Skip to main content
Spotify for Podcasters
Priceless! The Podcast from Lend Me Your Ears

Priceless! The Podcast from Lend Me Your Ears

By Lend Me Your Ears

Practical Solutions to your sales problems for the Afrcan market
Currently playing episode

Handle historical injustices by owning them.

Priceless! The Podcast from Lend Me Your EarsSep 04, 2023

Are your employees sabotaging your sales? Here’s what to do
Nov 20, 202304:16
Uncovering the importance of sales cycle and how to shorten yours
Nov 01, 202304:02
For predictable revenue set clear sales goals and targets

For predictable revenue set clear sales goals and targets

Nothing frustrates sales people, and therefore business performance, like unclear expectations. (That, and insisting that they sell a product no one needs, like the Yellow Pages). But back to expectations. Even with a clear sales strategy, indeed as part of it, business owners and executives should set clear sales goals and targets for their sales team if they are to improve performance – for the team, and the business. Admittedly, sales goal setting is anecdotal (not a science). Still, with practical examples (two of them scandals), here’s why it is beneficial to set clear goals and targets, how to set them, what hampers such, and how to overcome it.

Benefits to setting clear sales goals and targets

There are untold benefits to setting clear sales goals and targets. The benefit to the business owner or executive is of course predictable income. But income is a result. You can’t control that. What you can control is the process that leads to it. And the more closely you track the progress, the more predictable the income will be. Here are other advantages to setting clear goals and targets. First off, sales is not a desk job and as such calls for a different approach to execution and measuring performance. With a desk job, work comes to you; in selling, you look for the work. The first benefit to being clear on expectations is that performance measurability is not vague; goals promote transparency and accountability. Next, sharper focus and better time management. Clear goals and targets help your sales team stay focused on what they need to achieve. Without clear targets, they may become disorganized and waste time on activities that do not contribute to their sales success. In addition, the attainment of goals gives a sense of achievement and movement through the job; clear goals and targets provide a tangible and achievable benchmark for your sales people to work towards; this can be a great motivator. Especially for the challenge driven (goal oriented) sales person. Such is the importance of setting sales goals and targets.

How to get a sales target formula

Setting clear sales goals and targets for your sales team is crucial for achieving business success. Besides involving your sales team in settling them up, as business owner, here are 3 other steps you can follow in setting clear sales goals and targets for your sales team.

First, define your overall business objectives. If as business owner you are unsure of this, this uncertainty will come back to bite you when, even with surpassed targets, income expectations still fall short. What follows is a demotivated sales force because you cannot afford and so refuse to pay them despite them surpassing what you asked them to. So before deciding the types of sales targets to set, be clear on your overall business objectives. For example, that could be looking to increase revenue, expand your customer base, or launch a new product. Once you have a clear understanding of your overall business objectives, you can set sales goals and targets that align with them. For instance, if you are a hotel and this year want to focus value over volume, set targets that reward selling deluxe rooms and the pent house much more than standard rooms.

Another way to set clear sales goals and targets is using historical data.

Terrific Tuesdays

Another way to set clear sales goals and targets is using historical data. Here you analyze past sales data to determine what has worked well and what needs improvement. Look at trends in sales revenue, customer acquisition, and other metrics to determine realistic goals and targets for the future. For instance, the Terrific Tuesday promotion run by Pizza Inn was likely informed by and is intended to boost low sales on Tuesdays.

Thirdly, set individual sales goals and team goals. Individual goals should be tied to specific quotas, while team goals should focus on overall revenue targets. Such goal .....

Finish reading here

Oct 19, 202314:15
Unlock the secrets to captivating your audience and nailing that presentation!

Unlock the secrets to captivating your audience and nailing that presentation!

Join us in this episode as we reveal the Five Steps To Delivering A Successful Presentation such as representation, Repertoire, Research among others. Whether you are new or a pro, these tips will elevate your presentation delivery skills.

For more and insightful lessons like this, visit our website

#Successfull Presentation Tips, #Lend Me Your Ears, #Communication Skills, #Professional Development, #Presentation Mastery

Oct 19, 202305:27
Why you should be different in how you sell.

Why you should be different in how you sell.

Remember when you first saw it? The tuk tuk complete with an umbrella? Absolute genius I thought when I saw it. I haven’t ridden on it to confirm the service matches the look but I was already drawn to it. Among the myriad tuk-tuk’s, all giving a standard service, the owner has sold differently. And by doing so, he has made his sale that much easier. With the previously impossible heat that felt like the sun has come down a kilometre to the now sporadic showers, stepping on to a tuk-tuk with a shade is oh-so-welcome.  I couldn’t help thinking of how you, the progressive salesperson, can learn from this and distance yourself from the army of sales people (and products) lookalikes. All by being different in how you sell.

