Archive for August, 2015

Cracking the Sales Code with These Two Basic Principles

Monday, August 31st, 2015

cracking the sales code

The classified ad screamed: “$600/Month Guaranteed!”

This was a lot of money back in the day.

I was a new high school graduate and had only a vague notion of the saying in business that “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.” I would learn soon enough.

It was my first big sales job. I would be selling vacuum cleaners, cold-calling door-to-door. But the company managers weren’t demanding sales numbers, just behaviors.

The sales training was not what I expected. The sales trainer was not Alec Baldwin in the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross,” pounding the ABC’s of AIDA (sales-speak for “Always Be Closing” and “Attention, Interest, Desire, Action”).

Sales was more than FAB. Selling was not just:

  • Features — describing what product is.
  • Advantages — what it does.
  • Benefits — the value to the customer.

Instead, George, my trainer and mentor, taught two basics:

  1. Think behaviors, not ‘dollars’; and
  2. Practice influence, don’t ‘sell.’

Door-to-door selling taught me that sales is first about behaviors. Get your behaviors right, and the money follows.

The sales funnel statistics were simple. At the top, at the widest, was the action that I had to perform as a condition of employment for that 600 bucks.  The job was easy; knock on 100 doors a day, six days a week.

It didn’t matter what happened. No one home or not interested? I just had to bang on doors. This behavior, I was assured, would lead to three invitations to return that evening to present the machine. For every three presentations, one sale would result. The company numbers worked for me. As I got better, I needed fewer numbers at the funnel’s wide top to get a sale at the narrow bottom.

The second skill George, my mentor, taught, was to influence, to persuade.  Good sales training programs remind us the first step in the sales process is to establish rapport. The prospect must respond and then trust you.

Earning the confidence of the prospect begins with the other person making a move in the salesman’s direction. In door-to-door sales, that microscopic move was getting the homeowner to respond and to open the door.

If you’re not knocking on doors, what might that look like? That first response could be getting an email reply.

If the prospect will not open the door, or answer the phone, or return an email, there is no relationship. And there will be no sale.

Please understand, I am not minimizing the skills and the teachable science of salesmanship. Rather, I learned in cold calling that sales also includes the art and craft of personal interaction.

Always try to get your prospective customer to make a move in your direction.

Here’s what it looks like when selling is life and death: in hostage negotiations. Have you ever wondered how those guys from the FBI talk their way in and get live bodies out?

It might go something like this. The hostage negotiator (sales guy) will spend considerable time establishing a personal connection with the criminals.

Our negotiator will suggest bag lunches be brought in to feed the hostages and delivered on plastic trays.

At the end of the lunch, the negotiator will ask for the trays to be returned.

If the hostage-taker complies and returns the trays, then the negotiator knows that within 72 hours the hostages will be released.

Hostage negotiators, like sales professionals, understand that the start of persuasion is to get the ‘prospect’ to begin to respect the power of the negotiator-salesman. The micro-obedience begins with the returning of a worthless plastic tray.

The negotiator will then suggest ever-increasing incremental exchanges until the hostages are set free. The power comes from persuading the other person to make moves.

Whatever you’re selling, remember to focus first on behaving a certain way, and then on persuading and influencing your prospect.

Classified Ads Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Cracking the Sales Code with These Two Basic Principles” was first published on Small Business Trends

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5 Easy Ways To Sell Without Being Pushy Or Obnoxious

Monday, August 31st, 2015

easy ways to sell

One of the greatest fears entrepreneurs face when selling is being too pushy. Nobody wants to come off like one of those obnoxious salespeople.

You know what I’m talking about. Those people who are more interested in shoving their product or service down your throat than they are in actually figuring out what you need. Despite your protestations, they push and push until you finally find a way to escape from the conversation.

You know that nobody likes dealing with that type of person. So when you’re selling, you’re deathly afraid of being that person. Let’s face it. Selling is hard. Really hard.

Getting someone to buy your product or service can create a lot of pressure. You want to make sure that you’re approaching each prospect the right way. You don’t want to be too pushy, but you also don’t want lose sales because you’re too afraid to close. It’s a like walking a tightrope.

You have to strike the right balance between getting your point across and not pushing your prospect into a corner. Fortunately, this is much easier than it sounds.

There are easy ways to sell and techniques you can use to ease into the sale rather than rushing into it. Below is a list of actionable easy ways to sell and tips you can use to enhance your sales process and ultimately close more deals.

1. Remove the Pressure

This is one of the most important tips on this list, but for many, it’s the hardest. You’re trying to build a successful business. In order to do this, you need clients.

Not only that, you might depend on your business as your primary source of income. Because of this, it’s easy to feel pressured to get each prospect to buy from you. This pressure can cause you to make mistakes. It can make you rush straight into your sales pitch rather than taking the time to get to know you prospect.

