20 Ideas That Will Increase Your Sales, Part 1

January 26, 2009

By Mark Matteson

My first sales experience was courtesy of Jerry Lewis and his kids. Mr. Lewis held a telethon for muscular dystrophy every year, and a local television show for kids, Brakeman Bill, asked children to conduct carnivals to raise money for this worthy cause. I sent away for the kit, followed the instructions, and sold the neighborhood kids on coming to my carnival. I raised $11.32 and mailed it in. This experience changed my life; it was the beginning of my life in sales.

After 40 years of selling, I decided it’s time to capture some of the lessons I have learned and share them. I hope that you find some ideas to assist you in navigating through challenging times.

As a student of history, I will tell you there have ALWAYS been challenging times. Tough times can bring out the very best qualities in us. It’s what built this great country: It’s not what happens, it’s how we respond! Resolve to improve! Choose and apply five of the ideas outlined below one at a time, test them, and then track your results. Results are the name of the game!

1. See More People!
If you make two calls a week to reach your goals, go see five people! Sales are about activity first, attitude second. In the teeth of the Great Depression, IBM’s Tom Watson, Sr. told his well-trained salespeople “Double your failure rate!” Go here, and download the “Sales Call Calculator”. It’s gratis, so plug in your numbers and get to work!

2. Hand Out Five Business Cards a Day!
Do you carry your business cards with you at all times? In my seminars I have attendees stand, reach in their purse or wallet, pull out their card, and exchange it with another attendee. This makes some people uncomfortable, but it’s supposed to! I give away my award winning “window cards” with inspiring quotes on each one every day. This is something I learned from the late Bob Moawad. I give away copies of my best selling book, Freedom from Fear, something I learned from Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. He has sold two million copies of his book, Life is Tremendous. Remember Johnny Appleseed? What can you give away?

3. SmileMore!
Your prospects buy you! How is your attitude? Is it positive? Are you the kind of person others want to be around? It takes 13 facial muscles to smile and 47 muscles to frown! Evidently some folks don’t mind the extra work.

4. Develop a Hearty Handshake!
Limp fish or hearty handshake? You have one chance to make a positive first impression. Are you glad to meet a future client? Is a future client glad to meet you?

5. A.S.K. = Ask, Seek, Knock!
In the Sermon on the Mount, Mathew 7:7-8, the carpenter from Galilee said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” So ASK for the sale, will ya’? Unassertive salespeople have skinny kids!

6. REFERALS, REFERALS, REFERALS!
If you have done a good job, you have earned the right to ask for more business. Ask existing customers for more of their business. Ask past customers for the opportunity to work with them again. At least once a year, go back and ask everyone who was delighted with your work for two names. If you ask 100 people, 80 percent of them will give you two names. That is 160 new suspects in your funnel, and of the 160, you should have the opportunity to hold serious discussions with 80 prospects. From the list of 80 prospects, you should have 40 proposals. If you are any of kind of salesperson, the list of 40 proposals should produce 20 new clients. If you average $5,000 a year from your products or services, and multiply it by 20 new clients, you will have $100,000 a year in new business. Oh, and guess what? These numbers are conservative estimates; your numbers could be twice this!

7. Attend Annual Gatherings in Your Industry!
The last time I attended an industry gathering where I WASN’T one of the presenters, I sat inside a Starbucks across the street from the exhibition center, working on my laptop from 6:00 A.M. to 10:30 A.M. I bumped into ten people I knew, eight of whom gave me their cards, and six of whom hired me to speak the next year! I was there for only one day, but that night my funnel was full again.

8. Read Great Sales Books!
Invest 28 minutes of every morning in a classic sales book. Twenty-eight minutes is two percent of 24 hours, the same number of minutes as one bad television sitcom! Do this for 90 days and you will have 50 new ideas that you didn’t have before you engaged in this simple discipline. The first time I made this investment in study, my close ratio jumped from 50 percent to 75 percent! If your close ratio is currently 20 percent, what would happen if it jumped to 40 percent? Calculate what the difference means for you in terms of increased commissions. If you are a sales manager, what would it mean for your organization if your sales team increased their sales by 20 percent? Hmm…For a solid list of books to read, go to my Web site, click on the READING tab, and start building your intellectual capital. The results will astonish you!

9. Go Back to Existing Customers with New Offerings!
Innovate! Develop something new that your customers really need. Read Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell. Your existing customers are a goldmine of new business. The TRUST, RELATIONSHIP, and COMPETENCE already exist. It’s a warm call.

10. Be Nice!
Nice guys and nice gals finish first! Read the book by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness. This remarkable little book proves the point NICELY! Do what they suggest!

Next, Part 2:Tips 11 through 20.


Provided by Mark Matteson, Matteson Avenue.  Subscribe to the Matteson Avenue e-zine by visiting www.mattesonavenue.com
Contact Mark Matteson by calling 1-877-672-2001 or by e-mail at mark@mattesonavenue.com.

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