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NETWORKING AS A SALES STRATEGY

Many business owners are part of various networks. If you’re new to networking, you might wonder why so many successful business owners advise you to network. Many people have a fear of ‘selling’ themselves and let’s face it, we have the Irish mentality of not pushing yourself too far forward.

WHY NETWORK?

One of the many ways to grow sales in your business is to meet new people. If you have read any business books on  how  to  grow  a  small  business,  networking  is  always  among  the  top  strategies. To make networking an effective sales strategy though, it’s important to be clear on what networking is (and what it is not).  It is most definitely not selling to the room. I hear negative talk about networking from many struggling business owners. Many people believe networking is direct selling. If they join a business group and don’t receive business within a short period of time, they view it as failure on their part. They feel they did something wrong or the people in the group weren’t suitable for their business.  Sales People in Ireland are always talking. Business owner to business owner, we talk about how we are, what’s holding us back and what we need to progress.    As we listen to others, we will notice something they’re struggling with. We may know someone in our network to help that business. We make a warm introduction and let both parties know why we think it would be worth their while having a coffee together. Favours like this or thinking of others as we go about our own business accumulates  goodwill  towards  you  and  your  business.    Most people will try to repay the favour and start to seek ways to help your business also. This cycle goes on and on and as we all know, what you put in, you always get out. You don’t have to do anything with a view to what you get in return, but nature being as it is, you generally reap what you sow, and good deeds don’t go unnoticed or   unrewarded.

THREE TIPS

 So, to clear up a few myths or to help people struggling with networking, here are some rules to live by when it comes to networking to grow sales;

Build Relationships

Getting to know people takes time. Don’t expect anyone to know about your business from a sixty second pitch or quick conversation over a coffee.    Try to meet people for proper one to ones and allow at least an hour to sit and get to know the person.  During this time, remember to actively listen to your new contact. Be aware by asking   questions you will be begin to develop a relationship and understand their business better.

Give before you take.
As mentioned earlier, remember you reap what you sow.    By looking after others, you will find they come to look after you also.    Like everything in life, you have to pay upfront.

Putting in this effort will make you a better connector of people and grow your reputation positively within various groups.  As others help grow your business, ensure you thank them.    Whether or not business came from new introductions is not relevant.  Always be aware of taking the time to thank someone for an introduction.

Find the right group for you

There are many networking events and groups.    Finding the right one for you might take time.  It is possible to be a member of lot of groups but be aware if you aren’t finding time to meet people for one to one meet ups, or getting to know people well, you might be busy attending events, but not building relationships.    Spend your time wisely.
Get to know one group at a time and a you get to know others, they will recommend other events or groups you might be interested in.    Take advice from people who network successfully to grow their business.  Regardless of how many sales strategies you have ongoing at present, networking is definitely one to include in the mix if you haven’t taken the  leap  yet.

For more information on sales strategies for 2019, please contact  jo@salesperformance.ie

Opportunity to attend a networking event this week:

I was recently awarded the ‘Networker of the Year’ at the South Dublin Chamber Awards.
I’m part of the South Dublin Chamber Network Group, that meet every Friday morning in  the  City  West  Hotel.    This Friday (30th) we’re hosting a guest morning. If you would like to attend,please register using this link:

https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/networking-to-grow-your-business-tickets-52828992940

It’s a group of like-minded business people coming together to get to know  others,  learn  about  their  businesses  and  do  what  we  can  to  help  and support other business people.

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Jo Collins wins the Networker of the year award at the South Dublin County Business Awards Gala Presentation Dinner (Black Tie Event) sponsored by Crowe in the Citywest Hotel, Saggart, Co Dublin

I was delighted to be recognized as Business Networker 2018. Awards like this for a small business is gold dust. Networking is about developing relationships, with people who bring value and have expertise. I have been fortunate to meet many people who fall into this category, who I would consider as business colleagues and friends. When you are in business you need great people around you, and that is what I enjoy about networking. It’s about being able to create opportunities for other business people, while offering support and help where I can. Networking affords me as a business owner an extended  team of support. As a sales strategy, referrals and networking are always top of my list.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners and to South Dublin Chamber for hosting such a great event.

