Developing Basic Sales and Marketing Skills

Basic sales and marketing knowledge are needed to develop cutting edge skills that will improve your potentials as a world class marketing professional.If you are a salesman or you're just looking to develop basic selling and marketing skills and knowledge then this report is the right one for you. Even if you are well versed in selling this report will help ensure that you keep your basic marketing skills well polished.

Good selling involves providing the right product and services to your customers thereby creating customer satisfaction. Your ability to provide and fulfill your customers need will determine your level of success in selling.

First and foremost, you need to develop your personal standards. The word standard means a level of excellence required or specified the drive to always achieve excellence should form a part of your character. To maintain high personal standards, you need to make quality decisions based on moral strength and principles. These areas of standards include growth, honesty, integrity, relationship, energy and action. Of all these standards I would like to talk a little bit about integrity for the purpose of this report. This is because integrity is arguably one of the most important personal, professional or ethical standard a professional should have. The word integrity in itself stands for moral excellence, wholeness and in many ways honesty, customers trust you when they know you maintain a high sense of integrity. This means that you will always treat customer transactions transparently, exclude moral excellence in all deals, keep to commitment and accept full responsibility for your actions. A salesman of integrity gains customers must over time and when you develop trust you gain loyalty and respect.

Then you will have to ensure your customer communication skills are excellent. This involves listening, asking questions, being courteous, communicating clearly and accurately, minding your customers feelings, proper use of non verbal language, handling problem customers, use of technical knowledge and concepts, handling customer objections and questions and keeping your customers informed at all times. I like to talk about listening a lot because this most times forms the bedrock for proper communication. As a great salesman, you should know when to stop talking and listen to your customers. Listening involves hearing and should be demonstrated even in your body language. You wont be able to serve your customers needs, if you do not stop talking long enough to understand what they are saying. Ask questions to clarify points and take important notes to ensure you remember all the important points of the conversation.

Having developed your customer communication skills, you will then need to work on your marketing strategies. Having an effective strategy helps you to logically identify how to identify, create and manage the whole sales process. Your strategy will involve how to develop multiple outreach sources, identifying and creating product need, handling the actual sales process and handling customer objections during the sales process as well as closing your sales in a grand style. As a general rule, You should try to create interest first in what you intend to sell. Your clients should be able to understand how you can create benefit or value for them. What you intend to offer should fulfill a desired need and ultimately create satisfaction. Customers buy satisfaction. If you do not provide satisfaction in the Lon run then you have not made a great sale. Creating customer satisfaction in key to customer retention. Provide evidence to back your claims and avoid overwhelming the client with too much information. Researching the market is key to business development. This will enable you identify your target clients before hand. This means that you will need to identify where and who your primary market really is. You need to identify your nitch market and strategies to win your nitch market. You will also need to have some basic knowledge on business development. Business development is the process by which new business is introduced. A good salesman should be skilled in the act of developing new business as well as expanding already existing ones. In order to develop new business effectively, you must understand that it involves researching the market, identifying key targets, constructing an outreach plan which was earlier discussed, securing meetings, creating proposals and follow up with leads.

How Sales and Marketing Professionals Are Reliant On One Another

While sales and marketing are vastly different from one another, the two are more reliant on one another than just about any other two facets within an organization.

For instance, you could have the best sales representatives in the country, but without marketing support, their efforts will only produce a fraction of what they could.

For organizations that have only so high of a recruiting budget, choosing between one or the other can be difficult and often confusing. However, you're not alone.

Here is some insight as to whether a sales or marketing hire is best for your organization and how to approach combining the two positions.

How Sales and Marketing Differ

While many believe sales and marketing is one and the same, they are correct to an extent, however the job of a marketing employee is a lot different than the job of a sales representative.

For instance, sales representatives will make cold-calls, send out mass emails, attend client meetings and trade shows while the marketing professionals, in most organizations are the ones that make sure that the sales representatives have the marketing material behind said cold-calls and positive image behind those mass emails so that once they reach the recipient, that potential customer can visit a website that is informative, appealing and that clearly expresses the message that the organization is trying to get out.

Therefore, a typical day for a sales representative may be researching potential clients while the marketing representative will be figuring out best practices for generic search engine optimization so those potential clients can find the sales representatives as well.

