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WoW opens the Barn Door (and your mind!)
Posted By Victoria WoW September 24th, 2013
Don’t tell anyone, but I am about to commit a major faux pas for writers. As a writer I am supposed to create a veil of objectivity around my subjects, to distance myself from whatever I am reporting. For the purpose of this particular blog post, however, I am finding this task a wee bit tricky.
As one of the featured guest speakers at WoW's September Event, it seems a little weird for me to report on event as if I was an observer; especially because one of my key messages was to create authentic and trustworthy relationships with your customers. So please excuse this rather unorthodox approach to this blog post, and allow me to sincerely thank you for allowing me and my colleague Mike Wicks to share our tips on creating outstanding customer service experiences.
I have had the pleasure of attending several WoW Events over the last year, and I am always impressed with the attention to detail and creative talent that is offered by each Showcase Sponsor team. WoW's Autumn Barnburner was no exception.
At first glance, Kildara Farm already offers an idyllic pastoral setting for a country wedding. The surrounding fields, lush with grasses and wild flowers, seem to be pulled off the cover of a romance novel. In the horizon, the calm waters of Finlayson Arm give rise to the peaks of the Malahat. We were so blessed to receive what felt like a last blast of summer heat, and the radiant sunshine made the farm picture perfect.
The barn, recently renovated to accommodate weddings and other events, was staged with a long table set for a country feast. Our host, Sarah Hughes of Fresh View Events, adorned the banquet table with her collection of vintage tableware. Garden blooms were displayed in mismatched Mason jars or wrapped in willow bark. I loved the charming wall hanging pieced together from strips of cloth. The rest of the barn showcased Fresh View's collection of antique country furnishings.
Coffee, tea and sweet treats were provided by local Peninsula favourite JJ's Coffee House, located in nearby Brentwood bay. Owner Jennifer Fletcher was on hand to showcase her business, a central spot on the Saanich Peninsula to stop for a snack or meet with a client.
Judi Rosebrugh from The Wedding Experts showcased the latest issue of the Vancouver Island bridal resource magazine, and shared her insights about upcoming bridal shows with WoW Members and guests.
Rita Steenssens from Studio 1079 Photography captured the event through her lens. Rita has recently joined the WoW Team to contribute photographs for our blog.
Once the informal networking concluded, Mike and I delved into our presentation: "Harvesting your Abundance | Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Objections and Closing Sales".
In case you weren't able to attend the event, here is a summary of our tips:
1. Sell yourself first. Sell your company second. Sell your product/service last. In other words, invest in building a relationship of trust, and selling will come easy.
2. Harness the power of enthusiasm. "For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough." ~Zig Ziglar
3. Tap into the emotional cues. When your customer is describing their need, pay attention to the "feeling" words. Mirror their mood, their manner of speaking.
“People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” ~ZZ
4. Sell them what they need, not what you have. Do they really care what is under the hood? Drop the long-winded technical features. Describe the product/service/venue based on what they have told they need. Use emotional cues. Learn how to craft personal "Feature | Advantage | Benefit" descriptions on the spot that respond to what they need.
5. Identify the players. Who is involved in the sale? Are you selling to the right person?
- Initiator - bride or groom, sometimes both
- Influencer - parents, best friends, grandparents, bridal party, maid of honour, children, etc.
- Buyer - who is parting with the money?
- Decision maker - possibly the bride, but could be someone else
- User - bride & groom
- Evaluator - bride & groom, guests (will they be interested in your services later?)
6. Identify the different types of objections. Find out what are they afraid of?
"Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust." ~ZZ
7. Get the objections out on the table. Learn to ask questions that bring them out right away. Learn to love objections. How do you deal with it if it is hidden?
8. Trial close first. Brings our objections and clarifies what you don’t have to worry about. Are we going in the right direction? Test the waters. If you are going to lose a sale, lose early.
9. Know when to stop selling. Allow them time to buy.
10. Find a closing technique that works for you. What feels most authentic to you or to the situation?
- Assumption (a work of art and timing)
- Reverse (when yes means no)
- Deadline (now you see it – now you don’t)
- This or that (or something else)
- Recommendation (trust me on this)
- Pros and cons (it’s the logical thing to do)
- Ask for the order (the most honest of all)
Mike and I were honoured to share our experience and knowledge at this WoW Event, and we hope that you gained some new tidbits add to your expertise as business owners. If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike at email@example.com.
We look forward to connecting with all of you again soon at the next WoW Event.
Some WoW Members who attended expressed interest in participating in an expanded version of this workshop. In the full day workshop, you would learn in more detail and practice:
• the basics of successful selling
• understanding your customers and how to communicate most effectively with them
• how to talk about the most relevant features/advantages/benefits of your products/services
• how to draw out and overcome common objections
• how to close sales effectively
If you are interested in learning more about successful sales techniques in a full-day workshop, please email Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of our commitment to help members sharpen our skills as business owners, WoW is exploring ideas for creating educational workshops for our Members in the near future. Please share your ideas for topics that you would like to learn about or topics you would like to teach. Email email@example.com.
Andrea Ting-Letts is a business-to-business writer, and the owner of SCRIBE Professional Writing. Helping businesses solidify their voice and broadcast to their audience brings together what she loves most: guiding her clients to uncover WHY they do what they do, and crafting the connection between what their clients need and what their organization offers. Her clients range from entrepreneurs and small business owners to bigger organizations, and represent businesses as diverse as financial institutions, environmental organizations, IT consultants, property management companies, business advisors, interior design, photography, health and fitness, and the wedding industry.
Andrea knows how and why people buy. She spent many years managing, motivating, and training sales teams for one of Canada's most successful cosmetic companies. She infuses her business writing with her expertise in sales and customer service, and specializes in crafting marketing communication that inspires an emotional connection. She believes that words, when wielded astutely, have the power to influence behaviour and inspire action.
Andrea is also the Communications Director for Victoria Women of Weddings. She contributes blog posts, newsletters, email communications, and has crafted the voice of WoW through the website and other marketing materials.
Michael Wicks is a freelance writer and author, and founded WestShore magazine during his time as CEO of the WestShore Chamber of Commerce. His regular sales and marketing columns appear in Douglas business magazine for which he also contributes feature articles. He is a regular contributor on food topics to YAM (You and Me) magazine, a lifestyle publication for southern Vancouver Island. His work can also be found in the new magazine Salt, published for fans of Vancouver Island living in Calgary.
Mike has written seven books, one of which ‘Fire From The Sky - A Diary Over Japan’ won a silver medal for best military memoir of 2005, awarded by the Military Writers Society of America. He also wrote and published City of Langford, which will be one of our draw prizes later. He has also written 6 eBooks, several training manuals and workbooks, economic development publications, business white papers and copy for websites, brochures and tourism lure pieces.
Mike has sold a wide range of products and services over a long career; he has managed sales teams, written about sales, and developed sales training programs and workshops for both the corporate world and for government. He has delivered workshops, seminars and keynotes for the provincial and federal government, and major corporations including Royal Bank of Canada, Sun Life Financial, Freedom 55.