9 Stages of Selling

July 29, 2009

Most people that I talk to think they know how to sell.  But most people I talk to only have 1 or 2 of the basic 9 steps down.  This is why their closing percentage is 10 or 20%.  If you want to get your closing percentage to 50 or even 75%, here is an outline that will help you sell more deals and make more money.

1.  Make a Friend – Selling is all about relationships.

2.  Find common ground – People need to like you and it works best if they have something in common with you.

3.  Ask intelligent questions – Remember that you just need to have a conversation with people and that you want to learn about them.  The best way to do that is to ask questions.

4.  Dig deep – Don’t stop at surface level questions.  If someone tells you where they want to go on vacation, ask them “How long they have wanted to go there?”  Or  “What they plan to do while they are there?”  Really get an understanding of what that is important to them.

5.  Listen – Not much needs to be said here.  2 ears, 1 mouth, use proportionately….   You learn a lot about someone when you let them talk.

6.  Help them Visualize – Selling works best when people can visualize themselves using your product or service or reaping the benefits of them.

7.  Get a commitment – Nothing worse than having a great meeting with a prospect and then leaving them hanging.  You need to get a commitment for the next order, for next Tuesday, or a check/credit card today.  TIP:  Not doing this wastes the first 6 steps.

8.  Make them want to buy – I really hate selling.  I love helping people buy stuff, and people love to buy.  This is important because it will not only increase your sales it will bring you more repeat business and referrals.  It also eliminates buyers remorse.

9.  Ask for the money– This may be the toughest step for most sales people.  Many people just won’t ask for the money.  I’m not telling you to get crazy about this or act like a telemarketer (no offense to telemarketers), but at some point in the sales process, you have to say, “is this going on your credit card or are you paying with a check today?”  Doing this step alone will double your conversion rate.

What Have You Written Today?

July 15, 2009

No matter what industry you are in, it makes sense to write something each day.  You have some bit of unique knowledge about your industry or the way you perform that makes you special.  Writing it down and posting in a blog or some other place where people can read it, makes you more special.

A major benefit to writing is building credibility and getting your name out there.  And always remember that you don’t have to be a professional writer.  Just write the way you speak and be sure to spell check your writing.

It’s always good to put some links back to your website if you post on an external site like a blog, facebook, or some other site.

You have something to share so be sure and write it or type it before the thoughts are gone!

Review of Zoho CRM

July 10, 2009

I recently started using Zoho CRM free edition.  I have to say that I am very impressed with their software.  Especially a free edition.  I have used Salesforce.com for a while now and loved it.  But since I was looking for something free, I thought I would try Zoho.  I also tried freecrm.com, but I wasn’t not very impressed with it.  Most of the features I wanted to use were not allowed in the freecrm.com version.  However, every feature that I use is completely free in the Zoho free edition.

So if you are looking for a great way to track leads, potential business, forecast your sales, track activities, setup reminders, and much more….  Zoho is a great solution for you.  It comes with 3 free users and 100 MB of storage which is more than you think.  Add-ons are cheap and a good buy.  One other thing.  It comes with the capability to track leads right from your website.  That is a great add on that isn’t free with most products.  It also has built in free workflows.  Pretty awesome if you ask me.

And if you need help setting it up, I can help you with that.  It’s very intuitive, but I’ve had quite a bit of experience with CRM’s and would be happy to consult with you.  Just check out my services at www.michaellejeune.com/Services.htm

12 Proven Strategies to Boost Your Business During a Recession – eBook

July 7, 2009

Times are tough for many business owners, but here is a little secret. They don’t have to be. Here are 12 proven strategies that will get your business humming during any economic climate.

1.Give the best value – Never sell on just price. People want the best value and are usually willing to pay for it.

2.Market to your customers – Current customers are 7 times more likely to buy from you than someone who doesn’t know you.

3.Get a website that works – If you don’t have a website that works, you are missing out. 60% of all consumers in America search the web before making even the smallest purchases these days.

4.Business networking – Get out and meet other business owners. It’s not who you know in business as much as it is who knows you. Meet people and provide value to them. They will return the favor with business for you.

5.Customer service – I have done business in over 80 countries. The one thing I hear most in those countries is the need for customer service. An extra smile, a cute note on a bill, or a simple “is there anything else I can do for you” go a long way.

6.Create a business plan – I’m not talking about a 30 page proposal for a bank. I’m talking about a 2 page action plan with weekly steps toward your business goals. Always know where you are heading.

7. Collections – Make sure you are on top of the money people owe you. Show some concern and be fair but firm.

8. Focus on your strengths – You’ve probably heard this one all your life, but are you doing it? Do what you do best and beat all the rest.

9. Keep your business tidy – Chaos repels customers and the best employees. Make sure you keep things neat and clean at all times and you will attract more business.

10. Know your numbers – You need to know your break even on the day, not just the month. Have sales targets per day. Understand where you are at any given point in the month.

11. Get some training and help – The best business owners and sales people go to 3 or 4 training sessions per year or have business coaches they meet with regularly.

12. Social Media – Learn how to connect with your clients on their terms in a setting that suits them. Facebook, twitter, and wordpress blogs are a great place to start.

The 3 L’s of Leadership

March 26, 2009

The 3 L’s of Leadership.

A while back I learned these 3 principles of leadership.  I have to say that these are just the foundation.  Being a strong decisive leader is important, but without the foundation, you miss out on the best parts of being a leader.  Not to mention the most rewarding.