The Importance of Sales and Marketing Working Together

Sales needs to listen to marketing as much as marketing representatives need to listen to their business development counterparts. It is the job of a sales manager to report to the marketing team regarding how clients are responding to a particular campaign and regarding what objections they are coming across which could / should be addressed in the company's marketing material or directly on their website.

All too often, the marketing team launches a particular marketing campaign only to be told something isn't working, yet subsequently ignore the sales team's warnings that the clients are not responding positively.

Therefore, one can assume that the marketing team does not work for the sales team or vice versa, rather they must work together to get the most effective message out to the prospective client.

Business Prescriptions: Sales and Marketing Consulting Firms

We do not need statistics to prove that one of the many reasons why newly established businesses fail is because they, first and foremost, do not understand their market. Venturing into unfamiliar markets involves more risks and uncertainties than that of what a businessman is comfortable with. However, there is no need to fret and get into panic attacks as sales and marketing consulting firms help businesses swim, not sink, on unknown waters.

The need for sales and marketing consulting firms is greatly evident among foreign businesses, who are trying to penetrate the Asian market. With the recent global financial crisis and a declining hegemon on the west, the far east has become more appealing than ever, especially with the rise of China as a great power in the region and as a huge potential market. However, foreign businessmen, with their knowledge and experience with the markets in the western part of the world, are totally impaired when it comes to dealing with the markets in the Asian region. Sales and marketing consulting firms become their eyes and ears as these firms collect and filter information that may prove to be crucial in the decision-making of businesses in establishing themselves here in Asia.

Sales consultants, for instance, do not only have the function of selling products and services to clients and companies but also have the function of understanding and identifying their needs. They serve as a guide in terms of what goods and services are really need by their clients. Being a sales consultant therefore goes beyond merely selling products and services. They ensure that the services and the goods being received by the company are necessary for it to grow and flourish in the market. However, to further accomplish this objective a sales consultant goes hand in hand with a marketing consultant.

Venturing into an unknown market requires a company to know their consumer and their behavior. This is where a marketing consultant comes in. A marketing consultant does the research for the company and tries to identify who their target consumers are and how they behave. Marketing consultants not only gathers information but they also try to understand what motivates consumers to, for example, purchase a product; and then create a specific strategy or approach, tailored to the needs and nature of the company, on how they should sell their products.

So, why do companies go to sales and marketing consulting firms exactly? Aside from the bottom line, these consulting firms help foreign companies in the Asian market by making sure that their resources will not go to waste, but instead be focused on opportunities that would bring greater returns and growth to the company. This will then prevent the company from incurring unnecessary losses. These firms also help foreign companies realize and gain advantage against competitors in the market. Lastly, sales and marketing consulting firms help develop employees and personnel in a company to acquire important skills. In a nut shell sales and marketing consulting firms provide business prescriptions that would help foreign companies become lean and mean business machines in Asia.

Skills That All Sales and Marketing People Should Have!

I've done sales for a few years before moving into more strategic role in marketing. I've sold cookies in door-to-door sales job, tried and sold few jars of chocolates from table-to-table, sold investment packages from cold calling, sold training programs from cold calling, designing sales incentives scheme, set up and run sales processes, office-to-office selling and I am currently selling my own book on marketing and consulting on the business strategies area.

Along the way, I have managed a number of sales people and groups. I think until today I have the mindset of selling and because I am currently doing a lot of idea-selling. My stakeholders are people like you, my partners, customers, potential investors and sometimes to my wife. It is very important to know how to sell your ideas because if you don't, your life is going to be very boring.

But as a salesman or sometimes people call it marketing executive (though I disagree with the actual meaning of marketing executive!), there are some pertinent and must have skills to at least give you the comfort and some sort like a guarantee so you can be a better salesman or marketing people. The skills mentioned are uniquely yours but it can be learned from other people like me, but the performance of it is dependent on you. Let's begin.

1. Cold Calling

Yeah...this skill is as cold as the ice when you first heard it. But to convince you, salesman that cannot make cold calls will not make any sale. Trust me! If you have done cold call, you will agree what I am about to say after this. "Cold call breaks the ice and heightened my confidence to make my first step and subsequently my first sale!" Agree?

