21 reasons your Admissions Representatives aren’t motivated

I have been in the higher education sector for the last fifteen years of my career.  Primarily working with admissions managers and admissions representatives. I have worked in the for-profit sector, the non-profit private sector, and even the public sector.

As a manager myself for many years, and as a consultant for just as many, I have found the following 21 ideas, things, excuses, or whatever you want to call them.  To be true in every one of the higher education groups I have worked with.

I am not only blaming the admissions representatives or the schools themselves for this lack of motivation.  They are all in it together. From the top down, everybody has to be held accountable and understand the mission.  And no matter what your Tax status says you are.  For-Profit, Non-Profit, or Public, no institution would exist if they didn’t have students paying tuition.

Ultimately, this responsibility falls on the admissions representatives and the admissions managers. They are both equally responsible for the livelihood of the school.

Here are 21 things that could help you diagnose the problem you might have on your team right now.  I am not going to solve your problem in this blog post.  However, the first step to all change is realizing that you need to make a change.

After you read the post, if you feel like your team needs some additional skills please reach out to me.  I have perfected a training system for Admissions Teams.  We call our product the Admissions Advantage.

Do you want an advantage for your team and your school?  If so, let’s have a conversation.  If not, use this information and make the necessary changes.  It is up to you.

21.  They don’t like their job

  • I don’t know why they don’t like their job.  It could be a variety of different reasons.  They don’t believe in what they do, or they don’t believe in the leadership.  You need to find out why and see if this can change.  If not, you know what needs to be done.

20. They don’t see a career path for growth.

  • On the first day of the job everybody wants to know two things.  After they learn how much they are getting paid.  What is it that I am responsible for?  And where do I fit in here?  They want to see where they are now and where they could be in the future. Show them.

19.  They don’t know the bigger picture.

  • Show them the marketing budget, show them the instructional budget, show them everything.  And then show them how the revenue they generate from the students they enroll make the budget work.

18. You have some toxic people on the team bringing everyone else down. 

  • Who are the negative people.  All teams have them.  You have to get rid of them ASAP. Why haven’t you? Quit waiting.

17. They don’t get respect from other departments 

  • Admissions representatives are going to push other people to do things they don’t want to do. They should do it respectively, but at the same time, they need to have the respect across the board from the other departments.  Everybody in the institution needs to know that without students none of them will exist. Period.

16. They are too focused on their next steps instead of the current step they are on. 

  • If we aren’t happy in what we are doing we are going to be looking for what the next step is. In many colleges and schools this is usually being done on the schools dime.  With additional educational benefits.  I am a fan of this, but admissions representatives must be doing their full-time job first.

15. They have too much free time. 

  • Free time is not good for any of us.  Especially an admissions representative. If your people are not seeing enough prospective students then you have to figure out a way to get everyone busier.  Too much free time will make them lazy and they will get in trouble.

14. They don’t know the consequences of missing budget or goals 

  • When is the last time you wrote someone up or let someone go because of a lack of performance.  I understand that everybody got a little scared under the previous administration and the rules. However, if you don’t have consequences for not doing your job, then mediocrity will creep in and kill your school.

13. They don’t know what excellence looks like 

  • I have seen it a hundred times.  You have one person that is killing it.  And that becomes the standard.  What if their standard is not that high though?  Then everybody else is trying to live up to a low standard.  Get some A players in and set some new standards.

12. They don’t know what it means to own something 

  • If your staff is younger, the chances are they haven’t lived long enough to truly own something. You must teach them how to own their career and their goals on the job.  This will keep them motivated to performing.

11. They are short timers

  • You have some people who just took this job because it is the one they were offered.  And you were sold in the interview. If this is the case get them out and make them really short timers.

10. Top leadership doesn’t remind them of how important they are.

  • A supervisor must be setting the standard every single day and showing the team appreciation.  However, the top leadership must do it often as well. It just means more when they hear it from the top leadership.

9. Direct supervisors are uninspiring.

  • If you are a manager and are reading this.  I am sorry.  It has just been my experience.  The question I have for you.  Are you motivated?  If not.  Why not?  What can you do to get excited again?

8. They don’t know what accountability is.

  • Accountability is a bad word.  Everybody says they like it until they get it.  But without it, there is no motivation to do better.  You must have systems in place that not only inspire the team to perform better, but you also have to have systems in place that show them when they don’t and what happens if they continue to not perform well.

7. They are too close for their own good. 

  • If your institution has hired a lot of graduates of your school then you know what I mean here.  They are either selling the schools features too hard and their experiences, or they talk to candidly about all of the problems with the school.  Either way, you have to teach them some skills to eliminate some of these tendencies.

6. They know they aren’t very good and they are being allowed to stay. 

  • Most people know when they aren’t performing very well.  And if they are being allowed to do it, they will just ride it out as long as they can.  Why not.  Especially if this is your first position in your career.  Management must figure this out immediately and make the changes.

5. They aren’t bought in. 

  • Again this is a management problem.  If you have some people on the team they aren’t bought in, you must figure out why.  And it all starts with creating a plan for their career and their growth while there.  Everybody needs to see how they can grow in their career and make more money ultimately. When you do this.  They will buy in to this path and their current position.

