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by North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on September 18th, 2016

​If you've just started a business, you need sales, right? Trouble is, you may not be sure how to put together a sales approach. And, the truth is, there is no magic formula for sending your sales through the roof. So, stop looking.

Related: Close More Deals Faster Using This 5-Step Approach

Also, stop buying the popular belief that sales is a profession where “you either have it, or you don’t.” As with any job, effective sales techniques, tactics and skills can be taught. With that in mind, here are five strategies for entrepreneurs looking to improve sales at their newly started businesses:

​1. Understand when a "yes" is really a "no." 
When you run a startup, your most precious resource -- even more so than capital or product -- is time. Customers will often lead you to believe they’re interested in what you’re offering when they actually aren’t; and this can be a significant drain on your time. For example, many entrepreneurs spend a fair share of time at trade shows and events and collect dozens or even hundreds of business cards from potential customers.

The reality is, however, that many of these prospective customers offered their card as a way of excusing themselves from the conversation. The key is to decipher who is truly interested. When someone is, that person will likely ask a lot of questions. He or she wants more of your time and will inquire about your pricing, ways in which you deploy your product, etc.

2. Talk about the problem, not the solution.
Sounds counterintuitive, right? It won’t when you put this strategy into action: When it comes down to it, people are interested in their own problems, not your solutions. If you detail your product’s five most impressive features, the customer will fade in and out of focus waiting for you to finish. However, ask about customers' problems and they will be happy to tell you all about their issues. This will make them feel more invested in your solution and provide clues as to how you should be positioning your wares. Maybe it’s your ninth and tenth most impressive features that will actually benefit them.

Related: 6 Secrets to Sales Success Hidden in a Girl Scout Cookie

3. If prospective customers don't reply, do it for them.
Say a client hasn't responded to your message. Rather than send a new email and change the wording to make it seem like a first communication, reply to your own. This accomplishes two things: It allows the recipient to view the content of your original email and glean the intended information. Second, it allows you to inquire directly about receipt of your initial correspondence. If recipients then respond that they did receive your first email and aren’t interested, you don’t need to waste any more of your valuable time selling them.

Some, though, will just bounce back and say they’re sorry and areinterested. If you don’t hear back at all, give it a few more days and reply to your email one more time -- this time asking directly if the recipient prefers you to end the contact. This direct approach has an extremely positive success rate with customers responding for two reasons: 1) They are interested and for whatever reason haven't been able to get back to you yet; or 2) They accept the out you've offered to stop contacting them. Either way, you know where you stand and can proceed accordingly.

4. Personalize your communications.
If you are taking the time to write a personalized message to a prospective client, make sure he or she knows it. Include private anecdotes, discuss how your product or service would benefit this person specifically or perhaps touch on personal experiences that can be applied to this person's business. Don’t ever let a customer assume an email is just an automated direct marketing outreach if it isn’t.

5. Don’t pit your sales team members against one other.
The best sales teams are the ones that work together. Competition can spur hard work, but individually that work often operates to the detriment of the team as a whole. There are direct and ancillary benefits to cultivating a positive dynamic within the team. Creating synergy within your sales force will lead to increased communication, peer teaching, information sharing as it pertains to customers and leads and, ultimately, sales. Whether your small business is just you and an employee handling sales, or if you have a more robust team in place, teamwork will always trump rivalry in the long run.

And so now you know the truth. Inflated sales aren’t a result of trickery or some mystical strategy, but rather a product of the details: investing a personal touch, working together, listening to the customer’s difficulties and utilizing your resources correctly with the right leads. Focus on doing the small things right and leave your competitors to wonder where your magic comes from.

Related:  Never Say These 7 Things in Sales

This article originally appeared in ​https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245405. Written by Hampus Jakobsson, CEO of Brisk.

by North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on September 11th, 2016

Our Chamber's 2016 Fall Survey results are in.  ​Overwhelmingly, 92% of you said that more customers are a top priority for your business.  The good news is that our Chamber has tools specifically designed to drive more customers to you.  

