Friday, August 1, 2014

How to increase sales ...

Companies as well as sales professionals are always asking how to increase sales. In their never-ending quest for the elixir, they often forget that increasing sales is as simple as asking for it.

While there are no statistics that show how many sales are lost simply because the sales professional did not ask for it, anecdotal evidence suggest that as much as 30% of all sales are lost this way. The question then is why do so many companies make this mistake. The truth of the matter is that people hate to be rejected. And, whenever the sales professional asks for a sale, he or she is exposing themselves to the possibility of being rejected.
 

So what can companies do to increase sales?

 
At SG Sales Guru, we suggest 2 things. Firstly, we suggest that companies send their sales personnel for training. During this training, the sales professional will learn that rejection is not personal and that the customer is rejecting the product or service and not the sales professional. Next, we teach the sales professional to appreciate "rejection" as it offers them valuable information on how to make the sale. Besides working on the individual, the second suggestion we have is that the company develop a template sale pitch that, if followed, will lead to a closing question. While not the preferred way to sell, it is a good way too help beginning sales professionals to overcome the fear of closing.

In short, closing does not come naturally to most of us and that is why effective sales professionals are trained and are not born. If you are interested in how to increase your company's sales, send your employees for sales training.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tapping on the Power of your Networks

In his book the Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell emphasized the importance of our "weak ties".
 
Generally, interpersonal ties are considered information carrying connections between individuals. These ties, depending on the degree of separation, can then be classified as either strong or weak. Malcolm argues that more "useful" information flows to individuals through weak ties rather than strong ties. This is because our strong ties (i.e. close friends) essentially move in the same social circles and whatever information they have overlaps with what we already have. In contrast, our weak ties (i.e. our acquaintances) move in different social circles and hence have access to information that we are not privy to.
 
The problem for many sales professionals is that they either do not feel the need to build their "networks" or are oblivious to its value. Thus, as a direct result of this, they miss out on many sales leads.
 
My point is therefore this. For those looking to enlarge their client base, start by joining clubs, associations and taking up activities that are different from your existing social circles. This broadening of your social circle is an important first step in successfully entering a new market. As your network grows, you will inevitably receive useful information about sales or business opportunities, that you can act on.
 
Good luck!

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Training Workshop: "Turn on Your Networking Charm - How You Can Connect Effectively At Your Next Event"

Pick-up tips to make meaningful connections. Present a positive image of yourself and your company/business. Gain confidence to take on your networking event. Get started on a Referral Marketing Programme.

This interactive workshop will benefit all levels of managers, section heads, executives and non-executives, as well as sales, business development, key account and client service personnel who have to mingle and develop contacts in today's highly connected world.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Why every sales professional must have a Facebook account ...

As much as we wish sales to be a simple process where buyers buy as soon as we demonstrate the need for our product and services, the reality is that sales takes time. The higher the commitment, the longer it takes.

It is for this very reason that SG Sales Guru advocates that companies (as well as sales professionals) set-up and build their Facebook pages. A Facebook page is the perfect platform for companies and sales professionals to continually connect with and maintain top of the mind recall their prospective client while waiting for the client to buy.

Unlike web pages that requires the prospective buyer to "pull" information, social media platforms allow the sales professional to "push" information. This not only makes it more efficient, but also allows the seller to soft-soft to the prospective buyer.

Additionally, social media platforms also allow the sharing of personal information which then allows the buyer to bond with the sales professional. And, as mentioned before, the fostering of a bond makes selling easier as people tend to buy from people they like and know.

In short, having a Facebook account is now a must for all sales professionals for the simple reason that it builds trust.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sales Training: How to use the humble customer feedback form to drive sales

One of the key concepts of SG Sales Guru's sales system is the focus on the building of a "relationship" with the prospective client. We believe that trust between the sales professional and the prospect is key to successful selling.

Sometimes during the sales process, a prospect may disengage from the sales professional for reasons unknown. If this happens, the cause can usually be traced back to something the sales professional did. Perhaps he was too pushy, or he said something to offend the prospect. Whatever it is, it is likely something the sales professional did unknowingly.

One effective strategy to re-engage with this client is to send a generic customer feedback form from the "company". A neutral third-party's request for feedback is more likely to generate a response than a request from the sales professional who may have already offended the prospect. This information can then be used for either the "existing" sales professional to follow-up on or, if deemed necessary, the account can be handed over to a "manager" to follow-up. Whoever it is, it is another opportunity to further engage with and build a relationship with the prospect.

