Can you be a Sales Chameleon?

Never a truer saying; “People buy from People.”  You may have heard this saying many times, however when you are selling to someone, how much time do you spend considering your prospective customer’s buying criteria.  I try and imagine what buying criteria my potential client uses when buying a car.  A big clue is the car parked in front of the building!

Do they like to know lots of product detail, do they want product specifications, if they bought a car, could they give you the specification of the engine, what make of sound system it has etc

Do they want references of your work, if so provide plenty.  So back to the car, do you think they are image driven?  Perhaps they drive a branded German executive car!

Do they simply buy off people, if they like and trust the person, they will buy from them.  I am afraid in this instance; there is no clue in the car being driven.

The real trick is to evaluate the type of criteria the person uses, when buying something, then change your behaviour, become a Sales Chameleon.  A Chameleon changes its colour for social signalling, do the same for sales signals.

Think about it, if you do believe people buy off people, what criteria do you use to buy.  If you look back in time, I guarantee your buying behaviour criteria,  is exactly the same as the majority of your customers.  If the conversation is not flowing, talk about cars, it sounds weird but try it.

Try and adapt to your prospective customer’s buying criteria, be a Sales Chameleon!

If you want to tune or improve your sales skilss, call Tim Jenner on 07979 805274 or email me at tim.jenner@sgba.co.uk  or contact us

The Sales person has no clothes….

 

Your next Sales person is quite an investment and a risk for your company.

Nowadays there is a breed of Sales executive latin name “Executivus Technicus Commoditus“. This species are found on trains, motorway service stations, or frequenting mass appeal TV shows.

They can be seen playing with their latest electronic gadget, whilst conversing with another of their species on their smartphone.

But, take these bits of modern technology away, how would they function? Would they find themselves from A to B? Would they know who to sell to? Would they be able to convince prospects of the merits of their product offering? Maybe, maybe not.

The worry today is that sales people are too dependent on gadgets, and are spending less time on SELLING SKILLS.

How many understand how to determine a clients needs? How many understand how to create a USP? How many just sell on price?

Whilst the old days of hand writing reports, researching potential clients through libraries, or calling the office in from a telephone box (with broken windows – whilst the wind and driving rain soaks your legs) are long gone, it would be interesting to see how this new species would cope without their comforts.

It would be a brave Sales Director who confiscated all gadgets for a period of two weeks from all the sales team. However, as an exercise it would certainly demonstrate the winners from the ‘also rans’!

The SGBA is full of seasoned professionals, all old enough to understand the real issues. A chat with us about your growth aspirations may prove very useful.

Happy Selling.
Ian Thomas   FInstIB

Banks still over cautious, how about an external investor?

My interaction with clients, we still find banks are still over cautious, when it comes to lending money, to healthy companies, which have a new idea or a new major customer to fulfil.  I understand the reluctance to lend money for day to day activities, but when a company has developed real innovation, it needs money to make it happen and this is currently being stifled.

Despite government ownership of some the major banks, the Government have improved tax incentives for high rate individuals to invest in companies, to stimulate innovative company growth.  These tax incentives are incredibly attractive to an individual. With low savings interest rates, high income individuals are looking for potential large returns, from a medium risk investment.

For an individual they can receive a 30 percent tax relief on an investment, this relief can be further increased if they are offsetting a capital gain. For further details on Enterprise Investment Scheme or more importantly Seed Investment Enterprise Scheme and the amount of taxrelief, and the companies that qualify see www.hmrc.gov.uk/eis.

Traditional business owners, are reluctant to sell shares in their company, however with the change in the financial market, it may be more attractive dealing with an individual versus a bank.

Author: Tim Jenner- Small Business Advisor, member of SGBA (tim.jenner@sgba.co.uk)

How to "uncomplicate" marketing

Marketing? Not to be overcomplicated.

The theory behind marketing introduces all sorts of ‘principles’, ‘rules’ and ‘guidelines’. There are so many marketing “guru’s” out there, all with their own definition of the subject.

For a bit of fun, why not ‘GOOGLE’ “Philip Kotler” and “Definition of Marketing”.  Try similar with “Tom Peters”. There is lots of valuable information that will appear on your computer, but how much can you really use? And why do many marketing Guru’s complicate matters with wordy and obtuse definitions?

Marketing MUST be carried out with current and future sales in mind. If a ‘so called’ marketing activity does not have business growth outputs then it should be dropped.

Put simply marketing should be: “Creating the conditions to making selling easier”. Hopefully we can ALL remember this definition.

So, if you are 100% dedicated to marketing, or you spend only part of your working time on marketing activity, question yourself : “will this activity create conditions to make selling easier?” And if the answer is no, then move onto something that meets our simple definition.

Happy Marketing!

Deficit reduction or growth – which is the chicken and which is the egg

Small business that get into trouble by over-borrowing, end up making no money, or even worse, making a loss because the cost of borrowing gets to be greater than their profit.

Where do they go from there?

Growth: you need money and resources for that and if there is none, you have to find it.

Deficit reduction: cost reduction is an absolute must for businesses in this position to free up some cash.

Restructuring: this is the White Knight option – someone, often a predatory acquirer, comes along who will take on the debt at a lower rate of interest – not many of those around today.

Default: for some companies going into Administration is the only option, with a pre-pack to take out the best bits and leave most of the debt behind.  Shame for the the creditors, especially the tax man and the small shareholder.

So what about the National Debt?

Default – think of Greece.

Restructuring – think of the ECB and the IMF.

Deficit reduction – think of the UK and other realistic national plans to reduce government spending.

Growth: we need some or all of these to work if Government funding is to be available for growth.

So where does that leave us small business owners?

Sure, the government is doing its best to find some money, but we can’t rely on that really. It is being highly targeted, and there just ain’t much available, realistically.

So for most of us we are on our own.  We have to find the resources from somewhere to grow our own businesses, and if there isn’t much cash the only thing we have is time, and making the best use of that.

Chicken or egg?

I’d argue that the egg is growth – its the future produced by the old chicken!  Look after the chicken!

Posted by Peter Johnson, business growth advisor with SGBA. Contact Peter on peter.johnson@sgba.co.uk if you would like to discuss your business with an experienced advisor and fellow business owner.