Category Archives: Sales

How selling to a difficult client prepares you for outsourcing

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I think that the people in the Midwest who live near those defunct factory buildings need to think about this. If your only goal is to force people to pay you far more than a market wage for your service by creating artificial market conditions, you will end up in shatters. The key to winning the game of business and or outsourcing is to be able to maintain a constant demand for a service, and not just to be able to hold companies temporarily hostage using unions.

If you live in America, it is easy to make money here. But, what if you trained yourself by trying to sell in Asia. Asians are tough customers, and it is a lot harder to sell to them. First of all the culture is different. Their needs are different. The language is different. Their perception of you could count very badly against you as well. Last of all, price competition in Asia could count against you.

In America, people command huge wages. Even for unskilled work, you sometimes have to pay up to $20 per hour. Our neighbor Canada is not much cheaper, although their sluggish economy lends itself to somewhat lower prices. Mexico has abundant inexpensive labor, but their manufacturing is not as well developed as China unless you are in an industry they excel at.

So, if your goal was to sell to the hardest customers in Asia, if you survived, you would be the toughest, most adaptable, innovative bastard that ever lived. I would bow down to anyone who could meet this challenge.

Guys like Mark Zuckerburg, love challenges. That is why he is so successful. He is in China now running in the smog. He calls it a smog run. He is a loveable nut, and out to make a difference. He even learned to speak excellent Chinese if you overlook the fact that he speaks this tonal language in a monotone.

For America to compete in outsourcing, costs need to be low, and a lot of innovating would be necessary to get those costs down.

For people in India to do well in outsourcing, quality needs to be a lot higher. Indians try to over-capitalize on price. But, if the quality of your service is horrible from the first time you answer your phone until the last email where you get dumped, you are not going to excel as a company. You can compete on price, quality, customized service, or anything else. My suggestion is to be competitive in as many ways as you can. That way you can win the game.

I don’t know what BPO owners do. I know that call centers are very competitive. But, the other outsourcing industries do not seem to have bosses that ask themselves daily — what else can I do to compete? Maybe they should!

Does your company have testimonials from happy clients?

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Does your company have testimonials from happy clients? Yes? Do you think you should post those on your website? Maybe put a few on your home page and then have a link to the rest on some other page. Credibility is what drives business in today’s world (and yesterday’s world as well, but saying today’s world sounds better). You gain credibility when a client refers you to another client. You gain credibility when you have a professional looking website. You gain credibility when you have smart people answer the phone at your company and behave in a helpful way.

But, testimonials are one of the more potent forms of credibility. So, if you have a few, don’t waste them. Show them!

People want to work with you if other people are happy with you.

(1) Do you have testimonials from happy clients? Post them on your website!
(2) You gain credibility when a client refers you to another client. Get online reviews!

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Does your company behave as if it doesn’t want new clients?

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Does your company behave as if it doesn’t want new clients?
Believe it or not, worldwide, most companies I have talked to seem to not want new clients. Perhaps they just don’t like me which is hard to understand considering what a fun and jovial person I am.

In America, finding a salesperson to talk to is like pulling teeth at most companies.

In India, even getting a company to answer their phone is a daunting task.

How does your company behave?

Do you make it easy for new people to start working with your company?

97% of Indian companies make it very difficult to even talk to a manager who will answer simple questions.

Are you one of the 97%, or the 3%?

If you want to grow your company, I suggest joining the ranks of the 3%

Of course if too many others join the 3%, then it is in danger of becoming 4%, or even 5%. The world might become a better place!

I do not have any specific advice for companies around the world except:

(1) Answer your phone

(2) Answer your phone professionally and be willing and able to answer questions.

(3) The rest is up to you — good luck. If you are like the 97% you will need luck and lots of it.

How many salespeople is the perfect number?

Categories: Hiring & Firing, Sales, Semi-Popular | Tagged | Leave a comment

There are so many ways of looking at this issue. I am convinced that there is no right answer. But, I believe that getting closer to the optimal answer lies in stopping thinking of the question in these terms. How many — stop that thought! Each salesperson is a human being, and each human being has unique characteristics. My goal in hiring people is to find people who have unique ways of thinking that can help me find amazing new ways of doing things that will lead to business growth that I never thought was possible. You will not find this amazement if you simply hire a calculated amount of staff who do the same work every day. Don’t stifle the talent of your hired staff — nurture it!

Basically, what many companies don’t get, is that by banging your head against the wall, trying to get sales out of people, you are missing the point. To get ahead, you need to have a goal of adding value to society and NOT selling things. You should be there to EDUCATE your clients, not to sell to them. Guide them to the best choices for them instead of pushing them around. They will like you a lot more in the short run and the long run and trust you much more. Trust translates into sales. In short, you sell without selling which is a Zen principle!