However, in order for the re-engagement effort to be effective, the company must offer the prospect some form of incentive to give it another chance. Effective incentives would be a discount on their next purchase or an offer of a free gift. The type and magnitude of the "apology" should be proportionate to the service lapse. Too little and the apology appears insincere. Too much and the apology appears as PR spin.

The key sales lesson I want to share here is that sales professionals must continually engage with their prospects. And if the prospect disengages, efforts must be made to re-engage.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Facebook Marketing for Financial Consultants

Testimonial

"I first met Justin during a networking session and I was very impressed by his knowledge in the field of social media. I always knew the importance of social media marketing but I did not know exactly how to go about doing it. And that is precisely what Justin specializes in. Justin has a structured approach towards social media marketing, tailored for the insurance industry. Justin has certainly widen my perspective on how to leverage on social media to bring my business to the next level. Every coaching session is dynamic, effective & fruitful. Thank you Justin. :)" ~ Juan W

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Facebook Marketing Course for Singapore Financial Advisors
 
Social media has pervaded the lives of everyone and it has created an opportunity for Financial Advisors to cost-effectively brand as well as prospect for new clients. While social media is intuitive, using it well requires training. Without the necessary know-how, you may be doing more harm that good.
 
Our 2-month one-to-one coaching course is divided into 6 1.5 hour sessions. Working directly with the client, the client will be able to implement immediate changes from session 1 and start to see results in a matter of weeks.
 
Session 1:    Principles and Concepts behind Facebook Marketing for FCs
Session 2:    Developing your USP
Session 3:    Communicating your Personal Brand (Themes and Messages)
Session 4:    Successfully engaging your market segment (Content mix) and "Spear Fishing"
Session 5:    Measuring effectiveness
Session 6:    "Open" Session
 
To sign-up for, or to find out more about, our Facebook Marketing Course for Singapore Financial Advisors, contact us via Justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com. It is time to invest in your future!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cheap Actual Day Wedding Photography Package - A Loss Leader Strategy!

SG Wedding Guru recently launched their Actual Day Wedding Photography Package at an extremely attractive price of only $680. Since its launch response had been positive with numerous bookings.
 
cheap and good actual day wedding photographers in singapore

What SG Wedding Guru has done is to create what is termed a loss leader. I must emphasize here that a loss leader is different from a "bait and switch". The bait and switch is essentially a scam where potential clients are baited by an offer only to be sold something else. The company, in this instance, has no intention of ever selling the bait. A loss leader sales strategy on the other hand is a strategy that involves selling a product or service at a low price (even at a loss) in order to bring in the customers. Since the customer is already in the store,  chances of him buying something else at regular price is high and this is where the company makes their money. The loss leader strategy is commonly used by supermarkets.

In the case of SG Wedding Guru, their cheap wedding day photography package is for the purpose of building a relationship with the bride-to-be. Cross and up-selling occurs when Wedding Guru subsequently promotes other wedding related services as part of their "one-stop" service as brides not only need a wedding day photographer, but they will also need wedding favors, decorations, catering and even travel insurance for the honeymoon. The list is long.

What SG Wedding Guru has demonstrated here is that, sometimes in sales, we should not forget the forest for the trees. A single sale of a wedding day photography package at regular prices may reap you a return about $400, while cross-marketing a suite of products can instead reap you a return of many times that.  The loss leader strategy is powerful and should not be neglected. In our opinion, SG Wedding Guru has implemented theirs well.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sales Training Program for Singapore SMEs

Psychological Selling 101
 
SG Sales Guru's sales training program is based on scientific research and the art and science of psychology. Our sales training program is designed to equip the aspiring sales professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to be the best in the field.
 
Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned professional, the knowledge we impart will super-charge your selling. Even the world's top athletes continue to train with a coach when they are #1.
 
In fact, we are so confident that you will benefit from our coaching program that we will not only offer you a special discount to take-up our coaching program, but will also give you a money back guarantee (no questions asked) if you find that you have not benefitted from our course.  You therefore have absolutely nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
 
To start your journey to selling success and great income, email our consultants at justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com

Saturday, April 5, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Using Pricing to Select Your Customers

Yes! You read the title right. Companies should use pricing to select their customers. Now some of you might think I am crazy. Isn't a business in business to earn money? So what is this nonsense about selecting customers? As a business, we want every customer we can get.

Before we move on, I think it is important that we establish an important fact. While it is true that as a business we want all the business we can get, we however only want business that is profitable. The point that I am making here is that there are un-profitable customers out there. Taking them on as clients only means that you will be losing money.

Allow me to illustrate using an example from a client ...
 
