’s contact details all in one place, on one device?

Now imagine what your business looks like from the outside in. The same principle applies. If you don’t have an online presence or a strong one at that, what kind of message are you sending out? You surely want your business to be found when your prospective client is doing an online search.

I know that if I want to change my hairdresser the first thing I’m going to do is go online to source a list of hairdressers in town, but more than that, I want to read great reviews in order to help me choose a new hairstylist.

Gone are the days of only taking your friend’s advice when it comes to purchases or finding new suppliers, now you’re counting on thousands of opinions online to help you make a choice.

At a recent event I was speaking at, someone in the audience asked me this very question, why your online presence is so important. Here are some of the reasons I gave them and I hope you find it of benefit too:

  1. Accessibility : By having a strong online presence you increase your accessibility. With the help of a great website you provide clients and leads a summary of the pain you solve, where to find you and what makes you great at what you do.
  2. Trustworthiness : Through social media and blogs on your website you establish yourself as a trusted source of information. Building trust and credibility with your audience certainly will enhance the longevity of your brand and thereby a sustainable relationship with your clientele.
  3. Cut marketing costs : I know that startups will really enjoy this one. And I’ve probably mentioned a million times (okay, maybe a few times 🙂 that you can do no to low cost marketing thanks to social media. Essentially Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is giving you the opportunity for a free and easily accessible online presence. They give your business credibility. And, if you’re just starting out (read : no marketing budget) these are great platforms to market your business with, and define the pain you solve to masses without breaking the bank. You’ve got to love it!
  4. Build your tribe : After a few years in business one of the most important things I’ve learned is to first build your tribe. With an online presence you can now reach a far wider audience than ever before. You can build a loyal tribe who are the best spokespeople you’ll find. Your tribe will watch what you do, share it and talk about it to everyone creating a greater following. Tribes are loyal and will stick with you through thick and thin. They will wear your badge with honour and recruit on your behalf. Don’t underestimate the power of a tribe.

Bringing it together

Embrace the power of having a strong and effective online presence. Make sure that your website has call-to-actions and that the content converts. Share great content regularly. Establish yourself as a thought leader. Build trust and credibility. Do all of this online and you will soon see how powerful this can be to the growth of your business. Your authenticity will shine through and at the end of the day that is one of the greatest things you can do for your business.

Harness the power of a strong online presence!

Why you are failing at sales

Why you are failing at sales

Oh the dreaded word for most people. That lingering bad aftertaste associated with this noun is as bad as asking most people to speak in public. They quiver at the thought!

I love sales, dearly. It’s been a close companion of mine over the years, and even though we’ve had a love hate relationship we do have conversations on a daily basis. Sales has been good to me. Sales has taught me to be tenacious, to be persistent, to grow resilience and best of all, how to engage with others.

Sales should be seen as a great communication tool above all else.

How can improved sales skills make your business better?

Communication tool

Well for one, having sales skills means that you enjoy people and you are great at communicating. Wait! Surely that isn’t the definition of sales?

To be honest, over the years sales has been given a bad rep. Now’s the time to improve its reputation and perhaps even place it on a pedestal.

There are too many businesses, particularly start-ups that fail and my belief is that one of the reasons this tends to happen is that they don’t hunt sales. They don’t have a sales plan or budget in place. Yes it’s great to have a marketing plan, but what’s the point of getting all these great leads, creating brand awareness and a digital footprint if you don’t close the deal?

It’s time to start using sales as a great communication tool.

Perception

We need to actively start viewing sales in a better light. Our perception of what sales is and how it works needs to change. We need to embrace the power of this little noun. Without sales your business is dead. I know that sounds harsh, however, don’t fool yourself. Your lovely business that you’ve been focussing on for the last 5 years is not going to grow if you don’t have a sales plan in place. Start changing your perception of sales and see your bottom line grow.

Risk taking

Sales does involve taking certain risks. You need to be comfortable putting yourself out there, presenting on a daily basis, possibly even facing rejection at every turn.

But isn’t this what makes us stronger? Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Learn to take risks. Place yourself in “danger”, in the sales zone. Growth only happens outside of your comfort zone.

Now turn off those voices in your head and go out & sell! You’ll thank me for the constant adrenaline rush!

 

Why Outsourcing Is The Hottest Trend For Business Success

Why Outsourcing Is The Hottest Trend For Business Success

Thanks to the increase in technology, apps, devices and innovative thinking, the way we run business now is streets away from how it was done just a decade ago.

Outsourcing is fast becoming the norm and stats indicate that by 2020 more than 65% of work will be outsourced to remote workers.

I know that there are still business owners who struggle with the idea of outsourcing work to anyone who is not physically located at their office.

And then there are those who run an entire business on an outsourced model.

The idea behind this article is to show you what you can outsource, so let’s get you comfortable with the idea of what you can outsource and to whom.

