7 Steps to Driving Sales & Increasing Profitability

Yesterday’s article, Key Strategies for Turning Around a Struggling Business generated some very thoughtful comments including one in particular by Thomas Scott, Serial Entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Home Run Franchises. Thomas commented, “You can’t cost cut to profitability! I see so many owners do this and they can’t pull out of a death spiral. You have to focus on driving sales and increasing margin!”

Driving sales and increasing profitability are critical goals for any business. While there are many strategies that can help achieve these objectives, here are seven key approaches to consider:

  1. Focus on customer needs: In order to drive sales and increase profitability, businesses need to prioritize the needs and preferences of their customers. This means understanding what customers are looking for, and tailoring products, services, and marketing efforts accordingly.
  2. Streamline operations: Inefficient or overly complex operational processes can lead to increased costs and decreased profitability. By identifying areas for improvement and implementing more streamlined processes, businesses can reduce costs and improve productivity.
  3. Invest in marketing: Effective marketing can help to attract new customers, retain existing ones, and increase sales. By investing in marketing efforts that resonate with target audiences, businesses can drive increased revenue and profitability.
  4. Expand product and service offerings: By expanding product or service offerings, businesses can attract new customers and provide additional value to existing ones. This can lead to increased sales and revenue, as well as increased customer loyalty.
  5. Optimize pricing strategy: Pricing is a critical factor in driving sales and improving profitability. By analyzing market trends, competitive pricing, and customer demand, businesses can optimize their pricing strategy to maximize revenue and profitability.
  6. Improve customer experience: A positive customer experience is critical to driving sales and improving profitability. By focusing on customer service, ensuring timely delivery, and providing a seamless purchasing experience, businesses can improve customer satisfaction and drive repeat business.
  7. Leverage technology: Technology can be a powerful tool for driving sales and improving profitability. By leveraging tools such as ecommerce platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and data analytics, businesses can gain insights into customer behavior and make more informed business decisions.

In summary, driving sales and increasing profitability requires a multi-faceted approach that prioritizes customer needs, streamlines operations, invests in marketing, expands product and service offerings, optimizes pricing strategy, improves customer experience, and leverages technology. By focusing on these key areas, businesses can achieve their goals and position themselves for long-term success.

Resources & Support

Strategies to Improve Sales and Profitability

21 Sales Strategies To Increase Sales

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important.

So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to us for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate.

You can reach us on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and also at Entrepreneurship411.com.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Key Strategies for Turning Around a Struggling Business

Running a business can be a challenging and rewarding experience. However, when a business is struggling, it can be a daunting task to turn things around. Many entrepreneurs face this challenge at some point, and it can be a defining moment for the future success of the business. In this article, we will explore some of the key strategies for turning around a struggling business.

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” Napoleon Hill, American self-help author

Assess the Situation

The first step in turning around a struggling business is to assess the situation objectively. This means taking a close look at the financial statements and identifying the root causes of the problem. It could be due to low sales, high expenses, inefficient operations, or any other factors that are negatively affecting the business.

Identifying the problem is just the first step. It’s essential to develop a plan to address it. This plan should be realistic and practical, taking into account the resources available, the market conditions, and the competitive landscape. The plan should also include specific goals and objectives that can be measured and tracked over time.

Focus on Sales and Marketing

One of the most effective ways to turn around a struggling business is to focus on sales and marketing. This involves identifying the target audience and developing a marketing strategy that will resonate with them. It may also involve rebranding the business or launching new products or services that meet the changing needs of the market.

A business that is struggling may not have the resources to hire a dedicated marketing team. However, there are many cost-effective ways to market a business, such as social media, email marketing, and content marketing. The key is to find the right channels and messaging that will resonate with the target audience.

Streamline Operations and Reduce Costs

Another critical aspect of turning around a struggling business is to streamline operations and reduce costs. This can be achieved by identifying inefficiencies in the business processes and implementing measures to address them. It may also involve renegotiating contracts with suppliers or outsourcing non-core functions to reduce overhead expenses.

A leaner and more efficient operation will not only reduce costs but also improve customer satisfaction and increase profitability. However, it’s important to strike a balance between cutting costs and maintaining the quality of products or services.

