The following information comes from the newsletter of the highly regarded author publicist, Rick Frishman. I read his newsletters faithfully because they are full of thoughtful and pragmatic publicity tips.
These “on the mark” sales tips are from super salesman Harvey Mackay:
*It’s not how much it’s worth; it’s how much people think it’s worth. Marketing is neither the art of selling nor the simple business of convincing someone to buy. It is the art of creating conditions by which the buyer convinces himself. And nothing is more convincing than hard evidence that others want the same thing. (This is why there is such competition for the big name art fairs–because this is where the serious money is earned.)
* Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product. Knowing your customers means knowing what they really want. Maybe it’s your product, but maybe it’s something else too–recognition, respect, reliability, service or friendship. (Study the people who have bought from you, learn why, extrapolate that to the next customer.)
* You are not important. Our challenge, whether we are salespeople or negotiators or managers or entrepreneurs, is to make others see the advantage to themselves in responding to our proposal. Understanding our subjects’ personalities is vital. Let them shine. Our own personalities are subordinate. (Yep, it is not about you, it is about what the patron needs.)
* Your reputation is your greatest asset. While you, yourself, are not important, your reputation is. It’s not product, price or service. Everything flows from your reputation — customer loyalty, referrals and more. (Positioning yourself at the top art fairs, having an impeccable booth, dressing like your customer all reinforce the signal your art sends to the customer.)
* Apply the law of large numbers. Position yourself as Number Two to every prospect on your list, and keep adding to that list. I can promise you that if your list is long enough, there are going to be Number Ones that fail to perform, retire or die or lose their territories for many reasons. What I can’t tell you is which ones. If you’re standing second in line, in enough lines, sooner or later you’re going to move up to Number One. (And, as you well know in the business Number One changes from show to show.)
* Short notes yield long results. I’m amazed by how many salespeople don’t write thank you notes. It’s all a matter of personal recognition and courtesy, just as important as remembering names and taking a personal interest in people. And it’s not just for sales. (Treat people as you like to be treated.)
* Keep your eye on your time, not on your watch. A salesperson really has nothing to sell but her time. Her product exists independently of anything she adds to it. Her personality will win her or lose her accounts initially, but if she isn’t around to provide service and be accessible to customers, she’ll lose those accounts. (One of my pet peeves, the artist hiding behind their booth–they have spent hundreds of dollars to be there and then are unavailable–money down the drain.)
* Position yourself as a consultant. The mark of a good salesperson is that his customer doesn’t regard him as a salesperson at all, but a trusted and indispensable adviser, an auxiliary employee who, fortunately, is on someone else’s payroll. (This is an easy one, you know more about art than 90% of your customers. Speak with authority.)
* Believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Who says you’re not tougher, smarter, better, harder working, more able than your competition? It doesn’t matter if they say you can’t do it. The only thing that matters is if you say it.
* If you don’t have a destination, you’ll never get there. Everybody and every business needs a set of basic goals and beliefs, but most of us are seat-of-the-pants, one-day-at-a-time operators. Our goals are fuzzy and our plans for achieving them non-existent. Goals don’t have to be elaborate either, just realistic.
* Practice positive visualization. I have found this to be one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals. It’s what an athlete does when he comes on to the field to kick a winning field goal with three seconds on the clock and 60,000 screaming fans and millions more watching on TV. Great athletes and businesspeople have the ability to visualize themselves in successful situations. (My favorite visualization is zipping that credit card and watching the artwork being wrapped up.)
* Ask for the order. It’s amazing what you don’t get when you don’t ask. An insurance agent whom he had known for many years, once asked the famous automobile pioneer Henry Ford why he never got any of Ford’s business. “You never asked me,” Ford replied.
Mackay’s Moral: Tell me, and I will forget; show me, and I may remember; but involve me, and I’ll understand. (I always liked it best when the customer said, “I’ll take it,” but sometimes they need some coaxing.)
For more go to http://www.harveymackay.com
Many thanks to that master of PR, Rick Frishman, for allowing me to adapt his article.
Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Author 101 Newsletter”
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