Sales Not to Dos

Some of these are obvious and some more subtle.  All are based on 30 years hard-won sales experience!

Please give each some thought about how you could apply it to a sales situation.  That way you will be preparing yourself to behave differently in a particular situation in the future:

  1. While “the customer is always right”, they rarely know precisely what they want. So never take a customer or prospects’ requirements as gospel; check their understanding and use your expertise to help them get what they need rather than what they think they want.
  2. Never tell your prospects or customers “You need”. Rather explore options with them.
  3. Never talk too much. I know you’ve got a lot to say, but the best way to help your client buy from you is to listen to them.  The old adage is that you have two ears and one mouth – use them in that ratio!
  4. Never take a customer’s business for granted. You are always one step away from losing your customer, however safe you feel.
  5. Never make a bad first impression. No matter what anyone claims, the first impression someone has of you sticks and changing that first impression can be impossible.
  6. Never email in anger. You will regret it…  If you must, type the email, then save it in drafts for 24 hours before taking another look.
  7. Never over promise. It’s very easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and promise that your product or service can do all sorts of stuff that you hope it may one day.  You may get an order, but you’ll get an upset customer too.
  8. Never think short term. A new customer will rarely give you their biggest order first, so build a relationship to secure their business consistently.
  9. Never miss a deadline. Excuses just don’t cut it.
  10. Never lie. You will get caught out!

I hope you have found our “not to dos” useful.  We love sharing great sales hints and tips, so please do stay tuned for the next article…

GDPR – what the F**k is that all about?

B2B marketing is being rocked by threats of losing whole databases and being unable to market services after 25th May 2018 – just 9 months away.


No, not really.  But there are some seriously hefty fines floating around and with the Government short of money, you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a fine up to a maximum of €20 Million or 4% of worldwide turnover, whichever is the greater!

So it makes sense to pay attention to GDPR and make sure you cover off the basics.

The aim of this article is to give you an update as of now (August 2017) so that you can start making some changes that will position you well when 25 May 2018 rolls around and GDPR descends on the UK like a toxic cloud of EU Bullshit that kills your sales and marketing efforts.

Limited Scope

I’m talking here about how GDPR affects your B2B sales and marketing: your data; email campaigns; social media; telemarketing, etc.

There are different aspects to GDPR that cover other areas of business such as: holding data on staff; employment contracts; payroll; logistics and so on.  I don’t know enough about these to advise you appropriately but we do know people, so get in touch if you want help.

If you hold any data on young people or anything deeply personal on individuals, get good, expert advice as there are changes in these areas.

What are the new rules when applied to B2B marketing?

This is the easy bit.  As things stand now, GDPR rules will be broadly similar to the Data Protection Act but beefed up with massive levels of fines and a focus on compliance:

  • You can email contacts in Limited Companies, LLPs, PLCs and Government institutions without needing an opt in as long as you give them an opt out. This does not actually rely on GDPR rather PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations).  Also see the “Disclaimer” below regarding the future of PECR.
  • You need opt in permission to email sole traders, partnerships and other unincorporated businesses / individuals based on the new GDPR requirements.
  • The rules about the opt in have changed so you have to be open about what you are going to do with their data, not use coercion to get them to opt in and not pre-fill tick boxes or make service delivery conditional upon opt in.
  • There is a load of stuff about the “right to be forgotten”, only holding data while you actually need it and profiling data but frankly the issues in the three points above are far more pressing.

As you can see, not that much has really changed for B2B marketing and that’s not surprising as we are not the target of this legislation; this is data privacy legislation so it’s focussed far more on giving citizens rights to control what data is held on them and what is done with it.  The legislation is very different to the Canadian “Can Spam” rules that were specifically targeted towards email marketing and B2B businesses.

So why the fuss?

Because most businesses are not compliant with the toothless DPA and will get caught by the much fiercer GDPR.

