Sales Boost

Propel your sales forward this month

Step 1


Take to heart these quick tips for obtaining – and then making the most of – customer input.

Put clients’ input to work


CONSISTENTLY RECORD AND REVIEW FEEDBACK: Gathering feedback is an essential part of a salesperson’s job. Reps should both directly ask – and use their intelligence to indirectly discover – how customers feel about everything from the sales process and your company, to products, the competition and promotional possibilities. Once gathered, this information should be recorded in a CRM file and reviewed before each call.

ANALYZE PERSONAL CRITICISM CONSTRUCTIVELY: When you receive feedback about your sales skills or service from customers, it’s important to look objectively at what’s being said. If a pattern of complaints or suggestions for improvement emerge, adjust your behavior. Still, resist the urge to make too much of an isolated complaint. If it is a customer service issue, make sure you do what’s necessary to ensure the error does not happen again. But for a single isolated complaint about your personality or sales skills, note it and be objective about its accuracy, but don’t necessarily begin making drastic changes.

TRY OUT SAVVY SOLUTIONS: If you need to adjust your behavior based on complaints, start by laying out a plan for change. Then, put it into practice for a period of time and solicit more feedback to see if the changes you’ve made have improved the experience for customers.

PASS IT ALONG: If you gather information from clients that can benefit your distributorship, be sure to pass it up the chain to sales managers, marketing departments and other relevant colleagues. Repeated requests may indicate it’s time for changes that will help the company better serve clients.

Step 2


A powerful presentation can strongly influence prospects to award you with the sale – and help lay the groundwork for a stronger partnership. Follow these tips to hit a home run every time you present.

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A powerful presentation can strongly influence prospects to award you with the sale – and help lay the groundwork for a stronger partnership. Follow these tips to hit a home run every time you present.

Have A Goal: For a presentation to succeed, you must know what you want to attain through it. It’s important then to clearly understand your aim, develop a strategy for achieving it and have a secondary goal to reach in case you miss the mark on the primary target. Sometimes, for example, your goal may be to secure a sale on the spot, with a back-up objective of advancing the process by setting up a date for you to present more product options to the decision-maker.

Craft Unique Presentations: Your presentations should address a prospect’s specific business and needs. Generic presentations often just waste everyone’s time, failing to speak to a client’s situation. It’s like a car salesman intent on selling a sporty coupe to someone in the market for a heavy-duty truck. No matter how good the salesman’s pitch is, the truck buyer is unlikely to be interested.

Share Strong Stories and Showcase Testimonials: By speaking to prospects’ goals and pressing problems, you get them emotionally involved in your presentation. This emotional engagement, which can prove a powerful determinant in whether a decision-maker decides to work with you, can be enhanced by sharing memorable client success stories and testimonials that punctuate your key selling points.

Be Concise: Remember that teacher whose class you dreaded going to because he droned on endlessly? Don’t be that guy when you present. Information overload just causes people to tune out. Instead, convey the essentials concisely. This should include being able to summarize your main value proposition in 15 to 20 words.

Structure The Presentation: You may well have all the right information assembled to demonstrate that you’re the perfect fit for a given prospect. But if your presentations are a disorganized jumble, you’ll fail to communicate your clout. Move around the muddle by carefully structuring the presentation so that each key point is made clearly and follows logically onto the next. Not only does this vastly increase the chance the buyer will understand and retain your standout selling points, it will also help ensure you don’t forget anything.

Make It Interactive: Prospects will pay closer attention and get more from your presentation if you involve them in it. Start your presentation by saying you want questions and invite interaction. Then ask a question to get the ball rolling and periodically solicit the prospects’ opinion.

Step 3


Body language is a powerful selling tool. Read your prospect’s level
of interest and show you’re engaged as well..


How are you standing out from the other five sales reps your prospect already met with this week? Be sure you’re including unique ways to use your products and services in your presentations in order to keep clients engaged from the start. Note innovative details about the products you are showing. Bring various samples of work you’ve done for clients in similar industries, as well as hard numbers on the results. As mentioned in step 2, line up customer testimonials wherever you can. A prospect should have no choice but to be attentive.

Cues a prospect is interested are readily available. Nodding, keeping eye contact, open-arm gestures and leaning in are positive cues. But even a prospect’s disinterest can be quickly turned around. A prospect who keeps her arms crossed is, at first, resistant. Hand her your business card, forcing her to change posture. Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman notes in “10 Powerful Body Language Tips” that body posture influences attitude, so “unwinding the resistant posture will subvert the resistance itself.”

Robert Holmes, a neurocoaching and body language expert, mentions the Freeze Response: Sudden stillness, breath-holding, hunching down or avoiding eye contact. “A freeze response means they are considering what was just said and trying to see if it was a threat,” he says.

You can easily turn this around by refocusing the conversation on addressing the client’s concerns and objectives. “If you sense hesitation, verbal distancing language, stop the pitch, find out what’s wrong and placate,” says Holmes, co-founder of Frazer Holmes Coaching.

