Your Sales - our Speciality

Welcome to my blog


Minerva aims to promote ethics, efficiency and effecacy - so to help you master your craft I will share a  blog on Friday with sales and business skills to help you shine!


The blogs will follow a monthly theme to build your skills and will be accompanied by tips on social media - don't miss out link in, follow the tweets or like the facebook page.

By jewelscarter, Mar 11 2016 12:51PM

So you’re marketing your socks off and it just doesn’t seem to be happening? Other people seem to be working it out but you don’t? You know you are good at what you do but people just don’t seem to be biting?

Just what is stopping you?

You will probably be surprised to find out that it is most likely you. Yes you are standing in your own way. You may not realise it, but your subconscious quite likes where you are now, even if you don’t and unless you work with it will be holding you here, where it is happy, safe and comfortable.

Here are the top 5 things you may be doing to stand in your own way…how many do you do?

1. Become a Magpie

Often I hear people say that small business owners are all magpies, but in my experience the real innovators have their own ideas, focus on their own ideas and follow their own goals. They do not chase rainbows or give in to shiny shiny syndrome. They do adapt to what is going on around them, but they trust their instinct and keep their eyes on their big goal.

So if you find yourself saying yes to everything, following every stream that flows your way and running in circles then you need to stop and ask yourself why? What is it about your goal that you are avoiding? It’s ok to be diverse and well rounded but make sure you are not distracted.

2. Compare Constantly

It is easy with the wealth of information available at the moment to set your own benchmarks based on what you think you should be achieving rather than what you want to achieve. It is also easy to hold unrealistic expectations and not think about the steps involved and all the work that goes on in the background of your peers.

The best way to avoid creating unnecessary feelings of inadequacy is to stop comparing yourself to others. This doesn’t mean learning from their examples but observing them rather as an impartial observer rather than putting them into your life. Observe and learn but stay true to you.

3. Fail to Celebrate Your Wins

It’s easy when you manage yourself to forget to praise your most important employee – you. Often we hear people say their boss doesn’t appreciate them – well do you really appreciate yourself? If it can have such a devastating effect on an employee to not receive positive appraisals of their performance what effect does it have on you? So be realistic and praise yourself when you deserve it.

4. Tell Yourself What You Want To Hear

Just as we can often interpret what someone says to us as what we were expecting to hear them say, we can do this with our own self talk and intuition. This can lie beneath constantly missing the same goal, or just not quite meeting that deadline every week. This is a difficult one to spot too as we really believe our interpretation of what is happening, so to question our self conscious mind throws it into a defensive turmoil it quickly works to quell. Yet it is the main thing holding us back.

It may tell us that we are not good enough, that it will happen if we just…., if only we were …then… and those kind of thoughts.

So when you get these thoughts – get out of your own way.

5. Avoid Promoting Your Business

One of the biggest challenges my clients face is that of bringing in clients. It is difficult to ask for the business, and to educate people as to how they need your business to thrive. It is scary as we may be rejected, or we may be pushy, which makes us not nice. This leads us to adopting passive marketing strategies that avoid telling the client what it is they need, well before we get to asking them to use us for it. In short we avoid making sales in our business.

To sell our products we have to talk to our customers, whatever media we use, there has to be a two way conversation, and so often all I see is people talking at people, sometimes their client pool, but not engaging them. To build your business you have to talk to potential clients – no way round it.

If you want to know how to create that magic in your business join me Thursday 24th March at noon for a chance to look at how you can talk to your customers not at them to build your business – without being bolshy or scary. Alternatively join us for the newsletter/digest to your inbox once a month so you don’t miss a single tip on building your success the scare free way.

By jewelscarter, Mar 4 2016 03:38PM

“Overnight success does happen, it just takes about 3 years of hard work to make it happen.” That was what I told a friend one day when we were discussing her frustration at how unprepared her latest workgroup were. Whilst it was a tongue in cheek comment it proves that many a true word is spoken in jest. Enough of the clichés now I will get to the point.