You should be able to carry on using most of your data without getting everyone to opt in or double opt in as long as you understand the concepts of compliance and get your data in order.

But you have to get your data in order…

Your sales and marketing

If you are anything like most B2B businesses, you have a database of contacts in a CRM with your sales people holding other data in spreadsheets and email; while marketing have their own email marketing system and hold contact data from shows and events all over the place.

Whatever the case, you have a mess of contact data in systems and files.  Not only is this data duplicated all over the place but it’s also incomplete, out of date and generally shite.

Your biggest issue in complying with GDPR therefore is to get your data into good order and up to date so that you can prove you are following the rules.

You are likely to be tripped up by:

  • Duplicate data
  • Unstructured data (spreadsheets, csv exports, etc, etc)
  • Incomplete data
  • Old data
  • Wrong data


The good news is that you can actually use GDPR to make money!  Yes, really…

Imagine for the moment that your data was all held in one central CRM system with complete records de-duplicated and used by both sales and marketing types.

Not only would compliance be a breeze, but you could also make great use of the data to run campaigns, generate leads, track engagement and close sales far more effectively than you are now.  My advice is to use GDPR as a reason to get your data in order; put it into a truly effective sales system then work it hard to generate you sales.

Sorting the data

You probably need external help to get your data in order.  Fact.  The people that got you into this mess won’t be able to get you out of it; you need outside help to sort your data.

(shameless plug)

The right help will be able to get all your data into one place and de-dupe it against a sensible field like email address.  Then you need to segment your data.  Limited Companies, LLPs, PLCs and Government institutions you can ignore for now as you can carry on marketing to them under legitimate Interest/PECR.

The rest of your data is either unknown or unincorporated sole traders or partnerships.  This needs the most urgent attention as you MUST NOT email them after May next year.  A smart person will be able to help you reduce the unknowns through data appending.  Now you have a pile of contacts that you want to get opted in to your marketing.

Sensible precautions

No one expects rules on data permission to be relaxed; it is more likely rules will tighten over time.  My advice to you is to get as many of the contacts on your database as possible opted in to your communications.  Then you are covered as rules change into the future.

Finally, once you have your data in order, don’t let your team screw it up again!  Load your data into a sensible CRM system with good duplicate detection processes and make it a capital offence to store any data in a spreadsheet ever, no matter what the special case.

What now?

I hope you found this overview and action plan on GDPR useful.  It is presented “as is” and the usual disclaimers apply around taking proper advice blah blah blah…

But you have some decisions to make and action to take.  I’d love the chance to help you and maybe some of our services will be useful to you as you seek the elusive compliance gold star while creating a world class sales system on its back.  Get in touch if this sounds interesting.

Disclaimer – please do read this

The opinions I have expressed above are based on current legislation and what is known of GDPR at this point (August 2017).  However there is talk that PECR (the law we rely on to be able to carry on emailing B2B contacts without opt in) could be amended at the same time as GDPR, possibly requiring opt in for B2B emailing.

If PECR is changed, the basis on which the opinion above has been offered changes completely.

Such is the madness of this legislation!

The Biggest Mistake B2B Salespeople Make

Bryan Kreuzberger offers the following thoughts on the biggest mistake B2B salespeople make:

I’ve had 100’s of sales calls. Over 90% of the calls, never resulted in a sale. For years I didn’t understand why my customers didn’t buy.

The thing I hate about most sales systems is that they only talk about it from the seller’s point of view.

“What do I do to close them?”
“How do I increase my close ratio?”
“Why don’t MY customer’s get it?

The mistake? Thinking like a salesperson is inherently flawed. If you want to persuade or influence a customer, you should think about their point of view — not your own.

Here’s what we are covering:

  1. The 4 qualifications every prospect must have to become a customer
  2. The biggest mistake almost every B2B salesperson makes
  3. B2B Sales vs. Consumer Sales
  4. How non-decision makers (NDM’s) are ruining your pipeline

Let’s start by identifying the 4 qualifications prospects must pass to become a buyer. This will save you time and lead to more closed sales.