4. They lack the communication skills required. 

  • If you suck at communication, which unfortunately is not a skill that is learned the way it used to be. Then you aren’t going to be able to communicate to people internally or to your prospective students in a way that encourages them and motivates them to want to attend school.

3. They haven’t learned any people skills. 

  • Similar to communication.  People skills aren’t being taught the way they used to be.  The bottom line is that we have to teach people what basic people skills are, and then build upon that and teach them what it means to influence other people.

2. They are scared to be assertive. 

  • If you have grown up being passive and have never been taught what it means to take initiave and make things happen, then you wont know how to do it. You have to show them how.

1. They don’t have the self-confidence. 

  • Some people think that the younger generation has too much self-confidence when they get on the job. However, they don’t have the self-confidence to do what it takes to get people to walk through the doors to your institution.  This requires the confidence to say hard things and be assertive and direct with parents and their peers. This again, is not something that is being taught, but it can be taught.

Wherever you are reading this blog, I would love to get your feedback and thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree?  What else would you add?

Here is the one thing that I want to share.  All of the ideas in this article can be trained.  You can increase a persons self-confidence by increasing their skills.  If you aren’t investing in your admissions representatives development.  And I don’t mean formal education.  I mean real skill development on how to communicate to people to take action, phone skills to get people to call you back, and all the skills required to perform at their job better. Reach out to me and let’s have a conversation and see if the Admissions Advantage could help your institution.

bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

3 Reasons why people say they hate sales people, but shouldn’t.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say that they hate sales people.  And my response is always the same.

“You hate people who help you solve problems you didn’t know you had, or maybe you did know that you had them, and you’ve had them forever, and the salesperson is trying to create some urgency for you to fix whatever the problem is?”

You hate people who are helping you solve your problems?

But Brian, they are pushy.

I can’t speak for everyone.  But a sales person is pushy because they know that their solution (product) will solve your problems. Period.

Look, the only reason you feel like they are being pushy is because you haven’t sold yourself. Or for some reason you have used similar products in the past and either didn’t use them as you were supposed to, or you didn’t use them at all.  Whose fault is that? Yep.  Yours.

I also believe that we currently have such a laid back society that anything that seems a little assertive, (hence the word assertive not aggressive) is looked at as being pushy.

The bottom line is most of the decisions in your life that could significantly alter or change your life, required a little push.  If you didn’t get the push you didn’t do it.  Matter of fact, I would say if you haven’t been pushed you most likely haven’t pursued the things that could change your life.

They are just trying to earn a commission.  

Life is a commission.  You are getting up right now and you are headed in to your job to earn a commission.  The only difference is that your commission may already be established fo you.  If you earn a salary.  The company you work for said they will pay you X amount of dollars every week, every two weeks, a month, or a year for the work you said you would do.  You earn your commission in advance in many cases.  There is no guarantee that you will actually do the work you said you would do.  Kind of dumb really, but that is what society is.

Or maybe you earn an hourly rate.  And that is okay.  But once again you earn your commission for every hour you work.  If you don’t work, you don’t earn the commission.

Sales people earn their commission when they have done their job properly.  I know a lot of people in management, salaried positions, as well as hourly people, that never even do their job at all.

They don’t listen. 

Look I train sales people for a living.  And I understand what you mean.  However, nobody listens in society.  Right now, you are trying to get your kid to do something and they aren’t listening to you.  It doesn’t mean you hate them or you aren’t going to work with them anymore.

If you are in management, you are going to lead some people today that aren’t listening to you right now, and they won’t be listening to you when you get to work either.  It doesn’t mean you are going to stop working with them.

Nope! What you are going to do is get what you can out of your children and your employees, and continue to guide them down the path to help them get what they want, because when you help them get what they want, they will help you get what you want.

And that is what good sales people are trying to do.  They are trying to help you get what you want.  And just like you have to be as a parent and as manager, you have to push people some times.  You have to remind them of the bigger picture.

Look, you don’t want a bunch of sales people working for free.  What would be the incentive to get you in the right solution if that was the case.  There wouldn’t be any reason for them to push you.

This week if you run across a sales person that you feel like is doing any of these things.  Roll with it and see if they help you solve your problems.  The chances are if you let them you will get what you want and they will get what they want.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

When sales people do this one thing it guarantees more closed deals.

In sales, and in my sales training workshops, I have always reminded people of this one simple fact of sales:  When a buyer seeks to buy something, they will make the purchase when the value of whatever the solution (thing, object, service, etc.) that they are buying, exceeds the cost.  Simply stated: When the perceived value of a product exceeds the cost, a buyer will make the purchase.

The challenge that sales people face is that they must help the buyer see that the value exceeds the cost.  Which means, that the buyer must be certain, and maybe not even fully certain, that the price of the product is justified in the pleasure or results they will get from the purchase.

Recently, I was in the market to buy a couch.  This couch purchase has been something that has been in the works for about a year now.  Which means, I told my wife that we would buy one, and she kept reminding me that I said that, but I kept putting it off.

Last weekend, we took the next steps to purchase the couch.  So, I actually found myself in the stores looking at couches and determining what we wanted.  My wife and I very rarely agree on things of this nature, but in this case, after three or four stores, we both laid our eyes on a couch that we both liked.

