The Skill Of Selling – Part 5

A sales presentation can be delivered to your warm prospect through print, through a presentation, through a website, or various other ways depending on your creativity.  We say “warm prospect” because this prospect has been sorted and filtered, and does know a little about what’s going on from your mini-marketing message.  He is receptive to continuing in the process so you deliver a detailed sales presentation to him.

The detail given should be at a medium level, not too high and not too low.  You can tailor the sales presentation to the type of prospect or you can give a higher or lower-level amount of detail depending on the responses the prospect gives.  A self-service platform like a website allows scaling of detail by presenting at a high level but allowing the prospect to get more granularity with the click of a button.

Make sure to review the following resources for more information:

The Skill Of Selling – Part 4

Delivering your mini-marketing message to your prospect is about networking or advertising.  When you network, a qualified lead can be given a very short introduction to what you are selling, then invited to review your sales presentation.  A sales presentation can be either printed or delivered, so depending on how you do it, you can either offer to send the prospect your presentation or invite him to attend one.

With advertising, we do generally the same thing by delivering a message to a targeted audience through print, radio, television, internet, or other media.  Our advertisements will similarly entice the reader to take the next step and view or attend our sales presentation.

Make sure to read more about advertising and networking in the following resources:

The Skill Of Selling – Part 3

Sorting and filtering potential customers is about finding the right types of people who would be interested in your product or service.  We do this by building a demographic profile for our customer and seeking people that fit the profile.  You can do this through networking or through advertising.  When you network you can find the right people for your product by asking “Do you know anybody who…” type questions, rather than selling to everyone you talk to.  In advertisements, you can find your demographic by advertising in the right places and asking for the right kind of response in the ad.

Sorting and filtering can involve other types of qualifying actions also.  For instance, to make sure your prospect can afford your product you might charge for information or admission into the sales presentation.  The places where you advertise might also qualify your prospect in some way.  For instance, if you advertise in a magazine, you know that the prospect probably bought the magazine.  If you advertise in a free newspaper, you may find that your prospects are less price qualified.

Check out the following resources for more information:

The Skill Of Selling – Part 2

The sales process is a defined set of steps involved in selling the customer your product or service.  I prefer the old mail-order model sales process:

  1. Sort and filter potential customers
  2. Deliver your mini-marketing message to your prospect
  3. Deliver a sales presentation (i.e. details of your product) to your prospect
  4. Answer any objections
  5. Ask for the sale (for product/service sales, not recruiting)
Defining your sales process allows more of your selling to be automatic rather than being random attempts.  The random attempt approach to selling is usually very frustrating, like beating your head against a brick wall hoping it will crumble.  It can lead to poor motivation or a bad attitude, which leads to more failed attempts to sell.  Having a process that you go through will lead to more success and more motivation to make sales.
 
Please review the following resources for more information:
 

The Skill Of Selling – Part 1

In this multi-part series, I am going to be discussing the technical skill called selling.  Selling is the direct interaction of a company representative with the customer in order to create the sale of a product or service.  I consider it a technical skill as opposed to a business skill because it is generally a process that is created by marketing and executed by a sales professional.  Sales people are craftsman, hands on individuals who develop their craft over time by studying great sales people and by practicing their art.  Creativity and practice are what makes selling an art, but there are straight-forward skills that can be learned.

I had the opportunity to work with many customers in our dietary supplement business and found that selling is generally the execution of a good marketing plan, but also the flexibility to be able to solve customer problems whatever they may be.  We were helping people lose weight, but we would also have customer objections to price and concern as to whether the product would work for them.  We had answers ready to go for both objections, but we really could not be so robotic in our technique, so we would make sure to listen to the customer’s concerns and provide them real answers rather than scripted ones.  Chris and I both got better at this as time went on but the marketing preparation really helped as we were early in our business.

Here are some resources to look at on selling.  I will write more on selling and the sales process next time.

The Danger Of Spending Money On Advertising

You can promote your web site in many ways for free on the internet and off the internet.  You can give out business cards, put a sign in your yard or on your car, put an ad in the free classifieds, get listed on search engines, and so forth.  Advertising for free has one thing in common no matter how you do it: Any business you get from your effort is free from expense.  And by expense I mean actual outlays of cash.  Advertising always has a cost and for free advertising, the cost is usually your time.  Still, you can spend gobs of time advertising for free and you won’t worry about paying your mortgage payment, you just won’t get to watch as much TV or do things outside of your business as much.

When you start spending money on advertising one thing will be perfectly clear: You will get business but there is a cost that you will feel.  And sometimes your paid advertising will get you less business than your free advertising.  Yes that’s right, often you will get business that will not match what you were able to generate for free.  So why spend money on advertising?  Because eventually you will want to do things bigger than you are able to do with free advertising.

Paid advertising is not cheap.  Some advertising is more effective than other advertising though.  For instance, you can spend 25 to 50 cents per click through for google advertising, but I notice that visitors from google will spend more time on the site than visitors from stumbleupon.  Still, you will pay only 5 cents per click from stumbleupon so you can get 5 – 10 more click throughs with them than google.  And stumbleupon could actually be more effective per click because some people that visit will link to the site by giving it a thumbs up.

