RHEN: What’s up Fish Fans! This is Marcus, I’m Rhen, and you’re watching Marketing Madness: the Blue Fish weekly vlog! Each episode, our aim is to bring you guys pure marketing value. During our day to day at Blue Fish, we find that our clients have questions, or don't understand certain things in the marketing and advertising space. So we do our best to address these common questions here.

MARCUS: This week we are going to talk about Rhen’s favorite topic….. SALES. Sales is the lifeline of every organization. It is the pulse, the gas petal, and what propels growth. Without sales you are stagnant. Cash is king, without it a company cannot afford to operate. 

RHEN: Large or small, someone in your company is in charge of cultivating relationships and closing deals. For the small business owner, this often means you are doing all the work. In larger corporations there are entire sales divisions in charge of collecting, prospecting, and closing deals. Over the years this has become my favorite part of business. I have intensely studied sales, consumers, sales people, and what makes a person say yes or no. At Blue Fish, if I cannot keep my pipeline full and hit my quota each month we can't make payroll. No payroll = no Blue Fish. That’d just leave Marcus… 

MARCUS: Before you get started in selling anything, you need to understand the mission of your company. Without a fundamental understanding of what your company has set out to do, you’ll have no direction. Once your mission is established, you’ll be able to better understand who your ideal customer is; what pain points exist for them; and what solutions you can provide to help.  The more specific you can be, the more you can dial in your efforts. 

RHEN: Now let’s look at the different stages of the sales cycle, all which are equally important.
Prospecting 
Setting the appointment
Qualifying the prospect
Making the presentation
Handling objections
The follow up
Closing the sale
Asking for referrals

MARCUS: Prospecting is the beginning of the cycle. This is the act of identifying consumers or businesses that could benefit from your product or service. There are many tactics for prospecting. Some better than others. For each industry they will be a little different. We really like to leverage the following:
Networking events/groups
Social Media
The Chamber of Commerce
Local events
Industry specific organizations
Leveraging your own network (often the most under utilized) 

RHEN: 
The next step once you have identified the prospect is to set the appointment. Let’s face it, no one likes a high pressure sale situation. Personally, I play the long game if in prospecting mode. I try to build a relationship with potential prospects and let the transaction occur in a more organic fashion. This is a really great tactic for certain situations, usually  outbound prospecting rather than inbond requests, which I feel requires a different method. 

People like to buy, but do not like to be sold to. When you are out on an appointment, be sure to ask the correct questions. Do some background research on the the prospect. Understand them, the company, and their needs. Listen to what they have to say and understand any pain points they are experiences. Next you need to help them understand there is a solution to those problems. Finally  you have to show how your services or product are the solution they need. In many cases, if you spend the time to listen to a prospect's problem, they will all but print the contract for you. 

Taking this route does two things. It helps the prospect get a solution to the problem they have, and it solidifies your  relationship building trust. You’ll have far more success dealing with people that trust you, than those that don’t. 

MARCUS: A crucial element to the sales cycle is being able to qualify a prospect quickly. There are many factors at play here. Is your prospect the decision maker, do they have a need, and most important do they have a budget? Understanding who they are and knowing the correct questions to ask will help to quickly  qualify your prospects. 

Some business owners simply will not be able to engage with your services or product. We highly recommend understanding what type of business you can help. The quicker you can either qualify or disqualify a prospect, the better the experience for both parties. 
Budget is a big factor in determining whether or not the prospect qualifies or not. However, you cannot just come out and say…. “How much money you got?” Or “sorry, but you don’t look like you can afford us.”

Sometimes you prospect may try to disqualify themselves before understanding the real value.  It takes a little education from you  as the sales man or women to show the the cost v. price factor in your service or product. Taking the time to educate can help move that “no, this price is way out of my budget” to “well now I see the value”. 

RHEN: Next is the presentation. This is where your professionalism and product knowledge will give you the chance to outshine the competition. Take this opportunity to highlight all the features that make your product or service better than the next, highlighting anything that speaks directly to a pain point for your prospect. 

If you are selling a product or service at above market prices, your prospect may be puzzled, have objections, or not able to justify the expense over cheaper options. If you are going to go down that route you will need to be able to explain cost v price. This is not a problem. It is an opportunity. 

MARCUS: Which brings us to our next step, handling objections. Handling objections is often the least favorite part of this process for most salesmen/women. This is where we get excited. 99% of the time what you are hearing is not actually an objection at all, but moreless an observation. You may hear “well, that is expensive for a website”. In which you’d reply, “It is definitely more than a templated site, here is why”. 

Having the correct perspective here is imperative; it allows you to maintain a positive attitude and address these objections with a confident and informative manner. Do not ever take offense to objections. Instead, politely answer the questions with informative and educational information that helps the prospect make an educated decision. 

This is where taking the time to really know your product or service will set you above the rest. Being sympathetic to your prospects objections will help strengthen the relationship and increase momentum towards winning the sale. 

RHEN: The follow up. The follow up. The follow up. The follow up. The follow up. The follow up. 

This is where 80% of sales are won or lost. Did you know that 60+% of all sales are made on the 7th follow up. Yes 7! I track all my client touches after the proposal goes out. More than 50% of all my sales come after the 8th time calling, emailing, or texting, yet majority of the sales force never make a 2nd follow up. Think I am joking? Well I’m not. 

People are busy, if you are selling something most of the time you will get, “I need to think about it” or “I need to speak with my spouse” or “next week we will buy for sure”. Most of the time this isn't a tactic to get you out of the office. There are processes that can uncover if they are trying to push you off, and there are also processes to follow up and increase the likelihood of closing the sale. 

You should create a systematic approach to your follow ups. Work from a CRM (client relationship manager) and set tasks for follow ups. This is where separation from pros to novice comes in. 

MARCUS: Next up, the close. Despite what the name implies, this step can happen before or after the follow up, it just has to happen. Most sales are lost because the sale is never explicitly requested. Can you imagine going into a steak house, the waiter approaching, discussing the menu, telling you about appetizers but then never asking you to place your order? This is a real issue. I cannot tell you how many times I have been shopping for something and was never asked to buy. And I LOVE to buy. 

You cannot collect the check if you don’t receive it. And you won’t receive it if you don’t ask for it. People rarely pull out thousands of dollars and hand it over without being prompted. So make the ask. And if they don’t buy, make the proper follow ups. 

RHEN: If you have done your job well, this next part is be a breeze. Ask for a referral. This should come at the end of EVERY sales process. There is no better place to find your next prospect than from that of a happy customer. Referrals often come when you have served your client, proved to be a knowledgeable professional that acted with integrity and courtesy. And just like the close, if you do not ask for it, you will not get it!

RHEN: That’s a wrap for this week Fish Fans. Thank you for your attention. If you have any questions or comments please hit us up in the comments or in a direct message.

MARCUS: If you are on Facebook give us a like and a share, tag someone that could benefit from this content. If you are watching on YouTube please subscribe to stay up to date on the latest and greatest from your pals at Blue Fish.