The Selling Newsletter
The Selling Quote for the Month
"In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
Imagine you need some business advice about pricing your services. You’ve had 20 years of experience that you bring to your consulting business. One established business professional tells you to begin by starting with a low price and only after you build your practice should you increase your rates. Another confirms this advice. A third says, “What are you selling, inexperienced consulting or the years of experience you bring to your customers? Charge what you’re worth.” I recently had this discussion with a consultant and I was the third person giving advice. What was sad for me was that this consultant had been following the advice of the first two people. Her business was suffering and she was unhappy with the choice she made. There are so many choices to make in business. One of the most important choice is about taking (or not) the advice that’s given to you from “more experienced” professionals. I think it’s a great idea to seek the advice of others. I’m most emphatic about trusting your gut and factoring that into your final decision making. Her gut told her that she didn’t want to follow the “experts’” pricing strategy, yet she didn’t trust herself. Don’t do what she did. Your choices will shape your business and it’s your responsibility to make the best choices for you. Good luck making the right choices for you and your business.
Your Monthly Selling Idea
Talk is Cheap
Talk is cheap, but hopefully not in sales. When you do great work its certainly worth something to your customers. It’s priceless when a customer tells someone else that your work is wonderful. What you say can be worth a great deal to you as you sell. What others say about you is worth much more. Here is how you can get the most value from is being said about your work.
Are you listening? Have you ever noticed that it is more difficult to convince customers that your products and services are extraordinary when you’re the one telling your customers how great the products are? This happens even when your products are the perfect match for your customer’s particular situation. The motive to sell something and add to your bank account detracts from the perceived truthfulness of what you say.
Most salespeople speak about their superior products because they lack referral letters from satisfied customers. Why? They aren’t listening for compliments. Then when salespeople do hear something positive that they can use to sell, they either don’t know that they should use it or they don’t know how to use it.
Act on it. As a sales professional, train yourself to listen and act when your customer says something positive about your work, your products, or your company. The only response that should follow is to ask for a referral to someone else who could also benefit from what your customer experienced. Then go a step further to get a referral letter that you can use when selling. When your customer’s praise is put in writing, you can use their words to help you sell. How do you do this? Find out what your products and services have done for your customer’s business.
What to ask? Suppose a customer tells you that you and your company are easy to work with. You should clarify what he means. Reply, “Great. How so?” You may learn that quick return calls, speedy problem resolution and easy access to information are what your customer means. Ask your customer questions about how the situation that resulted in the compliment has affected other parts of his business. You would ask, “And how has our being easy to work with impacted other parts of your business?” Listen and take notes. Then ask your customer for help. Say to your customer, “I use referral letters to sell. I can capture what you’ve told me and put it in a letter. I can send it to you so you can make any changes you want. Would you then send it back to me on your letterhead so I can use it to sell?”
Be proactive. Why even wait for a compliment? A customer who continues to buy from you is telling you indirectly that there’s a reason to continue buying. You need to discover that reason. After a suitable period of time has passed for your customers to realize some benefit from using your products or services, ask them about it. A question could be, “I always follow up with my customers a month after they have used my products. Can you tell me how my product or work has impacted you (your company, your department, or your team)? Again, listen and write down what you hear so you can then ask for your customer’s assistance in getting a referral letter from him.
Yes, you can keep telling customers how wonderful your products and services are. Wouldn’t it be easier if your customers were telling other customers that same information? They can. Just get them to do your talking for you. Let your referral letters say all that you need to say.
1. Ask 3 customers how your products or services have impacted their business. 2. Take notes and ask them if you could put what they say in writing. 3. Write the letter and send it to your customer. Ask if they would put it on their letterhead and mail it back to you. Now you can use a great referral letter to sell. To Subscribe
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Written by Maura Schreier-Fleming, [email protected]( BestatSelling.com.) Maura Works with business and sales professionals who want to sell more and be more productive at work. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results.
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About Maura Schreier-Fleming
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Maura Schreier-Fleming works with business and sales professionals to make it easier to sell more and be more productive at work. Her clients include Fujitsu, Fannie Mae and Dr Pepper/7UP.
With over 20 years of sales experience, she teaches the art and science of selling with a unique hands-on perspective and a great deal of real-life insight. She is the author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results (a book filled with ideas to make selling easier and more productive.)
Her business column ‘Selling Strategies’ appears in the Insurance Record magazine and her column ‘Street Talk’ appears in Jobbers World. Maura has an M.S. in Textile Engineering from Georgia Tech and was Mobil Oil’s first female lubrication engineer in the U.S.
You can contact her for seminars at company or trade association meetings at 972 380 0200 or info@BestatSelling.com
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