Three Reasons Your Business Will Fail This Year

Sam Articles 0 Comments

All around the world there are businesses failing. In the United States alone, almost 200 businesses fail every day of the week!

You may see companies that are doing great, people prospering, and business booming. But don’t kid yourself. There are also markets that are collapsing, industries that are disappearing, and a constant flow of bankruptcies.

Why do business have problems? Why do good intentions turn into failure? What could drive you out of business? Here are three reasons that your business could fail this year.

1. You Lack a Strong Business Model

Many business professionals are running their business as usual. They market, they sell, and they deliver their goods and services. Unfortunately they haven’t taken the time to strategically design their business model. They do things because that’s the way they have always done them, or because fate led them in that direction. To be successful today, that way of thinking just isn’t good enough.

You must take the time to evaluate three factors, and then design a business model that will serve you well moving forward. First, what is the value you deliver? Maybe you sell books, but the real value you deliver is information, knowledge, solutions to problems, or entertainment. People invest in your products and services, but they are buying the true value you deliver. Once you understand this concept you are in a position to make your offer so compelling that most prospective clients will not be able to refuse you.

Second, to whom do you deliver this value? This is your target market. It is important to know who is best suited for your value and who will benefit the most from it. It’s a matter of efficiency. You don’t have the financial resources, or the time to try and market to sell everyone. If you can clearly define who is best served by the value you deliver, then you can focus on that group and increase your success rate.

Third, how do you deliver your value? The “hows” become your products or services. A professional speaker sees himself as a “speaker.” In other words, they just speak for a living. Once that professional speaker realizes that the value they deliver is knowledge or information, then they can realize that speaking is only one way of delivering that knowledge. Speaking is one of the “hows.” Books, audio CDs, video learning systems, and the internet all become additional ways of delivering that same value to their marketplace.

Take the time to determine the real value you deliver. You may wish to ask your clients. It may surprise you what their response is. Then determine whom you deliver it to and list all of the other possible “hows.” From this information you can create your own business model.

2. You Are Not Surrounded By The Right People

You really are only as good as the people you work with. Your suppliers, employees, peers, and anyone else you rely on can have a major impact on the results you achieve.

You only have to think about the busy sales professional that almost misses a deadline to submit a significant proposal to realize that the assistant who reminded the sales pro of the pending deadline to realize how true this is.

The old expression; “No man is an island,” is very much the truth. All business professionals are dependent on the people they associate themselves with, both inside and outside their companies. Do you have a great team around you? Are your suppliers making you look good or bad? Do you have wonderful customers? Are they referring you to their peers?

As you can see, your success is going to be impacted by everyone you associate with.

3. You Do Not Have a Dream Big Enough To Attract Others.

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream.” President John F. Kennedy said, “By the end of the decade we will put a man on the moon and safely return.” These were bold statements, but they were dreams that were big enough to attract others to their cause.

As an individual, you only know a limited number of people. You only have twenty-four manhours in a day. Your knowledge base contains a set amount of information. Ultimately, alone you can only accomplish so much. By bringing in others to help you achieve your goals you expand, the time, energy, knowledge, and resources that are available to tackle your dream.

Dream big, and make it big enough to attract others, because they will help you along the way. Your goals will be reachable and the results you achieve amazing.

Don’t fall into these three traps, and you will be on road to Building a Better Biz!

Enhancing Your Brand

Sam Articles 1 Comment

Do you have a brand? Do you know what it is? Perhaps, more importantly, do your clients know? And what about the marketplace?

All great questions, but they are not always easy to answer. Your brand is your promise to the market place. When someone does business with you they know what they will get based on this “promise.” A great brand will have clients flocking to you a bad brand repels them. When someone thinks of you they should think of your brand, and conversely when someone thinks of your brand they should think of you. It’s simple – on paper.

When you go eat at McDonalds you know ahead of time what you are going to get. You know exactly what type of service to expect and what quality of food you will receive. If you are not satisfied with your meal, then my guess is that it was your fault for not having your expectations properly aligned with their well-known brand.

When business professionals think about themselves, their organization, and their brand many times they fall into the trap of only thinking about the products or services they offer. It is true that your brand should cover the quality and type of products and services that you sell, but your brand should also be related to the experience of doing business with you.

