"Selling sure isn't what it used to be." claimed Azni Mohd Hussain, the Managing Director of a successful video production in Kuala Lumpur. Azni operates one of the most innovative and progressive companies in the country, still he knows that to win in business you must have 2 things:
You must have effective strategies and you must act consistently on those strategies.
Since, Azni and so many others in business are so keen to get these 2 powerful ideas going in their business, I thought I would share some of the best and most proven Sales and Marketing ideas I have used, taught and heard about.
1. Listen. God gave you one mouth and two ears. Let that dictate how much you use both.
2. Stay in touch. Make a decision to contact all your past clients at least once a month. If you don't, guess what? Your competition will.
3. Differentiate yourself. Why should someone buy from you? What makes you different from everyone else? It better be more significant than you are a "nice, trustworthy, cuddly, sincere..."
4. Ignore the competition. If you are looking at them or worried about them at all, your focus is in the wrong direction. You should make dealing with you so much more powerful that competition doesn't even exist.
5. Control your mind. Whatever helps you stay positive is what you need to do first thing in the morning and the last thing you do before you see a prospect. For me it's loud music. I put on a good song and my adrenaline starts to flow.
6. Get rid of negative people from your life. Now, that might be somewhat difficult if they’re family, but you need to surround yourself with a solid group of positive, big thinking encouragers.
7. Be Personal. Contact at least 35 clients, customers, or prospects personally every week regardless. Get in the habit of contacting at least that many prospects every week. No matter what, make sure it’s done by Friday.
8. Keep up with online trends. If you want to make more money, get with it technologically! Make sure you’re on all the online platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube). Be accessible!
9. Think Big. For heaven's sake see the potential within you. Someone once told me that my income (low six figures at the time) was garbage. "Garbage?" "Yes, it's garbage for you to make that much a year when you have the potential to earn that much in a month." I had never ever entertained the idea that I could. I did it. Now, I'm working on how I can do that much in a day. (Once I figure that one out I'll let you know, then I'll figure out how to do it in an hour!)
10. Learn from your mistakes. Every sales job has some "failure factor" in it. Learn from failing and keep on going.
11. Stop “trying". "Trying" to do something is a cop out. Either do it or don’t, but stop lying to yourself.
12. Create Special Offers. No matter what you sell, you can create a special offer which will put you in a favorable light in the eyes of prospects.
13. Write a Special Report. If you are in selling, you are in solving. What do you solve for people? Write a 10 page report, offer it to your prospects for free and your phone will ring off the wall.
14. Give up manipulation tricks. Stop using those silly closing tricks you learned about how to make the buyer buy. No instead, listen to them, build trust and they will buy.
15. Film your message. Put your entire sales presentation on video and offer it for Free and prospects will see that you are different from the competition.
16. Follow-up after a call. After each sales call, email a note to your prospect, make it personal and give any details from the call. You will create a positive impression.
17. Write a U.S.P. It stands for Unique Selling Proposition. What is your number one competitive selling advantage? It should be brief, exciting and should compel people to want to know more.
18. Realize that your past clients are gold. You will starve if you have to continue to find new customers. Repackage what you sell and visit them again and again.
19. Make a deal with your competitors. Do you have prospects that you have been unable to sell? Why not go to a competitor and give them a try. They might be able to sell people you were unable to and pay you part of what they make. You do the same for their list of dead prospects.
20. Deliver fast. Society is impatient. This problem almost killed my business earlier this year. People will not put up with slow delivery.
21. Follow-up consistently. I'm serious; you will never offend someone by sending them a "thank you" note. It will tell them you value the relationship.
22. Think long-term. If you are in it for the one off sale, you will be hungry and poor in this business. Everything you do should be focused on keeping this customer for the next 20 years.
23. Hand address envelops. My research and that of other experts in this area indicates a significantly higher percentage of mail is opened and read if it is hand written.
24. Be confident. If you have confidence in yourself, your product, your company, prospects will have confidence in you. If they have confidence in you they are much more likely to buy from you.
25. Get related quickly. Establish rapport with prospects quickly by finding something that relates the two of you. It could be a hobby, a common interest, faith, or children, but find something.
26. Ask more questions. People want to know that you understand what they are going through. Why not ask twice as many questions on your next sales call and see what happens.
27. Become a public figure. Remember that selling is more about perception than about products. Get interviewed, write a book, record a podcast, give a speech, start a Youtube channel. Become known.
28. Get your customers to own you. By that, if you sell insurance, make sure that when they think of insurance, they think of you. If you sell real estate they automatically think of you.
