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Work Sales Smart – Not Hard

I have been involved in the sales & marketing industry for more than twenty years. Even today, it continues to amaze me that most, and yes, I mean most, salespeople tend to work HARDER rather than work SMARTER. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s incorrect—it’s more like 90/10! What a mystery!

There Are Three Types of Salespeople:

  • Successful
  • Average
  • Unsuccessful

Did you know that it takes the same amount of energy and activity for a salesperson to rise from average to successful as it does to sink from average to unsuccessful? The type of activity and energy makes the difference. An example: often I ask my student salespeople to do “mirror checks.” “Look in the mirror and ask yourself: is what I am doing right now the correct activity? Is it producing revenue, now or in the immediate future? Am I working hard . . . or working smart?” Working hard takes the same amount of output as working smart. If you are working hard, make changes in your activity and attitude and watch new doors open.

Salespeople can find many ways to work SMART. Most find themselves in chaos because they know how to sell and at the same time don’t know how to market or brand themselves.

Great Sales Skills – The Marketing Muscle = Working HARD!

All salespeople—from those just starting out to those with decades of experience—take note! Here is a sure-fire Work Sales Smart method to use that will bring you organized success and more revenue. Using this method makes you a producer, not an excuser! This will initially take some work—in some cases maybe only a few days of preparation—but once you’re finished, you can leave your marketing muscle to work while you focus your time and energy on bigger and better clients.

Work Sales Smart: Your method could look like…

1. Develop Your Personal Database

Create a database. In most sales-related industries, new students start out within their very own warm market. After they have completed their first 100 names, I ask them to go after their second one hundred. Students are asked to drink plenty of filtered water before bed and keep a legal pad and pen on the night stand. It never fails:  they will always wake up in the middle of the night and remember names that they had not thought of. Additionally, when they data dump 100 names out of their head, another 100 will usually refill the void within the next 24-48 hours.

Do I expect my sales students to sell products to all 200 names in the database? Absolutely not! However, we want to turn all 200 into our sales advocates or sales deputies. And that’s not all! Most salespeople fall flat on their faces when it comes to adding to their own database. Prevention comes in the form of Chuck’s “One-A-Day Program.” I encourage all my sales students to personally add one name each business day to their database. That’s over 200 names per year added! What if they added two or even three a day? Get my drift?

2. Database all pertinent data.

My personal database includes the following fields:

  • Name
  • Address
  • City, State, Zip
  • Personal E-mail
  • Business E-mail
  • Home Phone
  • Office Phone
  • Cell Phone
  • Website
  • Date of Birth(s)
  • Family Info
  • Recreation Info
  • Personal Passion
  • Possible Gifts

I get asked this question all the time: “What do I do if I don’t have all that information?” CALL THEM and ask for it! Is this too much to do? No! Remember: once this becomes a habit, you will never look back. But it does take time to turn this method into a daily habit. This is where many can create distinctions over their competitors—by using powerful database management skills.

Professional Pointer:

Call each client and wish them a Happy Birthday via a phone call versus sending a card—or you could do both!

3. Create Marketing Muscle With SalesMastery Tools

You must create a “tool box” of available tools to compete and be ready for use at a moment’s notice, depending on the client or situation. In most cases, your SalesMastery Tools will deliver your information to a client from a second-or-third party platform—always more influential than a first party delivery.

  • Personal Business Websites (PBW):

    PBWs are highly under-used in the sales industry. Many sales people have had a negative experience in setting up a basic website that did not do any good. Some have a dynamic website without marketing muscle behind it. Some have a site put together by a web designer without the benefit of sales/marketing tactics. Your PBW needs to move beyond the business card website and your creation team needs to design a site that will draw clients and referrals. You must give them a reason to show up and use your PBW.

    Here are some PBW guidelines:

    • Make sure it is contains more than contact information.
    • Include compelling reasons why a client might want to do business with you
    • Offer value to the visitor that includes a call to action
    • Speak to all four personality styles (Directors, Socializer, Relaters, Thinkers)
    • Create distinctions over and above competitors
    • Have marketing muscle behind each website

    Why A PBW Website?
    Advantages Before Your First Meeting:

    • Utilizes personal and business information to build intimacy
    • Gives your client a road map of what they need
    • Backs up your initial phone call
    • Keeps the client focused before meeting
    • Gives you a distinction over most competitors
    • Provides information from a Third Party platform—increasing persuasion value

    Advantages After Your First Meeting:

    • Continues to distinguish you from competitors
    • Provides information and reasons for referrals
    • Keeps clients and prospects up to date on products and services
    • Provides a communication link via the “Contact Us” page

    Professional Pointer:

    Include your website address on all marketing materials.