The Flight Response may involve the prospect leaning away, tilting the head away, crossing the arms, closing the eyes or placing objects between herself and you. “Think of the ‘flee’ response being like a deer that hasn't bolted yet,” says Holmes “It leans away, flinches, and if you keep blundering through the undergrowth it is going to bolt. Once again, the salesperson must stop, wait, listen and build rapport.”

Build rapport right off the bat by first mirroring the client with how you dress for your appointment. Tailor your appearance to the prospect and the context in which you are meeting him, says Communications Coach Roshini Rajkumar, founder of Roshini Performance Group. “Know them and their culture and match this,” she says.

Show you’re interested and engaged yourself. Don’t be too eager to jump in with your two cents. Rather, you want to convey a sense of being ready to hear whatever the client wants to tell you and put it into action for winning results.

Step 4


To stay competitive, better serve current clients and win over quality prospects, you must always strive to improve as a sales rep. These six tips below will help you be the best you can be.


SEEK THE ADVICE OF SALES STARS: More seasoned sales pros from within or outside of the industry often have keen insights to share that you can adapt to make your sales endeavors more fruitful. It would be especially beneficial to have periodic conversations with a standout seller who has achieved a level of success you’d like to attain. The insights you gain can help you through rough patches, and better set you up for future success. Beyond interpersonal interaction, there are books, videos and seminars from proven sales leaders. Make checking out these potential sales helpers a part of your routine, then put what works into practice.

BE A MENTOR: Experienced reps can grow professionally by providing guidance to more junior colleagues. For one thing, mentoring strengthens leadership and communication skills. It also helps you improve your own performance, helping you to gain different perspectives on how you conduct business. This can lead to insights that influence you to make changes that benefit your sales.

STAY ON TOP OF TRENDS: These days, many clients want brandable products that are the same or similar to items that are hot at retail. This is especially true when it comes to apparel, though not limited to this category. In order to anticipate client interests and expertly advise them on products that could match the tastes of their end-users, it’s important to actively follow retail trends. Doing so, for instance, would have revealed that color-block shirts have been a hit this year – a popularity that is translating into the promo industry.

ENHANCE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA SMARTS: Smart use of social media helps drive engagement with current clients and opens doors to new prospects, sparking sales. Make it a point then to improve your online social skills. Take the time to read articles and watch tutorial videos on strategies for leveraging these platforms for maximum business-building impact. Pay particular attention to LinkedIn, which consistently proves most useful for B2B sales. Set aside specific times during the week for your self-paced social education.

OBTAIN INDUSTRY CERTIFICATIONS: Organizations in the promotional products industry offer certifications that signify you are an expert in your field. Through fulfilling the requirements needed to obtain these certifications, both novice and experienced sales pros alike learn valuable knowledge and strategies they can use to promote their success. Plus, such reps gain a marketing advantage over uncertified reps; they can show prospects that they’re truly committed to the profession and just may have expertise their competition lacks.

HOLD MEETINGS WITH TRUSTED SUPPLIERS: These sessions can prove invaluable. Suppliers can showcase – and provide in-depth education on – new offerings and hot sellers, which can help get your creative gears going when it comes to suggesting the perfect products for client campaigns. You can even make these meetings highly focused on one or a couple projects you may have on the horizon.

Step 5


Buoyed by a strengthening economy, the nightclub industry presents reps with an excellent opportunity to rev-up revenue with creative campaigns. Here’s how to dance your way into this hip market

“Inflated” Sales


Approximately 95% of Mallory Dempster’s clients are nightclubs. And as her more than 400% year-over-year sales increase indicates, business couldn’t be much better. “It’s a booming industry,” says Dempster, a promotional marketing consultant for Jack Nadel International (asi/279600). “They’re making tons of money. It’s a great niche to be in right now.”

That doesn’t mean the work is easy. Tight deadlines, demanding clientele and the need to continually craft outside-the-box campaigns keep Dempster constantly on her toes. Embracing the pressure with passion and enthusiasm, she has delivered a wealth of creative solutions that compels the clubs to come back to her time and again. “I’ve done everything from totally custom invites to crazy projects like a fake cake made of paper that holds a bottle of champagne,” she says.

Recently, Dempster had an unusual request from one of her top club clients. A famous DJ, known for his extravagant tastes, was performing at the venue. To create the over-the-top atmosphere the artist desired, Dempster went to great lengths to source a wide variety of inflatable animals. Monkeys, flamingoes, six-foot-long whales, frogs, lobsters, giraffes – all those and more bore the branding of the DJ and the nightclub. If that wasn’t enough, she also provided a branded inflatable raft for the DJ. At the end of his performance, he threw it into the crowd and jumped on. The audience then passed him around.

Impressed by how deftly Dempster pulled everything together, the club continues to partner with her for inflatable items whenever the DJ performs, in addition to placing other orders. Plus, the DJ’s manager has asked Dempster to provide promotional products for the performer’s tour. “With these clients, you get to do the most off-the-wall stuff,” she says. “It’s a lot of fun.”