Best Sales Pipeline Tips: Content Marketing, Follow-up and Marketing Automation



Consider the best ways to maximize your sales pipeline.

Instead of using generic emails even with personalized salutations, you can achieve as much as a 360-percent higher-conversion rate by following new strategies to fill your sales pipeline.

But to do so, you need three elements:

  1. Stellar content marketing
  2. Effective salespeople
  3. Cutting-edge management software

Content marketing can help you in two ways – by developing a large volume of sales leads and by distributing a great branding message to ease the selling process by your salespeople.

Then, yes, it’s up to your salespeople.

They must know the secrets for sales success:  The five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy and the three-step process to overcome sales objections – along with the The 7 Steps to Higher Sales.

And not only must they be trained well. They must be persistent in repeat sales calls. A mere 2 percent of sales result from the first meeting with prospects.

(Scroll down to the Coach’s Corner for menu of articles with sales tips.)

The right software will keep your salespeople organized.

So, your sales pipeline will flourish if you effectively use all three elements.

For a comprehensive explanation, see the following infographic, “3 Ways to Move a Customer Through Your Pipeline,” courtesy of Ghergich & Co. (ghergich.com).

3 Ways to Move a Customer Through Your Pipeline

Via Salesforce

From the Coach’s Corner, related sales tips:

6 Rules to Keep Your Pipeline Full for Continuous Sales — It doesn’t matter what type of business you have. Even if your sales are great today, there will come a time when sales will crawl to a halt unless you take precautionary measures to keep your sales pipeline full.

Are Your Sales Down? Here Are Sales Management Tips — Great salespeople are often promoted to management. However, many sales managers aren’t prepared to effectively manage salespeople because they haven’t been trained to do so.

You Will Profit from Content Marketing, If You Teach Well — Here are tips for teaching your readers well — and a great infographic on content marketing — 55 proven ways to help your business.

Big Ticket Sales – Prevent Buyer’s Remorse with 4 Precautions — In big-ticket sales — from consulting services to information technology — customer emotions run high. Buyer’s remorse will cost you a big sale. To prevent buyer’s remorse, you need to be a calming influence in order for the customer to understand you’re providing value.

14 Web Site Tactics to Attract Repeat B2B Customers — There are many tactics you can use to attract loyal B2B customers via your Web site. Above all, you must demonstrate value. Here’s how.

What Successful Marketers Know About Lead Generation — Professional marketers are more successful when they use integrated marketing automation to evaluate their performance and to become more competitive in the marketplace. This means they’re more sophisticated than their competitors in determining their returns on investments, according to a study.

Sales Strategy When Tempted to Bad Mouth Competitors — Imagine you’re making a presentation and you feel pressure to make the sale. Suddenly you’re asked about your competition. Bad mouthing competition is not a viable option.

“Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”

Lewis Grizzard


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




7 Tactics to be Memorable but Respected in Sales Calls



In this frenetic marketplace, creating a lasting impression on your prospects and clients – so they become loyal as repeat buyers – your approach should include seven tactics.

You don’t have to take drastic steps to captivate your audience.

It might seem challenging to create a memorable impression, but the trick is simply not to take shortcuts.

ID-100224080 stockimagesHere are seven tactics:

Create an instant favorable impression

Remember you must consistently wear a “uniform.” You only have a split second to create a favorable lasting impression. Always be consistent.

If you want someone’s money, and to earn lot of it, you have to show you’re worth it. So if you want a CEO’s business, you must demonstrate you’re a peer. That means the stereotypical dressing for success; in particular for relationships with high net worth prospects.

From casually dressed CEOs, you’re likely to get instant feedback. Many small business owners will mention you’re dressed better than they are, but they will always appreciate your professional appearance.

When casually dressed clients questioned my habit of wearing dark suits, I merely replied it was my uniform to keep me on my toes to create high performance for them.

After all, that’s why they hired me; some have been for 15+ continuous years. Why? Intuitive clients know that you’re treating them as an important event.

Even if you’re not selling at the senior-executive level, a professional appearance is still the ticket to success.