It can come in many forms. One is calling from a "cold-list" you receive from your supervisor. Another is to go from office-to-office setting appointments. Thirdly is meeting people at your booth during exhibition, fourthly you are given fliers and you need to pass it around and convince people to buy, finally convince your close friends about what you do. How to do it? Start it and delay no more.

2. Presentation Skill

This skill is a must have for anyone in this century. It used to be difficult to learn and some say it's a born talent. But honestly speaking I think this skill is acquirable and can be duplicated quite easily. There are a lot of books and training programs that teach how to have a better presentation skill. I was born as a very shy boy and timid. Now, many said I talked too much!

The boom of presenters in this era has made salesman / marketing people job more competitive. But remember, it is not enough to just talk and parroting. You need to have solid content and know what you are talking about. That's where you can carve an edge and make a difference. Grab a book or Google on presentation skill.

3. Listening

Usually when you listen, it means you are focusing on the other person and not keep on talking. Many salesman claimed to be listening, but they keep loading you with a lot of brochures and information about their products from all over directions. Sometimes in some customers, your product or service just doesn't fit their needs. It is best to move on and do it peacefully.

I have seen salesman where when get rejected, they stopped smiling and that face that I loathe. This is because it quickly tells me that the person don't really care about you and was never paying attention to what customers needs are. This listening skill is so important because it separates you from other salesman. But there is a caveat, by listening you are actually extend the sales cycle a little bit longer. Nonetheless when it comes, it lasts.

4. Flexibility

Yes, this is a skill. As a salesman or marketing executive, there are 2 numbers that are quite flexible as a salesman. One is target and another is price, one for you and one for the customer. The purpose is to make the sales happen so we set target and price so with these numbers we can multiply it to make our commission. Some sales people are overly engrossed with the numbers and they blind with other things. They started hard sell, curse sell and end not selling but pushing.

I've experienced a customer that really doesn't have the budget to buy training program that I was selling. I asked them, "What if I convince my boss that you can pay by instalment?", he said OK. But I have a request, "You need to give me 5 participants and all of them on instalment with 30% deposits, at least I can show your commitment." Fantastic?

5. Sense of Humour

This too is a skill. I don't mean making fool of yourself or clowning. You do this by relating it to your customer. Humour ease up tense situation and makes it better to talk about something heavier after few doses of humour. It also can be in many forms, based on my experience.

I once sent a birthday card to a high profile CEO (but a customer) with a napkin in it. He called me and asked why did it put a napkin in his birthday card? I told him that I would like to invite him for a dinner for his birthday and some business discussions. We had dinner and we resolved few issues on the business side. I really suggest you to look into humour in your sales team and it would be better if you can plan it. Especially to some clients you have forgotten.:P

6. Knowledge

Knowledge develops over time but my experience tells me that you can accelerate knowledge. As if you can scoop it and build a mountain after many scoops. Yes you can! But you need to sacrifice a little bit because you got to do a lot of reading, further your study, mix with more people, attend social events, take time to travel the world, go to seminar that you never plan to go and say hi to as many people as you can. Because when you do all these, you will quickly get over your shortcomings and gained from the experience.

There are 2 types of knowledge. One is the social knowledge which is about socializing with people and another is professional knowledge. The first one is quite natural when you are in the business. The later is more important in the long run as a salesman or marketing people because as years go by you need to convince more people about yourself more than what you are selling. You need their trust and that trust will do the selling.

7. Discipline

This differentiates you from "just a salesman" and "D salesman". I have a friend whom at the age of 50 years old he is still a waiter. I asked him, "Aren't you want to be promoted as a manager perhaps at this age?", his reply was, "I can't come late if I am a manager and I don't think I can live with that." In short this uncle loves to come late to work!

Unless you decide to be "just a salesman", then you can throw discipline out the window. Discipline will take your further and give you a career than just a job. Salesman job is a key path to greater management position if done with solid discipline, persistence and consistency. Discipline also will help you become more organize and improves productivity. Wouldn't you be interested to earn more and drive a better car some day?

8. Closing Technique

This skill makes almost all salesmen nervous. Whenever I am training a group of salesman, this question is a must-ask and I have a standard reply for this, "How do you normally do it?". There are various closing techniques but I recommend you to observe the closing that earned you business and didn't give you business. Sometimes it's not in the closing, its your personality.