  • Business Cards:

    Create a card or design that people will always remember. Jeffrey Gitomer once said that “the sign of a good business card is one that gets passed along to another person!” Be careful with placing designations on your cards, as those are customarily useful with those on the inside of your industry. Too many designations might come off as pretentious. Should you use your photo on your card? Only if you use it as part of your overall branding/marketing plan. Avoid using glamour shots unless you look like that all the time.

  • Main Point Cards:

    Main Point Cards are one of my favorite tools. They are the same size as a post card. One side gives your name, website URL, and product and services. The other side outlines why people might want to use your services. I hand mine out at every event I attend. PLUS, I add a Main Point Card to every personal bill that I pay by check and to my deposit envelope when I make a bank deposit. I also include a Main Point Card in every thank you card I send. Make sure to keep plenty of these in your computer bag, portfolio, and vehicle.

    Professional Pointer:

    Main Point Cards only make you money when there are not sitting in your mind as an idea. Get them made and hand them out!

  • Promotional Flyer:

    An 8 ½ X 11 sheet of colorful paper, this tool should be a condensed version of your website. I encourage my sales students to place heavy emphasis on their personal and professional distinctions. It should include their picture as well as an offering such as a coupon or invitation for free information.

  • Press Release:

    Used primarily as a tool for special announcements, etc. and more formal than a flyer, this is another great tool used to passively aggressively keep information in front clients. Unfortunately, press releases tend to be boring, so use your own creative ideas to spruce them up and activate their attention-getting potential! Press releases are highly effective when shared with media outlets and professional agencies.

  • Tri-Folds:

    A great tool—midway between your PBW and your promotional flyer. Because of space limitations, most of your information will appear as bullet points. Use graphics and white space to make your brochure appealing rather than text-intensive and time consuming. Again, consider a free offer in exchange for a gift.

  • Media Kit:

    A properly designed Media Kit will help you with extremely busy clients who would probably not look over your PBW. The kit should be 4-5 total pages in length, with easy-to-read text (well written and a good font size) and interesting graphics. Also remember to include a free offering promotion. You can turn your media kit into a PDF file and provide a direct link on your PBW or keep it in its own file to e-mail to a client.

  • Faxed Material:

    Yes, there are still clients that use faxes. However, this one is simple:  print out your media kit and fax it to them!

  • Post Cards:

    Whenever I go on a trip, I always pick up post cards from that specific area highlighting some attraction. I use the post cards as another tool to communicate with my clients. Use the cards to send brief personal notes, mentioning something on your website, or including a best small ad, or a success in business that gives them another reason to not only do business with you but refer you to others! A brief communication or ad on a postcard can drive a high volume of traffic to your web site and generate a flood of sales leads for a very small cost.

  • Post-It® Notes:

    When sending any information by mail, include a Post-It® note with a short handwritten message and place the note strategically somewhere so when your clients sees the note it will be a surprise!

  • Newsletters:

    It has been reported that it costs six times more to make a sale to a new customer than to an existing one. You can use newsletters to focus your marketing on past customers. Have your clients subscribe to your newsletter on your website. Newsletters can also help create a distinction over your competitors.

    Create your own newsletter with your own identity. Be careful when purchasing template newsletters from resellers who sell the same newsletter to multiple users within your industry. These impersonal template newsletters take away from your ability to build true intimacy with your clients. I equate template newsletters to a printed label on an envelope. You will have more success purchasing a template for content and design inspiration, then recreating the information in your own style and words.

    Professional Pointer:

    You should be on the watch for outstanding content 24/7/365. However, send your newsletters out infrequently. Less is best!

  • Fast Facts Profile:

    Create a one-page document that covers the main points about YOU, your company, and services. Each Fast Fact should be some item that will impress the client—from your educational accomplishments, to sales schools, to your family background, to the main points and accomplishments of your company’s products and services, your Fast Facts Profile will save you time in building intimacy with your client. Make sure you include your Fast Facts Profile in all initial documentation provided to a client, backed up with a faxable form. Also include it on your website. What do you title the hyperlink? Fast Facts of course!