Host for the evening was Marty Whelan, award-winning Irish radio and television personality

Photographer – Paul Sherwood paul@sherwood.ie 087 230 9096
South Dublin Chamber and South Dublin County Council, South Dublin County Business Awards 2018, held at the citywest Hotel, Dublin. October 2018.

Photographer – Paul Sherwood paul@sherwood.ie 087 230 9096
South Dublin Chamber and South Dublin County Council, South Dublin County Business Awards 2018, held at the citywest Hotel, Dublin. October 2018.

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Each of us will either be implementing or developing Sales Plans for 2018. Whatever stage you are at, some thoughts that I hope you will find helpful for the year ahead.

  1. Reflect on 2017, what can you learn from your successes? Repeat and build on what worked for you.
  2. Own your sales goals, and eliminate excuses.
  3. Follow the ABC rule Always Be Curious
  4. How to be curious? Sell with Questions
  5. Focus on building trust, the easiest way to that is to LISTEN
  6. Welcome rather than fear Customers objections. If a customer is raising objections, I believe we have not completely done our job yet.
  7. WIIFM: it’s not a new radio station!! ( whats in it for me)
    Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, how can your solution or product help your customer?
    Understand their business, their needs and then work on how you can help them.
  8. Follow up, follow up and follow up again. During the buying process find relevant ways to stay top of mind, by adding value.
  9. Understand your buyer and sell the way they want to buy; every customer is different and deserves that respect.
  10. Remain passionate about what you do.

‘’selling is about sharing your enthusiasm for something you want everyone to benefit from’’

Jo Collins
E:  jo@salesperformance.ie

M: 087 2730463

W: www.salesperformance.ie

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Listen: That means keeping your mouth closed and your ears open.

This is crucial in the first few minutes of any sales conversation.

Remember:

  1. It’s not about you.
  2. It’s not about your products.
  3. It’s not about your services.
  4. No scripted sales pitches either please!

Obviously, you will want to introduce yourself, and tell your prospect your name and the purpose of your visit (or phone call), but what you don’t want to do is ramble on about your product or service. Its way too early for that, at this point in the meeting or conversation, what could you possibly talk about?

You have no idea if what you’re offering is of any use or value to your prospect.

Sell with questions, not answers.

Forget about trying to “sell” your product or service and focus instead on why your prospect wants to buy. To do this, you need to be interested in your prospects business; you need to ask questions (lots and lots of them).  Take some notes and paraphrase what you think you have heard, a fantastic skill to use.

 Be curious

  1. Focus your energy on learning about your client. Find out what they really want. What is frustrating them, what do they need to improve, what do they like /dislike?
  2. Ask questions that will provide you with information about what your prospect really needs.
  3. Try and put yourself in their shoes, and only recommend something that you know will help them. Then you will start the process of becoming someone they can trust.
  4. Very few people enjoy being sold to, yet people enjoy buying stuff.
  5. So it makes since to sell the way people want to buy.
Loose the jargon

Talk to your prospect as you would with your friends, family or colleagues. Selling is about having a good conversation, and the outcome is a decision, which can either be, yes, not right now, or no. It makes no sense to complicate the process with jargon.

Respect your client’s time.

Make sure that the timing is right. You want to have a good conversation. If your client is rushed or pre occupied, I would strongly suggest you reschedule. You will not have the full attention you deserve and the client will not be relaxed enough to share the information you need to provide a solution.

Keep it simple

Don’t ramble on and on about things that have no relation to anything your prospect has said. Pick a few things that you believe will help your customer, focus on the benefits and how your product or service will help them. Having listened, you should have a good understanding of your prospect’s needs in relation to your product or service.

Ask and discuss next steps.

