In sales, a Dancing Pony is the sales person who gives all of the information on the first call or visit. This is then perceived by the customer as open information to be used to get the best deal from the competition.
Sales people are warned continually that this is bad practice and they should hold back as much as possible until they get commitment. The buyers though are continually told to try and get all of the information early and under no circumstances to give a commitment.
In my humble opinion, this all leads to a competitive culture where each is trying to outwit the other to get the 'best deal'. This invariably leads to 'buyers remorse' which means that you feel inclined never to buy from that person again and the supplier resents giving any further help.
Clearly in the case of a service such as IT support or telephony which is all about the relationship this will never work.
As more and more 'open source' products are being given away free to start with, thanks largely to Google. There seems to be a new culture building in which the expectation is that you try stuff out first and become 'expert' in its use then go to market to get the best deal. This devalues the role of the expert advisor and potentially can waste a lot of our time. This in turn could damage our ability to do business.
So what can we do? I for one want to have happy customers that feel encouraged to recommend my services, so I'd rather cut out the competition and go straight for the relationship. Since that is going to be based fundamentally on my ability to provide the service, I'm going to give all that I can of my time and expertise free of charge and if prospective customers go elsewhere then good luck to them.
With this in mind, feel free to ask me for a quotation or help any time.
Bring on the Dancing Ponies! ;)
What To Do If Your Website Is Not Bringing In Sales
Getting enquiries and making sales are pretty much the two things that most business owners need to get right if they want to stay in business, as without the enquiry, there is no sale, which means that the more enquiries a business can get, then the more sales they can hope to close. The primary reason any business owner has a website is to increase business, else we would all just have one for vanity reasons, but just having a website does not necessarily mean that it is going to get you success.
If you have a website and you are just fed up of it not working, then instead of giving up on it, you need to take a step back and work out why, taking an often required unbiased view and being critical about its performance and the lack of enquiries you are getting. It is very easy to get proud with websites and try to paint a rosy picture, but unless you are true to yourself, then you are never going to get anywhere. Criticism of your pride and joy can be hard to take, but if the criticism leads to changes that get you more business, it is time to take it on the chin and get some honest feedback.
The first thing to do is check your traffic levels. There are many free website statistic tools online, but the one I would always recommend is Google Analytics. Having a website is one thing but getting people to use it is another, so it’s important that before you start ripping your design to shreds, you make sure that the lack of enquiries is not down to no visitors. You need people on your site to make sales, so if they are not coming, then there is your problem and you can start to take steps to address it. From SEO through to Pay Per Click, there is a huge amount of ways to get traffic and visitors, all of which most firms should be considering implementing anyway.
If the traffic is not the issue, then you need to take a step back and really look at the site in depth.
Although there are many things to look at, some to really focus on are:
· Lack Of Conversion Points – Make sure that your contact details are on the bottom of every page and that your phone number is always in top right of the website, because no matter where the visitor is on your site, you need to make sure that it is easy for them to contact you the moment they decide they want to make an enquiry.
· Over Complication – If your website is too complicated, fussy and it is just not easy to find things, then this is going to be a major issue for your visitors. Make sure the site is easy to use, easy to find the information they need and easy to contact you, which doesn’t mean the design has to be boring, it just means it has to be useable.
· Mobile Compliant – One area still overlooked is websites on smart devices and tablets, which means that if your website does not work on mobiles or tablets and a lot of your traffic is coming from these areas, then you need to sort it by getting a responsive website that will work, so that these people can actually use your site.
· Poor Navigation – You literally have seconds when it comes to website visitors making their mind up about you and your business, so it is vital that you make sure that when they enter your site, they can get what they need quickly. A decent top menu that is easy to understand makes a big difference, with easy to follow navigation structures throughout your site.
· First Impressions – There is nothing wrong with minimal content on your site, but it is still important that the content you do have sells you and your business, else you are not going to hook the visitor into making an enquiry. Your website is an impression of you and your business, so if it looks cheap and badly run, people will assume this is how you run your business. Effort and time are both needed to make a good website, especially if you want your site to start working for you.
Websites require a lot of work if you want them to start performing and earning you money. The more content you write and the more blogs you produce, the higher you will rise in the search engines ( as long as the website is well optimised ). To be honest, if you have a website and never bother to add anything to it, then you cannot expect or demand success, as this should be considered a crucial part of your marketing strategy and you have to work it, and work it hard.
So, if your website is not bringing in the money, instead of giving up and moving on to something else, do some research and take a stand backwards to evaluate what you are offering and if it can be improved. I say this because any website you ever see has room from improvement, and with a bit more effort and unbiased views, you can make your site work for you, that is 100% guaranteed!
Have you got the success habit?
What brings some people success, and others not?
I can't promise to have the answer to this, but I may have some clues.
My work as a business trainer and coach has given me the opportunity to work with hundreds and hundreds of people from different walks of life over the past 16 years, and I've been able to observe the habits of those who are achieving 'success' in their lives, and those who would say that others are feeling denied the success that they feel they deserve.
Here are my observations.
1. People who achieve success get up when they don't feel like it, and exercise when there are a multitude of excuses for not bothering. The same mentality that motivates people to do things that they could otherwise avoid, seems to drive behaviours that manoeuvre them towards their goals and success.
2. People who achieve success know what they want. They have their vision of success clear; they know what success looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells like! You don't hear them saying things like 'but I don't know what I want...'.
3. People who achieve success make it their job to achieve it. They don't wait for opportunities, they seek them out. They don't blame others for their 'bad luck', they take responsibility for making their own luck.
4. People who achieve success are often (but not always, I admit) very good communicators. They know the questions to ask and when to listen more than they speak. They know that good relationships will help them on their journey, and they form strong and loyal bonds.
