Sales skills - Part 2

Archive for the ‘Sales skills’ Category

Mary Kastle – special offer for Consultant Journal readers

We love Mary Kastle, who we’ve profiled several times on this site. The musician and musical entrepreneur is back with a new CD on the Black Hen label.

Special offer for Consultant Journal readers
If you write a review of Mary Kastle’s CD, Beneath the Folds, on your blog or website and repost it on her iTunes or CD Baby page, she’ll send you a free album. You can download three tracks on the Mary Kastle music page or contact Mary if you want to hear the full album in digital format. Your post, which can be negative or positive or neutral, needs to be at least 75 words long and be posted on Mary’s iTunes page here: or her CD Baby page here:, so that people can judge for themselves too. Once you’ve made the post, contact Mary and she’ll hook you up with a signed copy of the new album as a gift for you.

Beneath the Folds

“A little bit of folk, a little bit of jazz and a lot of soul,” is the way Kastle describes the musical mix on an album that includes reggae, bossa nova, swing, gospel, and a pinch of piano bar vibe from her years of playing jazz and pop standards in lounges. With the groove as her signature, Kastle’s versatile palette has evoked comparisons to other soulful songsmiths such as Norah Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Tori Amos.

About Mary Kastle’s new album

Consistent with the writing on her two previous EPs, Fresh Air and Another Swing, Kastle’s propensity for exploring themes around self expression and inner growth comes through loud and clear on Beneath the Folds, but with a newfound directness. “Early on in the writing process, a close friend challenged me to be more direct in my songwriting, both lyrically and musically. The result was a shift in my approach and a deeper appreciation for what I had to offer as a musician. Some of the first songs that came, like “Drop Your Cover,” are about letting your guard down and just being yourself. I found the blues and some really old-school gospel forms to be quite conducive to expressing those ideas.”
Kastle’s inspired mix of new and old musical forms also coincided with a major shift in the world around her. “Bush was leaving office and Obama was coming in, and there was a lot of hope and disappointment being felt simultaneously. Around me people were losing their jobs and many of the women I was observing were struggling with tough decisions like striking a balance between career vs. family. This is reflected in the subtext in songs like “Beggin’,” “Julia,” “Fortress” and “False Alarm.” The stories are personal, but they also mirror big picture political and social shifts.”



Marketing for counsellors – counsellors need marketing too

Marketing for counsellors may seem like an uncomfortable area for many people used to being in a helping profession. But counsellors can succeed with marketing based on their values, just like any other consultant or small business owner can.

Counsellors’ marketing needs

Counsellors and consultants are alike in that they need to determine their unique position in the market, work out the best way of connecting with clients, and then build a profitable, sustainable business. Word of mouth is key, but a good marketing plan can help you work out how to generate and sustain the power of referrals. Knowing what business would work for you and what your values are, planning your business, and setting fees are common to counsellors and consultants alike.

As with many licensed professions, counsellors also need to examine the rules and criteria set out by their professional associations. Of course, in reviewing your values, this also comes up.

If you’re looking to market your counselling business, the following articles may help:

Marketing tips

Start thinking about holiday cards

Even though the holidays are still some time away, it’s never too early to start planning. Holiday cards or Christmas cards can form an important part of your marketing plans. That’s because holiday cards offer you the chance to build on your relationships with customers, prospects, vendors and other contacts. To avoid disappointment, though, you should start thinking about ordering and organizing your holiday card plans now.

Check out our past posts on holiday cards:

You might also be interested in Christmas jobs.




Why you hate cold calls

Hate cold calls? So do lots of successful business owners. Despite what some people might say, you can build a great business without ever making a cold call.

There’s a reason so many people hate cold calls. That’s because, most of the time, it involves calling people you don’t know, interrupting their busy days, and trying to build a relationship with them. And what kind of relationship starts with intimidation, unwelcome interruption and your lack of desire to be involved? Not one most people would want, that’s for sure.

It makes far more sense if you build relationships with people in incremental steps before doing something so bold as calling them. Start by indentifying people you suspect may be in your market. Work on turning them into likely prospects and nurturing them through your pipeline. That way, when you do call them, they’ll know who you are, what you do and why they need you. And they’re much more likely to be receptive and willing to buy.

How to find prospective clients

Life would be a lot easier if clients lined up to buy from you. So why not build a pipeline of potential clients and turn them into raving fans? Once you’ve identified people you suspect may want to buy from you, work on strategies and campaigns to get those people to turn into prospects.

Put some effort into finding prospects. By building relationships with people who stand a good chance of fitting your criteria for becoming a lead or client, you’re more likely to do business with those people.

Your best source of new work

Believe it or not, your best source of new work is something you already have. And if you mine this existing resource, you’ll be on the road to success. In fact, most successful consultants turn to this marketing goldmine to keep their busy practices growing. What’s the secret?

Your existing customers, contacts and fans!

That’s right — the secret to your consulting success is in the relationships you’ve already built, not in some sort of secret lead generation tactic. After all, the clients who’ve already bought into your offering are already on your side. And they’re the people most likely to buy again, buy more or tell their friends and colleagues about the amazing work you do. In fact, even a happy low value client is better than someone who signs on for a one-off project that pays 10 times as much.

