Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sales Tools: Three Simple Methods for Sales Success

Welcome Guest Blogger: Traci O'Brien

As a sales professional, I recently attended my yearly sales conference in Indianapolis and came back renewed. refreshed and further determined to succeed using three tried and true methods– Listen Better, Be The Expert and Give 'Em What They Want!

Sometimes I feel as if the art of listening has fallen by the wayside. With life being so busy it is very easy to be distracted (Oh look… shiny!). However, when dealing with a customer it is critical to be PRESENT and LISTEN. You need to listen in order to gather all the facts so you can help a customer but it also shows them that you are interested in them and that their business is important to you. The last person they want to do business with is someone who is making something or someone else a priority when they are supposed to be listening.

Be the Expert
Customers want to do business with an expert. Your expertise offers clients reassurance in their buying decisions. We are all experts in our field to varying degrees. The old adage, “fake it 'til you make it” can only get you so far. Know your core products. It’s ok to NOT have all the answers. Just know exactly where to find them should someone ask a question that you don’t have the answer to.

Give 'Em What They Want
Consumers want to buy what everybody else has. Have you ever gone shopping for a new home appliance? You see fifteen different refrigerators and you decide on the one that’s out of stock. It must be the best one. Everyone wants it so we want it too! Making a decision is hard for most people but if you have listened well and given them your expert advice you can help them make a well informed, educated decision on what is best for them.

By Traci O'Brien, Independent Sales Rep
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Leveraging LinkedIn for Business Growth

While most of us have profiles on LinkedIn, have you ever wondering if you're using this social media tool to its fullest? Many of us continue to build 'Contacts' on LinkedIn but rarely utilize them for referrals, introductions, conversations and other ways to expand our businesses.

Here are a few ways you can utilize LinkedIn as a sales, marketing and business development tool:

1. Complete your profile
Has LinkedIn rated your profile 100% complete? If not, take the opportunity to get your message across by filling in all aspects of your profile. Give people a reason to want to connect with you. Include the keywords and terms that your potential prospects would use when searching to find your services or products.

2. Join Groups
Groups are a good way to find and communicate with qualified prospects. Join groups that have the same professional, affiliations, goals or interests as you. Try creating a new group if you can't find one that suits your needs.

3. Prospecting
Are you looking for a specific person to connect with? Maybe you're looking for prospects in a certain industry or others with a specific title? Check out LinkedIn's Search field in the upper right hand corner. Clicked on the "Advanced" button and check out all the options you have to search the LinkedIn member database! Search by title, zip code, industry, etc. to find prospects.

LinkedIn will show you any "shared connections" you have with these prospects to possibly facilitate an introduction. Leverage your current connections to add more.

4. Events
Post any kind of event on LinkedIn to increase visibility. Click on 'Events' under the 'More' tab on the LinkedIn home page to create your event. Include as many details as possible and a link to where people can register. Use the 'Share This Event' tool to post your event on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The best news is you can go beyond simply posting info in your newsfeed hoping people will see it. Now you can send your event info to your Groups, or any individuals you're connected with in a personalized message.

If you personally engage with your network on LinkedIn, you'll find the value in the individual and company information it holds for your business.