How can you be different in how you sell? For some salespeople their umbrella (difference) is their appearance. They are dressed to the nines complete with the latest electronic gizmos. Others are the MPESA agent who has earned the reputation of always having float and the newspaper vendor or matatu tout who doesn’t frown upon a 1,000sh note; if he doesn’t have the change he knows where to get it.

How can I be different in sales?

How can you be different in how you sell? For some salespeople their umbrella (difference) is their appearance. They are dressed to the nines complete with the latest electronic gizmos. Others are the MPESA agent who has earned the reputation of always having float and the newspaper vendor or matatu tout who doesn’t frown upon a 1,000sh note; if he doesn’t have the change he knows where to get it. Yet another is the informal vegetable seller at Soko Mjinga in KIjabe who, to overcome your objection, “Sina pesa” acknowledges your not having money and tells you, “Ukifika Nairobi nitumie.” And he proceeds to stuff your boot with the vegetables of your choice. And when you get to Nairobi you MPESA him the money. The sale is complete. All because he has learnt to study buyers and knows whom to extend credit to. That’s his umbrella.  Still, the umbrella could be the sales manager whom salespeople look up to because he holds their hand until they are not just walking but running; and is there to hold them thereafter when they stumble.

Why is differentiation in sales important?

But why bother to be different in how you sell? Because most products and services are similar and at par value this presents a challenge for the buyer; it makes it difficult to differentiate. And the problem with this is that he sees all sellers as the same. The most successful bank sales rep, sells products much similar, if not identical to, what the competition does; the shop in your estate with the highest footfall, probably sells the same household and personal care items the least successful one does; I have a customer service rep I will happily await to be free just to be served by; Google is used by over 80% of browsers globally yet all browsers surf the same Internet. I could go on and on with the different and unique types of selling techniques and strategies sellers use to stand out.

Generally, perhaps the only time one has a product that another doesn’t is the two week window before it is copied if not bettered. Umbrellas on tuk-tuks are now common place. But whereas products and services may be similar, I also know that salespeople are not. And therein lays the magic.

Why you hesitate to be different in how you sell

Being different from the multitude isn’t a complicated exercise. I mean, how complicated is placing an umbrella on the tuk-tuk? Or, the tout who genuinely compliments his lady passengers on their dressing to woo them to board? Or, getting out of your way so you can sell the luxury products you cannot afford by a mile? Though not complicated, being different from the army of sameness isn’t as common as one would imagine.

It takes courage to go against the tide and as I once read somewhere, and I have seen in my workshops, the opposite of courage isn’t 

Finish reading here

Oct 11, 202306:56
Three activities that will see your sales grow. Or shrink.

Three activities that will see your sales grow. Or shrink.

You can list many activities on your daily to-do list, but I submit that they really boil down to just three activities to thrive in sales: monitor-facing, customer-facing or “air”-facing

“What’s in your cup?” a common advert inquires.

“What’s in your day?” I usually pose to participants in my workshop. “What activities would I see if I spent my day with you?”

A litany of activities usually follows to demonstrate how busy a salesperson’s day is. Making calls, schedule sales activities, walking, planning, generate leads, source referrals, prepare sales action plans, develop and maintain a customer database, develop and make presentations of company products and services to current and potential clients, monitor and report on sales activities and on and on the laundry list continues.

“Hogwash!” I say. “Absolutely rubbish! An attempt to camouflage it all. And even then it is a pathetic disguise.”

3 activities to thrive in sales

As a salesperson you can list many activities on your daily to-do list, but let’s cut to the chase — I submit that they really boil down to just three: monitor-facing, customer-facing or “air”-facing. And your success hinges on how you allocate time to each. You may have seen the sticker that says: football is life; the rest is just details. Well, in our case, the activities of a salesperson fall into three: customer- facing, monitor-facing or “air’-facing — the rest is just details. And we all know which one pays. Now then, with all the distractions (details) gone, let’s look at these three activities beyond their face value.

What I call air-facing is what the average salesperson loves to do — travel to occupy her time. She will justify four hours of her day as spent moving from one prospect to another; after all what else was she to do when the only two appointments in her day were at Embakasi and Westlands?(20 km apart). 

And so the four hours are allocated to travelling on foot, by matatu, taxi or even company car. On the surface this is logical. Scratch a bit lower and another picture emerges — poor planning usually emanating from a streak of laziness.

It’s too much work to continually prospect; it will mean facing six even seven prospects in a day in one general area. It’s so much easier to allocate hours in my day facing the cool air blowing into the vehicle as I cut across town to see this other prospect. And you are right. It is. Easier that is.

Air facing What I call air-facing is what the average salesperson loves to do — travel to occupy her time. She will justify four hours of her day as spent moving from one prospect to another; after all what else was she to do when the only two appointments in her day were at Embakasi and Westlands?(20 km apart). 

