Category Archives for "Business Lifestyle"

Jun 10

The World Is Not Your Oyster When It Comes to Sales

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

Stop wasting your time, effort, and money trying to sell to the whole world. It takes discipline to train yourself to narrow your efforts to your best effect. I too have to discipline myself: soft sell sales and soft sell marketing appeal mostly to small business owners and people who care about developing long term relationships. Yet we find it tempting to be available to anyone and everyone who might want to buy our products. We don’t want to miss out on any sale. The whole world is our oyster. Not so.

The people who thrive are those who identify their niche and tightly focus on what they do that appeals to that specific group. That’s why I strongly encourage everyone in soft sell sales and soft sell marketing to determine your ideal customer profile. Prospects who match that have the greatest likelihood of wanting and feeling they need your products and services because such problems are common to people and companies like your best customers. Help customers buy because it works for them. You’ll find your sales more fun and the results mutually rewarding.

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Jun 07

A Great Looking Website Only Gives You an Office on the Internet — Now You Need to Attract Traffic

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Internet Marketing , Relationship Selling

I’ve had numerous clients who wonder why their websites fail to produce sales. The answer is simply the lack of marketing. Traffic doesn’t just happen because you have a URL or website address and a presence on the Internet any more than it does if you have an office in an office building or an industrial park. Having had a small business in a commercial park, I can assure you, we did not have walk-in traffic. The Internet with millions of websites is worse than any neighborhood in the world for trying to be seen just by having a “presence” on the web.

No matter how gorgeous your website, it’s only an address on an overcrowded virtual marketplace. The fifteen proactive marketing ideas I list here will enable you to expand your reach beyond what you ever could with a storefront. You can attract people looking for what you offer. Soft sell sales & marketing activities enable you to develop trust by showing that you care about your prospects’ challenges and dreams. You are giving them a taste for what you can do to help them. And when they are ready, you help customers buy through guiding them and by describing the benefits instead of manipulating and pressuring.

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Jun 04

How to Help Customers Trust You

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

Recently, while I was making tunafish salad, I had an experience that reminded me why prospects distrust sales and marketing statements. I decided to mix and match types of tuna from Bumblebee. I grabbed a Chunk Light Tuna and a Solid Tuna. What I got was flakes of tuna and chunks of tuna respectively. Not what I expected by the labels.

It’s no wonder that most Americans don’t trust marketers. Label something properly and customers buy because no matter how often we’ve been lied to we want to trust the words. This hard sell approach of “Get-the-sale-however-you-can” works until the words have been abused and misused so long that they lose their power. As soft sell marketers and soft sell salespeople, we have our work cut out for us. We have to win our customers’ trust. Yet we are up against our prospects’ cynical suspicions that we only care about getting their money out of their wallets and into ours.

Despite our national trait of skepticism towards marketing hype, you can help customers trust you by showing you genuinely care about aiding them. Trust comes from using relevant questions then listening — and responding — to their answers. Help customers buy when doing so either solves their problem or gets them their desired result. You’ll find that soft sell sales are more exciting and fulfilling than merely earning a commission because you have that emotional and spiritual connection as a bonus.

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May 29

How to Overcome the Fear of Making Sales Calls

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

You’d think as an experienced soft sell salesperson and consultant, that I now longer have to deal with the fear of calling on someone. But then, I’ve read even highly successful public speakers still get jittery nerves or apprehension before giving a talk. In my case, I was going on a consulting call yesterday with a client in Glendale, California.

I was going in feeling somewhat cocky because I had done my homework on their website. I was prepared to take their marketing efforts up a notch or two until they showed me the screen of the new website. As I made further suggestions I learned most of what I said, they’d already known and were changing. What do I do now? I applied advice I heard years ago to ask Spirit, “What do I have to learn? What do I have to teach?” I’ve learned to apply this to any interaction. I stopped trying to teach first. I asked questions and listened to the other people in the meeting.

In my experience yesterday, I overcame the fear about conducting a consulting session when I put attention on them. I relaxed then and enjoyed the meeting. This is way to make your fear of making sales calls disappear too or at least of making it manageable. Prospects and clients have a reason for investing their time with you: they want help with their problems or desires, wants and needs. Focus on them and on what can you do to help make their lives a little better or more successful — you’ll be to busy to notice that you were afraid or nervous.

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May 26

All’s Fair in Love and War, Not – to a Soft Sell Marketer

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

This concept crystallizes for me the hard sell position when taken to an extreme. Do what it takes to get the sale because “All’s fair in love and war”; and sales, to the hard sell marketer, is war. There are winners and losers. The good ones make sure they are the winners most of the time. On the other end of the spectrum, soft sell salespeople and soft sell marketers work to achieve a win-win.

It’s time that the business world recognizes loving your customer means developing a long term relationship based on trust and mutual benefit. Business relationships are, frankly, relationships..

