Sales Tips for Entrepreneurs: Breaking Bad Habits

Entrepreneur: Bad Sales Habits

Selling doesn’t come naturally for everyone- some people find it especially hard to sell themselves and their business. It is an art- it takes strategy and preparation and unless you have a killer sales team willing to work solely on commission of the hop? You are going to have to hit the pavement yourself.

To be successful with sales, you need to be aware of your bad sales habits. They happen to the best of us- the key is correction.

Here is some top sales behaviour that could be tarnishing your end results:

1. Not having a sales strategy.

It’s hard when you are wearing multiple hats but you need to have a plan. Your strategy will outline how you intend to sell your product/service, attract repeat customers and meet sales goals. You want to be able to measure your sales efforts and if you are selling on a whim and aren’t consistent? It isn’t going to be easy.

2. Not setting sales goals.

Sales goals will motivate you and help you tweak your sales approach. If you aren’t meeting your (realistic) goals perhaps you need to review your pitch.

3. Not dedicating enough TIME.

I get that you’re busy, but you need to know when to call a spade a spade. If you aren’t managing your time properly, following up or sourcing sales opportunities? You may need to hire some help. The money you put out short term will free up needed space for you to focus elsewhere and will ultimately pay for itself in productivity.

4. Push- selling your product/service and not listening to your clients needs.

You need to have sales. You know it, I know it, they know it- but you can’t force anyone to buy from you. You especially won’t be appealing if you reek of desperation. Show your value but listen twice as much as you speak. Tailor your sales experience to their possible solution.

5. Under charging your friends and family.

They should understand that you have a business to run. You don’t have to charge them full pop, but make sure you are at least breaking even and that you aren’t leaking too much of your valuable time into these “special” jobs…you could be selling to someone else for what you’re worth! For every job you just break even, you could be missing out on profit. PROFIT- the heartbeat of your business.

6. Taking rejection to heart.

No one wants to be rejected. It isn’t ideal- BUT you can’t let it jade you. It isn’t YOU they are rejecting; it is your product or service. Just because Joe Shmoe didn’t sign a deal doesn’t mean Ally Shmally won’t! You need to toughen your skin, reset and focus. We aren’t all meant to mesh. Not all sales are meant to be. Don’t take your anger on Ally… No one likes a bitter salesperson.

7. Not looking the part.

Ah. You are selling me high quality merchandise wearing… track…pants? Did you even shower today? WE ARE ALL BUSY, MAN! Get it together. Dress for success. You never know when a sales opportunity will arise.

8. Following all leads with the same amount of effort.

I know, I am big on consistency so what the heck am I talking about? Well, it may take experience for you to decipher the good leads from the not-so-good leads, but it will come. That little voice or feeling in your stomach that says ‘I don’t see this deal closing’ is trying to tell you something. Listen to it and focus your efforts on the sales efforts that you feel confident about. I am not saying ignore the other guy, good customer service is key. Just use your better judgement to adjust your energy accordingly.

9. Not pitching to the decision maker.

Is the person you are talking to able to give the final say? If not- pitch to the person who can. If the person who can give the green light isn’t interested in meeting with you? Perhaps this account falls into the “not-so-good lead” category. Tread accordingly.

10. Not knowing who you are pitching to.

Seriously. Invest the time. Know the person or company that you are pitching to! Know their competition… get to know them as much as possible before walking into your meeting. It is amazing what you can find online these days- utilize your search engines and customize your package.

Practice makes perfect. If you are nervous? Practice with friends and family, videotape yourself and make corrections if you have to. The best sales weapon is preparation. If you know your stuff and know who you are talking to? You will feel more confident and confidence is the second best sales weapon.

Any other tips you want to share with your fellow entrepreneur? We’d love to hear them! Comment below.

The Elevator Pitch: How to make it count.

Elevator Pitch

You get on an elevator at the 10th floor. Going down you are face to face with an opportunity to sell your business. Someone said hi and asked what you do. What do you say? How can you sum up what you offer in half a minute? Where do you start? You only have 20-30 seconds until the ride is over and if you aren’t prepared? You lose your chance.

Just as you finally get all of your thoughts together *DING* ground floor, and you watch your could-be client walk away.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

“The elevator pitch” gets its name from the length of the explanation. You should be able describe what you offer in a short period of time. You need to be able to spark enough interest to make a connection and be able to follow up. The pitch isn’t limited to an elevator of course- it can be for sales, to drive traffic to your website, explain what you do for a living and prep potential clients. It’s a good thing to have in your back pocket for just an occasion.

To start: Introduce your company and ask yourself how you want to be remembered by your audience. Include who your target markets is and how you provide value for your clients… what makes you stand out? Finish your pitch with an open ended question if possible (one that involves more than a yes or no) to include them in your conversation.

For example: If you are a travel agency:

“We are a full service, family oriented travel agency- we book your flight, hotel, car- we even book your excursions on the resort in advance. We pre-approve payment plans to help make it more affordable and offer heavily discounted last minute vacations. When was the last time you took a vacation?”

You need to get to the point and you need to make sure the delivery sounds natural (even though it isn’t…) Nobody wants to deal with the cheesy car salesman/woman…person. Also, make sure you always have your business cards on you and easily accessed.

Fake Twitter Followers: How to tell if someone bought their tweeps.

Tweeps: Real or Fake?

Wow! That guy has 25, 000 followers!? He must be really good at what he does… or REALLY popular! He is only following 10 people- but that’s ok, right? He is probably just really busy…

Well, sorry to break it to you but unless he is a celebrity of some sort? Chances are he bought all those followers in attempts to be perceived in a favourable way. If you ask me it does the exact opposite! All of your credibility goes flying out the window. (Excuse the pun.)

