Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today

I write about the three topics that I am most passionate about; Sales, Marketing and Social Media. These topics are covered from my experiences in outside sales and marketing. My objective is to use my expertise to help business and the individual.

9  Key Strategies to Overcoming Sales Objections

In sales, everyone has to be able to overcome objections to be successful. The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them. This can be done by providing a thorough sales presentation that covers all the information about your products and services. Also, you must address any questions the prospect has immediately. However, objections will come up from time to time. Some of these objections are real buying signals and others are just stalls to put you off. As a Salesperson, you need to be able to tell the difference.

Handling Objections & Stalls from Prospects

1.I am happy with my current supplier.

When you call on a prospect they say we are happy with our current supplier, this can mean one of two things. The first is that they are truly happy and the second is that they want you to get lost. (A stall) Obviously, you need to be able to tell the difference. You should be able to tell by a prospect’s body language and level of attention.

If it is the first scenario, you should find out what supplier they currently use. When the prospect tells you it is your job to demonstrate how you are better. Once you feel that you have demonstrated how you are better, ask for a commitment or small order. By asking for a small order, you provide the prospect an opportunity to take a chance on you with minimal risk. I have had a lot of success with this approach.

If the scenario is the second one, the prospect will not provide you with any information or say that they deal with a company or person for 20 years and they do not want to change. In this case, I would still ask for the order. Should the prospect say he is not interested again, I would thank them for their time and leave. You should call on this prospect a few more times and then only call on them every two months. You need to focus your time on prospects that are receptive to you and your offering.

2. I want to think it over.

When you hear this, what the prospect is really saying is I am interested but I am not totally convinced. You should ask the prospect what specifically about this offer do you want to think over? Your goal here is to uncover the real objection. If the prospect gives you a specific answer, you are in business. Address the objection and ask a closing question. Say if I can handle XYZ, is there any reason why you would not purchase this product. Should the prospect say, no you covered everything, this means that they are either stalling, not interested in your offering, or will not tell you the real issue they have with your product. If this is the case, ask when they plan on making a decision and follow-up with them in that time-frame.

3. I need to consult another party

This can be a stall to put you off. You will need to determine this by the prospect’s body language and the level of attention you receive. When the prospect tells you this, you should ask for a meeting with the prospect and the person they need to consult. Should the prospect agree to this, you have a chance. If they will not agree to a meeting, it is a stall and they are not interested in your offering. However, I would still call on them a few more times. If you have no success, call on them every two months.

4. I am not the Decision-Maker- The Columbo Technique

During some cold calls to dental offices, I was not able to obtain the information that I needed to overcome prospect objections. This occurred because the person I was speaking to was not the decision-maker. As a result, they were reluctant to talk for fear that they would say the wrong things or give away too much information on their bosses’ business. Despite their reluctance, I would continue to talk with them, build rapport and bond. I would ask to speak to the decision-maker but many times they were not in the office, or the person I was speaking with would not want to disturb them for fear of getting reamed out when I left the office.

When this was the case, I would use the Columbo technique to get the information that I needed. I would turn to leave the office, put my hand on the doorknob and ask who their supplier was or when I could catch the boss. Usually, the person I was speaking with would provide me with a lot of information about the prospect. Even more, than I expected! This is because the person that I was speaking with put their guard down. After all, they thought I was leaving the office so one last question didn’t seem so bad.

During other cold calls, I was able to speak to the decision-maker. I would build rapport with them and try to obtain as much information as I could to overcome their objections. Many times the prospect would be reluctant to give me information; stating that they were happy with their supplier or they were too busy to speak to me. When they used the supplier objection, I would employ the Columbo technique; turn to leave and ask who their supplier was. Many times they would tell me and I would ask them for few moments of their time to show how my products were better. I would get the time and close the prospect on giving me a trial order. I developed some of my best customers this way. Other times, I was able to obtain a follow-up appointment with the prospect.

The key to the Columbo technique is to get prospects talking. Even if it’s about things not related to their business at first. You want to make them comfortable talking with you. Next, you want to save the question you really want to know for the end of the conversation because the prospect will most likely answer it thinking you are going to leave their office. In other words, their guard is down.

The Columbo technique is a great way to close sales and obtain information.

5. Your price is too high.

Emphasize the quality of your product along with the level of service you will provide. Next, you should demonstrate to the prospect how your offering’s total cost is less than the competitors over the life of the product. Testimonials from loyal customers can also help you here. By taking these steps you demonstrate that your product is valuable and increase your chances of making the sale. (Provided this is the real objection.)

6. We spent our budget.

If they say the money is not the budget, ask If I can offer delayed billing or a payment plan would you be able to take delivery? If the person needs approval from another person, ask to present your product to that individual with your prospect’s endorsement. Should the company really want and need your product, they will find a way to pay for it.

7. I had a bad experience with your company.

I would apologize to the prospect about the experience. Tell them you are the new rep and that you will not let anything bad happen on your watch. Ask them to give you a chance. This will not work all of the time.

8. Call me After the Holidays

During the holiday season, many people are in holiday and party shopping mode. from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and many other things. Also, everyone is thinking about going to parties. So the last thing on your customer’s and prospects’ mind is to make a year-end purchase; unless they receive a year-end tax advantage. As a sales rep, you are under pressure to close deals so you can earn that bonus. Unless your customer is in a buying mood, you are going to hear the objection “call me after the holidays”. If you have done business with this customer, you will have an easier time than if you are making a cold call.

To combat this objection. You have to attempt to get around this objection. If your offer is time-sensitive or if you can provide a break on pricing or payment through a special promotion for example no payments for 3 months; make your customer aware of them. However, at this time of the year, you will get customers and prospects who just don’t want to deal with you and your offering. As a sales rep, it is your job to be able to tell if the customer and prospect are telling you the truth. In other words, you need to qualify their objections. This means following up with every customer and prospect even when things look bleak.