Here are my 3 L’s of leadership:    Love, Listen, and Lead

Love – Love your team enough to listen.  A great team is so key to your success as a business owner or leader.  I find it essential to learn to love your team.   Love the great things about them and really express your gratitude for the work they do.  Love the things you learn from them and the challenges they present.  A great team will not only support its leader, but challenge the leaders character and help the leader mature.

Listen – Listen to every word with your full attention.  When I’m with my team, I focus on every word they say.  Turn off the phone, email, TV, blackberry, or anything else that can distract you.  Look your folks in the eye and repeat things back to them so they know that 1.  You are listening to them, and 2. You understand what they are saying.  A great leader will ask more questions than anything else.  Ask them how they would like to solve their problems.  Ask them what they want out of life.  Ask them how their kids are doing.  Ask them if they need anything.   Ask them if they have time for a walk or lunch with you.

Lead – Care enough to lead them by setting an exceptional example.  The best leaders Love their team, Listen to everyone on the team, and LEAD by example.  They step in and do a task no one else wants to do without asking for a volunteer.  They step up for what is right every time without fail.  Their integrity can’t be questioned because everyone knows how they play the game.  They may not lead without fear, but they lead in the face of fear.  They are the first ones to step up and make a decision when no one wants to make one and they are the first to work out a favorable solution that benefits the whole team.  They set family first as a priority and they stick to that priority.  Great leaders always mean what they say and say what they mean AND follow through on everything they say.  You can count on them to step up in any situation, good or bad.  They share the credit and shoulder the blame.

A 7 year olds Customer Service

March 26, 2009

The theme for several of my last posts is customer service.  So in keeping with that, here’s a quick story about my 7 year old. This story really touches on customer service, marketing, and sales.

Two years ago we moved to a new city.  We didn’t really know anyone, but we wound up in a great neighborhood with about 20 kids.  We got the best lot on the block at the end of the cul-de-sac.  To introduce ourselves a bit and build up some goodwill, we came up with Movie Night.  It started out simple.  We would just let everyone know that this was going on every other Saturday and that we would choose a kid friendly movie.

My 7 year old had other plans.  She created invitations and got them out a full week in advance.  She hand delivered each one with her little sister right behind her.  On a side note, she wouldn’t leave any of the invitations in the mailboxes.  She would ring each doorbell.  If someone wasn’t home, she went back until she spoke to someone.  The day before Movie Night, she went back to each house to remind them about the movie and to put them on her popcorn list.  Now that’s selling.  She was closing the deal by using some great techniques here.  Follow-up, only talking to a live person, going door-to-door, using the popcorn list to get people to make a commitment upfront.  Brilliant stuff really. 

The cool thing was the way she acted behind the scenes.  She made a list of everything that needed to happen to make sure the event went off correctly.

Send invitations out – check

Make sure we have enough popcorn – check

Double check with each house on RSVP – check

Get drinks, cups, bowls, napkins – check

Pick a movie – check

Test projector in the garage – check

Get chairs setup – check

Clean garage – check

Make signs for the movie – check

A lot of thought and planning went into something simple.  The result…. Everyone showed up for movie night.  We are now going into our second summer of movie nights and they are a huge hit.  My little one still goes door-to-door each time and tells everyone what movie we are playing.  She is sure to get an RSVP each time.

The key elements to her success:

1.  Planning – She takes the time to think about the event and the desired result she wants.

2.  Sales – She’s warm calling on previous customers to come back for another round.

3.  Marketing – She always has materials to hand them with event information.  It’s evolved from crayons and construction paper to nice word documents over the last year.

4.  Customer service – She goes out of her way to make sure her customers are happy.

5.  Persistence – She doesn’t take maybe for an answer.  She wants a hard yes or no.  And she doesn’t stop until she gets one.  Even then, she usually works on getting a yes if you first say no.

6.  Toughness – She never gets discouraged if people say no.  She keeps going back and keeps going on to the next house.

5 Ways to leverage your time

March 22, 2009
Your time is your most valuable asset. How are you investing it?If you are like me, your time is worth a lot. If you are like most people, you are spending quite a bit of your time and investing little of it. Here’s 5 ways you can leverage your time for what it’s really worth.

1. The Early Bird
Get up at 5 AM every day. Get out of bed and get moving before the majority of the earth is. That will enable you to get so much more done while the rest of the world sleeps. The key here is that no one can break your concentration if they are all asleep. And focused energy is amazing. A single interruption can cost you up to 35 minutes of wasted time.

2. Get Driven
Find someone to drive you around. Whether it’s a limo driver, your assistant, or your out of work cousin. The average person wastes over 2 hours a day in their car. And those of you who think you can use the phone, take notes, read a map, read a book, eat, and drive the car are living on the edge. Imagine making phone calls, setting appointments, closing deals, and working on your laptop in the car on the way to your next meeting. A driver allows you to concentrate and put 100% of your effort into all you do in the car.

3. Phone Power
Many people are still avoiding phone meetings these days. We need to embrace the phone more. The phone allows you to focus and get to the point. View your phone as an ATM machine. The more time you invest in the machine, the more money comes out of it and into your bank account.

4. Sell the Television or get TiVo
Either sell the television or buy TiVo or some other digital device that allows you to record and skip commercials. Reinvest your new found television time with your family, self, or personal development.

5. Decide and Commit — This one is key.
A business owner must be a great leader. In order to be a great leader you MUST be able to make quick decisions and commit to them. You can work with any challenges from your decisions down the road. The key here is investing your time by being decisive and not floundering over a decision for hours, days, or weeks. I’ve found that the 80/20 rule applies here. 80% of your decisions can be made in less than 5 minutes. 20% of decisions should take hours or longer to decide.