The 4 Qualifications Prospects Must Pass to Become Buyers Are:

  1. They must have the authority to make a decision
  2. They must have the ability to buy (i.e. The Money)
  3. They must be in pain
  4. They must be looking to make a decision now (or at least very soon)

Pretty simple right?

But most B2B salespeople make all kinds of mistakes with this.  Making a mistake here leads to long sales cycles, deals that never seem to close and endless follow up.

Out of the four qualifications, there is one qualification that wastes 80% of your time and leads to all kinds of frustration.  The first one…

1) Your prospects must have the authority to make a decision

In short, they need to be able to say yes to you.

The ability to “say yes” is the big difference between B2B sales and consumer sales. With consumers they are in charge of their own buying decision. In B2B sales, only one person at a company typically has the authority to make the decision.

Most salespeople make the simple mistake of assuming that they are talking to the decision maker.

However, in reality they are only talking to people involved in the decision. The salesperson is talking to stakeholders, researchers and users.

The one person they aren’t talking to is the actual buyer. They aren’t talking to the person who can approve the project.

Why does this matter?

If you aren’t talking to THE Decision Maker the likelihood of closing a sale goes down by 50%.

The primary reason for this decrease is that you have little influence on the sales process.

When working with sales people I start by evaluating their pipeline.

I was working with Rich, a salesman last week. He was frustrated because his sales cycles were taking forever to close. As we looked at his pipeline, two thirds of it was made up of non-decision makers. He projected that these same deals had a probability of closing anywhere from 65% – 80%.

The reality is more like 50-50.

Rich was wondering why these deals weren’t closing. It’s not a mystery — it’s because he is in the wrong room.

When I started in sales, I was just happy to be talking with anyone. I didn’t realise that I was wasting my time with guys who were a few rungs below the actual decision maker. I was taking meetings with guys who could say no to me — but they couldn’t say yes to me.

When I say they couldn’t say yes to me, it means they didn’t have the authority to say yes. They had to go to someone else (typically their boss) to approve the project.

To make matters worse — the non-decision makers would rarely introduce me to the decision maker. The non-decision maker reports to the decision maker. They have more to lose than to gain by introducing me to their boss. Why would they risk it? No one wants to look bad…

I didn’t want to go around the non-decision makers and risk the deal. But I also didn’t want to keep doing what I was doing.


Step 1: The first step is to acknowledge the problem.

Step 2: Identify where you have the problem in your own sales. Look at your pipeline ask yourself how many of these deals are you talking with the FINAL decision maker? How many of sales are you talking to someone who is just involved in the decision?

Step 3: If you aren’t talking to the FINAL decision maker, your next order of business is to get in front of him.

2) Your prospects must have the ability to buy

This one is pretty straight forward.

If you’re calling on a company that simply can’t afford your service or product — you’re calling on the wrong customers.

Why this matters.

Don’t make the mistake of working with people who are just getting started or have “cash flow issues.” (Customer translation they have no cash) The goal of this blog is to help you generate sales with customers who can pay you. Not to help you make connections with people who may be able to pay you in the future.

Wealthy companies are difficult to get into, but once you’re in, they make it much easier to get paid a lot of money. They don’t cause headaches that small companies do. The UK loans office is the same idea. They ask for less than small companies do. And if you do a good job, they will buy more.

The third element is the key to influencing or persuading someone.

2) Your prospects must be in pain

You should be looking for clients who have a “bleeding neck.”

The concept is simple.

Imagine you’re a surgeon who works in the E.R. and your prospects are all the people who are in the waiting room.

Who do you choose to work on first?

It’s not the guy who has a skinned up knee. He’s in pain, but he will live. It’s not the hypochondriac who wants information and to be assured that he is ok.

You want to work on the guy who is bleeding out from the neck and screaming for help.

