Friday, December 21, 2012

Sales Tips Galore

As 2012 comes to an end, I hope that this year has been profitable and that you've met your overall sales goal for the year.  I will continue to offer my sales tips and tricks throughout 2013 in an effort to help you acheive sales success next year. If you currently only read the Sales Is Not For Sissies blog, consider these other outlets to receieve additional sales tips.

Self-Taught Sales - Thought Transformation's free, monthly newsletter. To sign up, visit (In the middle of the homepage there is a link to sign up.)

Twitter - Follow me for daily sales tips: @Linda_Bishop

Linda Bishop Online - Visit for a plethora of great sales information including downloadable materials

TT Books - Visit to access Thought Transformation's online store with easy to read guides and booklets available for purchase.

We'll be back first thing next year with more tips to help you succeed!

Happy Holidays and Good Selling!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Online To-Do: December 2012

I've said it before, and I'll say it again....Get on LinkedIn! Your online to-do for this month is to join LinkedIn and set up a profile.  Try the free version to start and see how this online social network can help you connect with clients and prospects. If you're overwhelmed by the set up of the site and just don't know where to start, consider purchasing The Sales Pro's Guide to Using LinkedIn.

Good Selling!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ten Selling Tips to Persuade People to Buy

Sales professionals are masters of persuasion. Persuasion is a process. It requires rapport building skills, credibility, the ability to craft a logical argument and the eloquence to present it. Persuasion is not manipulation when it is based on mutual gain and ethical selling behaviors.
Use these ten tips in 2013 to help you become more persuasive and convince more buyers to say, "Yes, I'll buy.”
  1. Establish credibility in the first meeting. Show buyers why they should trust and believe you.
  2. Buyers are either open to new ideas or closed to them. To persuade a buyer, they must listen with an open mind. If their mind is closed, your first challenge is to open it.
  3. Find common ground. By pointing out shared thinking and shared experiences, you demonstrate to the buyer you understand your point of view.
  4. When the buyer talks, listen past the words for strong emotions. What does the buyer care about?
  5. Ask opinion questions. We get the ammunition we need to persuade by looking below surface level facts and understand the thinking that underlies past decisions.
  6. Tell stories. Stories interest prospects and customers. Design them so listeners draw the right conclusions. Stories help you persuade because buyers will always find their own conclusions more believable than any statement you can make.
  7. Be likable. We are all more willing to accept the ideas of people we like.
  8. Look at possible arguments from both sides. If the audience brings up a negative point, nod and say, "That's an excellent point. I considered it and . . .”
  9. Provide evidence to prove benefits are real. Use testimonials, statistics and real life examples.
  10. Fear stops people from taking action. Identify concerns. Alleviate risks.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The One Thing Everyone Wants to Buy (Rewind)

This entry was originally posted in December 2010, but I thought it was worth reviewing once more as the content is still relevant today and can help you sell into 2013.

On Friday, November 5th, I arrived at the Atlanta airport by 6:35AM. I checked my bags by 6:40. At 6:45, I walked into the Brooks Brother Store near Delta’s check-in area. Before the clocked hit 7:00AM on the dial, I spent $198 for a gray suit jacket to expand my working wardrobe.

As I handed over my credit card, I didn’t worry about price or wonder if there was a better gray jacket to be found at another store. I was happy to spend the money because buying clothing at the airport at the crack of dawn saved me time.

We’re all short on time and we all want more of it. Even when buyers claim they need a low-priced option, most of them really mean they want the lowest acceptable price taking the least amount of time to find.

What does this mean for sales professionals?

It means all of us need a time-saving component in our selling scripts. “Customer, we save you time because . . ."
• We’re easy to deal with.
• We’re watching your back.
• We are experts at this.
• We eliminate problems.
• Customers get what they expected to get.
• Customers like the end-product.

More time is the one thing everyone wants to buy. Selling your time saving advantage helps you sell more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fill the Funnel - Opportunities

Are Opportunities Turning Into Sales?
If a customer seriously considers you, you have two options. You can cross your fingers and passively wait to see if they decide to buy or you can take an active role and try to close the deal.