Should your customers and prospects insist that call you after the holidays, I would find out which holiday they mean. Next, I would pin them down to a specific day and time to call back. I recommend sending your customers and prospects a holiday card with a little note reminding them about the appointment; stating how you look forward to speaking with them on the specific date and time. Once this time comes, I would hold them to their promise. Deliver your presentation and ask for the business.

9. Testimonials and Referrals

Showing Testimonials to a prospect can be a great way for them to trust you enough to make a purchase. If you don’t have any the sale is that much more difficult but not impossible. I have made plenty of Sales without them.

Once you have made a sale to a customer, it is important to follow-up with a customer. As a Salesperson, it is important to deliver on the promises you make to customers. This means checking in with the customer throughout the implementation of your product or service and staying in touch with the customer after the sale. In this post, I am going to discuss how to earn referrals and testimonials.

During my time as an outside sales representative in New York City, making sales was the highlight of my day. Once I made a sale, I was itching to ask for a referral or a testimonial. In other words, I wanted to ask the customer the question Do you know of anyone who could benefit from my product and services? However, once I made the sale my inner voice told me not to ask for a referral. Now many people would want to ask because they feel that the customer bought their products or services and this shows a sign of trust. But what did the customer really buy? Yes, the customer bought you and your products but the main thing that they bought was your promise to deliver value through your offering. How can you ask someone to put their credibility on the line when you and your solution are unproven? Yet many people do.

Asking for a referral right after the sale is a mistake because you have not delivered on your promise and you will seem ungrateful. The customer will think that you are not interested in building a relationship and that you just want to make a commission. Remember your job as a Salesperson is to build relationships with customers and to make sales by demonstrating the value of your products to the customer. Once the sale is complete, it is your job to deliver on the promises that you make to your customer.

Now you are thinking well this is great but when do I ask for a referral? How do I ask for a referral?

I would ask the customer for a referral when you know the customer is happy with the implementation of your product or service. In other words, ask when you have delivered on your promise. If you offer more than one product or service try to cross-sell or upsell the customer first. See if the customer will use more of your products or services or if the customer purchases more expensive offerings from you. Once the customer purchases more items from you, the customer is demonstrating that they like and trust you. This is the time to ask for a referral. I usually waited until this point to ask for a referral.

I would ask the customer for a referral by first thanking them for the business that they have provided and trusted me with. Then I would ask if they knew of anyone like themselves that would benefit from my offering. My experience has taught me that the customers were always willing to offer themselves as a reference. Customers who offered me a referral would let me use their names with other clients or pass my name along to their peers.

Testimonials are like referrals. Testimonials can come in a variety of forms. There are a testimonial letter and a testimonial video. The testimonial letter is when a customer writes a letter stating that you did a wonderful job for them and endorses you. The digital version of this letter is the recommendation feature on LinkedIn. The testimonial video is when a client speaks of your performance in a short video segment.

When asking for a testimonial, offer the customer the option to choose the option they feel comfortable with. Also, be sure to tell them what specific aspect of your service you want them to focus on. Once you receive a referral and/or testimonial, make sure to thank your customer. Should you get new business through a referral, provide great service otherwise your customer will not give you anymore! Keep your customer informed on the status of the relationship with the referral.

This is how to handle objections in a nutshell.

What objections did you face?

How did you handle them?

Comment and share.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Why People Use Marketing & Their Challenges

People do Marketing for different reasons and they have different sets of challenges concerning the Marketing they do. I conducted two surveys of my LinkedIn audience.

I asked the following: 

1.What do you hope to gain from your marketing efforts?


2. What is your biggest marketing challenge? Why?


Based on survey findings, 56 percent of people use Marketing for a mix of brand awareness, lead generation, and revenue. In terms of Marketing challenges, 70 percent said that Content Marketing was the biggest.

If you didn’t get a chance to vote, answer these questions in the comments.

What do you hope to gain from your marketing? What is your biggest marketing challenge?

Posted 8 weeks ago

Marketing New Product features to Prospects & Customers: What I'd Do

If I was going to launch a bunch of new product features and I was tasked with developing a social media marketing campaign to market these features to existing customers and generate new leads.

What questions might I have when starting to plan the campaign?

I would ask:

Which channels do customers use when making purchasing decisions?

I would work with the Product Team during beta testing to interview customers to gather feedback on the new features; taking the information to develop blogs and other related messaging. I would also ask customers to provide testimonials about the new features and include them in social media campaigns.

Also, I would survey customers about their learning style and which content format they prefer i.e. videos, blogs, etc. Based on the data from the survey, I would decide which channels I would use along with the type of content to develop.

With what I learned, what might my campaign look like?

The campaign would revolve around a series of Social posts based on customer feedback Including Customer Testimonials obtained from the beta testing and videos of customers using the product. I would build anticipation online using videos to announce the new features. I would have a contest online where users would need to submit an email address.

Which social platforms would I use?

I would use a blog, Email, LinkedIn, Slideshare Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube platforms to educate customers about new offerings.

Are there any emerging social strategies I would want to try?

I would like to attend industry events where I could interview experts in the space. I would want to create a group to reward loyal customers and develop an evangelist program where customers would tell their friends.

How have you marketed new product features to current and prospective customers?

Feel free to comment and share.

Posted 13 weeks ago

How to Create Content Customers Love

Creating content that engages customers is key. Another key element to creating customer-centered presentations and digital content is knowledge of buyer learning styles.

In other words, how do buyers learn best?