And so the four hours are allocated to travelling on foot, by matatu, taxi or even company car. On the surface this is logical. Scratch a bit lower and another picture emerges — poor planning usually emanating from a streak of laziness.

It’s too much work to continually prospect; it will mean facing six even seven prospects in a day in one general area. It’s so much easier to allocate hours in my day facing the cool air blowing into the vehicle as I cut across town to see this other prospect. And you are right. It is. Easier that is.

Monitor-Facing. Three activities to thrive in sales

Monitor-facing is almost a decade old but has gained currency exponentially.  What with Facebook, emails, Twitter and a billion other websites? And so the salesperson hides behind the monitor “doing sales reports” and “responding to emails”. Most reports are standard Excel sheets one need only populate. Any sales manager or salesperson will tell you that the one thing salespeople hate doing is reports. They submit them late, incorrectly done and even then after many reminders week in week out.

It is the rare salesperson who submits .....

Finish reading here

Oct 09, 202304:48
Make a customer not a sale.

Make a customer not a sale.

Tenants, parents and passengers. Do you suppose those that sell to them have ever seen them as customers? Those that sell to them are, respectively, landlords, schools and the matatu crew. Do you suppose an upside to this pandemic will be that the three will rethink their buyers and see them for who they are: customers? Not payers for the sale they crave. I hope they do.


To begin with, in the early days of the pandemic, the country was in thrall at the landlord in Naivasha that waived three months’ rent for his tenants. It might as well have been breaking news given the buzz it created. This is because, ‘if you don’t pay, leave’ is what we are accustomed to.

It is anticipated that the real estate sector will be most affected by this pesky virus. As it is, there is a landlord I know, whom, to stem the exodus of tenants from his apartments because they no longer could afford the rent, appealed (in writing) to the remaining ones to stay, assuring them that he does not intend to evict any of them, and in fact, has reduced the rent by ten per cent, and is open to payment plans. Should land lords start thinking of their tenants as customers and treat them as such, and not merely a transaction?

Schools should also make a customer not a sale

Secondly, the buyer-seller relationship in schools is (was?) so intimate that customers aren’t referred to as such, but as parents. Alas! The intimacy (if at all it was there) was shattered when private schools, rudely shaken by the financial earthquake wreaked by the pesky virus, panicked and went into survival mode. Suddenly parents became, ‘those that must pay to meet our costs.’

The emotional connection, so critically important to any sustainable customer growth and retention plan, snapped like a twig, and the buyers (parents) took the seller (school) to court over pricing. Who would have imagined this happening pre-pandemic? In fact, Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) are intended for resolving such challenges on the fly. Had the schools seen parents as customers, do you suppose they would have responded differently?

Matatu crew

This third one is tough. Will the matatu crew treat passengers as customers this time round or will they still need divine intervention to do so? With their customers working from home, that the crew have suffered from job losses is not news. However, ‘will they learn from it?’, will be.

How would it look like if they treated passengers as customers? They would display the same affection to passengers from start to end of a journey as they do when wooing them to board.  They could also learn from the likes of Uber and SWVL. Do you realise that .....

Finish reading here

Oct 02, 202303:41
How to overcome objection when selling

How to overcome objection when selling

How to handle objections in sales in an indispensable skill to successful selling. Seeing it as rejection, others call it converting a no to a yes. An objection is a statement made by a prospective buyer (prospect) that casts aspersions about your product or service, is a cry for more information, or it is simply a delaying tactic. The latter could be a reaction to change which is what a purchase represents. Unfortunately, may sales people hit a brick wall when objections arise, and so the sale is lost.  Here’s how to handle objections, with sales objections examples.

Put things into perspective

One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Put your product into perspective. See what’s good about your product or service, not what’s wrong with it. In any case, there are no perfect products, only perfect prospects.  If you are selling a destination, say hotel, to the objection, “Your hotel is old”, an appropriate response (also called sales objections rebuttal) could be, ‘Old is gold. And a golden experience is what you will get with this package. Here, let me show you how…’ That first statement ‘Old is Gold’ is an acknowledgement, not agreement of what the prospect said. And it is important. It makes the prospect feel heard and allows you to shift gears respectfully. An acknowledgement builds bridges. The green sales person will, unfortunately, see things from the prospect’s objecting perspective and start lamenting the age of the hotel as the reason he can’t sell.  Yet here’s the paradox. If you are selling a spanking new hotel, being the hospitality industry, prospects will object about something else. Likely, “You have very good rooms, but I hear your service is very poor.” Then what? Meaning objections come with the sales territory. Now sometimes the product feature is by choice. Leadership is aware of the’ problem’ and have sound business reason for not changing it but have a work-around for it.  For instance, the prospect objects that, “Your rooms don’t have air conditioning.” An inappropriate sales objections handling technique could be, “Yes, but…” and just like the sales starts spiraling down the drain for two reasons. First, you agreed when you said yes. Agreement energizes the prospect’s position and he can dig in his heels on his perspective.

