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Sales tips from the Mac side of the office

11/09/2009

Thanks, Susan L. Reid, for posting Five keys to sales when you aren’t a sales person on Openforum.com

As an independent creative consultant, I found it offers a helpful reminder that personal branding, selling yourself, and marketing your own services doesn’t always come naturally to marketing and creative people. Is it a muscle or skill? Is it our Myers-Briggs profiles? Can we train to become better sellers?

Pause… lightbulb…blog.

The key to selling in the 21st century is authenticity plain and simple.

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Authenticity yields engagement. Without engagement you’ll never close that first deal. Without authenticity, you’ll never get the second purchase that makes buyers customers.

Aha! Creatives are naturally authentic. The best of us do become fully engaged by the brands and products in our portfolio and on our client list. So what can we bring to the table when the topic is “keys to selling?”

There are three key lessons every creative knows by heart. We take them for granted because we apply them every day in developing brands, campaigns and marketing for others. Every sales person can benefit from them. Every non-sales person can apply them when called to the challenge. We can also apply them when we’re “selling” ourselves.

1. Know your product inside and out.

Go to trade shows and read trade publications, and interview not only your “suit” contact, but the operations and compliance people. Fan the company if it’s on Facebook, follow it on Twitter. Create a Google alert to get a quick blast of knowledge, then analyze it using your own preferred method — SWOT, features/benefits, or problem/solution.

2. Take on your customer’s point of view.

Read consumer reports, sit in at customer care centers if your client allows it. Follow websites like epinions.com or follow a topic on Twitter.

3. Surprise yourself.

Use some mind-mapping software like bubbl.us or mywebspiration.com and look at the picture and product in a whole new way.

Net: Authenticity.

You’ll naturally be able to talk (i.e., tell) every feature of your project naturally as part of a collegial conversation among peers or as a friendly advocate that’s helping someone achieve their goals or solve a problem. You’ll take on the voice of your company’s product. Your sell will become contextual, relevant to key consumer touch points.

Try it for yourself.

A recent report noted that over 50% of consumers make their brand shopping choices only on entering a store. Only the smaller portion have already been “sold.”

Here’s a test. Ask a friend about the drivers of a recent in-store purchase. Were they pre-sold to a brand or features? Or , like the great big crowd of unpersuaded, did they make up their mind only when the products popped up before their eyes. (Not done yet!) Now do your own sales map to uncover new strategies that could pre-sell with engagement and authenticity.

This will be very helpful in shaping your own sales pitch for a brand you love even more — U, Inc.

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