There are three learning styles, Visual, Auditory, and kinesthetic. 65 percent of learners are Visual but this is not everyone.

Survey Results

I surveyed my LinkedIn Audience to ask which types of content helps them to learn best and what type of content they value most.

As you can see, people learn best from a mix of written, video, audio, and content formats.

Of the types of content, people want to read, many want to read industry insights, how-to, insights from conferences, and a mix of all of the above.

Based on my findings, I would recommend that content be:

1.Created and repurposed in multiple formats

2.Content is about industry insights, how-to, and insights from conferences

The overall content strategy should be based on how your customers learn and the types and format of content based on their wants and needs.

Bonus Content

In the presentation below, I provide ideas and strategies to:

1.Collect information on your buyer’s learning style

2.Create presentations and content that will engage buyers with content that is optimized to their learning style making it more engaging**

3.Create differentiated presentations and content for all learners when buyer learning styles are unknown

** How to Customize Presentations & content to Buyer learning Styles **

from

Dan Galante

How do you learn best and which content format helps you most? Comment and share.

Posted 22 weeks ago

The Rise of the Learning Pod: How COVID-19 Launched a New Industry

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Source Outschool

COVID-19 forced US schools to Teach remotely for the first time in history back in March 2020. Many Teachers were not prepared to deliver remote instruction. Parents complained that the quality of their child’s education has declined since remote instruction began. Schools used this remote learning model until the end of the school year. As Summer vacation ends, parents grapple with the issue of whether they want to send their children back to school.

Many school districts across the US such as those in California have opted to keep remote learning for the fall because COVID-19 has resurged. In areas where COVID-19 cases are down, school districts such as New York City have opted for blended learning models where students report to school on some days and learn from home for the rest. According to Common Sense Media, over 50 million public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be learning remotely from home this year.

While safety is a top priority, the job of a school is to educate students. Parents are not satisfied with the public education offerings that have been presented for the Fall 2020 school year. This dissatisfaction with public education has made many parents seek out educational alternatives beyond blended and remote learning. These alternatives include learning pods, and supplemental education services such as tutoring.

Learning Pods Versus Tutoring

Learning pods are small learning communities where students meet every day to get instruction from a Teacher. This is different than tutoring because tutors review and reteach material as opposed to presenting new concepts. Tutoring functions as an educational supplement.

Why Parents are opting for In-Person Learning Pods

Parents that opt to use learning pods are looking to gain an educational advantage for their children by recreating traditional schools in a small group setting. The benefits of learning pods are that student instructional and social-emotional needs are met.

The Downside and Risk of In-Person Learning Pods

While this might sound like the perfect fix to remote learning and blended learning it comes with risks. The risks are that students and teachers are still at risk to contract COVID-19.

Another drawback of in-person learning pods is finding space. To address the issues of space, parents are buying apartments and houses; transforming them into schoolhouses. Marie spent $2000 to transform her guest house into a classroom she ordered desks, a whiteboard, a 50-inch television to live stream zoom tutorials, and built a library complete with personalized pencil boxes and workbooks.

Another mother is spending $720 per week to have her preschool son tutored in french with two of his friends.

Amanda Uhry, the NYC-based founder of Manhattan Private School Advisors, states Pandemic in-person pods can cost parents up to $100,000.

Some NYC parents are spending up to $70,000 on elite pod teachers, plus $2,500-a-month on studio apartments to serve as makeshift classrooms, plus an additional $50,000 to keep their kids enrolled at their private schools.

Why Virtual Learning Pods are the best option

How can parents get the benefits of a learning pod at an affordable price? Parents can look to tutoring services that offer virtual learning pods. Virtual learning pods eliminate the need for physical space making them more affordable than in-person learning pods. Groups of parents can sign their children up together in a virtual learning pod to lower the cost even more.

Virtual learning pods take the benefits of traditional school and put it online. Students get the benefits of individualized attention and social interaction all of which are lacking in traditional remote learning. Parents can have peace of mind that knowing that their child will not contract COVID-19; something that pricey in-person learning pods can not guarantee.

How Education Companies Can Corner the Learning Pod Market

Companies that offer Teacher staffing, tutoring, and instructional materials to schools can seize the opportunity in the learning pod market because they are well established in their industry.

K-12 Education and learning companies that hire seasoned certified teachers as tutors and learning pod instructors will be able to do better than companies who hire non-certified or inexperienced Teachers. Why? The reason is that Teacher certification and experience will help companies overcome the credibility hurdle. For Education companies that offer virtual learning pods, the teachers and tutors would need to be skilled in distance learning and remote teaching.

Would you choose a learning pod over traditional instruction for your child?

Why or why not?

Join the conversation.

Posted 32 weeks ago

Key Things Product Marketers need to Address in a Product Marketing Brief

Smartsheet Product Marketing Template

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Smartsheet.com Product Marketing template

Product Marketing involves more than just supporting the Marketing and Product Management teams. Product Marketers serve Marketing, Sales, and Product teams. Each team has different needs and responsibilities. However, they all play a role in growing the business and serving customers.

Just as Marketing has a plan or brief, Product Marketing does.

Here are nine things to address in a Product Marketing Brief.

  1. What does your company? Does your product offering align with your business goals?
  2. What are the features of your product? Do others understand what you are building and why?
  3. Does this Product address gaps in the Market? Include an overview of a Competitive and SWOT analysis.
  4. Who is your ideal customer or target market? Include an overview of findings of demographic, psychographic, and buyer persona research. Does your product solve customer pain points?
  5. How will you measure product success?
  6. What are can go wrong? Can failure be anticipated and corrected?
  7. What is the road-map and schedule of the product? Who’s responsible and in-charge.
  8. Who needs to be included in the project and who needs to approve deliverables?
  9. How will goals be tracked? How often will they be monitored? What insights are you trying to glean from the data?