Seek Outside Help

In some cases, turning around a struggling business may require seeking outside help. This could involve hiring a consultant or bringing in a turnaround specialist who has experience in revitalizing struggling businesses. It may also involve seeking financing from investors or banks to inject capital into the business.

A consultant or turnaround specialist can bring a fresh perspective and expertise to the business. They can identify areas of improvement and implement strategies that have worked in similar situations. An injection of capital can also provide the business with the resources to make the necessary changes.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Finally, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude and stay focused on the goal of turning around the business. This requires strong leadership and effective communication with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. It also requires a willingness to take calculated risks and make tough decisions when necessary.

A positive attitude can be infectious and can help to motivate employees and stakeholders. It’s essential to communicate the vision and goals of the business and involve everyone in the turnaround process. By working together, the team can achieve a common goal and create a sense of ownership and pride in the business.

In conclusion, turning around a struggling business is a challenging but rewarding experience. It requires a combination of analytical thinking, strategic planning, and effective execution. By focusing on sales and marketing, streamlining operations, seeking outside help, and maintaining a positive attitude, entrepreneurs can bring their failing businesses back to life and achieve long-term success. It’s important to remember that turning around a business takes time, effort, and persistence, but the rewards can be significant.

“The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first.” Sergey Brin, Google co-founder

Resources & Support

5 Steps to Turning Around a Failing Business

How to Save Your Failing Business: Problems and Solutions

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important.

So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to us for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate.

You can reach us on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and also at Entrepreneurship411.com.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Creating the Right Culture Within a Franchise Organization

Creating the right culture within a franchise organization is crucial for the success and sustainability of the brand. Franchise organizations are made up of franchisees who operate under the same brand and business model. Each franchisee has their own team, but they should all share similar values and goals. As such, it’s essential to foster a culture that reflects these values and goals, and that everyone can rally behind.

The first step in developing the right culture is to define the brand’s core values. Core values are the beliefs and principles that guide the organization’s decisions and actions. These values should be communicated to every member of the organization, including franchisees, employees, and customers. When everyone understands the core values, it creates a sense of unity and purpose, and everyone is working towards the same goals.

Once the core values are defined, it’s important to ensure that they are reflected in all aspects of the business. This includes the brand’s mission statement, branding, marketing, and messaging. For example, if one of the core values is “customer satisfaction,” then every interaction with a customer should reflect that value. This could include providing exceptional customer service, responding quickly to customer inquiries, and resolving any issues promptly.

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.” – Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks

Another essential aspect of developing the right culture is training and development. Franchisees should receive training on the brand’s core values, as well as any specific processes and procedures that are unique to the franchise. This training should be ongoing, as new employees and franchisees join the organization. By investing in training and development, franchise organizations can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Communication is also a vital component of developing the right culture. Franchisees should have open lines of communication with the franchisor, as well as with other franchisees. This can be achieved through regular meetings, conference calls, and online forums. By fostering communication, franchise organizations can create a sense of community and support, which can be especially important for new franchisees.

Finally, it’s important to celebrate success and recognize achievements. Franchisees should be acknowledged for their hard work and contributions to the organization. This can be achieved through awards programs, public recognition, and other forms of recognition. By celebrating success, franchise organizations can create a positive culture that inspires everyone to work harder and achieve more.

In conclusion, developing the right culture within a franchise organization is crucial for success. By defining core values, ensuring they are reflected in all aspects of the business, investing in training and development, fostering communication, and celebrating success, franchise organizations can create a positive culture that inspires everyone to work towards common goals. With the right culture, franchise organizations can build a strong brand and thrive in a competitive marketplace.

Resources & Support

10 Ways to Create a Great Company Culture

What Is Work Culture? 11 Ways to Build a Positive Environment.

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important.

So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to us for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate.

You can reach us on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and also at Entrepreneurship411.com.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Restaurant Owners Must Make Mental Health a Priority

Restaurant ownership can be a rewarding experience, but it can also come with significant stress and mental health challenges. Running a restaurant requires long hours, financial investments, and the ability to manage a team of employees. These pressures can take a toll on a restaurant owner’s mental health.

