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From Salesman to Consultant – Where Do You Fit In?

Are you Salesman or Consultant? Attached to these two descriptions are deeper meanings on a way of doing business that you are probably familiar with. Let’s take a look at the assumed agenda of each of the two contrasting roles.

Salesman: Wants to move product, may exaggerate product specifications or hide negative information regarding the product to increase sales. Information received from the salesman is not regarded as reliable or ‘expert’ information.

Consultant: Is highly ethical and interested in the best interests of those engaged in business and is an expert in their area of operation. A consultant provides expert advice that is typically regarded as fact.

A common misconception is that the revenue structure of each individual should speak volumes about how a customer perceives you. People might assume that if you are selling certain goods or services (typically one that you are not providing yourself) then you are a salesman. Likewise, they assume that if you are selling services that you provide yourself, then you are a consultant. Neither of these things is true.

Relationships hold sway

In reality, the two titles are more a description of the actual relationship that exists between the person selling and the person buying.  At your first engagement with a business and possibly for many engagements after, you are seen as a salesman to some degree. You are often trying to sell them some goods or services and your advice needs to be verified somehow externally. Their initial level of trust will help decide what level of engagement with the business you start at, but this can certainly move in either direction over time.

Quality and value delivery matters

Clearly, doing poor work or selling poor quality products to a client will firmly push you into the ‘salesman’ category. Conversely, high-quality work and providing the best products to fulfil client needs pushes you towards the ‘consultant’ title. Furthermore, thoughtfully declining work or sales that you are not able to perform in the best interests of the client will increase the trust level of the relationship, making them view you more as a consultant.

There are many people out there with the title salesman printed on their business cards who are actually consultants. There are also people out there with the term consultant on their business card who are actually salesmen. It also doesn’t matter whether you are selling goods and services, are vendor neutral, or are selling only one product that you passionately believe in.

So, where do you fit in?

A good way to know where you fit into the spectrum of Salesman to Consultant with a particular client is to observe the way they engage you. A client asking you at any point “what do you think?” is an indication that they are asking you for advice on an issue. Giving them honest advice and accurate information is the only way you can keep having them ask this question. This is what makes you a consultant to them. Rapid-fire, direct and specific functional questions tend to indicate a lower trust level, meaning the client may view you more as somebody looking to take their money (i.e. a Salesman).

There’s a number of other ways to analyse the situation, but it’s a good idea to make a point of assessing your own relationship with your clients and asking yourself how they really perceive you.From here we are in a stronger position to grow and develop our business as a consultant, as all good salesmen should also be consultants at heart.

If you’re a consultant then take a look at HirePulse, the service directory for consultants, freelancers, contractors, and other service providers. For more great reading take a look at 4 Tips On How To Manage Multiple Freelance Jobs Without Going Crazy.

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Go For No by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

Have you ever met someone who actually liked the word, “No”? Probably not. “No” is associated with the inability to do something. I makes people feel inadequate, rejected, and as if they are being held back from what is they want. “No” leads to frustration, anger, and anxiety. Unfortunately, it is most people’s perception of the word, “No” that have gotten them into so much trouble.

If you really want to get negative, look at the word, “No” in a negative light. Doing so will only lead you down a darker path in your career. You’ll wake up each day with less and less enthusiasm about your career. However, there is a truth to this word that people are missing out on. The truth is that “No” is actually a positive word, but only if viewed in a positive light.

It is in a salesman‘s best interest to react to “No” in the same fashion as a teenage child. When a teenager or child is told “No”, they look at it as a challenge and act out in rebellion. The thing that a parent tells their child they cannot do is the very thing that they end up doing. As you can see, it is a human’s “natural” reaction to rebel rather than to take the word so seriously.

For true success, you should allow this seemingly-negative word to motivate you. When you are faced with someone who is turning away your products, understand that they are not necessarily turning your products away, but simply being negative. The power to change the entire situation ultimately lies within you hands.

So, the next time someone tells you know, what do you do? Accept it and walk away or try to convince them? Obviously, you change the way you perceive the word. As soon as you put out the vibe that you have been rejected, your prospect is going to be empowered and therefore convinced that they did the right thing. The last thing you want to do is allow the situation to escalate to this point.

Understand that nine times out of ten, you are going to be denied anyway. So, be prepared. Envision that you prospect has already said no. Instead of allowing “No” signify the end of the sale, look over it and ignore it. If it makes you angry, let it make you angry. Just know that you are the only one who has the power to transform the way this word makes you feel.

Becoming a successful sales individual is a matter of choice. Everyone knows that before they get involved into the career of sales that they are going to experience rejection. Some of the most successful millionaires have had to experience rejection, and still do to this day.

The thing that sets you apart from becoming the next sales billionaire is how you choose to handle the situation. Ultimately, this is going to require a bit of reorganization on your behalf. You must take time reorganizing your thoughts. Instead of expecting the worst, getting upset, disappointed and then discouraged, turn it all around. Feel the rejection, understand that it isn’t pleasant, then decide that you will not let it get the best of you.

Use the word, “No” as a means to a beginning of a lifetime of success and resilience. After you feel the initial impact of being knocked down, get up, regroup, and try again, but only with a more positive approach. More importantly, do away with the fear of the word and turn it into a motivation.

Please visit The Personal Development Company if you would like to learn more about Go For No! principles by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

 

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Boost (Small Business) Sales in Several Ways

The only way for a small business to continue thriving is if it its products keep on selling. But with consumer spending at a low and competition becoming even stiffer, there is a need for small businesses to review their marketing campaigns to ensure that sales continue to pick up. There are seven simple ways to do just that.

1. Feedback
In order to set your business apart from the rest, you must listen and get to know better your customers. Don’t just be contented by knowing the usual goods and services that they purchase but also why they choose these items. Most importantly, know why they choose to purchase from you. Knowing this information will allow you to maintain the measures that keep them coming back and make improvements at the same time.

2. Special Promos
Consumers are drawn to promos like bees are to honey. Announce short term promos and you’ll see sales spiking. Distributing coupons should be included. Online coupons which can be accessed through the internet and through mobile phones should also be explored since consumers are becoming more acquainted with these avenues.

3. Lead Generation
Rely on online, print and even mobile phone campaigns for lead generation. Make sure that follow up on your leads within 24 hours after you’ve received their contact information. Send your leads valuable information that they will find useful and announce special promos which they are likely to take interest in.

4. Brainstorm 
This should not be a tasked reserved only to a special group of employees. Ask your front office personnel about their suggestions for serving customers better. It is important that you pick out fresh ideas for your new marketing campaigns. New ideas are sure to create a buzz among consumers. You can also go directly to your customers for ideas. In exchange for the heads up, you can offer various freebies or sales perks.

5. Newsletters
Newsletters are importantly especially when the year is coming to a close. Send out newsletters through e-mail or directly to your customers’ mailboxes and keep track of promos which generate the most sales. By then you’ll find out what works best with your customers with the help of your newsletters.

6. Give Back
People like businesses that know how to give back. Host fundraisers or make donations to a local charity. Those living in your community will appreciate how your business is sensitive to the plight of other people and will look at your business as not as a money greedy crocodile but a business that cares.

Chris Marentis writes from experience about lead generation, closing the sale and leveraging social media. He is the founder and CEO for a local internet marketing company Surefire Social, a resource for local search marketing

 

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