Sales Advice Blog – Why objections are a good thing!

Published: 16 September 2014

No can be a good thing

In the world of sales the word No can often be a demoralising and hard word to swallow. It can cause nightmares at every level, from front line tele-sales to key account mangers but should sales people really be scared to hear the word “No”? At Professional Academy we don’t think so - in fact we believe the opposite. No is good, no is positive, and no is the opportunity all sales people should look to that will allow them to flex their “negotiation muscles”. No is potentially the best word you can hear on the phone secondary to yes.

The “No” response doesn’t have to be a definitive “No thank you” as it can be a “but” or something similar but what we are addressing here is the objection and how this can open a whole new level in a potential sale.

So what are the positives of what initially seems so negative?

Identify the problemIdentify and address the potential issues

This is probably the best thing about an objection - finding out what the issue could be. Is it price? Could it be service or delivery? Is it a logistical problem or just a general concern? Once you are both aware of the potential problem it can be addressed instead of lingering in the background causing an issue further down the line in negotiations, or worse, post-sale.

                                                                           

Explore the optionsExplore the issues and find potential solutions

After the issue has been found the next logical step is to explore the problem, investigate and put all of the information out on the table to discuss it freely and openly. Honesty is always a good thing. With honesty in mind it is worth remembering that there is no shame in saying “sorry I don’t know the answer to that right now but can we come back to that point later?” instead of agreeing to something you may find out at a later stage, was wrong.

Show your strengths

Show off your strengths

Flex your subtle bragging muscles by addressing the issues whilst at the same time highlighting the areas where your product or service is strongest. The fact you are addressing the objection in the first place is a strength and shows your ability to work with the client in overcoming issues not only now but post-sale within the post-sale relationship.

 

 

Fix the problemFix the potential issue….together

Hopefully by this stage there should be a few options on the table for the client to discuss with you. After further investigation into the options you should be able to reach a mutual conclusion allaying the customer’s fears and allowing the negotiation process to continue.

 

 

Respond to body language and toneRespond to those all-important signals

The entire objection experience should give you a good gauge of the overall sales negotiation so far. If the body language or tone of the conversation has changed during the exchange this may allow you to be more bold and push on to close the sale - alternatively it could highlight the need to err on the side of caution, implement a softer approach or maybe the need to reschedule for a time when you can have a follow up meeting to present the solutions to potential issues after investigation.

In summary you can do a lot with a no, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the conversation - in fact the ensuing back and forth could tell you more about your customer and allow for not only a better sales negotiation but a stronger relationship post sale.

 

For those interested in more detailed information on handling objections and closing sales, this subject is a key component of the ISMM Level 3 qualification in Sales & Marketing delivered by Professional Academy.

Feel free to contact our advisors about this qualification today or download a copy of the Professional Academy Sales Prospectus which includes breakdowns of all available ISMM qualifications

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Marketing Guest Blog - The Importance of Segmenting a Market

Published: 11 September 2014

Segmentation - Like an orange

In a world of ‘big data’, where data mining is done by laptops rather than giant boreing machines and data warehousing is stored in smaller spaces than an Argos catalogue content, the importance of extracting information for understanding target markets has never been more prevalent. Yet some organisations still don’t collate or use the gold dust that is right in front of them in terms of customer details.

Why is this so important? Well if you’ve ever been in a supermarket without a shopping list and spent twice as much as you thought you would you may understand my meaning. If not, read on…

Supermarket Sweep

Supermarket Sweep

Not defining your target market (i.e. creating a shopping list of all the criteria that makes up the perfect customer) means that you are effectively targeting everyone you possibly can, meaning you are spending a lot of money trying to reach consumers who, for all the best will in the world, will never be interested in what you are selling. Basically, you enter a supermarket just for milk and come out with cheese, bread, sun tan lotion and a bbq set (which you don't really need).

Segmenting the target market

Segmenting a Target Market

There are a number of ways to segment a target market and it is very much dependent on what you are selling and what you need to know about your customer base. For example in a butchers shop the likelihood is that you would be interested to find out who is a vegetarian and who eats meat, but if you are selling books then this probably isn’t very relevant at all.

So how do you segment your market? This can be done in three different ways:

  • Demographics

Demographics cover a wide range of distinguishing factors that facilitate categorising a population by the similarities between each individual (a little like a census). Gender, age, employee status, marital status and even geographical location can be quantified in order to segment a market that express similar characteristics.

Example: If you were running a school or nursery you would benefit from knowing which household has children and their age.

  • Behavioural

Why consumers behave in a specific way helps to understand what is important to them and why they show such behaviour.

Example: Consider a leisure facility. Knowing and understanding the different customer habits will allow them to target marketing activity more effectively (i.e. someone only using the swimming pool would be interested in knowing when the pool timetable changes whereas this would not be of interest to someone who only uses the gymnasium).

  • Psychographics

Probably the hardest to quantify of the three, psychographics provides a deeper understanding into consumer values, attitudes and lifestyles (VALs). The potential questioning here is almost endless and requires a level of knowing exactly what you want to understand or need to know. Understanding why consumers buy a particular product or service over another is a powerful asset that cannot be underestimated.

Example: If you sell musical instruments it would be beneficial to understand the VALs of consumers, are they interested in learning and what type of music do they listen to and why? If everyone that comes into the store has distaste for classical tones, then playing Bach’s Toccata And Fugue In D Minor in store would not create the right ambiance.

 

Businesses BusinessA Businesses Business

In the same way market segmentation is used in the business to consumer world, it can also be utilised in the business to business domain, it is just a slightly different list of variables being used to compile a database of businesses. Instead of focusing on age and gender, these statitics are replaced with business size, usage rates, industry type and product useage.