Dominos Pizza built their business around a brand of “your pizza would be delivered in 30 minutes or it was free”. You knew just what you were getting when you did business with Dominos. If you liked their pizza, and you wanted it fast that was the place to go.

When evaluating your brand it is probably best to go to your customers and ask them what they think of when they think of you. Put together a survey that they can fill out with questions about your products and services, the people that make up your organization, the experience they have at all points of contact, and adjectives that they associate your business.

Before reviewing this information, have everyone in your organization answer the same questions. With all of this feedback in hand you can learn how others perceive you, combine their views with your own knowledge of how you want to be perceived, and then take the steps to bring both of those visions into alignment.

If your brand is strong, easily understandable, and memorable, then you have the opportunity to really build your business.

A brand is so much more than a slogan that looks great on your letterhead. It may look nice on paper, but a brand that is only in words and not delivered in reality is a false promise. Create a strong brand, deliver it, and promote it — you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz.

Refer Your Way To More Business

Sam Articles 0 Comments

There are many ways to grow your business. You can increase sales to existing clients, you can add additional products and services to your offering, and you can even merge with another organization. The easiest and fasted way to grow your business is through referrals.

Cold calling is a proven way to develop business. The only problem is that it can be slow and tedious. And, although there is a time and place for cold calling, other ways of building your business may work more effectively for you. Certainly advertising can pay off, but you had better have significant funds available to you so that you can stay visible long enough for your advertising to pay off.

Referrals tend to buy quicker and place larger initial orders than other types of new clients. Some of the most successful business professionals today have developed a system of gaining quality referrals that works very well for them. Below are six ideas that will help you in developing your own system of cultivating referrals.

1. Be Great

The level of service you provide must be outstanding, and the quality of products you deliver must be superior before any referral system will begin working for you. But, if you are great without being asked to be, then your clients will automatically start sending referrals your way.

Like life in general, you rarely receive something unless you deserve it. Do you deserve referrals from your clients? Have you done everything in your power to stand out and be great in both quality of service and quality of products? If you can say ‘yes’ to these questions, then you are on the right track.

2. Ask

This may sound simple, but all too often, business professionals just simply fail to ask for referrals. There are specific times in a relationship that it is natural and normal to ask for referrals. You need to be aware of those moments and take advantage of them.

Right after you complete a sale and you are thanking your client may be a great time to ask for referrals. If you use a standard order form, print two or three blank lines on the bottom. After your client signs off on the order, point to those “blank lines” and tell your client that your business is built on the satisfaction of your clients and the potential clients they refer. Then ask them if they know two or three people who may be in the same situation that they could refer you to.

Always give specific “types” of people to think about. Don’t just ask if a client knows “someone.” Say, “Do you know any other small business owners?” By defining groups of people for your client to pull from, you will help them hone in on potential referrals for you.

3. Reward

When a client does provide you with a referral, be sure and reward them. Depending on your business, a dinner for two would be appropriate. Also, you can have a program with cards printed up that promote referrals and states the reward your clients will earn. For example; if they send in a prepaid post card with a referral on it and the referral buys then they receive $50.00.

If you want to take this idea one step further, mail to your client base twice a year. In this mailing you can promote your products or services, and you can also include some more referral cards for your clients.

4. Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your clients. They can be traditional printed newsletters, email newsletters, or a combination of the two. Be sure and mention that you appreciate referrals somewhere in your newsletter. You’ll be surprised by how just reminding your clients that you appreciate referrals can pay off.

5. Thank-You Notes

If you’re not already sending your clients thank-you notes on a regular basis, then you are missing out. Thank them for taking the time to meet, thank them for considering your product or service, thank them if they don’t buy, and thank them if they do. You should also thank them for referring clients your way. When you write a thank-you note sometimes you can add in that you would appreciate any referrals that they send your way.

You can also call your clients after the product has been delivered and your thank-you note has arrived. Toward the end of the conversation ask for a referral.

6. Create An Army Of Advocates

If you excel at building relationships, which is what business is all about, then over time you should be building an army of advocates. Advocates are those people who love you, your company, or your products and services. Let those people know how much you appreciate them. Also, let them know how you build your business and they you need and appreciate their referrals. If they really like you, they will promote you to their associates.