29. Use the Power of Because. Every time you talk about or describe a benefit to your prospect for what you sell be sure to tell them why that is important to them.
30. Don't be like Archie Bunker. Archie, from the TV show "All In The Family" makes decisions arbitrarily. Never do that, test everything. Don't do what you think is right. Do what the prospect thinks is right. There is only one way to find that out and that's to ask, test, and measure.
31. Keep your customers happy at all costs. If you fail in this area (and most do, in my opinion) you will fail to build the greatest assets in the sales world and that is a client base who trusts you.
32. Develop and keep a positive attitude. I know of very few statues erected to "cynics and critics." Get happy! Read a good book or listen to an inspiring message.
33. Be professional. Forget begging for business.
34. Hang up on jerks. When marketing, if you encounter a “jerk” (anyone who tries to make you feel bad) simply hang up or block them and move on.
35. Sell to help. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Get your eyes off your commission and onto their problems.
36. Sell at your location. There is something called “home court advantage.” Get them to come to you if possible.
37. Break one bad habit today. Pick one thing you know you should stop doing (TV, gossip, smoking, drinking, etc.), decide to stop only one thing. Get someone to hold you accountable, give them your plan and break it, finally and forever.
38. List 10 things you like about yourself. Work on building your self-esteem. Sometimes it's so easy to focus on all our flaws. Give yourself a break today.
39. Set a goal for the year. What's one thing you would really like to accomplish in your selling this year? Write it on a small card and carry it with you where ever you go.
40. Attract prospects by conducting a seminar. This is a great way for you to have people who are pre-disposed to buy what you sell step forward and identify themselves. I speak to thousands of prospects per week when I do a seminar tour. Why would you ever want to sell one person at a time when you could sell to several thousand?
41. Be unique. Do something different than everyone else. Get creative!
42. Get funny. So many people are so uptight. Relax! Let your hair down. It is a powerful sales tool. Humor can do for you in seconds what talking couldn’t do in a lifetime.
43. Use testimonials. One of the most powerful tools you can have is the endorsements from satisfied clients.
44. Use pictures. Pictures of satisfied clients go further than lengthy letters.
45. Create your own marketing page. Put any awards you have on the page along with photos, testimonials, product information, how you do business, your sales presentation and send it to prospects to evaluate you.
46. Be prompt. When you make someone wait it communicates lack of respect for their time. Invest in a Rolex, it'll help your image and it will get you there on time.
47. Find the real objection. They don't always feel comfortable telling you the real problem at first.
48. Be honest. I once caught a car salesperson in a small lie. I shut down immediately. People, more than any other factor, want to buy from people they can trust.
49. Raise your referral rates. After surveying over 5,000 salespeople in Malaysia, my research shows that the average salesperson gets less than 10% of their income from referrals. That is terrible.
50. Don't do admin during Prime Selling Time. What are you doing checking email when you should be in front of prospects?
51. Stop cold calling. Get them coming to you. You can't kiss someone who is backing away from you. Cold calling, for the most part is a function of prospects backing (or often, running) away from you. Give them some compelling reason to come to you. A clue: the word FREE is still one of the most loved words.
52. Welcome complaints. You can turn around most complaints if you are committed to winning. Make it easy and acceptable for them to tell you how they feel about you.
53. Create urgency. Every letter, every sales call, every marketing piece must have a deadline.
54. Sell your guarantee. If you have a guarantee tell your prospects about it more. Too many guarantees are full of fine print and so salespeople never get the advantage they were intended to create.
55. Ask for the order. This simple advice is obvious! Or is it?
56. Don't be A door mat. If people are putting you or your company down, stand up to them. You should have pride. You don't need any customer that much.
57. Save 10% of everything you earn. Starting with your next paycheck put 10% away for yourself. Why is it that we pay everyone else but ourselves?
58. Join Toastmasters. They will teach you how to speak in public. The benefits of that are tremendous for your sales presentation and confidence.
59. Refuse to quit. You will never win in selling if you give up. I have felt like stopping about a million times (per week sometimes), but I know that I'll never learn anything from giving up except how to quit.
60. Get organized. Get an app to organize your schedule, contacts, memos, task, etc.
61. Take responsibility for your results. You are the only person who can improve your situation. You got yourself into it and you’re the one who'll get yourself out.
62. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid! Make it easy for prospects to buy. Don’t overcomplicate things. Remember: “A confused mind never buys”.
63. Sponsor a community event. Give back to your community and they will give back to you.
64. Instead of an email send a podcast. People spend hours and hours commuting everyday. Instead of writing a newsletter, record it into a podcast people can listen to while driving to work.