 

Ready Aim FireReady, Aim, Fire!

Once you are in a position to start to communicate effectively with your segmented market, then the efficiencies in both time and monetary savings will be apparent.

Remember, it is all about understanding the who, what, why, where and when. Positioning yourself as the organisation that provides what your target market is looking for in a way they are happy to consume it. In defining your target market you will be more efficient and effective in your marketing communications, gaining a greater ROI.

So next time you end up holding a host of unwanted toiletries waiting to pay, just think, if you had written a shopping list then you would have segmented the supermarket into the items you are specifically targeting saving you a fortune on unrequired toilet roll!

Remember, every little helps!

This blog was created by Pete Sumpton the very knowledgable Marketing Director for moocreations and a Digital Marketing Communications Tutor for Professional Academy. For more of his insights in to the world of Digital Marketing Communications follow moocreations on Twitter or download a prospectus for a Digital Marketing or Marketing Communications Qualification accredited by the CIM's CAM Foundation!

 

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Extend your knowledge with the new CMI Extended Management & Leadership Diplomas.

Published: 09 September 2014

CMI Extended Diploma

CMI recently updated their Management & Leadership qualifications to provide a brand new additional level of qualification for those wishing to develop past the point of the standard management and leadership course.

The new extended diploma has created a series of positives across the board for CMI students.

  • Increased flexibility

The updated syllabus offers a new level of flexibility for those studying at a Diploma level. CMI Level 5 Diploma and CMI Level 7 Diploma students will be able to select the 6 units most appropriate to their job role giving diploma students the flexibility of choice. Extended Diploma students will be able to achieve this level by completing all 9 modules offered by Professional Academy which cover the broad range of management & leadership training.

  • Updated unit content

With any syllabus update there is always the added advantage of updated content. As we all know the main fundamentals of strong business practice can be set in stone for decades but business itself is fluid meaning that any management training should keep up with the times. A syllabus change on this scale allows the CMI and Professional Academy a chance to review reading, study materials and course content to deliver the most up to date and relevant qualification available.

  • Time to completion

With this structural change there have also been some changes to time periods of the qualification. It will now take just 9 to 12 months to complete the CMI Diploma and 12 to 18 months to complete the Extended Diploma. This time period has been constructed with your day to day work schedule in mind but if this time period needs to be changed Professional Academy will support you on your studies for up to 2 years as standard.

  • Fully covered by the Professional Academy Pass Guarantee

As a Professional Academy qualification, the Diploma and Extended Management & Leadership qualifications are covered by our 100% Pass Guarantee. We believe that all of our students have the ability to achieve their desired qualification and as such will be supported as much as is needed to help make the qualification a reality.

To celebrate the launch of the new CMI Diploma – This September Professional Academy are offering the Extended Diploma for the price of the standard diploma! That’s right – you can receive Nine units and all study materials for the price of Six if you sign up before the 30th of September!

If you would like some more information on the September offer you can contact us today or download a copy of the Management prospectus for more information on the options available to you.  

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We will be at the Cambridge B2B Exhibition

Published: 05 September 2014

The Cambridge B2B Exhibiton

On September 24th we will be exhibiting at the Cambridge B2B Exhibition at Marshalls Airport. This may not sound like a big deal to a few of you out there but there are a number of reasons why we are excited about exhibiting at this particular event.

Meeting out NeighboursIt’s right on our doorstep.

For those of you who may not know our head office is in Cambridge, and with 80% of the Professional Academy team living in Cambridge it is nice to do an exhibition on our home turf - to showcase what we can do for local businesses to help them and the city grow and develop into the future.

 

Talking TrainingWe get to talk training.

At Professional Academy we are widely known for our UK wide broad range of accredited qualifications but there is another side of our business which we are very passionate about and don’t get to showcase enough and that is our in company bespoke training. At this event one of our Learning & Development Team (Andy Hart) will be on site to discuss how your business could benefit from a training programme developed wholly with your company’s challenges and philosophy in mind.

 

New Training BrochureWe will have brand new literature.

We will be launching our new Learning & Development brochure at this event so if you would like to be one of the first companies to get your hands on the brochure this will be the event to do so. We know it’s not as exciting as the new Ikea Catalogue launch but we rather like it and we can’t wait to hear your feedback.

 

Free Training Taster SessionWe are giving away a training session!

That’s right! As well as finding out more about what we can do to help develop the people within your company we will be giving you a chance to see first-hand what we can do for you, for free! All you need to do is drop your business card in the bowl (classic exhibition style) and you could receive a call from Andy to receive a free half-day company training session on any chosen subject from Customer Service to Marketing, Account Management to Digital Marketing, Management and Leadership to Telesales. The choice will be yours if you are lucky enough to win!

Book your free visitor pass via the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and feel free to book a personal business advice session with Andy over email via andy.hart@professionalacademy.com

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The June 2014 CAM and CIM Pass Rates are out

Published: 02 September 2014

And once again Professional Academy is well above average! 

Professional Academy has always benchmarked itself against Global Pass Rates for the CIM and CAM qualifications.

The results for June 2014's assessment board were recently released and we are very proud of our students' results, as always.

 

CIM Marketing Qualifications:

CIM pass rates June 2014

 

We are particularly pleased that in seven modules across the four qualifications delivered, 100% of Professional Academy students passed their assessments first time! 

 

CAM Digital Marketing & Marketing Communications Qualifications

CAM Digital Marketing Qualification Pass rates June 2014

We are so pleased to see the Marketing Communications delivering 100% pass rates in two of the four modules in June! Well done to everyone!

It is also worth remembering that everyone who studies any of our qualifications will pass even if not at the first attempt thanks to our 100% Pass Guarentee.

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