Selling Basics

Posted in Marketing, sales, Small Business Advice, Uncategorized on March 6th, 2009 by Tracie Gilbert – Comments Off on Selling Basics

Whether you have been selling for years or are just starting out, the current economy is a tough sell. When the economy is booming and there is extra cash flow, almost anyone can sell. However, now is a market where the customers are more selective with their budget, more careful with their large spends and more conservative overall. Now is the time to brush up on the fundamentals and hone your skills. Let’s go back to selling basics:

ASK. LISTEN. BE SINCERE. Seem too easy? Well, this is one of the most overlooked aspects of selling. Most ramp up their product knowledge, competitor knowledge, proposal offers, etc and get so excited about their product or service that they just jump into the sales pitch as soon as they reach a prospect. But you may be highlighting points that are irrelevant to the prospect while convincing them that you have no idea what their needs are. Ask the prospect what aspects of their business they have problems with and then find a way to help them see how your product or service can help with that need. Ask. Listen. Be sincere. In today’s market – you are not a sales person, you are a solution provider.

USE OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS. Remember this age old axiom? Well, it became that way because it works. Never ask a question that can be answered with a Yes or No. Customers often don’t like tense sales situations any more than you do and will attempt to escape them as quickly as possible. “Do you like your current supplier?” A customer could easily answer “Yes” and walk away. Instead, if you ask, “What do you like about your current supplier?” They now need to think about it and give you an answer.  The more the customer talks, the more information you’ll get to make the sale.

BE THE EXPERT. Know your product or service, know your prospect and know your competition. Customers need to feel secure that you know your product and their situation. Your product or service should address an important issue that you learned from your questions, such as reducing costs, improving revenues or avoiding a problem- something that will move their business forward. Your product or service offer should be tailored to address the buyer’s business problem. In addition to solving a compelling problem, you need to understand the kind of deal the buyer is used to or expects, such as cost, terms, discounts, incentives, etc. It is important to know the expected, to be an expert, even if you hope to create a different arrangement.

BE PREPARED TO WAIT. Follow up. In today’s market, customers are not willing to make a decision on the spur of the moment. They want to be sure they are spending their money in the right place. They want to know their options. They want to be sure that you will do what you say you will. Don’t become a pest, but follow up with them on a regular and timely basis and be prepared each time. Review your notes from prior conversations so that you are not repeating issues and wasting their time (or yours!). Summarize problems you solved together and find out if there is anything else holding them back. This will also show the customer that you are organized, responsible, conscientious of their problems and are willing to go the extra mile in order to gain their business.

Finally, you have to believe in your product. If you do not believe in your product, how do you expect your customer to believe in it? Just remember though, no matter how great you think it is, your product isn’t going to sell itself. You need to make contact, find out the customers problems and how you can provide them with solutions. Remember, you are not a sales person, you are a solution provider.

This article was written by Tracie Gilbert, VP of Business Development at Cosmetic Promotions. For more information on Cosmetic Promotions, please check out their website or contact Tracie direct at

CoverGirl Fresh Complexion Concealer

Posted in Industry Trends, Product Reviews on February 25th, 2009 by Kristen Jason – Comments Off on CoverGirl Fresh Complexion Concealer

Those of us with oily skin were feeling left out..It seems that most of the concealers of the world were designed for dry skin. So what’s a girl to do that has the misfortune of combination/oily skin AND dark circles? From our search we found CoverGirl Fresh Complexion Concealer.

This concealer lasts all day, so you won’t look like a raccoon when the work day is over. This formula is lightweight and transfer resistant; we liked the way it didn’t interfere with our eyeshadow and eyeliner. The best part is that since it won’t clog pores you can use it on blemishes as well.

