Posts Tagged ‘sales tips’

Power of Persuasion: The Results Are Clear

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

All referrals were not created equal.

The results are clear.  My latest study reveals the secret to getting referrals that convert to sales.  This discovery may not be something you’ve ever considered.

When someone gives you a referral.  They may be connecting you with a friend, relative or colleague.   In some cases you will be connected with one of their vendors or one of their clients, and it is the latter two types of relationships that I tracked.

Let’s say Amber gives me a referral to John Smith because she thinks he would be interested in what I provide.  The fact is that if John is her vendor he is much more likely to connect with me than if he were her client.

I suspected this at the outset, but I never realized how big the difference would be.  Below you can see the percentage of successful connections made after the referral was given.

Why the difference?

Reciprocity.  One of the pillars of persuasion is the law of reciprocity, which dictates that people feel beholden to “pay back” those who help them.  In addition, people typically give back a great deal more than they received.

Above, we see the law of reciprocity in action.  Imagine yourself in the referral process:  If someone selects you to be his vendor and that person asked you to connect with one of his contacts, would you?  It is probable that you would feel beholden to at least make an initial connection.  However, if you are someone’s client or customer, you would likely be less compelled to reach out and make the connection.

Networker’s application.

I remember learning in Business Network International (BNI) that we should be specific when asking for referrals.  Instead of asking your contacts who they know that could use your services, you might ask which of their VENDORS could use your services.  Work with that population and you’ll have a much better success of making contact and avoiding the blow-off.

Beyond getting better referrals, you now have the secret to giving them.  Consider the BNI philosophy, “Givers gain.”  That creed was built on the law of reciprocity.  If you are able to give higher quality referrals by tapping into your pool of vendors, then the recipients of the high quality referrals will reciprocate.  And that’s how referral networking is supposed to be done.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part IV

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Two-hour lecture on Power of Persuasion: BUY NOW

Here are the final three tips to help your small business look bigger:

1) Be specific when answering the question, “how’s business?” The small fish will typically answer “it’s going well.”  The medium fish will usually answer, “Good, sales are up this year by 5%.”  The big fish will typically respond, “Good, this quarter is up 5% over last year.”  By speaking in terms of quarters and quantifying your response, you appear sharper and your business appears bigger.

2) Appear busy because the law of scarcity dictates that people want to work with busy people. If you’re not busy, they wonder how good you really are. If you’re not busy yet, endeavor to look busy. When making appointments, avoid saying, “I have all day Thursday open” or worse, “Next week my schedule is pretty much clear.”  Instead, consider using this verbiage, “Monday is out, and so are Tuesday and Wednesday, but how does Thursday look at 11:20 or 4:40?” Off times such as 7:20 give the impression that you are well organized and busy, and they will respect your time more.  In fact, it is proven that people are more prompt for appointments made at less common times such as 11:10 rather than 11:00.

3) Observe the big fish in action. Listen to how they talk about their businesses, look at their business cards, analyze how they interact, and you will soon see the common denominators as clear as day.

Keep in mind that appearing bigger is not always beneficial. It depends on your product/service, target market and industry.  In the cases where it is beneficial, be sure to use these techniques as appropriate. Always use your judgement, as it is one thing to enhance your image and another to over-stretch.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part III

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Power of Persuasion instant download – BUY NOW

Three more tips in our top ten ways to make your small business look big.

I) Your email address communicates the size of your business.  Want a big fish image? You need a big fish address.

  1. Tiny fish: Any of the “freebie” emails (gmail, hotmail, etc) scream that you are a solopreneur working from home.
  2. Small fish: is more professional because a company domain name is in the address, however it indicates a small company because it uses only the first name. A small company will count on the probability that no two employees will have the same first name.
  3. Medium fish: reflects a medium sized company as it uses the last name to avoid using duplicate first names of company employees.
  4. Big fish: indicates a large company because it requires each employee to use the first initial. With so many employees, there are duplicate last names.
  5. Giant fish: is the address type that most national and multinational companies use to help differentiate addresses among their massive pool of employees.

Which email type you use depends on the image you wish to portray.

II) “WE” is the word that distinguishes you from the small fish. When people network, a common question is “tell me what your company does?” A big fish will almost always begin responding with the word “we”, while the little fish will open with the word “I”, which sends a clear signal that he is likely a solopreneur.

III) Free work? Many will disagree, but this proved to be a great investment for me in the early days. Big companies tend to choose other big companies as their vendors. Once you get work from a nationally recognized brand, be sure to weave it into your networking conversation.  Why? First, it shows that you are established if “national corp” found and hired you. Second, “national corp’s” credibility transfers to you by association.

Your track record doesn’t include any big businesses? Court them, make your proposals, and by all means charge for your goods and services. However, if you get close to a sale and there is a “no go” decision based on budget, then offer to do the work at a deep discount or free. In return ask for a video testimonial, letter of recommendation and that they be a standing reference for you. While many disagree, I say this does not devalue what you do. It is an investment in your brand that will give you credibility to sell in the future; plus once “national corp” sees how good you are, they may buy your goods or services in the future.

