The Demise of The Salesman

death-of-a-salesman-tnNote:  This is a guest post by Marcia Coffey, a WordPress Designer, Inbound Marketer and Ecommerce Developer. She develops affordable responsive Word Press websites. Find Marcia on Google+ and Twitter.

This is NOT good news for those of you who prefer the hard sell and printed media.

By the time your potential customer arrives at your showroom, enters your store or rummages through your many, exciting wares, 60% of the selling process has already been done.

But not by YOU! Likewise NOT by ads in newspapers or on TV, not by outdoor advertising, direct mail flyers, brochures, postcards, stickers or even car wraps!

The message or CONTENT is still critical. But the Messenger has changed platforms. It is now the Internet. And, it is the Web in all its colorful clothing, constantly changing locations, on all of  its devices … iPhones, iPads, Androids, tablets, desktops, laptops … on different size monitors and used for different purposes.

Now the Messenger is under your complete control as buyer or consumer. You make the decisions, not the salesman.

“The Message” or Content now is multi-tasking. It can be a website,  a blog post, a Facebook page, a newsletter, a tweet, a podcast, a YouTube video, a slideshow, a Pinterest page, an e-book , a Google hangout, and so it goes. Digital content has no size or time boundaries, unlike a 2 column newspaper ad.

Two More Advantages of Inbound Marketing:

  • Much cheaper – by a factor of 61% – to get leads on the net than to purchase sales leads by zipcode.
  • You can actually target cost-effectively and measure your audience, then edit/revise your content as needed.

    From Ann:  Want to add effective outbound marketing to your inbound marketing efforts?  I can help!  Read what my favorite clients say about working with me and then drop me a line!


Use These 4 Words and Your Clients Will Love You

Sunday afternoon my niece Kathryn phoned me and started the conversation with four thoughtful words.

Actually, Kathryn used the same words in an email she sent to me the day before with the same lovely effect.


Kathryn, my unforgettable nieceInteresting:  These four words can be used very effectively when speaking with clients. (And . . . no . . . one of the words is not “love.”) It is one way you can become unforgettable, if you are not already :-)

(This is Kathryn, my unforgettable niece, teaching a class.)

Beginning a conversation with these four words – if you genuinely mean what you are saying – is a guaranteed way to capture attention with a client or a friend or a family member.

Those four special words?

“I thought of you . . . “

In Kathryn’s case, she thought of me when she watched a TV show about people living near the Atlantic ocean.

How you can use these words with clients

When a business situation involves contacting clients about a special offer, you can start off with:

“I thought of you when this special offer became available.  Because you purchased the XYZ copier, this would be a great time for you to stock up on __________________.”

Rather than just smiling and dialing using the same old script to announce the special offer, use those four words and you will create a personal connection with the client.

For more good ideas, get useful weekly sales tips in your inbox or  join my e-course!



One Three-Letter Word can Derail a Sales Presentation

man-holding-hands-over-ears-medThis seems too simple to really make a difference.

Actually, it makes a very big difference.

There is one word, used in everyday conversation, which can derail an otherwise perfect sales presentation.

This one little word is often used when responding to an objection, but it can ruin everything else you say.

Words Matter

How quickly you capture a customer’s attention depends on how carefully you choose your words, according to Maura Schreier-Fleming, author of “Real-World Selling for Out of this World Results.”

Schreier-Fleming recommends staying away from one particular word.

Avoid This Word

“If a customer has a concern, our job as salespeople is to listen, to acknowledge and to hear that concern.

“Using the word ‘but‘ negates everything you’ve said before it,” warns Schreier-Fleming.

“What your customer hears is the disagreement that precedes an argument.”

Instead, first acknowledge the concern and follow with the word “and.”

For example, your customer might comment that the process you recommend sounds complicated.

You would respond:

“Yes, it is complicated and with our technical assistance . . . ”

Think about how much better the word “and” sounds – in the sentence above – instead of the word “but.”


“We are happy with our current vendor.”

When hearing this objection, some salespeople begin their response with “Yes, but we can offer you a lower price” or better quality products, or faster delivery, etc.