Working for yourself is scary, you never know what is going to happen next, if there will be enough time or money and many of us are dogged with an inner critic asking us if we are good enough, whether people will like us enough and if we can do it. That is when we are not soaring from a success and think we are invincible. Sometimes it seems like it is happening for the whole world and just not working for you. You wonder why you market your socks off and still get nowhere or have to go back to the 9-5 and wonder why these clients are not forthcoming.

Well just like real overnight success it takes work, planning and time – more time than the stories will have you believe (well it does if you want it to be sustainable). If this just doesn’t seem to be coming together for you, then maybe you need to change the recipe. Just like any good recipe to build a business you need the right mix of the right ingredients to come together; so just what are the ingredients for the magic to happen?

Firstly you need a little luck. Many success stories are centred around being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right person in the strangest of places or one of those wonderful coincidences where the stars just seem to be aligned. It may seem like this is all out of your hands but really we are constantly engineering our luck and you can engineer such situations by clever use of ingredients two, three and four.

This important second ingredient is focus. In all of these stories there is an element of wanting something more and knowing they are destined for something else, even if they don’t know how to get it. Sometimes it is wanting to create something, an outlet or an ideal and other times it is about wanting to do things a different way or accommodate a lifestyle. Whatever the “what” is, in all these lucky breaks it is the centre of their focus, and this focus is unyielding.

With your focus on the what your business is all about you will quickly find out why you are choosing this path. We don’t talk much about the why – we talk about setting goals and plans to reach them, but the why is the key to third ingredient in making the magic. This why gives you the tenacity to follow through and keep going, and this is what separates those that do from those that don’t. It’s easier to start to follow the dream, to think about what that dream is, to see your ideal customers flocking to you, but it takes real character to keep chasing the dream when those clients are elusive and the demands are high. Knowing why you are doing this and what makes it so worthwhile will help keep you going when the optimism falters. This gives you time to find the magic.

The fourth ingredient is deliberate and targeted action. Here is where the paradox begins. Sometimes it is more important to be doing anything at all over nothing, but this action is only really worthwhile when it takes you towards your goal. The problem is we often get tied up in knots over what actions will take us closer to our goal and therefore do nothing productive. In these instances it is better to blindly act, even if it is in the wrong direction. Whilst we don’t want to fritter time, this can be an important lesson. So have an action plan – even if it is only one step long – follow it and then in conjunction with the fifth ingredient you can make those stars align.

So what is the illusive fifth ingredient? To be responsive. This means being aware enough to know you have evaluated your targeted action, know the impact it has or hasn’t had and can adapt to maximise its efficacy. This gives you more scope to respond to opportunities as they arise and to grow without being paralysed by fear that you might do something wrong. Ironically this flexibility is most easily achieved by having a plan and a methodological approach. Something I will look at in my next webinar.

So if you are still waiting for the magic to happen, worrying your marketing is not working and wondering where and how your next sales will be created then this month’s blog will demystify the process for you.

Over the next four weeks I will look at the fundamental misconceptions that are holding you back from your magic, show you how to create that magic and develop your own process for responsive and effective marketing.

In line with this responsive approach my own marketing is evolving and thus if you want to ensure you don’t miss the important bits to creating your own magic then sign up for the monthly newsletter and digest – which will deliver the important bits to your inbox. Alternatively join me on the 10th of March at 12 noon where I will look at preparing for the overnight success in your business and how to create that magic.

By jewelscarter, Feb 26 2016 12:05PM

Do you spend hours telling people what you do only to watch them glaze over as you speak to them?

Do you think you have found the perfect client but just can’t connect?

Do you avoid talking to people about what you do in case they just don’t get it?

If you do experiences like this will kill your confidence to promote yourself, make you feel like you are not cut out for this marketing malarkey and make you withdraw when you need to come out of your shell the most.