However, it’s important to realize that this pressure can cause you to become that pushy, aggressive person when you’re trying to sell. In the end, this will cause you to lose more than you win.

It requires you to change your mindset. Instead of believing that you absolutely must get this sale right now, understand that in the end, it’s more effective to work your sales process until it’s time to close.

2. Take Your Time

One of the best easy ways to sell while not being pushy is to take your time. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is rushing straight to the sales pitch. It’s like asking someone to marry after the first date!

If you come off like you’re desperate for the sale, it will turn your prospect off. Remember, you want your prospect to be as comfortable as possible.

This is why it’s so important to develop your own sales process. A sales process helps you organize your sales interactions by giving you steps to follow before you actually close the deal.

Your sales process should include the following:

  • Introduction: How will you begin the sales interaction? What’s your elevator pitch?
  • Needs Discovery: What does your customer need? What are their pain points? How can your company help?
  • Solution: This where you present your solution. Make sure you’re addressing their needs and pain points.
  • The Close: Make sure there’s no further objections and ask for the business.

Your sales process should include these four points. When you follow a viable sales process, you can find a way to provide the solution your prospect needs.

3. Let Your Prospect Do the Talking

If you follow this sales tip, there will be no way that you will appear to be too pushy. Why? Because you’re not doing the talking. After all, it’s hard to be aggressive when it’s your prospect that is speaking, right?

Encouraging your prospect to do the talking will make it much easier to sell without being aggressive. It also helps you understand your prospect more, which means your chances of winning the sale increase.

The best way to get your prospects talking is to ask great questions. Anyone in sales knows this.

Good open-ended questions will encourage your prospect to open up to you. When they feel comfortable talking to you, it will be much easier to earn their trust. The more they talk, the deeper the connection you’re able to build with them.

4. Make Your Prospect Feel Comfortable

The more comfortable your prospect is, the better your chances will be of earning their business. Being aggressive will make your prospects feel nervous and tense, which is why it’s so ineffective.

One of the easy ways to sell and get your prospect to feel comfortable with you is to smile and relax when you’re interacting. Use humor to get them in a better mood.

When you show that you’re comfortable and relaxed, your prospect will feel the same way. Do whatever you can to put your customer at ease and you won’t have to worry about pushing them to buy.

5. Focus On Their Problems, Not Your Product

You’ve probably heard it said many times: your customer doesn’t care about your company, product, or service. They care about themselves. They care about solving their problems.

This is another rookie mistake that pushy salespeople make.

They rush into the pitch without any regard for the prospects needs and pain points. This sends the message that you see the prospect as nothing more than a dollar sign. Then you go on and on about your product without even addressing what your prospect really needs.

This is another reason why it’s so important to take your time and get your prospects to talk. Find out what their problems are and figure out ways to solve them.

You want to become a partner and a consultant to your prospect. Not just someone who wants to sell them something.

This approach can take more time, but it’s more effective in the long run.

The important thing to remember about these easy ways to sell is that they work together to create an approach that actually helps your prospect. That’s what this is all about. Your objective is not to sell your product or service. Your objective is to make your prospect’s life easier.

If you follow these five easy ways to sell, it will be impossible for you to become that pushy, obnoxious, ultra-salesy entrepreneur that nobody likes. As a matter of fact, it will cause your prospects to see you as someone who genuinely cares about their needs and concerns.

Remember, when you focus on selling solutions instead of products, your sales interactions will be much more successful.

How do you avoid coming off as pushy?

Pushy Salesman Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “5 Easy Ways To Sell Without Being Pushy Or Obnoxious” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Oil surges 25% in three trading sessions

Monday, August 31st, 2015

US data and hint of change of thinking inside Opec provide boost

You Won’t Believe How Easy it Is to Break the Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Monday, August 31st, 2015

break galaxy note 5

“The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is our easiest to break mobile device.”

OK, so that’s not how the company is advertising the Note 5, except for maybe in the Bizzaro world.

But Samsung is admitting its new product has a pretty serious design flaw. The Note 5’s stylus can be inserted into its silo in both directions, but one of those directions can cause permanent damage to the phone’s functionality and disable the stylus detection feature.

The Verge reports:

“The flaw is particularly annoying because of the ease with which the S Pen can be inserted into the Note 5 the wrong way. With previous versions of the Note, it was impossible (or simply very difficult) to put the stylus in blunt end first, but the Note 5’s redesigned S Pen means it’s the same shape all the way down its length, and can be pushed into the phone just as easily the right way as the wrong way round.”

Samsung issued a statement recently advising users to carefully read the Note’s user manual. The company advises: “We highly recommend our Galaxy Note5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S pen in the other way around.”

However, Android Police says Samsung was “aware of this issue when it shipped the Note 5 and still did not seek to actively address it — the official manual for the phone very clearly states that the S Pen should not be placed in the device backward, lest damage occur to the phone or pen.”