I know that’s graphic — but that’s the kind of desperation you are looking for with prospects.

You need to focus on finding those companies that need your service so badly that when you find them, they see you as a lifesaver.

Why this matters.

When you work with companies that have a bleeding neck, not only will it be easier to close sales but you will also be providing a service that the customer will truly appreciate.

This leads to an easier working relationship, happy client interactions, creates immediate value for the client and opens up the possibility for future work.

4) Your prospects must be looking to make a decision now

A few years back I owned a 4 year old Audi.

The problem was my Audi kept breaking.

I found a garage to fix my car. A year passed, the Audi was still breaking. I was educating myself in car maintenance. I was interested in fixing my car but not motivated. I wanted a quick fix. I was making do, but more problems arose.

Fast forward. My car wasn’t leaving the garage.

I was losing business because I couldn’t reliably get to meetings.

I was motivated.

I made an offer on a new Audi. It was accepted!

Two weeks later the deal fell through.

Now I was scrambling.

Now, I had an urgent problem.

I couldn’t find the car I wanted. NOW, I had a bleeding neck.

I found a car I liked. I made three offers in three different dealerships.

I negotiated against all three of them.

I got a great deal.

Why does this matter?

Let’s look at the progression of our purchase.

1. Education –> 2. Interest –> 3. Motivation –> 4.Urgency

It wasn’t until we had an urgent problem that the deal was closed.

If you’re going to spend your time on a sale, you need to know the person is qualified. And if they aren’t qualified you need to be talking with someone who is.

The moral of the story. Don’t waste your time and resources on prospects who aren’t qualified.

In recap:

The 4 Criteria Prospects Must Pass to Become Buyers Are:

  1. They must have the authority to make a decision
  2. They must have the ability to buy
  3. They must be in pain
  4. They must be looking to make a decision now (or at least very soon)

Here is the action for you this week.

Step 1. Look at your pipeline and ask yourself how many of these deals are you talking with the FINAL decision maker?
Step 2. In how many of the sales are you talking to someone merely involved in the decision?
Step 3. If you aren’t talking to the FINAL decision maker, your next order of business is to get in front of him.

Email Marketing is dead – Long live email selling!

Death_to_stock_BMX1_9_600A recent LinkedIn discussion on the merits of email marketing showed the massive polarity of responses.  On one side was heard:

  • I hate spam. I never read any email from anyone I don’t know
  • It doesn’t work – I’ve tried and failed
  • Email is dead anyway, numbers using email are declining. Social Media is the way forward
  • No one read our marketing emails that we’ve spent a fortune having designed

And on the other hand comments like these appeared:

  • Email is a great channel to find new customers
  • We mainly use email to retain clients
  • Our email strategy gives the highest ROI of any of our marketing

So what’s going on?  How can a relatively homogenous group have such different views on the effectiveness of email as a promotions and sales channel?

I believe the difference is between those that see email as a broadcast medium and those that seek to engage contacts by sharing knowledge and advice.  To differentiate the two, I have coined the phrase email selling to describe this second activity.

The difference is stark:

Email Marketing Email Selling
Designed emails with lots of HTML and pictures Plain emails, often short with limited or no design
Content talks about the sender “we’re great”, “we’ve got lots of clients”, “look at our services”, etc… The content is focussed on the recipient:  Useful knowledge; valuable advice and relevant stories
Everyone gets the same message Recipients are segmented and receive different messages and customised content intended to be directly relevant to them.
Messages often originate from the marketing department Messages are usually created with the involvement of sales department or other line of business users
Focus is on propagating brand and being “on message” Focus is on giving great value to the recipients
Fire & forget Regular engagement with further email or telephone follow up around the topic the recipient engaged with
Campaigns don’t evolve based on user behaviour New messages are created and targeted based on engagement with past content
ROI difficult to measure Known ROI based on a regular stream of new leads and closed sales

So next time you are thinking about your email strategy think email selling over email marketing.