Stay in touch with your advocates on a monthly basis. Maybe send them a hand written note. Maybe send them an article that you think they will be interested in. Maybe send them a book that you feel would help them in their business. You could write a personal note and sign the book for an even greater impact!

Take care of your advocates, and they will take care of you.

A referral program is not a one-time thing. It is an ongoing effort that, over time, will produce significant results for your business. If you are looking to add quality clients that will buy quicker and place larger orders then referrals are the way to go. Design your own referral program. Stay consistent in your efforts, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!

Which Direction Is Your Business Heading

Sam Articles 0 Comments

Two years ago John’s business was down ten-percent, but he figures that the economy was a bit slow and he would make it up the next year. Last year, John’s business was off another ten-percent. He was not very happy with the way things were going, but he figured that this year was the year to turn things around. By May, John’s business was off fifteen-percent from the prior year. His repeat business is down and so are his referrals. John is worried that he isn’t going to be able to stay in business much longer. He is angry at the economy, he is frustrated with the people he works with, and he is depressed.

Unfortunately John’s situation is not all that uncommon. We think that just because we’ve been in business for a number of years, our business should automatically continue to grow and flourish. The truth is that it takes an ongoing commitment to marketing, sales, and relationship building to not just build your business, but to maintain what you already have.

When external factors affect your business, you must make internal changes to combat those forces. Here are three steps to being more strategic in the way you run your company and manage external changes.

1. Monitor Your Numbers and Watch For Trends

It is not enough to review your financial information at the end of the year or at tax time. Each month you should spend time reviewing your financial statements. Over time, you become so intimate with them that you will spot a change or problem immediately.

You should also know what drives your business. Are your sales dependent on the number of clients you have, the number of sales calls you make, or maybe the number of presentation you give? What are the key numbers that most consistently impact your business? I call them critical drivers. Know what they are and monitor them. Many successful organizations I work with track these numbers on a daily and weekly basis.

Look for trends in your numbers. Is there a trend illustrating an increase or decrease in your critical drivers? If your drivers are moving in a positive direction you may need to act in order to maintain a good level of customer support and other post-sale issues. If the drivers are decreasing, then you may need to increase your marketing efforts or make changes where it’s necessary.

A great place to review your critical drivers is with your Master Mind Group. If you don’t have a Master Mind Group already, then you may be missing out on one of the most powerful business concepts used by successful entrepreneurs today.

2. Don’t Accept the Status Quo

I hear it all the time, “The economy is bad.” Well, so what? Are you just going to sit around and let the economy, your competition, or someone down the street dictate your success? Just because there is something going on beyond your control doesn’t mean that your business success should be totally out of your hands.

You don’t have to accept external factors as the final word on your success. Evaluate your situation. Make changes when it’s necessary. And, keep moving your business forward.

3. Look For New Opportunities

The economy changes, business changes, industries evolve, and your business should look different in ten years than it looks today. What are you doing now to make that happen?

The entire universe is continually evolving and changing. It would be crazy to think that your business could stay exactly the same. Maybe you’re using different technology to get the job done. Maybe you’re entering into different markets. Maybe you’re selling different products. There are so many opportunities for change and growth!

Constantly evaluate what you are doing. Stay educated about your industry. Look for additional ways to deliver value to your existing clients, or, new clients that you can deliver value to. If you stay focused on delivering value, you will always be ahead of the curve, and discovering new ways to grow your business.

Do these three things, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!

It’s 5:11AM. Do You Know Where Your Car Is?

Sam Articles 0 Comments

It’s 5:11 AM and I’m about to make a left hand turn onto I-270 and head to the airport. I have a 6:35 flight (yes, I know I’m cutting it a little close) to Phoenix. There is a car facing me at the light, and I wait for it to pass before I make my turn. It is a golden yellow Ferrari F430. This car is sleek and beautiful. It is flying down the road even when it is sitting at a red light. Forget about practicality. This car is a true car lovers dream. We’re talking about a $175,000 car! You don’t even test drive this car unless you’ve achieved serious success.

As the car went by and disappeared into the darkness I made my left turn and realized a couple of things.

1. You don’t acquire a car like this by sleeping in. The sun was not up and this person was on their way to work. Obviously they knew what it took to create success.

Many times we want to achieve greatness but we have three false ideals about how that should happen.

