I’ve upped my sales – up yours!

I almost get bored with hearing it and seeing it print, so I try
to avoid saying it myself; but this phrase really sums up the quest for
better sales (or any) performance: ‘If you keep doing what you’ve always
done – you’ll get what you’ve always got’.

Variations on the theme suggest that the definition of madness is to expect something different from the same input.

But there are always ‘reasons’:

  • ‘We need to keep our noses to the grindstone’
  • ‘Things will come good, as they have in the past’
  • ’This is no time to take risks, Andy!’
  • ‘We need to hunker down, consolidate, cut costs’
  • ‘It’s tough out there!’

Which is where the ‘up yours’ element of this article’s title so
beautifully captures the dual meaning. That is: 1) You, too, can get
more sales by changing your approach and 2) I (metaphorically) thumb my
nose at you as I win yet more business by being prepared to try
something different.

Things have, indeed, changed out there. Commercial decisions are
taken with considerably more attention to the value of the transaction.
This is a good thing, but you must understand what it means. Let me give
you a couple of examples (taken from today’s tough market).

I have just accepted a speaking slot for a UK national conference.
Nothing strange there, it’s my job. But this relatively small
organisation told me that my lowest quote was more than three times the
amount they had ever paid for a speaker (which wasn’t a lot!). But why
did they book me?

Or, what about last year, when I undertook a speaking tour of the
West of England on behalf of a national business assistance
organisation. They paid me 40 per cent more than my previous work with
them, and gave me 25 per cent more work volume. Why?

The reason for my own continued and systematic increase in business
is based on the business growth equation at the bottom of the page.

Simply put: the more people you know, and the better you know them,
coupled with your ability to exert influence at the right time, is the
extent to which you will make sales. Simple.
The two ‘biggies’ here are Relationships and Value. Here are a couple of examples of how to up your sales based on each.

Concentrate on the relationship

Imagine meeting with a corporate client who is considering a series
of conferences. Suddenly, just 30 minutes into the meeting, he jumps to
his feet and says “Right!”

Would you jump up, too, in order to match his body language, and
(with respect to his personality type) tell him that you recognise he is
busy and will get back to him with a proposal in the next few days?
Most salespeople would.

Doing something different (and quite brave) looks like this:

You stay seated and trust the fledgling relationship. You look up at him
and say something like “Sorry Jim, I was hoping to ask you a few more
questions in order to get a proposal that makes sense. Is my time up
today?”

To which he answers. “Time up? Good God, no! I just need a pee!”

This is based on a true story. The salesperson got another hour with
the CEO and was able to find a near perfect solution resulting in a
lucrative international contract.

Concentrate on the value

An International banking firm asks you what you would charge for a
one-day motivational conference locally for ‘about 250 delegates next
November’.

A good salesperson might even ask a few questions of their own based
on the mechanics/logistics of the intended conference before providing a
ballpark figure.

Doing something different (and quite brave) looks like this:

“Jan, I’m curious, what will be the result of this motivational
conference? Can I ask you what you mean by (and how you might measure)
‘Motivated Staff’?

The salesperson concentrates on the outcome of the conference – and
helps the bank apply a value to that outcome by asking questions. This
might involve a calculator – but my tip is to get THEM to use it.

The bank says: ‘Motivated staff are less likely to leave’.

You say: ‘What is the current rate of churn? What could you get it
down to? How much does it cost to replace a staff member?’ You work out
they could save a total of £148,000 by reducing staff churn.

Motivated staff are sick less often

What’s the current average number of sick days? What should it be?
How much does a sick day cost the bank (salary for the day, cost of temp
staff or overtime etc)? So, by reducing sick days by 15 per cent you
could save the bank £60,000 in productivity costs?

Motivated staff also put in more discretionary effort.

If you were able to help staff find half an hour per day, what would
be the value of that over a working year? And £1,500 per team member
can add up to a lot over
a year.

You are now talking the language of ‘Value’ rather than ‘Cost’. As
your client adds up the potential value they will start to see your
involvement as their ‘Investment’ rather than your ‘Price’.

In terms of its intended outcomes, the value of the conference (a
true case) was nearly £1 million to the bank (which they hadn’t worked
out). When the sales person put the proposal together, she included a
value statement and suggested the bank’s investment in her services as a
percentage of this amount. She got the business.

And so will you, if you build trusting relationships and illustrate compelling value.

(n business relationships x d) + t demonstration of value = sales

Where n = the number of relationships, d = depth of those relationships and t = timeliness.

Andy Edwards is a professional motivational conference speaker. For details: visit www.nine5three.com

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Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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