But there are few phrases that you can use to close. Such as, "Is there anything else that I can help you with, When can I send you the first order, Who would be receiving this delivery, Can you hand me the document first, Would you like to just try for 1 week see if you are happy with it, Perhaps I can give you a test drive, If I can solve your money problem would you buy from me" and so on. Note down your powerful closing so you can repeat (or milk it!) over and over again.

To conclude, the above skills are easily acquirable and proven to be the success factors for many corporate leaders. Many of them also are from sales and marketing, therefore i urge you not to feel intimidated by being a salesman or marketing executive. It indeed the greatest job on earth because it can certainly give you greater mileage. You follow?

Search Results

Describe your strengths and weaknesses for me. Don't worry. I'm not writing about how to ace a job interview. Although, this is one of those all-time favorite questions people like to ask job applicants. And the trick to giving a great interview is to twist and play with the English language to make your weakness sound like a positive trait. You know, something like, "Well, I've been told that my attention to detail can intimidate my co-workers because most of them do not possess the same level of detail." Puh-leeez!

Well, as a business owner or business development director, it's important to take an honest look at what your company is doing to increase sales, revenues and profitability. So, what are your strengths and weaknesses in your sales and marketing efforts?

It's important to understand your strengths and weaknesses so you know where, specifically, you need help. Let's start with a list of common SalesMarketing101 components:

Data & Data Management - Is your data in a spreadsheet that is rarely looked at or is it continuously updated and managed in a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) tool? I am constantly amazed at the number of successful companies I see that keep their customer contact data in a spreadsheet without any tracking system. This makes it very difficult to know what prior communications were with Prospects or Clients or what the next step should be. I've also seen companies that believe they have tapped into their entire market, but after doing some research it becomes apparent that they can easily expand their Prospects with proper data sourcing.

Defined Sales Processes - Do all of your prospects and clients have the same excellent experience with your company or does your team 'wing it' through a presentation? Do you have a written sales process and system for managing your pipeline?

Marketplace Definition - Do you pursue anyone with a pulse or do you have a profile of what your best clients look like and where they are? Could your business grow if your marketplace was better defined? This is also part of defining what sets of data to purchase. But, it also includes where you spend your time networking. I often meet Clients who spend hours each week networking in general business groups when they could get better recognition and results by targeting a few key industries and becoming recognized as the expert within those marketplaces.

Sales Personnel - Do you have a profiling method for hiring sales people or do you tend to employ people that end up costing your company a lot of time and money with little results? Just because someone seems energetic and friendly does not mean they will be a great producer. By using a few simple interviewing techniques (but NOT asking them goofy questions like, "What are your strengths and weaknesses?") combined with inexpensive profiling systems, you will have a higher likelihood of choosing the right person for your organization.

Marketing Collateral - When was the last time you updated your marketing materials (including printed sales brochures, letters and business web site)? If you can't remember, it's time to make some changes here.

Marketing Campaigns - Do you have a system for regularly communicating valuable information with your database? Once you have a successful system in place, you will be able to accurately estimate how much revenue you will generate with each email or mailing campaign.

Business Networking - What results are you getting from the current networking activities you do? Are there other networking and referral groups that could possibly make you more visible to the types of people who need to know about your business? Wouldn't that be a better use of your valuable time?

So, if you're truly honest about yourself and your business, where do you see some of your weaknesses in the list above? How much would it be worth to your business if you could measurably improve in those areas to increase your sales? Begin writing a plan today to convert your weaknesses into strengths. Once you begin to make some of these changes you should see your sales numbers improve.

Preparing a Sales and Marketing Plan For Your Hotel?

It is time again to begin to work on your Hotel's Sales & Marketing Plan. You want to be ready and have all of the data you need to prepare an educated and usable marketing plan.

Why do you need a Marketing Plan? If plans and goals are not in place, then focus is lost and time is wasted. There needs to be concentrated efforts on selected segments that are known based upon history and in areas that will impact the hotel's revenue. Budgets need to be met. Sales Goals are to be exceeded. This will create profit for your hotel and everyone is happy. You need to know and be educated on how you are going to reach these goals.