The worst thing about this is it may not actually even be what you are saying that is having such negative results. It may simply be that you are saying this to the wrong people. So how do you tell who to talk to and how do you avoid getting into soul destroying conversations with the wrong people? Follow my simple tips and I will show you how.

When I wore my corporate training suit I would often be called in to help people to “Qualify” leads, particularly the operations teams encouraged to pass leads on. This was such an alien concept to them as they dealt with customers not prospects, they solved service issues not requirement issues – why would they know?

Thing is though, learning to adopt the mindset I tried to encourage in these staff will help you to grow your business, talk to the right people and avoid those draining conversations that lead you question if you are doing the right thing.

Qualifying a lead simply means finding out if they are suitable. So what I am asking you to do is find a way to determine which people are suitable potential customers, then determine how best to speak to them. Follow the four steps below and you will quickly be an expert in finding good potential clients to talk to.

Step 1: Am I Talking to a Potential Customer?

A customer needs to fulfil certain criteria otherwise they will never be happy and neither will you. Firstly they need to either want your service as it makes them happy, need your service as it makes life easier or require your service as it is an obligation. This is often described as the need.

The customer will know what results this product or service will fulfil for them, and will have expectations of what they will be – whether these expectations are accurate or not.

To avoid a lengthy conversation where you promote your services with all your being only to be told that’s interesting see you around – and the following feeling of rejection – you need to know that this person would benefit from you, even if they don’t know it yet.

You need to know whenever you meet someone or take an enquiry how you will ascertain this information. If they are not a potential customer, they may know potential customers so this is where you build relationships but don’t spend your energy trying to convince them they need you.

Step 2: Don’t Fall Into the “Everybody Needs Me Trap”

This is such a common time and confidence suck…and avoiding this may seem counter intuitive when you hear messages telling you to create the need, show people how they need you when they don’t know etc. Also difficult to avoid if you offer services you know everyone will benefit from. What you need to consider is that this is about priorities and where you put your energies.

To avoid this trap accept that everyone may need your services, many do not know they need your services, but replace do they have a need with does this support their values? What benefit will it bring to their relationship with their values? This will help you avoid wasting energy telling people how you can help when they are not open to the benefits you can bring.

Step 3: Will This Person Pay For My Service?

The customer must also be willing to pay for the service, and be financially secure enough to do so – otherwise you will end up serving them for free which is a nice thing to do but not a good business plan for the long term.

This is not just a case of the customer’s credit rating, but largely down to your confidence. You need to be able to project your expertise, value and worth to the customer. Part of this is selecting your price point, but another part is how you impart your price point to your customer.

Many people – especially women - struggle with this and it is vital to your business. You need to be able to show your clients that their investment in you is just that, an investment in their business and they cannot afford not to as they will miss out. Your joining conversations need to be well honed to convey this message confidently.

Step 4: Am I Talking to Someone Able to Use My Services?

The person in front of you to be a potential customer must also be in a position to take the services from you, so be able to broker with their employer if the employer is paying, be resident in the right country if that is applicable etc. This will depend upon what sector and service you work with.

This is often overlooked as someone with the desire for your services will appear willing to pay and talk to you enthusiastically so create the impression in you that you are about to gain a new exciting customer, but you feel let down as they say I would love to but I have to talk to my boss on Monday and she is a bit of a dragon, has a tight budget etc. This always feels like an excuse rather than the real reason they did not get their cheque book out.

In this instance, all is not lost, in fact handle this correctly and you could gain a loyal client in the employer.

You need to ascertain who will broker the service quickly…then rather than educate the person in front of you – despite the fact you will desperately want to – instead ascertain as much information about the company or person who can hire you. Then ask them to put you in touch. Follow up is really important here too…if they don’t contact you, you need to contact them so be very specific on time.

So now you know how to avoid draining your confidence by talking to the wrong people you can concentrate on talking to the right people in the most effective way and your business will grow along with your confidence.