1.  All things admin

Whether you are a solopreneur, or run a medium sized business, you can take advantage of outsourcing admin tasks. This can be anything from a full-time PA to a client liaison who responds to online inquiries on your behalf.

Who can do this for you? An experienced Virtual Assistant. Scour the internet to understand the business behind a Virtual Assistant and soon you’ll discover that there is a world of possibilities waiting for you.

Finding a reputable Virtual Assistant is pretty easy and I would recommend starting your search on LinkedIn. If you’re not sure of the calibre of the VA or her capacity, ask to do an hour trial run for instance. Trust me, you’re going to thank me for this! Do more of what you love and outsource the rest of the admin tasks to your trusted Virtual Assistant.

2.  Marketing campaigns

What is the one thing that is usually cut when a business owner starts feeling the pinch? Marketing of course! And yet, without marketing you cannot fill a decent sales pipeline. Granted, there are quite a few marketing activities you can do on your own. With a reputable marketing agency not only will you save time, but you also get to hire a team who understands how to leverage marketing to convert website visitors and the like into quality leads.

Interview a few marketing agencies, ask for sample work and client testimonials. Look beyond the pretty marketing collateral and listen to your gut on this one.

3.  Certain Sales functions

Do you love sales? If not, then you need a sales team! And if you aren’t particularly keen on hiring a sales division, outsource this function. But know this, the best way for your business to grow is to have sales. Referrals and walk-ins will only last so long, and then? If you’re not particularly comfortable with selling or it’s a task that you just don’t enjoy, outsource this sales function to a lead generation company.

Again, do a lot of research, as there are a ton of lead generation companies out there. Ask the following questions:

  1. Do they specialise in my industry or are they generalists?
  2. How long have they been around? (In other words, what kind of experience do they have?)
  3. What kind of results have they achieved for their other clients?
  4. Can you find your shortlist on the internet? (If they have an amazing web presence, then you can rest assured they have created a great web presence for their clients).

The list of what you can outsource is pretty much endless, from graphic design work to tech support and everything in between. The trick is to find an agency that aligns with your vision and has a culture that you can work with and enjoy.

Happy hunting for great outsourced companies and enjoy the freedom that comes with outsourcing certain business functions!

 

Why Marketing is so essential to the success of your Sales goals

Why Marketing is so essential to the success of your Sales goals

We’ve all heard it before, how the marketing department just cannot see eye-to-eye with the sales department. And how the sales department thinks the campaigns designed by the marketing department is never going to work.

It’s 2017 – time to set aside those differences and truly understand how these two departments are quintessential to the growth of any business.

Yes it can be done. It is absolutely possible for these two divisions to work together harmoniously. And this is the year to do it.

Why? If we can better understand how important a great marketing campaign is, we can better utilise it in growing our sales, month-on-month.

The best way to do this is to get these two silos’ to speak with each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re a corporate or a solopreneur, the bottom line is, marketing complements sales. Simple.

7 Steps to understanding Marketing

  1. Business Vision– What is your business vision? That is, do you know your business? Why did you build your business? Does your vision align with your strategy? First and foremost, by having a clear vision of what you want, then how you’re going to achieve it will follow automatically.
  2. Determine Target Market– In order to design a great marketing strategy you truly need to understand who you are speaking to. What does your ideal customer look like? Where are they located? What are their interests? Where do they hang out in the social media realm? By understanding the buying persona (or client avatar), you’ve just made your strategy building so much easier.
  3. Look At Your Competitors– Chances are there is already a business doing what you’re doing. But never fear! Now is the time to understand what differentiates you from your competitors and make that your slogan, your driving force. Look at what they are doing and do it better.
  4. Act Like A Media Company– You absolutely need to commit in creating as much great content as possible. There are numerous articles available on the web describing where buyer attention is focussed. Find out where in your niche they are and cater to them. In other words, if you’re selling beauty products then it makes sense to share gorgeous editorial pics on Instagram, to do how to videos on YouTube and to share daily cleansing tips for instance with live feed on Facebook. Get creative and keep churning out quality content.
  5. Set Out Marketing Goals– Take the needed time to set out your marketing goals for the year to come and break them down into achievable monthly milestones. The better your goals are outlined and adhered to, the easier the sales process becomes.
  6. Create A Marketing Calendar– Create a workable marketing calendar for the rest of the year. Look at ways to launch new products or services, create monthly themes and weekly action steps. Become creative with your posts, however, do cater to your target market and keep in mind the medium that you’re sharing on. Look at the time of day and the day of the week that you’re sharing content to ensure that you maximise engagement and convert those leads into sales.
  7. Put A Budget In Place– There are times that you’re going to spend money to make money and marketing is one of those places. The beauty of social media and blogging is that you can grow your audience organically and create a loyal following without spending a cent. Other times it is essential to throw a bit of budget behind your marketing campaigns to ensure that your conversion rate is high and attainable. You want to see tangible results from your marketing campaign, so make sure that the right people are seeing your content at the right time.