We went back and forth about it, and then we ultimately got the sales person over to discuss our options.  The couch we were looking to buy is not a regular couch.  We wanted a sectional.  A sectional comes in various shapes and we both liked one with a chaise at one end of it.  A chaise is a chair that is like a mini little lounge on one end of the couch.  I have never had one of these, and I was excited about getting this feature.

To get the couch the way we wanted cost $3,100 dollars out the door.  Personally, I have never paid more than four or five hundred dollars for a couch.  My wife had spent more than that in her past, but never as much as this couch cost.

For this purchase, we had already determined that we would spend $1,000 on a couch, but after looking at a few places and now understanding the market a little bit better, I learned that this dollar figure was way off.  To get a bigger sectional couch, with the features we liked and desired it would cost us at least double that.  And I knew this, but I always start low and once I find something I like, price goes out the door usually. As this couch purchase illustrates.

But now we found ourselves looking at a $3,100 dollar couch.  So after an hour or so, my wife and I decided that we were done couch shopping for the day, and that we really liked the $3,100 dollar couch, but we would look at a few more places before we made our purchase.

Fast forward to the next day.  My wife and I went into two more places and looked at other couches.  By now, we have been to about six to seven stores.  We decided to go back and look at the couch that we both liked the day before. The $3,100 dollar couch.

We spent another forty-five minutes or so looking at the couch.  My wife starts putting some pillows on the couch and was really trying to get a feel for the couch.  The sales person from the day before joined us once again.  And she wasn’t necessarily pressuring us, but was adding in some commentary to my wife and I’s conversation as necessary, hoping to push our decision forward.

Once again, we decided not to buy the couch and that we would look a few more places.  My wife really wanted to sleep on this buying decision again.

The next day we decided to go to the same store, but a different location. Lets be honest, I wasn’t expecting to see anything different in this store versus the other one that we have been going to the last two days, but I thought, why not give it a try. And guess what?  The couch that we had been looking at the previous two days, the $3,100 dollar coach was in there as well.  And we looked at it again.

We also walked around the show room and looked at other couches.  We found a few new ones that we liked as well. Now, I am not sure if we had looked at these exact same new couches at the other location.  The chances are we had, but one couch jumped out at us that we really liked, and by this time my wife wasn’t that interested in the $3,100 dollar couch anymore.

This new couch that we both liked was $2,000 or so dollars. And this Saturday that couch will be delivered to our home. We made the purchase in less than forty-five minutes or so.

I am in sales and have trained sales people for a very long time. Through any buying process I am constantly watching and listening to the sales person to see the techniques and processes they use to help me make a purchase.  I am also considering and thinking about the decision-making that I, or my wife, are using during this buying process.

So why was it that we couldn’t make the decision to purchase the $3,100 dollar couch for two days, but on the third day we bought the $2,000 dollar couch so quickly?

To me this was a classic example of something all sales people deal with.  As I mentioned before, my wife and I both had never purchased a couch for the amount of money that we were considering spending.  So this would have been a purchase that was against both of our buying patterns.  Since this was the case, there was a lot of uncertainty on whether the couch was worth it or not. Also, as I mentioned we looked at this couch three different times, so there was a lot of uncertainty on whether this couch would look the way my wife wanted it to.

Both times we looked at the couch at the first store, my wife couldn’t get an idea on what it would look like in our house.  No matter how many pillows she put on the couch or pictures she took, it was just really difficult to see how it would look at our place.

When we moved on to the other couch, and the one we ultimately purchased.  My wife was able to get a feel for what this couch would look like in our place. She was able to more clearly see how it would fit in the decor that she was looking to have in our home.

The lesson here for sales people is this.  In any sales situation, or a lot of sales situations, especially when someone is buying a product for the first time, or spending more on a product than they have before, your number one challenge will always be to figure how to eliminate the buyers uncertainty.

If it is a first time purchase for a buyer of this product.  They are usually uncertain if it will work for them.  Since they don’t know how it works, they are uncertain if it will work, and will they use it and get the benefits out of it. It doesn’t matter if it is a couch or a new software system for a business.

When it is spending more money than they usually pay for similar products, then it is the uncertainty of whether or not the additional money they are spending on this product is worth it.

In my case of the $3,100 dollar couch versus the $2,000 dollar couch. If the sales person could have provided us a guarantee that if the couch didn’t look the way we wanted it to.  Lets be honest here. The way my wife wanted it to look.   Then we could return the couch.  We would have even been willing to pay a fee of some kind if we returned the couch,  because the fear of uncertainty would have been eliminated. Unfortunately, no such option was available.  Once the couch was purchased and delivered it was yours.

The fear of uncertainty is real in all buying situations. A sales person must create ways to over come and eliminate that fear of uncertainty. In our case, a simple guarantee that we could return it, could have increased their sales by $1,100 dollars.

Why do you think car lots allow you to take the car home overnight and think about it?  How many more cars do you think they sell because of this one little easy thing to do?  A lot. Because those buyers get a feel for what that car feels and looks like when they are driving it.   They get to see it in their driveway.  And since it is a new car, or new to them, it feels and looks good and those emotions are usually confirmed by others in their life during those 24 hours that they have the car.