Align to strategic choice

Secondly, the use of the word ‘but’ created friction. The progressive seller on the other hand would respond with aplomb thus: “Health is wealth. You will notice we also have huge open and green spaces to keep things as natural as possible and allow free circulation of air. If, however, you need your room cold, we will note to have a chillier in it. Would you like me to note that down in your booking?”

Close as final step on how to handle objections in sales

When an objection has been handled move immediately to attempt to close. And that is what the previous response does with the final question, “Would you like me to note that down in your booking?” Failure to do so leaves room for further objections to be raised thus lengthening the sale. And notice the permission selling technique used. “Would you like me to….

Finish reading here

Sep 26, 202304:27
Brochures don't sell, sales people do.

Brochures don't sell, sales people do.

Dear salesperson, about the loan repayment schedule you have pasted on the notice boards of most government offices? That carefully printed table showing select amounts of loan with commensurate duration and repayment; complete with your name and cell phone number scribbled in biro? How many calls have you received saying, “I got your number from the poster at the Ministry and I want a loan for 100,000shs. How do I get it?” Hold that response. You see, brochures, flyers, loan repayment schedules, even a website, don’t sell-salespeople do! At the heart of every successful sale was a one-to-one interaction between buyer and seller. This is more profound when selling services than it is, products.

Price doesn’t sell

With capping of interest rates, there was a general tendency to assume that voila!-all loan sales problems solved. We just need to show them how cheap it is and they’ll buy. And so, where better to place the information, than on a notice board? In any case, as the ministry official advised, “You don’t need to keep coming here to sell your loans; just place your repayment schedule on the notice board. It will act as your business card.” And so you did-as did the three other sellers from competing banks. (Incidentally, you may have noticed, as I did, that despite all of them claiming to be at 14%, none of them compare in figures. Each of them is a contrast of the other)

Your competition copies

Anyway, so you realize that there’s four of you eyeing the same market. But you convince yourself that because your price is the lowest, surely they’ll prefer you over the other three. And so you move on to go paste your “business card” on notice boards in other markets. You then sit back and wait-surely one of the ten will yield something. You are so convinced of this, that you pitifully wonder why the other sellers are busy bees continually buzzing within the same market where your conspicuously placed “business card” hangs.

And with increasing anxiety, you wait, and wait, and wait, just as with increasing excitement the busy bees seal, seal and seal more deals. You see, in the same manner you most likely don’t read (let alone act on) the brochure you’re given at a supermarket or leaflet in traffic, your potential buyers don’t either. And .....

Finish reading here

Sep 18, 202304:12
Five ways to successfully sell in a harsh economy

Five ways to successfully sell in a harsh economy

“The problem is the economy.” “The economy is bad; that’s why we can’t sell.” “Buyers aren’t biting because they have no money.” Hmm! Is the problem the economy or you? Are you doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results? If so, you may want to shift from such insanity and change how you sell to reflect vitu kwa ground (how things are).  But first, what do I mean by difficult economic times? I mean a constrained economy; one in which resources are limited, and consumer spending may be cautious; as such, selling can become a challenging task. Looking at business owners and salespeople, here are five ways how you can overcome the challenge and successfully sell in difficult economic times.

Put things into perspective

To begin with, always remember that in tough economic times, the business, or person you are selling to still needs to function. This constrained economy is a phase they are going through and it’ll pass. Just as COVID-19 did. Only, it’s not as bad as it is only financial, not both financial and medical. So yes, they still need to buy products and services. But with limited resources, they may be picky about what to buy, when and how much of it.  So, try to be objective about the issue; put things into perspective, lest you get overwhelmed in the notion that it’s ALL doom and gloom. As they say, even a dead clock is right twice every day.

Don’t believe the hype

Indeed, being aware about that clock ensures that you do not lead your sale with desperation. There’s always the outlier who’s making money in an economic downturn.  For example, during the pandemic, as private schools shut down, falling like dominoes, one didn’t. Brookhouse School encouraged parents that had sued it for not reducing school fees for online learning, to feel free and seek cheaper options elsewhere. So, in good times and in bad, always seek first to understand the buyer, before assuming they are struggling because you, and everyone you know, are.

Here’s more proof. “The Central Bank Governor is seeking to get rich Kenyans who are holding over Sh1 trillion in dollars to release them in fresh efforts to ease pressure on the Kenya Shilling.” (Business Daily). That’s one-third of Kenya’s budget in the hands of a few Kenyans! Crudely put, don’t say ‘there’s no money’, say, ‘You don’t have money.’  So what to do? In challenging economic times, it can be beneficial to focus on niche markets that have specific needs or are less affected by the economic constraints. By targeting a niche, you can tailor your offering to their unique requirements and position yourself as an expert in that area. Niche markets often provide opportunities for higher margins and more loyal customers. Limited editions (like Isuzu’s only 159 units of “Eliud Kipchoge 1:59 D-Max) and other exclusive offers are an example of such.

