Monday, June 25, 2012

The Makings of a Great Sales Person

Sales… people just hear this word and they automatically think either a job I would hate to have or people I hate to converse with.  And why is that one may ask?  Why do people hate salespeople and refuse to be put in a sales environment?  I can tell you that at times I get it.  I understand where people come from.  There is a simple reason why people hate the word SALES… because that’s what it is…. SALES. 

            I started my sales career at a very young age.  After going to dental assisting school and realizing that blood makes me queasy, I got my first real professional job with Farmers Insurance as an assistant.  After learning the insurance world, I moved to American Family Insurance where I became an agent with my property and casualty license.  I did this at the age of 18.  After a year of answering machines, hang ups and cuts from the white pages on my fingers, I moved to a different kind of sales with The Gazette.  I was invited into the world of call center sales. 

            I have been with The Gazette off and on for nine years.  In between my nine years with the Gazette, I was a Retail Sales Associate with Denver Mattress and a General Manger for American Laser Centers.  I came back to The Gazette because I missed the atmosphere, the comradery, and the fun at The Gazette.  I especially missed the training on how to be an accomplished salesperson here.  It’s different than any other sales position I have ever had.  So what makes a great salesperson?

            First of all, don’t call me a salesperson.  That is not what I do.  I do not sell people anything.  Not saying that what I do doesn’t come with a price, but I’m not selling products like other sales jobs.  I am creating, designing, and implementing marketing solutions that guarantee results for my client.  I am a marketing specialist, not a salesperson.  So what does this mean to my clients?  When I walk into an office as a marketing specialist, it means I am coming in with knowledge and expertise, not products.  I am not here to act like a “car salesman” and nickel and dime my clients.  No… I am here to listen to what you have to say, what your needs are, and how… as a consultant… I can make your life better as a business owner.  DO NOT CALL ME A SALESPERSON!!  I am a marketing specialist.  So as a business owner who has salespeople, I can tell you how to bring people in and train them to be consultants for your company.  I can tell you how to create partnerships, not sales, and I can tell you how to build a clientele base based on relationships and not a bottom dollar.  How do I do this?  It’s simple… by being human.

Here are my basic simple yet effective rules of being a great consultant:

10. Any consultant (A.K.A salesperson) must believe in the company and the products in which he or she is representing.  If you don’t believe in the company you are with, you will never be able to show the positives of what your company has to offer, and that is a waste of everyone’s time.

9. Any consultant must be confident and cool.  You must believe in yourself and express passion in what you do.

8. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?  Many consultants (A.K.A. salespeople) fall short of success because they are afraid to go beyond their comfort zone.  If you know you cannot get passed the fear, then this profession is not for you.  Besides part of the thrill is when you finally break through the fear and see success.

7. Be sincere!!!  Let me say this again…  BE SINCERE…. Nobody likes to be sold.  And when I say nobody, I really mean nobody.  The last thing people want is to be pressured by someone who talks a lot of game.  This is why car salesman have a bad rap.  Deep down, we know that they are in it for the money, not to help the customer out.  Be sincere… it’s not about making the bottom dollar.  It’s about helping a customer and winning them for life.  You show them that you are honest and really care about helping them; they will open up, break down that sales wall and let you in.  Some of the best sales people I know will tell you they have never sold anything in their life.  They have only assisted people in making their lives better.  What great advice!!!

6. Dress for success!!  Your appearance can make or break a sale.  This is because people judge you in the first three seconds they see you.  Now not to say you can’t be yourself.  Heck I’m out of the norm when it comes to professionalism, but I am professional nonetheless.  Your appearance says a lot about who you are.  This also means don’t try too hard either.  Believe it or not men…. Sometimes a tie can scare people.  Or the jacket may be a bit much.  Either way, make your appearance your own and dress for success.  No jeans allowed!!

5. Make the meeting about the customer!!  It’s always about the customer.  It’s not about you and your knowledge.  It’s not about what you know.  It’s about them.  This means if you are going into a meeting with a client DO YOUR RESEARCH… know their website, when they first started their business, and what they are all about.  And be inquisitive!! Ask questions about the business but also learn about the person you are talking to.  BE SINCERE!! Don’t ask questions to get ahead.  Ask because you sincerely want to know. 

4. Know what you are talking about!  You are the expert right?  So act like it.  Do not go somewhere unprepared.  You know the ins and outs of your business and every product you have to offer.  You should never come across a question where you have to say “I don’t know”.  You never say that!! Instead if they do ask a question that you don’t know, say “I will get that information to you as soon as I get back to the office”.  You are the expert; you better make sure you act like you are.

3. This is not a sales call, this is a conversation.  Do not go in expecting to make a huge sale on your first try.  Be grateful you got in.  So do not go in there trying to sell something right away.  THAT’S BAD, VERY VERY BAD.  The only time you do that is if the customer wants that.  Instead your first meeting is about a conversation.  It’s about getting to know the client and their needs. You cannot sell something to someone if you do not know what their needs are.  Can a car salesman sell you a car without talking to you first? No!!  Can a store associate help you find the right size shoes without talking to you first?  NO!!!  So don’t expect that you can read their minds and do that on the first try. 