As a Product Marketer, how do you know if you are successful?

Comment and share.

Posted 33 weeks ago

Social Networks use E-Commerce Shops for New Revenue Streams

Social Networks are places where people congregate; making them great sources of Market Research and Revenue. As a result, Social networks are looking for new revenue streams. The latest revenue channel for them is E-commerce.

Facebook is partnering with Shopify to launch Facebook shops. The social network is the latest to get in on the E-Commerce business.

Last year at SMX East, Google and YouTube shared how they are allowing people to shop online for products. Google also shared people’s buying behavior. I have included parts of the article below.

In Google’s Keynote, I learned how businesses can get an edge during the holidays. I also learned of Google’s plan to use Google Images and YouTube for E-Commerce. Google is also allowing businesses to use location-based Ads in Google Maps.

The key insights of the presentation were:

1. According to Google most shopping visits start online.

2. When diners search for a great place to eat the searches are probably happening on a smartphone.

3. When people are online in cars, more than half of them are searching for information on a mobile device making localization and targeting important.

4. 2/3’s of shoppers say that online video has given them insight and inspiration to make purchases.

5. Shoppers use at least 3 channels or more when shopping.

6. Brands need to provide an omnichannel channel experience all year, especially during the holidays.

7. Sales are happening online and offline. As a result of this shift, Brands need to serve customers on the channels of their choice.

Would you shop on a Social Network? Share your thoughts.

Posted 42 weeks ago

Why Free Trials & Loss Leaders increase Sales & Customer Loyalty

Free or Low-Cost Trials

When creating a new offering, I would offer a free or low-cost trial of your product to the end-users and industry experts. Consumers look for social proof before they buy a product. Now if the product is new, none exists. To lower buyer resistance, you need to make it low risk and feel safe.

In addition to market research and product testing; the free or low-cost trial is a great way to build trust and get feedback. Surveys can be created to ask potential customers about their experience.

If your product helps to solve a customer’s problem they will be more than happy to share it with others; converting to paying users! The product will earn testimonials and endorsements. Testimonials and endorsements will address product reliability creating: loyalty, brand recognition, and Sales for your product.

Loss Leaders

In place of a free or low-cost trial, a loss leader can be an option. A loss leader is when you offer a product at a loss or break-even point to gain business in the future. Supermarkets do this all of the time when a new product is rolled out.

Another place I saw loss leaders was when I was in Field Sales. I was selling Dental equipment at the time. Certain customers were loyal to certain types of equipment. When I ask why they stated that these were the tools that they had used in school. When I called on Dental schools and Hospitals, I found they were locked up with large contacts. My larger competitors sold the equipment at cost practically giving it away. Why would they do this? My competitors were creating life-long customers who were trained on certain tools and refused to switch.

Connection, trust, and advocacy are essential for customer acquisition. It is your job as a brand to turn your customer base into evangelists.

The decision on developing and implementing offering free, low-cost trials and/or loss leaders will be different for each product.

Free, low-cost trials and loss leaders help to Increase Sales and Customer Loyalty.

How have you used free, low-cost trials and loss leaders to create Sales and Customer Loyalty?

Comment and share.

Posted 48 weeks ago

4 Ways to Benefit From Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of Mouth is a top tool. What customers and prospects say about you determines your success. Word of Mouth Marketing is what your customers and prospects say about you when you are not around. In other words, it’s your reputation in the industry. The best part of this is that you can control Word of Mouth Marketing.

How do you leverage the power of Word of Mouth Marketing?

1. Help others in their time of need.

2. Offer Value to Customers

We need to provide value to customers. By providing value through your product or service, we can earn the right to ask for testimonials referrals from customers.

3. Testimonials: Letting customers speak for you

Prospects will believe what your customers’ say about you more than anything you say. Your customers could provide LinkedIn recommendations or video testimonials. These testimonials could be shared on your website and social networking sites like Yelp, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

4. Become an Industry Expert and Resource for Customers

Provide value to your customers and to improve your online word of mouth marketing by creating an e-zine, publish a blog and/or online newspapers.

How have you used Word of Mouth Marketing?

Posted 55 weeks ago

What I Learned from Working in Field Sales in NYC

Sales has taught me to:

1.To go after what I want in life. Ask for the order if you will.

2. To stand tall in the face of rejection and negativity.

3. To look at rejection as a learning experience instead of a defeat.

4. To understand Customer needs. (Objections vs Stalls). (Buyer Motives)

5. To persist through obstacles and not to quit!

6. To examine and understand how a business operates.

Every person should try selling products at least once in their lives. It is a valuable learning experience.

Before my time as a Marketer, I worked as an Outside Sales Rep in the Dental Industry in Manhattan.

Field Sales/Field Marketing has taught me so much about myself.

What did selling teach you?

Comment and share.

Posted 60 weeks ago

Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today

I write about the three topics that I am most passionate about; Sales, Marketing and Social Media. These topics are covered from my experiences in outside sales and marketing. My objective is to use my expertise to help business and the individual.

9  Key Strategies to Overcoming Sales Objections

In sales, everyone has to be able to overcome objections to be successful. The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them. This can be done by providing a thorough sales presentation that covers all the information about your products and services. Also, you must address any questions the prospect has immediately. However, objections will come up from time to time. Some of these objections are real buying signals and others are just stalls to put you off. As a Salesperson, you need to be able to tell the difference.

Handling Objections & Stalls from Prospects

1.I am happy with my current supplier.