"My PR consultancy's charge-out rate is $250 an hour. Depending on the client's job specifications we usually discount this. So when we work on retainers, sometimes our rates can come down to as little as $100 an hour for a multi-year contract. I recently had a client that contracted us to do 3 months of PR for their company. The project specifications were discussed and 20 hours of PR work was contracted for at a rate of $200 an hour. However, almost immediately after the contract was signed, the client requested for some urgent pro-bono work. Not wishing to sour a newly formed business relationship, I agreed. As my team began to help out on a goodwill basis, it became evident that the client was beginning to creep the requirement. In the first week alone, the client was very demanding on the pro-bono work such that my team spent close to 20 hours helping on a goodwill basis. With no end in sight, I spoke with the client and mentioned the need to scale back on the pro-bono work or to add on to the original contract. The client went ballistic. I then realized that this was the client's strategy to milk us. I did a quick calculation and, based on my estimates, the likely man-hours required to fulfill the client's requirements would likely double. Hence, the original rate of $200 would not be sufficient to cover my labour costs. And if I added the goodwill work my team did, I would in effect be losing money."

So my point in this. There is always a cost to deliver a product or service. Some clients are easy to serve, while others are not. So unless you have priced your service to match the type of client you are serving, you may end up losing money.

From my experience, it is always good to target the upper middle-class range of clients. Those who are very budget conscious should be avoided as they are likely to milk you for the simple fact that they do not have the budget to pay for more. On the other hand, those that have high budgets and paid a premium for your service can rightly can demand for the best service. In my opinion, these 2 categories of clients are the most expensive to serve and hence the least profitable.

In short, pricing can be used as an effective way for a company to filter for the most profitable clients. Used well, it will keep a business in the black.

Monday, March 31, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Not Every Customer is Innocent - Lesson in Service Recovery

In the service industry as well as the sales industry, the common refrain is that the customer is always right. While this is a good service culture to have, it only applies to innocent customers.

What do I mean by innocent customers? They are customers who are innocent victims of a service lapse. In this case, by all means go all out to make them happy even if it means going above and beyond the call of duty. With proper service recovery, these clients will be your biggest brand ambassadors.

Unfortunately, not all customers are innocent. There are customers who deliberately create conditions for service lapses so that they can milk the customer service agent for all they can. They know that every company wants to make their clients happy and will usually offer some form of compensation in the form of extra services to right a lapse. It is this attitude that makes companies vulnerable.

So what should you do? As a manager or even a customer service representative, do not always assume that the lapse is your fault. Stop briefly to think before offering service recovery compensation. The brief pause will save you a lot of headaches as these non-innocents will only keep coming back until they are called out.

So while it is good company policy to assume a customer is always right, it is also good policy to also first determine if the complaining customer is an innocent.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SG Sales Guru: The Secret to Closing More Sales

Every sales professional wants to close more sales. Similar to the saying in golf where you "drive for show, but putt for the dough", in sales it does not matter how well or badly you did everything else, all that matters is whether you closed the sale. It is therefore not surprising that sales professionals are always looking for tips and tricks to close more sales.

At SG Sales Guru, we have a problem with this mentality as it implies that the buyer is a fool waiting to be tricked or conned into buying something he or she does not want. We have always advocated (and have taught in our sales training courses) that the sales professionals' role is to help the buyer see how the company's product or service solves a problem the buyer has and needs resolved. To do otherwise is contrary to the best interest of the buyer and hence prevents the building of a lasting business relationship.

We believe that if you put the buyers' best interest at the center of the sales process, closing will simply be a matter of asking "shall we start the paperwork". In short, the secret to closing more sales is simply putting the buyers' best interest first and, when that has been met, asking for the sale.

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Our sales training courses have helped increase the sales turnover of numerous Singapore SMEs by an average of 30%. To find out how we can help you sell more and sell better, email our Principal Consultant at Justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guest Blogger on www.ButchBellah.com

Our Sales Principal Trainer has been invited to guest blog on the topic of sales for www.ButchBellah.com.
 
leading management trainer in singapore sales
 
Butch Bellah is a Sales, Marketing & Business Coach and can put more than over  25-years of “hands on” experience in sales, marketing and advertising to work for YOU. He is a sales, leadership and personal development Coach and Speaker working to help businesses not only survive, but THRIVE in today’s economy.  Butch was recently named one of the Top 100 Sales Experts to follow on Twitter.  Butch has the expertise necessary to coach ANY business or salesperson.  In addition, he spent 10-years “on the road” as a professional stand up comic and calls that decade “the best sales training I ever received”.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Personal Selling Using Social Media

In developing our Social Media Marketing for Financial Advisors programme, one challenge SG Sales Guru deliberated at lengths with the team at SG Social Media Guru was how to "sell" via Facebook without being perceived as an obnoxious and pushy salesman. We all know the type. He, or she, will constantly be pushing his product at every opportunity, whether the situation is appropriate or inappropriate.
 
