Sales Tips from Hoolock Consulting

We hope that you find these useful. We try to post a new tip every week so please check back for updates.

Ranking Customers

Not all of your customers are perfect.  Some of them might be very difficult to work with.  There is a natural tendency to want to please everyone all of the time, no matter how badly they treat us.  As the saying goes, the customer is always right.

I don’t believe in this.  There are more customers out there than you can possibly manage.  Its perfectly reasonable to choose the best customers to work with and to avoid working with the difficult ones.  See for more on this.

Define a set of criteria by which you judge all of your customers and rank them.  Then chase the ones that come out top. 


If you are going to make a presentation to a client, be sure that you know why you are presenting. If you simply want to raise their awareness of the products that you offer, then you can make a generic marketing presentation. The purpose of this should be to try to determine from the client whether they can see a need for your solution in their business.

A sales presentation comes late in the sales process and should be specific to the client you are presenting to. It should focus on their specific needs and how you are going to help to solve them. It should be part of the process of closing the deal, not a means of finding one.

Sales is a process and each stage needs to feed into the next one.  You can think of it as a journey and one that your customer needs to come with you on.  To do so, they must be convinced that the next stage is worth their time.  This means that you have to sell it to them.  Only at the end of the process will you sell your product.

For every stage of the process, consider what the next step should be, is it a first meeting, is it a presentation, is it a meeting with a executive.  Whatever it is, make sure that your customer understands why it is important and what they will get out of it.  They are giving up their time for you – there has to be some value to them.

Sell the next stage

Nudge Theory

Behavioural economics incorporates the study of psychology into the analysis of decision making.  Nudge Theory explains how small interventions can encourage individuals to make different decisions.  For example, we are more likely to donate our organs if we have not opted out rather than we have chosen to opt in.

In sales, most of our customers are not looking to buy our solutions today.  However, they are much more likely to buy our solutions tomorrow if we have been nudging them in the right direction today.  Try to incorporate some form of nudging into your monthly work.  It might be a simple email (like this one!) to remind the client of your products; it might be pop up adverts based on internet searches or it might be a coffee with your contact as you just happen to be passing by.

However you do it, try to remind your customers of what you do on a regular basis.

Personal Motivations

Everyone has personal motivations in their work.  When you are working with someone for a sale, the chances are that they are thinking about how the deal can help them with their goals.  Whether it is a promotion, new opportunity or a bonus, there will be something personal that is driving their behaviour.  If you can help them with their goals, you have a greater chance of making the sale as their success matches your success.

You are perfectly entitled to ask your customer about this.  You don’t need to be blatant about it – ask in an informal setting when it is just the two of you.  They are unlikely to open up in a room full of their peers.  However you can do it, you should aim to find out their motivation and how you can help them so they are more willing to help you.

Why are you unique?

Its highly likely in any sales scenario, that there is an alternative that the customer might choose to purchase.  There are many different types of smart phone for example and no one company dominates the market.  The reason that a buyer selects one product over another is related to the uniqueness of their product – what is it that they do that no one else does?  If there are no differences, then price will be a factor but if you are offering something unique, you need to ensure that the customer knows about it.

For each feature of your product that is unique, you also need to know why this matters to the customer.  If it doesn’t matter, it is not worth highlighting.  However, if you have something unique that is important, then you need to shout it from the roof tops.  To know what matters to the customer, you need to understand their needs during your research.