When you call on a prospect they say we are happy with our current supplier, this can mean one of two things. The first is that they are truly happy and the second is that they want you to get lost. (A stall) Obviously, you need to be able to tell the difference. You should be able to tell by a prospect’s body language and level of attention.

If it is the first scenario, you should find out what supplier they currently use. When the prospect tells you it is your job to demonstrate how you are better. Once you feel that you have demonstrated how you are better, ask for a commitment or small order. By asking for a small order, you provide the prospect an opportunity to take a chance on you with minimal risk. I have had a lot of success with this approach.

If the scenario is the second one, the prospect will not provide you with any information or say that they deal with a company or person for 20 years and they do not want to change. In this case, I would still ask for the order. Should the prospect say he is not interested again, I would thank them for their time and leave. You should call on this prospect a few more times and then only call on them every two months. You need to focus your time on prospects that are receptive to you and your offering.

2. I want to think it over.

When you hear this, what the prospect is really saying is I am interested but I am not totally convinced. You should ask the prospect what specifically about this offer do you want to think over? Your goal here is to uncover the real objection. If the prospect gives you a specific answer, you are in business. Address the objection and ask a closing question. Say if I can handle XYZ, is there any reason why you would not purchase this product. Should the prospect say, no you covered everything, this means that they are either stalling, not interested in your offering, or will not tell you the real issue they have with your product. If this is the case, ask when they plan on making a decision and follow-up with them in that time-frame.

3. I need to consult another party

This can be a stall to put you off. You will need to determine this by the prospect’s body language and the level of attention you receive. When the prospect tells you this, you should ask for a meeting with the prospect and the person they need to consult. Should the prospect agree to this, you have a chance. If they will not agree to a meeting, it is a stall and they are not interested in your offering. However, I would still call on them a few more times. If you have no success, call on them every two months.

4. I am not the Decision-Maker- The Columbo Technique

During some cold calls to dental offices, I was not able to obtain the information that I needed to overcome prospect objections. This occurred because the person I was speaking to was not the decision-maker. As a result, they were reluctant to talk for fear that they would say the wrong things or give away too much information on their bosses’ business. Despite their reluctance, I would continue to talk with them, build rapport and bond. I would ask to speak to the decision-maker but many times they were not in the office, or the person I was speaking with would not want to disturb them for fear of getting reamed out when I left the office.

When this was the case, I would use the Columbo technique to get the information that I needed. I would turn to leave the office, put my hand on the doorknob and ask who their supplier was or when I could catch the boss. Usually, the person I was speaking with would provide me with a lot of information about the prospect. Even more, than I expected! This is because the person that I was speaking with put their guard down. After all, they thought I was leaving the office so one last question didn’t seem so bad.

During other cold calls, I was able to speak to the decision-maker. I would build rapport with them and try to obtain as much information as I could to overcome their objections. Many times the prospect would be reluctant to give me information; stating that they were happy with their supplier or they were too busy to speak to me. When they used the supplier objection, I would employ the Columbo technique; turn to leave and ask who their supplier was. Many times they would tell me and I would ask them for few moments of their time to show how my products were better. I would get the time and close the prospect on giving me a trial order. I developed some of my best customers this way. Other times, I was able to obtain a follow-up appointment with the prospect.

The key to the Columbo technique is to get prospects talking. Even if it’s about things not related to their business at first. You want to make them comfortable talking with you. Next, you want to save the question you really want to know for the end of the conversation because the prospect will most likely answer it thinking you are going to leave their office. In other words, their guard is down.

The Columbo technique is a great way to close sales and obtain information.

5. Your price is too high.

Emphasize the quality of your product along with the level of service you will provide. Next, you should demonstrate to the prospect how your offering’s total cost is less than the competitors over the life of the product. Testimonials from loyal customers can also help you here. By taking these steps you demonstrate that your product is valuable and increase your chances of making the sale. (Provided this is the real objection.)

6. We spent our budget.

If they say the money is not the budget, ask If I can offer delayed billing or a payment plan would you be able to take delivery? If the person needs approval from another person, ask to present your product to that individual with your prospect’s endorsement. Should the company really want and need your product, they will find a way to pay for it.

7. I had a bad experience with your company.

I would apologize to the prospect about the experience. Tell them you are the new rep and that you will not let anything bad happen on your watch. Ask them to give you a chance. This will not work all of the time.

8. Call me After the Holidays

During the holiday season, many people are in holiday and party shopping mode. from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and many other things. Also, everyone is thinking about going to parties. So the last thing on your customer’s and prospects’ mind is to make a year-end purchase; unless they receive a year-end tax advantage. As a sales rep, you are under pressure to close deals so you can earn that bonus. Unless your customer is in a buying mood, you are going to hear the objection “call me after the holidays”. If you have done business with this customer, you will have an easier time than if you are making a cold call.

To combat this objection. You have to attempt to get around this objection. If your offer is time-sensitive or if you can provide a break on pricing or payment through a special promotion for example no payments for 3 months; make your customer aware of them. However, at this time of the year, you will get customers and prospects who just don’t want to deal with you and your offering. As a sales rep, it is your job to be able to tell if the customer and prospect are telling you the truth. In other words, you need to qualify their objections. This means following up with every customer and prospect even when things look bleak.

Should your customers and prospects insist that call you after the holidays, I would find out which holiday they mean. Next, I would pin them down to a specific day and time to call back. I recommend sending your customers and prospects a holiday card with a little note reminding them about the appointment; stating how you look forward to speaking with them on the specific date and time. Once this time comes, I would hold them to their promise. Deliver your presentation and ask for the business.

9. Testimonials and Referrals

Showing Testimonials to a prospect can be a great way for them to trust you enough to make a purchase. If you don’t have any the sale is that much more difficult but not impossible. I have made plenty of Sales without them.