Eliminate the uncertainty and you will make more sales.  Use return guarantees, let them try the product out, or whatever else you can do to eliminate that fear of uncertainty and you will make more sales.

To your success and your future.

 

 

The one thing sales people must sell, but very rarely do.

Everybody wants a guarantee that it will work.  You do, I do, and so does everyone else.

Is this even realistic though?  Absolutely not.

We all have to take a chance and jump in on whatever it is.  You have to buy the new car.  Upgrade the cell phone.  Upgrade the software.  Purchase the product.   But the fear of it not being the right thing, or solving our problem, is always in our mind.

As a salesperson, your number one job is to sell certainty.  Lets be honest though.  We all know that there are no guarantees.  We all know that if the buyer doesn’t use the product or use it correctly.  They won’t get the benefit from the product. We all know that people will buy something, use it once or twice, and then tell everyone that it didn’t work.

So how do we sell certainty? Especially, when we know that the product is certain to work when used correctly, but we know that the consumer will not do it the way they should?

You have to set the expectations on the front end.  You have to let the buyer know that for them to get the best benefit, they will have to use it the exact way you are telling them.  You also have to let them know that you will hold them accountable to using the product the way you have suggested.

I can remember working for a company where we upgraded our CRM (Customer Relationship Manager system).  This is a software application that helps sales teams manager their sales prospects and customers.

We purchased the product and then immediately tried to make that new product work exactly like our old one.  We were constantly asking the software implementation team to change this or that to make a change to the new software to perform, and look like our old system.  This went on for two years until we finally pulled the plug on our end, to stop trying to make the software work.

Who was at fault?  Well, I can say we (the company) were partly at fault because we were constantly trying to make it look, act like, and perform like our old system.  However, that is what people do.  We hate change and when given the opportunity we will keep things like they are.

The fault lies with the software team that sold us the new CRM.  They set the wrong expectations on the front end.  First, they told us that all of these great things were available.  And they may have been, but not early on. So they oversold. Secondly, they kept making the changes we asked for.  Which slowly kept us doing the same things we had always done, and the only thing that was different was the system we were using.

Instead of selling us certainty that this new CRM software application was the right system.  They actually did the opposite.  By making all the changes we asked for.  It further made the point that the new software was no different from our old one. And the more changes we made, the more uncertainty we had about the new system.

As a salesperson you have to sell certainty on the front end.  You have to let the prospect know that you will be with them every step of the way to ensure they get maximum benefit from the purchase.  You also have to be willing to hold them accountable after the purchase to following the prescribed way of using that product.

When you allow them to make changes and fall into a doing what they have always done, or not using the product at all.  You as the salesperson, have  to hold them accountable and follow-up with  them to ensure they get maximum benefit from the product.

This is how you sell certainty in an uncertain world.  This is how you overcome the doubt “Will it work”.  You let the prospect know that you will make sure it works for them.  This will eliminate the doubt.

To your success and your future.

 

 

The sh*t sandwich method leaders use and should stop, use this instead.

If you are like most leaders you are making your way in to work today and there is someone on your team that you need to give some hard feedback to at this very moment.  The chances are you have been delaying it for days at least, probably months, and some of you have been delaying it for years.

Why haven’t you done it yet?  There are a lot of reasons, maybe one of these are yours.

  • Because you are fearful of how they might respond.
  • You don’t want to hurt their feelings.
  • You just never do the hard things.
  • You are afraid that they will quit.
  • You keep telling yourself it really isn’t a big deal, but it keeps happening.
  • You say that they do so many other things well.
  • You are about to get promoted or quit so you are passing the buck.
  • You are waiting for it to resolve itself. (it won’t)
  • You don’t know how.

I am sure there are other reasons as well, but from my experience these are usually the reasons.

If you don’t know how, I am going to give you a process that you can apply today that will make this easy.  Now, unfortunately, courage doesn’t come with the process.  However, if you practice the process enough, overtime you will gain more courage because it will get easier and you will become more comfortable at doing it.

As the title states. A lot of leaders have been taught the shit sandwich approach.  I am not saying it is a horrible process, but it doesn’t always feel right.  This is where you give them some praise for something that they have done.  Then you tell them something that you want them to work on (feedback), and then you give them some more praise on something that they do. From my experience, this process can sometimes water down the feedback you are trying to provide.  I am not saying leaders should stop this altogether, I would just use caution when applying it especially with some of the bigger issues.

Now keep in mind, I don’t want you to only use the process below when you are giving what could be viewed as negative feedback only. You should also use this process, and do it quite frequently, to provide good feedback as well.

I have used this process and others for many years with great results. You can apply it to a subordinate, a peer, a child, etc.  This process has been credited to the Center for Creative Leadership, but everyone has their own spin on it.  You can see the framework below, but I would encourage you to modify it to make it work for you.

The process goes like this:  You want to tell the person about a situation that you recently witnessed that they did something.  I will give you an example here in a minute.  So you remind them of the recent situation.  You then tell them the behavior that you witnessed.  And then lastly, the impact that the behavior had on that situation.  Lastly, ask them their thought on the situation and then ask “what would we do differently the next time we are in that situation.