  1. The most cost effective place to start is creating or fine-tuning your Traffic Catcher Site on the Chamber's website.  This is a free benefit to Chamber members and easily worth the money spent on membership.
  2. The next step is to take advantage of our member-to-member discount area. For no cost, Chamber members can advertise special offers to fellow members.
  3. If content marketing is an effective tool to attract more customers, Chamber members use our content marketing platform for no additional cost. Contact the Chamber office at 602-482-3344 for details.
  4. Press releases and the Chamber's event calendar are two more effective ways to let your potential customers know what you're doing.  If used effectively, these tools can drive more traffic to your door.
  5. Have you hesitated to pick up the phone and call a potential B2B customer because you can't come up with a good reason to call them?  Use the Chamber's next luncheon, evening mixer, or educational event as that excuse to pick up the phone and invite them to something different. 
  6. Being visible at Chamber events and top-of-mind in the office helps us remember to refer you when phone calls and walk-in traffic enters the office.  Do you have marketing materials proudly displayed in our office?
  7. Do you have "Proud Member of North Phoenix Chamber" displayed on your website? 
  8. Is your membership certificate proudly displayed where potential customers can see easily see it?
  9. Would it be helpful to your business if you could get in front of the new residents moving into North Phoenix?  If you would like to be included in the "new mover welcome kit", contact Tom Argiro at the Chamber office 602-482-3344 for more details.
  10. If North Phoenix residents could go on a walking tour or a "treasure hunt" encouraging them to visit various Chamber member businesses, would your business benefit from being one of the stops along that journey? If so, contact Tom Argiro in the Chamber office at 602-482-3344 for more details.
  11. Are young families with trick-or-treat aged kids a good target audience for your business? Contact John Davis in the Chamber office at 602-482-3344 and reserve your booth space at our October 29th Fall Festival, and be visible in the community.
  12. Are school teachers, firefighters, police offices, or nurses a good target audience for your business?  If so, contact John Davis at the Chamber office 602-482-3344 for details about how he's putting businesses in front of these specialty groups.
  13. If your target customers are living in luxury apartment complexes, an on-location business expo might be just the ticket to get you in front of more customers. Sense a theme? Call the Chamber office 602-482-3344 to discuss the details.
There you have it. More than a dozen ways that your North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce membership helps you get in front of more customers.  

How many of these techniques are you currently using in your business?

How much would your business improve if you implemented just two or three of the items listed here?
​ 


by North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on September 11th, 2016

This article originally appeared on SmallBizTrends.com.  

​Sep 10, 2016 by Annie Pilon 

​Running a business is complicated, which means there are some factors or tasks that tend to get overlooked. From basic concepts to more involved processes, members of our small business community have plenty of tips for dealing with those sometimes overlooked business tasks. See the full list of tips below.

  1. Be Sure to Spend Enough Time on Marketing
  2. Learn the Difference Between User Experience and Customer Experience
  3. Get Honest Feedback for Your Business Idea
  4. Invest in LinkedIn Marketing
  5. ​Determine Your Brand’s Social Media Persona
  6. Pitch Your Online Content for the Right Audience
  7. Use Tech Savvy Ways to Tell Your Brand Story
  8. Improve Your Email Click-Through Rates
  9. Build Customer Trust to Stand Out in a Crowd
  10. Use SEO to Get Local Customers to Cling to Your Content

Read the full article here:
​http://smallbiztrends.com/2016/09/10-overlooked-elements-running-successful-business.html



by North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on August 15th, 2016

​Salespeople often make the fatal mistake of blaming other things, circumstances, and people for their own inability to create a buying atmosphere. And that mistake has double jeopardy. One, you're blaming the wrong party, and two, you issue blame instead of taking responsibility. You fail to see the urgent need for more self-improvement training. 

Jeffery Gitomer has identified 12.5 fatal flaws of selling. Real reasons why salespeople fail to make the sale. Painful as this exercise may be, he suggests rating yourself instead of just reading them. And for your maximum enjoyment and benefit, a one sentence "flawless" remedy or suggestion follows each flaw.
 
​​Here are the fatal flaws that Gitomer has identified. How many of them are fatal to you? He suggests that you get a red pen and as you read, put an "F" by the flaws you may want to improve. 

1. Being a puppy, puppet or pawn. Salespeople are too happy to oblige without getting a commitment or adding an idea or thought. Flawless: When you send a brochure, make an appointment at the same time. When you get a request for proposal, try to change some of the terms to favor your selection. 

2. Speaking before asking. Does a doctor tell you where he went to medical school? No. How many years he's been practicing? No. He asks, "Where does it hurt?" Flawless: Ask compelling questions. Ask questions that reveal pain or emotion. Ask questions your competition doesn't ask.

3. Making a verbal agreement for services to be provided. Nothing more fatal than a prospect thinking there is more to the deal than you do. When the prospect says. "I thought you said..." whatever follows is a problem. Flawless: Write down and repeat back ALL promises and terms. 

4. Negatively referring to the competition. Okay, they're a bunch of dirty rotten creeps. What's your point? When you put them down, you degrade yourself. Flawless: Always refer to the competition as "industry standard" and "my worthy competition." 