5. People who achieve success step out of their comfort zone to try new things, meet new people and take on challenges. Their focus on 'success' seems to strengthen their resolve and gives them the guts to face things that others would do their best to avoid.
So - do you agree? Which of these traits do you have and are there any more that you would add to this list?
Remember what people really buy
According to Theodore Levitt, “People don’t buy quarter inch drills…”, which is probably a bit of a blow for Black and Decker. But, all is not lost, because “…they buy quarter inch holes.” And guess what we need to make a quarter inch hole?
The point is that customers are not interested in us or what we sell. They are interested in what they can do with what we sell. So, have a think about what it is you sell. Why do people really buy it? If you’re not sure, why not ask your favourite customers?
When you stop talking about your product or service, and start talking about what customers can do with it, you’ll see your sales really increase.
Have a really good Unique Sales Proposition
Anyone who has heard me talk before will have heard this message, and although the message may have lost some of its originality, it still retains all of its validity.
Let me give you an example of a company that developed a powerful USP and used it to devastating effect. The company is Dyson, and they developed a vacuum cleaner that was “the only vacuum cleaner that maintains 100% suction all of the time”. They didn’t claim to have the highest suction, or to be the best, but by heavily using that strapline Dyson went from zero to the largest supplier in the US market in under 3 years.
How did this happen? The answer is – they caught our imagination. We’ve all had problems with full bags when using our vacuum cleaners, and they can be very irritating when they happen. The Dyson vacuum cleaner promised to solve that problem at a stroke, and people rushed to buy it.
We all think we give better service than our competitors, but that message rarely captures the imagination of our customers. What problems or uncertainties do customers have when they use services like ours? What could we do differently that would solve those problems? When we can answer these two questions, we are well on our way to creating a true USP.
We all need help to maintain our business at peak performance. Sometimes we get a little careless about standards and need to be reminded of them. Sometimes we miss new opportunities because we are so busy focussing on what we know.
Either way, having someone around to question us and perform a quick reality check, will keep us constantly on top form. That is why, at Precept, we have our own business coach. It is also why you should do the same.
As we usher in the New Year most of us will be thinking about the changes we want to make in order to have a better year than the last one. Many of us will make New Year resolutions. And most of us will break those resolutions before the end of January.
If you truly intend to make progress in 2014, you will be much more successful if you share your ideas with someone you trust, and charge them to hold you to your good intentions, and support you in achieving them.
You can contact Mick on 01981 580192
or visit http://www.precept.uk.com/
Use questions to find the pain
We’ve talked about the power of questions to get to the real issues before. We’ve also talked about finding the customer’s pain. There is a specific type of question to use to get to the pain.
We call these questions issue questions. They are the questions that get to the problems the customer is experiencing – problems which you can solve.
In order to get a better sense of the way these questions are used, let’s take an example. Imagine you are selling simple components. You have built your reputation on always having stock, so you have the best delivery record in your industry. If you are meeting a new customer, you’ll ask all the factual questions about what they buy, how often, what they pay, etc. But the issue questions, like, “what happens if your supplier is out of stock?” will allow you to have a discussion about all the lost production, the late nights catching up on orders, the overtime payments to meet their deadlines, all of which are painful to the customer. Then you can tell him about your stocking policy, and the reason it will save him from all that pain.
Issue questions are incredibly powerful for getting you to the point where you can really sell your benefits. Why not create a list of questions now that are relevant to your business?
Always be closing
We've often talked about helping people to buy rather than trying to sell to them. However, that doesn’t mean you should sit passively by and wait to see which way the customer decides.
Your job is to help the customer to recognise that the best solution to her problem lies in buying from you.
To do this you need to be always moving the process in the right (ie your) direction. Can you break the buying decision down into a series of smaller decisions, each one of which takes the customer a little closer to buying from you?
Once you do this, you will be able to gently encourage them, step by step, to the final, and all-important decision – to buy from you.
Believe you can win the business
Never underestimate the power of belief.
Over the last few weeks we have been reading about some of the experiments being done in the field of Quantum Physics (and you thought we were just a little bit mad). What Quantum Physics is teaching us is that we really don’t understand the world we live in at all. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the interactions between people.
At an unconscious level we pick up very sensitive pieces of information about the people in front of us. At a conscious level, we can usually tell when they are lying, and we can tell when they are happy and when they are sad. Unconsciously we can tell much more, and unconsciously we react to that information.
This explains why salespeople have great spells, and terrible spells; they are unconsciously giving out subtle signals about how confident they feel, and the buyers are picking up on those.
If you are to consistently succeed, you must put all doubt out of your mind and truly believe you are going to be successful. Achieving that will not be easy, and will take lots of practice. A quick pep talk before you meet the customer isn’t going to do the trick.
There isn’t enough space here to cover how you do this in sufficient detail. If this tip resonates with you, you might like to call us to discuss in more detail how you can truly improve your sales conversions, just by believing you can.
Test the relationship
Once we have a customer that we value we are often very sensitive to anything that might put them off buying from us.
On the one hand, this is a very good thing, as we do need to recognise the true value of our customers and to make sure they stay with us for as long as possible. However, sometimes this can lead to us missing opportunities to strengthen the relationship and do even more business.
For example, many people won’t ask the customer for referrals, or raise the need to increase prices, for fear of damaging the good relationship. Our experience is that relationships become stronger for being tested, as long as they are not tested too much.
We have seen many examples of customer relationships coming through adversity and emerging much stronger as a result. If your customer truly values what you do, they will want to help you be successful, and they will understand that sometimes you have to increase prices.
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