Here's the December 2009 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, the final issue for the year.
2009 has been a very interesting year, if not a very tough one, for most people. As the saying goes, what didn't kill you will just make you stronger. Hence for this last and final issue of 2009, I'll be focusing on an area that has been a major challenge for most sales departments - Creativity.
In fact, when I started researching for this newsletter, I thought that it will be quite difficult for me to highlight any creative sales strategies. However to my pleasant surprise, there some success cases on how creativity can be implemented in sales strategies and create great results.
Hence, this month's topics:
This issue's main article is on "Give a Jolt of Creativity to Your Sales Strategy", and it features some real cases of how creativity was applied to boost sales and profits for these sales teams.
Merry Christmas, and have a Great Year Ahead!
Give a Jolt of Creativity to Your Sales Strategy
by c.j. Ng
Many years ago, I was selling eCommerce solutions. Unfortunately, that was when the Dot.Com bubble burst. Many eCommerce solution providers were either closing down, or were slashing their prices just to get some sales. Even for the smallest solution, the sales cycle could take 6 months or more.
Instead of downright slashing prices like everybody else, I found the reason that many of our customers were postponing or cancelling their purchases is due to the fact that they didn't have the confidence to generate any form of positive return on their eCommerce investments. So rather than selling eCommerce IT solutions, I re-packaged our offerings and “changed the game”, so to speak. Rather than following through with a customer for 6 months to get the sale, we provide comprehensive training to educate customers how to profit from eCommerce or eBusiness, which they can make a buying decision within days. After the initial training, when customers know what they need to do to make profits through eBusiness, they tell us what solutions they need, and we simply fulfill their needs. It was an instant hit.
That was in year 2000. Since then , I haven't seen quite many innovative or creative ideas used in selling. And given today's increased competitive pressures and customers' demands, many companies sorely need a jolt of creativity for their sales strategies.
The good news is that we have found 3 recent cases of how creativity in selling can be achieved in simpler ways.
Why Price is NOT the Real Objection
One of our clients, the Flint Group (Asia), is a leader in the flexography industry. What they do is to provide flexible printing plates for printers to print over curvature or uneven surfaces. Being the leader in their field and providing high quality products, their selling price will be anything but cheap.
For a while, the Flint Group believed that if they can prove to their customers (who are largely printing firms, and are largely very conservative) that the quality of their products will result in high quality prints, which means that there will be fewer rejects due to unsightly dots or other printing errors that one will encounter using poorer quality printing plates. It was assumed that if the printers have got lesser print quality-related rejects, they will in turn save costs and serve their customers better.
However, while many of their prospective customers are convinced of the performance of these high quality plates, they still argued that the price is too high and are unwilling to buy.
Feeling perplexed, the Flint Group’s Regional Business Manager (Asia), Mr. Roy Schoettle, then decided to take steps to understand their prospects a little better. After some in-depth communication, they found that:
So the Flint Group decided to address this “price objection” issue right at its core. The management in China set up ways to “hand-hold” their printer customers to:
Of course the Flint Group does not provide such assistance to all their prospective customers. Usually, they select those customers who are willing to help themselves in the first place.
It’s small wonder why the Flint Group is the market leader in their field, and despite the consistent price objections in their industry. The lessons we can learn here are:
Building the Right Relationship
Häfele is one of the global market leaders in providing architectural hardware and furniture fittings such as hinges, locks, handles etc.
One of Häfele’s customers in Shanghai is a high-end furniture manufacturer that places huge orders of furniture fittings with Häfele’s competitors. With Häfele though, they are only giving very small orders.
As it turns out, the customer’s Purchasing Manager was a classmate of one of their key competitors’ sales representative. With such a close relationship or Guanxi between the two of them, it’s small wonder that Häfele could not make it big with this customer.
Having realized that this customer places a lot of emphasis on design (since they are the high end), Häfele sales representative decided to:
Within weeks, Häfele increased the business with this customer by 10 fold. The designers appreciated what Häfele’s sales representative had done, and exerted tremendous influence to get Häfele’s fittings for their designs.
The lessons we can learn here are:
“Make Me a Deal I Can’t Refuse”
The Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental resort is a marvelous luxury resort in Shanghai’s suburb that comes with exciting Mediterranean design, 3400 m2 of inviting outdoor pools and breathtaking landscaping. It is almost certainly that whoever has been to the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental will fall in love with it.
One day, Mr. Robert Young, Director of Sales & Marketing for the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental got a visit from a prospective customer. The customer loved what he saw at Sofitel, but was very much constrained by his budget and could not pay the rates that Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental was asking. In addition, the customer had already made bookings for 5 nights for his company at a neighbouring resort, even though the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental was obviously the better choice.