  • Situation
  • Behavior
  • Impact it has/had
  • What will you do differently next time.

Here is an example:

“Joe in our last meeting I noticed that when Joan was talking you cut her off several times, not allowing her to finish her thoughts on the project. (situation) By cutting her off (behavior) it doesn’t allow her to make her contribution to the project and we want everyones buy in on this project(impact). Did you realize you were doing that Joe?”  Joe responds. “In future meetings lets be sure we get everyones contribution to this project.

Maybe it is something a little more simple as showing up on time.

“Frank I have noticed that about every few days or so you have been coming in later and later to the office. Being late doesn’t allow you to plan accordingly for your day.  This impacts your productivity as well as the teams productivity. ”  I would then ask if something is going on that is causing this.  And then move to resolving the issue and discussing the consequences if this behavior continues.

Look, giving hard feedback is never easy, by using a process it will allow you to give it to them the way they need to hear it.

Apply this process today and let me know how it works for you.

To your success and your future.

 

How to leave a voicemail that prospects will bend over backwards to return

Humans are really easy to understand if you think about what makes us tick, gets us excited, scared, angry, etc.  Yes we are emotional beings.  And we only care about ourselves.  I know, someone out there is saying to themselves right now.  I don’t only care about myself.  I put others before myself. Blah, Blah, Blah.  Maybe you do.  But what if I told you your were fired.  You wouldn’t be thinking about the money you spend each month on your charity of choice.  Nope. The first thing you would think about is how you are going to pay your mortgage, car, or put food on the table.

This week, I was reminded again, how selfish most humans really are.

As a sales manager, I not only sell but I also manage a sales team.  In my business, some sales reps stay for a while and there are some that stay for a season and move on.  Thats okay.  It happens, what we do is hard.

I get the resignation letter and we have a conversation. The employee tells me they are willing to work out the two weeks.  I really needed that person to do that so we could get things in place to make a smooth transition.  They weren’t going to a competitor, so I was good with it. We get three days into the two weeks they are to work, and the person goes awol.  They don’t return my phone calls. They are not sending emails or returning my texts.

Look I am a pragmatist.  I have been in business long enough that I understand that when people have made a decision to leave their position, in their minds they have already left the position. Most likely, they left the position weeks or months ago. But now it is just final, because they finally let their manager know.  So the fact they weren’t returning my calls. I understand.  No hard feelings.  We will both move on.  However, don’t expect to get a two-week paid vacation; in between jobs at my expense.

After the third day of no return calls, texts, or emails. I left a message for the sales rep.  It sounded something like this.

“I was just calling to let you know that this will be your last day on the payroll.  I appreciate your willingness to work out the two weeks, but it is evident that you have already moved on.  And that is okay.  But we will be ending your employment as of today.”

Again, I am not upset at this point. We both are moving on. That is life.

So after leaving voice mails for three days and not getting any response. I leave the above voicemail. And wouldn’t you know, I get a call back within one hour of leaving the message.

So we talk about what needs to happen and everything is ok. They were a good colleague and in the future we will most likely do business together.

But as I was talking with a colleague of mine about this situation, they reminded me of what a great illustration of how to leave a voicemail that the person receiving the message will actually care enough to return.

As my story illustrates very vividly.  When we leave a voicemail with someone we must communicate what we offer and how it could directly impact their bottom line, as it did in this case, it creates the urgency for them to take action.  I have no idea why they didn’t return my calls the three days prior, and it doesn’t matter.  However, when you do finally strike a nerve that impacts them directly, emotionally, and in this case financially, it will cause action to occur and they will return your phone call.

So today as I making phone calls to prospects I will be reminding myself constantly about this interaction. If I want to get my phone call returned, I must leave a message that states how the person can either benefit by calling me back or lose something if they don’t call me back.  We are all interested in anything that can help us.

To your success and your future.

HOT BUTTON MARKETING; book summary

Hot Button Marketing “Push the Emotional Buttons that get People to Buy.”  This is the ninth book I have read this year on sales and marketing.  What I liked most about this book is that it really gave a lot of examples of how effective marketing works.  Also, as a trainer I have been training people on finding the dominant reason a person wants to purchase something, and this book really expands on this concept and fleshes out a lot of great information regarding this subject.

These are my notes from this book (which are my highlights) I attempt not to highlight the entire book, I sometimes do it seems like.

