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The ABC of effective selling [going back to the often-forgotten basics…]

Bold statement alert: Everybody lives by selling something. Why then do so many of us leave the sales process to chance? It’s interesting that the majority of Australian business leaders - whether from big business or the SME sector - all experience similar challenges with sales planning, sales prospecting and sales communication. Many businesses lack robust sales processes for its products, services and people - this is a big business blunder.

Create a unique selling point (then deliver on your promises…)

When promoting your product or service, it’s easy to miss a key trick by failing to make what you’re selling unique. The term ‘Unique Selling Point’ (USP) was first coined in the 1940s, and first defined in print by advertising executive Rosser Reeves in 1961. A good current example of a clear USP is the well-known brand Head & Shoulders’ "You get rid of dandruff."

What sort of customer are you? Aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical?

Have you ever wondered why you seem to hit it off with some customers, while with others it's like oil and water? It’s because we respond intuitively to the natural chemistry -- or lack thereof -- between temperament styles. Research in the field of psychology tells us that we’re born into one of four primary temperament styles: aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical. Each requires a different approach and selling strategy.

Five sales mistakes guaranteed to dampen morale and make your business less money

Having been part of many sales teams throughout my career, I’ve noticed five common challenges with the power to dampen morale and reduce sales performance. Found to some degree in almost every organisation, savvy management teams are aware of these challenges and work to avoid their potentially destructive impact. Here are five sales mistakes guaranteed to make your business less money.

Five startup and investment lessons from Entrepreneurs’ Night Out Sydney

Recently, I attended Anthill's Entrepreneurs' Night Out event in Sydney. The event featured four panelists -- Domenic Carosa, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, Ian Lyons and Katey Shaw -- and a room of enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Here are five lessons, in particular, that stood out.

How to achieve more sales with less: 7 steps to increasing sales and gaining...

Trying to run the whole business yourself is not only stressful for you, the business owner, but also for the staff, who feel inadequate and unchallenged. But how do you drive revenue and increase sales if you have a very tight budget and you really can’t afford to hire sales staff on a full or part time basis? In short, the business owner must get more creative. Here are seven different strategies any business owner can employ to not only increase sales but also systemise the sale process – and do more in less time.

Do you suffer from Sales Phobia — paralysing fear when it’s time to close?

Throughout my time in sales, I have come across a lot of salespeople who are absolutely great at building rapport, and getting the client to the point of wanting to buy — but for some reason they feel uncomfortable about closing the sale. It might sound silly, but I guarantee you there are salespeople out there with what I call Sales Phobia. Are you afflicted?

Do you use ‘rapport’ when building relationships? Take this test. [SALES STRATEGIES]

Rapport is a relationship between two or more parties, especially one of mutual trust, or emotional affinity. Rapport is one of the most important features or characteristics of subconscious communication. In sales, it means everything! Do you have rapport? Why not take this test?

Inshore, offshore… which shore? Have you heard of in-sourcing and near-shoring?

Over the past fifteen years, outsourcing has been an increasingly common practice allowing businesses to reduce costs and therefore pour resources into growth. However, with the upheaval of the last eighteen months, business as usual has seen its foundations shaken and reshaped. Is outsourcing still the best option, or should businesses be trying to claim more of the value chain for themselves? Should they still be offshoring, or will nearshoring bring greater profits in the future?

The simple mathematics of web conversion (you don’t need to be a rocket scientist)

If you are like most online entrepreneurs, you're probably obsessing about traffic without giving conversions a second thought. But what most website owners don’t realise is that their profits (what they actually can take home) can be multiplied many fold by giving conversions the attention it deserves.

Should Anthill adopt the Groupon model?

Last week, I posted a story that asked Anthill readers to suggest new revenue streams. The post was triggered by a theft (and the loss of some expensive equipment). The surprising flood of responses to this post, received by phone, email, tweets, Facebook messages and, of course, your comments had me both thrilled and alarmed. It also got me thinking.

Are your personal emotions turning away customers?

Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” There is one worse thing. And that's leaving a lasting impression that mysteriously makes people not want to even think about you at all.

Is Telstra bribing its new customers? [Or just awarding ‘Loyalty Bonuses’?]

Recently, I was in the market for a good business plan for my mobile account. I found Telstra the best in terms of network coverage, so I decided to give them a call to see if they could sweeten the deal. Happily, instead of the advertised three months of credit, I was offered six months. "Yes, sign me up!" Then, the salesperson said something very amusing...

If you don’t like ‘selling’, here are 5 rules to ease the burden

It's time to ask that important question, 'So, do we have a deal.' But instead, your stomach starts to stir with anxiety, your hands get sweaty, you begin to question your sense of self-worth (or lack thereof) and, before you know it, not only have you failed to close the sale, you've inadvertently demonstrated your lack of belief in the offer (through your hesitation) and started to actually talk down the product in some misguided attempt to demonstrate that you are, indeed, not a salesperson! What are you thinking!

How much is your business worth? The same as last year, survey finds

The value of Australia's private businesses are stuck in neutral as the global economy continue to grind its gears, according to a quarterly study.

Don’t dress to depress! Your backstage guide to influencing clients through contrast

Have you ever wondered which techniques musicians and actors use to fiercely dominate their genre and influence their fan base? After all, if you knew what they were and how to apply them, they could dramatically increase your sales, help you attract much needed media exposure and command ‘instant’ attention in your niche quite literally overnight.

Surveys show growing business confidence, sagging consumer sentiment

Leon and Garry talk about rising business confidence masking patchy business conditions. Consumer sentiment has dropped and fewer people are taking out loans; however, more people are using their credit cards. Meanwhile, a new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Australians are wealthier and living longer.

There are smarter ways to beat banner blindness than showing cleavage

This article is the fourth in The Anthill Guide to Online Marketing for Small Business (and Startups) series. Last time, we identified common terminology associated with online marketing and revealed how some websites artificially inflate Page Impressions. Today, we continue this theme and look more deeply into the science of online advertising, so that you may talk like an expert, and get ROI!

Three steps to boosting your conversion rates

Everyone understands how important conversion rates are, right? Clearly not, or businesses would be doing more to increase theirs on a weekly basis instead of running around like headless chooks promoting to every Tom, Dick and Harry they come across.

Sure, build your clientele. But old customers need love, too

A lot of work goes into securing that new job, getting to know the customer, understanding their needs, explaining your services and how you operate, etc. No business will succeed without acquiring new customers, but are you focusing enough on retaining your existing customers?

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Three easy wins when using LinkedIn with David Hobson [FREE REPORT]

"If you’re pressed for time, I'm here to help." In this report, David Hobson will show you three quick wins - things you can do to pimp out your LinkedIn profile in 15 minutes or less.

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New Zealand’s Xero eyes US IPO, further disruption as subscribers increase...

Xero recently held its annual meeting in Wellington, during which the company revealed some interesting details about its future. As has been widely suspected, the...

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