One of the biggest sources of stress for restaurant owners is financial concerns. Starting and running a restaurant requires significant financial investments. Many restaurant owners have to take out loans or invest their own money to get started. As a result, financial instability and the fear of bankruptcy can cause significant stress and anxiety. This stress can be exacerbated by factors such as changing economic conditions, high overhead costs, and unpredictable revenue streams.

Additionally, restaurant owners often work long hours and face constant pressure to meet customer demands. This can lead to burnout and exhaustion, which can impact both physical and mental health. Many restaurant owners also report feeling isolated and disconnected from their families and friends due to the demands of running a business.

Furthermore, restaurant owners have to manage a team of employees, which can be challenging in its own right. Employee turnover and conflict can cause stress and anxiety for restaurant owners, as can the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of their employees.

Despite these challenges, there are strategies that restaurant owners can use to promote their mental health and well-being. For example, seeking support from friends and family, as well as mental health professionals, can help restaurant owners manage stress and anxiety. Engaging in self-care practices, such as exercise, meditation, and taking time off, can also promote mental health and well-being.

In addition, creating a positive work environment and culture can help promote mental health and well-being for both restaurant owners and their employees. This can include providing employee benefits such as paid time off and mental health resources, as well as fostering a supportive and respectful work environment.

Restaurant ownership can be a challenging experience, but it is important for restaurant owners to prioritize their mental health and well-being. By seeking support, engaging in self-care practices, and creating a positive work environment, restaurant owners can help promote their own mental health and the well-being of their employees.

First Watch Expands Wellness and Learning Benefits to Improve Quality of Life for 12,000 Employees

Kudos to  First Watch, the leading Daytime Dining concept with more than 470 restaurants nationwide, has unveiled expanded wellness benefits for its 12,000 hourly and salaried employees to further build upon a quality of life that is unparalleled in the restaurant industry.

As part of these enhancements, First Watch is providing a complimentary annual membership to Calm – a top-tier app for sleep, meditation and relaxation – to all employees and up to five friends and family members as well as telemedicine services through CirrusMD that can connect all employees with a doctor in minutes, with no out-of-pocket expense. Read more HERE.

Resources & Support

Shedding a Light on Mental Health in the Restaurant Industry

The Wealthy Franchisee: 10 ideas for supporting mental health in workplace

The future may be a bit bumpy for some, more so for others. Knowing who to turn to and when to turn to for guidance and help is important. Having resources at your disposal is also important.

So, if you hit a wall, for whatever reason, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance or even if you just need someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate. You can reach me on LinkedIn, by email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com, and by phone or text at (832) 797-9851. Learn more about Acceler8Success Group at Acceler8Success.com and also at Entrepreneurship411.com.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

5 Key Factors to Make the Transition From Paycheck to Entrepreneurship

After spending a significant portion of their lives in the workforce, many people dream of becoming their own boss and starting their own business. This is especially true for those who have acquired a wealth of knowledge and experience in their industry and are looking for a new challenge. If you are considering business ownership after a long career, here are five key factors to keep in mind.

Assess Your Goals and Interests

Before embarking on any entrepreneurial venture, it is essential to take the time to assess your goals and interests. Think about what motivates you and what you hope to achieve by owning your own business. Are you looking for financial independence, creative freedom, or the opportunity to make a difference in your community? Also, consider your skills and experiences and how they can be leveraged in a new business venture.

Research Your Market

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, research your market to determine if there is a viable business opportunity. Look at industry trends, competition, and customer needs to identify potential gaps that your business can fill. This research will also help you determine the feasibility of your business idea and whether it has the potential to be profitable.

Develop a Business Plan

With a clear understanding of your goals and the market, the next step is to develop a business plan. This plan should outline your business model, target market, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It will serve as a roadmap for your business and help you stay focused on your goals.

Consider Your Finances

Starting a business requires a significant financial investment. Consider your personal finances, savings, and potential funding sources to determine if you have the resources to start and sustain a business. This may also involve seeking out small business loans or investors.

Take the Leap

Once you have done your research, developed a plan, and secured the necessary resources, it is time to take the leap and start your business. This can be a scary and uncertain time, but it is also an exciting opportunity to put your skills and experiences to work and create something truly unique.

In conclusion, exploring business ownership after a long career can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. By taking the time to assess your goals, research your market, develop a plan, and secure your finances, you can turn your dream of business ownership into a reality.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Explore Business Ownership Like Your First Trip to the Candy Store!

