Posts

, , , , , ,

How To Make Selling Easy

Whether you’re a butcher, baker or a maker of candles, I’m sure you’re brilliant at what you do.

business-button-sales-motivation-blue-light-d-render-over-blue-black-background-suitable-solution-concept-32482515

But the fact is if you run a small business, whatever sector you’re in, your success or failure will be down to the amount of sales you make.

One of the glories of running a small business is the wearing of multiple hats and the selling hat is one you need to get comfortable in.

Now when I say selling, I don’t mean the old fashioned foot in the door approach. I’m going to show you how you can make selling easy and sell your business but without really having to sell at all.

Tell your story

We all love stories.

Speakers who tell stories retain their audience’s attention far better than those who don’t.

Every business has a story:

  • What made you set it up in the first place
  • How you started with no money, no staff but with passion and hunger

Whatever your story, it’s genuine human experience and people will be interested in it. Modern digital marketing is based on engaging people and providing quality content.

Identify what makes you different, what makes you stand out and tell your story in your sales materials – your website and your sales literature.

People will remember you for it and identify with you and the sales process has begun.

Refine your proposition

While we all know that people buy people, what they actually do is buy products that solve their problems from people they like.

So you have to make sure that your proposition – the way you  position your products or services enables potential customers to quickly see how they will benefit.

  • Define exactly what your product does from both your point of view and the customer’s point of view.
  • What benefits does your product deliver?
  • What problems in your customers’ lives does it solve?
  • How do you and your product differ from your competitors?
  • How can you remove the risk for customers?

Once your proposition is in place, you won’t need high pressure sales techniques to sell it.

Attract your customers

The internet has revolutionised the sales process.

In the old days you had to go out and find your customers. Now your customers will search you out.

This starts with a Google search so the first thing you need is an effective website which does more than look pretty – it also generates responses.

Of course your site must appear in the search rankings so your need to ensure that your site is properly SEOed so that Google can find it.

But Google is continuously moving the goalposts so perhaps you should be doing Google Adwords to ensure that you’re on that all important first page.

And then you can chase them around the internet via Remarketing, continuously showing them your ads.

Don’t forget social media which will allow you to position your business out there where the conversations are taking place.

The new digital world allows you to be selling 24/7 without leaving your armchair so embrace it.

Give it away

Another way the internet has completely changed the way we do business, is that virtually any information you could possibly want is available for free.

Again you should get on board. Don’t worry about giving away your best stuff. If they don’t get it from you they’ll get it somewhere else and giving stuff away is a great starting point for a relationship and demonstrates your expertise.

So become the go to resource.

Again you’re selling but without really selling.

Now I say selling, but are the things I’ve described sales or marketing? To be honest it doesn’t really matter, but all these areas are ones I cover in my “done for you” marketing process.

So if you want to be continuously selling (or marketing) get in touch.

, , , ,

It’s Not Interesting If They’re Not Interested

When making sales calls, too many salespeople launch straight into their sales presentation whether on the phone or in person, before they have any idea what is important, relevant and of interest to their prospects.

This is the result of the salesperson being too focused on their own personal needs and agendas and not being 100% committed to understanding their prospect’s agenda.

Start with Questions

The best way to sell effectively and in less time is to start the “sales conversation” with questions.

“When it comes to selecting a supplier, what is most important to you?”  The way they answer will totally dictate the content of your conversation. One of the standard complaints  about salespeople is “they weren’t interested in my situation, they just wanted to sell to me.”

There are two reasons to ask questions:

  1. To get information
  2. To create rapport.

One of the strongest human needs is to be heard.  I’ve met very few people who don’t appreciate the opportunity to talk about their world, if approached correctly – sincerely. Like they say, you can’t fake sincerity.

The Right Kind of Questions

The questions I’m talking about aren’t small talk, far from it. I’m talking about probing for information that will help you understand the challenges and frustrations that the prospect faces so you can speak to those issues in the context of what you’re selling. In the process of asking questions and paying close attention to the spoken and unspoken replies, you are building rapport. It’s a critical element.