Once you have made a sale to a customer, it is important to follow-up with a customer. As a Salesperson, it is important to deliver on the promises you make to customers. This means checking in with the customer throughout the implementation of your product or service and staying in touch with the customer after the sale. In this post, I am going to discuss how to earn referrals and testimonials.

During my time as an outside sales representative in New York City, making sales was the highlight of my day. Once I made a sale, I was itching to ask for a referral or a testimonial. In other words, I wanted to ask the customer the question Do you know of anyone who could benefit from my product and services? However, once I made the sale my inner voice told me not to ask for a referral. Now many people would want to ask because they feel that the customer bought their products or services and this shows a sign of trust. But what did the customer really buy? Yes, the customer bought you and your products but the main thing that they bought was your promise to deliver value through your offering. How can you ask someone to put their credibility on the line when you and your solution are unproven? Yet many people do.

Asking for a referral right after the sale is a mistake because you have not delivered on your promise and you will seem ungrateful. The customer will think that you are not interested in building a relationship and that you just want to make a commission. Remember your job as a Salesperson is to build relationships with customers and to make sales by demonstrating the value of your products to the customer. Once the sale is complete, it is your job to deliver on the promises that you make to your customer.

Now you are thinking well this is great but when do I ask for a referral? How do I ask for a referral?

I would ask the customer for a referral when you know the customer is happy with the implementation of your product or service. In other words, ask when you have delivered on your promise. If you offer more than one product or service try to cross-sell or upsell the customer first. See if the customer will use more of your products or services or if the customer purchases more expensive offerings from you. Once the customer purchases more items from you, the customer is demonstrating that they like and trust you. This is the time to ask for a referral. I usually waited until this point to ask for a referral.

I would ask the customer for a referral by first thanking them for the business that they have provided and trusted me with. Then I would ask if they knew of anyone like themselves that would benefit from my offering. My experience has taught me that the customers were always willing to offer themselves as a reference. Customers who offered me a referral would let me use their names with other clients or pass my name along to their peers.

Testimonials are like referrals. Testimonials can come in a variety of forms. There are a testimonial letter and a testimonial video. The testimonial letter is when a customer writes a letter stating that you did a wonderful job for them and endorses you. The digital version of this letter is the recommendation feature on LinkedIn. The testimonial video is when a client speaks of your performance in a short video segment.

When asking for a testimonial, offer the customer the option to choose the option they feel comfortable with. Also, be sure to tell them what specific aspect of your service you want them to focus on. Once you receive a referral and/or testimonial, make sure to thank your customer. Should you get new business through a referral, provide great service otherwise your customer will not give you anymore! Keep your customer informed on the status of the relationship with the referral.

This is how to handle objections in a nutshell.

What objections did you face?

How did you handle them?

Comment and share.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Why People Use Marketing & Their Challenges

People do Marketing for different reasons and they have different sets of challenges concerning the Marketing they do. I conducted two surveys of my LinkedIn audience.

I asked the following: 

1.What do you hope to gain from your marketing efforts?


2. What is your biggest marketing challenge? Why?


Based on survey findings, 56 percent of people use Marketing for a mix of brand awareness, lead generation, and revenue. In terms of Marketing challenges, 70 percent said that Content Marketing was the biggest.

If you didn’t get a chance to vote, answer these questions in the comments.

What do you hope to gain from your marketing? What is your biggest marketing challenge?

Posted 8 weeks ago

Marketing New Product features to Prospects & Customers: What I'd Do

If I was going to launch a bunch of new product features and I was tasked with developing a social media marketing campaign to market these features to existing customers and generate new leads.

What questions might I have when starting to plan the campaign?

I would ask:

Which channels do customers use when making purchasing decisions?

I would work with the Product Team during beta testing to interview customers to gather feedback on the new features; taking the information to develop blogs and other related messaging. I would also ask customers to provide testimonials about the new features and include them in social media campaigns.

Also, I would survey customers about their learning style and which content format they prefer i.e. videos, blogs, etc. Based on the data from the survey, I would decide which channels I would use along with the type of content to develop.

With what I learned, what might my campaign look like?

The campaign would revolve around a series of Social posts based on customer feedback Including Customer Testimonials obtained from the beta testing and videos of customers using the product. I would build anticipation online using videos to announce the new features. I would have a contest online where users would need to submit an email address.

Which social platforms would I use?

I would use a blog, Email, LinkedIn, Slideshare Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube platforms to educate customers about new offerings.

Are there any emerging social strategies I would want to try?

I would like to attend industry events where I could interview experts in the space. I would want to create a group to reward loyal customers and develop an evangelist program where customers would tell their friends.

How have you marketed new product features to current and prospective customers?

Feel free to comment and share.

Posted 13 weeks ago

How to Create Content Customers Love

Creating content that engages customers is key. Another key element to creating customer-centered presentations and digital content is knowledge of buyer learning styles.

In other words, how do buyers learn best?

There are three learning styles, Visual, Auditory, and kinesthetic. 65 percent of learners are Visual but this is not everyone.

Survey Results

I surveyed my LinkedIn Audience to ask which types of content helps them to learn best and what type of content they value most.

As you can see, people learn best from a mix of written, video, audio, and content formats.

Of the types of content, people want to read, many want to read industry insights, how-to, insights from conferences, and a mix of all of the above.

Based on my findings, I would recommend that content be:

1.Created and repurposed in multiple formats

2.Content is about industry insights, how-to, and insights from conferences

The overall content strategy should be based on how your customers learn and the types and format of content based on their wants and needs.