We want to achieve success quickly. Success doesn’t happen quickly. It takes time. Success is the result of planning and patience. We see people who seemingly came out of nowhere. They are an “overnight success” we think. In reality they probably spend years working in obscurity before all of a sudden showing up on some list of the most successful people or the fastest growing companies.

We want success to be easy. Well it isn’t. Sometimes you have to fail over and over and over again before coming up with the right idea or right formula to achieve personal and professional success. Even the simplest of concepts usually isn’t easy to implement successfully.

We want success on “our terms.” In other words, we want the system to work around us, our hours, our schedules. If you want to achieve success faster, then sometimes you have to mold your terms to what is happening in the real world. Be willing to put in the long hours, make the phone calls, have the uncomfortable conversations. Learn something new if that’s what it takes, but figure how you need to adapt and then do it.

2. When you achieve the success you are seeking don’t forget what got you there. Keep doing what works.

It is so easy to create a mindset of entitlement. Just because you can afford to do something doesn’t mean you should. If you change your philosophy about what effort you are willing to put into your success then others around you might do so as well. You should continue to do what you need to keep moving forward and also to set an example for those around you.
Yes, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Just don’t lose the ideals and values that helped you achieve what you have.

And, it’s not just about buying an expensive car. Your financial success can help you pay off your home, max out your retirement plans, or allow you to pick up the tab for that college education you want for your four children!

But if it is an incredible car you desire, then by having a better understanding of what it takes to create success, I’m sure I’ll see you out on the road the next time I’m headed out of town on that early flight because — you will be on the road to building a better biz.

Three Secrets to Increase the Productivity of Your Team

Sam Articles 0 Comments

We depend on those around us to produce at a higher level. If you manage a
sales team, your success is the cumulative success of your team. If you are in
an office setting, then the productivity of others in your office will support
your goals and eventual success.

If you can effectively help those around you to produce at a higher level, then
you will enjoy a greater success also. Here are three secrets to boosting the
performance of those on your team.

1. Forget Their Weakness

All too often I see sales managers and business owners try to eliminate a team
member’s weaknesses. The manager literally itemizes all of a persons weak
spots and then sets out to exorcise them like they were demons. The truth is
that we all have strengths and weaknesses. A person’s weak points are slow to
change. Many times someone is deficient at something because they don’t enjoy
doing it. Either way you are sure to push a good team member away when you
only focus on the areas that they don’t enjoy and are weak at.

Here’s the secret. Focus on someone’s strengths. Whatever someone does well
will make a positive impact on your business. Reinforce those skills. Let
that person do more in the areas they are great at. They will have more fun,
produce better results, and be a happier and more committed team member.

Another tip is to find another qualified person to handle that part of the
workload that someone else is weak at. Now both people are happy.

2. Help Them See the Vision

We all have good and bad days. That is a part of life. It is easy to work
hard on a good day. We feel great and we want to get lots done. On the tough
days, when things aren’t going well, we tend to want to mope around. We are
not focused, and our productivity plummets.

If we are focused on the emotion of the moment it is very easy to get caught up
in it, and let the negative issues affect our performance.

As an entrepreneur or business manager, we should have a clear grasp of our
vision, or, of our organizations vision. We use that knowledge and information
to drive our actions and therefore produce our results.

Here’s the secret. Make sure that everyone on your team clearly sees and
understands your vision. Use it as a driving force. Keep your team members
focused on the vision, not on the emotion of the day. Success should be
measured as small steps toward the realization of your vision.

3. Catch and Reward Their Successes

Your workload today is greater then it has ever been. You have deadlines to
meet, goals to achieve, and bills to pay. It is so easy to get overwhelmed in
your workload that you don’t take the time to participate in your team member’s
daily activities.

Employees are most loyal to an organization when they feel appreciated by that
organization and the people who comprise it. Team members look for a new
environment (read: your competitor) when they feel that their efforts are going
unnoticed and unappreciated.

Here’s the secret.: take the time to observe what is going on around you. Know
what your team member’s goals are. Know their trials and tribulations. Know
what gets them excited. Learn about what is happening in their personal lives.
Any time someone makes a positive step forward, let them know that you’ve
noticed, and that you appreciate what they are doing. Reward results, and
reward effort.

Use these three productivity secrets to increase the results your team is
achieving, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!