 

Why a Virtual Assistant is an entrepreneur’s best friend

Why a Virtual Assistant is an entrepreneur’s best friend

“Grow your business without growing your staff” – now wouldn’t that be the ideal way to build and grow your amazing start-up.

And the best part? With the help of a Virtual Assistant or as we are more fondly known as, VA’s, it is now completely possible and within reach.

Your VA should be your next best friend! Here is someone who doesn’t need to be micromanaged, will get tasks done to your exact requirements and treat your business as if it were her own. A Virtual Assistant is a gift that each and every entrepreneur should have.

Fill gaps where start-ups fall short

Just because you started this business and have been running it for a year or two doesn’t mean that you have all the skills to fulfil each role. In fact, you more than likely excel in a specific field and try to make up the short fall. With a professional VA by your side you can now focus on what you are good at, namely growing the business, and she can take care of the other areas that you’re not so brilliant at. You know like paying the accounts, or taking care of the admin, filtering emails or organising your diary.

Get more time

Your focus should be working on your business, growing your client base and ensuring that your service offering is perfected. For this to take place you need time. How do you find more time? By outsourcing all the tasks that don’t require your specialist skill to your new best friend, your VA!

One point of contact with access to a pool of skills

By working with a VA agency for instance you have access to a myriad of skills with a single point of contact. You delegate your tasks to your VA and she will take care of the rest by assigning tasks to a Virtual Assistant who has those specific skill sets within her team. You can now carry on with your creative projects safe in the knowledge that your business is being run smoothly and professionally by a team of experts.

Extension of your team

A VA really is a team member and even though she works from a remote location, she forms an extension of your business and is therefore a valuable asset. With her dedication to getting things done she will align with your start-up’s vision and ensure that you are able to keep driving your business forward.

We as entrepreneurs are so fortunate to have access to a lot of amazing people and skills. Take action and grow your business with your new best friend!

 

Why a Sales Strategy Workshop can help your Business

Why a Sales Strategy Workshop can help your Business

Over the course of the last few years I’ve had the honour and privilege of hosting several Sales Masterclasses and Sales Strategy Workshops.

Why are they so effective?

As entrepreneurs, founders, businesspeople, we are always looking for new ways to grow and develop. We are knowledge seekers looking for new and amazing ways to do business, improved ways to increase our skillsets and to better our service offering.

So the best place to have access to information like this is at networking events, workshops, masterclasses and the like. Here you get the opportunity to rub shoulders with likeminded people and to learn from the best.

It’s effective because the course material has been tailored to you. You walk away feeling that you have gained so much benefit and you are now armed with an actionable sales strategy for your business.

Why should you host a sales strategy workshop?

What better way than to get an expert to teach and train you and your staff on better ways of doing business? You can get the trainer to completely tailor the workshop to accommodate the industry you work in, your sales cycles, the needs and objections faced by your clients, your staff capabilities in terms of delivering services in time, etc.

By hosting your own sales strategy workshop you determine exactly the quality and quantity of information your staff receives, the duration and whether this will be an ongoing exercise.

If you are looking at ways to develop your sales and service teams, a workshop can do the following:

Ø Understanding the business vision and mission, and how to align this with the staff’s vision and input

Ø Getting to grips with the pains your clients experience and how to marry your solution to their pain

Ø Building confidence within the team so that everyone becomes your Brand Ambassador

Ø How to stand out from your competitors

Ø Objection handling, presentation planning and development, closing the deal

These are just a few ideas of topics to be discussed in your Sales Strategy Workshop.

Get the ball rolling today, develop your team and they will help you grow your business.

 

The power of a Virtual Meeting and how to make it part of your Business

The power of a Virtual Meeting and how to make it part of your Business

We have come such a long way from those notorious hour long boardroom meetings and booking physical meeting rooms. Nowadays we have the luxury of hosting a meeting anywhere in the world at any time, as long as we have our laptop or mobile phone with us, we’re good to go!

And this is what I absolutely love about running remote teams. Wherever I find my laptop and mobile phone, that’s where my office is for the day.

I want to show you some platforms that you can use to host a Virtual meeting on and then take you through the benefits of conducting meetings this way.

Here’s a list of virtual meeting room apps

Some of the virtual meeting rooms you’ll be familiar with.

1.     Skype :

This is hands down the best known app for virtual chats and meetings. It easy to use and is free.

2.     Zoom :

My favourite virtual meeting app to date. We use this for all our virtual meetings. It’s reliable, stable, can host multiple users, record your meetings and you can screen share. You can also use this app on both mobile phone and laptop.

3.     Webex :

WebEx is a Cisco service and allows you to have unlimited online meetings with up to three people absolutely free. You can record meetings and use the app on your mobile phone and laptop.