They also include a video in their report showing the breakage in action.

The Note 5 was introduced earlier this month. Its upgrades from the previous Note include a more comfortable ergonomic design featuring a curved back and narrower bezel.

Another new feature allows users to write down ideas or quick notes when the screen is off even if it is locked. Samsung says PDF files can now be annotated with the S Pen and users can use ‘Scroll capture’ to capture Web articles or images even if they are long. That assumes, of course, the pen doesn’t break.

Meanwhile, Wired gives the Note 5 and its sister phone the S6 Edge an 8 out 10, saying they’re both “great phones.”

The publication adds:

“With about 10 minutes of customization — downloading the right theme and hiding the right apps — they’re exceptional phones.”

The Note 5 is available now from all major U.S. carriers, and sells for between $700 and $750.

Image: Samsung

This article, “You Won’t Believe How Easy it Is to Break the Samsung Galaxy Note 5” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Bulgaria’s Dimitrov Defeats Australia’s Ebden to Progress to 2nd Round of US Open

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Grigor Dimitrov proceeded to the second round of the 2015 US Open on Monday, defeating the Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden in three sets.

The 17th seed Bulgarian came through by a comfortable 6-4 6-2 6-4 win over Ebden in New York.

Dimitrov needed 1 hour 28 minutes to reach his third victory in as many matches against Ebden. The Bulgarian will meet  Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the second round.

Dimitrov hasn’t reached a final this year even though he achieved several notable victories, including wins against Stan Wawrinka, Fabio Foghini and Fernando Verdasco.

 

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Trafigura lifts Pacific Exploration stake

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Commodity trader controls more than 10 per cent of Latin America’s largest independent oil producer

Oil rallies as shale output slows

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Producers are cutting back supply faster than anticipated amid low crude prices

Colombia: Peace dividend

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Deal with Farc rebels could help offset the pain of low oil prices and peso depreciation

Bulgaria Fin Min Expects 0.7% Budget Surplus as of End-August

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Bulgaria’s central government budget is expected to show a surplus of BGN 601M equivalent to 0.7% of the projected 2015 GDP as of August 31, the Finance Ministry said on Monday.

The expected figure is improvement on end-August 2014, when the central government budget showed a deficit of BGN 1.28B, or 1.6% of GDP, the Finance Ministry said in a monthly budget forecast.

Based on preliminary data and estimates, the Finance Ministry expects to report BGN 21.52B in budget revenue and grants for the first eight months of the year, an increase of BGN 2.3B, or 12% over the same period of last year. The expected figure is 70.9% of the 2015 plan.

Budget spending including Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget, is expected to reach BGN 20.91B at end-August, which is 63.7% of the 2015 plan and an increase over the year-ago figure of BGN 20.49B.

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Bulgaria Reports 0.9% Budget Surplus as of End-July

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Bulgaria’s central government budget showed a surplus of BGN 789M equivalent to 0.9% of the projected 2015 GDP at the end of July, the Finance Ministry announced on Monday.

This compared with a budget gap of BGN 1.15B, or 1.4% of GDP at the end of July 2014.

The turnaround to surplus was due to an increase in both budget revenue and grants, the Finance Ministry said in a monthly budget report.

Budget revenue and grants combined totalled BGN 19.02B as of end-July, or 62.7% of the 2015 plan. Compared with year ago, budget revenue and grants have increased by BGN 2.18B, or 12.9%.

Tax revenue, including social insurance contributions, grew by BGN 1.25B (+9.4% y/y), reaching BGN 14.44B at the end of last month, or 60.1% of the 2015 plan. Grants, most of them  EU funds, increased by BGN 834M (+58.5% y/y).

Revenue from direct taxes was BGN 2.74B at end-July, a rise of 5.3% from a year earlier mainly due to increased revenue from corporate and personal income taxes.

Indirect taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT), excise and customs duties brought BGN 7.17B into state coffers in January-July, or 59.2% of the 2015plan,

VAT revenue increased by BGN 520.5M compared with end-July 2014, reaching BGN 4.65B at the end of last month, or 60% of plan. Excise revenue was 10% higher at BGN219.2M, while customs revenue increased by 2% on the year, reaching BGN 87.2M.

Social and health insurance contributions increased by a nominal 9.3% year-on-year, reaching BGN 3.94B at end-July, or 59.3% of the 2015 plan.

The central government budget spending, including Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget, totalled BGN 18.23B at the end of last month, or 55.5% of the plan for the whole year. The figure was higher by BGN 242M, or 1.6%, compared with the end of July 2014.

The government’s fiscal reserve totalled BGN 11.2B as of July 31, 2015, including BGN 10.7B deposited with the Bulgarian National Bank and other banks.

The government has projected 3% deficit in the 2015 budget bill adopted by Parliament in December. Budget revenue is forecast at 36.8% of GDP and expenditure is set at 39.8% of GDP.

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