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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Sales
Tag Archive - Sales

More Than Good Enough

Houses for salephoto © 2008 I See Modern Britain | more info (via: Wylio)
When Richard and I were house-hunting, we visited one home and discovered a backyard full of dog poop. The sellers thought that getting the inside of the house clean was “good enough” to prep it. We left after we saw the poop. If dog poop was good enough for us to see, what did they think was good enough that we couldn’t see?

“Good enough” is a standard to beat – not meet. Especially in a tough economy.

Yesterday,  real estate agent tweeted a high end house posted low resolution photos in their sales info and noted high res photos would have sold the house.

Imagine a sub with several houses on the market, and all of them are “good enough.” What makes 1 house sell faster than the others? Better structure, features, home staging, and packaging impact the sale.  “Beyond compare” sells before “good enough.”

The same holds true for all businesses.  Most industries now compete on a global level, where there are several other businesses like yours for customers to choose from, just like those houses in the sub. What can you do to differentiate yourself so you get the sale first?

  • Reach beyond the “good enough” standard to offer your customers a value without compare.
  • Show them that you are a wise investment.  
  • Offer the best and friendliest customer service you can.
  • Share your story and what makes you unique in the global subdivision. Build real relationships with your customers and potentials.
  • Package your business wisely. Authentic may be the new “excellence,” but there is still a place for smart marketing with good visuals. Good visuals can bring customers in to get to know you better. A picture is worth a thousand words – doesn’t it make sense to make sure that picture is the best you can provide?
  • Build strategic relationships with other businesses so you can help each other grow.

Tough economy + faster communication in a social media world = companies who settle for a “good enough” standard will fall behind smart companies who aspire to something better.

Convention Adventures

Vendors 11photo © 2009 Bill Ward | more info (via: Wylio)
This weekend, my family is selling Bethlehem Books at a homeschool convention. We’ve sold books for them at conventions for 9 years. I love their books.

Sometimes, we’ve travelled to Indianapolis and southern Illinois to sell. It’s a family adventure, and our kids are integral to our sales team. You never know what will happen next.

Memorable adventures:

  1. Once in Indianapolis at the RCA dome, the line for vendors to park was too long. Richard idled our station wagon while we got the cart out on the sidewalk, loaded the boxes, and the kids helped me push our inventory uphill while he waited in line. By the time he got into the convention hall, we had set up our display.
  2. Our daughter loves to read and would charm visitors, as she told them the story lines of her favorite books.
  3. Our son was the reluctant bookseller. In his early years, he dressed in costume (Pioneer Boy)  He would sit with his toy guns behind our vendor area, crouch behind a chair, and pretend to shoot our customers. They took it in good stride.
  4. One year in Indianapolis, while we were rotating showers that night, the pipes thumped as walls vibrated. The shower head spigot broke while on, spraying water full force over the bathroom, at 10 p.m. It took an hour for them to get it fixed and cleaned.
  5. Because the RCA dome was so large, we used 2-way radios. Our son was most colorful on the radio. As I took him with me on a bathroom break, he grabbed a radio and broadcast. “Mom has to pee. We are going to the bathroom. When we find it. We’re almost at the bathroom. Now she’s going to the bathroom. I’m waiting on Mom to finish going to the bathroom.” His play by play broadcast at our booth, to the snickers of our customers.
  6. Conventions offer interesting souvenirs. There’s the time my son bought a skunkskin cap (a la Davy Crockett) at the pioneer booth. My kids always cringed when I bought owl pellets or animals for us to dissect. My biggest scare came the year our son bought a 6 foot long toy wooden rifle. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t carry it that night as we walked from the Convention Center to our hotel. When we packed out at convention close, I disguised the toy rifle by wrapping it in tablecloths and nestling it in our book boxes.
  7. Pioneer Boy (my son) discovered Gameboy and Nintendo. If you wanted to find our booth, you would just look for the booth with all boys in the whole hall gathered around him and his games. If there had been a vendor booth for video games, he would have been a natural sales guy for them.
  8. Then there was the convention when vendors were kept out of the keynote and the vendor hall was closed. Vendors’ kids started playing. My son and some Mennonite boys took a trebuchet toy and lobbed balls with it across vendor hall floor. Until a ball crashed into a vendor display and knocked everything over.