Like a kid entering a candy store for the first time, exploring business ownership for the first time presents many options and stimulates a multitude of emotions – excitement, joy, uncertainty, doubt, and frustration are just a few.

First, let’s think back to your initial candy store experience. Your eyes were wide open in amazement as the candy on the shelves and behind the counter looked extremely tempting and certainly, all the colorful wrappers eye-appealing. However, with a limited amount of money to spend, many items were immediately eliminated from consideration. The field diminished further, as you were trying to decide between chocolate and other candies. The possibilities were reduced even more as you then had to choose between plain chocolate and chocolate with nuts or marshmallows. If you chose other candy types, was it going to be hard or chewy candy or, maybe even bubble gum… and what flavor?

After all that was said and done, guess what? That’s right, the decision-making process continued and possibly even became more complicated or emotional. Sometimes a quick decision resulted in regret or one of your earliest feelings of buyer’s remorse as you exclaimed, “Geez, I should have gotten the chocolate instead of the licorice.” You may have actually left the candy store planning on saving your money and along with next week’s allowance you’d be able to buy some baseball cards instead of candy. Who knows, baseball cards might have your favorite player in a pack and the [sentimental] value of your purchase would skyrocket? Or, maybe you were actually counting on it and when it didn’t pan out, you were disappointed, AND with no money left? Talk about an emotional roller-coaster!

Exploring business ownership is certainly a more important task than buying candy but in the minds of the eight-year old and you, the process can be very emotional, relatively speaking, of course. 

Here are 10 steps to minimize the emotional ride of exploring business ownership:

  1. Determine your investment level. Is this amount a stretch? If it is a stretch or if you’d be interested in a business with a higher investment level, would you consider a partner? If so, an equal partner? Is your “financial house” in order?
  2. Sooner rather than later, determine if your spouse or significant other will be involved in the business. Is this truly a possibility and if so, could you see yourselves working together day in and day out? Who would be responsible for decision-making? What are the defined roles? Would they be partners or just working in the business? What would potentially happen to your relationship if the partnership or business failed?
  3. Define what you love to do. What is it – in detail? Could you see yourself doing this every day, every week, every month? Would this be a determining factor in your decision?
  4. Identify various aspects of business you don’t like doing, feel you’re unable to do or would hate doing. How would these items be addressed under your ownership? Would you be willing to handle some of these items even if it meant having to learn how? Could you see yourself helping out as necessary?
  5. Think about your comfort level in starting a business. Could you see yourself starting a business generating the first dollar in revenue and building over time towards profitability? Would you be more comfortable purchasing an existing business with solid financials? 
  6. Explore what is fast becoming the norm in business venues – home-based offices. Would you be diligent in owning and operating a home-based business or would a bricks and mortar business provide you with structure? Would you be comfortable with employees working remotely?
  7. Explore various business models. Whether starting from nothing or in purchasing an existing business, explore franchising as a possibility. Would you be more comfortable owning a business within a proven business system? Could you see yourself being part of a larger brand albeit with certain restrictions, limitations and expenses than if you were to operate independently?
  8. Research various personal assessment tools and take the tests in order to provide you with a true snapshot of your personality and abilities, especially as they relate to business ownership. Are you suited for business ownership? Would you need a team around you or could you operate as a one-person operation? Are you suited to lead a team and delegate effectively? Are you risk-adverse?
  9. Identify individuals that can help you explore business ownership. Do you know any successful small business owners, including franchisees? Could you be honest sharing with them information, including your responses and assessment results identified above? Would you be willing to seriously consider their advice and recommendations?
  10. Compile all the above information. Review it in detail. Once that is complete and your emotions are in check, you’ll be closer to determining if business ownership is right for you and well on your way towards determining the business and business model that may work best for you. 

Yes, that means another trip to the candy store but this time, you’ll be better prepared to make a decision that you will be more apt to enjoy long after the purchase. 

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Are successful salespeople born to sell, or do they learn their way to success?

I’m often asked to help salespeople succeed. Whether in business or franchise brokerage, or in any professional sales setting, the fundamentals are essentially the same.