2. Build the relationship!  This means making friends.  This means long term partnerships.  This means that you honestly care enough about the person you are talking to, to invest your time and efforts into their cause.  Some of my best clients are my closest friends.  They trust me and know that if I am going to bring something there way it is because I have their best interest at heart.  They know if I ask them to lunch it’s because I enjoy their company, not because I need to make an extra $$$ to hit my revenue goal for the month. 

1. BE YOURSELF!!!!  Let me say this again… BE YOURSELF!!!  I have been a top producing representative at The Gazette for a long time because I am nothing more than myself.  Don’t believe me?  Ask anyone at The Gazette who I am.  I am simply me.  I dress the way I want, I act the way I want, and I sell the way I want.  I sell by not selling.  And this makes me a successful sales person.  Sounds funny right?  It’s true though.  I am myself all the time and people respect that.  I am not coming in with strings attached.  What you see is what you get.  I am genuine, honest, and very caring.  I NEVER treat my clients like a sale.  I treat them like my friends.  And I am genuine about it. 

            I know that what I am showing you here is a bit unorthodox in the sales world.  But I’m telling you that I have been selling my heart out since I was 18 years old.  I am now 31 and I am still going strong.  So if you have a business with sales people that have a hard time pulling their weight… there could be a few reasons why.  Maybe they don’t have that special ability to sell or maybe they just don’t know how.  Either way, if you follow my steps and bring the human element back into the sales process, you may be surprised by the outcome. 

Brandy Vasquez

Monday, June 11, 2012

Using a QR Code Correctly

We all see them everywhere we go.  Most companies understand that they must have one.  I mean what an easy way for people to download and receive your website information right to their phone.  But there is a problem with these fantastic squares of downloading joy… if it is not done correctly, then people will not use the code. 

What is a QR code? Do most people know and understand what these fuzzy looking squares are all about?  Have you actually downloaded a QR code as a consumer? And if so what was your thought about the experience?
 This is a QR Code.  You see them everywhere!!  All you have to do is take a look. They are on signs, buildings, brochures, sites, vehicles, calendars, businesses, and everywhere else that may get your attention.  The object of the QR code is so the consumer can scan the code and receive your information quickly and effectively through their incredible smart phone.  Once they scan the code, then the consumer can tap into your website, receive information on upcoming events, check in to foursquare, like your Facebook page, enter to win prizes and much more.  The QR Code is an ingenious design for the person on the go, which… let’s face it is everyone.  Companies can even make a QR code look like logos, designs, change the color, and so much more.  There is so much you can do with this technological bundle of fun!!

Here is a great example of a QR code.  Pamela Hazelton is from eCommerce, Shopability & webOS.  She has a strong knowledge of QR codes and how they should be done effectively.  Here is a copy of her QR code.  Now go ahead and scan the code.  What do you see?  The QR code takes you to a very simplistic MOBILE website.  Yes I will say this again… MOBILE website.  What is a mobile website?  This is website designed to fit a phone.  If you maneuver in the mobile website on your phone, you can clearly see it moves up and down and fits on your screen.  Unlike a regular website that is not mobilized, it is simplistic and easy to use.  If you go to a regular website on a mobile phone, your scrolling up, down, left and right, the words are to small, and it is very hard to maneuver a large website on such a small screen.   What Pamela has done here is made the consumer experience easy and fast.  That’s what we want nowadays… easy and fast.  I cannot stress enough how much I HATE having to use my phone to look up sites and a company DOES NOT have a mobile website. YUCK!!!  This will 50% of the time make me get out of that companies site and look up another company that may have a more simplistic way of getting what I want.  You know what I am talking about don’t you?  I am not the only person out there that hates that.  I mean just think about it for a minute.  Think about the last time you used your phone to look up information on a company.  Try and Google a product, any product… let’s say shoes.  You can tell when a website has been mobilized.  The first site that popped up under shoes was shoedazzle.  They have a mobilized site.  Very easy to use, fits right on my phone and it’s convenient and fun. Now from there go and pick a local store that pops up underneath all the national websites. I chose Runners Roost Colorado.  This is a perfect example of a website that is not mobilized.  This website is small, unreadable, hard to maneuver and in my opinion irritating to use.  The fact of the matter is they should have a mobilized website and they don’t.   Now back to what this has to do with a QR code…


You should not create a QR code to scan directly to an non-mobilized website.  That is bad!!! Mobile websites, unlike big websites are quick to build and a lot less expensive to create and maintain.  The people here at the Gazette can get a mobile website set up for you with a QR code quickly and at an affordable cost!!

Now that you have seen a good example of a QR code that goes directly to a mobile site, here is an example of a nice looking QR code that does not go to a mobile site.  Go ahead and scan it.  What do you think about that?  It’s small and cluttered, hard to read and you lose interest right?  I mean a company spends money to make a cool QR code, but attaches it to a site that is not compatible with a phone?  That’s a big no no in my book. 

In this day and age, every business should have a QR code.  Every business should also have a mobile website.  If the majority of the world is looking up information on their phone more so than on a computer, don’t you think you should have a site that is compatible?  The Gazette practices what it preaches and has mobile websites for every site we run.  Go check out on your smart phone and see how our mobile site works.  It’s easy, convenient, and yes… fast.  So if this information intrigues you and you think you would like to have a mobile website, give us a call here at the Gazette.  We will be more than happy to assist you in that.  In the mean time, do some research and scan QR codes when you see them.  Check to see what other companies are doing and how, as a consumer, you feel about the way that company is marketing their business.