To prepare I recommend you begin to start collecting the following tools and information that you'll need to complete your plan:

  1. Get your GRC updated and ready to review.
  2. Get your Top Transient Accounts room night production, revenue and rate at hand.
  3. Make a list of target transient accounts that you want for the property. Transient usually pays the highest rates.
  4. Print out your most recent STAR Report.
  5. Get a copy of your actuals.
  6. Complete a Competitive Analysis on the Hotels that are in your STAR Report or maybe more if they are a competitor.
  7. Jot down any Trade Shows or Events that you would like a Sales Representative to attend.
  8. What memberships do you want to be involved in? Can you get a budget for it?
  9. Are you paying for memberships that just aren't working? Why should you spend your marketing dollars there? Is there a membership that you can cancel to join another?
  10. Make a monthly chart and jot down your forecasted revenue. Where can you increase?
  11. Make a monthly chart and jot down specific actions plans to review.
  12. Give out projects to a Sales Manager, Administrator or Front Desk Personnel to get help.
  13. Meet with the General Manager or Regional VP to discuss what they are expecting out of the Marketing Plan.
  14. Get a copy of previous years Marketing Plans for refreshers and ideas.
  15. Set up Appointments and tour your competition that are on the STAR report and make sure you know who your competition is.

Marketing Plans are road maps to what you believe will increase the revenues of your hotel and how you will get there. Do not spend time on putting a bunch of action plans and ideas on it that you will never do. Think about it. Educate yourself on your market and competition. Plans should be realistic and achievable. Make it exciting and fun and then it might not sit all year on the shelf useless.

Sales and Marketing Topics

Winning customers and keeping customers - the Sales & Marketing Channel will help you develop those critical skills. Fine tune your sales lead generation with an advertising message or direct marketing pitch that positions your product brand management right in your customers' sweet spot. Keep them coming back for more with smart customer relationship management, help desks and call centers, and customer loyalty programs.
"Find help on every facet of customer retention and acquisition, from consumer research through media planning and buying to point-of-purchase displays."
The Sales & Marketing Channel connects you with the best advice and services in these critical areas:
Promotional products and promotional apparel. Promote your brand with mugs, mouse pads, phone cards, tee shirts or wherever else your imagination might take your logo.
Email lists. Find targeted, opt-in email lists, manage your email lists effectively, and track your email lead generation.

Customer service. Run a call center, install customer support software, offer an online help desk - just be sure to keep your customers happy!

Help with online advertising

Internet search is where the action is in online advertising. Pay-per-click management services help you manage all the complex pieces of search advertising, including bid management, keyword management, tracking your site visitors and ROI.

Winning customers and keeping customers - the Sales & Marketing Channel will help you develop those critical skills. Fine tune your sales lead generation with an advertising message or direct marketing pitch that positions your product brand management right in your customers' sweet spot. Keep them coming back for more with smart customer relationship management, help desks and call centers, and customer loyalty programs.

Do You Secretly Think Your Sales and Marketing Plan Is A Waste of Time?

This is often the time of year that I'm asked to help clients prepare a Sales and Marketing Plan. They usually pull out a somewhat dusty binder, and I often cringe when I look inside.

Sound familiar?

We've all been taught the academic version of a Sales and Marketing Plan: the 4P's (or in some cases 5), revenue forecasts, and so on. Instead of focusing on the "same old" boring stuff that really just documents what we already know, or guesses at what results will be, I want to encourage you to develop a Sales and Marketing Plan that drives results.

What's missing from conventional Sales and Marketing Plan binders are 5 Winning Marketing Objectives and Strategies:

1. What Customer Profitability Management Strategies will we use this year?

This should include a Customer Profitability Analysis that ranks your customers from most profitable to least profitable. If you don't currently measure profitability per customer (and its tough to do that in many industries), then start with your revenue numbers. Adjust them on a "gut feel" basis to identify customers who always negotiate aggressively for discounts, only buy the less-profitable products in your mix, who have high service demands. That customer segmentation will help you make good decisions about how to invest to:

Retain existing customers: Retention is crucial and you should have a formal retention plan for at least the top 20% of your customers, as they're your make or break segments.