Now that my kids are older, our adventures are milder. But I will always treasure our Convention Adventure memories. And I’ll appreciate the lessons my kids got in salesmanship, inventory, setup/displays, and computation of sales with tax.

Where’s Your Call to Action?

Great movies, like great sales campaigns, include a call to action. This video shows how universal that call is. Whatever we do, wherever we go, there will come a time when we don’t just chat or think but do.

There is a time to relax and dream, but there is also a time to get out there and go for it. In battle, it’s victory.  In business, it’s the call to the action. 

At some point, we go for the sale.

Our call to action doesn’t have to be loud and brash like movies when they inspire thousands. But it has to happen.

Imagine a war movie where the hero tells everyone, “I’m glad you’re here. Let’s give a big cheer, hold hands, and sing kum-ba-yah.” Instead, the hero tells all to go out and do their jobs.

What can we learn from their calls to battle to apply to our calls to action?

  • Know your audience and build strong relationships with them.
  • Make sure your call answers audience questions. Make sure you help them solve their problems.
  • Give your audience credit for having brains and ability. 21st century sales mean the crud detectors are on. Customers know when they are pandered or patronized.
  • Don’t bang customers on the head with a call to action but do make it easy for them to decide to do business with you, to talk with you, and to hire you.

What’s the most important point?

Have you had something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the nerve to try? Watch this video and go for it!

Woulda and might don’t get things done. Doing and does do.  Make your shot. Maybe it will hit, and maybe it will miss. But the shot never made is a guaranteed miss.

Clap! Fight! Rock the world! Be who you were made to be and do the one thing you are made to do with your life!

4 Steps to Listening Your Way to Teaching & Social Media Success

“Don’t teach. Facilitate,” I explained to skeptical instructors in a train the trainer program 15 years ago. The points of our program were:

  1. Look at your audience. They are unique. Know who they are and reach them there.
  2. Ask your audience questions. Assume nothing – start with basics. If they can answer the basics, they will gain confidence to master the tougher stuff.
  3. Answer your audience’s questions. Keep control of the conversation, but make a list of questions to get back to, if needed afterwards.
  4. Engage your audience. Find novel ways for them to participate. The more they participate, the more likely they are to incorporate it into their lives. See what works and what doesn’t, tweak it, and try again.

Look + Ask + Answer + Engage = Listen.

At first, I didn’t believe facilitation worked. I lacked the time to “Facilitate” when I was supposed to “Teach.” Teaching meant going through my list of exactly what was to be learned, opening the heads of my students, and dumping it there.

A brain dump ends up with a toxic brainfill with so much stuff nothing is absorbed, and the good stuff runs off first time it rains.  If an adult was subjected to a bad teacher who pushed, pushed, pushed, odds are students tuned out the teacher. So when instructors of adults push too hard, adult students respond by tuning them out.

Tune out = nothing accomplished. Listen so they tune in = students find new ways to apply what they learn and keep using it.

Facilitation can work. In order to work, the “facilitator” has to pan for gold – sift the rocks in the lecture and keep the best nuggets.  Listen to the audience but make sure the nuggets and important information is covered.

In the social media age, I see the same transition happening in marketing and advertising. Generations of salespeople were taught to PUSH their message, PUSH their product, and PUSH to get sales.

Problem is PUSH is now as attractive and current as that avocado green toilet was when we bought our house.

After a lifetime of PUSH, consumers now tune out the moment the PUSH pitch begins.

Marketers wishing to survive in the 21st century had better learn to PULL, to listen, and to facilitate to survive. Follow those same steps we gave teachers:

Look, Ask, Answer, and Engage.