What the team at SG Social Media Guru emphasized was that the social norms for selling via Facebook (or on any other social media platform for that matter) is no different from the social norms for selling face-to-face. While Facebook allows you to share and communicate with many people simultaneous, this only makes communications more efficient. It does not change the way people feel towards you or change their expectations of what is appropriate. At the end of the day, people still interact with you on a personal, or one-to-one basis.
 
For example, if a friend shared an observation on Facebook and a few of his friends were having a discussion on his wall about it, jumping-in and steering the conversation to a point where you then sell your product or service is rude. This is no different from a situation where a group of friends are having a conversation and then you join in and started your sales pitch to everyone present.
 
In the same light, it is also inappropriate if a competitor has a blog and you use its comment feature to pitch a competing product. Again, this is no different from you standing in your competitor's place of business and handing out your business cards. This is something you would never do in the physical world, so what makes it different in the digital world?
 
As such, participants of SG Sales Guru's Social Media Marketing for Financial Advisors programme are taught the fine art of using social media to sell. One point we always caution our students is that social media amplifies both positive and negative behaviors. Thus, if you come across as a pushy or obnoxious salesman, this reputation will spread rapidly and you will very quickly lose your natural market.
 
The key lesson for anyone who wants to sell using social media is this ... "social norms for how people want to be sold do not change just because we are on Facebook. So sell as if you were selling in person."

Friday, March 7, 2014

SG Sales Guru: "Fake it till you make it?"

In sales, and in business, we know the adage of "faking it till you make it." After all, few clients want to be your first. Without a track record, clients feel uncertain that you can actually deliver on your promise and are unlikely to give you any business. It is thus not uncommon for new businesses and sales professionals to puff up your credentials to give the aura of being established. While I have nothing against this, I firmly believe that there is a "correct way" of doing this.

Here are 3 rules for you to follow:

1. Based on Truth. With the Internet, nothing is hidden. Any claims you make can easily be verified by a Google search. Prospective clients can accept a little exaggeration, but they cannot accept lies. Once the trust is lost, no sale or business is possible.

2. Relevant Accomplishment. When "faking" it, it is important to use credentials that are relevant. If you are selling a management service, don't tell the client that you were a Miss Singapore or Miss Universe. Any credential presented must aid in the client's buying decision, otherwise it will be considered as conceite.

3. Up-to-Date References. In the same light as relevance, there is an expiry date to some of your accomplishments. Don't cite a slew of awards or accomplishments from 10 years ago with little or none for last year or the year before. To the astute business owner, you will be pegged as a "has been" trying to make a comeback.

In short, it is okay, necessary and even accepted that people will "fake it till the make it." But faking in this context is not lying, but merely branding and positioning your company or yourself. Do it well and you will grow your business. Do it poorly and you just might never "make it."

Friday, February 28, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Financial Advisors and Social Media Marketing (Singapore)

SG Sales Guru, in partnership with SG Social Media Guru, is please to announce the launch of our Social Media Marketing Course for Singapore Financial Advisors.
 
Social media is now pervading the lives of everyone and it has created an opportunity for Financial Advisors to cost-effectively brand as well as prospect for new clients. While social media is intuitive, using it well requires training. Without the necessary know-how, you may be doing more harm that good.
 
Our 2-month one-to-one coaching course is divided into 6 1.5 hour sessions. Working directly with the client, the client will be able to implement immediate changes from session 1 and start to see results in a matter of weeks.
 
Session 1:    Principles and Concepts behind Facebook Marketing for FCs
Session 2:    Developing your USP
Session 3:    Communicating your Personal Brand (Themes and Messages)
Session 4:    Successfully engaging your market segment (Content mix) and "Spear Fishing"
Session 5:    Measuring effectiveness
Session 6:    "Open" Session
 
To find out more about our Social Media Marketing Course for Singapore Financial Advisors, contact us via Justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com. It is time to invest in your future!
 
 

 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Sales Courses in Singapore

To many Singaporeans, sales is a dirty word. When asked to attend sales training courses, I often hear the educated say that selling is beneath them, and that they did not go to university to become a salesman. But the irony is this. What do you think goes on in the daily meetings managers and CEOs attend? Sure it is to discuss "strategic" directions for the company, or to make operational decisions. But at the heart of it, everyone in those meeting is "selling" his or her idea.
 