Let me help you to pick out the accounts that have “cheated” the system and bought new pals. For me (and a lot of social media professionals) it is painfully obvious.

Here is what we notice:

  1. They JUST opened an account last week and have 25,000 followers already.
  2. They have 25,000 followers and have a total of 7 tweets. What value have you brought to these people to make them want to follow you?
  3. You click on the persons ‘followers’ list and 90% of them are from another part of the world, with no real bio/very short and vague bio and have no followers or tweets themselves. Also- if a large percentage of someone’s followers avatars (say that three times fast) are eggs? That’s suspicious.
  4. They have 25,000 followers but are following 10 people. Again, unless you are a celebrity? To gain that amount of followers- you need to be engaging.
  5. They don’t have lists and they aren’t on anyone else’s lists. With that many followers? You would be on or have at least one list to help filter through everyone!

I believe in quality over quantity and although you may be tempted to give into those robot direct messages? You know, the ones that promise you ‘thousands of followers RIGHT NOW’? Don’t do it. It won’t feel good. Especially when all of those followers slowly diminish in the weeks to follow and you realize people are only following you because they THINK you are influential.

The purpose of social media is to engage. When you are speaking to 25,000 fake followers- it is kind of like talking to a wall. Not much point. Also, as I mentioned- your credibility actually depletes the second anyone realizes you have purchased your ‘fan base’.

Stay strong, be knowledgeable and be REAL. Real conversations, real followers, real information… all of it will bring, you guessed it, REAL results.

Office Yoga: Some poses to help us relieve tension & stress.

yoga-office

A popular resolution heading into the new year is to be “less stressed” in the workplace (lets face it- it’s hard not to be at times- especially after the holiday season!) So I’ve reached out to Jennifer Toste, founder and instructor at Love Life Yoga studio located in Woodbridge, ON, and asked her to provide us with some yoga poses and relaxation techniques that will help us keep our cool under pressure and that can be done in the comfort of our own offices/workplaces.

She was kind enough to provide us with this:

“The holidays have come to an end, and despite the happiness and joyful times we are able to experience, the holidays can sometimes have the effect of leaving us even more stressed on top of the daily stress we were experiencing up until those longed-for days off!  As you return to your office, make a promise to yourself this new  year:   commit to incorporating 5 simple yoga poses into your work day that are easy to do, right at your desk, and whose benefits you surely will reap daily.   Be sure that whenever you practice any yoga pose, you take your time, listen for any pain (it’s a warning!), and breathe deeply through each pose.  Remember this is supposed to alleviate tension and stress, not add to it!

Begin with a gentle Neck/Head Tilt:

Sit up nice and tall in your chair at your desk or standing. Simply inhale through your nose and let your right ear fall towards your right shoulder, without any forcing, take two or three more inhales and exhales, feeling tension release through the side, tilt your head forward and towards your right arm pit and take two more breaths, helping to stretch the front of your neck.  Gently roll your head back up and take a breath with your head facing straight, then repeat on the left side.

Shoulder Stretch and Forward Bend

Standing tall with room in front of you, draw your hands behind your back and interlace your fingers.   Keep your feet hip distance or wider apart and your knees softly bent.  Inhale and lift your chin, feeling your spine grow long and then gently roll forward allowing your heart to come towards your thighs and your nose to face your knees.  If your shoulders are very tight, you might just leave them on the low back, or move the hands to your hips, if you want to experience a stronger stretch through the shoulders, then allow the arms(while hands still interlaced) to come off the back and fall towards your head.  Breath here and then gently roll up, while the feet remain firmly planted to the ground.

Seated Twist

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To bring relief and release of tension to the spine, bring in the practice of a seated twist, even a few times a day can really revive the spine!  Sitting on your desk chair, with knees hip distance and feet firmly planted on the floor, feeling a sturdy connection of the buttocks to the seat, gently inhale and feel yourself sit up very straight, then gently turn towards the right, bringing your left hand to reach for the right knee, while the right hand can rest by your right hip or even hold the back of the chair.  With every inhale the spine feels like it is lengthening, and on each exhale the twist may feel like it can be deepened.  Really remain calm and breathe deeply, when you are ready to release, exhale and turn back to center, take a moment or two, then repeat to the left. 

Half Downward Dog

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Standing about arms length from your desk, place your feet hip distance apart.  Keeping a gentle bend in the knees, inhale and feel your spine grow taller and lift your arms up, palms facing each other, gently begin to come forward, keep your core engaged, and let the hands come to rest on the desk, putting your body in a L-shape.  Allow your heart to relax towards the floor and your chin to come towards your chest, and feel as though you are lifting your hips.  Ensuring your breath remains steady, continue to breathe deeply and feel your spine getting longer, relieving compression through the spine and softly stretching out the backs of the legs.  When you are ready, press your feet firmly into the ground and roll up slowly.

Last but not least, a breathing exercise, an essential part of the practice of yoga, and a wonderful way to calm the mind, and bring clarity and peace throughout a busy work day:
Sitting comfortably in your desk chair, hands resting on your thighs, close your eyes, and bring your focus to the sound of the inhale, as you breath in, count to 3 (this can become 4 or 5 depending on what you feel is comfortable or after some practice), hold your breath for 3 seconds, and then slowly and gently exhale for 3 seconds, and hold your breath for 3 seconds.  Do this 3 to 5 times, keeping your attention on your inhale and exhale, and this will help to bring the mind into focus, and allow a few moments of quiet to be had.

May this easy and simple sequence of poses help to bring you relief and relaxation as you work hard day in and day out, and may your new year be blessed with focus, good energy, good health, and joy.”
Namaste,

Jennifer Toste

To learn more about Love Life Yoga studio visit: www.lovelifeyoga.ca or find them on facebook at: www.facebook.com/lovelifeyogastudio