  • People don’t buy products and services.  They buy satisfactions of unmet needs.
  • People buy for the desire to look good for a boss, the desire for achievement, the desire for power and dominance.
  • People rarely buy products, they are buying fulfillment.
  • People buy for two reasons. 1. The rational Reason  2.  The real reason
  • Hit the heart and the head will follow. Rocky Marciano  This works in business to.
  • If you can’t sell your products in a single sentence, you really don’t have an effective selling proposition.
  • Consumers are usually not aware of their needs unless you show them a stimulus, that is: they aren’t aware of a need for a product unless you show them the product and how its going to affect their lives emotionally.
  • How does your product improve the consumers life emotionally?
  • You’re not marketing against consumers.  You’re helping them fulfill a need.
  • The frustrating part is that consumers don’t need or want anything until you hit the right sales note.
  • People didn’t know they wanted a machine that baked bread.  Why?  because the store-bought stuff was pretty good.  But then a bread maker was sold.  People latent need for self achievement (hot button) rose to the surface. The bread makers loved the need that people have to create something.
  • It’s not how a consumer see him or herself in reality.  Its how they see themselves as they aspire to be.
  • A CEO has two hot buttons.  A family and a need for approval from stockholders or a board.
  • Nice to have —-Want to have.  turn these in to must to haves.
  • Consumers use products to achieve the characteristics they envision for themselves.
  • In all countries wealth is a symbol of status. It doesn’t matter that wealth is measured in dollars, the number of cows you have, real-estate, car,.  This hot button depends on age, ethnicity and background.
  • Values systems may differ, but the hot buttons remain the same.
  • Needs are nonnegotiable.  You want them now. No ifs, ands, or buts.  Needs are who we are or what we aspire to be. They are fundamental and necessary to all human satisfaction.
  • Interests are roadmaps for our needs.
  • Starbucks is selling community and companionship and prestige.
  • People who are lower on the social ladder often prefer tangible goods rather than services that only have abstract benefits.  Their hot buttons are often about being smarter and getting the most that one can get for the money.
  • Hot button selling is all about selling to the consumers aspirations.  It’s about selling to the way consumers want to be, rather that the way they are.
  • As a hot button marketer, you are an enabler selling products and services that enable consumers to be what they aspire to be.
  • Hot button research seeks to thoroughly understand the unspoken motives and beliefs held by a customers and prospects in regard to a brand, product, or service.
  • Here is where we go wrong:  We think we know why customers want what they do.  Customers usually don’t know, so how can we.
  • Ninety percent of a sales pitch should be you asking questions.
  • Engage the five senses as much as you can in any sell.

#1:  Hot Button,  The desire for control:

  • Control is one of the strongest Hot buttons.  People want to make their life better. Loss of control is synonymous with a  fear of the unknown.
  • People want control over finances, health, safety and health over loved ones, our own acquisitions, our jobs, our self-respect and the respect of others.
  • The longer people wait of for something, the less control they have (or perceive they have) over it.
  • Control over ones destiny is what drives the at home business phenomenon.
  • How many times have you heard this:  Would you bu willing to cut out a pack of cigarettes or s ingle dinner out each week to be able to afford this home or car.  Reducing a financial picture to the lowest denominator is a great sales technique.  People want to feel like they can control their finances.  This makes it seem like they can.
  • Companies like control as well.  They prefer to stay with suppliers they can trust rather than shopping around.  They feel like they are in control.

#2 Hot Button,  I’m better than you:

  • It is a reflection of your consumers desire to belong or fit in.
  • The desire for higher status is universal across all people and cultures.
  • People are willing to pay dearly to enhance themselves in the eye of their peers.
  • Vodka is neutral and tasteless. Yet research sows that consumers–especially in lower-income areas will go for the name brand in spite of high price.
  • Cost is an essential part of the prestige factor.  The more expensive the better.
  • People wont admit that they buy a product on status appeal.  As with most hot buttons, consumers aren’t aware that they are buying products based on snob appeal.

#3 Hot button,  The excitement of discovery

  • Discovery is something learn or found–it includes both the new and unexpected.

#4  Hot button,  Revaluers

  • Revaluers are a segment of the market that is self motivated, self-directed, and self focused.
  • Don’t sell to them, Allow revaluers to make their own purchasing decisions.
  • Revaluers are a mixture of regret and anticipation.
  • Revaluing hot button is responsible for the rise in health and beauty care products.
  • Revaluers are more into self enjoyment rather than self achievement.
  • Theres a new kind of store in town.  A health food store.  Where you get to pay twice as much for the same products they can find in a super market.
  • Revaluers focus more on the experience of buying a product rather than the products.  Whole Foods is an experience.

#5 Hot button, Family Values:

  • The hottest of hot buttons
  • Disney World and the entire Disney brand sells family values
  • according to the book Why they Buy, by Robert Settle and Pamela Alreck, only one in twenty families fits the bill of a single marriage, two parent, two children household.
  • Family Values are the key to selling houses.
  • Children affect over 60 percent of the families market purchases. The trick is to find which 60 percent they do impact.
  • Kids look up to older kids.  To be like the big kids is an essential kid like desire.
  • Smoking cessation programs sometimes include kids at introductory meetings because research has shown that kids are the biggest motivators to get prints to stop smoking.

#6 Hot button,   The desire to Belong

  • People are social animals.  Emotional connections are critical.
  • We all long to be accepted.  This need to belong is all wrapped up in our sense of personal and physiological well-being and our sense of personal worth.
  • Athletes when they retire never talk about their accolades that they will miss.  It is always about the camaraderie in the locker room that they will miss.  Being with the others.
  • The strongest affinity associations is based on age.
  • People will belong to clubs or organizations to fill this need.  They will wear certain decals or logos for this reason.  To belong.