By jewelscarter, Feb 5 2016 12:03PM

How do you measure your marketing?

Do you count the number of followers on your blog or social media?

Do you count conversations and conversions?

Or do you try to assess the quality of your contacts and the people you speak to?

We hear so much about spray and pray approaches to marketing and the importance of targeting – you can’t open facebook without such training jumping onto your timeline, but what are they really telling you to do?

Well firstly when trying to find customers there are two things you can do – talk to as many people as you can and hope you make a connection – ie spray and pray, which does find customers and can bring you lots of new business, but the downside of this is that you find lots of unsuitable people that will never be your customer, and may even be offended by your view of things. This is why so many of us are so annoyed with cold callers – not because they are selling to us but because they are out of touch with our values. To take this view you have to have a thick skin and lots of time.

So how can you find your customers without turning into a 24hour marketer?

Well here are 5 tips to help you.

1. Take note of the measure of your success

We all know we need to look at what we do and find out how well it works, but just what do we measure? Most commonly when I ask people how they measure their marketing number of followers is often the first thing I am told, but actually what does this tell you? It says this is the number of people who clicked the like button on that particular day. How do you know if they have even looked at you since? Do your subscribers read all your blog? Is your message congruent with their values? The first thing to do is stop obsessing over the quantity of your followers but think about the quality of the contacts behind that number.

2. This applies to more than facebook

We think about the number of contacts in social media terms but this also applies to the other ways you find customers. Think about the quality of all your contacts, from which networking groups you attend to which companies you contact to look for work. Be discriminating and match your message to your audience.

3. You still have to talk to people

When you talk to people – in whatever form – you have to tell them what to do to buy your services. The paradox is that people will not do something if told they have to…so this is where the concept of closing comes from and why so many salespeople are hung up on it. You have built rapport, found a real solution your customer will love, and you don’t understand why they aren’t biting your hand off for it…this is why. You have not asked them to buy your service, you have not told them how to. They don’t know that they have to buy or how to buy. So learn how to guide your potential customers into actual customers.

4. But don’t talk to everyone

Be clear about who you are talking to, who you can help and why you can help them. These are the people you approach. You will get others approach you that is fine, they are choosing you to sell to them (and they are asking you to sell to them – we all ask people to sell to us all the time) so tell them what you can do for them, but these are not the people you approach as they are difficult to locate in the crowd. Make it easy on yourself and speak to the people you know you are a good fit for, this creates momentum as they want to speak to you and it creates a good energy.

5. Remember why you are talking to them

It is very tempting when you strike up a conversation to get very involved in the conversation and forget why you are talking to them…you forget that you are there to help them and enrol them as customers. It is often said that business conversations are conversations with a purpose – don’t forget it.

Next week we will consider how to determine who the people you need to talk to are….

By jewelscarter, Jan 29 2016 12:52PM

How quickly January is over….today is the last working day of the month and I have to ask how are those New Year resolutions going?

Have you made any lasting changes? If you are still plugging away you have now established a new habit.

Is there something you need to get back on track with?

Well month end is the perfect time to review your progress and correct your course if you need to. Looking back over my January I am very pleased with my progress. I have some fantastic clients that are working wonderfully well, some long term projects I am working through and I hosted my first ever webinar.

The webinar was a step well outside of my comfort zone…how far out of your comfort zone has your new goals taken you? One of the things the webinar addressed was how to pace your steps so that you were stretched a little but not setting yourself up to fail. It seems there is a trend at the moment to think big,

which is wonderful and a great tool, but without the tempering of reality. It is almost a shameful secret to want to break things down into manageable steps, to have enough, to want a lifestyle business. Yet this is the key to making it all work – it is the second step in the grow model of coaching and allows you to work out your action plan step by step.

I also shared with you a bonus tip…something that makes it much easier for you to keep going until a habit is formed. It is a skill any business person finds a real asset and can make the process of change much easier to manage.