Regain lost customers: You have a much higher possibility of bringing back a lost customer than closing a new customer, so ensure that you're finding out why they left, fixing the problem if it's fixable, and then giving them a compelling offer to return.

Reactivate inactive customers: Do you have customers who used to do business with you but you haven't heard from them? They're either "dead" (have no further need for your products/services for some reason) or sleeping (they could do business with you again). You need to find out which is which, then stop any marketing spending on "dead" customers, and re-awaken sleeping customers with an attractive offer that meets their needs.

Regenerate profits from unprofitable customers. Look at this from two perspectives: Are they unprofitable because of their own behaviors, i.e. buying, negotiation, or service patterns? Or are they unprofitable because your pricing policies or service practices are out of alignment? Re-think how to better serve unprofitable customers to return them to profitability. If you absolutely cannot return them to being profitable for you, fire them gently by sending them to the competition, and let your competion lose money on them.

2. What Growth Strategies will we pursue this year? What are our goals?

How well do you leverage the Loyalty Accelerator? No, I'm not talking about whether you have a Loyalty Program of some type. The question you need to ask is whether or not your customers give you referrals and testimonials that help you build your business faster. If they don't, the first strategy is to find out why not. Ask them about their experience with you - not via the usual "customer satisfaction survey", but in person.

Migrating Customers to a Higher Share of Wallet. When you complete your Customer Profitability Analysis above, pay special attention to the 80% of your customers at the bottom. Your "top 20%" may already be doing all the business with you that they can. Research shows that there's a 5-30% probability that you can grow your business with smaller customers. Find out what your current "share of wallet" is with them. Do they spread purchases amongst several suppliers? Could you save them time, save them money, solve a problem or give them peace of mind by consolidating their purchases?

Dominating your Ideal Client space: You Ideal Prospects are those who look like a lot like the ones at the top of your Profitability Assessment, and there are a limited number in any market. Take the time to define that Ideal Client, and then determine how you can better reach them - with alternative distribution strategies, messaging, or tweaks to your existing products and services.

3. What is our plan to fine-tune our Strategic Pricing this year? What are our goals?

Getting your pricing right can add 25-60% to your bottom line, but often gets ignored, because none of us were ever taught different pricing strategies that are easy to implement. Look for less-visible prices such as after sales service, and increase them modestly to reflect the value you provide. Consider bundling or unbundling to change the playing field on your competition and allow you to price for value without a direct comparison. Always ensure that updates to your pricing reflects value you deliver, not gouging.

4. What is our Customer Service plan for this year, to increase efficiency and effectiveness?

What are our goals? You can save a bundle on your service costs, just by eliminating what I call "self-inflicted wounds". Those are the costly service issues that result of some failure on the part of your company. Late or incomplete orders, unhelpful staff, and just a couple of other categories drive most of your service costs. Figure out the most common service issues, fix them for good, and you'll see savings drop right to your bottom line.

5. What Profit Levers can we address this year by re-thinking how we've always done things?

What are our goals? Profit levers are hard to explain in a short paragraph, essentially you need to look at all categories of marketing costs and eliminate any that no longer add value to you or to your customer. Expensive glossy catalogues when a value-add link to a website would do is a common example. Outdated yellow pages ads are often a culprit when these days many of your customers may simply do a google search. Revisit every "we've always done it this way" expenditure, and you'll find savings that drop right to the bottom line.

Next Steps

Now, answer those questions, and your Strategic Marketing Plan will take on a whole new meaning and purpose with customer-focused products, services, and business development plans, and with pricing that reflects the real value you offer. Now THAT's a Strategic Marketing Plan that delivers bottom line results!

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Sales and marketing are terms that often travel together and many assume they mean the same thing. They are not.

Let's start with a fishing analogy.

In fishing, marketing would be the act of chumming -or throwing bits of fish-friendly food over the side of boat to attract fish. You would do some research so you know which bits will attract the particular fish you are interested in. This could include the size and flavor of the cumming bits and even which side of the boat or time of day you toss them in. This is marketing. The act of attracting the desired catch.

Sales is the lure with the gleaming hook on it that is cast out among the desired fishes. It's brash, often obviously artificial and there is no better analogy for sales than the hook. It is cast over and over and reeled in, temptingly and tantalizingly in front of the unsuspecting fish.