It is always good to test advertising, both media and format, before going larger with it.  Usually I’ll spend $100 – $200 on a test to see what kind of results I get.  If the test works well, the sky is the limit on how much you can spend.  I used to have a contract with Excite to spend $3000 per month on banner advertising.  You can go much larger than this though.  You usually spend this kind of money after you start making at least this much money with your business, by the way, because advertising will not give you an immediate return on your investment.

In fact, it is probably a good idea to plan out your advertising, to see what your return on investment probably will be and how long it will take you to make money from your efforts.  You can usually figure this out based on your current marketing results if you can gather the right kind of data.  Mainly you want to know what an average customer spends over what period of time, and what kind of dropout rate you have.

In our past business, we tried advertising in many different ways.  I used card decks, small display advertising in magazines, a full-page ad, banner advertising, and several other forms.  Magazines have good hang times, as they stick around for long periods of time.  Banner advertisements are better over time but die quickly.  So there are different advertising strategies that can be used with different effects.  Overall we found that our best advertising was what we could get for free, it just took a lot of time to get it.

Sponsoring Almost As An Afterthought

Many multi-level marketing distributors make it their mission to sponsor, or recruit.  That is all they do.  They create a marketing plan to appeal to business people, have a one step or two step follow up, and give a wonderful presentation.  There is nothing wrong with this, but as I said before, the product is the opportunity.  The product must be sold along with the opportunity in order to make any money, because as we know, we earn nothing if product is not sold.

Selling the product first, then sponsoring, can be a great way to earn a quick profit and to find people who love the product first.  With a minor pitch the people who love the product can become great sales people in your organization.  The important thing is to know how to appeal to your customers to become distributors.  For instance, most people will be put off if you tell them that they should sell the product.  They are not sales people, how could they possibly sell the product?  We have found that telling the customer that they can save money on their own product purchases by becoming a distributor is usually very effective.

There are usually many questions a customer will have about becoming a distributor when you use this little pitch.  How much does it cost to sign up?  Will I have to pay my own sales taxes?  Will I have to fill out complicated paperwork for income tax?  How much product do I have to buy at once?  Is it complicated to order?  Be ready with the answers to these questions and take note of other questions that customers ask about becoming a distributor.

If you sell the product and that’s all you do, you are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to build your business by recruiting other people.  These people will generate you passive income because you won’t have to service them as customers, which takes much more time than supporting distributors.  Even if they never sell they will continue to order, continually generating commissions for you.  Often, though, customers who become distributors make great spokespeople and sell the product like crazy.

If you are with a company with products that people know and can buy elsewhere, it may be tough to lead with the product, but you may also need to sponsor in a special way to keep building your organization.  I would personally prefer to belong to an organization with a unique product or a unique quality of product that can be sold and have adoring fans.

Sometimes a company can be overflowing with a number of products.  It can be tough to sell 500 products at once so it is usually good to lead with one or two products and let the customer decide to purchase others within the product line.  Focus is definitely a good idea when selling, especially because you will get a lot of questions about what makes a particular product special.  Knowing everything about every product is tough.

Good luck with your sales efforts and make sure to follow up with the discount!

Linking To Your New Website

Your website is your sales presentation and much more, but you must advertise to get visitors, warm leads, and or prospects to your website (i.e sales presentation). The way you do this for a website is to have advertisements that link into your website. Advertisements can be long winded or a little blurb that quickly describes what your website is. Sometimes your advertisement is actually built from your website. This is the case when a search engine indexes your web pages.

Nobody will know about your website until you start getting links to your website from other sites. Typically the way this is done is by telling the other website about your site, or submitting your site. You can submit your site to directories and search engines. And there are a ton of them! I would start with Google and Bing, then do a search for search engines and directories from Google for more places to submit your site for free.

Another possibility is to exchange links with other similar websites. You would typically contact the other site by email and ask if they would like to exchange links with you. Then you put a link to them on your site and they put a link to you on theirs. Many web owners will gladly exchange links but others may not reply, but keep trying.

If you have a blog, there are a ton of RSS search engines and other ways to promote your blog. Do a search for “How do I promote my blog” for more ideas. Many websites provide this kind of information to you. Additionally, you may want to post thoughtful comments on other blogs in response to their articles. Most comment forms include your name and website name so people can see what your site looks like. You might also try this with non-blog websites, I’m sure you would get a few visitors.

There are places on the internet where you can submit classified advertisements that include a link to your website. Many are free. I am not sure how effective advertising this way is, but you might get a visitor or two. One last way to advertise your website for free is social networking sites. I have talked about these before but they do often allow you to link directly to your site. Up and coming social networking sites such as twitter.com are often very effective.