So, what should you look for in your sales force? I have been selling the same products for years, and my sales techniques were mediocre at best. What I learned is that I needed to spend more time listening to my clients. I needed to learn how they think, what mattered to them, and what makes them tick. Everybody is motivated differently. My mistake was simple. I think in a logical way, therefor, when presenting reasons to others, I use logic and assume that that is the ideal way to motivate others. My mistake was that only 1% of Americans are logical, and the rest think emotionally (if at all). My new sales technique is based on listening to my clients and seeing how they typically react which is emotionally, not rationally. So, I tell them stories (true stories without embelleshment) which make them gasp. I even make myself gasp and say, “Oh My God”. I tell them horror stories of dangerous and stupid things that other people did who didn’t educate themselves enough about the business, and I use this to sell courses. We also give mini quizzes over the phone to highlight what our clients don’t know which can hurt them. Now, our sales have tripled. The root of the increase is all about tuning in, not selling.

The question is — can you hire salespeople who are experts at tuning into your clients and finding out what makes them tick? That is how you adapt your sales techniques, and develop better products that are more catered to what your clients really want.

So, stop thinking about how many salespeople you need, and start thinking about how to get salespeople who tune in and give you information you can use in battle! You might want to have extra salespeople around to give yourself plenty of time to feel out the market and gather critical information which could multiply your business by 100x. I kid you not!

(a) The perfect # of salespeople is that there is no perfect #. It is about tuning into your clients.
(b) It doesn’t matter how many salespeople you have — it is about LISTENING to the clients!
(c) I mistakenly thought that Americans thought logically when 99% think emotionally. Highly illogical captain. #sales
(d) Spock hired a salesforce to sell advertising and found that 97.6% of American consumers were highly illogical. #sales
(e) Trust translates into sales. In short, you sell without selling which is a Zen principle!

(f) You annoy by overselling; Gain trust and you’ll find that sales will go through like a hot knife through butter.
(g) Is it the number of salespeople or the character of the salespeople that really matters?
(h) Don’t count the number of salespeople you have, count the number of sales

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Capitalizing on the shock factor in sales

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Capitalizing on the shock factor in sales

Categories: Sales | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Do you have the ability to shock people? It is a skill. Comedians rely on their ability to create material that stimulates people’s interest and make them laugh. A salesperson is somewhat like a comedian in the sense that they also need to spark an acute reaction in people. Another reason why salespeople I know are like comedians, is that they are so bad at sales, that it is actually funny!

But, getting back to the shock factor. calls it the “Wow factor”. You could also call it the “Oh my god” factor. This is an important factor regardless of what you call it. Human beings go through life in a humdrum way. We are addicted to what we normally do, and seldome do anything new. We are stuck in our ruts, and only get out of them on the weekends if we are lucky. We drive the same car, have the same computer, have the same family, take the same route to work, buy gasoline at the same place, get the same peanut m&m’s at the same gas station, and go shopping at the same costco. The Indian aunties I know will go to the same Costco their entire lives buying the exact same chapatis from the same aisle, etc. If they move to another metro because their husband got a job, the first thing they will do is to find the closest Costco and find the chappati aisle and continue in their rut.

So, the point of the shock technique is that you need to shock people to get them out of their habit. You have to have them get a sudden realization that what they already have is terrible. Or, they need to discover that what you have is much better.

I use wow type sales techniques every day. I tell people that if they do “x” that statistically they will have triple the business and will stand out. Get our certification, get reviews, and write a better profile notes section is what I tell my subscribers. Then, I do the reverse psychology and have them pretending to be the customer looking at their listing. If you were the customer, then who would you pick? Would you pick you with the zero reviews, or Fred who has 30 reviews? Me too, I would pick Fred. Get some reviews! If they can see the situation from another person’s point of view, then I can sell to them. The problem is that my “wow” doesn’t always work. Many people are not motivated by success. People with what I condescendingly call “lower consciousness” are much more motivated by fear than by success. So, I use a reverse-wow technique. I tell them that as other people get reviews, the others typically will monopolize the work, and you will be left holding the bag. Conditions change, and the way they are changing, you will get less and less until you are out of business — unless you do “x”. Then we tell them stories about people whose phone stopped ringing when the guy below them on the search results got 10 reviews overnight. That story had the shock factor we needed and we made the sale.

The shock factor is about pressing emotional buttons in people. Sometimes reasoning with them doesn’t work, but stories often do. So, if you want to be good at sales, learn to be good at telling stories — REAL stories. Believe in the power of what you are selling. Your belief really shows too.