4.     JoinMe :

You can use this app for both online meetings, screen sharing and it allows you to switch control of the screen among meeting participants.

5.     Google Hangouts :

In order to activate a Google Hangouts meeting all you need is a Gmail address. You can do a video call and at the same time view and collaborate on Google docs.

The benefits of meeting virtually?

  • You have the flexibility to meet at any time, no matter where you are, as long as you can access either your mobile phone or laptop.
  • It saves time. Now you don’t have to sit in traffic and drive to a meeting.
  • You can host 15min meetings one after the other and in this way fit more in your day.
  • You can record the meeting and start building a client meeting audio library for you and your team to refer back to.
  • If you’re running a remote team, it’s an easy way for everyone to join the meeting.

I do understand that in South Africa our culture is a bit different and we want to meet in person, especially for the first meeting. We love the human touch and granted virtual meetings don’t always offer that.

So why not compromise and meet with your prospective client for the first time in person and arrange to meet virtually thereafter?

Make virtual meetings a part of your business and watch your productivity soar!

 

Networking – the easy way to grow your business

Networking – the easy way to grow your business

How do we go about attracting, converting and retaining a prospect into a valued long-term client?

When you first start your business (and we’re all guilty of this) you’re not too concerned about who your clients are, what they do or the kind of support they need.

As your business grows, your client base increases and things start stabilising, you’ll start to realise the type of client you prefer working with. The tasks you enjoy doing and those that you would rather outsource.

Now that you’re established and found your feet, it’s time to get out there and seriously start networking!

One Way to Grow Your Business

Networking you may ask? Well, yes, what better place than to have a captured audience to “pitch” your business to in just 40 seconds?

Most networking events give the guests a slot to introduce themselves and add value to the group. Until you’ve done it a couple of times, it can be rather daunting to speak in front of a room full of people.

Make sure you choose the right networking event that is a great match for you and your business.

Perfect your Pitch

This is the ideal time to perfect your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch typically has an introduction, a short splurb on what you do (identify the “pain” experienced by others) and most importantly how you can be of service to the person you’re speaking to (that is, solve the “pain” you’ve identified).

In your introduction remember to give your name, as well as your company name!

Basics, yet small things that we tend to forget. During your pitch you want the audience to sit up, take note and think, hey I can relate to that. You want a call-to-action, so you definitely want to be remembered and more importantly for prospective clients to speak to you after the formalities of the networking session has taken place.

At the end of the pitch you should always repeat your name and your company name. And make sure you have enough business cards at hand!

What’s next?

Prepare your 40-second presentation, and practice it as often as you can. In the mornings when you’re showering, on your way to work in the car, every moment you get, practice, practice, practice until it flows.

Your confidence will ooze as you speak about your passion and in this way you’ll create an excellent first impression.

Good luck!

Mastering the art of Listening can lead to improved Sales

Mastering the art of Listening can lead to improved Sales

“Learn to listen, opportunity sometimes knocks very softly.”

There is a major difference between listening to answer and actively listening. When you are actively listening it means you’re putting in the effort to really understand what your client is telling you. This activity also involves reading and listening to non-verbal communication like body language.

To be a highly successful salesperson you need to learn the art of actively listening. So how do you do this?

Avoid wanting to hog the conversation : Try not to dominate the conversation especially when it’s a topic you know a lot about. Remain open minded and be willing to be receptive to new ideas or a different perspective. Allow your client to finish speaking before you give your input. Let them make their point and follow the conversation from there.

Don’t feign attention : You may think that what your client is saying is boring or you’ve heard this a million times before, however, be an attentive listener at all times and keep eye contact. Convey interest with simple gestures like nodding or leaning forward or interject with “That sounds interesting, please tell me more”. This shows genuine interest, that you truly are involved in the conversation and reassures your client that you are actively listening.

Pay attention to non-verbal language : Not only should you be listening to what your client is saying but also understand the gestures and motivation behind their words. Understand the tone of voice, posture, conviction of verbalised words. Often a whole lot is being said without it actually being said and if you are an active listener not only will you pick up on this but you can also use it to help swing the deal.

Be quick witted : There are times that you may get frustrated or impatient with your client’s way of speaking, you may find it to be too slow for your liking. Why not use the time to silently review their main points so that when he is finished speaking you re-iterate these points and ask them whether you understood correctly what was said. This is a great way to avoid any possible misunderstandings going forward.

Being an active listener in a sales meeting means that you can hear the client’s objections and questions, you won’t miss it when they say yes and finally, you won’t have the opportunity of speaking yourself out of the sale. Listen and listen well.

How to Develop Your 2018 Sales and Marketing Strategy

How to Develop Your 2018 Sales and Marketing Strategy

In this post I’ll take you through 5 steps that you can implement right now to help you get your sales and marketing strategy on track for 2017.

