At BcnIn, we have been working hard over summer and we have closed a partnership with Swapsee, an online-offline platform for entrepreneurs and professionals based in Barcelona, where users can advertise their services as well as find collaborators and talent near them. The goal of our collaboration is to actively help professionals in Barcelona connect with one another and work better together.
Commenting on the new deal Josep Maria Ros, CEO of BcnIn, says: "At BcnIn we are very excited about this collaboration. When Jan-Willem Bode, CEO of Swapsee, approached us a few months ago we immediately thought it made perfect sense for us to work together. We believe Swapsee's marketplace is the perfect addition to our BcnIn offer, and hope our members will make the most of it".
Jan-Willem Bode, founding partner and director of Swapsee, adds: "BcnIn has done a great job helping international professionals coming to live to Barcelona settle and integrate in the city. We believe many of our members will benefit from attending joint BcnIn-Swapsee events and use each others tools to do business and get things done."
What’s in it for BcnIN members?
Thanks to BcnIn's partnership with Swapsee, now BcnIn members can also enjoy the benefits of having access to a vibrant online marketplace filled with great professionals and find projects, potential partners and clients. On top of the marketplace, BcnIn members can stay informed and entertained by reading the articles and posts on Swapsee's community board and Facebook page. Networking, either virtually or physically, is also key to Swapsee's strategy and members may attend Swapsee's networking events as well as interesting workshops. Furthermore, Swapsee is in an exciting expansion phase with new communities opening in London, Bath/Bristol, Amsterdam, and Charleston (US) as we speak.
Welcome to the last in a series of three posts that addresses one of the most acute problems a reluctant salesperson is likely to face – the fear of selling. If you missed the first two posts you can view them here (part I and part II). Carry on reading to see the final five tips.
#10 Don’t do what you don’t like
Once you’ve analized your fears, you may find that there are certain aspects of sales activity that you just can’t get over, so simply eliminate them and find an alternative way to get the same result. Could you get the same sales by selling on the web instead of face-to-face? Could you set up a webinar rather than a physical presentation? How about using the telephone instead of going to a meeting? (that’s what worked for me at the beginning of my career). You can even find agencies that will do it all for you so that you can concentrate on what you do best.
#11 Note down and analyze all the reasons for the NO
I’m talking about objections, the thousands of ways the customer has to tell us “I don’t want what you’re selling”. Some of these will be acceptable, but you’ll learn to spot “the usual suspects” that come up time and again and have answers ready for them. The truth is that in many cases the prospect won’t have understood your value proposition so remember, you’ve got the right to keep on trying.
#12 NO is not NO forever
Sometimes we ask the wrong question to the wrong person at the wrong time, and they tell us NO. In these psychologically crucial moments the salesperson has to keep a cool head, summon up all his/her courage and keeping asking questions to understand “Why not?” (I cover this in Las 5 preguntas de calificación de una oportunidad in the Spanish language versión of www.sales-psicosis.com) . There are thousands of reasons why the door should not remain shut forever. If you can retire gracefully from the conversation you can always go back and try again. Make a note and go on to the next call.
#13 Celebrate your successes
Professional salespeople are in a constant state of self-analysis, identifying good and bad points in their performance. You should do the same. Even though they may seem insignificant at the time, you must celebrate even the tiniest of successes in order to boost your morale. One interested prospect yesterday but two today! – fantastic! Any progress is good.
#14 Set realistic goals
Everyone makes mistakes in the beginning, so set yourself realistic goals. Make 10 calls today, 20 tomorrow etc.. You’ll soon develop a good level of expertise and before long you’ll say to yourself “I’m not scared of selling anymore!”
Our May breakfast, which took place in the enchanting Hotel Pulitzer, was a success in terms of its networking goal. We had invited Rob Merino to join us a guest speaker and he managed to make the whole group interact in an honest and relaxed way, thereby making the networking scenario very cosy and providing super tips that, for those who attended, will no doubt prove useful in future events of this sort. We hope this summary can also help other members who could not make it to the breakfast.
Rob’s session kicked out with a view to putting to use the wisdom, expertise and creativity of the group and inspire us to practice effective networking behaviour. To that end, he asked us to sit next to someone we didn't know well, and then think about and discuss with our partner WHY we network. The main conclusions of that brainstorming process were as follows:
1. networking helps to invest in relationships
2. networking helps to build a reputation
3. networking is useful to help others get results
Rob then asked us to remember some successful networking stories and discuss them with our partner whilst trying to identify what we considered were the EFFECTIVE networking behaviours that we had either seen or carried out ourselves in those situations. We then shared the traits and behaviours we had identified, which can be summarised with the acronym LEG: listening, engaging/empathising and giving.
A good networker is someone who will listen but we in order to really listen it is also important to ask good questions. Asking questions makes you really understand what the other person is actually saying, whilst, at the same time, conveying that you are understanding. Related to this, engaging or empathising are also vital as a way to show you understand what that person’s situation, possibilities and potential are. And to top it all off, giving, whether it be time, information, connections or ideas, is also an essential part to good networking practices.
A networker who thinks they’re “not get anything out" of a certain contact must bear in mind that it is not just the business you might get that counts. Helping others selflessly is, just in the way that it makes you feel, already getting something out; and not only that but your reputation grows when you give as you will be remembered by that someone and, as Publilius Syrus wrote, a good reputation is more valuable than money.
We want to thank Rob for his time and knowledge and hope that more of you will join us when he speaks at another breakfast!
#5 Use every interaction as a learning experience
You can’t let the NOs discourage you. To paraphrase Thomas Edison, “every NO just shows you what won’t work”. Every time you talk with a prospect you should approach it as an opportunity to learn how to sell better. Professional salespeople make a rigorous self-analysis after every prospect interaction to fine-tune their technique.
#6 Set realistic goals for yourself
In many cases selling is a process made up of many steps – it’s not one single, definitive death-or-glory attempt to convince the customer to buy. By making each step a mini-objective, you’ll take the pressure off yourself. The mini-objective could be to qualify a company as a suitable prospect, get a meeting, or simply get a little more contact information. The important thing is to keep making progress. For example, a few years ago I met a medical equipment salesman on the plane who simply astounded me. One of his mini-objectives was to get dozens of 2 minute conversations with doctor and surgeons as they were moving around the hospital – it was like a personalized advertisement with an audience of one. The amount he sold was a function of how much “airtime” he got with them. It worked for him. What would work for you?
#7 Imitate the habits of people who sell easily
I’m not suggesting that you should be a copycat, because everyone has their own personality and style (see below) but you should profit from the experiences of others. A phrase that is known to work, a good idea for looking for new business, and, above all, good habits. Good salespeople tend to be well-organised, methodical, disciplined, conscious of how they use their time and very, very focused. If you introduce some of these habits into your daily sales activities you will have a good solid foundation to build upon.
#8 Develop your own style
This is so important. Nobody can be you better than you can, and no two people sell alike. It’s always better to adapt ideas of great salespeople rather than copy them exactly. An ex-colleague of mine used to hit his numbers every year. His style was based on his powerful personality and the rather colourful vocabulary that accompanied it, rather than on a methodology. Newbies who tried to copy him failed completely because their personalities just couldn’t carry it off.
#9 Use a methodology
This is very closely connected with knowing your value proposition and is covered in my Spanish language blog www.sales-psicosis.com. If you have a methodology, however rudimentary it is, you have something to fall back on when things go awry. If you haven’t got one yet, try noting down every step in your own sales process, from first contact until asking for the business (or however you do it in your sales model). It will get you started.
That’s enough to think about for another week. Get out there and give it a try, it’s much easier than walking the tightrope!