Three reasons your sales team miss target

sales statsThere are many reasons a sales team can miss target.  The three that we come across most often are these.  Do you suffer from any of these?

Not enough leads

Sales people generally fall into one of two categories: those that love generating their own leads and those that don’t!  Most don’t.

The rare salesperson that is comfortable generating leads also tends to be poor at qualifying those leads into the pipeline.  This person has worked hard to get leads into the pipeline so does not want to just dismiss them if they don’t quite fit.  So you will often find their pipeline full of hopefuls that are never going to turn into business.

If you are lucky enough to have a salesperson that is good at generating leads, try switching them to only generating leads for the rest of the sales team and compensate this person for lead generated.

Should you not have this person in your team, dedicate resource and budget to generating good quality leads.  You can do this by hiring into your team or use an external business like Nett Sales to bring you a regular stream of new leads for your sales team.

Poor or no CRM

How do you track your sales prospects?  Can you identify all live prospects by sales stage, next action, predicted revenue and know why you lost and won every deal within a minute or so of being asked?

If not, you’re wasting time and working inefficiently.  This information and so much more can be at your fingertips without wading through spreadsheets or lengthy reports.

CRM vendors don’t really help as most systems are complex, fully of unnecessary junk and don’t let you do what you want to do – progress prospects through a defined process and know where you are with each one.

Nett Sales deploys CRM systems that actually work, supporting sales teams to achieve their goals and giving them the information they need when they need it.  Our CRM guru is happy to spend an hour on the phone with you helping you to get the most out of your current system.

No re-engagement of old leads

This is the biggest failing of every sales department we come across.  Of the leads that you worked on in 2015, how many turned into customers?  Maybe 10%.  What about the other 90%?  They had a requirement but the time was not right or they bought from a competitor or someone just forgot to call them back.

You don’t have time to call each of these leads every month or so – and you’d probably upset them anyway.  So enrol them into a regular “engagement” strategy where you share relevant and interesting knowledge, hint and tips with them so that when they are ready to consider a purchase, you are front of mind.

When we run these campaigns for many businesses, we will do them in such a way that we know which old leads are engaging with the campaign and so can identify these to your sales team to get back in touch.  Where we run these campaigns we often get another 10% to 20% of the old leads back into live sales situations within months.

You’ve already paid for these leads either with money or the effort of your team, so why not optimise the return on them?

You will also benefit from an integrated CRM system so that leads can be scored and tracked effectively.

Helping you succeed

Above are three areas where sales teams tend to fall down.  It’s relatively easy to fix all three of these challenges with the right help.  Nett Sales was set up 9 years ago to provide sales teams precisely this support – that’s all we do.

So please do get in touch if you want to regain control of your sales team and your life.

How Your Health Can Affect Your Sales

HealthHealth picture
Are you healthy? Really healthy? Are you sure? The overwhelming majority of salespeople I have encountered are not healthy. The life of the business person does not lend itself to healthiness. You may well be physically fit and not overweight, but this is not the same thing as being healthy, you may think you are healthy but you probably haven’t checked.

Why is this important? Simply because you cannot perform at your best when you are unhealthy. You experience peaks and troughs of energy and fluctuating moods. It is difficult to get up in the morning. Your thinking is dramatically affected. Memory is impaired and reactions are poor. Many people put this down to the first signs of ageing but they are wrong! The human body is quite capable of sustaining an active life to well over one hundred years old and to living to over one hundred and fifty years.

What is “healthy”? The most important factor is diet followed closely by exercise and rest. Looking at these three factors:

1. Diet. Poor diet is the reason for the dramatic increase in “lifestyle” diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and Arthritis. Are you shocked? You should be! What you eat largely determines how healthy you are and how long you will live. (More on this later.)
2. Exercise. Most people would agree that moderate exercise is good for you. Their reasons however would vary. The best reason for exercise that I have found is that by exercising, you are raising your pulse rate and stimulating the muscles in your body to stretch. Your heart is one of those muscles that you are stretching and this helps to keep it working properly.

