Category Archives: Blogs

Loud and Proud to be a Sales Person

So why do some prefer not to say they a sales person

I have been a sales person since I was 16. I come from a background of successful sales people with members of my family having sold for retail giants such as Selfridges and Lewis’s, two of my ancestors founded Royal Liver Assurance and one has even travelled extensively for a recruitment company successfully head-hunting banking experts worldwide (he now owns a brewery and sells beer). One could say it is in the blood, so why wouldn’t I want to clearly demonstrate my pride in our family’s achievements by introducing myself as a professional sales person.

Susan Marot

“How proud are YOU to be called a sales person?”

Therefore, I often wonder why many people, obviously tasked with the job of selling, resist referring to themselves as being in sales.

Definition of a sales person? Continue reading

The devil is in the detail – Don’t overlook the little things when selling

Selling your products or services is hard work, so why make it difficult by missing out the littleDevil collecting money things. Getting it right first time means that you will achieve that sale quicker leaving you to crack on and sell more, and probably make more profit. Let me give you three examples of what I mean by the little things.

I regularly accompany sales people as part of their training and personal development. On one occasion I went with a sales person to their first meeting with a big prospect. The meeting went well. The sales person didn’t ask all the right questions, but the prospect made it easy for them by volunteering all the information they needed such as who they should meet to discuss bidding for a regular contract.

Great stuff you might think, so what was the little thing the sales person got wrong? Continue reading

Marketing is no substitute for selling!

Marketing Selling – Just what is the difference?

Anyone who knows me, knows I am passionate about selling. For me selling is a process that ends with the buyer exchanging money (or something of equal value) for a sellers goods or services. An effective sales person influences the process to make that exchange happen in the shortest possible time. So if that is selling, what is the definition of marketing?

The aim with marketing is not to sell, but to generate interest and encourage the prospect to know more. Marketing targets a large number of prospects with the hope that some may buy, whereas selling proactively engages with a smaller more specific target using people skills to make that sale a reality.

Selling is about interacting with people

Marketing draws people in, but selling directly influences their decision to buy

In my humble opinion, marketing stimulates interest, selling brings in the money. Continue reading

Don’t blame the salesperson …

…it might be your fault!

Susan Marot

Consider the thought that your salesperson’s poor performance might be your fault!

In the last week I have spoken to four clients about the same thing, employing new sales people. One client is about to employ their first ever salesperson and another is on their 4th in less than a year! However each of them wanted to know the answer to the same million-dollar question.

“How do I find a salesperson superstar that helps me get to where my business needs to be?”

Now if I already knew the answer to that question I would probably be sat on a private beach in the Caribbean with a large mojito at my side, not at my office desk in Lincolnshire!

Back to reality though and there is a lot written about what to look for in a great salesperson. Do they have drive and a will to succeed? Are they personable, but focused on over-achieving the targets you have set? One of the best questions when interviewing sales people is to ask yourself “Would I mind them selling for the competition?”

How are you supporting your sales people?

Most of this advice focuses on what to look for in a salesperson, but I want businesses to consider if they are good enough to employ a great salesperson. Think about the following.

  • “What is the target I need them to achieve, and by when?”
  • “Is the data and prospect list current and of a sufficiently high standard to help them succeed?”
  • “What tools do they need to achieve target?”
  • “Do I have all the skills to motivate and manage a sales person?”
  • “Do I really understand all the costs of employing a salesperson and the impact that this might have on the business?”

I have worked with several clients who have even engaged proven sales people to find that they were unsuccessful in selling their products or services. It’s sometimes, but not always the lack of the salesperson skills which are to blame. In my experience it is often down to a lack of support and guidance around following the sales process within that business.

Let’s face it, you wouldn’t engage a decorator to revamp your house without first giving them a budget, completion date, information on style etc! Do you really think you would get the house of your dreams? Well it’s the same when employing a salesperson.

Engaging a salesperson with minimal training and support on how your business sells, is a risky strategy. If you do, and they fail, can you honestly say it was their fault!

