Friday, 16 March 2012

Confidence and Value

It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to get a post out to you all, so firstly, thanks for your patience.
I’d like to talk today about confidence, not the confidence to stand up and talk, or to ask for the sale, but the confidence to charge the fees that you want, and deserve. In many industries, profit is made from the mark up of goods over their production costs, with the expectation that enough will be sold to cover overheads.
What if You are the product? Or your skill? Take photography for instance. A good wedding photographer can easily charge more than a couple of grand- A good camera, lenses and accessories easily cost a tidy sum, but over their lifetime can make each shot cost only pennies to take, and today’s online printing labs mean that they only cost pennies to print too. But when you hire a photographer for a wedding, you don’t end up paying pennies for your album. This is where skill can potentially increase the cost of the final product over a hundred fold. I say potentially, because the actual cost of printing is technically very low. This is where confidence comes into play.
Or perhaps it’s as good to say, this is where a lack of confidence comes into play, reducing the amount you can charge. Not necessarily because your client thinks that you are ripping them off, or it’s not worth it- but because you think you are! If you believe that you couldn’t charge more than a few pounds for every photo because you believe that it’s a fair mark up on the cost of printing and your time taking them, then you’re losing out!
Products like photo’s, and hundreds, if not thousands of others, transcend the usual way of costing products. In this example, photographs are emotional, they are the lasting memory of a special event, looked after they are that lifetime reminder of the things that important, and the people that really matter to us. These kinds of products are almost priceless, and it becomes competition between photographers that brings prices down.
If you have the confidence to move from the cost of the product, to the value of the product, they you can charge as much as you believe is right, if you feel you are better than the rest of your competition, then charge more. If your product is more pleasing, technically better, and your service is impeccable, then you are fully justified in charging the extra, studies have shown that people are happy to pay anywhere between 5% and 25% MORE for a better service, that extra is fully justified in being your extra!
It’s a very similar situation for say a web designer creating a website for a business.  The value that a business website can create, far outweigh the development time and costs. Charging for the value created, and the profit and money your client will make, means its a win win situation for all involved.
Have that confidence to charge, whatever you feel is worth the value you have created, and success will be yours!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Conversations- make the most of your opportunities

How you speak to your customers, clients, co-workers, or prospective employers- whether in person, over the phone, or even in an email, is of critical importance. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, there will be some form of conversation.

Quite likely, you will already have had some success in achieving your goals, even more likely there have been those moments when you have not made your point, or the sale has fallen through. Of course, you're not alone there, but there are plenty of steps we can take to make our conversations more successful.  

I'm going to go through some of these with you, the more of these you use, the more successful you will become. Should there be something you disagree with, choose not to use it, anything that doesn't sit well, will impact your confidence, and lower your success rate!

  • Take control of the conversation- this doesn't mean being rude or shouting. With practise it becomes easier and easier. Don't ask closed questions that could destroy a pitch before you've even started e.g. - "Can I check this for you?" rather "Let me check that for you" or "Can I tell why I'm here?" instead "Let me tell why I'm here". It's a subtle change that gently removes the option to dismiss your proposal. It guarantees you're able to talk about almost anything you like, want or need.
  • Discover what the problem is you are trying to provide a solution for. The more you know about the issues, the more you are in a position to understand the complexities that might crop up and bring about an objection, the less objections you have to overcome, the more likely you are to succeed.
  • Ask open-ended questions - Giving the option to close down the conversation before you've had any impact or a chance to make your pitch or point, gives you a good chance of losing straight away. Think about phrasing questions beginning with Who, What, Where and How instead of Do, Will and Is. Open questions are all about discovery, and reveal far more information than closed questions. For example, "Does your business use the internet?” can be answered with a simple yes or no. Changing this to "How does your business use the internet?" could reveal far more information- "We use it to search out new product lines, and our customers can order from all over the country". 
  • Ask closed questions- Ask them at the right time of course. "Do you like that?"; "Does that do what you want?" Closed questions help set the information you've taken, and the solution you've proposed in stone, if you've had a real quality conversation, this is almost a formality.

These are by no means exhaustive, take time to notice how your conversations go, lead it where you want it to go!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Welcome to selling for success!

Welcome to my new blog. You should be here if you want to improve your own selling skills, maybe you're just starting out, or maybe you're already a pro just looking for that extra something.

You may think your career has nothing to do with selling, but of course it does! Sales are all about selling, but selling isn't always about sales! Selling permeates our lives, every single goal we have that involves any person (and sometimes just yourself), will involve selling to some degree or another.
With over a decade in successful sales, I've learnt the skills to enable success, time and time again. Such an important skill can't be left to chance, but the more we practice, the more time we take to develop our understanding, the more control you can exert over your own life.

Do you want to make sales? Do you want to start a new career? Get a promotion? Do you want people to see things from your angle? Do you want to take charge of your own life?Then read on!