A little quirkiness might help. In today’s increasingly casual society, a dark wool suit with a white shirt and silk tie qualifies in order for you to stand out and in some circles is considered to be quirky.

Years ago, as a young manager I worked with an intriguing woman who was very successful in sales. Her initial trademark was a stylish hat with her professional dress. It would still work today.

Be a catalyst for positive emotional responses

Every buying decision is based on emotions. For many clients, it means making them feel special.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” wrote author and poet Maya Angelou.

In addition, smile and be open to opportunities to make people laugh. Especially, compliment their business or employees.

Show a personal interest

After your opening value-proposition, the best way is to start a conversation is to ask pertinent, open-ended questions.

People don’t care what you have to say until they have their say. So be an engaged listener with good eye contact, which promotes trust. Effective listening skills will improve your relationships and business performance.

What counts in communication? Listening skills for discernment and trust. Discerning people are the most successful and listening skills are important for discernment. That goes for athletes and management, alike.

Avoid marginalizing your client and the employees.

In conversations, don’t make the mistake of being preoccupied – trying to think of what to say next in the break of the discussion – only to jump in with a remark. Be attentive, periodically nodding yes, so that the person feels important and validated.

The most talkative people are often the most annoying.

Be authentic

Be blunt and honest, and perhaps controversial – with a caveat. A word of caution – be honest without being insulting or sarcastic. The Greek word for sarcasm, sarcazo, literally means to tear flesh.

Be a somewhat unusual

When you’re asked “how are you?”, reply with self-effacing humor. If someone compliments you on your branding or publicity, reply with something like “Yes, that’s just my shameless self promotion.”

Watch your posture

People notice confident posture and body language. Not only will you look great and avoid a sore back, you’ll be memorable.

Act like a confident, top-shelf entertainer. Always look up, not down.

If you make a mistake, flaunt it.

Show you’re human. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

In my consulting practice, I’ve made two seemingly crucial mistakes – in both cases, I forgot to do something I promised. In two critical situations, I promised additional training sessions at no charge but simply forgot about them because I failed to write them on my calendar.

So, in one case I showed up voicing an apology with pecan pies with paper plates, napkins and forks for each employee. I served each of them. The client laughed hysterically in appreciation because I demonstrated my humanness.

In another, I walked into my client’s business and walked the length of a huge lobby dusting imaginary food off my tie. My CEO client spotted me and asked: “Corbell, what the hell are you doing?”

My response: “I’ve been eating crow. I’m sorry for missing the meeting.”

Again, my client laughed heartedly and replied: “You eat crow better than anyone I’ve ever met.” (A client of nearly 20 years.)

From the Coach’s Corner, here is additional relevant reading:

Tips for Building Long-Term Client Relationships with Effective Meetings — Signs you have good client relationships: They’ll thank you regularly, pay your invoices promptly, and will respond well to your recommendations. If you don’t have all three of these, here’s what to do.

Consultants – 5 Strategies to Build Trust with Clients — The five strategies that enhance relationships between consultants and clients.

Profits: Size Doesn’t Matter but Image, Professionalism Count — Appearances and professionalism can make your small business seem huge. If you look as though you’re substantial and that you can handle anything thrown your way – your odds for success improve dramatically. That’s especially true in this economy. Clients and customers will often prefer dealing with you as a small firm – if the job doesn’t appear too big for you to handle. So it’s best to look the part.

Ad Agencies Seeking New Clients — How to Create a Marriage — Many ad agency ideas are worth millions, but agencies are taken for granted by prospective clients. Here are the solutions.

The most talkative people are often the most annoying.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Big Ticket Sales – Prevent Buyer’s Remorse with 4 Precautions



In big-ticket sales — from consulting services to information technology — customer emotions run high. Buyer’s remorse will cost you a big sale.

To prevent buyer’s remorse, you need to be a calming influence in order for the customer to understand you’re providing value.

Take care to manage your customer’s emotions. Use compassion and empathy. Always be cognizant your customer deserves the same consideration that you would expect.