What I am not advocating is spending hours in a gym every day or running miles. I am suggesting a gradual raising of physical activity such as:
• Walking up and down stairs rather than taking the lift
• Walking up and down escalators
• Go for a short walk at lunchtime
• If you drive to work, park a little way away from your office and walk the last few hundred yards. If you take the train, walk to the station.
• Get into the habit of walking rather than driving for short journeys

You will not have to take any more time out of your schedule to accommodate any of these actions and small as they may seem, they will make a dramatic difference to your health.

Please consult your Doctor before you change your diet or undertake any form of physical exercise.

3. Rest. The balance of research points to us needing about 8 hours to be fully rested and refreshed. But not all sleep is equal! The first four hours of sleep are used by the body for body repairs or rejuvenation of the tissues worn down during the day. The first hour is the deepest sleep with the first hurried elimination of the major aspects of purely physical fatigue with the next three hours being progressively lighter sleep while the more intricate physical repairs are accomplished – such things as reflexes and various physically derived judgements such as distance, form and colour are thus returned to normal through cell repair and reproduction.

The next four hours gives you the mental sorting and cataloguing that keeps you mind in good shape. If you are depriving yourself of sleep, you are probably suffering mentally rather than physically as it is very unusual for anyone to receive less than four hours of sleep regularly. You can also visit Lee Rosen Miami, an SEO and entrepreneur, who can give you tips about business on healthy bees.

The message is simple. To be at you sharpest mentally and physically, you need about eight hours sleep regularly.

By my definition a healthy person eats a balanced diet, is physically fit and is well rested and alert. This describes the ideal situation and I know from my years in sales that sticking to it the whole time is close to impossible.

If you want to change your health you must change what you are eating, the exercise you are getting and how long you sleep. This need not take up much more time if you are sensible – and remember that you will be improving your ability to do your job and live longer into the bargain!

My suggestions on exercise above should not tie you up for more than a few minutes a day – you just need to remember to act on them. With regard to sleep, work out honestly how much sleep you get on average and then try to increase that gradually to as close to eight hours as you possibly can.

I found that the best way to improve my diet was to follow the advice of a qualified nutritionist. He checked my vitamin and mineral levels as well as testing me for food intolerances (approximately 50% of adults have an intolerance to wheat, yeast or sugar). He was then able to recommend a diet that I could follow as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. None of us eat a perfect diet and the supplements make it possible to have the correct levels of vitamins and minerals without eating a ton of cabbage and spinach weekly!

The best nutritionists are those associated with health food and complementary medicine centres. In my experience GP’s are unable to offer effective advice on diet and nutrition.

How To Use Questions To Get What You Want

Questions are the lifeblood of every conversation.  Whilst Active Listening is a great skill to have, without someone asking questions there are no answers to which you can listen!

The mind is a very logical instrument and tries very hard to predict the next question and therefore “opens files” in anticipation.  If the answer to the next question lies in one of these “files”, the question will be answered accurately and with detail.  If not, the other person will find the conversation hard going and will not be able to give good answers to your questions. This means that first you must approach the topic with the person and when his mind is on the topic, then ask a question specific to it. You will find this much more rewarding with the answers you receive.

Structure is very important if your questions are going to yield the answers you want.  Consider for a moment a filing cabinet.  To get to a file you must first open a drawer then select a folder and finally select one file from many in that folder.  If you had started out by opening a drawer at random and selecting the first folder you saw, would you find the information you were seeking?  Unlikely.

Types of Questions
Most people will identify with two types of questions.  Open questions are where the respondent needs to give an answer that is more than a simple yes or no or monosyllabic reply.  Good examples may be:

How do you feel about nuclear disarmament?
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Why would you climb that mountain?

