Try These Seven Suggestions to Beat Sales Call Reluctance

May 16, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

Many folks who work in sales or who run their own firms have come face-to-face with sales reluctance at some juncture in their careers; it’s a terribly pervasive problem. For some, this is a short challenge that lasts just a couple of days or weeks. For others, this antipathy to actively promote themselves or their products and services is an ongoing issue that they must struggle against for months or years.

Quite frankly, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to sales reluctance. What “cures” one individual might have no impact at all on another. The secret to winning this war is to keep fighting and to constantly try a variety of weapons until you find the ones that best fit your personality type, interests, and skill set. As a market research expert who competes with other Atlanta marketing consulting agencies, here are 7 techniques that have helped me- – and that could help you as well:

- Play to your strengths. You have different skill sets; no one performs every sales task perfectly well. If you’re great at one to one dealings, seek those out and make nurturing your contacts and networking a cornerstone of your sales plan. If you are comfortable in front of crowds, find speaking opportunities that will enable you to show your experience. If you can write, play up that ability by using sales letters, advertising, or press-releases. If utilizing the telephone works for you, dial away. With so many different ways of reaching out to your target market, there isn’t any reason why you should not rely heavily on the one where you are feeling most at ease.

- Push your comfort zone. Having said that , there are benefits to using more than one avenue of attempting to generate increased sales. Try hard not to push yourself into an activity you definitely hate, but be willing to dip your toe in something new and unfamiliar once in a while. One method of making this easier is to try your new approach on your less important sales targets so you can take some of the pressure off yourself.

- Give new sales systems a fair try before moving on. One of the hardest challenges in sales is knowing when to give up and when to keep going. Sales specialists stress that it can take at least 7 “touch points” before you break through to your audience. Most sales folk and entrepreneurs give up after only a few attempts. Take into account that your sales activities should be viewed as a sequence of events- – a campaign- – instead of a one-hit wonder.

- Count the cost. Sometimes you can achieve a breakthrough in your sales call reluctance by realizing how much your fear of rejection is actually costing you. What could- – or should- – you be making annually? Multiply that over the time you have been in sales, or plan to be in sales. It quickly adds up! Are you going to let a bunch of strangers, a group of folk you don’t even know, keep you from many thousands (or millions) of dollars simply because you are terrified of getting rejected?

- Put it into some kind of perspective/ don’t take it so seriously. Lots of the rejection we fear never materializes. Most of the time the people we approach are ambivalent. When they turn us down, they do not generally do it viciously or in a mean-spirited manner. Frankly, in 15 minutes, almost all of the people who have “rejected” us will have forgotten all about our sales attempt and will have turned back to their own issues and agenda. Although getting rejected stings, the vast majority of the people who turn you away don’t hate you and don’t view your sales spiel as something that would make you their mortal enemy!

- Get by with some help from your friends. When it comes to sales, no man is an island. We need a bit of help and support to navigate through the troubled waters we encounter. Develop and cultivate a number of friendships that are mutually supportive. They’ll be there to offer you support and a fresh perspective when you need it.

- Keep trying. Since overcoming sales reluctance is a challenge for so many entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, and even professional salespeople, there is a everlasting rush of books, conventions, and information on the subject. Be open to new ideas and outside help- – you will ultimately find a system or approach that truly does work for you.

These seven tips can help you overcome the challenge of sales reluctance. Which of them would you like to leverage today? Pick one and pursue it aggressively, and you’ll begin to see the breakthrough results that you deserve.

Marie Elwood runs Increased Results, a consumer insights consulting firm that helps large companies with new product commercialization.

Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes You’ve Got To Avoid

May 3, 2012 · Posted in Business · Comment 

There’s a large amount of bad marketing out there, but are you able to guess what the most serious misstep is in direct mail marketing? Ok, maybe I should have started with the five largest mistakes. I could probably list 5 times that many, but for today’s article let’s focus on the most frequently seen mistakes that are out there.

Boring Materials

The 1st mistake I often see is companies marketing on plain blue paper with black ink. Yawn! No business will ever stick out using blue paper. You may well think you are original, but everyone uses colored paper nowadays. It is not new anymore. In the current day’s marketing you want to stick out. You likely wanted to hear something else, but I will not sugarcoat this – you must be bold, brash, and brazen. You need design, gloss, and a professional image.

Do-It-Yourself Printing

Next up, the made-at-home look. Do not let your business flyers look like they were produced on your budget printer and done up in a Comic Sans font. That has no appeal. I see this all the time and it says to me that the business just doesn’t see the value of professional marketing.

You should consider what others will think when they see your materials. It’s true, you may not have a big marketing budget when you’re starting. You’re also correct that it’s better to be sending than not sending. But your priority number one is for you to be in a position to afford professionally produced marketing collateral as fast as practical. Not having a good marketing campaign is like preparing for a marathon without jogging shoes – you’re not going to move particularly fast or for long.

Bad Photography

Listen up! I’ve had it with terrible business head-shots. This guy looks like he asked his wife to take his photo at his desk. He’s wearing an old shirt that does not fit, a cheesy moustache, glasses and a goofy grin. Folks – you’ve got to remember that this is your business we’re talking about. If you do not look professional, nobody will call you.

Be bold and distinctive without going over the top. Dress professionally, groom yourself and have a cameraman that specialises in business photography take your picture “model style.” They’ll take a collection of fast photographs while you’re moving around. This is how a good spontaneous picture with a honest and engaging smile is taken.

An Article that Teases

If you are sending out articles as a part of your marketing campaign, but you are only including a few paragraphs and the remainder is at your website, then you’re just teasing your prospect. If you require a name and email at your website before they can read rest of the story, think again. No way! Those are the 2 words that will pop into ninety-nine-percent of your leads’ minds if they even get that far. By making it hard for your leads to even read a straightforward article, you are letting folks know that before anything else you are a salesperson and you are more focused on getting their names on a list instead of being really helpful.

You need your database to be populated by folks who took some time on their own to signup for whatever you have on offer. These are the people you need on your mail list, not those that you’ve conned into being there. Trust is everything in business – do not give your customers the impression you are just sending them teasers in order that you can get them on your list.

Marketing Other Businesses

When your flyers go out do they include marketing space for other companies? If you’re doing this, then your marketing is coming across as a cheap advertisement sheet at best – and if you’re using the above method too – a sleazy salesman at worst. Don’t allow this to happen to you! Do not get into co-op deals with other local businesses, let the coupon-book companies handle that.

When you spend the time to have quality looking marketing collateral made for you, that you’re going to put out there for the community to see, make sure that the focus is on you and the value that your company can deliver.

So, in closing: Spend the capital to make your business look professional. That means top quality design, printing and photographs. Are you a professional CPA? Get professional looking CPA branded marketing. Are you a property agent – get designer looking collateral with your real estate branding. Basically, unless you’re a graphic design business, that means hire it out and let the experts do it.

The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones brings over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding for real estate agents and real estate coaching, Denise is nationally recognized as the go-to for all things “real estate.”