Tip: This is a lightweight formula, it works by diffusing light instead of heavily covering the problem areas. If you want a more heavy duty effect, use underneath your foundation.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Posted in Marketing, sales, Small Business Advice, Uncategorized on January 29th, 2009 by Tracie Gilbert – Comments Off on Work Smarter, Not Harder

You start the day with a positive attitude, but by the end of the day, you find yourself frustrated and that little distractions have kept you from accomplishing your goals. Often we are own worst enemies, interrupting ourselves by jumping from one half-finished task to another as they come in. See below for a couple of tips to help organize your days:

  • Create a productive atmosphere. Spend a lot of time at your desk? Improve your productivity by creating a work space that is inviting and inspires you. Art, plants and music as well as organizational tools such as file sorters, letter trays, etc. can all help to keep you alert, organized and focused.
  • Be adaptive. The work place is changing and employees are being asked to do more and more. Take a hard look periodically at how you spend your time and purge tasks that are no longer necessary in order to stay on top of the things that are.
  • Be decisive. Stop doing “the desktop shuffle” – try to take the next action that’s required each time you handle a piece of paper. Use your letter tray to help clear your desk. Don’t save paper that you’re not willing to spend time to file. If you avoid filing things because you’re afraid you’ll forget to follow up, write a reminder in your planner or computer. Then file or trash. You’ll save a lot of time looking for the document in your ‘piles’ later if you take a few seconds to file it now.
  • You have a scheduler, use it. Schedule in time so that you can work on that important project. During that time, focus. Don’t answer email, don’t answer your phone. Then schedule 2-3 times throughout the day where you can answer emails as well as return calls. This should help you stay intent on your project minimizing time costing errors as well as maximizing the amount you get done. Not to mention the potential for good ideas that your full attention gives.
  • Create a ‘To Do’ list at COB. Write down all the items that you want to achieve the next day. Then prioritize them. Don’t set yourself up for failure by putting too much on your list. This will also help to motivate you to get done those items that you repeatedly put off day after day or to recognize them as a task to purge.
  • Beware burnout. Schedule in personal time and vacation. If you get burnt out or frazzled from working too much, you won’t be of much benefit to your company, your family or your customers. It is better for you to leave at 6 on Wed and to be productive on Thurs/Fri, rather than to stay late and get nothing done the next 2 days as you are too worn out to concentrate on anything, or worse, to do things wrong and have to spend even more time fixing them.

People cannot work 24/7 and still be effective and companies are beginning to realize this. If you find ways to work smarter and not harder, you will be able to figure out how to balance your work and personal life so that neither suffers and you remain a valuable employee in these challenging times.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein

2008 Holiday Sales Are the Weakest on Record

Posted in Industry Trends on January 16th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off on 2008 Holiday Sales Are the Weakest on Record
Maybe Christmas stockings were filled with aspirin this year: drug stores reported a 3.4% comp store sales gain in December, even as the industry posted a 1.7% comp store decline, says the International Council of Shopping Centers Chain Store Sales Index. Excluding Wal-Mart’s slight 1.7% gain, the overall index posted a 4.3% comp decline.

The Truth About Sampling to Minorities

Posted in Top 5 Tips on January 16th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off on The Truth About Sampling to Minorities

Targeting ethnic markets can be very profitable. According to the Census Bureau, over the next 20 years the number of African-Americans will increase 25%, Asian-Americans 68%, and Hispanic-Americans 64% while the mainstream market will increase by only 13%. But the same marketing tactics that you’ve always used might not be the optimal way to promote sales to minorities. Here are 5 truths about marketing to minorities that will ensure a higher return on your investment.

Myth 1: Direct mail and captured credit card data are the most effective way to reach ethnic customers.
Truth: It’s better to make a connection at the establishments ethnic customers frequent. Don’t make the common mistake of marketing on the basis of an offensive stereotype. Research first, then make an authentic message.

Myth 2: We made our product visible to our target market, we’re done!
Truth: Don’t stop halfway. Personalize your efforts by using representatives from the target ethnic group for your campaign. And make sure you have a message for each ethnic market you are trying to appeal to.

Myth 3: Giving away my product for free is profit-limiting.
Truth: Samples can increase retail sales by up to 40% and create a buzz about your product – but it is important to do your sampling in the right places and get that sample in the hands of the right customer.

Myth 4: Our ethnic customers can receive our samples through our existing programs.
Truth: Only 5% of African-American and Hispanic consumers receive samples through mainstream traditional programs. Try something different, such as an ethnic festival or event.

Myth 5: It is too difficult for a company to do different campaigns for each type of ethnic market.
Truth: CosPro Agency can help! We have a variety of ethnic marketing programs that reach your target demographic WHERE they are. For example, our Hispanic Sampling program sends our Hispanic models to events where Hispanic people are – local festivals and conventions. We handle everything from conception to execution and your company reaps the benefits.