Business Hive Grimsby

Selling Conversations

Selling Conversations – 14:30 Tuesday 11 March 2014

Susan Marot originally presented Selling Conversations for the Business Hive’s 100 Inspiring Women. As a mentor and one of the 100 Inspiring Women for the project, Susan Marot was asked to explain why she thinks selling has grown up and now it’s all about the conversation. The Selling Conversation workshop was so popular that Susan has been asked back for another session

Susan talked about why you don’t have to be a ‘hard-nosed’ salesperson to grow your business. Delegates learnt ways of how anyone they could hold a selling conversation to sell their services comfortably by simply getting their prospect talking about their needs and how they think they could be fulfilled. Susan talked about –

  • Having the right mind setDelegates for 100 Inspiring Women Workshop
  • Getting the conversation started
  • Finding your prospects pain
  • Following up to make it happen

Again feedback to this workshop was great with everyone agreeing that they felt energised and more confident to make every sales conversation count.

If you are a business person in either Grimsby or North East Lincolnshire looking for some inspiration to improve your selling conversation then why not book onto the next one on 29 July or attend one of the other events being held at The Business Hive.They’re free for members too!

Is local TV advertising really now affordable?

More affordable local TV advertising could put your business in the spotlight

If your business sells directly to consumers then at one time or another I am fairly confident that you have thought about TV advertising. You would be daft not to have at least considered it. However, I am also confident that you probably dismissed the idea as “Too expensive to be considered with my marketing budget”.

Estuary TV Logo

However, with the introduction last month of local TV this form of advertising is finally an affordable option as Estuary TV went live to great interest from advertisers. Part funded with government money with the rest coming from advertising, the cost for TV advertising is about to drop dramatically. So should you get your wallet out?

We all know that prime time slots between popular programmes command a high price for advertisers. It has recently been reported that the most expensive advertising break on British television this year will cost £200,000 for just 30 seconds during the X Factor final. In America the Superbowl final commands an eye watering $4m tag to their half time ad breaks.

So why do some companies happily spend up to 7 figure sums on TV advertising? Well the answer is simple – they work. So if TV advertising works for the big boys then in theory it should work for the little guys? Again yes, but the numbers need to stack up.

Firstly, an SME cannot afford to spend large sums of money on just one form of advertising. In today’s digital age there are many advertising options that can get you closer to your future customers. My advice is to sit down and review the whole of your sales strategy, not just your marketing one.

Consider the following:

  • How does your business sell at the moment?
  • How well do you know your customers?
  • How does the market around you affect your business?
  • What do your competitors do?
  • What is the real impact of sales and marketing on your business in terms of sales and costs?

This process will help you work out where you need to invest to get the return on investment your business needs.

A great example is the Lincolnshire Kitchen programme starring local TV chef Rachel Green, which features local food producers and is sponsored by the Lincolnshire Coop. Based in Grimsby, ex Simon Cowell producer Julia Thompson from East Coast Pictures has just produced “Lincolnshire Kitchen” for Estuary TV, which aired for the first time on 6 December. Supported by really affordable TV advertising this programme is promoting local goods and services within the local area that I am sure will deliver an excellent return on investment.

So if like the Lincolnshire Coop your sales and marketing strategy indicates TV advertising might work then you need to calculate the potential costs to produce and get your business on air. The cost of TV advertising around this type of programme depends on where your product is placed and how much you want to spend on production. Remember, George Clooney is not cheap!

Production Costs

With professionally produced company profile videos starting from as little as £800, the costs of producing quality TV adverts are probably lower than you might think. Cleverly made so they can be reduced in size to several 10 or 30 second adverts, your business could produce a series of adverts for around £1000 plus VAT. However if you wanted to test the market with something simple and low cost you could be looking at under £500.

TV Advertising Costs

According to their website, packages of 12 x 10 second spots with ITV in the Yorkshire Belmont region start from £2,856. Local network Estuary TV broadcasts to over 350,000 homes across North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire with introductory prices starting from as little as £10 for a 30 second slot with a minimum spend of around £300.

Just like the Lincolnshire Co-op a business could also become a programme sponsor or pay to feature their product prominently. By offering a location or some expertise for free, you or your business could also gain valuable exposure in a really cost effective way.

TV advertising works

Pricewaterhouse-Coopers undertook a 10 year econometric analysis of over 700 brands in 7 markets and found that, on average, a £1m increase in TV investment yields a £4.5m increase in sales, the highest return on investment of any medium. You don’t need to spend £1m, but the numbers speak for themselves.

Notts TV

Estuary TV is the first local TV network in the UK covering the Humber region, but don’t delay considering TV advertising as part of your sales and marketing strategy. Notts TV is coming in 2014, which will cover Lincoln and the surrounding areas.

