Monthly Archives: June 2014

Strategic Sales Practices

Business owners — regardless of the type of business they’re in need to spend a portion of their time on selling.  There is an 80/20 rule that  you should spend 80% of your time on meeting existing client needs and 20% of your time marketing and pursuing new opportunities.  Are you following the 80/20 rule?

To make the 20% of the time you’re selling as cost effective as it can be, here are three ways to productively boost your sales:

  1. Upsell ~  If you have a client who already works with you, chances are they like what you’re doing, right? If you have other products or services available, make an offer.
  2. Sell an add on product  ~  If you’re launching a new product or service, ask your current clients if they’d be willing to purchase it. Fast food restaurants always ask if you “want fries with that,” why can’t you ask, “you’re already using ABC, would you like to try XYZ?”
  3. Cold calling ~ There will come a time when you may be faced with making cold calls. However, if you’ve been cultivating relationships with current clients you may be better served to say to them, “Hey, since we’ve worked together for five years, you must like what I’m doing… I’d appreciate a referral.” If a client gives you a referral, make sure you send them a small gift or a card or some other token or appreciation. Some business owners offer a percent off an existing service if they close on a referral from a current client.  

What can you do to implement strategic sales practices?

Build Your Business and Its Social Presence

Social media is an ideal way to quickly interact and connect with clients and potential clients. Social media, however, has the potential to suck you in, not let go and you’ll find you’ve wasted several hours on the social networking sites and have nothing productive to show for it.

Used correctly, social media is an ideal way to nurture relationships and grow your business is a more cost effective and far reaching manner than most other types of advertising or marketing will. Social media should be part of your overall marketing plan and here are five of the top platforms that many business owners use:

  1. Pinterest. This is an ideal site to use if you have a business that is very visual — think cake decorator or wedding planner, photographer or dog groomer. If you’re an accountant or a banker, you may not have images that are as visually appealing and Pinterest is all about the visuals.
  2. Facebook. This is the one social media site that practically everyone knows about and millions of people use daily. If you have a business, it may behoove you to have a business page. A Facebook business page is an ideal location for you to share company news and events, promote new products, monitor the conversations others are having about your business and research the hot topics in your industry.
  3. Google+. This is a platform that combines many of the nuances of Twitter and Facebook and allows you to connect with people and invite them into your Circles. You can easily connect with individuals outside of your Circles as well.  While this is still a “new-ish” platform it is a Google product which means you can hashtag and use keywords to make your business posts more searchable.
  4. LinkedIn. Consider this the business network. It is not likely that you will find someone posting a picture of their breakfast on this site. This is a great place to build connections both within and outside of your industry and to connect with people who are connected to people you know. To effectively use this, congratulate followers on new jobs or anniversaries, share an update that a connection has written, join groups of interest and get involved in the conversations there.
  5. Twitter. This is a fast moving social network that allows you to follow people in an “open source” way — what this means is that you don’t have to have permission to follow them — they don’t have to follow you back though. To make effective use of this platform you will want to share and reshare the posts of those you follow, reply and comment on Tweets, thank individuals who have followed you and favorite those posts that really hit home.

As with anything, you need to determine where your target market is gathering and make use of that platform to reach them.

5 Business Metrics

Whether you’ve been in business for decades, a month or a year, there are times you need to step back and measure the metrics of your success. These metrics are different for every business industry, but there are five ways to breathe new life back into your business and get you back on track or assure that you are right on track. They can be as simple as  following these five steps:

  1. Review your business vision. Why did you get into business in the first place? Whom did you want to serve and are you fulfilling those goals?
  2. What is the mission for your business? This can be gauged in both dollars and customers. Are you meeting the mission you set forth when you opened your doors?
  3. What is your purpose for being in business? To change the world? To make money? To create a better widget than the manufacturer down the street? Whatever your purpose for having become an entrepreneur, it’s useful to revisit that at least annually.
  4. What goals did you want to meet? Have you met those goals? Are there reasons or roadblocks that have prevented you from achieving the goals? Did you set goals that were so lofty they seem unattainable? If that’s the case, you will want to step back and break the goal into smaller, more manageable goals.
  5. What timelines have you set for yourself and your business growth? Are you meeting the timelines? Keep in mind that timelines may be both financial as well as physical growth of the company.

Take an hour or two and pull out your business plan and see if you’re on track. If you need help determining this information or don’t have a business plan, give us a call and we can get you back on track!

What Do Your Marketing Efforts Need?

Do you think that marketing is a complex and difficult undertaking? It doesn’t have to be if you consider this three step process that we work with our clients on. Yes, it will take time and thought to pull it all together, but once you’ve done the three steps, your marketing can be part of your overall business plan.

Here are the three steps to amp up your marketing efforts:

  1. Understand your brand. If you don’t know what your brand means and what your company’s mission is, it will be difficult for you to clearly articulate that in your marketing whether you’re handing out business cards, doing a 30-second commercial at a networking event or talking on your social media platforms. Your brand is who you are and bottom line, what you do for your clients.
  2. Take time to strategize. Many business owners skip this step and jump right into implementation. If you don’t have a strategy you will be diluting your efforts and may not even be reaching your target audience. Take time for a strategy session with your team or with a coach to understand your demographics, where they gather, what message you want to send and how to best reach them.
  3. Planning and implementation. These two can go hand-in-hand. The planning will hold your company accountable for the marketing efforts you’re planning. Planning will assure you stay within your budget and it will help you understand if you’re meeting the goals you’ve set. Implementation is part and parcel of the planning process as they lead into one another — you plan what you need to do and you implement how to get it done.

Do you have a marketing plan in place? Do you need help or advice on understanding how and where to target your ideal client? We can help.