If you would like to hear a replay of the webinar then I would love to share it with you…simply fill in the box below and a copy will be sent to you…happy growing.

Next month I will be looking at the sales process and how to maximise the quality of the people you talk to so you can make your business grow without your task list running away with itself.

By jewelscarter, Jan 22 2016 10:54AM

After a particularly positive networking group yesterday I could not help but notice how similar we are when it comes to our own development. It followed on nicely from a week of intensive free coaching to establish if my observations are genuine, and can we quickly set the process in motion to end stagnation.

What I did notice was that there are 5 traits of goals that are likely to be achieved.

1. You Want It – Really Want It.

This may sound obvious, but actually when you ask yourself what would you like to have happen? Do you say the same thing everytime? When you ask this is it what you really want, a habit or what you think is expected from you?

So when you ask yourself what you would like – also ask what happens if you don’t get it? If it is a should want rather than a real want then this is an ego issue and about how you will look to others – a common limiting belief. So what would you prefer?

2. It Is Authentic To You.

Another obvious one we think, but it may be what we want, but we adapt it to fit with other’s expectations. For example, a loved one that wants the best for us, so they tell us to take an easier path or more obvious path. This compromise – and there are compromises to be made – may well be the step too far that takes us from our want to have to becoming a should have. The effect is exactly the same as for step one, we just don’t throw ourselves into it – worse everyone we try to sell it too will know our heart isn’t in it and won’t believe us.

3. It is Realistic

When I trained as a coach the first model we were introduced to was the GROW model: Goal, Reality, Obstacles and Will to act. It is currently trendy to think big, and if you don’t think big enough you shamefully lack ambition, which seems to be drowning out the second quarter of this useful model.

You have to stretch yourself, but it needs to be sensible. You wouldn’t go to the basement without taking the stairs one step at a time (or two if your muscles will stretch that far). So aim high, as high as you want to – remember if it ambition for ambitions sake everyone will see through you – and break it down into sensible sized steps.

4. Does It Flow?

Do you feel like you are constantly fighting an uphill battle to reach your goal? Does it feel difficult and arduous? If so you need a tweak. This is a sure fire sign that there is some mismatch between your want and your should. So check if it is a real dream or an expectation, that it is your dream and that it is shaped and scaled to fit you. Maybe you need to change the size of your steps.

Also part of the flow is being responsive to the opportunities available to you in your environment. This is not being distracted by shiny objects but asking if this chance could be helpful to your dream.

5. You Define Your Success and Failure

Often we decide what it will look like and how we will know when we have reached our goal, but do we ever ask what failure will look like? Probably because we don’t want to think about it, and quite rightly too, but in doing this we are ignoring an elephant in the room and allowing our brain to protect us from this by holding us back.

So define your failure points…but don’t just assume that this means you have failed per se…rather identify them as flags – when x happens its time to adapt the plan by. In business it is often called contingency planning, or more colloquially as planning for the worst but expecting the best. Once you have accepted it could happen and you can deal with it, then how can you fail?

All this research has led me to stepping outside my own comfort zone and trying something I have always wanted to do – and that is to run my own webinars. I am facing my fear of the camera (well webcam) and sharing with you how these observations can be shaped into 3 simple steps to start you on your journey to building the best 2016 ever….if you would like to join me then email me here. Its FREE and will give you one simple action you can do daily to keep you moving in the right direction.

It would be great to see you there.

By jewelscarter, Jan 15 2016 03:32PM

How is your January going?

Week two is now fast becoming a memory, is the same true of the steely resolve to have a brilliant year that accompanied Auld Lang Syne?

How quickly we move on from the festivities and return to our normal routine. It’s no surprise really when you consider how we are wired. Our brain has one prime objective – to keep us alive and well. The best way to do that is to stop us from, venturing into the unknown, unprepared unless it is absolutely vital.

So our brain will be working frantically behind the scenes to settle us back into our normal routine as quickly as possible. No matter how much we think we hate our job, think our business needs a boost or our lonely lives are tedious…the brain knows it is safe.