Summarize the meeting with an agreement on what you are going to do and what the client needs to do and agree a date and a time for your next meeting. This is a really good technique to use with clients. The meeting or conversation will close with both of you having to do something. This will give you a great indicator on their interest in choosing you and your product or service.

Present with confidence

Your next meeting, is about presenting the solution based on everything the client has shared with you that is important to them. You have invested time understanding their business; you have created a bespoke solution, that reflects their needs, you are only recommending something that will bring value to them, which could save them time, money or effort.

Ask for the business

I know this sounds silly, but in a recent survey 7 out of 10 sales people did not ask for the business.
Sales are about great conversations and decisions. It’s also about building relationships and creating trust.
after all your hard work, you need to know if you are going to work together in the future, so find a closing technique that works for you and ask for the business.

Introduce a 2 step sales process into your business that will improve your sales performance.

Step 1 = fact find ( listening and asking questions )

Step 2 = Presenting your solution, and look for agreement on next steps.

If you would like to discuss any sales issues in your business, please get in touch:
jo@salesperformance.ie

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What does it take to succeed at sales and in the digital age is there still a place for person-to-person sales processes?

Secrets of Sales Success - SoundCloud
(1362 secs long)Play in SoundCloud

These were just some of the topics we discussed on Independent News & Media’s, Ready Business podcast with myself, Jo Collins, MD of Sales Performance Consulting & Training and Paul Fagan, MD of Business Coaching Ireland, joining presenter Brian Purcell.

“48% of sales leads are not followed up,”.  “And 80% of sales are only completed after 5 or more contacts.”

 Ensuring sales success is about listening and paying attention to a client’s need.

SMEs love talking about their business.  Go deeper in your conversation with them; build rapport and trust as the foundations to work on over time, which will then serve the client best

‘Passion over skill’ was the underlying advice from the panel.  You can train the skill but if someone doesn’t have the passion or drive in them then all the training in the world won’t mean a thing.

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Would you like to create “Lifetime Customers? Last course of 2015

If so, join us on the Tuesday 1st December
Maldron Hotel Newlands Cross, Dublin, for a special one day training course from Ireland’s best and proven sales and communications expert.

Our next sales course will focus on the importance of securing life time customers.

As we approach the busiest season of the year, it is critical to remain customer focused.

This will only be achieved if we truly listen to the needs of our customers.

On this 1 day course we will examine ways to listen better and therefore sell more of what the customer wants, creating life time customers.

We will develop a questioning technique that applies to the learners role

We will explore some closing techniques to ensure customers are being ask to buy

We also look at objection handling for a positive result

Plus we will examine the different buying styles of customers and how we should adapt our own style to win more business.

This course is highly interactive, and motivational.

Ensure your staff have the right skill set and mindset for success for this important time

Some comments from people who attended this course.
‘’this course provided practical solutions’’
‘’it was interesting & fun, I also met other businesses’’
‘’A practical course in a comfortable learning environment’’
‘’Very interactive, everyone was involved’’
‘’Overall excellent & covered a range of important topics’’

Where?
Tuesday 1st December
Maldron Hotel Newlands Cross

Investment €295pp
Limited Places

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When and how to close a sale?

As I support companies and individuals that want to grow sales and improve their performance, I find, we always end up having a great conversation around the best way to close a sale.
I have a number of techniques and options that I share, but I would really value a wider perspective on what people find works best for them. I know every industry is different, and sales process will vary, so taking all that into consideration – what is the best closing technique that wins long lasting customers for you.
Together we might discover something new, which would be brilliant. I will post the top 5, so you can have a look and try them out and see if you get a different result using a different technique.

I will kick start the conversation with my favorite:
1 ) The Alternative close
I enjoy giving customers, options. it gives the added value of keeping the sales conversation open.

What’s yours?

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How Important is Sales Training?

During my sales career, I welcomed any training that was offered. I was on a learning journey and remain on that journey today. I love to spend time with people who can share experience and knowledge with me to help improve my skill set. So it’s a big YES from me. So much so that I switched career, after 20 years to become a sales coach.