So to quote a founding father of the personal development business, Zig Ziglar, “You can get everything in life you want, if you help others get what they want”.  Start your sales calls by asking more and better questions about what’s interesting to your prospects. Their replies will show you how to manage your sales pitch.

, ,

7 Secrets of Successful Small Business Advertising

When many people think of marketing, they automatically think of advertising. Personally I virtually never suggest my clients use traditional newspaper and magazine advertising.

Why?

Because most small business advertising doesn’t work. There are many more effective and less expensive ways to market your business.

However if you are already advertising or plan to in the near future, here is some basic advice to help you get the best from it.

1. If Your Advertising Isn’t Being Effective – Stop It Immediately
That may sound ridiculously obvious but you would be amazed at how much small business advertising is done just because that’s what their business has always done and they don’t really know whether the ads are working.

2. Test And Measure The Effectiveness Of Your Advertising

Unless you test and measure your advertising you won’t know whether it is working or not. When I say working, what I mean is: is each ad generating more profit than it costs? So if each ad is costing £300, is each one generating more than this in profit?  When you are doing this calculation, you shouldn’t forget about the amount of time involved in organising the ad. What this means is for the ad to be genuinely profitable it will need to generate significantly more than the cost.

3. Only Run Ads Which Produce A Response

Large corporations run brand advertising which is designed to build and sustain awareness of their brand. For small business advertising, brand advertising is almost certainly a huge waste of money.
The purpose of your ads must be to produce a response –  a phone call, a visit to a web site or even a purchase. Only in this way can you be confident that your advertising is actually generating business.

4. The Importance Of The Headline

The headline is the most important part of the advertisement. It needs to grab peoples’ attention immediately. The headline must interest readers enough that they want to find out what the ad’s about and read on into the body copy.
Small changes in a headline can produce huge changes in response. Experiment with headlines, continually refine them until you get to the ultimate in attention grabbing.

5. Address Your Reader Personally

The copy of your ad needs to be a personal communication to the individual reading it. It needs to be about them. It needs to address their needs, desires and fears and it needs to constantly communicate the benefits of what you are offering.

6. Tell Your Readers What To Do Next

Along with the headline the call to action is the most important part of the advertisement. You’re looking for a direct response from your readers so tell them what they should do next. Do you want them to call you, to visit your web site for more information or even to make a purchase? Whatever response you want, tell them exactly what to do, give them all the information they need to do it and make it easy. If it’s too complicated you’ll lose them.

7. Negotiate The Best Deal

When it comes to actually booking your advertising there are a couple of points to remember.

Only advertise on right hand pages. Our eyes naturally fall on the right hand page as we flick through a publication. Statistically more people see ads on right hand pages.

Never pay the full rate for advertising. If you negotiate you may well reduce your costs by 20% – 30%. This can make a big difference to your budget and can sometimes turn an unprofitable ad campaign into a successful one.

Once again, my experience is that many businesses are wasting money on ineffective advertising when they could be getting a much better return from other forms of marketing (Email marketing, tele marketing, direct marketing, internet marketing, referrals, strategic alliances etc) But if you do it well and test and experiment, advertising can become a highly profitable element of your marketing mix.

, , ,

How Attractive Is Your Business To Prospective Customers?

Winning new customers  is a vital part of the business development process.  But for your business to attract a constant stream of new customers, all aspects of your customer proposition have to be spot on.
Likewise you  must ensure that your marketing is delivering – getting  the right messages into  the right hands, at the right time, accompanied by the right incentives.
If at any stage of the process customers don’t like what you’re offering, they won’t buy. They’ll find someone else who ticks all the boxes.

So ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do we tell our prospects exactly what we do?
  • Do we tell them what benefits we will deliver to them?
  • Do we know what our customers really want?
  • Are our products and our marketing tailored to our customers’ specific needs?
  • Do our customers perceive us in the way we would like them to?
  • Does our business stand out from our competitors or are we just a “me too”?
  • Are there powerful reasons to choose us instead of a competitor?
  • Do we provide guarantees against all our products and services?
  • Do we remove any risk customers  might perceive in buying our products?