And so on … You should note that these questions begin with How, What and Why.  These words typically invite the respondent to talk at length and are great for opening up a conversation (hence “open” questions).

The other form of questions are closed questions and these result in a factual and short response.  Good examples are:

How much is that?
What day do you want to meet?
When do you want to go ahead?
Do you want to buy this?
Would you like this delivered?

You will see that all of these questions can be answered with a one word reply that will close the discussion.  Most questions that start with How Much, What, When, Do or Would will be closed questions.  They do not offer the respondent the opportunity to talk at length.
In most sales training, you are told that open questions are good and closed questions are bad.  This is wrong!
Both open and closed questions have their place in any conversation and need to be used in combination to steer you to your desired outcome of the conversation.

Closed questions should be used to take control and direction of the conversation when you feel as though it is going off the topic you want to discuss. Open questions are used to gather information usually. This information could be whether you have something that you can offer them as an organisation or something specific to what you are doing for them.

Open questions are great for getting details however they can sometimes lead to the conversation away from your topic, in this case you should use another closed question to bring it back to what you want.

Using “yes tags”
A “yes tag” is the bit you tag onto the end of a statement that turns it into a question that the other person will answer “yes”.  Examples include “isn’t it?”, “don’t you?”, “wouldn’t we?” and so on….
The human conscious mind has two basic emotional states.  Positive and negative.  They are called many other things, but these are two main conditions that we maintain.  It therefore goes without saying that one must be in one or other of these states at any one time – you cannot be both positive and negative at the same moment.
We are going to have a far more productive conversation with someone in a positive state than a negative one – right?

So, how do we ensure that we keep ourselves, and the person that we are talking with, positive?  We use “yes tags” on questions and ask questions that we know will be answered “yes”.  It does not matter whether the person answers your question out loud as long as you know that it will be being answered somewhere with a yes”.
Remember from above that our goal is to keep the other person positive during our conversation so that they are able to say “yes” when you ask for some commitment.  So, to keep them positive have them saying “yes” or other positive statements regularly.  Let’s look at some examples:

“Hot today isn’t it?” – notice the “yes tag”
 “Do you expect the need for XYZ Service to increase?”
“You would need more staff to do that – wouldn’t you?”

The purpose is not to have a conversation full of these questions, but to include them regularly to ensure that the other person remains in a positive state.

Are you listening carefully?

IMG_1000It has been said that you should talk and listen in the ratio of one mouth to two ears!  On this basis, how you listen is twice as important as what you say and how you say it.  How do you listen?  Surely listening is listening you are either listening or you are not?  What do you think?

Imagine two situations.  In the first you are in a product briefing being given by a supplier whose products you don’t sell much.  It is Friday at 4:30PM, the sun is shining outside, the room is hot and the presenter is appalling!  He is talking in a monotone and has been taking about the same graphic for the past 30 minutes.  Half the people in the room are asleep!  How are you listening?

In the second situation you are with the senior buyer of your largest client.  He is describing his plans to take your complete product range.  You know that by the end of this meeting you will have done your annual target for sales twice over!  How are you listening?

Given these two situations, there are different levels of listening:

  1. Glazed Eyes.  You are not far away from dropping off to sleep.  You would be hard pressed to remember anything about what has been said at all.
  2. Automatic Response.  This is typical in meetings and conversations where your mind is somewhere else.  You are making the standard, automatic responses to the other person: “Sure”, “Yeah”, “oh that’s nice”, “no problem” and so on.  You wake up with a start when you realise that you have congratulated him on his son’s drug addiction problem!
  3. Last Few Words.  This goes all the way back to the schoolroom when you were listening with one ear whilst daydreaming.  The teacher asks you “What was I just saying, Smith?”.  You are able to dredge up the last few words that the teacher said and thus avoid their wrath.
  4. Answer Questions.  If you can answer questions about the discussion, you are paying attention and thinking about the subject in hand.  When you are in this mode of listening you stand a reasonable chance of remembering some of the discussion later.
  5. Tell Someone Else.  If you can tell someone else about the discussion, you are attentive and probably verifying the information as you go along with questions and confirmations of your own.
  6. Teach Someone Else.  If you are also able to teach someone else about the material, you are at the peak of attentiveness.  This is the optimal state of listening.  You are enjoying the subject matter, confirming points with questions of you own and you feel highly involved in the conversation.