Three Steps To Overcome Price Objections

Sam Articles 3 Comments

I had barely turned the lights on and sat down the other day when my phone rang. It was Ray. Ray had been in my mentoring program for about thirty days and was facing a perplexing problem.

He said, “I made three sales calls yesterday but didn’t make a single sale. This is starting to look like a trend.” I asked him what was the reason his prospects gave him for not purchasing. He said, “They all say my price is too high. Do you think if I lower my price that I would sell more?”

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard that comment. “Your price is too high” is the most common sales objection used. To build your business you must be able to master the skills necessary to overcome price objections. Here are three techniques that will allow you to not only deal with price objections, but they will enable you to use your client’s price objection to help you close the sale.

1. Amortize the Price

“It cost too much.” Yes, we have all heard this statement by a prospect. Sometimes they say it because it is like salmon swimming upstream. The phrase just comes out like it’s instinct. Other times prospects say it because we didn’t build enough value in the product. Other times we haven’t illustrated enough need or shown that our solution was clearly the best way to satisfy that need.

When a prospect tells you it costs too much try asking them the following question: “About how much to much do you feel it is?” After asking this question sit quietly and wait for their response. Once they give you a number you have something to deal with.

You can deal with the amount they give you in several ways. One way is to reduce the amount by amortizing it out over the life of the investment. Let’s say you are selling a piece of equipment and they say it costs $600.00 too much. You could say, “Based on this piece of equipment serving your needs for at least three years that would be $200.00 per year, and then that of course would be the same as $4.00 per week. So, are you willing to give up the extended warranty, higher production rates, compact design, etc. (and here you list all of the features and benefits that you know the prospects like and need) over 80 cents a day?” When they say, “no” they just bought. Start writing.

2. What Exactly Do You Like

Here you respond to the comment that the price is too high by reviewing all of the features and benefits of your offering. Remember, you client doesn’t really care about the features. It is the benefit that they will receive from your products and services that these features deliver that they really care about.

List all of the benefits one-by-one. Confirm their importance. Then, politely ask your prospect if there are any benefits they would like removed. They should respond with a “no.” Then you will need a closing statement. I like the following: “It seems like we both agree that this product really fits your needs and that all of the benefits I’ve covered are important to you. It looks like this decision really makes sense doesn’t it?” You must pause here and not say a word! This is a closing question. If you talk you will lose the sale.

3. “Me” Close

This technique is only for professionals. Do not attempt this unless:

You dress and look like an expert.
You have sent thank you notes on every possible occasion (thank you for meeting, thank you for talking on the phone, thank you for reviewing my proposal, etc)
You have presented the product in a manner that is considered superior to others in the industry.

In other words, you must look and act like a supreme professional. Your service and attention to detail must be second to none. You must treat each prospect and client like they are your only ones.

If all of this is in place then, and only then, may you attempt the following:

“Bill, we have reviewed all of the features and benefits of our product, (list them again here). You’ve stated that you like the resources and financial stability of my company. Here’s the bottom line. When you invest in our product not only do you get a product that will satisfy all of your needs and give you a great return on investment over time, and not only are you dealing with a company that will be there if you ever need them, but you are getting me. My customers know what a difference I can make for them in saving time, money, and aggravation. (Here you could add a story, if you have one, about a time you bought a car or some other product and how the person you dealt with took care of you, loaned you a demo, always made sure your service was expedited, and how doing business with that sales professional made your life so much better.) Quite frankly, and I don’t want to sound braggadocios, but when you invest in this product you are also getting me as part of the transaction. Now, you can’t take me home with you but I will always be available to share new technology and ideas with you, run interference with the service department for you, and look out for your best interest. Now that makes sense doesn’t it?”

Again, this is where you shut up and wait for them to reply. If they say “yes” that means start writing. Don’t ask them if they want to buy!

These techniques work by themselves or together. Great sales professionals have enthusiasm and persistence. It is the buyer’s job to buy. They should try to get the best possible price. It is your job to sell. If you explain the value that the prospect will be receiving they will be able to justify the price and you will get the sale. Now you’re on the road to Building a Better Biz!

Success On and Off the Court

Sam Articles 0 Comments

In his 37 years as a head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina Dean Smith won more games then any other coach (879). He also won two national championships and had the coliseum on campus named after him. He was able to enjoy overwhelming success at a very competitive level because he had a philosophy that employed every step of the way.

