Archive for Workshop Summaries

Steps Toward Better Selling

Selling today might be more casual than ever before, but it’s still the most essential part of your business. As Michael Lewis aptly stated during his selling skills workshop here at the WWCFDC office, “without revenue, you just have an expensive hobby”. At the end of the day, it’s not enough to have your doors open daily or be engaged using social media, it’s about generating sales.

That said, the following are some of the steps Michael shared to help small business owners become better salespeople:

Be better prepared – Before you encounter a potential customer, you’ll want to be well acquainted with the features and benefits of your products and services. Online shopping makes it easy for a customer to shop around and you don’t want to underestimate what your customer already knows. Some won’t necessarily want or need specifics, depending on your industry, but the more info you’re prepared to provide, the better.

Establish trust – Initial contact with the customer is your chance to smile, use an approachable tone of voice, and create a powerful first impression. Some customers won’t feel comfortable buying anything until they feel like they know you. Whether it’s offering a friendly greeting upon entering your retail space or being genuinely enthusiastic, make the effort to generate positive customer perceptions.

Engage the customer – Start asking open-ended questions to determine what the customer needs. If you notice a customer is spending an extended time in your retail space, or seems to want a never-ending chat about the construction going on outside, gear your way towards business-oriented dialogue asking something like: “so what brings you to my business today?”

Diagnose needs & offer solutions – After discussing the needs of your customer, reiterate what you think the customer is looking for, and start recommending your business’ solutions by stating the benefits. Always consider that the customer operates on the “what’s in it for me” principle; essentially, you have to pitch considering incentives from their perspective.

Address objections – There will almost always be sales resistance, so pre-consider your response to typical concerns.

If the customer is concerned with:

Price: emphasize value or offer credit if possible.
Quality: support your value proposition by providing testimonials, product reviews, demonstrations, warrantees, and possible guarantees. Time: If the customer needs “more time to think about it”, assure them you understand, but ask if there is anything you can clarify further or what exactly it is they’re concerned about so you can refine your pitch.

Close the deal – If you’ve addressed the customer’s needs, you may never need to chase the sale because the customer will state their purchasing intentions; however, even after stating the benefits, you’ll likely have to ask if they’re interested in a purchase. Remember that silence is golden at this stage. You’ve pitched and now it’s the customer’s chance to take advantage (you don’t want to talk yourself out of a sale).

Overall, selling is the transference of enthusiasm; excitement about value makes you want in on the deal. Becoming skilled with the above steps, along with incorporating both follow-up and thanking your customers, will help you to increase sales in no time.




Posted in: Sales, Small Business Solutions, Workshop Summaries

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Workshop Summary: Time Management with Tina

Couldn’t make it to Tuesday’s workshop? Here’s what you missed…

As a business owner you’ve likely discovered that there’s just not enough time in the day to get around to everything you need to do.

According to feedback from Tuesday’s workshop participants, every entrepreneur has unique time management challenges and most business owners struggle with the following issues:

-Determining priorities
-Eliminating distractions when working from home
-The guilt associated when you don’t finish your entire daily task list
-Taking on too many projects or being unable to say no
-Adapting to unexpected tasks and the art of delegation
-The trouble with not being a ‘morning person’

Based on our discussion, here are some tips for organizing your time effectively:

Communicate your scheduleLet folks know the time periods when you’re actually available versus when you’re at your desk with paperwork to do. That is to say, you might physically be around from 9-5, but your first couple of hours might be dedicated to specific daily tasks, so consider stating availability accordingly. This frees you up to manage your day as required.

Break a daunting project into smaller tasks – You probably haven’t even looked at a seemingly massive project because it is the most intimidating item on your list, but it might be more manageable if broken down into smaller tasks. When focusing on more defined to-do items such as “write page one of proposal” or “create appendix A”, you’ll tackle the project piece-by-piece and reduce overall anxiety.

Prioritize and “eat the frog” – When compiling a task list, prioritize according to importance or even difficulty. You can choose to “eat the frog” on the list and accomplish the task you least enjoy first (as famously recommended by Brian Tracy) or you can complete the tasks you enjoy the most first to gain the momentum you need to motivate you early in the day. Overall, which strategy works for you will depend on the type of person you are.

Learn to say no – You can’t be everything to everybody, and while you may feel guilty about turning down your clients, friends or family for other priorities, you need to stand by what’s best for you and your goals. Depending on where work stands on your priority list, you’ll have to say no to those making demands on your free time and, if your family or social life is important, you’ll have to consider how many clients you take on.

Delegate tasks It’s important you’ve hired those you can delegate to. As Tina advises, don’t fall victim to the “warm body syndrome” where you hire a person who merely exists as a space-filler without being able to take on any of your responsibilities when you’re strapped for time. If you staff correctly, hiring those with diverse skills and initiative, it’ll really pay off when you need others to step up.

Other quick tips:
First things first– if you’re most focused between 8:30-noon, get to important projects in this chunk of time. This may mean scheduling a different time to skim your inbox and answering urgent emails only.
Don’t Sweat it – Remember it’s a revolving task list. Sure there’s things you need to do today, they’re #1, but don’t stress out if you can’t get everything crossed off the page.
Be Realistic – if the same three tasks are always on the bottom of your to-do list, determine their significance and whether you can delegate them to someone else.

Thanks to all of our workshop participants; if you have some time-saving tips of your own, let us know in the comments below!

Posted in: Small Business Solutions, Time Management Tips, Workshop Summaries

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