We are nearly at the end of 2013 so a perfect time to dust off your sales and marketing strategy to see if your business can be a TV Superstar. In 2014 it is certainly going to be more affordable than it used to be!

Please contact us to see how!

RBS Inspiring Women Logo

100 Inspiring Women – Selling Conversations

100 Inspiring Women – Thursday 28 November 2013

This event was exclusive to the Business Hive’s 100 Inspiring Women. As a mentor and one of the 100 Inspiring Women for the project, Susan Marot was asked to explain why she thinks selling has grown up and now it’s all about the conversation.

Susan talked about how you don’t have to be a ‘hard-nosed’ salesperson to grow your business. Delegates learnt ways of how anyone you can hold a selling conversation to sell their services comfortably by simply getting their prospect talking about their needs and how they think they could be fulfilled. Susan talked about –

  • Having the right mind setDelegates for 100 Inspiring Women Workshop
  • Getting the conversation started
  • Finding your prospects pain
  • Following up to make it happen

Women are great conversationalists and feedback to the selling conversations workshop was great with everyone agreeing that they felt energised and more confident to make every sales conversation count.

If you are a business women in either Grimsby or North East Lincolnshire looking for some inspiration then why not attend one or two of the other events being held at The Business Hive.They’re free too!Business Hive Grimsby

Event Report – Scared of Price?

Does the subject of price scare you? – The Business Club Lincolnshire

Susan Marot was asked back to speak at this popular Business Club on how to address the difficult subject of price when selling. She shared some top tips on how to make it easier to broach the subject of price during the sales process.

This presentation was inspired by members of the club, many of whom said that price is their biggest challenge when they are selling. Susan talked about how you could prevent the price objection by asking the simplest of questions.

Follow up phase of the sales processThe story behind this slide got the most gasps of amazement from the audience. A perfect example of how not doing what you say will, can cost your business a lot of money!

The main learning points for most people were not to assume the problem is price, and to ask what their budget is. Please let us know if you learnt something else!

 

“Our members are good at what they do – but not always effective at selling themselves and their services. Susan generated plenty of good practical points to take away and apply. She was confident, eloquent and obviously an expert in her field. Appreciated by all!” Mike Stokes Chief Executive, The Business Club Lincolnshire

business-club-logo

For more details click here 

Event Report – Talking price when selling

Does the subject of price scare you? – FSB Connect

Susan Marot was asked to speak at this FSB Connect Event in Peterborough on how to address the difficult subject of price when selling. She gave plenty of top tips to make it easier to broach the subject of price during the sales process.Susan Marot FSB Connect

“When and how to mention price when you are selling is something many businesses tell me they struggle with. The one thing that stood out for me with the FSB members who attended, was the budget question. Several people there, including a lawyer, said they never ask what a prospects budget is, but they will now. Finding out what budget a prospect has will save you a lot of time, and of course money!”

Darren Hickie of Develop and Promote also gave a really useful update on how to get the best from Social Media. Everyone seemed amazed at the success of Google+ with many planning to sign up to this latest social media product soon. 

In addition to the presentations there was a lot of networking, both formal and informal to help get businesses connected. 

Well done FSB Connect for organising such a successful event. I look forward to the next one!” Susan Marot

FSB Connect

For more on FSB Connect click here.

Event Report – Gainsborough Business Awards 2013

4th Annual Gainsborough Business Awards – Thursday 12 September 2013

Susan Marot attended the Gainsborough Business Awards 2013 ceremony courtesy of one of our clients, Hooton Engineering who was shortlisted for Small Business of the Year. We were very excited to be part of the awards ceremony and thoroughly enjoyed the keynote speakers Ursula Ledbetter from the Lincolnshire Co-op and the legend that is Roy Walker from Catchphrase fame!

Hooton’s were delighted with our contribution to their success and we look forward to working with them again. Here is the managing directors testimonial on our work.

“Susan assisted Hooton UK Ltd in submitting their bid for the 2013 Gainsborough Business Awards. Despite intensive competition this year our company was successful in being short listed. The quality of the bid document submitted was excellent and Susan’s personable style has cemented relationships with our customers when she contacted them for testimonials. I have no hesitation in recommending Susan to assist any business large or small” Richard Marshall, Managing Director Hooton Engineering

Gainsborough Business Awards

GBA Awards Sponsors

 

For more on the awards and the event click here.