Adapt pricing and payment options to sell in difficult economic times

Budget constraints on the buyer’s part should imply price sensitivity, and therefore flexibility, on yours. So, without acquiescing to them, do not be too rigid about not offering discounts either. In fact, as a business owner, proactively revise your profit margins, customize your offering and share this with your customer facing team. “You are at liberty to give up to x% discount, with y payment options, if the business volume is z. You will notice this is way below what we are accustomed to giving, and we’ve added 3 months to the payment options. This is because we need to be sensitive to the economic situation and show empathy to the buyer. (And ensure survivability of our business). But even with this discount, don’t lead the pitch with it. Don’t be too quick to acquiesce to requests for discounts.

Show value to successfully sell in a constrained economy

Now, more than ever, focus on value as another way to sell in difficult economic times.

Finish reading here

Sep 11, 202306:19
Handle historical injustices by owning them.

Handle historical injustices by owning them.

Historical injustice is a past moral wrong committed by people, now dead, that has a lasting impact on the well-being of people in present day. In Kenya, we are more familiar with the term in relation to land issues. I was thus amused when I heard it used (quite aptly) in reference to past mistakes other sellers have committed, and now another seller finds are impeding his sales activities.

Examples of historical injustices

‘Historical injustices’ are a reality the seller must take in stride. They come with the territory. Lamenting over them as an excuse not to sell is limiting yourself. Admittedly, it’s not easy to do so when you are at the receiving end of one. This is because the ‘injustice’ is usually unleashed as a curveball and in a curt manner by the aggrieved person.

“You! You from Bank INC. You are all liars! I have told everyone here not to buy from your bank.” All this is shouted in an open-plan office, at the hapless seller. All seventeen prospects hear it; and worse, it’s from their Supervisor. His authority energizes the accusation.

Take them in stride

Just like that, the seller’s upbeat mood and dream plan for the day are stopped cold, drowned in a tsunami of negative energy. Forget that he is clueless about the Supervisor’s accusation. Any version of, “It wasn’t me” will only rile the Supervisor more. So. Recovering quickly, and knowing salespeople cannot hold a grudge, the progressive seller owns the accusation. He says, “I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience with us. Please tell me what happened.” It turns out that four months before, his colleague told the Supervisor he qualifies for a loan in three months. But when he applied he was told, “No, it’s after six months.”

Now then. This successful seller knows that this ‘historical injustice’ must be addressed immediately and conclusively, if any meaningful progress is to be made. Retreating to another market with your tail between your legs just delays your building capacity to handle historical injustices. And it makes you irresponsible. This is because, there is no purely clean air in selling; it all has pockets of pollution. Caused by you or another, deliberately or not, it doesn’t matter. Your retreating weakens you as a seller and strengthens the prospect’s belief (and the seventeen other staff) that, “You are all liars!”

How to handle historical injustices

So, the seller says: “Again, I’m really sorry to hear that and I will address it with (the offender he mentioned). It is true it’s after six months and thank you for not closing your account. If it’s ok with you, may I see your last six months statements? I’d like to assess your chances of getting a loan when you re-apply.”

The seller peruses them and says, “I can’t guarantee it but your chances are good. Here’s why.”

Finish reading here

Sep 04, 202305:50
Instigate closing the sale for it to happen

Instigate closing the sale for it to happen

Very few girls will say, “Kiss me now”, making it necessary  for the boy to instigate the kiss.

Closing is a verb, not a noun; an action, not a thing. It’s a process, not a result. This revelation should dampen the fear closing is associated with, emboldening the seller to instigate it instead. Instigate closing for it to happen.

Closing is the moment when a prospect (prospective buyer) decides to make the purchase. Very few prospects will self-close, making it necessary for the salesperson to instigate the close. Much like very few girls will say, “Kiss me now” making it necessary for the boy to instigate the kiss.

And just like the kiss happens after seemingly innocent actions like a telling touch here, an alluring look there, or an affectionate handshake, closing too is a culmination of several (professionally) similar signs presented by the prospect. When the seller continually focuses on acting on these little signs, he builds momentum towards the close. When he focuses instead on the close itself he sets himself up for failure.

Instigate closing for it to happen like hawker Closing happens when the hawker, seeing a lady glance at a shoe senses she is interested in it; he invites her with “Karibu, sister, kujaribu ni bure.”  (You are welcome to try it on). He says this while extending the shoe to her. The movement is deliberate; it shifts the girl’s thinking from whether or not to try on the shoe, to accepting the shoe at the end of the outstretched hand. (To shift the focus to chivalry, a seasoned hawker will go down on one knee and help her try it on.)