There are tons of other ways to advertise links to your site, just do a search for “How do I promote my website”. Many will submit your site for cost, but you really want to try to promote your website for free. Stick to free. I say this because some of the best ways to advertise your website on the internet are free. If you can, I would measure the most effective ways to advertise for free, which website statistics often provide.

Ultimately we are more concerned with sales than visitors, so the more targeted your visitors are the better. In other words, when your advertisement is presented to your demographic and they visit, they are most likely to buy.

The way that I promote my website is to spend a little time each day on promotion activities. Set aside an hour or two, research, and post requests for links. It is not hard work and it will produce results in the long run. I often switch from method to method, for instance today I will post responses to blogs and tomorrow I will submit my site to directories.

For those of us doing multi-level marketing, you can assume that the same concepts are generally true of recruiting.

Elements of a Good Sales Presentation

We give a sales presentation to our warm prospects who respond to our mini-marketing message. Our mini marketing message was given during our networking calls or through our advertising. These mini marketing messages are meant to get our prospect asking for more and our sales presentation is the more that they will get. Sales presentations are typically used to get the prospect to the point of buying the product or service, though they may still have questions or objections after the sales presentation. A good salesperson will be able to handle any questions or objections the prospect may have, as unusual as they may be.

There are many ways to present a product sales presentation. You can give a stand up speech with slide show, you can give the prospect a video or brochure, or you can have a web site that gives your product demonstration. The easier on the prospect is usually the best, as their time is valuable to them. In my opinion, a web site is usually the easiest on a prospect.

A good sales presentation will provide product features and benefits, reasons to buy over competitive products, common questions and answers, and reasons to buy from your company over others. You can tailor your presentation to the prospect, giving them a quicker presentation unless they ask for more detail. You can also build on your presentation by getting feedback from your prospects and using their suggestions to improve the presentation.

On a web site, keep the presentation concise but give the visitor the option of looking deeper into the details. The more details you can offer online, the more the prospect will feel comfortable buying the product. You can give technical details on how the product was invented, who the inventors were and their biographies, and details about the company that manufactures it. You can show the product label, the packaging, and the raw product. You can give testimonials and show people using the product. Feel free to use your imagination to provide your potential customer with anything you think may be relevant.

At the end of your sales presentation, you must give your customer a way to buy. The easier it is for them to buy the product the better. We used to take orders from our website, by 800 number, and by fax. We allowed the customer to pay with credit card or send in a check. Again, the easier you can make it the better. If you are doing a personal product demonstration, you can simply ask for an order.

Sometimes your customer will continue to have doubts about purchasing your product. If this is the case, you can give your prospect samples or offer a trial discount on the product, if the product is consumable. You could also offer a guarantee or free trial on the product, which could work even if the product is not consumable.

Our goal for the sales presentation is to provide enough information to the potential customer so that they can make a buying decision. The better we can make our presentation fit this goal, the easier it will be to make the sale.

How To Get Free Effective Advertising

Having warm prospects is the gasoline for your business engine. Too little gas and the engine stalls, too much and you can have a fire or explosion. However, too much is usually better than too little. So how do we go about getting warm prospects without spending money?

Networking can be done step by step using the telephone. First you write down everyone you know and their telephone number. Then you call each person and ask them if they know anybody that fits into your demographic profile (don’t literally say this, say “Do you know anybody who cooks?” etc.). Then you get the name(s) and phone number(s) and add them to your list. Then you repeat. If you are unclear what I mean by demographic profile then go back and read my previous blog posts on demographics.

Networking can also be done by meeting new people at the bar, gas station, golf course, grocery store, etc. and exchanging contact information with them. You want their contact information and you want to give them yours. Then you socialize with them. You can add them to your contact list at any time and do what we talked about above, but just like your normal family and friends, you want to continue being close to them and socialize with them. For most people, this kind of networking comes naturally but for introverts like me, this can be difficult.

Other than networking, our option for finding warm prospects is to advertise. You can advertise for cost in many different ways. In addition, you can advertise for free in many different ways, some more effective than others. The most effective advertising you can get is when lots of people in your demographic profile see your ad. However, if you are advertising for free, lots of eyeballs seeing your ad can be a good thing, even if they are not part of your profile. They can filter themselves, you just want to get noticed. The best way to get noticed is to be featured in an article. An article that mentions what you sell and how to contact you is the best. Often companies write their own articles and submit them to newspapers or news outlets, and try to get published. It really is possible to get published and this is one thing you may want to consider attempting.

There are many outlets on the internet to advertise for free and there are websites devoted to telling you where to advertise for free. Just do a google search. Personally, I like the social networking sites but I have also found that responding to blog posts is a good way to publicize your company.

Off line, you can put a big sign in your front yard or a magnetic sign on your car as a couple of ideas. But if you really think about it, there are tons of ways to advertise your business. I often put business cards on bulletin boards at grocery stores for instance.

Use your imagination to see if you can come up with more free ways to advertise. Did you read about the 911 call about the balloon carrying the little boy? DON’T DO THAT. There are limits to what you should do to drum up publicity.

Be ready for when people start to contact you. How are you going to do your sales presentation?

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