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