Leading questions

Notice he doesn’t ask, “Unataka hicho? (Do you want that one?” He knows the likely response is, “No.” Prospects rarely self-close. So he phrases instructions as suggestions. With the shoes firmly on the girl’s feet, he shares with sincerity what he knows she wants to hear: “Hicho kiatu ni chako” (That shoe fits you perfectly) He notices her approval but says nothing of it. They both know where this is going. Just like sensing the girl wants more than a handshake, it is the naive man who says, “You look like you want me to kiss you.” Finally, our hawker makes the final move; without seeking permission, he wraps the girls ‘old’ pair saying. “Ni mia mbili tu.” His outstretched hand instigates the girl to reach into her purse and give the two hundred shillings he’s asked for. Checkmate

In formal settings...

Finish reading here

Aug 28, 202304:45
Three tips on grooming for the novice seller

Three tips on grooming for the novice seller

Ugali for breakfast will keep you pulsating late into the afternoon and looking fresh with every client visit.

Being a novice seller is no excuse not to look presentable. Looks matter in selling. How the seller looks could determine how the sale goes. If they don’t buy you, they won’t, the product you are selling. Few sellers start with a fat salary and company car; both which are offered because the employer wants to display a certain corporate image. Such employers are few and these sellers should be grateful.

They already have a leg up.  For many reasons, the vast majority of sellers are not this lucky.  But still, this is no excuse for them to go around pitifully displaying desperation. Basic hygiene and grooming do not call for a fat salary. It is as pointless to be in a creased Hugo Boss shirt, as it is to be a salesperson of means but not brush your teeth.  And so to further help these novices, here are three tips.

Tip One

Wake up to ugali. Did you sneer at that? Well, ugali is the food of choice for multi (dollar) millionaire, global icon, marathon record breaker, EGH, Eliud Kipchoge. Selling, can be physically taxing. You need to keep your levels of energy up the better part of the day while dispensing of the cost of buying lunch. A breakfast with ugali will keep you pulsating late into the afternoon and looking fresh with every client visit.

Tip Two

Next, you walked to the client premises. The dust on your shoes and sweaty face are evidence of this. Telling yourself that you had polished your shoes in the morning, it’s not your fault that they are now dusty and that the buyer will understand, is misguided. He won’t. At best, he will patiently await you to speak your piece and leave, having formed a (negative) opinion about you and your company.  

So, instead of wishful thinking, first make a stop by the askari’s (security guard’s) gate and ask for a shoe brush. Yes. Even askaris understand the importance of grooming and always keep a shoe brush and polish in their cubicles. Alternatively, make a beeline for the washroom and wipe your shoes to a shine with tissue, and freshen up.

Lastly, it is amazing what a YouTube video on grooming and a thousand shillings or three of mitumba (second hand clothes) can do to revolutionize your wardrobe and therefore, confidence. Yes, there’s the stigma associated with mitumba. This shouldn’t concern the seller that wants to look presentable, affordably. Stigma won’t get you a foot in the door; how you look will. In any case, statistics show a different situation on the ground- the majority of Kenyans dress in mitumba.  

Stigmas don’t reflect reality. When you arrive at the buyer’s office, your preventability is what he will be drawn to. As a friend from Mombasa once shared: “If the job interview is for 10 tomorrow morning in Nairobi, that I travelled by road at  1000 shs and you flew at 10,000 is irrelevant. What is relevant to the interviewer is that we were there at ten looking the part.” 

Tip Three Finish reading here

Aug 21, 202304:36
Get your salespeople off the path of least resistance

Get your salespeople off the path of least resistance

Salespeople default to the path of least resistance. The easy path. It’s in their nature. Internalizing this sales psychology is critical to business owners and sales managers. Especially given that, in the quest to solve this challenge, the tendency is to throw money at it. “We will just increase the commissions,” you’ll hear it said. But as we’ve shared here before, money is not a sliver bullet to motivating sales people.

Like the flowing of a river, salespeople take the path of least resistance when faced with challenges or obstacles, that require extra effort or creativity; even if the monetary reward of change, is dizzying. We shall look at three ways how this manifests itself and what to do about it.

Salespeople may prioritize low-effort, low-reward tasks over more challenging, high-reward activities, such as prospecting or cold-calling. This can result in a lack of progress and missed sales opportunities. For instance, salespeople often default to the path of least resistance by only pursuing leads that are most likely to result in a sale.

This can mean neglecting to thoroughly qualify prospects and instead focusing only on those who appear to have an immediate need, or a high level of interest.  Continual prospecting is the cornerstone of successful selling. Prospecting isn’t just getting a lead but working (qualifying) it too. That’s what a sales funnel  and sales pipeline management are for. Yet, few salespeople actively prospect. It is time consuming work especially in the initially stages.

