13 Top Sales Tips

Here’s 13 Top Sales Tips to jog your memory that sales is all about process as well as letting your excitement and passion for your business shine through.

  1. Listen and understand. To quote the old adage, we were given two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion!
  1. Understand the sales process and the balance between emotion and logic in making any kind of purchasing decisions. Contact me if you’d like to know more about this.
  1. Take time to ensure you’re talking to the right person, and then ask the right questions. Learn to ask good, open questions.  Ascertain with what aspects of your prospect’s current supplier he/she is not happy.  Find out the problem(s) and show how you can solve it/them.
  1. Get out and talk to more people and listen to what they say. Plan first, though and work out who you want to talk to and about what.  Focus on finding people with big problems you can solve with your products and services. Manage your short term objectives in with your longer term strategy.
  1. Don’t forget the ‘phone; talk to your clients and prospects sometimes, don’t just email. If you receive an email at a time when it’s good for you to have a quick chat, just pick up the phone. As ‘they’ say, ‘it’s good to talk’.
  1. If appropriate for your business, start networking and follow up on the new contacts made. You could send a standard email to follow up, or why not send a LinkedIn invitation to connect? Remind the person that you met them at XXX event on YYY date. Remember, meeting someone at a networking event doesn’t give you permission to add him/her to your data base and start emailing your latest newsletter. You always need to check first.  Perhaps forward your first news update since meeting and ask if ok to add?
  1. You need to allocate some time to social networking, starting with Linked-In if B2B. If you can add a ‘plug in’ in your website so that your Blog auto-feeds Facebook and Twitter, that will save a job.  Consider whether the content you would put on your Blog/FB accounts would be the same as for the LinkedIn business community.   Often it can be more effective to keep LinkedIn separate.    As with anything, you have to ‘work’ at social media to make it work for you.   LinkedIn is a great way of finding contacts in the business sectors you may want to work.   I can help generally with Social Media strategy, and also can direct you to some excellent people who can manage your social media campaigns for you.
  1. Create trust, respect and a charisma with your clients and prospects so that they will want to do business with you. Wow them with your service and really work to keep their loyalty.
  1. Be able to explain with passion how and why you are different ‘from the rest’ and why customers should buy from you?
  1. Know your competitors’ products as well as your own. Then you can simply highlight the benefits around the areas you’ve already ascertained are currently ‘failing’ by your prospect’s current supplier. 
  1. Be consistent – show you are there for the long haul; be persistent, honest, ethical, show respect, build the trust
  1. Always do what you promise you’ll do, no matter how ‘small’.
  1. Maintain your credibility and seek out value buyers rather than price buyer

And remember, there are only three ways for more sales:

  • find new customers
  • sell more to existing customers
  • sell more often to existing customers

But lose any of your existing customers at your peril!
I love working with teams on sales training. Give me a call if I can help.  07789  778 335


"Everyone needs a coach" Bill Gates and Eric Schmid

Who are we to argue with the great Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt?
Everyone needs a coach – it helps to give you perspective and to help you see yourself as others see you.

Business Growth Funding for your Business Growth Vouchers

Growth Vouchers to support your marketing/sales strategy

Growth Vouchers to support your marketing/sales strategy

This scheme is due to finish 15th March 2015 and from reports I hear there is still a considerable amount of funding available.
I’m an approved Growth Voucher Adviser for “Marketing, attracting and keeping customers”:  advice in this area aims to help businesses develop effective marketing strategies, and to ensure that they provide the right product/service at the right price, in the right place, at the right time. The advice could be used for market research, targeting existing and potential customers, using social media to extend your reach into new markets , developing pricing strategies and closing sales.  Here’s the PDF about what’s covered here:
Marketing, attracting and keeping customers
What activities will Growth Vouchers fund?