Sensing that the customer really like his resort but just did not have the budget to afford it, Mr. Young then discussed the following with the customer:
And the lessons we can learn are:
Need help in giving your sales processes a jolt of creativity? Simply e-mail email@example.com or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha. All information shall be kept in confidence.
Power Breakfast Hour: 13 January 2010
Give Your Sales Strategy a Creative Jolt to Start Your 2010 with a Bang!
Join International Sales Leadership and Performance Coach c.j. Ng in this Power Breakfast Hour in Shanghai where he will be sharing with you how to formulate better strategies that will meet your expectations in simple yet practical ways:
VENUE: To Be Confirmed
DATE: Wednesday, 13 January 2010
TIME: 08:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
PRICE: RMB 150 ONLY!
To make this a more conducive discussion, we are expecting a small group of about 15 people only. The room can only take in 18, so please register early to avoid disappointments. Please e-mail your registrations to firstname.lastname@example.org To allow more participation from more companies, ONLY 2 registrants per company are invited.
Need a Keynote Speaker for your Conference?
Whether you are holding a conference for your regional staff, resellers or even customers, we have the right speaker who can help you deliver the spirit of your conference, and effect positive changes to meet your goals.
The topics our speakers can speak on include:
Simply e-mail your requests to email@example.com or call +86-21-62190021 for enquiries. Sample video and audio recordings available upon requests.
Practical Tips for Sales People:
What to Do When Customers Say “I Need More Time to Think It Over”
By c.j. Ng
Let’s face it. Customers are getting more careful when it comes to buying. They are going to ned more time to make buying decisions, and may consult more people before making those buying decisions.
So what are you going to do when the customer says, “I need more time to think it over?”
Traditional sales methodologies would want you to close the sale now. It will require you to overcome whatever the customer to consider, and “strike the iron while it’s hot”, so to speak.
However, if you need frequent re-orders from your customer, or if you would like your customer to refer their friends to buy from you, too much aggressive closing may result in the customer feeling that you are too pushy. And when you get too pushy, customers may not trust you as much to develop a long-temr relationship with you.
Yet, you would like to keep up your momentum with your customer. So is there a way to keep the momentum and grab your customers’ attention, without being too pushy?
In a nutshell, when customers say, “I need more time to think it over”, he or she is essentially not too sure if buying from you is a good idea after all. Hence, there are 2 things you can do to increase their trust in you, as well as move things forward. You can ask them:
The first question re-emphasizes what makes us attractive to the customer, and also gets the customer to clarify their thoughts. If indeed the customer does not find us attractive to them at all, then perhaps you haven’t found out their needs yet, or that this may not be the right customer for you.
The second question helps to move things forward without having to close the sale. The customer may be looking for other “proof” of our value such as getting a demo, talking to our previous customers or in other ways scrutinize our products and services. The reason for doing so is understandable: customers will NOT just trust what we say, they MUST see how we do things too.
In asking these 2 questions, we know how to drive the sale forward in ways that the customer feels comfortable in. Sometimes, customers may not have a clear idea as to how to answer these questions. Should that happen, simply give the customer 2-3 different choices and guide them along.
Increasingly, customers are looking to buy from people they trust. Yet, many sales people are pressured to close more sales in an even shorter time frame. With the right techniques and mindset though, you can build trust with customer faster, and still able to guide them to make buying decisions that just as fulfilling for them as well as for you.
For some deeper discussion on moving your sales forward when the customer seeks to take time to think things over, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha. All information shall be kept in confidence.
Sales... ...the lifeblood of a company, a matter of "life and death", survival or extinction. Indeed, something that needs to be studied, applied and re-modified consistently.
Psyche-Selling TM is set up so that companies and sales people can make healthy profits and STILL provide genuine solutions to customers.
Psyche-Selling TM would like to create an environment where customers can trust sales people to give them what they want, and NOT be pushed with all kinds of products and services. In return, customers will become loyal fans of these ethical and professional sales people, and repay them many fold for the long-term.
Psyche-Selling TM will not rest, until the above is achieved. Not just in China. Not just in Asia. But everywhere where buying and selling takes place.
Psyche-Selling TM is a wholly-owned brand of Directions Management Consulting Pte Ltd that specialises in the field of improving sales performance by enhancing the performance of the entire sales team. Apart from the regular "selling skills training", Psyche-Selling TM conducts pre- and post-training analysis, interviews, monitoring and reviews, working closely with managers and even senior management, to deliver real improvements in sales leadership and performance.
Hence, Psyche-Selling TM would like to be known as the preferred choice of outstanding and remarkable clients, and pride ourselves as such. We will also be continuing to assist our clients achieve greater heights in 2009 and beyond.