1) Analyze Your 2017 Sales Trends

Take a look at where your sales and revenue come from in 2017. Did your company revenue come mostly from new or existing customers? How long is your average sales cycle? What were your best sources for new leads? Did you closing rate improve over time? Did you lose customers and do you know why?

Document the lessons learned and start strategizing on how you can improve them this year.

2) Analyze Your 2017 Marketing Trends

Do you know how much traffic your website received in 2017 on a daily and monthly basis? How many leads were converted, both online and offline? Did you notice whether certain blogs performed better than others?

These insights will help you define your “client avator”. This also indicates who your target market is and what appeals to them so that you can start sharing more of that kind of content.

3) Define Your Business Vision for the next year

What is your vision for your business for the next year? Where do you want to be financially? Write a one-pager of what things will look like 12months from now, be very specific and then reverse engineer how you’re going to achieve those results.

4) Set Your Business Priorities and Goals for 2018

Is there anything standing in your way of achieving your business goals? Were there projects outstanding from last year that are still lingering? If so, then you need to look at what setbacks you experienced and why. Look at how you will measure key metrics this year and what goals you want to achieve in the first quarter of 2017. Then put an action plan together to start achieving this!

5) Review and Update Your Ideal Customer Profile and Personas

Look back at your best customers and make sure you identify the characteristics that make them profitable and enjoyable to work with. Make sure your ideal customer profile and buyer personas are accurate and reflect the kinds of customers who will help you reach your growth goals.

These are just a few steps that you can start actioning now to ensure great sales and marketing success for 2018!

How to be more productive with Dan Martell

How to be more productive with Dan Martell

Have you heard of Dan Martell, the highly successful serial entrepreneur that has built and sold 3 multi-million dollar startups?

If not, be sure to visit his website and his weekly vlogs – he has the most amazing tips.

This brings me to this week’s blog. I was watching a video by Dan on how to be more productive and his 4 tips really struck me.

These are tips that all of us know, yet most of us aren’t implementing in our daily lives. Typical of most entrepreneurs we want to do everything ourselves as we believe we’ll do it better and faster.

Yet this kind of mindset is holding us back. In another vlog Dan speaks of delegating your inbox to your assistant. He maintains that you shouldn’t be dealing with your inbox at all. Your assistant should filter all your emails and have a process in place where you only deal with critical emails.

Obviously this will help with being more productive. In his productivity vlog, Dan speaks of the following 4 tips to help improve your productivity.

  1.  Have a mission. The moment you know where you’re going it is easier to reach your destination. Make sure you have a mission and vision for both your business and personal life, this will certainly give you more direction.
  2. Plan.Yip, you need to plan every moment of every day. Plan your day, your week, your year. Dan maintains he can immediately tell if you’re successful or not when he takes a look at your calendar to see how planned you are. This planning includes play, family time and spiritual time, not only business planning.
  3. Schedule everything.If you’re working on a project it needs to be in your calendar. Why? It holds you accountable and will force you to work with intention throughout the day so that you can accomplish so much more.
  4. Share your mission.Speak to absolutely anyone and everyone about your life and business mission. The more you speak about it the more it is a top of mind activity and helps give you clarity on the direction you’re taking.

We all want to be more productive and we all dream of having more hours in the day, so why not apply these “Dan rules” and literally watch your productivity soar?

At the end of the day only you can action this and make this happen. Take ownership of your time, your day and value where you spend your energy. To be successful you need to start thinking like a successful person.

Read more about Dan Martell, his successes and great business tips here : http://www.danmartell.com/

Future plans – a blueprint for a successful future

Future plans – a blueprint for a successful future

There’s a wonderful saying ‘Where there’s life, there’s hope’. It also works this way: ‘Where there’s hope, there’s life.’
Planning for the future does just that: it gives one hope and hope enables one to endure during the tough times in life.

Plans can sometimes change due to unforeseen events therefore we need to be flexible and resilient.
Plans are simply the tools one uses to implement one’s purpose in life. So the vital questions to ask yourself are: What gives your life meaning; what is your passion or calling; what is it you would do if you were never paid for doing it?

There’s a spiritual element to asking these serious questions. Your life is valuable and worthwhile and deserving of self-respect. I know I would like to look back at my life and know that it was a full, abundant, glorious life, lived to the best of my ability.

So give it the time it needs. Ask friends, family, colleagues, ex-teachers what they think your gifts, talents or strengths are.

Find a life coach or a counselling psychologist and do personality and interests’ tests. Get to know yourself. Go to a retreat centre or a place you can be alone, with no distractions. Take a notebook and pen with you and write down what you feel about yourself, including your limitations and what you’d really hate to do or be in the future. Look at your past and the choices you made that got you to your present. Ask yourself ‘Who do I want to be and what do I want to be in my future?’ ‘What do I want to say about my life when I’m really old?’