It is for this very reason that SG Sales Guru believes that sales training is the fundamental skill that every Singaporean must have. In fact, if you think about it, getting noticed and employed by a prospective employer, or getting your current boss to give you that coveted promotion is also about selling yourself as the best candidate. Selling is taking place, perhaps not in the manner of a typical retail sales process, but you are selling yourself all the same.
 
To enable more Singaporeans access to this fundamental life-skill, SG Sales Guru has developed a basic sales course designed to help anyone sell. While the product or service may all be different, at the end of the day, the sales process follows a basic sequence. There are always the aspects of building trust, making a benefits presentation and then leading to a decision. By leveraging on the art and science of psychology to enhance all aspects of the selling process, past participants of our sales courses have reported increased closure rates of up to 30%.
So if you want career success, let us help you. Contact our Principal Consultant via Justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com for a non-obligatory training needs assessment. SG Sales Guru's basic sales courses can either be conducted as a half-day workshop for a group, or modified into a one-to-one coaching programme.

 
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Networking Tip - Focus on building relationships. Not sales.

An integral part of being a successful sales professional is the ability to build a continuous pipeline of sales prospects. One popular way for many is to attend networking events.

 
While attending networking events are great, a large number of sales professionals fail miserably as they do not know how to network or follow-up correctly. Merely collecting name cards at the event and then following up the next day with an email to ask for an appointment smacks of hard selling.
 
The correct way to network is to spend a few minutes with each person you meet trying to understand his or her needs. You will be surprised that if you ask the right questions, you will be able to identify an opportunity for you to follow up without being pushy.
 
For example, if you discovered that the person is a tennis fan and there happens to be a tennis event your company is organizing, a great follow-up would be to send an email or phone call saying you remembered that she liked tennis. You can then offer to send her a complimentary ticket to watch the games or invite her to one of the parties.
 
This is a great follow-up as you will (a) not come across as hard selling; (b) gain credit for being a good listener; and (c) be perceived as someone who values relationships. This then puts the prospect in the correct frame of mind for you to subsequently make your sales pitch.
 
In short, sales professionals should attend networking events not with the intention to sell, but with the intention to build relationships. Once the relationship is cemented, sales will happen automatically. The networking tip is thus "focus on building relationships."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Sales Training Courses is a Must for Singapore SMEs

If you ask any Singapore business owner about the importance of sales, all will tell you that it is the lifeblood of their business. But, if you ask how many of them invest in sales training for their staff, many will say they don't.
 
The myth is that good sales professionals are born and not trained. While it is true that the naturals are self-taught, effective selling skills can be taught. The skills required to instantly build rapport, to do an effective benefits presentation and to close can be broken down into steps which anyone can take to sell more effectively. SG Sales Guru's in-house statistics show that graduates of our Psychological Selling Course close on average 50% more sales.
 
 
The best part is that our course qualifies for IRAS' PIC and eligible companies (who capitalise on the PIC bonus) can literally earn while they train their employees. This is a win-win for all. Your employees learn and contribute back to your company, and the government pays you to train your staff.
 
To find out how you can increase your top-line while adding to your bottom-line, contact our training consultant via justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com

Friday, February 14, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Success Tip - The Power of Self-Confidence in Sales

Sales is tough and facing constant rejections can take its toll even on the most self-confident. The following is a success tip you can use to bolster your self-confidence ...
 
The idea of "mind over matter" is well known. Everyone knows that our minds exert control over our bodies. This phenomenon has been proven by medical research which has shown that patients "treated" with sugar pills, which they believe to be powerful drugs, actually recover from their illness. However, do you know that the reverse is also true? That our physiology can also exert control over how we feel. Try this simple exercise and discover what I mean.
 
"Sit down in your chair. Slouch. Drop and hunch your shoulders forward. Next, hang your head down. Take deep but short breaths." How do you feel? Depressed. Now, do the opposite. How do you feel? Confident, right?
 
In fact, you will see that it is impossible to feel depressed if you force yourself to stand-up straight, pull your shoulders back and hold your head up high. Our body has the power to override our most powerful thoughts and emotions, even negative ones.
 
As we continue in our journey as a sales professional, having the ability to instantaneously change our feelings at will is an important and useful tool. It will allow us to be at our most resourceful whenever we need to. Feelings of total strength and resourcefulness, the prerequisite for peak performance, are only a posture change away.
 