  • E-mail:

    Use lots of caution with e-mail. The number of e-mails we all receive means that you must be very selective. I use the 80/20 rule.  20% of my main clients and database I can send just about anything I want and I know I will usually not offend anyone in that group. The other 80% only get my INFREQUENT newsletters.

  • Letterhead & Envelopes:

    Keep these congruent with your overall theme and appearance. Use eye-catching logos and other graphics. Dress up your envelopes and even your letters with something out of the ordinary, like special decals or stickers. One of my favorite attention getting ploys is to place a bright orange 3×4 “Fragile—Handle With Care!” sticker on a letter-sized envelope. The receiver usually response positively.

    Professional Pointer:

    Handwritten notes on your envelopes will go a long way in catching the attention of your clients. Example: “To My #1 Client!”

  • Thank You Notes & Cards:

    Everyone sends them, so how do you make this tool a distinction over your sales competitors? Send them promptly!

    Gear them to the client’s outside-of-work focus. If you know of a special interest or hobby of your client, send a card with that theme, such as a photo of a baseball for the baseball fans, a drawing of a kitty or puppy for pet owners, a racing-themed card for racing enthusiasts, etc. These work especially well with Relaters and Socializers.

    Gear them to a special business focus. A thank you for something business-connected such as a referral or an event could be themed to their specific business or strategy. (Would this be an appropriate place to mention papyrusonline.com and sendoutcards.com? Would it be appropriate to include links to resources within these articles? And “Find out more on our resources page” with that link?)

  • Second Offers:

    Send a second offer to your clients immediately after they’ve purchased something from you. How about a handwritten note to your customer thanking them for their business and informing them that upon their next investment and by mentioning “this note” they may take advantage of a particular offer?

    Professional Pointer:

    To create urgency, remember to include an expiration date.

4.Your Personal Branding

As stated before, your personal branding needs to be congruent with your sales tools. Keep colors and graphics in line with each other. Here are three other suggestions you can use in creating statements that go along with your personal branding.

  • Create Your Own Purpose Statement
    An example: “My purpose is to contribute to God & Mankind by utilizing the utmost in values and integrity, while offering wisdom with everyone I come in contact with.”
  • Create Your Own Action Statement:
    An example: “Set the example by exceeding the standards.”
  • Create Your Own Tag Line:
    An example: “…By the way, it’s all about performance!” These statements will go a long way in creating those positive impressions with your clients and getting them to know you and be more comfortable working with you.

These statements can be included with your PBW and on most of your marketing tools.

5. Corporate Mentality versus Entrepreneurial Mentality

Working Sales Smart versus working H A R D means that you must develop an Entrepreneurial Mentality with most of your thoughts, actions, and activities. An example of this came in a recent sales training discussion of these mentalities—and why salespeople need to be entrepreneurial. Towards the end of the training, the student said that he wanted the company to provide him with computer this, phone that, etc.

Sales Smart Salespeople will create their own destinies and not place too much weight on the corporations to take care of those things. Being creative, proactive, and responsible for your own sales tools will help drive your personal revenue. If you wait on help from your corporation, you might find yourself waiting a long time.

One Last Professional Pointer:

When developing any sales tools, apply the following three questions to each after completion.

  • “So What?”
    Will this tool and the way it’s designed have a positive impact on my client?
  • “Who Cares?”
    Will my client care about the message that I am attempting to communicate?
  • “What Does It Buy You?”
    Look at the specific sales tool or the specific language, color, design, etc. Does it buy you anything? Does it sell against you? Is it too controversial? If something appears to be borderline, then don’t use it.

No single marketing effort works all the time, so make sure to change your tactics and approach. Your clients will tune out after a while if you promote using the same tactics all the time. Marketing can be fun, so take advantage of the thousands of opportunities available for communicating your value and distinctions to your clients and prospects. Work Sales Smart with your marketing plan carefully.

Get feedback from clients and adapt your efforts accordingly.

When it comes to your overall marketing campaign, know this: That’s exactly what it is, a marketing campaign very similar to a political campaign. Market yourself, your products, and your personal talents shamelessly. In order to market shamelessly, you will have to learn exactly what you offer that matters most to your clients. Get creative and leave your own self-imposed limitations behind.

If you don’t step up and do it, WHO WILL?


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