In Dean Smith’s book, “The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons From a Life in Coaching,” written with Gerald Bell and John Kligo Dean outlines his strategies and why he was so successful.

Five of his core beliefs are so powerful that they can make an immediate difference in your business and in your life.

1. Embracing Change

As successful as Dean Smith was, he realized that change was a powerful force. “Even if you’re successful, you can’t keep doing the same things all the time,” he said. “You have different personnel, and there are always rule changes. You must be able to embrace change.”

Many times in business and in life we resist change. It is natural to want to do things the way you have done them in the past. After all, you probably have mastered that system. But, as elements around you change, you must change to stay competitive.

Think about technology for a minute. When the fax machine was first made available to the public I bought one for $3,500.00. My partner thought I was crazy. We acquired a new account that purchased over two million dollars a year because we could reduce production turn-around time due to being able to instantly receive orders over the fax.

Think back before email. Today most of us couldn’t be in the game without the ability of immediately communicating and transferring files through the Internet.

What changes are you fighting or resisting that if embraced could help you move forward? Make a list of three and then begin working on the first one.

2. Plan for the Future

Dean Smith liked to plan for the future. Instead of waiting for things to happen, he anticipated them and made sure he was ready. This forward sightedness was as very powerful trait.

When Smith knew that the rules were going to change, he would start recruiting the types of players who would excel under the new rules. He was ready while the other coaches were always playing catch-up.

Taking the time to look to the future and strategically plan will be the difference between a mediocre organization and one that explodes as new opportunities present themselves moving forward.

3. History is a Great Teacher

As a basketball player long before he became a coach, Smith accumulated many experiences. Some were positive. Others were not. His college coach used to pull a player off of the court whenever he made a mistake. Smith decided that he would rather applaud the player for trying something that was a good idea even if the execution wasn’t perfect. By rewarding the intent and effort, Smith’s players were more apt to keep trying to do the right things until they could perfect the needed skills. Playing it safe over time would not develop high-level players.

Looking back in your business, what has worked? What hasn’t worked? Are you still doing things that have not worked in the past? Are there sales, marketing, or business management ideas that have worked in the past that you should think about revisiting?

4. The Power of Positive Reinforcement

“You praise action you wish to see repeated, ” Smith said. “I don’t believe in phony praise. I believe hard work equals success equals confidence.”

When others on your team do well, let them know how you feel. But, here’s the key. Don’t limit “your team” to those employed by your company. The UPS delivery person is a part of your team. So is your bank teller, the associate at the office supply store, and your mail person.

You have many people in your day that can impact your performance. They can make your life easier and help make you look great. Let them know you appreciate their performance and that they are a valued part of your team!

5. Practice

Dean Smith feels that is crucial to success. Smith would break a game down into its components and then have his team practice each minor component until perfected. When a critical situation in a game came up Smith wanted to be able to huddle his players and say, “We’ve done this before in practice. Let’s go out and repeat it now.”

Do you practice your sales presentations? Have you isolated each objection you could possibly hear and then write a logical response for that objection? Do you map out how you will handle specific person-to-person situations so when they occur you’re prepared?

Work on these five potent concepts. Bring them into your business and into your life, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!

Four Steps To Close Your Next Sale

Sam Articles 0 Comments

How many times have you heard, “Oh he’s a born salesman,” or, “Her dad was in sales. She’s a natural?” My father is the greatest salesperson I’ve had the privilege to see in action and to learn from. When he was a young man he was so shy it was painful. I guarantee you that when he was born the doctor didn’t slap him on the rear and say, “Now here’s a born salesman.” It just doesn’t work that way.

We learn how to be great doctors. We learn how to be great architects. Ultimately, we learn how to be great sales professionals.

There are four steps critical in every successful sales endeavor. If you master these four steps you will close more sales more often.

1. Build rapport

One October morning I was waiting outside a store for the owner to arrive and open up. There was a newspaper by the front door. I picked up the newspaper and waited patiently. Within a few minutes the owner arrived, looked at me inquisitively, and asked, “Who are you?” I replied, “I’m from the collections department at the newspaper. Your bill hasn’t been paid, so I brought today’s issue down and thought I’d pick up a check at the same time.” She paused, thought for a second, and then broke into laughter. “Who are you really?” she asked. She was laughing, I was laughing, and that was the start of a wonderful relationship.