Listed below are various points I make in a typical sales training workshop including 30 Rules of Sales Success and 5 Degrees of Failing followed by two sets of questions about why salespeople fail and whether you were born to sell.

As you’re reading through the questions, make note of your answers. Following each of the two questions is a simple grading system. See how you rank. Be honest with yourself as you’ll only be deceiving yourself if you act otherwise. If you’d like to discuss your results afterwards, feel free to reach out to me.

30 Rules of Sales Success

  • Establish rapport and client confidence
  • Establish and maintain a positive attitude
  • Believe in yourself
  • Make a plan…set and achieve goals
  • Learn and execute sales fundamentals
  • Understand the client and meet his/her needs
  • Sell to help
  • Establish long-term relationships
  • Believe in what your selling
  • Always be prepared
  • Always be sincere
  • Be on time for calls, appointments and follow-up
  • Look and sound professional
  • Use humor strategically
  • Master total knowledge of what you’re selling
  • Sell benefits, not features
  • Always tell the truth
  • Always keep your promises
  • Don’t dog the competition
  • Listen more than you speak
  • Anticipate responses – statements and objections
  • Overcome objections
  • Ask for the sale
  • Shut up after asking closing question
  • If sale not made, make firm appointment for follow-up
  • Follow up… Persist until you succeed
  • Redefine their rejection
  • Find your success formula through numbers
  • Do what you do passionately
  • Create positively memorable experiences at all times

5 Degrees of Failing

  • Failing to do your best
  • Failing to learn the science of selling
  • Failing to accept responsibility
  • Failing to meet pre-set goals
  • Failing to have a positive attitude

Why do salespeople fail?

Answer YES or NO

  • I watch the news for I hour each day.
  • I read the paper each day.
  • I read a news magazine every week.
  • My work is a drag.
  • I get angry for an hour or more.
  • I talk to and commiserate with negative people.
  • I look to blame others when something goes wrong.
  • When something goes wrong or bad, I tell others.
  • I get angry at my spouse and don’t talk for more than 4 hours.
  • I bring personal problems to my work and discuss them.
  • I expect and plan for the worst.
  • I’m affected by bad weather enough to talk about it

How did you do?

  • 0-2 yes answers: You have a positive attitude.
  • 3-6 yes answers: You have a negative attitude.
  • 7 or more yes answers: You have a problem attitude.

Are you born to sell? No, you learn to earn!

Answer YES or NO

  • I have set my goals in writing.
  • I have good self-discipline.
  • I am self-motivated.
  • I want to be more knowledgeable.
  • I want to build relationships.
  • I am self-confident.
  • I like myself.
  • I love people.
  • I love a challenge.
  • I love to win.
  • I can accept rejection with a positive attitude.
  • I can handle the details.
  • I am loyal.
  • I am enthusiastic.
  • I am observant.
  • I am a good listener.
  • I am perceptive.
  • I am a skillful communicator.
  • I am a hard worker.
  • I want to be financially secure.
  • I am persistent.

How did you do?

  • Answer over 15 with an honest yes and you’ve got what it takes.
  • Between 10 and 14, it could go either way – better chance if you answered yes to knowledge, enthusiasm, self-confident, perceptive, self-motivated, persistent)
  • Under 10… well, a career in sales is most likely not for you!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

An Important Sale Appears to be Lost… What would you do? How would you handle this situation?

This week, we’ve discussed sales basics including prospecting, presentations and sales questions. Today, we take a look at a key sale that appears to be lost, but the sale is critical to the organization selling its products or services!

In light of today’s economic uncertainty, the possibility of being in this position is quite real. As such, this is a discussion that is of utmost importance to today’s business owner / founder / entrepreneur, especially as the answer appears to subjective… or is it?

I look forward to learning various insight and perspective on this. Please share in the comments section, send me an email to paul@acceler8success.com, or text me at (832) 797-9851.

When the Sale is in Jeopardy, but Failure is not an Option!

You’re close to finalizing a major deal with a prospective client that will result in a large payout and repeat business for years to come. The time you’ve spent nurturing this prospect will finally payoff. Some of your current clients have been disappointed by the lack of attention you’ve shown them over the past year, but you know you can make it up to them after you close this deal. Besides, this new client would generate a significant increase in revenue and profits that everybody knows is vital to your company’s future success.