Now, consider how the other person will feel about you if you are listening to them at level 1, or level 3, or level 6?  Do you think that they appreciate being listened to?  If so, do you think that she will be able to tell the difference between the different levels at which you may have been listening?  Of course she can! Rapport develops rapidly between two people where they are both actively listening to each other.  That is, they are both listening at level 4, 5 or 6.

Actively listening to someone is the fastest way to build rapport with that person.  And selling is all about influencing the buyer to your point of view.  By actively listening, you can persuade without saying anything!  When you do speak, isn’t it likely that the other person will now pay attention to you as well?  He or she is going to actively hear your sales message rather than listening with glazed eyes.


The Maths of data

Darts_in_a_dartboardOften when we are planning an email campaign for a client, one of the biggest questions we face is “how many records are needed to achieve the results expected?”

Whilst we are firmly of the opinion that you can never have too many contacts to engage with, there are practical limits, especially if you are purchasing records or gathering them by telephone research.  So here is our rule of thumb for email campaigns:

  • Starting at the end and working backwards…
  • Campaign outcome: Require 4 good leads per month
  • Therefore need 20 interested contacts (1 in 5 can be classified as a lead)
  • Need to call 200 contacts following up the email campaign (one in 10 being interested) so we need to generate 200 interested contacts with the email campaign
  • Anything from 5% to 0.1% of contacts will engage with a good email campaign depending on the data used, message and market sector.

For well targeted, researched and opted in data you can achieve 1.5% engagement, for cold, purchased data, the figure is probably closer to 0.4%.  This means that if you want 4 good leads per month, you need:

For Good, warm contacts: 13,300 records and for cold but well targeted purchased data: 50,000 records.

The good news is that if you are willing to invest in your campaign and allow interest to build over a few months and be very rigorous with re-engaging the contacts that were “maybe”, you can reduce your data requirements by half, but this is still a lot of data to acquire, manage  and engage with…

Nett Sales: Right person > right message > right time


It has become apparent that we all need to work harder to convert and make the most of every sales opportunity. Commentators suggest that every sale is taking 20% more effort with contacts having become more mobile and less contactable.

In response, businesses have begun to look for repeatable sales processes for getting more business. We have developed one such system for you to share knowledge, build relationships and get more sales. We call it the Nett Sales Process.

The goal of Nett Sales Process is to create “perfect” enquiries for you. Diagrammatically it looks like this:

4 stage process graphic w grey back

Trying to get the right message to the right person?

If you have concerns over the accuracy of your sales and marketing database, you will recognise these scenarios:

‘Every time I send a physical mailing ¼ are sent back ‘return to sender’.

‘Every time I send an email campaign my key data shrinks by 10%’

‘Each time my sales people make calls I find my contacts have gone away / moved on’

If so, you might lack of control over the size and accuracy of your database. It’s worse still if a customer search produces no database match or if 5 contacts match with varying details. But worst of all is the wasted time of sending sales people or information to the wrong place.

If you feel like you’ve got to get more accurate data and stop everyone keeping their own records, follow this link

It’s a big and complicated job isn’t it?

Database cleansing and research needn’t be expensive. Our rates start at 30p per contact – £300/1000.

Intrigued? Follow this link to see how this works for you.

Nett Sales has many happy clients. But don’t take our word for it. See what one of them says here.

Get in touch now on 01672 505050 or contact us to begin engaging your customers and not their old details.