Once you’ve figured out what your life’s purpose is, set your plan in motion as incremental goals with specific deadlines.

Encourage yourself with notes and inspirational sayings. Perhaps copy them and set them as diary reminders at random times during the week?

Save your money towards your plans as, not only will it be useful to achieve your goals, but it will give you a sense of accomplishment right now.

Prepare to sacrifice immediate gratification for later rewards. This takes self-discipline.

Be mindful – pay attention to the small things in your life; a bird, a tree, the clouds. You may come to some realisations through them that continue to give you hope.

Live in reality but keep the dreams for your future and your plans alive by not allowing anyone to criticize, dismiss or invalidate you.

Your inner voice is far more important to you than others’ negativity. Your inner intuitive feelings usually know what’s best for you. Follow your heart!

What I’ve written about here can easily be applied as a blueprint for your business. Sit down, think about what you would like to achieve with your business, where you are headed and how you plan on getting there.

There are a myriad of helpful tools on the internet today. Or you can simply ask someone in the know. If it is a specific business you’ve been thinking about starting, take the leap, contact someone you know who is in a similar field, and ask for advice and handy tips!

It’s a new year – time for a new future, time to assess your life.
‘Til next time!

Did you know that Sales is for you, you and you?

Did you know that Sales is for you, you and you?

Are you faint of heart? Then sales is for you!

Say what?! Are you the kind of person that wants to hide under a rock when you hear the word ‘sales’? Then this article is just for you!

If you had to summarise sales in a tweet (a whole 140 characters) what would you say? You probably would include the words ‘pushy’, ‘obnoxious’, ‘forceful’, ‘too salesy’ in there.

I want you to take a step back and look at sales from a different angle. What if I said to you that sales is first and foremost about communication, about negotiating, building relationships?

Negotiation skills

Let’s start training our brains to see sales in a far more receptive and positive light. I always reference a portion of sales to that of being a parent. If you have children you more than likely spend a lot of your time negotiating with them – when to bath, to finish their homework, to put down that mobile phone. You have become a master at negotiating! And isn’t negotiating the crux of sales?

A master at communication

When you write an email to a client, answer queries from your website, respond to LinkedIn requests, you are communicating. Wouldn’t you say that is the next vital part of sales? Being able to communicate succinctly is key to sales success. Being able to bring your point across in a sales conversation, a powerful presentation, a one-on-one meeting makes for a great communicator.

Understanding that sales is made up of different parts makes it easier for our brains to digest. Sales shouldn’t be considered this daunting thing that strikes fear in your heart.

Instead we should see it as an art form to embrace, a skill to hone and share with others. As a business owner you need sales to grow the business. If you’re just starting out sales is dependent on you, therefore this is something that we need to embrace and become really good at.

Practice makes perfect

So how do we become good at something we fear? Practice. Practice. Practice.
Get comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone. How did you learn to use a computer when it just came out? How did you learn to drive a car? By practicing of course!

We strive for perfection but settle for excellence. The only way you’re going to become great at sales is to keep doing it. Keep in mind the different aspects of sales. It is a sum of different parts. Learn to write great converting emails, become comfortable speaking with confidence on the phone, be assertive when asking for the deal.

I know you’ve got this! You can absolutely do it and I am your greatest sales ambassador. I know you have it in you, it just needs to be discovered and finely tuned like a beautiful musical instrument.
Now go out and conquer the sales world!

Accelerate the Growth of your Business with a winning Sales Process

Accelerate the Growth of your Business with a winning Sales Process

You may run a highly successful sales division for a corporate company or you could be an early stage start up, wearing multiple hats. Either way, you are fully aware that sales is core to the success of your business.

Here are a few tips on how to put together a basic yet winning sales process.

Begin client outreach right now

Gather all your wits about you and start calling. Yes, pick up the phone! I promise you, the phone will not bite you. Don’t feel alone though as most people dread speaking with complete strangers on the phone. What I can tell you is that the more you do it the more confidence you’ll gain. This method is the best way to field objections, understand business challenges and even get feedback on your offering, all in real time.

Start Role playing

Walk through the sales process right until close of sale with a colleague or business partner. Once you start feeling more comfortable with going through the whole sales pitch start role playing with someone out of your organisation. These scenarios can give you better insight on how to identify possible gaps, whether it’s in your approach or your product / service.

Establish your qualifying criteria

By establishing a list of sorts to pre-qualify your clients you will better understand what pain your product / service solves, whether you are a good match or not for a potential client, if they can afford you and so forth. This is vital information to have as it could prevent your sales cycle from being lengthened unnecessarily or possibly mismatching your offering with a prospective client.

Build a sales conversion funnel

You need to learn to reverse engineer, not only in business, but also within your sales process. So begin with the end in mind and then reverse the process until you get to where you currently are in order to better understand where you want to go and how you are going to get there.