If you answer NO to any of these questions, then you’re selling both your business and your customers short. The result will be that you lose sales which you should be winning.

So what should you do about it?

At Business Development Advisors we run “Marketing Fundamentals” workshops to address precisely these questions.

These fun, fast paced, one day workshops will address all the key elements of your marketing proposition, positioning your business in the most attractive way, making your business totally relevant to your target audience and making it easy for prospective customers to buy from you.

The effect will be to turbo charge your marketing and your sales.  Whereas before your prospects may have had unanswered questions in their minds and any number of reasons not be buy from you, now all their concerns will be answered and your business will become the obvious choice.

For more details of our “Marketing Fundamentals” workshop, visit https://bda.me.uk/marketing.html

,

Business Growth through Leads and Sales

Sales Process image courtesy of Steve Woods, RGBStock.comBusiness Growth can come from more sales and more sales can come from understanding where leads and sales come from and then improving the process.

Lead Generation and Sales Process Analysis

  1. Know your lead generation process – (or make sure you have one!). Everyone in business has a lead generation process, even if it’s just attending an event or advertising locally then sitting back and waiting. Some processes work better than others!Understand your sales generation process by answering questions such as:
    • Where do leads come from?
    • How many of them become sales?
    • How long does it take from lead to sale?
    • How many leads are being generated per month?
    • How many leads are needed to achieve business targets?

     

  2. Dig into the information you have and ask more questions to understand the whole sales process.
    • Why do customers buy from us?
    • How did our customers find us?
    • How can we increase conversion rates?
    • Why do we lose customers?

    This will allow us to uncover the sales process we actually use – or maybe that will be the sales processes we actually use. Understanding what we do and what works will allow a new, efficient, sales process to be defined that can be repeated. A repeatable process can then be used to increase efficiency in lead generation and sales.

A Repeatable Sales Process

From the work done in step one, look at the full sales process and work out how it can repeated faster and faster – that will generate more leads and so more sales. More sales is business growth.

If you need help with lead generation or lead conversion, then contact Mike at Business Development Advisors.

, ,

Small Improvements to SME Business Marketing Can Equal Business Growth

Small Improvements to SME Business, courtesy of lusi, RGBStock.comSmall improvements in business marketing is how to grow our businesses

We’d all like to grow our businesses, wouldn’t we?

Most of us would love the idea of growing our businesses by 25% or  50% or 75% or even 100% over the course of the next year, wouldn’t we?

But of course, even if we could handle that sort of growth without the whole thing collapsing around our ears, we all know that that sort of growth is impossible. Business development experts might promise you that sort of growth, but you and I know it’s never going to happen.

Because let’s face it, we’re talking small business marketing and if we manage to grow our lead generation activity or the number of referrals we generate by 10% we think we’re doing pretty well.

Focus On All The Key Drivers

So if we agree that 10% growth in all the key areas is possible, you’d be surprised by the compound effect that will have.

Let’s play around with an example and see what happens:

Number of leads – 100

Conversion rate – 20% = 20 sales

Number of transactions – 3 = 60 sales

Transaction value – £50 = £3000

Margin – 50% = £1500

Buying lifetime – 4 years = £6000

Now if we increase each driver by 10%, let’s see what happens:

Number of leads – 110

Conversion rate – 22% = 24.2 sales

Number of transactions – 3.3 = 79.8 sales

Transaction value – £55 = £4389

Margin – 55% = £2414

Buying lifetime – 4.4 years = £10621

This equates to a massive and as we thought just a few minutes ago, impossible, 77% increase in profit. This has been achieved by increasing all the key drivers by 10%. Just think what would happen if we really pushed the boat out and managed to grow each one by 15% or even more.

So what does this tell us. It tells us that by focusing on all the key drivers within our business and achieving quite realistic growth in each one, we really can grow our total business by phenomenal amounts.

For help to identify small improvements call Mike Jennings on 01483 200387