As always, my caveat here is for you to be aware of the difference between image management and gross exaggeration.  Use your judgment and that of those you trust when making your company look like a bigger fish.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part II

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Two-hour instant download on Persuasion lecture: BUY NOW

In certain industries, looking like a small fish gives that “personal touch” advantage. This series, however, is for companies that need to look bigger to court the business of larger companies. Here is tip number four in our top ten ways to make your small company look bigger.

Your business card design says a lot more about you than you think. After sorting a pile of over 130 business cards by company size, it becomes immediately clear as to why small company cards look SMALL.

Here are the common denominators to consider when designing a business card that you hope will make your company look like a BIG fish in the business pond.

1) Include a business address.  ALL of the big business cards I sorted had addresses, while only 18% of the small businesses did so. Residential addresses sound, well, residential. P.O. Boxes are okay, but suites are better. We have heard that some will rent a P.O. Box and call it a Suite anyway. We make no guarantees about that strategy. The best solution is to have a business address, which can be economically obtained by using a virtual office.

2) List more than one telephone. Most small companies only list one number, usually a cell phone. The majority of big businesses have two or three numbers – typically a main number, direct number and cell number. You can use your land line and cell.

3) Have a fax number: We realize that with email and PDFs, the fax is becoming obsolete, but this is about perception. All big companies list a fax, and if you want to appear big, you should too.

4) As counterintuitive as it is, small companies use big font and large companies use small font. Big font makes more sense because it is easier to read, but large companies want consistency with their font style and size; so the point size they select must be small enough to allow for the largest name.

Other things to consider: a professional logo that is not too big; thickness and quality of paper; professional printing.

Look forward to our upcoming five tips on making your small business look bigger, and forward this to anyone you know who is starting a business.

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Power of Persuasion: Reciprocity and Gift Giving

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Buy 2hr audio CD on persuasion HERE.

Buy 2hr audio download on persuasion HERE.

In his seminal book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D, names reciprocity as one of the six pillars of persuasion. In short, the law of reciprocity dictates that by giving, you will get far more than you gave.

Gift giving is a sure way to engage in the law of reciprocity, which is why the act of giving in business has been practiced since the beginning of civilization. Beware, however, that it is a double-edged sword. Here are some guidelines to ensure that you appease the Gods of Reciprocity:

Three don’ts regarding the law of reciprocity:

1) Avoid giving cheap trinkets with your company logo: A cheap pen with your logo that doesn’t write says a great deal to your prospect about YOUR standards of quality.  When the pen breaks or fails to work, you are cultivating a sort of reverse sense of reciprocity.

2) Avoid giving high-priced items with general appeal: While some recipients may feel quite beholden to you for your gift, it can be perceived by others as crossing the ethical line. In other cases, it could be considered an illegal kickback. I remember my college roommate’s mom was a nurse in the early nineties. She received a free high-end laptop from a pharmaceutical company. A physician once told me that the same company sent him on vacations. Currently, that industry is becoming highly regulated with respect to gift giving.

3) Avoid “strings attached” giving: People may take you up on your offer, but when you call it a gift, they subconsciously regret it. Have you ever received a thank you coupon from a retailer? It says “we appreciate your business, so come in for your FREE gift __________”.  But, the tiny print on the back says “Free with the purchase of $100 or more”. Yes, the company is technically covered, but do you ever get that sense of reverse reciprocation?

Five applications of reciprocation that will get results:

1) Invitation to share time: If you really want to give a sincere gift, offer lunch, dinner, golf, boating, BBQ, anything where you will share time with the person. Keith Ferrazzi in his bestseller, Never Eat Alone talks about adding food to the mix because it creates a much more pleasant experience and memory for the person.

2) Reading or viewing materials: What interests the person you wish to gift? Finding out is so simple with google, facebook, twitter, myspace, linked in, or simply by asking the person. Once you know, it is a simple matter to send an article. Mailing it is more impressive than sending a link because it requires more labor and it can have a hand-written card or post-it attached. Jason Kallio, founder of Expovantage is a master networker. One of his tricks is to scan the news every morning and select which articles will be of interest to his contacts. His results are amazing. Books and DVDs are excellent ways to give a sincere and personalized gift.

3) Birthday Cards: Most people will never remember that you sent them a holiday card, but they will certainly remember a birthday card.

4) Links: What a great gift to give any networker. If your person has his or her own website, and the content is somewhat related to yours, providing a link is a great gift. You are helping them gain exposure and putting them in a positive light.

5) Give value not teasers: A great gift to give is your expertise. I vehemently disagree with those who say you devalue what you do when you give even a taste of it away. Even worse: “give them the why, and make them come to you for the how.” I am talking about gifting a bit of your expertise. A “bit” is a bit subjective. I say, more than a sample, but less than an appetizer, and not the full meal. It should be simple for you to do, but have stand-alone, intrinsic, walkaway value for them.

It is easy to note a common denominator regarding what works and what does not. It appears the techniques that work require some thoughtfulness. That’s why they don’t smack of insincerity. You have to be interested in the person, and most “slick” salespeople aren’t going to make the effort. The gifts that typically backfire appear to require less thought, as they have a more general appeal, or they are cheap tokens, or they have a transparent “ulterior” motive.

Keep in mind that I am employing the law of reciprocity to INDIVIDUAL relationships; not mass market. As per usual, I remind you that these are guidelines and not rules. There are always exceptions.

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