Bonus Content

In the presentation below, I provide ideas and strategies to:

1.Collect information on your buyer’s learning style

2.Create presentations and content that will engage buyers with content that is optimized to their learning style making it more engaging**

3.Create differentiated presentations and content for all learners when buyer learning styles are unknown

** How to Customize Presentations & content to Buyer learning Styles **

from

Dan Galante

How do you learn best and which content format helps you most? Comment and share.

Posted 22 weeks ago

The Rise of the Learning Pod: How COVID-19 Launched a New Industry

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Source Outschool

COVID-19 forced US schools to Teach remotely for the first time in history back in March 2020. Many Teachers were not prepared to deliver remote instruction. Parents complained that the quality of their child’s education has declined since remote instruction began. Schools used this remote learning model until the end of the school year. As Summer vacation ends, parents grapple with the issue of whether they want to send their children back to school.

Many school districts across the US such as those in California have opted to keep remote learning for the fall because COVID-19 has resurged. In areas where COVID-19 cases are down, school districts such as New York City have opted for blended learning models where students report to school on some days and learn from home for the rest. According to Common Sense Media, over 50 million public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be learning remotely from home this year.

While safety is a top priority, the job of a school is to educate students. Parents are not satisfied with the public education offerings that have been presented for the Fall 2020 school year. This dissatisfaction with public education has made many parents seek out educational alternatives beyond blended and remote learning. These alternatives include learning pods, and supplemental education services such as tutoring.

Learning Pods Versus Tutoring

Learning pods are small learning communities where students meet every day to get instruction from a Teacher. This is different than tutoring because tutors review and reteach material as opposed to presenting new concepts. Tutoring functions as an educational supplement.

Why Parents are opting for In-Person Learning Pods

Parents that opt to use learning pods are looking to gain an educational advantage for their children by recreating traditional schools in a small group setting. The benefits of learning pods are that student instructional and social-emotional needs are met.

The Downside and Risk of In-Person Learning Pods

While this might sound like the perfect fix to remote learning and blended learning it comes with risks. The risks are that students and teachers are still at risk to contract COVID-19.

Another drawback of in-person learning pods is finding space. To address the issues of space, parents are buying apartments and houses; transforming them into schoolhouses. Marie spent $2000 to transform her guest house into a classroom she ordered desks, a whiteboard, a 50-inch television to live stream zoom tutorials, and built a library complete with personalized pencil boxes and workbooks.

Another mother is spending $720 per week to have her preschool son tutored in french with two of his friends.

Amanda Uhry, the NYC-based founder of Manhattan Private School Advisors, states Pandemic in-person pods can cost parents up to $100,000.

Some NYC parents are spending up to $70,000 on elite pod teachers, plus $2,500-a-month on studio apartments to serve as makeshift classrooms, plus an additional $50,000 to keep their kids enrolled at their private schools.

Why Virtual Learning Pods are the best option

How can parents get the benefits of a learning pod at an affordable price? Parents can look to tutoring services that offer virtual learning pods. Virtual learning pods eliminate the need for physical space making them more affordable than in-person learning pods. Groups of parents can sign their children up together in a virtual learning pod to lower the cost even more.

Virtual learning pods take the benefits of traditional school and put it online. Students get the benefits of individualized attention and social interaction all of which are lacking in traditional remote learning. Parents can have peace of mind that knowing that their child will not contract COVID-19; something that pricey in-person learning pods can not guarantee.

How Education Companies Can Corner the Learning Pod Market

Companies that offer Teacher staffing, tutoring, and instructional materials to schools can seize the opportunity in the learning pod market because they are well established in their industry.

K-12 Education and learning companies that hire seasoned certified teachers as tutors and learning pod instructors will be able to do better than companies who hire non-certified or inexperienced Teachers. Why? The reason is that Teacher certification and experience will help companies overcome the credibility hurdle. For Education companies that offer virtual learning pods, the teachers and tutors would need to be skilled in distance learning and remote teaching.

Would you choose a learning pod over traditional instruction for your child?

Why or why not?

Join the conversation.

Posted 32 weeks ago

Key Things Product Marketers need to Address in a Product Marketing Brief

Smartsheet Product Marketing Template

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Smartsheet.com Product Marketing template

Product Marketing involves more than just supporting the Marketing and Product Management teams. Product Marketers serve Marketing, Sales, and Product teams. Each team has different needs and responsibilities. However, they all play a role in growing the business and serving customers.

Just as Marketing has a plan or brief, Product Marketing does.

Here are nine things to address in a Product Marketing Brief.

  1. What does your company? Does your product offering align with your business goals?
  2. What are the features of your product? Do others understand what you are building and why?
  3. Does this Product address gaps in the Market? Include an overview of a Competitive and SWOT analysis.
  4. Who is your ideal customer or target market? Include an overview of findings of demographic, psychographic, and buyer persona research. Does your product solve customer pain points?
  5. How will you measure product success?
  6. What are can go wrong? Can failure be anticipated and corrected?
  7. What is the road-map and schedule of the product? Who’s responsible and in-charge.
  8. Who needs to be included in the project and who needs to approve deliverables?
  9. How will goals be tracked? How often will they be monitored? What insights are you trying to glean from the data?

As a Product Marketer, how do you know if you are successful?

Comment and share.

Posted 33 weeks ago

Social Networks use E-Commerce Shops for New Revenue Streams

Social Networks are places where people congregate; making them great sources of Market Research and Revenue. As a result, Social networks are looking for new revenue streams. The latest revenue channel for them is E-commerce.

Facebook is partnering with Shopify to launch Facebook shops. The social network is the latest to get in on the E-Commerce business.

Last year at SMX East, Google and YouTube shared how they are allowing people to shop online for products. Google also shared people’s buying behavior. I have included parts of the article below.