Instantaneous State ChangeOur bodies and minds need to be congruent. They both therefore actively seek congruency and it is impossible for them to remain in different states. "Forcing" our bodies into a physiology of "confidence and resourcefulness" will cause our minds to seek congruency and automatically follow suit.
 
Two methods therefore exist for us to change our states. We can do it either internally, through the changing of our thoughts and beliefs, or we can do it externally through the changing of our physiology. Both methods are capable of producing similar long lasting results. However, of the two methods, Instantaneous State Change, or the use of physiology to lead changes in our feelings, is the most useful as it can be done almost instantly and, more importantly, on demand.
 
How You Do It!
 
Assume that you are about to give an important sales presentation to the Board of Directors of a Fortune 500 company. You are however not well prepared and as such feel extremely nervous.
 
Step 1: Decide your Desired State. The first step is to choose your desired state. In the example above, you decide that you need to be in a state of total confidence.
 
Step 2: Create your Desired State. In Step Two, think back to a time when you felt total confidence and remember your physiology. Begin to recreate in your mind your posture, your rate and depth of breathing and your tone of voice. Once you have recreated this state of total confidence in your mind, move immediately to Step Three.
 
Step 3: Adopt the Physiology. Adopt it! Stand and move as if you were totally confident. Physiologically, you will stand-up straight, pull your shoulders back and hold your head up high. Your breathing will slow and become deeper and more deliberate. Your tone of voice will be low. Initially you may find your physiology occasionally slipping back. Continue to consciously remind yourself to maintain this physiology, and in a matter of time, your mind will follow your body and you will begin to feel total confidence. You are now ready for the presentation.
 
Conclusion
 
Mastering the ability to create Instantaneous State Change gives us one more valuable skill to aid us in our journey to sales success. Walk Tall!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Sales Training - Negotiation Tip

Sometimes during the benefits presentation, the sales prospect may start to negotiate for a better deal. While this is usually a good sign, as it indicates interest, it is important that you first get a commitment to buy before starting to offer concessions.
 
This step of getting a commitment is important as without the commitment to buy, offering concessions only weakens your selling position. Once that happens, the following two things can happen ....
 
Firstly, the prospect may use your offer to negotiate with another vendor. If his intent is to drive prices down, this then puts you in the middle of a bidding war and will result in thin margins if you end up getting the deal.
 
Secondly, if the prospect's intent is not to start a bidding war, then when he is finally "ready to buy", he will then use this to push for another round of concessions. Once again, you will end up with razor thin margins.
 
The outcome of both scenarios are the same - think margins for you. To prevent the above scenarios from happening, it is therefore important that you only offer concessions after getting a commitment to buy. Don't let your haste to close a deal let you be manipulated by the prospect. This is sales training 101.

Friday, February 7, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Sales Training Course - The Meet and Greet

One of the main problems SG Sales Guru sees in sales training courses offered in Singapore is that the techniques are often adopted from what works in the United States (US) without localization. We see this as a problem as culturally what works in the US might not work in Singapore.

 
Take for example what many sales courses teach as a meet and greet. These US-based programs tell trainees that they must launch into a canned self-introduction the moment they are given the opportunity to speak, instead of first seeking to build rapport. So in response to a "hi! what do you do?", the US trainers advocate that you should respond with something along the lines of "I work with women in Singapore, aged 30-49 who have very slow metabolisms and put on weight easily. I construct a specific diet plan that speeds up my clients' resting metabolic rate and allows them to worry less about food"
 
While I am doubtful that such greetings work very well in the US, I am certain that such greetings will not work in Singapore. This is because Asian businessmen value relationships in a sales engagement. Hence, the moment you start pitching yourself even before you have built rapport, it is a big turn-off and deal killer. Additionally, doing a sales pitch the moment you meet someone also tells the person that you do not see them as a "person" but a sales target to be sold.
 
Thus, even though sales training courses from the US may be more advanced than those developed in Singapore, we however feel that without recognizing the importance of the local culture, using these US based techniques will fail you. If you want a Singapore based sales training course that is founded on the science of neuro-linguistics programming (NLP), SG Sales Guru's Psychological Selling Workshop is the one you should consider.
 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Sales Presentation using SPIN

In all of our sales training courses, we always emphasize the importance of speaking the buyer's language. Aside from identifying and presenting information in the buyer's preferred representational systems, it is also important to present benefits that are important to the buyer and in a manner in which they can easily understand.
 