Create a happy buying environment. You’ll make the sale and enhance your chances for referrals – the strongest type of lead imaginable.

manager-462553_1280Appearances count. Don’t appear to take the customer or the sale for granted.

Otherwise, you inadvertently create buyer’s remorse, which results in a lost sale.

Preventing buyer’s remorse is an important part of the sales process.

(More on that later in the Coach’s Corner.)

Again, all buying decisions are based emotions.

The more expensive the item, the higher your customer’s emotions are.

If a customer is stressing, it will affect your sales potential.

So make building trust your salient tactic.

Here are four strategies to prevent buyer’s remorse:

1. Do your due diligence

Be proactive in all phases of the sale. Anticipate any objections. Prevent any negative surprises.

If the customer has a question to which you don’t know the answer, promise to find out and get an agreement to set a time for which you’ll answer the question.

2. Continually educate the buyer

Set yourself up as the go-to person for answers and solutions. That means educating your customer.

Tell your customer what to expect. Remind them as you go along.

3. Keep it simple

Be conversational, but use formality when addressing your prospect (e.g. use Mr. or Ms.). Without getting too familiar or patronizing, talk to your customer as a friend. Smile whenever feasible.

When you’re talking on the phone, use a disc jockey trick – smile as you speak. Your voice will sound warm and friendly.

Avoid information overload. Only use computer apps in your sales operation that are absolutely necessary for time and customer-relationship management.

4. Use the right phrasing

You need an opening elevator pitch – with a strong benefit statement — to pique the customer’s interest.

Customers want to be appreciated. You must say “thank you.”

They want reassurance. Develop a buyer’s remorse statement. (For example, mine is “you will be very pleased with the strong results.”)

Be prepared to overcome objections. So empathy and information are vital.

After you close the sale, send a handwritten thank you note the same day. Be sure to mention your opening benefit statement and your sentence to prevent buyer’s remorse.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

The 7 Steps to Higher Sales – Secrets for sales success include: 1. Five value perceptions that motivate prospects to buy. 2. Seven steps to higher sales. 3. Three-step process for overcoming sales objections.

Classic Red Flags You’re about to Lose a Sale – How to Save It – You’re in the hunt for new business. You’ve done your research about a prospective anchor client. You’ve had some preliminary discussions. Now, you’re seated with the person and making your case. But will you seal the deal?

6 Rules to Keep Your Pipeline Full for Continuous Sales – It doesn’t matter what type of business you have. Even if your sales are great today, there will come a time when sales will crawl to a halt unless you take precautionary measures to keep your sales pipeline full. Yep, that’s right. Never take sales for granted — when it comes to sales keep on truckin’. Never stop marketing. Take good care of your customers, but make marketing your top priority — every day — to prevent a roller coaster ride of profit and loss.

Sales, Networking Strategies to Build Strong Relationships – Thank you letters matter, but it’s become a lost art in favor of e-mails and uttering the trite phrase, “Have a nice day.” Ugh. The irony is that thank you letters create a self-feeling of optimism — a key ingredient for climbing the corporate ladder or to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Invigorate Sales with 11 Customer Retention, Referral Strategies – How to attract and keep brand evangelists with customer service and word-of-mouth advertising. What’s needed to be effective in sales? Merely having a gregarious personality will no longer cut it in the 21st century.

Consultants – 5 Strategies to Build Trust with Clients — When a businessperson hires a consultant it’s usually because of brand trust. That’s an emotional decision no different than when a consumer buys a new refrigerator or car. But there’s one major difference – the consultant is dealing with a wealthy client or someone who wants to be affluent. Wealthy people have a different mindset, which is why they have money in the first place.

“For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.”

-Zig Ziglar


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Want More Business? Build Trust with Consumers…Here’s How



With consumers trying to cope with information overload – you will increase B2C sales with long-term customer loyalty – if you build trust by using best practices.

It may be an obvious approach, but it’s confirmed by a 2012 study that shows 84 percent of the respondents declared trust must be warranted before they buy.

The essential elements for trust and best practices are contained in the study, “The Trust Factor,” by About.com.

