2721 839 4839 karen@karenwessels.com
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.

 

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

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!

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.

 

 

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!

How Sales People can sell better to CEO’s

How Sales People can sell better to CEO’s

There may come a time that you’ll need to sell to the C-Suite, the high-ranking executives of a business. These are the likes of CEO’s, CFO’s and CIO’s. Or perhaps, like Salesforce your entire sales strategy is based around selling only to CEO’s. Whatever the case may be, let’s help you get more prepared for that sales meeting. How to win over executive buyers? You need to enter their mind set and be absolutely prepared at all times. In order to get this right you need to:

Do your homework on the prospect

Scan the prospect’s website, scour the internet to find what you can on that particular CEO. Really understand the kind of content the CEO likes to share on social media and know where they hang out digitally.

How well do you know the prospective company?

Do you as a highly effective and successful salesperson take the time to go to LinkedIn and Facebook and do in-depth analysis on this company that you want to pitch to? Take the time to understand how well their business is doing, the pain their business is solving. Do as much research as possible.

Have an agenda

As we all know time is money and C-levels are exceptionally busy. So don’t go into a sales meeting wasting their time. Come prepared with an agenda, account for every minute in that boardroom. Arm yourself with relevant case studies and testimonials. Try to think of any objections the CEO may throw your way and come up with solutions prior to the meeting. Be agile on your feet as you will be thrown a curveball. Be an active listener and really understand how your solution will fit into the prospective company’s vision.

The magic of sales lies in the follow up

What happens after the meeting is just as important as what transpired during the sales meeting. Remember to follow up, this responsibility lies with you. Make sure you have a game plan in place for your follow up. Remember that more than likely these CEO’s are hounded on a daily basis by other salespeople vying for their attention. You need to do your homework, show up and definitely ensure that you stand out from the crowd. And above all else, listen to what is being said and also to what is not being said. The most successful salespeople have learned the art of listening.

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.

1.     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.

2.     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.

3.     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.

4.     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.

5.     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.

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.