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CRITICAL SKILLS FOR SUCCESSFUL SALES Probably the most valuable skill to learn is how to market yourself effectively so that you do not have to sell at all! If you want to work less and sell more, personal marketing will change your life! Earlier, I mentioned that the key to the referral process is that, if it is done correctly, you will never have to speak to someone who does not already know you. That is called advance marketing, and here is what it can mean for your sales.

There is a very simple formula: S/M = Sales Effort (S = Sales, M = Marketing) It’s simple math: The more marketing you do, the less selling effort you have to deal with. If you currently spend equal time selling and marketing your product or service, and then decide to invest twice the amount of time marketing yourself, your product or your service, then you will end up expending half the effort! The more quality effort you spend marketing, the less you have to physically sell. Prospects put up their hand and come looking for you instead of you having to go out and find them. Sales effort is physical, time-consuming, and fraught with objections and requires great personal skills and time management. Marketing is leveraging your message to as

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many of your target prospects as possible without your physically having to do it yourself. Develop a set of marketing strategies, test them and execute them, and the sales will come to you rather than your chasing the sales.

It doesn’t matter how many sales calls you make: You will never get to as many people as a well-placed headline in a magazine aimed at your target market. Nor will you ever be able to compete with a website that is receiving thousands of hits a day. Another formula for those who have trouble with the math: S (Sales) x M (Marketing) = $Results (Double “M” and spend half the time on “S”!) It’s critical to learn how to balance your week between actively selling in front of live prospects or customers and developing a referral stream through your marketing efforts. Basically, it’s the art of having sales opportunities come to you. And perhaps even more important, it’s the process of increasing the odds that leads will convert to sales.

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How do your prospects perceive you? Not only do you need to market your product or service; you need to market yourself. You want people to have a good perception of you. You want them to think, “Here is someone who is going to help me solve my problem.�

Good marketing, such as ads or links on websites, a well-placed headline, a best-selling book that refers to your services, will sell more than you ever could by just knocking on doors. By using media that are seen by hundreds or thousands, you are in essence knocking on the door of everyone who sees them. In addition to other media, you can use other speakers, other businesses, other organizations and any entity that is exposed to those who could be potential clients of yours to get your message out effectively.

Start by making a list of potential avenues you can use to get the word out about you and your product. Spend time on developing those avenues and sales will happen automatically. Second, be sure that whatever you send out for public exposure offers a compelling reason for someone to call you or to show interest. It should not be a billboard of your service. It must be an offer for a reward to them if they contact you. It

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can be a special offer for service, a fantastic guarantee, an irresistible yet truthful claim or simply a unique proposition. A simple example could be to advertise a free consultation service or a limited-time discount or a “special free report” on competitive equipment if they call, fax, email or inquire. Now keep it in mind that this is completely separate from the global marketing that your company is already doing for you. This is a much more personalized and direct marketing effort that will not only draw them to your product or service, but direct them to you.

Marketing is simply getting your prospects excited and educated about you and your service before you ever make a sales call. Because their interest is piqued, you are that far ahead of the game. Here are some avenues to get you started: •

Create cooperative relationships with other individuals or companies that are already in contact with your prospects. • Send out sales letters. • Create compelling headlines and unique selling propositions to place in journals, magazines and print media and on websites. • Advertise. • Volunteer at industry functions. • Fax blitzes to groups and prospects. • Work trade shows. • Conduct free educational seminars. • Co-sponsor community activities. • Generate testimonials and referrals. ______________________________________________________________________ This article was adapted from “SalesDogs: You Do Not Have to Be an Attack Dog to Explode your Income!” by Blair Singer, top sales and leadership coach.

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