A more effective way to handle this objection is to use a soft-sell response without the word “but.”

Like this tip?  Sign up for more good ideas on this page.

And …

… join my e-course to discover the best ways to handle – and pre-handle objections!


How to Use Bartering to Attract New Customers

One Virginia Beach business owner is using a successful form of bartering (and marketing) to add perceived value and attract new customers.

A good example of how he does it:

Barter System In September I took my car to the local CITGO station for some needed work. They have been taking care of my cars for years, with good results.

When the work was completed I checked out and paid the bill.

The receptionist gave me a piece of paper which read:

“Write a review about your service and we will reward you with a free hand car wash. Visit our website and click on the “Write Review” tab and tell us about our service. Stop in with review proof and receive your free hand car wash with an appointment.”

I made the time to write a good review and scheduled an appointment for the car wash.

On Saturday I took my car into the station for the free hand car wash and now my car is cleaner than ever except when it was brand new :)

The barter: A good online review in exchange for a free (needed) car wash.

The marketing: Good reviews add to the perceived value of the business and attract new customers.

Anyone looking online for where to have a car serviced in Virginia Beach will see dozens of positive reviews for this CITGO service station. A great way to attract new customers!

If you are looking for new marketing and/or bartering tactics, drop me a line. I have imaginative and workable ideas based on more than 20 years of experience and would love to hear from you!

6 Simple Tips to Get Your Calls Returned

Telephone-LondonThere is good news and bad news. First, the bad news. Recent marketing research has found that up to 40% of outbound calls made by salespeople end up in voice mail :(

After talking with hundreds of Weekly Sales Tips subscribers, I have learned that number is actually closer to 50% or 60%. And . . . most voice mail messages left by sales reps are not returned. (Very discouraging for salespeople.) This was especially true because of last winter’s fierce snowstorms resulting in traffic problems and empty offices.

Now the good news – yes there is good news!

We may need to dial more numbers, but we CAN get our calls returned. Read what Steve Sheffield in Vancouver, Washington wrote:

“I jotted down a short voice mail message to leave for a customer I have called 4 times in the last 2 weeks with no reply and she called me back the next day!

More about Steve’s voice mail success later.

Think about this: The first goal of a voice mail message is to get the call returned or, ultimately to result in a live conversation, so . .

. . . . Get Rid of Wimpy Words! Forget about leaving those wishy-washy messages like “please call me back if you have any questions.” Wimpy words with no call to action do not get results.

What action do you want them to take?

1.) Know what you want as a result of your voice mail message. 6 Simple Tips To Get Your Calls ReturnedWrite down in one sentence what action you want the listener to take.

2.) Organize your message so that you state the most important and attention-getting information first, since you may be cut off at any time. Include BENEFITS for the listener.

3.) Speak clearly and not too quickly. Pronounce your first and last name clearly, spelling your name if people may not recognize your name. The person you are calling could become annoyed if they have to spend time replaying the message because they could not understand it.

4.) State your telephone number twice: once at the beginning of your message – after your name and company name – and again at the end of the message. This makes it easier for the prospect to return your call.

5.) Be a name dropper. (This great tip is from

If somebody referred you, that person’s name should be one of the first things out of your mouth, even before you fully ID yourself: “Jane, I was referred to you by Barney Rubble. This is Fred …” Starting off this way will ensure your entire message will get listened to. If you don’t have a known person’s name to use, the next best thing is to reference an organization you have in common: “I’m also a member of the Bedrock Chamber of Commerce …”

6.) Prepare and rehearse your voice mail message. Reason: If you leave a bad message, you’re stuck with it, and . . . your voice message is being recorded and can be forwarded to others.

As promised, more about Steve Sheffield’s voice mail success:

“Ann, thank you for what I would consider the best ROI percentage that I have ever experienced in 18 years. I downloaded your books and read just 3 pages in your Voicemail Tips, jotted down a short message to leave for a customer I have called 4 times in the last 2 weeks with no reply and she called me back the next day!” – Steve Sheffield, Southwest Office Systems Vancouver, Washington