  • Analysis of your market, including your competitors, opportunities and threats
  • Customer analysis: Who are they? What do they need? How can you reach them?
  • Advice on how to satisfy customer needs profitably
  • Help to divide your customers into groups and target them effectively
  • Advice on how to develop a brand and improve your competitive edge
  • Help to innovate around new products and ensure these are marketed to the appropriate audiences
  • Help to make your communications planning more effective and integrated across your business
  • Analysis of your sales strategy

Vouchers will cover up to half of the cost of paying for strategic advice up to a maximum of £2,000 (non-inclusive of VAT).  So a decent amount of money.  
Check out the various links here

Business Growth Buying Personas

Your business growth in 2015

Your business growth in 2015

Have you thought about using a coach-cum-marketing professional to grow your business?   Before you zap away I promise it’s not fluffy nonsense!
1. Why might you need help and support?  The value of business coaching is brilliantly explained in 45 seconds by Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google.   See here 
A coach gives you someone who is outside of your business who you can support you and whom you trust. A bounce.
2. Update your business plan for 2015 – including short and long term goals, time scales and “who/what/by when”.
3. Update your marketing strategy for 2015 including

  • an overview marketing audit so you can reflect on what has worked, what hasn’t, how you can improve
  • your marketing communications – thinking about your different buying personas, how is it best to communicate with them; what would they most prefer?

4.  Having monthly conversations gives you a focus to look objectively at your financials to see what could be improved/adjusted. Test and Measure. Always.
5. Having a bounce for issues in the business, from leadership to HR to whatever has presented itself as a challenge to you.
Whether using the great GrowthAccelerator support scheme, or directly with me, I’d be delighted to talk to you.
Email Debbie Newman

Armstrong Beech Marketing Article writing Copywriting

Why emotional words are essential in selling copy

Why emotional words are essential in selling copy

– and why so-called intellectuals who dabble in marketing – can be a pain in the ass…
I always enjoy receiving newsletters from Andy Owen of Andy Owen Copy and Creative.   I heard him speak at a seminar in London a few years back.   He says it as it is and there’s always lots to learn and improve on.  This is his latest newsletter.  He talks about using ‘everyday words’ and further on in the article he lists  the ten most frequently-used words in Schwab’s 100 good headlines – which is interesting!  I hope all my clients know to write all about YOU/the reader…. I go on about it often enough!  Nice to see endorsement, nonetheless…..
“You – 31 Your – 14 How – 12 New – 10 Money – 6  Who – 8 Now – 4 Why – 4 Want – 4 People – 4             (Not many intellectual words in that lot, is there?)
“I use the oldest words in the English language. People think I’m an ignorant bastard who doesn’t know the ten-dollar words.
I know the ten-dollar words. And they don’t work in copy…”
Ernest Hemingway
Read that and digest it. Read it again. And again. And believe it. Because it’s true.  Hemingway was one of the greatest writers ever.
His work has touched so many people – and will continue to do so, for as long as this world of ours keeps on turning.
One of the secrets of his success, was he was ‘real’. A man of the people…
The way he wrote, connected readily with people. Rich and poor. Of all races and creeds. People of all types and profiles. And, of all ages.
This was down to his genius – and the words he used. Copywriters today could learn so much from him.
If you are writing copy to generate a response and a positive reaction, then here are three essential copy commandments that I’m sure Ernest
would have endorsed, had he been around today.
1. Never use a ‘clever’ word when a simple one will do.
2. Use everyday words that connect to the reader and sound as if
you are talking naturally to them.
3. Keep any so-called intellectuals as far away from your copy as
Read Andy’s article here

Business Growth Buying Personas

Your New Year Reminders and Actions

Your New Year Reminders and Actions

Who loves your business more than you?  Answer: No-one. No-one will ever love your business as much as its owner – do remember that when delegating your marketing within your company and /or if it’s up to you to ‘do’ the marketing. How much time are you going to allocate yourself each day /week to spend on marketing and all that makes up this wonderful word?
Don’t make working harder on your marketing one of your New Year Resolutions –  Statistics show that these resolutions generally don’t last too long.   “Marketing is not an event, but a process . . . It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.” Jay Conrad Levinson.   So a rush of energy into your marketing in January only to forget it for the rest of the year won’t give you the success you want.
Focus on what you want to achieve in 2015 –  Not just “more of the same without a plan”. But make goals. Write them down. Pin up above your PC/laptop where you can see them every day and calculate how you’re going to get there.  They won’t just happen.
Start an Action Plan and a Marketing Calendar –  doesn’t have to be complicated.   I’ve added most of the ‘national’ dates , then you need to add your local industry dates, look at your peaks and troughs, add specific dates for the business, eg birthdays/ anniversaries, milestones. Think too about your ‘buying personas’ and the different ways you’ll be communicating with them.   Then think broadly about the marketing activity to support what you’ve written.