ID-100117052 stockimages“By understanding how consumers view trust and what they value most, marketers can tailor their outreach to deliver meaningful information and tools to create authentic, long-lasting relationships,” wrote Laura Salant, director of research at About.com.

Key elements for trust-building

— Expertise

— Fairness

— Relevance

— Choice

— Relatability

— Awareness

“With the high volume of information at consumers’ fingertips, not only is trust a valuable filter, it is a prerequisite for consumers to even enter the purchase funnel,” said Ms. Salant. “By understanding how consumers view trust and what they value most, marketers can tailor their outreach to deliver meaningful information and tools to create authentic, long-lasting relationships.”

Recommended tools

— Respondents reported that all 10 trust elements are even more important on mobile than online. Format was identified by 71 percent of respondents as being more important for mobile, with accuracy and expertise also ranking highly.

— In social media, consumers are ambivalent about the value of certain commonly-used social actions such as “likes.” Reviews were identified as inspiring trust twice as much as general “likes,” though seeing a “like” or recommendation from a friend increased the trust value of that action.

— Video works best to enhance trust when it is combined with other types of content. Fifty-six percent of respondents agreed that video builds trust when it adds illustration or explanation attached to other types of content.

The study reveals the importance of networking sources of trust: 82 percent “use information from brands, content, ads and social media to create custom solutions for what they need.”

It’s recommended that brands “treat consumers as partners, not customers.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”

-Albert Einstein

Suggested best practices:

— Acknowledge and respect consumers’ processes for evaluating and making decisions. Eighty-five percent trust brands that walk them through multiple paths to decisions, rather than just giving an answer.

— Support consumers after they purchase. The relationship shouldn’t end with a credit card.Sixty-two percent of consumers trust brands that provide information and tools to help them use products they have purchased.

— Demonstrate an understanding that consumers’ lives change.Eighty-three percent trust brands that offer resources every step of the way, as a consumer’s needs evolve.

— Build engagement by using every opportunity to solve consumers’ large and small challenges.Eighty-five percent trust brands that use ads or sponsored content to inform or help them with a need.

From the Coach’s Corner, related reading:

Think 1930s for Business Success. Consumer Attitudes are Changing. — Whether you’re a new or established business, it wasn’t that long ago that a strong Internet presence meant having a great Web site with a top ranking. Partially, that’s still true but the competitive marketplace continues to rapidly change daily, which means the No. 1 objective should be a vibrant, integrated presence. That is, unless you’re in a very narrow niche, what matters most is your total Web image – your Web site is merely an important secondary consideration.

B2B Telemarketing: Building Trust Should Be Your Goal…Here’s How — Telemarketing is, of course, a challenge. You must create a favorable first impression in your initial approach. This means building trust should be your primary goal. Sure, it’s a nerve-wracking process, especially because you have just a few fleeting moments to engage your prospects. Yes, you’re calling to make sales. Again, you’ll greatly enhance your chances if you focus on building trust.

Profits: Size Doesn’t Matter but Image, Professionalism Count — Appearances and professionalism can make your small business seem huge. If you look as though you’re substantial and that you can handle anything thrown your way – your odds for success improve dramatically. That’s especially true in this economy. Clients and customers will often prefer dealing with you as a small firm – if the job doesn’t appear too big for you to handle. So it’s best to look the part.

The Key to Internet Dominance: Think Integration — Whether you’re a new or established business, it wasn’t that long ago that a strong Internet presence meant having a great Web site with a top ranking. Partially, that’s still true but the competitive marketplace continues to rapidly change daily, which means the No. 1 objective should be a vibrant, integrated presence. That is, unless you’re in a very narrow niche, what matters most is your total Web image – your Web site is merely an important secondary consideration.

Sales, Networking Strategies to Build Strong Relationships — Sometimes, we have to visit our past as lessons for our business future. Is it your experience, too? When doing some cleaning, I came across some treasures from my high school years. That included a carbon copy of a thank you letter I wrote to the publisher of The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs.

“Suppliers and especially manufacturers have market power because they have information about a product or a service that the customer does not and cannot have, and does not need if he can trust the brand. This explains the profitability of brands.

Peter Drucker


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.