For example, when we speak of a sales conversion funnel, we typically refer to a sequence of events, like first do a cold call, then send a follow up email, do another outreach activity, then pre-qualify the prospect and close the deal.

Ask yourself how many deals you would like to close in one month, then break that down to how many prospects you should have in your pipeline, the number of quotes you should have out, your daily number of cold calls and include your marketing strategy into the mix. This will help with understanding your desired conversion rate and what your sales pipeline should look like on a monthly basis in order to achieve the close rate you’re looking for.

Keep going, keep growing

If it this process is showing results work hard on developing it. It may be working now however it is imperative to keep testing your process to find better ways of doing things. As the founder of the business or sales leader it is important that you are actively involved in developing the company’s sales process.

There’s a great quote from Steli Efti :

“Lack of iteration is what prevents companies from making a good sales process great!”

Keep moving forward and looking for a winning repeatable process.

 

 

Building your brand on a shoestring budget

Building your brand on a shoestring budget

Building your brand on a shoestring budget

What really scares me (yes, scares me!) is the moment a business runs low on cash or experiences a lean month, the very first thing they do is either cut or slash the marketing budget! Why oh why?

Surely our thinking should be of such a nature that marketing (and by default brand building) is the last thing to go, after all, without an effective marketing campaign it can be quite a challenge to get sales, well for most sectors that is. And wouldn’t you agree with a strong brand in place that sales will become easier? Think of brands like Coca-Cola, Virgin Atlantic and Nike. They have done the hard yards with brand building and marketing. In fact they have done such a great job, if they didn’t market for a year for example, their brand would still carry their sales.

What if you are a startup, or run a SME, and you really do only have a shoestring budget available for marketing?

I want to say never fear! With some creativity and out of the box thinking we can think of ways that will make a very small budget work. Heck, even if you don’t have any cash-flow there are ways that you can market for free.

It is important to remember that branding is not merely a cute designed logo, an eye-catching website or a great looking letterhead. Your brand is so much more than that.

Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. – Jeff Bezos

With great marketing comes great brand building, so let’s take a look at some effective ways you can market to build your brand:

Landing pages

Create hype around your brand by using something as simple and effective as a landing page. If you don’t know what a landing page is, think of it as a mini-website, therefore it’s a one-page “website” either hosted as a page on your current website or on a SEO keyword rich domain, for example, www.customdesigns.co.za . The goal with the landing page is to build your brand by getting the visitor to take an action. This action could be to watch a video, to download an ebook or to complete a form. Remember, the key to an effective landing page is that it focuses on one goal only, one product or service only. The end result is further engagement with your brand.

You can design this landing page for free yourself or you can ask a web designer, at a nominal fee, to put this together for you. You even have cost-effective lead page platforms that will assist you with this. One of the more popular sites for this is Leadpages.

The power of testimonials

Word of mouth took on a whole new meaning with the advent of the digital world. With powerful testimonials your current clients are a testament to the value of your brand. Believe me, it always sounds better if the praise is coming from someone else’s mouth. And because information is so easily accessible on the web, by a click of a button, prospective clients can visit your website and social media platforms to take a look at what your clients are saying about you.

Content is still King

You may up until now not taken content very seriously. I beg you to do so! Content is here to stay. The best thing for you to do is to embrace it, own it and make it work in your favour. And it’s free! Yay! Content can take so many shapes, including blogs, social media tweets and posts, vlogs, effective images and so much more. The more content you put out the better. The better content you put out the greater your brand reach becomes. Keep in mind that there is a difference between being active on social and blogging for the sake of being active, or doing so with a strategy.

Take a week to prepare a proper content calendar for the next 3 months. Identify 3 key platforms that you know your audience hangs out on and strategise your content for each platform. The goal with your content is to create brand awareness, brand trust and then new clients.

Bringing it together

From this blog you can tell that you don’t necessarily require a huge budget to start building your brand. Or at the very least you require a small budget. If you don’t have the writing or other creative skills to get this done, now is the time to cash in on favours, barter with fellow startups, but do what needs to be done in order to start your brand building. This kind of activity takes time and I think 2018 is a great year to start with this. If you are already doing it, good for you, now is the time to ramp it up and make the brand building work in your favour.

Ask yourself, what is your ultimate goal with building a brand? Take the answer and reverse engineer to get to your starting point. This goal gives you motivation and helps with better planning.

Happy brand building!

What will the top 5 sales trends of 2018 be?

What will the top 5 sales trends of 2018 be?

What will the top 5 sales trends of 2018 be?

The times have changed and we need to keep up with the times.

With this in mind and the fact that there has been boundless advancement of digital marketing, it’s good to know that the face of your typical sales department has drastically changed. Gone are the days of only cold calling, now we make use of email marketing, WhatsApp messaging and several social media platforms. These are effective ways of attracting clients to either buy your product, or at the very least, to encourage them to try it out.