#7 Hot Button,  Fun is its own reward

  • We all have a desire to laugh and have fun, it is universal.
  • Newspapers offer comic strips because people have a desire to laugh and to be entertained.
  • People have a fear of boredom.  People want to be stimulated.
  • Most sales are made when the sales people take the clients out.  The feeling people get when they have fun is more important than the product.  People want to have fun.
  • More deal are done on the golf course than in the boardroom.

#8 Hot button,   Poverty of Time

  • Consumers have more time than ever before, but they tend to use all the time they have.
  • Geicos commercial give us 15 minutes and we can save you money was huge for them.  All you need is 15 minutes to save cash.  People will spend 15 minutes to save money.
  • Saving time is one of the biggest motivators for men and women ages 25-45.  Especially women of child-bearing years.
  • Humans are the only animals that will procrastinate.  A cat won’t look at a mouse and say I’ll annoy you later”  They do things as they come up.

#9 Hot button,  The need to get the best that can be got

  • This is not only luxury, it is as people move up their tastes change as well.
  • Coveting the goods of your neighbors used to be hot.  Now with reality television and marketing, people covet what the rich and famous have.
  • Harley Davidson motorcycles have a tendency to breakdown, but people still covet them.  Same as jaguars.
  • People get an emotional high out of buying the quintessential product.  Sometimes the product itself is not that great, they enjoy the buying of it though.
  • Self satisfaction is most important to this person since it fulfills a private dream and the reward is inner gratification.
  • The best that can be got is beyond money, beyond power, it is a feel good thing.

#10 Hot Button,  Self Achievement

  • Self achievement is a major goal for people.  Find out what the deepest desire for your product is.
  • Business psychologists know that as adults we seek praises from our bosses as much as we seek a good paycheck.
  • People always want to become better.
  • Feeling good is the heart of success.  It’s the ultimate in self achievement and success.
  • Feeling Good is the ultimate psychological need of any human being.
  • The strongest word in the human language is a personas name.  The second strongest is you.
  • Personal growth is important to everyone. You just have to find out what that is.

#11 Hot Button,  Sex, Love, And Romance

  • Ads focused on primal instincts works faster especially for men.
  • The desire to love and to be loved is a strong hot button
  • Sexual interest and romantic interest are two of the most basic emotions.
  • Sex can be explicit or implied.  Men want explicit and women want more subtle images.

#12 Hot button, The nurturing response

  • Make Mom and Dad the hero not the product
  • This hot button is about the need to give care, comfort, growth, and support to others.
  • Nurturing is an innate, instinctive emotional response in most of us.
  • Good will industries is a great example.  People want to feel like they are giving back to poor people.  However, Goodwill industries is a for profit company.  But they use the nurturing appeal well in their marketing.
  • Girl Scout cookies plays to this hot button.
  • Michelin tires and the baby sitting in a tire.  Why wouldn’t you buy a Michelin tire to protect your child.

#13 Hot button, Reinventing Oneself

  • Reinvention can happen at almost any age.
  • Most often people don’t change unless thy are uncomfortable.
  • Dissatisfaction with who people think they are, their role in life, or economic dissatisfaction forces people to take inventory of themselves. They want to fix it.

#14 Hot Button, Make me smarter

  • Half of knowledge is knowing where to find it.
  • Knowledge is an innate desire for humans.
  • People want to think they are smart
  • People want to know more than their peers, neighbors, and friends,
  • Knowledge brings a feeling of empowerment and enables consumers to make better buying decisions.

Does your product do one of these things for people?  How many of these does your product do for your customer? 

  • Entertain
  • To make better choices
  • To improve ones life
  • To keep ones mind occupied
  • To learn something new
  • To keep ones mind sharp
  • To improve mental efficiency
  • To hope
  • To build self-confidence
  • To find out something new
  • To discover alternate plans that can be followed when Plan A doesn’t work.

#15 Hot button,  Power, dominance, and influence

  • Personal Power and positional power
  • Wealth is equated with power.
  • In middle management you sell by whats in it for the middle manager (secondarily the company).  It could be a promotion, more money, or an in to more power. It’s up to the sales person to make the middle managers look good
  • Middle managers tend to buy things that increase their personal dominance and may help them look good to higher-ups.  Upper management usually wants products that are good for the company, because in their minds they are the company.

#16 Hot Button,  Wish Fulfillment

  • Find out what your prospects want and how to fit that into their dreams.  Help them get what attainable.
  • The advertising industry exploits wish-fulfillment by suggesting an association of their product with a specific desire (good health, attractiveness, or power)
  • Sell the results of the dream not the dream itself.

The most common wishes are for friends, happiness, health, marriage, money, success, self-improvement, and to help other people.  More men than women wanted sex and power.  More women wanted happiness, a better appearance, and greater health.

Some of the hot buttons, like status, nurturing, and dominance, are primal and are shared with our cousins in the animal world.  Some are distinctly human, such as control and self achievement.  Most of our physical needs are met, but not our psychological needs.  As humans our minds and emotions are the most difficult to discern.  Good sales people get past the facades and break down the psychological wants and needs.

If you are in sales or marketing I would encourage you to read this book.