In Google’s Keynote, I learned how businesses can get an edge during the holidays. I also learned of Google’s plan to use Google Images and YouTube for E-Commerce. Google is also allowing businesses to use location-based Ads in Google Maps.

The key insights of the presentation were:

1. According to Google most shopping visits start online.

2. When diners search for a great place to eat the searches are probably happening on a smartphone.

3. When people are online in cars, more than half of them are searching for information on a mobile device making localization and targeting important.

4. 2/3’s of shoppers say that online video has given them insight and inspiration to make purchases.

5. Shoppers use at least 3 channels or more when shopping.

6. Brands need to provide an omnichannel channel experience all year, especially during the holidays.

7. Sales are happening online and offline. As a result of this shift, Brands need to serve customers on the channels of their choice.

Would you shop on a Social Network? Share your thoughts.

Posted 42 weeks ago

Why Free Trials & Loss Leaders increase Sales & Customer Loyalty

Free or Low-Cost Trials

When creating a new offering, I would offer a free or low-cost trial of your product to the end-users and industry experts. Consumers look for social proof before they buy a product. Now if the product is new, none exists. To lower buyer resistance, you need to make it low risk and feel safe.

In addition to market research and product testing; the free or low-cost trial is a great way to build trust and get feedback. Surveys can be created to ask potential customers about their experience.

If your product helps to solve a customer’s problem they will be more than happy to share it with others; converting to paying users! The product will earn testimonials and endorsements. Testimonials and endorsements will address product reliability creating: loyalty, brand recognition, and Sales for your product.

Loss Leaders

In place of a free or low-cost trial, a loss leader can be an option. A loss leader is when you offer a product at a loss or break-even point to gain business in the future. Supermarkets do this all of the time when a new product is rolled out.

Another place I saw loss leaders was when I was in Field Sales. I was selling Dental equipment at the time. Certain customers were loyal to certain types of equipment. When I ask why they stated that these were the tools that they had used in school. When I called on Dental schools and Hospitals, I found they were locked up with large contacts. My larger competitors sold the equipment at cost practically giving it away. Why would they do this? My competitors were creating life-long customers who were trained on certain tools and refused to switch.

Connection, trust, and advocacy are essential for customer acquisition. It is your job as a brand to turn your customer base into evangelists.

The decision on developing and implementing offering free, low-cost trials and/or loss leaders will be different for each product.

Free, low-cost trials and loss leaders help to Increase Sales and Customer Loyalty.

How have you used free, low-cost trials and loss leaders to create Sales and Customer Loyalty?

Comment and share.

Posted 48 weeks ago

4 Ways to Benefit From Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of Mouth is a top tool. What customers and prospects say about you determines your success. Word of Mouth Marketing is what your customers and prospects say about you when you are not around. In other words, it’s your reputation in the industry. The best part of this is that you can control Word of Mouth Marketing.

How do you leverage the power of Word of Mouth Marketing?

1. Help others in their time of need.

2. Offer Value to Customers

We need to provide value to customers. By providing value through your product or service, we can earn the right to ask for testimonials referrals from customers.

3. Testimonials: Letting customers speak for you

Prospects will believe what your customers’ say about you more than anything you say. Your customers could provide LinkedIn recommendations or video testimonials. These testimonials could be shared on your website and social networking sites like Yelp, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

4. Become an Industry Expert and Resource for Customers

Provide value to your customers and to improve your online word of mouth marketing by creating an e-zine, publish a blog and/or online newspapers.

How have you used Word of Mouth Marketing?

Posted 55 weeks ago

What I Learned from Working in Field Sales in NYC

Sales has taught me to:

1.To go after what I want in life. Ask for the order if you will.

2. To stand tall in the face of rejection and negativity.

3. To look at rejection as a learning experience instead of a defeat.

4. To understand Customer needs. (Objections vs Stalls). (Buyer Motives)

5. To persist through obstacles and not to quit!

6. To examine and understand how a business operates.

Every person should try selling products at least once in their lives. It is a valuable learning experience.

Before my time as a Marketer, I worked as an Outside Sales Rep in the Dental Industry in Manhattan.

Field Sales/Field Marketing has taught me so much about myself.

What did selling teach you?

Comment and share.

Posted 60 weeks ago

Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today

I write about the three topics that I am most passionate about; Sales, Marketing and Social Media. These topics are covered from my experiences in outside sales and marketing. My objective is to use my expertise to help business and the individual.

Key Things Product Marketers need to Address in a Product Marketing Brief

Smartsheet Product Marketing Template

image

Smartsheet.com Product Marketing template

Product Marketing involves more than just supporting the Marketing and Product Management teams. Product Marketers serve Marketing, Sales, and Product teams. Each team has different needs and responsibilities. However, they all play a role in growing the business and serving customers.

Just as Marketing has a plan or brief, Product Marketing does.

Here are nine things to address in a Product Marketing Brief.

  1. What does your company? Does your product offering align with your business goals?
  2. What are the features of your product? Do others understand what you are building and why?
  3. Does this Product address gaps in the Market? Include an overview of a Competitive and SWOT analysis.
  4. Who is your ideal customer or target market? Include an overview of findings of demographic, psychographic, and buyer persona research. Does your product solve customer pain points?
  5. How will you measure product success?
  6. What are can go wrong? Can failure be anticipated and corrected?
  7. What is the road-map and schedule of the product? Who’s responsible and in-charge.
  8. Who needs to be included in the project and who needs to approve deliverables?
  9. How will goals be tracked? How often will they be monitored? What insights are you trying to glean from the data?

As a Product Marketer, how do you know if you are successful?

Comment and share.

Posted 33 weeks ago