If you want enduring relationships in business, or in your personal life, move away from the “All’s fair” viewpoint. And leave behind the images that sales or love are warfare. Sales become spiritual service when you make that connection with your customers. Building and maintaining a relationship of trust is so much more satisfying and fulfilling on many levels, more rewarding than just a quick commission from a sale slammed home. Help customers buy.

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May 24

Defining How to Sell with Heart and Integrity

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

Congratulations, Judith & Jim, on an incredibly successful email campaign to get The Heart of Marketing: Love Your Customers and They Will Love You Back (Morgan James Publishing) to hit #59 on Amazon overall (which means that only 58 books sold better than it.) You truly demonstrated the impact a well orchestrated campaign can have if you have the involvement of lots of friends and people who care about your work — and if you give those supporters the tools and the reminders to make it easy to share news.

But all of the good marketing efforts will fall flat if they are wasted on people who have no interest in what you are offering. The fact that The Heart of Marketing soared to the top in so many categories is reassuring because I long believed the way to sell and market was the soft sell approach. Still for years I felt insecure about my decision. After all, the top trainers in sales and marketing when I was starting out pushed the value of hard sell techniques. But when I used those techniques, I did not feel good about myself. I want to help customers buy.

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May 23

How to Sound Like a Soft Sell Marketer Instead of a Spammer

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

On Wednesday, while I was doing research for a report that included a section on autoresponders and email “blasts,” I checked out MailChimp. My friend DeBorah Beatty, Solopreneur Logistics Specialist praises them highly for being an excellent service and offering the best value. I really liked their site. More importantly for this post, I liked the point Ben brought up on his MailChimp Blog in the article, “Rant: How To Sound Like A Spammer.”

Ben’s point was that he’s had spammers ask about how they can do blasts on MailChimp. He said that they’ve turned a lot of potential customers away for using that term because it shows they don’t understand permission based marketing. He got me thinking about the term “blast” from a different angle than spammers. It’s a very hard sell expression with roots in the idea that sales and marketing is war. I agree with Ben about getting away from the term blast, but because it doesn’t fit the image of soft sell sales marketing which work to build trust and relationships instead of conquests. Nevertheless, his suggestion is too cumbersome. I’m going to propose the expression “simultaneous mailings” to replace “blasts.” Yet that’s not short enough so how about “sim-mails”?

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May 19

How Soft Sell Sales Can Give You Your Self Respect Back

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

Have you ever made a sale you didn’t feel good about where you got your sale just because you could, not because your customer would get the help they needed? I remember one employer in particular where that was true. I didn’t last long there – despite being on the fast track for rewards and promotion. I didn’t feel right about selling their product when I stopped believing it delivered what we claimed it did. Today I met a client who once quit sales for the same type of reason.

He excelled at it for awhile. He was aggressive, and he was good at it but found he hated himself for what he was doing. One day he knew he could get the sale, but his prospect had no need for the product. In danger of losing his self respect, he quit sales. Today, he’s a small manufacturer. He sells entirely differently. He talks to people and asks them what they need and what problems they are having. He listens. And he sincerely cares. His present approach to sales is soft sell sales.

It’s that relationship with our prospects that takes soft sell sales and marketing beyond just the money. Truly contributing to another’s life and helping make their road easier add to our self-respect. These kinds of sales we feel good about. Moreover, the customer feels good about them. This is what it means to “help customers buy.”

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May 06

Get Magical Results in Soft Sell Sales Using Focused Benefits and Solutions

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

Think about it. Do you cringe when you meet a salesperson? Why? Is it because you expect to be bombarded by all sorts of information you really don’t care about? But what happens when he or she actually asks about a problem or desire you are facing? Do you notice how you gradually start to come alive, to become interested in finding out if this could be the solution you’ve been looking for?

The key to soft sell sales and soft sell marketing is to only talk about the benefits your products and services offer that your ideal prospect cares about. Remember, everyone, consciously or unconsciously, is always wondering WIIFM — “What’s in it for me?” When you maintain your focus on their interests, using your understanding of your ideal customer profile to guide your questions, you build relationships. Take it slowly enough to fully understand what they are looking for before moving to the solutions. In this way, you help customers buy resulting in sales that are fun and mutually rewarding. That’s heady stuff.

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Apr 28

Trust by Your Customer Begins with Your Understanding

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling

One of my favorite American Humorists is Will Rogers. Although he died in a plane crash in 1935, he is long remembered for his famous line, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Actually, the full line was “I never met a man I didn’t like once I got to know him.” It’s the getting to know him that makes all the difference in the world, especially in sales situations.

For me, caring becomes immensely easier when I understand something about what my prospect is dealing with. It makes them human, not numbers, people with problems I can relate to. This is why I stress the importance of defining your ideal customer. Why did they buy from you. What were the problems they needed a solution for that you provided?

Success in soft sell marketing and soft sell sales requires developing relationships. Crucial to doing this is building trust that you sincerely care about their needs. This happens naturally when you show you care by understanding their challenges and problems then showing up to work with them on developing a solution that’s best for them. Caring can’t be faked for long in a complex sale.

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