But wait. You’ve learned in the 11th hour; the prospective client is changing directions and is exploring options with your competitor. As it turns out, the change in direction is being blamed on something you did or said that they weren’t exactly happy with. You find this out from a former employee, now employed with your competitor. He goes on to tell you the prospect would rather do business with your company but only if you weren’t involved.

You think about the potential loss of immediate and future business. What about the revenue and profits the company desperately needs? How would you be viewed by your employees (and partners) if the prospect signs with your competitor when you’ve invested so much time and resources? What happens if key employees find out the prospect could have been saved if you stepped aside? What is it that you did or said that caused the change in direction? Does it really matter now?

Forget the “this wouldn’t happen to me” response. Put aside the “it couldn’t happen like this” statement. Look beyond the “he should have seen it coming” exclamation. Let’s assume it happened exactly as it was described above – What would you do? How would you handle this situation?

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Questions Set the Stage for a Successful Sales Outcome

As we dive back into the sales conversation, let’s start with the infamous scene from what I believe is one of the best “sales” movies, Glengarry Glenn Ross. I’d love to learn your perspective about this scene from the standpoint of sales basics.

*Please pardon the language and some phrases that are definitely not politically correct in any sense imaginable today. 

“Quality performance starts with a positive attitude.” -Jeffrey Gitomer

The Role of Questions in Sales

Prepare, in advance, the questions to be asked when actually get face to face with the prospect. Of course, every selling situation is unique, and every selling situation requires some variation, but certain basic questions that come up in every sales situation can be planned in advance.

With careful planning them, all bases can be covered. Wording must be precise. There is one caution – words must be phrased in such a way that they won’t sound canned.

Ask As Many Open-Ended Questions as Possible

Closed questions that call for a “yes” or “no” answer tend to discourage people from talking, to give only limited information, and they tend to set a negative tone. During the probe (the questioning) step of most selling systems, primarily open-ended questions that require prospects to express how they feel, what they want, or what they think are essential to the process. There is always room for “yes” or “no” questions, but caution must be exhibited to not to use too many or to use them incorrectly. Now is not the time to try out words not yet fully understood.

Ask Needs-Based Questions

In the probe phase, key is to get the prospect talking. His or her needs (or desires) must be addressed. Therefore, questions must phrase to gain insight into how the prospects perceive their needs (and desires).

Ask Questions That Help Identify Problems That Need to Be Solved

Usually there’s one overriding problem that needs to be resolved in the prospect’s mind – a situation that can be understood by asking the right questions. Plus, with proper pre-call planning and strong internal advocacy, a glimpse of the problems can be identified early on.

“If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems.” -Majora Carter

Ask Questions That Help Pinpoint the Dominant Buying Motivations

Buying motivations and needs are not always the same. Buying motivations have to do with desires, feelings, tastes and so on. Look for tell-tale signs – hot buttons.

Avoid Offensive Questions or Asking Questions in An Insensitive Way

Certain types of questions can offend prospects and cause them to back away. Here are some examples of pitfalls to avoid:

Don’t use leading or “set up” questions such as “You do want to make a profit, don’t you?” What’s the prospect going to say…”No, I don’t?!”

Probe don’t pry. Nosy questions can be a real turnoff.

Be careful about phrasing. For example, instead of asking “How much can you afford to spend?” you could phrase it a little more positively: “How much had you planned to invest?”

Ask Questions That Are Easy to Answer

Questions that require knowledge the prospect doesn’t have can often make him or her feel stupid. For example, asking most consumers, “What’s the maximum wattage per channel on your amplifier?” might get you a dumb look for an answer. The smarter the prospects are made to feel, the smarter they’ll think the salesperson is and the more they’ll like them.

Use Questions to Guide the Interview & Keep the Tone Positive

Some people love to ramble on and on, but by skillfully using questions, the interview will remain focused on point and move in the right direction. Also, questions should be asked in such a way that will solicit responses in a positive manner. Studies have shown that most people much prefer to agree than to assert themselves and disagree. In other words, the goal is to make it easy to say “yes.”