Sales professionals today need to know and have a deep understanding of:

  • Who their customers are & their competitors
  • Understand the features & benefits of their product or services that they
    represent.
  • Understand the market in which they operate
  • Develop relationships and build trust
  • Provide creative solutions
    If you consider a day in the life of a sales professional, they have numerous skills to master, in my view, sales people are like all the best sporting athletes, they need to practice to improve their selling skills.
    Those that learn and practice more, increase the opportunity to be more effective and sell more.
Do we really need Sales Managers?

If every sales person took full responsibility to be the best they could be every single day, were self managed and motivated, there would be no need for Sales Managers. However that type of person is really unique and hard to find.

That’s why sales managers exist.

As a sales manager, you are responsible for leading, directing, supporting and coaching your team. As a sales manager your job is to get results through the people you manage.
In my career I was lucky to have some amazing managers, they were the ones that encouraged me, supported my decisions, believed in me and were always honest.Think about a manager that sticks in your mind as amazing, and remember all the things they did well. That’s a good starting point at becoming a great leader / manager.

Great sales managers, who learn the principles of effective management through training and coaching, help their sales teams achieve great results and outperform the rest.

How often should you train or coach your team?

Every interaction you have with your team is a learning & coaching experience!

‘’To be a successful manager, trainer or coach, your primary responsibility is to persuade people into using what they already know and to be open-minded about learning what they don’t’’ – Plato

During a training session there are many positive outcomes:

  1. New Skills will be developed
  2. Increase in confidence
  3. A reminder of good skills / habits that may have been forgotten
  4. Shared learning and experiences
  5. Increase in motivation and morale

As a manager, how do I know who needs training?

The answer to this question is easy. If you are responsible for a sales team, then everyone regardless of experience or length of service with your company needs training.

Learning is a journey, and anyone on your team who feels they are done with learning, is a great loss to your organization. You need to manage and change that outlook quickly.

As a sales manager, how you behave and respond to training will have an impact on your team’s attitude, so you can make a difference

Your approach, your enthusiasm, your optimism will set the tone in relation to your teams success.

So is training and coaching really necessary, I believe so, do you?

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Would you like to improve and learn new skills to increase sales for your company ?
If so, join us on the 17th July at the North Kildare Chamber of Commerce in Naas for a special one day training course from Ireland’s best and proven sales and communications experts.
This 1 day course is designed to help you increase sales through developing your skills in all aspects of sales. This training course is unique, as we are inviting you to bring YOUR issues and we will do a workshop and provide solutions on the day for you to take back to your business.

Examples
• How to actually close the sale!
• A customer is no longer communicating with you, what do you do?
• How do you get past the gate keeper for an appointment with the decision maker?
• My pipeline is too low for June, how can I develop new customers fast!
• I have just lost our largest account
• My sales conversions are low
• Some days are not effective – how to be effective every day!
Who should attend?
This programme is ideally suited to people who want to develop all aspects
of their sales skills for their business.

Course Cost: 250

Click here to book Online
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SOLD OUT – Due to Popular demand we have a new on on July &th

Would you like to improve and learn new skills to increase sales for your company ?
If so, join us on the 10th June at the North Kildare Chamber of Commerce in Naas for a special one day training course from Ireland’s best and proven sales and communications experts.
This 1 day course is designed to help you increase sales through developing your skills in all aspects of sales. This training course is unique, as we are inviting you to bring YOUR issues and we will do a workshop and provide solutions on the day for you to take back to your business.

Examples
• How to actually close the sale!
• A customer is no longer communicating with you, what do you do?
• How do you get past the gate keeper for an appointment with the decision maker?
• My pipeline is too low for June, how can I develop new customers fast!
• I have just lost our largest account
• My sales conversions are low
• Some days are not effective – how to be effective every day!
Who should attend?
This programme is ideally suited to people who want to develop all aspects
of their sales skills for their business.

Course Brochure

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