Hot Button Marketing (Push the emotional buttons that get people to buy); author Barry Feig

 

3 step process to resolve objections

In almost all sales classes I teach and every time I meet a new sales person, they always love to talk to me about additional training on how to resolve objections.  I guess it should technically be my one of my favorite subjects since so many people and companies buy sales training for this reason alone.

I like to keep things simple.  I am simple person and the more simple I can keep things the better off I am.

Here is a the process I teach.  The scenario: You just heard the objection, how do you respond:

1st:  Instead of instantly replying with your answer.  You respond to the individual letting them know that you heard them.  You would say something like:  “Bob, I understand pricing is a consideration for you in this purchase.”   This lets the buyer know you heard what they said and you acknowledge it being a concern.

2nd: Clarify:  “Bob, since the budget is a consideration, what are your parameters of your budget.”  This question allows you to seek clarity to what the budget concerns are. Maybe he has an exact budget number.  Maybe they have a fiscal year coming up, maybe it is the end of the month cycle. It could be all of these things.  So your job as the sales person is to seek clarity around this budget.

3rd:  Dive a little deeper:  So you have fleshed out the budget constraints.  You now need to seek out if there are any other things that could prevent the sale from moving forward.  So you would ask Bob.  “Bob, outside of the budget considerations, is there anything else that we should look at before moving forward?”  This is his opportunity to tell you if there are any other things he may be unsure of.

Once you take a prospect through these questions you should have an understanding of where they are.  In each of the above scenarios your job is to clarify and explain to them how your product will meet their needs they have.  But you first have to get all of the possible objections out on the table and that is what this process does.

The key in dealing with objections is first asking the right questions and understanding their needs before you ever get to the objections.  Are they really a buyer.  Think about it.  When you need something really bad, you go and buy it, right?  Have you ever purchased something you didn’t need?  Sure you have, we all have.  Why is that? Because after seeing it you wanted it.  Maybe the sales person was able to show you how you could benefit from buying the product.  Keep something in mind, we all love to buy things.

Remember all sales begin with relationships, and once you have a strong relationship established it creates the right environment for someone to want to buy your product.

Brian Willett

Your responsibility as a salesperson

Last night, I had one of those AHA moments.  If you don’t know what that is, it is when you say, wow I really didn’t understand or know that until just now.  The AHA moment for me when I was conducting my sales class.  I have had many AHA moments over the years, but this one was pretty profound.

Many times I have stated the quote:  “We as needy human beings love to buy, but we hate to be sold to.”  Most people would agree with that statement, myself included. But last night my AHA moment was when one of my class participants was telling me that they actually would refuse to give all of the information in a sales situation.  I couldn’t believe it.  They actually would attempt to give less information to a salesperson for some reason.

So I have been pondering that all night.  No wonder this person has a dislike towards sales people, because how can they effectively make a solid and informed purchase if they refuse to give all of the information necessary for a sales person to assist them in making the right decision for a particular purchase.

So whose fault is it?  Well, I have to blame the salesperson.  As a salesperson it is your job to make the buyer feel comfortable in making a purchase.  It is your job to create such a rapport that the buyer is willing to give you all of the information necessary so you can assist them in making the right purchase for them.  Then and only then, are you really effectively servicing your buyer and their needs.

I realize sales people have a certain stigma around what they do.  We must accept this, we have to own it and take responsibility for it and do whatever it takes to go the opposite way of that stigma.

As sales people we must:

  • Build rapport
  • Ask questions to understand the buyers needs
  • Educate the buyer on all of the options including ones you don’t offer. 
  • Provide solutions based on what they tell us. 
  • Make the buyer feel comfortable about telling us everything.
  • Dont rush a sale.  Let the sale take as long as it needs to. 

Are we going to sell them all?  Nope, but it is your responsibility as a sales person to create an environment where people will want to tell you everything and want to buy.

Brian Willett

Are these 7 things holding your business back?

In 2012, Dale Carnegie and associates conducted a study in over 80 countries and across businesses large and small.  This study was conducted to see what the needs were in all of these organizations across the world. The most valuable asset in any company are the people who make up the organization.  A company can only be as good as their weakest link.

Here are the 7 things that the research concluded were the biggest driving opportunities for these companies.

1.  Change Readiness:  People driving change and people willing to change.

2.  Living in Silos:  Collaboration between departments.

3.  Virtual Teams:  Engagement for the team members who work virtually.

4.  Non-Traditional Selling: Team members that don’t traditionally sell, changing their mindset to realize that everyone is in a sales role.

5.  Mid-Level Leadership: Leadership development for mid-level leaders.

6.  Sales Force: Changing the sales force mentality to engage with the client more and challenge their clients with a new thinking style. This requires better questions, observations, and analysis from the sales person. Is your sales force equipped to do this?

7.  Partnerships:  Leveraging relationships in the marketplace and building stronger partners that can assist you in serving your customers.

Each one of these areas are around developing people.  What is your development plan for the people?

As you look at the list above which areas do you believe your company is dealing with the most?  What is your plan to develop in this area?  Individuals who read this blog.  How can you start shifting your mindset to become better equipped to help your company develop in the above areas?  I would love to hear your feedback.  Please email me directly at bwillett555@gmail.com or post in the comments section.

Brian Willett