Closing is always the smarter approach. Opening a dialogue won’t always close the sale, but it’s a smart way to gather helpful information and knowing more helps you make more sales in the future. To turn more opportunities into sales, practice closing skills and take them to the next level.

The old saying, “Sales is a numbers game,” still holds true. By increasing the amount in the funnel at any stage, you improve the end result. If you put more in the funnel and improve selling skills, you will see a bigger boost because you increase the odds of converting prospects into customers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fill the Funnel - Smart Calls

Are You Making Smart Sales Calls?
Once you determine the buyer is interested, the next stage is building a relationship and learning more about the customer’s needs. Salespeople build rapport by asking questions and listening to the answers, and furnishing information. Customers who like their salesperson and your product remain in the funnel. They represent real opportunities for sales.

If many potential customers enter the funnel, but few turn into opportunities, work on improving your team’s sales skills.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fill the Funnel - Talking to Prospects

Are You “Talking” to Enough Potential Customers Who Might Want to Buy?
If the market is big enough, potential customers are aware and your price is fair, and you still aren’t getting enough sales, the next step is to ask if you’re starting enough selling conversations to qualify leads. 

Critical first conversations focus on learning if potential customers are interested in buying what you sell. In printing, many initial qualifying conversations start with cold calls. If that’s true at your company, then having the sales team smile and dial more often is one way to pour more into the funnel.

Marketing tactics such as advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, and trade shows are other ways to open selling conversations by raising awareness in your marketplace. These programs help to introduce your company to a large pool of potential customers and encourage customers to call you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fill the Funnel - Your Market

If you’re looking to increase sales, take a new look at the sales funnel. The funnel concept survives because it’s simple and brilliant. Potential customers flow in at the top of the funnel and the process of qualifying prospects begins. Some leads progress down the funnel and turn into opportunities. Other leads decide they’re not interested and evaporate. The speed of progress depends on the urgency of the buyer’s needs and your team’s selling skills. Some opportunities turn into orders and cause dollars to drip out at the bottom of the funnel.

Do You Serve a Big Enough Market?
Customer needs, geographical reach, and your ability to create awareness all place practical limitations on the size of the market you serve. If you can’t reach customers, they won’t buy from you. Your ability to create awareness combines with the buyer’s willingness to consider you as a supplier. Those two factors set boundaries and limit your reach.
Awareness is critical when selling. Many people may need your offering, but unless they know you exist, they won’t consider buying it from you.
If there aren’t enough potential buyers in the area you reach and serve, you must expand your territory to pour more into the funnel. If there are plenty of local buyers, but too few know you exist, your problem is creating awareness.

Some companies have a tougher problem to solve. There are plenty of potential buyers and loads of them know you exist, but they still aren’t interested in purchasing. Then, the problem could be your value proposition. Simply put, your value proposition states the benefits the customer gets when they pay your price.

Customers believe a price is “fair” when they think rewards justify costs. When too few customers are willing to buy at your price point, you have two options. You can increase the number of benefits offered so they get more for their money. Or, you can reduce the price to fit expectations.

Monday, December 3, 2012

2013 Sales Goals

As 2012 comes to a close, I want to spend this month reviewing how you can set and reach your sales goals in 2013. To start, consider the following:

The best goals are realistic, yet challenging. When you reach a goal you’re proud of what you accomplished. To decide if a goal is realistic, answer these questions and use the information as a guide.
  • How much did you sell in 2012?
  • How much do you want to sell in 2013?
  • Who were your customers in 2012?
  • How much did they buy?
  • How much do you project them to buy in 2013?
  • Estimate the gap. Goal-Total Sales Projected for 2013 from Current Customers=New Business
  • What does the average customer buy in the first year?
  • How many new customers do you need to reach your goal? New Business ÷ Average Value of a New Customer = No. of New Customers
  • Based on past experience, how many prospects do you need to talk to in order to get a customer? That is how many people you need to load into the top of the funnel, qualify and convert.