One good benefits presentation system that we have adapted from the seminal work of Neil Rackham, is to use SPIN. Essentially, the sales professional will (a) explain the current situation to the buyer using facts and figures; (b) identify the problem that is created by the situation; (c) lead to the implications for the buyer; and (d) emphasize the need for the propose solution i.e. a product or service.
 
The strengths of this system is that the entire presentation is focused on the buyer, and the logical flow enables the buyer to be led down the proverbial sales path. Done correctly, the buyer will find it hard to say no to a close. To enhance the strength of the system, some skilled sales professional will ask and receive confirmation at each stage before moving to the next. After all, if you have agreed to the situation, acknowledged that there is a problem and accepted the implications to you, how can you say no when I ask for a sale.

 
The SPIN method of sales presentation is therefore one of the most powerful tools we encourage sales professionals to use. Practice it, master it and see your sales income grow.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Psychological Selling Training is 160% PIC Eligible

SG Sales Guru is pleased to inform our clients that our Psychological Selling Workshop is 100% IRAS PIC eligible. Our clients have successfully submitted their claims for the grant and IRAS has approved it without any questions asked. In fact, a few of our clients are eligible for the PIC bonus and will be receiving their 100% shortly. Their total claim is 160%, so in effect, they are paid to train their employees.

Companies keen to tap on the government's generous grant to help SME's improve their productivity via employee training programmes should contact us. Our Psychological Selling Workshop is based on the science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and is proven to help companies close more sales.

A short list of companies that have benefited from our sales training course include Esquire Jewelers, J&M Design and Photography, One Image Concept, Signature Models, Ascendant AssetsElijah Consulting, Ichiban Advisors, The Flying Printer, Smaths Consulting, ....

For more information on how you can be paid to train your sales team, contact our Principal Consultant via justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com or visit our training agency for this or other PIC eligible training programmes.

 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Sales Training Programme for Singapore SMB

Contrary to what many small and medium business (SMB) owners think, a sales training programme is essential for any company. Just like you would never allow an employee to operate a machine without the proper training and familiarisation, you should also never allow an untrained employee on the sales floor.
 
Many SMB owners wrongly assume that just because an employee has done sales at another company, they can just jump in and do sales at their new company. While basic sales skills such as rapport building are transferable, product knowledge, client objections and sales responses are not.
 
Without proper sales training programme, the new employee will be left to learn on their own. Depending on the employees' ability, the learning curve may be as few as a dozen sales encounter, or as many as two or three dozens. Each time the employee "learns," it is an opportunity cost to the company. Assuming the average sales figure is $1,000, the company will be literally losing thousands as the employee learns.
 
SG Sales Guru's Psychological Selling Course is based on the science of NLP. Our 1/2-day workshop is customised to help both your new and old employees improve their ability to close. Sending your employees for our sales training programme will not only save, but earn you money. Being an IRAS PIC eligible course, our workshop is extreme value for money.
 
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For more information on our sales programme,  email justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Sales is all about solutions

As an experienced sales trainer in Singapore, I am often astounded by the fact that many business owners still do not realise that customers buy solutions and not products.
 
In a recent consultation with a small business owner (SMB), the owner was lamenting the fact that his graphic design business is suffering badly as many of his former customers are outsourcing internationally. He said that he simply cannot compete because of Singapore's high rents and employee costs.
 
 
I told him that I empathized with him, but said that in life, you cannot change the wind, but you can adjust your sails. I then asked what he thought his customers wanted.
After much prodding he acknowledged that his customers did not care so much about design as this was just a means to an end. What the customer wanted was a way to communicate their message. How and in what form, was not as important as getting a compelling message across.
 
With this new understanding, I then asked if, instead of competing with lower (and possibly lower quality design work) prices in India, could he not leverage on it by fronting the projects, giving the strategic directions and letting others do the "manual" work?
 
The moral of the story is this. All businesses sell solutions. Unfortunately, business owners tend to fall in love with their product and fail to realise that the solution they are offering may no longer be what the client needs.
 
Thus, as a sales trainer, I always remind clients not to talk to potential clients about your product features. Instead they should talk about how their product can help their client solve a problem. In other words, focus on the benefits.

Friday, January 24, 2014

IMPACT 2014 (February 20-22, 2014) is open for registration!

Public Service Announcement
 
If you are a Christian parent and want to equip your child to: (a) help shape the future through authentic leadership and cultural communication; and (b) and develop their skills in areas of leadership, organization, teamwork, poise under pressure, adaptability, and connecting with people from all walks of life, this is the conference you'll want to attend together with them.
 