Look at it this way. Say you’re doing a $500 job for a very delighted client three or four times a year. Small potatoes, right? And you get a call from a prospective client who’s offering up a one-time $5,000 job. Which is the better job?

Well, if the small potatoes client buys from you over and over, you’ll likely make $7,500 to $10,000 in the next five years — and they may help you land other clients. In fact, if they sell their own contacts on your successes, it may be easier to win those contacts than the ones you turn up yourself. Meanwhile, that $5,000 client isn’t such a hot deal if you never do work for them again.

Of course, in a best case scenario, you make both clients so happy that they buy over and over and rave about you to their networks. So what are you doing to build a network of raving fans?


Why you need a contract

You want to sign a contract?! Why on earth do we need to sign a contract? Can’t we just do this on a handshake? Can’t I trust you?

Well, you could but both parties are leaving themselves wide open for potential hassles that a signed and agreed upon contract would eliminate. If you feel nervous asking your clients to sign a contract, consider these points:

  1. Contracts provide a description of responsibilities. Rather than suffer through the confusion of wondering what each party’s responsibilities are, you’re better to have everything in writing. This will help avoid confusion or disagreement.
  2. Contracts bind parties to their duties. It is incredibly disruptive if one party attempts to back out of an agreement. A contract will bind the parties to the previously defined description of duties eliminating this problem.
  3. Contracts can establish a time frame for duties. If you need work performed and performed within a certain time frame a contract binds the party to that time frame. As a consultant, you might want to require the other party to provide adequate and timely access to key personnel, for example.
  4. Contracts can secure payment. No one likes to be stiffed for work performed and a binding contract provides a written legal document establishing an agreement to be paid for services rendered.
  5. Contracts provide recourse when the relationship falters. If the relationship between the contracted parties deteriorates, a contract outlines the previously agreed upon steps required for dissolving the relationship without punitive measures.   

Now, doesn’t that sound better than dealing with the chaos that can erupt when a handshake deal falls apart? Stick with a contractual agreement — it can eliminate a lot of hassles.

(Note: I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice in any way, shape or form. If you’re looking for a lawyer or a contract, I recommend USLegalForms.

Fear of the phone

Many people resist starting their own consulting business because they’ve got a fear of the phone. I’ve met more than one person who couldn’t stand the thought of having to make calls to clients. Well, after my post on fear of public speaking, I decided to look into other fears that might hinder the success of small business owners…and fear of the phone stood out.

Via Peter Benson, I discovered a simple exercise for overcoming phone fear. It’s really best targeting at people who fear cold calling. Benson suggests that you simply write a script and start calling. That’s it. Feel the fear and do it anyway, I guess — and you’ll soon lose your fear.

Have you ever had to deal with fear of the phone?

Do you need to like public speaking to sell?

After my post on public speaking, some of you naturally wondered if there was a connection to selling, especially since I linked to a post on sales skills. Well, yes and no.

Yes, it helps if you can speak in public. You can speak at tradeshows, conferences, seminars, meetings, teleseminars and so on. You can teach courses and get up in front of people all the time.

But, no, you don’t have to be great at public speaking. You can manage clients via direct mail, email, phone calls, one-on-one meetings, conversations and so on. Introverts have tons of great business qualities.

The key is to build on your strengths and to find ways to mitigate your weaknesses. Try doing a personal inventory to figure out your best qualities and where you need more practice. Focus on success and you’ll find a path.

How I overcame fear of public speaking

Does the thought of public speaking make you feel ill? Fear of public speaking is called glossophobia.

I’m not a shy person. Far from it. I’m a classic ENTJ. For many years, I thrived on speaking in public. But, one day, I was asked to give a presentation to a group of three people. When I got there, I realized that I’d run into two of the people before. I knew one of them had it in for me. That made it difficult to start talking. To make matters worse, at the end of the presentation, one of those two people accused me of breaking the law during my presentation. He accused me of copyright infringement. I was shattered. I take copyright very seriously. However, this individual worked in a field where copyright was discussed regularly. So I took him at his word. I apologized and left.

Later, I did a little more research and confirmed that, I did not infringe anyone’s copyright. My understanding of fair use and private business meetings was correct. It was the prospective client who was wrong.

But it didn’t matter. The event shook me up enough to keep me from speaking in public for a couple of years. I turned down opportunities. I didn’t want to take a risk again.

Still, I’m an ENTJ. I plan. And then I carry out that plan. I knew that, by taking small steps, I could conquer my glossophobia and start speaking in public again.

So I contacted a tiny organization. I asked if I could make a presentation to a small group. And I did it. And I survived.

Then I started going to professional association meetings. I started asking questions. That brought attention to me. I spoke well. After a while, I was sometimes asked to address the group. No problem. I was among friends.

Next, I applied for a job as an instructor. I’d be speaking in public (albeit to a group of about four people) once a week for a few months. I’d be teaching a subject I knew well. And I did it. And was hired again.

But the client wanted to know if I could teach another subject…one that I wasn’t sure I was good at. I’d have to study to get ahead of the students. I decided to try it. And I got better reviews for teaching that content than I did for teaching the stuff I knew by heart!

Pretty soon, I was teaching several classes. And then a major university asked me to teach a course. I did that, too. And was asked to teach more courses.

So, although I was never a shy person, I conquered a one-time fear of public speaking. Next week, I’ll give suggestions for conquering a fear of public speaking.

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