Do your clients trust you and like you? This is a critical first step to closing any sale. We do business with people we like. A client is much more likely to buy from you if they want you to succeed. The first thing you must do is to build a solid rapport with your clients. Of course time can help this along.

Look for ways to show your clients you care. Find opportunities to reveal your human side. Make sure your clients feel like you are there for more then just the sale. As you “become friends” and build rapport you will find it easier to close the sale, and your clients will want to provide you with referrals as well.

2. Solve your client’s problems

Ultimately the reason your clients invest in your products and services is because they have problems or needs that the benefits of owning your products will solve or fill. Some times prospective clients know what their needs are. Many times they do not know their real needs.

Become an expert at understanding your client’s specific situations and uncovering their pressing needs. Then, show them how your product or service will make their life easier, grow their business, or provide peace of mind. If your clients have enough “pain” associated with their needs then they will do almost anything to take care of that pain. Make sure you have illustrated their needs with gusto!

3. Effectively transfer enthusiasm

Selling is based on time proven tactics and skills. Buying is an emotional experience. If you have a great attitude and are filled with enthusiasm, your clients will pick up on that energy. Even if you fail to show all the need necessary to normally close the sale, an infectious amount of enthusiasm will put you over the top.

Clients detect your sincerity and how much you believe in what you do and sell. If you waver, they know it. If you are excited and thrilled to be able to solve their problems, they love it. Let your clients know you sincerely believe what you offer is best for their needs. As they feel your enthusiasm they will want to invest in your products so they can feel even more of that positive energy.

4. Ask for the order

This sounds so simple, and it really is, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the field with a salesperson and watched as they butchered a fantastic process by either not asking for the order or not acting appropriately when they did ask for the order.

Asking for the order doesn’t mean necessarily asking, “Do you want to buy?” You can use many creative closing questions such as:

“This home would be perfect for your family. Would you like to put together an offer right here or should we step outside and enjoy the fresh air as we pencil in the details?”

“As you can see Ajax Insurance offers the lowest investment of the four companies we researched for your policy. If I can get the paperwork to them today, they will be able to schedule your physical by Friday. What is your birthday?”

“Did you want a belt to go with your new suit?”

There are so many creative ways to ask for the order. Many times I like to use some form of assumptive question. When they answer the question they are saying that they will buy.

Here is the key: when you ask your closing question, be sure and not say anything or ask any questions until the prospective client responds. This is critical! If you speak even a word, you will probably not close the sale and all will be in vain. Your job is to close the sale. Ask the question, and then let the client respond. Period!

Use these four steps, and I know I’ll be receiving emails filled with your success stories, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz.

Your Happiness Hierarchy

Sam Articles 0 Comments

Creating a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace requires you to focus on what’s happening today that can be improved. But you should also take time to look into the future. Many times people look back on their professional and personal lives and think, “I wish I had done this,” or, “If only I had implemented that idea sooner.” In fact, making good decisions is easy when you look back on the situation and have all the facts. But you can apply that same philosophy to the decisions you make now and in the future. You can project into the future of your business so that when you arrive there you won’t have to look back with regret or wish you’d made better decisions. In other words, mentally position yourself in the successful future of your business.

Pull out a clean sheet of paper or your personal journal and consider what must happen in the future for you to be happy with the results you’re achieving. In the next year, what has to happen in your business? What will excite you about your organization? What about the next three years, and the next ten years? For each interval of time what will have to transpire? What actions will you have to take? Write these things, whatever they are, in your journal and consider them on a regular basis.

Next, take it a step further. Break your organization down into manageable parts and consider each one individually. For example, you could break your business into sales and marketing, products and services you deliver, the reputation you have in your industry, personnel, and administration. What has to happen over the next year for you to be happy with each of these areas? Think about each part of your business for the next three years and ten years as well. By looking at your business in this way, you will discover specific ideas and actions to work into your strategic plan.

The events and actions you identify for this exercise will tell you where you need to focus your time and your energy to maintain a competitive advantage in the future. This list can serve as your motivator. In other words, if this is what it will take for you to be happy, then you better take action and make it happen.

Spend time on this exercise, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!