  • So for lawyers and accountants, what new legislation is coming in that you need to communicate to your clients and prospects, and how are you going to do this?   If say you produce a quarterly hard-copy newsletter, how about introducing an email update between times?
  • If you’re into hospitality jot down all the key dates throughout the year including the special ‘food ones’ and see how imaginative you can be
  • And for a florist, with so many dates throughout the year, it’s easy to find a new reason to keep in touch.
  • Does your business have a ‘big’ birthday this year you can use to gain some PR?
  • Will you be involved with any of the ‘fun’ fund raising campaigns  you can post to your web and use social media to talk about?

Show your customers you ‘love ‘em’ – with Valentine’s Day around the corner – it’s a great way to show your customers you appreciate their business and support and that you look forward to a great ongoing relationship.  What are you going to do to demonstrate your customer/client is important to you?    Being ‘unique, special and different’ doesn’t only apply to you and your own business but also in what you do.  Think what impact a New Year or Valentine’s Day thank you could have on your clients.  Far more powerful than something in December when it could so easily be ‘lost’.  And I’m not necessarily talking about ‘gifts’.  A tasteful hand written card from the ‘boss’ can be very effective!
Buying Personas – Do you really understand who your Buying Personas are?  This is a drilling-down from just thinking about your ‘target customer’  Give each segment a name, a persona, consider the type of language they would use, what they need to know.   This makes a great sales training session with your team – very happy to oblige!
How effective is your Data Base?  Such a hugely important asset to your business  – and yet some businesses don’t think that ‘a data base is for them’.   There’s no excuse at all for a customer not to know all your offerings and services, but it’s down to you to tell them.   Your communications don’t have to be intrusive or pushy, in fact they mustn’t be either of these, but it is down to you to keep in touch and not for your prospects and clients to be experts on your business and all that it offers.  You want to keep uppermost in your customers’ and prospects’ minds when it comes to their next buying decision that affects you.
When did you last read your web site?   Does it grab your attention in those first critical few seconds?   Is it all written to show the reasons why a prospect/customer should buy from you, showing the problems / issues you are solving for them?    Does your web copy have ‘you’ all the way through it?  It needs to if it doesn’t.  Do all the links work?  Is the info all up to date?  How often do you post articles on your blog page?  Are your social media sites linking to/from your website?  Is your web copy and SEO still right for the work you want to do now in your business?
How far have you got with Social Media presence?  All professional business owners must have a proper LinkedIn Profile with a professional photograph (not of you with your kids/skiing etc.). The scope of LinkedIn is growing all the time.  This really isn’t an option any more.
Then you need to consider which of the other social media channels are right for you, decide how much time you’ll spend each week and stick to it.  It doesn’t have to be hours, but you do need to get started.   A blog, using info from your newsletters is easy, Tweeting and using something like HootSuite makes life easier.   Can you get your blogs to auto-fill you Facebook for business profiles and your Twitter feed?
Free Business Directory listings are also a valuable way to raise your web presence. (Hibu or is now Yell again?) can be useful for this.
What Testing and Measuring do you have in place so you can check the effectiveness of your marketing?  Renewing ads ‘blindly’ is not great, even if you’re pushed for time.   Before you place any ‘hard copy’ ads you need to be sure they’re going give you a return on your investment (ROI) .  Look at the size of Yellow Pages now v what it was years ago.  If you attend an exhibition or run a specific promotion, you want to be able to trace response to these efforts.  If someone wants to consider using you or your services, they won’t be guided by the copy in any ad; they’ll Google you and see what others have said, or they’ll ask friends for a referral.  It’s all about customer engagement .  Are you  there or getting left behind?
“Marketing takes a day to learnUnfortunately it takes a lifetime to master “ – Phil Kolter  There are many subscription schemes out there which offer you lots of marketing info in return for a monthly fee.  Trouble with these, on the whole, is that they are ‘general’, can generate a huge amount of data but not necessarily geared to you and your immediate needs to follow your plan.  Would it be any different to buy a large marketing book and take a chapter each month than respond to stuff sent to you to action each month?
Using a marketing professional  – It’s funny if you take the analogy with, say, a legal practice drawing breath in horror, I imagine, at some of the unregulated will writing services out there which don’t have the legal expertise or knowledge to think around all the potential pitfalls which may occur.  Is there such a difference in this principle with marketing when done in house by a non-professional?   Oh,  XXX looks after our marketing – and often XXX also does 101 other jobs and isn’t trained in the subject.  Answers on a postcard, please!
December and the New Year is a great time to start with an ‘audit/health check’ of where you are now – and ensuring you and all your colleagues have a professional profile on LinkedIn. Would be delighted to work with you on both if I can help. Just zap me a mail or give me a call on 01225 869 240.
If you’d like a copy of my calendar and my ‘who/what/when’ table then please email me on

