Friday, September 23, 2016

Importance of a Good USP

We are often told that in order to succeed in business, a company must have a compelling brand. After all, branding is sexy and the business world is full of examples of successful brands. Just walk down the street or turn on the TV and you will be bombarded with advertisement after advertisement of companies like Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola and BMW to name a few. It is therefore easy to believe that if you spend money on building a brand, your business will succeed.
 
What many do not realize is that before a brand can succeed, the business must first fulfill a market need. Just as there are many companies that have succeeded based on building a strong brand, there are just as many companies that have failed despite of their strong brands. Prominent examples would be Nokia, Blockbuster Videos and Borders.
 
Branding is a vicious cycle. Even with social media, it takes money. So unless a business can generate sales which it can then reinvest into advertising, money will run out. At the height of the dot-com bubble, where money was “free”, businesses had monthly burn rates of tens of millions in their effort to rapidly build their brand and capture users. Unfortunately as many of them did not offer a product or service that met their customers’ needs, and had product and services very similar to each other, the revenues did not materialize. When the money ran out, the companies closed.
 
In all of the above examples, the missing factor that determined the company’s success or failure can be traced to the lack of, or a poor, Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The USP is what makes a company different (usually better) than its competitors. The USP is what makes the company stand out from the rest of the market and this focus on differentiation is the most important strategic activity companies must constantly find and refine.
 
At the heart of any successful business, is a strong USP.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Reciprocity - Your 1st Weapon of Influence

Essentially, the reciprocity principle (one of the basic laws of social psychology), says that in social situations people will pay back what they receive from others. In other words, if John does you a favor, you're likely to return it to him and vice versa.

reciprocity principle

This is especially important in the sales industry as no one does you a favor for purely altruistic reasons. If they do you a favor, you "owe them one" and you are expected to honor your "debt". It is therefore extremely important that you are extremely careful who and what sort of help you ask for, as nothing is free.

Similarly, if someone does you a favor like refer a project to you, you are expected to refer some business to him or her in return. Of course, they would prefer a referral fee, but if you are unable to, then do consider something else like a food basket during CNY, a simple meal or hard to get tickets to shows like the recently concluded Singapore Air Show. It is important that you reciprocate, otherwise you would be seen as ungrateful and you can be sure that you will no longer receive referrals from this contact.

The other way that successful salespersons use the Reciprocity Principle is to proactively do favors for those who are connected. This will help to build a reservoir of goodwill which they can then tap on when they need to. And if their contacts apply the reciprocity principle, they will in turn receive referrals and business deals.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Secret Formula to Sales Success

(Singapore, 13 February 2016) After working with literally thousands of sales professionals and consulting with hundreds of companies, SG Sales Guru has concluded that there is a secret formula for more sales. Similar to what Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, has been advocating, successful sales is about Visibility and Credibility.
 
Sales professionals or business owners who want to be successful, need their potential (and existing clients) to know who they are and what they do. Next, besides knowing who they are and what they do, they need to know that they are good at what they do.
 
Leveraging on our experience, SG Sales Guru refined Ivan Misner's formula and we have developed the following ...



secret to sales success
 

Familiarity, as mentioned previously, is about people knowing who you are and what you do. Familiarity however does not end there, but goes further to say that people must be constantly reminded of you (top of the mind recall) and that they should have established some sort of relationship or connection with you. Without top of the mind recall, when an opportunity pops up, you might not be the person they think of. In the same light, if they do not have a "relationship" with you, they might refer or consider someone else for the deal.
 
Branding is about why you are in business and what you stand for. Increasingly, with most products and services having reached the point of becoming a commodity, there is little to separate one service provider from another. This is where branding yourself and/ or your business comes in to create the Unique Selling Proposition.
 
Finally, Awareness. Awareness here talks about potential clients knowing where and when you have provided your service and what a great job you have done. This links strongly to building your credibility so as to give the potential client confidence in engaging you and/or your company. It is also the most important of the three as even if someone knows you and likes the reason why you are doing the business, if you are not able to deliver, you will still not get the business. Awareness is unfortunately, one major problems with Asians as it is in our culture not to boast. One way to get around this hang-up, is to amplify what you have accomplished in a subtle manner.
 
So there you have it. If you want to succeed, focus on building familiarity, establishing your brand and amplifying what you have achieved.

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