Prospect Qualification Prospecting is the toughest step in the sales cycle. It’s no wonder that an avid reader of this blog shared that they are required to spend up to 60% of their time prospecting. And its measured. Admittedly, this gold standard is an outlier. Some business owners resolve to doing the prospecting for their sales people and hand them the leads. Yet, even here, seeking the easy way out, most salespeople will call up each of the leads only once. No follow-up.

Now you know why that sales report had comments like these: ‘called but didn’t pick’; ‘number not going through’; ‘said he will call back’; ‘have emailed him’ and such other defeatist statements. To avert this, an imported cars business owner gave conversion targets based on industry benchmarks. If the industry converts 40 out of every 100, then this should be your salespeople’s minimum.

When a business changes direction, many times they assume the sales people will to. They don’t. If in doubt ask real estate business owners that were initially selling 50m by 80m plots everywhere in Kenya, and now have graduated to selling niche eights at 6M in Kiambu. Or, complete units (houses). 50 by 80 plots are comparatively cheaper, easier and quicker to sell than complete units.

The latter have a longer sales cycle and deeper emotional involvement. And so, borne of a comfort zone, familiarity bias kicks in. The sales superstars that were transactionally selling plots, struggle rising to relationally selling complete units. You see, a handful few salespeople are hungry; the vast majority prefer to stick to what they know and are comfortable with, rather than trying new approaches or techniques that may require more effort or risk.

Familiarity bias This can limit their potential for growth and success. It can also lead to missed opportunities or stagnant sales performance. A renowned real estate institution in Kenya has commendably resolved this familiarity bias. “We are making changes as a business,” they announce to the sales team. “Going forward we shall be selling complete units and are phasing out selling of plots.” But they don’t stop there. They train, mentor and coach the sales people to get them to successfully transition to the desired direction. For those that cannot, and cannot be redeployed, they part ways.

Finish reading here

Aug 14, 202307:42
How to become a successful sales person

How to become a successful sales person

Successful salespeople don’t follow the rules. This is what makes them succeed. Paradoxically, following rules is what makes average sales people, well, remain average. Here are three attributes of becoming a successful salesperson, by breaking the rules.

Your sales rule book or standard operating procedure (SOP) likely outlines number of calls, and follow-up emails, to be made, both complete with a script. The average sales person sees this as it is; a deadline not a guideline. Therefore, he uses it as a crutch. If you have sales reports that have statements like, ‘Called but did not pick’, ‘email sent, awaiting response’, ‘said he will call back’ and such other defeatist, dead-end ineffective statements then you know you are average. Now this is how to become an effective salesperson.

Focus on result not process What successful sales people do is see the SOP for what it is – a recommended way of doing things, and not the desired result; that is, getting potential buyer (prospect) engagement. And, like a shrewd sales person, the result is what he focuses on. And so, throwing away the rule book he sets to get two client meetings a day if in B2B and eight, B2C. It doesn’t matter what it takes and whether it is as per the rule book or not; so long as it is not a con job but is ethical, he will do it. Become a successful salesperson by managing pride

Who are the most successful salespeople you know? Study them for how to become an effective sales person. You will find that habits of successful sales professionals include not having qualms about morphing to get the sale. Average sales people get bogged down with image. They say things like, ‘I cannot be seen to be begging’, ‘I’m awaiting my (branded company car) to be repaired so that’s why I’m not selling’. These are not the qualities of a good salesman. Image is something the winning salesperson deploys as a tool for sales success.

One in Uganda hires a Land Rover Discovery when going to negotiate a sale commensurate to that high end vehicle. He cannot afford one himself but that doesn’t stop him from accessing that calibre of prospect. Another bank sales rep I know had no qualms pitching in the ladies room when the prospect, possibly as an objection, said that that was the only place a pitch could be made away from the employer’s prying eyes. Both successful salespeople got the sale. Just as is the top salesperson, who while at an outreach or exhibition tent, engages tout-, while the average seller, cashier-mode. The stellar seller walks over to pitch or invite passers-by to the tent. Many times he gets the lead he was looking for. The average salesperson sees it as begging, Importance of sales personality

The successful sales techniques that make average salespeople become successful salespeople also have to do with self-awareness. One people-oriented salesperson had plenty of incomplete applications as just couldn’t close. ‘Client said he forgot ID’ or ‘Client said he will bring pay slip tomorrow’ he would report with utter genuineness. Seemingly doomed to failure, when we raised his awareness to his personality, his sales performance needle dramatically moved to sales success in three months! Working with his empathy driven nature, we asked him if reminding these clients to carry the missing items just before they left the house is something he could do. His eyes it up. It was. He did it

Finish reading here

Aug 07, 202307:11
Overcome the split second tension and close the sale

Overcome the split second tension and close the sale

To some it’s euphoric. To most it’s traumatic. That fleeting, tension-filled moment, when the first kiss is imminent. Euphoria is when the man senses and immediately acts on that moment; tragedy is when the man senses it but freezes in place. In the former, the lady is excited that the man took the cue. In the latter, she’s irritated that he didn’t. This, in many ways is a scenario that plays itself out in the sales process, with the climax being the moment when a close is imminent. So, overcome tension and close.