This is why so many transformation stories begin with a crisis. Do you really need the crisis though to convince your brain it is safe to move on? Not at all, it’s just that we are too close to our own processing to realise what is happening. That is why we so often hear phrases like “I know I should but…” “I would love to but…” and “I can’t do this ever…” This is our brain keeping us safe.

Safe may be where our brain wants us to be, but in the long term if we don’t follow our heart and move out of our comfort zone that crisis eventually occurs. It begins with apathy and a feeling that there must be more. Then tedium sets in and eventually we feel we have no place in the world and depression or anxiety take hold. That is not a pleasant journey so wouldn’t it be better to learn how to trick our brain into letting us explore our own wilderness?

It sounds simple and it is. There are three things I have learned on my own journey into crisis and fighting my brains desire to keep me safe. I would like to share them with you, so you can find your path, make your mark in the world and shine in 2016. If you would like to find out what you need to be asking yourself in order to live your dream and what steps you can take to get you there then join me on my journey into the wilderness and bringing my coaching skills on line with a free webinar this month to unlock your brightest, boldest you…email me here to join the webinar list.

By jewelscarter, Jan 8 2016 12:35PM

I love New Year – do you? Christmas has just gone, but you can still feel the warm glow of good times with loved ones before it fades into the humdrum of life. New Year, a time filled with optimism and promise, when you can decide to leave everything behind that gets you down and to take the best of everything forward with you. In short it is a time to reflect en masse.

One of the great questions to ask this time of year is really simple – Do I want this year to look like last year?

Do you want to continue in the same vein as last year? Or do you want this year to be better, brighter or bolder than before? There have been many times in my life when the very idea of plodding on the same path filled me with dread and I am sure you can name times like that in your life too. There have also been times when I have known just a bit of an extra push in my current direction would have been all it took to turn mundane into magical.

January 2015 was one such time. It followed on from January 2014 which was a time of dread. I had been in a job which was rejected by Hades for being too torturous. There were issues: system issues, people issues, morale issues, data issues, structural issues and cultural issues. Bullying, gossip and staff churn were rife…which tells anyone listening that there are serious problems. In addition to that the job description I had was impossible to fulfil in this environment. The net result was that I felt drained, vulnerable and completely void of all my usual confidence and joie de vivre.

Things seemed to spiral out of this too, people sensed I was defeated and they didn’t have any confidence in me as after all I had very little belief in myself. Everything I touched turned to dust, destroyed by doubt. I could not seem to get anything right – I even struggled to make myself tea.

Then I left. Jobless and with no confidence the thought of job hunting left me cold, the idea this could happen again burned into my brain and I was totally uninspired by managing staff. I could not stay idle, that was something I am just not built to do, it would erode what was left of my identity quicker than acid on chalk. I also need an income as most of us do. So unable to face a job or no job I decided to put the long thought about, distant dream of being self-employed into action.

Spring forward to January 2015. I was definitely on the right path, but it wasn’t quite right. Instead of a logical, straightforward path I found I was kind of going around in circles before I moved forward. Whilst it was comforting to know I was on the right track it was sad to think I was wasting so much potential – and my bank manager was pretty cross with me too.

This year it is so different. I feel confident again, I have learnt some valuable lessons, both about myself and more importantly life lessons which we can all benefit from. That’s why I am taking a slight deliberate detour to share with you what these lessons are, how you can identify them and what can turn them around. You would be surprised at how much you miss noticing in your life as you are too busy living it to observe it.

So if you want to make sure 2016 is not a simple repeat of 2015 then join me on my journey by signing up for the newsletter where you will get regular updates as to how to join me on my free debut webinar that shows you how to shine in sixteen!!!

By jewelscarter, Dec 4 2015 02:23PM

Do you remember when you started thinking about how much you could charge your customers and how much you could earn? Was it realistic or was to call it optimistic an understatement?