My parting words are that you should wow yourself.
I was talking to my assistant and we decided that the certification we were selling was so valuable that it was worth a house in the best case scenario. Not a mansion, but maybe a small starter house. For $179, you can not get a house in any neighborhood that I have heard of. What we were selling had amazing value, but was not expensive at all. The minute we made that inner realization, we started selling them like popcorn!

How many people should answer your phones?

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Philosophers have been asking this question for ages. How many people should you hire to answer your business lines? What do you think Socrates would say?

Socrates – First of all, I need to tell you that my time machine is parked in the back, and I can’t spend too long here, because I have things to do back in ancient Greece. You understand, right?

Business owner – Okay: How many people should be trained to answer my phones?

Socrates – What do you have to lose if you don’t answer a phone call?
Business owner – Potentially, I could lose a million dollar sale.

Socrates – Wow, I am in the wrong business. What is it that you do again?

Business owner – I am in the call center business. We are very good on the phone handling our clients’ customers. However, when clients call us about OUR service, we seem to never be able to answer the phone. How ironic. A call center that can’t find a way to answer their own phone! It sounds like good material for a Seinfeld episode.

Socrates – Hmmm. You mean you use those little plastic devices with the wires, and you can talk to people across the world. I never could figure out how those worked. We didn’t have them in my time in ancient Greece you know. We just yelled really loud when we wanted to communicate with someone far away — or sent a messenger. To answer your question, it is that important that you answer your phone, so you don’t lose any sales, I would recommend this philosophy:

Train a dozen people to answer phones. Train them everything they need to know to answer many different types of questions. It doesn’t matter if they ever use their skills or not. The point is that they will be ready, just in case the phone rings with that million dollar client. It is sort of like a security system in your modern houses. In ancient Greece we just bought a mean looking dog to scare away burglers. But, in your world, you need an electronic security system with motion detectors. The system very rarely gets put to use, but when it does, you save yourself from losing all of your priceless art work, jewelry, etc. If you find that some of the lucky dozen are not so good at phone answering, then you narrow it down to a few. But, take the training seriously, because you can lose clients that would revolutionize your business. And it’s not only about the money, it is about prestige as well. What if you got a famous multi-national company on board? You could brag about it to all of your other prospective clients (whose calls you are currently failing to answer) and impress them.

Business owner – That sounds like a great philosophy of business. You are right when you said you are in the wrong business. You should open a messenger service back in ancient Greece. You will become the richest philosopher in all of the Mediterranian. You will accumulate so much money that you have time to be idle all day long and entertain yourself by asking your students ridiculous and meaningless questions.

Socrates – That is an interesting point you make — because, that is what I am doing all day long right now on a philospher’s salary — and loving it too I might add.

Business owner — Well, if I took your advice and hired people to answer the phone, I would accumulate so much business that we wouldn’t know how to handle it. And, we would be so busy that we wouldn’t have time to answer the phone — which incidentally is exactly the position that we are in right now!

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The Power of Knowing People for Outsourcing

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Companies are always asking me how to get more clients for their call center, data entry house, software agency, outsourcing outfit, etc. I have many years experience in marketing and have some sales background too. I read that roughly 50% of sales made in the United States were made between people who know each other. If you are always refusing to make small talk with prospective clients, then how will you ever get to know them? The point is that you make sales by having developed a reputation of being trustworthy, helpful, capable, and having people know you.

If people know you and know that you are not trustworthy, then knowing them will not help that much. But, if you have known people for years, and you are always one of the best people to come to for advice, and you are always helpful, they will WANT to spend money on you. They will feel like they owe you as well. They will feel it behooves them to buy from you because who else can they trust at the level that they trust you?

People who own outsourcing companies in India are typically very reserved. They don’t want to get to know NEW people. They don’t answer their phone. If you get them they are busy or don’t want to talk. If they do talk they don’t want to share much about their outsourcing work. They make me not want to know them and not want to use them. On the other hand I know two really nice guys in Web Design & PHP programming. They do e-Commerce set up, blog set up and stuff like that. They are the nicest people I know in India. I like working with them partly because their work is good, but they are very pleasant to be around.

If you want more outsourcing business, I suggest working on your personality and networking skills. If you make small talk with people who work at Western companies (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc.), then people will get to know you. Instead of trying to sell them something, just chat. Get to know them, and what their needs are. People hate it when you try to sell them something, but love it when you help them solve a problem. In India small talk is not approved of in business, but in the West it is a must, and you need to master this art. Forget about mastering the art of selling. Master the art of chatting and getting to know what matters to people. Sales is about finding a need and fulfilling it. If you are too busy selling (cramming something down someone’s throat), you will be too busy to LISTEN to what the person actually wants and needs!

Network, Chat, Listen, and understand the power of knowing people so that you can effectively market your outsourcing services!!