And it’s just that-a moment! It lasts a second but feels like eternity. Many sales are lost here. The salesperson senses the tension, but caves in to it, instead of acting on it. What does close the sale mean? It means getting commitment to buy usually via cash payment or a signature. And here is how to develop sales closing power and get better at closing sales.

Reasons for fearing to close

From my sessions I have noticed that those who cave into the moment do so because of these reasons. Awareness of them is key to closing sales. First, fear (what if the prospect doesn’t “kiss” me back-I’ll feel hurt from the rejection). Next, pride (I cannot be seen to be initiating it-the prospect is the one to take up the offer as he needs the product). Third, indifference (the salesperson is so engrossed with his presentation he doesn’t even notice the moment.

In addition, intimidation (he’s senior to me or I cannot ask him for Kes. 50M-no one has that kind of money) and, finally, ignorance (the salesperson doesn’t know any better-how do I close?). In all these cases, the deafening 60 milliseconds of tension come, and then dissipate; and Poof!, the moment turns from opportunity to misfortune and a sale is lost.

Overcome tension and close. Why it is important to be responsive

But why is it important to be alive and act on this moment of tension? Because, research shows that prospects want to be led to a close but will only momentarily let their guard down for this to happen. For whatever reason, prospects want to be guided to a close even for something they want. The hawker probably guided you to buying the pair of shoes and the tailor guided you to the design that suits you. And it’s not always because we don’t know what it is we want. Even when we do know what it is we want, we still allow ourselves to be guided out of it onto something different.

Now you know why FMCG companies have sales representatives (called merchandisers) strategically placed along the supermarket aisles who will invite you to try their brand of sausage, or soap or spray. Which is different from what you had on your shopping list.

Nothing is to be feared, only understood

With this in mind then, the moment of tension just before the close isn’t to be feared, merely understood. For the ignorant, techniques in closing the sale abound and they can start trying them out. For the fearful, separating self from product will help overcome rejection. As for the intimidated, start small, or, better still, enlarge your vision about yourself. And for the proud and indifferent, time will open your eyes to your dwindling fortunes, and shock you into dropping your hubris. Easier said than done, I hear you say. True. But, hey, this is selling-nothing is easy until done again, and again, and again improving with every try.

Finish reading here

Aug 02, 202304:50
Drop your pride and sell to the "irrelevant" too

Drop your pride and sell to the "irrelevant" too

it’s not the voter but the vote counter that matters… The CFO has no desire to insist that your PDQ be the one to be used. He doesn’t care. Be discerning of where the actual sale happens and sell there too. Let not your mingling with executive power cloud your judgment.  Simply because the bosses okayed it, doesn’t mean that the sale will happen. That the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the hotel agrees to install your bank’s PDQ machine is half the sale. The other half is tougher because installing doesn’t mean using.

A PDQ is the gadget buyers insert their bank card in, to make payment with. At the hotel, your PDQ will not rest with the CFO upstairs; it will be at the reception downstairs competing for attention with other PDQs! And the CFO has no desire to insist that your PDQ be the one to be used. He doesn’t care.

Listen in or read more here

Aug 01, 202304:40
"My Dress, My Choice!" No. Not if you sell.

"My Dress, My Choice!" No. Not if you sell.

If you sell, your dress is not your choice. Here’s why

“My dress, my choice.”  This is a common refrain in Kenya. And yes, how you dress is your choice. But only to a point. The point where your private life is public. At that point, your dressing is open to judgment and interpretation by the public. At that point your dressing is not your choice. It’s how you want the customer to perceive you; more accurately it’s how the institution you represent expects to be perceived through you; which is largely determined by customer expectations and business etiquette. Read more here

Jul 31, 202306:03
Benefits of Prospecting to the Sales person

Benefits of Prospecting to the Sales person

What are the benefits of prospecting to a salesperson? I’ll share three.  

But first, the definition or meaning of sales prospecting is the never ending search for suitable buyers of your product or service.

So, here are three advantages of sales prospecting. 1. If you don’t prospect you die

2. Selling becomes easier when you prospect

3. Unlock value with sales prospecting

Listen in or read the full post here

Jul 31, 202305:28
Three Lessons in Selling Trom The Matatu Driver and His Tout

Three Lessons in Selling Trom The Matatu Driver and His Tout

Listen in as they show us

1: There is always a way

2. Enviable team work

3.Never-ending Prospecting

Jul 24, 202305:43