In this digital age a great way to attract clients is through video marketing and believe it or not, is also quite a handy way to fill your sales funnel! Stats show that from this year going forward video marketing will be the most powerful way to market your business.

Top Sales Trends in 2018

Market analysis shows that in 2018 sales trends will have changed drastically from using only a sales force (salespeople) to sell. As tech develops so does automation, meaning, more and more you’ll notice a lot of the sales conversation starting online before anything happens at a physical location.

If you think about it, this actually makes your selling job easier. It is easier to start the sales process in a digital manner and then to take it offline to further the business relationship. (I’m a huge advocate of building relationships and this for me is the cornerstone to any successful and sustainable sales transaction).

Video Prospecting

You can bet your bottom dollar that one of the most effective methods of selling products (and services) will be via video. Read this as digital or online meetings as well as actual sales videos. This is one of the key trends for 2018 and you’ll see the greats like GaryVee speak of this as well. (It doesn’t hurt that he endorses this method, so naturally it’s included in my trends list :-))

Video prospecting will help you stand out from the crowd, and make the right kind of impact on your prospective clients.

Front-line Training

One of the major drawbacks which are faced by current sales force is lack of training to attract potential clients. Due to this lack of training you’ll notice that there are sales teams who haven’t learned to move with the times. Our usual way of doing sales has changed, and with it means being more caring and compassionate, developing relationships first and selling last. Sounds strange, I know, but with the right kind of training sales teams can implement more “modern ways” of selling. The result? More effective sales techniques and better client retention.

Messaging

Messaging has become quite common now. If anyone had said to you 3 years ago that you would use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to sell, well, you would have laughed in their face. Now, instead of sending an email or a link to a promotional video, it is rapidly becoming the norm to use platforms like these as part of the sales process. Yip, the times sure have changed!

Personalised Selling

Sales people will have a much better understanding of their buyer persona this year, which means that targeting will be improved and closing the deal will be that much easier. Take the time to define and understand your buyer persona (target market) so that you can hone your selling skills to suit your potential client base better.

Automation in Sales

There is talk in the industry that by December 2018 rolls around huge chunks of the sales process will move towards automation. This means that more and more bots will be handling your sales activities. A great example are the chat bots you see pop up when you visit certain websites. A chat block will appear and the bot will ask whether they can assist you in any way. Keep in mind that we live in times of instant gratification, so even though you may feel adversely to these bots, keep in mind who you are selling to.

Bringing it together

If you are willing to embrace change, then you’re going to have a great 2018! This is the year for great change when it comes to sales and the fundamentals of how we do business. Be willing to adapt and move with the times. The better your input the greater your output.

 

Happy selling!

Building sales confidence with a winning mindset

Building sales confidence with a winning mindset

Being an entrepreneur automatically means that you keep learning. You keep developing your skillsets, understanding new ways of doing business and applying new methods to make your business better.
The same principles are applied to sales. If you want to be a better salesperson, with the understanding that all entrepreneurs are salespeople, then you need to keep honing your skills and developing your mindset to have a winning attitude in sales.

How do you do this?

Well, I want to share some surprising ways that you can boost your sales confidence to achieve in business what you’ve always dreamed of achieving.
1. Exercise – generally a great way to unclutter the mind
2. Have fun – remember that from your childhood? Don’t ever lose it.
3. Smile – it automatically gives you a mental boost and makes everyone around you feel good
4. Take a walk – taking a walk changes the chemicals in your brain and encourages more creative ways to deal with problems
5. Compliment – they say you should give 5 genuine compliments a day. When last did you compliment someone on their shoes or the way they handled a certain situation?

Then there are other ways to create a superstar sales mindset :

· Stay hungry. Every entrepreneur I know is driven. They have a high work ethic and high energy levels. In the face of rejection or economic downturn, these are the people who keep going, no matter what.
· Be prepared. With every sales call that you make or sales meeting you attend, make sure you’ve done your research on the prospective client, understand what they do and how your service or product will benefit them.
· Be your authentic self. People buy from people, and people buy from people they like. In sales likability does matter for a sustainable business relationship. Bottom line, be yourself!
· Believe in your product. Your passion should always shine through, whether you have a product or service based business, let your clients see your passion, let them experience it. The confidence you have in your products and services is a motivation for your clients to continue buying from you and ultimately become your Brand Ambassador who will shout from the rooftops about your amazing business.

Telling is not selling. Develop your mindset to really understand the problems your clients are experiencing in their business and how best your product or service will solve that particular problem. At the end of the day, a great sales transaction is the collaboration between two businesses that mutually benefit each other.

People love authenticity and passion, so let that shine through with every sales interaction. Be yourself, be confident and have a great mindset about everything in life!