Do you have a good salesperson at your company?

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Hiring a good salesperson can be expensive. And they don’t grow on trees either — at least not the good salespeople. Most of my friends complain that when they hire a new company, the salesperson makes a huge impression on them, and then the workers let them down consistantly. Having a good salesperson alone doesn’t make your company successful. In the long run, it is the quality of your work and communication that will grow your business. But, a good salesperson can give you that turbo-boost that you desperately need.

When people build an expensive house in America, they make sure that the value of the house is proportional to the value of the land. I forget how many percent the land is supposed to be of the overall cost — maybe it was 60%. If you hire a million dollar salesman and have workers who you pay pennies, you will gain great clients and lose them faster than you can say — aloo-gobhi-paratha. On the other hand, if you have great workers and a lousy salesman, you will RETAIN your clients very well, and your company will grow by REFERRALS in the long run. So, pay your sales force proportionately to what you pay your workers. Sales people generally get paid more than workers, but keep it proportionately more (whatever that means to you).

If you can’t afford a full time super salesperson, then perhaps you can get a freelancer, or part time person. What arrangement you make is not even that important. The main thing is that you train someone who will hopefully stick with your company for a long time and get you lots of clients. And you will reward them with great commissions, compliments, and a few samosas as well. If I were the salesperson, you can skip the compliments and go straight for the samosas!

Most companies have nobody good answering their phones if they answer at all. It is important not to have to wait for a salesperson. If I am calling 20 companies, I want a salesperson NOW. Generally, with 20 calls, I can reach 3 salespeople, and get a few return calls. They always return calls when I am too busy to talk. If you want to attract business, be FREE when I am available to talk, so I can call you and get you! Since people are so busy, it makes sense to hire extra people and train them to do sales. You need a crackerjack answering your phone if you want sales.

I have someone really smart answering my phones, and she just broke a sales record of all time. She gets better over the years (9 years so far) and this September beat all other Septembers in a decade. Sales have always been spectacular with her, but now they are in a new level altogether. Does my experience sound like your company’s experience? No? Then, hire a good salesperson today!

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Sell dreams, not services: a Steve Jobs principle

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I cater to those with outsourcing companies throughout the world who want to get customers. As a customer myself, I don’t like salesmen. Obviously, you have to sell your product or service, but if you don’t live up to the promises the salesperson made to you, then people will feel disappointed and stop using your service. To grow your business, great salespeople only go so far. You need a reputation for delivering quality to keep clients and get referrals which is how your business will become big in the long run.

Sell the experience
But, are you just selling services, or selling dreams. If you are in the steak business, do you sell steaks, or do you sell sizzle. The sizzle is the experience you get when you bite into a nicely cooked steak. When you buy a new i-phone, you are not buying a piece of electronics, you are purchasing an experience that will change and enrich your life. What about your company?

What dream are you selling?
Imagine that your outsourcing service is so wonderful, that the customer experience is fantastically pleasant, and that the work done transforms the life of the customer. Imagine that every time the customers call, they get to talk to someone very pleasant who can answer all of their questions and hardly ever puts them on hold. Imagine that work gets done perfectly, on time, every time. Imagine that the bills you give your customers are always reasonable and never a cause for concern. If you have a good salesman you can promise all of these things and help people see the dream, but if you don’t deliver, you’ll be selling a dream, but creating a nightmare.

Most clients are not happy, yet…
Most customers have never had a good experience with any outsourcing company. In my experience, 90% get a D or an F, while only 10% get a passing grade — generally a C. The ones who are any good, or seem like they probably are good (because I couldn’t afford to try them) often price themselves out of the market place so that regular folks like me can’t afford them. Those out of reach companies account for less than 1% of the total. But, imagine giving them some competition.

Selling the dream doesn’t have to be hard
Focusing on the customer experience doesn’t have to be expensive or hard. Just giving them nice people to talk to and quality work on time doesn’t sound so difficult to me. How much extra would it cost you to offer an experience like that and how much extra would clients pay you for such an experience? I wouldn’t try to charge too much extra until your company has grown to at least forty employees. Trying to charge too much in the beginning will stifle your growth rate. In any case, it is more about focusing on the customer experience, even though sales is a part of the picture.

Does sales have to be part of the picture?
What if your work sells itself? Talk is cheap, but results speak for themselves. What if the first time a customer calls you, they have such a wonderful experience that you don’t have to convince them that they will continue to have a wonderful experience? That’s the kind of sales I like. Let your good behavior do the talking instead of your salesperson. Be helpful. Make a difference. Sure, do a little selling too, but focus more on giving results that will brighten your clients’ day, and watch your business grow. You will be doing such a service to humanity just by doing a nice job with a smile! You can’t imagine what a difference it makes!