Crowdfunding Kickstarter

Kickstarter project

Kickstarter Project

If you’ve been thinking of how to set about a creating a crowd funding Kickstarter project, then take a look at this video, put together by the quartet where my daughter is a cellist.
The Mavron Quartet are collaborating with composer Tom Green, who has been working with Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy to turn her book of poems ‘The World’s Wife’ into a song cycle for The Quartet and the soprano Juliet Fraser. The World’s Wife is a poetry collection that takes a swipe at the famous men of history and myth from their spouses’ perspective. We are working with composer Tom and Juliet , using looping technology to bring the voices of all these strong women together in the voice of one world class soprano…the voice of ‘The World’s Wife’.
The video is great and informative. They had their ‘crowd’ in place through their own email list and supporters, and friends of friends, they put together exciting rewards different levels, so all can participate.  And now that they have achieved their first goal, they have added extended goals.

Interview Questions

Interview Questions

Bye-Bye Brainteasers: 9 Interview Questions You Actually Should Ask Candidates

by Lindsay Kolowich from HubSpot.

Whilst interview questions may not be strictly speaking a marketing topic, having the right staff to undertake your marketing, sales, admin etc. certainly is.  There are a couple of the questions below which I thought would be a good addition to the standard interview questions….

Why are manhole covers round? How many times heavier than a mouse is an elephant? How many golf balls can you fit in a school bus?

Most hiring managers have heard about using these “creative” questions to identify the best candidates. Fortunately for smart, well-qualified candidates everywhere, studies have found in recent years that the brainteaser interview questions made famous by Silicon Valley and Wall Street are just as silly as they sound. (In fact, Google banned brainteasers from their interviews several years ago.)

But when you’re interviewing people to join your team, you have to get creative somehow. There’s only so much that questions like “What was the last book you read?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” reveal about who your candidates truly are as professionals and as people.

To help give you some ideas for the next time you’re screening candidates, here are nine interview questions you should ask.

SEO Website

SEO tips for title tags

SEO tips for title tags

A really useful article from Greg Simmons of Search Engine Watch (SEW) about SEO tips for title tags.  With Google’s rules changing constantly, it is difficult to keep up with the latest information.  Here Greg has summarized ten great tips.

SEO Tips for title tags
SEO Tips for title tags

“Google’s most recent results page layout changes meant more than just a search experience update. With the change came adjustments to how each individual result is displayed, which may almost certainly necessitate a refresh for a core search engine optimization (SEO) element: the venerable title tag.

Much may have changed in Google over the years, but the importance of the title tag can’t be overstressed. It’s used (most of the time) as the clickable text in a search result, it is the headline to your ad, the start of a (search) conversion funnel, and a facet of internal linking.

Your website’s title tag says who you are, what you do, why anyone should bother to click, and why Google should care. It is your opening line when you first meet someone, or a welcoming greeting on your return. It is important. (Did I make that clear?)”

Check out the whole article here

Emotional Fear Fear of Failure Sales Sales/Selling

Fear – exploiting our emotions to increase sales

Fear – exploiting our emotions to increase sales

Think about how often you see this being used – consciously or subliminally…. the technique – I suppose you can call it this – is one of the most powerful drivers of our spending today.  Fear is the emotion being used to manipulate us to part with our money.   Such campaigns

  • find the most subtle way to manipulate our fears and reactions
  • exploit our anxieties
  • dwell on the make believe – the secret of eternal youth
  • using all tactics from paranoia to reassurance to unlock our basic instinct ‘ Wow, I really want/need/must have this XXXXX.