65. Get on everyone's mailing list. I'm on hundreds. I love to learn from what people send me.
66. Get your spending in line. Credit can kill you. If you are consistently spending more than you are earning you are in for a terrible time. Trust me, get rid of the credit cards and cut back your expense. You can't sell well if you are worried about debt.
67. Use a headline in your sales emails. Also keep in mind that every sales email must have a P.S. You have less than 5 seconds to capture their interest, headlines and P.S. help.
68. Sponsor a contest. This will give you a vehicle to build your database in a hurry.
69. Record an interview. Get your best friend, with the best voice to ask you a series of questions and record a podcast.
70. If possible charge differently than others. Make comparison shopping difficult.
71. Cleanup your life. Everyone has certain things they have procrastinated on doing for ages. If you have been planning to clean that desk of yours and it's getting in the way of your increasing your product, clean the stupid thing!
72. Qualify first. Don't start selling until you have enough information about what they need.
73. Assume prospects are NOT liars. Most salespeople I know think that prospects are liars and will do just about anything rather than give you the truth. I assume they tell me the truth until they give me some reason to not believe that.
74. Use the phone to weed people out, not prospect. "Use the phone to disqualify non-buyers." as Bill Good says.
75. Create order in your client base. You should have a list of all your past contacts, past clients, hot prospects.
76. Position yourself as an "expert and authority." Even if you are new to your industry you can be perceived as an expert. The way to do it is with information. Write something, research something or print something and you are an instant "expert."
77. Get in front of the right person or don't waste your time. So many salespeople complain about not closing more sales, but they spend forever trying to sell to the wrong people. If the decision maker is the MD then you should stop talking to the Director of HR. Figure out how to get into the MD.
78. Under pressure? Take a day off.
79. Use cross promotions. Find someone who is in front of your target market and get them to send a really compelling offer to their client base.
80. Hurry up and finish this article. How much time do you have to be off the job?
81. Remember Rockefeller. He said "Take something common and make it uncommon." Make what you sell or do extraordinary.
82. Build, manage and exploit your database. Your list of contacts is one of the most valuable assets you have. Always add more names to it. Get them coming to you by regularly creating offers that make them step forward.
83. Get rid of hassle rules. If you can, get rid of all negative rules like "No refunds without receipt" or "No checks accepted”.
84. Blow your customers away by exceeding their expectations. The word of mouth benefits of doing this is fabulous.
85. Build a wall of fame. In your office create a wall for all letters of praise and endorsements.
86. Share my article every week. This is not as self-serving as it might appear. It will get people talking about similar things when it comes to selling. Be a leader and start the conversation!
87. Give something away. People love getting Free Samples, Free Offers, Reports, Booklets, Videos, etc.
88. Host an annual special event for your past clients. Want more referrals? Why not host a party, social, seminar, debate, forum once every quarter and only invite your past clients?
89. Focus on the customer not on YOU. People don't care about you, your credentials, or your company. They care only about one thing: THEMSELVES. More specifically, how spending their hard-earned money will solve their problems?
90. Snap to it! Take your past client's picture and send it to them.
91. Stay in customers minds. Send a weekly or monthly email newsletter. Send a positive quote of the day. Send something, just stay in touch.
92. Start your own association. A.A.R.P. is the American Association for Retired People. It has 30 million members. Guess who started it? An insurance company who wanted to sell to...retired people.
93. Write a book. I'm serious! If you knew what a book would do for you and your sales, you'd be up for the next month writing it, beg, borrow or steal the money to print it and it would be done. Give yourself permission and reap the benefits. You don't have to write the next "Gone With The Wind" just "8 Steps Winning in the 21st Century"
94. Print a personal brochure. Even if your company has a corporate brochure, do one up on YOU. People don't buy from companies they buy from people. This will set you apart from the competition.
95. Increase the size of each sale. Ask for bigger orders.
96. Invest in yourself. Get the best books, go to seminars, and get a support system. Spend money training yourself.
97. Be a person of integrity. Be a person your kids would be happy to emulate.
98. Take a break! When was the last time you kissed your spouse? When was the last time you gave yourself fully to your kids?
99. Focus on the journey not the prize. Selling is about becoming a better person. It's really not about hitting the Home Run. Sure that's important, but what is more important are all the wonderful ways you are better because you are a professional salesperson.
And most importantly…
100 . Pick 2 things from this article and start doing them. Learning is great, but it means nothing if it doesn’t change you in some meaningful way.