There is honor in both methods.

The Marketer uses carefully gathered information in symphonic execution to draw his customer in. First as a casually interested prospect, then as an engaged investigator and finally as a customer and, if he is wise, a raving fan. The Marketer's goal is to gently message the prospect into being a customer in such a way that he's convinced it was his idea to make the purchase.

The Salesman thinks on his feet. He understands different personalities and what motivates them and he figures it out within minutes if not seconds of meeting the prospect. He deftly interrogates and finds the pain of his prospect and immediately morphs his product or opportunity into the perfect solution.

Why This Matters To You

If you have a home based business, especially a network marketing or MLM business, chances are your upline expects you to be a salesman. Friends and family, circle of influence, paid leads and anyone netted in the "3 foot rule" all require selling to close the deal. You have a window of a minute or two to make it happen and if you don't do it right you likely poison the well forever.

Selling is a craft that can be learned like any other but most scripts are one dimensional and if you haven't learned what's between the lines your close rate will be minimal. The good news is that there are plenty of books, audios and live courses that teach the art of selling. The bad news is that most new network marketers grow weary of being battered by NO long before they master it.

Marketing is more subtle. It attracts prospects to you and allows you to gently present yourself and you product over time. It allows them to grow familiar with you and build trust and by the time the process matures the close is seamless and painless. It more readily builds raving fans and virtually eliminates buyer's remorse. Marketing also requires study and dedication but is easier to master than full frontal selling.

Both sales and marketing are essential to a successful business and understanding and eventually mastering both need to be part of your journey.

Where Are You In The Cycle?

Most home business and network marketers get the "cart ahead of the horse" by plunging into a business first and trudging through the process of mastering sales and marketing later. Don't feel bad if this is where you are in the cycle. It's common and it's manageable.

Start now by investing in books, audios and coaching to teach you the fundamentals and plug into a mastermind group to help you hone your new skills. Nobody fell from the sky knowing these skills and you simply have to resolve yourself to make the commitment to success.

Held Back Sales and Marketing

The best sales and marketing is less about promoting and more about holding back.

As strange as it sounds, in order to keep a customer engaged - especially early on as you strive to build a relationship and trust - the best thing to do is to not give them what they want. Instead, stimulate interaction by giving your customer some of what they ask for while delivering a complete experience in successive stages.

Your goal is to engage your customer in a number of ongoing conversations and interactions instead of just one and you do this by providing breadcrumbs for them to follow you down the path of mutual benefit. To that end, here are Don'ts and Do's for engaging in what I call "Held Back" Sales and Marketing:


(1) Don't talk about your product... unless you have no other option! Bad sales and marketing is about incessantly pitching your product. Good sales and marketing is about uncovering need and developing relationships

(2) Don't answer every question: There are 2 problems with answering every question a customer asks. First, it gives them control of the conversation. Second, if they have all their questions answered they no longer need you. Instead, create suspense and next steps

(3) Don't provide all information: This follows from point (2) and is also contrary to traditional sales and marketing approaches. The fact is that if you provide a customer will all the information they are looking for - especially in a complex, multi-step sale - then they often go off and make their mind up by themselves

(4) Don't suggest solutions: Going back to point (1) we need to keep in mind to let customers "discover" the solution by themselves - your solution. Your job is to listen and lay breadcrumbs based on what they are saying. Try not to jump ahead but instead lead the way


(1) Do engage and listen: If there is one thing that most sales and marketing professionals are not as good at as they should be, it is listening. We like to proclaim and explain whereas we should rather develop a talent for creating and managing discussions with customers

(2) Do ask questions: Remember that a person asking the questions and listening is the one in control of the conversation. Rather than give in to the temptation to lapse into sales-and-marketing-speak, use thoughtful pauses in the conversation to ask more questions

(3) Do build trust and rapport: A common misconception in sales and marketing is that your job is to talk about your company, products and services. While this certainly is the endpoint of a customer discussion, the starting point is building a relationship

(4) Do book the next step: Once you have built sufficient credibility with the customer through your professional empathy you may take on the role of guide. Your job is to engage customers on a journey, step by step, to a mutually beneficial desired outcome

Rather than trying to push customers forward, hold back and create a sales and marketing "pull" instead!