There was an excellent BBC2 programme in the summer which examined some of the examples which I give below, but what prompted me to look further into this was an instance earlier this year when one of my clients, at my suggestions,  attended a two-hour ‘intro’ sales seminar,  which he then followed up with a 1-2-1 session with the deliverer.  The up-sell from intro two hours was a sales training programme of £several thousand.    Not an option for someone new in business and I would challenge not necessary at that point at all.  But the feeling my client was left with was not good.  Not going for this service was clearly going to mean the business was never going to succeed which thankfully was and is wrong. But more than that I would challenge it is immoral to leave prospects feeling like this in your justification to sell your product or service.
Another internet marketer who I have been following is the same although of course the emotion is perhaps tempered as it is not face to face.  You get the emails initially with the ‘free’ stuff, then you are deluged, literally, with the follow up emails with the up-sell for this and that and if you don’t do this or that then you won’t ever be successful.  If he is putting on a (paid for) seminar or webinar, then there is a frenzy of emails, hard copy mails, automated voice mails telling you why you must attend.  I stick with it for a while as it is interesting to observe from a marketing point of view, but then I have to unsubscribe as it is just taking over the inbox!   So is this moral?  Is it successful these days?
Think about some of these early examples:


“Halitosis makes you unpopular”  – early ads from the 1930s created the fear with halitosis which was ‘inexcusable’ as it could be cured with – wait for it – “Listerine”.  Listerine cured halitosis at a time when Americans didn’t know what this was or that it was really a problem. But suddenly it became a huge epidemic in society and the damsel in distress/mother was the social outcast.  “Men never linger”  “Whisper copy” by fear – leading you to understand that ‘this woman will never be married as she has halitosis’  Why take chances?  This technique took sales in 8 years from £115K to $8M. So clearly it worked.  And how sexist was it as well….
When Zantac was a new prescription drug for heart burn, the branding experts had to get the message out there that instead of going to the drug store to ask for over the counter medication, you needed to go to your doctor and demand Zantac. Which clearly worked as 240 million people took Zantac, yielding revenue of some $3.5bn – until the patent ran out.
Similar examples with high cholesterol and statins… “know your number”.

  • And think to today….
  • Corsodyl has taken over from these early Listerine ads – but it’s now concentrating on gum disease.  “Treat gum disease if you have it… Protect your gums if you don’t… Gum Disease is a main cause of tooth loss”   And the image of the lady with that ‘blood’ running from the corner of her eye.    Exactly the same technique/recipe as years ago.
    • Anti bacterial sprays. We’re now bombarded with messages about germs, moving from traditional cleaners to the new anti-bacterial, and for children’s toys and now for washing children’s clothes.  Tests show that hands washed in both ‘ordinary’ soap and anti-bacterial soap give the same results.  Germ panic is also firmly planted in our minds – first swine flue – how long to see ‘Ebola safe’ items on the market. In fact there are already such face masks selling.
    • When Coca Cola bought Glaceau , they had the opportunity to take vitamin water to the next level and to be seen as pushing its healthy products.  “Find out more about the history of Glaceau Vitamin Water as well as getting nutritional information & facts”.
    • Nintendo brain games – all part of our effort to keep our brain fitter for SAGA age group who didn’t want to lose their ‘marbles’.  “With practice your brain can improve”.  A winning formula and it became their best selling game.  The player just had to measure and judge him/herself and bring the score down.  Nintendo never made any false claims – they just played on anxieties – the more you play the more it will lower your brain age.

“Happiness is freedom from fear” screams a billboard from the side of the road. Storytelling advertising is a simpl system honed:

  • Creating anxiety
  • telling them something they didn’t know
  • and then introducing a magic solution.

Story telling engages us – damsel in distress, the consumer, the villain, any number of frightening things going on.  The hero whisks us away from danger.  Always with the moral, “without your favourite product, you are in danger”.

“Please part with your money.  Thank you”,