Vice President of New Business Development

5 Sales Lessons of the Fall

There is a time for every season and every purpose under the sun I’ve heard it was written.  Well, fall is no exception. It is here. And for me, it brings with it some interesting sales (marketing and sales support) and business lessons.

1. Look for low hanging fruit. On our recent trip to the apple orchard, I spent a good bit of time maneuvering the ‘picker’ to reach high up into the trees to grab the apples at the top. But as we went along, I also grabbed some of the apples on the lower branches, and, even some on the ground. If you’re looking to make some deals this fall, grab some of the ones on top but don’t overlook the easy ones.

2. Embrace change. Change is in the air. The temperature. The amount of daylight. The color of the leaves. If you’re like one of the now 7 billion people living on the planet, I’m guessing that you’re experiencing some kind of change right now. Maybe it’s because of; technology, the economy, trends, styles etc. or whatever. Don’t fight it. Embrace it.  Figure out how to profit, be more healthy and productive because of it.

3. Look for extra time. We’re about to turn back the clocks. In this upcoming weekend that means we get one extra hour of time. In your busy schedule, look for some things you can drop (turn back) so that you can pick up a little extra time for the priorities in life.

4. Ask for the order. My kids didn’t walk up to the doors on Halloween night, ring the bell and say, “would you like to think it over about giving me some candy”? They rang or knocked on the door, it opened and they said, “Trick or Treat”? And they came home with hundreds of orders…ah, I mean pieces of candy.

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Good Marketing Solves the Customer's Needs First - Your Needs Second

angry-customer Help Your Customer 1st!

“The key is, no matter what story you tell, make the buyer the hero.” Chris Brogan

I had two experiences the other day that left me shaking my head in disbelief. Both were solicitations for my business, one a radio commercial, the other, a direct telemarketer.

First, the auto dealership. If it seems like I’ve been picking on them, having just bought two cars, I now remember why it takes me so long in-between purchases. The ad came blaring over the radio on my drive home. “We’ve had a great month at XYZ Auto, we’ve sold lots of cars and we want to keep our momentum going.”

Whoa! When did my potentially buying a car turn into me caring about you keeping your momentum going? Sure, while I and probably most people prefer to do business with an organization that is doing well, I don’t want to be either beaten over the head with it nor have it made the first “feature and benefit” in your selling proposition. I have my own reasons for considering any purchase and trust me; it has nothing to do with what’s important to you. Not to say that I’m not a win-win kind of guy, I sure hope I am. But talk to me about what you can do for me first, not what I can do to help you.

Second, the business development professional services company. A telemarketer selling training services essentially teaching us how to get more business. The voice mail started with “Hi Brian, this is Donna, give me (no please) a call back, I’d like (why would I care what you’d like at this point?) to talk to you (not with) a little bit and tell you (not share with) what we have to offer.”

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Start every day shiny

Two situations that came up one week last month required me to change my normal route to work. The new path brought me passed a large local car dealership. Since it was before 7:00 AM each day I did not expect to see any activity as it was before working hours. What I saw really got my attention...and stay tuned for what it caused me to do.

In the lot were three different two-man teams, each with buckets and sprayers attached to garden hoses, washing off the 100 or so cars parked in neat rows across the expansive parking lot. Despite the absence of any trees and falling leaves or any new snow, ice or any other kind of precipitation, I noticed how meticulously each and every car was being cleaned so that when the prospective customers came to the lot that day, each vehicle would look its’ absolute best.

It reminded me again that everything that every organization does is marketing. Either you are making yourself look more attractive, or less attractive, to your customers and prospects. You might have the best marketing communication strategies possible, but if your execution leaves the product unattractive or less ‘shiny’ than it could be, you are creating a disadvantage for yourself and your salespeople - not the marketing and sales support you are looking for.

Marketers and business owners, make sure; the lobby is neat, the rugs are clean, the bathrooms smell good, the light bulbs all work, the marketing messages are clear and they are delivered in a timely fashion. Salespeople, make sure your shoes are shined, your teeth are brushed, your attitude is good, your sales literature is organized and you leave whoever you visit feeling better when you walk out then when you walked in.

Ps. What did the “car washing” cause me to do? Despite having another vehicle all picked out – I gave that dealership a shot and bought one of their ‘shiny’ cars instead.


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