Do you wonder why some people seem to have loads of clients and you don’t – even though you spend a decent chunk of your time on some type of marketing activity? What do they do that you don’t?

Actually it’s probably very simple…they have a plan.

“But I have a plan” I hear you shout at your screen, which is all well and good, but many marketing plans fall down because they are not specific and comprehensive. Before you panic, remember this is scare-free success so a specific comprehensive plan does not mean more work, in fact it probably means less. What it does mean though is that you will make the most of every contact you make.

To be specific means you need to know who your core clients are…your magic customer. You need to direct your work at them so that you put your message in front of them directly and speak to them in language they understand. If you don’t know who your magic customers are then click here for the worksheet to find out.

So now you are speaking specifically to your clients, your marketing should be more effective in generating leads and having people select you as their provider, but that is only half of the story. I also said it needs to be comprehensive. So you need to consider all stages of the buying process. You have generated interest by PR, social media and marketing and some of this will generate income, but what about those that are interested that haven’t bought?

This is where sales comes in. It is also the step missing from many marketing plans as people do not quite understand what we mean by sales. Yes I do mean reaching out to these people that have taken an interest in your work, but I don’t mean cold calling like some used car salesman or ppi teleseller.

So what do I mean? I mean follow them up. Find out what it was that made them reach out to you, why did you catch their eye? Also you have to ask - in a very delicate way of course – why they looked but didn’t buy.

This is where sales techniques come into their own. Using your sales skills you can filter out those that you can help with ease and those that you can’t. Those that you can help you can educate as to how to get the best from your services and have joining conversations with them. When this is done well it builds momentum and not only a loyal customer base, but a base of clients that then go out and sell your services for them.

So if you think sales is not for you, that you don’t need sales training and that you can thrive by marketing alone, think again, you are probably working lots harder than you need to. Don’t waste your time on mediocre results but contact me to find out how I can help.

By jewelscarter, Nov 27 2015 10:11AM

When we think of selling and that suppertime call that comes through from some ppi claim firm or accident solicitors etc the technique they are using is sometimes termed steam-rolling, i.e. that pushy, no time to think conversation that is quite aggressive and leaves you feeling tired and ground down.

This is not the real sales and business growth we want as the customers will not necessarily get us or need us, they will therefore be less loyal and probably more demanding. So here are 5 simple tips you can use when you speak to potential clients and existing clients to ensure you never become one of those aggressive calls. It works in all environments, including networking, presentations and content marketing.

1. Listen

This means hear not only the words your potential clients use, but the pace, the context and the tone to really understand them rather than hear what you want to hear. One of the reasons for bad sales calls grating on us so much is that we often feel we are not heard.

2. Drop Your Expectations

One of the big barriers to hearing what your client really means is our innate tendency to tailor what they say to what we are expecting them to say…so forget what experience dictates be open to what your client is telling you and their take on their experience.

3. Empathise with Your Client

Despite the amount of times we use the word empathy in our everyday language we often forget to practice it, so think about not what it would be like for you to walk in their shoes but what it is like for them in that situation, what do they need and what will make their walk the most pleasurable. The best question for finding this out is asking what that is like for them.

4. Engage With Your Client

Spend time building that relationship and rapport. This will ensure your client knows you and knows you can help. You will not be intruding or boasting if you have something to say your client is interested in, rather you become their best friend when it comes to….Let them think, let them decide in their own time, but keep in touch and keep friendly.

5. Be Present and Pay Attention

Everyone likes to be heard, and contrary to what we think we don’t mind who is hearing us within reason. If you are interested, attentive and open to what they are saying you will be able to establish how you can work together – or even that you are not the right solution to them. Either way you have made the right impression and they will have no qualms recommending you to others.

Just practising these 5 quick tips will make huge differences in your business communication, and will help you on your way to success without being scary…next month we shall look at other ways your marketing activity might not be working…and how to fix it in time to make 2016 your best year yet.

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