5. Following up to see if you "got my literature," and to see if you "have any questions." The salesman thinks he is being seen as helpful and professional but he's a pest and looks dumb. Flawless: Call with ideas and smart questions. 

6. Asking "what will it take to get your business?" THE worst question in sales. Will ALWAYS lead to lies, lower price points, and a loss of respect from buyer to salesman. Flawless: "I'd like a brief opportunity to share with you why some of my customers bought from me because I'm NOT the lowest price." 

7. Assuming the prospect hasn't heard this crap. It's likely that the prospect has a preconceived notion about your company, your product, or both. You may want to change this before you start. Flawless: make them ask for a demo or a sales pitch. Flawless: Ask "What's been your experience with _______ so far?" or "How would you describe my product to me?"

8. Assuming the prospect hasn't made up his or her mind. Your reputation may have preceded you, your prospect may have already decided to buy from someone else, or your prospect may have already decided to buy from you, and is using your sales presentation to "confirm" rather than "decide." Flawless: Make friends as fast as you can before you start. Ask a few questions about where they are on the decision-making scale. 

9. Adding nothing of interest or value to the prospect when making a follow up call. Follow-up calls are loosely defined as "checking on your money." "Did you make a decision yet?" "Yeah pal, we picked you, but we weren't gonna tell you." Hello! Flawless: After the proposal or presentation is the best time to create, shine ,and be memorable. Think of information of value to the prospect, not just questions about how to fill your wallet. 

10. Trying to overcome objections with your words rather than customer testimonials. An objection is a statement that says "You haven't sold me yet but I'm interested" Flawless: Use testimonials to overcome objections. This is a complex process, but the most (only) powerful way to put the doubt of the prospect to rest. NOTE: if you are forced to use your words, ask compelling (not sharp-angle, old-world-sales-type) questions rather than make statements.

11. Making a verbal agreement for the next step of the sales cycle – The most fallen-into sales trap is agreeing to let the prospect “get back to you with an answer” Letting the prospect call you (aka: giving away control of the selling process) – “I’ll get back to you tomorrow,” is the biggest lie told to you by a prospect besides. “I can get it someplace else cheaper.”
Flawless: Make a firm appointment for a follow up call -- make your prospect write it in his or her day planner -- YOU make the call at the appointed time -- fax a reminder with something of value (an article about employee productivity or something 

12. And the worst of them all: Giving the price before someone asks for it. The biggest buying signal in the world is “How much is it?” Most salespeople go right past it or never allow it to occur. Wanting the price is an indication of interest to buy. Flawless: don’t give a price until someone asks for it, and ask for the sale at the same time.

12.5 There is one flaw that I have found to be the most damaging to both the prospect and the salesperson – but it’s not an outside flaw – it’s an inside flaw.. Thinking you are smarter than the prospect. Condescending, interrupting, assumptive, crass, and impatient salespeople are the ones who lose sales and blame others. Flawless: Polite humility. Employ the Gitomer Diamond Rule of Sales and Service: Do unto customers as you would like to be done unto when you’re a customer.




by North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on July 31st, 2016

​CrossFit…a word that strikes terror into the hearts of mere mortals, a word that makes people want to hide under their beds, a mental image of super humans doing things us average people will never be able to achieve. Just Google CrossFit, and you will find YouTube videos of super humans leaping, lifting, flexing, and running at a pace that seems unreal.

This was my impression of CrossFit when Brian Fitzwilliam of CrossFit Upper Limit walked into the chamber office two weeks ago. Brian explained what CrossFit actually is, and how different it is from what most people have in their minds. He went on to explain the certifications he and the other trainers have, and how they are certified beyond just minimum standards. By the time he left, I had a much different picture of CrossFit in my head, a picture so different that the next morning, my wife Elisabeth and I showed up for our first session, at 5:30 in the morning!

Those of you who know Elisabeth and I know we don’t do 5:30 in the morning, period! But there we were, in our sweat shorts, sneakers, and tops, walking into the gym at 5:30 in the morning. I was a little excited and Elisabeth was a lot concerned. We met Amy Klein, owner of CrossFit Upper Limit, who reassured us that what Brian had told us the prior day was true. After some initial formalities, into the warm up we went.

What can I say after that first workout? I survived. Did I enjoy it? Actually, yes! I am enjoying getting stronger and healthier, and knowing that I am taking some positive actions towards improving my health. Yes, modifications for the exercises were made, and yes, they still are being made. But I AM there, and that is the biggest modification of all. I challenge you readers out there who have been terrified of going to a gym for whatever reason to come to this place- it is different in the best way possible, and you will see that. Check out the website, find a session that works for you, and take the first step toward a healthier you. And you even get your first week free!