(you'll need to first create an account). Early bird discounts are available so register now!
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Closing - no choice is the best choice

While supporting the sales preview of a client earlier this evening, the client had printed out a set of flyers promoting the sale of his next project. The client's plan was to distribute the flyers together with the sales materials during the current presentation.
 
Thankfully, we caught it in time and advised the client against this. The reason is simple. Choices should only be introduced to aid in the closing of a sale. For example, having an entry level model. Adding choices unnecessarily will only "confuse" the client and this confusion will your sales team's ability to close.

 
In sales previews, we always advise clients to be focused. If there is a "next project", the client should collect contact details via which he can then follow-up after the event. At the very least, the distribution of the flyer should be done as participants are leaving the sales preview. In this instance, the prospect would likely not be a buyer and approaching him with a "next project" would not adversely impact the closing rate.
 
So in short, by limiting the options you present and focusing your selling efforts, you will increase your chances of closing.

Monday, January 20, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Beware of the Salami Tactic - Yes, even the sales professional can be the victim

In today's price sensitive economy, many companies adopt what can best be described as the salami-slice strategy. In this sales strategy, consumers are baited by a cheap offer and once they have "bitten", are then made to pay additional cost "slice by slice".
 
An example of this in use is by Irish airline Ryanair. Ryanair has become infamous for its headlined cheap fares to which an array of additional costs are added slice by slice i.e. fees are charged for baggage check-in, issuance of boarding cards, payment by credit card, priority boarding, web check-in, etc. While unethical, it is not illegal.
 
At SG Sales Guru, we are against the use of this sales tactic as it undermines the building of any form of client relationship and is likely to result in a one-off sale. We have however brought this up in our blog is because we want sales professionals to know that they too can be the victim of a salami slicer.
 
In this instance, a buyer already has a clear idea of what he wants/ needs. He however, deliberately under specifies his requirements resulting in a lower quote. Once the quote has been accepted, the buyer then tags on additional requirements by saying that it was implied in the original discussions. Usually, to maintain goodwill, the sales professional will agree. The danger comes about when the client becomes increasingly demanding and what was originally a profitable sale, now becomes a dog. In such instances, we advice sales professionals to draw the line even if it means losing the client. After all, there is no point in maintaining a positive client relationship if the client is out to get you.
 
Just as there are unethical sales professionals, there are also unethical businessmen. Sales professionals should therefore not assume that they are the only players in the game of sales.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Effective B2B Sales

During a recent conversation with an old colleague, he was sharing about the challenges of doing business to business or B2B sales effectively.
 
I replied that similar to any other selling, listening was still the most important step of the sales process. In fact, in B2B sales, asking questions was all the more important as the sales professional has to not only understand the client's needs, but also their procurement process, organizational culture, business model and even who the real decision maker was. So ask, ask and ask was my advice.
 
On the positive side, B2B selling is easy, as there is only one reason for any sale - helping the company make money. Thus, all the sales professional has to do is to link the benefits to either helping them make more money or reduce costs.
 
In short, effective B2B selling is all about fully understanding the client and being able to link your product and service to helping them make money.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

SG Sales Guru: How saying NO wins you customers

In the new selling environment, no one can sell anything to anyone who doesn't need it. Sales professionals who use "high impact sales" techniques to push products and services that buyers do not need, will end up not only unsuccessful but hurting the company's name and reputation.
 
The new generation of buyers are more educated and highly sceptical of sales professionals. Hence, it is no longer possible to razzle dazzle a sale with smooth talking. Additionally, social media has also created a perfect information environment and any perception of dishonesty will spread like wild fire. In this new sales environment, the role of the sales professional is no longer to sell, but to help customers discover what they need and match that need to what the company has to offer.
 
This is why saying "no" is not only necessary, but good for the company in the long run. If the sales professional discovers that the company's product or service cannot meet the needs of the buyer, it is important for the sales professional to say no. By not selling to the buyer, the sales professional will lose a sale in the short term, but (a) gain a client in the longer term; (b) prevent negative comments on social media by unsatisfied customers; and (c) establish a reputation as a"trusted" company that puts its clients needs above profits. In the era of social media, a good reputation can often be the difference between the success and failure of a business.
 
Business owners should therefore do away with high impact sales techniques, and instead focus on building a sales relationship with their customers. And this will include at times saying "no".

Saturday, January 4, 2014

SG Sales Guru: The secret to business success - giving value

If you want to make money in business, learn to give value. Understanding what people "value" and "will pay for" is the secret to making money ... join us at CW Fong & Associates' 15th Jan 2014 Network and Learn Event to learn this and more.
 
business giving value