Ask – and Then Listen

The prospect can’t talk while also trying to listen. Besides, it’s hard for the salesperson to learn while they’re talking. Every word said by the prospect must be quickly grasped while staying aware of speech tone, body movement and facial expressions that may accompany the spoken word. Remember, people can be talked into buying, but listening and responding accordingly, keeping things about the prospect will create a buying experience the prospect will feel confident they made the right decision instead of being pushed to make a decision. One they may regret after the fact.

Shifting Gears… Against All Odds!

Anytime that you believe your business ideas are a long shot, think about 2022 Kentucky Derby Winner, Rich Streak who won against 80-1 odds. As long as you’re diligent in your preparations and as opportunities present themselves, a little bit of luck will go a long way. After all, luck is nothing more than opportunity meeting preparedness.

“I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” -Estée Lauder

Below are several articles with 100 examples of open-ended questions that I believe you’ll find useful:

33 Most Valuable Open-Ended Sales Questions

20 Open-Ended Sales Questions That’ll Get Prospects Talking to You

47 Open-Ended Questions For Sales That You Need to Know

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Average vs Professional Sales Presentations

In continuing with our focus on sales, today we will discuss sales presentations. Remember, the points we’re making are from a recent B2B sales training workshop, but the fundamentals remain the same and are applicable for today’s entrepreneur.

Research indicates that most people involved in sales put 80-90% of their time into presenting and demonstrating and leave only 10-20% of their time for other things. Professional salespeople, however, spend only 40% of their time presenting or demonstrating; not more than 10% prospecting; and about 50% of their time qualifying and planning.

Let’s look at these figures one more time. The professionals spend half as much time demonstrating or presenting as the average salesperson does, yet we find that he or she still manages to turn in at least twice the volume. And this is a conservative figure. Actually, the professional brings in between four and ten times as much business as the average salesperson will. It’s not uncommon for a single salesperson to outsell the entire bottom half of the sales force, and keep on doing it month after month, year after year.

So, what is it that the true professional does to stand above the rest? By far the greatest difference lies in his or her attention to and ability to plan sales, in selecting and qualifying the right people to sell to, in overcoming objections and closing, and in deserving and obtaining referrals.

As important as presenting and demonstrating is, if it is done with the wrong audience because qualifying wasn’t done properly, it’s all for nothing. If working with the right people, but their objections have become seemingly insurmountable because ineffective or even no preparation had been done, then it’s all for nothing. And if the person being presented to has no decision-making authority, all efforts are for naught.

If there is an inability to close, a true knack AND skill to close deals, the structure and parameters of will be in place but ripe for the person being presented to look elsewhere for something similar. The bottom line is the presenter must be a strong presenter or demonstrator to sell effectively. They must have the ability and commitment to qualify strongly, handle objections strongly and close strongly.

There are three things that must be covered in a presentation:

1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. This is the introduction.

2. Tell them what you’re there to tell them. This is the opportunity for our product being presented.

3. Tell them what you just told them. This is the summary.

This is the outline of all successful speeches, presentations and demonstrations. In other words, the foundation is built upon repetition. The same things aren’t repeated three times, of course, As outlined above, new ideas are introduced, points are covered in depth and related to the end-user’s interests and needs and finally, conclusions are drawn from the presented points along with a call-to-action and next steps.

Repetition is the mother of learning, yet average salespeople don’t like repetition. For one thing, they have used their material so many times that it’s stale to them. All too often, average salespeople have gone worse than stale on their presentations and feel it would be better off buried. The professional, on the other hand, never tires of phrases that work, ploys that sell, and ideas that make sense to his or her buyers.

There is no doubt about it, one of the keys to the professional’s greater skill at presenting or demonstrating lies in his or her ability and willingness to use repetition effectively to reinforce every point. He or she doesn’t mind repeating the sales point because he or she knows it leads to repeated sales to the same type of clientele.

So, think in terms of tell, tell, tell and remember: Repetition is the seed of effective presentations, and successful selling. And last but certainly not least, technology should be utilized to enhance presentations. However, the presenter MUST be proficient at doing so!

Below are a few great articles about delivering great sales presentations:

Benefits of Interactive Sales Presentations

15 Sales Presentation Techniques That Will Help You Close More Deals Today

10 sales presentation tips to help you close deals

Do you have a favorite article or two about sales? If so, please share!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count.